Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I came across this blog, Young House Love, and ever since I've been obsessed with remodeling our bathroom. We knew it would need to be done when we purchased the house. It's not really awful, it's just ugly. I hate the paint, the cabinet is old, the counter is that lovely white with gold flakes, the tile in the shower is cheap, and the window....don't get us started on that window.

There is a window in the shower. Great for light, horrible for cleaning. It's just not possible to keep a window clean when it's in your shower! Anyway, back to the point. I came across the blog, Young House Love, and I loved their bathroom remodel. After reading all of the posts about it, I saw how much it cost them and it really wasn't bad at all!

My color choice, Shale

                                                                                                              Ian prefers Grey Squirrel
So, now I'd like to start saving up so that we can re-tile the shower, take out the window and replace it with glass block (maybe with a vent window at the top), put in a new vanity, countertop, and sink, paint, and new tile around the vanity. I dragged Ian to Home Depot last weekend to look at tiles and just to start thinking. We didn't agree on much. He likes really dark stuff and I like more natural, light colors.
Good thing we have plenty of time to figure it out!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Day One. Dec 4, 2010

Background: I’m 29 and DH (Ian) is 30. This is our second cruise; our first cruise was in 2008 for our honeymoon.

I thought I had everything planned out to the letter and we wouldn’t hit any snags in our travel day. Boy, was I wrong. Living in Rochester Minnesota, we knew there was a chance for a snowstorm to hit in early Dec when we are set to leave on our much needed vacation. In planning for that, we booked our flight a day before our cruise was to sail. Thank goodness! My parents were kind enough to travel from IN to stay with our two children while Ian and I went on a vacation. There was a rumor that we were going to be hit with our first snowstorm of the year right before we left. My parents changed their plan and left for MN a day early. Again, Thank goodness! On Friday night we got approx 9 inches of snow. Just in time for our cruise!

On Saturday morning we all loaded up the car for the short drive to the airport. Being that we have a very small airport, we usually don’t arrive the standard 2 hours early for a flight. Today was no different. Once we got to the airport, there was a problem with the computer assigning seats. The computer was telling the girl at the counter that all seats were already taken and we knew that wasn’t the case! That was finally settled. The girl was double checking all of our baggage tags and boarding passes b/c she said that TSA was being a bit sticky that morning. That’s when it all broke loose! She noticed that my ticket was wrong. Instead of Liddia Last name, my ticket was Last name, Last name. Well this isn’t going to work. Our flight was leaving in 10 minutes so we knew we weren’t going to make our flight to Minneapolis. And since we had used Alaska air miles to book the flight, Delta couldn’t help us any. We had to call Alaska Air. I got on the phone with the airline to attempt to straighten out my ticket and Ian called my parents and told them that they may have to take us to the cities to make our next flight!!! I sat on hold for 20 minutes. Fortunately, the girl at the counter was very helpful and she came out and informed us that her manager gave her the ok to pay for a taxi to take us to the airport. Great! I was able to get my tickets rebooked and we loaded into our taxi. We told the taxi driver our story and she promised to get us there in time. It was 10:00 and our flight left at 1. Not much wiggle room, especially with bad roads!! Our driver was pretty good; she only came close to crashing on two occasions!!  Our fare was $212 so we were very glad that the Rochester Airport was paying for that little bill!

The rest of our travel went smoothly. We were able to check in for our flight without any troubles. Security was a breeze. No pat downs, no creepy x-ray scanners. There was one there, but they weren’t using it. We just walked through the good old fashioned metal detectors.

We had an uneventful flight into Tampa and we were happy to get to our hotel. We booked the Westin Harbor Island through Hotwire. The hotel is nice. Our room was small but the bed was comfortable and everything was clean. We started to feel hungry and decided to eat at the restaurant next to the hotel, Jackson’s. It was good food. About $20 a plate. Ian had the pistachio crusted lamb and I had red snapper with scallops. We both enjoyed our meals. Then it was out to explore and search for wine to take on board with us. We are actually very close to Channelside so we headed over there. We found the wine shop, Wine Design, and stopped in there to select our wine. We grabbed an extra bottle to drink that night. We walked back to the hotel to drop off the wine, call the kids, and decide what to do next. While talking to the kids I had the worst feeling that I had forgotten something important. I had my mom get on the phone. I asked her to go into the bathroom and open to top drawer. There it sat, my little blue case with my birth control pills in it!!!! Of all the things for me to forget!! Why did it have to be that!! Something that isn’t very easy to replace and I really didn’t want to deal with ‘that monthly visitor’ while on vacation! Unfortunately, b/c of where we live and work, we don’t get our medication at Walgreens or Wal-Mart. It’s a private pharmacy that doesn’t have weekend ours. I was in tears by this point. We were already tired and stressed from our early troubles at the airport and spending any amount of time on a plane will make a person tired. I called around and tried to find an emergency number for our medical providers at home without any luck. That’s when my husband’s light bulb went off. Hey! We have a doctor in the family!! He made the phone call and explained to her what had happened. She told us that she would try. She was able to call in a one month prescription to their local Walgreens. I just needed to get to a Walgreens down here and have it transferred. We spoke with the front desk and found one. Not within walking distance, of course. We got into a taxi and started our drive. The girl at the desk told us it was about 2 miles away. Yeah, this was a lot farther than two miles!! We got to Walgreens and I went to the pharmacy and simply told the man that I had a prescription in another state that I needed to transfer here. He was able to find it and told me that he would have it ready in about 20 minutes!! I was ready to cry again!!

