December 26, 2011


Well, Ben just graduated from grad school. He is now a Nurse Practioner and I am so proud of him. He has worked so hard the last 2.5 years to get here. We missed his graduation ceremony so we could go on a cruise to celebrate the end of school and the beginning of, hopefully, much more time together as a family. I didn't take many pictures, but I will never forget this trip as long as I live. I had the hardest time leaving the kids for six nights, but after about a day I got used to the idea of no cooking or cleaning, sleeping until 9 and tons of alone time with Ben!

Here is the stack of books (minus 1) that we took with us. It was ambitious, but I just wasn't sure which one I wanted to start with. We each finished 1 and started our 2nd on the boat.

We drove most of the way to Charleston on Tuesday night. Here is Ben at our hotel in Columbia, SC.

On our way to Charleston to get on the boat. I had such mixed emotions. I was so excited for some tropical weather and rest, but did not like the idea of having no contact with the kids for so long. I called them right before we boarded the ship and Braden was like "Hey, love ya, Bye!" I felt better knowing he was having fun with his cousins and not missing us at all!

View of Cooper River Bridge from the boat.

View of downtown Charleston from the boat.

Sun setting as we take off.

So excited!

I kind of forgot it was December while we were on the ship. It felt like Summer outside and you felt like you were at the beach. It was really fun to see little reminders like this and know that even when the cruise is over, we had lots to look forward to.

Ready for dinner! Thank goodness for the self timer or my arm would be in every picture!

What is it about turn down service that I love? The towel animals are fun and I always thought "the kids would love this!" Something about freshly fluffed linens is so inviting. Maybe that is why we slept so much!

Beautiful blue water in Nassau.

In Nassau we got off the ship and took a cab to Paradise Island. We walked around Atlantis for a while and checked it out and then went to a local public beach and relaxed and read and napped. Then we walked around some shops and ate lunch.

Johnny Rockets. Home of the $15 burger..we shared! :)

A side view of Atlantis

Holly, this is for you! A bench made to look like an ice cream sundae. It wasn't zoomed out far enough to see the whole thing, but I was too embarrassed to take another one.

It was Christmas in the Bahamas too!

The taxi ride back to the ship took about three times as long as the one to get to the beach. The drivers there are crazy and traffic was awful. Needless to say, I was so glad to see this sign and get back on our ship!

The brand new Disney Dream parked beside us at port. Yet another time I thought of the kids and how I hope we can do that when they are older.

We did absolutely everything there was to do on the ship, including all the water slides! Here is Ben about to slide.

I have no idea how is legs got way up in the air. It was fun racing down this slide side by side.

Freeport from the ship...the only way we saw it. We decided to stay on the ship and just relax that day.

Carnival Water much fun!

Ben cannot make a normal face in our pictures!

One night they made it snow in the lobby area and sang Christmas carols. It was really fun and made me excited for Christmas when we got back!

This area is called Serenity. It was for adults only, in the back of the ship, had two hot tubs and really comfy chairs and was our favorite hang out! This was the last day so we had to order our favorite drinks and soak in the last little bit of sun!

Our waiters Deni and Gustav. They were so sweet and took great care of us. We had our own table, which is a rarity on a cruise ship. I loved not having to be social at dinner! ha ha. I wish I was about to go eat dinner there and not cook right now! :)

Singing us a farewell song. All the wait staff entertained us nightly with songs and dances. That's not so different from real life, only the kids usually do the entertaining.

Last night of turndown service. Our room was such a mess, but I had to get a picture of our room before we left. When we first walked in I was like this room is tiny and claustrophobic. But I grew to love it and would love to go back right now!

This was actually the sunrise our last morning. We got off the ship around 7am on our last day. It was so pretty seeing the sun come up over one of my favorite cities. I would have been tempted to hang around any other time, but I could hardly wait to get back to my babies. Again, I had such mixed emotions. We had so much fun and I did not want our trip to be over, but at the same time I was ready to get back and see the kids and have Christmas.

We are so thankful we got to do this trip! It will probably be years before we even think about another vacation alone. Thank you to Amy, Pops, Cayce, Connie and Carol for all your help with the kids! Thanks for feeding them, changing diapers, cleaning up their messes, bathing them, playing with them, doing fun things with them. They had so much fun with each of you and Braden is ready for us to go somewhere again. Now that I've had a few days back in real life I would gladly go again! :)

December 6, 2011

Swimming in December

Yesterday we had an unseasonably warm day. It was so weird...70s and humid. Anyway, the kids had a great time playing outside while Ben cleaned the cars and I organized toys inside. I looked out the window to find this. I had forgotten we left the baby pool out a few weeks ago after it housed our pansies. A little cold water and potting soil never hurt anyone!