Vernon Volumes

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Disney with the Rudolphs and Nate's Choir



On Saturday, March 28th, we drove down to Orlando to hang out with the Rudolphs while they were in town. Nathan's choir trip this year was to Orlando and they went to Music Festival at the Disney Saratoga Springs resort. We arrived in time to see them warm up, and then do their show.



It was a little stressful keeping Connor and Paige quiet for the duration of the performance since they were so excited to see the Rudolphs, but actually once the choir started singing they both watched and were good.



After the performance, we said hi and then bye to Nate since he had to go elsewhere with his choir. We drove with Abby, Drew, and Allison to Uno's for lunch and then to the All Star Music resort to check in to our room. Once we were ready, we took the bus from the resort to the park.






The first ride the kids wanted to do was the teacup ride. Andrea and I will try to avoid that ride now, and Drew wasn't interested either. Abby and Allison stepped up to the challenge and gave it a whirl. Connor and Paige like the ride best when it really gets spinning, and got it going pretty well.










We had four fast passes for the day, which was nice since it was pretty crowded at the park. We rode the Dumbo ride, then went across to the Barnstormer. Paige resisted it, and whined quite a bit in the line, but we managed to convince her to ride it. She sat with Abby and Connor sat with Allison.



I took a risk and decided to take a video of everyone on the ride with my phone. Thankfully I managed to hold on to it and got a pretty cute video of everyone. Connor was very cute screaming his head off the entire time.







When we first entered the park, Andrea bought Paige a new Snow White dress that is probably the prettiest and fanciest we've seen. We bought it for formal night on our next Disney cruise, but Paige didn't want to wait. Unfortunately, Paige didn't earn it for a while when we first got in to the park. After a few hours, she was acting very sweet and we broke down and let her wear it. She loved it and was happy to pose for a few pics.




Connor got a pillow pet stuffed animal and Abby bought him a football for his birthday. He posed for a few pics in the stores with some of the costumes.



By the time we got to the Buzz Lightyear ride, the kids were pretty exhausted. Paige fell asleep and Allison carried her for quite a while.




Although Nate was on the way, we were pooped and finally decided to leave around 11. Drew stayed and he rode a bunch of rollercoasters with Nate until 2am.


In the morning, we slept in a little bit and then everyone got ready to eat breakfast.


It was the most time we got to spend with Uncle Nate during their trip, so it was very special for the kids.


I took a pic with the Rudolphs and the kids as we walked through the resort. The resort was large, sprawling, and well decorated like everything is at Disney.



The kids got heaping plates of food. Connor chugged his entire bottle of orange juice as soon as he sat down, so he didn't eat a bunch of food. Paige wanted to eat everything on the table, so we had to ration her food carefully.



Paige was a little high maintenance since her syrup was getting everywhere. Nate and Andrea at one point were both working with her to keep the syrup where it belonged.


Both kids loved their time with Uncle Nate, we're glad we got a few hours with him.




We are thankful the Rudolphs came down and that we made the drive to Orlando to be with them. It was a fun weekend!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break Eastern Caribbean Carnival Cruise on the Liberty




On Sunday, March 14th we drove to Port Canaveral for a cruise on the Carnival Liberty. The cruise was to the Eastern Caribbean and stopped at Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. It was our first 7-night cruise with the kids and we were also excited that a number of people we knew would also be on board. The Edwards, Phipps, Lisis, Vanboskirks, and the Tripps family were also sailing. We were paired up with the Tripps family for dinners and ended up spending most of our time with them. Andrea plays tennis with Tracy, and we've met Steve on a few occasions, so was fun to get to know their family as well. They have a son Nick, and daughters Madison and Emily.

After getting aboard, doing the muster drill, and getting unpacked, we got dressed and ready for dinner. Paige loves to dance, so we went to the lobby before dinner and listened to some live music and danced for a bit.














After dinner, we went to one of the lounges and Tracy sang karaoke with Emily and Paige.






The kids went back to the room and hung out with Emily and went to bed. The adults went to the dance club and we had a fun night out.



On Monday, we had our first day at sea. It was nice to sleep in, but there was some hammering that apparently needed to be done at 9am. I took the kids up for some mini-golf and Andrea managed to snag 2 chairs next to the main pool. We relaxed there, and were happy we'd be able to see the kids swimming, but unfortunately the water was a bit cold and they wanted to be in the hot tub, which wasn't quite as convenient.





The first sea day was also our first formal night dinner. We got all fancy and took a few pics together before dinner.








