Friday, July 31, 2015

Last Days of School!

 Last Days of School for my cutie boys!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Going Up to the Farm

We got to spend a Sunday afternoon at the farm with Papa and Grandma, Grandpa and Grandma Haworth, and the Porter's.  What a great bunch to celebrate Mother's Day with.
This though was the gorgeous view as we were leaving the house

Grandma gives all the littles a ride.
All these fun cousins trying to sit still to eat.  

 A group shot after dinner

 It was also Mike's birthday, and Misty made him this blanket out of his old West Motor T-Shirts

Jonathan and Daddy 

Mike was showing us his new drone, so look at all those guys watching

I love this one, just watching the drone

And it was complete with kittens, which Jack just loves.
The farm is one of our favorite places!

Monday, July 27, 2015

A few extra pictures...

...from the Caribbean trip...
Leaving on a plane from Atlanta

In the dungeon at the Old San Juan fort.  These are pictures of ships, drawn by prisoners who were later hanged. It was so dark in there too. 

More old fort architecture
Malta, Richard had told Nathan about this stuff from his mission.  We got it on our cave tour...tastes like grapenuts?

Monkey bridge in the jungle on Puerto Rico

Dinner outside at the Courtyard Marriott San Juan

And a few more rappelling to show the free part we had to go down
 (without being by a rock wall)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Puerto Rico, round two!

 Saturday we docked again in San Juan, and debarked the ship.  Great time! 

 But we still had another day in San Juan to look forward to:)  We headed to our hotel, the DoubleTree at San Juan, and they took our bags for us until our room was ready later that day.  Until then though we headed to Old San Juan, in search of a seed ring.
 Old San Juan was awesome, so much culture.  First we headed to all the shops looking.  We went through a crowd of pigeons; watched old men in panama straw hats playing chess; had to buy mallorca's, Puerto Rican sweet bread with ham and cheese, through broken Spanish (I really want to learn a second language, and this experience pushed me to start).  It was touristy, but more culture than catering to tourists. 
 And then we found them.  Seed rings!  I remember when I started dating Nathan he had a seed ring that he had gotten in Puerto Rico.  I guess before we were married it had broken, but I remember that ring.  He wanted to get another, and we had looked all over to no avail until here.  They are made from corozo nuts.  Here's a look at the process:
 Anyway, mission a success!  And they weren't too expensive, another plus.  Then we walked some more around Old San Juan.  I couldn't get enough of the place.
 It also got hot, and I'm a sucker for real, fresh limonada!  

 These spire things used to be sticking out of the wall around Old San Juan protecting the city.

 The wall around the city, with the lookout towers every so often.

 On the far end is a lookout tower, and a very iconic shot of Old San Juan.

And these cobblestones!  Everywhere in the city, and they are original from the 1600's!
It was a great day in the city.  Seriously Puerto Rico has become a place where I'll want to go back again and again. That night we had really good burritos from a food truck near the hotel.  We walked there, and I had just showered and straightened my hair.  It started to POUR rain while at the food truck.  It hadn't rained in Puerto Rico in 3 weeks!  My hair was no longer straight after that.  Ironic and funny.  Nathan and I sat under a little canopy to eat, and the rain kept coming.  When it seemed to have stopped we started walking back, and had to wait for a stoplight to cross a busy street.  Down came the rain again.  Great experience and we were laughing the whole way back.  Then the koki frogs started singing.  I never saw one, but boy did we hear them. 

The next day we found a little cafe near the hotel, and again in broken Spanish had to order breakfast before having to leave for the airport to head home.  I can read Spanish and get the gist of what it is, but speaking is my down point.  Cinnamon oatmeal and another mallorta (served with fries, kinda weird).  Thank you Puerto Rico, we will be back!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

St. Martin

St. Martin, the last island, and my most highly anticipated outing.  We were going horseback riding with a guide from the Bayside Riding Club on the French side of St. Martin. 

