90s Jack & Jill’s and Bacheloretting

Oh heyyyy, strangers!

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to desert you over the past couple weeks. It’s been busy times over here. Last week and the week before something was going on almost every evening that kept me out past my weeknight bedtime and I just could not get myself to spend any free time blogging.

Anyway, things have been happening, and things are slowing down this week so I can talk about those things!

It’s wedding season, and with that comes all the fun pre-wedding festivities. A few weeks ago Evan and I went to our friend Chris and Alicia’s Jack and Jill (I think it’s a Canadian thing, maybe even an Ontario thing, but basically a wedding fundraiser — I talked about this a little while ago because we also went to our friend Renee and Dustin’s just before Cuba). Chris and Alicia had a 90s theme happening, so we decided to dress up as the cast from Saved By The Bell.

Without Evan’s phone I don’t know if you could tell who we are, but Evan is obviously Zach Morris and I am Kelly Kapowski! I was channeling this Kelly vibe.

Minus the crop top though.

Emily and Renee were also part of our Saved By The Bell parade as Jessie Spano (hence the caffeine pills and) and Lisa Turtle (hence the leopard).

You know the caffeine pills…

It’s a classic scene and Emily killed her costume.

Evan had a really hard time finding a phone that would work for Zach Morris, and that was a key part of our group costume.

He looked for weeks and even put up a notice in the parking garage of our condo building with a picture of the phone on it and his phone number with a note saying to call him if you had said phone. No one called, unsurprisingly. Someone did rip off a strip with his number on it so that got Evan’s hopes up for a few days. In the end, Evan decided to make his own phone out of wood with the end of a paintbrush as the antenna.

He did a pretty great job. He is handy, I tell you.

A bunch of us started the night with a barbecue at Renee and Dustin’s and then headed over to the hall where the party was happening. I lost my wig pretty quickly once we got there. It was hot, and a lot of people genuinely didn’t recognize me in it. I felt like a stranger! Our friend Dylan was the Jesus from South Park and his wig somehow made it onto Evan’s head. It was attractive.

The groomsmen were all dressed as the South Park dads and the bridesmaids were the Spice Girls, which was fantastic. Alicia, the bride, absolutely slayed as Geri, and Sherrie was a great Baby Spice.

All of their costumes were amazing.

So, I think I found my calling in life. In the game of knock-over-water-bottles-with-a-tennis-ball-inside-panty-hose-that-are-attached-to-your-head (I don’t know what it’s actuallycalled) I somehow knocked over all my bottles in the fastest time of anyone who played.

I’ve never played before and I didn’t know what I was doing but I was on a mission and just charged through those bottles with my swinging tennis ball. I ended up winning!!

I was very excited about this. I’m always going on about Evan winning us free booze at things, but I won an entire bucket full of booze!

Not water bottles, three different types of rum in there! I can hold my own.

We played a bunch of other games that were actually 90s themed, like double dutch (which I have always been horrible at so I just watched everyone else get in on it — if I couldn’t do it when I was 12 there’s no way I’m going to be able to do it now), and pogs!

The pogs were super fun, although they brought back a lot of memories of my neighbourhood bully stealing all my pogs from me. I mean, he won them fairly and I kept gambling them trying to win them back with no dice, but still. It was a rough moment for me.

It was a really fun night. I loved the 90s and reliving them was a good time.

A week later we met up with basically all the same people and celebrated Renee’s bachelorette!

I’m too lazy to censor anything out this time. It’s a bachelorette. You know what goes on.

Renee is so cute. Don’t ask what I’m doing in that photo because I do not know.

We started the night at Sherrie’s place and then we all headed to the Edge bar in Ajax. It’s a fan favourite. We absolutely love the atmosphere there and the live music. We went for Sherrie’s birthday this year, and last year as well.

We had a lot o’ ladies and a lot o’ props and you know that is the makings of a great night. Alicia still rocking her Geri hair.

