Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cruise to Mexico April 2012

We surprised my mom with a family cruise for her dreaded 50th birthday! She had NO idea in spite of the accidental call backs we got from Carnival a few weeks prior! It was such a fun surprise and here is the detailed blog post of our adventures! 

Driving to California wasn't the greatest or smoothest trip. Parker was antsy and had to be fed a few times once even pulling off the road in a random spot. It wasn't awful but we were all excited to GET THERE so when we were not far out and I had to pee there was no way the car was stopping. Once we got to the port I couldn't find a bathroom fast enough! Overall not a bad 6 hours.

Day 1: Getting on the ship...this was hell. Connor was SO over it by the time dinner rolled around. We did great at getting all the luggage and people out of the cars and onto the ship. Thank goodness for being able to check your luggage at the curb! We brought the pack n play and Parker's cradle top.  It made the kids sleep so much better I think bringing those comforts of home with us! We were starved by the time we got onboard and I literally tried everything from the buffet line. I was chomping at the bit waiting for Camp Carnival to open so we could get Connor out of our hair. He was just not pleasant and wanted to touch EVERYTHING inside our cabin. Lights on, lights off, doors open doors closed...grrrr.  So yay for camp Carnival! He did really great the first night and loved it! He was so excited! He was the first kid in there since we showed up a bit early to check him in. All the other parents were anxious as well it seemed. He had a name tag and we got a cell phone so they could call if he needed us. Which was nice because the phone worked to call anywhere on the ship so we were able to coordinate with everyone better throughout the cruise. And it was free! The first night was great and we had a nice dinner without any fuss from Connor. Parker wasn't too thrilled and was SO tired. Both kids were. By the time we got them ready for bed after dinner they were OUT and slept so great that first night!

Day 2: We woke up after a nice rest and Connor got into bed with us before we turned the lights on.  When we turned them on Connor said ""Oh my heck! Bedroom!"  He continued to say "Oh My Heck" throughout the rest of the trip which cracked everyone up. What a kid. I could keep a blog of all the funny things he says and never run out of things to type!  We were in Catalina this day.  We had a great breakfast at the buffet outside by the pool.  It was nice and warm and I wanted to get in the pool! We hurried to the boat tenders before they got too busy and tendered over to the island.  We walked around for a while, took a jaunt to "the casino" which is a really nice theater and beautiful for photo ops.  We had Connor on his leash and in his stroller, and Parker was in his bjorn sling thing. He was so comfy and happy in that thing! He ended up taking a little nap while Ben was holding him in it that day. We sat by some people on a bench area who thought he was just beautiful and even thought he was a girl. I'm ok with this because I KNOW he's a beautiful baby and I'd rather have people think my boy is a girl than have a girl that looks like a boy...right? Ha ha.  We tried to decide what to do between glas bottom boats, bikes, parasailing or kayaking. What finally worked for everyone was that Ashlee and my mom got motorized bikes while the rest of us rode in golf carts! My dad, Desi, Connor and Tasha in one, and Ben, Parker and me in the other. My driving made Ben nervous as heck but I did a great job and there was a really fun route to follow that took us around a good part of the mountain. I'm so glad we did this because I had been to the island before but had only gone kayaking and had missed out on seeing the beauty of the island!

Connor riding in the golf cart with the beautiful scenery behind him
My dad was so nice to pay for everything and we LOVED the ride! The kids even got to be safe in car seats! My mom had some issues with her bike engine and we all got a kick out of watching her try to peddle up the steep hill. Eventually we had to separate so she could go get her bike fixed. She and Ash still had fun riding after that though! 

That afternoon we headed back (me with my $2 12 pack of diet coke from Von's) and took a LONG afternoon nap. The kids and I slept for like 3 hours! 
Family picture on Catalina
Everyone in the golf carts!
Ashlee and mom on their motorized bikes!

