Saturday, June 30, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes--June

The entries are kind of sparse again this month. I guess when you spend 1/4 of the month gallivanting across the Caribbean and away from your children, that'll happen. Hope you enjoy the few blog-worthy quotes.

6/20--This was the first night in our new house and we had the most humorous family scripture study. In Whitney's scripture stories, we're reading the Old Testament right now. We're on the part where Moses is leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. They have the tabernacle which has either fire or a cloud above it, depending on whether it is night or day. The illustration in her book looks like this:

Whit's question:
"Did they roast marshmallows there?"

Also tonight, I can't remember exactly what chapter of the Book of Mormon we read with Brandon, but we had a conversation about how our family can be together forever. Brandon wanted to know, "How are we going to find each other in heaven? I've seen a picture. It's like an island with waterfalls and palm trees. I don't know how we're going to find each other on a big island like that."

6/21--Preface: One of the songs on the new Singstar is "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. This is one of Brandon's favorite songs on that game and he sings it all the time.

Well, our new house number is only six numbers different than our old house number. Brandon did that math on his own and said, "Hey, mom. If we sang 'Three Doors Down' twice, we would be at our old house!"

6/25--I have a CD of songs that I've burned and one of them is "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies. That is such a catchy tunes and the kids enjoy it. One line says, "If I had a million dollars, I'd buy your loooooooove." After that line, from the backseat Brandon said, "Love costs zero dollars. You can't buy love." If only everyone had that wisdom, buddy.

6/27--Ok, this wasn't something my kids said, but I thought it was so funny and that this would be a good forum to share. We have our share of panhandlers in this city who stand at busy intersections asking for handouts. They normally hold signs that say, "Homeless vet. Please help." Or "Hungry. Anything will help." Today we drove buy a man who was holding a cardboard sign that said, "No cash? No problem. All major credit cards accepted." It cracked me up!

6/29--I was on a LONG walk with the kids this morning. Brandon was riding his bike. Whit was in the stroller. She randomly blurted out, "I know how to spell 'Chinese.'" I was surprised to hear that and asked, "How?" Her reply, "CHI...NESE." Oh, ok. Thanks, Whit.

6/29--The last time we had to patch for Whit, she was too young to understand what was going on herself, let alone explain to anyone else why she was wearing that distracting thing on her eye. Well, now she LOVES to tell everyone why she wears it and does it with confidence. I think it is the cutest thing and tried to capture it on film. Here's a sampling, though she's sometimes even more dramatic than this.

6/30--I don't know where this came from, but we were out running errands as a family today and Brandon said, "I know what I'm gonna do when I grow up. I'm gonna sell lemonade and other stuff on the side of the road so I can get more money and be rich." (Yikes--he's a little too interested in money right now, if you ask me.) Andrew asked, "What 'other stuff' will you sell?" Brandon said, " games...pillows for beds." Sounds like we have a future entrepreneur on our hands. I mean, who doesn't need pillows for beds from a roadside stand?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The one-eyed princess returns

So, we got to visit Whitney's boyfriend, Dr. Buckley, yesterday. She was THRILLED. I was worried. My worries were legitamized (is that a word?) when Dr. Buckley confirmed that she HAS developed lazy eye again. Boo!!!! I was SO hoping I was wrong. Treatment? Patch every other day for the next six weeks. Poor little thing. Why couldn't she patch in the winter when she wouldn't have to worry about getting a tan line around that thing? That's exactly what happened last summer, too.

On the plus side, I'll get to start practing my
drawing skills again. Here's Ariel.
I can tell I'm a little rusty.
And I think I need some new markers.

I was worried about how well she'd handle the patching now that she's a year older. I was afraid she might fight it. But, so far so good. I feel BAD for her, though. The vision in that eye is not good right now--20/100. I know it must be annoying to have only that weak eye to get around with. She had a difficult time putting away the silverware this afternoon. That's one of her regular chores that she is good at. Today she said, "I can't do it, Mom. I can't see." It was the first time I've ever heard her verbalize something like that and it broke my heart. She also ran her chin into her doorframe on her way to take her nap. Hopefully the number of accidents will decrease as her vision improves.

