Sunday, August 20, 2017

First day of 8th Grade

The kids started school on August 9th. They are excited to be in the 8th grade. All three kids are in choir again. Caleb is also taking STEAM and Woodshop. Sarah is taking FACS and is an office aid, and Eliza is taking PE and weight training. It sounds like they are all going to have a great year.

Family Vacation Day 14-16

Right after waking up on Friday morning, we went down to breakfast and then it was time for us to disembark. (Insert sad face here).
We didnt have much luggage, so we opted for the express walk-off. It saved us the hassle of having to wait around outside the ship for our luggage.
It didn't take us long at all to exit the ship and get to our car and begin the long drive home. We covered a lot of miles that day. Aside from getting gas and a quick meal, the only stop we made was outside the Duck Commander warehouse since Duck Dynasty is a favorite show of ours. It was a fun spot to stop and stretch our legs.  It was around 11pm before we finally stopped for the night in Canton Texas.
Saturday was another long day of driving. At around 7 pm we were in Soccoro NM and didn't feel like we could drive another mile! So even though we only had around 5 more hours to go we got a Hotel for the night.  On Sunday morning we slept in and then watched a LDS worship service on the BYU channel in our hotel room. Then we hit the road and we were home around mid afternoon.
After all that driving, we were so glad to finally be home.
We loved our Vacation. We made so many great memories and bonded as a family! We hope to be able to go on another cruise someday. But for now, were looking forward to a great school year and saving our pennies for next summer's vacation.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Family Vacation Day 13

Thursday was our "Day at Sea". Right after another delicious breakfast, we went to the Walt Disney Theatre and watched "Cars 3" on the big screen. It was still in the theatres, and we hadn't seen it yet. It was fun to watch it "for free"!
When the Movie was over,  the kids went to the Edge, and Adam and I took care of our onboard bill, then explored the ship some more. Even after three days on the ship, we were still seeing new and interesting things on the ship. We also played shuffleboard for a little while before meeting up with the kids for lunch.
After lunch the kids wanted to swimming. Adam and I stayed in the room and watched a movie.  When the kids were done swimming they joined us for some movie watching. One fun thing about the cruise is that room service menu items are free, so for the price of a tip, I had mickey ice cream bars deliversd to our room and we enjoyed them while watching Avengers. We went to the Evolution lounge for another family game called "So You think you know your Family." It wasn't as fun as the other games, so after a while we left and played a little foosball and relaxed on the deck before dinner.
Our dinner was in the Royal Palace Dining room and as usual the food and service were amazing!
The last show of our cruise was Called Disney's Believe! The music and dancing and special effects were fantastic! 
We watched a movie in our room before going to bed. We were a little sad, knowing that it was our last night on the cruise. We didn't want the fun to end in the morning.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Family Vacation Day 12

We were so excited when we woke up on Wednesday morning. Today we would be spending time on Castaway Cay, Disney's private island! We had the buffet for breakfast and then went to the island. We rode bikes around the island for a bit and climbed a lookout tower where we got a great view of the island, and cruise ship.
After our bike ride we went snorkeling. It was amazing! We saw so many beautiful tropical fish. We also saw two stingrays!
Lunch on the island was wonderful! All we could eat ribs, and grilled chicken, Hamburgers, chips, salad, cookies, and ice cream! Tummy! After lunch Adam and Caleb went back to the ship while the girls and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the beautiful ocean and getting sunburned!
When we got back to our room there were golden chocolate coins and pirate bandanas for each of us. It was "Pirate Night!" Yahoo!
Our dinner that night was in the Enchanted Garden again, but the menu was different. There was lots of seafood and pirate themed items on the menu.
We enjoyed our meal, then went to the Walt Disney Theatre where we watched a comedy/ventriloquist act. There is nothing better than good, clean comedy. It was a lot of fun.
When the show was over we went up to deck 12 and staked out a place to watch the Bucauneer Blast.
It wasn't long before captain Jack Sparrow came swooping down and an epic pirate battle began, and then ended with an epic fireworks show over the beautiful ocean.
Following the fireworks, there was a dance party and pirate feast! We were stuffed, and tired by the end of the night, but what a fun night we had!

Family Vacation Day 11

After eating a delicious breakfast, we all went up to the top deck to relax and watch our ship pull into port in Nassau, Bahama. We took our time going down to disembark. We didn't have a port activity planned, but we wanted to go check out the little marketplace that was within walking distance from our ship. 
We should've just stayed on the boat. Every two steps we took, there was someone trying to sell us something, braid our hair, or take us to some beach or fishing trip. (FOR a fee of course.)  We felt a bit unsafe, especially with our kids so after buying a few little souvenirs, we went right back to the ship and had lunch.
That afternoon, the kids spent a lot of time in "The Edge" It's a fun place for tweens to hang out and play games. Eliza got to play foosball and Donald Duck was her teammate!  The trio also watched a movie while swimming in the pool. Adam and I had a nice relaxing afternoon. We got Massages, took a nap and watched a movie in our room.
We all met up in time to have dinner together in the Enchated Garden, then afterward we played another game show. The game that evening was called Mirror, Mirror and everyone in the room was divided into six different teams. Dopey the Dwarf helped host the game that was a combination of Disney trivia and a relay game. Our team didn't win, but we had fun playing anyway.
We watched another wonderful musical show called "Villians Tonight". The show featured many of our favorite villains and had us all laughing. Afterwards we spent some more time on our balcony and then went to bed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Family Vacation Day 10

