Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cruise: Grand Cayman

Tuesday was our first stop. It was at Grand Cayman. Oh baby. We couldn't pull up to a dock, so we debarked onto passenger boats which took us to the island.
We were wearing our bathing suits and were equipped with towels, water, and the water proof camera. Before leaving the cruise ship, we covered every square inch of our bodies that might be exposed to sun with sunscreen.
The boat dropped us off at the Carnival area, which had some shops and stuff, but seemed very Americanized. Not as authentic as we were hoping for. But I guess since it's a big tourist place, it's not going to be as foreign as we were hoping for. Anyway, we waited with a group of strangers for our excursion to take off. Here we did what we now rate as the funnest of the excursions. The Ray Runner and Snorkel tour.
When it was finally time to go, we hopped on a little bus with 5 other couples. Let me tell you, everywhere we went had some rather scary drivers. Oh, and apparently USA is unique in how much we DON'T use the horn.
We made it to our destination safe and sound though. We were at a little inlet, or outlet, to the ocean. My husband would call it an estuary. There we were instructed to put all of our belongings that we didn't want to get wet inside some lockers. The lockers were a couple of old abandoned cars that no longer ran. But the tour guides had keys. From there we took only ourselves and the waterproof camera. The sunscreen remained in the backpack in the car.
We were all given flippers and snorkel equipment and were instructed to get into little motorized air rafts. Aaron and I were alone in ours. Then instruction was given on how to operate them, and, after we were instructed to stay in the wake of the lead boat, due to my delicate pregnant condition, we were off. This is when we started taking pictures with the water proof camera. These pictures were those that we were most looking forward to seeing. We bought a waterproof digital camera for about $25. It seemed like it would work out to be cheaper than the disposable ones, and we could use it over and over.
However. Upon arriving home I was messing around with it trying to upload some pictures. During this process I opened the battery compartment. Later we learned that opening the battery compartment erased all of the pictures we took on Grand Cayman. So mad.
Anyway. The ride out to the stingray sandbar was actually pretty rough. We were going fairly fast against the waves and wind. Made for some significant bumping and jarring. So, while at first I was flippant about the concern I was getting for my pregnantness, I soon understood. I tried to adjust my position to one that would cushion my stomach as much as possible.
Then we swam with the stingrays. Well, we didn't actually swim. We were instructed to keep our feet on the ground at all times so we wouldn't step on a stingray. The water was about 3-4 feet deep, and so clear and pretty and warm. Here we fed a huge female stingray, (felt like a vacuum sucking the icky squid from my hand) then we all held it, kissed it, and got a stingray back rub from it. Kinda nervous-making at times, but fun.
Oh, we have one picture of this. It was taken by the tour guides and costed us $20. Youch! And I look awful. So much for waterproof mascara.

After hanging out there we got back in the rafts and headed over to "Shark City" to snorkel. I'm not sure it that's what it's really called or just something the tour guide said to scare us. There were no sharks.
This was our first snorkel experience and we are both fans. We were over some corral reef looking down at all the fishies. Sometimes they seemed close enough to reach out and grab. It was really cool. We took lots of pictures that we will never see. :(
Soon we headed back to the bus. Here they took all of our money for tips and the picture. Nothing left to souvenir shop.
We got back on the ship and showered and stuff. This is when we realized how badly we were sunburned. Let me tell you. So sunburned. I got it especially bad on my thighs and hips and right arm, (hand in particular) and Aaron got it the worst on his shoulders, back, and right arm, (hand in particular.) Thankfully we brought aloe gel, which we caked on our burns. But the rest of that day was kind of miserable. I don't think I've ever had a more painful sunburn.
We watched the show they put on that night. It was juggling and then a comedian. Very entertaining.
That night I did NOT sleep so great, thank-you sunburn.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Cruise: Fun Day at Sea

The next day was completely on the cruise ship. Every night, they give you an itinerary of the activities and things going on the next day. Using that we found some things to attend, usually what we liked to do were the triviathons or super trivias, or game show things. We ignored the learn to gamble, learn what wines go with what foods, and other such things. Still, we had lots of free time, since most of the entertainment was unappealing.
We had planned on swimming in their little pools this day, but it turned out to be a rather blustery and stormy day. It made for some interesting walking on the rocking ship.
What we discovered though, was deck three. There was a nice deck around the ship that was usually deserted. Most people who wanted to be outside went to the top decks, the lido deck, with the pool, the food, the bar, the loud music, the crowds and crowds of people. We found the other deck a great alternative. There was usually no one there, the ocean was closer and you could hear it splashing against the ship, instead of hearing only the live music played at full volume. It was relaxing. From here we saw many flying fish in skimming across the water.

