Friday, November 30, 2007

Handsome Face

I don't ever post on the blog because I consider this Lindsey's thing, but I must post this picture. Maybe I am easily amused, actually I know I am easily amused by myself, but this picture I took of myself just cracks me up. I hope you find some sort of enjoyment in it even if only to laugh at how dorky I can be. Poor Lindsey...

Please realize that this picture was taken the morning after driving for 13 hrs straight and I hadn't shaved for a week.

My mom does not like this picture, she said it is not how she likes to think of her nice little boy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our trip to Seattle for Thanksgiving

Last Tuesday we made the long drive to visit Brandon's parents in Seattle. They recently moved back there from Michigan. For those of you who don't know, Brandon grew up in Seattle but his parents moved to TX in 2000 and then Michigan a couple years ago. Now they're back in Seattle to stay! We had so much fun there! We love going to visit his parents!

The kids did great on the drive. We watched a lot of movies but we didn't watch tv the WHOLE time. We stopped in Pasco, WA at Brandon's cousin Mitch and Nancy's house for dinner. Caleb and Camden hit it off immediately and wrestled the whole time we were there. It was really fun to catch up and visit with them. I am sad I forgot to take pictures. We got to Grandma and Grandpa's late Tuesday night.

Wednesday was a really fun day. We took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. The kids absolutely loved it! We stayed in the inside part most of the time but the kids kept running inside and outside. Brynley kept running up to me saying, "I'm on a boat, a boat. On a boat..." Neither of them were swayed by the freezing cold wind that was blowing!

After the ferry we ate at Ivar's and then went over to Pike's Place. This is the kids on the pig at Pike Place.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we just hung out and cooked most of the day. The kids loved playing with Grandma and Grandpa's toys. Caleb was feeling a little sick and took the first nap he's taken in about a year! (The happiness in the exclamation point is due to the nap not the illness...) We had a great thanksgiving dinner and THE best sweet potato casserole I've ever had in my life! I'm definitely making that one again!

Friday we went up to Snowqualmie Falls. (ok, i have no idea how to spell that and I'm too lazy to look it up online.) It was a lot of fun and it reminded us of Havasupai only it was frosty and freezing. Here's Brynley loving her ride from Grandpa:

This is the top of the falls behind us. We didn't get a better picture.

Mary and I went and saw Enchanted Friday afternoon. Oh my gosh. I totally loved it. Seriously, loved it.

Saturday we just hung around the house and baked some pies because Cathie and Jerry (Brandon's parents friends and Brandon's best friend growing up's parents) were coming over for dinner and pies. It was fun to see them. Cathie is so thoughtful and even brought the kids cute little Christmas stuffed animals. They loved her right away!

Sunday morning we left bright and early and watched movies for about 13 hours straight. You think I'm kidding but I'm not. Oh well, they were happy.

We had such a great trip! Thanks, grandma and grandpa for having us! Can't wait to come again!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our new Christmas tree!

Ok, so I am so not confident in my decorating abilities... that's why I am so proud of my new tree! We went to set up our 6 1/2 foot tree in a different spot this year than last year (to put it in the bay window again we would have to rearrange the furniture and we didn't feel like doing that). The spot that was best was right under the highest part of the vaulted cielings. That tree looked rediculously miniature under the high cieling. We've been wanting to get a nice tree for a few years so we decided to suck it up and do it! They had a 9 foot pre lit narrow tree for only $125 at wal mart. We called Costco and Target before we bought it and theirs were all over $300! So, we hurried and got it.

But now we had to decorate it. They have those "tree in a box" kits at Target and Costco for ($100 and $190 respectively) where it's all the decorations you need for your tree in one convenient little box. We checked those out and I didn't like them. The Target one was all balls (brandon would insert: that's what she said) which looked cheap to me and the Costco one was all gold which I wasn't going for. I checked out Roberts and their trees were too themed; i wanted more of a classic tree not like a cowboy tree or a nature tree or a princess tree or whatever they had. But all the decorations at Roberts where on sale through last night. So last night an hour before they closed I went to Roberts to try and be creative. I knew I wanted muted green, red and gold for the colors and I wan't kind of fancy but not too much. Here's what I came up with: (And I got it all at 40% off so it only cost me $140 bucks! It's not as full as I'd like but I plan to add on another year.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Going on our cruise - All Aboard!

All Aboard! Sunday Nov 4th we left on our Western Caribbean Cruise! We sailed on Carnival's Liberty. It was a really big, nice ship and we loved it! Loved the food, the staff, everything about it! I am doing a day by day synopsis so I hope you're all comfortable!

Sunday we woke up in Ft. Lauderdale and went for a run. (I am going into this vacation with a strategy. 45-60 min of cardio a day. I am still going to eat whatever I want but hopefully my workouts plus other activity will keep some pounds off. Turned out it worked! I only gained 4.5 lbs instead of the 7-8 i usually gain!) After our run and shower we took the shuttle to the port on got on the ship!

