Travel destination suggestion

iheartgiantschnauzerFebruary 21, 2014

The weather isn't boat friendly right now at our lake house. Our family ski house just depresses me because my doctors have forbidden skiing or climbing. However my husband would like to get away for two weeks. If things don't break my way we may travel for another week or two before coming home. But, I have no idea where to go. Our son is 5. He will also be traveling. I want to avoid true ski destinations as I think I'd spend a lot of time wishing I was out on the mountain. Anywhere else in the world is fair game. No budget just give me your dream vacation ideas. NO Disney (sorry but it truly seems like hell to me) is it possible to do a safari on such short notice?

Thank you for brainstorming with me!

This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 14:06

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I aven't been, but DD and I are planning to take my 2 grands while her DH is on a business trip in March. The reviews read well and it's definitely a place where the kids can run off that extra energy and sleep well. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: hotel

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:43PM
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My dreamy places span a pretty wide spectrum. my long time dream is to go to Madagascar.. but I also want to rent a villa in Liguria ala the movie Enchanted April. That's probably too sedate for your lifestyle but it just seems divine to me.. time to write, listen to music, read, think and dream.

My bff has twice taken her family to Ireland and it's just been a wonderful bonding trip for them all. The kids enjoyed the hiking and exploring as much as my friend and her hubby.

As for a safari, i think it depends on what you are looking for. When I was in South Africa many years ago, I went to a number of safari parks (Kruger and Hluhluwe) without any advance preparation. I think as you look for something a bit more wild, the need for preparation and reservations increases. At least when I went, the visa process and inoculations required did require time.

Hope you come up with something perfect for your family!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:44PM
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If you are looking for somewhere closer to home, I've stayed here and it's just lovely. Skiing on site isn't all that great but there are some more challenging slopes nearby (I am not a skier).. but the reason I share this is that there are lots of other things to do other than skiing .. and again, since it's nothing like what you are accustomed to, it might not eat at you so much. They have a wide range of activities for kids-- winter sports, Wildlife Academy, dog sledding and other activities. They have an amazing art collection on site and an award winning restaurants and spa. I only stayed overnight and never partook of the other amenities but it was a lovely getaway and I'd jump to return. I was a sucker for the personal butlers-- I did not have him wake me up by shaking my big toe.. but i did allow him to draw me a bath. :)

Not sure if you are looking to go now or in the coming months. Personally, I'd go in spring when Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water is open and there are more outdoor activities.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Nemacolin

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:00PM
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Whoops, missed the 'dream vacation' sentence!

San Diego, Ca would be a great place for the whole family. With it's world renown zoo, beaches, Sea World, great food, did I mention beaches? it's overall a great place. Having lived there for 27 years and raising 5 kids, we saw the best of it all! Stay right on the beach at the Del Coronado~it's hard to beat! ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Hotel

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I certainly enjoyed my stay at Caneel Bay although it was many years ago.... so much privacy, excellent food and 7 different beaches on the property. But that's probably not the most exciting for your son.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Caneel Bay

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:15PM
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I don't know what the weather is like this time of year in Lake Como, but that would be my recommendation. There is so much to do and see. I haven't been to Villa D'Este in years, but I'm sure it is still wonderful. As I recall, we flew into Milan and it was a relatively short drive (a little over an hour) to Lake Como.

My personal dream trip, if I could leave tomorrow, would be to Paris and all I'd do is sit at Cafe Deux Margots and watch people while I eat ..and eat...and eat!

Have a wonderful vacation, no matter where you chose to go.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:55PM
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It's so good to "see" you, IHGS!

Given the weather, I think Europe is less than ideal. Though I agree Italy's lake region is surely one of the most fabulous places on earth.

I am sure you can do a safari, there are always people cancelling etc.. I might do Capetown (lovely and sophisticated city) and from there do a safari in South Africa. You won't have to take the Malaria pills and get shots and such IIRC, whereas we did in Kenya and Tanzania. We stayed at Uplands in Kwandwe. It's a fabulous old farmhouse. You have a cook, driver, etc at your beck and call. While you laze by the pool, giraffe amble by. If you want more detail you can email me. Frankly, people will tell you that game viewing is better in other parts of the world, but you will definitely see lions, leopard, elephants, giraffes, zebra, rhinos. More than enough for anyone. And Uplands, at least when we went in 2009, was the only place designed to house a family.

