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We’re on a Boat. And a Rope

Last weekend we took a cruise with some friends to Catalina, and Ensenada.  The kids loved it and have missed ‘living on the boat’ ever since.

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Early in our marriage Andrew and I said we would NEVER take a cruise.  We like to explore, get out, travel, and not be confined.  But then two couple friends of ours with 4 kids each and some adopted darling traumatized children mixed in booked it and sold us on it.  All meals served the whole time, kids club, upper deck pools and water slides.  “Someone just book us,” and they did.

And it was great.  How amazing to live on the ocean.


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So we sailed, relaxed, swam.  But there was also plenty of adventure, too.   When we landed in Mexico, we met a man with a van, and walked by him, but then realized why take 3 taxis when we could get all 10 kids, 2 babies and 6 parents in that one van.  It was genius, and we took it to Las Canadas.

“Zip Lining,” we told the kids.  They shrugged not knowing how high or that it entailed ‘ropes.’

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Look at how calm these kids are so high off the ground listening to men who don’t speak English tell them what to do.  They had zero fear.  The only one of my children who had any fear during zip lining was Maria.  Probably because she was old enough to have common sense about gravity, heights, inertia and body mass compared to rope width.

These guys were like, “We don’t have to walk?  We’re good…”


But she did it, and she did great.  She was scared and anxious, but I think the experience was good for her in that regard.


No way in the US would they let just the two boys ride together on their first ride, but that’s one of the beautiful things about Mexico.  I think that I would have been more nervous had it just been Andrew and I, but I was so focused on  getting the kids situated and showing them that there was nothing to worry about that I felt no fear myself.  Plus, these guys waited for no one, so you were zip lining before you had a chance to think about it.


Safe trip boys

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We all had well deserved treats after from a vendor under a palm tree, who also refused the extra $5 Mike offered them to put rum on top after zip lining with 8 kids.


I was so proud of these little guy, they were so brave.  A group of adults behind us who squealed through the experience commended them on their courage.  They just ignored them and got popsicles.


We went to our favorite taco place and brought our friends, Mariscos Titos.  $35 for 12 kids and 6 adults to eat fish tacos and drinks.


There was no live music this time so Poppy improvised.

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Elijah had missed his nap and his sensory system was working against him.  He couldn’t calm down.  We used to put pressure on ourselves to ensure he was regulated, but now we put that job on him.  “You can eat once you’ve regulated,” we say casually and ignore the whining and bucking of responsibility.


But after a few moments, he’ll ask for daddy to hold him so he can suck his thumb and calm down, sometimes blocking out his eyes to bring more calm to his body and mind.

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Anna in the glasses is adopted from Ukraine and reminds us a lot of Elijah, but maybe a bit more naturally regulated.

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Bye Mexico

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The staff on the boat are all from overseas.  There are no minimum wage laws at sea, so I assume they pay them very little, but compared to where they come from; the Philippines, Peru, Bulgaria, etc it probably pretty great.

The women who worked at the kids club were from the Philippines and were so loving and attentive.  We let the kids stay up late, while us parents ate out on the ship.


Oh, and it was a ‘Santa Cruise,’ meaning all the men who play Santa each year get together and go on this cruise.


Meaning the most heard line of the entire week was from Poppy who was yell whispering, “Das da REAL SANTA!!!!  DA REAL SANTA!!!  HI SANTA!!!!!”

“Wow, you’ve gotten so much bigger since last month!” one told her.

“Thank you for my sandals!”

“Well, ho ho, I see you’ve been taking good care of them.  That’s always something I am looking for.  Good job!”

And she was beaming.


Till next time

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  • Kim Yeatts February 5, 2017, 8:27 pm

    So fun! My man would never do a cruise and I never thought I would want to, either, but I’m beginning to wonder if a “ladies cruise ” of friends should be planned one day with my favorites.

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:23 am

      Right? It’s totally relaxing and fun 🙂

  • elisabeth ware February 7, 2017, 7:21 am

    I’ve been following your blog since you adopted the first time. Over the years I’ve grown to love your family… You are truly beautiful. It has been amazing to watch your kids grow and develop a sense of self-confidence, of self-worth. I have my own Russian daughter, one who did not come to me until she was almost 18. I can see what the years of feeling unwanted and unloved, unwantable and unloveable, have done. Watching Maria, I see how different it is for her. <3

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:31 am

      Thank you for your comment. It truly is wonderful to see them develop into the people they were meant to be, slow and steady, but so worth it.


  • kate February 7, 2017, 8:54 am

    I love seeing pictures of Maria and her dad…and Elijah turning to Dad for help and comfort….and hearing all your stories. I <3 that Santa who kept the magic going.

    Blessings and joy to you all!

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:33 am

      Thank you! I know, Santa of all people 🙂 50 of them!

  • Meg Kromer February 7, 2017, 10:35 am

    I just wanted to say that your blog and instagram feeds are some of the things I use to regulate myself. When the fate of this world gets to be too much, I check in with you and see how your lovely family is doing and everything feels just a bit better. Thank you for raising such amazing tiny humans. You give me hope that the future won’t be such a mess.

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:35 am

      Your comment made my day, or week, or more 🙂 thank you!

  • Erin February 8, 2017, 2:57 pm

    I hope everyone had an amazing, fun & enjoyable time on the cruise! I can’t think of anything more exciting & relaxing than a cruise ship sailing along the ocean with pools & food aplenty. We’ve got our 1st cruise booked for October & I can hardly wait! Love seeing your kids happy smiling pictures!!

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:39 am

      YAY! So excited for you! Where are you sailing to?

  • Crystal February 17, 2017, 9:57 am

    I love the one of the boys together on the zip line with the beautiful Mexican vista in the background!

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:39 am

      My fave, too 🙂 Kinda want to print and frame it for their room!

  • Trish February 28, 2017, 10:19 am

    NO WAY!!! That’s the same taco place we go to whenever we’re in Ensenada! Crazy to think that we’ve never met, but we’ve totally eaten the same tacos. 😀

    • tinyteam February 28, 2017, 10:39 am

      Oh my gosh! THE BEST! Have you met the owner? He’s so sweet I die 🙂

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