Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grandma Genie visits

On Friday, Grandma Genie flew down to Florida to visit us. It was the first time she's had to fly by herself, and she did great getting it all arranged and making it to her flight. On Saturday we toured Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and Grandma Genie came along. After the tour we ate lunch and then spent the afternoon at the pool. Connor and I went to the beach briefly, but mostly we hung out in the family pool.

On Sunday, Grandma Genie's tummy wasn't feeling so good, so we had a quiet morning and then went to Cantina Laredo for lunch. Afterwards, we went to a couple open houses just for fun and then swam at the house and did our regular Sunday tennis lessons.

Grandma Genie took some cute pictures of the kids.


 Of course we had to eat at Barbara Jean's while she was in town.

Grandma has been spending lots of quality time with the kids. It's definitely different without Grandpa here to plan spoons and memory with everyone, but Grandma has been showering the kids with attention and affection. We're so happy she came to visit.

Swimming lessons at the house with Coach Jill

The kids have been taking swimming lessons this summer and are both swimming like little fish. Both kids have been good at goofing around in the water for a while, but they mostly would doggy paddle around to get places. We wanted them to learn the correct form and technique for strokes and decided to hire a professional. Coach Jill comes to our house once per week and spends 30 minutes with each of them. It couldn't be any more convenient. They work hard and are both good listeners and it's neat to see them improving. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Disney Fantasy Cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios Jamaica, and Castaway Cay

Friday, 7/11/2015 we set sail on the Disney Fantasy for a cruise to Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios Jamaica and Castaway Cay. The cruise was originally intended to go to Falmouth Jamaica, however due to some maintenance needs, we stopped in Ocho Rios instead. It was the first time any Disney boat docked there, so was an unexpected change of plans.

We had lots of adventures and fun on the cruise. I found that I had so many videos from the vacation that it made more sense to put snippets together in to one movie instead of interspersing them in the blog.

When we first got on the boat, we wandered around and then got some food to eat. While we were eating, Andrea noticed Connor looked uncomfortable and asked him what was wrong. He started spitting out his bite of hotdog and we were worried he was choking, but it turned out he had just lost another tooth!

Paige decided she wanted to dress up in her Pocahontas dress for dinner.

The first night, after dinner, we went to the family dance party. On the way to the family dance party, we found a motorcycle and sidecar setup in one of the bars. The kids begged us to sit in it every time we passed it throughout the cruise. There was actually a speaker that made engine sounds if you pressed a pedal and the kids loved it.

Paige and Mommy loved dancing every chance they got on the cruise. Connor has become too self-aware lately and won't dance, but he sits and watches. I danced with Paige a little, but when I'm out there she's more interested in doing lifts and tricks, which is getting harder and harder as she is getting bigger.

Saturday, the 12th, was a sea day and we spent some time playing mini-golf, exploring the ship, and doing the mysteries. The mini-golf was the same as on the Dream, but Connor loved going through it as much as I could stand it.

The Fantasy had two of the same mysteries as the Dream (stolen paintings and stolen puppies), but also had a new Muppets mystery. We did the Muppets mystery first and only once. It called for many different challenges and things to find. You had to analyze a Call Board and a character's door for clues as well as all the clues on the interactive paintings. It was much more difficult than the other two mysteries, but was awfully cute and well put together. We enjoyed it, but only did it the one time since it took so long to get through it and required so much running around.

For dinner, Paige wore her Princess Jasmine dress, which was very appropriate since Sunday night they did their live Aladdin stage show.

Minnie wore a unique dress for the Aladdin show and we had to get a pic with Paige and Minnie together.

On Monday, the 13th, we stopped at Cozumel Mexico. As we like to do, we hired a taxi and went to Paradise beach. The beach there is sea-weedy, the sand is somewhat muddy and rocky, but the pool is amazing, the food and service is always incredible, and they have free wi-fi internet access. We love the facility and we think it's our fifth time going there. We bought Connor a wristband so he could play on the inflatables out in the ocean. He only climbed on one of them, which was a big slide. There were other options, but some of them seemed a bit dangerous.

It was so bright out, my camera wasn't well setup for the outdoor shot, but I still liked the overexposed picture I took of Andrea with the kids and their virgin strawberry daiquiris.

We got a few orders of guacamole and quesadillas.

The pool was heated and huge with lots of room to play. Andrea threw a lot of rings for Connor and Paige as well as for some other random unsupervised kids that wanted to join in.

Monday night was the stage show "Wishes", which was a new show for us. It was about three kids graduating high school and their wishes for the future. We hadn't seen it before, and in typical Disney fashion it was a creative show with a cute story tying all the songs together.

On Tuesday, we stopped at Grand Cayman. Andrea and I had been discussing our plans for the day. On our last cruise when we stopped there we got a taxi to a public beach and were pretty turned off by the crowds, noise, expense, and difficulty in getting there. The prospect of tendering in and journeying to a beach didn't sound appealing and we decided to stay on the boat. It turned out to be a great decision. In the morning we slept in and then got Paige dressed to do the Princess Gathering. She chose her Mulan dress to wear.

After meeting princesses all morning, we swam and rode the slides while watching movies on the big screen outside on the top deck. On the sea days the pools are so packed it's hard to find a seat of find space to get in the water. On our day in Grand Cayman, it was so relaxing and we had so much fun together. Connor was a great sport and rode the Aquaduck with Andrea and me a bunch of times. Paige was just a quarter inch too short and although we tried our luck with two different lifeguards, they wouldn't budge on the height requirement of 42". Paige didn't seem to mind since she didn't know what she was missing. She rode the yellow kiddie slide dozens of times and swam in the pool.

