Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Choir Concert

Savannah decided that she wanted to give choir a try this year and she is loving it. Their fall concert was about a week ago. Her middle school does not combine the boys and girls. They have Women's Choir, Women's Chorale, and Men's Choir. Its not anything like GLEE but they did a great job. Reminds me of how much fun I had during all four years of high school choir (especially A'Cappella and Madrigals). What great memories!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mexican Riviera Disney Cruise

Family picture formal night on Disney Wonder.

This all started with my bucket list of going to Disneyland at Halloween, Christmas and doing a Disney Cruise. I can now cross all three items off. We had been planning this trip for quite some time and was a surprise for the girls. As far as they knew, we were going to Wichita for my birthday. We didn't even tell them what state we were going to. So we get to the airport Friday evening and they see we are flying to CA. However, they did not know what we were doing when we got there. Saturday morning we got up and spent the day at Disneyland and California Adventure. Our home away from home. I always LOVE how they decorate for Halloween. And I find it very redneck that we take a picture of a picture on the rides so we don't have to pay $20 for them. It was a very long day with the park being open from 8a to Midnight.
Then Saturday morning the girls got a call from Mickey Mouse welcoming them to the Disney Cruise Line. They were estatic! We were able to eat a liesurely breakfast because we couldn't get on the ship until 11:00. I always like getting on ships early so we have a chance to go around and take pictures before the crowds get there. I don't think we were the only ones with that idea though. While we waited in the port they had of course Disney cartoons showing on a big screen for the kids and there is always Nintendo. This trip cost us enough for 7 whole days so we weren't willing to fork out the extra buco bucks for an outside cabin. You're only there to sleep and there is really not a whole lot to see anyway in the dark. In the middle of the ocean. Our ship was the Disney Wonder. Not one of the biggest ships we've been on by far but one of the pools had a slide and the other had a huge movie screen. Ahoy mateys!
These are some of the photos we got our first day on board. The lobby where the staff introduces each family and welcomes them on board, Studio Sea where many a game were played and music into the night, Animaters Palate one of the main dining areas that turn from black and white to color as you progress through your meal, and Parrots Cay a more island themed dining area that was serving lunch when we got on.
Some activites going on around the ship. Each of the main shows at night were Disney themed (0f course). Haylie LOVED meeting Princess Tiana along with all the other princesses and characters. Breakfast was always a hit. Their ice sculpting team made this eagle out of a huge block of ice in just 15 minutes.
Had several celebrations while on board. Celebrated my 45th birthday on Monday the 24th. Our dining room staff sang Happy Birthday and I received this little treat after dinner. That rectangle birthday wish was entirely chocolate. And because it was a week before Halloween they hosted trick-or-treating for the kids around the ship (my girls filled their entire halloween baskets), a costume contest, and dancing way into the night. Mike's costume was a piece of cake. However the girls and I thought he should bring home some TRUE bloody scrubs from a heart case and wear those. I loved this mask I bought from Halloween Express but couldn't think up a costume to go with it in time. Maybe next year. Savannah went as Tinker Bell and Haylie was a glow in the dark bride. Don't you just love the zombie look on her face?
Our first stop was in Puerto Vallarta. It was chilly coming in that morning and I thought. Good grief this is Mexico, its always supposed to be warm! But warm up it did and we had a great time kayaking and snorkeling at the Marietas Islands. The caves were really cool but the islands are only open several months during the year as the rest of the time its covered by water. Our boat crew was a hoot. They had lunch and drinks prepared for us and also a show and music. Our tour left at 7:30a so Savannah and Haylie basically slept the entire ride out there.
Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas. This was a FUN port. If you have ever been to Mexico you know the shop keepers bug you to buy their wares. That can get a little old. However, we did snorkeling at Santa Maria Beach. This was probably not the best part of the year to go because the water was so murky that I couldn't see anything. I was a little disappointed in that. However, the catamaran ride over was a blast and we got soaking wet sitting in front on the mesh area.
Because of the strife in Mazatlan this port was cancelled so we spent another day in Cabo. The girls actually wanted to stay on the ship so Mike and I went in town again to shop and hit the local Hard Rock Cafe. We collect their hurricane glasses and now have #35 from all the HRC's we've been to. One night was Pirate Night on the ship complete with a pirate midnight buffet, show, and fireworks. I think the highlight was getting our picture with "Captain Jack". He wasn't Johnny Depp but absolutely a hit all the same (or is that hot)?
Other activities we had were a character breakfast where each one came to our table and we got their autographs. Spent plenty of time in the pool. Our surprise on the last day was to present the girls with pillow cases I had signed by all the characters. I purchased two pillow cases and a package of 12 colored sharpies before we left Kansas City. Took them to the Guest Services desk on the first day and asked them to have the characters sign them for the girls. It is such a fun souviner to bring back!
Over all this was a fabulous trip with my husband and girls. I just don't know if Disney would be my cruiseline of choice. We have been on Holland America, Norweigan, Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean. Disney most definately caters to the children and I knew that going into it. However, by Thursday I was a little weary of the Disney theme. The food wasn't as good as we get on RC and they didn't have a casino, rock climbing wall, flowrider, library, mini putt putt, or an ice skating rink. They did have two other entertainment genres that featured a comedy team and a ventriliquist and they were hilarious. But overall as my choice I would stick with RC. Or maybe just not a 7 day cruise with Disney. I might feel a little better about a 3 or 4 day. Even Disneyland gets old for me after 4 days. The funny thing is Mike and I are going on another cruise in March with my sister and her husband on Carnival to Cabo San Lucas! Can't wait for a "true vacation" where I get a break from my stay home mom "job"!
Posted by Picasa