Hanging out on the third deck.

The storm picked up. Very windy.

Eventually everyone was ordered inside because of the storm.

That night was the first of two elegant nights. You had to dress up to go into the dining room. Here we are all dressed up. This is just outside our state room and taken by the room service guy.

Let me tell you about the dining experience. They had a late scheduled dining and an early dining. Or, like us, you were assigned to "your time dining." We could go whenever we wanted, but didn't have the same kind of importance, in my observation, as the scheduled diners. We didn't get a specific table every night, or the same waiter every night.
Anyway, they take you to a table, pull out the chair for the woman and seat her, then they put napkins in your laps and hand you an open menu. The menu is different every night. First you order a starter or maybe even two. They are things like salads, soups, fruit, maybe pasta, etc. And you order your main course. Then they take forever bringing it out. You might find, if you have the your time dining slot, that the food seems like it's been under a heat lamp for awhile. They start with a starter. When you finish, they take the plates away, along with any silverware you used. They replace the silverware with your next course, whether it be another starter or the main course. Always new silverware. After you've finished your main course they bring the dessert menu. There were the staples, like ice cream, sherbet, and a cheese plate, but they had other options that changed every day. After ordering that and waiting another long time, you got your dessert. If you tried to skip out before dessert the waiters, (which were all very friendly) tried to stop you and persuade you to stay. Anyway, they had some fancy things that we got to try, but I didn't really like any of the desserts ever. I have a huge sweet tooth, but none of their desserts even warranted me finishing it.
An hour and a half to two hours later, you left the dining room. Whew! So much time you have to schedule to eat. It sometimes got old.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Cruise: All Aboard!

Here goes.
Our trip started early Saturday morning. We dropped Morgan off with some relatives and then headed for the airport. Our first flight was to Chicago where we had a one hour lay over before our flight to Miami. However, once we got on the plane in SL, it was just sitting there for awhile. Soon the pilot came over the loud speakers saying that there was a problem with the hydraulics. It was being worked on. We waited and waited in the hot plane and worried about catching our connecting flight. Finally they said it was fixed and we would be on our way. But after taxiing to the runway we stopped again. Same problem. We waited more and were sure that we would miss our next flight. They ended up just turning off the engine and starting it up again, and apparently that fixed the whole problem and we were off.
We landed in Chicago and made a mad dash through the huge airport to the appropriate terminal. Now, I was having a strange day with my bladder. My pregnancy hormones must have been a little crazy or something because I was having to use the bathroom every couple of hours. I really wanted to stop in the airport to do so, but we had no time at all. When we got to our gate we were rushed on to the plane and soon took off. So I got to use the airplane bathroom, just like I had to do on the first flight. I wouldn't recommend it. Those things are so so tiny! You barely have room to stand. They are smaller than a normal bathroom stall for sure, but they have a tiny sink crammed in there as well.
Anyway, we made the flight and landed in Miami rather late, especially considering we lost two hours. We took a shuttle to our hotel. It ended up being the wrong one. We had booked the hotel stays long before. One night right before the cruise, and one night right after. We went to the hotel that was booked for a week later. Oops. At this point we were very hungry, (not having eaten much since an early breakfast) and tired. We didn't want to try to find a way to the correct hotel. Luckily, they were able to switch our reservations around without problem.
Let me tell you about the kind of hotel room you can get for $50 in Miami. I wish I had taken a picture. It was so yucky and poor quality. The bed felt like it was going to collapse every time you sat on it. We wore our flip flops in the icky shower, the bathroom light only worked some of the time, the outlet in the bathroom didn't work at all, and if you hit the reset button on it, the bathroom light turned off. The walls and doors were very thin and we heard everything. Conversations in the hall, clattering dishes from the bar that was connected to the hotel, and our neighbors going about their nightly business. *ahem*
We didn't stay there any longer than was necessary.
Oh, an observation. For the first time in my life, I felt like a minority. Florida is much more diverse than Utah and Idaho. Kind of a strange difference.
The next morning we got another shuttle over to the port. We went through all the big lines for the check in process then parked ourselves on the floor of the building since all their seats were filled. There we waited for quite some time before they started the boarding process. We eventually made it on board though, and were immediately ushered to the lido deck for lunch. We found a line and got in it and had what was there. But soon we discovered that lots of people had all sorts of foods that we hadn't seen. Where had it come from? What we didn't know immediately was that there was a huge ol' buffet cafeteria beyond some doors. So. Much. Food.
Here's Aaron after eating our first lunch there. The Miami port in the background.
We did some exploring of the ship, which is a huge building. We eventually found our state room. It was tiny, but wonderfully refreshing after the hole we stayed in the night before. So clean and tidy. We weren't afraid of going around barefoot.
The ship set sail around 4:00, so we made it a point to be on one of the top decks for this. In the pictures over the next few days you will see many of me that I am not fond of. It has a lot to do with my chubby face, the affect humidity has on my hair, and my overall hugeness. I look like I'm ready to pop when, in fact, I have 3 months to go. So I don't like them. Know that.

