Thursday, April 26, 2012

Barbados (March 29)

I think Barbados was our busiest day on the cruise! We had scheduled a zip-line adventure at noon, so we slept in (until 9) and enjoyed the sit down breakfast. After breakfast, Ruth and I headed out to the little shops. We met Ron and Ricky back at the dock for the bus and headed out. I was looking all around the island for mountains, like Dominica, and it seemed pretty flat. I was a little worried as we were driving there and then we saw that we were zip-lining in a ravine. We got suited up and started the adventure. Ricky went first, and I followed. The first line was fairly short, so a great start for me. I was a little nervous about just letting go, but after the first line, it was amazing! So fun!  
 There were 8 platforms with 7 lines. Some of the lines you couldn't see the ending platform! The tour guides, which I really appreciated, said that the platforms are about 90 feet high with the tallest one at 110 feet. The tour guides hooked us up at all of the platforms. Ron said that when they went zip-lining in Costa Rica they hooked themselves up. I don't think I trust myself enough to do that just yet!
 Since this was our last day off of the ship, I had it set in my heart that I wanted to go to the beach. We got back from the zip-lining at 3:30 and the ship was leaving at 4:30. I convinced Ricky and Ruth to go with me, so we ran to our rooms to put our swimsuits on. We went to the dock to find a taxi, and got the driver to stay at the beach with us, so we could make it back before the ship left. The beach was about 5 minutes away, so we had about 25 minutes to swim. Boy was it worth it to take this adventure! The beach was beautiful and the water was crystal clear! We found out that there were sea turtles about 50 yard away, but we didn't have enough time to swim out to them. Maybe next time! My parents and their friends went on that excursion and said it was awesome!
 We got back to the ship just before we set sail, whew! There were tons of people still boarding, so I didn't feel so bad! It was our second formal night for dinner, so we got ready and headed to dinner. I remembered to take my camera to dinner, so we got some good pictures of everyone.

 Ron and Ruth
 Terry and Erin
 Tony and Linda & Ashley and David (Crystal and Jason weren't there for dinner, so we didn't get a picture of them)
 It was my mom's birthday, so we all sang to her and they put a candle in her dessert. I snuck into her room (with the help of the room keeper, James) in the morning and put her present on her bed. She was surprised! The line to get professional pictures was forever long, so my mom took some for us in our room. I think they turned out very good, minus Ricky making faces in them! Boys!
 We also found this in the room, my favorite, a monkey!
 After dinner, we went to the only production show of singers and dancers, "Stage to Screen." It was the crews first show on the ship, so they only did one show. The following week, they did 2 shows, just our luck! It was really good and we enjoyed the show. After the show, we headed to bed because we had another long, wonderful day!

Dominica (March 28)