It was a hot tamale on that dance floor so it was a hair-up kind of night for me.

There is a man who frequents that bar who just kills it on the dance floor. Like he literally dances all night with no breaks and just gives it his all the entire time. Last time we were there he was dressed in a full Superman costume, so we obviously loved that. This time he was there as expected, but he was just wearing a regular shirt. We were disappointed about that and told him he needed to bring Superman back. He responded by ripping his shirt off to reveal a Superman t-shirt underneath, and we pretty much lost our minds.

Superman lives on.

We danced all night and it was wonderful. Such a good time.

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Goodbye to a Bonnie Lass

I have some sad news. On Sunday afternoon we had to put down little Bonnie.

Such a sweet little kitty.

If you’ve followed for a little while you know that we only got Bonnie about six months ago, at the age of 20, and she was completely deaf and only had one tooth. She was in a bad situation and needed a home or she probably would have been put down then, but it wasn’t her time yet! So, she came to live out her golden years with us. She spent a good few weeks at the beginning living in the guest room (and away from Tilly the bully), but for the past few months she has been a staple on our couch.

I never knew her in her glory years when she was young and spry and by the time we got her she preferred to spend most her days sleeping (as I hope to do in my retirement).

She also enjoyed trying to scam human food, particularly sausages and ice cream. If we were eating anywhere near her she would get really obsessed about it and the only time I saw her move quickly in an energetic manner was when she was trying to steal our food.

She also spent a good amount of time avoiding Tilly, because all Tilly wanted to do was play and it was annoying. So, she didn’t really do a whole lot but she was a good little kitty who enjoyed being around us and being pet…until she suddenly didn’t enjoy the petting and would turn on you with that one tooth of hers. We really grew to love her.

Although she wasn’t ever really energetic with us, this past weekend it was very noticeable that she was a lot more lethargic than usual and we knew that something was wrong. I thought we’d be able to wait until Monday to take her to the vet, but by Sunday afternoon she had rapidly declined. She had very similar symptoms to Winnie at the end and I recognized that it was not looking good: severe constipation, having trouble walking, she couldn’t jump up onto things or make it into the litter box, she was very weak, she was drinking a lot of water but as of Sunday she wasn’t eating. She lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time. Her eyes got really cloudy and wouldn’t stop watering. It was clear to us that she was suffering and we needed to take her to the vet immediately.

We went to the same vet that we took Winnie to, and it was the same deal. She was so small and frail, and the vet said she was likely in the final stages of kidney disease. We thought, and the vet agreed, that it wasn’t worth putting her through a bunch of tests just to find out what was wrong and possibly postpone her life. I said in the beginning when we got her that we wouldn’t spend a lot of money to keep her alive, we would just keep her comfortable until it was her time. It felt like her time. So, in the same room where Winnie took her last breath, Bonnie took hers. It happened even faster than it did with Winnie. It was quick and peaceful, and fortunately, I don’t think she suffered until the very end.

We only had Bonnie for a short time, but it was sad all the same. I thought I’d be able to hold it together, but when I saw Evan with tears in his eyes, and then the vet with tears in his eyes (he was really fantastic) I was done. I’m happy we could be with her until the end though.

She was a sweet kitty and we’re going to miss her little face around here!

I’m glad she got to bunk with us at the end of her life, and I knew she was never going to have a long time with us, but I really hope she had a good time with us.

 

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Life Lately

So, we’ve been home and back to normal for a few weeks now, settling into the married life. Everyone keeps asking me how that feels and I will tell you what I tell them. It feels the same as pre-married life. Evan and I have already lived together for several years and I feel like that is a bigger relationship change than actually getting married (I’m always in favour of doing what you feel but I do very strongly recommend living with your partner before you marry them — I think I’ve dodged at least one bullet this way). Oh, and kids. That is the big relationship change. I’ve heard. Not that I can speak from personal experience.

