Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From the three little Pigs and the Big, Bad Woof!

We had our Golden Retriever Halloween Costume party today, and boy do I have some great pictures to share! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Why is it that even as an adult I have a tough time spelling 'pumpkin'? I keep wanting to spell it "punkin" or "pumkin"....anywho....

Bear and I visited a the "Bates Nut Farm" (affectionately know to the locals as "Nate's Butt Farm") pumpkin patch today...very spontaneous, and very out of the blue. It was the only day she was able to go between now and Halloween, and I happened to be available too, so off we went.

We had a blast!

There were plenty to choose from, that's for sure!
I wanted to bring one of these "Big Macs" home with me, but couldn't even lift it!
They have a petting zoo where we met this good looking little fellow.
And of course we acted like kids.
Oh, who is this scary little girl? I wouldn't give her any candy if she showed up at my house!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't get queasy!

I wanted to share a couple of little video clips from the cruise, but let me warn you, I don't have a very steady hand under the water!


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blah...

This is how I feel...run down, and fighting a cold. Yuck.


I think the cold is winning.

Hopefully I'll have more energy tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cruise Wrap Up

To say that we had an interesting end to our cruise would be putting it mildly. We had a VERY interesting end to the cruise. On the last night (or rather very early on Saturday morning) at about 1:00am, just as we had finished packing and were settling in to sleep, we felt a HORRIBLE shudder on the ship. It felt like an 8.0 magnitude earth quake! We didn't know what the heck was going on. It lasted for about a minute, and we flew out of bed. We went out onto the balcony to see what we could see, and Hubby noticed that we'd made a huge, fast turn, and the engines were cut off. How strange is that! Saying that it totally freaked us out would be an understatement. We got dressed really quick and were ready in case an alarm went off.

We waited for a few minutes and didn't hear anything, so we went out and tried to figure out what was going on. No one seemed to know, and some people we talked to hadn't even felt the shaking. After about an hour, we came back to the cabin and TRIED to get some sleep. (I didn't have much luck with that)... Anyway, we were up before dawn in the morning (I got some great sunrise pictures!) and finally at breakfast we found out what had happened.



The captain made an announcement saying that he'd seen a distress signal from a very small fishing vessel, directly in front of the ship. He'd halted our engines as quickly as possible, and turned to avoid hitting the fishing boat. They sent out a rescue vessel, and made contact with the boat. They realized the little boat was sinking and they were able to save the two people on board. They brought them to our ship, and waited for the Coast Guard to come and get them. How wild is that? I'm so glad we got an explanation! Needless to say, it was quite an ending to our otherwise very relaxing trip!

We got home safely on Saturday evening, and we so pleased when we thought about how the trip went. Every one of our flights was on time, every one of our shore excursions worked out great, and none were canceled. Every one of our meals was great, every taxi we took was fast, every day was excellent. How often can you say that about a vacation?

I am extremely happy with how everything went, and so thankful that we had this opportunity to spend quality time together, reconnect, and relax. It was good for the soul, that's for sure. We also had some great surprises along the way, in the form of free drinks from strangers, shipboard credits from very special friends (you know who you are, and we can't thank you enough!) and meeting new friends that made our cruise even more memorable and certainly more enjoyable. We certainly hope to run into you again Danielle, Bud & Patsy, Karen & Graham, "San Pedro" and Dodih! If you are ever in San Diego, you've got a place to stay!

Huge thanks, once again, to my folks for sending us on this incredible adventure, and for caring enough to know we really needed this. It certainly wouldn't have happened without their love, and support, both emotionally and financially! I know I am one very lucky daughter, that's for sure.

As I go through my pictures in the next few weeks, deciding what to do with them all, and weeding through the fuzzy ones, I'm sure all post more...but this will pretty much be the wrap up for now. Life goes on, and it's back to reality....but I have a feeling, that things are going to be pretty exciting in the weeks to come.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cruise Day Seven-Our last day (part three)

After having had near perfect weather the entire trip (other than a couple of downpours in St. Thomas) the sky opened up in the afternoon. I'm not talking about a little shower or two, it was torrential rain for a solid hour and a half! Initially we stayed in the water, snorkeling a bit more near the beach, figuring it didn't matter since we were wet anyway. We'd hoped to wait it out, but it was becoming very obvious that it was going to stick around for a while. We finally decided to pack things up, and join the others heading back to the ship.






We weren't going to let the weather dampen our spirits though, so once we were back board the ship, and after a quick bathing suit change to get rid of the sand, we made our way to the spa on the fantail to warm up. It was perfect!






