Friday, August 21, 2015

Mommy-Daddy Trip 2015

Back in January, DW and I had a funeral to go to. On our way home, we stopped at a Zaxby’s for lunch. We laughed later that night, that a funeral and Zaxby’s felt like a date, since it was in fact, the first meal we’d had without kids since Tucker’s arrival in August. The real kicker though, was that my two brothers-in-law were with us, too.

DW & I decided right then that we stink at having date nights and that we were definitely making a mommy-daddy trip happen this year to make up for it! :)

We decided to book a cruise and have been looking forward to it all summer long.

The summer was busy, like always, and the only time that worked for us was mid-August. It ended up being the perfect way to end Summer though. We had lots of family time and fun with the kids during the summer and we wrapped it all up with some alone time.

When we first lined it all up, the kids were going to spend part of our trip with my parents and then part of it with my in-laws. After my mom’s burn accident, we knew there was no way they’d be able to keep the kids. Pappy & Nie-Nie came through in a big way and assured us they’d be fine to keep our little herd for the entire trip.

We left early on Thursday morning for the 5 hour drive to Miami. For some reason there aren’t many short cruise options in the summer months. DW and I have both done the 3 day to the Bahamas cruise several times and we wanted something a little longer and a different destination. The only option that worked during the time we could go was to leave out of Miami, so that meant a little road trip, too. Most of the time, though, the road trip is half the fun, so we were game.

We made it to the cruise terminal just after noon and got in line for embarkation. IMG_8857

The neatest thing happened the day before we left. It was DW’s birthday, so that made it even more special- but I got a call from the cruise line to say they’d had a last minute cancellation and they’d like to offer us an upgrade. When we booked, we booked on a budget and went with the least expensive interior cabin we could get. We ended up getting upgraded to a balcony suite with a sitting area. It cost us a little extra, but was a fantastic deal and so worth it.

We were so excited to get through customs and check-in and get on the boat! IMG_8619Bon Voyage! IMG_8625IMG_8645

We found our room, face-timed the kids and then got some lunch and hit the pool deck for some sun.

The worst part about a cruise is the safety meeting – being all bunched up in other people’s personal space is the worst in my book. I don’t like touching strangers and ANYONE breathing on me (with the exception of itty bitty baby breath from my own four kids) gives me the heebie jeebies. We survived it though and then got ready for dinner. IMG_8868

All of the cruises we’ve been on have been in large groups. We’ve never been on one with just the two of us, so we were a little nervous at how our dinner seating would go. We were crossing our fingers for a table for 2 or at least hoping we wouldn’t be sat with a big family or group and be the odd couple out. We ended up getting sat in a booth with a young couple from Virginia. It was awkward at first, to say the least. There’s nothing like a pirate coming through the dining room to cut the tension though. IMG_8856

After dinner we went out on the deck and watched the sunset. It was gorgeous. IMG_8864IMG_8863We caught the evening show and even stayed up late for the comedy club. IMG_8851

The next morning we woke up well before the roosters, because that’s just who DW is. We had breakfast and saw the sun come up. I wasn’t complaining because we were first in line for the buffet and anyone who knows me knows my distaste of a buffet. I was thrilled to see that they had a crew member serving the bacon, though. Nobody was touching the tongs but him. Two thumbs up, Carnival. IMG_8650IMG_8665We watched the ship dock in Key West and were literally the 3rd couple off the boat. IMG_8817Neither of us have ever been to Key West, so we were excited that this was one of the stops on our cruise. IMG_8670

We walked around down by the dock, down Duval Street and all the way to the Southernmost point, which was nothing like I’d always pictured it. 

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We went by Hemmingway’s house and saw all those cats roaming around and down to see the Little White House. IMG_8693IMG_8719

We stopped for a pic a Mile Marker 0, which is actually at an intersection red light. IMG_8706

We had a mid morning snack at Matthesson’s… they had just gotten them out of the oven. IMG_8732

We hit the Kino’s factory,IMG_8728 had lunch at Margaritaville, where I held a parrot like a baby…IMG_8860

And, because I’d read it was fantastic, we stopped by the Glazed Donut for a donut. IMG_8752

Before we got back on the ship, we got some key lime pie on a stick. IMG_8763Covered in Belgium chocolate and toasted coconut.IMG_8762 It was delish and lived up to all the hype.

