Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Belize and Miscellaneous Pics

When we stopped at Belize, due to the large barrier reef, we had to tender in to the city. The one thing we really didn't like about cruising was all the hurry up and waiting. We would hurry to the meeting station for our excursions or to get off the boat, then we had to wait to be called, then wait some more in the hall to get to the gangway, then wait some more to actually get off the boat. Larry doesn't do well in those kind of situations and him being agitated, made me anxious and then we would both just be ready to BE OFF THE BOAT ALREADY!

Ahem, anyway, Belize City was totally set up for the tourists and considered the best shopping port. We grabbed the kids early that morning so they could walk around a bit before Larry and I went snorkling that afternoon.


Waiting for the tender.


Waiting On the tender.


We got to the city so early, we didn't get a chance to eat breakfast, so we stopped at one of the only resturants there and all they had at that time were french fries. But let me tell you, those were some of the best french fried EVER. I think we had 3 plates of them.


I was so scared the boys would tumble over the wall behind Shey. We were on the second floor and the chairs were taller than the wall!


Overview of the city.


Heading back to the ship to drop the kids off at Kid Camp and off to our excursion. I can't say enough about Carnival's kid camp! The kids were a little relunctant at first to try it, but after the first time, they asked us to go. We normally kept them during the day, then dropped them off for dinner and a few hours. One night Shey asked what they were having for dinner and after reading off the list, he said, "I am going to have french fries and grapes. (pause) They let me do that." I said great and sent him on his way.

I don't have pictures of the snorkling. Larry's brother bought an underwater camera, but I don't know if he got it developed yet or not. Belize has the second largest barrier reef next to Australia. We were taken about 30 minutes the opposite direction of the city to a little island. There you had the choice to snorkle off the beach or off a boat. We chose the boat because then you swim to the island with the current.

There was a family on the boat with us with two little girls. The youngest wasn't any older than Shey, may have been younger and the oldest wasn't much bigger herself. When I saw them, I assumed that the girls had snorkled before, but when the tour guide asked for first timers, they both raised their hands. Hello, parents! What are you thinking!

So when you snorkle, you have a life jacket, your mask and a snorkle. Oh, and of course, fins that make you very awkward. Add to this that when you snorkle off a boat, you have to jump into deep ocean waters that have waves 2-4 feet and it's a little scary. When I first jumped in, I lost my breath and paniced for a few seconds just trying to get my bearings.

Try to picture this, the dad jumped into the water first. Then the tour guide took the little girl by her hands, swung her out over the water and dropped her. Can you say FREAK OUT! And can you also say, STUPID PARENTS? The little girl had a death grip on her daddy and was SCREAMING.

Her daddy then had the nerve to tell her that if she wanted to go back on the boat, she would have to go alone. I wanted to smack him. I don't care how much my boys may have said they wanted to snorkle for the first time off a boat (and they didn't), I would have never done that. I know I've done some dumb things parenting, but I thought that topped them all by a country mile.

I caught a glimpse of them later and I couldn't tell if it was the little one, or the older sister, but she was clinging to her dad's back. I don't think he got much snorkling in.

And with that, I leave you with a monkey we picked up in Belize


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Costa Rica (still cruisin . . .)

Before we travel to Costa Rica, let's stop and reflect on the hugeness that is the ship we were on.


The one thing that kinda stinks about vacations is that you plan them and plan them and plan them, then they come, you have a lot of fun and then they are over. And now I am back at work. But let's not dwelling on that.

Let's instead think on Sloths.


In Costa Rica, we traveled to the Sloth Sanctuary, which was beautiful and lush. Even though Costa Rica is probably as poor as Panama, it's not dirty. Once you leave the port, it is all green trees and tropical plants. Even though the houses were still small, they looked more simple not desolate.


Look at these babies! How could you not want one for your very own? Sloths are my kind of animals. They nap on and off throughout the day and everything is done. in. slow. motion. The family who started the santuary really love these beautiful creatures and have led the way in researching the sloth so that we know more about them.


While we were there, we took a canoe ride through the marshland. There were about 6 canoes total and the four of us were on the last one. The first 5 went one way down the river and we went another. It was a bit scary. Larry and I kept looking at each other and headlines were racing through my head "American Family of Four Lost in the Costa Rican Marshland!" The boys kept saying, "we're going the wrong way! Why are we going the wrong way?" Larry was planning our escape route and kept asking our guide about the water to gauge how safe it would be to swim. I just thought, well, if we are going to go, at least we will be together!

Obviously nothing happened and we met up with the rest of our group soon after. Once we got over our inital freak-out, the ride was pretty cool. There were two sloths in the trees that Larry was able to spot, but I couldn't see, as well as some monkeys, birds and a couple of lizards.


This is a banana tree and those little yellow buds will become bananas! Cool, huh.


So pretty. I uploaded this pic to a website and I'm having some note cards made up. We'll see how they turn out.


We brought an elephant home with us.

Just ahead, ANOTHER DAY AT SEA. Whoot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Larry's New Baby

We pause the cruise talk to show you Larry's new baby.

Larry's new car

It's the Volvo C70 Hardtop convertible. We got a great deal on a lease and Larry had been driving such a cluncker for forever.