Sure enough, after we'd been back on the ship for a little while, it finally did clear up a bit...just in time for me to take a couple of parting pictures, before the ship left, of probably our favorite place this trip.... I don't think Hubby or I have ever seen water this perfectly crystal blue-ish green before. It truly was stunning and the pictures don't do it justice.










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Cruise Day Seven-Our last day (part two)

So, for the last few days of the cruise Norm has been a good sport hanging out in our cabin, making friends with the room steward, and just relaxing. Since we knew that Half Moon Cay would be our last port on the trip, we decided to drag him out of the room and away from the mini bar for a little fun in the sun and surf. He rode comfortably in the backpack until it was time for him to make an appearance.

First stop, the bar! (hey, he's on vacation too!)



He enjoyed several Bailey's Banana coladas....and before we knew it, we found him passed out under a palm tree.


After his nap, it was time to enjoy the water and scenery.





He really wanted to go swimming with us, but since we'd forgotten his floaties on the ship, he had to stay back and watch our stuff while hubby and I enjoyed the water a bit.








....and then came the rain.

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Cruise Day Seven-Our last day of the Cruise (part one)

Our last full day of the cruise was a blast. Our port of call was Half Moon Cay, a tiny private island, owned by Holland America's parent company. After consulting with Danielle, the travel guide on the ship, and one of the coolest people we met on board, we decided to take one last shore excursion to do, what else? SNORKEL! We signed up for the first trip of the day which meant we had to be on the island and ready at 8:20am. No problem! We got on the first tender off the ship, and before we knew it, we were on Half Moon Cay - a tiny slice of paradise in the middle of the most beautiful water we'd ever seen!







We were very lucky that there were only 5 other people on our snorkel tour with us. It was like we had the whole place to ourselves!



Once we were in the water, we saw some of the most brilliant coral formations that we'd ever seen. It was simply spectacular!












Along with a number of incredible fish, we also saw another barracuda and an eel! (I was only able to get one picture of the eel and it came our blurry, but I did get some cool video of it too.)



It was just a great way to spend the morning.





After snorkeling, it was time explore the island a bit and to let Norm out of the bag (literally) so he could have some fun too...see part two...

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Cruise Day 6 - A Day at Sea (part two)

We enjoyed a very leisurely rest of the day which included a nap, some time in the casino, and plenty of lounging around. We decided to stay out of the sun today, knowing that tomorrow we will be in the water and on the beach from about 8am until 3:30pm.

We did, thankfully, fit into our formal attire for the evening, and got ourselves ready for dinner about an hour or so early so we could go and have some pictures taken. We visited four different portrait areas on the ship, and hopefully one or two will come out nice enough for us to buy. We'll be able to view them after we get back on the ship tomorrow afternoon. Until then, I'll give you a preview of how spiffy we looked, oh, and a couple more food pictures too!

Here is Hubby looking like my very own 007. He looked so sharp in his tuxedo!



And here I am....by the way, no, I am not that sunburnt on my chest, it looks like that because of the lighting.


Another self portrait.


Escargot anyone?


Jumbo shrimp cocktail maybe?


And how about some Surf & Turf? (yes, those are two huge lobster tails and a filet...oh my!)


Here is one of the Lemon Drops I had with dinner tonight in honor of my dear friend Shirley, who I know loves a good Lemon Drop. It was like dessert in a cocktail glass!


In addition to our regular fantastic array of desserts, the staff presented at Chocolate buffet at 10:30pm. It was spectacular! Pictures of that soon....


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Cruise Day 6 - A Day at Sea (part one)

Our day started off with a 5k walk on the ship. All Holland America Cruises now have an "On the Deck for the Cure" event, with all proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

There were about a hundred people that walked, and it was a lot of fun!






It takes 9 laps around the ship to make 5k (roughly 3 miles). Here we are at the finish line.




Do you remember me mentioning the nice couple that we met one of the first days (the couple we sat with at lunch that were celebrating their 55th anniversary?) Well, we've seen them several times since then and they were at the walk too. They are a lovely couple and we've really enjoyed spending some time talking with them.

Here we are with Patsy and Bud, our new friends from Tallahassee.


We are going to spend the rest of the day relaxing, eating, relaxing some more.... And perhaps sampling a few fruity drinks by the pool. This evening will be the second, and final formal night of the cruise. I'm hoping that my new dress will still fit after all of the indulging I've been doing this week so far!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cruise Day 5 - Our Anniversary (part 2)

After snorkeling we headed into town to sight see and shop a bit. There wasn't nearly enough time to do everything we wanted to do, and Hubby and I have decided that some day we will come back to St. Thomas and spend some time really exploring the island. Hubby's Mom spent several years on the island as a little girl and he really wanted to see more than we had time for. Here are just a few images...
















And last, but not least, we enjoyed a very special anniversary dinner.






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