Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

I've been telling Russ since about the time we got married that I wanted to go on a cruise together some day. Well, that day came! We were able to enjoy a 4-day Carnival cruise out of Galveston, with a shore day in Cozumel, Mexico. 

We weren't in love with the boat itself, because so many of the activities offered dealt with alcohol, gambling, loud music, and partying. None of those things appeal to us. We are in love with one another though, so we enjoyed the time together. We played a lot of board games and watched a lot of movies, and made some great memories.

So, here are bunches of pictures. I'm too lazy to put them in any sort of order though!

First meal on the boat. We tried out the BBQ place. It was fine, but not amazing enough for us to return.

This was also the only time we tried out the 24-hour pizza place. (Isn't Russ a cutie though?)

This was the view from our balcony for about 75% of the trip. 
I don't remember what this dessert was called, but it looked really cool (and tasted just OK). 

Breakfast from the buffet.

The hands-down highlight of the trip was snorkeling. The shore excursion we had originally chosen was cancelled, so we picked this one at the last minute, but LOVED it and had no regrets. We're already looking into options to take the kids snorkeling some time. 

Russ had so much fun driving around the island in this beach buggy.

Our view as we drove around the rim of Cozumel.

Lunchtime entertainment on Cozumel. I couldn't believe how many gold teeth these guys had between them!

Russ's first professional massage. 

Breakfast appetizer. All the other ladies at our table were worried that I was some health nut (luckily that myth was dispelled when I ordered some french toast encrusted in Frosted Flakes for my entree).

Towel animals are one of the best things about cruising.

The wind was a little too strong for a good game of mini golf.

Russ thought it was funny that they put grapes in the centers of the grapefruit.

This was our favorite table in the buffet area. We ate all our buffet meals here, and also returned at least once a day to play games.

Elegant evening in the dining room.

This Strawberry Bisque was my favorite thing I ate on the trip.

There have to be lots of food pictures from a cruise, right?

Our awesome Cozumel tour guides. Israel was so funny!

Happy faces just after the snorkeling.

Mexican lunch

Russ with his massager . . . I mean masseuse . . . actually I have no idea how to spell that.

View of Cozumel from the boat.

Here's that Frosted Flakes french toast.

Funny that the Chocolate Buffet sign was carved into a fruit.

This orange sauce that was at the Chocolate Buffet was probably my second favorite thing I ate.

More fun and games.

Last meal. :(

We were shoved onto an elevator when we first got on the boat, but after that we took the stairs everywhere we went. Russ was impressed I was willing to keep with our little goal when we came back from the shore day and had to go from deck ZERO up to deck ELEVEN.
We had a lovely trip, and Russ is already asking when our next vacation will be. :) 
(Many thanks to my parents for coming out to watch the girls for us!!!)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Eight is Great

Brenna Boo turned EIGHT!!!

This girl loves Shopkins, so she had a Shopkins cake, and nearly all her gifts had something to do with Shopkins. She was a happy camper!

Two days after her birthday Grandma and Grandpa came to town, and that night she was baptized by Russ. The evening was lovely (minus the COLD water she had to be immersed in for the actual baptism), and she was really happy when two friends she had invited from school came to the service. 

We love this creative, intelligent, affectionate kiddo!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Christmas 2017

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas celebration at home here in Texas this year. 

On Christmas Eve the girls usually only get to open one present (their Christmas pajamas), but since it was on Sunday this year, I decided to let them open their new Christmas dresses before church.

We decorated sugar cookies together in the afternoon. Can you tell whose is whose?

We feasted on our traditional (for us, at least) Christmas Eve dinner of cold cereal. The favorite this year (meaning the one that got eaten up the quickest) was Brenna's Tootie Frooties, followed closely by McKell's Marshmallow Mateys. I just barely finished off the last of Ashlyn's Golden Puffs today!

The story of the Nativity was re-enacted. Russ played his usual double role of Joseph/donkey.

Here are the lovely ladies modeling their new PJs. I learned my lesson a few years ago when I bought the four of them identical jammies, and Kaylee just about died. I think I was successful this year with finding individual ones they were each excited about (Kaylee - Harry Potter, Ashlyn - Descendants, Brenna - Shopkins, McKell - Frozen)

I didn't take very many pictures of the actual Christmas Day this year, but everyone was happy and content and enjoying their gifts. (And Russ made me promise not to make anyone clean anything up all day - that was hard!)

McKell's gift from Santa was a Barbie house (or mansion, as she calls it). It's taller than her, and may have taken Santa's elves some extra hours of work to get it all together. Brenna and Ashlyn both got bikes. 

And Kaylee got a new piano. We bought a smaller digital piano 5 years ago when she first started taking lessons, but she's progressed enough now that she was ready for something nicer (and something with all the keys in working order - there was one key on the other piano that brought nothing but silence when it was pressed). She has been playing piano WAY more since Christmas. :)

Ashlyn and Brenna both opted to give me some homemade gifts this year. They were up late Christmas Even finalizing their preparations.

Brenna put together some little sock puppets and put on a puppet show for me.

And Ashlyn's gift may be one of the most memorable gifts I've ever received. I'm qutie sure NO ONE else could have come up with this idea. She wheeled out a cardboard box, with a cardboard cutout of a snowman, and a toy shopping cart filled up with wadded up paper balls. What?

The snowman's word bubble says: Anne! It's your turn. Throw as many paper snowballs at Ashlyn as you want. Then let your family use the rest if there's extra!

Apparently she felt that on the night we all played out in the snow a few weeks prior she had hit me with snowballs an unfair number of times. She thought I might be interested in a little revenge. But since we don't normally have snow for making snowballs, she improvised.

 I couldn't stop laughing as I pelted her with dozens of her homemade snowballs.

 And she . . . couldn't stop gagging while she went through her BeanBoozled jelly beans. :)