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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ready to Cruise... Like ASAP!

This time last year Matt and I were on our honeymoon. Our amazing 7-day honeymoon!

This exact day last year was Day 1 of our wonderful 5-day Bahamas cruise out of Charleston, SC.
I remember driving by the dock and getting so excited when we saw the GIANT ship! I could barely contain my excitement! Our first picture taken was when we were getting on the ship - I bought that picture - both of us had GIANT smiles!
 
 We got to see views like this....
 and this....
It was only fitting that I book our next cruise on this day. 
Exactly one week from our first day of cruising.
 
After MONTHS of stressing over this decision, I have finally decided on our next cruise.
 
For some reason this was a very hard decision for me. I know it is a very minor decision, but for me it was very important. Matt and I only get one vacation a year (last year was a fluke) and I wanted to make sure I maximize our fun. A few weeks ago I had narrowed it down to four and then last week I narrowed it down to two. I did everything I could think of in order to make the process of picking a cruise much easier. I even made a comparison chart! Which helped me make my decision for your 411.
 
Because of Matt’s new job we had to go around his work schedule of when he could be off. (I am very happy my job is MUCH easier to use vacation time.)
 
We will be going on a cruise before the end of the year - in the fall.

We will be going to the following locations:
Barbados
San Juan
St Kitts
St Lucia
St Maarten
St Thomas
 
I mostly picked this cruise for all the locations this ship was going to. All of which we have never been. We wanted to experience as many islands as we could and this one fits that request perfectly. I have already begun researching what we will see and do at each location. I am going to be much more prepared this time opposed to our last two cruises. Cruise number one was our honeymoon and I wasn’t sure what to expect and I didn’t know what we would want to do. Cruise number two was booked on a Thursday and we left that Saturday. That was a VERY last minute cruise. We took it thinking Matt wouldn’t be able to take time off work for a long time since he was starting a new job.
 
I am our family’s travel agent so it is up to me to make sure I plan the most memorable experience I can within our budget. I know I can do this! I am looking forward to it! There are plenty of things we can do at each island that are inexpensive.
 
Let the countdown begin! :) 
 
In the event that someone besides my family members read this post and you are someone who has been to any of these locations, do you have any suggestions as to fun things to do? Thanks in advance!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Awesome Zoo Captures

Day 2 of mine and Matt's one year anniversary weekend was just as wonderful as Day 1.
We decided to go to the Louisville Zoo.
No, this was not a new experience for us, but it had been about a year since I allowed our membership to expire.
Oops!
In my defense, I couldn't justify the cost when we were no longer going to the zoo. We did re-join yesterday since I figured we will probably go a few times this year.
At the very least, for the Dippin Dots. Which by the way we did get to enjoy yesterday.
I had banana split and Matt had cookies and cream. Which means I still have three more flavors to try in my near future.
Yes, I have tried them all before. I just haven't tried them in 2013.
Dippin Dots are THE BEST!
YUM YUM in my TUM TUM!
I love feeling those 'pellets' on ice cream melt on my tongue. :)

We saw some animals.
Lots of them.
I captured my favorites on camera....

My number one favorite animal sighting of the day was this beautiful grizzly bear:
He was right up on the glass in the water and stayed there moving his head above and below the water for like ten minutes.
I was a little worried about him being trapped there. I kept imagining the worst - him tiring himself out to the point of not being able to move.
I think he must have been trying to escape.
Or else he saw us humans and was hungry.
So cute, but so pitiful.
I felt bad for him.
Don't you? You aren't getting the full experience of seeing him with these pictures.
 At least until he turned around and started swimming back to shore.
Didn't last long before he came back to the glass to bob up and down.
What was he doing????
We enjoyed a show by Bart the sea lion.
Such a ham!
I wanna cuddle with this guy too!
 He did his tricks very well.
I still love the giraffes!
I caught the 'momma' giraffe with her mouth open.
Got to see the elephants eat what we think was bamboo.
They step on it to break it apart and then eat the stem and all.
When we first went by the lion's area they were not out.
While watching the elephants we heard the lions roaring. Next thing we know everyone was going towards them. So of course we had to as well. 
I started with a bear and I am ending with a bear.
Check out this sweet looking polar bear.

We ended day 3, today, with some minor car repairs which cost almost $350. Darn it!
Either way, we had a nice relaxing first anniversary weekend!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Belle of Louisville

Happy Anniversary Weekend to me and Matt!
Happy Anniversary Weekend to me and Matt!
Happy Anniversary Weekend to us!
Happy Anniversary Weekend to us!