 We got more than we expected on the tour bus taking us to our excursion of the Middleham Falls hike! We had a great tour guide, Cynthia, who told us all about the island as we drove to the hiking spot. She was amazing and very friendly. She takes people on these tours once, sometimes twice a day, and she is a grandma! Can you believe it? She has 4 kids, oldest 22, youngest 7, and she, like most of the islanders, live off of their land. They grow their own food and mostly use herbs for healing.
The rainforest was beautiful!
 We started the hike, to find out that it was a 2 mile hike to the falls! Wow! I wasn't expecting the hike to be so long and mostly uphill all the way there! It was definitely a beautiful hike, but I sure was glad I didn't have my kids for this one! We saw some beautiful flowers and even some mountain crabs! I had no clue there were mountain crabs, but then again I had never been to a rainforest!
 When we got to the falls, there was a platform to see it. There were steep rocks down to the pool at the bottom and of course we were going to get in it! We didn't hike all that way for nothing! The water was FREEZING about 60 degrees, but it felt so good after sweating all morning.
 The falls are about 300 feet tall and I couldn't even get a picture of all of it! It took 2!
This was Ricky's favorite part of the whole vacation! He loves swimming and being out in the middle of the rainforest was just amazing! It was so peaceful out there.
 He swam out to the falls and took a picture looking up! I love it!
 When we were done swimming, we got dried off for the long hike back to the bus. It didn't seem as long on the way back, but it was still beautiful the whole way! On the bus ride back to the ship, they drove us through a botanical garden. There were some interesting trees and apparently this one continued to grow on top of the school bus that it fell on during a hurricane. At the time, this was the only bus on the island!
 We asked Cynthia for a recommended place to eat lunch since we had worked up such an appetite. She showed us this little restaurant called Mange Domnik Restaurant that was really good. This was the only time we ate food from a restaurant on any of the islands. We had a chicken and rice dish and macaroni and cheese. Such a great experience! Mom and I walked around the little shops for a while and got some souvenirs.
 We headed back to the ship and relaxed in the hot tub before dinner. (This seemed to be the best time for it!) After dinner, we headed over to the show and then Ricky and my dad went to the theater to watch Harry Potter, while my mom and I went to the Love & Marriage show. It was like the old game show where they had a newly married couple, a couple who had been married for 20 years, and a couple who had been married for 40 years. The couple who had been married 40 years won, surprise. What a fun night!

St. Kitts (March 27)

We got more that we thought we would on this excursion! The bus driver gave us a tour of the city as we drove to the kayaking spot! St. Kitts is very beautiful. It was very mountainous. One point, we could look down and see both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It was beautiful. There are lots of monkey on this island and they kill the fruit crops and the sugar cane. We saw one as we drove down the road, but didn't get a great picture of it. We also go to see the new Marriott resort on the Atlantic side of the ocean. Very lush and Ricky and I would love to vacation there sometime!
Once we arrived, we suited up for snorkeling. We saw a lot more fish in this area and I adjusted a lot better this time. 
When we got out of the water, the guide had a sea urchin that we got to hold. It was very prickly with suction cups underneath.Very interesting!

 We got into the kayaks, which were 2 person kayaks, and headed out to sea. I remember going around coves and coves just wandering where the beach was! It ended up being a two mile kayak trip! We saw mountain goats and very beautiful scenery as we kayaked to the beach. It was somewhat difficult to steer through the waves in the ocean, but we managed to make it!

 On the beach, we got to enjoy some local fruits, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, and coconut, and juices. It was a great day, but we were exhausted! We headed back to the ship to go relax in the hot tub. How nice!
The show that was scheduled for that evening was cancelled because the comedian got sick, so they had the same comedian from the first night perform again. We decided not to go, since we had already seen him once and he wasn't the best. We went to the game room and played Settlers with my parents and their friends. After the game, we headed up to the diner for the Caribbean Buffet from 11-12. The food was really good, especially the fruit! It was different eating food late at night, but we were enjoying our vacation! Another great day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

St. Maarten (March 26)

We woke up early on Monday to enjoy a day trip on a Pirate ship called Lord Sheffield. The captain took us out to a cove and let us go snorkeling for an hour.
 I hadn't been snorkeling before, so I was really nervous. Luckily we were with Ricky's parents and my parents who helped me get the hang of it. Ricky picked it up right away, but it took me a little longer. While snorkeling, we saw a helicopter and a submarine. There weren't too many fish in this area, but it was still really neat.The captain cooked some lunch for us while we were anchored. We had barbeque chicken and ribs with fruit punch and fresh fruit. My mom and Ricky were not feeling so good on the boat ride after the snorkel. Mom said that it was too much salt water with food and the movement. She should have used the patch! I enjoyed the ride back to the dock where my mom, dad, Ricky's mom and I headed over to the shops for the afternoon. We found some really good deals. I got a tanzinite ring with blue opals on the side and some clothes for the kids. Dad found a frozen yogurt shop that had AMAZING yogurt, black forest cherry. I realized after looking at my pictures that we were feet away from a beach, but we were too excited about shopping that we didn't even notice it! I guess when you see the ocean all the time, you don't necessarily look for it.