After six weeks, we'll go back up to Duke and see what Dr. Buckley says. He was surprised at how bad her vision was because he says her alignment looks good. He tested to see if she needs glasses, but that's not the problem. I'm confused. I feel like this is just a never-ending cycle for our little girl. Andrew and I were talking last night about whether or not it's time to seek treatment elsewhere. Dr. Buckley is supposed to be one of the best in his field. The only doc that I know of who is more highly recommended than him for Whit's condition is at UCLA. I don't know what to do.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What I love about our house

Now that the drama with the water main is over, I'm ready to share some of the things we LOVE about the house. Here they are, in no particular order.

*We have some cool light fixtures.
Like this one in the kitchen.
I don't know if the picture does it
justice, but you get the idea.

And this one in the breakfast nook.
It feels kind of Roman to me.
Actually, I love the whole nook itself.
And I didn't think I would.
Isn't it cute? I love the vaulted ceiling
and windows on all three walls.

I've never understood the need for a "formal" dining room, but we have one here. This little nook isn't big enough for our dining room table, but it's perfect for this little one, so we usually eat breakfast and lunch here and eat dinner at the big one. Yes, I know the folding chairs are tacky. They're just a temporary solution, I hope. :)

* We have some pretty wood floors, which I've
never had before. It has been an adjustment
for me. I had to put felt pads on the bottom of
all the furniture. And the little are rug still
slips all over the place. Any suggestions?

*The powder room downstairs.
I love this little pedestal sink and
oval mirror in there.

*The screen door in the back.
This was something small that I didn't realize I'd love so much. In the mornings and evenings when it is cool outside, I can just leave that back door open and turn on the ceiling fan and it feels great in here. I love the light that it lets in, too.

Do you see the hot tub in the background? I'm not sure what we think about that yet. Personally, I want to get rid of it. Sell it to a friend or on craig's list. I just don't think of myself as a hot tub person. Andrew wants to give it a try, so I guess we will.

*Yipee--we have a garage!
When they say it's a two-car garage, do they really mean it? We can BARELY fit both Hot Rod and Sally in here. It takes some precision parking from Andrew. I'm sure I will end up dinging up at least one of the cars.

*Behind our back yard, there is a common area
that is great for exploring. The kids and I went
out, but learned that you need mosquito spray,
jeans, and tennis shoes to really enjoy it.
I see some great photo ops back here in the future.

*We are using the 4th bedroom as a bonus room
right now. In addition to having a closet on one
side, it has this CUTE little playroom on the other.
I think it's Whit's favorite part of the house.
It has a light inside, but no A/C, so it will probably
be a better place to play in the spring and fall.

*We have these pretty french doors to the office.
The previous owners left that cool candle
arrangement around the border, which I love, too.

*Our master bedroom is on the second floor, but
then you also have to go up these three little steps.
I think it's so cool. Andrew's not sure what to think.
He feels like he's stepping down out of our
throne room every morning.
(I took this pic during the home inspection, so
that's not our bed or curtains up there. Ours
is still stuffed with boxes.)

*We have tons of storage, which is great. There
are lots of shelves built into the garage, an attic,
and this great little shed in the backyard.
Yes! I can become a pack rat now!

I think we've told most of you, but here's
the picture proof--our backyard is a basketball court.
I think this is the favorite part of the house
for both Andrew and Brandon. Not only can
they shoot hoops on this sweet adjustable rim,
but Brandon loves to ride his scooter and bike
around in the backyard. Whitney's still trying
to get the hang of it. Very fun.

*Finally, I love the brick on the outside. I love
the color and texture to it. Very pretty.

So, there you have it. I'm surprised at how quickly this house has come to feel like our own. Usually when you move, it feels like you're in someone else's house for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was because of the drama with the water main. When you go through traumatic experiences with people, it brings you closer together. Could the same be true with homes?

I feel weird about putting a picture of the whole house on the internet, so if you want to see it, I guess you have to come visit. :) Our phone number stayed the same and I'll try to get an e-mail out with our new mailing address.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Problem solved

The plumbers came back today and replaced the water main.

Here is what our lawn looked like before.

And here is what it looks like now.
It's not pretty, but it could've been worse.

