Monday, December 23, 2013

Disney Cruise: Part 1

Disney Cruise is now a completed bucket list item.  We had a lot of fun, all thanks to my brother Tom and his wife Jennifer.  Seriously, some of the coolest, most laid-back people I know.  I adore them!  How lucky for me that I was able to vacation with them and their son Rocky.  Luke, Evie, and George had a blast - all in different ways.  Luke loved every minute in the Oceaneer Lab playing video games.  He acted like an annoying tween whenever I pulled him away from the video games.  Yuck.  I was fed up with that nonsense pretty early on and even threatened to put him on a plane home when we landed in Key West.  He shaped up for the most part, but his sulking continued on the rare occasions that I pulled him away from the video games.

Evie and George were less enamored with the kids rooms, and even with the characters.  I'm pretty sure Jennifer and I were the most star-struck with the characters.  Seriously, we loved seeing the characters all over the ship.  I didn't even have to meet them, to be giddy.  It was awesome!

Luckily, we adults were able to snag some kid-free time.  It was lovely.  A full three hours at the spa on the first day at sea and then several hours to ourselves on the Disney island (Castaway Cay) and even a few more hours by the pool on our days at sea.  Loved it!  Plus, I even came back with some tan lines.  Wonderful!

I think my favorite part was definitely Castaway Cay.  The island was pristinely beautiful!  I could have stayed there all three days at port, but we also spent a day at Key West and a day at Nassau.  Another wonderful experience was being able to watch Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks on the ship.  They had plenty of different TV shows and movies playing all the time for the kids, so some of their favorite parts of the trip were just hanging out in the rooms playing with their cousin or watching TV.  I think it's a little sad, but who am I to question it, right?

The short story is that we simply had a wonderful time!

Of course, we are also very glad to be back with Chuck and in Fort Worth for Christmas.  Loving life.  Loving family.  Loving friends!
Just got on the ship!
Dinner our first night. 

Finishing off my first bottle of wine!

 George & Evie prancing down the hall.
Fun at dinner.

Key West!
Chocolate covered Key Lime Pie in Key West (with a side of George). This was the best thing I had to eat on this trip.  Uh-May-Zing!

On the Trolley Tour of Key West.  Saw more wild chickens than anything else. Weird.
Looking at the cool Banyan (sp?) trees.

Mailing their very first postcard (to their dad).

Castaway Cay!

Posing with Olaf from Frozen.  I LOVE that movie! Saw it twice on the boat!
Waiting at the bar while the bartender makes Mommy's drink.

The view.  I cannot exaggerate how wonderful this place was.

Going out on a limb and posting myself in a swimsuit on the beach with Captain Jack Sparrow.  He was fantastic.  He did the entire bit - all the mannerisms and the way he talks.  Awesome.

The view from the adult beach (also where I saw Captain Jack Sparrow).

Back at the family beach with the kids.  Evie decided to bury herself in sand (after she buried Luke, of course).

Back on the boat, here are just some of the characters we met.
Evie and George met my favorite princess - Ariel.

George was up past his bedtime every night and fell asleep a lot. This is one of the times Uncle Tom carried him all the way to the room from the theater on another deck.  That man is wonderful!

George got a kiss from Minnie!

Group picture as we waited to board our boat to Blue Lagoon.
Coconut bowling at Blue Lagoon

Enjoying a cocktail and reading my Book Club book (oh, yeah!).

Evie discovered this tree stump with hundreds of hermit crabs. They were all over the island. The big one you see in this tree stump was the size of my hand.  Seriously.  Evie spent  a lot of time with the hermit crabs and showed each member of our party this wonderful "Hermit Crab City" that she discovered.  I have to admit, it was pretty cool.

I made her take a picture close to Hermit Crab City.  Look at those palm trees!

Just relaxing!

All the inflatable things in the middle of Blue Lagoon.  Tom, Jennifer, Rocky, and Luke loved hanging out in this stuff.

Sunset over Blue Lagoon just before we left.

Riding back to the ship with Jennifer, Rocky, and Tom.

...and us.

I'll post more later.  For now, I've got to get back to the family!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's a doozy of a December!

The snow - that is STILL on the ground on DAY 7 in Texas - has made us all crazy.  Seriously, it's so weird around here.  I've never seen the white stuff stick around for so long!!!

Yes, he's wearing shorts.  Yes, they mailed my "Mother of the Year" trophy yesterday...
Anyway, like geniuses, we also managed to snow ourselves in deeper than everyone else because our sprinkler system went off at 4 a.m. the night the storm hit.  I'm sure smarter people would have considered it, but we did not -- until DAYS later.  Geez.  This is the view of the house on Day 6 which reached 50 degrees.

Nonetheless, I've been keeping up with the pictures, just not the posting.  So this is a picture post, just for you (until I get back from my Disney cruise)!

