Sunday, April 29, 2012

Karoline's 2nd Birthday

My sweet, sweet Karoline is two. I love her to death and I will tell you why in my next post. Because I love her so much, I couldn't pass up her birthday without a party despite the fact that we had done two huge parties for the twins and gone on our cruise in the few weeks prior. It had been a bit insane and yet I knew this little one deserved her own special day! That being said, we kept it very simple, but very cute nonetheless.
Here is the birthday girl on our dessert table. She must have been tempted with all of the delicious goodies! I love that this picture shows how Koko knew it was her birthday and she was loving it!
Here are my girls in their matching sweaters that remind me of presents all wrapped up with pretty purple bows!
 Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes and scrumptious sugar does NOT get better than that!
 Karoline loved opening presents and we had the cutest video to show her enthusiasm, but unfortunately, she had been watching it on my phone and deleted it! AAHHH! Oh well, this will have to do.
 Does this say excitement?
After presents it was cupcake time. Karoline likes to sing the Birthday song, but she was too anxious about blowing out her candles...
 Look at that little mouth blow-so darn cute!

 And that's a wrap! Tucker and I doing our traditional, "1, 2, 3...smooch!" I think she likes it!
Happy Birthday Koko!

We finally got more snow!

We have had such a mild winter this year and though I am not complaining, I was thrilled to finally see some snow! (Keep in mind, this was March 1st-we are a good 2 months behind around here!) The kids were even more excited and couldn't wait to get their snow gear on. I had London for the day and she was more than happy to join in the fun...

Can you see the excitement on Roman's face?!
My beautiful snow bunny!
 Karoline loves the white stuff and was licking it from her chin...

 And here they all are with their new snowy friend. Don't you love how London is posed?!
Can't wait til next year!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta was gorgeous! I couldn't get over the luscious greenery and the misty-topped mountains. Wow. A beautiful place and we were thrilled to check it out throughout the day. Matt had been before and knew of a fabulous excursion up in the Sierra Madres called El Eden. You could do the zip line canopy tour, eat some fajitas, and play in the natural waterfalls and pond. It was also where they filmed Predator-oooohhhh. All good things. So again, we all crammed into a van and drove up this ridiculously steep and rocky dirt road. Talk about living on the edge! Fortunately, we made it with only a few close calls and all of us intact.
Here we are. Roman and Capri in front of some of the waterfalls:

First up, determine that the water was freezing cold, too cold for the kiddos. Tucker took the twins around the pond and hiked up to see the waterfalls. Then they ended up playing in a shallow spot just perfect for splashing around.
Next, the rope swing. It was there just waiting to be taken for a ride. Yet, there was no way I was going to get into that frigid water-not going to happen! Peer pressure, sisterly pressure, and the last bit of adventurous spirit from my youth, all worked to get me to do it...and I was so glad I did! It was such a blast that I had to do it a second time along with the rock-formed water slide. AWESOME!!!
Cheri and I gearing up to go...

Ready, Set...

And GO!

"It's not too bad in here after all!"

Here is the rock slide and Matt is ready to go-way to be the first one to go Matt!
Once we got our thrills in, we grabbed some food and the group with all the kids headed down while the rest did the zip line. We spent the rest of the afternoon at a resort beach. It got pretty chilly for us moms, but of course the kids were loving every minute. There was a canal feeding into the ocean which was perfect for the little ones to jump in and play. They found lots of treasures-rocks and shells-and even got new necklaces from a local vendor. Fun stuff and a great way to end our day in Puerto Vallarta.
My sweetheart all tanned up & looking good with our precious Koko:

London was seriously hamming it up for the camera-love it!

Roman not standing still for even a second!

Karoline loves the sand and couldn't wait to get buried...

These girls were cracking up and having such a great time!

Check out his new sweet dolphin necklace:

And Capri with another shell treasure:
What a day in Puerto Vallarta! We were all kind of bummed to have to get back on the ship. There was not much to do except EAT for the next two days, especially because we knew they would be cold! What did make it fun for us adults, however, was hitting the dance floor. Cheri, Ashley, Allison, Steve, Matt and I all joined the Mardi Gras party for some beads and line-dancing. As if that wasn't enough, Cheri, Allison and I then went to the club to dance for another 2 hours. We were hesitant at first considering we were old, married, had kids, and weren't the scantily clad type, BUT we ripped it up. Yeah, I just said ripped! The whole "dance like nobody's watching" comes to mind when thinking about that night. We didn't care what anyone thought and just had the time of our lives pulling out moves from college, high school, and even some good 80's stuff. Such a bonus for the trip!
The rest of the cruise consisted of hot tubbing, eating, playing cards, eating, laying out in the cold, working out (running on a treadmill on a moving ship is a whole new experience!), and more eating! What made the trip so much fun despite its challenges with the kids and weather on the ship, was the group we were with. Dinner was always great because we could simply chat it up with one another and enjoy each others company. Thank you Cell Again!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cabo San Lucas Day 2

Day 2:
I was happy to stay in Cabo for another day. There was more to do and explore and we had the second day to do it all. Some of the guys went and sold cell phones, this was a work trip and all, but it wasn't going to keep us from having a great time. We headed to a resort first. Matt had the hookups, again, and we walked right in and to the pool. The pools on the ship were so cold and so it was fabulous to have a pool that I was willing to get into. The kids swam like fish for a good while before we carried them out kicking. They did not want to leave! I don't blame them, the resort was nice and the swim-up bar/grill was a nice touch-the nachos were to die for! However, we felt that we couldn't come to Cabo and not see its famous landmark, El Arco. We were up for an adventure and an adventure we got...
We first found a water taxi from the beach. My dad found a guy that would take us to El Arco, but this was no special excursion type boat, this was a small fishing boat with a glass bottom. It was amazing that we managed to get on the thing without falling into the ocean. Once we piled on, we made sure an adult was holding a child, and we were off!
First stop, Lovers Beach. We didn't get off the boat, we just hung out near the shore where our driver put out some bread. The fish were swarming underneath us and the kids were freaking out-in a good way! They were beautiful fish and they were great entertainment for all of us.
We then continued to Lands End (where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet) and El Arco. It was stunning! We were all fascinated by these incredible rock formations coming straight out of the ocean. It was a sight to see!