Australia and or New Zealand, if you haven't been, would also be on the list. Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen.

You could also consider Borneo for incredible diving or snorkelling. Swimming with sea turtles. Incredible colonies of brightly colored fish. And I don't dive, this was all snorkelling and kayaking around the resort. Villas on stilts in the water. However, a real pain to get to and food not so hot.

Amandari or Amankila in Bali. Wonderful people, exotic culture, gorgeous views and ... 3 Amans!

One place on my list that I've not been is Marrakesh. They have a new 4S and and Aman. You can take ON camel treks into the Sahara.

I hope you have a wonderful time.

PS My youngest was 5 iirc when we went on Safari, it's not too young IMHO

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:51AM
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Forgot to provide the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Uplands cottage

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:58AM
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I agree, California (LA/Hollywood) or San Diego would be great.

Key West, but maybe that would not be very kid-friendly.

I would think you would need to avoid a safari/Africa due to the potential to contract illnesses while there.

Australia this time of year is fabulous weather--I went around this time in 2003, but it is a very long flight, usually anywhere from 12-16 hours. Can you manage that physically?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 8:21AM
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I was so happy to see responses today! Thank you all!

Patty- no worries. Funny you linked to great wolf. My sons best friend had his 5th birthday party at the Cincinnati location a few weeks ago. The boys adore it. It's a frequent winter request for a day trip.

Marlene- lake como is amazing! I not think the weather would be very favorable this time of year. In general, the weather in Europe seems less than ideal right now.

Funky- thanks for the suggestion. We are an active family, but I enjoy a restorative recharging vacation too. Hah funny you should mention Ireland. We visit family In county mayo every year. Although I've only climbed Croagh Patrick 6 times, perhaps visiting and climbing for a 7th tie loud be wise incase my health doesn't improve. If we gave my son the choice he'd probably opt for Ireland but only if we visit London to see a "real football" match.

GS you and my husband have to be the practical science types! Sheesh. I lofted the idea of a safari at breakfast. My husband laughed so hard and said "you have to be kidding". He quickly vetoed the idea with a list of Mexican reasons why he was forbidding it. I suppose he sensed my frustration as he quickly promised that when I am 1 year in remission we will take a 2 month sabbatical which will include a safari!

So, I have bookmarked your recommendation Mtn. It looks fantastic and the perfect safari excursion for a family. 4S @ Marrakech looks fantastic but husband has same concerns. So I didn't bring it up. Instead, I merely added it to my remission trip :)

On the other hand the husband did not veto Australia or New Zealand outright. He has more faith in the respective medical systems there. But he shares GS worries about a long flight. I, being ever the optimist, think such a flight is perfectly doable. I will be flying with a HEPA filter mask. I don't need to catch something before I've reached my destination!

Annie- you and my husband are thinking alike. He suggested Nevis or St. Kitts.

He also mentioned I may be overlooking Hawaii or California.


I don't want him worried the entire trip; I am postponing the dream trips. Instead opting for either a Caribbean or Hawaiian & Californian vacation.

Any places you feel are must visits? Any accommodation recommendations?

Has anyone ever chartered a yacht and sailed around the islands? Any charter company recommendations?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Silly me, for some reason I thought you lived in California?

The Four Seasons in Costa Rica is very nice. Not terribly far. It's a lovely property on a peninsula. Great kids club. Make sure you go when it is green, though.

I have never been, but a lot of friends have done 4S Nevis and loved it. If you don't want to go too exotic, I think it is an excellent choice.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Nope not a Cali girl; I grew up in KY and PA. Now we live in Indianapolis. Perhaps it was my vegan lifestyle that made you think Cali?

