Archive for January, 2013

Opening Night of NHL

Posted: January 25, 2013 in Tampa

What an awesome night!!  Scored tickets thanks to a friend’s dad, who works at the Forum… we sat in the 300 level, but it was fantastic.

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Christmas 2012

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Christmas

And jumping back another week in time…. to Christmas 2012.

Christmas this past year was a three day event… Christmas Eve and Day at our house, and Boxing Day at his mother’s house.  Decisions were made, and we had eleven people for dinner on Christmas Eve, and a selection of foods!  Mom and Alex spent the night… and Santa’s helper helped to protect the Christmas presents.


Christmas Day was a relaxing one.. Richard and Alex played video games most of the day….

For the day after Christmas, we headed over to the MIL’s – and she had a big spread, with extended family, cousins and whatnot.  It was fun to see everyone, most of whom we hadn’t seen since last Christmas.


Jumping back in time, to fill you in on our awesome weekend cruise to celebrate my birthday (a few days early.)

Mom and I had a great time, out on Thursday, back on Monday – one stop in Cozumel, and it was soooooo relaxing.  I think all I did all week was sleep, eat, read my book(s), and chill.

The first night was an early night, as it always is after a full day of work, but we had a lovely sunset.


The next day, we took easy… breakfast care of room service, lovely sunshine on the balcony… and then we headed up to the pool deck.  After scouting out some lounge chairs, we finally found two in the sun.  The second night on board was formal night in the dining room, so Mom and I dressed up, and headed out to the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception and then dinner.  It’s always so lovely to see everyone dressed up!

Mom on cruise

Later that night we had another beautiful sunset….


Saturday, we docked in Cozumel, Mexico…. we have definitely spent many a day here, and it was just as we remembered.  I think there was a little more construction done, and it seems as though the town is booming with tourism.  Mom and I took a taxi into town, wandered around some of the shops, and found a little hole in the wall for lunch, called “Woody’s Bar and Grill,” you would think it would be super American, but it was a great Mexican food at cheap rates!  Across the way, we found a little Mexican woman, who put henna tattoos on our feet and ankles…

We headed back to the ship, and up to the pool deck… and this time had no problems finding lounge chairs, and finished the afternoon out with people watching and book reading.

Sunday was our final day of relaxing, and enjoying the holiday decoration up around the ship.  The massive Christmas tree in the centrum was beautiful, and huge!  We hit the shops, but didn’t find anything more exciting than what we already had.  We were invited to a lovely dinner in Chops Grille, one of the two specialty restaurants on board.  The Hotel Director, John, and F&B Manager, Tony, treated us for my early birthday dinner – I had the filet and it was lovely.

Monday was my 29th birthday, and I had to work!  The Bridge surprised me with a lovely birthday cake and a chorus of off key singing at the end of the day.

Richard’s sister and family were at our house when I got home.  Kristin cooked a great meal, we (barely) managed to stay up to watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV.  What a great weekend!


Learning to shoot….

Posted: January 18, 2013 in Lakeland

What a weekend!

Richard took me out to an old family friend’s farm, and started the process of teaching me how to shoot his guns.  My father-in-law was already out there, and joined us as we shot at paper targets, oranges, shaving cream cans and an old watch.  We dropped some oranges in the man made lake too, and practiced aiming.











A little free time, a lot of miles, and a free hotel made for an awesome trip to the Windy City, Chicago!

Mom and I headed up for a quick weekend, December 4 – 7, and really enjoyed ourselves.  The weather was perfect, it certainly could have been snowing and so very cold… luckily, it wasn’t.

We arrived on Tuesday evening, and took a walk along Lake Michigan, the sunset was amazing.  We walked until we hit Soldier Field and then decided to return to the hotel.  They had huge toy soldiers at the front entrance, beautiful chandeliers, and a massive Christmas tree inside.  The elevator lobby hosted a full size gingerbread house, and a cute little snowman at the house’s front door!

The view from the hotel room was of Lake Michigan, and the Navy Pier,, it was just gorgeous.  To see the Ferris Wheel, both up close and afar, in the dark, was just beautiful.

On Wednesday, we decided to take a bus tour of the city, and get our bearings.  We had a variety of bus drivers, each a little bit better than the best.  Very interesting to learn about the town from the locals, and to hear the history.  We found a local joint, Portillos,, for lunch, and it had great burgers… fun little joint that was full of local, somewhat tacky, art.  We headed up to the Sears Tower, which is always a highlight in Chicago, and had some fun with the pictures.

On Thursday, we headed back out to finish the bus tour, Chicago Trolley,  While waiting for the bus, we found a cool little shop that sells Russian matryoshka dolls, right in the hotel!  There were so many neat things to see..


Richard’s company sponsored a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, from the 18-22 of November, and we stayed at the Doubletree Park Vista, the hotel was beautiful.  We had a great time with his co-workers, and a lot of fun with all the different activities!

On Sunday, we flew into Tri-Cities airport, and had to rent a car and drive to Gatlinburg, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and the Bass Pro Shop, and then continued on our journey.  Once arriving at the hotel, we found we were still really early, and housekeeping was trying to catch up on all the check outs from that morning.  We decided to go for a drive through the Smoky Mountains National Park, and stopped at Laurel Falls Trail.  It was a hike up, but beautiful once we arrived, a little disappointing after all those massive waterfalls we saw in Hawaii, but pretty nonetheless.  That night, the group decided to play mini-golf, which I am terrible at, it was fun, and Richard’s boss, Harvey, ended up winning (even though we all think he was cheating!)

The next morning, we headed over to Log Cabin Pancake House, which we heard was absolutely amazing and super affordable.  The food was much better than Cracker Barrel, and the atmosphere very cozy.  Cade’s Cove,, was next on the list, and it was a stunning day for it.  The animals were not so cooperative, until we got to the end of the loop, where I was able to get out of the car and get thisclose to a deer, awesome!

On Tuesday, and then made our way to Pigeon Forge.  Harvey purchased tickets for everyone to see Country Tonight,, which was a lot of fun, and a great little Christmas program.  Along the way, we did some shopping, both for ourselves and for Christmas.  We had been told about a little winery, called Apple Barn,, and we decided to check it out.  It’s a fantastic place, and we sampled some wines made from apples and other fruits.  Next door, the location makes ice cream, and we decided that was definitely on the menu for lunch.  🙂

On Wednesday morning, it was time to pack up and head out, we stopped at the Little House of Pancakes for breakfast, and then began the roadtrip back towards the airport.  Harvey invited us out to a home cooked meal and bonfire at his little house, and we had a lot of fun playing on the four wheelers.  We stayed in a local hotel, and headed out bright and early the next morning.

Thanksgiving was spent at Tim and Kristin’s, which was lovely.  And Richard, Tim and his dad headed out to Virginia shortly after dinner for “huntin’ in the VA woods!”