Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Oh, what joy! Santa found us at anchor! The kids were very excited to open presents, and they were all great! I think the winners were an American Girl doll and a Donkey Kong wii game. Oh, and I got a wash down pump kit! We also watched old home movies from 5 and 6 years ago. The kids got a kick out of seeing themselves as babies!

It was a gorgeous morning as we headed back home, with the kids playing and playing. Another great holiday with family!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

After a trip to the post office in Annapolis this morning we got underway to head to the Rhode River for the evening. It rained all afternoon, but we baked, watched movies, read, and got the house ready for Santa. Can't wait until morning!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve

Well we started the day at the Chesapeake Beach Resort for an awesome breakfast with Santa before getting underway on a cold, crisp day to head to Annapolis. Frank's mom is with us for a few days and had never been there. We had a nice walk around and the kids got to play tag and run around their favorite park. It's a cold night, right around freezing, but it's toasty on the boat! After a few errands in town tomorrow we'll head to a quiet anchorage to start tracking Santa!

Monday, December 10, 2012

White House Holiday!

Today we were lucky to get to tour the White House in all its holiday splendor! It was simply beautiful. Afterward we ducked into the Archives to check out the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. That was really amazing. Just an all-around great day!

View from the Blue Room

The Blue Room tree (with ornaments made by military kids!).

The State Dining Room

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Swab" turns 5

Well, we had another successful birthday party onboard tonight! Lehe Paine was decked out in "Avengers" gear for our little guy's 5th birthday. We re-styled his cabin and he got some cool toys. Dinner was his choice followed by cake & ice cream and a movie (you guessed it--Avengers). Though the Captain couldn't be here, he called in and joined the festivities. The only downside was me slicing my hand open. May need stitches in the morning!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Coast Rica Part 3--Monteverde and back home

Day 7 we made the drive from the coast to Monteverde.  THAT was an adventure!  The road our  GPS took us up was narrow, bumpy, and turny!  But this time we made it to town well before dark.  Our hotel, Ficus Sunset Suites, was very nice with huge rooms, the best beds of the trip, and amazing views.  We had a late lunch at Morpho's, a butterfly-themed restaurant with really good food.  We walked around town and explored a bit, got the kids ice cream for the first time of the whole trip, and then hit the Serpentarium.  That was way cooler than I expected!  They had nice displays of tons of snakes, and it was nice to get out of the wind.  On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the local grocery store--always love doing that in new places.  That night we hit Mar y Tierra for dinner.  It was sooooo good!  The adults got a great bottle of wine and enjoyed seabass ceviche, steak with a coffee sauce, steak with local blue cheese, and surf and turf with blackberry and passion fruit sauces.  It was all so delicious!  And the atmosphere at this family-run establishment was very cozy.  This was a great start to our final stop in Costa Rica.  We started the day at the beach and ended it bundled against a cold wind!  We fought a few ants in the room, too, but it was still nice.   :)
The awesome roads on the way up.
Still not quite all the way up to Monteverde, but we can see the ocean!
Great view from our room! 
Day 8--This is what we've been waiting for!  Today we headed to Selvatura Adventure Park for zip lining through the cloud forest.  This was just amazing.  We all (even the kids and Grandma) suited up and hit 13 zip lines.  Sometimes you were completely in the cloud, others you were high atop a canopy of lush greenery.  It was so fun, and the best part was hearing my kids giggle and scream as they zipped along with the guides.  Amazing.  We even did the Tarzan Swing, which was nuts, but Trent went first (after saying, "Wait, what are we doing?" and then getting pushed out the gate!) so we all had to try it.  I was petrified!  Then the final zip line was 1 km long and Frank and I went together.  It was super fast and we were in and out of the clouds!  Even after all that hiking and excitement we walked a few kilometers along the trails and hanging bridges to look for animals in the canopy.  We didn't see much, but it was still fun.  Such an amazing day.  After coffee, naps, and an amazing sunset, we hit Rico Rico for one last dinner in Costa Rica.  It was no Mar y Tierra, but it was pretty good.  

We are ready!
The kids got to go together a few times.
Trent on the Tarzan Swing.  Ugh.  I could barely watch!
My little hiker insisted on carrying the family's bag.
One of the many suspension bridges.

Trent was guiding us on the hike.
And after a day at Selvatura, they are out!
Shhhh!  Don't tell the kids we're relaxing!
Final sunset of the trip.  Ahhh....
Day 9--We left Monteverde rather early to account for the roads and to make sure we made our flight.  It was great.  I couldn't stop smiling thinking back on this amazing trip.  We won't get back home until after midnight, but I don't care.  (Late add--the trip back was actually eventful!  We got delayed leaving San Jose and barely had time to clear customs and get dinner in Miami before getting back on a plane.  But, we made it!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Costa Rica Part 2--Papagayo Gulf

This brings us to Day 5 of our epic vacation, waking up at the all-inclusive Occidental Allegro Papagayo Gulf.  I don't normally seek out this type of vacation, but we thought it would be nice to relax for a few days, too.  Well, the excitement started right after breakfast when we joined a group of kids feeding bananas to white-faced monkeys on the beach.  There were tons of them!  And just 2 days ago we were thrilled to see 2!  We had promised the kids some pool time so the adults sunned/read while the kids swam and then got some serious face painting.  On a tip from one of the waiters at breakfast we loaded up into the car and headed out to find the cataratas, or waterfall, de llano de Cortez. After about an hour drive and a small donation to a local girls school, we were stunned by the beauty of this place.  The water was cold at first, but we all (even Grandma!) swam under the falls.  It was breathtaking.  We made it back in time for amazing sunset views, frolicking on the beach, and the dance show.  Ok, so maybe this stop won't be all lounging by the pool!

Our view of the pool and Papagayo Gulf.

Trent feeding the monkeys.

Frank and Mom on the beach.

Me and the Captain!

Katreina and the  waterfall.  Amazing.

Grandma and Katreina are among the swimmers here!
Sampling fresh coconut water.
Checking out sunset at the resort.
My water babies.
Grandma and the entertainment staff.
Happy Thanksgiving!  Day 6 of the trip we decided to take a snorkeling/fishing/beach/caving tour through the Gulf and out into the Pacific.  The snorkeling was so-so, especially as we all got stung by some sort of nettle.  Trent rode my back and Katreina ended up crying.  Fun!  Soda fixed their moods and we were off the Pacific.  We saw tons of pelicans and frigate birds while we attempted to hand fish.  The crew then took us ashore for a delicious cookout, complete with a bonito they caught.  We played in the ocean, tortured hermit crabs, and explored some caves.  K and I almost got sucked through one!  On the way back we had some dolphins join the boat.  The big news of the day happened after we got back and the kids were playing at the pool, fighting over a ball when Katreina FINALLY lost her crazy loose tooth!  Colones or dollars?  That night we had lots to talk about as we enjoyed our Thanksgiving buffet feast!

Sailors on a powerboat. 
Frigate birds.
Hand fishing (that's the bait he's showing off).
Strutting their stuff on the beach.
Frank and his mom in one of the caves.
"All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth!"

We enjoyed our time at the beach, but we were anxious to arrive at a location before dark for once and we were all a little excited to get to Monteverde and the cloud forest so we left right after breakfast.  This was a nice stop, with the highlight definitely being the waterfall.