I would prefer an exotic vacation. My husband isn't quite on board with me. he would NEVER admit this. However I think this trip is an excuse to get away from all the well meaning, but much too maudlin friends and coworkers. He is worried enough as is. i think even if he won't say it, he wants to create memories my son will remember while Im still feeling well enough to do everything.

A beachy vacation would allow me to be active when i have the energy but then chill out and watch my son play on the beach or poolside when im not feeling up to par. I get his thinking. It's just not our normal travel style. But I'm feeling better at the moment and looking forward to the time with just the three of us. My husband is usually the same, but given our situation he woud feel much better with something more mellow.

It's dry season in costa rica now, iirc? Would you not recommend visiting now?

I'll check out 4S Nevis. Thanks for the rec!

I'm still curious about sailing charters if anyone has any experience with those, please let me know!

This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Sat, Feb 22, 14 at 17:49

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 2:43PM
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joaniepoanie glad you feel well enough for a trip. I vote for Cali or Hawaii so you will have access to American hospitals if will be easier to communicate regarding medical records, etc....sorry if I sound like a gloomy Gus, just trying to be practical...

Just about anything in Cali from San Diego (big yes to Hotel del Coronado), a trip to Knotts Berry Farm for your son, Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, central coast, Carmel, Monterey, of course SF,Yosemite, on up into the wine can't go wrong.

Here's something totally different to consider.....a dude ranch in Arizona. I've never been but a lot of people enjoy them. Would be fun for your son.

Keep us posted on what you glad you are home.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Joanie- no need to apologize. I understand from where you are coming. I think the Caribbean would be ok-- quick flight back to the states. However the hubs would probably be relieved if I chose somewhere in the US!

Hmm.. A dude ranch! There really is no reason we couldn't do az and ca and Hawaii. A few days in az at a dude ranch. I wonder if any will accommodate our family's vegetarian ways? If so, we could follow that up with a week in ca then a week in Hawaii. I'll have to explore this some more. I'm not sure if I want to hit three different cities in Ca in a week or stay in one place. I've only been to SD once- for a Super Bowl. I think it would be more enjoyable outside that atmosphere.

Options options options. I like it. Keep the suggestions coming.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 6:36PM
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If I had your opportunity (no budget, mellow activity) it would be to most any fair weather location. A fine mixture to find rest and action, from CA to Hawaii to Costa Rica to Ireland to Africa. While not going overboard on travel times, perhaps intermingle several destinations and adventures into one trip. Drive your son nuts with snow, beach and jungle environments. Yes, you can rent motorized or sailing yachts for various terms. Good luck planning your crazy expedition.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 6:41PM
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The 4S in Nevis is spectacular. My favorite "tropical" destination so far. We were there exactly 2 years ago. I can tell you more if you're interested. Your son would probably enjoy the golf cart tours around the property where they drive by monkeys that come out at certain times of day. The beach is beautiful and the service is, well, 4S quality.

The following year (last year) we went to Caneel Bay on St. John. Also fantastic. Nevis is my favorite, St. John is DH's favorite -- he liked the snorkeling, which was great right on the resort beach. No need to go on a boat! I liked it a lot too, but for me, Nevis was somehow more of a magical place.

I'd go back to either one in a heartbeat!

My favorite non-tropical trip was Switzerland -- almost 2 years ago we went to Geneva, Interaken, and Zurich. Loved every minute!

