Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 3 of Liberty Cruise~Cozumel

We were up bright and early again for our first port day.  This is a port that we were docked right at the port, so you just get off the boat and walk to your destination.
We visited Cozumel on our last cruise and enjoyed touring the island with a guide.  This time we thought we would go explore on our own.  We walked to the place where you can get a taxi ride to anywhere on the island and headed over to Chankanaab National Park.  The ride over was maybe ten to fifteen minutes or so, and it was a pleasant drive.  We were one of the first people to arrive at Chankanaab so we felt like we had the place to ourselves.
It was somewhat cold and windy so we were not sure it was quite beach weather.  Luckily there was lots of other things to pick from along with the beach.  We headed to the ruins first.
After the ruins, we walked over to see the beach area.  It was still pretty cloudy and windy, but we figured we could sit and read books and still enjoy the view.  We stopped for a few minutes to see the trainers working with the dolphins.  We settled onto the beach and ordered chips and salsa to munch on.
After hanging out here for some time and being asked multiple times if we wanted a massage, we finally said yes and I'm so glad we did.  It was a wonderful massage and it was a great price.  We decided to wander around the park after the massage and see what else there was.  There was a lagoon, alligators, a Tequila tour, gift shop and everywhere we went, it was beautiful.
We heard a Sea Lion show in progress, so we joined that even though we missed much of it.  Afterwards, they let you come up and get a picture taken with the sea lion kissing you.
We headed back over to the dolphin swim area after the show and sat for about an hour watching people swim with the dolphins and the trainers do tricks with them.  It seemed well organized and it also looked like it was done with smaller groups of people which is probably nice.  We just enjoyed watching the dolphins, especially the ones that weren't "working".
I could have sat there all day long, just watching them swim and jump but we were getting hungry and the weather still was not fabulous so we decided to head back.  It was late afternoon by then, so we knew we had just enough time to board the ship and get ready to be first in line for dinner.  We took another taxi back to the ship and spent a few minutes looking around at the market near the dock.
It looked like a lot of other people decided it was time to head back when we did.  As you can see, it is still very overcast and windy but the temperatures were very nice so we still enjoyed our day here.
Back on the ship we rested for a few minutes and then started getting ready for dinner.  We still had a full night of activities ahead of us so the day was nowhere near done yet.  I only grabbed a few pictures while we were at dinner and they were dancing and singing for us.
We had a great day and were exhausted when we fell into bed.  This was only the first port day, with three more to come.  Tomorrow is Belize!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day Two of Liberty Cruise~Day at Sea

Day two of the cruise was a sea day.  We decided the day before to spend this day on the Serenity Deck, which is our version of a spa day.  We love this space more than words can describe.  We noticed that the little wicker pods that we wanted to sit in only had one that had a cover though.  So Nathan got up at 6 am to snag that one and only pod and I joined him a few hours later.
We sat and relaxed and read all day long.  Yes, all day long.  We only got up to use to eat or use the bathroom.  It was awesome!  I could see and hear all that was going on down at the Lido deck while relaxing on our deck.  Perfect!  Only one shot of the food today because I got so relaxed here, I didn't even take many pictures.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day One of Carnival Liberty Seven Day Cruise

We have been so busy with other things, we haven't really spent much time focusing on our upcoming cruise that we booked months ago.  Nathan booked it for us thinking that after the wedding and due to my dad's death landing on the holidays, that I could probably use it.  He was so right with that!  Still, I did very little planning for this cruise compared to the others so I was a little concerned that it might not go as well as the others have.  I am happy to report that I had no reason to be concerned because the cruise was fabulous.