Aubreigh had found them, and had been in contact that we wanted to go on a ride, swim with the horses, but didn't want it to be just in a line-go slow sort of tour.  They said we could go as fast as our slowest person and everyone needed to be experienced.  No problem from me. Nathan said he'd be okay.  So we were off.  I had the horse Beauty and Nathan had Joker, whom he nicknamed Jokey and really liked him.

This was not your run of the mill horseback tour.  It was only the four of us and our guide.  His name was Reme, and even though he didn't own the horses, you could tell that he was the one they trusted.  He knew the specific order they needed to be in, as they do have a pecking order.  We got to gallop through the trails to the beach.  And then, at the beach, it was like on the movie Seabiscut.  It felt like a race, I have never gone so fast on a horse in my life!  And been in control.  Holy macaroons, I loved it!  Then we got to a spot, got down to our swimsuits, and took off the saddles. Then we SWAM with the horses.  Reme took us out two at a time, bareback, and the horses followed him and his throughbred Aztec, and then walked out on the reef.  When we were far out, we'd turn towards shore, and the the horses would JUMP off the reef and swim back while we were parallel to their backs swimming as well.

Walking out on the reef

Swimming back...there are people on those horses :)

After we got out of the water.

The ride was amazing, I highly recommend the Bayside Riding Club.  After returning to the club, it was time to go, and we decided to walk just the little ways to Orient Bay. The water was very clear, and we were all getting a little hungry so we stopped at a place on the beach, and had lunch beachside :)  I had two strawberry daiquiri's, jalapeno popper things, and mango ice cream. 

Nathan then wanted to find a hut where we could get a massage, Matt decided to snorkel, and Aubreigh was enjoying the sun and a book.  We walked and did find a place.  Nathan called it the best massage of his life, with the sound of the ocean right there.  

We had dinner that night, and went to a show, which didn't turn out to be that great so we left. It was the last night, and so we had to pack up and get off in Puerto Rico the next day.  
This was from our second formal night. 
The necklace was a gift for our anniversary, and what was awesome is that it is a replica of one of the Duchess of Cambridge's necklaces, and I love all stuff royal!  It's a new favorite.
After dinner we went to the mostly abandoned arcade, where we played some games all dressed up.  Nathan loved this picture of me playing Aliens in my dress and hair.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Third island we went to was Antigua.  Not many pictures from this island, but good stories.  After debarking, there were so many taxi drivers vieing for our business, it was annoying and crazy.  Instead of using one of them, Nathan headed up to the taxi stand and asked for one. At this point I thought he was crazy because there were so many other drivers to choose from.  Well, the one who wasn't fighting for us, got us.  And he was great!  Antigua was a poorer island, and a desert, but beautiful beaches.  365(one for every day of the year).  Nathan wanted to go to one called pinching bay, and then from there take a trail up to an old leper colony to check it out.  I was up for the adventure, so off the two of us went.  We told our cab driver where we wanted to go, so he got us as close as he could, then told us how to get there on foot. He also said he'd come back later that day to pick us up.  Well that seemed like a good idea so we said sure.  He dropped us off at Hawksbill resort, which had just closed for renovations.  But people can still walk on the beaches.  We start to walk, but the lady in the security station on the road that goes through the resort told us to get to pinching bay we needed to go down the street and over.  So we start walking, and get to another resort (Galley Bay) and ask for directions.  This lady said she's heard of people going to pinching bay, but only by boat, but suggested taking a road over yonder.  Okay, so we start off, find the road that we think she means, and start walking.  It quickly becomes a dirt road, country road, inhabited by goats, cattle, and then a hog that jumped up very quickly from it's mud bath.

 By the first of the goats

Well, pigs can be dangerous, and we grew a bit uneasy.  Needless to say the rest of the walk we carried clubs (large branches) that we found by the side of the road.  Well, the road dead ended, with not a beach in sight.  We didn't feel like trespassing on a desert island, that is not part of the U.S., and the only beings we had passed lately were three hogs.  Back we went, all the way to Hawksbill, then because we weren't driving the lady at the security gate said we could walk through as long as we stayed on the road (wish she had told us this earlier!).  We walked through the whole resort, and ended up at Eden beach. 

