March 05, 2012

The Cruise Review - Our First Family Vacation

I hope you don't mind me sharing our trip with you.  We'll be back to regular crafting tomorrow.
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On Sunday morning we loaded up everything and put the boys in the car.  Before we even pulled out of the garage Baden said, "When are we going to be there?"  Jeff and I laughed pretty hard about that and wondered if we would survive the day.

I took a LOT of ideas from you guys to make the 10 hour drive easier for the kids.  We made a dollar store run and I even wrapped our purchases like presents.  Plus, my mother-in-law made bags for them to open in each state.  We used her bags one way and the dollar store stuff the other way.  The glow sticks were fun at night, too.  Thanks again for your help!


The boys did way better than I thought they would in the car.  They didn't nap at all, but they were pretty patient.  We hardly used the DVD player.

I love driving through canyons.


We passed Vegas.


Whenever we stopped Rex was sure to "stretch his legs."  He always hears his dad talking about stretching his legs (because his dad goes on 5 hour long bike rides).  He takes a lot of pride in being a mini-daddy.


We stayed at a cheap hotel that night.  I was still hungry, so my husband went out to grab some food for me while I tried to put the boys down.  Our boys don't normally share a room, so trying to get them to fall asleep together was very, very challenging during the whole trip.  When my husband came back he and I squished into the bathroom together and ate Taco Bell food quietly, praying the boys would finally fall asleep.  Did I mention it was our anniversary?  I thought it was a pretty funny way to celebrate it :)

The next day we headed to the port.


The boys were so excited to get on the boat.  I had never been on a cruise before, so I was pretty excited myself.  


Cruise ships are MASSIVE!  I'm not really sure how the the boat even floats.


It rained the first day and we had really cold weather during the whole trip.  It was still warmer than home, so I didn't mind.  However, the pools weren't heated and one of the things I had been so excited about was that our ship had waterslides on it.  The water was like hose water - freezing.  Add that to the wind and cold temperature.  No watersliding for us.  Bummer.  We did at least get to spend some time in the hot tubs with the boys.  (Don't worry.  It was more like a warm tub, so the boys were fine.)


We saw a rainbow one day.


Our first stop was Catalina Island, which was really pretty.  


We rented a golf cart and drove around the town.  Baden was really scared of the golf cart in the beginning, but by the end he was sad to turn it back in.


We visited the small Botanical Gardens there.  There was this big building at the top and Rex wanted to reach it before any of us.  He's a hiker.  Can you see little Rex in the picture?



It was fun to watch the boys explore.



I call this picture "prickly."  Ha!



Our other stop was Ensenada, but frankly there wasn't much to do there.  We went into town and looked at a few shops and got back on the ship.  The last day was a full day on the ship. 

I'm glad we did the trip, but it was all a little different than I thought it would be.  Our kids are always on a schedule and we've always been really firm about it.  They don't miss naps.  They go to bed on time.  All that is pretty tricky in one little shared room.  They wouldn't go to sleep. They just got over-tired and that made tantrums during the day a little too frequent.  They didn't like the Kid's Club, so we didn't have much alone time.  (The Kid's Club was fine, but they were so tired that they freaked out when we even mentioned it.)

In hindsight, I think we'd try a different cruise line (because I wasn't a big fan of the food) and probably go without the kids if we ever did a cruise again.  (Or we'd wait till they were a bit older.)


I was really impressed with the staff on the cruise.  They were my favorite part.  They were so friendly and kind.  They were extremely outgoing to our kids.  

Baden got to interact with a lot of people, which was good for him.  He usually just scowls at everyone, but he started to come out of his shell.  This is my favorite picture from the trip because it's SO him.  He loves his "Twitty" coat and his little Paul Frank "monkey hat" which he always pulls down over his eyes like this.  He fit right in sporting them with his leisure pants on the boat.  People got a kick out of him.


So that's the trip in a nutshell.  I'm really glad we got the chance to do it.  I think we learned a lot about traveling together.  It was great to spend some time together as a family and I'm grateful I had my husband to laugh with during the difficult moments.

Thanks for reading.

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