Sometimes I cannot believe how quickly time passes. Seems like just last week Matt and I were saying our vows in front of our family and friends. Yet, here we are a year later.
A year!
Wow!

Can you believe it has been a year?
And what a wonderful year it has been!
This time last year we were at the Pennyrile State Park here in KY.
It was the hottest day of many years past. Over a 100 degrees plus hot sun. This year, the high is only 74. Go figure! Why couldn't we of had today's temperature then?

I remember everything about this week last year so vividly....
We got married, we chit chatted with everyone for a little while and then we finished packing and headed out. We made it to Mt Juliet, TN right after 9 PM. I remember the time because I had wanted a late dinner at Panera but they had just closed. I had to settle for drive through Wendy's. We then continued on to Knoxville, TN where we spent our first night as husband and wife in a cheap and CLEAN hotel we had booked through Hotels.com knowing we would only be there about 8 hours to sleep. And that's exactly what we did. Although now that I am thinking about it, not sure we were even there 8 hours. We were so excited to continue on to Charleston, SC. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Burger King where I tried my very first frappuccino. It was with this very first drink that I became obsessed with these things. (It was memorial weekend and Burger King had them for $1. I must have drank like four of them over a three day period.) Once we arrived in Charleston, we checked into our very nice and inexpensive hotel and took a nap. We were pooped!
Then the sightseeing and 'fine' dinning began. :)
We spent 3 days and 2 nights there before taking a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas.

This year, we are saving our money for a week long cruise later in the year so we had decided to stay home for our anniversary weekend.

Yesterday, we went on the Belle of Louisville for the first time and then walked around downtown Louisville .

It is the oldest steamboat in the United States and the second oldest in the world!
And now we can say we have been on it.
I wanted on this ship opposed to the other one because it was built 99 years ago.
Such history! 

You can see how big it is compared to the Spirit of Jefferson.
Amazing how it is still operational after almost 100 years!
 Don't touch the water though. They had this sign posted on the dock near the boat.
Yuck!

We were on the steamboat for the lunch and sightseeing cruise.
This was the Belle of Louisville's first trip of the year. I had no idea when we booked. Guess it made our trip even more special.
I had booked our cruise the day before and since I had tickets which stated pre-booked boarding passes, I didn't think we had to go get additional tickets. We got in line for the boat and our ticket stubs were removed, we took our picture, and then when up to the second floor to find our table. The lady at the eating area asked for our tickets and to see our arm bands. We didn't have either so she sent us back down to get our actual tickets and arm bands. Annoying - yes. But she did apologize when we came back. We thought we would have issues at the ticket counter since we no longer had the stubs to our tickets, but amazingly, we had no issues.

Once seated at our table it was time depart. 
Per National Guard instructions, you have a quick 1 minute informative brief and then the ship starts moving and lunch is served.
Lunch was buffet style and consisted of fried chicken, ham, roast beef, rolls, green beans, mac and cheese, coleslaw. Decent food. Nothing to write home about. I only liked the fried chicken. The mac and cheese and green beans didn't taste good to me.
If I cruise with them again, I will not pay extra for the food. I would have preferred to buy food from the concession stand.

The boat travels a whopping 8 miles an hour.
 It passes a few interesting spots and then turns around before getting to Six Mile Island.
You mostly pass homes and industrial areas. Don't expect to see anything amazing.
I had read reviews on tripadvisor.com and people complained about the views. Or lack of views I guess I should say. This is not the steamboat's fault. People also complained there was no commentary about what you were passing. There is though. He just doesn't say anything when you are passing nothing worth mentioning. When the guy isn't talking, music is playing. He seemed to like Taylor Swift - we heard several of her songs. I like her so I was okay with this.

Doesn't downtown Louisville look beautiful?
At least from a distance it does.
On the Indiana side, you can see the second largest working clock in the World.
I think we were told it is over 100 years.
Coming back to our boat's parking spot, we turned around before going to this damn which is where the Falls of the Ohio is located.
We got to see the Wold's tallest baseball bat.
(If you have never been here, I highly recommend the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.)
Overall, I enjoyed the Belle of Louisville.
I wouldn't mind doing the sight seeing tour on the Spirt of Jefferson to see the differences of an almost 100 year boat compared to a steamboat built in 1989.

I am going to leave you with two neat pictures I took while we walked around downtown:
 
Matt should be awake soon - I am in charge of making breakfast today. He made it yesterday. :)



Sunday, May 19, 2013

The One With All The Walking

We have come to the close of another weekend.

Insert sad face please.