It was beautiful, and we had it to ourselves!  No vendors, no people, just waves and us!  I cannot believe we found this beautiful beach, that isn't private, but because of how hard it is to get to, might as well be. We snorkled, read our books on the beach, and I collected shells and a piece of coral for every kindergartener in James' class (I volunteered there every Thursday and did a science experiment, so I wanted to bring them something from the ocean).

I collected too many coral pieces, so on Antigua's Eden Beach, this in the sand, high enough on the beach away from the water that it is probably still there :)

When we got back to the ship, we weren't allowed to bring back shells.  Even if you bought them. Say wha?  My bag goes through imaging, and the worker says "do you have any shells in there" ...I say "um, yeah" (I mean what do you say?  You can't lie, he saw them on the x-ray). So he takes me out of line and has me THROW THE BAG AWAY THAT I HAD THE SHELLS FOR THE KINDERGARTENERS IN!  I look in the garbage can (which is a normal one, right by the elevators) and it is just full of shells.  We go up to our room, and I tell Nathan, "nope, I'm going to get those shells back".  "Just don't get in trouble" he says.  So I change my hair style, and my sun dress to a dark blue that won't stand out, and switch bags to Nathan's backpack.  I figured I could go down on the elevators(I figure out the right one) grab it when there's a crowd around the elevators...long story short, it worked and I got the shells back.  AND all the kindergarteners loved getting a shell and a piece of coral in the shape of a Y.  Yep, I'm a rebel and a sneak.  Made me feel like Neal Caffery (from one of my favorite TV shows White Collar).

After that adventure, after the adventure, Nathan and I got to use our favorite part of the ship...the gym.  He biked and I had a wonderful personal training session-crossfit style!  We aren't your typical cruisers :)Wonderful day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

St. Lucia

Second island stop was on St. Lucia.  After debarking the ship we found Solomon for Solomon's Water Taxi Tour.  Which was really just a super speed boat.  This was also our anniversary, and Aubreigh's birthday!  The first stop on the tour was to a beach, past the Pitons (two mountainous volcanic plugs) 

There we got to pick out our chairs on the beach, and then take a bus to the volcanic mud baths.

 After the baths my skin was so soft!  It was nice, and after the cave adventure I don't mind getting muddy anymore. There were some warm waterfalls also through a jungle trail...

 And a natural hot tub too.  
That was my favorite, we found it last, so didn't get a lot of time in it.  There was another tube with water coming out to rinse off, and it emptied into this pool.  Seriously could have spent an hour there, but I just love hot tubs:)

 Back at the beach before lunch I went in and did some snorkeling.  When the water gets cold, because it is deep, is when I start getting a little freaked out, but this was great.

 Parrot fish
 This cool squid looking thing

 Happy 9 year anniversary, it's been 9 years since we were we :)

We had a really tasty home cooked meal by Solomon's sister, and they even made Aubreigh a cake for her birthday (which was very tasty!).  I bought a fresh, ripe, mango from Solomon's cousin.  It was DELICIOUS!  American's eat mangoes completely wrong, when they are still not ripe.  Nathan found that out by living in Australia.  Anyway, I loved it and will never be able to enjoy a mango at home again :( 

After lunch we started a tour around part of the island is the incredibly fast speed boat.
We went to a black sands beach, and people started snorkeling.  However, my snorkel mask was leaking, so I just decided to walk along the beach.  Swimming back to shore I swam through sea ants! They are larve of jellyfish, invisible, and feels like lots of little stinging.
This rock formation is in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie...I don't remember the scene but it was there.  We took a little ride into Marigold Bay.  Very nice, also were Doc Doolittle was filmed, so that is neat too. 

Happy Birthday Aubreigh!

That night to eat we dressed nicely, however if we had been in the time of Kate&Leopold we could have worn these...
Sometimes I wish that we still dressed like that:)