Family Cruising

How’s this for a Cozumel tropical paradise?

It’s been way too long since a new blog has been posted but I’m  trying to catch up.  To say we have been busy is a gross understatement.  But let me tell you one of the many events that have kept us running– our wonderful Royal Caribbean cruise with our daughter and family.  There are some sewing projects to see but lots of fun to report.

I had packed a bag of smocking projects which I expected to complete while enjoying the view and sea breeze from our balcony.  Some smocking was done but I packed way too many projects with way too many great expectations.

My good friend Carol, our daughter’s fabulous mother-in-law, was with us and had the same idea.  She knitted and I smocked.  So we sat and stitched, but only for short periods of time.



There were so many activities.  Vivian Rose wore “Nana clothes” every day.  Here she is leaving an activity wearing a bishop Easter dress from a few years ago.



The dress was generously sized for her two years ago and desperately needed a tuck under the arm.  It still needs the tuck and the only other fitting problem its short length.   Regardless, she loves the dress.  I really need to make those tucks. Why she is wearing her backpack under the dress is a mystery to me. She wore this dress to dinner one night.



For dinner each night she was dressed in smocking. This dress was made for her mother 30 years ago and was worn by cousin Laurel before Vivi for a few years. Now it’s another one of Vivian’s favorites.  It’s still in perfect condition, another hurrah for Spechler-Vogel’s Imperial batiste


at dinner with her parents, behaving like a little lady


Another night, she wore another hand-me down, made for our goddaughter 25 years ago and then worn by her daughter.  In this photo Vivian Rose is a little glum after being reprimanded for leaving the table and cruising the dining room, without permission.  I’d like to think she is pondering the error of her ways.



One reason (justification) for the cruise, was to celebrate Alastair’s 10th birthday.  The dining staff serenaded him and delivered a special dessert.


Harvey, beloved NanNan (another grandmother), the birthday boy and our dining staff

But it was the end of the day, and he was exhausted.

It was just too much for the boy.


Our biggest adventure was spending  the day on the other side of  the island at a  beach little known to tourists.  So it was not at all crowded. The first photo in this  post shows the beach outdoor dining area. Well known by locals for the food and the snorkeling, it was a day to remember .


Alastair is taking a break but he is not drinking his daddy’s beer.


The rocks shelter a huge variety of tropical fish. The area is very shallow, safe for the children to swim and snorkel without much worry.  Nonetheless, they were well supervised.

A local man arrived with this huge iguana, offering photo ops for a price.  Alastair was fearless, but it took some time for Vivian to warm up to the cold blooded beast.  But because Alastair did it, she felt obliged.



Lunch was an incredible affair.  Served on a huge wooden platter, the dinner ordered to serve 6, included 5 hog fish (Alastair’s favorite–he ate 3 entire fish all by himself), lobster, shrimp, avocados, and more.  Our 6 adults and 2 children couldn’t finish it.  It was just heavenly eating there with the sunshine and the gulf breeze.  And, of course, the iguana.

Two very talented local muscians serenaded us as we ate.  The music was delightful and added so much to our lunch.



The children bunked with us a few nights–such fun! Not much sleep but a lot of fun.



On this cruise, so many memories were made. Time with family is so precious.


After snorkeling and having lunch, we left the beach to walk about 200′ to the van that would take us back to the dock.

After checking to see that Vivian Rose and Alastair both had their C-passes on the lanyard around their necks, we boarded the van.  Vivi fell asleep immediately.  When we disembarked the van and proceeded to the immigration check point,  we looked down at Vivi and her C-pass was missing. We quickly checked the van to no avail. Obviously, the C-pass was on the other side of the island lying in the sand.

The Mexican authorities are very vigilant about verifying cruise ship passengers, especially making sure no children are being taken away illegally.

Vivi likes to fiddle with things and apparently unhooked her c-pass as we walked to the van.  Mama Bear Rebecca immediately shifted into damage control mode, making a plan.  Vivi had idly slipped out of line and under the rope past the very short immigration agent.  Rebecca urgently whispered to her to stay put.

Rebecca is a strong, fit, 5’7″  woman and her husband is a very fast runner, faster than his wife.  She whispered to Harvey, “If there is any trouble, I can take out the little Mexican.  You have Vivi’s passport.  Grab her and run for the boat!”  He poised and ready to flee.

Fully aware that she would probably spend some time in a Mexican jail and have to fly back to Tampa after serving her sentence, her baby would be safe.  So that was  the plan.

Our group of 8-minus Vivian Rose, breezed right through, without the agent noticing or perhaps without caring that we had no C-pass for the little blue eyed sprite on the other side of the rope. Whew!!!!


At the ship,  there was no problem getting another C-pass for Vivian, but Becca’s pulse was racing and she was sick to her stomach, thinking about what might have happened.  As usual,Vivian was blissfully unaware of the drama she caused.

And another forever memory was made.



6 responses to “Family Cruising

  1. Oh! I LOVED this story! What fun seeing your beautiful smocked creations worn by the irrepressible Vivian Rose! The day of sun, fun, snorkeling, and food sounds fantastic and made me long to go on another cruise someday. The C-pass story is one that will be told in your family for decades!!!

  2. Karen, I’m glad you enjoyed this post Of course, I too love seeing Vivi wearing the things I’ve made for her and she gets a lot of attention from other cruisers. Two woman told me they always wanted to learn to smock. If I had had a pleated piece and some extra supplies, I’d have sat them down and taught them. A cruise is really a wonderful way to spend quality time with family. No cooking, no cleaning, just fun and waaaaaay tooo much eating delicious food. Vivian Rose always adds a lot to the adventure. She is so tiny so looks like a little sprite as she flits around the ship. I hope you go on another cruise soon. It really is a fabulous experience.

  3. Hi Janice
    I inherited the very same Eldrege sewing machnine as yours in the oak cabinet. I would very much like to restore it to her former glory. I also have the case with all the attachements. Can you please help me with the instruction book or how to start restoring this old beauty. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Martha (South Africa)

  4. Martha, aren’t you fortunate to have one of these elderly beauties! And to have the accessories is very unusual. Lucky, lucky you–and me!!! I can give you no information about restoring the cabinet or machine, as mine was fully restored when I purchased it. But it did come with photo copies of the instruction manual and another sheet about the history. I have copied them and will email these to you. I hope they are helpful. Enjoy that lovely machine!

  5. Janice lowther

    Hi janice
    I’m after baby boys smocked suits ? Have you got any ?

    Kind regards
    Janice lowther

  6. Janice, I’m sorry but I do not. My youngest grandson is 10 and I purged them some time ago. Wish I could be more helpful.

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