We were beat after shopping, so Ruth and I went to relax in the hot tub. It was the best thing after a long day of shopping and sailing. After we were relaxed, we headed back to our rooms to get dressed for dinner. I was getting used to being in my swim suit all day long while we were on the cruise. Dinner was amazing, as always. I wish I would have written down what I ordered, but I was enjoying it too much. The after dinner theater show was a magician. He was ok, I guess. We only watched part of the show and then we all went to the game room to play Settler's of Catan. Ruth and I started to feel our patches wearing off, so we didn't feel like staying out late.
When we got back to our room, we had this made on our bed. So fun!

Happy Birthday Ricky!

Happy Birthday To my wonderful hubby, RICKY!  Since I am babysitting all day, he decided to work. I don't blame him at all! I hope I can still make his day great so he can enjoy his birthday!  I love reasons to celebrate!   

Life has gotten crazy, but not too bad! Just busy most of the time. I started babysitting 2 weeks ago for two families. One is my little Jack and his baby sister, Cadence. They are both really good kids and I love them like my own. The other family I met at the beginning of the school year. The boy, Nathan is in Dylan's kindergarten class and his sister, Megan, is in 1st grade. I am only watching them before and after school until school is out. I have really enjoyed getting to know these wonderful kids. I am on week 3, an so far everything has been going very well. I haven't been stressed about it and the kids are doing great. My kids are waking up earlier now that there are friends here to play with. We are trying to adjust our schedule by getting to bed a little earlier. We are getting used to having the kids around the house, so it's been fun. Lunch time is a little different putting 5 plates together for kids. 

It seems to be the hardest for Dylan right now, but it may be also that he just started soccer, too. He is doing great in soccer. I love seeing him so excited about it. The very first practice he said that he didn't want to play soccer, he wanted to play baseball. I don't know where that came from as he hasn't ever played any sports. I told him that we would try soccer this year since I had already signed him up and he said ok. During the first practice, the coach was making the kids run back and forth for warm ups. Dylan came running over to me for a drink and again told me that he didn't like it. I told him to get back out there and by the end, he was enjoying himself. I think it might have been because it is all new to him. Ricky is enjoying working with him on his soccer skills. I am hoping that someday Ricky will be able to coach Dylan's team.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Surfer baby, no more

Yesterday was a sad day. Ethan went from this:To this:
I don't like it at all. I can't wait for it to grow back, not as long as it was, but longer than this. I miss his little curls already. He just doesn't look like my little Ethan anymore.
Last week, he had his 2 year check up. Here are his new stats:
Height: 34.84 inches
Weight: 29 lbs.
Head Circumference: 51.1 cm.
He still has a big head and is about average for height and weight. Now that his hair is short, you can really tell that he has a big head!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter!

We were planning on staying home for Easter this year since we just got back from vacation, but I guess other plans had to be made! Saturday morning we were invited to one of Lauren's friend's house for a brunch and egg hunt. It was so much fun to socialize and the kids had a blast. Some friends that used to live here were visiting, so we got to catch up with them. They ended up spending the afternoon with us, which was great fun!Dylan had his first soccer game Saturday at 2:15. Ethan decided to make us late by playing in the bathroom. Let's just leave it at that. The other teams were running late, so we ended up being there before the game started. Dylan did great and we had a blast watching them play. The kids are still learning, so they kick the ball any way they can, or they play in the goalie box. Some of them ran next to the ball, but never kicked it. Too cute! I think we are going to enjoy watching the games this season!After the game, we decided to clean out the van. I needed the sixth seat in there to pick up kids from kindergarten. I started babysitting this week for 2 families, 2 kids each. One family is a kindergartener and 1st grader before and after school (7-8:30 and 12-5 for one and 4-5 for the other) and the other family is a 2 year old, Jack, and his baby sister, 2 months old. Yesterday was my first day with all of them, and it went really well. The baby slept for over 3 hours! I will say it is very different having 6 children in my car!

