Thursday, December 27, 2012

Catching up

Breaking News~ It's been a long time since I've blogged.
We've been busy a wee bit on the busy side. I must revert to the tried and true list form to catch all 2 of you up to date on the who, what, when, where, and why of the last couple weeks.

-- I last posted on the day we cleaned our Monterey house. The next morning, we met with our landlord, passed our inspection, got our security deposit back, sighed in relief (the house was perfect, but the landlord was odd, and the security deposit huge) and went to the movies while the kids had their last day of school.

- We stayed one more night in the base lodging. Alex requested that she be allowed to fall asleep in our room instead of with Derek, and could she please have a box of tissues in bed with her. Poor baby wanted to cry in private. She hated saying goodbye to her school chums. Thankfully we've kept her busy ever since then, so she hasn't had much of a chance to be sad.

- The next morning we left dark and early to drive to Las Vegas. Along the way, we pit stopped with some friends stationed at Edwards AFB, which is right along the road to Vegas. Popping in to see friends all over the country is one thing I love about the military life. We meet, we scatter, and then I stop in to rummage through your fridge on a road trip.

- We made good time into Vegas and then spent a week hanging out with great friends. There was much eating, chatting, lounging, and merriment. We even made it down to the strip one night to see what all the fuss was about. True fact-- it's pretty cool! All the lights, the fountain shows, and the beautiful hotels and casinos were fun to see. And the mountains surrounding the city were beautiful. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked Vegas way more than I thought I would. Thanks for having us, Campbells! :)

- Our next stop was Michigan, to visit family over the holidays. Josh hadn't been back here for 3 and a half years! I usually come up when he's gone for extended periods, but that means that he goes for a long time without making it up here.

-- When it was time to leave Josh drove the van from Las Vegas to Michigan. The kids and I took the "easy" way out by flying.

-- "Easy" is in quotation marks, because when you have a tight connection and your first plane is delayed and you miss your second flight and you're in the airport at 10:30pm with your two kids and one of them sits in a puddle of something on a chair while you're talking to the unhelpful desk and they haven't had dinner yet it can be a little stressful.
The upside is that I had plenty of folks I could wake up call that aren't too far from the airport. My dad happened to be at work still, so he hopped on the highway and picked us up.
Thanks Dad! I'm sorry you didn't get to bed until 2:30 in the morning. Bet you thought you were done being kept up at night about 32 years ago, eh?

While we were waiting to get picked up, the slightly less unhelpful desk provided us with vouchers to spend in the airport for food and whatnots. But everything was closed.
So we ordered a pizza to be delivered to the airport, and we raided the only open store in the airport for drinks, treats, books, magnets, and whatever else I could find to spend the vouchers on.
They're only good for 24 hours, after all.

My saving grace was that the kids were still operating on pacific time, so it didn't feel quite as late to us and it normally would have.

-- For the past week, we've been staying at Mom & Mark's place, along with my sister and her family.
My kids don't get to see their cousins very often, so it's always fun (and loud. very, very loud) when we're all together. Also, Mark likes to buy sweets. And he likes to buy in bulk. It's a disaster of a combination for my waistline.

-- Dad and Cindy are just a few miles down the road, and they've hosted us for several dinners, as well as an impromptu snow-play session which naturally included 4 kids on 2 sleds being pulled behind a 4-wheeler. Naturally.

-- Is anyone else sensing a theme of eating running through this whole recap? There's been a lot of eating.

-- Tomorrow we head over to Pat the Bunny's to visit with Josh's family. Sadly, we found out early this morning that Josh's grandma, Grannie Annie, passed away in the night. We are so sad that we've been so close by for the last week and he didn't get a chance to see her before she passed. But we are glad that we'll get to attend her funeral, which wouldn't have been possible a couple of weeks in the future.

-- Because, ya know what? We're going to Spain. And we're going to be there in less that 2 weeks.
Crazy talk.

So that's that. I'll try not to let so much time go by between posts again!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Yesterday we moved out of our house. It was a long day.
Today we woke up, took the kids to the continental breakfast before school, and then spent the next 8 hours cleaning our house and shampooing the carpets.
It was a longer day.
My feet hurt.
That is all.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cruise Review, part 2

If you missed the first part of my cruise recap, you can find it here. It will be more chronologically pleasing to start there. And I am nothing if not chronologically pleasing.

Whatever that means.

So, after our 2 days at sea, the ship docked in Puerto Vallarta.

But I have no pictures of Puerto Vallarta because we did not get off the ship. It turns out that said city is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco. And the state of Jalisco is on the list of Mexican states that US military members are not permitted to go.
I would imagine that the safety issue is probably not for the cruise port area, but all the same Josh couldn't get off the ship.

But that was okay with us, because we had the pool deck all to ourselves!

Those two heads bobbing in Mickey's Pool are none other than Thing 1 and Thing 2.

