Sunday, July 31, 2011

Company Is Coming

Hello all. So happy to be finished with the bazillion vacation pictures and updates so I can get back to some regular blogging about regular living.

We have been doing some honest to goodness normal, stay at home, living after being on the road for about two weeks. It feels so good!

We were lucky enough to have some family come by and stay with us for a few days. They came last July and we had a wonderful visit. You can read about it here. This year was no exception and I hope they make a pit stop at our house a regular part of their summer!

Here are some pictures from our visit this week.

The family arrived in the late afternoon and they came in with a fungus, rash, mystery red itchy spot on LT's leg. I took this photo to document the size of the mark in case it decided to spread and also just to make LT let me take a picture of her leg.

LT is a good sport, although I was a little bit concerned that she need First Aid immediately upon arrival.

These cousins got reacquainted really quickly and before you know it they were having high tea upstairs with British accent and sword fights with Star Wars light sabers and sticks from the window blinds. It was an odd sort of entertainment, but none of them were complaining!

The next morning we decided to check out Inner Space Caverns.

Everyone was revved up for adventure!

Come on...let's explore...or at least get out of this ridiculous heat! Indoors people! Underground to a cave that rocks a steady temp of 78 degrees! Let's go!

The kiddos visiting the woolly mammoth.

Down into the cool darkness we went. This handsome fellow is A/C, the husband and father of this family. He works on A/C for a living and therefore absolutely adores getting out of the hot Texas heat and enjoying A/C. He is such a genuinely nice fellow.

So down we went to the dark, moist cavern, with bats. Tiny little bats. Not a million, but some. That could fall down and get in your hair. That is a nightmare of mine. You have heard me talk about my hair. It is a rat's nest on the daily and thinking of a bat getting tangled up in that mess gives me the hibbie jibbies. I would beat myself to death trying to get a bat out of my hair.

Anyway, the tour started and sadly for the kids they realized it was going to be educational. WHAT??

Apparently a cavern is a living thing. Who knew. In order to keep it alive, you cannot touch the surfaces. Only in this one area do they allow you to touch the rock to see what it feels like. It feels wet and slimy.

Maybe I should add a separate EDUCATIONAL tab to my blog. We are learning some stuff around here!

The kids traipsed through here, getting a little freaked out occasionally. I mean, it was wet, moist and there were bats. I got a little freaked out too.

The guide pointed out lots of rock formations that looked like everyday objects. This one he showed us a Road Runner and Hare racing. Thrasher, the fun wife and mom of this family, could not see this, no matter how much we pointed it out.

I blew up the section of the picture, so that her husband can help her see it now. Come on Thrasher....the roadrunner is on top in kind of yellow stone and the hare is under him in white with his ears back.

Do you see it?

This is a giant ice cream cone. No mistaking that.

Hmmm, interesting. This little number we call Red Bull. She is high energy and sweet, sweet, sweet. Can we go swimming? When this is over, can we go to the pool? Are we going to get to go swimming?

She likes swimming.


Lemon Meringue ceiling.

All this ice cream and pie talk had me starving to death.

Group shot of the cavern explorers. We had a lovely lunch and then hit the pool! Happiness and good times for Red Bull.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip to Freebirds, Baskin Robbins and then an all in Home Run Derby on the Xbox. I think I came in last, which you would think wouldn't bother me...but I was really trying.

It was a short, sweet visit with promises of many more. Such a wonderful family and we are so lucky to not only be related to them, but to like them so much!

That is good stuff.

Much more to come from the weekend. We are babysitting the neighbors three dogs and two cats. We checked out an indoor trampoline place. I think Red Bull and LT would have loved it. They will just have to come back again so we can take them there to check it out!

More photos to come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alaska Vacation - Day Eight

Okay folks, lets wrap up this splendid vacation recap with our eighth and final day on our cruise. We left Ketchikan at noon on Thursday and our next pit stop was in Victoria, British Columbia at 7:00 p.m. on Friday. That means it was alot of time on the big open water.