It was actually pretty painless for us, too. Of course we haven't received the bill yet. That's when the pain will come. Some of our good friends from church were getting sealed in the Raleigh Temple today, so we were gone from about 10:30-3:30 and the kids were at a friend's house. The plumber came right before we left and finished before we got home. We were crossing our fingers and saying a little prayer as we walked inside. The water was working just fine and was even clear. I had terrible thoughts about coming home to brown, muddy water from the faucets. Andrew checked the meter and it has stopped running, so HOORAY, it looks like the problem is solved.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your horror stories (and those of your friends) with me. I probably shouldn't take solace in the pain of others, but it did help to know that we're not the only ones who go through things like this.

I hope to take some time tomorrow to share some of the likes and dislikes about the house--other than the water main, of course.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Leak update

My choice to brace myself for the worst was a good one. The plumber says that the leak is somewhere along the main water line and rather than digging along that line until he finds the leak (which would risk puncturing the sewer line underneath), he recommends just REPLACING THE WHOLE WATER MAIN. Ouch.

We did some investigating into the history of the water bills in this house. The meter was read on May 25th and was the normal amount of water for a quarter. (I guess they're only read every quarter.) Then it was read again June 20th (the day we moved in) and it had already used as much water as the previous quarter. Something obviously happened between May 25th and June 20th. Our inspection was on May 23rd and also found nothing wrong.

We've worked with the previous owners and they have agreed to split the cost 50/50 with us as long as their portion doesn't far exceed what the plumbers estimated it would cost. That was nice of them to work with us on it. It's still discouraging, but I'm over most of the drama.

Here is what the hole looks like for now.
Tomorrow it will only get
worse before it gets better.
Wish us luck.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The ups and downs of moving

Well, we made it. We're in our new house. We packed up the U-Haul on Tuesday night with A LOT of help from our church friends.

Both closings took place on Wed afternoon. It was ROUGH. They changed the time of the closing on our new house that morning. There were complications with a money transfer from our credit union and it came down to the last minute, but it finally all fell into place. Phew.

I felt like I could breathe a sigh of relief. And you should've seen us in the elevator riding down from the attorney's office. I think giddy would be the best way to describe us. We came back to the house and had amazing help from church again--both to help me scrub the house down and unload the truck. It went by fast and smoothly.

Then today things took another turn for the worse. The city water employee came to read the meter so they could start the bill in our name. He told me that there was water in the meter box and it looked like a leak. He dug a 2 foot hole right behind the meter box and it was slowly but steadily filling up with water as he dug. ARE YOU JOKING???? We've been here for less than 24 hours and there's a leak??? Unbelievable. I am seriously sick to my stomach over it. We have a plumber coming in the morning to look at it and I'm bracing myself for the worst--that we're going to have to replace the water main from the meter to our house. Not only will that be expensive, but will also destroy our front lawn. It has been devastating for me.

Andrew is taking it much more in stride, after blowing off steam at our agent and trying to figure out if this is something we can get the previous owners to pay for. (We're still looking into that, but I'm not holding my breath.) He was very comforting for me and helped me put things in perspective. It is hard for me, though. We lived in our other little house for 4 years and never had ANYTHING like this happen. And we've lived here for ONE DAY and already have a major problem! Very, very frustrating. What scares me the most: Is this a sign of things to come? Has everyone seen "The Money Pit?" Scary, scary. I think I need to get more reinforcement from Andrew. Everything will be ok. Everything will be ok. I'll keep telling myself that.

After we get these problems resolved, I'll have the energy to post about all the good things in the house. There are lots, but I'm overwhelmed by the negative right now. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good-bye, first house

The boxes have started taking over!


and here...everywhere!

The walls are bare.

I guess it's official...we are really moving. Tomorrow! I am extremely excited about our new house. Thrilled. Ecstatic. But at the same time, I'm slightly sentimental about leaving our very first house. Here are some things we'll miss...and some we won't.

You were a great starter home.
But it's time to move on.

*The tree in the front yard. It's a unique tree and I love it. My grandma told me it's called a Mimosa. It is the perfect climbing tree for the kids.

W likes to hang from the lowest branch

Or hang like an upside-down monkey.

Brandon likes to "surf" on it

Or see how high he can climb.

*Riding bikes down the hill. We live in a great little cul de sac that slopes downward. The kids love to ride their bikes down to the bottom, struggle back up the hill, and start all over again. It's great entertainment.