At dinner, the magician came by and did some card tricks. Connor had seen these in the past, but had never really paid much attention. This time, he was involved and up close and was pretty impressed.







On Tuesday, we arrived at Grand Turk. We checked the kids in to Camp Carnival and debarked with Tracy and Steve so we could do our ATV excursion.


The ATV's were parked right near the dock, and after a quick explanation of how to operate them, we drove all the way across the island. This was our third ATV excursion and although it was nice to see the island, we were hoping for more paths or sand dunes or something to ride on. We spent the majority of the time on the roads. Halfway through the excursion we stopped at a beach and snapped a few pics.







Once we finished the ATV excursion, we went back to the boat to get the kids. We were surprised to find the Tripps kids off the boat waiting for us in a gift shop. Their parents were not pleased, since they were definitely told to stay in their room. We collected our kids from Camp Carnival and then we all went to the beach together. We love the Grand Turk since there's a nice beach right next to the dock. We got some tasty drinks and enjoyed the beach and the pool.









Before we left the beach, we got a group picture together in front of the boat.


Back on the boat, we got dressed and went to dinner. Every night we went to dinner we tried to get to the lobby so Paige could do some dancing.


Connor even did a little dancing before dinner.


Thing 1 and Thing 2, from Dr. Seuss books, were in the lobby for pics. Thing 2 sat by the kids for a little bit and they thought he was pretty cute.







At dinner, the waiter did a dance performance and Paige got to dance with Nick and Maddy.


After dinner, the adults went to the adult comedy show and the kids went to Camp Carnival.




Paige was very excited when we picked her up from camp. She had a beautiful butterfly on her cheek and was very happy to pose for a pic by our towel animal. She was very sad when we had to wash it off, but we put her picture on her phone for her so she can see it and remember it. Thankfully that cheered her up.



On Wednesday, March 18th we stopped at Puerto Rico. Connor and Paige had to go to camp, and the Tripps and Andrea and I went on a zip-lining excursion. We drove 20 minutes through down town, and then between some buildings and suddenly we were on the outskirts of town. We put on our zip-line gear and climbed the first tower to get started.











It was one of the better zip-line tours as far as scenery and the zip-lines were concerned. It wasn't run very efficiently and we probably thought it was the most potentially unsafe tour we'd been on. The paths through the jungle were very pretty and we saw multiple iguanas. Unfortunately, the paths were very steep at times and there weren't handholds over the uneven and rocky terrain. Everyone had safety lines hooked to their harnesses, but it was our responsibility to remember to clip them in as we went across the shaky bridges and when we got to the platforms. Emily slipped on one of the paths and skinned her knee, but thankfully that was the only injury.


After our excursion, we picked up the kids and then set out to explore the town. Our timing was perfect, and although we hadn't really planned it, we ran right in to the Tripp family as we got off the boat.





Connor was intrigued by the graffiti and wanted me to take his pic by a wall that was covered in it.





Paige was happy to hang out with Nick and was thrilled that Nick carried her around town for quite a big part of our time in Puerto Rico.



We ended our walk at the fort Castillo San Felipe del Morro.







After exploring the fort, we stopped for some chips, guacamole, and margaritas.


On Thursday, March 19th, we went to Magen's Bay in St. Thomas. The Tripps had a snorkeling excursion planned in the morning, and we weren't able to go since the kids were too little. When we arrived at Magen's Bay, we were happy to find Betty, Damion and Nick Lisi were already there.




After a little while, the Edwards family showed up, and after another hour or so the Tripps did as well. It wasn't planned, but it couldn't have worked out much better.






Connor and Paige had a lot of fun playing with all the kids. Paige acquired a taste for virgin strawberry daiquiris on the trip and we got her one in St. Thomas.










In the evening, we decided to leave the kids on the boat and eat at a local place since we were in port until 11pm. The band Journey was on the boat in St. Thomas, so we had an extra long stay. Some of the other families went to the concert, but we weren't really interested. We walked to Fat Turtle, which was on the harbor and ate dinner with Tracy and Steve. We had some drinks, mozzarella sticks and the best beef nachos I can remember eating. 




We picked up the kids after we got back on the boat and Paige had some of the cutest pirate face paint I've ever seen. The mustache really made it hilarious.



That was pretty much it! The last 2 days were sea days and I barely have any pics or anything from those days. We spent our time relaxing, playing with the kids on the boat, and hanging out with friends. We got home early on Sunday morning and drove home. It was one of our favorite cruises and we were happy with how good our kids were and with how fun our friends were. Already looking forwards to our next Spring Break trip next year!