Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Love for the Birthday Boy

My sweet husband turned 29 today!

To my precious husband who...
writes me the sweetest letters,
is always so considerate,
takes me on adventures,
makes me my favorite meal before he goes out of town 
so I'll have delicious leftovers when he's gone,
gives me the best hugs,
makes me laugh so hard I cry when he talks to me in that silly
voice he'll never share with anyone else,
works hard every single day to provide for us,
and still calls me his bride...
happiest birthday wishes.

I am so grateful to have you by my side. 
I love you!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

15 Reasons Why I Loved Cozumel

1. White sandy beach
2. Crystal-clear, turquoise water
3. Authentic nachos and habanero salsa
4. Perfect guacamole and tostadas
5. Searching for seashells
6. Palm trees
7. Buckets of cerveza
8. Salty ocean breeze
9. Mi familia was all together!
10. Vendor on the beach sold us Nick's hat for "almost free"
11. Snorkeling off the beach
12. Warm sunshine in December!
13. Domesticated-ish raccoons that ran around the beach
15. Palapas for shade

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feeding Monkeys in Belize on Christmas Day

Christmas Day was a little out of the ordinary for us this year. Instead of waking up early and sitting around a Christmas tree opening presents, my family, Nicholas and I were in a rain forest in Belize! We had every intention of going snorkeling there, but we didn't plan ahead and by the time we got to the cruise terminal, the snorkeling tours were booked. So, on to Plan B... a trip to the rain forest to visit a Baboon (Howler Monkey) sanctuary!

Before we even saw a monkey, we could hear them howling. Well, roaring actually. It sounded like lions, not monkeys! Based on the sound, I was expecting a gorilla sized animal, but the monkeys were small and cute!

^ The guide lived on the property with his brother and grandmother. They have spent the last 7 years working with the monkeys to acclimate them to humans. 
^We all had a chance to feed the monkeys out of our hand!
This little guy grabbed on tight to my thumb and wanted more banana!

 ^This guy told my brother that his beard held a lot of wisdom ... haha.
We also got to see a mama monkey with 2 babies... one on her front and one on her back. Adorable!

Because we live far away from our families, it is always a treat to spend time with them. I am especially thankful to be able to spend Christmas day (and week!) together, exploring, laughing, feeding monkeys! There were moments of frustration, too... like when my brothers took forever to wake up and get going in the morning so the rest of us were sitting around waiting or when my mom and I were getting carsick and impatient in the back of the van on the way to the monkey sanctuary. 

But, even with the ups and downs of family, this is the place to be. 
Together with family. 
I don't ever want to take that for granted.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Costa Maya, Mexico

Our first stop on our Christmas cruise was in Costa Maya, Mexico. 
We took taxis to a little beach and just soaked up the sun! 

My brothers, Nick and I ventured out for a little snorkeling. We saw a couple stingrays and some parrot fish, but not much else here. Back on shore, we "refueled" with some nachos and guacamole and a cerveza, or two! 

  ^Refreshing with an ice cold Dos Equis

One thing about cruises is you only get a limited time at each stop. 
I could have easily spent 3 days relaxing on the beach!

PS. Adventures from our last cruise HERE and part I of our family cruise HERE

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Cheer at Sea

I have to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my wonderful parents for our Christmas gift - the cruise!! We loved spending quality time with the fam! Miss y'all already!!

Next up, our first stop!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Family Cruise

My family had so much fun on our Christmas cruise two years ago... 

we decided to do it again this year!

The cruise originally was supposed to leave Houston on Saturday, December 21st, but due to heavy fog in the Port of Houston the ship was delayed a day. With one day less at sea, the cruise line changed out ports of call from Roatan, Honduras (which as OK with me since I've been there before) to Costa Maya, Mexico. We also stopped in Belize (on Christmas day) and Cozumel, Mexico! Cozumel is still my favorite.

Watching the tug boat lead the ship out of the port...

Obligatory safety drill and relaxing on my parents' balcony...

The bluest water and the Caribbean Princess...

My parents had one of the balconies on the back of the ship!

This ship had a movie theater on the lido deck. The first morning was a little chilly so Nick and I sat in the hot tub, watched a movie and drank champagne! It was perfect!

 My beautiful momma and me... 

We spent a couple hours each evening in the casino. 
I ended up $150 and Nick ended down $150...so as a team, we ended up even! I LOVE playing blackjack!!

Reminiscing about our whisky tasting experience in Scotland...

And of course, we had to celebrate Nick's birthday and the fact that he got his CPA license (finally!)...

Next up... a little Christmas cheer at sea!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Caribbean Princess!

So happy to be able to spend Christmas this year with the people I love the most.
Sending Christmas wishes to all from the Caribbean Sea! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our Christmas Card, 2013.

And, over the last few years...

Wishing everyone a merry Christmas surrounded by those you love.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When in Texas...

Nick and I spent a night in Houston before we left on our Christmas cruise (more on that soon!). Normally, when I'm in Texas, I crave two things... Mexican food and Whataburger. But, neither of those are good for the bikini bod right before a cruise (and neither were in walking distance to our hotel) so we opted for a little Texas BBQ.

Nothing like a good ol' Texas size serving of brisket and salad and potato salad! Just for the record, we split ONE MEAL. It was a lot of food and, by golly, it was delicious! I was even nostalgic about the size of the ice water! You just don't see cups that size out in Cali. We ate at the same restaurant again (different location) when we were leaving Houston after our cruise.
(I didn't get my Whataburger fix on this trip. Must plan another trip to Texas ASAP to remedy this!)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter White Out Holiday Party

This year at work, we celebrated the holidays with a Winter White Out party. I was on the holiday party planning committee this year, and I had the idea of an all white party. It was so great to see it all come together! 

With 600 people, I didn't expect everyone to wear all white, but I was really impressed with how many people played along!

My team!

This is Alysia. She is on the training team with me and I love her!

 We even had a WHITE chocolate fountain for dessert with strawberries, cheesecake nibbles, assorted cookies, buttery pound cake cubes, marshmallows, rice krispy treats and brownie bites for dipping.
Sounds yummy, right?!

And of course, my favorite co-worker, Nicholas! 

After all the dancing, awesome food, photo booth fun and awards ceremony here, we ran off to another work holiday party with Nick's team at his manager's home. 
We had such a fun evening celebrating the season!

Professional images by Ryan Selewicz