When we woke up on Monday morning we sat the kids down for "a family meeting".  The kids knew that I had only booked the hotel we were staying at until that morning, but they thought we would be staying in another hotel Along the coast for the rest of the week.
I very seriously said to the kids "After doing some on-line research last night, it looks like all the hotels we can afford are already booked. There are some hotels available, but they are way out of our budget." (The kids looked so sad at this point.)
"The good news is, we won't be needing a Hotel because WE'RE GOING ON A DISNEY CRUISE TODAY !!!"
The trio just sat there...stunned with their mouths gaping open. It took them several several seconds to register what I'd said. Then, slowly smiles spread across their faces and they started saying things like "really?" And "Seriously?" And finally, "WE'RE GOING ON A DISNEY CRUISE!!!"
I gave them their special luggage tags to prove that we weren't joking, and we were all so excited. We finished packing and tidied up our hotel room then drove north to Port Canaveral.
When we pulled up to the port, there was only one ship parked there. The Disney Dream!
It was beautiful and HUGE! We could hardly believe that we would be boarding it. Even I, myself who had been scrimping and saving all year for this moment, had  a hard time believing it was finally happening!
Check in and boarding went a lot smoother than I thought it would. As we boarded the Dream they announced our family's name followed by a round of applause from the cast members lined up to greet us in the atrium. The sight was breathtaking! We went straight down to the enchanted garden restaurant where we were served a delicious and very fancy lunch.
After lunch we went up to the top decks where the girls and I took a turn on the Water slide and Adam and Caleb did a little exploring.  Once Our room was available, we got settled in and then went back up to the top deck for the "Sailing away party". As we left the port, we saw a sea turtle swimming along beside the ship and marveled at the beauty of the ocean!
After some more exploring, we had dinner in the Animators Pallet. The dining room walls were covered with giant movie screens and the sea turtle Crush from the movie finding nemo would swim I and out of view. Sometimes he would stop and interactively have conversations with dining room guests.  It was pretty magical. Dinner was delicious and dessert was even better! So yummy!
After dinner, we went over to the D Lounge and participated in a game show called Family Fusion. The game was a combination of seeing how well we knew eachother, and Disney trivia. We played against four other families, and WE WON!!! Wahoo! We were given Mickey Mouse medals which the kids wore proudly for the rest of our cruise.
After the game we went to the Walt Disney Theatre and watched a musical show called "the Golden Mickey's. We all enjoyed it so much.
When the show was over, we went back to our room and spent a little time on the veranda before finally going to bed. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Family Vacation Days 7-9

Friday was our last day at Universal.  Early in the day we rode the water rides and the rest of the day we dried out as we rode  all our favorite rides over again.  The girls bought some candy at Honeydukes. Eliza got a Chocolate frog, and Sarah got Bertey Bots Every Flavored Beans.
By mid afternoon when we'd had all the fun we could stand, we left the parks and drove down the coast to Indialantic where our hotel, the Tuckaway Shores was.
Once we got all checked into our room, we hit the Beach which was just a two minute walk from our room!  The beach and water were Wonderful! The sand was soft and the water wasn't too cold. We played for a few hours and then watched a little TV before going to bed.
On Saturday morning,  I went and bought a couple of Boogie boards for the kids and we spent just about the entire day playing in the ocean. We did a little shopping at the local Mall, then picked up some pizza for dinner. After dinner the kids and I went back to the beach for a bit.
Today is Sunday so we slept in, then went to a local ward for church. After church, we palyed some games, and did a little laundry. Our room has a nice little kitchenette so it's been nice to be able to prepare our own meals, and observe the Sabbath as best we can while on this vacation.
Tomorrow morning we'll be letting the kids in on a big Suprise... I CAN'T WAIT!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Family Vacation Day 6

We started the day at Universal's Islands of Adventure and rode some of our favorite rides again. Adam was done after just a few hours...He's not a theme park kinda guy. He went back to the hotel and rested and made a bunch of calls for work and watched a Harry Potter movie. The kids and I went over to the Universal Studios park and rode SO Many RIDES!! One of the nice things about staying at an on-site hotel, is that we all get Express passes that allow us to skip the regular lines and get onto the rides quicker, which means we get to ride more rides.  The kids loved the roller coasters, the Transformers ride and The Jimmy Fallon ride.  I loved the E.T. ride and the Hogwarts express (They were the most relaxing, and had air conditioning).  I was honestly sick of rides by dinner time. We met Adam at Three broomsticks for Dinner and afterwards, the girls and I came back to the hotel, while Adam and Caleb rode a few more rides. We are tired, but we are having a blast!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Family Vacation Day 5

Today was our first day at Universal Orlando and it was SO fun!  The very first thing we did was go to Diagon Alley and ride Escape from Gringotts. WE LOVED IT!  We walked around Diagon Alley for a little bit and then rode the Hoggwarts Express train over to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. We loved Hogsmeade and our favorite ride of the day was The forbidden Journey of Harry Potter.
We walked around all of Islands of Adventure and rode so many fun rides. We got completely soaked on Ripsaw Falls and the the raft ride. We rode all few more rides after getting wet, then went back to the hotel to dry off.
We decided to go somewhere nice for dinner to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary as a family! We ate at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium! Dinner was just okay, but the dessert was AMAZING! What a great way to celebrate our Family's birthday! It was raining when we left the restaurant so we just came back to our hotel room to watch a little TV, and turn in early to be well rested for another fun day tomorrow.