In the meantime, just wanted to say this (which I had planned to post for Monday, but we were running around w/ the doctor and prescriptions filled and everything else)...
To my brother Kalen - (and all of our soldiers, past and present)
I just want to say how proud I am of you and how I truly admire you for all that you do, for all that you are, for all that the service will make you...
I am proud and thankful that you give your time, your location, your wants and needs, your vacations and holidays, your warm bed, your good food, your service and your life up for us as a nation so that we can continue to be free.
For all of this + more, I thank you from the bottom of my heart...and I will continue to pray for you and all of our soldiers' protection as you head to war and safety in your return.
I hope you know that no matter what, you have friends and family (and people you have yet to meet) who stand behind you and will always see you as a hero.
You may be my little brother, but you are truly a man to be proud of and look up to.
Love you so much.
Thank you G & G for taking care of Logan for me while I get caught up and for fixing the battery issue so I don't go stir crazy in this house :)
So, about the trip --first off, the boat. It was very impressive. We took the Mariner of the Seas through the eastern Carribbean. If you're interested, click HERE for the RC link to check out the boat and itenerary. The Mariner was beautiful, well thought out, and had every aminity you could possibly want and more.
Ryan and Matt show us just how cool and sexy you can be in a life vest.
To the right and left are the elevators - they were completely clear, so you could see every view point of the boat inside. Logan loved them.
We found this model on the boat and asked her to pose real fancy like on the Promenade for our photo.
So our first stop was Coco Cay - Royal Caribbean's private island (so nice not to be harrassed about purchasing a timeshare or snorkle rental -- something we got at every stop when we went to Mexico on our last cruise).
The day we were to get off the boat and onto the island the seas were rough (although you could not tell at ALL on the ship, they only had one tender boat running because it was so windy and rough). Once we headed out we realized that taking a squirmy toddler on a small, 2-story boat being rocked back and forth by the wind and sea is something Ryan and I both agreed was completely terrifying and not something we're lining up to do again anytime soon (although Logan certainly had no clue of the impending danger and I think he enjoyed it).
So we made it to the island and it was so beautiful - palm trees covering lounge chairs and swimming in the bay, food just around the corner and tropical drinks in abundance...it was the perfect place to start the trip. Mom and Logan took a nap in a hammock together and although I am sure she will kill me for posting these, they are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.
Logan and "Dayee"
Somehow she can get him to sleep like no other...
Papa explains to Logan that he's a little too young to take the kayak out alone just yet.
Some dorks we met at the beach.
now if only this were my backyard.
Corey, Matt and Logan
At the moment it is super late and my head is a little foggy so I will leave it at that for now. Pictures do a pretty good job of saying it all anyway. More to come soon. I promise.
I will post more pictures soon (and give an update too), I promise, but for now I am leaving you with a few of my favorite pictures so far.
I am still feeling wobbly from the boat - we never had bad weather but for some reason I am still feeling like I am on the boat, rocking a little here in the chair looking at the computer screen. Logan slept until 9:45 this morning so he is apparently recovering too. I wish we could have slept that long...
In the meantime, here are some pictures...I'll be captioning them later on for you. I have to edit one batch of them - something happened to my point and shoot camera (which is the only one I took on Coco Cay specifically) and those pictures are really dark. These pictures have just been re-sized. I haven't had a chance to do much with them yet, but look forward to cropping out a couple of random people in the background of some of them. Thanks to my mom and sister, we have about 500 pictures from the trip and all from different perspectives, each with some pictures of each other, which I love.
I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to my amazing parents for taking care of everything from the moment we got to Orlando on Saturday until the time we got home yesterday. They went above and beyond in making sure that we all had an amazing time and did not worry about a thing. From paying for babysitters to being babysitters to stroller pushing and drink purchasing and everything in between, they made sure we all had an amazing time....and we really, really did have an amazing time as a family. We are so blessed -- and we all thank you both from the bottom of our hearts for everything.
Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day. Ryan surprised me just before we left with a new lens for the camera, which he will tell you got me jumping up and down with excitement, even if I was terrified to use it too much because of my fear of sand getting into the lens (I didn't have time to buy a filter). Anyway, more pics and a longer update to come.
Anyway, the trip was memorable in many ways, but one thing that will always stand out to me was the fact that I was about six months pregnant with Logan and that trip was the very last time I experienced morning sickness. (If you're wondering why that stands out you obviously have never had morning [& noon & night] sickness...) Oh yeah, and did I mention that the last occurrence happened right on the beach? Say it with me, "AWESOME!"
I had only packed one maternity dress and I wore it just about every other night to dinner. We bought Ryan two dress shirts in the gift shop. [We figured formal night on a cruise was anything other than your bathing suit...]
