This trip was so long ago it almost seems like a dream.  It was such a fun, fun time with a little stress too!  The first part of November we spent on Caribbean cruise with Dan’s family.  We spent a few days at Disney World before and then 7 days aboard the Disney Fantasy.  It was magical.  I love Disney in all its forms.  It makes me so happy!  So let’s get to it!

This is the crew when we got to the airport.  It was a miracle we made it there that day.  At about 10:30 that morning, Sophie started complaining about a stomach ache.  I didn’t think too much about it.  Just thought she needed to go to the bathroom.  But within about 20 minutes, she was doubled over in pain.   She wouldn’t stand or walk.  It totally freaked me out.  So I called to Dan to have him come home early so he could get Jack from school while I took Sophie to the ER.  My extensive knowledge of ER visits let me know that we would be pushing our luck to make our flight if we would even be going at all.  Stress.  Sophie slept the whole way to the ER which was weird.  But, per the norm, once we were there she wasn’t complaining of stomach pains at all.  I was hysterical because of the flight so they said they would expedite us through.  We did an Xray, urine sample and ultrasound.   All came back normal as far as appendicitis goes but she did have a lot of stool in her colon.  Never would have thought she was constipated since she just went to the bathroom that morning.  We were told to give her Miralax and that we were fine to travel.  Holy toledo!  I made it home in time to finish the last minute details and then we were on our way.  Finally at the airport Sophie ate something (her first food since breakfast) and from that time on she was her normal self.  Our 4 hour flight went just great.  We made it into our hotel room around 1 am Florida time and crashed!

The next 2 days we spent at Disney World.  We ventured into all 4 parks for at least some part of the day.  It is quite a lot to manage 20 people staying together but I think we did awesome.  Jack and Sophie absolutely loved being with their cousins.  They even walked all day both days!  Pretty amazing.  Their highlight of the time was Star Tours.  They were in heaven and rode it about 4 times.  Sophie finally got to ride Splash Mountain since it was closed the last time we were at Disneyland.  She thought it was alright.  My kids have a little bit of fear in their hearts!  We enjoyed all that Disney has to offer including churros and turkey legs.  We did have one hiccup on our last night as we were trying to make our way to Epcot from Magic Kingdom.  Dan got separated from us somehow and of course his phone was about to die so our communication was cut off.  But we reunited after about 45 minutes and all was well.  We all slept so well every night!

On Saturday we spent some time at the hotel pool and then caught the bus to Port Canaveral.  Once there we checked in and stepped aboard the ship.  Cruise ships are amazing and sort of unbelievable.  The ship was all decorated for Christmas which was fun.  We checked into our room and got settled and headed off to the top deck for the Bon Voyage party.  After that was dinner and bed.  We were tired!  Our days aboard the ship were spent mostly at the pool.  They have unlimited ice cream which just makes the kids day!  On the Disney Fantasy there is a water slide that goes around the whole boat called the Aqua Duck.  Jack sure loved riding that over and over again.  They also have 2 theaters on board so the kids were able to watch a couple of movies and almost every night they have a Broadway style production which I love.  The kids also loved spending time in the Kids Club on board which is an awesome thing.  We drop them off and they can stay as long as we want them to.  Amazing.  There is also a track on the 3 level that goes around the ship.  I was able to run one day which was cool.  I love hanging out there because it is so open and smelling the sea air is the best!  Dinners are a big highlight every night.  Each meal is about 2 hours so its a big commitment for the kids.  But I thought they did awesome and sure loved getting a nice dessert every night!

Our first stop was Cozumel Mexico.  We stopped at some ancient Mayan ruins on our way to the beach which was really cool.  I know we don’t know for sure where Book of Mormon stuff happened but it was cool to think about the Nephites and Lamanites inhabiting this land.  It is so beautiful and green!  There were lots of iguanas roaming around which was pretty neat.