We picked up some gel for Ian and some water since we had decided to walk back to the hotel. At one point in the store I hugged Ian and asked him to tell me that nothing else will go wrong. He just laughed at me. I still don’t know why we didn’t call for another taxi. We paid for our things and started off back towards our hotel. We walked and we walked and then we walked some more. I have no idea how many miles we walked, but I know I was beat. After about an hour of walking, we turned a corner and I could see our hotel across the harbor!! Yay!! I was so happy! At least I could see ‘home’ since we could see the hotel, we were able to cut across some streets and plaza’s to get back to the hotel. I don’t think a bed had ever felt so good! I even told Ian that child birth hadn’t worn me out so much!!

Day 2 Dec 5

I woke up pretty early this morning. I just couldn’t sleep anymore! I was ready for my cruise! I was up, showered, and mostly ready to go by the time Ian joined the land of the living. Ian hasn’t been feeling up to par in the last few days and wanted a hot breakfast. Eggs, sausage, toast. We headed out in search of breakfast and for our first look at the Legend. Shortly after leaving the hotel, we stood on the bridge and I got my first look at her. I was bursting with excitement now! We took a couple of pictures and continued our search. We saw the black sky but kept on walking, going back towards Channel side hoping for breakfast and someplace to buy chapstick. We weren’t finding anything open and then we started to feel the rain. Uh-oh. A few sprinkles didn’t bother us but that didn’t last long. Before too long it was pouring. We took shelter under a little pavilion and waited it out. So now we are wet and hungry!! After walking all over the area and finding nothing more than a Starbucks, we headed back toward the hotel, feel wet and defeated. We decided to check the hotel restaurant, knowing it would be pricey, but at that point, we just wanted food. The hotel restaurant was serving still and also offered a breakfast buffet. We bother decided on the buffet for $16 each!! Yuck! I was glad to know that I won’t have to pay for another meal this week! The food was good at least.

We headed back to our room to pack up the few things we had out and to schedule the shuttle to take us to port. Ian asked the valets when the shuttle leaves for port. We were told that they only offer one shuttle, at 12:30. Oh. Well, ok. We could pay $3/person if we wanted it to take us early. We decided to wait. We packed up and checked out of the hotel.

We only had to wait for a few minutes before a couple of vans pulled up and loaded a group of us to be taken to the harbor. Most of the people in the vans with us were on Holland America. Due to lines, we dropped them off first. Then it was finally time to be dropped off at the terminal and begin our cruise vacation!!

The boarding process wasn’t too painful, but it did seem to take a while. We got out of the van around 12:30 (the vans were early to take us to the terminals) and it was 1:20 when we heard that little bing and walked onto our new home for the week!!

Walking onto the Legend was just what I expected. Lots of urns. Lots and lots of urns, but it’s just like everyone says….you get used to them and then you don’t even notice that they are there. The main lobby is decorated for Christmas and there is even a menorah at the main staircase. Every evening at 5:30 there is a lighting ceremony at the menorah.

Since it was so close to 1:30 when we boarded the ship, we were able to make our way straight to our cabin, 6244. It’s a nice cabin with a standard balcony. My only complaint is that we are aft so we feel every little wave and the seas seem to be fairly rough this week. The first day out I think most everyone was feeling queasy. Two of our table mates ended up leaving dinner b/c of it. Anyway, the first night was spent exploring the ship. Ian kept trying to get me to relax and unwind a bit, but I was too excited and wanted to see all of the ship as quick as I could. Dinner the first night was ok. I don’t remember what we had for our starters, but Ian had the flat iron steak and I had the tilapia. For desert I had the Black Gateau cake and Ian had the crème Brule. Normally I would have the crème Brule but I really wanted to try the cake. Both were disappointing. The crème Brule had too much sugar on top and the cake was bitter. Maybe that is the way it’s meant to be, but it just didn’t do it for me. After dinner we watched some of the Welcome Aboard show. It was a good show. The usual affair. Since we didn’t have to be up early the next morning for port, we went to the late comedy show. Jerry put on a great show. He’s a ventriloquist and of course he plays with the audience. After that, we were beat and needed to sleep!!!

Day 2. Sea Day

We attempted to sleep in this morning but it didn’t work very well. With two little kids at home, we are used to getting up early in the morning. Anyway, we got cleaned up and went to the main dining room for breakfast. I had the eggs Benedict with the chicken sausage (very good) and Ian had an omelet with sausage.

After breakfast we wandered the ship and packed up our books and things to hang out at the pool. After a couple of hours we were done with being by the pool. Ian tried his hand at the craps table and lost all of his money.  I honestly don’t remember what we did the rest of the day. It was the first elegant night so we got ourselves all cleaned up and ready for dinner. We had been seated at a table with two other couples. One couple wasn’t there. So we met our other tablemates for the first time and enjoyed a good meal. Ian had the prime rib and I had the spaghetti carbonara. It was pretty tasty. But I didn’t see anything on the desert menu that sparked my interest so I tried the chocolate melting cake. I’d tried it on our first cruise and I didn’t care for it. This time around it was really good! After dinner we went to the theater and watched the show.

