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Friday, February 03, 2012

Cruise Craziness... Part 3 (GRAND CAYMAN)

I was really looking forward to Grand Cayman.  Our excursion just seemed really fun and I just KNEW the boys would love it.  Plus, this was the 1 excursion our whole family planned to go on together.  That's right, all 8 of our family.  We'd decided months ahead of time to all go to the Stingray Sandbar and hang out with some freakshow huge stingray.  Huge.  Like... crazy big. 

Apparently, in Grand Cayman there's no pier.  I dunno why and quite frankly don't care.  ::shrugs::  The only reason I brought it up was to tell you that instead of just unloading onto land and going on our merry way, we had to get in a tether boat to be taken ashore.  That was interesting.  Especially when it reached the dock and continuously SLAMMED into it.  Anyway, we got to the meeting spot and boarded trolly buses to head out to the boat location for our trip.  Once we arrived, we boarded a super cool boat that was essentially a floating greenhouse.  Meaning it was encased in windows. 

We got to the sandbar and fun was had by all.  Dad, Scott and Carter (being held by Scott) chased baracuda around the shallows.  ::rolls eyes::  Yeah, you read that right.  Trenton and I splashed, played, and chased stingrays around.  We got to hold them, they gave us back massages, we kissed them for good luck, we fed them and mom and I even did the "blanket".  Er?  Basically, some dude (who I HOPE was some sort of guide, although he wasn't with our boat) held me flat in his arms near the surface and a massive stingray LAID ON TOP OF ME.  Just like a blanket.  Super weird.  It sucked on my neck.  Perv. 

When reboarding our boat to go home, mild chaos flittered about seeing as everyone was trying to dry off, get redressed, grab a drink, etc.  Somewhere and somehow in the madness, one of the open windows (think thick wooden framed, heavy glass) slammed down.  No big deal, right?  Well sure.  Not to you.  But to Carter, who's fingers were resting on the sill at the bottom, it was a pretty big deal. 

I honestly thought his fingers were broken initially.  It cut his 4 tiny fingers on both sides.  He screamed and cried.  Luckily, a fellow adventurer on our boat had a first aid kit.  I'd brought one on our vacation.  I'm a good mom.  Just not a great mom.  A great mom wouldn't have left it sitting in our stateroom's bathroom counter. 

Carter eventually stopped crying after ointment and bandaids were applied to his finger ("Mommy, they're RED!").  He snuggle up in my arms and spent the boat trip back to port staring at his owies. 

Once back, we proceeded to shop for trinkets.  Maybe it was guilt, but $94 in random crap later (stuffed stingray's, hand drum, hats, bags, etc.), we boarded our tether to return to ship. 

Scott and I decided we could live in Grand Cayman.  The weather was AMAZING and I could deal with being at the ocean every day.  I'd force myself if I had too.  ::wink::

This was Dan (one of our tour guides) handing me a giant stingray.  I developed an irrational crush on him after seeing his tattoos and realizing he lives this life EVERY DAY.

 Carter giggle the whole time he was meeting this ray.

Trenton was a little scared to touch these swimming pancakes at first.

Me and the kids with my mom and dad

 The Blanket

Our boat from the back

Post dinner, Scott went to bed with the boys and I enjoyed the lights and sounds of the onboard casino as we headed for Cozumel. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cruise Craziness... Part 2 (JAMAICA)

After 2 days at sea, we finally reached our port in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Yay!  Our first excursion (this translates to "adventure").  Catamaran boat ride to a reef where we'd snorkel.  This was really fun.  As was our entire vacation.  I don't mean to make it sound as if it wasn't.  We had a GREAT time.  It just seems comical how much went wrong.

Anyway, so catamaran and snorkeling.  All 4 of us road out to the reef on the nets which was really relaxing.  We got suited up in our snorkel gear (except Carter who was just life jacketed for swimming) and hit the water.  Scott was last off the boat with Carter.  Carter was immediately put off of the ocean when a wave hit him in the face and gifted him a healthy swallow of salty ocean water (ew!).  Being the attention whore he is, Scott (if you know him, you probably realize I am laughing hysterically at that insanely false comment) HAD to create some drama.  As he slipped into the water from the boat steps, his wedding ring "slipped" off his finger and sunk dramatically to the bottom of the gorgeous reef we were expoloring.  In all seriousness, that's a huge bummer.  But oddly enough, I was really touched by how upset he was.  When told he could replace it, he basically said whatever we bought would be just that.  A replacement.  Not his WEDDING ring.  It's nice to hear how much something like wearing a piece of jewelry that becomes so routine means symbolically to someone.  Especially if that someone so upset about losing that sentimental nugget is married to you. 

