Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Drew

Andrew celebrated another birthday this month. He wanted to keep it low key. He asked for Papa John's pizza with extra sauce and homemade chocolate cake with extra frosting. So that's exactly what he got.

 The kids picked out these goodies for him

 The Panthers had a Monday night game this year,
so that was his gift once again. 
Looks like he was happy about it, right?

Here's hoping that next year you are out of back pain 
and feeling like a young-ish man again!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The almost-forgotten corn maze

I uploaded my pictures and realized that I forgot to blog about our annual trip to the corn maze. Andrew's back was bad, so he had to sit this one out. This kids and I had a great time, though. We had fabulous weather, everyone was happy, and we even solved the maze in less than hour. I think it was a new record for us.

We had fun on the jumping pillow. 
We got there just in time to have some time to ourselves.
By the time we left, there were 20 other people
jumping around on there.

Brandon and Whit cheated on their 
"How tall this fall?" pics. :)

Ready to start the maze

At one of the lookout spots

At one of the six locations we had to find.

We also took a little tram ride.
(I got most of Care Bear's face.)

I think the kids' favorite part was gem mining at the end.

They found some cool rocks.

Another fun fall tradition. 
And now Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Hooray!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Girls' Getaway Cruise

What do you do when your childhood BFF lives 2,000 miles away and works a super-busy job, making it almost impossible to stay in touch?

I'll tell you what I did...I proposed that Marianne and I go on a getaway together. Luckily, we both have supportive husbands who let us have crazy adventures. We researched our options and decided on a cruise. A cruise! Andrew had second thoughts...if it's a cruise, shouldn't husbands be invited on this getaway? I think next time we'll include them in our plans.

We sailed out of Florida. Marianne flew in and I drove down. We had SUCH a great time catching up and talking for hours. and hours. and hours. The cruise itself had some ups and downs, though.

UP: We got to eat yummy food all week. We didn't have to cook any of it or do any dishes.  Hooray!

DOWN: We spent our first night seasick. Ick. It was terrible. This was the smallest ship I'd been on and the seas were ROUGH. We were feeling it. We got dressed up for dinner that first night, went down to our table, and promptly left. I ran to a bathroom and barely made it there in time before losing my lunch. Boo. We found that the fresh air on the lido deck helped. We hung out on the lounge chairs by the pool until 1 am, too afraid that walking to our rooms would make us sick again.

UP: We had a beautiful day snorkeling at Little Stirrup Cay. This was one of the things we were most looking forward to. It was warm, sunny, and we got to see beautiful fish and a couple of big sting rays. Loved it!

The underwater pics don't really do justice to how beautiful it was.
But at least you can catch a glimpse.

DOWN: We had booked three separate excursions to go snorkeling. In Freeport, our ride never came to pick us up. We had to make do with a quick visit to the nearest beach. I'd been to the Bahamas twice before this and the water was like a lake--not even small waves. But I guess those rocky seasick-inducind seas translated into crashing waves at the beaches, too.

 Plus, it was overcast and windy. Brrrr. I didn't even get in the water.

Our second day of snorkeling was supposed to be combined with a stingray encounter at Half Moon Cay, but that port was cancelled altogether because of the weather. Lame.

Our third day of snorkeling was scheduled in conjunction with a stand-up paddleboarding excursion in Nassau. We were once again disappointed when they cancelled THAT trip due to bad weather, too. At this point, we were really feeling sorry for ourselves. It's a good thing we enjoyed each others' company! :)

Instead of snorkeling in Nassau, we visited Atlantis. That place is awesome. We toured the aquarium and enjoyed the sunshine by their private lagoon.

UP: We had a great time getting to know the people at our table. Table 393--Woo hoo!!

Back row: Mike and Mel (an engaged couple), Tim (a divorced retired father of 6), and Lorraine (a military wife who was on the 4th of 5 back-to-back cruises).
Front row: Nick (a retired solo-cruising dad), me, Marianne, Keisha (a single working woman), a her sister, Christy.

Our awesome waiter, Senthil

Our table was always chosen to dance with the wait staff.
Aw, yeah!

 Keisha would paint her nails to match her outfit every night.
It was awesome.
She let us borrow her teal polish, so we could get prettied up, too.

 We asked the waiters to sing, "Happy Cruisin' to You" to
Lorraine on our last night. They obliged.

We liked each other enough that we even spent time together
outside of the dining room.

At one of the karaoke spots.

 Cheering on Lorraine when she performed in the talent show.


We spent lots of times with our books in these lounge chairs.
But then we'd just end up talking instead of reading.

 Did you know that my retirement plan is for Andrew and I
to perform on a cruise ship?
We could totally do it.
I got a taste of my dream during live karaoke,
singing with a band to back me up. So fun!
(Apparently the zoom on B's ipod camera is not good.
Can you even tell that's me?)

 I'd never been on the cruise ship water slides.
Marianne and I had a blast on them!

 Formal night!
The windy nights make for great hair. :)

One of our towel animals.

 A sunny day on ship.

Tim, our favorite magician.

I was so thankful to Andrew for letting me have this time with Marianne to strengthen our friendship. We have been friends for almost 30 years now! Also grateful for my kids who were so good while I was gone. And to my friends here in NC who helped me out with watching my girls after school until Andrew got home. Couldn't have done it without you guys!