Friday, December 31, 2010

Let The Cruising Begin - At Sea, Days 1 & 2

It's difficult to know where to start with recounting the glory days of the cruise, if only because something very startling and scary happened the first night, and I just have to get it out of the way here.

GrandDad Mike had a diabetic sugar crash.

Without going into the details we all witnessed, because that's Mike's story, I'll say that the first night all 23 of us gathered for dinner in the center of the ship's restaurant, we witnessed what we thought was Mike having a stroke or a heart attack. Really, it was that dangerous-looking and it's what we thought could be the end to Mike.

Medics came and aided him; Kai and Mick and Mike's brothers knelt round him, calm and solemn and brave, providing information; the children and Mimi cried.

When it was assessed an hour later that indeed he'd had a diabetic seizure, it was a tremendous relief that Mike was still with us, and it was an enormous reality check as to the fragility of life. It may not have been stroke or heart attack, but it was just as dangerous.

That said, the rest of the cruise we (or just I?) spent some thought hoping all the diabetics kept sugar levels under control (there are 4 in the family at various stages), and keeping track of family in subtle ways. Keep in mind, we kept Jan, Grammy/Mike's wife, in our thoughts, too, as she'd had to remain home in Washington due to her own health challenges.

But we got that big scare out of the way the first night, and, sign of the cross, nothing else happened the rest of the cruise. So, here's a little of what the first two days at sea held for us:

Aubrey and Indi loved dressing up for dinner. Here they are the first night.

Aubs and Dub Dub.

Danielle and Cindy in the forefront; Danielle's friend Jenny with Mike in the background.

Big Boy Jude got all snazzied up: dress shirt, tie, and sweatpants "For Mimi."

Kai holds up family t-shirts from Tom.

Mick, in honor of Mimi's 95th birthday.

Mimi and her love bug, Jude.

Kai, Mimi, and Jude.

After the crash and the positive word from the infirmary some of us regained a little of our appetites and headed up to the Lido deck to decompress.

It may not have been warm (it was snowing in Baltimore when we left), but on day 2 (near North Carolina?) the kids hit the sea water pool.

Indi and Aubs playing slap-hands.

Jude, Aubs and Dane.

Mick with the newest little Reynolds (well, his last name is actually Clark!), Nathan.

Kai with Dub-Dub, who, the next day was stung by a jellyfish in that seawater pool! It was closed and drained after his screams and welts alerted the crew.

Waiting for kids' camp, which was a little bit of a bust -- but that's okay, the kids just roamed the ship like unruly pirates in search of soft-serve the rest of the trip.

Dana, Rod, Mimi, Mick and Kai.

Rod, Mimi, Kai, me, and Dana.

Dane gussied up.

Doing the girls' hair.

GrandDad. Woops, it's fuzzy.

My growing kids.

Mimi and her greats. (Where's Nathan?)

Kai and Jude.

With my fabulous sister-in-law.

The traditional matching Christmas Jammies from Auntie Dana.

Other than this, we explored the ship's various lounges, cafes, and decks, looking forward to our first day on land: for us, that meant the Orlando Watersports Complex and Harry Potter World. (Stay tuned...)

Post #701: Home Sweet Sharkles

After an amazing two-week trip (post and pictures to come shortly) we made it home at 3 AM Wednesday. We were supposed to be in at midnight, but considering all the east coast craziness with blizzards and flight cancellations, we felt fortunate to have had no bumps and only a few delays out of Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Still, 3 AM is tough when you have to roust yourself out of bed three hours later -- TO GO TO WORK! Yes, Mick was my hero that day, because not only did he manage to function in spite of time changes and travel, but he got to work that morning and had 13 emergency cases to handle. (Apparently everyone had been waiting for that dentist office to open up!) I think 6-8 emergency cases from 8 AM to 9 is his usual bigger load. Then, after 13 of those cases, his regular appointments ALL started showing up at 9 (also a rarity.)

So, he wins the big toughie travel and work award.

I, on the other hand, slept a few hours later than that and then emptied suitcase after suitcase and did laundry load after laundry load. There are still huge piles of trinkets and papers and randomness on our bar counter. Putting that stuff away turns out to be the real pain.

The kids and Colleen of DogGoneFun  with Sharly when we first got her.
In addition to unpacking and doing laundry, I picked up a few groceries and... SHARKLES!

Sharly got to come home from R&R Pet Resort where she'd spent the past 14 days. We were all so excited, wagging our tails, fetching squeaky bones, scratching our ears. :) It's been great.

What was your favorite (or most exhausting!) part of the holidays this year?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

East Coast/Bahamas Update 3: More DC - Monuments and Memorials

This is out of photo order, but Blogspot's annoying. Here we are at Ali Baba's in Newark, DE, after our final day in DC.

Back in DC's ChinaTown with Jason, who zipped over from Virginia to see us.

The Norwegian contribution to Christmas: display at DC's Union Station.

Trolley Tour in DC. Ready to check the place out some more.

In front of the Jefferson Memorial.

It's a little dark, but that's the really big Jefferson.

Part of the grounds of the FDR Memorial.

More FDR Memorial.

With our hero, Eleanore. My favorite Eleanore story is probably the Marian Anderson story. It was the 1930s and Marian Anderson had been singing concerts, recitals, and opera roles all over Europe. She was invited to sing at Constitution Hall, but when the Daughters of the Revolution figured out she was black, they dis-invited her. Eleanore got wind of it, thought it was awful, and, with the backing of the President, set up an even better venue for her: she set up the first outdoor concert to be held at the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sunday, 1939, Miriam Anderson sang for a crowd of 75,000 people and a radio audience of millions.

Dane, um, riding FDR's beloved dog.

Aubrey petting FDR's dog. BTW: Aubs really misses Sharly. She wants to phone her at the Pet Resort back home.

With FDR.

With the amazing Abraham Lincoln. Incidentally, our hotel was just a block away from the Ford Theater where the president was shot and killed.

Washington Monument. We also went to the Vietnam War Memorial here. It made all of us really sad. Dane cried halfway through and said, "Mom, can we leave this one now?"

Booty from the Air and Space Museum: a Lego Space Shuttle and NASA Barbie!

Dane took this picture of Mimi with Mick and Mike at Ali Baba's.

That's all for now. It's spendy to connect to the internet on the cruise ship. Will have to post when we get back.
So... Bon Voyage!