Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lobster Daves

On to our Wednesday activities in Jamaica!  This day was really cool, mainly because it was not an excursion. We took a taxi into town to go to the straw market, a digital casino, and to find my FIL some local conch ceviche.

Our taxi driver's name was Winter. He took us to the straw market with one comment, "They're pretty pushy." This immediately made me nervous since I don't really like the whole barter/bargaining thing anyway. Duck Dude lives for it. They say $50 and he says something like "how about $10?" and I have to do everything in my power to not let my jaw physically drop. However, I didn't buy anything without him. Every person you passed was, "Pretty face, come take a look into my shop." or "I made it all my own" even though it looks exactly like the stuff the person next to them has. We left with a hand carved vase, a hand carved mask to add to our wall, and us 3 girls all got sandals that look similar to this image I just pulled off google. 

Next we were off to the casino. We walked about 4 blocks to get there. Gambling is a relatively new thing on the island, so it is all digital. We played digital roulette where we could place quarter bets! I played on my first 20 dollars for almost the whole time. They have a person who helps you and when Duck Dude was up $100 she almost demanded he stop and put that money in his pocket. We had a lot of fun!

Then Winter, our driver, took us to the local fisherman market to find some conch ceviche. Everyone we had asked about it had no idea what we were talking about. We show up to "Lobster Daves" which was a little place on top of a natural spring creek. This little area is made up of a lot of different restaurants/shacks. We got 2 grilled shrimp and 2 conch ceviche and waited as they cooked them on tire rims with a metal grate over them. No, for real. While we waited we probably got high off of all the second hand weed we smelled and saw. We were also there while the USA was playing Jamaica in soccer and Jamaica was winning. We had to talk Naked Nick out of yelling "U-S-A!!!!"  Before we knew it, Glen was in the "kitchen" helping the cook!

When we got our food it looked great! We took one bite and our mouths were on FIRE! This is the spiciest shrimp and conch I have ever eaten in my life!!! Thank goodness for the fried bammy and roll thing that was there. It was good, but you couldn't really taste anything other than the spices. 

It was an experience for sure!! I had the best time!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dunn's River Falls

I've got to start this post with sister and bro in law are back in the USA!!!!!!!! They are driving to Dallas today, but she started this morning with a text that said, "I love waking up and being able to text y'all." And I definitely agree. I thank you all so much for all of the prayers. Y'all are the best of the best. I cannot wait to see them!
On to the real stuff!! 

Dunn's River Falls was our first excursion of the trip! It consisted of three things. We started on a catamaran and sailed out to a snorkeling spot! We got our stuff on.. including the really attractive ring around your mid section. We jumped in amidst the myriad of people who have never been snorkeling before and were trying to get back on the boat because they cannot swim.... and got as far away from them as possible. :) There were tons of little jellyfish around that somehow didn't sting you, but I definitely was not a fan. We saw some cool fish and then got back on the boat!

We got on the boat and headed to Dunn's River Falls. This is a natural waterfall in Jamaica that you can hike up! The water is colllld.. but you eventually get a little used to it! I actually thought it wouldn't be a bad team building idea because you hold hands and help each other through the entire falls. So uhh, if I can get my school district to pay for a flight to Jamaica, hotels, and a trip to the falls that would be great!!! HA! We got about half way through and I thought it was over. I was like oh my gosh that was so much fun!! And then I saw another vertical climb in front of me! It's safe to say the next day our calves were sore, but we did it!!!

We got back on the boat and that's when the party started!!! Papa Smurf/Monopoly Man/Santa Claus/Glen got called every name under the sun as we headed to Margaritaville!! Sister Laura and I were wearing our "Boat Hair, Don't Care" tanks I found and knew we had to have... it was definitely applicable after all the snorkeling and waterfalling. We ate a cheeseburger in paradise, Naked Nick played a ridiculous game, and balloons on our heads were involved!! :) 

It was the best ending to the excursion! And only reinforced one thing: I have the best family ever!

Monday, July 27, 2015

We Are Home!

We made it back home!  And I will say it was nice to come home to an already set up home! Last time we were coming home from the honeymoon and there was still so much to do.

This time, it's the normal post vacation things. I'm on my third load of laundry and have piles of clean laundry covering the living room. I'm editing pictures. Duck Dude is putting the suitcases back up in the attic. We're catching up on DVR'd TV. And preparing for the Bachelorette finale tonight, where we will be ordering pizza for dinner!! 

Caroline said her week was crazy and the first thing she said to me was, "I didn't blog once." Her family that she nanny's for had a medical emergency and she ended up spending nights over there with the kids, plus working church camp, plus her job at the fields. I said, I get it! Blogging is definitely hard sometimes! But maybe look for some guest posts from her in the future! 

