Thanksgiving Cruise 2018: The Recap

Considering the number of pina coladas I ingested over the course of the week, it’s likely this recap will be somewhat incomplete. But I’ll give it a try.

Sunday: Get on board!

We boarded the ship. Got checked in to our cabin (thank god we were able to score a cheap upgrade from a coffin windowless inside cabin to one with a balcony) and went off to explore the ship and meet up with the other dozen family members aboard. We boarded fairly late, so it wasn’t too long until the ship left the dock.

It’s pretty great that our neighborhood is across the river from the cruise terminal, so my friends Jenn and Heather went onto the levee, and waved goodbye. I mean, okay, I couldn’t really see them but they turned on the flashlights on their phones and waved them around, which I could see. I waved back with my phone. Exciting stuff!

IMG_20181118_173012-EFFECTS
Bye NOLA!

Couldn’t find Oliver, though. Oh well. There were only 14 decks he could get lost on, I figured he’d turn up at some point. (He did, but this was an ongoing theme for the week.)

When I unpacked later, I realized I only packed one pair of shorts. I left a pile with four or five more pairs on my dresser. Ugh.

Had dinner, some wine, sailed down the Mississippi.

Monday: Day at Sea

Hmm. There was definitely some lying in the sun that day. Definitely a bloody mary at the beginning of the day. Then some other tropical adult beverages throughout. Lunch in the Garden Cafe, which is the giant buffet where the boys preferred to eat as often as possible. Eventually it was simply called #garden, because we are all dorks.

IMG_9754
Andrew

Had dinner together as an entire massive family that night.

Oh yeah, that morning, my sister and I went to work out, and I realized I also left one running shoe at home. Sigh.

Tuesday: Cozumel and THE MAGIC FABRIC STORE

Disembarked. Went in some of the shops. Met up with my siblings and their families, and they took the boys back to the boat so George and I could wander off alone. He had scoped out a cigar bar and I had a fabric store in mind if it wasn’t too far away.

Had margaritas and George had a cigar, and then I discovered that the fabric store was only a block away! Wheeee! I went to check it out and was immediately confused and overwhelmed. I realized I had data on my phone in Mexico so I texted my friend Terry to ask what to do. (I knew she had bought fabric in Mexico the day before, coincidentally, for her daughter’s upcoming quinceanera.)

The store was not necessarily huge, but it definitely wasn’t catering to tourists. No signs were in English, and the prices were all in pesos. I was doing a quick calculation in my head but was pretty sure the margarita was messing with my math skills because surely…these fabrics weren’t $2-3 a meter?!?!?

BUT THEY WERE.

I figured out that algodón = cotton and poliéster was pretty obvious. As usual, I was paralyzed by indecision so didn’t buy a million meters of fabric like I would have liked. Plus, I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t see a cutting table anywhere, but there did seem to be a lot of clerks wandering around. And then there were two glassed-in booths. One seemed to be a cashier, but I wasn’t sure what the other one was for. I tried to watch to see what other people did, but the store just wasn’t very busy.

Fortunately, Terry came to the rescue! She told me that the clerks walking around would measure the fabric right off the roll with the meter sticks they carried around. So I found a young man who worked there, and would point to the fabric I wanted and would use my elementary Spanish to ask for “tres” of each. I would have bought more, but I felt like I was taking up the clerk’s time too much (so dumb of me) so I only bought five different fabrics. (Three polyester Christmas prints meant for tablecloths, some black cotton/lycra blend, and a dark teal twill that unfortunately was only a remnant, so not enough for the teal twill Cashmerette trench coat pattern I covet.

I wandered over to the threads, and again, used my basic skills to get thread – whatever colors I could remember. 😀 It was 8 pesos! That’s under 50 cents a spool! I’m kicking myself not for not buying more – it was the same brand I buy here!

All in all, I walked out of the store with 16 meters of fabric and a half a dozen spools of thread for under $35.

img_0259
Don’t look at this picture too closely – my eyes are closed.

Later, we…ate dinner again. Maybe George and I went out for our “date night”? I can’t actually remember.

Wednesday: Belize City

We went to Belize City on the previous cruise, and I knew I didn’t want to get off again. There just wasn’t much to see right there at the port, and getting there involved a 30 minute tender. NO THANKS. I spent the day going down water slides and drinking more pina coladas than should be allowed. I took a nap in the middle of the day and hit my head on the bunk bed before lying down, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t ever going to wake up. (Spoiler alert: I did.)

That evening, we had a little birthday party for the boys. Mostly so my brother and sister could give them the Mexico soccer jerseys they’d bought for them the day before. Cake!