That night we watched a stupid comedian, who was supposed to be family friendly but was really annoying and sorta scary... Connor did NOT want to go back to Camp Carnival in the afternoon or any other day after today. We think it made him nervous that the people there changed his diaper. We had kept calling it "nursery" and he probably didn't feel comfortable with these strange people changing his diaper. That's all we could think of anyway...but hey at least we got a cell phone! That night was formal night and we had a fun dinner! I was glad Connor hadn't gone to Camp Carnival and was able to enjoy his huge dinner with us. He had pizza, fries, fruit, veggies, and a PB&J!
Formal night, Connor getting his pizza cut by the waiter.
Formal Night
Dancing on formal night!

Day 3: Ensenada, we are so blessed! Looking down at my sweet Connor in his stroller with his nice clothes on while kids not much older than him were trying to peddle random things made me so thankful for what we have! We are on a big family vacation, eating like kings and enjoying comforts these people only dream of. It really made me feel spoiled.  We didn't last long with the kids, they were cold and fussy and we had no idea where to go or what to do.  So we headed back to the ship after walking towards "town" for half an hour or so. On our way back this lady in Ensenada stopped us and gave Connor some bubbles. She was from the cruise and was so excited when she asked if were Mormon. She was from Iowa or somewhere and it was very exciting to see other Mormons for her! So she said to us, "way to be parents, and way to rock the garment line!"Ha ha..ok!

We ate lunch and enjoyed the Water slides!!! Eventually the rest of the family joined us and we all enjoyed lemonade and cookies while we played on the slides. For basically 2 hours I think we were sliding away! It had a really fun big slide and two racer slides. I am such a fish and could NOT get outta the water! Connor must get that from me cuz he sure enjoyed it too! I even went down the kid slides with him a few hundred times! Ha ha.  It was a BLAST and not busy since everyone was off the ship shopping in Mexico! At dinner there was fun dancing, Connor dancing with waiter, and sleeping on Ben's chest. Me throwing rice at people and saying "surprise"! Getting hyper at dinner and everyone laughing. (These are some of the random things I jotted        down I didn't want to forget!)

Day 4: At sea. We enjoyed relaxing, enjoyed quiet time, and got a 3 1/2 hour nap from Connor! I got a massage while he was sleeping and MAN did it feel GREAT. Getting a massage on a cruise is amazing because you get rocked back and forth while you're enjoying the ambiance of the music and all that. I was pretty dang relaxed! It made me realize I need to take better care of myself.  They tried to sell me their product after the massage and honestly if I'd have had a lot of extra money I would have bought it...but the therapist telling me basic info about the body and what it needs made me very motivated to take care of my skin and body. Since then I've stuck to a great regimen and feel a difference! We loved  rocking to sleep with the cruise motion, but at some points felt sorta sick and didn't want to eat.  But oddly enough, eating made us feel better. Well some of us anyway....Desi puked.  Connor wanted to sleep on my chest at dinner because Ben had tried to get him to do that the night before. Anytime the dining room lights flashed a little he thought it was time for dancing again and could hardly wait to dance! The waiters made it very fun for him and he had a blast! He really didn't LOVE the food that much but I think he ate enough to stay happy haha.

Overall impressions: Feel so happy to have gone on a successful family vacation. The kids were awesome, and would have had meltdowns no matter where we were so it was fun to be on vacation. All the other passengers were super nice and sweet to our kids, more than I expected. The crew was of course very friendly and everyone just gushed over Parker.  Each day I thought to myself "Wow this is NOT how I expected people to act towards us!" EVERYONE was sweet and adored our kids.  And having Connor there made me feel more kind towards other people too. He says hi to EVERYONE we walk past and it amazes me how people come right out of their shell to say hi to a little toddler. They can go from being quiet and reserved to smiley and silly in an instant! I find myself thinking "And a little child shall lead you" quite a bit...

Grandma Betsy loving on Connor 

Connor loving the slide again on our day at sea

His two favorite parts of the cruise: Ice cream and water slide

Connor bugging Desi instead of playing in the water :)

Enjoying some last time sun on the waterslide deck!

