Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cruising into the New Year (part 1)

Perhaps the reason for my lackluster documentation of our 2016 Courtright Christmas was due to the fact that I had bigger and better things on my mind. On the day after Christmas, all 6 of us headed out early for an extra special vacation: a 6-night Carnival cruise leaving out of Galveston!

To say we were excited about our family cruise was an understatement. We couldn't wait! We arrived in Galveston to some disappointing news, however. The cruise was delayed due to heavy fog in the area. I later learned that this type of weather is typical in the winter. We tried not to let it get us down and spent some time walking around the Galveston Strand area while we waited for an updated departure time.

Enjoying some Galveston sights while noticing our Carnival ship docked nearby.

Even a vacation delay doesn't stop these two from getting their snuggles.

When it was finally time to board the ship, we were so ready and excited. We were all smiles as we climbed aboard and immediately began to explore the ship. That was when we realized how thick the sea fog truly was. We ended up having to stay docked overnight to allow more time for the fog to lift, but when we woke up the next morning, it was just as bad.

Here is the ship photo capturing our embarkation. Such excitement!

All smiles to board the Carnival Breeze.

The kids exploring the ship with the fog in the background.

Look at that -- we couldn't believe the thick fog!

No wonder the ship couldn't depart!

Thumbs up for the spacious cabin and the convenient connecting balcony to the boys' cabin next door.

The older boys enjoyed some drinks when they boarded the ship. Kevin went into the restricted area just like the sign said not to do, lol!

The lounge for the comedy club was very cool.

We were able to watch the Sunday night Cowboys football game from the main deck of the ship, so cool!

Collin and Kevin really enjoyed their first night on the cruise, ha!

Kaitlynn loved her cozy bed in the cabin.

The next morning, the fog was still around. It looks like a white wall on the other side of the ship banister, wow!

We ended up staying in Galveston until around noon on the first full day. We were a little bummed because we had to drop one of our ports of call -- Belize, which was the location we had been most excited about. But that disappointment didn't keep us down. We shook it off and quickly began discovering the perks of the ship and all of the fun it had to offer. The waterslides were so much fun for the kids, and they were thrilled by the limitless supply of pizza and frozen yogurt! I let them eat whatever they wanted the entire week because I was OFF DUTY. It was heaven!!

Kaitlynn in front of the waterslides -- still foggy in this picture.

Enjoying a post-swim cuddle while we were still docked in Galveston.

I took this selfie to document the crowds during the famous Hairy Chest Contest aboard the ship. We laughed SO hard!

After finally leaving Galveston, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the open water.

A photo from our cabin balcony. It was so beautiful!

I couldn't resist posting this pic of Jeff doing a silly dance in sight of the deck camera while we observed on the ship television channel from our cabin. We cracked up!

My last cruise was over 15 years ago, so I had forgotten what a production the nightly dinners were. We had an awesome waiter who catered to our every desire each night. We missed seeing him on the nights we had dinner elsewhere. These dinners were some of my favorite moments of the cruise. Loved having the family together and experiencing such wonderful meals.

The boys at dinner.

Connor tried filet on our first night at dinner, and he loved it so much that he ordered the same each night for the rest of the cruise. He has been an avid steak lover ever since!

Here's our group photo at dinner one night. It's such a treat to get a picture of all 6 of us together. We were all dressed up but the dining room was so chilly that the kids had to put on their jackets.
Probably the most fun for the kids was the extended time aboard the ship. They loved every minute of the activities, and there was always something yummy to try from the many different restaurants and snack bars. We checked the daily schedule each morning to find out what was happening on the ship that day. The kids tried several of the events in the kids' club, but they usually ended up right back with us on the deck enjoying the waterslides, pools, ropes course, and sport court.
We woke up to beautiful, sunny skies on our second full day at sea.

Kaitlynn became a regular at the pizza place. She ate them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between!

We had an awesome spot for our day at sea. We soaked in the sun while observing the deck party below. Connor is shown here eating a burger from the Guy Fieri burger restaurant on the ship. They were honestly the BEST burgers I've ever had (and I'm not much of a burger fan to begin with)!

We were having the most amazing family vacation, and we hadn't even left the ship yet! Stay tuned for a recap and photos of the 2nd half of our cruise.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Christmas Spirit

Our 2016 Christmas was fast and furious! We managed to pack in all of our usual fun activities, and then we took it to the next level with even more fun. Here's a quick recap of a few days leading up to Christmas.

First up, our annual trip to the Dallas area to visit my besties and their families. This year we had the privilege of staying with Amanda at her brand new home in the Fort Worth area after their move back to Texas from Virginia. What a blessing to have her in our home state again! We had such a great time catching up and celebrating with the families.

Best friends since high school.

Love these girls of mine so much!

Here we were teaching the kids how to play the new Saran Wrap game.

It was a total hit!

From Dallas, we drove to the White Oak area for our annual Morgan family Christmas celebration. As usual, we had a blast seeing and catching up with family. Lots of presents and yummy food! I only managed a couple of random photos, though.

Cousins about to unwrap some gifts.

Connor was super excited about this gift!

Can you believe those are the only photos I took from the extended family celebration? Oops! We were in a rush to get back to the Houston area, because our beloved Texans team was playing a primetime game on Christmas Eve. Jeff took the kids to the game, and then everyone came back home just in time to get all ready for Santa's visit.

Kaitlynn setting out the cookies and chocolate milk for Santa and the carrots for the reindeer.

The big haul. Santa was here!!

Kaitlynn loved her new bike equipped with a doll carrier for her beloved American Girl dolls!

Back inside, there were more presents to unwrap.

I didn't manage to get any photos of our Christmas Eve Texans game nor did I manage any family photos of the 6 of us celebrating Christmas together. I am seriously losing my touch!

But I would soon make up for it, as we were about to wrap up the Christmas season and kick off the new year in a MAJOR way!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kaitlynn's Zebra-Inspired Bedroom

I've mentioned before that our girl Kaitlynn has quite the love of zebras these days. It began with a liking of animal print clothing and has blossomed into a full fledged obsession for all things zebra.

Last year, I decided it was finally time to redo her bedroom into something a little more fitting of her personality. Of course, she immediately requested a zebra theme with bright colors. Let me just say, this was WAY out of my comfort zone but we made it work. Kaitlynn LOVES her new happy and bright zebra-themed bedroom!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Challenge Field Trip

Each year in elementary, Connor was able to attend an additional field trip with his classmates in the Challenge program for gifted and talented kiddos. This year, the 5th grades took a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science where they participated in a mock drill to fly in a spaceship to Mars. They each had a role in the Command Center as well as the spaceship, and they had to fulfill their duties accurately and in a timely manner to avoid failing the mission. Sounds like a perfect field trip for these (self-appointed) nerds, ha!

A picture in front of a zebra at the museum for his zebra-obsessed sister!

The entire group of goofy geniuses, ha!

I felt so lucky to participate in both of Connor's final elementary field trips this year. Connor is really going to miss these fun and silly friends next year in Junior High!