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Caribbean Christmas Cruise: Cruise Notes

Day 1 - Welcome Aboard
The first day i had two Mickey ice cream bars.
We had the exciting opportunity to see the new Star Wars movie premiere on board! Our rooms were right above the main theater, so it was so close. The kids went in their pajamas. Arthur watched 1 1/2 hours of the movie, which was fantastic. he movie was great, but it was especially excited to see it on opening day.

Day 2 - At Sea
Apparently the sea is rough in the Gulf of Mexico in the winter. We had scheduled a Disney junior breakfast. Sienna threw up. Luckily she got to meet Vampirina at least. Maggie and i were also sick. But I had a fun afternoon sipping ginger ale and making up Disney ship names with Maggie on deck 4.

Day 3 - Cozumel
For our Cozumel excursion, we did a Beach break at a resort with inflatable water slides and obstacle course out in the ocean, pool with slides and tons of baby slides, all you can drink, and all you can eat, kayaking, and more. I carried Sienna on my back out to the inflatables, which she hated. Got dunked in the ocean on our way back, and then she got stung by a jellyfish. I think they were moon jellies. The paramedic sprayed it with vinegar and put some cream on it and the swelling and itching went away, and she had a strawberry daiquiri that helped the rest. Luckily, she freaked out a lot less about being stung than she did being worried about being stung.

We all went out kayaking together, three in a kayak. Other than the jellies, we saw one school of tiny silver fish. We did see some cool tropical fish right off the port when we got off the ship. John swam back out to the inflatables with the older kids, who had a lot of fun doing that. And we made it back onto the ship before it rained.

Arthur wanted to see the princesses when John mentioned it, so after dinner we saw Ariel and Belle. Belle was wearing a beautiful Christmas dress.

Maggie is ordering every seafood item on the menu, and I’m enjoying my nightly Mickey bar.

Day 4 - Grand Cayman
We took it easy this morning, with breakfast at the actual restaurant, and a couple loads of laundry. Then we dropped the little two off at kids club and headed over to Grand Cayman Island. Unfortunately, the snuba tour we had scheduled got canceled. We were able to get on a tour to Stingray City, but we sat around waiting on the hot, humid sun for an hour in the meantime. I thought the stingrays were awesome. We took a bus, then a boat, out there. We stood around in waist deep water, snorkeling with them, petting them, and I even got to hold one. It felt like a heavy slippery dog trying to dance with me.

We barely made it back in time to clean up for Pirate Mardi Gras dinner. Arthur was obsessed with Tiana at the restaurant. It was adorable. He was concerned that she lost a feather from her boa. She said to him, “What’s your name, honey?”

After dinner, we waited in line to meet Pirate Chip and Dale, and Pirate Mickey. The Pirate Mickey family picture is one of my favorites from the whole trip.

Day 5 - Jamaica
Christmas Even in Jamaica! We split up on this day, so John could take Maggie horseback riding in the Caribbean Sea. The younger kids and I went to Dunn' River Falls, where we climbed up a 160 foot waterfall that empties into the Caribbean Sea. Our group all held hands in a line and there was a guide (and some dads) to help, otherwise I never would have made it with Sienna and Arthur. It was so cool though, hiking up a waterfall in the middle of the jungle. Maggie and John also did that as part of their tour.

The other thing we did was take a chair lift up Mystic Mountain. It started raining in the middle of the ride. Fun times. Luckily we were wearing swim suits, and already drenched from the waterfall. We didn't have time to do any of the Mystic Mountain activities besides eat. We barely made it back to the boat in time as it was. John and Maggie did not. Their bus was over an hour late, and that was with a police escort.

We got to greet Santa and enjoy a brief snow shower. That night Arthur wouldn’t go to sleep. When John and I got back from working out/hot tubbing late at night, the room was a mess and the first thing he said was, “I ate Santa’s cookie.”

Day 6 - Christmas at Sea
Santa came, of course, hiding the kids small presents around our rooms. After that we went to wait in line to see him. While we waited in line, John took the kids to gingerbread cookie decorating.

We went to an adult brunch that morning, with all sorts of delicious things. I ate so much food. That afternoon we saw Frozen musical and Dalton went to the first of many magic workshops.

Day 7 - Last Sea Day
In the morning, we went to the pool and enjoyed the waterslides to ourselves before it got crowded. Then we saw Frozen 2 in the packed movie theater. John and I continued out gym/hot tub dates at night. So convenient.

