Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday in the Bahamas to Me!

My husband spoils me rotten! I have to say, I'm probably the luckiest girl in the world to have such a man. Sometimes I get mad at him for going a little overboard in his spoilage of me, but secretly I love it too! My birthday was one such occasion. Ok, not true, I didn't even pretend to be mad because I was just so excited. He took me on a cruise in the Bahamas!
This a picture of what we left behind in Arkansas....

This is a picture of what we went to...

I don't know, it was a toss up where I'd rather spend my birthday....

Our trip started out on a positive note at the Tulsa airport. You know those signs they have posted now that tell you about the new full body scanner/naked screening machine? The sign says if you refuse to do the body scan you will be subjected to the thorough pat down. Well, lucky me, I walked through the machine like everyone else AND received the "enhanced" pat down. I was my usual oblivious self though and didn't even notice that no one else was getting felt up and down until Nate asked me what I did. Apparently, I looked suspicious. We managed to make it through security and to Port Canaveral without further event.

When we got to our stateroom on the ship, I realized that the room had been misnamed. It should actually be called a "bed"room because the bed actually took up the entirety of the room! And I don't mean that the bed was unusually large. The room looked impossibly small in the pictures, but let me tell you, those pictures must have been from first class because our room was even smaller. Good news was we were on a giant cruise ship with plenty to do besides watch the mini t.v. in our room.

The Bahamas were beautiful. Nate was initiated into the world of snorkeling in Nassau. The water was chilly and the sun was in the clouds, but under the water was an amazing sight well worth the temperature. Too bad we didn't have an underwater camera to share the view with our readers. Nate's favorite part was feeding a Cheeto to a fish.

The highlight of Nassau was most definitely seeing Chuck Norris' house. No joke! This is his vacation home:

We were scheduled to go to a private island owned by the cruise line one day, but the sea conditions ruined that, so we spent the day on the ship instead. The nice thing was there were a bunch of shows and such to keep us entertained for the day. Comedians, musicians, magicians, dancers, etc. We also discovered that both of us had a hidden talent for shuffle board. In fact, we're now considering converting our wood flooring in our living room, into a shuffle board! So while it was disappointing not to make it to the island, we still enjoyed out day of relaxation and entertainment.

And of course, there is always everyone's favorite part of a cruise....eating! A cruise is like a Thanksgiving feast, but for every meal of every day. I'm ashamed to admit we joined our fellow cruisers is a weekend of gluttony and paid the price of a 16 pound weight gain between the two of us. Good thing it was just a short cruise! However, as part of my birthday present Nate signed us up for the Bentonville Half Marathon, so hopefully our training will put us back at an acceptable weight. Overall it was a wonderful birthday all thanks to my amazing husband!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Letter to our Followers

Dear Faithful Followers of this Blog,
I apologize for my temporary leave of absence. I'm trying to think of a good reason for my lack of writing, but I can't even come up with a truthful excuse. I could say nothing exciting has happened in the last six weeks, but that would be a lie: my best friend Erin came for a weekend visit, Nate and I spent our first Christmas together, we celebrated our six month wedding anniversary, and we started house hunting for our first home to name a few of the recent events in our lives. I could say I didn't have time with the holidays and such, but once again, that would be a lie: I was given vacation time from the 23rd of December-4th of January. (I may or may not have watched several seasons of Gilmore Girls during that time while Nate had to work...) I could even say my computer was destroyed in the New Year's tornado, yet another lie: while we did experience heavy rains and winds, the actual tornado hit a few towns away. (Good thing too, since we slept right through the sirens!) Needless to say, I can not provide any explanation to my bloglessness as of late (yes, I made up the work bloglessness), but seeing as it's a new year, I plan to get back on track.

I find it tedious to recount things that have long past, so I'll just touch on a few highlights since my last post.
  • Erin came to town! Erin and I lived to together for three years, so we've both been suffering from separation anxiety issues since I got married and moved to Arkansas. The only remedy was for her to come for a visit. We reenacted all our great moments: watching cheesy holiday movies, eating Little Caesar's pizza, going out to Olive Garden, watching 16 and Pregnant, etc. Another show we used to watch together was 19 Kids and Counting, and it just so happens that the Duggar family lives a mere 20 miles or so down the road from me! We decided to do a little detective work and see if we could stalk, I mean find them. We drove through the backwoods of Tontitown and we found their house! We had a grand weekend!
  • The holidays brought a mixture of emotions. We were excited to celebrate our first Christmas together as a married couple, but we were also sad that we weren't able to go home and visit family. We did spend Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve with Bryson and Alyssa playing games, eating delicious food, playing the Wii, watching movies, and just enjoying each others company. We are certainly grateful that they live in Bentonville as well, so our holidays weren't completely devoid of family.
  • Our six month anniversary was in December! Now I know to most people that may not seem like a big deal, but it was still fun to celebrate and look back on our first six months of marriage. It's amazing how much has already happened and how much I've learned in that short period of time. But in looking forward, I know I have infinitely more to learn about being married! Last Christmas, if you would have asked me where I'd be in a year, I never would have said married to Nate Shepherd and living happily in Arkansas. This year was one of surprises and tender mercies. I'm just amazed at how much better Heavenly Father knows me than I know myself. I'm definitely grateful that His plan was better than mine! So many changes have occurred in my life this year- graduated college, got married, moved to Arkansas, started my first real job- but I'm happier than I ever could have imagined. May you be blessed to recognize that same happiness in your own lives.
Wishing you all late happy holidays,
Laurel & Nate