Thursday, January 23, 2014

I think we picked up a Mexican Flu

We went on a 7 day cruise on January 5-12, and I am only getting to blogging about it due to illness. I started getting sick the second-to-last day of the cruise. By the time I came home, I rushed to the doctor in fear of pneumonia. They sent me for chest x-rays and they were negative, so I was dosed with mucho antibiotics, steroids, inhalers, and various cough/cold medicines.

2 days later, I started feeling better and then the rest of the family started heading downhill. Chris first, then Isabel. It has been 1.5 weeks of ick.

Meanwhile, my brother had a new baby!!! Georgia Jeannette Connelly. She is named after my Mom and her other Grandmother. I couldn't go see her for a week, but when I did...ahhhhh. She looks JUST like Isabel as a baby!

So, about that cruise.

I chose to bring my best friend's family on this cruise. Mandi and I have known each other since the eighth grade and I didn't want her nine-year-old son to feel too left out this year while I travel with his sister. He understands that Sierra travels with me to HELP me, but it still can't seem fair to him.

We picked a 7 day cruise out of Tampa on Norwegian Cruise Line with stops in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, Costa Maya, Mexico, and Cozumel Mexico.

I have been to Cozumel and Costa Maya before, on a cruise with my family, including Isabel and Ian. That was their first and only cruise.

I wasn't anticipating that Isabel would be emotional about being on a cruise again WITHOUT Ian. It really struck her in the Kid's Club. Isabel returned from it crying because she missed Ian and she was lonely in the kid's club. Logan, Mandi's son, immediately created his own peer group and Isabel felt left out. The staff at the kids club wasn't very helpful in helping her make friends. We didn't put the kids in there much.

I really liked having a balcony room this time, and found it very convenient to have. I have tried to get one for my next cruise in Asia, but it seems like it isn't going to happen... :(

The cruise took off without a hitch and we traveled first to Roatan. The weather wasn't the greatest on this trip, but compared to what YOU GUYS were experiencing, I was still pretty happy.

I booked an excursion to Little French Key, a private island off of Roatan. We were picked up off the ship and driven to the barge that would ferry us to the island.

Due to the poor weather, only our cruise ship made it to the port and we had the island practically to ourselves. I loved the place! It was like paradise on earth. It has lagoons and hammocks and a really well kept zoo. We held MONKEYS!!!

Sierra was able to play with a Jaguar kitten.

After eating and relaxing, we took a small boat out to the reef. They said it was the second largest reef in the world. I kinda believe it! It looked like the fake reef you see at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove. Unimaginable amounts of coral life.

The next day, our ship arrived at Belize City, and we had to take a boat to shore (called "tendering"). It was cold and drizzly that day and we were all freezing. The tour I planned picked us up and carried us off into the Belizian countryside.


As we headed to the "bridge" over the river, we realized that the "bridge" was actually a rope strung across a river. A river that was quickly rising with all of the rain the past few days.

We were stopped by a police officer who told us "the little ones can't cross, the water is too high." Our tour guide tried to tell the police that it was fine, that we signed a waiver...

I balked. I put my foot down and refused to cross the river. I was a miniature fit.

I try to not be over-protective of Isabel following Ian's accident, but this seemed stupid. I had to tell her that we weren't going and then lightly argue with Mandi that we weren't going. I told her to go ahead and take her kids, but she refused to leave us. Bestie...

We were well taken care of by our excursion company. They sent a mini-van to pick us up and bring us to their ATV course. We did that instead. Pretty sure that will be my first and last time ATVing. My arms hurt and I felt like I was going to fall off the entire time. Even though Isabel cried about not going cave tubing, she LOOOOVED the ATVing.

Follwing Belize City was Costa Maya. I tried to explain to Mandi and Chris that there was this beach... I had been there before... It had fish tacos... and massages... and was off the left of the port.

Last cruise, we saw this guy!!! 5 years old

3 years later!

That is all I They were not pleased with my lack of planning.