Day 3. Grand Cayman

Ian and I had room service for breakfast this morning. It arrived right on time. When we were eating our breakfast Wee Jimmy came on the speakers and told us that due to rough water, the port of Georgetown had been closed, so we had moved to another location. I believe it’s called Spot’s Bay. So we were glad to hear that our stop hadn’t been cancelled all together, but bummed that we wouldn’t be able to do any shopping. I had booked the Rays, Reef and Rum Point tour with NativeWay. We met up with everyone and boarded a bus to the marina to get on our boat. Our guides that day were Solomon, Everything, and Pest. Unfortunately, it was really windy that day. We got to Sting Ray City and got into the water. We froze at first! It was really fun and different to see and hold the sting rays. One of the guys was there to take our pictures with the sting rays. We could buy one picture for $20 or buy them all for $40. We looked at the pictures and Ian thought they were good pictures but we just thought the price was a bit steep. After swimming with the rays, we went off to snorkel. The snorkeling was great! Lots of fish around. Since the water was so rough that day, it was pretty exhausting swimming back to the boat. Next we headed to Rum Point beach for lunch. Ian had the jerked pork and I had the catch of the day. Both were very good. After eating we had about an hour and a half to hang out on the beach. Since Ian and I aren’t really beach people, we walked around the street in front of the beach for a while instead. I found a couple of houses that I would happily move into!

Back on board we needed to get cleaned up for the Chefs Table. I’d been waiting months for this night! We met the Chef and the other participants at the Lobby bar. We were taken into the galley for a tour and a chance to ask questions. One of the women with us is a nutritionist and she did most of the talking/question asking for the night. We started with a champagne toast and then had tuna tartar. The tuna was incredible. Lots of lemon in it. Next up was a steak taco. Again, delicious. Our last appetizer was avocado cheesecake. Next a couple of the group helped the pastry chef prepare chocolate melting cake. Then it was off to Medusa’s Lair for our dinner. Everyone had name cards and a rolled menu in front of their seat. We started with rolls. The best part of that was the special pumpkin butter. It was delicious! Our first course was Norwegian Salmon Tartar. This was good, but I preferred the tuna. Next up was the Fire roasted Tomato and Poblano Chili Bisque. This was absolutely delicious! Possibly my favorite course of the meal. Next were Rock Shrimp and Apple Beignets. I don’t remember this one being really outstanding. Good, but not a favorite. Our salad course was the warmed spinach salad with mushrooms and bacon. There was also shaved pumpkin on the side that looked like lace. One of the women at the dinner thought the pumpkin was so beautiful so wanted to take it home with her! Our next course of Chilean Sea Bass was very good, but my favorite part was the pea risotto. I love risotto and this one was exceptional! Next came the Filet Mignon. It was so tender and so juicy. Oh so good!! Our desert was a sampler platter with raspberry sherbert and sponge cake with marscopne cheese and some chocolate. After that came our special warm chocolate melting cake. One tip for everyone. If you ask Chef for a particular recipe, he will give it to you. One person in our group asked for the warm chocolate melting cake recipe and when we were given our gifts at the end, it included the recipe. We had all thoroughly enjoyed our meal but were so stuffed, we were just miserable. We ran into one of the group a day or so later and she told us that she walked five laps around the ship and danced for two hours to try and burn off some of those extra calories!

Day 4. Isle Roatan.

Today we arrived in port at 11. We were able to get up and have a slow breakfast on the lido deck and watch the ship back into port. We were also in port with the Valor. Since our tour didn’t meet up until after noon, we were finally able to do some shopping. We walked around the shops in port and I found some bracelets for my sister and a basket for Ian’s sister. Then it started to rain. Boo. We ran back to the ship to drop off our purchases and then met with our group to go on our clear kayak, snorkel and Gumbalimba park excursion. We took a bus over to the west end of the island, passing through the capital, Coxen Hole. Our guide told us that many people take a ferry over to the mainland everyday for a cost of $55 round trip. We also learned that there are no speed limits or traffic lights! We were in for an interesting ride! On the ride to the west end it was very clear that the people that live on this island are very poor. There was a lot of trash in the streets. The west end in a different story. This is where you will find the resorts and best beaches. We started off in our clear kayaks. It was pretty cool to be able to sit in our little boat and look into the water. We paddled over towards the resorts before turning back for shore. Next up was snorkeling. We were all given fins and a mask. I’m not a fan of snorkeling with fins. I feel like I can’t swim as well and I ended up having a foot cramp while swimming back to shore. The snorkeling was good though. Lots of coral around and lots of bright fish. Our snorkeling and kayak was all done inside the Gumbalimba Park. It’s a nice park. We were able to take a tour of the place before we needed to get back to the ship. Our guide walked us though and first took us to the parrots. They are free to fly around with the exception of a couple that are ‘on time out’ because they have a tendency to not come back to the park. The birds that fly free know when its dinner time and they come back to the park for the night. We were there at dinner time and it was amazing to be standing there and see 3 or 4 macaw’s fly over head. We all had the chance to hold the birds and take our pictures with them. The one boy in our group was even left with a special gift while holding the birds, if you know what I mean. Next up we saw an island rabbit. Our first guide had described these to us as rats on steroids. They look nothing like our rabbits! Then we were taken to Monkey Town. The guides there had sunflower seeds that they would hold out to encourage a monkey to climb onto one of us. There was even a monkey there with her baby on her back. That was pretty much the end of our tour and it was time to get back to the ship.

Ian and I cleaned up and headed to dinner. We were the only ones at our table and that didn’t really surprise us. Our waiter told us that the night before no one had been there. For dinner I had the beef stroganoff. It was the strangest stroganoff I’ve ever had. It wasn’t bad, but I’m used to having a bowl of noodles with the beef and sauce on top. This was the beef and sauce, with a teeny tiny cup of noodles on the side. Ian had the seafood dish. (I don’t remember what it’s called). For desert, I had the bitter and blanc. So good!! Ian had the tiramisu. After dinner we probably went to the show and then straight to bed since we had to be off the ship first thing in the morning!

Day 5. Belize.

