Saturday, May 7, 2016

IT'S MY 50th BIRTHDAY & WE ARE GOING ON A DISNEY CRUISE!!!





So...........apparently I am going to be 50 years old on May 15th

50????   How in the heck did that get here so fast??

 I was just 25 a little while ago...........



Rather than dwell on it, and dread it, we booked a cruise!!

Now I have something to look forward to, and I have actually been excited for my birthday to get here







I have taken 6 cruises, and all of them have been with Carnival Cruise Line.


This time, we are switching it up and we booked on:







And, we didn't book just any Disney ship (they have 4),

we are booked on the:





It's one of their newer and bigger ships!  OOOhhhh! I'm so excited!



3 years ago, my sister Lisa and I watched the Disney Dream pull into Nassau Bahamas and turn completely around right in front of us. 

We decided right then that we definitely wanted to cruise on that ship, it looks magnificent! 


And now that time has come!





I have to admit, this vacation has been a mess to plan. It was supposed to be a much bigger vacation to Disney World, but Moving to Maryland and our finances have turned this into a much different vacation than I had originally planned. We are just juggling way too much these days and something had to give. 

I don't get to go to Disney World, this time, but I will work on getting a Disney World vacation as soon as things calm down for us (and as soon as I get a job so I can pay for it!)

For now, I'm happy with a 4 day cruise and a short trip to my happy place in Ft Lauderdale after the cruise. 



Cruising with me this time will be:

My husband -----who is actually looking forward to this cruise, even though he will admit that cruising isn't really "his thing"

My Mom---- She's 83 and she loves Disney! She is so excited about this cruise


My sister Lisa----- She also admits that cruising isn't "her thing", but she is a Disney lover. She is very much looking forward to cruising on this ship.


My son Chris and his fiance Mariah---- This will be Chris's 2nd cruise and Mariah's 1st. These two will have the time of their lives on this vacation! I am so excited to see Chris and Mariah and spend some time with them, I haven't seen them since mid-January. I think this is the longest I have ever gone without seeing Christopher in his entire life. I am missing him!



So, there are 6 of us going and we are all adults.

NO KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!


A Disney cruise with no kids??????? 

Why would we do that?? 

Well for one thing, this is my 50th birthday and I don't want to spend it chasing kids. I want to relax.

For another thing, Disney is REALLY REALLY expensive. 

Really expensive. 

I agree it would be fun to bring Mariah's little son along, I just love that boy! But he's only 3 and Disney charges full fare for kids.

I don't see any reason to take a 3 year old on an expensive vacation that he will most likely not remember. There will be plenty of other cruises in our futures, and we will bring Nik when he is a little older and can appreciate it and remember it. 

For this cruise, it's just us adults.


Look at the lobby on the Disney Dream, it's amazing and it's not just for kids!





There are plenty of adult only areas on the ship. 

There are adult bars, and here is a pic of the adult only pool area. 




Does that count as a swim-up bar? I have always wanted to go to a swim-up bar, and it's on my bucket list. That water looks ankle deep though so I'm not sure if it counts.


We decided to book a suite for this cruise, and that means we have access to the concierge lounge.





The concierge lounge is right across the hall from our cabins on the ship. It will be staffed with a concierge team, they have a bar in there, and a spread of food that changes throughout the day. I think we will all enjoy this perk, but I especially think this will be good for Mom.

She turned 83 last October and she just doesn't get around as well as she used to. She is still mobile, but she is slow and she gets tired easily. She may not want to run around exploring the ship with us.

The concierge lounge will be a great place for mom to go to sit and relax (instead having to sit in her cabin). She can get coffee, food, or anything from the bar. The concierge team will make sure she has everything she needs on this cruise. 


Here is a pic of the concierge lounge:



And a pic of the sundeck for concierge guests:





Tim and I, Chris and Mariah, will share a 1 bedroom suite.
Lisa and Mom will have a smaller room that connects to our suite. 
Here is Disney's floor plan for the 1 bedroom suite: 






Since Disney is so expensive, we picked a shorter 4 day cruise that will stop at 2 islands in the Bahamas.






We will leave from Port Canaveral on Monday May 9th, and we will be back into Orlando on Friday May 13th.

Our first stop will be Nassau, Bahamas. This will be my 3rd time there. We will do some shopping and have lunch while we are there. We plan to stay pretty close to the ship in case mom gets tired.








Our second stop will be at Castaway Cay, Bahamas. This is Disney's private island. This will be a beach day for us, and we plan to go to the adults only beach for part of that day.











This cruise also has 1 sea day so we can explore the ship and enjoy some of the shows, activities, and character meet-n-greets.


Here is a picture of the Princess gathering in the lobby:




Oh my goodness! The Princess gathering!!!!! I can not wait to meet Belle!!! And Ariel!!!

This will be so fun!


Disney has a pirate night on every cruise. All of us (except my sister) will be dressing up in our best pirate costumes and going to dinner, and then to the pirate party on deck.

