Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Traveling Man

Dear Ian,

Spring has officially sprung here in Tallahassee, and we are thoroughly enjoying some pretty nice weather.  Even more enjoyable is the fact that your school follows the Leon County Schools calendar, and that meant that you and I got a week long Spring Break.  I must say, this was pretty cool.  And this year, you celebrated your first Spring Break in style:  we went on a family cruise.

All in all there were 10 of us on this cruise.  Your Grandma and Grandpa Brooks were the organizers of our trip, and Uncle Ryan, Aunt Andrea, Uncle Kurt, Aunt Stacey and Abigail all came, too.  It was a really nice trip, and I think you in particular had a blast.

You and Daddy walking through Downtown Disney to dinner.

We kicked off the trip by heading down a day early and spending the night in Orlando.  We were leaving out of Cape Canveral, and instead of trying to do the trip that morning, rush to get on the boat and cause you to miss nap, we thought this day-ahead thing would work better.  I think it did.  We arrived Saturday afternoon, and Mommy and Daddy had planned a special dinner for you this night.  We went to Rainforest Cafe!  It's a neat restaurant themed like a rainforest with animated animals all around, and it actually "rains" every now and then, too!  We got to sit right next to the elephants, and at first you were a little weirded out by it, but then you really seemed to enjoy it!  The raining, however, you had a little trouble with.  The lights would flicker and then it would thunder, and you would hug me tight until it was over.  Despite the rains, you had a great dinner, loved watching the fish and fake animals, and at the end of dinner, you got to visit the gift shop.  You bought yourself a stuffed panda (with your own birthday money), and you were so excited about it. 

Your dinner.  It was pretty dang good!
One of the elephants next to us.  This one was practically in my plate!
Me and my Buddy Bear at dinner.

Playing at Lego Land

After a tasty dinner, we walked back through Downtown Disney to get back to our car, but on the way we stopped by Lego Land.  You and Daddy got to play with some legos set up at small tables outside the store.  I dont know who had more fun, you or Daddy!  It was a great night and a great start to a week of fun.

The next morning, we got packed up again and headed over to the cruise ship terminal.  You were so good on the drive.  You slept most of the way to Orlando during nap time on Saturday, and on Sunday, you took a little cat-nap on the hour drive over to the port.  Random note, you did have to pee on the side of I-75.  Sometimes those exits are just too far apart.  But I digress...

Daddy and Grandpa toasting an awesome trip.
We made it to the Cruise Ship terminals, and we unloaded all of our stuff.  We had a zillion bags, but hey, it was less than the last cruise we went on when we had a PackNPlay, toys and tons of other baby stuff.  Anyhoo.  After checking in and getting all of our stuff squared away, we boarded the boat.  It was huge!  We were on the ship Freedom of the Seas, and it was amazing.  Unfortunately, the first thing we had to go was get you down for a little more of a nap, but we did, and you slept well.  We wanted you to be rested for the sail away party.  After you woke up, we went up to the top deck to meet up with the family, and we got our vacation kicked off!! 

You, eating.  You did a lot of this...
To say there was a lot to do on our ship is an understatement.  You got a huge kick out of just riding the elevators, but there was "Ship School" (a play place for kids.  We called it Ship School so you would understand that it was like your school at home.), an arcade, a main street promenade, an ice rink where you watched a skating show and a huge water park.  We spent most of our time here at the water park, but any other time we were doing what most cruise passengers do: eating.  I am so glad you hit a growth spurt as we were taking this cruise (or at least I think that was what was happening) because you ate a TON!  I dont know where you were putting it!  The food was everywhere, and it was good, and you were a happy man because of that.

Your bed, ala Mr. Franklin.
We had a great cabin, and it had a gorgeous balcony.  Our room steward's name was Mr. Franklin, and the two of you became fast friends.  He was so sweet to you, and every morning and night, he would make and turn down your bed and carefully arrange all of the friends that you have to sleep with.  Your Loveys were artfully placed, and it was so cute! 

Like I mentioned before, most of our time was spent at the ship's water park.  You had a total blast running and splashing in the spray.  It was a lot of fun!

Some of the places we went on this cruise were: Labadee Haiti, where you got to play at the beach, and lo and behold, there was another water park there to play in and Grand Cayman.  We all got off the boat here and had lunch at a great little place called the Breezes Beach Bar and Cafe.  It was tasty.  Daddy unfortunately lost his credit card here (we found out on the way home) but we still had fun.  The ship also made port in Cozumel and Fallmouth Jamaica, but we didn't get off the ship there.  You preferred hanging out at the ship pool and water park and eating yourself silly.  By the way, the ice cream machine had to be your absolute favorite.

Playing in the water park on the ship
You and Daddy on our balcony.
Building sand castles on the beach in Haiti.

Playing in the water park in Haiti
Learning how to play Skee-Ball in the ship's arcade with Mommy.
You sitting on a fountain in Grand Cayman.

You and Daddy enjoying ice cream cones, poolside.  Nice.

 We had so much fun, it seemed like the week was over in a blink of an eye.  You had an absolute blast, and I am looking forward to more fun vacations with you soon! 

Love you so much!
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