Saturday, January 24, 2009


Alan and I got to be spoiled rotten in November and go on a cruise. This was the first trip we had left all of the kids and gone somewhere by ourselves in ten years. We loved every minute. We did the seven day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Holland America Line. There were lots of things we loved about that line but one of the best was that it caters to the older crowd. There was a lot of older retired couples and some middle aged couples and even a few families. None of the hard core partiers and crazies. I guess we are most comfortable with that crowd. We had such a relaxing fun time. It was nice to take naps, eat whatever whenever, enjoy sun bathing, reading, being together all the time, the entertainment, getting to know other fun couples, participating in various shipboard competitions and being without kids. It was so nice but hard not to feel a little guilty for leaving our kids and having such a relaxing fabulous time. Every couple should get to do this from time to time. We would really like to get away together much more often than every ten years. It is just so healthy for your relationship. It felt good to just be us and not Mom and Dad. Next time we might like to go with other adult friends or family too.

The ship was beautiful and the food was great. We did have to buy soda for Alan when we got to our first port because Alan refused to pay ship prices for that. The entertainment was so fun. Our favorite was the Elton John impersonator. He was hilarious and a great comedian as well as a great singer and piano player. The piano bar guy was super good too. The ship singing and dancing cast was ok but nothing too special. The magician was so cheesy. He would tell a joke and then turn his head and shake his shoulders up and down and pretend to laugh. His majic was not that impressive either. He did choose me to go up on stage one night though to have my neck pierced with a sword and smoke blown through it. That was fun but I almost punched him when he lit a cigarette and kept bloking smoke in my face. We also loved to go and sit and listen to the string quartet every night. They were excellent. Ship life is quite amazing. It is a floating city that is very compact and totally relaxed. I loved being able to eat all the time. We even ordered free room service at 2 in the morning. I loved running laps around the ship for exercise. That is a little strange with the ship pitching and rolling. My legs were super sore- it was like I was running hills the whole time. I loved having a pool to lay by in the sun and read. I even liked the movement of the ship. You didn't notice it very much except for the first and last nights. The first because it was a new sensation and the last because the sea was rough. We were never nauseaus but it did feel strange to be moving like that. I loved the chance to dress up in formal wear two different nights. Alan didn't love it as much but he didn't complain. We met a really cute older couple that took us polka dancing-much to Alan's chagrin. It was thier 27th cruise and they were adorable. It was great to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. We took three naps in one day. I don't think there is much better than a day like that.

The ports were lots of fun too. The first port was Puerto Vallarta. Everyone told us not to purchase an excursion on the boat becuase you will pay almost triple for it than if you just get off the boat and haggle for activities with the locals. Since Alan speaks spanish we were completely comfortable with that. We hired a guy to take us to Lover's beach and for snorkeling equipment the first day. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. The beach had beautiful white fine sand. It was great to lay out and snorkel and explore the beach. One of our favorite activities to do together s probably people watching. There was plenty of that to do that day. We didn't see a ton of fish snorkeling but there was some pretty ones. That beach was nice because there are no hagglers walking the beach trying to sell things to you constantly. When we got back we found a mall that had a great little restuarant with really great food. I loved my fish tacos with fresh salsa and rice. It was "real" mexican food! Our next port was Mazatlan. We didn't want to spend much money that day so we chose to go to a time share presentation to have our food and taxis paid for. It turned out great. They weren't too pushy and they let us go in the exact time they said they would. We had lunch on them and the yummy pina coladas and then went to the beach. We rented body boards and had a great time riding the waves and playing in the water. Then we layed out in the sun under an umbrella and read. It was a great day. I just couldn't stop thinking how great it was to have a break from kids and the stresses of the past 11 years of school. Our last port was Cabo San Lucas. This one we haggled with a guy and got a great price on a Zip Line tour. We drove in an open bus up the mountain for about an hour and then did about 15 different zip lines over the jungle canopy. It was stunningly beautiful and such a thrill to zoom that high up and for such long distances. Our guides were fun and pretty goofy. They film it and make it into a movie since it is made in the place that Arnold Swarzenegger (sp?) filmed some action film. We of course did not buy the film but we had a great time.

I highly recommend a cruise. You can get them for fantastic prices right now if you are willing to book them two or three days in advance.

Thank you Alan for a wonderful trip!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Absolutely Beautiful

My sister-in-law Jessica had a beautiful baby girl this morning. They named her Aftyn Clarissa. (I was going to name Eleanor- Clarissa right up until I held her in my arms for the first time.) Jessica allowed me to come to the hospital and be her DOULA. There is not much in this world that is better than being a part of a natural birth. Jessica did beautifully. She had had a lot of contractions for a few weeks and thought she was in labor a few times. Last night we did a little surprise shower for her and she looked so ready. Today was her due date and she woke up this morning and her water broke at about 4:30am. They called me and we all arrived at the hospital at about 5:20. She labored with complete focus and relaxation. She birthed Aftyn at 6:05am. She was 7 pounds 13.2 ounces and 21 inches long. I love to see women that want to do natural birth and learn the right way to do it and then carry it out with such perfection. It is not possible for everyone but when it is it feels so right. It is how our bodies are meant to birth. I was actually a little jealous of her and would have stepped in her shoes in a second if I could have. I love to give birth.
Aftyn cried out quite a bit as if she was telling us how hard her journey just was and how much hard work it was to make. She finally settled down and nursed beautifully after about 20 minutes. She was the perfect pink color and has big beautiful lips and the Petersen nose. What a joy it was to be a part of. Thank you Andrew and Jessica for letting me be a part of this sacred experience.

I will post a picture soon.

Good bye old friend

We had to say good bye to one of my dearest friends this last fall. I was devastated to lose her but we had had five rich and very full years together. We spent countless hours together and with the exception of the carpet and occasional brake problem she was very very good to me. We logged almost 100,000 miles together and saw quite a bit of the country doing it. She endured way too much throwing up on her and urine and food but never complained. Her doors were my absolute favorite feature. My children never slammed them into another car, I could easily climb in and out of them and they opened with such ease. This was all until her computer module decided to go out. It would have cost almost as much to fix it as she was worth. We had filled her to capacity but know we are not done having children so we couldn't replace her wiht an exact replica. How could I ever be happy with anything else?


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When employee pricing, great cash back, decent trade in value come into play Alan decided it was time to stop risking our brakes going at any time and to go ahead and purchase the Yukon. I was very resistant. I love my van and did not want anything else. There were lots of reasons to purchase this but I just really loved my van and didn't want to buy something that I felt was a little ostentatious. The salesmen were shocked that I did not just ooh and aah over the car and that I wasn't super excited.

I was very reserved about it for a few weeks but I absolutely love it now. My number one feature on it is the back up camera. I am always terrified that I am going to accidentally back over a child. That worry is no more. It is complete peace of mind. I love the on star feature and the leather interior and just about everything. It isn't even hard to park like I thought it would be. Thank you GMC for such a great vehicle! And Thank You Alan for not listening to me and buying it anyway.

Family Home Evening

I was going through some pictures and decided I really need to update my blog. I have been quite the slacker since the kitchen remodel.
In November we were having a very normal average Family Home Evening. I was teaching the lesson and everyone was quietly listening and participating when the giggling began. I guess Alan decided my lesson needed some spice and he happened to have a rubber band on hand. He thought it would be a great addition to the lesson to contort Luke's face with the rubber band and then Bradley's and his own. It actually ended up to be very funny and entertaining. Much better than my boring lesson. You are supposed to have a game or activity anyways, right?

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