Friday, August 7, 2009


We just got back from a quick little three day cruise from L.A. down to Ensenada and back. We had such a good time last year, we thought we'd try it again. But, we brought our kids this time! We're not totally crazy, I did ask my mom and dad to come with us, and they invited my sister and cousin and grandparents, so it ended up being a family cruise. We were totally excited to have everyone join us, partly because we don't get to see our family very much and partly because it meant that we would have help with the kids! Also, it means that Drew has been healthy enough that I felt comfortable taking him on a giant ship with no pediatric cardiologists onboard, something I would not have been ok with before his last surgery.

The first day we boarded the ship in the early afternoon and got all situated in our staterooms. We had a few hours to look around before we had to be ready for the safety drill and the kids wanted to play mini golf and table tennis, which quickly became their two favorite activities while we were on board.

Obligatory embarkation photo with the whole family

Drew and his great grandpa playing mini golf on the top deck

The kids checking out our room and enjoying the view

Our first of many games of table tennis

We had dinner that night and had planned on taking the kids to Camp Carnival afterwards while we enjoyed some adult activities. Drew was excited to go, they were having a dino theme that night, but Ava had other ideas. While I was in massage and facial heaven, Dan was dealing with a hysterical Ava who refused to go to camp. So he left Drew there and brought her with him to karaoke, which she apparently enjoyed quite a bit! Then she hung out with us while we watched the comedy show (don't worry-it was family friendly). Afterwards we picked up Drew and tried to put both kids to bed with my mom babysitting. But when we came to pick them up at 11:30 (!!) they were still awake. So we took everyone back to our rooms and went to bed.

The second day we arrived in port at Ensenada. The weather looked overcast from our windows, so we decided not to kayak to la bufadora. But once we all got up and ready for breakfast, we realized even though it looked cool out, it was actually quite warm. Oh well! We checked the kids into Camp Carnival (Ava had no problem with it this time), and headed into town. We ended up taking a shuttle bus out to the bufadora (that means "blowhole" and we made sure to use the term frequently during the rest of our trip). We had a great tour guide, Fernando, who explained some the scenery as we passed and shared about life in Ensenada. He also stopped the bus so we could get off at the Corona factory store that sold beers for $1. We all ended up getting 40s to enjoy for the rest of the bus ride. Once we got to the blowhole, we got out and walked down the street lined with vendors selling clothing, food, silver, leather and meds. When we finally got to the blowhole, we watched a couple of times and thought, "well, that's the blowhole." It was cool to see, but I don't know if it was worth the 4o minute bus ride...By that time we were hungry so we stopped to eat at the Habana Banana. Before we left to get back on the bus, Dan picked himself up a new river hat. Now that we're home I'm wishing I picked up a new river hat!

Ava's breakfast of champions

Drew at breakfast

Dan and I are ready for Ensenada!

Outside the Corona store with our 40s

Dan, me, Maddie, Rachel, and Dad in the back of the bus

Enjoying our lunch

My sister having a coco loco! taco!

Dan sporting his new hat

With Fernando

Our ship--it's so huge!

That night was our formal night at dinner, so when we returned to the boat we collected our children, then we all got showered and dressed for our formal dinner. We took some formal pictures, which I still need to scan. I've always been a little disappointed in the quality of the food onboard, but the service is excellent. Everyone is super friendly, happy to get anything you need and even remembered our names. My very favorite thing to eat onboard is the warm chocolate melting cake. It is soooo yummy! I even took a picture of it.

After dinner Drew went to Camp Carnival and Ava played bingo and watched the dance show with us. She really was very good, especially considering that she didn't take a nap or go to bed before 10:30 while we were there. We ended up getting two rooms, and Ava and I slept in one room and Dan and Drew slept in the other. We brought a baby monitor so that we could put the kids to bed in one room and then we could stay up in the other room. This night my mom watched them for us again (although we put them to bed first) while we went to the R-rated comedy show.

Mom and Dad

Grandpa and Grandma

Drew enjoying his formal dinner of macaroni and cheese

Ava enjoying her cheese pizza

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (with melting ice cream) MMMM!!!

Ava with our towel creature

Sunday was our day at sea and Dan's birthday. Happy Birthday Dan! We spent most of that day lounging by the pool and drinking lots of beer. I think that's a pretty good birthday! The kids did some swimming, but the pool was very cold! They also did some more mini golf, table tennis and camp carnival. We saw a bunch of whales that day too. After dinner that night we skipped the show and went straight to family karaoke. Drew eventually begged to be dropped off at Camp Carnival, so we dropped him off and stayed at karaoke until Ava said "I am tired. I want to go to sleep right now!" I figured that meant we should get out of there STAT, so we took the kids back to the cabin and went to bed early.

Me and Dan spending some time relaxing in the adults only area

See that shiny thing? That's a whale. Exciting I know.

Maddie, Rachel and me by the pool, just soaking up the sun

The kids

The waitstaff singing Happy Birthday to Dan

Drew loved looking at this model that was kept in the front of the dining room

The next morning when we woke up we were back in Long Beach. The cruise was over. :( We enjoyed one last breakfast in the dining room, then packed our bags and got off the boat. It was the perfect amount of time, Ava was losing it as we disembarked and we don't think she could have lasted another half hour. When we got back to my mom's house we all took naps! We spent one night down in LA then made the long drive back to Sacramento. Now we're all catching up on sleep and getting ready for our next adventure!

Disembarking. Vacation's over, but Dan's still smiling.


Jessica said...

Awesome! I've always been afraid of cruises! But you've inspired faith in the cruise in me!

Looks like you all had a fantastic time!
I'll have to remember that if we ever cruise to bring the Grandma with me!!!

Leslie said...

a. your skin is all glowy.
b. your hair is all shiny.
c. the cut is super cute.
d. v.happiness.