We started the day like many others, with a couple of vigorous rounds of ping-pong! If nothing else was gained on this vacation, I can rest assured that both my children improved their ping pong skills.

My boys were kind enough to give up their table whenever someone else was waiting...but only reluctantly.

Dad acted as sometimes official scorer, trainer, opponent, comic relief.

When not playing ping pong, there was some napping on small twin beds. They make you get up early in Alaska. Naps were most definitely in order.

Sometimes the nap location was changed. This location was the balcony. It was chilly on the speedy ride back so it required a couple of layers to last out on the balcony.

There was a big dessert display on the ship in the early afternoon. We had a few samples.

Then there was an ice sculpting demonstration that felt like a race. Apparently the guys were trying to carve something in less than 10 minutes.

They did it.

Knocked out a swan and a salmon in very short order.

Next, we entertained ourselves with a little game of Uno in a bar somewhere. It was a very lazy and relaxing day.

We arrived in Victoria a little before 7:00 p.m.

Cute little place right on the water. I think the Captain said it was voted one of the top ten places to live in the world.

While we were waiting for the signal to get off the boat, we had a surprise appearance by Steve, the Seagull from the Mendenhall Glacier day. He came right on up to us for a quick hello. Hi Steve.

Also greeting us on shore was this fine fellow who rang a bell and yelled very loudly:

"Oh yea, Oh yea, Oh yea, Oh yea

Welcome to Victoria

God Bless America and

God Save the Queen"

It was festive....and a little weird. Do you wave when someone yells that or yell back something? We didn't know so we just stared at him. I am sure that was not correct.

Heading into Canada.

Look at these hanging baskets. Gorgeous.

The Trans-Canadian Highway Mile zero is here in Victoria and if you follow it for just under 5,000 miles you will arrive in St. Johns Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada.

THATs a highway.

I don't know what St. John's is like, but I am thinking if you are already in Victoria, you may just want to stay.

Let me show you some of the sights, starting with this Orca topiary. Pretty cool.

And these flower beds. Shut the front door. This is what a little regular rain and sunshine can do for you.

Right on the main square is this fabulous ivy colored hotel called The Empress.

More flowers and beautiful buildings.

The flowers are so pretty that Chip just can't stop staring at them.

Add a little heritage down the street with this totem pole park.

Horse drawn carriage rides. How nice is that?

The boys checking out the local currency.

We had our first meal off the ship and out of the Golden Princess Horizon Buffet restaurant. I was so happy. It was a Spaghetti Factory restaurant.

Double decker British looking buses going by. We also saw a Ferrari and many old classic cars that were refurbished to look brand spanking new. I think there is some money in Victoria. In fact, I think there is a lot of money in Victoria.

Maybe I would have to hit the Trans-Canadian Highway to find some affordable housing.

After we ate, we spent the next hour or some walking around Victoria. We had to be back on the ship by 11:00 p.m. so we didn't have very much time at all.

They had a beautiful little harbor area with all kinds of artist and tradesman selling their wares.


Victoria's Legislative building is lit up every night with 3,332 lights. How do I remember that? I have no idea.

The little white tents each housed a different vendor. All selling different things. They called it the Night Market.

Close to 11:00 we head back to the Golden Princess for our last night.

Our last beautiful sunset.

Our last whale tail in a beautiful sunset. Do you see the whale in this picture? That crazy whale smacked its side fin on the water about 40 times. I thought he was waving to me. In fact, I am sure of it. Goodbye whales. You were awesome!

It was pitch dark to the left and still this beautiful glow from the west.

We woke up at 6:00 a.m. and we were docked in Seattle! Off the boat at 8:00 a.m. and to the airport to fly home.

What a wonderful family vacation. I was just awestruck by the sights that we got to see and the fun adventures we got to take! It will be hard to ever top this trip! It will be fun to try, though!

I hope you enjoyed sharing this trip to Alaska with us and I would urge to take a vacation there if you ever get the opportunity. It is a trip you will never forget!