Our Caribbean cruise vacation: Part 3

If you missed part one, read it HERE.

If you missed part two, read it HERE.

Day 5: Wednesday, October 12th. On Wednesday, we spent the day in Jamaica. When we originally booked the cruise and realized that Jamaica was on the itinerary, my mind instantly went to Dunn’s River Falls. Ryan and I visited Ocho Rios and climbed the falls in 2003 on our honeymoon. A friend of mine with young sons recently visited as well and I asked her if she thought kids could do it. She thought so, so we forged ahead with fingers crossed that this wouldn’t be way too challenging for them. We docked at Falmouth and the port and shopping area is absolutely beautiful. There are some touristy places like Margaritaville and Del Sol but also lots of local artists and food options. Our excursion to DRF included a stop at Green Grotto Caves, which turned out to be just as much fun for the boys. Our kids were the only children with our tour group and this served us well. First of all, they were having a wonderful time so they were incredibly well behaved, which is always helpful. Secondly, the other people on our tours thought they were cute and enjoyed talking to them. Finally, the tour guides loved them and let them (us) in the front of the group so they could see and the guides could help them navigate places with tricky or slippery footing.

I love the people of Jamaica that we encountered. I love the no-problem attitude. “In Jamaica, we do not have problems. We have situations, which can be shared with friends and family.” Green Grotto Caves was located 30 minutes from Falmouth and about halfway to Dunn’s River Falls, so we had lots of time to listen and talk to the guide on the bus tell us about Jamaican culture and interesting details about the lifestyle there. We found the info about their daily life the most fascinating, like how public schools work, how taxes are paid, and how homes are constructed.

The boys absolutely loved both the caves and the falls – they were troopers and I love their sense of adventure and lack of fear. It was an awesome, awesome, awesome day. The kind of day where you’re torn between soaking in every ounce of the experience and feeling bittersweet anxiousness because you know it’s just a fleeting moment in time you’ll never get back. During the Falls, Theo kept saying “I don’t want this to end!” and I didn’t either. I don’t know how else to explain it so I’ll let the photos talk.

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A crystal clear underground lake at Green Grotto Caves.

The guide, Kevon, called the boys “superheroes” and they loved it.

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20161012_133102At the base of Dunn’s River Falls20161012_135630 20161012_135635 20161012_135647 20161012_135701 20161012_142330 20161012_161244 20161012_162751 20161012_162840 20161012_163658 20161012_164515 20161012_165503 20161012_170516 20161012_1745500 20161012_174837 20161012_175026 20161012_175541 20161012_175855 20161012_180200 20161012_183039 20161012_183737 20161012_184732 20161012_185207 20161012_191241 20161012_195711

Falmouth, Jamaica was by far one of the best days of the trip!

The boys went to Adventure Ocean while we enjoyed some frozen drinks by the pool.



An update on the boys…and stuff

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Dexter completed pre-school and Theo graduated from Kindergarten at the end of May. Here we are, already almost a full week into their school year. It’s hard to believe that my youngest is now officially in elementary school. We feel so lucky with the teachers our boys have this year. Dexter has the same Kindergarten teacher Theo had last school year. We had heard wonderful things from 3 different sets of parents about Theo’s first grade teacher and after  meeting her and hearing more about her teaching philosophy, we are jumping on the fan club bandwagon too.

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Summer flew by. Nine short weeks from the last day of one school year until the first day of the next. They went to a summer day camp for 8 weeks. Theo was in the Kindergarten and up class this year while Dexter was still in the pre-school class. The separation was a little difficult a few days here and there but overall everything went well. Theo had the opportunity to swim every day and about halfway through the summer, he passed a swim test so that he no longer had to wear a lifejacket in the pool. Now he is comfortable with swimming above and below the water and swimming down to touch the bottom of the pool. My mama heart wants to beat out of my chest watching him (like a hawk) but he is so proud of how much he’s learned and I am too.

Dexter reunited with a favorite friend from summer camp last year and begged almost every day to have him come to our house for a sleepover. Ha! If only it was that simple. Maybe if they meet up again next summer, we can try to arrange some get-togethers. Dexter always looked forward to seeing Theo at the flagpole and playing with him during before care for about 20 minutes.

Every day on our way home from camp, we passed their former Montessori pre-school. Of course, going there is fresh on Dexter’s mind, as are the friends we leave behind as we transition to this next phase in their lives. Often, Dexter would comment that he missed school, his teachers, or various friends. Theo never looked back once he left Montessori school so this has been a change of conversation and a little bittersweet. It hurts my heart to know that he’s thinking about the past longingly like that but I know that he too will move on. Soon those days will be a distant memory for him. Thankfully, we’ve become friends with the parents of some of his closest friends and hope to continue our connection to them and the school where it all began.

