Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 4 - Cruise 2008 - Day at Sea (#1)



One of my favorite part of cruises are the Sea days. All this means is you are in a floating hotel for the entire day. They have activities planned and game for adults. We started our day with breakfast in our room (there was a card that we could fill out the night before and set a time for delivery - we did this all but one night).

The kids were excited to head to Camp Carnival. So off we went. We checked them in upstairs - so every time we brought them or picked them up we had to show our room card. Hannah was in the 6-8 age group, and JT in the 9-11 group. For the younger group the kids can only be dropped off and picked up by a parent or guardian. We could’ve set it up for Grandma and Grandpa to pick up but there wasn’t the need. Now for the 9-11 when you register them you mark if you want them to be able to check themselves in and out. We decided that JT wasn’t ready for that responsibility yet - or I wasn’t ready for him to have that ability. This decision was revoked later in the cruise, but I will write about that later.
After dropping the munchkins off - we set out to explore. We picked up Dad and Sue Ellen and checked out the ship. Now for some facts about the Glory… The Glory has over 2000 rooms, and 6 dinning areas - over 15 bars, a casino, 4 pools, a water slide, a huge theatre, shops, a spa, gym facility, out door running track, mini golf course, and a basket ball court.
We went and walked on the track then split up again. Dad went back to bed, Sue Ellen was going to rest and Joe & I were walking around. I found I wanted to be always doing something… it was hard to slow down. Just before noon every day we had to pick up the kids for lunch. Since they were different age groups they were almost always in different parts of the ship.
Hannah had a blast at the first part of camp, JT however did not. I think it is hard for kids that age to make friends and be nice right away. We did talk him into going back after lunch and he had fun the rest of the week.
For lunch we ate at the Red Sail restaurant. This is the buffet that you hear about… FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! There is also a deli for custom made sandwiches, an oriental food station - with everything from sushi to sweat and sour calamari, a grill for burgers & hot dog, and of course the 24 hour pizza parlor and ice cream machines.
I don’t remember what we ate that day… I am sure it was a lot.
With the kids back at camp - I went out and dozed on a deck chair. It was overcast and misting from time to time so I had my choice of chairs… for someone who just left rain record breaking Juneau - 85 degrees with a fine mist is AWESOME! There is always music playing so the time went quickly.
Dad, Sue Ellen and I went to a murder mystery. Though out the cruise we had to figure out who the killer was. It is fun. There were cryptograms in our daily newsletters, and you could get clues from staff. It was all very SUSPICIOUS.
Just like picking up the kids before lunch we pick them up for an hour before dinner. This gives them time to change (if needed) and rest or just fill us in on what they have been doing. For Hannah it was time to brush her hair and wash off face paint. For JT it was time to cool off from running around. For the camp - they got to eat with their friends every night if they wanted. So at 6pm we checked them in and they got to choose from a kids menu with the food delivered in under 5 minutes (usually before we finished singing them in). From that point we don’t have to pick them up until 10pm… and one night even later.
This was the first formal night so Dad and Joe headed to the Red Sail for food and Sue Ellen and I dressed up and had dinner together. We had a great table on an end with a good view out the windows and a view of other tables. Our server for the whole week was “S” from Indonesia. “S” was short for Senaria, and she was a riot. The dinning room was loud, which made conversation with Dad and Joe fun… I will admit right now that I had shrimp cocktail every night! The dinners are set up so when you come in you are given bread and water or iced tea. As soon as the whole party is there, the server hands out menus and talks you through the items if you would like. The menu is 2-pages first side is “Starters” and the other is “Main Course.” Both sections have chef’s recommendations and Carnival Classics. One thing I will tell any of you wanting to cruise - Yes you can have more than one of anything. After the first night I always ordered 2 starters to try something new and have my shrimp. After you have had your starter and main course they bring a desert menu. One sheet of ultimate goodness. The first night Joe had a chocolate melting cake - so this night I tried one, think brownie outside with warm chocolate pudding/sauce inside. It was something I had a few more times through out the cruise.
It was nice to get to know Sue Ellen better. We talked about Dad, the river, Joe, the kids, the dogs, and everything else in between. I have known her for over 15 years and this is the most we have talked at length. Joe and Dad had a good time too, I think they said that they both had 2 deserts and stuck to the Ordner buffet rule - no salads.
After dinner Sue Ellen and I went to a show which was great. The music was out standing and the dancers beautiful. The kids club brought the kids to this show and they had fund too. After the show I picked the kids up and we went to bed.

Cruise 2008 - Day 4 - To Port Canaveral

Today I woke the kids and Joe up at 8:30 so we could get some breakfast before the continental breakfast closed. We were not in a hurry as Carnival Cruise Lines called with an automated message last night stating that due to a medical emergency we shouldn’t show up to the pier until 5:30pm. So we talked with the front desk and worked out a shuttle to the pier and we arranged a late check out. We went and talked with Grandma and Grandpa around 10:30am and decided to go for a walk. I think the kids and I slowed them down. We walked along a nice path (forgot the camera so no pictures).
After the walk we agreed to meet at 2pm to check out and then head to a late lunch. Guess where JT and Hannah wanted to go eat?? Yup, Denny’s. The waitress knew what the kids wanted to eat and drink so we had fun. We wasted about 1 hour at lunch then took a walk on the way back to the hotel. We stayed in the lobby for about 45 minutes. Then the shuttle arrived.
The drive to the pier was quicker than I remembered. But right now we are waiting in a parking lot with about 1000 other people until they let us drive up to the terminal. Right now it is 6:15pm. I figure the more we are patient the more fun we will have right. Can’t let a set back bum us out.
I will write more later...
Okay, the fun continued for another 3 hours. From the time we arrived in the terminal until the time we got on the boat was only about 45 minutes. Considering they had just off-loaded 3000 guests and the loaded 3000 more it went very smoothly. We finally got on board and checked out our rooms and went to dinner. People were complaining left and right. Our take on it was “Who cares were are here now.” The food was great! Shrimp cocktail for me and some beef. Desert was Crème Brulee. The kids had pizza and a cheeseburger with ice cream of course.
After dinner Dad and Sue Ellen went to bed with plans for meeting up in the morning. We all went wondering. We got ice cream for the kids and then headed towards our room. On the way we stopped by Camp Carnival to get them registered and check out the facility. The rooms for the kids were huge - with candy machines, Lego’s, computers, play stations, wii’s and so many toys.
When we got to our room we checked everything out. Joe and I shared the king sized bed and the kids had twin sized bunk beds. The bathroom had only a shower to the kids were a bit bummed at that. Our bags were there so we unpacked and then went to bed.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cruise 2008 day3