And when they got hungry...no problem. How about second breakfast? Or first lunch?
Maybe even both.

Derek ate his body weight in bacon. Daily.

And if you get bored with Mickey's Pool, you can hop on over to Goofy's.

And it's impossible to get bored at Goofy's pool, because if swimming isn't fun enough, how about watching a movie while you swim?

The next morning, we woke up in Cabo San Lucas, and this time we headed ashore.

We ended up at the beach you see directly above Alex's head. It's the Playa del amor, or Lover's beach.

Josh used his fancy new Spanish skillz to get us a water taxi there.

The beach was so nice! Clear blue water that was the perfect temperature.

Not sure what Derek's doing, but you can get a view of our ship in the background.

We walked over to the westernmost side of the beach, which is less sheltered and has much stronger waves and currents. We didn't swim there, but the water was so pretty.

The next day we were able to get off the ship in Cabo again, and this time we walked over to a beach that we had scoped out while on the water taxi the day before.

That last picture was taken by a very friendly guy from a group that was also on the cruise.
They were a group of 6 nice, and quite flamboyant, gay men.

Later, when Josh was up on the beach, I was chatting with them about the cruise when one of the guys said to me:

"I hope I don't offend you by saying this, but you're husband is gorgeous."

I said back, "I know, right?"


That night, back on the ship, was the Pirate Party. The highlight for Alex and Derek were the fireworks at the end.
They had a Pre-Party at the kids' club where they made pirate crafts and had face paint.

It was a lovely vacation, and a perfect chance to relax before the craziness of our move started up. 
We made the kids pay their way in manual labor after getting off the ship. 


And look what we saw on the way home!

Friday, December 7, 2012

We're back! Like, a week ago...

Hello out there! Is anyone still reading this poorly updated blog? I have a world of excuses ready for not having popped on to discuss our lovely cruise.

This biggest one being this:

But I'll spare you the excuses and just dive right in. The water's fine.

So. We went on a cruise.

It was a Disney cruise. Even better!

The ship departed from Los Angeles. That's a little city in California. You may have heard of it.
Here we are driving down to LA. It's about a 6 and a half hour drive from Monterey.

The sun was on Derek's side. He got hot. He's also cute.

We got lucky and didn't hit too much traffic on the way to the hotel. We drove in the night before our cruise just in case.

Here are the little knuckleheads waiting for the shuttle to the port.

We had to wait at the terminal for about an hour before we could board. Then we got on and started exploring the ship!

We ran into a furry friend, though I can't say if it was Chip or Dale. I might have asked, but I was busy trying to keep Derek from jumping overboard in order to avoid the chipmunk.

The kids were big fans of the bunk beds in our stateroom.
Josh and I were big fans of the verandah.

There was a curtain that separated their area from ours, which was nice. We were able to read in bed at night without keeping them awake.
Yep. Just a lot of reading.
Nice, clean reading.

Ahem. Where was I?

The next morning we were scheduled for our character breakfast.

My favorite part was the bacon. Sorry Mickey.

Alex has a napkin on her head if you were wondering. The girls got Minnie-Bow napkin hats.

Derek was Robin Hood.

It's probably time to take a pause and discuss the food.

The Food.
It was yummy. It was excessive. It was plentiful. It was delicious.
And the service was incredible. We had the same two servers for every dinner, and we would rotate through different dining rooms-- they rotated with us.
The first one was called the Animator's Palate. It was all black-and-white when you walked in, but as the meal progressed more and more of the restaurant would be lit up with different colors and paintings. Disney knows how to keep kids entertained at a sit-down meal!

Once our waiters figured out our favorite drinks, they would be waiting for us at the table when we sat down. They even got upset with us when we didn't bring the kids to dinner one night! Apparently they...liked them??

Oh, and I gained 2.5 pounds.

I blame it on the bacon.
And the desserts.
Oh, the desserts...

Josh maxed out one day at a total of 9 desserts. And he often ordered 2 entrees at dinner.
And he gained like, 2.5 ounces.
I kind of hate him.

So after setting sail, the next 2 days were "sea days" meaning the ship didn't stop anywhere. The farther south we got, the warmer the weather got. It was so nice!

The kids clubs had a schedule with their activites, so we could makes sure Alex and Derek got to do everything they wanted.
Ratatouille's Cooking School was a big hit-- they got to bake chocolate chip cookies.

 I don't know why Derek is wearing the same shirt in all of these pictures. I promise we changed him. I think Alex must have just changed her clothes a lot or something.

We made a gingerbread house together.

 Here we are on the verandah before heading to the pool. Looks like Derek just had a big meal.

 I look that way too, but I strategically place children in front of me so you can't see.

Look at that blue water! I want to go back!

Speaking as someone who hates to wake up, if you have to wake up-- this isn't a bad way to do it...

Okay, I think that's enough for one post. I'll finish up tomorrow-- still to come is our day trips to Cabo San Lucas, which were great!