MEMORIES > gifts 2.0 (2016 Cruise)


“The purpose of life, after all, is to LIVE it, to TASTE experience to the utmost, to REACH OUT eagerly and without fear for NEWER and RICHER experience.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Matthew’s had some really good ideas during our past 17 years together, but I think my FAVORITE was his idea in 2015 to totally SKIP Christmas GIFTS and do a FAMILY TRIP instead!

Our 2015 trip was pretty incredible.  My sweet grandparents gave us a week of their timeshare to use in Colorado.  After a really long drive, we arrived in Pagosa Springs, stocked-up on groceries and started to explore God’s gorgeous creation!  (Here’s the FIRST BLOG POSTLAST POST & PICTURES… and VIDEO!)

Rayna and Matthew would be perfectly happy living in the snow, but Ross and I voted for something WARM this year! Since Matthew and I enjoy cruises so much, we thought it would be fun to let the kids experience it as well.  Just like me and Matthew, Ross, Rayna and Ruthie also LOVED being on a great boat filled with TONS of things to do and explore!

I love Ross’ face in this picture!  Such a good sport!

Like any normal kid who thinks it’s a HUGE treat to fly on an airplane, there was plenty of pre-flight arguing over who got the window seat.  We had just figured out our 30-minute ‘rotations‘ when Ross invited “Ru-Rues” to sit with him… cmp_1612-1b

Sooo much to do on Independence of the Seas:  Ice skating, rock climbing, surf simulator… boat

The kids could not believe how beautiful, clear and turquoise the water was in Mexico…  y-img_0585

Ruthie wanted to climb the rock wall like Ross and Rayna, but (until she gets taller) had to simply cheer for them… cmp_2598b“Formal Night” for the Martins is kind-of an oxymoron since Matthew usually stays in gym shorts and the kids and I are totally happy in hand-me-downs!  Ruthie came through for us though!  She fell in love with a little dress from Mexico that she wore to dinner EVERY NIGHT!

When we booked our cruise almost a year ago, we told the kids about the excursions offered at our ports.  Rayna quickly decided she wanted to start saving her money to swim with the dolphins! Ross, not being a follower nor money-saver, resisted; but decided he didn’t want to miss this chance either!

Even though I’m a pretty thrifty gal (I’ve used the same $14 purse for the past 6 years), to me, there’s NOTHING I value more than PHOTOS and documenting memories!  For me, the photos offered at Chankanaab National Park were worth it!


It may sound silly, but I bet a lot of moms and/or photographers can relate…
Because I LOVE taking photos of my family, I’m normally behind the camera and not IN any photographs with my kids.  I asked Matthew before the trip if he would do me a BIG favor and be intentional about taking photos of me and the kids together.  Although this was not natural or fun to him, he still did a great job snapping highlights of our trip!   kids2

Thank you for being part of our trip!  Here’s a few of our FAVORITE parts in a short videoEnjoy!



Anyone else consider ‘memories>things’ !?!?!  I’d love to hear!

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