Of course, it is nice to know that we’re solid and both locked ALL THE WAY IN now, so that gives us the occasional romantic “OMG WE’RE MARRIED! You’re my actual wife/husband!” outburst. It’s cute. So, yeah, it’s the same, but it’s really good.

The first couple of weekends we just laid low and basically got our shit together. Everything that came up in the months leading to the wedding that wasn’t wedding related ended up being After Cuba Lindsey And Evan’s Problem, so we had some responsibilities to take care of once we got back. And Cuba was more of a trip than an actual vacation (in that it wasn’t exactly relaxing) so I was glad we got back on a Thursday afternoon and we both had Friday and the entire weekend to recuperate before it was time to go back to the grind. I really needed that weekend to regroup. And the next weekend. Right now our calendar says we don’t have a free weekend until September. Yikes. This seems to happen every summer but this year is even busier than usual. Busy with fun events for sure, but when do I leisure?! Okay, well, there’s a few cottage weekends planned in there so leisuring will happen.

I took a full two weeks off from any sort of gym situation (I did go for a run once in Cuba but that was it), but after I returned I was back to working out (OrangeTheory) fairly quickly. I’m pretty proud of myself about that because after vacation is usually when I fall off the bandwagon. But I was going to OrangeTheory very consistently after California and leading up to the wedding, at least 3-5 times a week, and I actually missed it. I genuinely really enjoy it, and I REALLY enjoy what it’s doing to my bod — I barely changed my eating, even before the wedding, but I can notice a big difference in svelteness and I overall just feel stronger. Evan actually joined once he saw how much I was liking it, and he now comes a couples times a week with me (I’ve been doing 3-4 now). It’s fun to work out with him!

I also signed up for the Toronto Waterfront 10k next weekend, the same one I ran last year.

I’ve only ran outside about three times this year, aside from OrangeTheory, which is only about 24 minutes of running each class. I’ve found that OrangeTheory has made me a bit of a faster runner though so I’m hoping I can shave a bit off of last year’s time. And if not, oh well. Lululemon is the title sponsor so I’m hoping I get a sweet shirt, at least. And I’m running it with Michelle and Casey of Bloggers and Joggers/Lagers fame, so it will be fun!

This past weekend we celebrated my friend Emily’s birthday and a bunch of us went to Laser Quest, so that was a good time. I haven’t been in years and years. Afterwards we all went out for dinner.

Oh Evan.

And on Sunday Evan and I saw Jack Johnson!!!

And I was close enough that I could take my own photos this time and didn’t have to steal them from the internet.

If you’ve been reading for a while you may know that I LOVE Jack Johnson. So much (I actually walked down the aisle to Better Together at both weddings). This is the third time I’ve seen him live, and each time has been better than the last. The first time I saw him I was behind a pillar, and the second time I saw him Evan and I were in the last row before the lawn. This time I was a part of the fan club pre sale and I stalked Ticketmaster for like an hour until I finally scored floor seats. So worth it, we were so close!

We were so close that I could tell what the band was drinking (all in reusable mugs of course, Jack Johnson is very against plastic), one of the guys had a steaming hot tea up there.

Jack played all my faves for more than two hours and I was loving my life.

What a dream he is.

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My favourite moment was when he went to kick a beach ball that had landed onstage back into the crowd, and his also kicked his sandal off in the process, so someone threw it back onstage directly into his guitar. He was a good sport about the whole thing.

We saw him at Budweiser Stage (formerly known, and maybe forever and always known, as the Molson Amphitheatre), and summer concert season has officially kicked off! My favourite.

Ah, it was so great.

So that’s pretty much it. The cats are good, the condo is good, my job is good, life is good. Oh and for anyone wondering, I did decide to change my last name. You know I really debated about it, but in the end us having the same last name just makes me feel really nice. Like I’m all in, we’re a family now. I’m more sentimental about it than I realized.

