Monday, July 19, 2010

looks like we made it

As my one year anniversary approaches, I find myself having a hard time believing it's already been a year and pondering what the perfect 1 yr anniversary gift would be. I know the traditional 1 year anniversary gift is "paper" but I'm having a hard time thinking of something paper for my husband.

I was hoping to get some ideas flowing at some point, but I've got nothing. What have all of you done for your first year anniversary?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We had discussed wanting to take a deep sea fishing trip while we were in Jamaica. By the time we decided we were definitely going to splurge and go deep sea fishing, most of the fishing trips were full. Like all the other activities we needed to sign up and they only could take a certain amount of people on each sea fishing tour.

The only day for the week that was still available was Sunday. We weren't actually leaving until Monday so it worked out perfect for us. We signed up for the spot on Sunday and she immediately told us that the trip would not go out unless there were at least 4 people and that although we were signed up to go, we might not actually be able to go out unless 2 more people signed up. She then went on to say that Sunday is usual a travel day for people- people leaving, people checking in... so it was less likely that more people would sign up.

We kept our fingers crossed that people would sign up or that someone would cancel a reservation for earlier in the week and we would be contacted to go then. Neither one happened.

Unfortunately we waited to long to sign up for the seep sea fishing and we didn't end up being able to go.

And so, on Sunday we ended up relaxing on the beach, having some hummingbirds and enjoying our last day in paradise before we headed back to reality the next day.

And that's it folks. It only took me almost a whole year to finish the recaps, but I enjoyed looking back at our honeymoon as our one year anniversary is quickly approaching.

The Martha Brea

Way before the wedding or honeymoon were even thoughts in my mind, I had seen this whole documentary on the bamboo river rafting that could be done in Jamaica and thought to myself how cool that would be to float down the river and really get to see the country you are visiting. When we arrived in Jamaica this was something I really wanted to do. I really wanted to be able to see what the country was like that we were visiting, not just the Americanized section we were staying in. Lucky for us, all we had to do to set up the river trip was take a little walk down to the activity center at Sandals. They set the whole thing up for us.

We were in Negril and the bamboo trip down the Martha Brea River was in Montego Bay. I guess we didn't realize at the time that we had a two hour drive to get to the river. Even though we had a long car ride, I was glad that we decided to go.

Did I mention how crazy they drive in Jamaica?

 After the two hour car ride, we arrived at the spot that the river tours started and met our river rafting guide.

We were there on a Saturday which apparently is the LEAST busy day. I would have thought it to be one of the busiest, but I'm glad that we hit it just right. Our tour guide was really cool. He talked to us and pointed things out the whole time. 

The river was not as clear as I imagined it being, it was sort of this murkey looking color and it was disappointing to not see the bottom. Our guide said it is usually clear but that the rain had made it muddy. 

It was really great to see the pretty nature part of Jamaica.

There was certainly a lot of green.
and bamboo!

There were little huts set up at various points along the river, but they were all empty. Our guide told us on the busy days the locals set up shop there and sell things to the tourists from the riverside. There was one shop open and they threw us a hand carved bamboo boat. It was very detailed and beautiful. Our guide told us that if we wanted it we kept it and would pay for it at the end of the trip (the "seller" would meet us at the end of the tour), however, if we didn't want it we needed to throw it back. As much as we would have liked to have kept it as a reminder of the adventure it was pretty expensive and we didn't have a lot of cash on us so we ended up throwing it back.

Our guide had things that he carved as well. Carving is a big lively hood in Jamaica and they do some wonderful work! Our guide actually took coconuts and carved designs into them. They were beautiful, so we sprung for one. 

At the end of the trip we get off the raft and have to walk through the gift show to get to our cab. They are trying to sell things the whole time to us. I was pretty annoyed with the persistence of the store clerks. We hadn't brought much money with us because we weren't planning on buying anything while on the river so we were highly annoyed that after saying we didn't want anything they kept pestering us. 

Overall, I was glad we did the trip, it was insightful and great to see Jamaica in that way.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The wonderful world of fish

When the Man an activity center you went through if you wanted to do anything outside the resort. It was pretty cool because they set the whole thing up for you including travel. There was a fee of course but everything was charged to your room.

If you stuck to the activities offered by the Sandals Resort then you didn't actually need to bring any cash with you which we thought was pretty cool. We wish we had known ahead of time, but we know for next time.

We decided to sign up for a deep sea fishing trip and a bamboo raft trip down the Martha Brea River on Saturday and Sunday for the paid activities. Along with the paid activities there were a few free ones that Sandals offered right there on the resort. We fully took advantage of these on Friday and I wish we had done so earlier in the week.