Since Paige was getting a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique‎, we decided to do something special for Connor. I took him up for 30 minutes on Goofy's Sports Simulator. He got to play soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey and football on the screen. The soccer, hockey and basketball worked fairly well, but the baseball was very picky about pitch placement and the football didn't register the passes consistently. Connor liked it very much and if we'd been able to, I wanted to take him back for some more time.

On Wednesday, the 15th, we stopped in Ocho Rios Jamaica. Andrea and I had been planning to leave the kids on the boat so we could do a river tubing adventure, but the tubing was close to Falmouth Jamaica, where we had been planning to stop, and was over an hour's drive from Ocho Rios. We cancelled the excursion and decided to just take the kids off the boat to see the town and to do some shopping. Connor and Paige wanted to touch every breakable and fragile thing they could find. The storekeepers strategically placed everything where they were easy to see and handle and the kids loved picking through everything. I was sure we'd end up buying some broken trinket, but thankfully they didn't break a thing. Andrea had been thinking about getting Connor a cool Jamaica soccer jersey, but Connor had his eyes set on a wild tie-dyed "Yeah Mon" Jamaica shirt. We also got them both little painted wooden turtles, a soccer ball and football for Connor, some Jamaican coffee for Grandma and Grandpa Vernon, and some bracelets for the kids.

Wednesday night was pirate night, so we got semi-dressed up, but decided to skip formal dinner. Andrea and I had a quiet snack on the top deck and the kids ate in the kids club. The kids always had fun in the Oceaneer's Club and Oceaneer's Lab. We never got bored once on the boat. On this cruise, one of the unique features was the TV in the stateroom. The TV had access to a huge library of Disney movies. Almost every animated Disney movie and Pixar movie ever made were available on demand at all times for free. 

For the show Wednesday night, the were showing the new Pixar movie "Inside Out". We were all watching it in 3d in the main theater when Andrea tapped me on the shoulder and told me that Connor wasn't feeling good. I took Connor out of the theater and there was a restroom just outside the theater doors. Connor ran towards the restroom and didn't even make it to the restroom door. He threw up all over the door and the floor. I told him to go inside and throw up in the potty if he was still feeling sick and apparently he made it in the restroom, but couldn't get to a potty before throwing up again. I went to notify some staff of the mess, and then I took Connor back to the room. We got his mouth cleaned up, and showered him off. Thankfully he only got a little splattering of barf on his shoes and legs. Thankfully there also weren't any people in the restroom as well. He was sad about spitting up, and I'm glad at least we didn't do it in the theater.  He felt better the rest of the night and we think it was just a bad combination of lemonade, Skittles, Gummy Worms, ship motion, 3d glasses, and the movie.

Thursday, the 16th, was a sea day. It was also formal night and the day we'd scheduled Paige's appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique‎. It's the only Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique‎ on a boat, and thankfully Andrea's a planner and had scheduled it prior to the cruise. While on the cruise, Andrea and Paige did some shopping and bought her the new Cinderella dress that's based on the dress from the recently released live-action Cinderella movie. It's not as glittery as the typical dresses, but looked great on Paige. It has some butterflies around the neckline made out of fabric and was a pretty iridescent blue color.

Connor came and waited patiently while playing on his iPad.

We had a little bit of a wait, so they gave Paige a cute Minnie Mouse stuffed animal. There were a couple options for the hair, and we decided to go with the updo bun since Andrea does a good job with Paige's hair when it's down. There's no way we can do the bun on our own. I took a before pic of Paige before Voilet, her fairy godmother from Jamaica, got started.

Paige got sparkly gold glitter nail polish on her fingers.

Paige had many colors to choose from for her makeup. She chose a light blue which matched her dress nicely and a pink which matched her sash and tiara. She also picked out a butterfly shaped sparkly sticker for her cheek that matched the butterflies on her dress. It all worked together very well, she may have a knack for fashion like her mother!

At the end of the makeover, Violet said her magic spell while dumping about ten pounds of glitter on Paige's head. Paige made a wish, but unfortunately it hasn't come true yet. Apparently she wished that she and her entire family would turn in to mermaids and mermen. I'm kind of hoping that one doesn't come true since I don't much care for fish myself, although it may be fun to swim with flippers.

While walking between levels, Andrea ran in to Cinderella. Cinderella loved Paige's Cinderella dress and just had to stop and talk about princess stuff with Paige. Unfortunately Andrea only had her phone with her, but it was better than nothing and she was able to snap a quick pic of Paige and Cinderella together.

At dinner we snapped a few pics of everyone looking fancy.

We were seated with a couple ladies from Portland Oregon. Sara (the blonde) with her son Ethan, and Heather with her daughter Jillian.

Thursday night in the main theater they were putting on "Believe", which we'd seen before. Connor and I went one of the movie theaters and caught the second half of "Inside Out" together. He had only a ring pop to eat and water to drink, and we made it to the end of the very cute movie.

Friday the 17th was our last day on the cruise. We stopped at our favorite port, Castaway Cay. All the characters were dressed appropriately for the beach.

Before we let the kids get in the water, Andrea had me snap one last pic of Paige with her princess hair. It managed to stay up overnight, but a few minutes later in the ocean ended it.

We rented a couple rafts and the kids really enjoyed trying to keep all their body parts on the raft while the "shark" (daddy) swam around trying to yank them off. Around lunch time they went to "Scuttle's Cove" for some kids club fun and Andrea and I floated all around on the rafts, but didn't see too much of anything interesting. It was nice and relaxing though on the rafts, well worth the $10 each to rent.

On Saturday morning, the 18th, we got up early and disembarked from the boat. We were up by 7am, in our car by 8am, and home by 10am. It is so nice living close to the port. On the way home we gave thanks that everyone was healthy on this cruise, that everyone had a fun time, and that we all made it home safe and sound. It was a memorable trip and we can't wait for another cruise with Disney!