Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Love Boat

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year, which is truly something to celebrate. They have been such a good example to all of us about what it takes to make it that long together. As kids, I can honestly say I never saw my parents fight or argue a single day of my life. As an adult, I know how lucky I am to come from a house where there was no anger and no unkindness. On top of that, my parents have faced some of the most difficult paths in life, where most people would run away into a world of misery. But, they have always turned to God and have stayed together and focused on the positive. For that, we celebrate LOVE!

We knew the best gift in life is happy memories because they last forever. After much planning and coordinating, we were finally able to get 11 of us together in one place for the vacation of a lifetime. We decided to leave behind the cold and grey skies and fly down to Florida to get on a 8 day cruise. What a treat to be together and enjoy the gorgeous sunshine, aqua blue ocean, and tropical cocktails!

I was so worried that I would have a repeat of our first cruise with kids. Since Devon has been born, we haven't had the best track record with vacations and trips. In fact, I can say that my kids are nightmare travelers (although they are amazing in other ways)! But, I was beyond amazed that this trip was perfect from beginning to end. Both Devon and Dean were pro travelers and were even able to pull their own luggage through the airport. At the end of the vacation, we got bumped up to business class on the airplane and we flew home in complete style! It was an answer to my prayers... a PERFECT vacation! Completely happy, completely peaceful and completely fun!

As usual, the Sherman family will always have camera shutters clicking like it's the papparrazi. This vacation was no exception. I took 1100 photos with my DSLR alone, plus another 50 on my iphone. Combine that with Firoze's photos, Courtney's photos and my Mom's photos, that's at least 2000 photos. Well, don't get scared... I won't make you scroll through ALL of them. It was SO hard to choose favorites though. I wanted to post only my top 30 pictures, but I was having anxiety about which ones to choose, so I put everything I couldn't live without. And here you go...

Our Love Boat... The Carnival Dream

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First stop: Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico!

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We spent the day at a private luxury resort with our own palapa (a shaded leaf cabana) and a waiter who would bring us food and drinks all day. This is a view of the resort...

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This was the view from my palapa...

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Firoze dove to find Devon a live conch...

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Our snack tray, served to us on the beach...

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Later we made our way to the open air restaurant to order lunch and it was SO good. Fresh fish, grilled with lemon and butter, shrimp and rice, chicken flautas, steak fajitas...mmmmm!

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While we were eating, we could see the boys, swinging in the hammock. These were so comfortable, we took an an afternoon siesta after lunch.

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But, the best thing about the day was the late afternoon, when everyone else was gone, we had a private beach to enjoy.

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And Dean got to be the nakey beach baby he wanted to be!

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The ship was wonderful. Great for a family getaway, with plenty of fun stuff for kids!

The main pool and movie screen...

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The aft pool and hot tubs with the view of the ship's wake...

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The water slide park...

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The kids had the most fun going down the water slides 500 times!

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Court snuggled the tired water-sliders!

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Meanwhile, the guys enjoyed some special bonding moments...

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We loved our balcony room, especially when watching cartoons is better than watching the OCEAN!

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The balcony was the perfect spot for us to hang out, as well as our live sea creatures. Have you ever seen what a conch actually looks like? Not the shell, but the animal. Well, mystery solved... (and it's disgusting!)

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To me, there is nothing more relaxing than sailing across the ocean with a big stack of "fresh" magazines and a cocktail!

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The views were absolutely breaktaking... from the sunrises...

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... to the sunsets!

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For the boys, the mini-golf was like their own personal playground - except better, because it had unlimited putters and balls to play with (and throw... in Dean's case)!

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Devon celebrating his hole in one!

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Judah, a real golfer! He was the only one that held his putter like a golf club and not like a baseball bat!

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Quinn... looking adorable!

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This is how Dean plays golf... He took it upon himself to find a place in the sun and laid down on the golf course and took a mini nap for about 10 minutes. He's a real athlete!

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The boys making their best pirate faces...

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The whole family loved getting together in the Scarlet Dining Room for a nice dinner.

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We exchanged "Happy Vacation!" gifts and Court got me these adorable anchor earrings...

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After a while, the kids grew tired of the fine dining and just ordered what they wanted... pizza!

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Our best meal of the cruise was our last... our fine dining experience at Chef's Art Steakhouse.

It wasn't funny that Dean crashed the appetizer course. BUT... it was funny that he insisted on wearing ALL my jewelry, including my stack of gold bangles and all my rings! We ONLY dine in style!

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The food was absolutely incredible... perfect steaks, lobster, tuna tartar, crabcakes, lobster corn chowder, ahhhh... I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

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We wanted to give my parents something special to end the cruise with, so we thought what better way than to end with our last meal at a luxury restaurant! And it was a very sweet ending...

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And after dinner, the boys raced back to the room to see what kind of towel animal we had.

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In Belize the Firoze and Guillermo went on a cave tube expedition for G's special birthday present. However... you're gonna have to check out Firoze's facebook photo album for the proof!

Next stop... Honduras!

The day started with the most amazingly perfect rainbow I have ever seen in my life. It was a complete rainbow and I just know that pot of gold is on that little island!

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The ski lift to the beach was awesome... for lazy people like us!

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At every beach, the boys discovered their new favorite ocean critter...

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On this trip, Dean introduced us to his new "say cheese!" face for all his posed pictures...

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Last stop, Costa Maya, Mexico... my favorite port stop on the trip!

As we got off the ship, we were lucky enough to meet the Captain! I was not so lucky that my camera was very naughty and took this out of focus picture of Devon with the Captain...

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These boys were hugging each other all day on this trip...

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"I'm a BOSS!"

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Costa Maya has a little fishing village, Mahahual, which is literally the most perfect beach you have ever seen in your life. Pure white soft sand, crystal blue water, miles and miles of endless beach bordered by miles and miles of shops and restaurants, where the waiters and shopkeepers will come to YOU! You lay on the beach and they bring you anything and everything... cocktails, tacos, jewelry, handbags, toys... it's paradise! We all want to go back!

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That's Firoze, leading his tribe of boys to the deep ocean...

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I love the baby shadow...

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The best beach in the world with our best friends in the world...what could be better?!

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Baby hermit crabs!

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Viviana was the cutest beach baby you ever saw in her little polka dots!

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Baby hands and feet cuteness.

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Me and my sweet niece in our matching outfits!

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Back on the ship, we had some family photo shoots.


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Dean with his Mimi! I noticed my Mom has the prettiest eyes. That's where Quinn gets those beautiful baby blues!

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Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad! We had the best time celebrating LOVE with you, and also celebrating Guillermo and Dean's birthday together. We will always have the great family memories from this trip!!

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Love on the Love Boat!

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