As Jeremy said, I'm in a new stage of life! Now that I have a little more flexibility with my time, I've set some goals for myself-- the first of which is to resume blogging. (: My kids have been after me to do so for a long time and I'm excited to see their reaction when they sit down and see an actual blog post from me! The hard part about starting again after such a long break is knowing where to start! I have so many things I want to journal about and as I went through photos, I realized I have missed recording so many memorable things!
I finally decided to start with something AMAZING. (: Something I will always treasure as one of the best weeks of my life.
My parents are the most wonderful, selfless people. Somehow on teachers' salaries, they managed to give us EVERYTHING we wanted. They still serve all of their kids in so many ways. When my mom retired last year (2014), we wanted to do something big to show them how much we appreciated them. As siblings, we decided to gift my parents with something they have always dreamed about-- a cruise with their kids! My mom especially has talked for years about how much she would love to cruise with the kids and how it would never be able to work because of money, all the grandkids, etc. We threw a surprise retirement party and my sister put together an amazing scrapbook for my mom with notes and cards from former students and coworkers. At the end of the scrapbook were pages with the cruise tickets and itinerary. Watching their faces as they got to those pages was priceless!
We spent the next 10 months getting excited for our first ever vacation as adult siblings and parents! Usually we have 15,000 kids floating around (who are very loved, by the way) and so we don't get to focus as much on our relationships with each other. Sadly (and very happily!) my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Megan, found out they were expecting soon after we booked the cruise, so they weren't able to come with us. We decided that just means that we'll have to do the whole thing again! (:
|Megan with baby Violet-- isn't she exquisite?! Love her so much! Definitely worth missing a cruise for! (:|
Our cruise was in April and it landed us in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Haiti, and Cozumel. It was INCREDIBLE in every way! Perfection all around. I'll let the pictures tell the story. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the love and devotion you have shown all of us. WE LOVE YOU!
And... where were all our kids while we played in the Caribbean for a week?? It takes a very special person to actually VOLUNTEER to come and hold down the fort. THANK YOU, Jennifer, for making this trip possible. We love you. The kids love you. Blessed be the name of Aunt Jenny!! (:
|Getting ready to surprise Mom!|
|She really had no idea!|
|She gets to the cruise page! (:|
Eleven months later...
|At church in Florida before the ship set sail.|
|Jeremy, Me, brother Danny, Breanna, sister Leslie, Jeremy, Mom, Dad, sister Becky, Chris-- one of my favorite parts of the cruise was meeting together each night to have dinner. So fun to have so much adult conversation in one week!!!!!|
|We loved just floating on the mats in the beautiful, warm water|
|Me and Les|
|Best parents in the world!|
|Meanwhile back at home...|
|On our private boat to see swim with stingrays on Grand Cayman|
|Getting ready to scuba in Cozumel|
|Cozumel has the BEST guacamole!|
|Me and my cute mom!|
|Last day! Trying to savor every minute!|