Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter

Today was such a long day.  Last night Mike and I were up until midnight packing.  I woke up at about 3:30 in the morning.  I couldn't get back to sleep.  I just lay in bed and watched as Florida sailed on by. It was really pretty and I am so thankful that my back didn't hurt the rest of the day.  Usually if I don't get up right away I hurt all day long.

We had a few eggs hidden in our cabin for the kids to find.  We woke them up, let them find their eggs and then hurried off to breakfast.  Not the most spiritual way to spend Easter, but it is what it is.
Preston
Jorja

 Maysen
 Stockton
Our scheduled time to get off the boat was 9:00.  Everything went really smoothly, thank goodness.  We took a bus to the Fort Lauderdale airport.  Then we waited.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  I think we had a five hour wait.  I wish there were plugs by the seats like there are in the Salt Lake airport.  That would have been nice.  I did find one plug and stood by it why Mike went and grabbed Preston's ds.  A lady came and was a little upset with me for claiming the plug.  She said, "I saw it and I went to get my things."  I just smiled at her and said I was only using one of the two outlets.  Luckily Mike was quick and we were able to get his ds charged for the trip home.

We travelled to Atlanta, Georgia.  It was such a weird feeling flying into Georgia.  I wish we could have stayed there for just a bit.  There are so many things I love about that place.  

We got to Salt Lake about 11:30 at night.  My dad was waiting for us, that was nice.  When we finally stumbled into our house I just let the kids crawl into their beds wearing their clothes.  They have school tomorrow.  Today was such a long day, after a wonderful week.

Looking back I don't think I would book a cruise on Norwegian again. We had a great trip, but there were several minor things that I didn't like.  I guess after traveling with Disney and Royal Caribbean I expected to be blown away with the awesomeness.  I wasn't.  There were definitely some things I did enjoy.  It was nice to be able to have dinner with just my family at the table.  Or Mike.  One of the minor things I didn't like was there drink policy.  We don't drink a lot of pop, so we didn't want to pay for the $60 unlimited drink card.  We figured if the kids wanted pop they could get it at dinner.  (Stockton is really the only one who likes it, maybe Preston.  Definitely not Maysen and Jorja.)   You couldn't order pop at dinner unless you paid for it.  Then we saw the drinks being poured out of 2 liter soda bottles.  That's crazy!  At least the milk was free at dinners.  Oh, and hot chocolate was.  They would bring the hot chocolate in a little pot so you could pour your own refills - that was cool.  I don't know why they are so stingy on soda.  Anyway, I guess I felt in several instances we were being 'nickled and dimed'. After paying so much for the cruise in the first place, I did not want to feel that way.  There were two dining rooms you could eat that were referred to as the 'complementary' dining rooms.  There were five or six dining rooms that you had to pay to eat there - around $25/person.  No way was I going to pay for food when we already paid.  That was what confused me about the complementary term.  We already paid for this. Anyway, I heard the really good food was in the other restaurants. That's okay, we ate and ate and ate just fine.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Go Stomach, Go!

Preston
Today was our last full day on the boat, and it was a sea day.  Too bad it was super windy and cold.  We have had bad, bad luck with the weather this trip.  Oh well, we still had a lot of fun.  This morning we made our way up to the rock climbing wall.  It is not always open, and it was something I had really wanted to do – so I wanted to get there as soon as it opened.  I figured it would be really crowded today.  Too bad it was closed because of the weather.  It was really windy.  So, we played checkers instead.  Maysen played against Preston and I.  She defeated us soundly.

We then waited in our cabin – reading and watching movies.  Mike was able to take a super long nap.  I wanted to go to was the towel folding demonstration, Jorja was looking forward to that.  We went up for lunch, lost track of time and missed the demonstration!  Whoops. 

