Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2016

Whenever I sit down to blog I'm reminded that I'm on May 2016 which is when we took our cruise to Alaska and because I know it's going to take longer than usual I give up before I start! :)  So here I go, I need to get caught up!

Olivia is still a little climber and tries to copy Ashton who likes to climb doorways.

May 3, 2016

My nephew Austin had his 1st birthday party and he loved playing in the cake!

May 7, 2016


I can't remember what I had that night but Matt took the kids to his favorite restaurant at Parley's summit Billy Blanco's to eat dinner.



The 2nd grade had their patriotic program at school. Ashton was in one of the dances and it was cute to see the concentration on his face while doing the different steps.

May 13, 2016


A moose had given birth the day before by the cabin next to us. They just hung out there all day. We didn't get close but anytime we would be outside the baby would climb and hide behind it's mom.

May 14, 2016

This was Ashton's arbor day poster at school. I love taking pictures of their artwork that way if not everything makes it in their keepsake box from school we still have a record of it.

May 18, 2016

This girl is into everything beauty related so she made sure to do her own hair this particular morning.

May 19, 2016


ALASKA

We were all really excited to leave for our cruise to Alaska! We had only done one cruise before, to Mexico, and the boys kept asking to do another one. I know most people think that cruises with kids might not be fun but it's the best. The kids are always begging to go to the kids area where they have so many fun parties and activities planned and you get free babysitting. Plus, all the food is included which for a family of 5 is awesome. We booked when Norwegian does their 3rd and 4th person free and watched the prices to get the best deal. The kids had so much fun that we already have another cruise booked for November 2017! One day we'd love to do a Disney cruise but they are quite pricey so for now we're all about getting the most bang for our buck.

There were 14 people in our group, my parents, Matt's parents, my sister, my Aunt and Uncle (Glenn and Sherrie) and their friends Darren and Tracy. Matt's parents drove up ahead of time stopping along the way at different places and my aunt/uncle and their friends flew into Seattle. We rented a van with my family and drove to Seattle. It took about 13 hours to get there so it was a long travel day but the kids did awesome.

May 21, 2016

We stopped at Snoqualmie Falls just outside of Seattle on our way in. It was sprinkling and foggy but it was still beautiful. It was good for the kids to get out and run around for a minute too.


The next morning since we were leaving one car at the hotel and some people flew my dad took us to the cruise port in 2 groups. I didn't realize how many basically hills Seattle was. You were always going up or down hill and by the port there were some really steep hills. Olivia screamed as if it was a ride at Disneyland. I loved Seattle though, everything is so green and pretty. I'm sure the rain would get old living there but I loved it.

May 22, 2016

We were waiting for my dad to park the van.


Once inside we checked out our room and dropped off our carryon bags.


As you can see from the kids it was a little bright outside.


Panoramic view of Seattle


We played outside for awhile until we had to go to our muster stations for the safety drill.


This is what Olivia thought of the safety meeting.


After the kids and my sister changed into their swimsuits and played in the hot tub until we took off from Seattle.


Olivia climbed up into her bunk and was pretending to sleep.


There was a pretty sunset that night.





This is a bad picture because I had to sneak it. I think it's stupid that they take all of these pictures of you throughout the cruise and print them but then charge ridiculous amounts for them so hardly anyone buys them and then they're thrown away. Charge $5, they'll still make money and it won't end up in the trash. So yes, I broke the rules and took a picture of one of our pictures.


We registered the kids for the kids area and checked out the arcade.


After the kids were in bed we went to one of the lounges to hang out and then walked around to check out more of the ship.



Day 2 - May 23, 2016
Day 2 was a sea day so we explored the ship, ate lots of food and played games.

We loved getting ice cream whenever we wanted, especially the kids.


We went to a room that had pictures and information about the ship and you could see into the bridge of the ship where all the controls were.

They had some ice sculptures this night with fish on them for seafood night.


The youngest kids group at the Splash Academy (the kids area) were having a prince/princess night and they went around the ship on a parade and we caught Olivia passing us in the hall.