*The azaleas in the front. I love the way the whole bush bursts with color. This year a late frost killed some of the blossoms.
Here's Whit in front of last year's azaleas.
Hasn't she grown up a lot in the last year?

*The beautiful irises in the backyard
I've never watered them--not once!
And they just keep coming back
year after year. Gorgeous.

*Our cute little veggie plot. We planted our first garden here and I thought we did pretty well--cucumbers, carrots, sugar snap peas, a watermelon, squash, tomatoes. (I couldn't find a picture for proof!)

*Our nice, small mortgage payment. (Andrew will especially miss this one.)

*County taxes. I feel like we already live in the city, but we are technically right out of city limits, so we get a huge break on property taxes. We didn't get so lucky with our new home.

*The comfort and familiarity of knowing all of your neighbors and being the "old-timers" on the block. In the four years that we've lived here, all 16 of our closest neighbors have moved away. I guess that's what happens with "starter" homes.

*Smooth ceilings. Our new house has that popcorn stuff on the ceilings. Bummer.


*Guests having to use the kids' bathroom. Oh, man. I always feel bad when guests ask to use the bathroom. Do you know how quickly a toilet can get befouled when a five year old boy uses it regularly? I'm looking forward to having a powder room in the new house that will HOPEFULLY stay clean--or at least won't be embarassing.

*The sink sprayer that doesn't work. We lived with it that way the whole time we've been here and then it came up on the inspection, so Andrew had to replace it last week. It was one of those things that made us think, "Why didn't we do this three years ago???"

*The ice maker that has issues.

*Lack of garage.

*Pipes that make a high pitched squeal when you take a shower in the kids' bathroom. Luckily this doesn't happen often. (Our kids prefer baths.) It's piercing.

*Upside-down outlets. Yes, all of the outlets in our house were installed the wrong way--with the third hold on the top instead of the bottom. What's up with that?

We're loading up the U-Haul tonight and will be signing all the papers tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My last cruise post--I promise

I just needed one more post to reminisce about the cruise and then I'll move back into reality.

Although the cruise was overall amazing and I loved it, there were some things I could've done without. Here are a few:

*Super cheezy and often crude jokes by our cruise director, James. I didn't realize just how many innuendos could be crammed into a ten minute speech.

*The majority of the entertainment on the ship. For people who drink, smoke, and/or gamble, a cruise is ship is heaven. But we don't. Why is it that people thing you have to be crass or provocative to be funny and/or entertaining. Get creative, people! We walked out of one of the dance shows and one of the comedians. Bummer.

*Not being able to port at our third stop--Costa Maya, Mexico. This was one of the things that Andrew and I were most looking forward to. We had purchased an excursion to Chacchoben--some Mayan ruins that are supposed to be pretty awesome. We were really disappointed about that.

Look how close we got!
That's the port where we were supposed to dock,
but it was too windy. I think they were afraid
that we would either break that dock into pieces
or that as passengers, we'd get injured trying
to step off the boat onto the dock.

*Feeling like I couldn't even walk a straight line on those couple of really windy days. It was crazy. Our first two days on the ship were very calm waters and if I wasn't looking out at the ocean, I couldn't tell I was on a boat. But then we had a couple of days that were VERY rocky. It completely through my equilibrium off and lasted for several days after I got home. I still felt like I was on the boat.

*Andrew could've done without all the low ceilings, signs, and entryways. He got hurt a few times, luckily nothing serious.

Blatant height discrimination! (if you ask him)
Jake and Sandy--beware of this if you ever
decide to go on a cruise.

*Spending the entire day in the Ft. Lauderdale airport waiting for a cancelled flight. I think we got there at 10:45 am and finally flew out around 6 pm or so. If I knew we were going to be in Florida that long, I would've planned a trip to the beach or something!

Instead we spent time checking e-mail,
and got to read a lot.

We were SOOOO ready to be home by the end.
(Ok, our faces are a bit exaggerated.)

And, finally, the honorable mentions for the top ten cruise moments:

*Not having to do dishes or laundry ALL WEEK. We didn't even have to clear dishes off a table. Not once! I was getting used to it, but haven't trained Brandon and/or Whitney to take over that chore yet.

