I just got back from a week-long cruise with my hubby!

Look at each other

And it was WONDERFUL. We just relaxed and ate a ton (well, I ate more than he did. He was very disciplined and actually gained no weight. I gained 4 pounds, which is about average for me on cruises). And I read about 8 books, 3 of which I’m going to try to tell you all about at some point because they changed my life again. That’s three life changes in just one week! That’s a good ratio.

I didn’t tell you a whole lot about the cruise before I left because I feel like that’s the same as putting a neon sign above my house saying, “Hey! We’re empty for a whole week! Come rob us!” (Though the house isn’t empty; a friend of ours is renovating the basement so my mom can move in. Mom’s perfectly healthy; it’s not a health thing. It’s just a financial/convenience thing. With Keith and me gone in the RV so much it makes more sense for her to live here so there’s always someone here. And it’s a lot cheaper for everyone!)

Anyway, we went with my mother and my aunt, and my aunt and Keith are both big birdwatchers. Mom and I enjoy it, too, but we’re not crazy. They’re a little crazy–they’ll go out when it’s raining and in the blazing sun, while Mom and I like to just enjoy being out in nature. But the four of us had a lot of fun!

4 on cruise

The first bird we saw was actually off of the side of the ship, gliding along the water. It’s one of those birds that lives in the middle of the ocean, rather than on land.

booby

Keith and I are eating and he looks out the window and sees a spec of something, so he rushes down to our cabin to get his binoculars and his camera. And when I say camera, I mean CAMERA. Here’s a pic of him with it on Grand Turk (he was trying to get a picture of a yellow crowned night heron that’s really shy, so he stood on the OTHER side of the car, opened up my aunt’s window, and took it THROUGH the car so he wouldn’t spook it):

Pic through car

Anyway, this bird is called the brown footed booby. And the best place to get a picture of it was on the deck where everyone was sunbathing. So we all had a good laugh, because Keith was worried about what everyone would think of him carrying a camera like that up to the deck where everyone’s in bathing suits, and then we thought about how much worse it would be if they knew that he had that camera so he could take pictures of boobies (there were three brown footed boobies following our ship).

We rented this tiny car in Grand Turk and bought a local field guide for birding.

Grand Turk

We got completely lost, but saw some wonderful things!

flamingo

ground dove

And there are wild donkeys wandering all over the island, too!

donkey

In Puerto Rico we actually hired the best birder on the island (he’s only 24, but he’s seen over 700 species) to take us out.

Puerto rico

He brought us to this park, and what I found so interesting is that every 200 feet or so there were these old bunkers that the U.S. had built during World War II in case of nuclear war, built into the side of the hills. Some were actually quite picturesque.

American flag

Mostly, though, I just sat on the deck and read books.

But here’s a funny story. On the first day of the cruise they had a “jive” class that you could go to, and I said to Keith, “Let’s go! It will be fun! And you won’t have to do anything to embarrass yourself of course.”

Well, it just so happened that Holland America had a contract with Dancing with the Stars, where they do a version of the show on the ship. They have three dance classes, teach people a different routine in each class, and then at the end of the 45 minute class the “teachers” pair up with a few of the guests to dance the routine, and everyone else votes on who is best.

So at the end of this jive class Keith and I are dragged up to do the routine.

And they voted us the best.

Which meant that we had to dance in front of EVERYONE at the big finale show on the Friday night.

Too funny! We actually did quite well according to the judges–I got a perfect 30 and Keith got a 29, and all the other dancers were a lot younger than us. But we didn’t win because it was based on applause, not score. I got third, though! But honestly, I didn’t care. My goal was not to look like an idiot, and I accomplished that. I wish I could show you the video, but it’s really blurry.

The woman who did win was 25. She was really happy about it. I was just praying that whoever needed it and wanted it most would win, and she did. The funny thing was, thinking back to myself at 25, I think it would have mattered to me, then, too. But it doesn’t at all now. So I guess we do change as we get older.

One bad part of the cruise: I’ve been getting constant headaches for about two months. I think it may be related to me clenching my jaw at night, and using the wrong kind of pillow. I’m going in to see the dentist later this week to maybe get a mouth guard, and I’m going for another massage, but if any of you have any experience with that, I’d love to hear some advice!

But the best part, of course, was just being away with my husband.

When they take the formal pictures on the cruise they have certain poses they like you to do, but I like switching it up a little. So this one’s my favourite:

Sheila kiss

Anyway, a big THANK YOU to Ngina from Intentional Today and Julie from Hot, Holy and Humorous for filling in for me in the comments section last week! I was just reading through yesterday and they both did great. Thanks for keeping this blog going!

And I hope to tell you all about some of those books soon. Now back to unpacking!

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