Monday, November 28, 2011


I am so abundantly blessed. Beyond blessed.

As far as first years of marriage go, I'd have to say that Jason and I might win the award for the most unusual and exciting. At least as far as I've heard!

It's amazing how friends and family have embraced our adventure, and are encouraging us to live it. We thought we'd be hearing a lot more concern about "responsibility" and "settling down", but the overwhelming response has been "I'd do it if I could."

Would you? Pack your home into a storage unit and move to a ranch in Wyoming for seven months? Then, spend the next five months vacationing? Would you really? Would you become a turtle, packing what's not in the storage unit around in your car like a shell, when the reward is three weeks total in the Caribbean and two in South Africa? When you get to spend weeks visiting with both your family and your husband's family? When at the end of five months of vacation, you get to go back to work in one of the most beautiful places on earth?

I sure hope so. And I hope that our continuing adventure has spurred you to be a little more adventurous, too. To step outside of your comfort zone and try something new and fresh and different, even if it's in your hometown. Maybe to re-evaluate where you are in life, and see if something needs to change. Or to put your marriage first, ahead of your career, and to invest real, quality time in it.

We've come a long way from where we were on March 28 last year when we stepped out in faith and started this journey. We have so far still to go. But I am so, so thankful that we took this chance. That we stepped over the fear and the "what-if's", and decided to see where our adventure would take us. Goodness knows there have been some road bumps, and a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. But aren't the best rides like that? Unexpected and wild, leaving you breathless with a huge grin on your face?

That's my wish for you. Moments of unexpected joy that take your breath away, and the feeling of having a fresh lease on life.

Go ahead - grab that brass ring and fly. You won't regret it.

And you certainly won't look back and say, "I wish..."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Disney Days!

This post is WAAAAAAAY overdue! Thank you to those of you who are still hanging around the blog, looking for a new post!

When we came back from Cruising the Caribbean, I got to spend a few days doing the Disney thing with Jason and his family.

Let me just say this - if you are ever in Orlando in the fall, you MUST make it a priority to get to the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. Must. Not only is EPCOT a gorgeous park, during the festival you can buy small plates and taste delicious beverages all the way around the park! We had a blast!!!!!!!

Fun at Epcot! Top to Bottom: Jason, Bob, Me!

What trip to EPCOT is complete without a viewing of Captain EO?

Then, Jason and I spent a whole extra day visiting the rest of the parks - Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. It was my first visit to Animal Kingdom, and I must give it two thumbs up! Seriously, though, the park is gorgeous and it was SOOOO fun to experience an entirely new park with attractions I've never seen/ridden!

That's two very enthusiastic thumbs up for Animal Kingdom!

And in true "It's a Small World" fashion, I ran into a friend from my first season of Caroling in Los Angeles, who now lives in New York City and was on tour with SEUSSICAL in Florida, on a bus traveling between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It's a Small World After All!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Puerto Rico and Great Stirrup Cay

Welcome to the second half of our cruise!

With my seasickness bracelets on, we continued on with our Eastern Caribbean cruising. First to San Juan, Puerto Rico and then to Norwegian Cruise Line's private island - Great Stirrup Cay - for a beach day.

At the beginning of our cruise, Jason predicted that my favorite stop would probably be Puerto Rico, because of the old buildings. You see, I'm a sucker for old Spanish style buildings - the kind with the patio in the middle. It's probably my favorite kind of construction - and I have dreams of remodeling some hacienda some day, with big wooden beams crossing the ceilings, and spectacular spanish tile. :)

And, as expected, old San Juan lived up to my expectations. It was beautiful - like a tropical version of Barcelona in some areas. I really, really hope that I'll get to go back there and explore for more than a day sometime soon. But seriously - go and look at Jason's photos from Puerto Rico. They're gorgeous! In the meantime, here are some of my own little point and shoot photos.

Then, our beach day on Great Stirrup Cay - the weather wasn't cooperating (hello, Tropical Storm!), but we were able to spend about an hour snorkeling. While the incoming storm churned up the water and the sand, there was still decent visibility - enough to see some fish.

Looking forward to heading back to the Caribbean in January for calmer waters and more adventures!