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The Last Hurrah

I meant to post this earlier but this week got away from me — it’s been busy times! So, this is it! The last Cuba post, and then we’re back to regular life things.

Wednesday was our last full day in Cuba with everyone who was still around. Although I was sad that our Toronto friends and moms were gone, it was really nice to spend a full day with the crew that was left. Aside from Sean, they are the group that we don’t get to see very often, since they live on the other side of the country. I was looking forward to a day of hanging out with them, and it was just really nice. We kicked the day off right by renting scooters (Heather and Brent didn’t come for the scooter excursion, as they had already rented one earlier in the week).

Baddest bike gang on the block. Eric was a little, uh, unsteady at first since he had never driven a scooter before, so Kenya got on the back of Lisa’s and had a much better time. Eric got the hang of it really quickly though!

Oh boy, that is a beard and a half.

Unfortunately I had forgotten my driver’s license, which you needed to rent a scooter, so I saddled up with Evan. We all scooted around the Varadero strip for a couple hours and it was super fun.

A highlight for sure!

Dixon was loving his life on the back of Sean’s scooter, his luscious locks floating in the breeze.

We stopped at the large outdoor market and did a little shopping, and then we headed to the beginning of the peninsula, where the oldest resorts are, and stopped for a break at a pier. Pelican!

Lovers!

LOVED the scooters. It was so much fun ripping around on those.

After we dropped the scooters off, we headed to a little chocolate shop across the street from our resort. Ian told us they had amazing sundaes, and we were hot and ready for ice cream. Ian had really bigged the place up but I was not disappointed! My sundae was even better than I had imagined.

Lisa got a chocolate iced coffee and it was also exceptionally delicious.

It could have just been because we were hot but we loved it all.

After the chocolate fest we met up with Heather and Brent and the 10 of us had lunch together in the buffet. Then we changed into our bathing suits and headed straight to the beach. We spent the rest of the day there and I would give just about anything to be back there right now. Brent brought a kite!

Scott flying that puppy around behind us…

Aww, my baby brother.

The tide was really low that day and it left a sandy island in the middle of the water. We set up shop there for a while and it was glorious.

Evan wearing his wedding ring! And also wearing shorts, although they are being sneaky in that pic.

Dixon got buried.

He was a good sport about it.

This would have been a much better photo if my camera didn’t have water all over the lens, but you get the idea.

We met a group of Americans, two guys and a girl who were touring around Cuba, and they approached us for help finding their GoPro they had lost in the water. Evan and I actually had goggles with us so we let them borrow them and one of the guys found it right away. They said they could tell we were Canadian because we all stopped what we were doing immediately and got in the water to help them. And then when they gave my goggles back I lost those in the water, and none of them offered to help me find them so I could tell they were American (ohh, just kidding just kidding. But they didn’t.) We ended up hanging out with them for a couple hours, hearing about their Cuban adventures and of course talking about the differences in our politics (of which there are MANY).

They offered to take a group photo of us so we took them up on that.

CUBAAAAAA. I love this pic.

At 6pm Evan and I met with Alex, our photographer, in the lobby. All our wedding photos were ready! He had all our pictures on a memory stick (that they had put in a wooden puzzle box with a Cuban flag on it, so that was cute), our videos on a hard drive, and a personalized album with 24 prints. We were so impressed. Alex went through all the photos with us on his Macbook and I may have cried. I couldn’t believe how amazing the pictures were and how quickly we got them. I was so happy.

Then we showered and headed out on the town with our pals. We took three cabs off the resort to a nearby restaurant where we had reservations.

I think the girls had the best car. Pink lightning!

This is what happens in a convertible when you have long hair.

The guys had sweet rides too, though.

We went to Paladar Nonna Tina, an Italian restaurant that Evan and I also went to last year (and he also went earlier in the trip with all the guys) and it has really great food! It was such a lovely family dinner!