The next thing we wanted to do was see Chip Romero again.  He was in a smaller lounge we had never been to.  We should have thought farther ahead.  We weren’t able to get a good seat.  The show was still funny and amazing, it just would have been nice if we could have seen it better.  Jorja and Preston were in the play area during the show.  They were supposed to do an egg drop.  We picked up Jorja after the show.  She was disappointed because they didn’t do the egg drop.  That is the reason she missed the show.  We picked up Preston later and he was crying.  I think his group got to do the egg drop, but he didn’t get a turn to try.  I’m not really sure.

We took the kids to the fancy dinner tonight.  They did really great again.  Stockton was so full after his pizza.  He had ordered ice cream and was getting nervous that he wouldn’t be able to eat it.  He started pounding his stomach and said, “Go stomach, go!”  So funny!  I took a lot of pictures at dinner.  It is hard to get the kids to cooperate for pictures.  We compromise, instead of taking one quick picture and putting the camera away, I take a lot of pictures and put all of them on the blog.  Preston was at dinner too, but I'm not even going to bother with his pictures today.  
 Mike - I wonder where the kids learned their picture taking skills?
 Mike - thank you.
 Stockton
 Maysen
 Jorja
 Stockton
The show the kids wanted to see tonight was in the same lounge where the magic show was.  We decided not to make the same mistake again.  We got there about an hour and a half early.  We got a front row seat!  We were the only ones in there for a long time.  It was pretty fun.  The kids were watching a movie on Mike’s lap top.  Mike and I played many games of Speed.  Once the music started playing, Jorja did not like it at all.  Jorja and I went and laid down on the bed at the back of the room.  Jorja loved that! 
Stockton, Maysen, Preston, Jorja
 This gizmo makes me happy.
 Jorja loved this bed!
The show was a Second City Improv show.  The kids thought it was so funny.  They used a suggestion from both Maysen and Stockton.  They have been making up their own jokes all night.  We didn't get a towel animal tonight.  Not sure why, the kids were disappointed.  Maybe it was because I missed the towel folding demonstration.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cozumel

Today was my first time ever in Mexico.  The weather was again overcast, but we had a great day anyway.  The kids picked the excursion for today.  This was their reward for reading the Book of Mormon in a few months last year.  They were excited about the water trampolines.  As soon as we got to the beach we headed for those trampolines – just in case the weather closed those as well!  We left our camera back on the ship which was so disappointing!  We played on those trampolines for about an hour and a half.  Mike and Jorja also rode a kayak and paddleboat.  We had hoped to go parasailing.  Originally we hoped to do it at Great Stirrup Cay, but it was closed because of bad weather.  This place also offered it, but again, closed because of bad weather.  Up the beach they were running the parasails, so we walked to a different beach and were able to get signed up.  Luckily we had just enough money to do it.  Preston did not want to go.  Stockton was trying to bribe him.  I told them that if he didn’t want to go I wasn’t going to make him.  Jorja said, “You made me get my toenails painted!”  I’m thinking, “Yes, having a 10 year old girl paint her toenails and forcing a 6 year old boy to parasail are exactly the same thing.”  Speaking of Jorja’s toenails, she is quite ridiculous.  Whenever her shoes are off she walks with her toes curled so no one will see her toenails.  Whatever.

Anyway, we got on the boat with a few other families.  Maysen, Stockton and Jorja went first.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw them get pulled up in the air.  There went my babies!  This nice lady heard me say, “I can’t believe I don’t have my camera!”  She took pictures of them for me and said she will email them to me.  I hope she does!  When Preston saw the kids up in the air, he decided he wanted to try it.  They were in the air about fifteen minutes.  They came back so happy!  Stockton said he almost threw up.  Now that would have been a sight!
My babies!  Stockton, Jorja, Maysen
 My guess is they had fun.
Mike, Preston and I went up next.  Preston LOVED it!  He wasn’t scared at all!  I was so proud of him.  This was my first time parasailing.  It was so pretty!  The water was two different colors of blue.  It’s weird because when you are on the boat it seems like you are going so fast, but when you are up in the air it barely seems like you are moving.  By the end of our fifteen minutes Preston was holding his hands out like he was flying.  So cute!
Mike, Preston, Stephanie taking off
 Coming back - Preston LOVED it!  So glad he decided to go!
When we got back to shore we realized we only had twenty minutes until our bus left.  We ran down the beach and made it back just in time.  Too bad we didn’t get to do any of the other stuff that was included in our excursion, especially the water slides.  Stockton really wanted to do that.   We all agreed that it would have been fun, but at least we got to do the parasailing.  We could do water slides at home.

