Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sail away, sail away, sail away~~~

~11th Anniversary Cruise~
As our 11th anniversary was quickly coming up and we had no plans, we looked around at the last minute for something fun to do. The weekend in Savanna, a trip to the Builtmore or NYC for several nights? After all the looking, we decided on what we have always loved..... another cruise. It would be a short one, and bought at the last minute for a great deal (with food and entertainment included, much cheaper than the other options)! We decided there would be no excursions or schedules (Norwegian free-style cruising), just rest, relaxation, sleeping in, food, fun and sun! In the spirit of ease and simplicity we even packed in only two very small carry-ons so we could get on and of planes and the boat without checking bags- Why have we never thought of this before, it is wonderful!
The first meal of many, and about the only picture of food as we rarely carried the camera around. Call it lazy? Maybe, but we called it carefree!
There were many other ships leaving the pier at Miami, and this is a picture of Nikki in front of Royal Caribbeans Majesty of the Seas- The same ship that we were on for our Honeymoon cruise almost 11 years ago to the day! Too crazy! As you can see, there was a storm on the horizon in Miami, but as we left port, the weather was picture perfect for the next four days.
Dessert anyone? And yes we did eat all four!
Playing the drums with the band in the Bahamas.
A picture of us in front of the Norwegian Sky, it was a beautiful ship! And look at that water- So clear and blue! In this port- Nassau Bahamas, we just shopped for some stuff for the kids and then went back to the ship for lunch and laid by the pool, sipped cold drinks and what else- RELAXED! Before we left, Cayden (surprise, surprise) asked if we were going to bring back "reminders" (he meant souvenirs). We said that we were going to just get one souvenir per kid- Right! They each ended up with four! As we floated away, Nikki asked me at one point how often I have thought of the kids, and it seems crazy, but we came to the conclusion that we though of them at least hourly. You see a turtle and think of Cayden, a cute little girl in a swimsuit about Mia's age, or the pink ice-cream and think of her, and we even saw a teenager with a plate of four hot dogs and a mountain of french fries and said: there is Brenner in several years!
As much as you try to relax and get away, the best of what you have done over the last 11 years stays with you!!!
A great sunset on deck.
We just love the whole cruise experience, the sunsets at sea, watching the water go by and a cozy cabin with the waves rocking away all your cares have always provided relaxation for us.
In keeping with the beginning pact of "no tours or excursions this time" the next stop at Norwegians private island was one of our favorite days. We got off the ship on the first tender to the island, picked out two lounges by the sea, filled up our drink cups and sat in the sun! There was a Beach BBQ provided and a band playing island music. Just over the dunes and past the palm trees were modern and clean bathrooms, but other than that, it was like we were in the middle of nowhere- and what a great place to be! We did kinda break the pact by renting snorkel gear to go out and swim over the reefs and we were so glad that we did as this was the best snorkeling that we have ever done! Beautiful fish! We saw Yellow Tangs, Black and White Zebra fish, Blue Damsels, corals and anemones, and even a Wild Sting Ray almost three feet wide. It was like swimming through the opening part of Finding Nemo! Again we commented on how much Brenner and Cayden would have loved it! We also met a very nice couple on the beach from New York, Michele and Stuart, that we had lunch with and decided to meet up for dinner back on the ship and see that nights show together. We had a great time with them the last night. The next morning we slept in one last time and off the ship and back to Atlanta. What wonderful days we had! We both commented that it seemed like much longer than four days had passed- and that was the point- we lost track of time !
Back at home and the kids going to school in their Nassau Bahamas T-shirts and Islander made shell and bead bracelets! The kids had a great time with Mimi and Granddaddy and even went to McDonald's for breakfast before school on Monday morning! Granddaddy knows how to keep them happy! Thanks Mimi and Grandaddy for the time off and away- we had a great time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Ends & School Begins

The kids all had dentist appointments the same day we picked up the Armada from the auto body shop so everyone got clean new smiles and "GRILLS".
The last several weeks of summer were filled with fun. We went to the Zoo to see the new baby giraffe, up to the lake to do some jet-skiing with friends and planned many play dates and several last summer sleepovers. With all this, Cayden still found some time to let us know that he was bored and we were waisting his summer! School can't come soon enough I guess for ungrateful little children! =)
Soaking in Lake Lanier.
Billy Bob Huckabee (AKA- Cayden) with his front tooth missing. It has changed the look of his face and also his speech, he slurs and whistles as he talks like a Appalachian hillbilly.
Brenner with all his books.
And Mia has started Ballet and Tap dancing and she loves it. She and her friends Morgan and Lindsay are all in the same class, so I hope they can focus on their foot work and tapping instead of their goofing and talking!
Mommy made the kids a first day of school big breakfast to start them off right (with daddy it is usually cold cereal or grits if they are lucky). Mia is holding a hippo that her teacher gave each child at orientation and asked that they bring them back on the first day of school named and ready to learn. After many name suggestions that started with the letter "H" to go with hippo, Mia decided on "Sparkles" so sparkles it is!
Three kids (and Sparkles) all ready for school.
Mia's last moment of freedom for the the next 16+ years to come. It is great to have two body guards with her at all times as she goes to school. Well make that one protector as Cayden may look the other way or throw her under the bus, Ya just never know! Day two and Mia's first school bus ride. As you can tell by the look on her face, she has been waiting for this moment for some time. That is really all she has wanted to do for the last several years is "ride the big yellow bus"!