So I went to Hell…

On Tuesday morning we awoke to the boat approaching Georgetown in the Grand Cayman Islands. Cayman is a new experience for all of us so we were all anxious to visit the town. We had to tender into this port, which was an extra opportunity to experience the amazing waves.

Once on land, we grabbed a taxi to take us to Hell – a small, local place named after their limestone rock formation and with its own post office. Jacob helped to send ourselves post cards and we are anxious to see what the post mark is. They also stamped passports, which worked out well since the office for the port authority was closed each time we tried. It was a neat little place to stop by.

The taxi then took us to visit the tortuga rum store, a quick stop by the 7 mile beach and, to Jacob’s delight, the dolphin discovery center. Though we did not actually interact with the dolphins, Jacob loved watching them swim and jump about. Ms Welcome was a wonderful driver and host, taking us around to different parts of the island and sharing fun facts with us. 

Shortly after our tour, we ventured over to take the Seaworld Observatory boat. It’s the only excursion we booked ahead of time and were excited to see how much Jacob enjoyed it. We hopped on a boat and immediately headed down the stairs. About 6 feet under the water, we sat on a bench looking out into the water around us through big windows. The whole tour was about an hour. The boat took us out a little way and told us what to look for under the water. We saw dozens of fish, two separate shipwrecks, a stingray, lots of that beautiful sand along the bottom and a gorgeous coral reef. We saw a group of scuba divers and the Captain of our boat jumped in to scuba dive while feeding the fish around our boat. The entire experience was magnificent and Jacob completely loved it!

Though we had a few more hours left, Jacob was tired and it was time to go relax. We ventured back to the boat, snuggled up on the bed in front of our window and took a nap before dinner.

Our night ended with Jacob standing on the balcony with me & Joe, pointing out the twinkling stars filling up the sky high above us. He then serenaded us with “twinkle twinkle little star”, his pointer fingers dancing up and down to the lyrics.

Perfection.

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My Daddio

One of my all time favorite memories with my dad is from when I was finishing my last semester at school in Albany and Joe was living in Florida. Though I had spent the summer in Florida, it was hard to leave there and head back to the cold, even if it was only for a semester. 

Joe & his brother Mike visited Albany just a few weekends later. Joe had lived in New York for years before moving back to Florida but it was Mike’s first time. They spent a good bit of their time hanging out on the back porch of my parent’s house. The weather was perfect, a mix of warmth from the sun stealing it’s last few days of summer and the breeze that was refreshing & pulling in the fall…and all its wonderful scents.

One day in particular, Joe & Mike were sitting out back with me and my parents. We were laughing at a story that my dad shared about the Red Ryder BB Gun. He disappeared into the garage and reappeared a moment later, BB gun in hand. For the next few hours – yes – hours!  – my dad, Joe & Mike spent time trying to aim at the various bugs flying about the flowers that surrounded the porch. Though their aim was poor, the memories and laughter were priceless. 

Mike always talked about that day and how fun it was to embrace the moment, my family and New York.

My father is a man who would work the night shift and sleep during the day but would somehow find time to coach his 4 daughters softball games and show up at their cross-country meets.

When I was younger, my dad would return from work in the wee hours of the night and sneak in my room to wake me up. He would help to remove the bar from my feet, carry me to the living room and I would sit with him for an hour or two. We would enjoy a midnight snack and watch episodes of Quantum Leap, an absolute favorite of ours. I would often fall asleep on the couch and he would carry me back to bed.  They are memories that I hold dear in my heart even now.

Happy birthday to the man who helped raise me into the woman that I am today. To the man who showed me how to load the dishwasher, the proper way to set the table (even if I needed to write a report for it!), how to not hide from the ball during softball, how to ride my bike and that it’s ok to cry (I imagine he has a pocket full of them by now!).

I love you, Dad.

Cozumel…

Joe & I have had the luxury of visiting Cozumel twice in our short married lives. I have never seen such amazing beaches before. We took a page out of our honeymoon book and decided to tour the island on Monday. With 5 of us, we opted to rent a Jeep – a stick shift, to Joe’s delight.

We drove the entire island, saw the incredible water and enjoyed a yummy Margarita. The day was magnificent. We even had time to grab some vanilla, made locally.

I remember visiting Cozumel on our honeymoon cruise. I sat on the rocks and watched the ocean wash up in front of me. The bright blue water bursting amongst the rocks, turning white with the spray and retreating, just to do it all over again.  I was in awe. Living in Florida, I have some pretty awesome beaches near me…but this was spectacular. 

The beaches are just…breathtaking. The water is the most amazing blue, they are either rock or sand depending on where you go and the waves crash magnificently in front of you. Jacob could feel the spray of the waves while taking in the sites in Daddy’s arms. It was a sight to see. We were excited to visit again and hope to go back again some day.