I had a wonderful weekend doing a whole lot of nothing. I spent a lot of time outside which is not the norm for me. I hate the great outdoors usually. Well, not so much the outdoors, but the bugs and critters that our outside. I hate them. They also scare me a bit. A lot actually. Dang bugs!
In fact, about an hour ago I was in the shower and discovered a tick on my upper thigh. I SCREAMED for Matt to come to me. I think I made him panic because I am pretty sure he ran into our room and then into the bathroom. Like all good men, he removed it from me. Thank goodness! I was about to cry! I know, I know - I am a baby sometimes. But in my defense, I felt like the tick was sucking my blood and making my leg sore.
I should probably make him something yummy for desert tonight.

Oh, and right before my tick incident, (literally right before) when I was undressing in the laundry room, I saw a bug on the floor that I needed him to kill.
He said it was a wasp.
A wasp!
My goodness! It must have flown in when we had the door open.


Weekend recap:
Saturday we went to Joe's Crab Shack for a late lunch. Last time we were here they had a deal going on if you donated $10 to autism awareness you got a coupon for a free classic steam pot. Awesome deal so we bought donated for two coupons.
After lunch we decided to walk down by the river and then across main street back to our car.
Some sort of walk and/or run was going on - lots of people with different brightly colored shirts on.

We saw this structure right in front of the Humana office complex - which is where we parked.
I like how old the structure is.
After walking along the river for a bit we made our way back to the main road where we saw this odd/neat collection of art. Matt said it reminded him of Lynn's Paradise Cafe. 
They had something similar to this in Atlanta - perhaps all large cities have them in there downtown areas? If so, must be cheap artwork. Sure looks cheap. I like it though.
Saw Louisville Slugger Field... haven't been here before. Did go to the Louisville Slugger Museum before.... twice... very fun and educational. We might go see a baseball game this summer. Would be something fun to do. Something new. We both enjoy eating the type of food sold at these places.
BATMAN!!!!!!!
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!

Matt LOVED Batman when he was a kid! I even have a picture of him in his batman shirt getting ready to blow out the candles of his Batman cake with his Batman party hat on. His mom allowed me to copy her pictures of him. This is one of my favorites since he has a GIANT smile on his face.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this building when I saw it. I should have made him take a picture next to it.

Sunday afternoon we decided go to Bernheim Forrest to walk some of the trails.
I forgot my phone and didn't think to bring a camera so I only took two pictures with Matt's phone. Both were the exact same scene.
If you look up you see 'Spring' and if you look down you see 'Fall'. This must mean 'Summer' and 'Winter' are in this picture as well. Don't you agree?
I would have loved to see the water flowing down this stream opposed to just being there. We did see one area where water was flowing. I enjoyed hearing it.

After our walk we stopped at McDonald's for ice cream cones. In case you don't know - McDonald's has THE BEST vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Helped cool us down even more then the air conditioning in the truck.

Once we got home, you know what happened - wasp followed by a tick. Remember?


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Painted Angel

Friday I left work early to head down to Tennessee since my mom, Matt’s sister (L) and I decided to do a painting class. This was going to be L’s first time and I was looking forward to her experiencing it with us. My mom and I both immensely enjoy these classes and I feel it is fun watching someone new experience the same joys we feel.
And I think we have her hooked... She would like to paint again. Mission accomplished!
 
We decided to paint an angel. First time my mom and I have painted a 'person'.
 
Here are the end products:
From left to right: Mine, my mom’s and L’s
Our one picture together and it is a little blurry.
Darn it! I need to remember and always ask people to take two! Two please!
 
Good thing we took a few pictures with two of us at a time.
Check out my angel's curly hair - just like mine!
Here's L's and mine:

 Mine and my mom's:
Can you tell I need to work on my shading?
Can you tell my halo should have extender out further?

You say 'yes' to all of the above?
That's not very nice. You should lie and tell me it is beautiful! It's the proper thing to do.

Oh! You said 'no' to the above?
Well that's very kind of you, but I know my shading needs work and I should have extended my halo out further.

I think, for the most part, the outcome of the painting is based on who the instructor is and how well they can teach.
Luckily, we had Sara. My mom and I are pretty sure she was the teacher for our Starry Night painting. 
She is amazing!
Very easy to follow and very thorough. Next painting I sign up for I plan on calling the studio to find out which paintings she is teaching. I would prefer her over any other instructor we have had.

Here's my painting step by step:
She had the outline prepared for us. I like this since we didn't have to worry about getting everything in the right spot. Made it much easier. My hands are too small to be measuring down four fingers worth of length!
Does my angel look pregnant to you?
 She does to me.

I LOVE how this turned out!
It is ALMOST a self-portrait. (Minus the reddish hair that should have been a light brown.)

Ha ha ha! What??? I can be an angel! :)