And we had an album full of wedding photos with us. Evan and I waited until we were with everyone to look at them so we had a viewing session with the group and that is honestly one of my favourite memories. I love that we got to show our beautiful pictures to that group while eating delicious food and drinking all the beer. Fun times.

We ordered a large olive oil focaccia and two giant pizzas for the table (all delicious) and I ordered the spaghetti bolgonese.

Really good but after the pizza and some of Evan’s gnocchi (REALLY good) I was so full and couldn’t finish it all.

There is a sweet pink cadillac that I had seen driving up and down the street not only this year, but last year as well, and it was my dream to ride in it. That night my dream came true.

We got in there!

It was just as fun as I hoped it would be and the guy even played Summer of ’69 for us as we cruised back to our resort. It was pretty groovy.

Brent, Eric and Dixon ended up in one of the cars that drove us to the restaurant.

And Evan, Scott and Sean somehow ended up in a horse and buggy. They ate our dust. Byeeeeeeee.

Hey girrrrrlllllls.

We ended our night at the Beatles bar, because OF COURSE. There was a different band that night and I was digging them.

I LOVED this girl, she was killing it!!!

I wanted to be her friend.

And the guitar player was really into it.

Our new American friends met us there. We really liked Ashley in the red shirt.

But then the two guys who were with her got sort of weird (pretty sure they were just really drunk), so we didn’t end up hanging around with them for too long.

Sistas.

Once we were back in our rooms packing to leave in the morning, Heather and Brent called us and asked if we wanted to go swimming in the ocean with them. Um, YES. I had my bathing suit on and was ready to go in about 30 seconds. I hadn’t been swimming in the ocean at night that whole trip and it needed to happen. It was a full moon and the water was so beautiful, it was such a good way to end the best trip ever!

I still can’t believe how much fun we had. Ah, I want to go back and do it all again. I’m still hearing stories about things that happened that I didn’t personally witness. And we had quite a large group with us so I’m impressed that everyone got along so well and there was no intergroup drama or conflict or anything (not that I expected that but you never know). Just good times all around. We have a reunion coming up this summer at Brad and Brennie’s cottage and I already can’t wait!

 

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La Habana

Our amazing Cuban wedding photographers, AV Smile, had several add-ons to the packages they offered, one of them was a photo session in Havana for an extra $200. We figured why not. We’re here, and we’re already spending all this money (although our photographers were very reasonable and so beyond amazing for the price we paid), and we’re never going to have the chance again to traipse around Havana obnoxiously in our wedding attire. It is an amazing city. We did a private tour last year that I never ended up blogging about, because we saw SO MUCH in one day that I was just overwhelmed. I wanted to do it justice and I didn’t know where to start.

Anyway, we decided to do it. I woke up at 6am on Tuesday after the catamaran day, had my bestie curl my hair and help me get into my wedding dress (THANK YOU AGAIN LISA!!!), and then we waited for Alex (the main photographer) in the lobby. All our Toronto friends and our moms were leaving that morning so it was cute that I got to hang out with them for a bit in my wedding dress before they left.

Alex brought a driver and an assistant lighting guy with him. They picked us up in a classic car, and we were off!

Havana is about a two hour drive from Varadero, but the entire way is beautiful and interesting — there is so much to see! The time flew by. I should probably tell you to get ready for a ton of pictures, though considering my posts over the last couple of weeks you should be prepared by now. We had over 200 pictures from Havana and I’ve cut it down to only about 50 for this, which was so hard. Our pictures are all so amazing, it’s hard to pick favourites! Again, they’re all by Alex at AV Smile.

We started in Old Havana in the Plaza 13 de Marzo, and our first photos were in front of the Museum of the Revolution, which is a former presidential palace. We canoodled around in that area for a bit.

And it was INSANELY. BEAUTIFUL.

What a scene to stumble upon. Our photographer Alex is so ridiculously talented. I still can’t believe it’s us in these pictures.