Thursday: Harvest Caye, Belize and Thanksgiving!

This was a new stop for us – a private “island” which of course was like Disney Belize, but there was a little shopping village and daiquiris and tons of chairs on the beach and a splash pad and a pool, so it was delightful. I hung out with my stepbrother and his girlfriend, and the boys played with her son, Beau (as they did all day every day on the boat.)

They collected over 100 shells, which they had to throw back. It’s slightly possible a few shells were smuggled back onboard. But probably not. We would never.

IMG_9930

Thanksgiving dinner was…interesting. We were split up into two tables, not quite next to each other, the kids at one, the adults at another (as it should be.) There was some drama when the kids were apparently being rambunctious by going around the table saying what they were thankful for (how dare they?) and some woman from the next table yelled at them to be quiet, then came and yelled at us for parenting such heathens, then went and yelled at them again.

IMG_9993

Delightful! I mean, otherwise, it was a nice meal for most of us. I had pumpkin for every course – pumpkin soup, followed by some kind of pasta dish involving a pumpkin cream sauce, and then of course, pumpkin cheesecake. Yay, no turkey for me! Oliver actually ordered and ate some pumpkin cheesecake, he told me later!!!

After dinner, we hit the ice bar on the ship where our thin Southern blood gave up after 20 minutes. It was 17 degrees! I had on a skirt! Well, my brother in law is from New Jersey, he probably could have stayed there all night. Anyway, it was pretty cool. (GET IT?)

Friday: Costa Maya, Mexico – Pam is a sucker!

Did you know the ancient Mayans also had social media?

By this point, handwashing my one pair of shorts in the sink was getting old, so I decided I’d get off the boat and buy a dress or a skirt or something in one of the shops. I also needed to get Linus a souvenir. In one shop, I found an undoubtedly authentic Mayan mask with the Real Madrid logo carved into it. I even haggled the price down five bucks. Perfect! And then I saw a cute cotton embroidered dress. Perfect! The man who was helping me brought it up to the register and told the cashier “$20 for the mask, $85 for the dress, so $105.”

I started hyperventilating. EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS for a cotton dress and the seams weren’t even finished?!?!? The sewist in me was appalled. So I told the guy, “no, I’m sorry, I can’t, I can’t, I just can’t, I can’t, I’ll buy the mask, but I can’t get the dress.” I was freaking out. But I suppose he thought I was being a shrewd negotiator and knocked the price down to $60.

Well, I mean, I guess I could have kept on freaking out, but whatever. It’s my souvenir of Mexico, but hopefully I can do something to finish the seams. I also hemmed it by hand on the boat because it was a bit too long, so I need to do that properly as well, now that I’m home.

Upshot is, I asked Terry how much she pays for those dresses, and she said, “$15-20 in Mexico City or El Paso.” Blargh.

But it’s cute!

Saturday: Day at sea

My sister in law and I created a scavenger hunt for the kids for that day. It was fun. I spent a lot of the day sitting in this one spot on the boat that was pretty peaceful (until the bars out there opened.) It was on the 8th deck, and there were big comfy chairs and sofas and I’d sit there and sew (I brought stuff to hand sew scrunchies) or read. Or maybe have a cocktail.

Family photos came later, but ours will be on Christmas cards, so not posting them yet.

Sunday: Time to go home!

We missed Ziggy.

img_0184

Okay there’s actually a lot more to the cruise. Like, there was a ropes course! It was fun and not too scary, even the part that went out over the water. I was up there when we were leaving Belize, I think. I had to borrow my brother in law’s running shoes because as noted before, I left one of mine at home. Derp.

And a rock climbing wall! The harness does ugly things to your bottom half in photos, but I’m pretty happy with how high I got. And I like to pause the video to see the muscles in my legs. But MAN it’s hard on your hands!

The boys spent 90% of their time either on the sports court where they played soccer (are you surprised?) or in the #garden where they ate ice cream. Or were in the room watching soccer, because we got some channel that showed soccer 24/7 (or so it seemed.)

Some random pics:

And some more:

Just a couple more:

Advertisements

2015 in review

Man, did this year go by fast, or what?

January

I turned 40!

In Barcelona!

Then celebrated again with my friends once I was back home.

February

Not much besides Mardi Gras, really.

My Achilles’ tendon started hurting.

Went to Vegas for Kiki’s 40th.

March

Spoke at my first WordCamp, in Dayton.

Ran the Shamrockin’ Run for the third time.

Emily and Ellie visited.

Scott Bakula was in our front yard.

April

Kiki came to visit and we had a garage sale.

