Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Caribbean Cruise: Days at Sea

The first two days and last two days of our Caribbean cruise were at sea -- no stops whatsoever. Although normally I like to be on the go during vacation, these "days off" were lovely. For once, I didn't need a vacation from vacation when we got home. I now understand the appeal of a cruise: easy, no hassle, seamless. It's almost like Disney World.

The endless food was perfect for someone who was 17 weeks pregnant -- where else could I get an unlimited supply of every morsel I could desire? Motion sickness was a problem during the first trimester of both pregnancies, but I didn't have a problem on the ship. The swaying was more bothersome in the bathroom and in the theater, where I could see the towels and curtains moving back and forth.

Although I don't like to bask in the sun and I never once swam in the pool, I did enjoy finding a lounge chair and reading by the side of the sea. I finished two books that week, the most I'd read in a very long time.

We likely won't go on another cruise for several years -- not until both kiddos are old enough for the formal children's programs. But I do hope we go on one again. Alaska is my top spot now for a cruise destination. I never thought I'd be one to love a cruise, but I do.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Edith's 2nd Birthday Party

If we learned anything from Edith's birthday party on Saturday, it's this: she still needs her daily nap!

Paul and I had our parents, sisters and their families over for a taco bar and all of the fixin's for lunch, followed by homemade donuts that I fashioned into a cake. (Edith's too young to care about a real cake, and it's not my favorite dessert. I figured I can get away with an alternative for another year or so!)

When the meal was over, she had to open her presents, of course. And then play with them, of course. And then nap time had long since passed. My parents were the last to leave at about 5 p.m. A half an hour later, Edith was asleep on my lap.

We let her nap for a half an hour before supper, hoping it wouldn't interfere with her nighttime sleep. It didn't -- and in fact, we put her to bed about a half hour early, too. We had a grumpy girl on our hands for a bit Saturday evening, but the fun of the day made it well worth it. Happy birthday, Edith!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Edith

Three days old: Nov. 24, 2012

Today Edith turns two -- most certainly a baby no longer. Nowadays it seems like she has been a toddler forever, always running around and listening to her parents only when it suits her best (but do we ever really grow out of that stage?).

Every day is a new adventure, and it seems like she has learned a new word or skill before she hits the crib each night. Her favorite songs are "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and the "A, B, Cs", both of which she tries really hard to mimic. She knows most of her letter sounds and can recognize them when they are written out. Pretty close with colors, too.

The girl loves to be tickled, and especially announcing it! But when she says it, it sounds more like "TEE-cole!" It's my favorite word she says.

Coloring is one of her favorite activities, and I swear she hides crayons all over the house. Sometimes she just likes holding one in her hand and carrying it around. It always seems to be red.

We're still not sure if Edith is right- or left-handed. She uses a spoon in both.

I've been trying to explain the new baby to Edith, but right now when I say "baby" she thinks I'm either referring to her doll or my belly button.

Sure, she can try my nerves. She has a will of her own and wants things her way. Must run in the family. Happy birthday to my sweetie pie girl, and many more.

First birthday party, 2013

Mexico, Oct. 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Afternoon in the Banana Coast - Trujillo, Honduras

The third and final stop of our weeklong Caribbean cruise was in Trujillo, Honduras -- what has been dubbed the "Banana Coast" of the country. This was a particularly interesting journey because we were only the third major cruise ship to stop here. Ships in the area generally stop at Roatan, an island some 30 miles away. Trujillo, on the other hand, is still very undeveloped. That's both good and bad.

We didn't set an alarm the morning the ship was here -- we figured we'd take the tender to Honduras when we woke up and after we ate breakfast. That was a good decision since the tenders didn't start until about 10:30 a.m., two hours late, due to silt and dirt that had to be dredged. Luckily, the late start meant that our own deadline to be back on board was delayed from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

So we ate both breakfast and lunch and boarded a boat to Trujillo around 1:30. The locals seemed happy to see tourists, and quite a few bars and restaurants line the beach a short walk away. We found a shady spot where both locals and tourists were swimming.

This certainly wasn't Cozumel -- the water here was rather dirty, with both natural debris (tree bark and the like) and trash, but not awful. Just not the pristine blue waters we had seen in Mexico. Still, Edith enjoyed the water and sand, and she got quite a few friendly smiles, waves and holas.

After about three hours on the coast, we were ready to head back. We grabbed a fresh-cut coconut water for a buck, and Paul got a beer before we boarded the tender to the ship. We left at the right time. Shortly after we reboarded the ship, it began to pour down rain. I was disappointed that the downfall prevented me from taking a photo of the coast, with the mountain peaks reaching into the clouds. It was a beautiful afternoon nonetheless, and I am curious to learn how the town will be developed in the future.

Our cruise ship in the distance.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Boy Oh Boy!