So many people clapped and cheered or waved at us, or yelled congratulations, we felt like celebrities! I remember a man yelling to us “I am so happy to see you today!” The people of Cuba are so nice!

It was really nice to just chat and, well, kiss and whatever, even though we had an audience. We were in such a beautiful place and it felt really romantic. We also didn’t get to spend a lot of time alone in Cuba, since there were people around us all the time, so this was something we got to do just the two of us. I’m so glad we did it.

We walked over to the edge of the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta (a fortress in the Bay of Havana), right beside Playa Malecon (a local beach), and resumed the photo fest there.

We were taking pictures right across from the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro or just Morro Castle, which is a popular symbol Havana (we actually toured it last year). It first saw action in 1762 in the Battle of Havana, and the lighthouse that was added in 1846 totally photobombed our picture.

We did not know what was happening and Alex and his assistant were looking at the picture after and just dying laughing. Alex showed me and said “Show this to your girls, they’ll like it.” Yes, yes they would. He only spent a day with them but he knows them well. But I feel like everyone can appreciate it.

The lighthouse got Photoshopped out of the next one.

So we have one we can send to family 😉

Skyline of new Havana!

After that we walked over to Paseo del Prado, a street designed in 1772 and the dividing line between old and new Havana.

I do not know what building this is, but it’s a beauty.

Rawr.

The street itself is quite an attraction, and is considered to be the most beautiful street in Havana.

I’m gonna have to agree with that.

The building in the below photos is a schoolhouse! Alex asked the teachers if we could walk through to go up onto the balcony, and that was quite the interesting experience. It was currently recess so the kids were all playing in a courtyard and no one was in the classroom we walked through to get onto the balcony, but there was some pretty difficult-looking math on the chalkboard. I did not envy those kids.

I love, love, love that Alex got the school kids playing in the doorway below us. That is one of my favourites.

After Paseo del Pravo we got back in the car to go to the National Ballet of Cuba (or Ballet Nacional de Cuba), which looks like this from the outside and is just incredible. The inside, too.

I felt like Cinderella in there!

Ugh, so beautiful.

We almost blend right into the background in this one.

This one was taken outside of the old Bacardi Building.

And this one inside.

It is also magnificent, as seriously every single building in Havana seems to be.

You can see El Capitolio, the National Capital Building of Havana (currently under renovations and they’re moving the government offices back into it), behind us in the below picture.

And the Great Theatre of Havana (or Gran Teatro de la Habana).

Alex actually went inside the theatre and up onto a balcony for these next shots.

I love them!

The pictures below were taken where this old building had its side ripped off and the inside was now exposed. Alex was like “This is a beautiful spot but there are piles of caca in there and it’s a bit stinky, do you feel comfortable?” The bottom of my dress was already destroyed by that point so why not. Alex told me to lift my dress up, and in we went (I dropped my dress back down in a clean-ish spot for the pictures).

There were literally a few piles of crap behind us and Evan asked me “do you think this is human or animal?” We got our answer a few seconds later when some random dude dropped his pants, squatted behind a pillar beside us and took a big caca. I did not know what was happening until after the pictures were taken or I think I would have looked a bit more horrified.

I should probably burn my dress now, but the pictures are so beautiful I’m gonna say it was worth it.

Back to the Capitol building.

After that the driver picked us all back up and took us into more of the interesting alleyways of Old Havana, the area surrounding Plaza Vieja (or the Old Square).

The lighting guy carried my Wifey purse all through the city all morning, which greatly pleased me, mainly so we could get this shot:

I appreciated it.

Just dancing in the street.

I almost didn’t wear my wedding dress for this because I was thinking “how many photos of myself do I really need in a wedding dress?” But I am so, so glad I did. The pictures would not have been the same without it!

Old Havana has four squares, Plaza de la Catedral (Cathedral), Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de Armas (Arms) and Plaza Vieja (Old Square). This is Plaza Vieja — it’s been around since 1559 and has been the site of executions, processions, bullfights and fiestas (source). And now our wedding photos.