We headed out of the port and grabbed a taxi. The taxi driver knew EXACTLY where I was describing. He dropped us off and we had a wonderful beach day. The kids played in the water. The three adults all got 1 hour massages. We ate fish tacos, ceviche, quesadillas, salsa, ahhhhh. YUM!

Out last port day was Cozumel, that I have been to twice before. For anyone stopping there on a cruise, I can only recommend highly The Money Bar. They have snorkeling equipment, lots of food options, bar service, hammocks, chairs and tables. Perfection. We spent the whole day there eating and snorkeling. Whereas in Roatan the reefs are amazing, the fish are easier to see in Cozumel (probably because the reefs are dead.) The kids did great with their swimming skills.

Overall, it was fun and difficult traveling with another family. There are comprises that must be made every day and that can be tiresome when you want to do what you want to do. The addition of more people, all with different moods, at time started to grate on the nerves. It didn't really matter in the end, because this little boy had a wonderful time!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Daughter's Grief: Or Lack Thereof...

My daughter is a little me. 

Her river runs deep. She has a stiff upper lip and a stoic personality.

We knew when Ian died, we needed to get her help immediately. We were able to score an awesome counselor. She saw him every two weeks.

It took eight months for her to "open up" about Ian and her grief with the counselor. She loved the concept of client-counselor confidentiality. I have no idea what she talked about.

Meanwhile, at home, we have been dealing with the utter disregard of an eight year old.

It started two months after the death. We planned a road trip to DC to visit my older brother's family and spend Thanksgiving with them.

She stretched across the back seat of the car and proclaimed "Ahhhhh! This is nice! I like being an only child."

I almost throttled her. 

BUT, I AM THE ADULT... I AM the adult. I am the adult

I calmly explained to her that it "hurt my feelings when she made comments like that."

She still can't keep it in. There are so many advantages of being an "only."

Another issue we have encountered is regarding anything medical, death, or religion. 

She plainly tells me that she doesn't want to talk or see anything about it because of Ian. This became somewhat awkward around Christmas time, with discussions of Jesus and Nativity scenes everywhere. Kind of hard to avoid.

The other issue we have encountered is regarding the "diving issue."

Since the day of the accident, Isabel has inquired over and over when she can go back to diving.

The first couple months, we avoided the finality of that sport, telling her "we will think about it." We didn't avoid pools. We didn't make her stop jumping in. We DID ask her to jump further in, away from the side. We DID ask her to not run around the pool. Regular stuff.

A few months down the road, we finally responded to her requests with the final "WE ARE NEVER DOING DIVING AGAIN...EVER"

She cried. She was upset. I was upset. Why doesn't she understand? She is very smart, just apparently not very smart when it comes to sensitivity.

That led to her, today, asking "Is there a diving board on the cruise ship to Mexico?"

"Why do you ask?" I replied, "I don't know."

She batted her lashes at me and mumbled "I was just curious."

The overall tone was... teasing. 

Is my daughter teasing me about her brother's death? I AM NOT HAVING IT!

I repeated to her "You are not going to do diving. EVER. Also, do not ask me about it anymore because you should know better by now and are smart enough to know it upsets me."

Needless to say. She was upset by my response. She tried flouncing off in a tantrum but I grabbed her arm. "Do you understand?!"


She spent ten minutes in her room and then emerged as if nothing happened. I knew she was apologetic and I made her work it off in laundry duties. Redemption for her.

I can't give into the belief that she is insensitive or that she is not smart enough to understand, but I am trying to figure out what to do from "moment" to "moment." She has her moments where she has her own "Ian" day. Where she misses him so achingly and wishes he was here to play with. She absolutely cannot stand to see me cry and holds me when I sob. She sometimes walks on eggshells trying to prevent something that may trigger my copious tears. Christmas tree decorating was hard for her. She missed him very much as she hung his ornaments for him. She seems to miss him. But rarely.

I'm not sure where this is going. I am waiting until she is older and more mature to discuss what happened and what she feels about it. In the meantime I think I am feeling around in the dark trying not to mess her up too badly.