Here are the monkeys on the golf course in Nevis.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:53PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you want a tropical trip with good medical, consider Costa Rica. You can see the rain forest, the butterfly garden, the volcano and some wonderful beaches with snorkeling. My Uncle goes every year to get out of the winter and to get medical stuff taken care of as it's so inexpensive down there.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:23AM
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Okay, these are my impressions of Nevis 2 years later. Granted, there's not a whole lot to do off the resort, so this is where you go for a "kick back and relax" week. We did rent a car for a few days and saw a few interesting things but if I went again, I probably wouldn't bother. There is a place next store called Sunshines, which with your dietary choices may not interest you, but it's a funky shack-like, open-air restaurant on the beach. The owner is a dreadlocked guy named Sunshine who walks around chatting with people. He told my 16 yo son he looked like Tom Brady when he found out we were from Boston! Seating is on big comfy sofas...they have a signature cocktail called, oh, I forget now, something to do with bees, maybe a bee sting? All in all, that place was just a fun experience. Anyway, back to the 4S. Look one way and see the beach, look the other way and see a volcano. Amazing views in all directions. Head to the pool where a cabana boy will set up your chair, bring you fruit-infused water, and arrange your umbrella. Walk over to a little shaded kiosk by the pool and help yourself to "free" sunscreen and more water. Walk down the beach and get your hair braided! I liked the beach because you could walk for very long stretches...versus Caneel Bay, which has several individual smaller beaches. There is tennis and golf if you're into that. The monkey tour was so fun. If my kids had been younger, they'd probably want to go every day.

I only have a couple pictures on my iPad but could post more later.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Annie I'm not worried about medical. If anything should happen we will fly home. My husband would just feel better if we were close to home. I'm over the infection and largely stable given my overall health. Things happen though and with my medical reality it is better not to be in the middle of Nepal?

Old- sorry I missed your post. Thank you for chiming in. I know chartered vacations are possible but we usually sail with friends. I'm not familiar with any particular companies. I was hoping to avoid a captain Ron situation ;)

We're heavily leaning towards Nevis 4S villa rental. It's available and seems the least hassle to schedule. Sorry that sounds like such an pathetic reason to schedule a trip, but it is my ugly truth. It just seems like a stop we'd normally do for three dats before moving on... Maybe I need to find a few other places to hit up.

Sue b- thanks! How long did you all stay? I'm so glad to hear your memories are still favorable two years later!

This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 9:47

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Correct, I would NOT go to Costa Rica this time of year. We went in April a few years ago. They call it the "gold season". The reality, everything is dead and brown (except the lovely and expansive Four Seasons grounds). Even though the resort itself is very beautiful, when you look out at the vistas it looks like fall back home.

If you are holding off on more challenging dream vacations, I would again vote for 4S Nevis. Get one of the (many) private cottages/villas with your own plunge pool. Riding around on the golf cart to see the sites and views and wildlife is also a lot of fun, especially for your son. We have been to a few places that are all golf carts within the resort and the kids enjoy that part a lot!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:46AM
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Mtn- thanks! I think 4S Nevis has won. What can I say I'm lazy right now? It'll be a nice relaxing time and DS will love the golf carts, plunge pool, monkeys, water sports and beach.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:51AM
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You should be lazy. I am sorry I mentioned crazy suggestions, but you got me going when you said safari! I thought it was ambitious, but I know you are a nurse IIRC?, and I think DH is a physician? So I figured maybe you knew better than I what was doable.

At any rate, "least hassle" is the way I think many people judge a vacation! I know you will be glad you chose Nevis, plus it has SueB's thumbs up! Enjoy a vacation that does not require seeing and doing as much as being and sharing.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:39AM
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If Hawaii is on the short list, then I can sigh and smile at the memory of the Farimont Kea Lani in Maui.

Exceedingly well run. Kid friendly. Excellent food. Pricy but not ridiculous. Great location on the island.

And dinner or lunch a few times at Mama's fish house. Best meal we have ever had anywhere, hands down. And eaten in shorts and flip flops as a bonus.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:44AM
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We've traveled a lot (though not as much as mtn!) and Nevis is very high on my list of favorites, so I hope you'll love it. We were there for a week. It isn't the easiest travel day getting there and back (we flew to St Kitts, then took a shuttle to the dock, then a boat to Nevis) but when you arrive at the dock at the 4S and the "staff" is literally standing there waiting to escort you to your room, you'll feel like it was all worth it!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Thank you guys!

Mtn- please dont apologize i asked for the crazy. I loved your suggestions we are kindred travel spirits. I just have a tendency when sick to push all reasonable boundaries. The best part is I now have 2 remission trip destinations-- feel free to add a third or fourth. Heck les go crazy 4 or 5 more. I'll be able to pick up books to keep me dreaming should a match come up and I'm once again in hospital isolation for 3-4 weeks. Not to mention the first 100 days post transplant where life is so very very different from well life! Travelogues, guidebooks, maps and national geographic videos help me pretend I'm anywhere else! I get the worst wanderlust when a patient!

