Monday, April 23, 2012

Thirty One

With our strict no gifts this year policy in place I was stumped as to what to do for Chris' birthday.  Of course there would be treats, dinners, desserts, and whatever else he wanted, but what could I do to scream to the world, "It's this boy's birthday!"

And then I decided that I would surprise him by decorating his office.  So off I set to make the arrangements, gather the materials, and create the alibi that would convince him that I was up to nothing.  I enlisted the help of Vince, Ashley, and Mya to help me pull this off.  Two hours, 140ish balloons (All, but about 30 of them, were blown up, by mouth, by Vince and Ashley.  They were troopers.), yard upon yard of colorful streamers, and one homemade birthday sign later we managed to turn his office into this:

There would be no mistaking it.  It was my guy's birthday.  It turned out so cute.  

The next morning, after his breakfast of crepes,  I was so anxious for him to get to the office.  Finally, I got the call I was expecting.  He was so cute.  He told me he was so surprised and had no idea as to what I had been up too.  I could just hear the big smile in his voice.  

And then, of course, I had to make him some cupcakes.  I had asked him what he wanted and he had mentioned these strawberry cupcakes that I had made a while back.  They are so good. Strawberries in cake form with homemade cream cheese frosting is seriously a little drop of Heaven.  I brought them to his office so he could share them and they were gone in a snap.  

On his birthday we celebrated with a lunch of wings and a dinner of crawfish.  Things couldn't have been much better for this boy of mine.

Really?!  That smile kills me.

And then on Sunday we had one final celebration.  No birthday would be complete without being given the chance to make a wish.  This time I surprised him with a homemade Boston Creme Pie cupcake cake (could that name be anymore confusing?).  

Sparkler Candles!! 

Gifts or no gifts, I'm pretty confident that he had a fantastic birthday.  

Out at Sea

"Are you two on your honeymoon?"  That seemed to be the question of the day from many kind and curious cruise ship staff.  And the fact is, I loved when they asked that most simple of questions.  We always laughed it off and simply replied no and then looked at each other with knowing eyes.  We weren't newly weds, but we sure felt like some.  As we had prepared to board the ship we had made an agreement to leave all our worries and concerns on land, they were not invited on this getaway.  And with that it set the whole tone for our trip.  You could almost see the tension and stresses leave our body and the young, vibrant couple that we still have within us quickly emerge.  Our agreement helped ensure that the next seven days would be romantic, fun, rejuvenating, and completely care free.  It was exactly what we needed.

Chris had made the decision to book us on a seven day western Caribbean cruise, leaving on February 12th.  This cruise was to celebrate our anniversary, birthdays, Christmas, and basically any other holiday that we could think of that consisted of any sort of gift exchange.  We would have three ports of call, so that meant that the rest of our time would be spent on the ship.  The day that we left New Orleans was freezing.  This cold streak swept through the south and it was so funny watching people board this cruise ship wrapped in all their winter gear with just the hint of their cruise attire peeking out from beneath.  Needless to say, we were all pretty anxious to get to warmer weather.  

Getting acquainted with the ship.  Don't let our lack of winter clothes fool you.  We were so cold and quickly regretted the decision of removing them.  

The first two days were spent entirely on the ship.  For that reason we were forced to do absolutely nothing but relax.  When we weren't out enjoying the views that our personal balcony provided, we could be found
soaking up the sun's warm rays on deck,

playing game after game of mini golf (Ugh... Chris remember hole 6?  Oh how we loathed hole 6.), eating obscene amounts of delicious food (Can't forget about the ceviche.  We loved those little cups of deliciousness), taking trips into the casino to play/ watch roulette (Note to self.... Never go against your streak.  You learned a very valuable lesson.),  played numerous games of BINGO only to walk away big losers, watched the corniness of the cruise ship entertainers unfold before our eyes,  and totally took advantage of naps whenever we felt like it. 

Having been to 2 out of the 3 ports already we found ourselves throwing all planning and schedules to the wind and simply went through the next few days on a whim.  

