Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Cruise!!!!

I have been trying to document our cruise. I think I am about half way through. I need to post these and I will try to do the rest later. It didn't post the way I wanted it to, and I don't know how to fix it. To read from the beginning, scroll down.


After I missed out on the scavenger hunt, there was no way I was going to miss out on cricut bingo. WE all gathered in the Hudson Room just a few minutes before we pulled into Puerto Rico. My one goal on the trip was to see dolphins or whales. My friend had told me that on a recent trip, she saw dolphins close to Puerto Rico. Well, one of the guys in the Hudson Room looked out the window and said,"Hey, are those fins?" or something like that. I think I about knocked over tables trying to get to the windows. They were sailboats! Bingo was pretty fun, but I didn't win anything. We pulled into the bay while playing bingo. It was beautiful! There is a fort right on the edge of the bay. I wish we would have had our camera.
After bingo we ran up to the Lido deck (the buffet) and grabed some rolls and cheese to take with us and then hurried to meet at our excursion. We originally didn't sign up for an excursion, but decided that morning that we would pay the money and go on an ATV ride through the rain forest. Oh my goodness! I am so glad we did! There were quite a few from our group that were on the same excursion and it was super fun. First we took about an hour bus ride. I guess that I should have expected this, but it was very americanized. We saw a few Best Buys, Payless Shoes and even a Taco Maker.
We arrived at the little resort and got our helmets on and received instruction.

Brandon and I were a bit slow to snag our four-wheeler, so we ended up with a crappy one and in the back of the pack. But off we went into the rain forest.... about 300 yards later ours stalled. We finally got someone's attention and got it started back up. Brandon was so interested in the scenery that sometimes I don't think he was watching where he was driving.
We stopped at a river. One of the guides dove in. Two cricut people gave it a try a little later. They used rocks to make face paint and painted our faces.... well mine, Brandon was to chicken.
When we went to leave the river area, our ATV was done. The check engine light was on. It took one of the guides quite awhile to get it where it would run. Thank heavens it seemed to work ok after that. By the time we got back to the resort, there was another group ready to jump on the ATVs. I hope that our four wheeler was taken out of fleet. We hung out in a little restaurant and got a coke zero, aka heaven, we ended up getting some chips and salsa because we were starving. We thought that there was no time for a meal. I think, though, the restaurant waits until the group is back to feed the bus driver. We all sat and watched the bus drivers eat a full meal! On the way back, we talked to a guy who has been working in the cruise industry for 8 years. He told us about getting hit by a huricane with something like 50 foot waves. He said one second you would be laying down and the next you would be sittling up. He had alot of great stories, like people coming aboard the ship as passengers and leaving as cargo!
We wandered around Old San Juan for a little while and ate diner at a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant. It was ok, but the company was fun. There were five couples who worked for Provo Craft who had gone on the ATV tour. What a great group! they were so fun to be with. Here are some pics from Old San Juan.

Statue of Columbus

the restaurant we ate at


Our first port was Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos. It is a tiny little island. The population practically doubled by our ship docking. The water is so blue! We walked around in the little shopping center for a little while and then it was time to go on our excursion. Brandon and I decided on power snokeling. I am not a huge fan of being in water with fish. By power snokeling, I figured if I needed to get somewhere fast, I was better off having something helping pull me through the water. On the way to the snorkle place, we were able to see some sights of the island. The coolest thing was the capsle that John Glen returned from space from. It landed about two miles out to sea from Grand Turk and is so tiny!!! I have no idea how he fit in it, talk about uncomfortable!!!

Once we got to the place we were snokleing at, I became very nervous. Brandon and I both thought that we were snorkleing from the beach. I was ok with that, but the thought of jumping into the ocean from a boat and in water deeper than can stand in, is a different story. I quickly noticed the boat, and Brandon asked if we were going out further in the boat. The instructor gave us the answer that I was dreading!

