Jan 29, 2009

Forgotten photos

Oh, I forgot to put these pictures in. There was a professional photographer available every night to take your picture.

I should have scanned these in rather than trying to take a picture of a picture, but here they are anyway....

Once again, Miss Annie was not happy. She was going to the playroom right after this photo.

Jan 25, 2009

The Ending to the Most Fabulous Vacation Ever

After several rainy days, the sun finally peaked through. I decided to seize the opportunity and get a picture of the kids on the deck.

Minor problem...the wind. It was absurd!!!

And I'm absurd for trying to get a normal picture in this kind of ridiculous wind!

Shortly after we were on deck, they closed it off because of the wind. Come to think of it, they may have closed it off because of us...

One of the musical groups on the ship was "Greater Vision." I think this is Dad's favorite southern gospel group. They sang a song one night that just brought tears to my eyes. It was called, "It Pays to Pray." -just a powerful, beautiful song.
The last day on the boat, I saw them standing in the lobby area, so I marched myself right on over to get a picture. I asked them if I could take their picture. One of them said, "get in, we'll have someone take the picture for you." I was so pleased and said, "Now, I'm going to look popular on my blog."

One of them joked about this being our new quartet.

After our picture, I proudly strutted down the hall to get Dad. I wanted him to meet my back up singers.

When our ship arrived back in Alabama, it was time to say goodbye to all the friends we made over the past week.

Back in the motor home for the 10 hour trip to Dad and Mom's house.

After a few hours on the road, it was time to get out and run.
I found it humorous that this was the spot that the kids chose to stretch their legs.

(Never thought to check their shoes before they climbed back in.)

Many hours of playing Uno can takes its toll on a three year old.

Once we got back to Dad and Mom's, we had two more days of vacation before we had to fly home. We had a fun "girl's only" breakfast with Grammy. Then, we did a little shopping afterwards.

We also hung out by the pool...

Really, I don't think there is anything that can embarrass her. This concerns me.

And so our fabulous vacation has come to an end. How 11 days could fly by so quickly, I don't know. I couldn't help but smile at the sunset God gave us our last night in Florida.

Dad and Mom, thank you again! We have been talking non stop about this wonderful vacation since we've been home. This is a memory that you can never adequately describe in words, but it stays in your heart forever.

We love you and miss you already!!!

Jan 23, 2009

The Most Fabulous Vacation Ever -Part 2

Each evening when we returned to our room, we would always find the bed turned down, some type of treat on the pillow and a towel folded in the shape of animal. I found myself racing the kids down the hallway, eager to see what animal was going to be waiting on our bed.

One night, we found a smiley-faced chocolate chip cookie for each of the kids.

This particular night, Annie told us that she was "weeeeelly, weeelly tiword" and she didn't want to go to "Camp Carnival." So, we decided to take her to the music show. Guess who suddenly came alive...

She was teasing Grampy...

And telling Grammy secrets....

And really trying to steal the show from the actual performers...

I said, "Annie, I thought you were tired." She told me that she was "just kinnin."

The next day, we arrived in Mexico!! Sadly, it was raining. But this day was probably my funnest day.

We took the kids through the little shopping area and they got to see first-hand what "bartering" is. This guy here...

was making string bracelets with the kids names on them. He put one on each of their wrists and said, "Only 60 dollar." I said, "60 dollars!! It's string!!!" He said, "50 dollar." I said, "Ohhhh no. Kids take them off." He said, "No, Noo, only 45 dollar." I said, "Kids, take them off. I'll make you friendship bracelets at home." I felt like Steve Martin on "Father of the Bride" when he finds out the price of the cake. -"A cake, Frank is made of flour and water."

As we walked through the shops, we saw a little boy holding a beautiful bird. His mom took a picture, and then handed the "bird man" a 20 dollar bill. We walked over to look at the birds. Before we knew it, the man started placing birds all over our giggling children. He said, "You want to take picture?" I said, "not for 20 dollars." He said, "How much?" I said, "five." He agreed, and so I present my five dollar pictures...

Emma cracked me up with the way she was holding that bird. The bird loved it, though. He was the biggest baby. He kissed the girls goodbye. The stupid bird on Mary's head bit holes through her sweater. And, Matt escaped just in time. His bird pooped as soon as he handed it back to the owner!

Emma was the only one brave enough to go in the water with me. We were soaked! (Not to self, do not go in salty water with freshly shaved legs...Ouch! it stung bad!!)

She and I sat down for this picture. Joel snapped it just as we got nailed with a crashing wave.

We headed back to the ship after a fun filled day in Mexico. It didn't have to be sunny. We made sunshine of our own that day.

The next day, you could get off the boat and visit another Mexican city, but you had to take a taxi to go anywhere. This was the view.

You could go into the little tent looking buildings and buy trinkets. People just trying to sell you junk at high prices. Those of you who heard the earring story with me and Mom...this is where it went down. Yup, I could have lost my life here.

We decided to just stay on the boat and go swimming. I think we were the only ones in the pools. People were walking around with coats on saying how cold it was.

We're tough New Englanders.

If I didn't know any better, I would have sworn there was a cute boy behind me the way this little girl struck up the poses...

Oh yeah...there was. :o)

I'll finish up with the rest of our FABULOUS trip tomorrow.

Jan 22, 2009

The Most Fabulous Vacation Ever -Part 1

We've just returned from the most fabulous vacation. We went on a cruise to Mexico, thanks to my wonderful parents! I have a ton of pictures. Today, I'll start you off on our trip. I'll try to give you the second half tomorrow.