Sandals offered a glass bottom boat tour for free. The glass bottom boat was small and you really couldn't see anything through the bottom but the captain of the trip was a riot. He made the trip hilarious. The made us wear those ugly orange life vests the whole way too. we all looked super hot.

Not satisfied with the glass bottom boat tour, we decided to try snorkeling. Snorkeling was where it was at! I hadn't snorkeled since I was a little kid in my pool, so it was my first real time doing it. Took me a little while to get used to the feel of breathing out of the tube, but it was so worth it. We went to a spot called the "cave" and although there were lots of jellyfish that kept coming near me, it was fabulous. I can't even begin to explain all of the life down there on the ocean floor. I felt like I was swimming right along with the fishes and the jellyfish. I noticed the jellyfish had a light purple design on them instead of being completely clear and I thought that made them really pretty too.

We signed up for three more snorkeling adventures later in the day because it was so cool. Each time we went out we got lucky enough to go to a different spot! The last spot we went to the "reef" was the most colorful. There were schools brightly colored fish swimming below me and along side me. It was amazing.

We had bought a cheap underwater camera and took lots of pictures but the ones that came out came out cloudy and did not capture the amazing sights we saw down there. It was quite disappointing to get the film back and not have any of the pictures portray what we had seen!

I would snorkel again and again. It's such a fun and free activity that I suggest everyone take advantage of it whenever they can!

Did you try something on your honeymoon you wish you'd tried earlier?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shop till you drop

After the Man spent a whole day in bed, I was ready to get out there and explore a little of Jamaica. We had set up a shopping trip through Sandals. They drove us to the site and stayed there while we shopped around inside. It was a little strange having someone wait for us to shop, but since we were the only ones signed up for that time slot, it wasn't too awkward.

The driver brought us to the little strip mall that I suppose was built for tourists. All sorts of Jamaican memorabilia stocked the stores. Most of the stores carried the usual t-shirts, hats and other clothing with Jamaica sprawled across the front. I purchased one shirt that said Jamaica on it, call me predictable but I wanted a physical reminder of our time there. We then searched for some different kinds of gifts for our families.

We found these hand crafted bamboo wind chimes that struck me as beautiful. So we bought several as gifts for our families. They seemed to encompass the true spirit of the Jamaican crafters. We also found a photo album made completely from bamboo leaves and plants which we thought was so extraordinary that we bought it for ourselves.

After we were done with the Americanized "mall" we headed on over to the craft show. The craft show in Jamaica is very different than anything I've ever been to in America. The show was in "true" Jamaica. All sorts of little work huts were set up in the square. Each hut was someone Else's craft "studio" and it had tons of the most amazing hand crafted wood carvings. The artists were in their studio's trying to sell you everything. I was completely overwhelmed. I hate when people come up to me in stores to try to help me or sell me things and that was what was happening here. We bought a few things from one of the studio's and then the artist forced to to go to his son's studio next door. I did find this really cool cat figuring he had carved that made me think of MOH and I bargained with him to give it to me for the price I wanted. He didn't want to and I felt guilty for trying to talk him down knowing that he was probably living in a little shack up the road, but we were running out of shopping money and I wanted it. Rather than lose a sale we came to an agreement in the middle. We did not check out any other studio's after that. Everyone wanted to sell you something and I was feeling completely smothered.

Shopping in the craft fair was different than I was used to but it also exposed me to the culture of Jamaica which is what I wanted all along. We left with some great gifts and some amazing hand crafted carved figurines and wall plaques.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jamaican me....sick

So there we were in the middle of a tropical paradise. We had already had a fabulous dinner on the beach and a couples massage that the man set up for us. The man had taken a course in scuba diving while I patiently awaited him to rejoin me at the beach because I wasn't allowed to go. After the man returned from scuba diving it began storming out, well actually it started storming while he was still out there, but it was still storming when he came back to me. After meeting him at the pick up spot we went back to our room to watch. You see, in Jamaica it rained every day for an hour or so and then the sun came out and it was beautiful again. You would never know it had rained.

We spent the rest of the day doing things together on the beach and in the pool--relaxing mostly, something I really needed after the year of wedding planning I had done.

The man told me all about the beautiful creatures he saw scuba diving and admitted that he would do it all over again, but since it was our honeymoon he limited it to just that one time. Smart move hunny. We enjoyed the rest of the day together but after dinner the man started to not feel well.

He was burning up. The next day he was full on sick all day. He felt like crap and was burning up. He blamed it on the water they so blatantly keep filling up at the table. The man felt horrible so it was no surprise that he didn't want to do anything. at. all. I'm not going to lie- I was bored and slightly annoyed that he didn't want to do anything since I had wasted the whole day before waiting for him to get done scuba diving. But then I remembered my manners. He was not faking. He was sick and you can't help when you get sick.

while the man slept in bed all day trying to recover from his mysterious illness I stuck it out by the pool for most of the day. They had fun things going on there like couples treasure hunts (which I so wanted to do but I was minus a partner), dance off's, fun music, and finally the pool volleyball that I loved.

