Thursday, December 29, 2011

Belize Navidad

We got back a few days ago from a Christmas trip to Belize. Surprisingly, this trip was actually a tad more eventful than the typical Ryan family beach vacay.

First let me paint a picture of what is the standard for our family - how many books can one back in the suitcase without exceeding the luggage weight limit? What movies can we bring that all members of the family would actually agree on watching together? How early do we need to get up in order to ensure prime spots for our lounge chairs? More books. Reading in the sun. Rain is not allowed. Clouds are tolerated, but only for brief spats. Bocce Ball constitutes about all the physical exertion any of us can handle.  Except for this one time when we decided to hula-hoop. With arms inside the hoop. Naturally.

To continue, the SPF 15 sunscreen bottle usually is empty by day four, so we resort to wearing SPF 8. The inevitable morning question: Will you put sunscreen on my back? Chris finished all of his books so it's time to steal his sister's reading.  Whose doing the dishes? Everyone flees the kitchen. Oh my gosh, there is another family trying to stay on the beach longer than us in the late afternoon sun....yea right, they can't win. Dips in the pool are a rare occurrence for my dad, and I've yet to see the day when he has voluntarily gotten in the ocean past his ankles. One time he did venture in, and he ended up passed out on the beach with an oxygen mask strapped to his face, along with his best friend, Frank. Mind you, they both were wearing matching Big Dog swimsuits at the time.

Well, this year we ventured just a touch on the adventurous side, and thanks to the addition of my hubby, Chris finally had a partner in crime with whom he could do boy things:

1) Fishing on the dock EVERY night we were there for the massive tarpon that swim under the lights. Each night, I waited expectantly for the boys to come in with at least 5 massive fish. The only thing that actually woke me once was the smell of hot oil at 12:30am when they decided to eat, right then and there, the one successful catch. It was about 6 inches long and maybe about 12 ounces heavy. They said it was the best fish they've ever tasted. Michael did catch a barracuda later in the week, but we didn't know that you could eat them so he threw it back. Darn.
2) Daredevil Chris and Sensible Michael kayaked to the reef one day. The reef is about three quarters of a mile offshore, and the waves break on it because it is so shallow. Because there is coral. Naturally. But Daredevil Chris heeds not the waves, and of course flips over his kayak. On coral. Scratch. Cut. Gash. Sensible Michael observes the whole thing, retrieves the wayward kayak and helps Chris back on. Without him, Chris would have been up a creek, so to speak.

Chris says "to the reef!"

Notice Michael -- water bottle, wearing a shirt to avoid sunburn, and a lifejacket. Notice Chris -- none of the above, and certainly not wasting any time to take a picture.

3) Snorkeling. Mom and I would go with Chris when he snorkeled, but after about 20 minutes, I usually have breathed in enough salt water for the year. So Chris used to be the lone ranger. Not so anymore. Michael is a fish out of water. Seriously. He did this on our honeymoon too, and apparently he did this as a boy in his backyard pool -- he lays on top of the water and doesn't move. For hours. No lie. Even Chris came back to the boat before Michael this time.

Here are my boys, two of my most favorite men in the whole world:

I can assure you that Chris doesn't normally look weird; it's just a regular occurrence in any picture he's in.

***Side note on snorkeling: it would have helped me to know that I was jumping into stingray-infested water. It is one thing to know what you are getting yourself into, but it's a whole new ball game to have no clue that giant, winged, menacing creatures are flying through the water just inches from your bare skin. No sir-ee, I was out of that water faster than you can say lickity-split.


  1. looks like you had a blast, cb! merry christmas!! xoxo

  2. How fun!!! I am the same way about snorkeling... and sting rays too, ha. I would have been just fine getting some sun and reading a book. Glad to hear your family had a wonderful trip!

  3. Fun post, Carey Beth! I'm glad you guys were able to get away. Happy New Year! :)