Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bahamas!!!

We always said we wanted to do something big for our 10-year anniversary.  Our good friends, Marcus and Keshia, got married a few months before us and we talked a long time ago about planning something in between our anniversaries and going together.  Several times when we talked about it I thought to myself that it would never happen...we would just keep talking about it but never do it.  Well we did it!! Keshia and I made sure it happened.  We started looking at vacations months in advance and decided on a cruise.  We booked it as soon as we could so that we could not back out....and it seemed like eternity before it was time, but yet it came SO fast.  

As the days approached, I started getting nervous, as any mom would do I am sure.  I did not want to leave my littles for one whole week, even though I knew they would be ok with grandma.  

I made these little gift boxes up for them that had a toy, some candy and a letter with the kids' schedule for each day we were gone.  They loved it.  Grandma said it was the highlight of their morning.   

 Grandma came over the night before and spent the night.

On Sunday, March 2, at about noon, Marcus and Keshia got to our house.  We said our goodbyes to the kids.  I teared up but when I saw how sad Channer was, I tried to be strong and act like it was no big deal we were leaving.  The kids usually never get sad when we leave, but I think Channer actually understood the concept that it was a whole week.  I told the kids I needed a cute picture of them that I could look at while we were gone...this is what I got....

Chestyn all grins! He can't wait for us to leave and have grandma spoil him rotten....
 Channer would barely lift his head to give me a smile....
 and Randilyn would not even look at me....
 and we were off for the start of our fun-filled week long vacation.  We headed to St. George and ate at In and Out and then headed over to Ross to grab a few things.  Then we headed to Vegas.  We had a while in Vegas before our flight, so we went and walked the strip for a bit and had some dinner.

Waiting at the airport...


 I saw this restaurant in the airport and told Chantry that my kitchen was closed for a week ;)
We learned a few things on this vacation and one of them is that we would not do a night flight again.  We were all so tired and figured we would sleep on the airplane...haha...ya that does not happen.

Our plane...

We arrived in Miami at 6 in the morning on Monday, March 3, and could not really do anything with our cruise transportation or anything until around 9. So we hung out at the airport, ate some breakfast and tried to sleep (that didn't happen either).

Like I say, we learned lots this vacation. If we were to do it again, we would have went to Miami a day early.  All we saw of Miami was the short drive from the airport to our ship and back again.  It would have been nice to see more and to have had a good nights' sleep in a motel.



Our transportation took us from the airport to the port.  Where once again, we waited, tried to sleep but it did not work out. They let us start boarding the ship at around 11:00.  We were so excited to get on, check it out, eat some food, and get a shower.
Marcus and Keshia checking out the ship on the deck below us...
The mini golf course that we never even used....
The water slide and lido deck...
The inside pictures of the ship didn't really work out...too many lights but not good lighting for pictures.  This was looking down at the elevators....
Looking up....

We got all settled in and changed our clothes and then went out to enjoy our first sunset and evening at sea....

A sideways Chantry that I could not get to turn..but this picture is to sexy to leave out ;)
Then we headed to dinner for our first dining experience.  As you can tell, poor Marcus was a bit sea sick at this point....


We went to the entertainment in the theater and the comedy in the comedy club which was hilarious, then we were all so tired that we didn't stay out much longer than that and went back to our cabin for some sleep.  I didn't take any pictures of our room but I was actually quite impressed with the size.  I had gone on a cruise with my mom right after high school and I remembered our room being TINY and the bathroom barely moveable in.  Well this one was much better...three times the size of our bedroom lol and our bathroom was about the same size as ours at home....so no complaints.  

I love the little towel animals our awesome maid would leave us.  We had an awesome maid too.  He did awesome. I don't know how he spelled his name but his name was Kodak.  He did, however, turn down several of Marcus's invitations to go sing karaoke together haha!
Tuesday, March 4, day at sea.  Chantry and I wanted to make the most of our days so we were up at 6:00 and outside running on the track....I know crazy to do on vacation, but we had to do something to help counteract all the food we were eating.

We had a full day at sea, so we just explored the ship and enjoyed the entertainment.  We watched this guy carve an ice sculpture in about 15 minutes...

