As the guest of honor, Michelle was only able to get a few pictures.  But the shower was lovely.

First, the nursery sheep theme was continued with the softest sheep stuffed animal ever.  It’s debatable whether Baby Beard will be allowed to play with this.


I guess with us now living in Iowa City we don’t really need to be making room, but we did finally get the nursery halfway finished with a new coat of paint, a crib, and some decals.

More pictures to come later.

Michelle’s vacation goal was to try snorkeling again and hopefully see a sea turtle. Instead, she tried snorkeling and saw a shark. Twice.

But it didn’t deter her from trying again. Here’s Michelle post-snorkel at Watermelon Cay (where thankfully only coral reefs and delightfully blue fish were spotted).

To help people navigate the campsite and the never-ending sets of stairs, Maho names many of the thorough fares to help guests locate their cabins. Examples include Mongoose Highway and close to our cabin, Iguana Alley. The last time we were at Maho we saw a few large iguanas. This time, however, they surrounded us. Here is the first we spotted.

As before, the cabin was also inhabited by smaller lizards. The lizard below won the award for being the most daring.

More to come about the spotted aquatic life in the next post.

Prior to starting the new jobs and other associated life changes, we decided that a vacation was needed.  When deciding where to go, we had a few criteria: relaxing, warm, and quiet.  There was really only one place that we could go–back to St. John.

We returned to the Maho Bay Camps, and were given a tent with an even better view than the last time.

The view was even better as it allowed for prime people-watching from the comfort of our porch, as illustrated by this photo of Jon swimming. Notice how he doesn’t realize he’s being watched….

The views at night were equally impressive.

Too bad when we returned to the Midwest, this is what we returned to see:

While we’re waiting for all of our possessions to make it to Iowa, we’re lounging in Illinois for a few weeks.  Jon is taking full advantage of his new-found life of leisure.

For the last three years we have made the Christmas Eve drive from the East coast (New Jersey/DC) back to Illinois and usually returning New Years Eve or Day.  This year was a bit different as we would only be doing part of the yearly drive – the Christmas Eve portion.

Although the amount of driving would be a bit better, the change also meant weeks of preparation: buying a car, coordinating with movers, cleaning the apartment, and saying “see you later” to some wonderful friends.

Luckily everything went smoothly, including cooperative weather.  And now our previously filled apartment looks like this:


While preparing to say goodbye to DC, we received a welcomed task: my nephew’s Flat Stanley drawing. For those unfamiliar with Flat Stanley, it a colored drawing of a child (Stanley). As Stanley’s host, you take him around town, taking pictures of Stanley with local landmarks. Then you ship Stanley off to another town and send the pictures to the teacher to share with the class.

Having Stanley visit encouraged us to take one more trip down to the Mall and to my favorite memorial – the DC War Memorial. It’s an often overlooked memorial on the Mall and is dedicated to the DC citizens who died in World War I.

Here’s Flat Stanley outside of the memorial:

And here’s Jon:


And here’s Michelle:

More to come on our trip back to the Midwest.

While taking some pictures of the apartment for our sublease photos, I realized that there was something different in two shots of the living room.

From WordPress Album


From WordPress Album

I was quite tempted to use the second one for the posting….

Another advantage of being so high up on the island was the opportunity to see the sunset from the Maho dining area.

Here are a few pictures from the upper pavilion taken at sunset.

For the sunrise, we opted to view it from the beach itself on our final day at St. John prior to the start of the taxi, ferry, taxi, plane, plane, and taxi trip back to DC.