Well we all slept in. We all woke up about 9am... after the breakfast. So off to that fun eatery Dennys - YES I am getting fed up with it (pun intended).
We went for another walk and then vegged out reading and more home work. When Dad got here we went to the pool. Still really cold and they kids swam for about 10 minutes.
Grandma and Grandpa arrived at about 4pm. It was Great. The kids had fun. We headed almost immediately to Medieval Times. What a blast!!!! I will post some here and more at http://www.photoblog.com/melnell99 later. I am so glad we went. The food was great and we had fun... after each event the knights would throw flowers into the audience. Hannah wanted one so bad!!! Well at the end of the events the Princess ties "favors" to the end of the knights lances. Then they went to their cheer section (Ours was the Yellow Knight). And sure enough he handed to Hannah.

This was a great alternative to trick or treating.

Anyway more later!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cruise 2008 - Day 2

So day 1 & 2 sort of blended together with the overnight flight. We arrived safely, however if I have one issue so far it is that the temperature was 46 degrees when we got off the plan in Florida.

We headed to the hotel and checked right in. We brought our bags up and then went down to the continental breakfast. I have to say this is one of the best I have seen at a hotel. After breakfast we went to the room and I fell asleep. For 3 hours the kids played quietly and did homework while their aging mother slept.

When I got up they were going a bit stir crazy so we went for a walk. Scoped out the eateries near and then had lunch at Dennys. We went back to the hotel and the kids wanted to swim. Did I mention the temperature? So in they went, JT commented that it was the same temp as the cold pool in Juneau. After they turned blue we went up for a nap for mom and cartoons for them.

Joe showed up at about 6pm and the kids wanted to show him the best place to eat... yup back to Dennys. By the end of dinner the travel and lack of sleep was catching the kids. We headed back to the hotel. They needed to do some more homework (they have huge packets). Joe set up his computer - nothing new... Hannah fell asleep mid math problem. JT is finishing up a game of Spore on my iPod, and I am writing this.

I should get Day 3 posted before we get on the cruise ship. Not sure how often it will be updated on the ship.


Cruise 2008 - Day 1

Hours and hours of travel... we started out at 12:30pm from Juneau. Well at least we got to the airport then. Our first flight was from 2:30 pm (Juneau time) to 5:50pm (Seattle). Then we had the fun of sitting in the airport for 4.5 hours. The kids did great... I went a little stir crazy. We left at 10:55pm (Seattle) and arrived at 7:30am (Orlando) - it was about a 5.5 hour flight, in which the kids slept - but not me. We had the aisle before the exit row - no reclining for me.

First picture is the kids eating and doing homework.
The second is of a sculpture in the airport (I will try to get a better shot on the way home).
I guess that officially is part of Day 2 - so stay tuned.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time to catch up before I fall behind...

Okay so the summer has been busy. We went to Ketchikan for July 4th, and camped in Joe's moms yard. Great-Grandma is 101 and just moved into the Pioneer home. She came out and had hot dogs over the campfire with us.

Then JT and I went to Seattle, I had an appointment and JT needed glasses so off we went. Aunty Cathy met us there and we got to see an ultra sound of the newest Brown (aka Charlie).

The kids has been busy with Soccer camp and swimming lessons. Now they get ready for school that starts on Tuesday, September 2nd. I am also taking some accounting classes at UAS this fall. I am working at Legislative Audit again and loving it.

Anyway before the fall gets away from me... we are going on a cruise in November! Yeah us!! Hopefully I will write before then.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The last week

Hannah had girl scout camp all week - They worked on a fish badge... leaning about fish all week, even making a fly and ending with a trip to a local lake fishing (both regular and fly fishing). JT got to come with the last day and had his hand at fishing (Note to all concerned - there were no hooks so everyone was safe). We were lucky that camp was at Chapel by the Lake so it was close to Dad's work and had a playground.






video

The kids had their first swimming lessons for summer. Goal is to learn to swim before our trip in the fall.



We also went to Katie's 5th Birthday party - YES 5th!! AAHHH ... took some fun pictures - yes Hannah is reading instead of playing... :)



I had a job interview at UAS last week, and a follow-up interview today. I think it went well, and I will hear next Monday. Also, I have started filling in at Leg. Audit for the next few weeks. I LOVE IT. Yes I know - I lasted a whole 2 weeks home with the kids, but we have had fun and they have "Rules" about if mom gets a new job.

  1. Mom must be home by dinner - or have a note from her boss.
  2. Weekends are for kids.
  3. ... and the most important JT explaining to Hannah "if mom gets a new job then when we go to the store we can get our "wants" like big toys AND our "needs" like little toys.
Good to have guidelines.