California

California

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cake by the Ocean

One thing I didn't talk about in the Christmas post was the AMAZING present Spencer and I from the Keeles... A CRUISE!!!!! (Yeah, I really have the best in-laws ever)

You know when you are feeling pretty and everyone is being nice to you and everything seems to be going your way?... Now imagine that for 7 straight days and add the most delicious food and non stop beautiful view!!!!! That was the cruise for me. It was just absolutely perfect.

Also... HUGE shout out of the Titas who took care of the kids for 10 days!!!!

We started the trip on March 3rd with our ceremonial pre-road-trip trip to Walmart. On top of having a awesome cruise to look forward to, I also got to go on a super fun road trip with with my best friend
We stopped to see Grandma and Grandpa on the way there and back
We got to Long Beach at around 8 PM, took a shower and went straight to bed. We were exhausted from the long road trip. Mark, Julie, Julianna and Aubri got there around 10 (did I mention they were coming yet?)
The next morning we got free breakfast at the hotel, lunch at an awesome Mexican restaurant across the street (pictured above) and then settled to wait for our time to be able to get on the boat with a game of Cloud 9
We had order one car taxi and one van taxi but the car came over 15 minutes before the van. Since Spencer and I didn't know what to do once we got to the pier, Julie and I took the car and Spencer stayed with Mark and the girls to wait for the van
Man! This was a full blown taxi experience like you see in the movies! Our taxi driver was going way too fast and swerving in and out of traffic like it was nothing... so fun.

First look at the ship! We were on the Carnival Miracle
Look at that super cute guy getting on the boat while carrying his wife's coke (you are allowed twelve cans per person so we obviously took advantage of that)
First look at our balcony
I guess I should take this opportunity to mention... Spencer and I had our own balcony room while Mark, Julie, Julianna and Aubri shared the balcony room next door. Julie and Mark decided to share the room with the girls instead of getting them their own room to be able to keep a better eye on them. As it turns out, it was a great decision since we only ever saw the girls at dinner time. Other than that, they were hanging out with other kids their age the whole time

Here we are enjoying our first meal! I (no lie) ate a hamburger and fries every day for lunch except two of the days at port when we were off the boat. So good!
Front of the ship with the love of my life!
First night at dinner.
We were really worried that I was going to get sick (as I get sick just in the car most of the time) so Julie specifically got rooms at the exact middle of the ship where she read the sea sickness is less, and I got a prescription of sea sick patches from Dr. McBride before we left. It was great, I was never even nauseous although I would always get a little light headed around dinner time.

Sitting with my awesome mother-in-law on her balcony. She spent a lot of time out here
Mark, Spencer, Julie and I got to played so many games together
but my favorite things were the trivia challenges. I did really well for the most part and actually ended up winning two of them... Harry Potter and The Hunger Games
Mini golf... yeah, they have mini golf on the ship... that's and actually thing
I think the best part about the cruise is how relaxed everything was. Spencer and I didn't feel like we had to do everything together all the time. Spencer actually took a nap every day and while he did, I would go out and sit on the deck and get my tan on (complete an audio book and amazing views... I even saw a whale one of the days)
Spencer at the basketball contest
Trivia... I didn't know he was taking this picture
The first elegant night. I was so fun to see everyone on the ship dressed up for dinner
This is Chloe, she was the cruise director. On the first day, she set a challenge for people to take selfies with her (I got a medal out of it)
This was my first cruise so I can not be an authority on it, but Mark and Julie have been on a lot of cruises (at least once a year) and they both said that she was the BEST cruise director they had ever had! She was really amazing. It was so much fun to talk to her and go to the activities. Not only with her but the entire "Fun Squad" was just the bomb. SIDE NOTE: I feel like I missed my calling in life to work on a cruise ship

These were two of our three waiters. Mark and Julie like having the same time for dinner every night because you get to know your waiters and these guys did not disappoint. They were hilarious super attentive and by the second night, they already knew our preferences with food etc.
Look at us all fancy
The Captian's toast
Spencer and I had "date night" every single night. We would get dressed up, enjoy a fancy dinner and then head to some sort of entertainment. We saw all of the comedians on the ship and I even talked him into going to a couple of shows with me (although, he really did not enjoy those)
Towel animals! When we came back from dinner every night, we would came back to a clean room and a cute towel animal waiting for us.
We got the social media plan on my phone so that we could talk to the kids by Facebook messenger. Every night before we headed out to the entertainment for the night, we would call them and send them the picture of our towel animal. They loved looking at those

Port one: Cabo San Lucas!