We also went on a big boat and watched missed seeing Heather finish her first Ironman triathlon.

It was…a slow month.

May

I took the boys to Virginia.

The boys made a movie.

Miles danced.

I wrote a v popular post for the New Orleans Moms Blog.

Started physical therapy for my Achilles’ tendon.

June

George and I gallivanted around England.

July

I went to NYC for BlogHer.

Completed my third (and last) triathlon.

August

Got the attic insulated.

My coworker came to visit.

I photographed my friends’ wedding.

The boys started 2nd grade.

I went uber-Goth for the NOMB Mom’s Night Out.

September

We got a new fridge!

I was volunteer coordinator at WordCamp DFW.

The boys started playing soccer.

October

We were devastated by the loss of our dear friend Gareth.

I went to Park City again for the Automattic Grand Meetup

I got another tattoo.

Ran my twelfth half marathon.

November

George and I celebrated our tenth anniversary!

We went on a big cruise.

December

The boys turned 8!

We got a dog!

My ankle still hurts.

In blogging news…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Well, this has been a week

And it’s only Thursday? Argh.

Monday was possibly the worst, with sickness of the human and canine variety, but Tuesday came in a close second. I drove the kids to school (each trip is about an hour round trip – longer during rush hour, maybe a little shorter when it’s not) in the morning. And then a couple of hours later, I got a call from the school nurse. No, not Linus. This time it was Oliver.

I was in the middle of the first of two interviews I had scheduled, so I asked if he could hang out in the nurse’s office until I was free. She said okay, so around lunchtime, I made the trek to get Oliver.

He just needed a little medicine and a breathing treatment, but before too long, he was fine. Whew.

And then two hours later, we had to make the trip again, this time in afternoon rush hour, to pick up from school. (I don’t usually drive in the mornings, only when Mary Catherine travels for work, which fortunately isn’t that often. And it’s fine because I travel for work too.)

Okay, driving to school three times in a day probably didn’t warrant four paragraphs. I’m being overly dramatic.

Wednesday was fine. No one was sick. Ziggy’s digestive system is definitely responding to his meds and disgusting wet food. Yay! Finally got my correct Christmas cards in the mail (from the other family, not Minted) so now I just have to go stand in a very long line to get postcard stamps.

I did write a scathing (well, for me) review on google of the place the boys had their party at last weekend. I’m not ready to think about that yet, much less blog about it.

But how in the world is it only Thursday?

Tomorrow will be good. I don’t have to drive to school at all! Ziggy has a vet appointment, and fingers crossed he gets the all-clear and his vaccinations so we can start going on walks again!

In other news, happy birthday to my mom! Since we gave her her birthday gift last weekend (a giant framed copy of this), now I can share:

cruise-9552

My mom’s birthday gift 7 years ago was an engagement ring from Larry. So glad she said yes, and not just because we got a free cruise. Ha!

Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn (recap)

Okay, sit down, this is gonna be a long one.

Sunday, November 22

Stephanie drove us to the cruise terminal, so we were able to avoid paying for parking or a taxi. The boys were so excited. I was proud of my minimal packing skills. Though later I will have wished for more clothes. We waited in several lines to get on the ship, but finally, we were on!

Continue reading

Back on land

cruise-9593
Larry and my mom with the grandkids

We just got home today from a week-long cruise with the whole family, and while I will be writing up a very detailed post with pics and stuff, I wanted to jot down a few things before I forget.

I am still a little dizzy. I didn’t get seasick or anything, but getting your land legs back is a real thing. My body is adjusting to being still for once.

IMG_7337
Ellie and I being totally serious.

I am terrified of getting on a scale. There’s just so much food. And it was good. And rich. Oh, right, and we had the unlimited beverage package. So there was that too. I think I’m going to try to detox for a week or so, and then see how bad the damage is.

The boys were kind of celebrities on the ship. By the end of the cruise, if I just had one of them with me, random people would say, “you lost two!”

IMG_7079
Siblings.

It was really awesome to hang out with my siblings and their kids and spouses. We don’t get together often enough. No wonder since we’re spread out all over the place.

The boys are now all eating new foods. Oliver ordered PB&J at every meal, they all scarfed down calamari (okay, we told them it was shrimp), and Miles stole half of my lamb at last night’s dinner.

IMG_7235
Oliver getting all the food.

And they ate so much food. I mean, the ice cream alone – Miles ate about 8 cones a day. Not even exaggerating. Their breakfast plates were piled high with bacon, sausage, pancakes, cereal, toast, etc. And then we’d have lunch, and at dinner, they’d order two or three entrees each. And eat them all.

IMG_7280 2

More to come…