A day at sea…

On Sunday, we spent the day at sea. It was wonderful. On a massive ship, we did not feel crowded or overrun. I was afraid that seasickness may rear it’s ugly head but I’m glad to say that despite feeling the slight rock of the boat dancing amongst the waves, it has remained at bay.

Jacob loved the pool and especially the hot tub! He had so much fun going in both. Despite his slight fear from swimming lessons, he let go of Daddy within a few minutes and became more and more brave as he swam around with his puddle jumper – always where he could touch, of course. 😉

We awoke to the sun rising above the clouds…it was amazing. We shut off all the lights at night and can watch the ocean from our bed through the window. Jacob took a nice nap halfway Through the day (and Momma too!).

Truly blessed.

What an incredible day at sea. Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Mesmerized…

Joe & I booked a cruise last minute for our honeymoon. Booked just a week or so before it was set to sail, a friend of ours asked what boat we were taking for our first ever cruise. “The Norwegian Epic. Apparently our room has a balcony so that’s cool.” My friend stared at me blankly. She then explained that not only was it in its first year, this ship was also the biggest ship in the Norwegian fleet. Well, then. I suppose we made a good choice!

We have been on a few cruises since then but this was Jacob’s first – and it was only fitting that he joined us on the Epic once again. Joe’s parents joined us too – and memories are already being made!

Jacob was Mr Cool Kid from the start of the morning – complete with sunglasses, his first pair of Sanuk flip-flops & all. After a small tour of the ship and lunch, Jacob took a mini nap so he was ready for the evening.

We were treated to dinner & a show at Cirque du Soliel. Anticipating a large theater, you can imagine our surprise when we walked in to a cozy room and were seated at a table with front row seats. If I moved my head the wrong way, it might have been knocked when the acrobats swung from the ceiling!

To say that Jacob was mesmerized is an understatement. A small fright at the music initially, he sat up in his chair with his jaw dropped the entire time. He barely ate, he was so in awe of the show! He danced to the music, stared in awe of the incredible artists and even gave a high five to our waiter at the end.

It was a remarkable first night of our cruise. After the show, we all sat on the balcony and stared out at the bright moon rising in the sky and the stars twinkling all around the sky. It was perfect.

One sleep!!!

Jacob has been counting down the days until vacation by counting his nighttime sleeps. The adorable-ness is incredible! 

Tonight while laying in bed, Joe was showing Jacob pictures of the “big boat” online. Jacob was mesmerized, especially at the size of the massive ship. At one point he stops and says “The boat is sad.” Huh? Sad? Gently asking why, Jacob explained “because I not on it.” Oh, my heart!

Needless to say, our family is ready for this time away to unplug, decompress and create the most amazing memories together.  It’s Jacob’s first cruise and our in-laws first too. We are very fortunate to enjoy this adventure with them.

I’m determined to make 2017 the best year, yet it’s started off a little rocky. It’s not that anything particularly bad has happened, it just hasn’t lived up to my amazingly high expectations just yet. But it is only mid-January and I plan to embrace that! 

In the words of Jacob, it’s just “one sleep!” and we are off to create new adventures, make memories and laugh, a lot.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! ❤

And then there’s Sarah…

Having an older sister is very different from having younger sisters. With Rachel & Kat, they seemed to look up to me as the expert, whether I thought I was or not. With Sarah, it was the opposite – I had her to look up to. It was my chance to follow in her footsteps with her amazingly good grades, her ability to excel at sports and the confidence she never seemed to go without (in a good way!). We had our fair share of fights like everyone else and I will admit to taking her clothes after she left for school & putting them back before she realized they were ever missing. What can I say? Girls got style…I still raid her closet when I’m allowed!

But setting aside the fact that she is my sister and basically required to deal with me, she did more than that. She let me cry on her shoulder, she would make every attempt to fix anything that was wrong and would surprise me at school with random gifts (like for President’s Day) just to tell me that she loved me. 

She has never been afraid to tell me how things were or should be – even if I didn’t (or don’t!) want to hear it. She always stood by my side without me ever asking. And she still calls me just to say hello and ask how I’m feeling. 

When I was going through my original biopsy, she was on the phone with me every single day and googling everything she could think of. The afternoon that the doctor called me to come in the following day for the biopsy, she said something to me that I will never forget – and that I believe every person facing a cancer diagnosis should hear. “Meghan, even if it is cancer, we will fight it. I will be there every single step of the way and I will hold your hand so that you never give up. We will get through this.” To this day, I can’t say or type it without tears. Those are the words that gave me strength before I needed it. And she has held true to them.

Though she may have been a little jealous of my coming along shortly after her birth (I’ve heard the stories!), she has never stopped being my best friend. Happy birthday, Sarah – I love you so much!!