Category Archives: Travels

Loving Time With The Cousins

Summer has come and has almost left us indefinitely for the year of 2014. Can you believe we are already 14 years into the millennium? Not that I really cared prior to the new millennium but it actually makes me feel old now that all our kids will think we are from the stone age. Kind of a weird thought, but I felt it was worth sharing. Tweet about it for me, than it will be something of value. Everything tweeted is honorable and worth acknowledging right?

Enough of my tangent about something of no value, but intriguing it was… while we were up visiting family, Cooper got to spend some amazing time with his three cousins. They are all boys. They all love outside. They all love cars and tractors and most of all…they all love one another! It was so terribly cute to watch them all play together and care for Cooper as he was the baby!

Trying to keep up with the boys in all their outside activities, Cooper did mighty well.

IMG_5424

All the boy cousins

Agezu holding his little kitty. Oh how he loves these little kitties.

IMG_5453

Showing off his sweet little kitty!

I think Cooper became over stimulated pretty quickly while the dog and two kitties ran around. He wasn’t quite sure which animal to attend to first.

IMG_5452

“Woof Woof”

Come back kitty, come back! The kitties take off runny while the boys tried to chase them only to pick them up by their necks… no wonder they ran away!

IMG_5449

Cooper loves his cousins and loves to call them “the boys.” It is great to have older cousins for Cooper to play with who also loves sports, outside and trucks and tractors too!

IMG_5448

Cooper kept saying “Tim, Tim” I think implying that he was holding the kitty too! :)

Agezu trying to explain to Cooper how to properly hold the kitty…

IMG_5445

Cooper trying to take kitty holding skills seriously…

IMG_5441

Is the kitty smiling?

He could not get enough of these little kittens. They were so patient with him as he drug them all across the yard. Smashing their face and grasping their necks.

IMG_5443

The grey little kitty would run away quicker than a bullet leaves a gun but boy did Cooper beat him this time.

IMG_5436

Don’t you try and run away from me

IMG_5435

Ah-ha, I gotcha now!

IMG_5434

Let’s hug and make up

IMG_5429

“I’ll say goodbye now..”

Finally he let the kitties go and play in the woodpile. 
IMG_5442Okay… one more goodbye! 
IMG_5439

Bye bye woof woof, better known as Moose! he’s the largest Lab you will find but the best trained hunting dog around. He’s beyond well-behaved and taller than Cooper and… he had no fear of the Moose!

IMG_5438

“Thanks Auntie and Uncle for letting me come play with all the kitties and puppies and chase them around. It was so fun!”

Cooper had such a good time at Auntie and Uncle’s house and absolutely loved not only chasing animals around, but chasing the boys around the yard too!

Thanks for a great visit. Wished we lived closer.

Is My Boy a Farmer?

My little man is overjoyed with tractors, planes and trains. He has a deep love for such machinery that I can’t fulfill within him. As we came to visit my parents this past week, I knew my dad, Coopers papa could fulfill his tiny little dream…and boy was he ecstatic.

Papa took him for rides in his BIG ford pickup…

image

So high up, he could see the whole world before him! :)

Up at Papa’s work, he got to test drive some tractors… this tractor was quite large.

image

“Look at me go!”

Trying to figure out if he can shift this puppy into a faster gear??

image

Looking quite content even though this tractor towers above him, no fear resides.

image

And yet another tractor. Maybe he likes this one better?

image

And off to the airport by Papa’s work. This tiny little sucker was such a hit for my little boy. He loves airplanes and was thrilled to be able to experience it all within a few hours. :)

image

And lastly, Papa decides to reward him with a cake pop before heading back to the house. These amazing little treats are by far a treasure to his little heart.

image

A long night of looking and riding tractors followed by a delicious little cake pop was not the end of his journey. On a nightly basis Papa would drive him out past their house to see the combines as well as many deer that wanted to be his friend.

Moment of Truth: This sweet little boy has won the hearts of many. I can’t fathom my life without him and his sweet little personality that is growing quite quickly.

The Deep Ocean Waters

We took a weekend and headed to the beach just the three of us for a GREAT change in scenery. We needed to escape as our house has never ending plumbing issues, I’m watching three kids, my husband works full time, his mother just passed and the “ebb-in-flow” of life seems to not flow so smoothly for the Cook’s.