This was our favorite port. We were up very early so we could shower and get breakfast before going to the theater to get our tender assignment. Since we were on the longest tour of the day, we were the first ones off the ship along with those doing the cave tubing. Oh, we were going to Xunantunich today. When the Carnival staff member was calling tours to leave he didn’t even attempt to pronounce the place, and frankly, who can blame him! Anyway, we all loaded onto a bus and waited. And waited. Apparently some don’t realize that they really do have to be at the theater by 8 am like their ticket says! We didn’t leave port until after 9. We had three wonderful guides from Bak-A-Bush Adventures. Shanice, Eunice (but she told us her friends call her Laverne, and that we are now her friends) and lastly, Ken. The first think Laverne did was to tell us how to pronounce the name of the ruin we were going to visit. It’s something like this: Zanan-tu-nich, or we can make it easy on ourselves and say ‘tuna sandwich’  It was going to be a two hour bus ride to Xunantunich. The girls pasted the time by telling us all about Belize. While driving through Belize City, Laverne told us that there are only 6 stoplights and 5 major roads in the entire country. Because the site was so far, we learned a lot and even went past Shanice’s house. She rides a bus for over an hour to get to work, then rides over two hours to get us, then back two hours to the site, then back to the port again, and then back home. She told us she spends most of her day on a bus! The exchange rate is two Belizean dollars to one US. The average income is about $75 US a week. Their gas is nearly $10 US a gal!!! Only very lucky have the money to put gas in their cars. Also, Belize is the only Central American country with English as a first language. But they use Creole for their day to day talking. Anyway, we got to a river that we needed to cross, so it was off the bus. Of course, the locals had set up small stalls to sell their goods. We only had a couple of minutes to look before we had to get on the ferry. This was one interesting ferry. It was wooden and there was a man on it that PULLED us across the river. Once we were all across, we loaded into vans for the final ride up the mountain to the ruins. Once at the ruins we were given a quick potty break before walking to the ruins. They were beautiful. The girls took turns explaining things to us. We were able to climb the temple that was in the city. It was a bit nerve racking climbing up this thing. The steps were steep. But the views from the top made it all worth it. We could see for miles. Even into Guatemala since we were only 7 miles from the border. By this time we were all starving!! We went back to the bus and had the chance to do some express shopping. Ian bought a mask, a shot glass, and we bought a turtle and elephant toy to take home to our kids. We loaded the buses and drove about 15 minutes to a place called Hode’s. We were served chicken, red beans and rice cooked in coconut milk, and fried plantains. There was plenty of food and it was good!! One of the things made in Belize is cashew wine. It’s called cheap man’s whiskey b/c it’s cheaper and you will feel the effects of it for two days without a hangover. The restaurant was selling the wine and some local hot sauce. We bought some hot sauce to take home to my stepdad. On the ride back, the girls talked some more but mostly everyone slept! It had been a long day!! As we neared Belize City again, we asked a few questions about local life and the girls gave us their thanks yous and good byes. They only made on request of us. If we had a good time, to please go home and tell our friends that Belize was ‘un-belize-able’ And it truly was!!

Based on the rave reviews of one of the other couple at the Chef’s Table, Ian and I made reservations for the steakhouse. This was the second elegant night so it seemed the perfect night to do it. We went to the show, Easy Street, which is a New Orleans review first. The show was really good. One of my favorite shows of the week. We went to Golden Fleece and were seated on the second level next to one of the windows. We ordered a bottle of wine to go with dinner. First up, compliments of the Chef, was a spoonful of Mushroom cappuccino for me and some sort of shrimp for Ian. The mushrooms were delicious!! For our starters we had the crab cake and lobster bisque. Ian thought the lobster bisque we had at Jackson’s in Tampa was much better, but I was very happy with my crab cake. I had the spinach and mushroom salad and Ian had beef Carpaccio since he didn’t care for any of their salad offerings. Our main courses were the surf and turf for me (delicious!!) and Ian had the 24 oz porterhouse steak. He ate every single bite!! Holy cow!! For desert I had the chocolate sampler. At this point, I was so full; I could only sample each of them! Ian ordered a piece of cheesecake. I couldn’t stop laughing when our waitress brought Ian his cheesecake. It was HUGE!! We just had to take a picture of it!

Day 6. Cozumel

It was another early day for us. We didn’t intend to be getting up so early on so many days of our vacation, but our excursion times were changed on us. Today we had booked the Beginner’s Scuba class. I was a bit nervous about it. Anyway, as we were pulling into port, we looked out our balcony and saw a Royal Caribbean ship already in port. Could it be??? It was!! The Allure of the Seas in all her brand new glory!! I was so excited to see her sitting there next to us and soo jealous of all the passengers. We took pictures of her and I told Ian all about all the new features on her. If there had been an excursion to tour the Allure, I would have been all over that one! But it would have been hard to convince Ian!

Anyway, we finished getting ready and went downstairs to leave the ship. As we started walking up the dock, I mentioned to Ian that the water looks really rough. Oops! We got up to the port shops were the tours were gathering and the man there for our tour told us we had about an hour to look around since they wanted to see if the water would calm down and the wind would die down some. Ok, fine with us. We wandered around and planned our purchases for that afternoon. We went back over to the man around 9 and we were told it was going to be 10:30. But we could go ahead and fill out some paperwork for the tour. Ok, no problem. As we were getting ready to turn that in, we overheard him telling another couple that the harbor had just been closed b/c of the rough water. They hadn’t cancelled the tour just yet but we could back out if we wanted to. Ian and I didn’t want to take the risk of being stuck in port all day so we ran back to the ship to see what was still available. We decided on Discovery park since most everything else was already gone. We found the group and went to the vans for a very very quick ride to the park. This park is all about the history of Mexico as shown in models. It was pretty interesting. Most of the people in our group had also paid to do some ‘VIP shopping’ after the park. Our guide had told us that we are more than welcome to come along since we were the only two in the group not set up for that. We would just have to pay about $7 to take a taxi back to port when we were done. That sounded fine with us since we really wanted to get away from the port shopping anyway. I don’t know what happened but things seemed to change when it was time to leave to the park. We were put into a taxi with a couple from the Allure and were told that we were being taken to some downtown shopping. We were dropped off in front of Margaritaville with bracelets for a free margarita. We walked around and found the shops….yeah..It was just the port shops for NCL. So they were the exact same ones we had. Great. Oh well. We made the best of it and did a little bit of shopping. Then we walked back to the restaurant and got our free very small drinks. We also had some lunch.

