Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catch Up

Five more weeks of school.

I can't wait.

The last two weeks  have been insane.  The build up to the last two weeks was equally insane.

Two weeks ago was our spring break.  Hubby suggested we go on a Disney Cruise.  Okay.
Then he suggested we take my niece, my daughter's favorite person in the world, who is between them in age.  She is a natural peace maker, and a great foil when Thing 1 and 2 start bickering...  Brilliant!!

Her parents (my brother and his wife) agreed even though it didn't coincide with her spring break and would require her to miss a week from school.
We flew to Orlando on the evening of the 20th of April, and after riding around in the biggest personal rental car on the planet, just shy of being a city bus, the girls loved it.  Our car at home has a third row, and is big... but this was ridiculous and Hubby couldn't wait to turn it back in and get on the boat.

Which we did the next day, Sunday the 21st.
Since there were five of us, we got the extra big stateroom on the top of the boat, right under the swimming pool deck.  It was lovely.  And alarmingly convenient to the self dispensing ice cream machines.

 I was especially pleased that there was so much room in such a tiny little space.  The bathrooms were brilliant - two little bathrooms - one with a sink and a toilet, one with a sink and a terribly clever shower/tub combination.  Had I known such a thing was available when we refinished our basement, I would have seriously considered it.

Though they consider it a five day cruise, it's really three days on the ship.  The days at either end boarding and disembarking hardly count.
The first day was in Nassau, which we had heard from my brother was a tropical resort where you can go look at all the beautiful people hanging out.  So we decided to take advantage of an excursion where they take you out to swim with the dolphins.  We had the worst weather on our trip here, and had to interrupt our dolphin swim experience to go stand under the gazebos while a tropical deluge rained down on us.
This is also where I ruined Thing 2's underwater camera.  I was so proud of myself for remembering it, but must have not closed it  up tight somewhere along the road, and it filled with sea water and died in the middle of our excursion, shortly after I got in the water.  Not sure if or how I can even get the pictures off of its corpse.  Hence the only photos I have of this excursion are the ones that we paid for before we got back on the boat to ferry us off the island.  But it was delightful and memorable, and we all got to get the foot push across the pen from the dolphins.  Though there was a beautiful beach there and I had scheduled us the earlier swim so we could stay and play on the beach, it was raining, so we went back to the boat.

The next day was Castaway Cay, which we learned is confusingly pronounced Key.  I feel compelled to edit out the whole long paragraph of how we found this out. Suffice it to say our assigned dining companions were very very informative.  Very.

Castaway Cay was just beautiful, and not as crowded as it could have been, based on the number of empty deck chairs on the beach all around us.

We were late on the beach because we had to stop and buy some flip-flops for the girls, who had left their crocs in a cubby by the AquaDuck the night before. (They had been picked up by the Disney crew but were slow to get turned in to Lost and Found and we didn't get them until the next afternoon.)  Our only other real problem was that my cool super strong sunscreen was totally and completely inefficient.  I have posted a scathing review on Amazon and thrown away two bottles of the stuff I brought, but it was too late, Thing 1 was completely fried and the rest of us were merely badly burned.  Except my niece, who used a much less powerful but actually effective sunscreen.  Luckily I used an effective non-pore-blocking sunscreen on our faces, and the girls wear rashguard shirts, but still all other exposed skin was red.  Thing 1 put on her long sleeved rashguard (shown in the picture above) too late.

The slide was fun, the ice cream was fun, the beach was lovely.  Hubby napped on the deck chair, I hovered and relaxed.

The sunburn made everyone crabby the next day, our day on the boat.  Also the girls decided they were too old for the kids area they were registered for, and would rather come back and watch movies in the room.  They did go to a screening of Oz in the big theater, but other than that we just kind of puttered around the boat and our stateroom and veranda, enjoying the proximity to the ice cream machine one deck up.

When we got off the boat the next day, Hubby's luggage was missing.  We had put it outside our stateroom as instructed, but it was not waiting for us with the rest of the luggage in the big luggage warehouse after getting off the boat. Poor Hubby was rather limited in his wardrobe and was doing washing for the rest of the trip.  Spoiler - His bag somehow partied its way across the country and turned up at a United luggage desk in Los Angeles two days after we returned home.

When we gave up the search for the lost bag, we drove to Universal Studios for two more days of fun.
I found that Universal is neat but a little dodgier than Disney.  The rides are rougher, and maybe I've reached a certain age but I found myself getting more nauseous than I ever have before.  There's not quite so much Magic.  I was glad we went, but not sure I need to go back. Our favorite part was Harry Potter World, where the Dragon Challenge ride was probably as close as anyone could get to riding a real dragon.  A dragon who would be happy if you were to be flung from off its back.

The girls bought wands, and of course we had butter beer, pumpkin juice, and bought chocolate frogs and bertie botts beans.

At the end of the 1st day at Universal, the girls were getting so run down that we left early for dinner, and both Thing 1 and my niece fell asleep in the restaurant waiting for the food to come.  We had pretty much run them down to the nub.

I think we were all getting tired and ready to come home, but all in all it was a lovely vacation.

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