Day 3 - May 24, 2016
Juneau, Alaska

The next morning after breakfast we spent time out on the deck looking at the landscape and glaciers you could see on our way into Juneau.




Everything was so green and there were waterfalls running into the ocean everywhere you looked.


Most people take a shuttle bus to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls but we rented a van that would fit all of us for really cheap saving us lots of money. The shuttles were $20-$30 per person and it was only a 15 minute drive. The other advantage is that we beat all of the other tourists there so it wasn't crowded when we first got there.


We walked over to Nugget Falls right by the glacier.


I had bought a GoPro camera for really cheap so this was my first time using it but the kids probably took more video than I did. They loved recording each other and themselves. And I loved not having to worry about it getting wet or ruined!


The boys loved climbing the rocks.



There were some pieces of the glacier ice by the shore and I couldn't believe how clear the ice was.


We toured the visitors center after walking around on the trails.


It was amazing to see a glacier for the first time.


Next we drove over to a church called the National Shrine of Saint Therese. It was a beautiful area that you walked down a causeway to what they called Shrine Island where the church was. There were large trees and moss everywhere and Eagle's flying around in the trees. The grounds were beautiful.



They even had a stone labyrinth called the Merciful Love Labyrinth.


The flowers were in bloom and some of the tulips were huge. I've never seen tulips so big.



After that my dad dropped us off downtown to do some shopping and check out the town and he returned our rental van. We really enjoyed our first day on land.


Day 4 - May 25, 2015
Skagway, Alaska

Instead of doing the popular train ride through the White Pass and Yukon Route we rented 2 vans and drove the pass. This way we could stop where we wanted to along the way and it was much cheaper. I'm so glad we did because otherwise we wouldn't have had the opportunities to see these bears. The way up we saw a mom and 3 cubs on the side of the road.


We drove to Carcross, Yukon, Canada and when we arrived in the small town there wasn't any power anywhere. There was a fire close by and so the power was shut off. We checked out the small town and a couple of shops and the visitors center and made our way back to Skagway.



There were multiple lakes on our drive and the scenery was really pretty.  We also came across this bear right next to the road on our way back. He was enjoying eating the grass.




Just a funny story I want to remember. We were in the van behind my parents and my dad had asked the guy running the US port back into Alaska to tease or say that Ashton couldn't come back in to the US. So we pull up and this guy you could tell was very serious and stern. He went through all of our documentation and would say each person's name and you would say if that was you. The only person left was Ashton and so Ashton was expecting to hear his name next and the guy straight faced said a girls name instead. The look on Ashton's face was priceless. He didn't know what to do and his face was worried, this guy was intimidating so he didn't say anything. Then he asked him what his name was. The guy then smiled and said his name and we were on our way. I guess when my dad had asked him to do something the guy told my dad, we don't really do that kind of thing and so my dad was surprised he gave Ashton a hard time.


We stopped to get a picture in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign. I wish we would have taken a group picture of all 14 of us together.


Skayway was a small town but it was fun to walk around to the different shops.


This building was definitely the most unique.


It's always weird to see a huge cruise ship right by the road as you're walking around town.



We headed back to the ship for dinner and the kids enjoyed another fun night at the Splash Academy. It was nice because we could go see the shows while the kids could have fun and not have to watch the shows that they could care less about. They close for lunch and dinner during the day for 2 hours but other than that the kids were always at the Splash Academy if we were on the boat.

Olivia enjoyed a cookie for dessert. It was pretty eating outside with all of the snow capped mountains on both sides of us.



Day 5 - May 26th
Glacier Bay, Alaska

Some of these pictures in this post are from dad, father-in-law and uncle which I'm grateful for because they took lots of pictures that I didn't but probably should have.

This day the ship toured Glacier Bay National Park and rangers come on board and speak over the intercom about the different glaciers and what you're looking at.


It was nice to have a relaxing day on the boat where you could wander around and look at all of the different glaciers and wildlife. They also had a station set up in one of the lounges with information and rangers there to talk to.