Of course we went straight to the food! They have this deli on board that makes the best sandwiches ever. That is where we ate most of our lunches. The also have lunch buffets, a grill with burgers and hot dogs, a fish and chips stand and a pizzeria. Those are all open all the time. So for lunch we had sandwiches and dessert. Then we set off to explore the ship. Here are some pictures of the inside of the boat:

Soon it was time for muster! This is where you have a saftey drill and they show you what to do if there is an emergency. A necessary evil.

Then we headed up to the deck for a Bon Voyage party! Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

After the party we headed back to our room to unpack and take a nap. We take long naps on vacation.

Then we woke up and got ready for dinner. Our waiter is Robert from Jamaica and our assistant waiter is Rico from the Philippines! They were awesome!

Monday - Key West, Florida

We absolutely loved Key West! The architecture of the buildings was so cool and caribbean-ish. We got off the boat and walked around the shops and stuff and looked in an old pirate museum. Then we walked to a beach called Fort Zachery Taylor. The walk was so pretty! You walk through a place called Truman Annex which is where President Truman and a lot of other Presidents had what they call a "little white house" where they spent part of the year. Here is a picture of the streets and the houses:

The beach was great. The water was warm, the sand was kind of rocky but where it wasn't rocky it was really soft. There were rocks to jump off or swim around. It was just a really fun beach.

After the beach we went to the Blonde Giraffe and got some frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Oh my gosh! Get this if you ever go there! It was so yummy and refreshing and chocolaty all in one. Amazing!

Then we got back on the boat for lunch, naps and a short workout (we counted the walk) and some hot tubbing.

After dinner that night we went to karaoke. I don't know if you can tell from the back ground in the picture but we were the only white people there!

We went to the show tonight. It was a comedian and a juggler. It was pretty fun.

Then we went to bed!

Tuesday-Day at Sea

We love relaxing on the days at sea. We slept in as late as we could which was only 7:45... eastern time... weird. I don't know why we couldn't sleep longer. Probably because of the naps. Anyway, we got up and worked out. Today I went to an aerobics class for 30 min and then ran on the track. We love running on the tracks on ships over the water with the wind... It's fun. Then we had breakfast and parked our bums on the lawn chairs for a nice long day in the sun. We stayed out from about 9:30am until about 2:00pm. (With lunch thrown in there... sandwiches and dessert!)

Carnival did a mens hairy chest contest which was fun to watch. They also had an ice carver come out and do a demo. Most of the ice carver's on cruise ships are from an area in Brandon's mission where they do wood and ice carving. This guy actually knew someone that Brandon taught.

There were a ton of Filipinos on this cruise. Brandon likes to mumble some Tagalog under his breath as he passes them and they look at him in amazement. Then he makes friends with them and talks about where he lived and where they are from and stuff.

Tonight was the first formal night. We got all dressed up and paraded around before dinner. After dinner, which was great, as always, we went to karaoke and had a good laugh before we went to bed!

Wednesday - Grand Caymen

Wednesday was spent in Grand Cayman. We got off the boat first thing in the morning and got on the first Sting Ray tour with Captain Marvin. Captain Marvin's Water Sports were great tour guides and i would definitely recommend them. We got on their 8:30am tour. The first took us to Coral Gardens were we spent a half an hour snorkeling. Then they took us to the sting ray sand bar. Let me just say, that was amazing. I did it about 12 years ago but I didn't remember much. You get in the waist deep water and at least 10-15 sting rays swim over and rub up against your belly and legs. It is the creepiest and coolest thing ever. Their wings are so thick and smooth. It is crazy. Then everyone gets a chance to hold one and kiss it. You can even turn around and the guide has it give you a massage, where he rubs the wing up on your shoulders. It was awesome.

After the sandbar they take you back to shore. The driver dropped us off at 7 mile beach. We LOVE 7 mile beach! We were planning on walked back as part of our exercise for the day. It turns out he dropped us off at the far end of the beach and we ended up walking for an hour and a half. It was nice though because it was kind of cloudy and we walked along the beach for a lot of it.

We got back on the boat and... you guessed it... took naps and sat in the hot tub. After eating lunch of course.

Tonight there was a newly wed game show before dinner. Those are always fun. Here is a picture of the stage. It was really cool:

Dinner was great tonight too. Love our waiter, Robert. We talked with him (ok, I talked to him) for a while tonight about his home and his family and stuff. He is very sweet. He is from Jamaica and gets to have lunch with his wife tomorrow. Cute.

Tonight we just went to bed early. We're not big party animals. But that's our idea of a vacation, reading, sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, relaxing, etc.