It was supposed to rain all weekend as usual because we just came from a beautiful week of hot sun. My husband feels he’s doomed as every weekend brings on the rain while he can play but during the week it’s bright and sunny while he’s inside at his desk. Since this is pretty typical for our lives, we took the challenge head on and packed for rain and headed to the coast.

IMG_3953

To our surprise, we had not only beautiful weather, but no wind either. It was incredible. Totally unexpected, unplanned and NO people. The usual crowded beach was every but that. We had the best time and surprisingly the water was not the typical freezing temperature as usual.

Cooper did not nap in the car on the way there which was our hope. This un-napped baby was beyond amazing! No fussing, no squirms, no attitude, no nothing. He was so happy he couldn’t even make it far before stopping to through the sand. He was in heaven. We took beach chairs and snacks and got some good sun.

He was so busy he did not have time to realize he was extremely tired. He had the time of his life. He loved the water and went up to his little waist multiple times. We had to drag him back to shore to get a break from the water. :)

I would take him out but he quickly got bored of it because I had pants on so we couldn’t go as far out as he would like. Luckily for me, daddy had to take him. His little brain was so fascinated and captured by the huge, deep waters. His little mind was going miles a minute. You could see him trying to process this vast ocean that was super fun to get wet in.

This was one giant bathtub for my little man.

IMG_3978

You can see how deep they went as Cooper could not get enough of it.

IMG_3985

Headed back to shore for some more digging!

Sweet little baby!

IMG_3988

We ended the day at Mo’s, famous for clam chowder and sat outside soaking it up. Cooper had a blast and ate like a champ. This tired boy crashed within 5 minutes of leaving town. Sweet baby!!!

IMG_3990

San Francisco Love

As you all know, my husband and I headed to San Francisco a couple of weekends ago. We enjoyed three full days in San Fran with just the two of us love birds celebrating our second anniversary.

We stayed in Berkley on the marina and surprisingly enough, Berkley was not that great of a town. Worn down and not as nice as I had presumed. We had quite the struggle to find any American Food. We do not mind ethnic food now and again but for some reason we wanted American Food and could not find anything. We drove around for an hour to finally stop at a diner that seemed extremely tasty but found out our hunger overtook the food itself. I realized after I ate almost all my food that there was mold on the bun. I was disturbed the entire rest of the night.

The following day was Easter and we found a fun little place between Berkley and Oakland to eat some delicious Easter Brunch. This restaurant was fabulous, but my husband and I found you can’t go wrong with breakfast places. We love them and love to travel for this very reason!

image

Easter Brunch-Great Eggs Benedict

image

After brunch we went to an Easter MLB Game. The Oakland Athletics played the Huston Asteroid’s. Oakland won 4-1, but most of all, it was an amazing day! It was 75 degrees and sunny. Not a cloud in site. We actually weren’t even prepared to have such nice weather that we were sweating out of our jeans and sweaters. My feet and shoulders got burned as that was all that was exposed to the sun, but it was beautiful and not a thing to complain about. We loved it!
image

image

That evening we ate dinner at a beautiful restaurant by our hotel. It was on the marina with a great walking trail that took you directly into the water about a mile out. It was a great little walk and beautiful scenery.

image

image

The following day was not as nice. We headed to downtown San Francisco and the weather was overcast and definitely chilly on the Pier. We went to Pier 39 after trying the best breakfast place of the trip, Fred’s Diner. They are famous for their Millionaires Bacon and it literally is a millionaire slice. It was incredible. This quaint little place fell in Sausalito, CA and was a beautiful drive along the water. Across the Golden Gate bridge we drove and headed to Golden Gate Park. We took our time walking around as we were in no hurry and our flight didn’t leave until 8:30 that evening.

After walking around the park for some time and seeing all the kids play areas wondering why it’s easy to find kids areas when you don’t have your kid with you but when you do have them, it’s never so easy to find. We wandered down to Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39. Pier 39 has definitely grown since I was last their roughly 12 years ago. So many places to see.

image

We ate at In N’ Out as it’s a must do when in California. Although I previously hated burgers and beef, I know crave a good Animal Style Burger and Animal Style Fries from their secret menu. It’s AMAZING and so incredibly horrible for you. It is cheap food for good food. I love it!
image