Knowing my husband, I knew he was going to suggest walking back to the ship instead of spending the $7 on a taxi. And I was right! He said we should walk. Ok…I guess. It was a long, but nice walk back. By the time we got back, I was done. We did a bit more shopping and got back on board. Since we had dressed for swimming that day, but never got the chance to do it, we headed up to the pools. First we got in the hot tub. Heaven!! Ian talked me into getting into the pool. I took one step into that water and declared I was going no farther!! It was freezing!! Back to the hot tub for me!!! The hot tub relaxed us and we headed back to our cabin for a well deserved nap!!

Ian had been pretty disappointed with our dinners in the dining room, so we tried the buffet. I was really let down by the buffet. The main dish was chicken parm and it just wasn’t that good to me.

After dinner we went to see juggler Dana Tison. He was hilarious!! Hands down my favorite show of the trip!!

Day 7. Sea Day

Ian and I were determined to sleep in on our final day of vacation. After getting up around 8:30 we wandered down to the dining room for breakfast. We were seated at a great table right next to the water. The best table we’d had all week! A trip joined us for breakfast as well. It seems a lot of folks were a bit disappointed in the cruise. Mainly the food and service. After spending so much time on cruisecritic I’ve picked up the motto of not letting the small things get to me and just making the most of our vacation. Anyway, we both had the French toast for breakfast. I really enjoyed it. Ian’s a big eater, so this wasn’t enough for him. After breakfast in the dining room, we headed up to the lido so Ian could get some cereal and more coffee. After breakfast, we wandered around a bit and then went to the Q&A with Wee Jimmy and Sam. It was fun and informative. There was a retired naval officer sitting in the front that kept correcting Wee Jimmy when he was asked questions about the ship. That was pretty funny. Wee Jimmy got to the point that he gave the retired officer a chance to answer the question first.  There wasn’t much in the way of activities going on for the rest of the afternoon so we headed back to the room to do the dreaded packing. It didn’t take us long at all to pack. Ian wanted to do smoke his Cuban cigar and do some writing so I hung out in the room. At 4 we went to the theater to watch the special Holiday show that had been set up. It was short but cute. All the kids from Camp Carnival got up on stage and danced, sang songs, or hung ornaments on the Christmas tree.

On our last cruise we had late dining and enjoyed it so we set up late dining again for this cruise. I wish that we had set up anytime dining this time around. There were several nights that we couldn’t participate in the trivia or other contests b/c of our dinner time.

Anyway, we enjoyed a final dinner with another couple from our table. Ian tried the BBQ Cornish game hen and thought that was pretty good. He ordered a baked potato to go with the meal and was glad since the sides were very small. I had the panko shrimp and that was very good! I really like the sauce that came with it. I had the crab cake for my appetizer again. And again, it was very good. For desert, I had the grand mariner soufflé and Ian had the cappuccino pie. We both enjoyed the final meal. We made our way for the last time to the theater for the Legend’s show. Wee Jimmy and Sam even put on an act. They were really funny. One guy did the Garth Brooks song ‘Friends in Low Places”, he was the best performer. Everyone else was fairly bad or just really funny.

This was it. Time for bed.

Day 8. Disembarkation

We awoke this morning to clouds in Tampa. We quickly showered and had breakfast on the Lido deck. I was anxious for it to be late enough to call home and hear from my kids. I guess I didn’t wait long enough, bc I woke up the whole house. Whoops! My parents told me that they had been hit with a bad snowstorm at home and we now had at least 15 inches of snow on the ground in Rochester. Bummer. My stepdad told me that the airports had been closed last night. We knew that cancelled flights and such were a risk when we booked a cruise in December. We were off the ship by 10 am and on a shuttle for the airport. We found shuttle transportation for $5 cheaper than a cab. When we got to the airport we overheard another family from our cruise mention that the roof of the MetroDome had caved in last night. Dang! This was one nasty storm.

So now we are sitting in the airport waiting for flights. Our first flight has been cancelled and now we are standby for a flight late this afternoon. If that doesn’t happen, we are booked for flights tomorrow. I hope we see home tonight!! Since I’m sitting in the airport, I can’t add pictures right now. I’ll try to add them when I get home…if I can figure it out!!

Over all thoughts:

Loved Wee Jimmy. What a great director.

Ian wasn’t very fond of the ship. He preferred the Destiny. I didn’t have any problems with the ship though.

Our room steward was adequate. He didn’t seem to go above and beyond what was required of him

Everything was very clean on the ship. I never noticed dishes sitting around for very long.

Belize was hands down the best port. We’ve even talked about going there on our own some day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We're alive!