In our family this is how we start our stories, "So, I got on the plane... and...." Meaning, we love details! We want to know every single story that happened! That would take me forever to write! :) I will say we missed our other family, the Longs! Sometimes it was weird to say "6" instead of "12" at dinner. 

Here were the basic details of our trip. We went to Jamaica and flew into the Montego Bay airport. We stayed at The Jewel: Dunn's River Fall Resort in Ocho Rios. That meant we had an hour and a half bus ride to the resort from the airport, but it also meant we only had a 8-10 minute drive to all of our excursions! We were there Sunday to Sunday. Monday we had a pool recovery day. Tuesday we did the Dunn's River Falls excursion. Wednesday we took a taxi to downtown Ocho Rios and ended up at a local fish market. Thursday we did the Mystic Mountain excursion. Friday and Saturday were both pool days! 

I will go further into detail on each excursion later in the week. Jamaica was family time, old story time, meeting new friends time, tanning time, and a whole bunch of new memories time!! 

For now, I think I just heard the laundry machine stop! Time to add to my clean piles!

Friday, July 17, 2015

El Salvador Update 3

Happy Friday!!! 
Here's what I am grateful this Friday. 
When you have a large family? There's a lot of people in it. 
When you marry into a large family? There's a lot of people in it. 
When you have family friends that are pure gold? That's a lot of people you can count on. 
When you have friends you know are there for you? That's a lot of people you can count on. 
My family has been relying on all of these people as prayer warriors for the past week, and we couldn't imagine doing it without them. 

Quick catch up: My sister and brother in law are in El Salvador and have been for 8 1/2 weeks. I wrote updates here and here. One of the biggest prayer requests we have had has been about the mosquitos. 

Saturday night we got a text from my sister saying Ben had a rash. This is the first symptom of the Chikungunya mosquito disease. Sunday she informed us he had a fever and would be going to the doctor on Monday. This specific disease attacks the joints and feels similar to arthritis. Hannah informed us that he had a little joint discomfort. He described it as it felt like he needed to pop his wrists and ankles. 

Monday he went to the doctor and received a steroid shot and pills to take twice every day. He also got cough syrup for a bad cough he has. He said the steroid shot worked wonders. 

We've been getting updates every night around 10:30 from Hannah. That's definitely been the hardest part for me.. the waiting. We've then been passing on the updates to alllll of our prayer warriors. The update we got last night was this: "No pain or issues with the Chikungunya, just the ugly rash still. His cough is giving him more trouble." 

They celebrated their 3rd anniversary on July 14th and drank this "cream soda" El Salvadorian Classic. 

I am beyond grateful that Ben doesn't feel as bad as he could. I am grateful for all of the people who have offered up prayers for them this week. Our biggest prayer request right now is that Hannah can make it the last week and a half without getting the disease.  We cannot wait to have them home on the 27th!! 


This will be my last post for a week! Sunday we head to Jamaica for a week!!! BUT I have good news! My blonde sister has been toying with the idea of starting a blog!! So I am going to let her take over next week to get a little feel for what it's like to blog!! I hope you enjoy her while I enjoy the beach!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Birthday Shenanigans

This week has been full of birthday shenanigans! 

I have definitely done some birthday shopping thanks to money and giftcards I have already received! I found my favorite Nike phantom shorts on sale at Academy! And I got some new tennis shoes! I've never had pink tennis shoes, always blue or green, but I went for it and I like them so far!!!

Tuesday night was sushi night. Y'all know about sushi nights. Well in our "sushi family", my "sister" is also born on July 15th! Melanie, my college roommate, decorated with picture frames of us that I got to take home with me!! She also tucked her napkin in because... who wants to grow up, really? The owner, Young, surprised us with a cake and pretty much the entire restaurant sang to us. THEN, we got to use the SAMURAI sword to cut our cake. Jen told me I had to lead the cutting because I was a pro because I did it at my wedding. We laughed so hard all night long!

 Yesterday, I spent 5.5 hours in the pool and loved every second of it. Jerry Ray and Ms. Betty's house is my happy place. We ate some delicious fajitas and some to die for shrimp. I opened some presents from my mom which included, my favorite blueberry coffee, a vegetable grilling tray wrapped in spider-man paper, an awesome crocheted vest, and a shadow box with a promise. She made this little shadow box and promised once it got a little cooler, we would go camping!!! We were supposed to go in May, but then it rained and rained and rained some more and we cancelled our trip. 

And now, today, it's laundry, packing, and getting ready for Jamaica!!! Of course this is after I eat my toasted gluten free cinnamon muffin and blueberry coffee. Thanks mom.