Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011-Day 6-South Beach, Miami, Florida

We woke up, packed our bags half-heartily and made our way off of the ship. There was a shuttle that took us back to the airport. From there, we caught a shuttle to our non-smelly, clean hotel room. After checking in, we called a taxi to take us to South Beach. Once again we felt like we were in paradise. Warm, beautiful water surrounded us. Topless women were everywhere. Much to Matt's luck and my dismay, they were all young 20-something-year-old women who quite obviously had not had children. If I could rewind time to my 20's, there are only a couple of things I would change. Appreciating the power and beauty of youth would be one of them. I realize that I will one day look back at my mid-thirties and maybe say a similar comment, but for now I am quite shocked at how quickly time changes skin and "other body parts".

I had never touched the Atlantic Ocean before this day.

Matt was super excited to find the Miami Ink Tattoo Studio. After convincing him that he did not have to get a tattoo while there, he settled on buying a really cool Koi t-shirt.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5, 2011-Fifth Day-Carnival Day at Sea

When I got home, I was very surprised to fine that I did not take any pictures during our day at sea. Although their are not any visuals to show the fun we had, it was a day filled with laughter and relaxation.

We woke up and got ready to attend the Newlywed/Marriage Game. It was hilarious. Matt and I both walked away feeling closer than most of the couples. As a side note...Matt and I share everything with each other. Good or bad. This has many different outcomes. We have conversations that most people do not. After finding out that most people do not share so openly (I have gone back and forth with friends on the pros and cons), we both came to the conclusion that we just could not do it any other way. It is what we know and it works.

We played a version of "Name that Tune" and guessed lines to comedies. Sounds cheesy, but it was a lot of fun. Matt definitely carried me in both games. We had lots of fruity drinks and went to the comedy club a couple of times. The Cruise line had a couple of original, Broadway like shows, that were surprisingly good. Most of all we just relaxed and enjoyed each other. It was a great day!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4, 2011-Fourth Day-Nassau, Bahamas

It was so humid there. My camera fogged up when we first got off the ship.

We woke up in Nassau, Bahamas. Matt was disappointed to find out his snorkeling excursion had been cancelled due to rough water. He waited for me to get my pedicure that I had scheduled thinking that he would be off swimming with the fish. When I was done, we caught a cab and headed to Cable Beach.

I caught a picture just as Matt touched the Caribbean water for the first time. Not only was it beautiful, but it was so warm.

Growing up in California you get used to the ocean feeling like ice water. This water was so warm that your body did not have to acclimate to the water at all. At the same time it was refreshing after being in the hot sun.

Matt rented a jet ski and soared up and down the ocean, checking our some very impressive homes down the beach.

As soon as we stepped onto the sand, there were men offering to set up chairs and an umbrella for us. We accepted the chairs but wanted the sun on our bodies.

We spent most of the afternoon repeating ourselves. We would soak in the sun and cool off in the ocean over and over again. With a few visits from locals selling drinks, homemade anklets, offering hair braids and other unique gifts. Shopping while lounging on the beach in the Bahamas...I was in heaven!

As we rounded our first corner, we found a handmade bag that we were sure Makenna would love.

While on our quest to find gifts for the kids, we found a pirate museum. We knew this would be the perfect place to find something for Devon.

The idea we had for Jayden became a challenge we were unable to complete. We searched high and low for a soccer jersey for him with no luck. Instead we found a hat. I am still bummed that we could not locate a jersey.

Each night when we came back to our stateroom, we would find our towels had been folded into a different animal. There would also be two chocolate mints. As you can see, the mints are already gone in this picture. They were YUMMY!

So many different kind of "fruity" drinks to enjoy. Just hand them your room card and they would keep them coming. So easy and relaxing.

They had an extra large chess set on the ship's deck.

Of course, Matt had to have his picture taken with both queens!

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011-Third Day-Leave Port of Miami via Carnival Imagination

Our cruise ship, Carnival Imagination
Matt and I as we boarded the ship.

Our stateroom. We had two portholes and the best air conditioning EVER!

