Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Tonight Bruce, John and I headed out to the main theater to watch Little Big Town, while Lil stayed back in our "suites" to watch and play with Thomas. I figured that without a nap, Thomas would go right down, but no, he was still wide away when we returned.
Little Big Town put on a great show, and we enjoyed sitting up close to the stage and watching them play.
After arriving back on the ship from Coco Cay, we headed straight for the pool and something to eat. We spent our time in one of the two saltwater pools, and had a great time playing. It was the perfect pool for the little ones, having two levels of water and a long gate that protected Thomas from the deep end of the pool where the adults and older kids played. Thomas loved to run around in the pool and up and down the stairs leading into the pool as well as swim in the deep end with Daddy. He also entertained himself with the freshwater shower that was available to us when we got out. It was great to have the deck chairs to hang out around, and Thomas was great about heading over there when he needed a little rest and food. He'd lay back and "sunbathe" with us, or play around the chairs with his hot rods and cars. He was such a great little man about it all, and seemed to enjoy the poolside music and atmosphere just as much as we did.
The pool area was where we saw Karen and Jimmy from Little Big Town hanging out with fans, as well as said hi to Chris Cagle who walked by us and said hello. Chris ended up joining in on the belly flop contest and signed autographs out by the bar and pool for 5 1/2 hours for any of us that wanted something. I didn't go over for any of that, but it was fun to watch other people interact and to see these artists mingling with us commoners. We also had free drinks at several pool parties, watched a Kenny Chesney look alike contest, and watch lots of too burned drunk folks getting their groove on to their own groove, if you know what I mean. It was a great time to hang out, enjoy the pools and bake in the sun.
Coco Cay is Royal Caribbean's private island and today we headed out to explore. I don't know when we got up, but it was fun to take in a leisurely breakfast with the family and head out on the tenders to see this island paradise. Having been to Holland America's private island, I'm familiar with the amazing beauty that these islands provide. One can never truly remember the enormous beauty in memories, though. It is so absolutely stunning that it takes your breath away. It hits you square on what a different world we live in from these islands. With the hot sun and cool breezes coaxing us out of the air conditioned ship, we headed off.
We enjoyed our time on this island thoroughly. It was a great place for Thomas, as there were no waves to speak of, only crystal clear water and fine sand to run in for hours and hours. And that we did. We waded into the water, played in the sand and enjoyed the BBQ dinner provided by the ship. I heard that only 6 months earlier the same palms that shaded us on this day were barren from a recent hurricane, and I was so thankful to hit at a time when the vegetation had made it's return. What a fabulous island play time. Mom asked me if I found any small shells like the ones we found on our honeymoon to bring them home to her. I did just that, setting them aside for gathering later. It was only when I found my little "treasures" walking off in their shells that I decided against this idea. My cabin was already stinky enough without adding dying sea creatures to the mix.
Tonight we watched Little Big Town perform. It was a great show, and one I'd recommend to anyone interested in good country music. Funny little note...their base player looked so much like Stephen we had to get a picture. It was uncanny how much alike they look.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Very early this morning we arrived in Miami and everything went very smoothly, despite very little if any sleep. Thomas was a gem, though, and in great spirits, having slept most of the 5 hour flight into Miami. We had a bit of a wait to get a shuttle to the ship, but we passed the time playing in baggage claim, eating breakfast, riding the escalators and playing on the baggage conveyor belts. The crowd that gathered to wait seemed enthralled with Thomas, and I soon realized he was going to bring us a lot of attention on this trip.
The bus ride to the ship terminal was quite an experience. Imagine all the horror stories of taxi rides in other cities. Now imagine that same story, only in a Greyhound bus. Yes, it was VERY fast, Very out of control, and very uncertain whether or not we would make it to the ship without a major collision with other big rigs, busses or pedestrians. The check in process was very smooth, although by this time our nerves were starting to unwind a bit from the sheer number of hours awake at this point. Again, Thomas was doing great, still happy, still enjoying the ride.
