Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carnival Cruise - Fascination - with Connor and our friends

Last week, we went on our first Cruise with Connor and with some of our new friends from our neighborhood. Andrea had planned the Cruise to coincide with Connor's spring break from school and we thought it'd be fun to have some other families and kids along so she floated the idea to a few people and we were pleasantly surprised when three other families planned to come with us!

We were joined on the trip with (from left to right in the first picture) Gina, Trevor, Mark, Clara, Danny, Dan, Sofia, Kenlyn, Angel and Chris. Kelsey is not in the picture. They were all awesome traveling partners and the kids got along and played well together.

Our first stop, on Friday was at Freeport Bahamas. We typically have only ever done Carnival sanctioned and sponsored excursions, however Chris and Angel were pretty used to just getting off the boat and finding things to do on their own. We decided to give that a try and we all rented a taxi together and drove out to a nearby beach. It saved us a lot of money to do it directly ourselves and it was the same beach that many other cruisers paid to go to.

The beach was one of our favorites. Mark brought along a volleyball and there was a net near the seats. I played volleyball with Mark, Chris and Kelsey quite a bit and there were other people that joined in. The kids played in the water most of the time and we threw around a frisbee and football with the boys.

That same night was formal night! It was a little stressful to get back to the boat on time to get all fancied up and dressed nicely for dinner.

After dinner, most of us got together for some formal pictures on the stairs.

We really enjoyed the shows on this cruise. Typically there is one male and one female singer and a bunch of dancers. On this cruise, there were four male and four female performers that danced and sang. They were surprisingly good and the music choices were more to our tastes too.

We went out pretty much every night on the cruise. We liked one of the comedians and watched all his shows. The dance club was Andrea's favorite part. There were a lot of partiers on the cruise, so it was always a lively scene at night. Clara and Dan liked to gamble and Chris and Mark did a bit too. I lost $100 on the poker table the first night and decided I didn't like the computerized system on the boat.

On the second day of the cruise, we went to Nassau Bahamas. We intended to go to the Atlantis resort for the day and had heard good things about the water park. We took a cab over to the hotel and we were blown away to find out that a one person ticket to the water park would be around $135. One of the cab drivers mentioned that the best way to get around the high price of the ticket was to book a room. Unfortunately, I think they had "special" spring break pricing in place and it would have cost even more if we booked a room.

The inside of the Atlantis was very pretty.

In the end, we decided to just walk to a nearby beach that was free. There were lots of locals there peddling random junk and ripoff prices on alcoholic drinks served out of coconuts. We rented a few beach chairs, bought more junk than we should have, and had a surprisingly fun day.

Chris and Mark rented some jet-skis and we all thought it looked like fun to ride a banana boat. We all chipped in for the ride and regretted it. The boat pulling us kicked up a ton of saltwater spray right in Andrea's face. The kids mostly hunkered down in terror during the ride and Kelsey almost fell off at the end. We were all thoroughly soaked by the time it was over. It was an experience, but not one we'd do again.

Back on the boat, we partied up! We all went to the dance club a couple times and Andrea was a dancing queen. There were lots of opportunities to dance and we all shook our moneymakers and got our money's worth.

Possibly my favorite moment of the cruise came very unexpectedly. After we all played bingo, one of the dancers taught a dance class. She taught the opening steps to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce.

Kenlyn and Kelsey went up on stage to do the dancing and Connor and Trevor considered it and then decided to sit and watch instead. You could tell they both kind of wanted to go up on stage, but changed their minds. Kelsey and Kenlyn went through the entire routine with the dance coach and then had a few performances where they put all their moves together. After they were done, they split in to two groups and performed as teams. Finally, the dance coach welcomed anyone who wanted to dance, and to everyone's surprise Connor ran up on stage.

He hadn't really been paying close attention, but he made a go of it and shook his booty and entertained us all. They did two runthroughs and I got the first on video and the second time through I snapped a few pictures.

