Saturday, January 30, 2010

And the snow continues......

The weather forecasters originally said 1-3"; then it was 2-4"; then it was 4-6". Now I see the snow advisory warning has been extended until 4 AM -- another 10 1/2 hours..... how much snow are we going to end up with???

12:45 today --

and 5:25 pm (just a few minutes ago) --

I didn't bother to go out and measure it -- I just don't want to know. I wonder how are our southern Virginia friends holding up? I hear they were getting CLOBBERED with the snow!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

How to suddenly feel very old.....

Take your daughter out shopping for wedding dresses!!  (Don't worry, none of these made the final cut, so we're not giving away any state secrets!!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cruising to Mexico -- Day 5!! (the trip home)

Day #5 was a full day of cruising back towards Tampa.  Even though we were on the boat the entire day, we still managed to have a great deal of fun!!

The itinerary for the day included a towel folding "demonstration" in the main foyer.  We thought it would be like a lesson on how to do those fancy animals; unfortunately, it was truly only a demonstration, and when we arrived 10 minutes late, it was already over!!!  Mackenzie was so disappointed.  She asked one of the room stewards who was at the table to show her how to do some of those, and she suggested that Mackenzie ask Vincent, our room steward.  So we headed back to our room and we saw Vincent in the hall. When Mackenzie asked him about showing her how to fold one of the towel animals, he came in and probably gave her 30 or so minutes of "lessons"!  They made all kinds of creations!  What a blast!

The first "critter" -- a stingray!

Now working on "monkeys" -- a bit harder.....

The semi-finished products:


After a head, a skirt, and glasses are added, you have a girl monkey hanging from your ceiling!


An all-white version with a different head:


Supposed to be a swan -- we think it looks more like a seal!


Kangaroo with baby:


Later, an ice carving demonstration out on the pool deck:


Nelson & Mackenzie look on with interest:


And the final product:


Back to the rock climbing wall, where she conquered level 4!  Before this week, she had NEVER climbed before, so being able to complete four out of nine levels this week was pretty impressive to her (and me!! -- I would NEVER try something like that!!)


After more swimming and relaxing time, we went to the formal dining room for dinner.  Here is the statue that graces the stairway between the upper and lower levels of the dining room:


The waiters, dining room staff, and cooking staff marched in towards the end of dinner to perform a farewell number:


Mr. Rashid, our table waiter, from Pakistan.  A truly big-hearted, lovely man who LOVES to put emotion into his singing!!


The kitchen staff singing from the staircase:


Mackenzie, Morgan and Nelson dressed up for the final dinner:


Mackenzie with her friend, Mr. Rashid.  Earlier in the week, we were talking with him about how bright the sun was, and were saying that umbrellas to keep off the sun would be helpful!  So on this last night, he remembered that and brought a cute little umbrella as a souvenir for Mackenzie!  She was so happy!


The girls with our assistant waiter, Anibal from Jamaica:


And to round out the evening, a fabulous show in the theater.  While I didn't take any pictures or videos (no cameras allowed!!), I did manage to find videos on the website that the performing group has.  They are called "Los Pampas Gauchos", and they were amazing!  They actually have two acts: one is a puppet-show using black lights, called "The Artistry of Fluorescence", and the other is their "Los Pampas Gauchos" performance.  This link shows parts of both groups.  Make sure you watch clear to the end of each; the first parts are their promos, but then they show real footage from performances, which are great and will give you an idea of what they do.  I'd love to see them again; they're both exciting and terrifically funny!!

After that, we hustled back to the rooms to get our luggage packed and out into the hallway for pick-up.  We were supposed to have it out there by 11 PM; thank goodness they didn't get to our hall until almost midnight!!

Bedtime for the tired travelers........

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruising to Mexico -- Day 4!! (Cozumel and trip to Tulum!) -- photo heavy!!

Overnight, we sailed to our next stop at Cozumel. It was EXTREMELY windy today, making the seas rather rough. However, it was still hot and sunny and a beautiful day. Early in the AM, we left the ship, walked down the pier and boarded a water taxi to go from the island to the mainland at Playa del Carmen. The girls were really tired from being up late last night and getting up early this AM. While the rest of us were enjoying the ride, here were my girls:

We landed in Playa del Carmen and from there, took a tour bus on about a 45 minute ride to the Mayan ruins at Tulum.

Many, many pictures of the ruins at Tulum were taken -- these are only a few.......














And what Llewellyn family trip would be complete without pictures of the local flora and fauna??




And the iguanas seem as commonplace down there as squirrels are in my neighborhood at home!




 After leaving Tulum, we were driven by bus to a private beach not too far away.  We enjoyed a wonderful buffet of authentic Mexican food in a beautiful thatched beach hut:



The view from the hut while eating was amazing --

And then, time to play in the water!!  The water was VERY warm, but it was very windy and the waves were high and strong.  We had to be careful, especially Mackenzie, because it felt like there was a bit of an undertow going on.  But everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously!!





And as we were driving back to Playa del Carmen, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, we saw these out our bus window (sorry the shots are bad, but we were moving and I had to grab the camera and shoot quickly!)

Hmmmmmm........Century 21 Real Estate office, complete with a thatched roof!!


And good ol' Sam Walton -- he shows up everywhere, doesn't he??


Back at Playa del Carmen, we got on the water taxi again -- and this ride was EXTREMELY rough.  We had a number of folks on the boat who got seasick -- poor people.


View of the sunset through the watertaxi's window:


Mackenzie, however, was absolutely EXHAUSTED from two days of sightseeing and beach play, so she spent the ride back to the ship like this:

And back in our room -- the nightly towel creation was a sea turtle!!  Kind of appropriate, don't you think?


At dinner in the formal dining room, the waiters sang an Italian song to the passengers!  So much fun to hear all those folks singing with 28 different accents!!  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera along to dinner... bummer.

Then off to a show in the theater and bedtime for all!!