We headed down to Miami the night before and had family time.  We exchanged Christmas gifts, played games and then we spent the night at Amibr's gorgeous new apartment.  Here is a shot of Daniel and my mom chatting.  I wish I had thought to take more pictures that night, and of the apartment but I didn't think of until bedtime.
The next morning, we were up bright and early.  Ambir took us to the port, which was wonderful!  It saved a lot of time and hassle and we joked that would be our new means of port transportation from here on out if we could pick.  We checked in and sat down in the waiting area.  We had Faster To The Fun, so we only waited about fifteen minutes before we were on the ship.  We loved having FTTF! Best money we spent for the cruise and we will always try to do this in the future.  Not only did we get to board early, we were able to go to our room right away.  So we headed there first thing.  We loved our room this time.  It was huge compared to our two other cruises and it was very bright and cheery inside.
Now off to explore the Liberty.  This is the biggest ship we have cruised on so far and she is a beauty!
We were quickly distracted by the food.  This ship has The Blue Iguana and Guy's Burgers.  I read online that both could be busy once we were sailing, so we took advantage of an almost empty ship and tried both right away.  I tried the Mexican food and Nathan tried the burger.  We both thought they were very good!!
After our meal, we went to find our favorite place on the ship, the Serenity Deck.  We found it pretty quickly because it was right by the food.  It was also located right above/next to the Lido deck, so I'm not sure how much serenity there will be due to the noise down below, but we decided to plant ourselves there for the Sailaway Party to find out.
We stayed here through the party, and nope, not much serenity going on but it was still a kid free zone and had gorgeous views so we were happy.  We loved being close enough to the action for the party that we could hear/see it but not have to be in the congested area.  So it was a win-win for us.  Just a bit of the Sailaway Party fun:
After the party, we decided to head back to our rooms and get ready for dinner.  We had Anytime Dining, which we also love.  We have done that all three cruises and hope to continue to do it.  After getting a bit dressed up, we went up one short deck to our dining room and were seated immediately.  Dinner was great, the food was very good and we enjoyed the whole meal.
After dinner we walked around the ship some more.  I loved that there were Christmas decorations up on the ship.  It was so festive.  It was like getting a Christmas cruise without having to put up with the crowd that would be there for an actual Christmas cruise.  We heard Christmas carols being sung, and went to enjoy that and while there we had an extra surprise: snow!  Yes, they had snow coming down from the ceiling which added to the holiday spirit.
When we were done with the singing and exploring, we headed back to our room to chill for the rest of the night.  We knew we wanted to be up very early so we planned to go to bed early.  Our towel animal and bedtime mints were waiting for us.
We can tell already that there will be a lot of goodness packed into this cruise.  We can't wait to have tons of fun for the next six days!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Aric Visits Sixteen Hands With Me

Aric took his day off to spend the day at Sixteen Hands with me.  He even drove us down there.  I love this season of life, where my kids are old enough to do things like that for me.  Although the one day he did warn Nathan and I if we didn't stop fighting he would turn the car around and go back home.

He seems to have a natural touch with the horses, so I love it when he comes with me and visits them.  It was great to see the horses too.  I am so used to being here, when I can't be here I miss the horses something awful.  I like to think that maybe they miss me a bit too.

But then again, maybe not!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More Family Time

Not only did I get time with my side of the family, but Nathan's side was visiting Florida too.  We managed to meet up with our old travel buddies although they stayed at the Disney Campground.  I drove over to spend a few days with them and had so much fun hanging out with them.  Diana is learning how to do digital scrapbooking so we really had a blast doing that.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Aunt Shirley

I love it when we visit Clermont, because not only is Aric there, but my Aunt, Uncle and cousins live there too.  We managed to hit the right timing to catch my Aunt Shirley's birthday this trip.

 The guys made a wonderful meal and we enjoyed chatting and watching the game.  Then we watched my Aunt Shirley open her gifts.