This isn't our ship, but one that looks identical. It followed us out of port then went it's own way.

A view of South Beach, I believe, as we pulled out of port.

And there's part of Miami. It's huge. Salt Lake is so tiny in comparison.
I don't really know what we did the rest of the day. Explored more, unpacked, went to some of the entertainment things maybe.
Okay, so that's it for the first two days.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And we're back!

Over the next few days I will be posting all about the cruise, complete with pictures. You have been warned.
Now we are home. Back to life, back to reality. That song keeps going through my head.

What I missed when we were gone.
-Morgan. I've never been so long without him. Apparently he did very well, (other than coming down with an eye infection) and wanted to stay and play with his second cousins even longer. I missed him though. When I asked him if he missed me he just said, "Yeah. Two mommies are good." Yeah, he didn't care that I was gone. :) What an adaptable young one we have.

-Internet and phone use. I don't text or call people very much at all, but on the cruise there were many opportunities where I could have texted something cool to someone. Case and point, when I turned my phone on after a week of it being off, I had two voice mails, (one from a church person, one from a real estate agent,) and one text message. The text was from facebook. So..yeah. But I do like to get my regular email, facebook, blog and fixes. But don't worry, I was fine without them.

-Conditioner. I didn't pack any, expecting that it would be provided. Silly, presumptuous, me.

-Dry air. I am not a fan of humidity. Especially without conditioner.

Things I miss about the cruise.

-Food. While I don't think the food was all that exceptional, I did like that it was so readily available and that I never had to cook. I liked it so much that I came home several pounds heavier. I may be pregnant, but pregnant people shouldn't be gaining 3-6 lbs in a week.

-The bed. We have a rather crappy mattress. The bed in our cabin was so much nicer. I slept so well on the cruise. It could have been the comfortable bed, or maybe I was always so worn out by the time I went to sleep, but it just may have been the constant rocking of the ship. Lulled me right to sleep.

-Warm weather. Got to the SL airport in capri's and a t-shirt. The jacket that was packed and never used was deep in a suitcase somewhere. It was kind of freezing.

-Javier. He and his little crew of men cleaned our room twice a day, and even did a turn down service. I love having fresh towels magically appear, the bed magically made, chocolates on my pillow and cute little towel animals awaiting my return. It was so disappointing to walk into the house and find it in exactly the same messy state that I left it.

-Time with my husband. While it would have been fun to cruise with people we know, we didn't. We were the only ones we knew, so, naturally, we spent all our time together. Rather undivided, no? It was nice. Now we are home and have responsibilities again. Aaron is already at work, Morgan of course needs attention, and now there will be internet and tv encroaching in on our time together. *Sigh*

All in all, a great time. I recommend it. But be aware that they never stop charging you. Oh, and everyone expects tips! I think we are kind of alone here in Utah area where we can ride the airport shuttle and not have to fork over five bucks as a tip. You have to tip every tour guide and employee that you see. You have to tip all the shuttle drivers, even though the shuttle is expensive, you have to tip the guy at the airport who weighs your bags for you! We never had enough small bills because we had to keep using them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's time!

We leave tomorrow morning for our vacation. Morgan, who's been talking about going to play with my cousins' boys for weeks, is maybe starting to get a little worried. He's known that Mommy and Daddy are going to go on an airplane then a big ship, and that he was going to play with some kids, and he's been fine with it. But hes' started saying things like "but we're not going, Mommy."
I'm going to miss my little boy. This is definitely going to be the longest I've been away from him.

So, we fly out of SL tomorrow for Miami. Then we stay at a hotel for the night and then board the cruise ship on Sunday. This will fulfill one of my life long dreams. Well, maybe more like late-in-my-life long dream.

Today I was doing some last minute shopping for the cruise and I accidentally bought another baby girl outfit. And tights. Totally wasn't in the plan.

