Thursday, January 14, 2010


You've been warned, there is a lot of reading here, and a lot of pictures too!

Carleton decided about a month ago that he wanted to go on a trip. He seems to always be looking for deals to go to some sweet place, and always asks, "do you want to go to X" and I say sure, do you, then he goes on about how he's not sure and I tune out. So when he asked if I wanted to go to the Bahamas and I said sure, then he started telling me dates and booked the trip I was caught somewhat off guard. I quickly sent in my passport to get my name changed and PRAYED like a crazy person that it would get back in time. Ok so I didn't pray only, I called and checked the web OFTEN to see if any progress had been made, then while in TN the week before Christmas, I got an e-mail saying it had arrived, yay!


Come the morning of the 6th we lugged our stuff to the airport (thanks for taking us so early in the morning, Hilary!) and started on our cold adventure to Freeport, Bahamas. The airport in Miami didn't have heat, so it was REALLY cold there. When we got to the Bahamas it was cool, had there been no wind it would've felt really nice. The first day we just explored the resort, beach, market, and town, pretty much everything within walking distance. I did not take ONE picture, honest.


The next day it was warm enough to put on our swim suits and lay out, we placed our chairs so we wouldn't get nailed by the wind and it was great after the clouds let the sun shine through. We didn't have long on the beach though because we went to go see dolphins! It was soooooo cool. While we were waiting to get on the boat one of the workers said that we should stop believing in global warming and realize it's actually global cooling, because the Bahamas were way too cold to prove the other theory correct. She then went on to say we should go red (start burning trees) instead of going green if we wanted it to be warm the next time we visited. They were all decked out in gloves, sweats, toboggans, anything and everything to keep warm while the rest of us were in our swimsuits!

Anyway, the water there is the most amazing color, I didn't change the colors in these pictures because I wanted everyone to see how beautiful it is without a lot of enhancement. On our way to the dolphins we were in probably 30 ft. deep water and Carleton saw a starfish he said that must've been 2 feet wide, and the water was crystal clear to see all the way down, I don't know which is more amazing!

Once we got to the dolphins we were the first ones in, this guy came out of nowhere! I was more startled at first by all the little fish swimming by my feet than by him though. He was so cool, he splashed Carleton, kissed us both, let us pet his back and flipped to let us pet his tummy. He even did cool tricks for us, the list goes on! We also saw other dolphins and one mom and baby! they'd come out of the water side by side it was the cutest thing ever, I wish I'd gotten video or a picture of them.

One of the coolest things about the dolphins is that they take them for walks! They leave the inlet to go to the main ocean and they play, jump around, and swim freely, then when it's time to go back, they're the first ones back, they lead the boat jumping merrily all the way home. They know they're safe, well fed, and taken care of there, plus they're not in tanks or aquariums or anything, they could very easily escape. Another interesting thing is Ron Howard got a dolphin for his movie, Cocoon, after the movie he was like hmm what do I do with this dolphin, so he gave it to the Unexso (dolphin) people and he was their dominant male for years!

After we were done with the dolphins we went to go hold some birds, Carleton tried talking to this parrot who just about took his finger off. It was funny, I asked him to do it again when I was filming, but he refused. Here they're staring each other down.

We did more beach walking that night and while in the hot tub I thought to myself, there is no doubt, this will be the best day, there's no way it can be topped. Growing up I had dolphin posters, pictures, wood carvings, etc. in my room and bathroom, so this was like a life-long dream. I had my chance to touch one back in October at Disney World but chickened out, and have had nightmares about that ever since, so close, yet so far away. We got to spend the most time with the dolphins (because I told the trainers all the pictures I wanted) and it was AWESOME. If you've never pet a dolphin before, they feel like a hard-boiled egg, peeled.


The next day we rented a scooter, drove 26 painful miles (Carleton's legs are so long I was halfway sitting on a metal bar and my knees and ankles hurt so bad from trying to hold on around him) to Lucaya National Park.

Now I have seen some GORGEOUS beaches in pictures, movies, on postcards, and some in person from our stops in Mexico and a private island in the Bahamas on our cruise. But nothing comes even CLOSE to this beach. We started out looking at some caves, they looked small, but went underwater for miles.
We then crossed the street to make our way to the beach.

We'd heard it was the most beautiful beach and thought, yeah I'm sure it's pretty, but the most beautiful beach....whatever. When we made it through all the trees we popped out to this (remember, these colors are not edited):
While on the beach we saw maybe 5-7 people the entire time we were there. I saw that some guy had found starfish and thought that was the coolest thing ever so I told Carleton I wanted him to find me one too! His reply was, "you want me to find you a starfish, baby? You got it!" Within two minutes of walking into the beautiful ocean he was turning back to me holding this up.

