Thursday, February 16, 2012

CARIBBEAN CRUISE with the family

Since I rarely take any really exciting trips, be prepared for a long vacation log of our family's recent trip to the Western Caribbean! There will also be a LOT of pictures to help with the travel log. On February 4th, 2012, fourteen of my family member left the Salt Lake City airport for Galveston, Texas, the starting port of our Western Caribbean Cruise on the Mariner of the Sea. My only regret is that not all of my family members could go with us. We will have to work on all going on a future cruise!

Those who went on the Cruise were: Barbara Daniels, Sandra & Grant Cannon, John & Nancy Wellington, Keith & Pam Warner, John & Courtney Castro, Dustin & Annie Baxter, Holly Wellington, and Brian & Heather White.

Waiting for our flight at the SLC International Airport.

Notice the great excitement and anticipation on all our faces!

Here I am with my 2 sisters and my brother and his wife waiting for the shuttle to take us from the Houston airport to Galveston, Texas.

There was a cute little tourist shopping center across the street from our hotel in Galveston. Our hotel was across the street from the water. When we arrived it was on the cold and rainy side, but it was fun to listen to the waves roll in on the beach.

Pulling out of port on the Royal Caribbean, Mariner of the Sea!

This was Keith and Barbara's first cruise so it was fun taking them to the front of the ship to feel the wind as we left port!

Annie and Courtney with a cute sign advertising BINGO (a game they both enjoy)

The guys played Dodgeball on our 1st day at sea.

Brian climbing the rock wall on board the ship

We celebrated John Castro's 30th birthday

Barbara's 60th Birthday

and Annie's 31st Birthday while on the cruise.
Dustin had opened their balcony door causing an air tunnel when Annie tried to open their cabin door. The force was really strong and balloons came flying out of their room when she tried to go inside.

Brian and Heather at our 1st formal night at sea!


Barbara and Nancy (with our ship in the background) at Cozumel, Mexico.

Keith & Pam

Barbara, Keith, Pam, John, and I took a taxi to explore the island and see some of the beaches on the east side. We really enjoyed the beautiful water and beaches!


Keith, Pam, Barbara, Nancy, & John

This beach was fun as there were places that the water would come up through the rocks.

We had our driver stop so we could get this picture with our ship in the background on our way back to the ship.

One of our favorite past times was playing games in the game room while we were at sea.


We had to be tendered ashore at this port. This is us waiting for our turn to leave the ship.

We all went on the STINGRAY CITY excursion at this port. Thanks to Grant and Sandra for treating us to this fun experience!

Dustin, Annie, John, and Courtney aboard the Hannibal that took us to Stingray City.

Brian, Heather, and Holly

Courtney getting a back massage from the stingray.

Heather and Brian holding a stingray.

Heather was not too sure about the whole back massage, but at least she tried. I, on the other hand, was sure I would be screaming and jumping every time one came near, and felt it was best if I didn't get in and scare the stingray into stinging everyone. (We know this from me trying to pet a small shark in a tank in San Francisco on a previous trip and screaming when I touched it. Everyone thought that the shark had bit me, but I was just creeped out by the feel of it's skin.)

Holly holding the stingray.
It was impressive how clear the water was and how easy it was to see the stingray swimming around.

Holly getting her massage.

Pam and Keith


The stingray sure was patient in letting everyone hold her and give everyone a back massage...

Dustin & Annie
...and kiss her for 7 years good luck.

Barbara, Sandra, and I were busy taking pictures and watching all the stingray gather around our group.

Heather & Annie weren't too sure of having so many all around.

Our group (plus two)
Note the 3 stylish ladies aboard the boat...or at least we thought we were in our sun hats and sunglasses.

Getting ready to feed the stingrays.

After leaving stingray city, our boat driver took our group to a place where they could snorkel. This is John Castro (Captain John) snorkeling.

On our way back to the ship, several of us got off the bus at Seven Mile beach to spend some time, before we had to be back on board the ship. It is a beautiful long beach with white sand and blue water. It was wonderful spending time in the warm sunshine in February!

