Rita took us all on an Alaskan Cruise- it was amazing. I am going to try to do my best to chronicle the awesomeness- just know that it was better than we could have imagined and way better than how I can describe it in words.
Insert a little back story here: My sister who was going to be able to watch the kids told us she would not be able to. So we went to plan B and were going to have the kids miss school and spend the week with my parents. So Rita got our plane tickets for CA. Turns out my sister was able to watch the kids so she flew in to AZ Sat. morning and Ryan and I drove to CA a little after she got here. We flew out early Sunday morning, with Rita, Jake, Brooke and Kate. Had a layover and then flew into the Washington airport and met up with Jon, Rebecca, Andrew and Maren. Got to the ship and were slowly taking our luggage out of the shuttle van. A worker then approaches us and says are you guys sailing on the Oosterdaam, yes, well you better hurry. He then starts radio-ing do we have any security scanners open? Yes we still have one open upstairs. Up we go to get checked in. The upside- we didn't have any lines to stand in. The downside- we almost missed the ship. Sunday we spent checking out our rooms and exploring the ship. And of course eating!
Was a day at sea. In the morning Ryan and I found a nice place to sit and we read our books. After lunch I found myself back in the room lying down and reading, my sister in law was also with me doing the same thing. Everyone else was all together and at one point they called us to see if we wanted to come play games. We didn't- we were both super content doing exactly what we were doing. I spent about 5 hours, reading, sleeping and relaxing. It was perfect and I really think it helped me not get sea sick. We had our first formal dress evening- one of the best parts to me was dinner- sitting down ordering from and extensive menu and if I wanted three soups I could have three soups- which I did one night.
Let me say "You're welcome" in advance for including this super glamorous picture of me. Tuesday was another day at sea. We would also be in Glacier Bay for part of the day it was absolutely gorgeous. Anyway in the morning we went outside to experience the wind- it was way cold and apparently my hair would stick straight up and back and I kind of looked like Wolverine. The colors were breath-taking.
This was the first city we stopped in Juneau. We all took the tram way up really high. There was a little nature center and hiking trails, they had trails going up or one that you could take all the way down. Jon and Rebecca hiked up, Ryan and I choose to go down and the rest took a trail loop and then explored the city. The hike with Ryan was beautiful, I couldn't believe all the different shades of green. And some of the trees/bushes have leaves that are bigger than my head. I must have drank quite a bit of water- because in my entire life I cannot remember needing to use the bathroom as badly as I needed to by the time we got down. The trouble was that we were not close to the shops at all. I thought I was going to burst. I did make it- barely. We choose to go on to the ship for lunch and then come back to do some more exploring.
This was Sitka. And a super fun day. Ryan, myself, Jon, Rebecca, Andrew and Maren all rented double kayaks and had a guided tour. We were hesitant to go- because of price- so the owner offered us all the kids price and after that she had 6 very happy adults. This truly was something I will never forget and it was fun to share this experience with my husband and in-laws. The owner of this company are LDS and totally had us pegged right away- I love that! We even got a huge home baked cookie and a small bottle of water. On our tour we learned some Sitka history, saw and got to hold sea stars and the highlight- we saw a sea lion up close catch and eat a fish it was so cool. The picture we got isn't the greatest or closest- but it does prove I'm not lying. This night was our other formal dress night. And Jon, Ryan older brother who had ordered ALL of his meals without vegetables- decided he was going to try escargo AND Ryan decided he was going to try some too. I don't know why- there are pictures down there to prove it. It was definitely entertaining to watch them.
This stop was Ketichan. Ryan and I opted to just walk and look around with Rita and we had a great time. We found a souvenir Christmas ornament. And Rita finished findin things for the grandkids. She even picked herself up a beautiful opal necklace. This was our double dinner night. We made reservations- thinking it would be nice to not eat so late one night and then we found out it would be our last night to see our servers. We really enjoyed them and knew we didn't want to miss seeing them for the last time. We were SO stuffed by the end of that night. But the food was SO good how can you say no!
We played ping pong- everybody together. In the afternoon we had a surprise birthday party for Ryan. He got exciting, thoughtful gifts like the fruit basket from the room with some hot chocolate, tea and low calorie splenda in it. A complimentary coupon book and birthday cake and sundaes delivered by room service. That night 7:30 we stopped in Victoria, B.C. Most things were closed, but it was fun to walk around and check things out. Favorites on the ship: definitely the food, the company, there were many live performers from a solo guitarist to a jazz trio to a string quartet- we loved listening to those and there also was a great magician. It was so much fun to go with everyone- thanks Mom Bosley!
We flew home this day and our second flight that would land us in OC kept gettin delayed. We didn't end up boarding the plane until we were supposed to be there already. I was hating that we were delayed- I was so ready to see my kids. We made it and celebrated the July/August/September birthdays with my side of the family- with a bunch of kids who had been waiting 2 hours for us to get there. A little more back story here- My dad picked up my kids on Thursday and brought them to CA- first because Vanessa had to be back in CO and second so my kids would be in CA when we got there.
More back story. The Tuesday before we left on the cruise I got rear ended in the van. We had picked up a rental van but were paying extra over what the insurance covered and didn't want to pay the extra $ for the days it would be sitting in CA not getting used. So that left us with a 5 seater car with a 6 member family to get home. My mom agreed to help take us home, my brother who lives in AZ decided to go to CA to see his kids and since he knew my mom was driving home he flew to CA. Long story much shorter- my mom ran out of gas, luckily we were behind them on the freeway and eventually made it to where they were and Ryan drove almost 20 more miles to get to the gas station where he was able to get a gas can and gas- to the tune of $4.83 a gallon. We were in the middle of nowhere. It was definitely an adventure and added some time on to our trip home- but we are so grateful to my mom for taking her whole day and night- she turned around and went right back. Family is awesome. The picture just below is the game my mom, T.J. and I played while Ryan went to get the gas.