After the ruins we spent the rest of the time enjoying the beach.  We had the best homemade chips, guacamole and salsa from a local restaurant right on the beach.  It was very relaxing and so fun to watch the kids play.

Next we spent that day at the Grand Cayman.  We mostly just hung out at the beach all day.  The waves were the best at this beach and the kids loved rolling around in them.  Some of us adults were able to take turns snorkeling around a coral reef and a shipwreck.  It was pretty amazing.  What I remember most is that the water out at sea was the most beautiful shade of dark blue.  I wish I had my camera out there.  It was like a dream.  And I just have to document that we had a bearded lady bus driver this day which was incredible!

Our next stop was Falmouth Jamaica.  We rented a taxi for the day that was supposed to fit about 10 people but we were able to cram all 19 of us into it.  It was a funny sight I’m sure.  We had about an hour drive from our port to Dunns River Falls.  Once we were there we went to the beach and then took turns watching babies and hiking the falls.  It was my favorite stop.  We were able to hike with Jack and Sophie which was so fun.  It was about an hour long hike in the water the whole time.  I loved it.  The kids did so well with our help and Brooke and Ethan’s.  On our way back to port our tire popped.  Who was surprised?  We were only riding at double to capacity of this taxi.  Haha…   But it was a quick fix and we were back on the road to board the ship.

Our final stop was on Disney’s private island which is in the Bahamas.  It is a favorite stop because it is a quick walk to the beach, chairs and umbrellas line the beach, and the food is unlimited and free.  No taxi rides, no hunger pains, no hassle.   It is the best.  And we really loved our time here.  They have water slides for the kids and other play areas.  We did lose Jack for about 20 minutes towards the end of the day which was scary.  It must be hard for a kid, when after your bathroom stop, you see a giant checkers board and life size Connect 4!  He couldn’t resist stopping to play and that’s where we found him after our search.  Loved Castaway Cay!

We had the most amazing time.  Thank you to our Grossen grandparents for such a fun trip!


Birthday Boy Luke

I love this little Luke.  He really has brought so much joy to our home.  His birthday was on a Saturday this year.  Dan ended up having to work to prepare for our 10 day vacation coming up so most of the day we just played at home.  I took time to make his cupcakes and he loved playing with the blowed up balloons.  During the day, Luke’s nose started to run like crazy and then a little fever started to set in.  This poor baby can never catch a break.  Not even on his birthday.  (Later that week we went to the doctor and he ended up having a double ear infection)  That night we went to Zaxby’s for his birthday dinner.  Nothing like some good fried chicken!  He loves it and their Texas toast.  When we got home we opened presents.  I only bought him one new toy.  The rest were old toys that I had boxed up.  Hey…they are new to him!  I thought it was a brilliant idea.  This house really does not need one more toy!  Next we sang Happy Birthday and gave him his cupcake.  He took one look at it, touched the frosting a little and started to cry.  And then proceeded to throw up.  So glad I tried so hard on the cupcakes!  Just kidding.  It was a pretty low key birthday.  But he wasn’t feeling the best so it suited him just fine!


Luke at One

— Walks around the furniture with ease.  But not brave enough to step away just yet

–Says 3 words…Na Na (night, night), Da Da (Daddy and Jack), What’s that (all run together and said while pointing up)

— A good eater.  But having a lot of trouble with throwing up.  He seems to gag or choke.  And then proceeds to empty his stomach.  It doesn’t happen everyday but close to every other.  Sad.

— A good sleeper.  He takes 2 naps per day and sleeps pretty close to 12 straight hours at night.

— A happy boy.  He loves to dance and has great moves.  He loves to play with Sophie and Jack.  But also likes when they keep their distance and don’t smother him.

— Pretty attached to his momma at this stage.

— Can do his shape puzzle all by himself

— Stats:  16lbs. 15 oz. (2%), 28.5 inches (9%), 19 inch head (97%)  He lost 6 ounces since his 9 month visit.  We have got to figure this throwing up out!