I was soooo shocked. Apparently my face really showed it. He said he's never seen me that excited in the entire time he's known me. I thought for sure he was pulling my I'm not sure, not like he'd carried a fake one in the water with him, but still I'd never seen one aside from dead ones sitting on a shelf in a store. He turned into my hero (even more so) instantly. I looked for a long time but didn't find any:( I finally stopped and was looking down at my camera when I felt something hard against my toenail. "This is it" I thought, it's fate that I stopped right here and it's bumping my toe now. I looked down at the water and didn't see anything at first, then I saw it-a fish-and it was trying to eat my toenail! I jumped around frantically, holding my camera in the air until I was safely out of the water.
After a while we met up (he was walking out a little farther than I was) and decided to turn around, he said that he thought it was pretty picked over and we wouldn't find anymore:( Shortly after we did that I looked down and saw this!

Again, I was insta-happy! I call this my "proud momma moment picture", Carleton calls it my "proud murderer moment picture".

We enjoyed more time playing on the beach, running, dancing and spinning around. Two people, at that moment in time completely free of any cares.

Carleton went exploring further while I sat on the beach.

He discovered some really cool white trees that were all on their sides. He came to get me to show off his new discovery, I gladly went and on the way back to our towel and clothes found 4 more starfish! Well five, but one was missing a leg so we didn't bother with him.

After a couple hours of that paradise we decided we should head back since we had more than a 30 mile trip (we had to go an extra 4 miles to get gas, then back track) and we didn't want to get caught in any rain. We crossed the street and ran into this Canadian couple. They signed up to do a house swap but the people in the bahamas just wanted someone to watch their cat so they got to go there, stay for free, use their car and everything for 3 or 4 weeks, how sweet would that be! They told us about the Pirates of the Caribbean ship that was just a couple miles away, we had to investigate! A few miles and a couple dirt/gravel roads later we came across it! Half of the movie had been filmed there and when they were done filming, they just left the ship there. I thought that was kind of weird, but cool all the same.

I found a really cool conch shell (which the insides look gross, but it doesn't taste bad, at least in a soup-we decided we needed to try a bahamian dish while we were there-conch it was.) and Carleton found a purple....well I have no idea what it was, but it was really hard, and cool.

We drove back, then went to the grocery store and bought some pop tarts for $5. Food is not cheap there, that was our cheapest option as far as snacks and breakfast foods went. Then we went downtown to explore a little. We were almost hit by a couple cars and a delivery truck. The delivery truck and our moped met head-on as Carleton was pulling out of a parking lot and his vision was blocked by bushes. I FREAKED out, the guy in the truck swerved right, as did we. We went off the little road towards the bushes a little. Carleton will try to downplay this as much as he possibly can, but he wasn't paying attention and it almost ended up badly. PS in the Bahamas you drive on the LEFT side of the road. That is particularly confusing at traffic circles which there happen to be a lot of on that island.

I was relieved when we were in for the night and had our nightly hot tub visit. In the hot tub we met some people from Chicago, Switzerland, and Brazil. The Swiss guy talked us all in to jumping in the pool (it was practically ice water) going from the hot tub to the freezing pool (MUCH colder than the ocean) to the hot tub again was almost painful, but it (like the moped) is nice to say we've done once. That day might have just topped the dolphin day, it's hard to decide, both were so spectacular.


Saturday it rained:( we still went on a long walk that morning and went to the town, but most of the time was spent inside unfortunately.


Sunday was our last day there and we did a big walk, pretty much everyday we had long walks, but this one was the longest. When I get to venting about something apparently I can walk really really quickly without missing a beat in whatever it is I'm talking about. The walk back I had calmed down so it seemed A LOT longer. I found another really cool conch shell that we wouldn't have gotten if we didn't go to THE VERY tip, so that was an added bonus of going that far. We each brought some reading material to the beach, I wrapped up in a towel, plus all the warm clothes I'd brought with me, but still was cold. We did this two different times and finally gave up. We went to the stores later to walk around and see what kind of treasures we could find from the local sellers.

Carleton had convinced me that it wouldn't be very cold so all I needed was either a long sleeve shirt or a light zip up hoodie, I took both and was freezing a good portion of the time, particularly when the sun wasn't out. The last day the high was 60 and the winds were 25-35 mph! Carleton knew that in order to make me happy I'd have to get a few pictures I wanted. The one problem, there was nobody to take the pictures I wanted except a rock (over splashing water), a book, and a lot of wind. I was freezing when we took the pictures at night and I didn't have my thin (by that point smelly) hoodie on, by the time we'd taken a few pictures he said I'd just about worn out his good mood for pictures. I may not have gotten exactly what i wanted (the sun wasn't setting on our side and there were no rocks high enough or walls close enough to get the exact shots I wanted, but I still like the way they turned out) I think both our feet were completely numb too. We're such troopers;)

I just think he's so handsome, and I love his new jeans:)


