Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

but December was so delightful!! We had such a good time this month despite all the snow, and it being freezing cold! Tyler really enjoyed the first snow storm, he helped daddy shovel the driveway, although he didn't get to play outside for too long, because I can't find any snow boots or pants that fit him!

We made cookiyes at Grandma Teresa's house with the cousins (there is only Tyler and my brothers 2 girls). Tyler had more fun dumping out the sprinkles onto the table than on the actual cookies, but it was still fun. Thanks Grandma!

We had the Shipp family party the saturday before Christmas and Santa came. The kids had so much fun telling santa what they got, Tyler on the other hand was still a little unsure of Santa so mom had to go up with him. We also attempted the annual Nativity, but with 13 grandchildren it never goes smoothly. We exchanged gifts and played games all night, it was a lot of fun.

And before we knew it, it was Christmas eve, it was a little different this year, since Grandma was gone, Grandma passed away 5 days before Christmas last year, but we were able to celebrate a little early with her. So this was the first real year without Grandma. It was hard but we are still trying to carry on the annual traditions, we each share Christmas stories and exchange gifts between families. Grandma used to give pajamas to all the grandkids, so this year we all brought our own pj's so the kids could still parade around the house, and show them off.

Christmas Day!

Christmas was so much more fun this year with Tyler being older. He got a basketball hoop from Santa and he didn't want to open anything else. We had to keep convincing him every few minutes to open another one. He got mostly books and clothes, and more balls for his "hoop". Ever since Christmas he walks around and says hoop and football. I guess they both are now is favorite sports. We went to my mom's mid morning and he was spoiled by grandma, he got a jungle set with elephants, lions, birds, a gorilla, and his favorite a spider! It is really cool and makes all kids of animal sounds, this was by far his second favorite thing. Thanks mom we love the gifts you gave Tyler and us, it was a great Christmas. We spent the afternoon with Kevin's family, one of his brothers got Guitar Hero, and the other got the Wii, so between the two none of us could get our husbands to leave. So it was another late night, but we enjoyed being with family. We love you all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Best Cruise Ever

I'm sure you are all waiting to find out about our cruise so here goes. First let me just say that it was amazing and so totally worth it. First off we flew into Atlanta and had a 3 hour layover, but for those of you haven't been there, Atlanta is a way cool airport. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale Friday night late and stayed at a hotel. Antz and Gina got there about 7am Saturday morning, you'll have to read her blog to find out the details of their flight.

Our Cruise left Saturday December 8 at 5:00pm. We spent the first little while walking around the ship and checking things out. It was a very beautiful ship and had 15 floors. There was so much to see it was unreal.

Our dinner seating was at 6:00 so it was just perfect. The food was immaculate, and it's all you can eat 24/7. For those of you that haven't been on a cruise, the dinning room is just like the Titanic, it was 3 floors and you could see all the way up the middle of it. After dinner they usually have a show or comedian or what not so we would go to that. Then they would have late night entertainment, which you had to be careful with. Anthony swears we were the only four people on the boat that weren't drinking or had tattoos. We went to Karaoke which was hilarious and we managed to talk Anthony into singing. He sang "Help me Rhonda" by the beach boys. I'm sure Gina will put the recording on her blog.

Day 2: At Sea

We went to breakfast and then spent most of mid morning laying out hoping to get a tan. The guys didn't last too long so they went and walked around. While we were laying out a helicopter was flying over us. We found out later that a lady had a heart attack and they had to stop the boat and life flight her out of there. Luckily we had a helicopter pad on the boat, other wise it would have delayed us quite a bit. That night was formal night so we got all dressed up and went down to dinner. Before dinner we went to an Ice dancing show it was pretty amazing because the boat was really swaying and nobody fell. After the show we had pictures taken by the photographers, which the guys weren't happy about us buying, but they will get over it. About half way through dinner I started feeling sick so unfortunately I spent the rest of the night in the room puking. But at least Kev still had someone to go do stuff with, unlike our last cruise. But I missed the comedian that night, which I was bummed about, but luckily I didn't miss the Lobster, because they had it another night.