He's very happy. It rides like a dream.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Cruise (cont. again) - Panama

After two and a half days at sea, we finally docked at Colon, Panama. Colon is a relatively new port and as such, there was really no touristy things to do in the immediate area.


Because of this, we had to take a charter bus about an hour out for our excursion.


We chose to explore the city of Portobelo or Beautiful port as dubbed by Christopher Columbus way back when. There was also options for seeing the canal and the lockes and while I'm disappointed we didn't get to see the canal, we were trying to pick activities that the boys would enjoy as well.


Panama is an extremely poor country, and it's also very dirty. One of the campaign promises of the man running for President was to add more garbage trucks. The week before we arrived, there was a strike and trash littered the streets. The average wage is $300-$500 a month. On our way to Portobelo, we saw many, many small houses that they call matchbook houses and appropriately so. These houses sell for $20-$30k and the owners are given 30 years with no interest to pay them off.

We are so very blessed.


This is the fort on Portobelo. Real live Pirates fought in this fort. We thought it would be exciting for the boys, but not so much.

While learning about Panama was interesting, it was not our favorite stop and I don't think I would think about going there again.







This is inside the church where the Black Christ is kept. The Black Christ was meant to be somewhere else, but every time they went to move it, strange things happened. On October 21, thousands travel from all over Panama to worship the Black Christ or El Cristo Negro.

Tomorrow Costa Rica and the Sloth Sanctuary.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Cruise (cont.)

and . . . we're still on the boat. . .


There's just something about being on a big ship in the middle of the ocean without seeing land for two straight days. Not sure exactly what it is, but it's something.


If I posted all the photos of Shey's hamming it up, it would take a long, long time.


This giant chess set kept the boys occupied many a time. Especially when Larry and I would sit on the deck with his iPod and a bottle of wine.


Peyton's favorite part? All the free Sprite I could drink!


and the free ice cream!


The first formal night. Peyton has so much fun dressing up. He even wore this the next night too.


Following this photo on the Flickr group is a few of Shey entertaining again. I think I am going to do a whole scrapbook page of his poses.



Tomorrow, Panama!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Cruise, Part 1

Since we went so far south, the first two days were spent at sea. I uploaded exactly 100 pics to my flickr Cruise Set, but don't worry, I won't overload you guys with all of those.

So, here we go. This first set will be from the boat . . .


The ship was really nice and I imagine fairly new, even though I never asked. The pool was great because it was only 4'6" and then had a shallow edge around that the boys could just sit (or run around) in.


Getting ready for the muster station drill. I was dreading this with the boys, but we got there late and were on the edge, so it really wasn't that bad.


I thought about having him wear this all week. ha


Here are Larry's parents with the boys. They were kind enough to pay for the cruise for his mom's birthday. Great, right? Her birthday and we get a present!


I think this was dinner the first night.


I can't believe how big the boys are getting. They had so much fun.

I'll post more this weekend or Monday. Two days at sea = lots of photos.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

For Rebecca :)

Yes, we're finally back from our trip. :) We had a great time and I have a ton of photos, but have pretty much been exhausted since we got back. Why is that? Why do you need a vacation from your vacation?

I thought our laptop had contracted that virus that is going around, but I turned it on last night on a fluke and it appears to be working now, so I ran a scan and think I cleaned it out some, so hopefully, it will work better. I said all that to let you know that now I can upload my photos and write a proper blog entry about our trip.

Coming soon . . .

Friday, April 03, 2009


Tomorrow, I say good-bye to 31.

Not sure why I am so weirded out by this. I got through 30 ok once it happened. 31 wasn't so bad. But, for some reason, I'm slightly wigging about 32. It may be that the years just keep going and going, faster and faster. I get carried away sometimes with the numbers.

I've been living in Florida for a third of my life. I have been driving longer than I wasn't driving. When I've lived double my life now, I will be 64. And then I think about how fast my life has gone so far and I know the next 32 years will fly by too.

I know age is just a number and all that good jazz, but really it's not. There are things you can get away with at 25 that you can't at 35. Maybe it's just a vanity thing, but I look at pictures of me even 5 years ago and I look so much younger, more fresh faced, less tired. I don't want to be a teenager again. I think I would like to relive my 24th year though. ha ha Right after I lost 20 pounds and before I was pregnant with Peyton.

I think I am just feeling blah lately. We leave on Monday for our cruise. 8 days and nights in the Western Caribbean. Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. I. Can. Not. Wait. I think 8 days of not much responsibility will do me good. Time to just hang with my family and friends. Have a frosty beverage or two.

See ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Relay for Life

Yesterday, a co-worker and friend lost her mother to cancer. From what I understand, it started as breast cancer and then spread. She has only been working with us for about a month, so I didn't want to pry too much, but also within that month, I've discovered that she is a kind, giving person and it just sucks that she and her family are going through this.

Too many of my family members and friends have been affected by cancer and I imagine you or someone you know has been affected as well. While writing this, I was quickly thinking about people by name that I know personally who have had cancer and the list just keeps going.

I know I've mentioned it before, but we're a little over a month away from our Relay for Life. I've set a goal of $500.00 and I'm a little more than halfway there. I know times are tight and we are all trying to save where we can, but if you are able, any size donation would be greatly appreciated.

Relay for Life