Our first stop was Montego Bay.  We ate a light breakfast, gathered our snorkeling gear, and once on land, hailed a taxi and asked the driver to take us to the nearest public beach with reef to snorkel in. 

Doctor's Cave Beach

This wasn't exactly the reef we had in mind, but that didn't stop us from spotting all sorts of aquatic life.  We saw a pufferfish, a starfish that Chris insisted on holding (I just petted it), a fish that looks like sand (all you could see was its little eyes until Chris made it swim), a stingray that Chris just had to chase after, small schools of different species of fish, and then my personal favorite, a school of squid.  I loved the squid.  They are kind of strange looking at first glance but as I sat there and stared back at them staring at me I sort of fell in love with them.  Their eyes are huge and so cute, but as I tried to reach out and touch them, they swam away so fast.  I guess they were shy.  So I'd say our snorkeling day was a success.  But before we knew it, it was time to get back on the boat.

Upon waking the next day, we found ourselves in a familiar place.  We were back in the Grand Cayman.  This day, unfortunately, had a very short port of call.  And since I was suffering from major sunburn from the previous day, I wasn't much up for another day at the beach.  So Chris and I ate a little lunch before taking our leisurely walk to the many shops on the main strip.

The water in the Grand Cayman is absolutely beautiful.  It took all I had not jump in from this pier.

Our final port of call landed us in Cozumel, Mexico.  We had decided at the last minute to book an excursion and as we were looking through our many options we had decided on a cave exploring  excursion.  
So we followed a tour guide through the streets of Cozumel,

got to know fellow cruisers/ explorers,

trekked through the jungle (Like my hat?  I think it makes me look hardcore.),

and finally at long last we made it to the caves.  It was so beautiful and so much fun.  We got to snorkel as a guide took us through the cave system.  It was so dark that we had to use a flashlight to see what was beneath and around us (obviously, it's a cave).  We basically saw some catfish and some deep underwater caverns that Chris wanted to explore more and I wanted nothing to do with.  Way too eerie. 

After the cave, this excursion then took us to get a bite to eat at an authentic Mexican buffet on the beach.  Chris snorkeled some more while I just hung out and relaxed.  By the time we got back onto the water taxi to make our way back to the ship we were beat.  We both managed to fall asleep and take a little nap before having to get off.  

It was a good thing we did too.  As soon as we got back into our room we managed to catch the only sunset we would see on our entire vacation.  We somehow managed to miss every, single, one of them.  

Watching the sun go down on our balcony.  

Our vacation was a perfect success.  We managed to do the one and only thing that was a priority..... Relax. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mardi Gras: Take Two

It was that time again.  Time to scream at the top of your lungs, raise your hands in the air, and just hope with all your might that you didn't take a set of beads to the face.  Mardi Gras came to the Gulf Coast and with the scare we experienced last year in Mobile, we decided to stick to the local family friendly parades.

 As could be expected the floats were awesome.  

The group checking out their haul.  

Chris and Vincent took a lot of beads to the head and they had the marks to show it.  It starts to hurt so bad that towards the end, instead of screaming to get beads thrown at you, you find yourself screaming/begging them not to throw them at you.  And did I mention that it was freezing that day.  Holy cow, it was so cold I thought my fingers were going to fall off.  But anyway, the parade was a blast and we left with the golden prize, the mini Frisbee!  All the pain and loss of feeling in our finger tips was so worth it.    

Lucky #7

On January 15th, Chris and I celebrated 7 whole years of togetherness.  7 years were we have danced to our own tune and made so many memories and learned numerous lessons along the way.  

He is the peanut butter to my jelly, the cheese to my macaroni, the sun in my sky.  He is my everything.  Cheesy I know, but I just can't help myself.  

We kept our celebration rather low key this year.  No gifts were exchanged, only words of love and occasionally a play by play, by me, of what we were doing at that time on our wedding day.  We stayed in bed until noon and enjoyed the most delicious dinner at Bonefish.  

It was a perfect day to celebrate us.