The video is cute, but we were surprised it wasn't as exciting as it was in real life. It was such a surprise to see him run up there and you can hear everyone from our group in the audience shrieking and cheering for Connor and Kenlyn.

Prior to Connor's breakout performance he was fairly reserved with dancing, but after being up on stage he wasn't nervous about it any more. The rest of the trip he was happy to go dance with his friends and it was very fun to see him break out of his shell and party up!

Connor was a good boy for most of the trip and typically got to stay up way past his bed time. One night, he fell asleep on me while I was holding him.

The last day of the cruise was a sea day and we sat out by the pool. Gina had gotten up super early at 6am to reserve a bunch of the best seats for our group.

Overall, it was possibly our most fun cruise ever. Lots of great company, fun at the beach and boat, and a lot of quality time with our Connor.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kangaroo Story with Paige

Paige loves to tell stories at night before bed. Sometimes it's just one, but often she will want a bunch of stories and my imagination only goes so far before I'm exhausted. Recently, I've been asking her to tell me stories. Surprisingly, they're pretty good and she does well thinking of characters, situations, dialogues, etc.

I took a video of her telling a story the other night and did my best to put subtitles with it. I'm not sure I got the words exactly right. Paige loves watching this video.

Stripey Pajamas and Chasing Paige

Connor still loves his stripes. The other day he put on pajamas he picked out on his own and they were all mismatched and stripey, we just had to get a picture.

While the camera was out, I also got a video of Connor chasing Paige around the couch. Sissy loves this game, it's a little dangerous, but Connor is very careful when he tackles her.

Night out with Andrea for Amanda Lane's birthday

On Saturday night, Andrea and I went out with a bunch of the neighbors to celebrate Amanda Lane's birthday. We ate at Cantina Loredo and then went over to Black Finn for a while.

Connor's second soccer game of the Spring season

Connor had the second game of his soccer season on Saturday. His team's doing pretty well playing together and Connor really enjoys the games. On Saturday, their team fell behind pretty early on and Connor rallied to score their first 3 goals in a row. The rest of the team picked up the pace, but they never quite caught back up. Connor scored at least 4 goals, possibly 5. It's hard to always keep track and there's often a crowd of kids around the goal when the ball goes in.

We put together a video of Connor's game. He had a bunch of really good defensive plays and a few assists as well. There was one kid on the other team that scored a few goals early in the game and Connor really went after him. We were impressed with his aggressive play and talked to him about it afterwards. Connor told us the other boy was good so he was extra hard on him. You can see him bump in to the boy in the video and prevent what otherwise would have been an easy goal.

Drumming, Walking and Biking with Paige

Went on a walk with Paige and she was a hoot. We explored random stuff, drummed on everything we saw and picked flowers.

Paige wanted to ride the bike that Santa brought for her when she got home. She's still not very steady on it, but does pretty well walking it along.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ban-ans and Cinderella on the iPad

Paige has a recent obsession with band-aids, which she refers to as "ban-ans". She had a small boo-boo on one of her fingers a few weeks ago and ever since she likes to have a band-aid on her finger. She's pretty much used up all the band-aids we have in the house.

I thought I'd also mention how clever she is with the iPad on this post. This morning I was watching her match shapes and colors with her new Cinderella game. I noticed it in the app store last week and purchased it for her. I'd been planning to sit down and show it to her and work through it with her, but she found it on her own and figured it out by herself. The game has three levels and Paige always plays on the hardest, level three.

She has to match shapes, figure out patterns, and do all kinds of cute puzzles. I took a really brief video of her matching shapes to a dress. She flies through the puzzle and finishes it pretty quickly.

The video's also cute because you can hear Connor at the end tell me he's done with breakfast. You'll notice he's taken to calling me "Father" recently, which we think is pretty cute. He also calls Andrea "Mother". Not sure why he decided to do that, but it's very formal and endearing.