*Sleeping in. We had an interior room and they don't put clocks in there. With no daylight and no clocks to look at, we had no idea what time it was when we woke up every morning. And the best part was....we didn't even care!

*Our funny, talkative, knowledgeable taxi driver named Tony in the Bahamas. He was a crack-up. Loved listening to him. And he even took us back to the port the long way to show us this castle:
Yes, this is a house where someone lives.
It was built by the man who owns Burger King
in the Bahamas. They must like they're Whoppers!

*Alfie--one of the Carnival employees who often served as a game show host. He was cute and spunky and had a great British accent. He also taught us a dance to the song that says, "McDonalds, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a Pizza Hut" that we all LOVED. Cindy I were both Alfie fans. Neither Andrew or Tony cared for him much.

*Playing Outburst with Tony and Cindy one night in our cabin. The best category was something like, "Ten alternate names for a toilet." A few of them were pretty easy--potty, john, etc. #10 was "thundermug". Have you ever heard anyone refer to the toilet as the THUNDERMUG? It was new to us, but became part of our vocabulary for the rest of the cruise.

Let's do it again for the 20th anniversary!! Or maybe even the 15th. :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Timely inspiration

I shouldn't be blogging right now, but I had to share this neat experience I had yesterday.

I had a busy morning. Was on the phone for THREE HOURS getting all of our utilities switched over to the new house. Bell South is the worst. I had to call them twice and was on hold for 15 minutes the first time and 20 the second. Very frustrating.

The afternoon went pretty well and then Andrew had church meetings in the evening. He called me about 20 minutes after he had left to let me know that his car had died. WHAT???? We don't have the time or money for that right now. Grrrr. I was totally stressed over it.

In the meantime, I had packed most of my framed art into the back of our van to take to my friend, Diane's, house. I thought it might be safer if I just got it out of the way before the big move and then picked it up next week. The kids were being grumpy and not getting along with each other, so I told them they just needed to sit in their boosters with their seat belts on while I unloaded the pictures. Well, Brandon didn't listen. And while I was inside dropping off a few of the pictures, he managed to either sit or kneel down on our biggest picture and shatter the glass. Are you kidding me? My friend lives ONE MILE away and I was in her house for less than five minutes and he managed to destroy one of my favorite pieces of art???? I was not a happy camper. (And there went the whole reason for dropping them off in the first place!)

I was feeling so stressed inside. I came home and put the kids to bed and should've continued packing, but decided to work on my YW lesson for church on Sunday for a few minutes instead. I read the most amazing talk by Elder Wirthlin from the March 2004 Ensign. It's called "Improving Our Prayers," but there was a part in the beginning that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.

Here is what it said, "The first thing we must do is stop worrying. When we worry about the future, we create unhappiness in the present. Righteous concern may lead us to take appropriate action, but worrying about things we cannot control can paralyze and demoralize us. Instead of worrying, focus on doing all that you can, and then leave the worrying to your Heavenly Father. If your heart is right with Him, He will take care of the worry and the fear."

It was amazing. I could physically feel a burden lifted from me. Who cares if we don't have a second car? We've managed on one care before. And, the only thing Brandon broke was a big piece of glass. Get over it. It was very liberating and let me enjoy the rest of the evening without fretting over the small things. I even had to type up the sentence that is in bold above and tape it to my monitor because I have a feeling there will be many more opportunities to worry over the next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top ten cruise moments--part 2

Well, I've had ENOUGH with packing today and needed a break, so I'll choose one of my favorite forms of therapy--blogging. I didn't realize what a slow process packing was. Or maybe I just didn't know what a slow packer I AM. I packed for 2 straight hours today while the kids were napping....I got three boxes ready to go. Is that pathetic or what?

Anyway, back to reminiscing about the heavenly week on the cruise. I made a rookie mistake last time and didn't realize that if I included reason #5 in the first installment, I'd only have 4 left this time. Oops. I'll remember that for next time I do a countdown.

