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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cruisin' Through 10 Years of Marriage, March Madness, and Good Times with Grandparents

To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, Chris and I decided to splurge and treat ourselves to a cruise. Neither one of us have ever been on one and we found a pretty reasonable deal from Carnival Cruise Line that departed from Charleston to the Bahamas. Chris' parents were able to come down and take care of the kids for the majority of our trip that we decided to take over Spring Break. We got a room with a view (even though I was expecting an inside guaranteed room). We had to put up with a lot of construction noise each morning starting at 7 am (and would continue for most of the day), but Guest Services ended up crediting our account for the inconvenience. We had two "Days at Sea" and we visited Freeport and Nassau while we were in port the other 2 days. On our Freeport day, we took a taxi to the Bahamian Brewery and got to meet and hang out with the tour guide, Chrissy, for a few hours as we sampled full-size beers in the upstairs lounge. We stopped in at Senor Frogs and then made our way back onto the boat.  The 3rd full day we visited Nassau and did a little souvenir shopping and checked out a small strip of a beach. The highlight of our cruise was the food, for sure! Chris' favorite activity was to check out the dinner menu after we finished breakfast at the Celebration Dining Room. Each night, we'd each order an appetizer, entrée, and dessert and in several instances more than one of each. The Formal Dining night, for example, Chris couldn't decide between lobster tail or prime rib, so he asked for them both! We got to sample all kinds of unique appetizers as well such as duck, alligator bites, frog legs, cerviche, gazpacho, and suishi. The Warm Chocolate Cake with vanilla icecream was one of our favorite desserts (it was like a molten chocolate lava cake) and it makes my mouth water right now just thinking about it! Aside from the food, we went to a comedy show and 2 Broadway-type singing shows called "Motown" and "The Brits", checked out the casino (where I managed to lose my $20 and Chris luckily doubled his $20 in the hour that we played), completed a half round of miniature golf, soaked in an adults-only hot tub, and
got to spend time talking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Overall, it was a great vacation and one that I'm really thankful we were able to experience together!

March has been full of memorable moments a few exasperating ones as well. Little Mags is showing her tenacious side and digging in her heels to try and get her way quite frequently around here. So we've seen a lot of her mad side, but she'll figure it out soon enough and this stage too shall pass (at least that's what I keep telling myself). Here are some more of the positive highlights from this month:

  • While praying, Maggie says, "Dear God, help us do good deeds, be servant of all, not be mad or frustrated. Amen" Wow...out of the mouth of babes.
  • I asked Riley the other day how long he thought it would take the bulbs we planted by the mailbox and sidewalk to the gate to grow. He responded with 25 years and then revised his answer to 55 seconds. Love it!
  • Both kids are fascinated with pretending things are invisible these days. Recently, they went the whole day pretending "Invisible Dad" was with us doing things.
  • Their imaginations continue to amuse us as we are riding in the car and they like to tell us that a purple bear is following us and that we've got to hurry and get away from it.
  • Maggie's phrase-of-the-month-"Huh?" She says it constantly to get you to repeat what you are saying even though most of the time she heard exactly what you said and she's just trying to stall.
  • My little "Queen of Excuses" came up with a really good one a few weeks ago when I asked her to clean up her room. She said, "The bear will do it. I locked him in there and I will go back and check on him."
  • When I ask Riley to help clean up a mess in the living room, his reply was, "Well, it was Maggie that was 'costing' all the trouble and got all these out."
  • Riley and Callie have really been enjoying hanging out together lately and one of their favorite activities is to go to their "hideout" by the swings. Riley made the remark one day as we were walking the park together as a family that he wanted to "build a hideout on this fresh warm day."
  • Riley's preschool teacher sends home a calendar each month of what they will be learning. I noticed that they'd be talking about raptors and so I asked him if he knew what those were. He answered, "Yeah, they're birds that eat meat. That would be a hawk, eagle, and falcon, right?" I think his love of the TV show Wild Kratts and his fascination with animals has made a strong impression on him! :)
  • Riley is himself still a creature of habit and continues to eat one food at a time and then he'll even break down his foods into their individual parts. Tonight at supper for example, he asked for ketchup and mustard on his hot dog and then proceeded to eat the bun first, lick the condiments off, and then finally devour the hot dog. He even likes to dictate Maggie's order of eating at breakfast and lunch in particular. She's gotten so used to his rules and preferences that she will often ask him, "Riles, can we eat now?" or "Can we eat our blackberries now?" Poor girl--she is getting bossed around by every member of the household. No wonder she likes to try and boss younger kids like John Parker and Mallory every chance she gets.
  • Maggie weighs about 28 pounds now and Riley weighs about 47. The other morning when Maggie was on the scale and we told her how much she weighs, she commented, "I'm getting grower and grower."

  While Mom and Dad were cruising away along the coast of Florida and the Bahamas, Riley and Maggie enjoyed some action-packed days with Nan and Pap. They got to go to the movies and see Big Hero 6, bounce at Baxter's Bunch Playhouse, eat lots of cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets, swim in the pool at the Aquatics Center, go to Cherry Park and hike along the trail (and almost walk to Charlotte, according to Riley), make some cupcakes, dye Easter eggs, and go shopping at Target for some special toys.  Needless to say, the kids didn't miss Mom and Dad much at all...they were too busy having fun! :) We got to hang out with them a little ourselves on Thursday and Friday when we got back home and went bowling at the new Revolutions sports center that opened somewhat recently in Rock Hill. What a blessing it is to have two sets of grandparents that love on and care for our little darlings in so many special ways!

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