Thursday, February 23, 2012

The best moment of the entire 9 day weekend

Let's face it, the cruise was just a piece of our vacation.  And it certainly was beyond fun.  I think I was pretty detailed about it HERE

The snorkeling and Cabo San Lucas was pretty wonderful as well.  The video is HERE

The time spent with my kids is even higher on the list of things I loved about our time away.  Especially, our surprise for Chloee - watch it HERE

But the ultimate, ULTIMATE best thing about the weekend?

This kid
My oldest, Corbin ('dawg), did his Momma and Daddy proud on Sunday the 19th of February.  He was ordained an Elder in our church.  For those unfamiliar with the Priesthood and it's role in our faith, click here 

For those of you who are in our family, friends, or ward family circles, you have watched this kid grow up.  You've seen the challenges, rocky roads, and side adventures that our son has encountered and in turn our family grew through together.  You know what a big deal this is.  It's more than anything I could have dreamed for my son as recently as a year ago.   To see what his life choices are now, his priorities, his strength and his faith are, quite frankly, humbling.  To see him recognize his divine potential and then act by doing things to constantly make him a better husband, father and man is inspiring.  I had to text him the other night and simply ask "when did you get so smart?"

He had the opportunity to be ordained a couple of weeks ago, but waited until we could be there and his father could perform the ordinance.  There were many tears of happiness, gratitude and pride (yes, I said it) shed.

Sometimes words aren't enough to describe one's feelings, and this is one of those times.  For many, it doesn't mean much at all, and that's okay.  I know and respect that not everyone is of the same religion and faith, but hope you can understand at least the happiness that comes from seeing your child be happy.  That's really it.  To see my Corbin SO HAPPY.  There with his little family, by themselves in SoCal, they are finding their way to what they want for themselves and what Momma couldn't be happy and proud of that?

Congrats Corb - I L Y P I

ps - can't wait for June 2012...........

Additional side note - he gave me this awesome shirt from the Wounded Warrior Project
How freakin  cool is THIS??

If you are interested in donating to the Wounded Warrior Project

Love Boat Cruise 2012 - video

Okay, I realize that it doesn't really capture the essence of the entire cruise.  I'm thinking we need to do another one to get real documentation.  But the whales really were spectacular in real life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love Boat Cruise - Part 1

Okay, this is the picture rendition, there will be video coming shortly.  Once Splenda Daddy walks me through the movie maker thingie.  And I think he wants to fine tune some of it

The cruise was everything I could have hoped for and more!  The food, the sea, the shows, the excursions, the pampering, the sun.  Love, Love and more love.  I am so ready to book our next one!
Our ship, before we embarked

The kids drove us down from Camp Pendleton to San Diego Sunday morning where we went through the boarding process.  Considering there are thousands of people to get loaded, the process was extremely well organized and streamlined.  Our first stop was the buffet on the Lido deck for lunch while we waited for our room to be ready.

Once we found our room, I immediatley knew that Splenda had done GOOD!  Not only did we have an ocean view (which helped with equilibrium) but I loved looking out at the vast ocean, and having a window eliminated any claustrophia.  Best thing?  It was on the bottom deck so to get anywhere on the ship required stairs.  A lot of them.  Most things were on the Lido deck or higher, so at least 9 flights.  Several times a day.  LOVE!
Our room.  It was actually bigger than I expected and while many people told us we wouldn't spend much time in there, it was so comfortable that we caught up on a lot of much needed sleep

The view out our window

The view 9 decks up

The window size was perfect

After getting our luggage and settling in, we were required on deck to review safety rules.  Apparently after the debacle of the Costa Concordia, the standard was changed and the saftey drill had to be completed before the ship ever left the dock.  Pretty standard stuff and was interesting to start meeting some of the staff and other passengers.

We wandered around the ship for the rest of the afternoon and found all the fun things we wanted to do.  They also give you a daily list of itinerary of activities so you can plan what things you want to participate in.

Each night the steward, when turning down our bed would leave a towel animal creation and the next day's intinerary

Chocolates were always included

The first day at sea was beautiful.  Only slightly windy and warm.  Time for sun!
This would be how Splenda and I lay out. : )

We even ran the ship deck and worked out 3 of the 5 days!

(our improvised roller for IT band issues.  A towel wrapped over the garbage can)

While we requested the early dining, we were stuck with the 8:15pm dining assignment.  We met our table mates and enjoyed getting to know new people.   For one couple, this was their 27th cruise.  The rest of us were newbies.

After the third night of the late dining however, we approached the Matrie Die and asked if there was chance we could get a table at the 6:00pm dining.  We were led to a table with couple who was from Canada and the nicest people ever!  So fun to get to know new friends!

Our excursion days were in Cabo San Lucas.  The first was just walking around the town and checking it all out.  We found a nice beach to lay out on, but the water was very cold!  We walked the beach and enjoyed a little shopping.

