Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer's here again

It seems to happen every year. Summer just sneaks up on me and takes over! And by the time I realize it's here, it's gone! Where did June go?! How are we already more than half-way through July?!  Well, we spent two weeks in June on vacation. And what a vacation it was! We started with a 4-night Disney Cruise to The Bahamas. Pure heaven. It was the first time we've been on a cruise, and it was amazing. I highly recommend it.  Even if you don't have (or don't like!) children, do it! There are areas of the ship that are entirely kid-free. Tori was really concerned about having to be around little kids (like at the Disney parks), but she was happily able to avoid them completely.
No matter how many pictures you see, you can't be prepared for the sheer size of the ship. It's amazing how huge this thing is.
Sail Away party on deck. It looks really crowded, but the deck parties were actually the only times the ship FELT crowded.

These big portholes with little cushioned seats were so cool.

We also hit the weather jackpot. It was smooth sailing for the entire cruise. The weather in Nassau and at Castaway Cay was perfect--breezy, not too hot, mix of sun and clouds. Gorgeous!
I think the thing that made me giggle the most was this sign on the outside of the Bahamian Department of Health building in Nassau.

We followed the cruise up with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, where the kids enjoyed pretending to wreck the lunar rover.

Then we spent a couple of days in Estero, FL at Tim's parents' winter place. It was hot. And I don't mean just hot. It was hot and sticky and miserable. We stayed indoors most of the time.

When we'd had quite enough of that, we drove back to Orlando and spent 3 days at Universal Studios/Island of Adventure. Honestly, one day would have been enough. My kids were primarily interested in Harry Potter land and some of the Marvel stuff. The vast majority of the rides are simulator-type rides, which was kind of disappointing. The Harry Potter section of the park was awesome, but too small.

Butterbeer is the bomb.

We had breakfast one day at the Three Broomsticks, and that was cool. We ate there for dinner one night too, and the fish a chips (for the kids), roasted chicken dinner (for Tim) and shepherd's pie (for me) were all very good.

The kids also had to get their pic in front of the Hogwarts Express.
And, when Aaron saw a conductor standing in front of it later, we had to get more pics.

We also did the cinematic dining experience one night. It was okay--the dinner followed by dessert reception was good, but not spectacular. The show was cool--celebrating 100 years of Universal Studios through clips, music, water works and fireworks--but it wasn't as good as anything we've seen at Disney. By the end, I was definitely ready to go home.

All in all, a good vacation. I think if we had started with Universal and ended with the cruise, I might have enjoyed Universal more. But having the amazing experience of "Disney magic" right out of the gate made all else pale in comparison. I'm ready to go on a Disney Cruise again RIGHT NOW!

In other news: I did get a fair bit of knitting done on vacation. I started a moebius scarf--perfectly mindless knitting--to work on during the shows, movies and other "sitting" types of things. I completed the Windward scarf, and I started a cardigan. I also took yarn and needles to start a laceweight shawl, but that didn't happen.

I managed to get a fair bit of reading done too. I finished World War Z and started and finished The Great Gatsby and A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallow's.  I highly recommend World War Z, which is written as a series of interviews about the Zombie War. Very interesting read, but not written as a linear story, so it's easy to put down and pick back up again. The Great Gatsby was one I probably should have read by now, but it was never required, so I didn't. It was a quick read, and I'm glad I read it, but (in my opinion) it's nothing spectacular. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallow's: If you've read the rest of the Outlander series (and if you haven't, you should!), this is a quick novella. It's a side-story about Roger's parents, specifically his father. Definitely worth the read.

As soon as we got home, I went out and purchased Animal Crossing: New Leaf to play on Aaron's Nintendo 3DS. Less than 24 hours later, I had to go out and buy my own 3DS and another copy of the game. Darn kids wanting to play MY game! LOL! Of course, this means I've done very little knitting or crafting since June 23. Except for the bit of knitting on the moebius scarf when Tim and I went to see World War Z. (Great movie, by the way. Nothing like the book, but still very good. As my husband said, they definitely left it open for a Z-quel. Har har.) And the socks I'm knitting along with the class I'm currently teaching at River Knits. Anyway, I'm totally addicted to this game, and it might be a few more weeks before I get back to knitting in my spare time. It's so silly, but I can't help it.

I was introduced to a new hobby and had a wonderful evening last Friday with several of my friends. We went to Midnight Madness at All Fired Up, a local paint-your-own-pottery place. I had never done that before, but I LOVED it! I can totally see this becoming a new regular hobby for me. I promise pictures once I get the finished item back on Saturday. I don't want to show the "before" pics until I have the "after" to compare them with. 

And school starts in four weeks! How have you spent your summer so far? What do you want to accomplish before we have to get back into the swing of "real life" with school?