Alrighty, I'm going to cuddle with my boy to save up some loves so before I have to leave him for 10 days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Saturday we went and ran some errands, mostly for the cruise. But our errands took us to a couple of places with clothes. Baby clothes. Baby girl clothes. I've spent lots of time walking past cute little girl clothes and just sighing at the cuteness, but haven't had reason to stop. Saturday I justified some intense perusal. This was no surprise to me, but what did surprise, was the fact that Aaron was looking right along side of me. He encouraged my shopping tendencies! In fact, I think if he weren't with me, I wouldn't have been able to talk myself into three outfits. (I'm pretty frugal.) But three we got. And they are so cute! Now I just need a brand new baby to put them on. But I'll wait a few more months so she'll fit.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tender Boy

Morgan is a very sweet boy sometimes. He's often very affectionate with me. In fact, if he continues like he is, he will one day make a great romantic, I think.
He likes to give me kisses. (Poor picture quality due to the bright window behind us.)

He often reaches up and touches my face with both hands and stares into my eyes. So precious!

He's pretty in tune to moods too. If he knows I'm sad, he's concerned.

However, he isn't always spot on. The other day I was telling him that he couldn't watch a movie until he cleaned up his toys. He responded with, "You're cranky, Mommy!"

Oh, also, he asked for a glass of water and I got one for him. He received it with, "Thank-you, you're a good helper." He also calls me a good girl sometimes. Oh, I love him!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


To announce this bit of news, if you haven't seen it on facebook already, a picture.

There you go. I am pregnant. No, I mean, I am pregnant! We've been sitting on this news for awhile now, what with my history of miscarriage, but it looks like this pregnancy is going to work. After all, I am out of the 1st trimester danger zone. In fact, I'm already in my 23rd week. More than halfway there!
We weren't planning on waiting this long to make the announcement. Remember how I had the gallbladder issue? Well, it turns out that gall problems are more common in women. And they are even more common in women who have had babies. And they are most common in women who have had babies and who are pregnant. The crux is that often the treatment for gall bladder problems is to remove it, but that causes miscarriages to those who are pregnant very often. Anyway, when I went to the doctor for that, they also sent me to see an OB. I'd seen a midwife in Utah when I was still 6 weeks, and had seen a little problem in the ultrasound. They called it a bleed, but basically avoided giving me any real information on it. In Idaho, I was ten weeks when all this went down, and after another ultra-sound they still saw the bleed, but told me what it was. Subchorionic Hemotoma. Or, Subchorionic Hemorrhage. It's a hemorrhage or blood clot that gets between the uterine wall and the placenta. They often resolve themselves by the 20th week, but if they don't they can cause further complications, such as miscarriage, pre-term labor, or still birth.
My plan was going to be to make the announcement when I had safely reached the second trimester. But then we were out of insurance due to Aaron's temporary unemployment. So I couldn't get to the doctor to determine if the baby had made it safely to the second trimester. I happen to know that a dead fetus sometimes just hangs out in the womb for several weeks.
However, there were some pretty clear indications that the baby was living. Like, my growing abdomen and the kicks and movement that I started feeling.
Insurance didn't kick in until May 1st. Saturday. I had an appointment to see a doctor the first possible day. Yesterday. And since I am so far along now they were able to send me to get the big ultra sound, which is one of the most exciting things during a pregnancy, in my opinion.
I was ever so eager to find out the sex. The ultrasound tech tried on several occasions to see, but little baby had it's legs crossed tightly. The tech would then go check out the other parts of the baby, then go back to see if all the baby movement meant that the legs were uncrossed. Nope. I did learn though, that I don't feel half of the movement and wiggling of the baby. There is a very active little one in me.
But don't worry, we got a good shot before I left. Morgan called it. We're having a girl. Yay!! I have lots of shopping to do now. I have bags and bags of boy clothes and shoes and blankets, but lack in the pink department.
Also, there was no more evidence of the hemorrhage. Phew!
I took Morgan with me to the appointments and he somehow got the impression that we were going to the "out doctor" as Morgan called it. The doctor that will take the baby out. I think the pictures that we saw of his baby sister were also underwhelming for him. He's been very interested in the baby thing. He tells me that I have a big tummy all the time. He asks if the baby cries, or talks. There will be a four year gap between the two, which isn't how I would have planned it, but, what can you do? I think Morgan will make a good big brother.
This post has dragged on. I guess I'm excited or something. I tend to write more then.