Monday, March 28, 2011

Natalie's Butterfly Party

This was Natalie's reward party. She wanted a butterfly theme, so we spent that morning cutting out paper butterflies. We invited everyone over in dress up clothes and had snacks and cake. Then we played Elefun and had a dance party! Natalie also wanted to put makeup on so we did that and had a fashion show with a photshoot. Lastly, the girls got to play mom and dad and went home with a balloon. 
: )

It was a fun party and I had so many cute pictures it was hard to narrow them down. Parents, if you want these, just send me an e-mail!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kai's Reward Party

We promised all the kids they could have a party if they were good while we were gone on our cruise. The bribe included things like doing homework, not crying and whining, and being happy at other people's houses. Well the reports were all good, so this week we threw Kai and the girls their parties.

Kai wanted a Star wars Party; he invited friends over after school for pizza and a Star Wars movie. They didn't know a surprise guest was coming though...

  We also invited a special stormtrooper to the party. wink wink It was awesome, the kids loved it! I don't know how we'll ever top this at another party, but it was sure fun. Yes, his vest is on backwards, we think he was just in a big hurry to get to the party before it was over! ; )


 Samana, in the Dominican Republic, was our first port of call on the cruise. I loved this place, my favorite stop of the whole cruise for sure. I would love to travel back here some day and just spend a few days on this island. 

We chose a speedboat excursion and got to cruise around the coast at high speeds. We stopped at Cayo Levantado for lunch then had to race back to catch the last tender boat. Our excursion took a lot longer than we thought it would, for a few reasons. First, no one on that island cares about time! haha Second, Steve and Debbie had some issues with their boat breaking down twice, once in the middle of the ocean where they had to switch boats with our captains. It took so much time that our guides felt they owed us all extra time cruising around.

Once we stopped for lunch we didn't know what to expect. The meals were cooked from scratch, it took about 45 minutes to get our food, and there was a lot of it. It was great food, but we spent all our cash on lunch and didn't have any left for shopping, which was so sad. I loved all their hand made jewelry, it was all so beautiful! We did manage to barter a small bracelet for $4, so at least we have something to remember. : )

Here is a sample of images from Samana from the digital camera (protected from salt water in a zip lock baggie, Yeah, I'm high tech! haha) Click to enlarge.

From top left clockwise around to the middle:
*Jeremy and I in front of the mini speedboats *Debbie and I on the tender boat over to the island *Our yummy food and pina coladas made in a pinneapple * Jeremy driving our boat  *Jeremy and STeve on the beach while we waited for the boats to come back from a previous tour, reason 3 ours took longer than expected *Everything you need to make a great pina colada *Debbie, Steve and I in front of the boats *Jeremy and Steve on the tender boat *Jeremy, the sunbaked lobster and the rest of us after a fun day in the sun, in line to go back to the ship *My bracelet *Beautiful ocean and bridge we got to cruise under * One of our Captains drinking the alcohol we didn't want. * Our new friends that joined us on this exciting excursion, Courtney and Neal.

Here are some film images from Samana: 
Jeremy, his head was fried...and a welcoming band

Some pretty dancers, too

One of the reasons I loved this place so much; It was sad to see these poor dogs everywhere, but it's just one example of how authentic and natural the island still is. It is not touristy or commercialized.

 Another band bumming money. Tip for a picture? ; )

A beautiful old dock

 Fishermen pulling in their nets and repairing them, just to the side of that pretty dock above. Yeah, they still fish with nets here, I love it!!

And back to digital... Our dress up night on the ship and a comedy show!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caribbean Cruise Part 1

We began our journey flying into into Ft. Lauderdale (since it was so much cheaper than flying to Miami) with our friends Steve and Debbie. We spent the night there in Ft. Lauderdale and had dinner at a fabulous Cuban place: Padrinos.

I was a little skeptical at first, nothing on the menu seemed tasteful. It seemed like they took everything you wouldn't want to eat and tossed it all together. Example: everything had loads of onion, beef or dark meat chicken or liver, potatoes, and more onion! I was wrong though; The food was so good, I don't even know how to describe it. Very flavorful, a mix between island, italian, and mexican?? If you haven't tried Cuban food, you should, it's awesome!

I had lamb in a red wine sauce, Jeremy got a skirt steak. We tried plantain chips with onion salsa, stuffed potatoes, a wonderful yam-like vegetable (can't remember the name), sweet plantains, black beans, and Debbie had stuffed chicken. Image taken from Jeremy's phone.

Sunday morning before boarding the ship we went for a walk and found this beautiful church (see we even went to church). : ) All the images below were taken with my Holga film camera.

We had a short drive to the Miami port and began our journey. The image on the left is actually from one of the last days at sea. 

A beautiful mistake. The oversize chess set on the ship double exposed with two friends. ; )

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Gift

A dear friend of mine is trying to weather the storm in her life. I asked to help watch her kids yesterday while she took her oldest to the hospital. I figured while they were here, I would take advantage of photographing her newest little baby: Quinn! I hope these images will bring a little sunshine to your week Kari! : ) And for everyone reading, say a little prayer for her, she can use them all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nicole is 2!

We had a party for Nicole a few days early since she turned two while we were on our cruise. When we dropped the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's house we brought out cake, balloons and presents to have a little party. I think she had a great time.

We got home to find her saying a lot more words than when we left. She says I'm two, mommy, I see it, and more. She is also suddenly very interested in going potty. I'm hoping that will continue and that we can get our last baby out of diapers! ; )