Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lightning Bugs

Ellie has been in gymnastics all summer. She just took one little class once a week. She enjoyed it, but we talked to her about whether she’d like to keep doing that or try soccer and she really wanted to do soccer. So, here we are!

It has started off a little overwhelming since we had a few practices before the games started and then two games within two days (a Saturday and a rare Monday night game). But she has a really great coach and a sweet little team. As the title implies, the name of their team is the Lightning Bugs. I LOVE the name – so cute. And check out my sweet little bug in action:

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Stretching at the first practice

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Should be a fun season! All the girls including Ellie do better at each practice/game. She and Daddy are going to put in some extra practice as long as she enjoys it, too. If you want to come to a game, just let us know!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Decade Together

James and I hit a fun milestone on August 5th. 10 years. I’m not the most sentimental person ever, but 10 years really seemed cool to me. It seemed like quite an accomplishment – especially these days. I know many many have been married way longer and that we’re really just getting started, but it was still fun to celebrate a decade together.

One of our sweet sitters offered to give us a date night on the actual day. James and I made reservations at our favorite fondue place, and we also checked out the new Golden Cinema Theater. The dinner was fabulous, and we really enjoyed our recliners and beverages at the theater. We reminisced about our favorite and not-so-favorite moments in our marriage and had a great evening.

We have hoped for years to get to do a trip for our 10-year. Thanks to some detailed planning by our family, we were able to plan a one-week cruise with no kids! We’ve been looking forward to it for months. Mom and Dad ended up flying the girls up to Denver and handed them off to Aunt Penni and Uncle Bill where they stayed for a week and a half. Mom and Dad went and vacationed and returned toward the end of the trip to fly them home. I’ll do a separate post on the girls’ time in Colorado when I receive all of their photos, but I do know that overall they did fantastic. They LOVED spending time with Aunt Penni and Uncle Bill as well as their babysitter and other friends there. We hear that the girls were really well-behaved and good for lots of laughs as usual. Aunt Penni and Uncle Bill are already talking about having them again sometime, so that must mean they survived ok!

Our cruise left on Sunday the 29th and returned the following Sunday. We flew into Orlando on Saturday the 28th just to be safe. We had already planned to go have dinner at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, so I decided to surprised James with some tickets to see Blue Man Group. He was pumped, and we loved the show. The only damper on Saturday was that my luggage didn’t make it. I was starting to get a little nervous about how I’d replace a week’s worth of clothes for the cruise, but fortunately the luggage showed up to the hotel overnight. Whew!

On Sunday, we ran some errands and then made our way to the boat. The boarding process went great, and we had a great balcony cabin on the 7th deck of Freedom of the Seas. Pretty much as soon as we set sail, we got the news that hurricane Earl was going to prevent us from going to St. Thomas and St. Maarten as planned. The cruise was still going to go, but we’d be heading to Grand Cayman and Cozumel instead. We were so disappointed initially. We’ve been to both of those ports before, and we can get to them from Galveston (drivable) instead of needing to go to Port Canaveral to get to the eastern Caribbean. But, we took about an hour to be disappointed and then got over it and realized it was only affecting 2 days of our cruise.

Here’s a view of the boat from the port. This is the second largest cruise ship out there right now:

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On Monday, we went to CocoCay which is the Royal Caribbean private island. It had some nice beaches and some beach volleyball courts along with other typical beach activities (snorkeling, parasailing, jet skis, etc.) James decided to play volleyball, and I was content just reading on the beach. It was a nice relaxing day, and we spent about half the day there before heading back to the boat. Here are a few photos from CocoCay:

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Monday night was the first formal night. I honestly didn’t mean to end up having two red dresses for formal nights. I had another olive green one that I had planned to wear, but it just didn’t fit right. So, it ended up being red. (And I know, Mom…it doesn’t bother you at all.) Here we are:

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Tuesday was a day at sea while we made our way to Grand Cayman. There are 3 pools on deck 11. Here they are – pretty impressive:

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That’s the kids splash pool. As I mentioned when I posted these on Facebook, we spent literally zero time at this pool.

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This is the family pool area. All the live music and pool games occurred here. We also spent literally no time here. :)

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This is the adult pool. This was our happy place. Check out how much better the lounge chairs are! We loved it. It was so peaceful and calm there, and we’d just read until we got too hot and then take a dip. It was heavenly.

Here we are that day at the back of the boat:

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Another thing we did on Tuesday was check out the on board ice skating rink. Crazy that there’s an ice rink on board, right? Here we are:

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And here we are that night before dinner:

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Wednesday, we were at Grand Cayman. They refunded our old excursions and gave up new options for Cayman and Cozumel. We opted for a Jeep tour on Grand Cayman. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it turned out that James and I got a Jeep to ourselves that he was able to drive. It turned out to be a great excursion for us, because we got to just look around the island on our own while we were driving. Then, we’d stop somewhere and our guide would tell us about where we were or something about the island. Then, they dropped us off at Seven Mile Beach where we could snorkel or lay on the beach for a while before returning to the boat. James especially enjoyed the snorkeling and used the whole time to check out the fish. I did it for a while as well but also spent some time just relaxing. Here are a few photos from Grand Cayman:

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That’s dead coral behind James in the little town of Hell on Grand Cayman. We sent the girls postcards from there. :)

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IMG_0873This photo was taken from the beach by the Jeep above, and where the waves are breaking is where the reef is. Pretty cool to be able to see it so clearly. Our guide says that the water is no more 15 feet deep all the way to the reef and then it drops to 2,000 on the other side!

IMG_0875We have this same photo from our honeymoon, so we thought we’d re-create it. :)

Our dinner server was super fun. He was from Turkey, and he was a little shy on the singing and dancing. I managed to get a few shots of him dancing, though. I love this one:

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The next day we were at Cozumel. Our plan there was to spend some time doing our souvenir shopping and then hit a beach and have a good lunch. That’s exactly what we did, and it was nice and relaxing.

IMG_0884 This is the only photo I took on Cozumel. We were parked next to the Oasis which another Royal Caribbean ship and is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. The Oasis is on the left, and the Freedom is on the right. It was pretty cool to be right next to it. It’s definitely huge.

Here are our pre-dinner photos from that night:

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That night at dinner, James got some shrimp that was split-shelled. Our waiter offered to help him and James declined at first. He was struggling with them, and the waiter noticed and offered to help again. James finally relented, but we were teasing him at the table, so our waiter went all the way and went ahead and fed him, too. Pretty funny:

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That night was the Quest game show. It was a scavenger hunt where you stay in the room. The cruise director called things like $1.76 in change, and you had to get all the people in your team to come up with that. James ended up being our team captain, and let’s just say that there was lots of laughter involved. It was definitely a fun game. Here’s James and his co-captain:

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The next two days were spent at sea. Lots of time at the adult pool for us, and Friday night was the second formal night. James also checked out the FlowRider. Here are some photos from those two days:

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And finally, a few more shots of the ship and our last day:

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What a great trip! Hopefully someday we’ll get to do it again!