After the cruise, we spent a few days in Houston. We first went to the Texas City dike for look for sea glass. The beach was covered in trash, some of which was glass, some of which was frosted. Kind of disappointed. Nathan and Ashley came down and we stopped at Buc-ee's on the way to their house, for lunch and treats. We spent most of our time with their family binge-watching The Mandalorian, playing Boggle, and eating tacos.

One day John took the older kids to see Jumanji 2 with his brother, so Ashley and I took the little kids to explore downtown Houston. We went to Penzey's spices, a cool nursery, saw some murals and went to a fun park, after the kids voted against the aquarium. We also had more tacos (yes) and fancy ice cream.

The last part of our trip was spent with our good friends, the Walkers. It was so great to see them. We took a long walk, played Big Boggle, and stayed up way too late talking. The kids got along terrifically as well.

Being 7: Sienna's biggest problem in life is that she can't decide between being a horse, a dog, or a cat.

How to Make a Friend: I took Arthur to the park before Sienna got out of school (we were both a little bored on the first day back). When we got there he told me he wasn’t going to play with any other kids because they weren’t his friends. Five minutes later he came up to me and said “can you teach me how to make a friend?” So sweet. I said “sure! You say “hi, my name is Arthur. Can I play too?’” He stared at me. I added “do you want me to hold your hand while you do it?” Of course he did, and of course it was the kid with the sand toys. He followed his script and she said “ok. Here’s a sand castle, and here’s a shovel.” Instant friend. Being four is great.

DP: Sienna has started calling Kringle “DP”. It stands for Donut Pizza because Kringle is a pastry and it’s shaped in a ring and therefore, vaguely, pizza. She’s been determined about it, though, so it’s hilariously stuck.

Movie Night: Tonight after the kids went to bed, I made caramel corn and John and I walked down to the neighbors’ in our pajamas, with blankets wrapped around us, to watch a movie together. We watched Clueless, which was hilarious. We did this a while ago and watched Pitch Perfect. An excellent use and proof of our friendship.

Meetings: Me, with a meeting or event every night this week: I am regretting some of my commitments.

John: Like your job? Room parent?

Me: No, not those ones.

Hah. I am enjoying my 3-hour-a-week job a lot. It feels like a good use of my time. Am also enjoying cookbook club, Tressa and her belated birthday celebrations, but it’s all a bit much on top of figuring out my new calling (and doing both callings all day long last Sunday, with the Great to be 8 and ward conference). Also, room parent in fourth grade is so easy.

Busy Break (for my teeth at least): When I had babies at home, going to the dentist felt like a relaxing break. You get to lie down, listen to quiet music, maybe do some light reading. Today was so busy, that my dentist appointment - shoved between buying Arthur new glasses, and picking up three kids from Primary activities (and trying to convince primary activity leaders that they want to keep doing it) - felt like that again.

Arthur at 4: A very delayed well visit for Arthur, before TK registration. While waiting, he read a Disney look and find. “Mom, it’s bamboo.” Where? “Right there!” *points to Bambi.*

He is 60% height, 20% weight, and adorable. Also, I was a good mom to my left-handed child and made sure the tetanus shot got in his right arm.

On Time:
John: I don’t know which prayer I’m saying.
Me: We’d better be on time, then.
John: As opposed to all the other times we’ve been late? Twice in 8 years?
Me: You think we’ve been late two times?
John: Well, there was that race [that made us drive all over town to get across to the chapel]. And we waited for Jodi one time.
Me: I don’t think that made us late.

Waffle Station: I’ve arrived. I made waffles for dinner tonight. Maggie made the batter. We cooked them in my family-sized waffle maker that makes four squares at once. We all sat down together and I HAD TO MAKE NO ONE’S WAFFLE FOR THEM. The girls made their own and cut them up with scissors. Dalton made his own and ate it in a giant piece off his fork. Arthur dipped his in whipped cream. (I did scoop the whipped cream for him, but that’s less than I usually have to do for him with most other meals.) it was glorious.

On a side note, Arthur ate a square of waffle for dinner, and nearly a pound of strawberries.

No Treat Nen: Since we’re doing no treats, I can’t have marshmallow cereal, and French toasties and daddy toast are kind of treats. So i guess I have to have a poptart for breakfast!

I let her have a poptart, because I’m trying to get rid of them. Also we’re on the tail end of a spending freeze and don’t have much else to eat.

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