The water was such a pretty light blue color. It was amazing.


There were plenty of seals around to watch.


We all kind of wandered around but we would run into each other on different decks throughout the tour.





The boys played shuffleboard with my dad on the deck for awhile. Olivia tried to get a video of them doing it.






They had their Jr. Ranger program in the Splash Academy and the kids loved it. They earned their badges and they gave them coloring books but the coolest part for them was that they were able to see whales while they were in there closer than we ever saw them. We must have missed when they saw them but they said it was awesome.


We actually saw quite a few killer whales but they were usually far away and you wouldn't be quick enough to get a picture of them anyways. But it was awesome to see them spray or jump up out of the water. Especially as we left Glacier National Park there were quite a few.


That night was survivor night at the Splash Academy so they played all sorts of games and had their faces painted.


Day 6 - May 27, 2016
Ketchikan, Alaska

This day we stopped in Ketchikan. Everything is in walking distance and they even call it a walking tour because they have a map to show you where to stop on the way. It sprinkled off and on while we were there.




Everything was so green and pretty.


The first stop we made was to the Totem Heritage Center. There were some really old totem poles an many other artifacts.


Olivia made sure to give me plenty of tongue sticking out pictures.


As we walked around the city the flowers were so bright and colorful.



The kids liked climbing and exploring.


Then we went to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. It was catered more towards kids and there were lots of things for them to do and play with. Definitely one of the best stops in Ketchikan. The kids were able to do the Jr. Ranger program there by completing a booklet of tasks throughout the center.


On the ship that evening we went to a show where it was men against women to prove who's better. This part you had to fit as many people on your sheet as you could. The Matt and his dad ran up to help. The men did win that round because many of the dads had babies and kids on their shoulders helping their numbers. :)


While we were enjoying the show the kids were at their pirate night.


They were always worn out by the time they went to bed each night.


They had a whiteout dance party that night that Matt and I went to. They had glow sticks and fun music to dance to. We didn't stay too long because we were pretty exhausted too!



Day 7 - May 28, 2016
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

During the week the kids had practiced a circus show and the last day they put on a show for everyone to watch. Kaleb did tricks with a diabolo and did really well.


Ashton's group used devil sticks for their act.


Olivia's group were the lions of the show. They did several tricks for us and ended it by jumping through a hoop on fire and then roaring into the microphone. They had cute tails and ears on and they painted their faces. They even walked on and off stage holding each others tails in a line.


Olivia loved roaring for us after.


They were having a farewell pajama party that night at the splash academy for those on the boat but we were in port that night and so the kids didn't get to go to it. But they loved all of the people who worked in the kids area and loved everything about it. 

The last stop on our cruise was Victoria, British Columbia. We were only there in the evening from 6pm-midnight. We hired a driver to take all of us over to the Butchart Gardens. First he drove around the city and showed us some of the sights and architecture in the city.


This is what Olivia thought of that part. :)


Right as we arrived there was a beautiful rainbow in the parking lot. We arrived before most of the big shuttle buses which was good.


I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this stop since it's not cheap at $30/person. Thankfully the kids were only $2 so it wasn't too bad overall. It was actually really pretty and there so many different areas to look at.


Even the kids enjoyed running around and looking at everything.


And playing on everything!


It was amazing how many different types of flowers they had.


There were different fountains and different themed areas to walk through.





The roses were just starting to come out so that was the only area that wasn't as impressive as it probably is later in the spring but we still enjoyed our time there.


After a little shopping we headed back to the boat at about 11:30pm. We were driving straight home the next day so we packed up everything that night so we were ready to go when we docked the next morning. It was such a fun trip and as always went by way too quick. We're excited for our next cruise in November!

I need to make another video that shows all of our Alaska Cruise but I quickly made this video that shows part of our trip. When we returned from our trip I wanted to learn how to edit and figure out more about my gopro camera. I'm not holding my breath on how long it will take me to get that done! :)



Now that I finally blogged May (over 100 pics later!) hopefully I can get more posts up quicker.

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