I hear there are fireworks from the ship that night, and I think we can watch them from our balcony.









On Friday, after the cruise is over, most of us (except Timmy, who has to get back to Maryland to work) are renting a car and driving 3 hours south to Ft Lauderdale.

We are going to spend a few days at my newest favorite Resort called Lago Mar.

I love this place and I really just want to relax and soak up some sun on the beach or at the pool for the weekend. I'm glad my family will be there to enjoy it with me.


My daughter Cody was supposed to be joining us for the weekend at Lago Mar. Now she is doing her own internship on a river cruise so she won't be able to come. We will miss you Cody!









On Monday, May 16th our trip will be over. I'll come back to Maryland refreshed and relaxed, and I'll be 50 years old. YIKES!

I really can't think of a better way to turn 50 though.




I want to end this post with a few pics of some Disney cruise food:


I love Mickey waffles, and I will be eating these every morning!




Here is part of the buffet on the ship:



Dessert display at the buffet:



Here is the Enchanted Garden restaurant on the ship:



This restaurant is called Animator's Palate:



And this one is called Royal Palace. I think this is where we will have our formal night dinner on the ship.




I'm almost all packed and I'm ready to go! We leave very early on Mother's Day morning for Orlando.
Its nice that I'll get to spend Mother's Day with my mom. 






Instead of dreading it, I'm counting down the days till my 50th birthday!!!!

8 days to go!!!!!!!



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Living in Maryland for 4 1/2 months - Update




In case you didn't see my posts about why we moved to Maryland,
click HERE and then HERE for to find out why we moved.

Did you see the tour of our Maryland apartment? Click HERE


Now that you are all caught up on our move, I wanted to do an update about whats been going on here for the last 4 and a half months.


We are all mostly adjusted to Maryland life.
We love it here!

It's just beautiful, and we are enjoying our time here.

That said, I miss home (Kansas City) a lot too. I can't wait till we eventually move back there.

We will be here in Maryland for at least a year, maybe two.
Then we will be transferred somewhere else. We aren't sure where we go next. Maybe back to KC, maybe not. It will probably be a while before we find out when and where we will go next.

Here in Maryland, Timmy works ALL THE TIME. He really likes his job, although it is stressful.

He is one of 3 Managers at this warehouse.


Look at the size of that warehouse! This picture shows only one corner of the building, and you can tell the size by looking at the semi parked on the left of the pic.


Our dogs are doing great here, and they are all fine with living in an apartment.


Here is my Sheltie boy, Jack. The absolute sweetest dog ever:



And of course, Mya, our American Eskimo girl who LOVES to hog up all of the attention:



We can't forget about Peanut Butter, our Shih Tzu. She's mostly quiet and keeps to herself, but she's quite a ham when she wants to be:


  We made it through a couple of Maryland snowstorms in January and February. 
One snowstorm gave us 18 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. 



This was a night time snow-walk with Mya. She really loves chilly weather and snow. 
Of course she does, she's an American Eskimo!





Most of the winter, the dogs were pretty lazy:









I am so glad my daughter Cody moved out here with us. She keeps me entertained.


Cody and I kept ourselves busy over the winter.

Here is Cody, putting filling in some pastries. A friend of hers sent these to her from the Cake Boss bakery. They came packed in dry ice. 

They were YUMMY after she baked them and filled them!




Cody and I have been sewing A LOT.
I made myself a fluffy winter robe. I really love it, and now I want to make a light weight summer robe using the same pattern.




I also made this Disney inspired duffel bag. 
It came out really awesome:







Now that spring is here, we are getting out more.
It's so beautiful here!




This is the bridge to Solomon's Island, a really cute little town about 10 miles away from our house. 
We try to go over there as much as possible.



We found a grocery store we really like on Solomon's Island. 
Here is a pic I took when Cody and I went over the bridge to the grocery store
a week or so ago:





And our view off of the side of the bridge. 



Cody and I have found THE BEST barbecue restaurant.
We were very skeptical the first time we went in there. Since we are from Kansas City, which is famous for great barbecue, we really thought we would be disappointed with this place.

Turns out, Maryland DOES know how to do barbecue, and Mission BBQ is amazing.



They have 6 different sauces, and one is called KC CLASSIC.

Their brisket is so tender. It's the best I have ever had. YUM!




The dogs are happy that the weather has been warm enough to leave the sliding door open during the day. They all love to sit in front of the screen and feel the breeze.
They also love to bark at anyone who walks by.




They love their afternoon walks




There are pathways all throughout the apartment complex.





The apartments we live in have stations all over the complex with poo bags and poo trash cans.
I never have to carry poo very far, and I don't have to bring poo back home with me to throw away. I can get rid of it as we walk around. I really appreciate that they have these.

I usually take Mya and Jack for one long walk every day. 
We usually walk about a mile to the turtle pond.

We walk down this dead end road beside our apartment complex, and the turtle pond is behind the fence on the right.