What was also impressive was the maneuvering of our boat by our "captain." The waves were huge out there in the Pacific and were in a dingy, it was a bit sketchy. It didn't help that we were having to dodge the huge rock formations either. Here we were, listening to our guide tell us about the "Window to the Pacific," when Roman says in a very excited voice, "We are going to hit that rock!" We all look and my Dad and I say in a much more subdued tone, "We really are going to hit that rock." But no, JUST in the nick of time, he whips us around and we were in the clear. He then said we don't need to worry and called himself a "professional Mexican." We all got a good laugh.
There was so much to see, the Pirate's Cove, sea lions, lots of birds and fish. We had a blast and the kids really enjoyed it as well...

The whole gang on the boat. This picture was taken as we were rocking like crazy from the big waves. The guy did a pretty good job considering!

We love you Cabo!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mexican Riviera-Cabo San Lucas Day 1

The twins turned 5 today and here we were in Cabo to celebrate!
Day 1:
We travelled first to Cabo San Lucas where were going to be for two days. I didn't know what to expect never traveling to Cabo so I, and everyone else in our group, was happy to know Matt was in charge. He booked an excursion on the cheap and we all got to tag along. There were 20 of us all together and we shared a single 16 passenger van. That meant there were people in the back, on laps, and fit into every nook and cranny. Not super comfortable, but we made it safe and sound!
Our driver took us to this incredible beach that was tucked away in a cove called Santa Maria. We kayaked, some snorkeled, the kids played and played, we were in awe as we watched the breaching whales, and we even got some relaxing in. How is that last one possible you ask? Both Karoline and Capri were asleep for a bit-it was heaven!
Tucker and I loved our kayaking trip. There were so many fish to see! Unfortunately, there were also a lot of jellyfish and I was not about to get in and snorkel amongst them. Roman also loved kayaking and went out twice with his dad.
I love that he gets to do big boy stuff with his dad now. It's like he has been waiting his whole 5 years of life to grow up like his dad! It was also pretty great to watch him turn his oar into a gun (see "Roman at age 5 for picture).
And this little green topped tube was full of sand, aka special poison that he would attack me with.
When Capri decided to wake up and be happy (she wasn't in the best of moods at first!), she lit up to find a new friend wearing her same swimsuit. Matt and Jaime's little girl London is just a year older than Capri and these two were best of friends from the start.
I loved watching them play with their kitties-both of them are extremely attached to their stuffed animals making them even closer!
And check out this whale! There were two of them putting on a show for us!

Mexican Riviera Cruise-Aboard the Ship

Tucker is the COO for a company called Cell Again. When he and his partners were thinking to go on a cruise to Mexico, I was thrilled with the idea. I was nervous about taking the kids, but it had been so long since we last cruised and I couldn't wait to get back on a ship. To help out, my parents and Tucker's parents came along and it was so nice to have them there. I doubt we will do another cruise any time soon (SO expensive with little ones!) so I am glad we had this experience together as a family.
The Group:
It's kind of funny to think that of our cruise group, more than half were related, the Nielsons, Curtis', Fords, and Tucker and I. Too, the Guymons, Steve and Ashley, live right around the corner from us and are our good friends in the ward. Those who work together, play together, I guess!
Left to Right: Cheri and Cody Ford, Matt and Jamie Kelly, and Allison and Mattson Quenneville
And a close up of London and Cheri because how cute is this picture!
Ashley and Steve Guymon
Tucker and Alysha
Our little Karoline
Keith, Roman and Bob
Robyn, Capri and Susie

Hot Tubbing:
It was actually pretty hard to entertain the kids while on the ship. We put the twins in the kids camp a couple of times, but other than that all we had to do was swim. Since it was too cold (especially for us adults!) in the pools, we usually sat in the hot tubs. The kids loved it and made lots of new friends playing pool games.
Another fun activity on the Carnival Splendor was watching the shows and dancing to the live music. Roman and Capri loved the entertainment (as cheesy as it was!) and ever since, have sung Queen's "We Will Rock You" with their hands in rocking form. Love it.
Another night, we hung out in the Lounge and let the kids dance with us grown-ups. Roman jumped right in and took my mom away from my dad to dance. What fun memories I have of seeing my kids dance with their dad and grandparents.
Roman and Capri's Birthday on the ship:
How spoiled are these kids?! They got to have their birthday on a cruise complete with special cake, candles, and of course, the staff singing Happy Birthday. They ate it all up!
Our waiter made them both these napkin hats that Roman got such a kick out of.
Me and my 5 year-olds!
The Nielson Family in the Black Pearl Dining Room:
I didn't get a picture of it, but I have to mention our cabin. It was tiny. This entire family you see above was crammed into 185 square feet. Two twin beds for Tucker and I, two bunk beds for Roman and Capri, and a crib for Karoline in the middle. The kids loved our "new room" for the week and their bunk beds were the best part. It amazed me how little space you really need as we managed just fine. However, we were all happy to get off the ship at port and stretch out a bit. More on our ports to come...