I turned 40 on May 22. Just a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to celebrate on a CRUISE with three amazingly awesome and beautiful women.
I am honestly not sure exactly how this trip came down to me and these three gals. The Lord really. I knew I wanted to go on a cruise to get a break and celebrate my birthday. Due to JB having just gone to his brother's wedding, he couldn't go. I started praying and asking the Lord to show and bring me the perfect partners for this trip. And boy oh boy, did he.
Danielle is my sister-in-law. She is married to JB's brother, Matt. She is a decade younger than me, but during the last few years she has truly become one of my very best friends.
Angelica was my friend in Turkey. Our husbands were stationed there together. She is truly one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met.
And Adrienne, last but definitely not least, is my brother's wife, Adrienne or "AD" as I call her. I truly could not ask for my only sibling to marry a better woman.
What I love most about these ladies is that we are all very similar: we like to eat good food and like to take naps and relax. We are low maintenance and very go-with-the-flow. Even though I knew all these ladies, they didn't know each other. (My sister-in-laws knew each other a little but not incredibly.) So this was a bit of a gamble for me.
Don't get me wrong: I have a LOT of wonderful women in my life. These three women are not my "exclusive" friends. But due to availability and time and location and where they are in life, these are the three that were able to join me for this long weekend. And it was EXACTLY who was supposed to be with me.
The first part of my trip took place a week before -- when Danielle got me a pedicure for my birthday! I got the toes painted and bought some sandals from Payless! I was so excited to go on this trip with these ladies. I have four kids, Angelica has four, AD has three, and Danielle is a new mom to Peyton. Twelve children had to be cared for at home to make this weekend work!
Next up: I flew from Knoxville and Angelica flew from Boston. After some intense worry on my part that my flight wasn't going to arrive in time, I made it to Fort Lauderdale. I was bummed that due to my late flight, I didn't get to have dinner with my parents and stay at their house as planned. But it was so great to board this ship on Friday morning! Angelica and I ended up staying at Joan's house by the airport on Thursday evening, and we caught up with AD and Danielle (who live in Fort Lauderdale) the next morning. A huge thank you to Joan for being so flexible at the last minute!
First up? Finding that they decorated my room for my birthday! Our room was tiny but perfect. I was so amazingly impressed with Jamieson who was our room attendant. (Not sure if that is what you call it?) He was so incredible. The employees on this ship were simply AMAZING!!!
Dinner the first evening with Angelica, Danielle, me and Adrienne. We had Clinton and Mario for our waiters. They were simply stellar. This is my third cruise, and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the experience. I am always so impressed with the quality of the employees on the ship. The precision of what it takes to take 2700 people out on the water for three days with 800 employees is not lost on me!
The next morning, our ship docked at CocoCay, an island owned by Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed just sitting on beach chairs, taking naps under the cloudy skies, chatting, and eating of course! We truly laid low the entire weekend. We didn't do a lot of on-board activities. We simply took it easy, relaxed, and hung out. We LOVED not having access to technology! That truly made the trip all the better. We didn't take our phones anywhere. (But soon realized that without a phone, no one had a watch!)
On Sunday morning we docked at Nassau in the Bahamas. We opted to take an air conditioned guided tour of the island. Angelica had never been to the Bahamas so we wanted to make sure to show her this beautiful culture that is very familiar to us as South Floridians.
On our last evening, AD splurged and bought me lobster for my birthday dinner. (It was an extra charge on the menu!) I loved watching AD the mom return to her crazy self as the days went on.
Danielle did NOT want Fudge on her dessert. The waited painted this "NO FUDGE" on her plate just to be silly. Man did we all love to eat good food!
On Monday morning, we docked our ship for the last time, and Matt picked us up from the Port of Miami. He dropped Angelica and I off at Joan's house, took Danielle home to her little girl, and Adrienne got in her car and drove home. Joan and I took Angelica to lunch and then to the airport to catch her flight. And then, I got to have lunch with my Dad and Mom -- a wonderful ending to my trip as I had been so bummed I didn't get to see them before my cruise.
I want to say a special thank you to my wonderful husband who encourages me to take breaks and recoop. I also want to thank my in-laws who helped JB tremendously at home so that I could go. It was truly a fantastic celebration of four decades of my life!!!
I love each of these gals so much. THANK YOU for taking the time to celebrate with me. We were a great team!!!