Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cruising into the New Year

We are back from our whirlwind tour of the Gulf of Mexico. It was fabulous. I even got a tan (make that a really bad burn on my back). Here's a rundown on the festivities.

We arrived in Tampa on Dec. 28 and had "Christmas" Dec. 29 with the fam. Maizie got a Little People Stable and Airplane, a push mower, and lots of clothes and books (she also learned the word "book" to go along with her presents).

We boarded our ship that afternoon and got settled. While we were getting on the ship, we noticed Secret Service men and rumor had it that Former President Jimmy Carter and his family were on our boat. Rumor was right and we ran into them throughout the trip. It's funny how politics seems to de-personalize people. After a while, you see politicians only as the issues they stand for. Having him on the ship made him seem more like a real person to me. It was a good reminder. He was also so gracious about meeting people and shaking hands, too. He even asked Maizie's name and posed for a picture with her (see below).

Fog kept us at the port until 3 a.m. that night, which made some people mad, but as first time cruisers, we didn't really know that this was rare and we were fine just exploring the ship. It made us miss a few hours at Key West, which we discovered was pretty much a crazy-tourist-bar-town anyway, so no worries. We did discover in Key West that Maizie is not fond of parrots.

Most of the time, we spent exploring the ship and eating, eating and more eating. Jason, my brother and cousin joined a ping pong tournament, I learned a hip hop dance routine, we all played Euchre (a michigan card game), my aunt learned to line dance, we all attempted rock climbing and Jason and I sang "That's what friends are for" (very poorly) at Karaoke night. The best entertainment of the week in my book was the ABBA cover band they had playing on New Years Eve. I LOVE ABBA. My parents and aunts watched Maizie for us a lot, so we enjoyed an unparalleled amount of free time.

The highlight of the trip for me was snorkeling in Cozumel. My brother found a local company to take us and it was amazing. Our guide, Sa-id, gave me the scare of my life though. I asked if the fish would bite (because I'm scared of EVERYTHING) and he said "as long as you don't point at them," which I thought was odd, but then he pointed with his finger (which happened to be completely missing up to his first knuckle) and said that he pointed at a fish once and look what happened to him. Not funny.

I'm sure a lot of you have been before, but I really couldn't believe how much activity was going on under the water. We all had fun trying to dive as deep as we could to get closer looks. More pictures will be coming when I get the water camera pics developed.

Cruising with a baby wasn't as difficult as I imagined. We had an inner room, so with nearly black-out conditions, Maizie slept until 10:30 most mornings and was able to stay up til midnight on New Year's Eve. She took good naps, wasn't cranky at all, and had plenty of things to explore during the day. She had no trouble getting attention and by the time we left the ship, people I hadn't met were walking by and saying, "Hi, Maizie".

Weather was perfect except for the last day on the ship. We had 10-20 foot swells and the boat was a-rocking. My poor aunt was bed-ridden the entire day and about half of our group got sick from it. We were happy to get to solid ground the next day. Well, I think that sums it up. We are getting life back in order here and we hope to catch up with all of you soon.

Our little Christmas elf.

President's Pet. We're guessing Maizie had a question for Mr. Carter. She wouldn't put her hand down for the picture. Future Journalist, perhaps?

Mr. and Mrs. Squints-a-lot standing in front of our ship.

Maizie had no trouble finding entertainment on the ship. And no, that's not a paid clown that came to our table. It's my dad.

Kissing the cook. Me hamming it up at the Midnight Buffet. They had an ice sculpture of the boat and a butter sculpture of the chef.

Happy New Years!

Sad New Years!

Sisters...My Aunt Anne, Aunt Reeser and Mom.

Climbing the rock wall on New Years Eve trying to reclaim some dignity after I only made it about 5 feet off the ground earlier in the week.

My cousin, Brian, showing off his SIZE 15 (no joke) fins.

Getting into the Mexican spirit in Cozumel.

Our waiter, Vikas, was SOOOO sweet to Maizie. He had her food waiting for her every night and even mashed up bananas for her at our last breakfast. He made the part of the trip I was fearing the most (eating with a screamy 14-month-old in a ballroom full of people trying to vacation) seamless.


myra said...

That is the most hilarious post ever! I'm so glad you had a good time and didn't get sick or get you finger bit off by a fish.

Irma and Koby said...

Awesome! Sounds like you all made some pretty neat memories. We did nada for new years. Koby and I went to bed at about 10:30pm. We are such losers!
Hope to see you all soon!

Kim P. said...

I'm so glad you guys had such a great time! I'm going to have to have Joe read your blog so he'll want to go on a cruise. My parents have been wanting us to take one for years. And snorkeling totally long as your newlywed husband doesn't take off swimming straight towards the barracuda!!

twarpula said...

Wow Caren looks like a lot of fun!! I'm glad Mazie was sweet as ever, not surprised though. :)

Jeremy, Alyssa, Hailey and Wyatt said...

How did I miss that you were going on a cruise? It looks like you guys had a blast though. It is nice when grandparents are around to watch the little ones, you can almost feel like you did before you had kids. Glad you are back!

Wilson said...

Wow! What a vacation you guys had! Thanks for sharing all that with us. Maizie has been a big traveler already...glad your back!

Jimmy said...

Rosalynn and I want to tell you how very much we enjoyed meeting your Maizie! We will not soon forget our 2008 New Year's celebration with you and your sweet, sweet baby.

Jimmy C.

Chez said...

Shut up. Does Jimmy Carter read your blog now? You are seriously awesome. And you better start posting more often. :)