Thursday, October 1, 2009


Well, here we are, back from our much anticipated cruise, and I have a million things to do. But what I feel most compelled to accomplish is to blog about our adventure. And let me tell you, there were times where it really felt like a full-on adventure and not just some calm sea cruise. This is going to be one tremendously long post as I want to record all of the memories.

First, we started off where most vacations do--at the airport. Stella loved walking around there. Our flight was delayed so she had ample time to explore and meet new friends. Stella, as you know, is usually very social and she was tickled by all of the people walking around that said "Hi" to her and waved. She would always smile and wave back. Everyone told me she was adorable and asked me how old she was, then some would comment on how she seemed too short and young to be walking around like that.

Our flight, however, was a disaster. Since we were late coming in to San Diego, we were ready to land just at the same time as some heavy fog settled right over the airport. We attempted to land twice, which was unpleasent on my stomach. We would almost land and then, all of the sudden, we would be taking off again. It was really creepy. The plane only had enough fuel to make two attempts, so after those didn't work, we had to fly into L.A. instead. We arrived there at about midnight. (We were scheduled to arrive in San Diego at 10pm.) Then we had to get bused into San Diego. Since we got there so late, there were no real buses available and there were about 1000 people waiting for one. They were having to wake up drivers in the middle of the night to make the long journey down to San Diego and back. It took almost an hour for even one bus to come, and its 50 or so seats filled up quickly (without us). My dad took Stella in his arms and went to see if he could finagle us some sympathy seats. Miraculously (and here is one of the perks of having an insistent father and an adorable baby), some absolutely wonderful person that I will never be able to thank talked four people into getting off the bus for us so that we could get on with Stella. At this point, it was 1am (2am at home) and Stella had yet to fall asleep, but she was calm as a cucumber. I couldn't believe what a good baby she was being on this nightmare journey. Our bus ride was TWO hours long, and sometimes we were in such thick fog that you could barely see at all. It was extremely unpleasant. Thankfully though, Stella slept on the bus.

When we finally got to San Diego, my dad was freaking out about us all getting in one of the few cabs that were there, and so we rushed to one without checking to see if we had all of our bags. Paranoid, we asked the cab driver to stop on the way to the hotel, not once, but twice, to make sure that one bag or another was present and accounted for. Of course, it was only when we got to the hotel that we finally realized that one of my bags was actually missing. So I had to hurry back to the desolate airport and hope that I could find my bag. It was at this point that I totally lost it. The cab driver had to act as part psychiatrist, which helped until he asked if I might have left the bag in L.A. Then I really freaked out, because what if I had left it there!? Crazy Michelle rushed around looking for the bag until I finally found an airport employee who knew where it was. By the time we were all going to bed at the hotel it was 4 in the morning. Thankfully though, the nightmare ended there.

That next morning, I noticed how dirty Stella's feet had gotten just from walking around in our hotel room, and I had to take a picture.

OK, now the fun starts. After a slow morning at the hotel, we were finally off to our cruise! It was so fun, and I loved seeing our fancy balcony cabin! It turned out to be a very good investment since we had Stella with us. Of course, I had to document our sail away with a ton of pictures of Stella on the balcony.

After only getting about 5 hours sleep the night before and being too excited to go down for a nap on the fancy ship, Stella finally crashed in her pack-and-play crib early that night. I really missed having Stella sleep in her own room for the cruise. After a few days she would not go down to sleep at all, and would instead just stand up and whine for her mommy to get her out. If I so much as left her line of sight she would freak out until she found me again. So I had to sit next to the crib and wait for her to fall asleep (sometimes having to sing the whole time). A couple times I tried having her snuggle on the bed, but that never lasted. It was always me wanting to sleep and Stella wanting to play. Overall though, it worked out fine, and Stella was well rested most of the time.

Our first port was Ensenada. When we stopped there for our last cruise, I didn't even get off of the ship. This time I did get off with Mom to shop in the little shops right off of the ship, but that was it. We are those types of cruisers that enjoy a day in port where everyone else gets off, leaving the ship all to ourselves. So what did we do all day? Well, we let Stella walk around and enjoy herself. She loved walking down the long hall by our cabin, but only when we were walking AWAY from the cabin. When she realized we were heading back to our room she always threw a small (somtimes huge) tantrum. But who can blame her? She was making a ton of friends everywhere she went. People were even saying "Hi Stella!" to her after the first day.

When I wasn't taking care of the little one I was reading my book. And when Brent wasn't eating, he was watching his movies. He estimates that he watched about 20 movies while onboard, one of which was about 10 hours long and another of which was almost 13 hours long. He figures that is probably some kind of record for long movies watched while on a 5-day cruise.

That night, Stella found her first towel animal in her stateroom.