Thursday - Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Thursday we stopped in Jamaica. We loved Jamaica! I really think it was because we had the best tour guide ever. His name was Javia Shaw and he is with so if you ever go there use him and his mom Marva. They were awesome! We got right off the boat at 8am this day and met Javia. He took us straight to Dunn's River falls. We beat the crowds because a lot of people were getting there as we were leaving. The falls were a lot of fun. It was pretty crowded but we still had a great time. For those of you who don't know, at Dunn's River Falls you hike from the beach up some cascading waterfalls. You hike about 1000 feet in total. It's not a hard hike at all but it is really fun. Here are some pictures of it:

After the falls, Javia took us to a store to get some souvenirs and then off to the beach. We went to Mahogany beach for a couple hours. The water was SO warm! I even met a crazy Jamaican man! Of course they want money for pictures!

Ladies were beggin to braid my hair. I just told them i had no money and they left us alone!

After the beach Javia took us back to the ship. He was great and kept us away from all the people offering marijuana, which is what happened to other people we talked to.

We got on the boat and had more sandwiches and of course dessert! Did our usual afternoon routine of napping and sitting in the hot tub. Oh I also had to do my cardio this afternoon. I only did 45 min today just in the gym. Dinner of course was great. It was formal night. Here is us all dressed up:

We were going to go to the show but I fell asleep. We like to sleep on vacation. That is all for Thursday!

(read the sign in this picture)

Friday and Saturday

Friday morning we woke up around 7:30 and hit the gym for my hour of cardio! Today I ran a mile on the track outside, then went into the gym and did 10 min on a machine, repeat for 60 min. After the workout we had breakfast. We hit the omelet station today. Yummy. And cheesy. MMMMMM.... Then we changed into our bathing suits for another day on the deck. The sun felt a lot hotter today than it did on Tuesday so we didn't last near as long. It wasn't as windy either. We laid out for about an hour and a half or so then sat in the hot tub and read in the shade for a while.

Lunch was a chocolate buffet!!! I remembered from last time that this wasn't as great as you would expect and it was the same this time. There was one cake that was to die for but everything else was just ok. The afternoon consisted of a long nap and more reading in the shade looking out over the water. We were kind of done with the sun by today. We ate ice cream cones and had our last sandwich at sea this afternoon too. Dinner was great as usual. Oh, they had this chilled mango soup that was amazing. Carnival's mango stuff is SO authentically mango tasting. We loved it! We said goodbye to Robert and Rico tonight. Sad. I love them. After dinner we headed back to the room to pack and then we saw the show. It was a sword swallower (weird) and a comedian that was pretty funny. Then we went to bed!


This day was annoying and involved lots of waiting. Had breakfast. Waited for 3 hours to be allowed off the boat. (They were running late). Waited for 2 hours for our flight. Flew for 3 hours. Waited for 2 hours for a flight. Flew for 3 more hours. Waited for luggage and drove home. We hated Saturday.


It was SO fun to see the kids today! They love the presents we brought them from key west (a pirate flag and eye patches and pirate rubber duckies) and Jamaica (a "spider mon" shirt and Rastafarian hat with dreads for Caleb and a Jamaican doll for Bryn). We had a great time. We're hoping for a Hawaiian cruise in late summer of 2009 if all works out as planned!

Back from our cruise!

Hey guys! We are back from our cruise! We had such an amazing time! And to make our trip even better, we come home and Caleb is now reading, Brynley's not addicted to TV and she knows her shapes and colors! All thanks to Grandma Mathews! Seriously, Caleb's reading. Before we left he could read words like off, on, no, map, and most three letters words. Now he's reading full on word books with up to 4 and 5 letter words like jump, start, stomp etc. And Brynley didn't watch ANY movies or shows for an entire week! Grandma is amazing! Love her! This is a funny thing Caleb said while we were gone, regarding corn dogs: "You better believe it Bryn, you can definitely eat these with your hands!" We thought that was too funny.

Ok, so we have a lot of pictures we want to put on here so I'm going to make a different post for every day of the trip. I will start with the last day and work backwards so the posts end up in order. If you read this on Sunday afternoon/evening it may look confusing... Here we go! You ready to go on a cruise with us?!?!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Oh no she didn't.... um, yeah, actually I did. I dressed up as an 80's jazzercise dancer for halloween. It wasn't that great of a costume because it was very last minute. Caleb was getting into his costume and I was thinking that I wished I had something to throw together... hmmmm... what do i have...oh, i have a Shade Cap Sleeve body suit... too bad it's a thong... I have some leggings... I have a wide belt...! I've got it! This is what I threw together:

Brynley ended up wearing her chicken costume. She wouldn't go to the doors by herself though and I was pretty embarassed every time I had to turn around and walk away from the doors while the people were still standing there!

The kids LOVED trick or treating! Brynley got brave and started actually saying "trick or treat" and "tank" (thanks) about half way through. She was pretty slow and Caleb and his friend Jackson where up at a house and I told Brandon and Saundra that Brynley and I would skip that house and catch up. Brynley heard me and goes "No, No! Wait! Wait!" It was funny. My mom came down and went trick or treating with us and that was a lot of fun. She dressed up as an old lady and fit in perfectly in our neighborhood!