Again for the show tonight we sent Preston to the kid area and we watched the show with the others.  This time it was amazing!  We watched a magician named Chip Romero.  The kids loved it and were laughing through most of the show.  Thank goodness!  It was absolutely wonderful!
Mike, Stockton, Maysen, Jorja
 Jorja, Stephanie

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cayman Islands

We had bad luck today.  Our excursion for the day was this pirate boat thing.  We were going to ride this pirate looking ship.  The kids would be pirates.  They would swab the deck, tie up one of the dads and finish by walking the plank (jumping into the ocean).  The reviews said it was cheesy but a lot of fun.  Stockton and Mike were looking forward to this.  Stockton had asked me many times which day we get to do the pirate ship.  Our excursion wasn’t until 2:00.  That was kind of a bummer because it wasn’t going to be super long, but it didn’t leave us any time to do something else before or after.  We ended up getting off the boat around 11:00.  We decided to let the kids wander some shops to pick up a souvenir.  Stockton did not enjoy this part of our trip.  When it was finally time for our excursion we made our way back to the dock where we were supposed to meet.  The only problem was no one was there except a few other families and whispers about our excursion being cancelled.  I waited with the kids while Mike tried to figure out what was going on.  It took about 45 minutes before we got conformation that our trip had been cancelled.

Later we were told that the guy who runs the pirate ship cancelled the excursion around 11:30.  They made an announcement, but we were off the ship at that time.  I wouldn’t be annoyed with Norwegian if I thought they had done everything they could.  At minimum they could have had a sign saying the excursion was cancelled.  They should have had a person there letting us know it was cancelled.  The poor security guard kept calling the boat to find out what was going on, no one was even at the excursion desk.  I’m disappointed because who knows if we will ever come back to this island again.  We could have easily gone to the turtle farm, which three of my four kids would have loved.  Anyway, quite disappointed in the service we got today.
Mike 
On the plus side, the girls got some stinking cute hats.  They will love them by our pool this summer.  Stockton got a ball that is supposed to skip on water.  Again, that will be fun for him in the pool.  Preston got a light up fan that says LOVE.  Too bad he broke it before he went to bed.  New record.
 Maysen
Jorja
Preston
We did get to go bowling today.  We wanted to do it at least once.  Bowling is $5/person.  Luckily we were able to get in on the 2 for 1 deal.  I did horrible!  It is hard to bowl on a ship!  Stockton won.  He was very happy about that.  I tried to take pictures, but most of them turned out blurry.  Oh well, they can't all be winners.
 Mike
 Jorja
 Maysen
 Preston
 Stockton
 Stockton's Strike Dance
 Maysen's annoyed that I kept making her do the Strike Dance
 Preston and Stockton
 Final Score
Stockton's proud
This evening Preston went to play in the kids area (and LOVED it!)  We went with the kids to the show that was supposed to be amazing.  We had really close seats.  There was supposed to be singing, dancing, trapeze stuff, acrobatics, contortionists . . . . It sounded really cool.  I was imagining some circus thing.  If I had realized what the show was I definitely wouldn’t have brought my kids to it.  I doubt I would have chosen to sit through the show myself.  It was Donovan and Rebecca.  They have been on America’s Got Talent and hold three world records.  Maybe the show wouldn’t have been so bad if we weren’t sitting so close.  But the skimpy costumes, the seductive walking, the awkward poses – they all made me extremely uncomfortable with my kids sitting right beside me.  I wish we could have made an inconspicuous exit, but that was impossible.  As soon as the show was over I leaned over to the kids and whispered, “You deserve ice cream for sitting through that.”  Thank goodness Preston didn’t come with us!