We ended our trip driving to the airport as we did not want to get stuck in Cali rush hour and parked the car on the water and watched planes take off and land. It was beautiful and very entertaining to watch the strategy they have for the thousands of planes coming and going. In one hour, we were so shocked to see how many planes come and go in pairs. 2 take off as 2 are landing. It was fascinating to sit and watch this for awhile and just enjoy great conversation. As we left San Francisco that night, I was excited to get home to my baby but always enjoy a good vacation. Wishing we were headed off to Hawaii for another 10 days with Cooper. :)

image

Moment of Truth: A husband and wife NEED time alone together for longer than a date night! It is extremely critical to a marriage to be childless for a night or two! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carnival Cruise

We started off our ten day trip on a cruise to the Bahamas with Carnival. Neither my husband nor I have been on a cruise before. We have heard good things about it from my parents and my sister and her husband though they were all on different cruise lines. We took the chance and had a blast.

I am so thankful I upgraded our room to a balcony suite as my son needed a separate space to fall asleep at night without us huddled on the bed in complete silence starring at one another while he plays until he falls asleep; could be 30 minutes. To us, it was worth the extra money to enjoy a balcony with our coffee in the morning and dessert in the evening. We also have free 24 hour room service which was utilized to the max.  We had an awesome view and the first morning as we arrived in Freeport, I woke up early as the time change threw me off a bit. It was simply gorgeous, I couldn’t fall back asleep with all the excitement of docking in a country I’ve never been but always wanted to go. I was so excited to be there with my family and explore the island and enjoy a warm beach that is beautifully bright blue; something we don’t have at home.

image

Michael and Cooper

image

Freeport

The ocean was amazing, Cooper couldn’t get enough of the water it was great! We walked around exploring the many shops and laid on the beach and let Cooper be over stimulated while he tossed the sand up in the air over and over again.

We also docked at Nassau the following day, which I personally enjoyed the most. It was a smaller island with more shops and people. Definitely a different vibe, Freeport was more industrial but still a great place to see; both completely different. Nassau has the giant hotel Atlantis which is basically it’s own city as is. We were planning on going to the aquarium at Atlantis but it was $90 and we only had 3 hours before we had to head back to the ship. It wasn’t worth the money for me as we still had Sea World and Universal Studios back in Orlando to hit up. We enjoyed walking around without a schedule and again hitting up the beaches that are BEAUTIFUL. We got our fill of the sun and warm ocean water while we were gone. Although I must say once we headed back to Florida, the ocean water was basically brown. It probably was pretty normal and beautiful but having seen the blue waters first; it left us feeling dirty on the Florida Coast. The water was just as warm but definitely a different look.

While on the ship there was a lot I enjoyed but A LOT I was pretty unhappy with, this made the balcony even more worthwhile. The atmosphere of the cruise was very “frat house-ish” but with 40 year olds. The main deck where we dined for meals also had the main pool and hot tubs. Every night it was filled with 20-30 men and a handful of women all drunk and acting very inappropriate. The last night was the worst. They had buckets and buckets of beer spread across the side of the pool and one man dropped his swim trunks 2-3 times showing more than we bargained for. Two women also put beer between their chests as men lined up to drink from it. It got out of hand and many families were all disappointed as they had to explain to their kids what was being unfolded before their young eyes. I was thankful Cooper wasn’t old enough to understand but at the same time, I had no interest in watching their drunkenness while headed to dinner. The first night at our formal dinner with Kenny G playing and dim lighting and they interrupted our dinner welcoming us aboard and then proceeded to have the staff dance to “Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots with the Fur,” while grinding up against polls as they moved throughout the restaurant ending the dinner with classical music and dim lighting. My husband and I were appalled as this was the beginning of our cruise and ending with drunk parties for all to see.

Now let me say, the staff was incredible, they knew our names from the moment we arrived and our room Steward was amazing. He would leave things for Cooper all throughout the day in our room and would always play with him when he saw us walking by. In the dining hall, there were a couple young men who absolutely loved Cooper and would bring him treats and play with him while we ate dinner. They were all so nice and it was great when we got off the ship as we could do our own thing, and aboard the ship we used our balcony to the max. Hindsight, the money was worth more than we expected as we spent a lot of time in our room on the balcony being with our family.

image

On the balcony

image

Coopers friend in the dining room

All in all, we had a great time and the Islands were amazing. The staff was great but the atmosphere was not family oriented as I had expected it to be. We will cruise again but definitely would cruise on the Disney Ship as we know that will be kid friendly. We also want to do an Alaskan cruise but with a different cruise line. Carnival simply wasn’t for us but was worth the experience and we still had fun.