I kept sneaking back to the room to check on my little sick man and I felt bad for him that he was having such a bad reaction to.... something.

He thought it was the water and stopped drinking it and stopped drinking drinks with ice or made from ice. I luckily was able to tolerate the water and didn't get sick at all! Thank goodness because I need ice. I need my drinks to be cold. really cold. I put ice in my chilled water at home to make it colder. And Jamaica had this amazing frozen drink called the "hummingbird" that I was not willing to give up no matter what. Best drink, ever! I don't know what was in it, but oh my god was it good!

I'll tell you what else was good. The soup. Seriously, when hear the word Jamaica, soup would never have came to mind but I had several kinds when I was there and they were all fabulous. I'm not even kidding. My all time favorite was the lemongrass coconut. Yes, I remember the name of it almost a whole year later- that's how good it was. I have a love for all things coconut anyway, but this was something else. There was a carrot cinnamon soup that was a close second. I have looked for some recipes since I got home but sadly I have not been able to replicate the soups I had there.

The man survived the day and night and the next day he was feeling a lot better.

Did you run into any complications on your honeymoon?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I've been a bad bad girl

In case you haven't noticed, I fell off the blogging bandwagon for the last six months or so. I just stopped logging in and recapping, and for those of you following my story I am sorry to have disappeared so abruptly. I will get back to my recaps soon, but sadly I no longer have pictures because our computer crashed AGAIN and we lost everything on it-again. You would think I would have learned due to the loss of wedding documents and information several months earlier, but no, I had to go and think that it wouldn't happen again and that I didn't need to back anything up. Luckily there weren't that many pictures I haven't shared already because my camera died pretty early into the trip. I thought I had packed an extra battery pack that was charged, however, it was dead too. But that is for a different post.

What has caused my long term absenteeism? Well, I would love to tell you life has been perfect since that day we said, "I do," but I think you all know by now that nothing is perfect and the course doesn't often run smooth.

Don't take it the wrong way--Married life has been wonderful. The man and I are in love and doing great. But life-life has been challenging since before I last left you.

Shortly after the honeymoon, and by shortly I mean 3 days after we returned from the honeymoon and came home to a house filled with: wedding clutter, wedding gifts,wedding attire, vacation laundry and absolute chaos; we did something stupid. We drove an hour away to "look" at German Shepherd puppies. The man convinced me to go and I should have known that looking at puppies would lead to a lifetime commitment I wasn't so sure I was quite ready to make, but I went there believing we were only looking. Little did I know we would see the cutest little puppy ever. She was full of spunk, playful with her own personality and she came right up to me and licked my leg. I fell in love with her face. The man fell in love with her willingness to bite all the other puppies.
And that was all it took. Remmi was leaving with us and was to become the newest member of our family!
I quickly found out that puppies are cute for a reason. If they weren't cute, no one would put up with them. Life after puppy ("LAP") certainly changed. The man started working longer days away from home which meant puppy watching was left up to me. LAP was not a fun time for me. Having the added stress of a new puppy, going back to my dreaded job after such an amazing vacation and the mounting chaos that was piled in our house and a feeling of no time to do anything, I began having panic attacks.

If you've never had a panic attack, it is not a fun time at all. I had had anxiety before, but never in my life felt anything like this. It kind of feels like you are having a heart attack and all the while you are convinced you are dying. I found out later that I had bursitis in my shoulder, which was causing me to have pain and numbness radiating down my left arm. Which in turn was raising my blood pressure and causing my heart to race and bringing on the panic attack. After the first one and spending hours in the ER convinced I was having a heart malfunction, I knew what they were and what they felt like, but they = not so much fun.

Not to worry, my mom went to my house and rescued our newly adopted puppy for the night that I was in ER. Puppy returned to me addicted to stealing my socks. I blame my mother.

LAP then became very routine. Go to work, come home, deal with puppy biting me with her needle like teeth all night and play with puppy all night because all she wanted to do was play. I couldn't stop anywhere after work because I had to go home and let her out of her crate, I couldn't meet up with my friends for coffee because she was waiting for me to get home. I couldn't even cook dinner because she was attacking me wanting to play. My life now revolved around the little life that we decided to adopt. I kept reminding myself how cute she was and somehow that got my through the puppy stage.

She's a pretty good dog now. We have trained her to do a lot of things and she's super smart so she picks up on things really quickly. She has brought some joy into my life---

--except the day I came home to find she had ate my coach umbrella..... but I have since forgiven her for that.

Have you added any new members to your family after tying the knot?