The big gender reveal was Friday -- we're adding a baby boy to our family in April!

It came as a shock, and it still is. I knew in my head that the chances were 50/50 either way, but in all honesty I'd only ever really thought about girl names. I guess I thought that since I already grew one girl, that's all I could manage.

Obviously that's not the case, as the ultrasound revealed. I'll admit that I'm nervous. I feel like I have the girl thing down. Boys are a whole new animal. I never had brothers -- although ironically I have three nephews and no nieces. Adding kiddo number 2 will be an adventure in more ways than one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Day in Belize City: Cruise Stop #2

Belize City was the second stop on our Caribbean cruise, and Edith and I were on our own. Paul had scheduled a cave tubing excursion for himself, and no way were she and I doing that!

Paul met his tour group before 9 a.m., but Edith and I didn't make our way to shore until about two hours later. The sea is too shallow along the coast, so the cruise ships anchor five miles out and guests tender from ship to shore. We got to the city about 11 a.m.

We had an 11:30 open-air train tour of the city, but when we arrived we were told to meet instead at 11:50. We browsed the many tourist stores near the dock, and Edith took what looked to be an uncomfortable nap in the umbrella stroller. The tour started even later, but no matter -- we had no plans the rest of the afternoon.

The trip started with a brief overview of the city and country, and we exchanged our tickets for a bag of plantain chips that Edith loved. Just before we boarded the open-air tram, it started to pour -- so it was hot and wet. But we didn't get too wet, particularly after a kind worker switched seats so we could be further inside. The rain stopped soon anyway.

Edith and her favorite snack in Belize City.

Edith was excellent during the hour tour, sitting nicely on my lap and letting me listen to the guide. I was nervous since I was in a strange city without Paul's help! The train took us through the rich and poor areas of town, though none looked too fancy to me. But I learned lots of interesting info -- English is the official language but Creole is spoken at home, there's no fast-food, no Pepsi, and the country is home to the second-longest barrier reef.

I was glad we took the tour instead of sticking to the ultra-touristy Tourism Village near the dock. Yes, the tour was touristy too, of course, but at least I got to see something of the city.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pregnancy #1 vs. #2

I feel like I'm pretty cognizant of the fact that no one cares about my pregnancy as much as Paul and me. Our parents and siblings care, of course, and maybe a few other various family and friends, but no one cares to the extent that they need daily updates (like I'm often guilty of giving Paul).

I'm even more aware of that fact this second time around, because even I don't pay as much attention to this pregnancy as I did the first. I have only so much worry and attention to go around, and most of that is concentrated on the toddler in front of me. I consider that a good thing -- I'm not so focused on how uncomfortable, hungry, etc. I am.

But obviously I'm aware of how these two pregnancies stack up against each other, mostly regarding food. The first trimester morning sickness phase lasted about six weeks with each of them and consisted of constant, all-day nausea. But with Edith, I ate a lot of baked potatoes, applesauce and ice cream milkshakes. This time it was Jolly Ranchers, Starburst and loaf bread.

In both cases, my appetite came back in spades during the second trimester. But this time I've hung onto some aversions. Pizza. I couldn't get enough of it right after I found out I was pregnant, then I got sick on it and can't eat it very often now. Tomato sauce and pasta (although I did have lasagna during vacation!). Most of all, yogurt, which I ate a lot of with Edith.

Cravings this time: Ice cream, Cheese Bits (a generic Cheez-It -- can't stand the real things!), croissants, toffee bars.

And what I think might be the weirdest one of all -- ice-cold water. For my entire life I've been just fine with room temperature water straight from the tap, usually preferring it. Now the water needs two or three ice cubes.

But all in all, I feel fine. I'll be 20 weeks along next week: halfway done.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Photo Friday: Ladybug Edith

We were on vacation on Halloween, but Edith got to wear her costume a few weeks earlier at a holiday party!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Cozumel Cruise Stop

Cozumel, Mexico, was our first and favorite stop of our Caribbean cruise. The island thrives on tourism. As we learned on the tour we chose, 95,000 people live there, and tourism is basically the only industry. Four cruise ships were there the day we docked. The record, we were told, is 12.

Our excursion first took us to the San Gervasio Mayan ruins. I'm sure they were interesting, but Paul and I basically listened to half the tour each while the other took care of an active Edith.

She liked the beach we went to afterword better, Truth be told, I did too. We ate along the Caribbean Sea, feet in the sand. Edith loved playing in the water and sand. The water was crystal clear, warm and almost stereotypically blue. We easily could have spent longer than the 90 minutes allotted.

The bus rides to and from the city, ruins and beach were interesting for the terrific views and changing scenery. Back in the main section of town, we strolled along the main strip and headed back to the ship -- a great day in Cozumel. But next time: all beach.


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