The little girl beside Evan in the below photo was smiling and waving at us, it was cute.

After that we were pretty done with pictures. It was HOT and we both felt exhausted. We stopped for the best ice cream of our lives (this could have also been because we were hot and thirsty) at a little cart in the square. It was served in half a coconut and it only had coconut milk, coconut water, and shredded coconut in it. We bought some for Alex and his assistant as well and the four of us sat around eating and chatting for a while. Alex and his wife come to Toronto fairly often so we told them next time we’re having them over for dinner!

Alex has a really great eye for photos and was telling us that he doesn’t like to take the same picture twice, he likes to go to new areas and find cool shots that jump out to him. Right before we got in the car to go home, a spot jumped out to him, and he took this:

I was so done with photos by that point but I’m so glad he got it. He was also so good with posing us and telling us what to do. If it weren’t for him you know I’d just be skinny-arm posing my way around the city.

What a day. And I just want to mention if you’re ever in Cuba and looking for a Havana tour, I HIGHLY recommend Blexie’s Havana Tours. Blexie took us last year (I talk a little bit about him in this post from last year), and he also took Emily and Corey this year, and his colleagues Bill and Roly took Dawn and Mark and Eric, Kenya and Dixon. You get an entire day in Havana with a private tour guide and a driver in an old car (we had a cherry red ’57 Chevy when we went) and it’s almost the same price as the bus tour and SO. MUCH. BETTER. Go there!!

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Cruisin’ on the Catamaran

Sadly, Monday was our last day with the group from Toronto. They were all leaving Tuesday morning and Evan and I were not leaving with them. We extended our trip by two days because the flights from Calgary and Vancouver got changed and they arrived two and three days after us, and we wanted to spend more time with Lisa, Scott, Heather, Brent, Eric, Kenya and Dixon. And Sean, he also arrived on Thursday. But we had a full day on the catamaran, so we had a fun time ahead!

The bus picked us up at 8:15am to take us to the catamaran, and let me tell ya I was not feeling it when I woke up at 7:30 that morning. I was just a little tired from the whole wedding thing the day before. But I put on my game face and my favourite mermaid bathing suit and I got on that boat, and I’m so glad. I had the best day. It was sunny, the water was beautiful, the drinks were a’flowin (open bar was included in the price of our catamaran excursion) — that is a recipe for a great day.

Sherrie is the brave one sitting on the very front up there.

Not everyone came but we had about 26 of us, including the moms, so it was a good turn out.

Heather and I getting our sun on.

I never really burned but I tanned very extremely, so much on my back and shoulders that my tan just peeled off like a snakeskin. Leaving me rejuvenated underneath? I’m not sure it works like that, and I’m sure that isn’t great but I did wear sunscreen every day so, what can ya do.

Sherrie driving the boat!

Emily and Corey unfortunately didn’t make it (long story) so the captain’s hat that Brad brought was sort of an ode to our Emily.

We’re on a boat!

About 20 minutes into our ride the crew said there was an emergency and they needed everyone to come inside immediately. An emergency DANCE PARTY.

Will liked!

It was the biggest catamaran I’ve ever been on. There were a lot of seats, which was great ’cause our moms mostly parked themselves in the shade and enjoyed the view. Of the sea, and of us being ridiculous.

Dixon getting his tan on like the bronzed god he is.

We tried to get another Cartwright High School pic but we got photobombed.

About an hour into our sail it was snorkel time.

Varadero isn’t really known for snorkelling — Holguin and even Cayo Coco are known to have better reefs, but it wasn’t bad. Snorkelling is fun anywhere, and we saw some nice fishies.

Hey girl.

Hey Dylan.

I saw a conch shell on the bottom so I mermaided down to retrieve it, as one does, and when I brought it up to the surface I realized it was HUGE. Like the biggest conch shell I’ve ever seen. And it had a critter living in it. I had to put ‘er back, no one likes a reef ravager.

