Our vacation plans for 2018 are set

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a planner. In fact, one of the trips my family will take this year has been in the works since 2016. As it stands right now, we have three trips out of town as a family. I can’t say they are all vacations as one of these is a work trip for my husband but a vacation for the rest of us.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

I went to 8th through 12th grade in Albuquerque, NM before going off to college. But I returned every summer during college and even got married there in 1995. Over the years I made a few trips home to see my family. The last one was three days after Sept 11, 2001. (I can remember the date because the day I flew was the first day flights resumed.) Soon after that, my husband and I moved to San Antonio. My parents soon followed so I had no reason to return. Well, my brother still lived there but it seemed easier for him to come visit us than for the four (and later after the kids, the six) of us to travel to him.

But now he has bought his first house, and I thought it might be fun to take the kids to Albuquerque to see where I went to high school and to see the mountains. (I really do miss the Sandia mountains.) I mentioned the trip to my mom and the next thing I know, we have plans to drive with them to drive to Albuquerque for a Spring Break visit.

The kids were quite insistent that Lexie needs to be here for her birthday which is the Monday of Spring Break. But the very next day, we will get up and make the 11-hour drive to Albuquerque. We will spend 3 days there checking out my brother’s house and sight-seeing before driving back home on Saturday.

The good news for my husband is that we are leaving him at home. It is always a hassle to get him to take time off, and we have a major family trip coming up in August so it seemed easier to let him stay here and work.

Bastrop, Texas

Speaking of work, our June trip is actually a conference for my husband. Every year the Texas City Attorney’s Association has a conference in June. For many years it has been in South Padre Island but a few years ago they tried the Lost Pines Resort outside of Bastrop, TX, and they will be returning there this year.

This is a resort, so the kids and I will spend our days riding bikes, playing frisbee and relaxing in the lazy river while my husband attends the 2 day conference. He will get to join us in the fun in the evenings and on Friday afternoon when the conference ends.

Alaskan Cruise

Our biggest trip is a 7-night cruise to Alaska in August. In 2015, my parents paid for a Caribbean cruise for them, my brother and my family. We had 3 cabins in a row and had a great time. The kids, who had been nervous about going on a cruise ship, loved the trip so we began talking about taking another cruise. Somehow that ended up as a cruise to Alaska.

So, once again, my parents, brother and my family will be going on a trip together thought this time we are each paying for our own cruise and flights. As with our last cruise, a majority of our shore excursions will be done together. We will be riding a train, taking in a lumberjack show and going whitewater rafting. The kids also wanted to see Huskies, so we are going to a sled dog training camp.

Planning an Alaskan cruise is proving to be quite different than one to a warmer climate. I will certainly have more posts about the trip. Until then, I am looking forward to all these trips.

Cruise recap – Dolphins, horseback riding and more

The sand, the waves, the cheery people…it was all good. Yes, we finally went on that Caribbean cruise that I have been blogging about since March. And by all of us, I mean my family of four, my parents and my brother. We all had a good time.

Everything went pretty well except for one day, which I will get to in a moment, and of course the end when we came home to a 95 degree house (our air conditioner broke while we were away).

IMG_0249So let’s see…the cruise ship – The Carnival Magic – was excellent. I thought the pool seemed kind of small for that size ship (holds up to 6000 passengers and crew members), but it had a water park with two awesome slides, a 9-hole miniature golf course, a sky/rope course, a basketball court and at least six hot tubs.

IMG_0232The kids loved our room. We had a balcony and a connecting door to my parents’ room. Lexie enjoyed sleeping on the top bunk. And I never heard any whining about “getting dressed” for dinner. (No shorts or flip flops allowed in the dining room.) There were a few complaints about having their picture taken on the Elegant nights, but that was easily solved by bribing them with a trip to the onboard candy store.

DSCN0268Of our three stops – I can’t say which was the best. Even Jase said he couldn’t decide and loved all of them. If you asked Lexie her favorite part of the cruise, she would probably say getting chocolate fro-yo from the 24-hour ice cream and frozen yogurt place on the ship.

twister boatIn Cozumel, we took the twister boat out to a private island. The twister boat does 360 degree turns, and you get a “Mexican shower” when the ocean spray hits you. The ride was wilder on the way back as we sat up front and were facing each other.

DSCN0215My parents joined us on the island but took the much slower catamaran. The food was good on the island, and the kids liked playing in the sand and ocean. There was a trampoline in the water. Lexie went out there with her dad and uncle, but Jase thought it was too far from the shore.

CDK_9039 CDK_9137 CDK_9302 CDK_9322Our next stop was Grand Cayman. The ship was late getting in and due to some misinformation, instead of the 7 of us going on our dolphin excursion together, we got separated. My parents and brother made it to the 10 am trip but my husband, kids and I didn’t get off the ship until 10:40 and had to join the 11 am excursion. We went to the turtle farm briefly and then over to swim with the dolphins.

The kids did better than I thought they would. My husband helped Lexie, and I helped Jase. They got pushed on a boogie board and pulled across the water by a dolphin and then got to “dance” and kiss the dolphin though Jase opted out of the kissing. We got some really good (and expensive) pictures.

tia72tia6_#1 The next day, the kids and I went horseback riding in Jamaica with my parents. My husband and brother went zip lining and on a Jamaican bobsled. Their trip took all day while ours was only during the morning. This was my kids first time riding anything besides a pony. They did great. It was an hour-long ride through the Jamaican country-side, and we ended it with a brief ride/swim in the ocean.

DSCN0269Of course, I think Jase’s favorite thing was seeing the kittens at the place.

Overall it was a great cruise minus that one hiccup in Grand Cayman (and coming home to no AC). Everyone had a great time, and the kids are already talking about doing it again.