4. Snorkeling at Grand Cayman. We didn't pay for a snorkeling excursion, but Tony and Cindy brought masks and snorkels from home and I'm SO GLAD they did. I had never been snorkeling before and I LOVED it. We were actually able to do a little both in the Bahamas and at Grand Cayman--but the latter had more spectacular fish. I had taken a mask and snorkel out on my own and swam out pretty far into the ocean and couldn't see a single creature. I came back and told everyone that there were no fish this close to shore. Andrew, on the other, went out and found the most BEAUTIFUL tropical fish. He took me out with him and pointed them out and I don't know how I could've missed them on my own. Brilliant blue, yellow, and purple fish. Others were white with black zebra stripes. Most of them were only 2 or 3 inches long, but others were maybe 6 or 7. It was amazing to see them up close and personal in their own habitat. I wish I had pics of them, but I had already used all the photos in my underwater camera. :(
Here we are in Grand Cayman.
The water is SO clear and beautiful,
it almost looks like I just photoshopped
us into a postcard. Trust me, it's real.

3. The food. Whoa. I had been forewarned that the food would be amazing, but it's hard to understand it until you're there. I think the favorite for all of us was WARM CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE. We ordered this for dessert after dinner almost every night. Our waiter got to the point where he would just bring them out for us when we were done with our entrees.

It might look small, but after appetizers, rolls,
salad, and a main course, this was the perfect dessert.
A bite of warm chocolate cake filled with a little spoonful
of ice cream. Mmmmmm. I'm drooling right now.

Food is available 24 hours a day.
This is a pic from the midnight buffet.
Cool ice sculpture, huh?
I was so stuffed from the 4 course meal
we had just finished that I couldn't eat
any of their beautiful creations.

But I did manage to make room for the
chocolate buffet in the middle of lunch!
The chocolate covered pineapple was the best.

I wish I would've taken more pictures of the food
because this one really doesn't do it justice, but
this was the lobster tail Andrew ordered one night.
I may never eat this good again.

I found myself eating to PREVENT hunger rather than to FILL my hunger. I guess that's why I gained three pounds in a week. Nothing a little Billy Blanks can't fix. D'oh--I already packed my DVD's!

2. Stingray city. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life. We went on an excursion when we were at Grand Cayman. We got on a little boat that took us about 20 minutes out into the ocean. There is a sandbar out there where the water is shallow enough to stand up in. Fishermen used to stop there to gut their fish, so the stingrays in that area became accustomed to being around humans and to having a free supply of food.

All these boats just back up into the sandbar and
give the passengers 20-30 minutes to be in the
water with the stingrays. It was amazing.
If you look in the background, you can see
how far we are from land.

They give us these little squid that
we can hold under the water and the
stingrays will come slurp them up
right out of your hand.
You can tell by our facial expressions that
we were all a little creeped out at first.

It was weird to have the stingrays all around us and some of them would swim right into you. But after a while we warmed up to them. Their "wings" were so soft and smooth. We were told not to touch their backs or tails because that's where they have their barbs. But sometimes they would swim right under us and it was basically impossible. We were also taught the right way to hold the squid when we were feeding them. You have to tuck your thumb in or the stingray will mistake your thumb for the squid and slurp it up. I was so giddy and excited that one of the times I forgot to tuck my thumb (another rookie mistake!) and got a nice little stingray bite. It hurt! But I got over it.

This picture shows you how big some of those
rays were. I didn't expect that.

Here's a picture of Tony trying to kiss the stingray.
Pucker up!

This was an awesome experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get close to nature. I felt like I was in a National Geographic movie or something. Loved it.

And finally, drum roll please.....My all-time favorite moment from the cruise....

1. Playing on the beach at the Bahamas. We decided not to purchase a shore excursion at this port, but to just go out on our own. I'm so glad it worked out that way. It was perfect. We found a secluded little spot on the beach with that beautiful, clear, blue water. There are no waves there. It was kind of weird. We had the best time just playing.

Andrew and I practiced our cheerleading
tricks. Pretty impressive, huh?

We had chicken fights. (No pictures of those.)
But Andrew and I won. hee hee

We did the handstand Olympics.
It was a close one between Andrew and Tony.
I think Andrew ended up winning.

There was a little rocky outcropping where
we went snorkeling and saw a few tropical fish.

And I WISH I had a video of this because it's hard
to explain, but after one of our chicken fights, we were
just standing out in the water and these two little swordfish
got into a fight. They were skimming along the top of the water
as if they were wrestling. Then one of them disappeared
and the other was flying along out of the water. It was
unbelievable. Reminded me of those flying fish at Carolina
Beach, but even faster and with a sharp nose.