We arrived at the ship, went upstair to get the lunch buffet that had been set out, then headed down to get some sleep before heading out for the big party. We got up in time to catch the sailaway party, stood through the muster drill where we all herd out in our orange lifevests, hoping to God we don't have to rely on these things to save us if we should have to jump overboard, and enjoyed our time before dinner. Dinner was great, but by the time we were finished, the table was rocking, and I don't mean rocking to the music. Before long, the big waves the ship was plowing through had done a number on my body, and I headed down to the store to buy some medicine. Nope, didn't work! And I continued to get sicker and sicker. Unfortunately, my night was shot and I gave up trying to pretend it would get better. It made me feel better to learn later on in the cruise that one of the performers on the other ship that night had to leave his show to go throw up backstage, only to return from the next lines to his song. We all decided to call it a night early and missed all the shows. Fortunately, the shows would all be repeated the next night at different times, so all was not lost.
Oh, I should mention our cabin. Ummm...yeah....remember church camp, or your bathroom at home? Yep, that's about the size if it. We had to get very creative with storage, and wondered at first if Thomas' crib would even fit. The room steward didn't even know, as he told us that cribs usually only go in the bigger room. Well, imagine that!
When we arrived in Miami we had to take the tram to the main terminal, then head down the escalators to baggage claim. That is where we spent the early morning hours, playing luggage train with grandma, riding up and down the escalator, and playing on the luggage conveyor belts. Bruce and John managed a few minutes of shut-eye lying on the cement floor while Lillian and I entertained Thomas, but needless to say, we were very eager to get the show on the road.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Our "day" actually began Sunday night with our 7:50 flight out of Bellingham. Thomas had a great trip to Seattle and boarded the big plane to Miami in great spirits. We dressed him in jammies for the red-eye flight to Miami shortly before take off, and he was asleep just as the jet took off. He slept the whole way in to Miami, despite the best intentions of the flight crew and announcements during the night. Unfortunately for us, John slept about a half hour of the flight and I got a few snoozes in between announcements.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Today, Thomas wiped me out! Thomas is waking up around 7 am this last week, which is either a change in his body or he's reacting to the sun coming up earlier. He's not on much of a bedtime set schedule and goes to sleep around 9 at night, depending on his nap, so it's not like he's going to bed earlier to account for waking up earlier. So our morning started early. It's nice outside, so we played outside before getting the call to meet Daddy at work. Off we went, then picked up my contacts, ran to get fries at McDonald's before racing home to try to get Thomas home before he fell asleep. Thomas only slept 1.5 hours, and then it was off to the park, where we ran and ran, climbed over and over up the jungle gym (Diego, Diego! he would cry as we climbed the rope ladder) and down the slide, and all over the park and through the woods. It was exhausting, and he just kept going and going. By the time he got into bed, I was done. Totally done in. Whether Thomas got the best of me, work is stressing me out or I'm stressing too much about this trip, I hit the bed looking forward to a new and more rested day!
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Today, while out for a drive in the new Pilot, after leaving Costco, Thomas was chatting it up in the backseat, when all the sudden he started counting. He made it all the way to six without one bit of help from either of us, who sat stunned in the front, not sure we were hearing what we heard! Grandma Lillian must be working with him because I sure haven't! It's quite amazing to hear counting out of this tiny little man!
In the first picture, in the middle of the shot, if you look closely, you will see a swatch of pinkish-red color, along with a large dark spot. It looks like it's under that log, and no, it's not the orange flag that is marking a tree towards the bottom-middle of the shot. This is a picture of a very large beaver eating a very large fish. We're not sure beavers eat fish, but this is what it looked like to us, and it was most definitely a huge fish. If you look directly across the stream you'll see a large swatch of that same pinkish-red. That's where he was first eating the fish before hauling his considerable hulk across the water to be more concealed from us.
In the second picture, Thomas has taken off on his own little adventure, which would have led him to Lost Lake. Lost Lake continues to be lost to us, as this time John stopped him from heading up and I stopped myself one time as I felt it was quite a hike to do on my own without the proper supplies, like water and a snack. It would just be my luck to get myself lost up there and end up in the Bellingham paper about stupid hiker lost at Lost Lake!