We snorkelled for about half an hour or so and then it was back on the boat. I got to drive this time.

Actually the captain did leave me there by myself for few minutes, I told him I was capable since I’ve driven a houseboat. It’s the same, probably.

I didn’t know where we were going so I just kept it straight and blew the horn a bunch of times.

After a few hours of sailing the ocean we pulled up to Cayo Blanco, a beautiful island off of Matanzas, Cuba.

Hannah and I got adventurous on the front with Sherrie as we approached.

Once we got off the boat we immediately all headed to lunch, which was included in the price of our trip.

It was extensive, there was even lobster, and it was so good!

And there was live music, because it’s Cuba and there’s live music everywhere.

After lunch we headed to the beach and set up shop near the coolest little bar with THE BEST pina coladas.

We got a bit of leisuring in.

We spent the next couple of hours hanging out on the sand and in the water. Some sand castle building went down.

Evan’s contribution was the outhouse.

It had the best landscaping of the entire castle for sure.

Cayo Blanco has a beautiful beach.

And Dixon has beautiful hair.

That he needed to brush.

It’s a beautiful beach but I don’t think it’s quite as nice as Varadero Beach where our resort was. That is truly one of the nicest beaches I’ve seen in my life and I feel like I’ve been spoiled for all beaches now. This one did come close, but it was also more busy.

While we were swimming there was a group of exceptionally beautiful people frolicking in the water beside us and filming everything with a GoPro (think thongs and bathing suit leg holes that go up to your armpits). Joel ended up talking to them, because Joel ends up talking to everyone, and he discovered that they were famous instagrammers and Virgin had paid for them all to come here and film themselves looking young and footloose and fancy free. That is living the dream. Once we found that out we may have put a wrench into their beautiful video footage plans. Dawn and Heather swam behind them and started doing high leg kicks and such, which I’m sure looked just as gorgeous as their slow motion frolicking.

Good times at Cayo Blanco.

And then it was back to the catamaran to sail back to Varadero.

We had quite the treat on the way back — we saw dolphins!

At least three of them came and swam beside the boat and were jumping out of the water. It was so amazing.

Of course, none of my pictures are great. It was so cool to see though.

And then one of the dolphins accidentally jumped into the side of the boat and then they all sort of got awkward for a minute, and then they swam away. We were saying later that the dolphins were probably like “Ugh, way to freakin’ go, Carl! We were being all graceful and then you had to jump into the boat and make us all look like IDIOTS.” I’m sure that’s how it went.

My mom was super excited about the dolphins!!!

It was a highlight for sure.

I made new friends on the way back, and they let me drive again.

It was a really fun day.

The lady behind us starting just dying laughing after she photobombed us. I thought she did something really ridiculous in the photo but nope, just her presence.

It wasn’t a super party catamaran, and actually Brennie said it was the first time she’s ever been on a catamaran where everyone was still able to walk off the boat at the end. But I was okay with that. I like being able to walk.

As soon as we got back to our resort we all headed to the pool to meet up with our friends who didn’t come on the catamaran. It was the last hurrah.

We took over the shallow end and there were many shenanigans.

I do not often see Joel get picked up, so that was a treat.

There may have been a few chicken fights.

I just watched from afar (Evan would never put me on his shoulders in such shallow water, are you kidding? he likes safety) and it was highly entertaining.

I think Brennie, our parental supervisor, was the ultimate winner in her white bikini!

Thank you Evan for your feet.

Leg party.

Aw, Sarah.

What a freakin’ time.

When the pool closed we headed down to the beach to swim in the ocean for a bit.

Evan and I had a pretty early night since we had a big day in Havana on Tuesday, but it was a great last day with the whole group!

I love them! What a time with them all. I am so glad we had a destination wedding and forced them all to come party with us for an ENTIRE WEEK!!! I will never forget it!

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