Here we are making fun faces in the camera.  These are just a couple examples out of hundreds!


Murphy kept busy also.  He wrapped toilet paper around the Christmas tree.

He sent them a note via Cheerios.

And this morning, he hung their underwear up instead of their stockings. The kids did NOT thing this was funny at all.  They were quite offended.

And then, tomorrow is this little guy's FIFTH birthday!!!!  Can you believe it?  We celebrated early, since the kids and I are heading out on a Disney cruise after school tomorrow.  By the way, do you see a theme in the gifts he received?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Poker & Tampons

Murphy was found playing cards with Kermit this morning.  Luke is pretty sure that they are playing poker because their cards are showing and that's the only game he knows where you show your cards.

And in other news, check out this awesome Christmas ornament!  My friend Mrs. Chesapeake (remember her?) is an obstetrician and someone in her office made this for her.  It's AWESOME!

If you go to the website TAMPON CRAFTS you can learn how to make this and lots of other stuff out of tampons!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hockey, Fishing, Golf?

Murphy was found holding a candy cane in a bowl of Christmas M&Ms this morning.  The kids can't figure out if he is fishing, golfing, playing hockey, or what.

What do you think he is doing?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Super Hero Murphy

Murphy was hanging from our dining room light fixture this morning, wearing a cape and acting like a flying super hero.  The kids are amazed by him.  They wanted to know where he got his cape.  Evie came up with the answer: Santa gave it to him!  Love this!  I keep hearing, "Murphy is so AWESOME this year!"

Anyway, my movie choice last night was A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Did you watch it with the heart of a child? I did!  Always one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

If you remember, last year, we went to Disney World for our Christmas vacation. It was insane and fun and wonderful!  It was also the kids' first chance to fall in love with the magic of Disney.  In a bizzare twist of fate and circumstances, it turns out we have been offered a chance to go on a Disney cruise this year just before Christmas.  Can you imagine?!  I just found out yesterday that in two weeks I'm going on a CRUISE!!!  ...with three kids, of course.  Unfortunately, no hubby since he has to work.  Still, I'm so freaking excited!  If you've gone on one of these before, please send tips my way.  Our very first cruise ever was this year, so I'm still a newbie!  So excited to visit the Bahamas for the first time, and so incredibly grateful to my brother Tom and my sister-in-law-that's-more-like-a-sister Jennifer that they invited us to be a part of their family vacation.  I know my kids are going to love hanging out with their cousin Rocky on this amazing trip!  I told them about it yesterday, and here's their reaction.  I'm pretty sure they thought I was pulling their leg - which we do a lot of around here.

 George is pretty worried though because he thinks it is going to keep him from having a proper birthday party since we are going to have to reschedule his due to the timing.  I think he'll get over it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Murphy & More

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house.  I was so excited when George offered to help decorate the Christmas tree - even if he was missing his pants!

Also, our Elf on the Effing Shelf arrived yesterday. Remember my post about a week ago?  Well, I'm in full swing, and so far it's been a success.  The kids are super impressed with our elf this year.  He arrived with a long letter and brought Santa's favorite movie - Miracle on 34th Street - for them to watch last night.

This morning, he was in the kitchen and had written out a shopping list for candy, candy corn, candy canes, and syrup.  They were laughing at how silly he was.

Can't wait to see what he does tomorrow.

In other news, Chuck and I had to reveal the World's Biggest Secret to Luke this weekend.  He saw some presents he wasn't supposed to see, so the jig was up.  Plus, Chuck and I had already been discussing whether or not we should break it to him this year anyway.  I know a ton of kids his age aren't in the dark anymore, so I figured he must have a clue.  Turns out he was terribly naive.  We went ahead and told him.  After all, I didn't want him to find out from some kids at school and then
be laughed at or anything even sadder than what happened in our own home.  He took it like a man, but said he was sad and wished he didn't know.  I was pretty sad too. 

We talked about how the Secret helps kids believe in stuff they can't see - important stuff - like God, love, trust, and so many more things that we encounter as we get older and wiser.  Luke said he was just going to let it all sink in and blow over.  :(  He got to stay up late and drink a beer with us (root beer, that is) while he and Chuck watched Pumpkin Chunkin', and when he went to bed, everything seemed back in order.

The next morning, when Murphy (the Elf) arrived, he acted like nothing had changed.  He may not have been ready for the big reveal, but I think we made the right decision, and he get's to play along.  Hoping it will all be fine.

Now that I've had that talk and the sex talk, what could be left?  Don't answer.  I'm sure there's plenty.

Also, I'm starting my list of Christmas Movies we are watching this season. No quotes, because I'm pretty sure I've covered almost all of them.  So here's the start:

1.  Love Actually (adults only)
2.  Serendipity
3.  Miracle on 34th Street
4.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the live version)
5.  Elf
6.  While You Were Sleeping
...more to come!