Formal night dinner (before I got sick)

Ocho Rios

A view of our ship from the Jamaican waterfalls.
Day 3: Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Monday)

I felt much better when I woke up, we went and got breakfast and headed out. We arrived in port a little later than scheduled because of the helicopter delay, but we were still off the boat by 10:30am. We went and walked around a few of the shops, and then decided to take a taxi to the Dunn's River falls. It was really crowded and cost extra to climb the falls so the cab guy (his name is also Kevin) told us about some local falls we could go to for free. So we went there and it was beautiful, we were the only ones there and we spent about an hour climbing the falls and swimming in the ocean. We had a good time and the scenery was amazing. Afterwords he took us up to a botanical garden but we just looked around outside. Then we went to the flee market for more shopping. If you've ever been to Tiawana, Jamaica is the same almost worse. They haggle you so bad, and they try to give you things that they say is a "gift" but then they want you to give them a tip. It's very weird, not to mention all the times we got offered pot! But it was a very beautiful place and I'm glad we were able to see it.

The Grand Cayman Islands

Day4: Cayman Islands (Tuesday)

I can't believe how fast time was going, but we were having a blast. By this point we were really starting to miss Tyler, but on the other hand I'm so glad we didn't bring him. We called home when we were in port, and he didn't even want to talk to us, I guess he was having way too much fun at Grandma's.

We signed up to go snorkeling with the sting rays, but the weather wasn't great so they said it was to dangerous, so instead we went to a coral reef and to an abandoned ship wreck. It was really weird at first and I had a hard time not breathing through my nose, and I didn't have my goggles on tight enough so I kept getting water in my nose. And that was really disgusting salt water, it almost made me throw up when I got a taste. The coral was really pretty and their were tons of fish swimming around. When we got to the second stop the ship wreck, I tightened my goggles and had the hang of it a little more, so it was a lot more fun. It wasn't as pretty as the coral but it was cool to see.

When we got back we didn't have much time so we just walked around a little and did some more shopping. We wanted to go to seven mile beach, but it just didn't happen. It was such a beautiful place, we all wish we could've spent more time there. We didn't really get to see much because the snorkeling took up most of the time. But we did find some sea shells, and we watched some guys cut up fish right on the shore. They let us come up and help.

We would get back so late from the ports that we would barely eat lunch and go get cleaned up and it would almost be time for dinner. So we tried to not fill up so much so we could enjoy the good dinner food. We had a really fun group at our table, 2 older couples and then the 4 of us. They were a lot of fun to get to know. Ones of the guys tried to get the guys to come to the gym with him every morning, they finally made it the last day. Our waiter was very cool his name is Vipin, he was very good to us. All the waiters marched around the dinning room and sang to us one night it was cute. They had over 1250 employees on that ship, amazing. Our tables being the odd balls, every night they had these elaborate desserts, and 8/10 times we all ordered ice cream. I'm sure Vipin thought we were weird.

After dinner and the show we would usually have some time to kill before the partying started. So we found this lounge on the 15 floor of the boat that over looked the pool area, it was fun to people watch. We also played ultimate scrabble, almost every night. We went to a game called The Quest, it was very hilarious and a little reveling. I think almost every person playing had to be wasted. It was a contest and you were teamed as couples, the first one to complete the task wins. Example bring me a woman's bra. Interesting huh! This was the only night they had a midnight buffet, which I was disappointed because I was looking forward to them. They had really good fruit, fresh pineapple, strawberries, etc. they had a lot of other food to but we only wanted fruit.

It's almost over...if any of you have even read this far I'm impressed!

Day 5: At Sea (Wednesday)

We finally made it to the gym, then Gina and I went and laid out while the guys played ball. Then they had a dodge ball tournament, it was the highlight of the trip for Kev. They signed up under the team name; stripling warriors. A couple from Utah signed up with them because of the name. So they won 4/4 games and took first place, they got medals and t-shirts, and they were on cloud nine. We tried to watch the sunset before dinner but it was but it was behind a cloud so we didn't get the full effect. Later that night was the farewell show, and then another night of karaoke. We didn't want it to end, but as all good things do, it was over. We had to be up early the next morning and out of our rooms at 8am. Then we spent a long fun filled day at the airport waiting for our flights. We arrived home late Thursday night to a whopping 23 degrees!

It was a blast, thanks Antz and Gina we should definitely do it again.