 It was a great day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our First Happy Hour of the Season

Jack and Diane let us know when we arrived last night that there was a Happy Hour today.  We were thrilled that we got here in time for it, and this made it our first one of the this season.  Diane is known as the Happy Hour Queen and with good reason.  Nobody throws a better party than Diane!
There was great food and great company to chat with while eating.  I got to see the inside of their beautiful rig and to admire their newest four legged family members.  Rene brought his cornhole game and we either played or watched others play.
I planned to bring tortilla chips and spinach dip but saw a flavor of ice cream that my cousin recommended on Facebook, so we brought that instead.  It was very yummy!  We had a fun night and look forward to many more this season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

On the Road Again!

We have been sitting in Wauchula for what seems like a very long time now.  Nathan will tell you it's been way too long now.  We are tentatively planning to travel again this spring so we decided that a few trial runs this winter might be a good idea.  So we decided to make a trip up to TT Orlando because our former travel buddies are going to be in town.  We were afraid we might forget how to do this traveling with an RV thing, but I'm happy to say we did just fine.  We might need to unload a bunch of outdoor things if we do head out this spring though.

The funniest part was Ava's reaction.  We pulled in the slides and then she and I had to go back inside while Nathan ran out for something.  She went inside and went to get up on the couch and body slammed into it instead.  Here was her reaction after she finally found her way up:
She is so easy going, that ten seconds later she was like this:
We got to the park after dark, and got settled into our spot pretty easily.  We saw Jack walking the dogs, including their new puppies, while still parking and they are right across from us.  Diane came by a few minutes later.  Aric let me know that Rene and Mira and Bob and Vicki are right here by us also.  So we are moved, settled in and by pickleball friends.  Life is good!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gypsy Gold Horse Tour

Some time ago, Nathan and I were watching a movie with a horse in it.  He was quite taken with the horse and wanted to know the breed.  Yes, I said HE was quite taken with it.  I thought it was sweet looking but wasn't as enamored as he was.  He looked it up online and then shared about the Gypsy Vanner with me.  I still wasn't that taken with the breed.  Then I went to the Parelli show in VA and one of the ladies who was demonstrating had a Gypsy Vanner.  Once I spent about two mintues with her horse, I fell head over heels in love.  Since then, we have decided that we'd both love to own a Gypsy Vanner someday.

I didn't really know much about the horses beyond that though.  I bought a Groupon to take a tour at a Gypsy Vanner horse farm when we first came to The Villages.  We kept saying we were going to go and ended up doing other things instead.  So we didn't actually end up doing the tour until the day before we headed out.  It was well worth making sure we did do it while up this way!

We learned so many interesting things about the people who owned this beautiful horse farm, and the story on how the Gypsy Vanner horse made its way to our country.  You can read about it at their website here: Gypsy Gold.  If you get a chance to go and visit, we highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Silver Springs Nature Theme Park

Today we visited Silver Springs.  This is one place we planned to visit since we arrived in this area.  We were going to buy a season pass, along with Rich and Donna, and at the last minute Donna saw something on their website.  They were in the process of changing ownership, and along with that they were reducing their attractions down to their glass boat rides.  So we decided not to buy the season pass and just to make a trip here sometime.  We were going to visit yesterday and went to Ocala NF instead.  We did make it today, which was the final day at the park before it did change hands.

The employees that were working today were understandably emotional over it being the last day.  One employee told us that over 300 people lost their job due to its closing.  I wish we had visited this interesting place while it was in full operation, because it looked like a great place.  There appeared to be animals, a water park, shows and some rides.  As the website said, there is not much there at this point except the glass boat rides.  The trip was worth it even with that being the only attraction.  The really neat part about a glass boat is that everyone can have a front row seat.
The other neat thing is you can see just how clear the water is and just how deep the water is.  It makes for a really beautiful ride.
The springs pump out 550 million gallons of water a day.  It is enough to support New York City.
We saw two alligators while on the boat ride, and lots of turtles.
After our boat ride, we ate lunch there and then walked around to see the rest of the park.  The rest of the park was beautiful also.
I'm so glad we did make it before it became a state park.  It was nice to feel like we were a part of its history.  I'm excited to see what they will do with it once it becomes a state park.