Merita: our Trinidad Stateroom Attendant. She was responsible for our nightly towel folded animals found in sheepish locations as to offer an element of surprise (turtle, flying bat, mouse...to name a few); doing Kaitlyn's hair for the last Formal Night on the ship which basically illustrated to me that I'm really a white chic when it comes to figuring out what to do with Kaitlyn's curls; and continual child play with the kids-she had Dylan giving her kisses by day 2 and Kaitlyn would have been fine if we had Merita actually put her bed (which never happened, mind you...but that's how engaged the two of them were)!
Lost Luggage: despite not having our children's luggage until day six of this seven day cruise, we sure found appreciation for the fact that I had packed a set of PJs and a second set of clothes along with four extra panties for Kaitlyn in our carry on. I realized if my luggage would have been lost I wouldn't have handled it with the carefree spirit like that of the kids. They just didn't know any different and heck, when you are Kaitlyn and get to wear pink leggings day in and day out, Life is GRAND!
Malta, surprise stop: Athens was on the original itinerary but due to some strikes and demonstrations being planned on the week we were to visit, our itinerary detoured to Valletta, Malta. Ummm....no one needs to give this a Plan B title. It could have always been Plan A as the stop at this port was picturesque upon first spotting it on the horizon. Steve took incredible pictures as we approached the port with the morning sun warming the hue of the native limestone rock used to build the walled ancient city.
Shoulder Shrug: Dylan, our little flirt. Merita for certain was on his list of girlfriends, but so, too, became Simona (Italian native from Cesara), his 16 year old sweetheart. He developed this adorable shoulder shrug that he would spontaneously do, drawing forth all sorts of audiences, cheek pinches and tummy touches. Next to rising his shoulders up to drown out his ears, was his overly friendly 'Hello' to all in the elevators complete with an arm extended and fingers flapping!
Babies R Us Strollers: Store brand umbrella strollers were purchased for our trip, one in blue with green looking pac man figures and one in pink with an obnoxious hibiscus floral pattern. Sure to be found when in a crowd-these strollers were carted through old ancient Roman pavers throughout the famed Colosseum (one of the Wonders of the Middle Ages), the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), numerous windy street ways and the 14 polished floors of the Navigator of the Seas. If only we had a pedometer to track the mileage...
Auntie Jessie, our Nanny: yes, Auntie Jessie came along to support us with the kids and she did more than support us with the routines and logistics of the children...she kept us on schedule, always had an answer for where we were headed during the next port stop, next dinner reservation or immediate next hour. She held her own with managing the quick witted tongue of Kaitlyn and momma's boy cling-wrap named Dylan, so much so that I took notes. It became a trip where I was privy to watching firsthand how to effectively contain unruly behavior within the course of a two minute time out; be coached on how to do it myself and then provided feedback when I did it. Ummmm....Nanny bootcamp for me and even for Steve-it was a real gift to have her along on this trip not only for the children portion of it, but as we've come to calculate, Jess and I have been friends for over 29 years. A trip of this sort was a lifetime opportunity!
Fruncle Denis: having your own private Priest to take you on a tour of Rome is surely something people would pay high dollar for and rightfully so-Denis was intense, immense with knowledge and a touch insane. We shared the best meals of our trip with him, were privy to symbolism and historical depictions found within massive murals that lined walls of chapels within some of the most elaborate cathedrals, we witnessed his devout nature in true form and engaged in personal introspective late night talks (for Steve and Denis this was generally coupled with a bottle of sorts); he guided us well to ensure we explored the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica and experience the not so common Vatican Necropolis-Scavi Tour. The Pope was actually in our path (for Jessica and for Denis...Steve and I were with the kids at our residence), and proved to be a real memorable moment for Jessica. Gelato was introduced to us intentionally on the first day and was enjoyed everyday that followed! The children took to him as a familiar face which made for easy touring-despite the fear of death that flashed through each of us as Denis stumbled upon Kaitlyn's mortality hanging over our third level balcony, legs fully suspended in the air....thank you Denis for your swift action.
Privo Shoes: my favorite sandal this entire trip was my Privo sandal...not so much my Teva's. Privo took me everywhere in her bronzed leather T-strap. I felt constant comfort and even a touch of style near all the gladiator renditions that surrounded me!
Enough of the words....my next post will illustrate the memories had that will stain my heart and mind for years to come!