Marcus really didn't feel well the whole first day, poor guy.  So we spent a lot of time out on the deck watching the water, because that was the only way he felt better. I didn't mind a bit because it was beautiful and relaxing out there.
That night was our formal night.  It was nice to get all dressed up and go "out".  Chantry was not looking to forward to it, but I have to admit it something we don't do often, we are very casual and so it was nice.
Plus Chantry looked hot....
It was hard to take any pictures with the lighting, but they did entertainment during our dinners...
Oh how I love my husband that makes goofy faces in most pictures....
and then I kick him a little and make him take one good one...


We went back to the room to get out of our dress clothes and Kodak had already come in and left our towel creation and chocolates.  I wish someone would clean my room at home and do this for me every night.
Another sideways picture of this hot man...
We headed up on the lido deck, got some icecream and attempted to watch the drive in movie, which was Hunger Games, but we were all falling asleep, so we went to bed.
Wednesday, March 5...we got up and watched the sunrise and went running again.  The mornings were actually one of my favorite time on the ship.  There was hardly anyone else awake and it was so peaceful.




Then we went and got ready for our morning at Grand Turk.  It was beautiful weather.  Marcus and Keshia had an excursion scheduled, but we decided to just have a beach day.  We walked along the whole beach, checked out all the space shuttle stuff, checked out Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville (even paid a fortune for a virgin style margarita), looked through the shops...and just enjoyed our day.





This dog was on the beach chasing the crabs, thought it was pretty funny...


Coast Guard....



You can't see this picture very well but there were fish everywhere.  I tried to get in the ocean a few times but they were seriously EVERYWHERE.  I couldn't handle it. Especially because I saw some fish that had extremely long tails and looked like a snake with a fishes head.  Yuck!
They had some kind of NASA exhibit and I don't remember the history behind this, but something to do with a capsule splashing down in Grand Turk or something, so they had replicas of the astronaut and space capsule.  

I just love how blue the waters are in the Bahamas, so different than the ocean in California.





We met up with Marcus and Keshia after their excursion and spent the rest of the day on the beach together.






We sat and watched Marcus and Keshia swim, because neither Chantry and I cared to get in with all the fish again lol.  I tried a few more times and couldn't stop squealing like a little girl, so I gave up.  I looked something like this out there....



These two always keep us laughing...always...

Watching this man cut coconuts....he was so fast at it...
Another night of fantastic dining. The food in the dining room was so delicious.  You pick a starter, a main dish that comes with veggies, etc. and your dessert.  We were so stuffed every day after dinner.  The buffet and breakfast foods were really not that great, but of course we continued to eat plenty of it.


We went and watched the game show and even participated in one and it was so fun....they would tell us an item and we had to run up with our number and the item to get points. Chantry and Marcus even had to run up holding hands and skipping once.  We were laughing pretty hard.  



The next day was Thursday, March 6th.  We were at Half Moon Cay all day that day.  It was by far the prettiest island we stopped at.  They try to preserve the area so the boats cannot dock to close to the island, so we had to take a smaller boat from the ship to the island.

We got off the boat and booked an excursion to do a safari island tour.  Just waiting for our tour to start.  I asked some random guy to take our picture...he did...then he asked me for a hug...awkward...but even more awkward, he said "now I can say I had a sexual experience on the cruise" We died laughing even though I was totally disgusted with the old weirdo!

Half Moon Cay was so beautiful.  It was fun to learn more about their culture.  Everyone who worked on the island traveled by boat every day and every night.





We stopped and watched the stingray encounter.  Funny how Chantry and I are so much alike and Marcus and Keshia are so much alike.  They both were wishing they would have done that.  Chantry and I both said heck no! There was no way I would let one of those things touch me.  I am not super girly girl...but stuff like that makes me squirm!



I attempted to put sunscreen on the day before at Grand Turk, but I missed the bottom part of my ankles and feet, so I wore capris and a shirt all day at Half Moon lol.  Just relaxing under a tree with Chantry while Marcus and Keshia swam in the ocean...with our ship in the background.


We boarded back on the ship and showered and got ready for dinner just in time to go watch the sunset.  Seriously beautiful sunsets out on the ocean.



That night we watched a hilarious love and marriage show.  There was an old couple that kept us laughing so hard the whole time.  Old Carl became famous after that and an inside joke for us to laugh about the rest of the trip...and probably forever.

Friday, March 6th, we ported at Nassau.  As we were pulling into port, they came on the speaker with a ...not to alarm you, but security has been raised high in Nassau against tourists, so stay close to the boat blah blah blah...ya not gonna alarm me at all. lol.