Last day! Picture in our cabin

Thanks dad for such an awesome trip and mom for turning 50 so we could go!!!! :-)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life is constantly changing. I am very behind on blogging. But I just made a big ole list of my goals in life and one of them is to get this here blog updated. Eventually I want to print it into a book...a year at a time. I need money for that I think... :)

 Connor putting "gas" in his car!

 Mowing the lawn
 Connor milk!
 Show me your teeth!

 Sweet smiles
Yummy finger! I like to suck my thumb too!
So let me just highlight the goings on in our lives!

Connor LOVES to play outside and spring weather has treated us well. He can play outside for hours. One day I think he was out there from sun up to sun down with breaks to eat and take his nap. He goes out there before he even has his jammies changed into his clothes. He "mows the lawn" with the $1 lawnmower I bought him at a yard sale last year. He picks flowers and stuffs them in his pocket. He drives his car around as well as his bike. He climbs the stairs on the side of the house to his little playhouse and makes "food" which is really sand from his sandbox. His vocabulary has increased exponentially. He talks in complete sentences, and can communicate almost perfectly with us. He sings all the time, to himself and for us. He knows the words to a lot of primary songs, like Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam" and "Whenever I hear the song of a bird"...he is a beautiful singer! I hope he gets some musical talent :-) He is hitting that phase where the things he says and does make us laugh so hard! His phrase that is most common is "Oh my heck!" which signifies his Utah upbringing....oh boy.  He knows it's funny so he says it more! He was a crack up on our cruise with all his "oh my hecks"!

Parker is at one of my favorite ages. 6 months old is SO fun! He sleeps better (mostly) he eats solids which means a little less nursing and more flexibility for me. And he is starting to babble! We love hearing his "bababa" and "dadadada". It's so fun! He smiles and giggles and is SO easy going. He has piercing blue eyes that people can't help but comment on when they see him. He's just a beautiful happy fun baby! So far he likes sweet potatoes, pears and apples. He doesn't love bananas too much, and he HATES carrots. Squash he can do..but it's not his fave. I think it's so funny how babies have preferences so young. He also hates taking medicine. He turns his head away and refuses to open his mouth! Connor used to love ANYTHING you gave him and still does! :-)  Parker spends his days taking frequent naps, eating, pooping, playing outside in his bouncer while his brother plays, laying on his play mat and talking to his dangling toys, being held and cuddled by all 8 members of the family and snuggling with his mommy. He is a darling boy and I am so happy to have him! I don't want him to get teeth...his gummer smile is my favorite!

They boys are best friends and are interacting with each other more and more. They make each other so happy and they are both fascinated with one another.  They can spend long periods of time cuddling with each other and talking to each other. It melts my heart!

Benjamin is taking a big turn in his life and pursuing some different avenues. He has an amazing talent and has been taking advantage of it for many years due to some bad experiences in the past. But he has slowly realized how happy it makes him and the denial is slowly melting away. I am rooting him on and hoping he keeps it up. He is taking voice lessons from Brodie Perry and I think he will be able to get Ben's voice where he wants it. If so, Ben may have his name in lights someday! I know he could make it big and his voice is at a stage where he could really be successful. He wants to sing in Operas and I think he would be incredible. Watching him perform makes me get chills and sometimes makes me cry, and in certain settings makes me giddy! He's just TALENTED!!!

I am still doing photography and getting more into it each day. It's not my #1 kids definitely are.  I love having something to do for myself and it helps make money for my family but I am careful not to get too obsessed and consumed with it. Funny how when I when I had a job before kids all I wanted to do was stay home and take care of a family. And I'm thrilled to be doing that, but I realize I still need to pursue my goals and interests and be a better me so I can help them be better people! It's a hard balance to achieve. As I type this post Connor is "raking" the lawn and I know I could be paying a little more attention to him but I never have time to post! And thank goodness he knows how to occupy himself. Sometimes that leads to mischief however....

I'm grateful for my career because it means I take more pictures of my own kids...for practice and because I love doing it. I find myself taking way too many and have to delete a lot of the dumb ones, which is hard because every single picture is so sweet to me!

Well there's the update and I'll work on getting caught up!