Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2 Weeks of Crazy Good Fun

I really wanted to get this into a blog post since this is pretty much our family journal.  Cohen turned 8 in June and we decided to go all out and make one big celebration out of the whole thing.  We had both sets of grandparents there, our nephew Damian, and Justin's brothers family, Dave and Lori and their 2 kids. The first week we played tour guides.  We drove all over Dallas just about every day and showed off where we live.  We ate A LOT and had a lot of fun doing it.  The kids had a so much fun playing with each other too, I love cousin fun!  

The baptism was the first event.  Cohen was baptized on June 27th with his cousin Bella.  They were born on the same day so we thought it fitting that they were "born again" on the same day as well. It was a beautiful meeting and we were so lucky to have so many come to share the day with us.  Both grandfathers spoke and Justin baptized Cohen.  I loved Bella's comment when the bishop asked her how she felt.  She said she knew that what she was doing was right.  You could tell that the spirit had touched her sweet heart.

The rest of the week was filled with fun times with Justin's side of the family!  
 Crafts with Momom and Papa.
 Saying good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa.

 Ross Perot Museum

 Battling Robot cars.

 We took the kids to Lego Land... it was OK.  We were not super impressed but the kids loved it so that's really all that mattered. 

 We also headed to the Forth Worth Stock yards.  We had never been before, it was a lot of fun!  They do a long horn cattle drive every day through the street and we went to a petting zoo that was hilarious to see Ryland react to.  He is scared of every thing.

 Carter would get right in there and feed the animals, Jace on the other hand would get kinda close and then get scared and drop the food just out of their reach. 

 Aunt Lori was so great to help Ryland get used to the animals, sadly, it did not work :)

 I think it's so funny to watch him get scared over the smallest things. 

 Ryalnd was being such a stinker but we found a big sucker that he LOVED.  Everyone warned me he would get so sticky...I did not care a bit....he was quiet!

 Eating with the crew at the stock yards.

 On the 4th of July we went to Rockwall to watch the fire works.  They were so great!  I wondered why we had not been doing this every year!  If we were to stay here, I would totally live in Rockwall.  I love that town!

After part of our company left, Justin's parents stayed to watch our boys while Justin and I took our long awaited cruise.  We have wanted to go on a cruise for 11 years.  Our plan has always been to go for our 10 yr anniversary, but Ryland being just a few days hold, put a halt to that plan. Our ship (Royal Caribbean) left from Galveston, just a 4 hours drive from Dallas, for a 7 day cruise.  The whole cruise was pure heaven.  We went to 3 ports, Cozumel, Belize and Honduras.  

Sunday was our first day on the boat.  We were literally the last people to check onto the boat.  Check-in takes a lot longer to get onto a ship than a plane.  Driving from Dallas to Galveston takes longer than we thought too :)  We thought it was 3 hours...oops.  We got there an hour and a half before the ship left.  But after hearing from others how horrid it was to wait to get onto the ship, we were glad we were running late.  Someone has to be the last... might as well be us!  Our boat left at 4:30 and after finding our 180 sq ft room (everyone was right, they are tiny), we walked around the ship to figure out where everything was.  After trying to figure out the lay out of the ship, we went to eat at the massive daily buffet, the Wind Jammer, and turned in early.  
(finally done with check in, we are on our way on the boat!)
Eating our first of many desserts on the ship.

Monday was our first day at sea.  It was the perfect first day of vacation.  We woke up, went to eat breakfast, Justin went to go check out the flow rider while I went to get a massage.  We met up later, did the flow rider together and then went to get lunch.  Next on the agenda, lay out and watch the ocean pass by.  We both sat in lounge chairs and read/napped until dinner time.  We finished off the night with a super funny comedy show. Dreamy, right?

Flowrider click HERE
 Laying out, eating ice cream.  Does life get any better?
 When we got up in the morning, we were shocked at how blue the water was.  Galveston is so brown so it was nice to not wake up to it in the morning. 
 Justin got fried the first day.  
 First formal night in the dinning hall.  Some people went all out, it was interesting to people watch what every one was wearing. 

Chilling out with our towel animals. 

Tuesday was our first day to port.  Cozumel was our first stop and it looked just like the web sites I used to drool over.  The ocean looked photoshopped, but it wasn't.  The beaches looked photoshopped, but it was not.   We did a Jeep excursion that took us to an Alligator park (we never did find any), a cool light house, snorkeling, eating right on the beach and a tequila tour (it was interesting, but not the part we looked forward to). Once we got back on the ship, we went to dinner and watched another show of this guy that was on american idol.  Most amazing voice I have heard in person!  Too bad I can't for the life of me remember his name.  He has a show in Vegas though. To be honest, all the shows on the ship were pretty amazing. 
Fresh off the boat
This ship ladies and gentleman. 
This is a really cool Mayan hurricane whistle.  When the winds get strong enough, the air will blow through and make a big sound to warn the people further inland that a hurricane is coming. 
On top of the alligator swamp.  We never did see any though.

I love how every roof top looked like this!  They said that they last about 10 years. I'm thinking of my next house...cheep way to do a roof!
On top of the light house. I never thought of my self as claustrophobic, but going up this light house made me a little nervous.  It was super narrow and tons of people.

 I was relaxing after vomiting in the ocean.  There was just something about snorkeling in a wavy ocean that was too much for me.   
Eating right off the beach. The food here was just OK, or maybe it was my stomach that just purged all my breakfast that did not make it taste so great. It was beautiful though.