Great memory! you do have our careers correct. However, just because I know what limits are, doesn't mean I think they apply to me. I may be the worst patient ever? All told, I think this will be a perfect escape.

Julie, Hawaii made the short list but we decided on Nevis. The deciding factor is my best friend, her husband and her daughter (who now live in Sao Paulo) will be able to join us for the 2nd week! my son is over the moon about our traveling companions.

I'll file away the hotel rec for a later time. Thank you. Now I can obsess over what to pack :)

Have a great day everyone!

This post was edited by iheartgiantschnauzer on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 11:57

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Sue - thank you so much. Sounds like we are in for a wonderful vacation!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:32AM
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marlene_2007 are too've got me singing "Summer Love" from Grease and that ain't pretty :-) (Instead of "tell me more, tell me more, my DH is telling me to "stop singing, stop singing"!

Nevis sounds glorious.

You and your family are going to have a wonderful time wherever you chose to go.

Edited after reading your final decision. It is going to be fantastic!

This post was edited by marlene_2007 on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 11:56

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:40AM
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How about Maui?
My husband and I have rented this home in Lahina a few times and really enjoyed our time there.
I have no affiliation other than renting the place!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:34PM
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I'm late to this post, but so glad you found a wonderful trip to look forward to and fun travel companions! Sounds perfect.
My BIL and SIL went there on their honeymoon several years ago and LOVED it. Hope it is a great trip for you and your family.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:47PM
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Oh, you will love 4S Nevis! Glad you picked it.

To add to your "someday" file:
You had asked about sailing charters, so I want to recommend It's the VRBO/Homeaway of bareboat or crewed charters, offering anything from basic monohulls to luxury yachts. They're dependable and well known, and I believe they only allow 3yo vessels or newer in their line up, although I could be mistaken on that point.

We stayed in a private villa on St John with friends a couple weeks ago (only had time for drinks at Caneel Bay ... always love that spot, Annie and sueb!), and our day trips on boat were wonderful, but I SO wanted to be on the water full time. My husband recently earned his ASA certification, so we'll now be able to do bareboat vs. crewed and are planning to charter a 50' cat through Moorings next year in BVI and then French Polynesia after that. My sister recently did The Grenadines and loved it, but we haven't been there yet. The Moorings is everywhere, which is nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Moorings

This post was edited by jujubean71 on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 9:08

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Sounds like a wonderful vacation, IHGS! I am late to the planning party, but just wanted to say I would have suggested either Maui and one of the fabulous resort hotels there (and ditto Mama's Fish House to eat), Kauai (Hyatt Resort has to-die-for pools for everyone) and is much smaller and driveable to loads of scenic spots. For US travel would have suggested Yellowstone and Grand Tetons with a stay at the Amangani in Jackson Hole (with tons of great places to eat). Plus you'd get to take your son to see some wildlife. But this isn't the best time of year to hit the National Parks. Maybe if you get a chance to do that in April or May or even in September when the crowds are down. Enjoy some fun in the sun in Nevis!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Outside- thanks. We have family home near Jackson Hole. Being in The tetons and unable to backcountry snowboard or ski would crush me. A tropical vacation is just the ticket. But I'll keep the Hawaii recs in mind for someday.

Juju- thank you! I've filed away for future trip. Very cool that your husband is now ASA certified. You will have some wonderful trips ahead!

Lego- thanks. I can't wait. Thank you for sharing your family's experience.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Case Closed. Have a great tropical adventure. But since you mentioned sailing, this one just popped up during a a Caribbean search. Add it to your archives of possibilities.

Here is a link that might be useful: BOAT CHARTERS

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Thanks old.

5 days to go! Right on time as they are predicting another snow/ice storm Sunday & Monday! This winter has been crazy!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:46PM
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