cruising: flying and boarding and more

Okay. I am now sufficiently rested and sort of calmed down about our surprise road trip returning home from this vacation... I am officially ready to start tackling sharing all about our cruise! Consider it an experiment in denial that one, the cruise is already over and b, that school starts in less than two weeks. Consider away.

The family opted to fly as I may have mentioned yesterday. I'm a big fan of road trips and personally we love to drive to Florida but this time we flew. First time in nine years for me. We had to meet at my parent's house at the ripe hour of 2 a.m. I believe. The mind is a sieve. Just mine? We loaded up two party buses and headed to get my brother and his family as they were on the way to the airport. And then off! To BWI! Baltimore! And! Me!

The timing was really quite great, we checked in (only had to rearrange one dress shoe of Matt's in order to meet weight requirements), went through security, ate breakfast, used the bathroom (never pass a potty) and then it was boarding time! So I consider that a win. I had a good happy buzz going to take away my nerves and on we went! Don't forget to rub the outside of the plane kids! My Grandma always insisted it brought good luck! Say hi to the pilot! Oh wow look at all those buttons okay yes let's sit down and just let mama white knuckle the arm rests mmmm k?

And then two hours later we landed.

And then however many hours later we got through more security at the port and checking in there as well and waiting there as well and finally. Oh finally. We got on board. Something like ten hours after leaving home. Home sweet home! We sailed on the Carnival Miracle, which incidentally we had been on nine years prior back in 2009 when we were young and free and there were no kids.... So that was a nice trip down memory lane. I had packed all our bathing suits so the kids could swim while we waited for our room to be ready. Letty instantly took a dislike to the salt water pool which I mean, weird, right? But the rest of the kids loved it.
Our rooms were ready in the early afternoon so we went back and unpacked whatever bags we had and waited for the rest of them to arrive. We also saw the most gorgeous homes as we left the channel! Oh those palm trees! I'll take them all please and thank you! We got all unpacked before dinner and of course the traditional pre-dinner cocktail hour (half hour)! See also the last time the three birthday girls got sang too! And you!
Everyone called it an early night, as a wake up time of 1 a.m. will do that to you but Matt and I wanted to enjoy our balcony for a bit, bottle of wine and all. We were greeted with a sunset on the left and a thunderstorm on the right. I wish I could say that I tried to get this photo which I mean, I did, but it was pure luck and I love it.
Look at that Independence Day cloud we are about to float under.... on that note.... moving on.

Let us just agree to say it once: not all these photos are mine. Some are my sister-in-law's, my sister's, my brother's, my dad's, my other brother's. Who knows at this point.