Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Earlier this month, we had the chance to go on a cruise to Cozumel with the family for our annual vacation.  We've had so much going on over here- as usual- so the moment just the two of us got in our car and headed to Hot Springs, I felt such a huge relief. Don't get me wrong, life is wonderful and I love staying home with the kiddos, but I know my limits and I was pushing them up to this point. I knew a vacation would be the reset button for me and it felt so nice. Traveling always makes me feel so small and brings my purpose back into focus. Refines things so to speak. Then,  I start missing home with a renewed thankfulness for our family, our home, our friends, our lives. and THAT is the best feeling ever. 
Anyhow, back to Cozumel. We arrived at The Olivier House Hotel in New Orleans the night before depart around 9:00. Restlessness was replaced with excitement as we explored NOLA and found us some food. While we did find NOLA to be entertaining (music, dancing, crazy characters,  partying everywhere) it was a little outside our comfort zone. I have to admit the New Orleans is nothing like I had imagined. While rich in history, it was so run down and incredibly dark! There was very little light the entire time we were there, and the rain didn't help. I was expecting something similar to Bathhouse Row just with less bathhouses and more cajun food. haha. That being said, we really enjoyed walking through the streets admiring all the southern charm, plant filled balconies, and little alleys. If we were to go back I'd want to stay a few days and really explore The French Quarter more. I wouldn't mind trying out the donuts, hurricanes, maybe even Bacchanal Wine.
Once we got on the ship, everything felt sort of foreign-metaphorically and literally speaking. Most of the carnival employees were foreigners and I loved that you could meet a lot of different people from different countries and different walks of life. so cool. I also liked that we had access to food at all times basically and everyone we met was so incredibly sweet. We even watched a guy that had one too many drinks get sick all over the security guard who just shrugged it off and smiled like it was no big deal. I was thoroughly impressed....and disgusted. haha! I also really enjoyed getting to chill and have a couple of drinks.sitting at the large round tables with white linens, and wine glasses at dinner always reminded me of the Titanic. so neat and well thought out. We didn't like that it always felt super cold and we also had trouble with sleepy passengers from the rocking of the boat. so relaxing. I would have loved to have stayed in  Cozumel longer. 8 hours just wasn't enough. Everything was just beautiful there. Touristy obviously, but beautiful. While in Cozumel, we swam with the dolphins, snorkeled, ate, and shopped all before boarding the boat to head back home. We did the four day cruise, so we had the one excursion. While swimming with the dolphins we actually discovered Justin's allergic! It's gotta be the oil in their skin or something! I felt bad for him. He had to take a shower complete with body wash in the rinse off showers to get cleaned up and stop breaking out. All in all we enjoyed this vacation but probably won't go on another cruise anytime soon. It just wasn't cost effective at all (everywhere you turn, you've gotta cough up money) costing twice as much money we typically spend on vacation for only half the vacation time. I think a 7 day cruise might be better, but i'm no expert. I could see a cruise for a honeymoon being a blast!

Have you ever been on a cruise? Did you love it? where'd you go? 

Happy Hump Day, friends!! xo- Amanda

P.S. Isn't my sister, Cara , the cutest little thing ever? 

*picture #24 taken by my sister, katie miramontes.


Monday, August 1, 2016

I thought Emery and I might enjoy making a list of fun things we'd like to do this summer- a new tradition (we've been creating a lot of those recently!) We decided to school through the summer, so we aren't labeling 'back to school' as the end of the season around here. Instead, I like to look at us sneaking up on September 22nd as a great motivator to satiate our hunger of summer rituals and I'm pretty excited about it. I think it might be neat to create goals lists for each season and check things off as we accomplish them and to see how our lists change over time as our wants and desires change-or stay the same.

Emery's requests were pretty cute. Involving kids with goals or ideas is always a blast! Gray was thrilled, yelling "yeah!" while jumping up and down. Here's our summer goals list we came up with:
  • wear swimsuits in the bathtub- "swimming"
  • explore a different town- Fayetteville, We're coming for you
  • make homemade icecream
  • try out our new bubble machine
  • have a picnic in the park
  • scout for our "neighborhood deer" and her fawn
  • create more floral mandalas
  • press flowers/leaves
  • watercolor outside
  • take the teepee outdoors 
  • buy more plants
  • have a movie marathon day
  • family camping in the living room
  • try a new restaurant
  • eat at a food truck
  • buy a pet fish
  • have a dance party under the "stars" of our disco ball
Do you have any summer to-do's waiting to be checked off? what does/did your summer goals list look like? :)

I'm off to finish some last minute vacation shopping (We're going on a cruise next week! yay!) Have a great week, friends! 


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