As promised, I'm finally updating our blog! Let's see, what's happened since I last wrote?
In August, we rented a boat for a few days and took a family vacation to Lake Powell. It was one of the funnest vacations we've had! The boys had a blast riding on the double tube behind the boat and sleeping in the cuddy cabin (aka "The Fort"). Josh also got to practice swimming and had a great time swimming around the boat while we were anchored. We had so much fun that we're going to try to make Lake Powell a yearly destination for our family vacations!
At the end of September, DJ and I went on a 7 night cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We stopped in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The cruise was better than we imagined it would be! Princess cruise lines does a great job of fulfulling your every need. Aside from the great service, the entertainment was awesome. We saw comedians, game shows, a magic show, a couple of movies and some amazing ice carvings. DJ and I even participated in the ship's "Pool Olympics" (my team won!) and a water volleyball tournament, which was pretty funny. There were a few waves that day, so the water in the pool kept sloshing back and forth like the wave pool at raging waters, making it so you couldn't keep your feet on the ground at times and had to jump over the waves!
On one of the last nights, DJ was asked to participate in a game show called "Peer Factor". No, there weren't any gross animal parts that he had to eat. The challenges were things like pizza dough throwing, poker chip stacking races, stuffing as many balloons as they could into an oversized clown suit that one of the players had to put on and my favorite, of course, was DJ's challenge. He stood next to a guy on the other team and the host brought out a couple pairs of boxing gloves. Perfect challenge for DJ, right? Nope. They rolled out a clothes line with a bunch of boxer shorts hanging on it. The guys had to race to see who could put on the most boxer shorts while wearing the gloves (which, by the way, had the thumbs sewn to the fingers). DJ gave it a valiant effort, but in the end, lost by a leg! The last challenge was for the whole team. They had to try to mimic a dance that the ship's professional dancers came out and performed. It was a little Irish step dance and it was so funnywatching both teams attempt it!
We had a great time at each port too. In Puerto Vallarta, we took an all day boat tour on a huge trimaran. We went from Banderas Bay to Majahuitas Cove for snorkeling and kayaking. This was my first time ever snorkeling and for those of you who know me well, you know that I have this crazy fear of being in water where I can't see what's going on below me (I'm always afraid that some kind of fish or animal is going to come up and bite me or something), so it was a little unnerving at first, but the water was so clear that you could see a long way, so I got over it pretty quickly. :) When we left the cove, two dolphins started racing in front of the trimaran. It was so amazing to see! They both kept turning and looking up at everyone watching them, as if they were making sure that they still had a captive audience. They were definitely a couple of showoffs...twisting and turning and jumping around. It was really one of the coolest things I've seen. It makes me want to go do one of those excursions where you swim with the dolphins. Maybe in Hawaii next year, huh?
In Mazatlan, we didn't have an excursion planned, so when we got off the boat we were hounded by people wanting to sell us on theirs. We ended up running into someone who was trying to get people to tour a time share resort. If you took the tour, you'd get some gift certificates to use in the Golden Zone and you'd get to spend the rest of the day as a guest at the resort, use all of their facilities, eat their food and play on their secluded beach. Since all we wanted to do that day was relax on the beach and buy souveniers, we took it. The resort was called Pueblo Bonito and was spectacular. After the tour, we kindly told the salesman no thanks and enjoyed the rest of the day lounging in the pools that overlooked the pacific ocean and DJ even got to body surf at the beach. It truly was secluded...there was only one other couple on the beach when we got there, but they left soon after and we had the entire stretch of sandy beach to ourselves. It was awesome!
In Cabo, we took a power snorkeling tour. There were eight of us on the tour and our guide Jose was great. He took us to all of the major scenic stops (El Arco, Lover's Beach, the Sea Lion Colony) so we could take pictures and then took us to a quiet cove to snorkel. We each got a little Seadoo machine to use. You hold onto the handles, put it out in front of you and let it drag you along through the water while you snorkel. When we first got in the water, I was adjusting my gear and felt something hit my head. I looked up toward the boat and there was our guide, Jose, throwing bread crumbs at me. All of the sudden, I was surrounded by tropical fish trying to get the bread. So I was freaking out a little and trying to take pictures at the same time! Jose seemed to really like us and spent a lot of time swimming around with us and showing us all kinds of things. At one point, he swam over and said "Hey, you want me to catch a puffer fish?". Well, yeah! So he dives down, reaches under a rock and pulls out this great big blue puffer fish! He brought it up and we got to take a look at it and touch it. As we were leaving Cabo, DJ and I decided that it was a place that we want to go back to. We could definitely spend an entire vacation exploring all of the snorkeling coves and other scenery. It was a beautiful place!
So the cruise was wonderful and we both feel like this is a great way to travel. The accomodations, entertainment and food are all included and you get to see a few different places, all in one trip. We liked it so much that we booked another cruise to the Western Caribbean for our anniversary in 2009!
For Halloween, the boys both wanted to be super heros. Josh wanted to be a Power Ranger and Ty wanted to be Superman. They looked great and had a terrific time trick-or-treating around Grandpa and Grandma Toronto's neighborhood with their cousin Lexie.
In November, I got promoted to supervisor over the systems analyst group that I've been a part of for four years now. It's an exciting step for me and is something that I've worked hard to achieve. The only bad thing is that the promotion happened during our busiest time of the year, so along with stepping into this new role, I also had to keep up with my old one, which made for a very busy couple of months, especially with all of the holiday stuff going on at the same time! But we made it and things are finally starting to slow down!
Christmas this year was great! The boys are both at really fun ages and were so excited about seeing Santa, picking out presents for their cousins and opening their own presents. We listened to Christmas music for the entire month of December (DJ loved that...hee hee) and the boys learned all of those classic songs that I loved growing up. Josh's Kindergarten class was part of the elementary school's Christmas program and Josh asked his teacher, Mrs. Morgan if he could have a speaking part. So he got to say part of a Christmas poem and he did a great job! Then his class sang Rudolf, Up on the Housetop and Silent Night. After the program, Josh wanted to do his performance for everyone!
Santa brought Josh a Gameboy and Tyler a Leapster. Then Mom and Dad supplied the games. The boys are having so much fun with these! It amazes me how quickly they learn how to use this electronic stuff! So now Josh is a pro at Super Mario Brothers and even Tyler is getting really good at his games.
We got to spend tons of time with family this season, which was really great. Bryce, Stacey and the boys came down for Christmas, so we got to see lots of them! We all got together for the Toronto's annual sing-a-long party which ends up doubling as a family reunion, then on Christmas Eve we got together to open family gifts. On Christmas night, Grandpa and Grandma Toronto took on all of the kids for a sleepover! Brave, huh? We spent Christmas day with the Rapp clan where all of the kids tore into their presents at the same time. It was crazy, loud and lots of fun!
Well, I think that about sums it up! Have a happy New Year everyone!
Crock Pot chicken enchilada soup
2 days ago