As I have mentioned before when Kerry and I first got married, we decided that it would be really important to spend some time having some fun together as a family so instead of taking a week to go on a really exotic honeymoon, we went to the mountains for a few days and then took the children to Disneyland for the rest of the week. It was a great trip and a good decision. We knew when we decided to do that that in a few months after things settled we would go on a "real" honeymoon. So last week we went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise. What a beautiful and fun trip. Rather than write all about it, I am going to plagiarize my husbands e-mail report to his family.
I'd just like to begin by telling you I won't be a bit offended if you don't read all of this. Consider it Kerry's journal account of his cruise.
Lisa and I used the Hawaii mixup as an excuse for a second honeymoon and went on a cruise! Lisa used her exclusive status as a frequent Marriott denizen to pay for the cruise, and also an extremely fancy hotel the night before in Ft. Lauderdale. They brought us a strange but wonderful appetizer and two beautiful bottles which contained water. I was so impressed that I used the morning newspaper to wrap up the the empty one and take it with us. I guess I was a little like the pauper who was mistaken for a prince, and filled up his pockets with free nuts. We took a moonlight walk on the beach and went and found the gym. I refrained from using it at 2:30am.
The next day we boarded the ms Eurodam, a 2100 passenger ship that's the newest in the Holland America fleet. It's almost five months old, and it's decked out from starboard to port in fancy. We enjoyed the three-and-a-half story chandeliers, the staircases and the open observation deck, but were a bit miffed to be disallowed from the Hal club. It had foosball, pinball and lots of exciting games for children only. Our childlike countenances didn't count. After about 64 hours I discovered that they also had a gymnasium.
I was surprised when we arrived at Grand Turk island, a part of Great Britain, because they let us off the boat. The water was so clear and beautiful that I wanted to stay there. The beauty of the island had been marred by Hurricane Ike, but no discount was offered. The wild horses were even more wild, as their borders had been broken down by the winds, and they now roam the streets and find their shade next to advantageously situated walls of homes. It reminds me of all the loose chickens on Oahu--a hurricane freed them and nobody has ever bothered to re-domesticate them. Maybe animals like hurricanes.
When Cheryl sent us pictures of Puerto Rico I was sure I would never find myself there, but on Tuesday, there I was. They let us off the boat again. Why was I under the impression that we would be on the ship the whole time? Rhetorical question. We used the opportunity the try out Lisa's new amazing camera. She's a very good photographer, and I got her an early Christmas present for the trip. It's fast, clear, automatic, and a lot of other things that I don't understand very well. We ducked into the rain forest for a little bus tour and I marveled at the bananas, coconuts and bamboo (which I mistook for bananas at first.) They have bread fruit which grows there and I tried to get some but was informed that you have to cook it and it wouldn't be allowed through customs. We settled for some green-fried bananas. :-) We wouldn't describe them as tasty, but I wanted to do something a little different and Lisa was a good sport.
We went up to the Christopher Columbus fort and took lots of pictures of the 30' thick walls, a lost iguana and some dancers we happened upon. Wow, they put on a colorful performance. One of them asked Lisa to dance but she was too shy. That night on deck there was a musician by the name of Justin Miller, who plays a classical guitar. Lisa and I were both suitably impressed and I wished that Dad could be there because of his playing talent of course, but also because of his genius in presenting the music. He has stories about each of his songs and quite masterfully draws you in.
The next day we docked in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. After Grand Turk and San Juan, this island was ho hum. Still, they had good deals on souvenirs and we managed to stave off the jewelry peddlers. We spent a lot of time getting Psuedophedrine HCl. On our way to the K-Mart a taxi driver hollered out to us to ask if we were going to K-Mart. Yes we were, and how did he know? "Ain't nothin' up there but K-Mart" he muttered, offering to take us to some exciting jewelry dealers instead.
Thursday we happened upon some 20' waves, and despite the enormity of the boat we felt them. We ended up spending most of our time in the stateroom--a fancy name for our sleeping quarters. Even the shampoo and the TV were ridiculously deluxe. I had to skip dinner and I was not in the mood to try any new medicine (dramamine). Poor Lisa. We ordered dinner to our room and during the night we lost the waves. The food was definitely the most luxurious I'd ever been served with four and five course meals available at most times of the day and night. Some less fancy fare is available to be delivered to your stateroom at any time. We began to be worried how we would handle it when we became responsible for our own cooking and dish washing later.
The next day we arrived in the Bahamas. This was the most beautiful place yet! The water if possible was even more clear than off of Grand Turk and we have some pictures of some white fish that wanted our hot dog buns. We got to ride on a glass bottom boat, and after I procured a suitable life preserver I had a great time swimming with Lisa out to the deep end. I did not expect to ever have such a fancy vacation! Were I ever to go again I would spend a whole lot more time researching the stopping places and available "excursions".
Recently, Kerry has been very concerned about the children's eating habits. Specifically, the need for them to eat more fruits and vegetables. So, a few weeks ago he had a Family Home Evening and went over in great detail the instructions given to us in the Word of Wisdom. Last night we took the kids to Golden Coral for dinner (going places like Golden Coral is one of the sacrifices that you make when there are children in the house and you are out voted). So, the children got to go to the "pick-your-own-food" place for dinner. Tobias, the carnivore in the family, sat down to eat his meal and I noticed that he had both fruit and vegetables on his plate. I was impressed that he chose a fruit and a vegetable all on his own, so I thanked him for doing that, and told him I was happy about his good choices. His response "yes, but I think this is too much meat for the Word of Wisdom." He never stops surprising me.
The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. Hold fast to the blessings which God has provided for you. Yours is not the task to gain them, they are here; yours is the part of cherishing them.