Cabo was the only port where the ship didn't dock in the pier and in order to get off, you had to take a tender (small boat). With so many people waiting to get off, we decided to wait and get off later while spending the morning at the adult only deck (which was usually crazy packed)
I hung out in the cabana for about two hours!
on the tender on our way to Cabo
The glass bottom boat is my in-laws favorite. They do it every time they can. Really the glass bottom thing is a non factor as it is actually really small and you can't really see anything but that is not the fun part. It is the actual tour of Los Arcos that's really cool, and we had the best tour guide/boat driver. He knew so much and took us so many places
The "Window to the Pacific" it connects both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes
The stinkiest sea lions ever! and they were so loud!
Seriously the best boat guide we could have ever asked for
Lover's beach was closed because of how bad the waves were but it was fine, we weren't planning on getting off there anyway. Look at that sexy guy I married!
That pelican behind Spencer is sitting on the most southern point of Baja... we laughed at his "king of the rock" attitude
So every time the Keeles go to Cabo, they pay a visit to the Cabo Wabo. This is Mark's biggest request of the whole trip and the only souvenir he gets is a t-shirt from there.
It is owned by Sammy Hagar from Van Halen and it has a really cool rocker vibe and always has live music playing
not to mention the guacamole was out of this world!
Look at that sexy guy!
Okay let's talk about Mexico for a second. I pretty much killed it in Mexico. This is going to sound braggy but people are usually pretty nice to me for the most part. They see me as really little, maybe a little bit dumb and they are just nice... well... Mexico was like that times a BILLION! People were SO NICE to me... especially when they would find out I could speak Spanish. You are probably thinking "Dang, that's probably because they were completely ripping you off" but NO! As it turns out I am extremely good at haggling. EXTREMLY GOOD! With everything we got at all three ports in Mexico if we would have taken the first price they said it would have been $265... we paid (drum roll please).... $75!!!!! That's right I talked everything down to $75! Here's is Spencer with some of the things we got in Cabo
Ice cream. Sunset. Cabo... enough said
Port number two Mazatlan!
Ready for beach
For our port day in Mazatlan we spent the day at Hotel Mazatlan. It is an all inclusive resort with a private beach that Julie used to go to when she was in high school. It had all day day buffet, waiters at the beach and TWO snack bars... yeah, it's pretty much the perfect place
Except when Spencer and I spent about an hour relaxing in the huge infinity hot tub, I spent the day sitting on the beach drinking virgin piña coladas.
I (no joke) drank 8 of them. The best part was that I didn't even have to get up, the waiter would just be going around asking/bringing them to me

Julianna and Aubri also got to do parasailing while we were there and they LOVED IT
"Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping we'll eat cake by the ocean"
We wrote the kids names in the sand and they loved it
The hotel had WiFi so we were able to video chat with the kids while we were there. Sad story time: for a while the Little Guy has been talking about going to the beach and I finally told him one day that we couldn't go because we didn't have any money. Well... when we got on the video chat and he saw where we were he immediately said "Mom, do you have money now?" It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about and I felt pretty guilty, but he got over it quickly

These are the docks in Mazatlan those white things in the corner are cars... hundreds and hundred of white Toyotas
For some reason our waiters thought it was Mark's birthday that night and brought him a mini cake so celebrate

Port three: Puerto Vallarta!

Spencer and I spent the day zip-lining... it was such a blast! We had a small group of only 12 people so we really got to talk to everyone and enjoy it
It was an hour drive up to the the place were we zip-linned  and we got to drive through all of Puerto Vallarta including the really run down areas. It was my first time being a place that was so third-world.
The craziest part was when we got to the most run-down part and all of the houses were small cinder block boxes without even a door just a curtain and EVERY SINGLE ONE had a satellite dish. I am dead serious EVERY ONE! We were moving too fast, I really wish I could have taken a picture of it