Anyway, seeing as the ocean was so deep where we were, we had no choice but to let it go.  Several people attempted to dive for it, seeing how upset he was, but there was no way. 

Nevertheless, we had a great time.  We snorkeled, saw some gorgous fish, rode over to Margaritaville on the water and jumped on the floating trampoline, then enjoyed a lesuirely boat ride back to our ship. 

I don't even know what we did the rest of that day.  They all kind of blur together.  I'm pretty sure that's the day we took the kids swimming in the saltwater pool at the back of the boat and then to the lanai hot tub because it was friggin' COLD, lol.  I think later that night Scott and I went to the comedy show while my parents watched the boys (who were sleeping in our room). 

So if you're keeping tabs on our unaccounted for expenses thus far:

  • Medical bill from Carter's trip to the ship doctor $300 (previous post)
  • Replacement wedding ring for Scott (estimated $350 - $400)
I know.  PUH-lease.  That's nothing, right?!  Just wait.  :/  More posts to come.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cruise Craziness... Part 1

I can't cram this into one blog.  Too much went on.  It gives me tired head just thinking about the massive amount of Kristin alphabet madness it would take to do one giant blog.  So I am going to break this up into easily digestable pieces.  You're welcome.

If we’ve met, you realize nothing for me is ever “normal”. Perhaps because I am not normal? Who knows. I prefer not to dissect that at the moment. Whatever the case, this was a theme that carried over into our family vacation last week. My whole family and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise. When I say whole family, I mean whole family. Not just the Durbin 4. My mom and Dad and my brother and his husband were there. Plus my aunt and uncle and her daughter and a friend and a very nice couple I don’t THINK I’m related to, lol.

It started out great. We hoped in the car and headed to Galveston Saturday morning. When we got to the condo we were spending the night in (thanks Richard!), the fog was so intense it was like gloppy hair mousse sitting on the city. Crazy thick. So why were we surprised to learn the next morning (departure morning) that the port was closed? I don’t know. I guess it never occurred to me the ship captain need to see what he was doing as he docked. He must be new. ::Giggle::

The low visibility made me slightly nervous as the biggest headline the week prior to sailing was the Italian cruise ship turned manmade reef thanks to a dingleberry steering and some rocks.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. This would be miserable for anyone. But we had 2 kids with us. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but patience isn’t really a strong suit of America’s youth. Not to mention my youngest, who was in PERFECT health when we pulled out of our driveway, was quickly deteriorating healthwise. His sniffle became a cough which became a struggle to breath. By the time we got on the ship, I was seriously considering getting right back off and heading to the hospital. It was bad, friends. And I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of the ocean with a 3 year old who couldn’t breath. We suffered through boarding and muster drill and took him to the medical center which was closed, but opened up just for us as he was in such bad shape. He got albuterol and oxygen and some steroids via nebulizer and we were told to stay with him and keep him contained for 2 days. Trenton was crying (he has such a soft heart for his little brother) and we were all beat, so we went to bed early night one… still without having set sail because of the still blanketing fog.

I awoke with a… start… at 3:06 AM. It seems the second the boat started moving (we were pulling away from the dock) my body said, “Hell NO!” and my land-loving digestive system staged a violent protest.

At breakfast the next morning my lurchy feeling had not subsided, so my dad gave me some meds which essentially knocked me out. I slept most of our first day at sea, lol. After that, I didn’t have much of a problem except for my hyper awareness of the boats rocking. It didn’t stop me from having a good time.

