A Phoenix Burning

Vacation Stories

Home from Heaven

Well, Zan and I are back from our Anniversary Cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream, and all I can say is WOWIE-WOW-WOW-WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Let me tell you all about it…

First of all, I didn’t die in a plane crash.  (YAY!) The ship did NOT sink. (DOUBLE YAY!) The children stayed healthy, homework got completed, and though they missed us a bit, they survived!!!  (YAY, YAY, and YAY!!!)  In all honesty, I think they might have missed their XBox more than they missed us.  😉

The morning of the 16th dawned cold and snowy.  As we sat on the tarmac having the plane de-iced, I thought, “What the Hell am I doing???”  Not being a good flyer, and never having left my kids before, I was filled with nerves and regret.  But then we landed.  All nerves and regret were gone as soon as I stepped foot out of Orlando airport into the bright southern sunshine and boarded the familiar Disney Bus.

Heading out to open sea...

Heading out to open sea…

The rest of the trip is blissful history.  We were able to relax, speak in full sentences, replenish our Vitamin D stores, and unwind in full bellied contentment. It was divine.  We were spoiled and made to feel special by the most excellent crew aboard, greeted with smiles and catered to in the way only Disney knows how to do.

We met wonderful people along the way, including our table mates, another couple celebrating their Anniversary.  I was once again amazed by Disney magic, pairing us with two people who we hit it off with so very easily, and with whom we had so much in common.  What a delightful addition to our trip: new friends!! (Sorry for the blurry shot…this was taken on our last rushed morning by Zan with his phone. Sadly, I forgot to purchase our dinner photos before we left the ship.)

Kevin and Dawn

The ship itself is a wonder to behold.  I had never before seen a ship in person. The size was overwhelming!  And to think these giants stay afloat???  Even more impressive!  Everywhere we looked were those special Disney details we always expect, although much more subtly woven into the fabric of the decor than you will find in the parks.  Spotlessly clean, beautifully appointed, and pridefully cared for by the crew, the ship itself was an incredible experience.  I was afraid I would not like the motion, feared it would make me sick, didn’t like the idea of being out in the middle of nowhere, with no land in sight.  However, I came home a changed woman.  I LOVED the gentle rocking of the ship, was not at all bothered by the motion, and felt so free being out in the middle of nowhere.  Sitting on our balcony to watch the sunrises and sunsets while we sailed were grace filled moments in time I won’t soon forget.

Our favorite spot at the Cove Cafe

Our favorite spot at the Cove Cafe

The Disney Dream's Lobby

The Disney Dream’s Lobby

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Sunrise on our first morning…

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Sunset on our last night…

As a married couple traveling without kids, we found plenty to do.  We were surrounded by families, which were fun to watch, but were able to escape to the quiet, adults only spaces on board.  Our favorite place was the Cove Cafe…specialty coffees, yummies, and drinks were available early morning into late at night.  Coffee Toledo with a shot of Bailey’s at 7:00am in the hot tub???  Oh, yeah, we went there!!! 😉

We spent our first day docked in Nassau visiting a chocolate factory with our tour group.  We made our own yummy chocolates, and ate lots!  We did not venture too far into Nassau, as we were looking forward to relaxing back on the ship.  Next time, we may explore more.  Instead we went back to the ship, ordered room service for lunch, and wandered around exploring all the nooks and crannies.

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The Port in Nassau…Disney Dream on the right, Disney Wonder on the left, and the Norwegian Epic in the distance

The weather was cool-ish on our second day, so we weren’t able to take advantage of all that Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) had to offer, but we did enjoy a nice long walk to the lookout tower, and a stop by Serenity Bay, the adults only beach. After about 7 minutes on the hammocks, we gave up and headed to the barbecue, then back to the ship to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. We even played a game of BINGO, Disney style, which means a whole lot of dancing and yelling and ‘whoopwhoop’-ing! Tried for the $5,000 jackpot, but no luck!

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View of the ship from the Lookout Tower

The blue waters of Castaway Cay

The blue waters of Castaway Cay

On our last night, we treated ourselves to an Anniversary dinner at Remy.  Remy is worthy of it’s own post and was an experience we will always cherish.  A three hour meal, with at least seven courses (I lost count) the food and service were exquisite.

We had so much fun, we are going back in March, this time WITH the kids!!!


If you are interested in more photos of our trip, visit my Set at Flickr.


Pssst…Want to Hear Something Exciting?

Zan and I….

wait for it!!!

Are going….



DISNEY CRUISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


there’s more!!

We are going…

WITHOUT THE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know!!!!  CRAZY, right?!?!?!

