Thursday, January 27, 2011


When my parents mentioned in late November that they were going to book a 6-night cruise to the Caribbean in early January, hubby and I decided we would join them.  Why not?  We're homeschooling and we wanted an excuse to go where it was warm.

Our initial plan was to take 3 days to drive to Ft. Lauderdale since we need to drive a little slower pulling the camper.  When we decided not to take the camper we changed our plans to drive down in 2 days.  This saved us one night in a hotel but also gave us an extra day to get our camper and stuff moved out of my father's building (which it turned out we needed).

The kids did surprisingly well considering we drove 500+ miles the first day and just under 500 the second.  Of course the DVD player didn't hurt.  We knew we were going to be doing a lot of traveling, so for Christmas we got the kids DVD players.  What's cool about them is that the DVD players can play the same movie or they can play different movies.  When you have a boy who likes to watch Bill Nye DVD's and a girl who likes to watch animated movies it's great!

When we went on our anniversary cruise we decided we were going to wait till our youngest was 6 to take them.  Obviously we took them a bit earlier than that.  To be honest, the 4 year old did really well!  The 6 year old was a different story.  Just about every time we tried to take him to the kids program he would get clingy.  Apparently there were a few kids in the class who like to make fun of him.  I guess my son has not had to worry about such things before because he's always been the tallest kid in his class (on the cruise ship he was in the class with 8 year-olds).  This is obviously something we need to work on in the future, but it made the cruise a bit difficult.

It's safe to say that our families favorite thing about the trip was an "excursion" we took to a turtle farm in Grand Cayman.  We booked it with them directly which allowed us to save some money.  My parents were on the cruise as well so they went with us.  I think having all 6 of us there was extra special.

Hubby and I (as well as my parents) also went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship.  We got to go into the galley (kitchen), engine room (the room with the computers not the actual engines), food storage, laundry, and the bridge (among a few others).  Unfortunately, for security reasons we were not allowed to take our camera, but we did get our pictures taken with the captain.  If you like to know how things work behind the scenes, I would recommend doing this tour, but be warned it's pricey and it fills up fast (there were 18 slots in our tour and it filled up in 3 days with minimal advertising).

Will we take the kids on another cruise?  Yes.  Will we be doing it anytime soon?  Probably not.  Before doing so, we need to get the clingy thing worked out and I also want to do some research to make sure we pick the right ship and itinerary (we went to one port where I really wish we hadn't taken the kids off the ship).  Oh, and we need to save up some serious money.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm BAACK!!!

In Virginia.  Yep, you read that right. It's late January and we are in Virginia... in the cold.  Yuck!

I'm sorry I have not been updating you as faithfully as I would have liked but I will briefly explain what has happened over the last few weeks and will then give you more details over the next few days.

As I've said in previous posts, our goal was to get the camper ready so that we could take it down to Florida for a while.  Well, the date we were working with was Jan 5.  That way we had 3 days to drive the camper to Ft. Lauderdale before we left on a 6 day cruise to the Caribbean.  We had a lengthy list of goals and aspirations for the camper before we went and as we got closer to the date we were deciding which things could be done while "on the road."  There were a few things we knew we had to get done before we left including the flooring, a new toilet, and a state inspection.  We were able to get the Pergo installed in the camper (which my husband told me after the fact was said to be impossible by every forum he'd read).  By the way, it looks SO much nicer now.  Replacing the toilet was easy.  But when trying to get it inspected, we found that the emergency braking system and the brake pads and shoes needed to be replaced. 

Normally that would not have been a problem except we found out 1 day before we needed to leave and we had to order the parts.  Not only that, but we'd been storing the camper in a building my father had been trying to rent out for over a year.  Needless to say, he found a renter that wanted to move in immediately so we were forced to scramble to get everything cleared out.  This made things a bit more complicated for us, but we are VERY happy that he found a renter. 

We'd also been storing some old computer equipment from my husband's company that is in the process of closing.  He's been intending to sell it on ebay (and he's been successful selling the things he's listed, he's just been pressed for time to sort through everything).  That meant we also needed to find a place to put all of that (as well as the stuff we want to keep but not take in the camper).

Ultimately, we decided to drive to Florida (without the camper) for the cruise and an additional week to visit friends and family in Florida.  We will probably be in Virginia for 2 - 3 more weeks as we work on selling the computer equipment as well as working on the camper some more.  We now have time to do a few of those things that we were going to do "on the road" which probably means they will be done better too (always a good thing when thinking resale).

Now that I've caught you up on why I dropped off the face of the earth for a while, I'm going to go do some of those things you need to do when returning from vacation... laundry, grocery shopping, unpacking, and in my case school for my 1st grader.

Details and some pics of the trip will come soon (once I've gotten the pics sorted).