We spent the rest of the afternoon laying out on the deck and got in a nap. I told DW if he was going to wake me up before the sun came up, he was going to have to take a nap with me later. :)

Dinner that night was less awkward than the first night and they had lobster on the menu. IMG_8859

It was the formal night, so I thought we’d stop and get one of the professional pictures taken. I think it was impossible for the photographers on the ship not to make us look like dorks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’re dorks- who took many-a-selfie on our balcony.. exhibit A: IMG_8858

But when we tried to get them to take a picture of us, this is how the ended up turning out…creepy.IMG_8848 They won’t just let you stand there and be normal. They had to have DW tilt his head and hunch down so that our faces were touching and move his hand and me “pop” my toe. I mean come on. We’d NEVER stand like this for a picture. We laughed so hard at all the ones they took…and didn’t buy any. (which is why this is a picture of the picture and its bent at the bottom so we look really short legged) ha.

The next morning, we decided to have breakfast in the dining room. Great choice and we did that the rest of the trip, as well. After breakfast, we went to the main deck to watch the boat dock in Cozumel. IMG_8842

The water was so blue.

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Good morning, Mexico!IMG_8814DSCN7364DSCN7369

DSCN7367We’d booked a catamaran and private beach excursion in Cozumel. DSCN7372

The catamaran stopped for everyone to snorkel for an hour. DSCN7419

The water was SO salty. Saltier than any other water we’ve ever been in. I’m not sure if it was the time of year or just that part of the ocean.

We were also shocked at how many people didn’t know how to swim and booked this excursion. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t know how to swim I wouldn’t feel comfortable being dumped out in the middle of the ocean to snorkel. There were people kicking and flailing and holding on to other snorkelers, it was crazy. DW & I stayed way away from the group.DSCN7470 He was impressed that I stayed with him and I even went under quite a bit this time. I’m not the strongest swimmer, and I’m a huge scardey cat. DW is the opposite- he jumps in with no fins, goes straight down and tries to touch every fish and creature he can. DSCN7377

After an hour of snorkeling, the catamaran took us to a private beach. Along the beach there were floats, kayaks, paddle boards and a ton of water inflatables that we could use. DSCN7517We laid in the beach chairs for as long as DW could stand – laying out isn’t his thing, and I knew the next day was a Day at Sea and I’d have plenty of lay out time then, so I suggested we go climb one of the slides. Totally not something I’d usually do, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. DSCN7519

We stayed in the water the rest of our time there. DSCN7530

Once we made it back to docking area, we did a little souvenir shopping for the kids and then got back on the boat. It was after 8:00 before we made it back, so we missed our dinner in the dining room. We got pizza from the pool deck and decided to stay up and go to the midnight Mexican buffet. It ended up being a major disappointment and we wished we’d just gone to bed.

Sunday was our Day at Sea. IMG_8845

We had Sunday brunch in the dining room and it was probably our favorite meal of the entire trip. (I don’t really understand the people who go on and on about cruise food… I mean, yes, there’s unlimited bacon on the breakfast buffet and one night you get a lobster (I ordered two the night we had them! :), but the food has never been impressive to me (aside from the 24 hour soft serve machine…) anyway, we really enjoyed brunch and then got a great spot on the top deck to lay out. This was the hardest day for DW, he was bored out of his mind. I so wish I had packed him a book or something- neither of us are big readers, but I think it would have helped him pass the day along. Ha. I did go down the water slide with him – and got the sinus cleaning of my life.

We had dinner in the dining room on the last night and by the end of the trip it wasn’t nearly as awkward to be sitting with the couple from Virginia. :)IMG_8813

After dinner, we watched another beautiful sunset on our balconyIMG_8812

and then played some slots in the casino.  DW doubled our money and then let me play some…things went down from there. We didn’t loose anything, but we didn’t win anything either. :)IMG_8838

We went to the last showIMG_8818and I died when they started singing The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine” –IMG_8834

They sang lots of great songs and of course, I sang along. :)

Monday morning, we woke up to a Florida sunrise. IMG_8802There’s no place I’d rather see the sun rise or set.

After a final breakfast in the dining room, watching the ship dock in Miami and disembarking, we were on our way through the Miami tunnel and headed HOME!

We had such a great time. IMG_8816There is nothing like a few days away. IMG_8815Especially when you have little ones who take up so much of your time and energy. It was so fun to just get to worry about the two of us…no diapers, or snacks, no sippy cups or hands to hold other than each others. I did my hair and make-up every day. It was so nice to actually wear jewelry and shoes with heels – to have time and energy to be more thoughtful and kind to each other….so many times it’s divide and conquer when you have small children and once they’re taken care, there’s just not much left for anyone else. It was just what we needed right when we needed it. Of course, the only thing better than getting away, is coming HOME. (Especially to the three littles who run us ragged.)

~amw~