It was a serene, idyllic setting and exactly
what I pictured when I knew we'd be going
on a cruise to the Caribbean.

Ok, I've got to get to bed so that I can possibly pack more than three boxes tomorrow. At this rate, I will never make it by next week! Next post: LEAST favorite things about the cruise and honorable mention for the top ten.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Top Ten Cruise Moments--part 1

After a cancelled flight, getting re-routed, and losing one suitcase....we made it back. And eventually, so did my lost suitcase.

If I tried to blog about our whole cruise, I would be here all day typing and no one would have the patience to read it all. So, I narrowed it down to the top ten cruise moments. Even then, it's going to be a lengthy entry, so I'm going to share moments 10-5 today and will type up the top five later.

Ready? Here goes.

10. Getting all dressed up for formal night My parents just got back from a cruise as well and there's was "freestyle" where you never have to dress up. I really liked getting dressed up all fancy for formal night. We had two of them on our cruise. And I have to give a BIG shout out to Shelley and Nicolle for letting me borrow their great outfits. (And I actually will get to return them to you since my suitcase showed up!) It was fun to see all the other guests dressed up, too. Some of them went ALL OUT. I loved getting dressed up in our version of fancy-schmancy. I even wore heels, which doesn't happen often, but I thought I did pretty well. No broken ankles or anything.
First formal night
(Andrea's wardrobe courtesy of Shelley)

Looking off into the sunset

We teased Tony and Andrew that they looked like
they could be bodyguards or CIA agents.

Second formal night
(Andrea's wardrobe courtesy of Nicolle)

Here are all four of us in the dining room

9. Lying on a lawn chair reading Since we had an extra day at sea due to our missed port in Mexico, we had plenty of time to just chill. Andrew and I loved just relaxing on the Lido deck and reading as the sea breeze tossled our hair.

Every once in a while, I'd have to peek over
the railing and there was nothing but ocean
as far as the eye can see.
Isn't that blue water BEAUTIFUL?

8. Walking to the beach in Ft. Lauderdale We flew down to Florida a day early, so we had some free time, but no car to get around. Our hotel was just a mile and a half from the beach, so we power walked down there. It was fun just to be outside and active. I loved holding hands with Andrew and talking as we walked. We saw lots of cool crabs and lizards on the way. (I made sure to keep my distance from the lizards.) There's nothing like the feeling of walking on the beach, sand between your toes, wanting to get your feet wet, but trying NOT to get the rest of your clothes wet. Loved it.
Beach lovers

Footprints in the sand

For all you Vanilla Ice fans, we crossed
the A1A--Beachfront Avenue!

7. Playing "Find the ______" while waiting for showtime The four of us would usually sit up in the balcony of the main theater while waiting for showtime. One of the nights we got there early and while waiting for the show, we would come up with a person to pick out of the crowd like "Most likely to be a CEO" "Most likely to be a former professional athlete" or "Most likely to be an undercover agent." We would each pick out person out of the crowd and see if any of us picked the same one. It doesn't sound that fun now that I put it in writing, but it was hilarious. I think we cracked ourselves up more than any of the comedians on board.

Who needs a professional comedian?

6. Learning line dances from the cheezy Carnvial dancer who LOVED to shake his hips. On our cruise, they didn't teach you the Cha cha or the Salsa, they only taught line dances. We learned a country one, a hip hop one, and a disco one. Our instructor was hilarious. He loved to do hip thrusts and during any other move, he would figure out how he could shake his hips. We would pick him out during the shows and his crazy hips would crack us up.

I didn't get a photo of our teacher, but here
are Tony and I showing off our moves.

5. Dancing with Andrew Yes, this gets an entry of its own because it was not any form of line dancing. We had plenty of opportunities to use the moves that Seth and Carrie taught us. It was so fun! Since most of the dance floors are very dimly lit, this was the only pic we got that turned out decent.

How romantic!

It has been kind of hard coming back to the real world of packing, disciplining kids, making my own bed, and only eating three meals a day. Plus, I still haven't gotten my land legs back. I still feel like I'm on the boat sometimes. It's dizzying.

To be continued...