Preston spent his time playing pirates.  They even went on a pirate parade and a treasure hunt.  I found Preston as he was walking through the ship with his kids group.  I held his hand and went on the rest of the parade with him.  Stinky Pete stole the treasure.  They found him out by the pool and pushed him in.  I was glad I was there.  I held Preston so he could see, and also so he wasn’t trampled by everyone.  I felt like I was going to be trampled.  Preston was able to pick a prize from the treasure chest.  He picked a necklace.  He wouldn’t let us wash off his face paint tonight.  He loved it.
Preston trying to wink to show off his eye patch face paint
 Preston
 Hamster

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jamaica

One of our favorite memories from our last cruise seven years ago was swimming with dolphins.  We have the pictures up right by our front door.  The only problem is that seven years ago Preston wasn’t part of our family.  That seems so sad.  I really wanted to get a picture of him with a dolphin to put up on our wall with the rest of our family.  The kids were more than happy to go along with that!

This morning we had room service for breakfast.  It is completely free, which is why we did it.  We just had cereal, fruit and crossonts.  We then got ready to get off the boat!  We were able to just walk off which was nice.  We took a short bus ride to Dolphins Cove.  Mike was a little nervous about it because someone from his work did this excursion and they said they were barely allowed to touch the dolphins.  Mike was worried that this wouldn’t live up to our expectations.  Luckily he was worried for no reason.

Mike, Maysen, Stockton and Jorja were taken to their dolphin experience right away.  They were able to RIDE a dolphin!  Preston and I were able to watch them.  It was so cool!  Too bad they were far away, but we were still able to tell what was going on.  Mike said that Stockton LOVED it.  This is a big deal.  Stockton hates anything to do with animals.  Stockton was saying things like, “This is fun, I like this, I love cruises . . .”  In Stockton language that means, “This is awesome!  I can’t believe I get to do this!  I love my life!  My parents are the best!”  The others loved it as well.  Their dolphins name was Misty.  It started raining on them pretty hard towards the end.  Luckily they were in the ocean, so it really didn’t matter.  Unluckily Preston and I were not, so we got soaked!  Luckily we were in our swimsuits, so it really didn’t matter.
 Jorja RIDING a dolphin who is swimming upside down.
 Maysen, Mike and Stockton are patiently waiting their turn.
 My Porgie!
 WOW!
 Maysen's turn
 Mike loves this picture.
It looks likes this picture needs a speech bubble...
Mike
Stockton
Look at The Boy!
Stockton, Maysen, Mike and Jorja with random people
Maysen
Love this picture
Jorja Porja
Can she get more adorable?
Why yes, yes she can.
Life is GOOD!
Stockton
Love this picture!
Mike
So cute.
Misty putting on a show in the rain
We had to wait about a half an hour after the rest of the family came back before Preston and I got our turn.  The lady had us wait so long to make sure that they would be able to watch Preston and I.  I thought that was really nice.  Preston was so excited when it was his turn!  He loved feeling the dolphin as it swam underneath him.  He wanted to feed the dolphin the fish.  He asked the trainer guy several times, but there was no way he heard him.  It was pretty cute though.
Maysen - the kids found a lizard to play with
Preston and Jorja
Preston
Maysen
Preston's turn!
He was so excited to finally do this!
Awesome.
Stephanie
Stephanie, Preston and random people
Mike's view of Preston kissing a dolphin.
Ziggy cheered after Preston kissed him.
Next we started making our way to a beach area where we were going to have a lunch that had been provided.  On the way we saw a guy with parrots.  He would put a parrot on your shoulder and allow you to take a picture of it.  The guy was amazing!  There were only two people in front of us, so we decided we wanted to wait.  Stockton went first.  We were so surprised when the parrot man kept putting parrots on Stockton!  One on each shoulder, one on his head and one in his hands acting like he was dead!  It was so funny!  There wasn’t any other photographer there expecting you to buy their photo, we were just allowed to take as many pictures as we wanted!  It was awesome!  I hope they turned out okay.  I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet.  We haven’t figured out our camera exactly, so some of the pictures come out blurry . . . . hopefully not these ones.  Everyone was able to get a turn – loved that!  Mike gave him a few dollars and he was so grateful.  We felt bad that we couldn’t give him more.  We were worried that we wouldn’t have enough to buy the dolphin pictures.  Mike had brought money off of the boat, but he didn’t bring a credit card.
Stockton with red parrot
Plus blue
Now with two more.  So funny!
Jorja
The green parrot was fighting with the red parrot on Maysen's head
No head parrot for Maysen
Preston
Three parrots for Preston
Stephanie
Mike
They liked his hat
We had lunch and then took the kids to the beach.  It wasn’t nearly as cool as the last beach from our other dolphin excursion.  That beach was called Meads Bay and was breathtaking!  This one was small and rocky, but it was still lovely.  We got the kids settled and then went to look at the dolphin pictures.  We were able to talk the lady into putting Preston and my pictures on the CD with the others.  I’m glad she didn’t make us buy both CDs.  We thought about buying the video as well, but that would have raised the price $60 (because we were in two groups).  It would have also taken every cent we had.  I decided we didn’t need that.  The lady said, “Are you sure?  This is a once in a life time experience.”  I just said, “Well, maybe we will need to come back.” (We were also able to go back and find the bird guy and give him a few more dollars.  Again, he was super grateful.  He was awesome!)