The instructor said that we would be going out to some orange bouys and jumping out of the boat in water that was about 18 feet deep. I freeked! I grabbed Brandon's hand and looked at him like "I can't do this!". The instructor kept saying it doesn't matter if it is 5 feet or 100 feet deep, we would be at the top. I disagreed! Then we were going to swim to where the water turns dark blue. It is called the wall and drops to 7,000 feet. I almost hyper-ventalated right there. Then he added "we will see berecudas. Just leave them alone." I nearly passed out and litterally almost backed out, but I was brave... well brave for me! Did I mention that Brandon and I were the youngest ones on the excursion... by alot! There was one other lady who was scared, and I didn't want to be more chicken than her!
Once we got out there, I did pretty good. In fact, I was one of the last ones back on the boat. Having the little torpedo thing to pull us through the water was fun. The guide showed Brandon and I a sting ray that was below us in the sand, which was way more than 18 feet by the way! It was pretty cool and I don't think we would have found it on our own. I stayed well to the side of the wall, even if I was supposed to follow. Once back on the boat, others commented on how well I did. I guess I didn't hide me fear well at all!
After we returned to the beach, one of the guides pulled the meat of one of the conches he grabbed off the ocean floor. He then started cutting slices off for people to try.... I passed, but Brandon gave it a go. He said it wasn't bad. Meanwhile, i grabbed a cup of fruit punch and started drinking. I turned to Brandon and mentioned that it was really good and wondered what kind of fruit it was. Guava, I thought. Brandon almost gasped and said "Juli, that's rum punch!" Apparently, on the boat ride back, I was so proud of myself and catching my breath that I missed the part where they said it was rum punch, but that if we didn't want the alcohol, they would get us just fruit punch. OOOPPPPS! I stopped drinking my rum punch and asked for the non-alcoholic version. Pretty funny!
On the way back, we drove around the island more and saw how hurricane Ike damaged the island. Grand turk reminded Brandon of Zimbabwe, alot, except instead of zebras and elephants wandering around , there were donkeys... strange.

It was my first time in another country. I wondered what the missionary efforts were like. Driving by the cemeteries made me think of family history and geneology. It was very cool, but I am glad to live where I do! However, I would definitely like to go back.... soon!
Brandon and I ate dinner at a shared table of about 8 people we didn't know. One was a little old lady that had moved to the US when she was fairly young. She still spoke with a heavy accent and spoke ALOT! It was kind of funny. She spends most of her time cruising. She figures that it is not much more expensive that what she would be doing anyway, and she gets to see the world. We left dinner quickly, to get to the cricut scavenger hunt. Well, the had changed the time and we didn't get the message. I was totally bummed. I really enjoy a little competition!
Overall, it was an amazing day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Sunday was our first full day at sea. We spent the day in and out of the Hudson Room, laying out on deck, and eating! We ordered our breakfast to be delivered to our room at 8 am. We figured that with the time change, we would be up. Well, we were in an inside room with no windows. When breakfast came at 8, we were sound asleep! Brandon got up and let the guy in, I don't think I even budged! The Hudson Room was the meeting room that belonged to Provo Craft for the week. On Sunday, we were given a bucket full of supplies and a tote with kits that had everything to make an album for the cruise. I had a ton of fun "cropping" and meeting all the nice people with the cricut group. I was really impressed by how many of the husbands joined in and helped their wives make their pages, or even made their own. Brandon didn't join in, however, he said he got enough craftin at work, and he was on vacation. poor. sport. He did hang out with us croppers, and talked to the winners about his job. Some of my favorite times were spent in the Hudson Room!
That night was formal night. We waited forever to get into dinner, but had a nice time with a couple from Michigan. Amy was a Micheal's cruise winner. A big group of the cricut cruisers then went to the piano bar. It was a lot of fun to sing along with the group.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Saturday morning, we had breakfast with the 21 Cricut Golden Ticket winners and their companions, 10 Micheal's employee winners and compainions, a couple from HSN, and about 10 Provo Craft employees and their chosen companion. Brandon and four other PC employees won the cruise, the others were lucky enough to HAVE to work the cruise either as a craft class teacher, photographer, planner or PC exec.. No matter why they were there, the PC people were soooo fun. It was great to get to know some of my husband's co-workers. We also had an amazing time getting to know the Cricut winners! What a fun group! We quickly made a name for our selves on the ship!
I was shocked that even right after we boarded the ship, there was FOOD! We were a little slow to figure out that the first day is one big sales pitch. We took the "very quick" tour of the spa that lasted at least 30 minutes. We were almost suckered in to buying a couples pass for the sauna and mineral pool after we laid down on the hot stone beds. They were awesome!! Every area we went to, they were "almost fully booked" or "just a few left". Thank goodness we weren't suckered in, we had no time to enjoy the spa, and they unexpectedly closed for quite a while (see day 6).
We made our final calls home before leaving port. Calls #2 and #3 consisted of informing my mom that our pediatrition's office was open and that 75% of our children were being put on antibiotics.... SUPER AWESOME!
After leaving Ft. Lauderdale into the vast ocean, our main event of the night was the cocktail hour and dinner. Part of the deal for the PC employee winners, was to take their turn dressing up as "Cricut", a big green bug costume. Brandon was lucky enough to go first and spent an hour discoing it up, dressed as a green bug, with the cricut cruisers group. He was so cute and did a great job... not to mention being pinched in the rear MANY times buy some of the winners! I don't think he was to thrilled about that. I took the green bug back to our room and when he took off the suit, he was dripping! Apparently that is why he signed up to go first! After dinner we were so tired that we just went to bed, but overall, way fun day!