We enjoyed lightening storms from afar with no land to break up the night sky; it was beautiful.

Airplane Pride

The cool sweat that pushes against my arm as I lean against the armrest on the airplane leaves me beyond frustrated.  I’m stuck tightly in the middle seat with very little space on either side of me while my son sprawling amongst us doesn’t help this squishy scenario. My frustration begins to boil, what makes this woman think she can take over both armrests while also utilizing the space where my feet are supposed to reside? I make a couple inappropriate remarks to my husband quietly. 

The long awaited taxing while waiting for takeoff leaves our entire row angry and deserving. Finally takeoff occurs and my son is restlessly tired, squirming between my husband and I. As I strap my son into the ergo carrier and quietly say “excuse me, I’m trying to position my son with the little room we have,” She glares down at me over her reading glasses as if I just personally offended her and she has done nothing wrong. I strap him in with a little pride rested deep within me. “I told her!” I think to myself wondering why it felt so good to speak up.

During the ascend, she surveys the tight space between us with extreme confidence believing she is clearly not in the wrong. She is flailing all around over exaggerating her movements in hope I would see her response. Within minutes she looks at me with confusion “do you see where the outlet is,” as she points to the sign referencing an outlet between the seats. My heart falls into my stomach, immediately feeling remorse for my deserving actions. What makes me think I have the right to be harsh with this woman? I quickly respond with politeness trying to help locate this item for her. Realizing the flight attendant just spoke through the intercom that we must sit immediately as we are still ascending with our ‘seatblet fastened’ sign on; I jump back down as if I’m not already embarrassed for my course action a few minutes prior. Now the whole plane can see my right to not follow the rules, I must be the exception.

I sit quietly as my son climbs on us like a jungle gym feeling complete remorse for my angered comments that she had to experience. The one encounter I will have with this woman my entire life as I’m remembering I have bible study tomorrow and what a great example I am being, leads me to humiliation and a humbling state as I move over to give her ample room to work on her computer.  My heart softens towards her as she leans over and says “your son is quiet charming,” ugg I think to myself, now she is killing me with kindness, how is this happening, that’s supposed to be my job. Humbled again I quietly say “thank you” while giving her an “I’m sorry” look.

Roughly 30 minutes later my son is at the end of his rope; exhausted and sitting in a poopy diaper. Must I ask this lady to please stand up for me now that my son has soiled himself? She does so with gratitude and offers her lap for Cooper’s legs when we return if that would help him fall asleep. “Your sweet,” I murmur. She didn’t deserve to be treated with disrespect, I get it, but now her kindness digs the knife in deeper. I can since the sincerity knowing she is simply being nice out of the kindness of her heart. I learned my lesson that’s for sure.

Finally Cooper falls asleep, we sit in peace with one another as we both take our attention to our electronics. We hear through the intercom “If anyone is a doctor onboard, please alert a flight attendant right away as there is a medical emergency.” Could this flight become anymore “exciting,” I think to myself.

A few rows behind us, a female doctor stands up to address the young patient needing immediate assistance. We all sit tight waiting the outcome to hear if we can proceed safely or if we are in need of a quick landing. My curious self looks around as they have given this patient two bags of fluids already and asking for our patience onboard as the aisle is blocked for the bathroom. My heart is sad for this ill patient hoping for their health to not be seriously compromised.

We have roughly an hour and forty minutes remaining on our flight  and turbulence begins to pick up pretty heavily. As I lay sleeping for a mere five minutes, I awake to rough waters ahead, or shall I say, rough clouds ahead; it was very bumpy.

As we landed, paramedics awaited our flight for the young woman who had been ill. Three IVs later we find out she has health issues and the doctor aboard was a heart surgeon who could properly help her while in flight. Thankfully she seemed to be ‘okay.’

Due to our chaotic flight arrangements we had 20 minutes to rush to our next gate, get boarding passes and hopefully a bite to eat. Our flight got cancelled and rescheduled for tomorrow but they were able to squeeze us on some really random flights and everything had to flow perfectly to not miss one. We got bumped all around and surprisingly we made all three flights and got home safely after touching down in Orlando, Denver, Salt Lake, and finally Portland. LONG day, but Cooper did awesome even without naps; he may have even done better than I. :)

image

Here he is in one of the many airports happy and playing.