Our next day was at sea. And it was a beautiful, sunny day. After breakfast, we headed up to the deck to hang out. Naturally, Stella was in no mood to just sit so I mostly let her walk around and greet her fans while wearing her yellow hat that was equally as popular as she was. As usual though, after telling her I wasn't going to let her climb the stairs any longer, she threw a tantrum and it was off to a nap.

As most know, eating is a huge part of the cruise experience. Before a cruise, I can't wait to not have to worry about what to make for dinner for a few days. Stella's daily cruise lunches always consisted of fries, fruit, and a hot dog. Then we ALWAYS ended lunch with a soft-serve vanilla cone.

We went the whole cruise without ever going to the dining room for dinner. This was a first for me since I normally love getting all dressed up and going to the fancy dinners. However, Stella added another element that really didn't make the dining room sound that fun. (Also, they serve the same fancy food in the cafeteria--there just isn't anyone serving it to you.) I did bring nice clothes for us though and I wanted to get dressed up at least one night to get pictures together. Stella was the most grumpy on this particular night and was NOT having it. The one picture we have together, my mom had to wave a granola bar at Stella to get her attention. You will notice in the picture that both Brent AND Stella were distracted by the granola bar. [Editor's Note: No I wasn't. Also, Michelle does not know the difference between a granola bar and a Nutri-Grain bar.] The rest of the night, my mom took some pictures of me and Brent since we looked nice. Brent had his headphones in listening to music the entire time...just like he always does.

My mom got this wild idea to take pictures of us jumping in the air. Brent eventually complied, but it took a lot of asking "Please" from me and Mom. [Editor's Note: One of the conditions under which I agreed to pose for said photo was that it would never under any circumstances appear on the blog. I was assured at the time that this would never ever ever ever happen. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy the picture of me below holding up a lifeboat with the ends of my fingers.]

Like most babies, Stella loves to play with cellphones. Our stateroom had a real phone in it of course and Stella loved to play with it. I would unhook it and she would hold it up to her ear and chat. Then she would offer the phone to me to talk, and would get pretty irritated if I took too long. Her conversations would usually go something like this:

"Gabba, ga ba go go."
"Du da da go yee yee ya dum. "
Insert FAKE LAUGH here.

Both mom and I are totally into the show "Toddlers and Tiaras" and as much as we make fun of the people in the show we are both totally fascinated with the whole idea of baby pageants. Also, I know Stella would totally win if she were in a pageant since she loves the stage. [Editor's Note: Michelle has assured me that she will never ever ever enter Stella in a baby pageant.] During the cruise, we were teaching Stella how to make her kissy face and surprised face. Here they are:

We even did little kissy faces through the glass of our cabin.

Our second port was at Cabo San Lucas. We had originally planned to get off the boat there, but Mom wasn't feeling up to it, and the thought of taking the long tender ride to the shore made me a little nauseated. Still, the view from our balcony was gorgeous.

We attempted to get a little dressed up again that night for dinner and a show. We had taken Stella to the song-and-dance show two nights before and she had LOVED it. She sang and clapped and sat so well through the whole thing. So we were excited to take her to a show again that night, but sadly, she was not as well behaved. And when we left the theater at the end of the show she was screaming so loud that the cruise director made a joke about it. I didn't think that was very funny. ;)

Our last day was at sea again and it was SUPER windy outside. But we still managed to spend some time out and about. We went out with my mom, and Stella was able to get some tabloid magazine reading in while wearing some "lipstick."

That evening we went up to play some mini golf. It was horrendously windy, and I thought Stella would hate it. But she actually LOVED it. The wind made her laugh like crazy. Even every time it knocked her down she laughed. We tried to explain the game of golf to Stella, but she wasn't interested in rules, only in having a good time...which she did.

We spent the rest of the evening watching the sunset by the pool, and Brent got his traditional piƱa colada.

And that was pretty much our fun-filled vacation! Stella was so good most of the time. But she definitely is at the age where she knows what she wants and lets me know when she doesn't think she's getting it. A lot of the time, what she wanted was not to get her picture taken. In that spirit, I present this final collection of images:

"Having None Of It"

We had a great time. I am so glad to be home, but I miss our ship already! (Or is is the contant access to soft-serve ice cream? Man, I could totally go for one right now!)


Christy said...

I love these more than I can say! I hope you put them on facebook so I can say my favorites and stuff. So fun!! Stella is the cutest little cruise girl I could ever imagine!!

angelicindy said...

ha ha ha! I loved hearing about the details of your trip! I love that you don't have to think about meals or make your bed and the jokes and stories and memories :)

Jenny said...

love it. I have yet to go on a cruise. I can't believe how dirty her feet were. that was pretty bad.

The Hopkins Family said...

Looks like you had a good time and I was thinking about you the whole time you were gone. We would love to have you out for dinner so let's plan sometime. It was great to see you a few weeks ago and the frames look fantastic in the room.

About Us said...

I love the Not Having Any of It photos, but I also like that one where you three are looking out to sea, except Brent is on a different balcony. Cruises are so much fun!