The view of the port from out windo

On the tender boats headed for the pier

Lookie!  I found a shark to pose with!

Wandering Cabo in search of the Fire Station

Lovely beach with the cruise ships in the background

Momma loves her sun!

The pelicans were cool

Had no idea that there was so much fishing in Cabo.  The pier was filled with fishing boats

The second day was a snorkling excursion.  I had been assured by the ship staff that we would be issued wetsuits, but that turned out to be a big fat LIE!  No wetsuit, made for COLD snorkling event.  However, there were some cool fish and even better, we got some whale watching in too, so it was totally worth it!
Our snorkeling guide.  There were 4 other couples with us

Playa Amor  - Lovers beach

We really enjoyed the comedians, and the shows that we were able to catch as well as joining in some games with the other passengers.
Me drawing a harp during a rousing game of Win, Lose or Draw

Roses were handed out to the ladies on Valentine's day

Love sitting at breakfast and lunch with such great scenery

Our early dining waiter were fun and playful

The view down the long hall

And while I had joked about getting an Italian captain, we did get a chance to meet him and his second in command and found them delightful gentleman.
(note:  that is a VIRGIN pina colada)  The man on my left is the captain,  I expected him taller.  The man on my right is second in command.

The second to last day was windy and cold.  In fact so windy that they closed off the upper deck.  I attempted laying in the sun but braved it for only an hour in the cold wind. The first day we ran the deck, but we did use the work out room and trust me, running on a treadmill while rocking on a boat doesn't work well. I finally gave up and used the elliptical where I had least had some handrails.

Too soon, it was Friday and time to pack and disembark.  I could have stayed on the boat for another week or so.  In fact, I was more comfortable on the sea than I ever imagined I would be.  It was harder to adjust my legs back to the land than it was to the boat!  Still almost a week later, every once in a while, the ground moves on me!

Kar and Chlo picked us up at the dock and we headed back to their place for the rest of the weekend.
Overall, I absolutley LOVED cruising.  I can't wait to plan the next one.  Now, truth be told, it's no Cancun, and there is always a special place in my heart for that place, but cruising was fun, and something I want to do more of!  If you haven't tried it, DO IT!!!

Top 18 things I learned from cruising

18.  When the pharmacist says the patch might cause some dry mouth, he really means that when you wake up in the morning, every bit of fluid in your mouth will be sucked dry and it will be difficult to even open your lips.

17.  Always get the bottomless bubbles option.  Diet coke any time I wanted it was worth every penny.

16.  All kinds of people cruise.  It does appeal to some certain demographics.  Eaters, drinkers, and gamblers.  And then the rest of us.

15.  People watching is at it's best.

14.  A dirty chai at the fake Starbucks is not as good as the real thing and not worth the 5 bucks

13.  You can completely stumble around the boat without having a single drop of alcohol but appear to be more than a little drunk

12.  The dessert bar never fails.  EVER.

11.  The dining room has the best dinners ever, and you should go ahead and order as much as you want. Two filet mignons?  Why yes, thank you.

10.  The extra cost for an ocean view room is totally worth it.

9.  The shows are worth attending.  And the performers are outstanding!

8.  The staff is fantastic.  They learn who you are, and make every attempt to accommodate you.  My waiter at the late dinner even had my special beverage ready and then noticed when I didn't come to dinner.  I love him.

7.  Splenda Daddy can initiate a conversation with a complete stranger and actually maintain the convo.  That's big for him.

6.  It's worth the extra steps and stairs to avoid the casino and cigarette smoke.

5,  Don't try to race up the stairs, you will fall down.

4.  Don't try to race down the stairs, you will fall down.

3.  It's kinda nice to be rocked to sleep.

2.  Get the patch.  Even if it dries up your mouth like a shrunken voodoo doll, it's worth it.

and the number one thing I learned while cruising?

1.  I can spend 5 days with just my husband and remember that he's my very bestest friend and we have more fun together laughing, people watching/mocking and in general just kicking back and relaxing.  Sometimes no conversation is even necessary, but just knowing we are close to each other, within touching distance is enough.

Next up - the video rendition.  Prepare for some humiliation for the mCat!

Through the eyes of.....

an almost 5 year old

Chloee had some fun with my camera
the living room blinds

her backpack with baseball bat

her nightstand but blurry

Poppa playing WWF and Daddy pulling faces

Another shot of the same

and yet another shot of the same

not sure how this one happened


More Mommy

Have no clue

Mommy doing her hair

Look how serious she is taking her photography

I love this one

Oops, must have moved when clicking

and there is her jacket

not sure what this is, but she is taking it into the laundry room

smile Mimi

Smile Poppa

Smile Daddy

A great shot of her closet 

I realize that these are likely only interesting to me, but that's okay.  My blog,.  My stuff.

Love her creativeness and now I have ideas for a birthday present : )