Our next port city was Falmouth, Jamaica. Unfortunately, I took lots of pictures of our excursion to Dunn River Falls, but it was on my brother's camera and I haven't got copies of the pictures yet. Sandra and Barbara stayed at the port and on the ship while the rest of us boarded a bus for Ocho Rios and the Dunn River Falls. Pam waited outside the park, while the rest of us went in to climb the falls. Annie had sprained her ankle prior to our cruise and decided that climbing the falls would not be a smart idea as she didn't want to re-injure her ankle. I stayed back with her and we walked on the stairs to the side of the falls and took pictures of our group as they climbed the falls. Then we all went to the White river and went tubing down some mild rapids. It was a lot of fun. On our way back, we stopped at a jerk station where some of our group tried Jamaican jerk. We had a great time! I will post some pictures when I get some.

Cap'n John and Brian played in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament on our next at sea day.
An OLDer gentleman (they called an old John Stockton) almost beat them. It was really fun to watch and cheer for them. They took 3rd place out of 4 teams and received a medal.

a beautiful Sunset

Our ship had an ice skating rink that several tried on our last day at sea.

They spent most of their time along the rails. :)

This is the waiters singing to Annie on her REAL birthday!

Our group was divided between two tables that were right next to each other. Our table was by a window. The two waiters soon learned that our tables were together and they spent a lot of time competing to show who was best by doing tricks and telling stories. We think our waiter and his assistant were the best. Our assistant waiter remembered what we liked to drink and brought us lots of bread. They also never set wine glasses on our table after they learned that we didn't drink. Our waiter had the kitchen make Holly a special creme brulle because she was so excited for it to be on the menu and then much to her dismay it was a coconut creme brulle. She hates coconut. On lobster night, he brought Brian several extra lobster dinners. It amazed me how he could remember our names. Dinner was always a highlight of the day as we could talk about what we had done and enjoy trying new foods.

Here we are at the Houston airport waiting to go home. We are a much less excited group as our vacation is coming to a close. We were also all very tired. While on our way to the airport we learned that Karen and Brandon had their twins while we were at sea. Sandra and Grant spent their time at the airport i-chatting with them and getting to see pictures of their two new grandsons, Jack & Levi. Congratulations Plaster family on your new additions!

After planning this vacation for months, it is now over. It was a warm, fun, and relaxing vacation! Thank you to all the family who made it so fun!! Now it is time to start planning another trip where more of our family can go and spend time together. Everyone start thinking of where we should go. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Christmas was on a Sunday this year, so we didn't open our gifts until we all went to Sacrament Meeting at 10am. It was all three Grandview wards combined with a choir from all three wards. John sang in the choir. It was nice to go to church first on Christmas morning and be reminded through word and song about the true meaning of Christmas.

This is how it looked before we opened our presents.

Holly handing out gifts.
Note the interestingly wrapped present beside Heather - it was very hard to wrap.

Brian helping Holly hand out the gifts.

John waiting for the opening of presents to commence.

Heather and Brian checking out their new 2012 calendar.

Holly looking at her new calendar.
This is a new tradition (started last year) that we are having fun creating.

John opening one of his gifts.

Brian with his new "cruise" shirt.

Holly looking happy and cute as usual.

Holly with her new soft and warm blanket from Heather and Brian.

Heather opening one of her many storage container presents.
Brian and Heather are finishing their basement and she wanted storage containers to organize their new kitchen cabinets. Naturally, I wrapped them in as many presents as possible so it would look more exciting. I am sure Brian was thrilled to get all these containers.

Heather looking cute in her new Christmas pajamas and bow.

So glad Brian is willing to put up with all our strange traditions!
He is really fitting into the family nicely.

Brian and Heather opening some gifts.

Holly all decked out in this years ribbons and bows.

John showing off the toaster he really wanted for Christmas.
He must have been a good boy!

Opening Santa gifts - a new chair and bookcase.

Holly opening one of her Santa gifts - a new soup pan so she can make all her yummy recipes. She also got a camera to take on the cruise.

John surprised me this year with a really fun and well thought out gift. He gave me a Belle doll with an invitation and tickets to see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the Capitol theatre in March. I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful husband and look forward to spending this wonderful evening together. We also were fortunate to get WICKED tickets and will be going as a family in August.

After opening gifts, it is tradition to go to Grandma Wellington's house for some lunch and goodies. We open more gifts there from Grandma and get to see our Wellington side of the family. Unfortunately, Brad's family lives too far away to come and we miss seeing them! I forgot to take the camera with us this Christmas so I have no pictures to post of this fun tradition. (I will try to remember to take it next year) We feel fortunate that between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we are able to see many of our extended family members who mean so much to us. We only wish it could be everyone! WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!