Mike and I went back and found the kids.  We played with them in the ocean for quite awhile.  I gathered up sand and didn’t lose it this time.  One of my beehives is completely obsessed with Jamaica.  I thought I would bring her sand back and put it in a cute little container.  Then I thought if I brought her sand back I should bring it back for the other seven girls.  Well see if that turns out well . . .
Bikini lady walking into the picture!
Maysen, Preston, Jorja, Stockton in Jamaica!
Maysen
Preston and Stockton
Maysen, Preston, Stockton, Jorja
Preston's head
Sandy Preston
The reviews of my camera said that with the lens in the upper left corner sometimes fingers got in the pictures.  I thought that sounded strange. Whoops.  Too bad I ruined several pictures this way!  Weird how you don't notice it when you are taking the picture.  I also wasn't good about making sure the water droplets were off the lens.  Lots of pictures were ruined that way as well.  Oh well, we did get plenty of pictures!  I love this digital age!
Jorja and my fingers
Jorja and Stockton
Jorja
Jorja and Stockton
Stockton
Stephanie and Jorja
Stephanie and Preston
Preston
Preston, Mike and Stephanie
Preston and Mike
Stockton, Preston, Jorja, Maysen
Stockton and Maysen
Jorja
Preston
Jorja
As we left the beach we noticed a little bird area with a small sign that said you could feed the birds.  Maysen, Jorja and I went in there.  It was awesome!  They had various lovebirds flying everywhere!  The lady put some birdseed in your hand and they would land right on you and eat it.  It was so cool!  Mike and Stockton had already passed this area; I wish they had been able to do this as well!

I bought a towel as we were leaving.  I thought, “Maybe it would be cool to collect towels from the different locations we visit.”  With the swimming pool in the back, it is always good to have extra towels.  Maybe we will need to convince Brett and Rachel to bring us a towel back from Japan!

We got back about an hour before the ship left.  We went upstairs to go rock climbing, but got distracted with the giant chess game.  We played that for almost two hours.  Girls against boys.  The boys ended up winning.  It really wasn’t fair because Maysen had me for a partner.  Sorry Maysen!

We took the kids to the show tonight.  There were about five performers from the group Second City.  It was pretty funny and mostly clean.  They did some sketch comedy and some improv.  They are going to do a show completely of improv on the last night.  I think the kids will like that!

That is about it for today!  We sure have a spoiled life!