My mom reminded me a couple of days ago that I have a blog out here that I never update anymore. Sorry mom. It's amazing how much time a full time job can take out of your day.
I've been working for a couple of months now and I really enjoy it. It's a nice small office, so it's fairly relaxed (I get to wear jeans!!) and the people there are really great.
We leave for vacation at the end of the week and I couldnt be more excited! I'm working on printing out documents, charging things, packing batteries, telling Owen to not touch the printer, and getting things ready for my wonderful mom and step-dad. (they are coming up to watch the kids!!)

We had a quiet Thanksgiving, which is odd to me. I'm used to family filled turkey days from my youth and I miss those days of aunts and uncles and cousins surrounding a table. My friend Liann came to see me yesterday. We were able to spend many house shopping at Target, and eating good food, and bumming around the mall. I haven't done that in years! I'm proud to say that I'm still the only one that can keep up with Liann's odd style of conversation. It's kind of like watching TV while someone quickly flips the channels and still being able to keep up with what's going on on each station. :)

So, yeah. that's about it really. Life goes on here in cold Minnesota.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Early Morning Talks

Since having two babies, I never sleep through the night. I always have to get up at some point and go to the bathroom. Here's what happened in the wee hours of this morning when I did just that.
Just getting back into bed..
Ian: 'Huh?"
Me: "What?"
Ian: "Why didn't you explain?"
Me: 'Explain what?!"
Ian: ' How the hammer works."
Me: "What are you talking about??"
Ian: "zzzzz"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Change is afoot

My baby started kindergarten yesterday. *tear* *sniff*
 I can't believe she is in school. Luckily, she loves it. Her teacher is wonderful and I know that Ady will blossom in her class. I'm not at all worried about her anymore. A few months ago, I was petrified of her starting school. I was so worried that she would act out in class and not be able to pay attention. After meeting Ady's teacher a few times, those worries have gone away.
Now, I just have to get Ady to tell me about her day. I think that once she gets used to school and isn't totally wiped out after she gets home, it will be easier for her to tell me what she did.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The weight is gone

I've carried this weight around with me for the last year and a half. Today, it all came off! In one quick second. I recieved the phone call Ian and I have been hoping for since he quit his job to pursue his PhD. In a couple of weeks, I will start working again. I will have a full time, benefited, salaried position.
As soon as I got off the phone I sat on the couch and cried. I packed the kids up and ran to town to drag Ian out of his lab so that I could tell him face to face. (No way could I wait until he got off of work tonight!) I scared the poor guy. He thought something was wrong. The last time I told him I had to talk to him, I had to deliver bad news. This time, the news couldn't have been better.
Soon, my family will no longer have the stress of only half of the income that we are used to. We will be back to what we became comfortable living on. There will again be a real savings account (that we won't pull money from to replenish our checking!!). We will save for trips. We will be able to think of actually doing things again without worrying about the money side of things.
I'm so glad that weight and stress is gone!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yeah, white girl can't dance!

I just tried Zumba for the first time. I've worked out for over an hour and feeling a bit sore. especially in my abs. I'm certainly glad we live on a hill, so that anyone walking by couldnt see my poor (although I'm sure funny) attempts at Latin style dancing.
The first thing I did was the instructional part of the video. You know, b/c I have no dance experience. I actually found that part harder then the actual workout routine they have put together based on the dance moves. Once I started the actual workout part of the video, I found myself a bit more comfortable with the moves. But I'm sure I still looked hilarious!! Good thing I'm home alone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Saving $800 on plane tickets. (Thanks Alaska Air miles)
Saving $100 on hotel (Thanks Hotwire)
Caribbean cruise, just hubby and I, Priceless!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

1 week down and 5 lb gone!!

I have survived my first week of the diet. I don't think I fared too poorly either. I'm down about 5 lbs. Great start but still have a ways to go.
The food isn't too bad. I really liked the vegetable fajita. Too bad I only ordered one of those! I had two 'non-diet' meals this week. One day I got the rare chance to meet the husband for lunch and then one night I made the family meatloaf for dinner and I just couldn't pass up homemade meatloaf for what I had. But I filled up on my veggies and didn't go over board.
Today will be interesting as well since co-workers are taking me out for lunch since I'm being laid off until mid-October and this is my last week. But again, I will be good and avoid the stuff that I know is really awful for me.
So, down 5 lbs. I don't really notice it. Bummer. I hope the rest of the month, the weight comes off just as easily.
Our elliptical broke for the final time a few weeks ago and we haven't had the chance to look for a new one yet. Going shopping with Ady is near impossible and she is to have a play date this week, so the plan is that while she is playing, we can take Owen and shop for a new 'torture', I mean exercise, machine!

Monday, July 19, 2010

McFatty Monday

First McFatty Monday post here. I'm a littler nervous.
I had my very first NutriSystem breakfast of blueberry muffing and yogurt. Not too bad. Ian had to take my muffin and compare it to the store bought ones sitting on our counter. He concluded they are about the same size.
I'm looking forward to my lunch of tuna salad with carrots and some fruit or something. What I can;'t figure out is this, what the heck is a small multi-grain roll that I can put the tuna on?? We went to the store and I picked out some little multi-grain rolls but they seemed more like dinner rolls to me. We'll see.
I'm kind of nervous about all of this. Nervous that it won't work for me and I'll have to watch all that money go down the drain. I'm nervous that I'll be hungry all the time and find my self cheating. I'm nervous that at the end of this week, I'll jump on the scale and see that I haven't lost anything.
ok, enough of that. Time to be positive and tell myself over and over again that I can do this. That by the time we go on our cruise I will be the hot momma in her bikini's snorkeling on the beach!
Edit: I was really really nervous about this since I wrote my initial post after breakfast and was already hungry. I ate my lunch and I'm feeling much better about this whole thing. I guess when it says to eat 2 veggies or some fruit, I really should!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letting the cat out...