They have a photographer going with you to take pictures as you zip-line so they do not allow personal photography. Originally we were going to buy the pictures but in the end we decided we were fine without them (although there were some really good ones)
The drive back down was awesome. We went down with some of the staff that worked at the camp where we zip-lined and it was cool to talk to them and learn a little about them. Also on the way up, we all noticed a lot of people (usually young women) selling something that looked like nuts on the side of the road and when we asked what they were, they actually pulled over and bought some for us to try
It is the fruit of a tree called guamuchil. It is white and has a black center but not a pit inside. It is hard to explain the flavor, the closest I can think of is a dry apple, but it's still pretty juicy once it's in your mouth
That night after dinner we went to "Battle of the Sexes" I actually got to be the captain of the women's team and we WON!
another selfie with Chloe
are you tired of seeing pictures of my feet and the ocean yet?
and Chloe a third time
This was Spencer's favorite Fun Squad member so he wanted a picture with her too
Karaoke!
Spencer had actually been looking forward to the karaoke the entire time and he was so exited to get up there and sing. He sang "Waking in Memphis" and I was pretty much drooling the entire time
I even got up there to sing. Mark and I sang "Love Shack" (secretly one of my favorite songs of all time)
taking a break from the piña coladas with a Miami vice
Frog legs! I was not brave enough to try them. He said they were okay but not his favorite
I ended up getting three trophies and a medal. It was hilarious because everyone get referring to the trophies as "24 carat plastic piece of SHIP on a a stick"
The closest we have been to Nathan in almost two years
The hot tub inside the gym was our favorite. It was always empty, the temperature was perfect and the jets were so strong. It was super relaxing
The last night on the cruise was super windy and foggy. Enough that no one was allowed on the decks at all and the captain had to turn the fog horn on. This was outside our balcony the morning we got back to Long Beach.
Crazy right?! It was even thicker at night but I was not able to capture it with my camera. It was by far the thickest fog I have ever seen.

All packed and waiting to get off
Here's a funny story: everywhere in the entire ship, if there is a place to sit, there is a table to place your drink on (no matter where you are) and within 30 seconds there will be someone asking you if you would like something to drink. Well... when you are waiting to get off, that is definitely not the case. It is pretty much a ghost ship at that point. All of the staff is no where to be found. We got a chuckle out of that
We had gone back an forth as to whether we wanted to drive all the way home or spend the night in St. George. In the end, we decided to just drive but Spencer and I did stop in St. George and had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. Julie, Mark and the girls decided to stop in Cedar City had have dinner with Adam and Alaynah instead

The drive was super fun for Spencer and I. We got to talk, listened to music and just enjoy each other's company. I was unpacking some stuff when I walked in the room and saw that Spencer had attempted a towel animal for me. It was just the sweetest most thoughtful thing... of course I took a picture.
Thank you so much Mark and Julie for what was really a DREAM vacation and thank you Abuelo and Abuela for watching the kids so that Spencer and I could enjoy it knowing that the kids were being perfectly looked after

So I realize this has been a crazy long post and if you are done with reading, now would be a good time to stop. I actually kept all the activity guides and circled everything we did on them so that I could remember and add it to the post. So here is a list of everything we did while on board the ship... this does not included the naps, laying out on the deck, exploring the ship or eating.... it is just the scheduled actives we took part in

  • Mandatory Safety breifing
  • Trivia: fact or fiction
  • Trivia: Harry Potter (which I won)
  • Trivia: Hunger Games (which I won)
  • Comedy: Carl Strong
  • Showtime: 88 keys
  • Comedy: Larry Omaha
  • Showtime: Getaway Island
  • Mega Deck Party (in which I was actually in a conga line! both cliche and perfect!)
  • Gender Showdown (which I won)
  • Trivia: Movie Music Quiz
  • The very hairy chest contests (we just watched this one)
  • Beer Pong (just watched)
  • Trivia: Guess that song
  • Comedy: Ken Rogerson
  • Showtime: 80's Pop to the Max
  • Comedy: Lenny Schmidt (our favorite of the comedians)
  • 80's Rock-n-glow Party
  • Q and A-wesome with Chloe (and the selfie finals... which I won)
  • Karaoke
  • Trivia: slogans (which I was just about to win when some suddenly got one more question than me... it was extremely fishy
  • Showtime: Heart of Soul
  • Dancing with Latidos
  • Dr. Frankenstein's Nightclub (although we were only there for a little bit, it was really packed and not really our scene)
  • Spencer also did the daily Sudoku puzzle every single day

BEST VACATION EVER!

PS the only thing I regret on this trip was not taking a picture of myself in my 80's outfit. I pulled from things I had actually packed and looked perfectly the part! I swear I was born in the wrong decade (although maybe being able to pull an 80's look from your suitcase may not be something to brag about)

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