After Christmas, we put away the snowsuits and pulled out the shorts and flip-flops. A week seemed like a year for the kids, however, for me, it seemed like 5 minutes with all the packing that had to be done. Just to start off the list, I had to locate, wash and fold
-77 pairs of underwear,
-42 pairs of socks,
-63 play outfits,
-35 church outfits,
-21 pairs of shoes, and
-countless hair things.
I sent the boys to begin packing, but quickly found that I was going to have to take over Mikey's bag since a few stole aways found their way in...

(note the plastic army knife that he packed, as well. I'm sure that would have gone over real big with Homeland Security.)

After the craziness of packing, we were ready to go. Our plane was scheduled to leave from Boston at 6:30 Saturday morning, so we went up and spent Friday night in a hotel. We climbed into the car and I said to Joel, "I feel like we're forgetting something." I could not think of what was being left behind.

We arrived in Boston around 6:00. So, we checked into our room, and then headed out for dinner.

We found a wonderful, New England restaurant right next door. They had the most delicious seafood.

As we were eating, I looked up on the big screen t.v and caught this on the news.

Thankfully, we beat that storm!

Conveniently enough, there was a candy store right next to the restaurant. This was our next stop.

When we walked in, it smelled like "Charlie and the Chocolate factory"...ok, not that I've ever smelled the movie, but I have seen it and like all of you, I've wished it was a scratch and sniff movie. If it was, surely, this place would be what it would smell like! Oh the choices....

After we loaded our children with sugar, we headed back to our hotel to put them to bed. We were getting up early so we need a good night's rest...did I say a good night's rest? The sleeping arrangements were, well....shall I say a little cramped. See that spot open next to Emma? That would be where Joel and I squeezed in.

Morning could not have come quick enough! I literally woke up every 27 minutes! We rolled out of bed, brushed the teeth...remember I said, "I felt like we were forgetting something?" -Guess who forgot her toothbrush?

Finally! the day we've been waiting for. We were on our way to Florida! Emma and I sat together. As the plane was taxing before take off, we had an interesting conversation:

When the plane landed, we were so excited! We knew that once this shuttle ride was over, and the doors opened, we were going to find Dad and Mom waiting for us!

We hugged and made quite the scene for the those who were sitting on the sidelines. After that, we grabbed our luggage and went outside to load up the cars. (yes, they had to bring two cars because we don't all fit in one)

Dad took us to a yummy place for lunch. Mom and I went shopping, and got some last minute stuff for the cruise.

The next day was Sunday. You know you're in Florida when you can walk right outside and pick oranges off the tree for breakfast.

We loved visiting Dad and Mom's church and we were blessed by the message that their pastor gave. That afternoon, we loaded up in the motor home to take the first leg of the trip. Our cruise was leaving from Mobile, Alabama. -10 hours away!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9....we're all here and ready for take off.

Traveling in the motor home was so much fun! It really did make the time pass quickly. No need to stop for potty breaks, we're bringing the potty with us.

No need to pull over for naps, we've got the bed back here.

No need to stop for snacks, we've got the kitchen on board, as well!

This was a neat rest area. Matthew loves planes and along the way, we found a preserved "Blue Angel plane." -very cool for the men folk traveling with us. I just wanna know if there's a good vending machine.

We arrived in Alabama. I couldn't believe the size of the ship. It looked like a huge building, sitting in the water.

We're here!!!!! We're actually on a cruise heading for Mexico!!!

One of the first things I did on the ship was this...
(dedicated to you, DeAnna)

As we set sail that evening, we enjoyed the most beautiful sunset.

It truly was magical!

It was fun exploring all that there was to do on the ship.

It didn't take the kids long to find the water slide, game room and king size chess game.

In a few hours, we were so far away from land, you couldn't see anything but blue wavy water.

It was about this time that Annie found out there was a kid's program called, "Camp Carnival." It was jam packed full of activities from make your own pizza to miniature golf. Joel and I were thrilled to hear of this. We were actually going to get some alone time! Annie...not so thrilled. She's the baby, and she feels the most secure when she is with Daddy and Mommy, so she took the news rather hard.

like ridiculously hard...

life, as she knew it was over...

No worries though, Joel assured her of the fun she was going to have and that we'd be right back to pick her up.

Things ended up just fine. (that night!)

Dinner was a special time each day where we could get dressed up. The food was oustanding! And of course, there was always entertainment in the dining room.

Annie made friends with our waitress, "Su-Su." As a matter of fact, it wasn't long before the whole staff on the ship knew Annie by name. I told Joel that I'm beginning to feel like we're holding hands with a celebrity. Everywhere we went, "Annie! Hiii!"

Oh and trust me, Annie thought she was a celebrity, too! One night as we were all sitting around the fancy dinner table. Su-Su came over with a basket of rolls. She carefully placed a warm roll on each of our beautiful white dishes with the shiny, silver tongs. When she got to Annie, she said, "Princess, would you like some bread?" Annie scanned the basket for the biggest roll and said, "Shor." Then, without hesitation, she stuck her grubby hand into the forbidden basket of bread, grabbed her roll and put it on her plate. I thought our waitress was going to die laughing. (Excuse us, but we're used to McDonalds. No one serves us our happy meals with sterling silver tongs at that place!)

More to come tomorrow. :o)