..of the bag.
I've gone back and forth with this alot, trying to decide if I want to post about this particular subject. In the end I decided I would (obviously).
Owen is a year old and I'm still carrying around a good 10-15 lbs of the weight that I gained while pregnant with him. (Thats what I get for gaining 40 lbs with him!!) I'm sick of it and sick of not liking what I see when I look in the mirror. Plus we are going on a cruise in 142 days and I am determined to be wearing my bikinis and formal gowns from our cruise two years ago.
I've been reading  Heir to Blair for a couple of years(??) now. I found her blog when we were both pregnant and due in June on a popular site, Anyway, she too was having trouble with the baby weight and she decided to go with NutriSystem to loose that weight. She even started writing Monday postings about it called McFatty Mondays. This system works. I've watched her drop the lbs.
I've tried the route of just working out and it wasn't cutting it for me. It's rough stuff to get time to workout when I am either working or at home with two kids that, as cute as they are, don't give me two minutes peace, let alone enough time for a workout.
So, I talked to the hubs and he said 'ok, try it if you want but it will make you cranky'. I signed up, ordered my food and now I'm waiting on it to arrive. It should arrive today and then on Monday I will join McFatty Mondays and the world of NutriSystem.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

145 Days

That's how many days until we sail on Carnival Legend. I know it's early, but I'm super excited! We will spend 7 days on a magnificent ship going to wonderful warm Caribbean locations with turquoise water. We haven't decided what exactly we are going to do while we are in ports but I know that we will snorkel at least once and that we want to visit some ruins in Belize.
I think, right now at least, what I'm most excited about is the Chef's Table. This is something new that Carnival is trying out and I have already put in a request for reservations. A lucky group of 12 will actually get a spot at this special table. You start with champagne and appetizers in the galley with the Chef D'Cuisine. Then you are given a tour of the galley. Afterwards you are taken to the library where a special table has been set up. You are about to be served a seven course dinner specially prepared by the chef. He will even come out before each course and tell you what you are having and how it was prepared. At the end of this wonderful three hour feast you are given a group photo and signed cookbook. That is heaven to me!!
A fair number of Carnival ships have a steakhouse that you can pay extra to eat at. Now, that is something that Ian and I aren't interested in paying extra for. The meals in the main dining room are pretty fabulous, but I am very willing to pay extra for the Chef's Table!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I almost never post anymore. Sorry about that. Owen and Ady keep my going most of the time nowadays.
Let's see, whats new.
Ady spent nearly a month with my folks in IN. She loved every second of it and I think she is having a hard time adjusting to being at home again and having to share and be nice to Owen. I can't take my eyes off of her when Owen is near.
Owen will be a year old in about a week. I can't believe it! This last year has just flown by!! He is finally cutting teeth. I think his bottom two teeth will pop through at about the same time. He refuses baby food now and will eat (at least try) anything we have.  He loves fruit. Any fruit that I give him disappears very quickly! We've switched him to whole milk but he probably wont be on that for long since he has plenty of fat. We will have a party for him on his actual birthday, next Saturday. Nothing too special, just having some friends over for cake and burgers on the grill. We all know how much everyone loves to see a baby smash cake! At least with Owen we can strip him down and do it outside!
Ian and I recently celebrated being married for 2 years. Ian suggested that we go up to the cities for a night and I jumped at the chance! We stayed in a hotel downtown and even got upgraded to a corner room! It was a really nice room too. We ate at a place called Fogo De Chao and it's basically a meat lovers heaven. 17 different cuts of meat and it's all you can eat! It was excellent!
Ian is working hard and getting ready for his first qualifier at the end of the month. I'll be glad when that's over. He also has a grant to write and a presentation to give.
We are hoping to go on a vacation this Decemebr but that will all depend on finding someone (ahem..grandparent) to watch the kids since Ady will be in school and working things around Ian's schedule since he wants to have his thesis in by the end of the year. Crazy stuff and it's all coming up so quickly.
there really isn't much new with me. I'm working only 2 days a week now but will be back to full time come fall. It works out pretty well. I'm home during the summer so we are free to run around and do stuff and then in the cold nasty winter, I'm busy with work.
Thats about all. I"ll leave you with some pictures of the kiddies!

Monday, April 12, 2010

'Those are some serious thighs!"

We took Owen in for his late 9month check up. The doctor said Owen is doing well, which we already knew. he said Owen has some serious thighs!  and that he won't walk for long, he will just take off running. Owen wasn't too happy about having to lay still on the table to have his ears and eyes checked. He is weighing in at 25 lbs now!!! Chances are that once we switch him to whole milk, he won't be on that long and we will move him down to 2 %
meanwhile, ms.Ady was really hoping to get her shots b/c she knows that once that happens she will go to school soon. She didnt get her shots today, but I've set her and Owen up with appointments in June to get all of that taken care of.
I can't believe my baby is going to be in kindergarten this fall!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Because I said I would

