Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beaver Family Cruise!

So Blake's family lives 6 hours away from us. :( Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to see them as often as we would like because to go for a weekend, we drive for 12 hours and still don't get to spend very much time with them (and most of the time I have to take at least Friday afternoon off work). We try to make it up for Christmas and we switch off going to our niece Kynleigh's birthday one year and Austin's the next year. We also have a Thanksgiving rotation which means we are in Wichita Falls 2 out of every 3 years. Last summer and a couple summers ago, my father-in-law planned a summer trip where we would all meet and spend 4sh days together. It has worked REALLY well and been fun! This summer, he suggested a cruise out of Galveston and it was perfect! It isn't a far drive for us (bonus!) and the ship had many activities we could do together. Four days was also nice since we had never been on a cruise before and wasn't sure how it would be.

Blake's sister and her family came in the night before and stayed at our house. We hadn't seen them since February and we were able to give the kids their souvenirs from Disney World. Kynleigh is collecting snow globes so we got her one with Disney princesses and we got Austin a Viking helmet from Norway in Epcot. Luckily they loved them!

Blake wearing the hat while playing with the kids on the drive to the boat. He is an awesome uncle!

Seriously, how perfect!!!

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So I am taking online grad classes this summer. Summer classes are always intense but I figured since I would only be without internet from mid-day Thursday until Monday morning, I thought it would be fine. In the past I could work on and turn in assignments early if needed. Unfortunately, this class wasn't so easy to work with. There were daily discussions and if you were facilitating, you had to grade the members of your learning group on their work. I had to switch dates but the discussions were supposed to be finished by 7 a.m. Thursday morning and you had to send in your evaluations by Saturday night. No problem. I have internet until mid-day Thursday so I can send in the evaluations before we get on the boat and get a chance to post on that day's discussion. A couple days before, the professor decides to extend the time for discussions. This meant I couldn't send in the evaluations before we got on the boat because not everyone had posted yet. So I am in the car and in Chick-fil-a (where we ate lunch on the way to the boat) on my brother-in-law's iPad trying to email back and forth and make sure I'm not going to get points taken off for something that was out of my control and that I TRIED to take care of ahead of time. It was stressful and I was emailing and calling even when I was on the boat until they called us for safety training. Luckily, Blake helped me word some of my emails and I decided once the boat left the dock that I wasn't going to worry about it.  (P.S. I emailed my evaluations Monday afternoon and didn't receive any points off)

The boat!!
So this might have been naive of me, but I didn't anticipate all the security and checkpoints we had to go through to get on the boat. Once I saw it all, it made sense because we were going to Mexico and on a big vessel carrying more people than an airplane. At the first checkpoint, we had to get out our passports and prove who we were. Then x-rays and such and then we checked in. They asked to see our passports again and Blake had given them to be after the last checkpoint. I looked through  my beachbag and couldn't find them. I can see Blake trying to stay calm as he emptied the contents of the bag onto the counter trying to find them. Then I remember, "Oh yeah! They are in my purse!" Blake was very happy to find them but not happy with the minor heart attack I gave him. :) After that they made us take pictures in front of a backdrop. Once on the boat, we made our way to our room.
Blake got a room with a window. It was so nice to see the ocean both in the daytime and at night.
So here is another naive Connie moment. I knew intellectually before going on the boat that there would be no internet and cell phone service. Not a problem, I can do without. I did not however realize how much I rely on cell phones to coordinate people! We were on this trip with my father-in-law, his wife, her 3 kids, Blake's sister, her husband, and their 2 kids. Total of 11 people. Yeah. Coordinating that many people with no cell phones required advanced planning which I wasn't used to! If we do another cruise, we are TOTALLY taking walkie-talkies.

We all met up for dinner and then watched the welcoming show that gave a preview of activities and shows that are available on the boat while we were there. We walked around and explored a little that night. We found our embarkation photos for $11 each! Yuck! I might have been tempted to get it but it wasn't the best picture of us.

Friday was a full day at sea. We woke up pretty early and met up with everyone for breakfast. Blake and I got some chairs around 10 and stayed there until 1sh. Sigh, so nice. I listened to a book and Blake read a book he has really gotten into, Game of Thrones. (If you want to know what books I am reading and how I rate them, become my friend on! I should probably dedicate another post to that website. Going on my blog to do list!) The rest of the afternoon involved a nap, shower, and getting ready for dinner.