It was not a very clean or beautiful island.




 It was also cloudy and windy...

 Marcus and Keshia had another excursion planned to go snorkeling.  We decided we better not pay $100 each to go get in the water and be freaked out by the fish and not being able to swim well, so we decided we would just do our own thing.

We got off the boat and started walking the tourist streets.  They scared me.  Mostly because there was not a lot of people from our boat around.  Either people were on an excursion or had not gotten off the boat yet.


 The straw market.  I walked in there for about 2 mins before I decided that someone might attack me down one of the isles haha.

 They drive on the wrong side of the car and road, it was weird.  They park wherever they want, sidewalk or whatever.
 There were 2 ships docked right by us that day. The Disney ship made me REALLY want to take the kids on a Disney cruise....maybe soon.  It also made me miss the kids terribly because there were so many little kids getting off of it.


 Our walk through the shops and around the island lasted less than an hour before I told Chantry maybe we should just spend the day on the boat.

We headed back to the boat and right when we were getting on, I said maybe we should look into an excursion.  We found one that toured the island and took you over to Paradise Beach and Atlantas resort.  I am so glad we decided to do the tour.  It was actually one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.  I love history and it was full of history.  They took us from the poor to rich sides of town.

This is the pink house...kind of like our white house.
Bahamian Brewery...The buildings were all so colorful or pink.  Pink is their island color and all of their government buildings were pink.
This is the cemetery where Bob Marley is buried...
Fort Charlotte...built in 1697.








 They are building a huge new resort and this is the start of it...


 Bob Marley's home....
These houses were crazy.  A house that would cost around $200,000 in our area, they said were million dollar homes.
 A lot of churches of different denominations, but I never saw an LDS church....
  Anna Nicole Smith's home....
 They stopped at Paradise Island for a little while.  It was very pretty, but still seemed kind of scummy to me compared to the beach at Half Moon Cay.





 Then we stopped at John Watling's Distillery.  Everyone on our bus seemed quite excited about this place because they could taste all the wine and champagne.  Chantry and I made a quick walk through to see how it was all made and bottled etc, and then hung out on the bus waiting for all the others.  


 I thought this plant was awesome...





 I will admit I was scared a couple of times.  We had a great driver, but man those people over there drive crazy.


 Heading towards Atlantas....


 This resort was very pretty, but the driver pointed at the top rooms and said they are $25,000 a night for a minimum of 4 night...$100,000 to stay at a resort for 4 nights...no thank you!


















The island is a limestone formation and these stairs were carved directly into the limestone...
After our fun tour, we headed back on the ship and I ordered some room service...this delicious cake.  I actually ordered this same cake a couple of times because it was absolutely delicious!!
Beautiful sunset on our last night....








Our last dinner in the dining room...They sang us a goodbye song..Leaving on a Jet Plane..other than they changed the words to Leaving the cruise ship. Loved it!




The dining room staff makes everything super fun and they are the best waiters you could ask for.  Too bad you don't get that kind of service at any restaurant.
We went and watched their final show in the theater and then watched some more comedy.

Last night...and this was our towel creation :)

We got up bright and early because we had an early flight and we wanted to be one of the first off the ship. Everything worked out great.  We took a taxi to the airport and before we knew it...it was goodbye Miami!!!


The flight home was great.  We had a really nice plain with comfortable seats and our own tvs.  I wish our flight there would have been that way.

After we got to Vegas I started getting knots in my stomach because I was so excited to get home to the kids.  Marcus and Keshia stayed in Vegas another night, but we grabbed some Subway and rushed home.

We had such a fantastic vacation.  We missed the kids terribly and they were our topic of conversation A LOT.  I loved my time with Chantry though.  Sometimes we just have to take time for US.  The kids loved it too.  Grandma spoiled them rotten.  We spent the next day as a family hauling grandma's car home for her in Antimony....I looked in the back seat a million times and I swear to you my kids grew 5 inches each while we were gone.  Randilyn really did get 3 new teeth while we were gone (poor grandma).  




Thanks so much Marcia for watching the kids.  This trip would have never been possible if it were not for you.  We truly appreciate everything you do for us.  The kids sure do love you and so do we!

Next on the list...Disney cruise with the kids ;)