We had the cheapest table mates ever and they got us some killer deals off the boat like a $5 ride in Acapulco on a pontoon boat into the middle of the ocean with waves splashing in our faces, but the experience of holding a blowfish and a starfish in your hands and snorkeling distant waters was priceless. Nevermind that the water was stunning from the surface, there were things you had never seen down in that water - like plates and forks and potato chip bags. But the view at night was stunning - the lights of the city lit up the side of the mountain like Christmas.
We shared the tiniest little room we'd ever seen, but it was dark and we slept like rocks. We had an amazing trip together and were just as happy reading by the pool as we were exploring the rain forest in the middle of whoknowswhere, Mexico after a $2/45 minute cab ride in a Nissan Sentra down dirt roads and mountains (this was negotiated by our table mates which we were sure would leave us stranded with no way home)....but it turned out to be a magical little place with a natural rock slide and where an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was filmed (although I cant remember the name, I am sure Ryan could tell you).
Our little boat. Our room was that one with the window over to the right. yeah, that one.
Taken at one of the fancy shmancy dinners. I think Ryan had just eaten his second steak dinner of the night and was working on his third dessert.
As we [I] were packing last night I was thinking about the fact that the last time we had been on a cruise, Logan was actually there with us. Now here we are again, only this time we have seven extra bags and a suitcase full of diapers. OK, so it's really only three extra bags and a suitcase full of diapers (and swim gear). This thing is seven days long but we are prepared to live there for a while if necessary.
I say all this to say....I love to look back and reflect on the trips we've taken together and the pictures that captured it all and the memories that were made. Now here we are getting to experience it all as a family -- one big, crazy, noisy family -- and I look forward to all that lies ahead and reflecting back in years to come.
We'll be sure to post pictures when we return...
and Happy Mother's Day!
p.s. A special thank you to Grandma and Grandpa for taking Logan to the zoo and letting him spend the night tonight while I get some much-needed cleaning done. Hope you all have a blast :)
Logan started saying Mama last week. It was completely out of the blue and my heart melted and my eyes got all teary and I called Ryan to tell him right afterward. I think he was probably laughing when he hung up the phone...but I just can't tell you how good it feels to hear little man call me that name.
At least once a week Logan brings me a [framed] picture. Usually Ryan is in it and Logan practically throws the frame at me and proclaims "DADDY!" Well today he brought me a picture of Ryan and I and said "MAMA"...again, melting heart, watery eyes, somebody get me a tissue here.
And last night I was busy doing laundry and about to put a load in the wash - I had just sorted the clothes and Logan came barging in, threw himself into the pile with a big "WHOAAAA!" and I could not help but crack up. As he proceeded to lay in the clothes, he grabbed my hand and pulled me over to him...so we laid there on the floor for a moment while he talked to me in his sweet little gibberish and we shared a sweet little moment...and just as I was thinking how sweet it was and that I wish I could bottle up that very moment...he farted...and jumped up and ran away laughing.
We spent the evening packing up Logan's clothes in the suitcase and he helped me destroy my pretty little piles....and we put him to bed and really got to work. About 11, we heard a cry in the dark and went to check on him. There he was, standing up, talking that sweet gibberish with a little "daddy" here and "mama" there and even though I knew it was late and we needed to get him back to bed, we put him in our bed and let him watch the NBA Finals on TV...where the only acceptable seat in the house was right on top of Daddy's chest.
We had a fun playdate in the pool with Natalie and Russell this week. Natalie can make Logan laugh like no other. I wish I could have bottled up those giggles for a rainy day :)
Logan is discovering anything in the bathtub might possibly be good for eating. He also tries taking his "regular" toys and his Thomas blankie into the tub, but we have to draw the line somewhere.
These days he is really into brushing his teeth (still), but even more so after Mama got him a Hotwheels toothbrush and CARS toothpaste. I think he has cried every time we put them back into the medicine cabinet.
Now that the weather is hot, he gets a milkshake every day in the juice cup. I am hoping that is going to really help us put some fat on him for his appointment. Well, that and our upcoming vacation!
Logan has added a few new words to his vocabulary. The other night I was going through pictures and he saw a picture of my dad and said "Bapa." He also says "oh no!" a million times a day and I have learned not to panic when I hear it anymore (it usually just means his car fell somewhere he can't reach). Oh, and he's still working on saying mama...I get a "mmmmmm!!!" when he really needs me for something.
So that's about it. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend and getting ready to leave for vacation next Saturday. I will do my best to post sometime between now and then but it will be a super crazy week. We have lots of planning and packing and working and cleaning and Aunt Mel is coming into town and we have to get the house ready for our live-in dog sitters (thanks again Steph and Todd).
I am getting tired just thinking about it.
Hope you all have a great weekend!