After 3 days of Kindergarten and 1st grade, I complained about not getting enough information. I’d ask them a million questions but I think they are just so busy that they can’t pick out specific details to share with me. It’s been an overwhelming change for Dexter. Theo is very excited about his teacher and having some of the same friends from last year in his class again. Dexter has been a little wild and crazy as he always is when big life changes are going on. Every day, everything is “good!” or “great!” so I’m trusting that all is well. I’ve been trying to hold back from emailing Dexter’s teacher for at least a week as he settles in to new routines and develops new friendships. Well, today on the fourth day I wish I had a little less information. Dexter said he had to walk five laps around the playground at the beginning of recess for talking while the teacher was talking. While I’m not terribly surprised, it’s disappointing and I kind of wish I was in the dark again.

Having a little one starting Kindergarten is tough on parents. I always heard people talk about crying when their “babies” started school and I guess it’s one of those things where you nod and give an empathetic “aww,” but you truly don’t understand what a big milestone it is until it happens. Before kids, I dreamed of having babies and young children but I guess my daydreams didn’t go much further than that. As a young girl, young woman, and young wife, I envisioned holding my babies for a good 20 years or more before I ever had any. 9 months of pregnancy flies by. A year of infancy and a couple years of toddlerhood fly by. The next thing you know, you’re ushering them onto the school bus and waving goodbye to them and their baby days all at the same time. Those precious 5 years are so unbelievably hard at times, but more than that, they are ridiculously short. When you send them off to Kindergarten, it is a milestone for the parents too. Off they go…into the world, or their miniature version of it anyway. I hope they are kind to others. I hope people are kind to them. I hope they follow the rules, but stand up for themselves when they need to. I hope they pay attention. I hope someone pays attention to them, shows them that they care. I hope they work hard and take pride in their accomplishments. I hope they enjoy learning. I hope I’ve prepared them well.

I hope they enjoy their childhoods. Because the next 13 years are going to fly by, too.

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catch the moment: wk 51

Whoa, I should have posted this last Wednesday or Thursday but got way too busy with holiday fun. My sister and her family arrived for Christmas on the 23rd and my mom on the 24th so posting my photos for the week before was the last thing on my mind! I haven’t spent much time on my phone and even less on the computer over the past 7 days and while I feel a little more disconnected from my friends than usual, it’s been nice to focus on the here and now. It just occurred to me yesterday that I hadn’t sorted, edited, or shared last week and now it’s almost time to post another set – the very last set – of photos for 2015.

351/365: Thursday, December 17th. Theo’s busy making Spider-man drawings with his new art set from Aunts Emily & Lauren. 12-17-2015

352/365: Friday, December 18th. Sorry for the blurry photo, but that’s the best I could do at capturing Theo in all of his excitement about wearing pajamas to school for Polar Express day. Also, he was gearing up for a fun weekend at Nana and Pop Pop’s. 12-18-2015

353/365: Saturday, December 19th. With our kid-free weekend, we got TONS of stuff done. Including buying and assembling new bar stools, buying new TVs and a new entertainment center, finished shopping and wrapping Christmas gifts, and cleaned the house in preparation for our holiday house guests.12-19-2015

354/365: Sunday, December 20th. I didn’t take this picture with the intention to post it here but I suppose it works well. Ryan and I bought this entertainment center when we moved in together right before we got married in 2003. I de-cluttered it on Sunday and posted this photo on a local facebook garage sale site Sunday. I was so tired of looking at it and all the clutter we crammed into every drawer, shelf, and cabinet. Ryan felt a little sentimental when it sold. I do remember us assembling it together, sorting through the instructions and millions of pieces. But still…bye.12-20-2015

355/365: Monday, December 21st. The boys’ first opportunity to sit at the new & improved breakfast bar and watch a cartoon with daddy while they ate cereal. Pretty much Ryan’s dream come true. Most of the vision for the kitchen was mine but this was a non-negotiable for Ryan. Turns out, we all love it. The bar is everyone’s favorite place to congregate now. 12-21-2015

356/365: Tuesday, December 22nd. Theo has been showing me some of the games and websites he uses at school. During summer, I’d take him to the library and he couldn’t use a mouse or operate a computer at all. It was so frustrating for me to try to show him and have him not listen, I’d just shoo him to something else. He’s learned a lot in his 5 months of Kindergarten! Apparently it’s a good thing I’m not a teacher.12-22-2015

357/365: Wednesday, December 23rd. I got off work early and came home to find our new entertainment center in place and our new TV being set up! YAY! Less clutter! Then we went into last minute madness mode, prepping for my sister and her family and my mom to come stay through Christmas weekend. Also, our sad looking Christmas card tree – funny enough, we’ve received many more cards since the 23rd. It’s all the way down to the floor now!12-23-2015