At the back of the boat. (Nail polish is OPI Swimsuit...Nailed It!)

Blake reading in our room before dinner.
Friday night was "Formal Night" where everyone had to dress up. We met at Brooke's room where we found out that they had an eventful afternoon! Austin had been running around the room (which isn't very big) and fell and tore off part of his gum. They took him to the ship's doctor who said he could use a stitch or 2 but he would be ok without it. I explain this story because Austin continued to show off his gum randomly in photos. :)

Austin and I on the Duran's balcony

The boys.

It was windy. Notice my hair :)

Putting ointment on Austin's gum.

Austin's gum :(

So sweet when he smiles :)

With momma making a nice face :)

That's better.

Duran family

Blake and I at dinner.

Kynleigh and Aunt Connie! I love this girl so much!

Uncle Blake and Kynleigh

Austin made this face before I could stop him.

Better :)
After dinner we were going to try and catch the family friendly comedy show but we were too late. :( Luckily we found karaoke which Kynleigh LOVED! and was so good at!

After the singing, they did the Cupid Shuffle which is also fun. I tried to help Austin (Kynleigh was a pro already). Try to find me in the pictures!

Once the karaoke became over 18 only, we left. There was a band playing in the hallway so we danced for a bit.

Austin's serious face.

When we got back to our room for the night, we found the first of several towel creatures. :)

Saturday was our day in Cozumel. The excursion we decided on was swimming the dolphins. We choose it because it was what Kynleigh and Austin were doing and because some friends of ours highly recommended it.

It was so much fun! Dolphins are such beautiful and friendly creatures. It was so fun being in the water with them. They took many pictures and a DVD of the experience.  The first few pictures are promo pictures.

Sweet Kisses!

After we swam with the dolphins, we had lunch and then went walking and shopping around downtown Cozumel.

Wearing his Daddy's glasses

Austin just had to show his gums!

Only one letter away from my mom's name :)

Yes, there was a pit-bull on top of the marquee. So random

Austin got this spiderman wresting mask. Too cute.

Kynleigh got her hair braided

My Abuelito's name!

Blake and I were lame and got tired so we decided to go ahead and head back to the boat while Brooke and Steve continued shopping. Kynleigh and Austin decided to come with us.

2 of my favorite boys!

We were on the smaller boat

The walkway to the boats

It was my turn to carry Austin

That night, we did more karaoke and this time I joined in on the fun. I sang "Clumsy" which was Blake's ringer for my phone for awhile. That song always makes me think of him. Unfortunately, it isn't the easiest song to sing and I butchered it (but isn't that what you are supposed to do when you karaoke?!) which is why you won't be seeing the video. Speaking of, I should probably go delete that.... They were filming for the ship's DVD and my song made it on there. The next day a clip was showing on the cruise channel on the TV . 

I'm on TV!

I also did a duet with Kynleigh singing "Single Ladies". We had so much fun and Kynleigh was SO good! She knew the song better than I did and I became her backup dancer on the parts I didn't know.

Blake and Austin playing the "try and pull my hands apart" game

Sleepy Austin
 That night we had an elephant. :)

The next day was our last full day and we were at sea on our way back to Galveston. There was a towel folding class that Blake took with Kynleigh and Austin.

I love the look on Austin's face :)

There were a newlywed game that I really wanted to participate in but we had been married too long/not long enough. They wanted newlynewly weds (1 week or 2), 15sh years, and the couple that had been married the longest in the room. It was still fun to watch and Blake and I answered the questions at our seat. While we were playing, Blake decided to teach Austin a fun game called "prevent Aunt Connie from talking". 

For the rest of the day, we sat around the pool and just enjoyed ourselves.
Austin all wrapped after a deep in the pool

Front of the boat


I love my niece and nephew SO much!

Blake's creation
We docked early Monday morning and we were lucky enough to get off the boat at a decent time because I had a professional development at 12:30. We get to car, and sure enough, it has a flat tire. We (aka Blake, Steve, and Randy) put on the spare tire and we were still making decent time. Then on the road, either the spare was flat or another tire was flat, I forget. So we stopped by a dealership and that took an hour, so I missed my class. Oh well.
In the car while they were changing the tire

Seriously, how perfect this hat is!

Waiting in the dealership

We had a BLAST! and we can't wait for our trip next summer :)