We have never ever left them for more than a night before.  In nearly 17 years we have been parents, we have never taken a vacation, even a mini one, without them.  This is a three nighter, and I feel like I’m leaving them for weeks.

I will let you in on a little secret….

I am excited, and nervous in equal measure.  I’m so conflicted.

One minute I am giddy with anticipation:

Sleeping in!

Blue beach waters!

An uninterrupted three days with my husband!

No schedules!

No responsibilities!!

And the next minute, I am nauseous with reservations:

I am going to MISS them!

They will miss US!

What if someone gets sick while we are gone?

What if someone gets hurt while we are gone?

What if my boy wakes up with nightmares and I’m not there to comfort him?

What if my girls need help with their math homework and only Daddy can help?

What if they’re lonesome and sad?

What if our flights get delayed on our way home, extending our time away?

I won’t even mention the unmentionable scary worries.

BUT…there’s that saying on my bathroom mirror:  Let your Faith be bigger than your Fear.

So we are going for it.  Doing something out of our comfort zone for US.

And after their initial, “HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!” reactions, the kids are actually supportive and happy for us.

I guess we’ve done something right.

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” -Jim Rohn




This Summer Vacation is a Full Time Job

And I’m not complaining! 🙂

Each day looks similar to the one before:

Be up and moving, showered (if the shower is able to be used—a hit and miss proposition) and dressed, cars out of the driveway, doors unlocked, lights on, Mister out of his underoos and into clothes, and coffee brewing by 7:15 am…a number of guys start showing up…1, 3, 5, 7…we never know. Load the cooler, serve up coffee to the ones who drink it (only a couple…the rest prefer to take their caffeine in a can.) Touch base, answer questions, ask others. The day proceeds…cleaning construction dust, taking care of laundry, trying not to be in the way, keeping Legos out of the doorway so no one kills themselves, trips to Lowes for paint, lights, paint, mirrors, paint, paint, paint, and more paint. Trying to fit in fun with the kids in between playing referee…(THAT job is getting old.) Answer more questions, running errands to the store, chiropractor appointments, volleyball camp, basketball camps, viola lessons, piano lessons, gymnastics…seeing the teenager off on various adventures, laboring over every single solitary decision I make as she begins the painful process of learning to fly on her own. More refereeing, more questions, more paint, and lots more dusting and vacuuming. Cooking (not so much) husband traveling (quite a lot.) Guys leave around 4:00, house is quiet, evening settles in to a regular routine…except a new one that involves only one toilet, one sink (the kitchen one) and one shower that may or may not be operational on any given day…finding showers to use elsewhere (a trip next door or a trip to Mom and Dad’s?? Who have we inconvenienced the least in the past few days??) Collapsing into bed at 8:00 to keep the Fibro in check…Mister getting up in the night? Maybe, maybe not. Too tired to even dream…and it all begins again the next morning.

Gotta tell you, we are having a GREAT summer in spite of all the chaos!

Our annual vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey two weeks ago with my parents and sister’s family was a wonderful break from all things stressful and we couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  I even managed to get up to see a few sunrises!  The first was by far the most beautiful of the week.  All alone on the beach, with my coffee in one hand and my camera in the other, taking peace and renewal from the sea and sun.

Evenings have become our favorite time…we return to the beach after a family dinner and enjoy the sunset and the quiet.  On one particular evening we were treated to a rainbow out over the ocean.  That’s something you don’t get to see everyday!

Another brilliant sunrise, this one taken from the front window of our beach house:


And yet another sunrise, this one shared with my two daughters…precious moments to remember.

More to tell and a lot more photos to share, but One Fine Summer is in desperate need of an update, so I’m going to hop on over there for a bit.  I will be back with more from our vacation soon.  (Of course “soon” is a relative term.) 🙂

iLove my iPhone

A few iPhotos of our trip to hold you over until I can download my Nikon (which has gotten quite a workout his week!)





Protected: Time to Lighten the Mood

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Her Tomato Plants

Our vacation house is the one in the middle.

Sunset Over Our House

But I can’t help but think of the home next door tonight. That beautiful home on the left is just that…a home. Not a vacation home…it is a single family, year round home, complete with tomato garden. I spoke briefly to the owner while we were there three weeks ago as she tended to her lovely garden. And tonight that was the first thought I had…not concern for her beautiful property…no, I got choked up over the likely loss of her beautiful tomato plants, so lovingly tended.

Hoping she and her family have evacuated as they were supposed to.

Tonight my thoughts are there, so I will share “there” with you.

Our Daily Path from the House

Take Flight

Dave and His Girls

Alex Flying a Kite

Mom and Ella

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace, Love, and Sandy Feet

Just an appetizer…

Smiling for Memiere

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”
–Isak Dinesen