The turtle pond





There are 2 of them in this pic, but there are a lot of turtles in this pond.
They like to lay in on the bank in the sun.
The biggest one we have seen is about the size of a dinner plate. 


There are also ducks in the turtle pond some days. 
There are so many ducks here, we see them all over the complex every day.



One rainy day, Cody took this picture of some ducks huddling in a rain puddle in the parking lot. 
No idea why they were in this spot, there are plenty of ponds around here for them to go in.


One day I saw these 2 ducks crossing the parking lot.




Cody goes with me to walk the dogs if she is home. 

She wanted to try out the slide on the way home from one of our walks.



Speaking of Cody, here is a pic of her and Mya.

Awwwwwww




And a pic of Cody on her way to work.
In the evenings, she cleans offices at the construction site where Tim works.
During the day, she is a nanny/housekeeper for a family with 7 kids.
She has really been keeping herself busy out here.





One weekend, Tim and I were visiting friends that have an old farmhouse that is down a really long country road. We took Mya with us so she could have a chance to run without her leash on. 
Of all of our dogs, we thought Mya would appreciate being able to run free the most. 

Jack is clingy, and won't usually leave my side. 
Peanut Butter doesn't seem to care about running very much. 
So, Mya got to go with us that day.

She just loved it! 
We all took a walk, and she would run far ahead of us as fast as she could go. She always came back when I called her though. 
When we got back home, she slept for the rest of the day.
She really wore herself out.



Another day, Cody and I ventured out to find a secluded park and beach that someone told us about. 
We wanted to look for sea shells and sea glass.

The park and beach was down this beautiful country road, but we were only about 15 minutes from our house.




We found the beach!
We brought home a lot of shells, and about 10 pieces of sea glass each.
This is actually the Patuxent River, which goes out into the Chesapeake Bay, which goes out into the Atlantic ocean.

The water is part river water, and part salt water. Tim calls it "brackish water".



It was kind of a chilly day, so Cody and I had the beach to ourselves.



I am SO GLAD it is getting warmer outside.


Spring has finally arrived and I brought my Fairy Garden to life on our little patio:

I brought all of my Fairies with me when we moved here.
I just needed to buy a big giant pot once we got here.



I also brought Tim's Granny's Marigold seeds and finally was able to plant them last week.
I already see some sprouts

I am looking forward to having a pot of Granny's Marigolds after they bloom



Our patio is tiny, but there is enough room for me to sit out there and soak up the afternoon sun.


Summer is coming, and we are on the East coast!

Soon it will be time to explore.

Here is a map showing exactly where we live:



These are some of the places we want to visit while we are here.


We are at the bottom of the map, in California Maryland







Washington DC is a 1 hour and 22 minute drive from our house.



We plan to spend a weekend there, at least. It may take a few weekend trips to see everything we want to see there.





 Baltimore is 1 hour and 40 minutes away.

There happens to be a cruise port there.

A CRUISE PORT IS 1 HOUR AND 40 MINUTES AWAY!!!


Cody and I are trying to figure out how to add another cruise to our list. It would be so easy to cruise from here. We could leave our house at 9:00 AM and be in the ship by noon!





 Manhattan is 4 and a half hours away







 Tim and I would like to plan a weekend trip to New York to explore. Tim has never been there, so it will be fun to show him around.






 The place I most want to see while we are out here is where WOODSTOCK took place.

We are a 6 hour drive from there



I was 3 years old when this happened:


That is pretty amazing! Look at all those people!!!



 Now it's a museum, and I want to see it!




 The grounds look like this now:




 Also, while we are in that area, Levon Helm's Studio is nearby.

Levon Helm was the drummer for THE BAND,
(He also played Loretta Lynn's dad in the movie Coal Miner's Daughter)

Levon died 4 years ago, but his studio "The Barn" is still going strong in Woodstock New York.





As soon as I can arrange it, Tim and I are going to see a concert in Levon's Barn







I am really excited to do that!





In other news, my son Chris and his girlfriend Mariah are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!




 I am so happy for them! We just love Mariah, she fits right in with us.

The best part for me, is that Mariah's little boy will be my REAL GRANDSON!

I just love this kid!





I took these pics of Nik last summer when we were all working in the garden at the Kansas house.

I miss him a lot!





Speaking of the Kansas house, 

We still own it, and we are having some major construction while we aren't living in it.

Timmy and I both miss our little house so much!

This pic was taken a few years ago:





And this pic was taken a few months ago after the new front door, porch and siding was done.
Since then, all of the windows have been replaced, and we got a new roof put on.



Now, construction is happening inside the house. 
This is our bedroom right now! YIKES!!!


We are making our bathroom and master bedroom bigger, and using the 2nd bedroom to make a huge walk-in closet.

Timmy was there a few weeks ago, and I will be back there in June for a whole month. I can't wait to see the progress in person.




So that's about all that has been happening in the last 4 months or so.

I'll be back with some spring and summer updates very soon!


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