Because Carter has to be keep out of the water and couldn’t swim, the first day or 2 was… rough. Carter felt MUCH better (Thanks you, JESUS!), but that just meant he wanted to do things we couldn’t let him do. We basically just hung out and ate those first few days. Not that I’m complaining. It was nice to not HAVE to do anything.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I have become obsessed with looking at houses via the internet.  I am SO ready to move.  We're probably staying in Plano, but just moving further West.  Which I'm mucho excited about.  However, because of the stupid economy and some dummies with their adjustable rate mortages, getting a loan is much trickier these days.  And while in my fantasies, I'm made of money, in reality, saving for a down payment AND paying off all our credit card debit and bills is seeming like somewhat of an impossibility.  UGH!  We don't even need that much money!  But there's always something to spend money on.  Christmas, birthdays, cruise excusrsions...  you may be thinking,

"Kristin, you could dial down your spending on these things.  That might help."  And you'd be right.  About it helping.  Not about my ability to actually do it.  Because I can't.  Birthdays are special and Christmas is... well, it's CHRISTMAS.  It's supposed to be special and magical.  Plus, I am addicted to buying things I think my boys will love.  Add that to having to buy the things we need (I swear, where to socks GO?!?!) and it gets ridiculous. 

I WILL say, I'm a deal finding nut.  I LOVE bargins and my new love is consignment shopping.  Not super new, I've been doing it for awhile, but semi new.  I LOVE buying something in "like new" condition then looking up what it would have cost brand new.  I feel like a trumpet player should be following me around waiting to blast musical praise when I score a good deal.

Maybe I could hire someone...

Anyhoo, this weekend we're heading up to OK for some casino time.  Scott's in a poker tourny and I'm going to seduce some penny slots into making me rich.  Should be fun.  Then NEXT weekend we leave for our 7 day cruise.  This cruise has literally been planned for YEARS.  My parents have been trying to take us but between Carter being too young then my brother not being able to take time off work, etc., we haven't been able to go.  But the stars aligned and our ship sets sail the 22nd.  Yay!  Bathing suit = bad.  However, bathing suit + drinks = who cares. I'll just have to find someone fatter than me to stand next to whilst in swimming attire.  Or maybe they'll have an onboard Manatee look-alike contest I can win.  I think I have that in the bag.


Me trying on my new swimsuit (I know... red?  What was I thinking?!)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Fish Tales... or... Tails? No, No Tales. Sticking with Tales

I love fish!  Mostly live ones, but the "x" eyed kind is delicious from time to time.  Anyway, it's Saturday night and everyone else is in bed.  What am I doing?  Sitting on my butt and staring at my aquarium.  I LOVE watching those little buggers chase each other around their tank.  It's SO relaxing.  And my fishies are so pretty!!  I have 14 African cichlids and 1 gianormous pleco (like 7 inches long).

I have Jewels, an Auratus, Bumblebees, Yellow Labs, and Kenyi.  Lots of blues and yellows with some shimmery red and silver thrown in by the Jewels.

Most of my water peeps were camera shy, but I got a couple of snaps of some of them.  They're still teeny babies, but they'll get up to 4-5 inches long when they're grown.

Health Benefits of Aquarium Fish

Do you have a stressful life, high blood pressure, insomnia? Keeping an aquarium may be good therapy for you. Studies going back as far as the late 80’s have shown that gazing at aquarium fish reduces stress and subsequently lowers blood pressure.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DIY Key and Coat Hangers

Our riduculous plastic contraption that previously held our keys and coats officially died.  It broke into pieces and fell off the wall.  :/  So while on a run to hobby lobby today (for something completely different), I brainstormed a much cuter way to keep our coats hanging by the door and our car keys from being lost (or stolen by little boys who want to play "drive").
So easy and so inexpensive!

I bought a wooden plaque for $1.99, a cute piece of scrapbook paper for $0.79 and a hook that I LOVE because all three of the hooks swivel all the way around.  The hook was $5.99 but on sale for 50% off, so basically $3. 

Then I just channeled my inner 2nd grader and modge podged the scrapbook paper on to the plaque.  Messy, but fun!  :)  And you can see in this picture I'm making 2 which will give me a total of 6 hanging spaces.  4 coats and 2 keys.  PERFECTION!

Then I attached my hook! 

I haven't actually done it yet, but I bought hanging hardware for $1.99 (and I'll have 2 extras!) to hang it on the wall near the door.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  These are crummy iphone pictures.  It's roughly 40 times cuter than it appears here.  ::wink::


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