Thanks Catherine, Bob, G'ma Joyce and Aunt Irene for a great vacation!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nassau and St. Thomas

Well, we're back! One day off the cruise and I still feel like the ground is moving beneath my feet. A few words on that - I'm a naturally motion sick kind of person. Always have been - my Uncle Joe can tell you about one particularly vomitous drive we made in his old Peugot up Kern Canyon. So you ask - what the heck was I doing on a cruise ship? Praying for grace, really. This particular trip we got hit with a few nights of 10-15+ foot waves. Awesome. I doped myself with Dramamine and Bonine every day and when it was just too much, assumed the fetal position on the bed in our stateroom with my eyes closed for hours at a time. Our second night, I spent 16 hours in the fetal position. The next morning, I bought the sea-sickness bracelets. The bracelets use accu-pressure on a certain point on your wrist to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. They were a god-send. I will never cruise without them again - from that point on, at the worst I felt mild nausea, and mostly felt just fine. Not sure if it was the bracelets, or what I believed they could do that made the difference, I'm just grateful they did!

Not one to let something silly like seasickness ruin my vacation, I made the most of it! Our first port was Nassau, The Bahamas (where we will return for a week's stay and diving on February 14!). It was beautiful, and I was so grateful to be on solid land. We explored Nassau, did some shopping in the straw market and ended up finding a beach to play at for a few hours, complete with a Beach Bar. I had a rum and pineapple made with fresh cut pineapple. Woo-hoo! Can't wait to come back and really see more of what Nassau has to offer!

Two days later we made port in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. We didn't have an opportunity to explore the island from any place but a boat, so this is also on my must return to visit list. As St. Thomas is the most expensive island in the Caribbean, I doubt that return visit will be very soon, but someday! Our day in St. Thomas was my absolute favorite day of our trip. We went out on two dives - the first on the reef, and the second on a shipwreck: the Cartanza Senora. The ship has a really cool local history, and it was my first dive on a wreck - awesome. It's really incredible how the ocean takes the ship in. We saw an incredible amount of sea-life on the wreck. We also saw an incredible amount of divers, too. I've been very spoiled in my dives prior to this one - groups as small as three divers. Not the case in St. Thomas, but well worth the day of diving. Looking forward to my next dives in the Caribbean - Belize and Cozymel in January and Nassau in February!

As always, my husband shot some incredible photos on our trip. Check out his posts from the Bahamas and St. Thomas!

Friday, November 4, 2011

La Nouba

Last night, Jason, G'ma Joyce, Aunt Irene and I went to see Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba at Downtown Disney. It was pretty darn spectacular! I love Cirque du Soleil - O at the Bellagio in Las Vegas is still the best thing I have EVER seen on stage. But, La Nouba was pretty fantastic, too. It's the combination of clowning, spectacle and sheer beauty that just makes my heart sing. I'm probably the ideal viewer for Cirque, honestly. I'm captivated by all of it - every moment. Plus last night, I was inspired to pick up juggling again, and I've asked Jason for a Diablo for Christmas. It's time to start playing with those again! Anyhow, it was a blast, and it was so fun to go and see it. Such a nice treat!!!!!

L to R: Aunt Irene, G'ma Joyce and I at La Nouba.
G'ma Joyce isn't THAT small - I was wearing shoes that make me about 5 inches taller. :)

Since we'd been at Cirque du Soleil, I thought you'd get a kick out of this pic from Circus school in Bristol, UK.
I've been to Circus School AND studied Clown while I was in College - the most difficult and most rewarding class I ever took!

Today is mani/pedi day, and tomorrow we board our ship in Cape Canaveral and head for the Caribbean. First stop? Nassau, Bahamas for some fun in the Straw Market and exploration. :) I'm sure it will be easy to find Jason and I tomorrow after we board. It is College Football Game Day, so best guess? Sports bar - after all LSU and Alabama play each other tomorrow. I'm rooting for the LSU Tigers and their Coach, Les Miles. After all, Les Miles is a Michigan Man. :) Plus, my 7-1 Wolverines will be playing in Iowa tomorrow. Go Blue!

Can't wait for all the new adventures we're about to embark on. Not sure if I'll be blogging from the ship - if I don't, I'll be sure to do some posting as soon as we get back!

Indy hopes you had a Happy Howl-o-ween!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lunch with Annie

On Tuesday, I got to spend several hours with my mom's half-sister, Annie. It was so much fun - we had lunch, did some window shopping, picked up my cousin Gracie at school, got some frozen yogurt, and talked a million miles an hour. She looks so much like my mom - when she dropped my off at my in-laws house and met everyone, they couldn't believe the similarities - it was just like talking to my mom, they said. Our Italian (Sicilian) gene pool runs deep - Gracie is built just like my sister Kelli was at that age, and Kelli is so much like Annie - in style, in personality, and in those genes. Annie was even wearing an outfit that I think my sister owns! Anyhow, it was a blast - I'm so glad that we were able to find the time to get together. Thank you Annie and Gracie for a great day!!!!

Yes, sometimes it can get cold in Florida - we were a little chilly!