The next morning at the airport we gave them our checked baggage at the airport then had to go through security with our carry-on baggage and write down all the things we were bringing from the bahamas, we wrote shell, picture book, and starfish, then declared the value. As they checked our carry-ons they had to inspect each of Carleton's and my bags. I had a travel size thing of sunscreen in my camera bag, but it wasn't in a clear ziplock bag (it wasn't on the way there either but it didn't seem to matter). They found scissors and a fork in Carleton's backpack (also there on the way TO the bahamas) and took both of those. We then had to go to another guy who asked where we were going, for some reason I said "ch chi chicago" Carleton said no, Raleigh-Durham, then I started babbling something about about "en route to Miami", and the other couple we met who were from Chicago. It was still before 6 am. Carleton is sure thats what got us "randomly selected" to be searched in the agriculture department. We had our checked baggage back by that point, had to go unpack everything show all our shells and starfish, open everything and get fully inspected. Then we dropped our checked bag off AGAIN, went through another check (shoes off again) and got a full body pat down. 3 searches, 3 confiscated items, and 1 pat down later, we were ready to get on the plane.

This trip was AWESOME! It was the first trip we've had, just the two of us, since our honeymoon. We had a great time spending every waking (and sleeping) second together and being totally wrapped up in each other with basically zero distractions. I sure do love him and I'm glad he's mine forever:)

PS-I think I'll make a little (really short) video next week of a few of our adventures while we were there...stay tuned!

A night with the Kiddos!

Jesica and Phillip wanted to have a nice, quiet night together, go on a date or just be together. Well the last time they tried to take such a night, my parents volunteered to take the kids. That was the last time Taylor ended up in the ER because before Jes and Phillip left, she tripped over Talan and hit her face on the fireplace ledge, busting through her lip and needed stitches.

This time we said we'd take them and made sure not to have any episodes like that. They came over and the first day we fed the ducks and geese, went to the playground, built forts, watched movies, had a great dinner, and just played.

That night Taylor slept with us...we tried moving her to the pack n play three times, she freaked out each time. After attempt number three she slept with one eye open. Anytime we would nudge her she'd start freaking out because she thought we were trying to move her (which we might have been). Carleton thought I was hogging the bed because he was almost to the edge, he turned over and saw me on the opposite side, edge of the bed, Taylors head on me and her feet on him. He decided to move the remaining two inches he had but that woke her up and she immediately stretched farther until she found him and pushed against him with her feet. I think she was just trying to make sure she knew where we both were at all times so she wouldn't be moved. Well since neither of us were sleeping I had the urge to get up and go to the bathroom; however, Carleton had been the one to attempt putting Tay in her bed so when I put her down she didn't want to be with just him, she thought he'd try again so she screamed. So there I lay for the next few hours (Carleton ended up going to the living room to sleep on the floor next to the kid who were on the air mattress, he didn't sleep either) unable to move or get out of bed. Our routine in the morning is typically wake up and eat within 20-30 minutes of getting up, having been awake for so long my stomach and head started hurting because I felt like I was STARVING. When she finally woke up for good that morning it was a relief to be able to get up, move, and EAT!

The rest of the day consisted of more playground time, playing with dominoes, and the girls taking pink princess bubble baths.

It was a fun weekend but Carleton and I definitely needed a nap that afternoon!

Happy New Year!

This new years was a lot like most other new years for me. I can only think of 2 off the top of my head where I wasn't with family to ring in the new year.

New years is also Talan's birthday! This year he turned 4 and he's still totally into Buzz and most anything Toy Story related.

We started the evening with pizza and a birthday celebration for Talan. We were going to have sundaes but my mom made milkshakes so we decided we didn't need both and just stuck with the chocolate shakes. After the kids went to bed we broke out some games (Guesstures and Imaginiff, and continued playing the wii) I'd forgotten until a few months ago how much I LOVE guesstures, so that was a must for new years. My mom and dad especially have some funny acting mom's guesses were...interesting and totally off the wall most of the time, but we had a great time getting SMOKED by the guys anyway!

About half an hour or so before midnight we all started getting a little tired. I was laying on the couch (in my usual new years spot) while Phillip and Carleton bowled on the wii. A minute or so before 12 we found the channel broadcasting from NY to count down to the new year, toast with our sparkling cider and get our smooches. It was a fun night with family and yummy food!

Happy New Year, I hope 2010 is great for each of you so far!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Eve celebrating Jesus' birth and reading christmas stories with the family.
Carleton wasn't sick for Christmas round two, thank goodness! We had a nice time, starting the morning off opening presents at our house. Then we headed to my parents house for a big yummy brunch, presents and stockings, and just had a somewhat relaxing day. With three kids around that are not taking naps, the most you can hope for is somewhat relaxing:)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and remembered the reason for the season and took time to remember Him who blesses us all, everyday.