I promised my mother in law that i would post something tonight since her son is out on the town with friends tonight. When this is done, I must must finish our tax return. How ironic is that? I make my bread and butter right now doing other people's taxes and our return isn't finished yet! And there are only 12 days left to file! But really, it's isnt my fault. Our federal return is done, but we couldn't finish up the state on until our property tax papers got here and they just showed up on Wed.
We got this new computer, our old one died after many years of hard service, and right now the new one is pissing me off. When i hit 'enter', instead of going to a new paragraph, it moves my cursor to the start of my post. Grrr!
Really, moving on this time.
Owen is growing so fast. I believe he weighs around 25 lbs now. I haven't gotten him to the dr, but thats what the bathroom scale is telling me. We are making another trip home in early May and mark my words, that boy will be walking by then! He is so proud when he stands up! And still adorable in every way.
Ady is still, and I'm sure always will be, a pistol. ALWAYS talking. Our neighbor even commented on it last night while I was grilling our dinner. She loves shopping (uh-oh) and dresses and having her nails painted. She's a girly girl that loves to play in the dirt and get filthy.
Thats about all really. More compliments to me on a job well done at work today. I have every finger and toe crossed that my company will hire me on full time and pay me enough that I can actually breath some again.
So yeah, that it, for now..
Until next time.
 Maybe one day i'll get on here and put up some pictures.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ok, here's what's up

Things have been busy around here, that's why I haven't posted anything in a while.
First the hardest and worst news. Grandma died. On March 2, mom called me while I was at work and broke the news to me. I left work and went to find Ian. I think I scared him when a secretary called him and told him that there was an emergency and he needed to come downstairs.  Ian had to finish up work before we could leave for Indiana. We left for Indiana that night at around 5:30. Luckily it was an uneventful trip (not like our drive home at Christmas). Although, Ady didnt sleep AT ALL on our 8 hour drive. Anyway, it was a hard week to get through and it went very very fast.
Grandma was 84 years old and she passed away in her own bed, like I'm sure she wanted. We all miss her.
Bethel Maxine Sneathen White

Ok, now the other stuff. Ian is starting his final rotation and taking 2 classes this quarter, AND studying for his qualifying exams. He has already let me know I won't see much of him over the next 4 months. Ick, but oh well. We knew it was going to happen at some point. We are both anxious for this to be over. Only 3? more years...

My news is this..I found out on Friday that one of the accountants at work is retiring in May! That is PERFECT  for me! I HOPE HOPE HOPE that they offer me the job. I hope that they just can't stand to see me go at the end of April and ask me to take on this job. 

Ady. Lets see what's going on there. She is getting smarter every day and is anxious to start school. 

Owen. There are some big changes there! On Ian's birthday we went out for dinner and by the time we got home, Owen was a crank so we put him to bed. After about 5 minutes of hearing him say 'mum-mum-mum-mum' over and over again, my heart couldn't take it anymore and I went to go get him. I walked into his room and just called for Ian. Owen was STANDING. He has pulled himself using his crib and was just standing there, screaming. We tried to find the camera and when we finally did, the batteries were dead. Figures. 
Yesterday, I put him down for a nap. He screamed for a while but finally went to sleep. When I went to wake him up so we could run some errands this is what I found

I haven't posted pictures since December!

Yipes! Well, I'll be sure to put a lot of pictures up first and then I'll get into all the stuff that's been going on around here. (I know why you all come here anyway! )

 Owen's first Christmas

Ady and Owen on Christmas morning

Mom and Ady wearing their new aprons Abby made.

 Every year for Christmas my dad would buy Mom, Abby and I matching dresses .This used to belong to Abby.

 Owen was defiantly born a Colts Fan!

Ady and Pa 'sledding'

 Ady's 'Fancy Nancy' hair

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boy, am I a slacker!

Well, it's been nearly a month since I last said anything on here. Things have been busy around here. Taxes to get done, kids to take care of, a house that is never ever clean. full time job. Sheesh.
I've been working for about a month and a half now and I love it. I've only experienced one day that I really just didnt want to get up for work. I work in a tax office that handles, mainly, farmers taxes. They have to have their taxes in on March 1 so this last week was crazy at work! But it was fun to be that busy. I'm constantly being told how awesome I am and what a great job I'm doing and yada yada. Now, if they'd only offer my a full time permanent job.
In other topics...
Owen is crawling now. He's doing a great job at it too. When I leave the room, its not long before he is crying and trying to find me :) Sometimes he finds me too!
Ady is doing great at daycare. They are working on the words that the kindergartners need to know on sight before they are dine with the school year. Ady already knows almost all of them :) She knows more of them than the girl that is actually in kindergarten! Go Ady! We bought her some Curious George books today and she is already doing a great job of reading those. And she counts to 100 like it's counting to 10.
Ok I think I'm going to try and sneak in a nap now.
Oh! I know there haven't been any pictures. We have computer troubles. There is a new one on the way but it will still be a couple of weeks....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Man vs Woman after dinner agenda

Ian, putting his dishes in the dishwasher. 'I'm going to go and take a nap"
Me, waiting to put dishes in the dishwasher: "Oh yeah? I have to get Ady in the tub, change and feed Owen, put Owen to bed, clean up dinner, get Ady out of the tub and off to bed, get dinner in the crock pot for tomorrow, make lunch for tomorrow, write check for daycare, and fold one more load of laundry." Sheesh
I can't imagine what I would do if I could just say, "I'm going to take a nap" whenever the desire popped up!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Before I read the blogs I follow...

I feel I should update my own. Not that anyone would notice....
I've started a new job. I like it there. I've been very busy and there is a chance it could go permanent. At least, that's the feeling I get. They had good benefits so getting on permanently would be great! And we wouldn't have to worry about money so much anymore.
The kids are good. Owen teased me last week by sleeping through the night a couple of nights. We are back to him waking up though. Around 1 or 2 for a diaper change and maybe a small bottle and then he will fuss later on in the night.
Thats about all that's going on around here really. Things have been busy and it's been rough getting up in the morning and adjusting to working full time, but it's all really great too!

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Day

One day, I'll put an actual post up here again. Really, I just don't know when.

For now though, I'll tell you this:
I start work on Monday. It's temporary, but it's through April, so that's a good chunk of time.