Doesn't Brandon make such a cute cricut? My video of him is pretty crappy. I tried to steal one from our group page, but was unsuccessful!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I usually don't travel well. The last few times I have traveled, I have ended up with a huge migraine the first night. Brandon was very sweet to make sure I ate and rested (what we think my previous issues have been due to.) We took a a decent nap from 2am to 4am before we got up to go to the airport. Checking in, security, eating breakfast, and buying replacements for the forgotten Tylenol took no time at all. I slept through a good deal of our flight to Atlanta, HARD. I think the fact that this was the third round-trip flight in seven months helped... oh and no kids and the Discovery Channel in the head rest in front of me. Cash Cab is a great show to nap to.:) Bogging about a flight may seem a bit overboard, but I am a very nervous flier, and I did really well! Yeah Me!
After arriving in Ft. Lauderdale and meeting a few Provo craft people and a Cricut Golden Ticket winner, we headed out to find me a place to get a pedi and another to eat dinner. I wore a cute pair of new pink sandals, that after my pedi and walking to dinner, the sandals had cut my feet to shreds. During dinner, we called home. The van wouldn't start for Jenna (my sis-in-law babysitting)... awesome! Not to worry, after some stress, she was rescued and the van received a new battery. (Note: call home #1) With my foot bleeding, it was time to walk the five or so blocks back to the hotel. Brandon was my hero, and lovingly helped me make it back to the hotel. He ROCKS! Worn out and in pain, we went to bed, getting ready to spend our first day on the ship!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


***********This post is over a month old, and I may or may not add pictures*******

So, it is almost 10 o'clock the night before the Valentine's Day parties at school. Brandon is down stairs printing stuff to adorne the shoe box that will become Bailey's in-box at tomorrow's party. I am taking a break from the crafting festivities. As I type, I am praying that the tin foil robot with hearts for eyes and also on the tips of his antanas, doesn't tip over and break into pieces. And that is just their Valentine boxes!!!
A few weeks ago, I saw a cute Valentine idea on a blog. They had printed a cute design on a little paper sack. The design was a free download, but what's the fun in just using someone else's design? Besides, each of my kids will want/need their very own custome Valentine goody bag to give out, right? RIGHT??? (I just informed Brandon that Reagan needs goody bags in addition to Bailey and Isaac.... pray for my safety :)!)
Interesting fact: No craft stores carry little paper bags without handles! How do I know this? Well, after putting Valentine's Day off until we returned from our cruise (I know, poor me) and then dealing with lack of motion sickness (again, boo hoo) and not having my van yesterday, today was the day to pull it all together. It went like this... Roberts Crafts(no red cardstock either), Gracie to the doctor (virus), Walmart, JoAnns, have Brandon check Creative Xpress website, call Micheals, call XPEDX, send Brandon to make purchase at XPEDX at lunch. (I heart XPEDX..... and Brandon)
With the bags purchased, it was time to find something to feel them with. After a pretty crappy nap by the sicko, we loaded into the van and headed to Target. It has been almost two full weeks since I have stepped into a Target. It was like coming home all over again. Yep, just like coming home, Gracie was grumpy and the other kids were only concerned with what they were going to get! (Actually, the three older kids were very sweet when we returned home from the Carribean.) Every single person at Target was in the Valentine's section. All the cool candy was gone! We still managed to fill our cart with goodies just as we saw the super fit P.E. teacher. Doesn't Isaac know not to say hi to the P.E. teacher when all we are buying is junk? Awesome! Oh well, it is a holiday and job security for her!

It is days later, and I am going to finish this post. I made Isaac a pretty rockin' robot. Bailey, who said she was just fine with redecorating her box from last year, became a little bit jealous. Yes, she still has her last years box. Maybe this is an indication of why she can't get her room clean. She wanted to make a "Little Miss Valentine" based on the little miss/ little mr. books. SHE WANTED A BOX IN THE SHAPE OF A "LITTLE MISS". Much to her dissappointment, I informed her that at after 9pm the night before could we come up with that. She settled with her dad designing her idea and printing it. It turned out really cute! Brandon also took his design and branding skills to the max and branded our kids valentines. Bailey's had the Little Miss Valentine, Isaac's featured a robot and Reagan's had a cute little princess. No wonder they love him so much more than me!!! After all of that, our celebration of Valentines in our home was pretty much done. The kids received little gifts from both grandparents, which they loved. Maybe I will be more enthusiastic next year!

Now for the gushy part...
I am so in love with my Valentine! Brandon is everything to me! It was so much fun to spend EIGHT whole days with him, without kids! We need to do that again, soon!