Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pics From Dad's Birthday

It's taken awhile but I finally got the pics from my Dad's 80th birthday party at the Outback Steakhouse. My Dad is not one who is usually surprised because he tends to be a little controlling and usually is on top of everything. But even he had to admit we got him and we got him good. He thought he was going out for dinner with my Mom and my brother Henry for his birthday but little did he know that all of the immediate family was going to be there too. It's been a month and he is still talking about it. I wish we could have captured the look on his face when he realized what the heck was going on. Enjoy!

My grand niece Kendal sitting on my brother Henry. That's Eric sticking his tongue out at the camera.

Kendal is pointing at her favorite Auntie. That's my nephew Jason in the center.

My brother Dave on one side of me and George on the other.

Sara with the guest of honor. those blue eyes

Show us your french fries...

The caption under this pic should be "Typical" brother Dave enjoying his favorite beverage.

My Mom with her great granddaughter

Pepere and his sweetheart

Group niece Crystal beside my Mom.

So there you have it. Plans are in the works for my Mom's 80th birthday in April but we have already been warned to skip the surprise party. We won't get away with that anyway...she's not having that. It may not be a surprise but one way or the other, we are going to celebrate. You only turn 80 once.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Western Carribean Cruise 2010

Good Morning all. Hope you are all shovelled out from all of the record snowfall all over the US. Luckily New Hampshire was spared and we only got an inch or so yesterday and nothing at all from last weeks blast. We were also very lucky to not have our connecting flight home through DC like we did last year, although we did have a few concerns about Newark but managed to get home from our vacation without a whole lot of trouble.

The cruise was wonderful. 80 degree weather all week, mostly sun but we had a couple spells where we had rain and/or clouds. Still, no complaints from this lady. I was perfectly happy to be in the tropics.

We started out in Miami, which I found a little chilly.

The skies were overcast but the city was bustling due to the Pro Bowl football game and preparations for the Super Bowl game on the following Sunday.

We found our Stateroom to be cozy and we had a spacious balcony to watch the world go by. I got myself a fruity drink with an umbrella and let the festivities begin.

After unpacking and taking a quick walk around the ship we got ready for dinner. The dining room was beautiful.

We met our week long dining partners, Larry and Chris from Ohio. Very nice folks who helped make our week a lot of fun. As we got to know them over the next 7 days, we found we had a lot in common and we became fast friends. Even our head server thought we were long time friends and had trouble believing we had just met.

Speaking of our head server, Zuzannah is from Hungary and really made our dining experience on the Carnival Valor a wonderful experience. We had plenty of dishes to choose from such as lobster, prime rib, shrimp, baby back ribs, talipia, salmon, various pasta dishes, and George's favorite Flat Iron Steak with baked potato. I tried something different every night and my favorite meal by far was the ribs. Messy but delish. I also enjoyed the different desserts, one was the baked alaska and the other a rich and decadent chocolate espresso cake.

Here are a few pics taken from around the ship. Notice the exquisite art work.

First port of call was Grand Cayman. We woke up to a glorious sunrise and quickly showered and headed to the breakfast buffet.

Lovely area, clean and very nice and accomodating people. George and I walked around and shopped for a few hours. We ran into Big Black Dick and learned about his claim to fame. I thought it was hilarious and had to take pics to share.

Next stop...Roatan Hondurous. We couldn't dock at our original port because of the high winds so we had to dock at another spot. We were warned that the area might not be the most safe but there was lots of nice shops to enjoy as long as we stayed within the secured area. George and I also decided that with the storm clouds approaching, we weren't going to venture too far anyway. We did enjoy some of the native dances and did a little shopping.

I found that Santa even has a workshop in the Carribean.

We left Roatan around 6pm and George took these beautiful pictures of the sunset.
Isn't that a pretty sight?

In the evenings, after a wonderful dinner, we usually took in a show on board the ship. Unfortunately cameras aren't allowed in the theatre but we did see some really funny comedians, a magician and an awesome juggler. Imagine juggling on rocky seas. That poor guy had quite a challenge but he was really good.

Next stop...Belize. Lovely city and we visited my favorite store.

We sampled some rumcakes...yummm. Then stopped for a Belizian?? beer at Bandito's. This husband and wife entertained the crowd with some local music.

I really would have liked to have been able to spend more time in Belize. There is so much history there and I would like to be able to explore the ruins there one day. Several of the shore excursions that were offered to tour the ruins were 5-6 hours long and we had to pick and choose as to what we could fit in. We opted for a 1 hour tour around the city which just made me want to see more. Definitely plan to visit Belize again.

My favorite port of call though was Puerta Maya Cozumel. I really enjoyed my time there and would have enjoyed spending another day or two there. The beach was pristine, the water just a perfect shade of turquoise and the weather was perfect. We walked around and did a lot of shopping, we had a drink at the Three Amigos Bar and just enjoyed the day.

We left Cozumel on Friday and headed back to Florida. We had been hearing about all the snow being dumped on the mid Atlantic states and hoped we would actually be able to get into and out of the airports. As it turned out, we had no problems. Larry and Chris, our new cruise buddies, were not as lucky. They ended up landing in Indianapolis but had to stay at a hotel because the roads were impassible after 15 inches of snow. Several of the major highways were closed so their vacation continued for one more day. LOL
Anyway, we got back to cold New England and reality late Sunday night. Not sure when we will get away like that again so I made sure to enjoy every second of it. It was really nice and relaxing and spending our 1st wedding anniversary on a cruise was a wonderful second honeymoon. I hope you enjoyed hearing about our adventure and seeing the pictures. We took about 300 pictures so it was hard to pick and choose the better ones. I hope I did the whole trip justice.

On our last night on board, we managed to get a few nice sunset shots. Kind of makes me want to go cruising again real soon. On that note...enjoy.