 All around the tequila garden was 3rd world poverty.  Then you walk in here and it's a mini oasis.
(waiting for the tequila tour to be over)

Wednesday was Belize and seeing the Mayan ruins.  The port in Belize is about 20 miles from the actual shore because it get's too shallow.  So in the morning, you have to get up early to get a "tender ticket" to get off the ship.  We thought we were on time, but it turns out you need to get up super early to get in line to get a good ticket.  We were the second group off the boat and were in a mad dash to find our tour group when we got off tender.  This guy was very sweet and drove us in his personal car to catch up with the tour group.    From there, it was about an hour bus ride to an additional boat ride to the ruins.  The boat ride was fun though because we saw monkeys, iguanas, and bats.  Once we got to the ruins, they made lunch for us.  Best rice and beans ever!  The chicken was super yummy too!  We basically had lunch in the jungle.  It was beautiful.  We then went and saw 3 different ruins.  It was crazy hot and humid but it was amazing to see the ruins.  The bus ride home was miserable.  It was so hot and by the end of the day we were exhausted.  Once we got back on the ship, we went to dinner and stopped by to watch a ball room dance show.  Again, super great show! 
Monkey jumping around in the tree CLICK HERE
 Can you see the iguana?
 Bats sleeping on the tree.

Shops right outside of the walk way to see the ruins. 
 This is the hut that we ate our lunch at.  Mmmm...rice and beans....I've been craving them ever since. 
 On top of our first ruin.

 The vegetation in this area was amazing!  

 They recently built stairs behind the ruin because a few years ago a lady was climbing up the front and fell down and died.  I was happy to take the stairs. It was very steep!

 Our guide warned us about tarantula holes.  He then stuck a stick down a random hole and a tarantula came running out of it! To see the spider Click HERE

 Every one was getting these coconut waters.  They just chopped off the tops and stuck a straw in them.  I wanted to be cool too, but soon realized it was not worth the 5$.  It was nasty!

Thursday was our last day at a port. Roatan Honduras.  I fell in love with this place.  The moment we looked out from the deck, my jaw dropped at the beauty of this place! Literally, Justin had to pick my jaw off the floor. I want to live here!  We had a much more relaxing day in Roatan. Our tour guide, Marco, was amazing!  It was a personal tour and he just took us where ever we wanted to go and told us all about the island all along the way.  He even bought us bread fruit and mangos!  Highly recommend him if you are ever in the area!   The high lights of Roatan were the Mangrove tour, eating at Cal's Cantina, zip lining and playing with monkeys.  At the end of the day, I was trying to convince Justin how we needed to build a vacation home there and live there every summer. This was the only port where Justin and I stayed till the very last minute.  When we got on the ship, we went to the top and watched the island fade into the distance.  Oh how I love Roatan.  After saying our good byes to the island, we ate dinner and went to another great show.  It was a one man circus show.  He is super funny and very entertaining.  
This band played all day long right off the ship.  The lady in the middle came right up to me and started dancing.  I shook my thang for a second and then we continued on.  

This is a view of the 2nd largest coal reef in the world.  

Mangrove tour.  It was a small boat that went through these awesome trees.  It was so pretty!
Mangrove tourclick HERE 
The poverty around Roatan is pretty sad.  Some of the houses right on the ocean looks like they are about to just fall right in.  But then you see people that are doing their laundry in their home and their kids are running around on the porch.  We even saw a school that was getting out for recess and the kids were pushing each other into the ocean. Clothes and all.

 These mango's were EVERY WHERE!  They have something like 30 different kinds of mango's. You can just pick them up off the ground.  They were so tender and sweet.  You can just peal them like a banana. 
Cal's Cantina was an amazing restaurant just right on the edge of a mountain.  The view was dreamy.  We ate the bread fruit Marco got for us and a couple different fish dishes.  The guy who owns it is from the US.  He fell in love with Roatan too and moved there and now just runs this restaurant. This would be my dream!  
Bread fruit is super versatile.  We ate them like fries but Marco was telling us they use it as a dough too.  I can't remember now all he said you can do with it, but either way, it was super good. 

I'm standing like this because just a few seconds earlier this thing snapped at me.
To see the Monkey's click HERE

I don't think we could look any more ridiculous, but what ever, I got to do 8 different zip lines after this!

Up side down.  The tour guy said I did it up side down much better than Justin.  Just so you know...

Sadly, I did not get one pic of the monkeys, just video.  

Friday we were back at sea.  We laid out by the pool, watched a belly flop competition, watched an ice skating show and had a formal dinner.  In the evening we watched a rock band preform all different types of hit songs.  They were not amazing, but entertaining. 
 Our last formal dinner night.
 Getting one more soak in the sun.

By Saturday, I missed my boys so bad it hurt.  We had a very relaxing day at sea with lots of sun time and ice cream. The ship slowed down as we got closer to our last port early in the morning on Sunday.  
 Good bye beautiful blue ocean!

 As you drive on 45 from Houston to Dallas, this huge statue of Sam Houston pops out of no where.  To get the idea of his size, can you see the people in front of him?  He's huge!
Pretty sure our kids missed us.  I think I probably traumatized Ryland by leaving him for a week.  I missed my boys so much too though.  It was a great little reunion.

We ate lots of food (as you should on a cruise), lots of ice cream, got a little bit of a tan and enjoyed every second being with each other.  Justin's fourth year of residency, plus having a new baby made for a really crappy year.  Having this vacation together was a perfect way to end the 4th year and start his last year of residency!