Once the van was all ready for the week, Dylan and Lauren colored Easter eggs. They had a great time and... Ethan could have cared less. Fun times!
Sunday morning, we had a little egg hunt with baskets at home with some boiled eggs and blueberry donuts. We then headed to my parent's house for some Easter fun with the grandparents and cousins. My mom made some biscuits and gravy for brunch, which was very yummy. After all the fun, we headed over to Zionsville for church with Kris and Joanna's family. They blessed baby Colin, so we were happy to spend some time with them. The kids also enjoyed spending time with the other grandparents and cousins, too! After church, we went back to my parent's house for dinner. It wouldn't be Easter without ham and potatoes! My sister and family left, and Ricky wanted to play Settlers, so we stayed until after 9! Ethan fell asleep watching a movie, but the other 2 were wide awake. Busy weekend, but so much fun!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!
Ethan was trying so hard to get the plastic eggs from Ricky. It was so cute and hilarious! We had a great time laughing as Ethan would get one egg and run as fast as he could away from Ricky!
Of course, I forgot my camera, so I am waiting on others to get family pictures to us!
On a side note, Dylan woke up sick this morning. This was his first sick day from school this year! He is doing fine, now, but a long morning for the rest of us!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tortola, BVI (March 25)

The first morning on the cruise, we got to sleep in until 9! We met my parents for breakfast at the Reflections, the sit down restaurant. The food was excellent and you could order anything that you wanted! I got a pineapple pancake and a ham and cheese omelet. The fruit was delicious! We booked excursions for each day, but they started at different times on each island. This one didn't start until noon. On the island, there were tons of little tents set up with locals selling souvenirs. The locals love to barter, so you make sure to get the best deal on what you want. If you start to walk away, they would offer you a lower price. It was very interesting! I only got a magnet, but it was really fun to meet the locals. Ricky and I had to be back at the port at noon, so we headed back. We were swimming with the dolphins! We met a guy who took our tickets and gave us a wristband. Then we waited for a taxi bus to take us to the Dolphin Discovery place. I bought a waterproof camera to take pictures, but they wouldn't let us take it in the water with us. Bummer! We sat thorough a little video about dolphins and then they took us in the water. We were in a little cove of the ocean! How cool! We walked down into the water where they had a platform across the side. We were all lined up on the platform and we got to meet Calypso, the dolphin we were swimming with. We each got to play ball with him, dance with him and kiss him. It was AMAZING! I have wanted to do this my whole life, and what a place to do it! I got to hold him in my arms and pet him. It was one of the best days of my life!
I did buy a picture from them, it was $25 for a 5x7, OUCH! Since this was my first time away from the ship, I didn't take much cash with us and I didn't have a credit card with us. What was I thinking? They said that they would meet me by the ship to get my money and bring the picture. We waited for at least 30 minutes for the taxi to take us back, and then I ran up to my room to get cash. I went back to the dock to wait for the guy to come with my picture. I sat there for over an hour! It was such a long hour, but I absolutely love the picture I got! 

When I finally got back to the room, it was time to take a shower and get ready for dinner. It was formal night, so we had to get all dressed up for dinner. We also got our pictures taken in the lobby. It was really cool to see the professional photographers all over the ship taking pictures of everyone!
After dinner, we went to the comedian show "Two Funny Guys," Mario and Daniel. They were pretty funny and Ricky and I enjoyed the show. Ricky's mom ordered drinks every night at the show, so we enjoyed a strawberry pina colada with the show. Thanks! After the show, we went outside to play shuffle board. I had never played before and it was really fun. All 8 of us go to take turns and play. After the game, we headed up to the cafe to enjoy some brownies and then we all sat and chatted. It was a wonderful day in the Caribbean!What a fun day!