The main deck of our ship.

We ordered drinks and began to sail away from Miami.

My super happy and relaxed husband.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011-Second Day-Leave LAX-Arrive in Miami, Florida

We woke up at 3:30 a.m. in our Los Angeles, California hotel room. After being shuttled from the LAX Parking lot, where we left our car for the week, we arrived at LAX at about 5:00 a.m. Everything went smooth, including my search for Dramamine at the airport. Our flight was smooth and on time. Between the medication and a great flight team, I was actually able to read and sleep while in the air.

We arrived in Miami, Florida and phoned the hotel to request our shuttle. As soon as we saw the van that picked us up, Matt and I both became concerned. We had picked a hotel that was reasonable priced off of Expedia. We figured being in Miami for one quick night before our cruise would mean little hotel time so we did not put much thought into our choice. We made sure it offered airport and Port of Miami shuttle and we hit "book now". Lesson learned. Walking into the lobby we immediately experienced a unique smell I know I will never forget. Walking into our room, just felt gross.

Matt and quickly put our luggage down and went out the door. Miami here we come. What?!?! Wait! We were not by anything that resembled what we had pictured for the night. We found a mall. Ate dinner and shopped for a while. The initial plan was to see a couple movies so we did not have to be in our room.

Eventually the long day caught up with us. We bought a candle at Bath and Body Works so I would not have to struggle through the smell in our room all night long. Then we got online and changed our hotel that we would stay in after the cruise. Silly us. We had booked both stays with this same hotel. It would be hard enough to have our cruise end. Can you imagine how I would have felt knowing I had to go back to that stink hole?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1, 2011-First night of our "Honeymoon"-Hollywood, California

My personal favorite, Reese Witherspoon.
Matt was happy to find Jimi Hendrix's star.

We had to take a picture and show the kids that we got to see where American Idol is recorded.

Me, posing with random people. After the picture we found out that they wanted money for taking a picture with them. I should have known.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Matt and I renewed our vows!

Makenna was our flower (bubble) girl.
Matt and I were married 13 years ago on February 28, 1998.

We wanted to renew our vows as a way to focus on each other and share our love with our children.

13 years later, Matt's kiss still makes my knees weak.

It was a very special night for the 5 of us.

When we got married in 1998, we had no idea that we would have three children within the next three years.

Matt, 35, Kim, 35, Jayden, 12, Devon, 11, and Makenna 8.

We renewed our vows at "The Little White Wedding Chapel" in Las Vegas.

This past year, Matt and I have focused on each other in a way that we have been unable since we started having children. We go on a weekly date night no matter how busy our schedules. We spend lots of time snuggling and sharing our feelings for each other. This might all sound completely obnoxious, but after putting all of our attention towards so many other things in life, we realized the importance of putting each other FIRST. Yes, we love our kids, and they are a priority, but one day they will grow up and have their own families. Matt and I will need to stand strong on our own. With the foundation we are building, I feel confident in US. We are also showing our kids a great example of what a husband and wife can be. I have always, and will probably always, mourn my kids getting older. By putting focus back into my marriage, i also feel the excitement of life to come when they are grown. This may sound small to some, but is a huge thought changing milestone for me.

From the ceremony, we rode the limo back to the hotel. The next day, we dropped the kids off at my parent's house in Lemoore and left for our "honeymoon". We were off to Hollywood, Florida, Carnival Cruiseline and the Bahamas!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

End of the school year awards ceremony for 5th and 6th graders

The last year has been a very tough, emotional year for me. I constantly worried about my kids and how my attitude has affected them. This awards ceremony touched my heart in a very personal way for me. It showed that even through tough times we can thrive and succeed. Jayden was called up for being on the honor roll through out the year, receiving the Presidential award, and as one of two kids in the 6th grade to earn the citizenship award. Devon's name was called for being on the honor roll through out the year and testing in the top 10 percent of the nation in multiple areas. I felt so proud (and relieved) to see them recognized for their accomplishments. Great job boys!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HerWray4Martin shared our daily (weekly) life with...