Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I may have a small problem.

I know that yesterday I believed I was making progress in my domestic/decorating skills because I purchased holiday hand towels. However, I believe this may be becoming a compulsion.
Case in point: Frosty.

I am quickly headed down a road that cannot end well. Either it ends when the money runs out, or when my home is overflowing with Christmas nicknacks. Or both.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

It is possible that I'm not telling the whole story. I may have also purchased a Christmas wreath and a number of assorted stockings. Oh the shame.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas in November

I guess it's my turn to blog, now that Byron has put me to shame with his natural flair for all that is blogging.

This blog has a moral: you never really know someone until you have decorated for Christmas with them. I'll explain: Byron has a WONDERFUL family, who I could not possibly love more than I do. However, they have ruined him in one very significant way. Because his mother and sisters are so darn incredible, he grew up with the very distorted view that all women are wonderfully creative, artistic and artsy-craftsy. Case in point, Byron's nativity--handmade by his family and sent to him on his mission. I just love benefitting from the skills of others, as this is now in my livingroom, making me look crafty.

Now, I never once perpetuated this myth of womanhood and creativity going hand-in-hand, in fact I was very upfront regarding my artistic deficiencies. However, when I informed Byron that I didn't have any grand plans for decorating our apartment for Christmas, I honestly have never seen him more disappointed. I was shocked to realize that for the entire 4 years that Byron has known me, somewhere deep down he thought I was just hiding my secret domestic skills. And as most of you know, that is simply not the case.

So, Byron and I agreed to set our expectations aside and decorate for Christmas together. This involved hours in the scrapbooking room in Henderson. Byron decorated cards and tags like his life depended on it. All of the following were made by Byronikins himself.

And I learned to become a bow-making-maniac with the help of a little contraption called "The Bow-dabra!" (and the patient guidance of my mother-in-law!!) And after hours of bowmaking and then hours of tree assembling (miserable!) we have succeeded in turning our little apartment into something that feels like a home.

But, before you get too impressed, just know that the beautifully wrapped gift you see in the photo is our Christmas tree box, because our apartment is so small we have no other place to put it.

And, as surprised as I am to admit it, I had such a fun time getting all the Christmas stuff made. And I have some serious pride when I look at my apartment now. Who knows, maybe there is hope for the domestically challenged after all. Come to think of it, I went and bought holiday handtowels for our kitchen today -- I've come so far!!

I guess I'm lucky I have a husband who peer pressures me into Christmas decorating, I suppose it could be worse.

And what would this blog be without a little picture of our new pet?!

Say hello to Charlie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cruise Day 6 & 7 - Puerto Vallarta & Cabo San Lucas

OK, I know. We need to finish this vacation blog quick and we need to get to more important topics (like our Thanksgiving vacation which is about to start). I really like how I have been back to work for two days and I can not wait to have Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. I think I might be ruined and may not adjust back to my work life. Oh well. I won't think about that now. I have to enjoy my vacation.

We went to Puerto Vallarta one day. I don't have a lot of memories about this day. We only took three pictures the whole day. It was ok there. Part of the group went to do ziplines in the jungle (which we heard was a lot of fun - we will try that next time). The rest of us went to the beach, where Kim found this great statue which she decided to get "more intimate" with. It was really nice and it was right on the beach. We spent some quality beach time in Puerta Vallarta and went to our first "authentic" Mexican restaurant called "Pipi's Mexican". I am sure your impression of the restaurant by just hearing the name is probably the same as ours. It was very American and forgettable.

We did take the bus back to the ship, which was an adventure. Kim and I were excited about being like the locals (and only paying $1.00 for the ride back), while Carmen & Ben looked a little less thrilled.

Our next and final port was Cabo San Lucas and it was the BEST port we had. Just look at the color of the water. It was so gorgeous.

Cabo San Lucas is on the tip of Baja, on one side is the Pacific Ocean and on the other side is the Sea of Cortez. We had so much fun here. We made it to the beach and just camped there pretty much all day.Shad & Stef found this great beach bar with sand service and we sat here for hours. They had the best drinks (all non-alcoholic, thank you) and the best Mexican food we had on our whole trip. Here is what our view was for the whole day.

While we were here, we did decide to rent seadoos (sp?) and it was fun. This is something that I had never done before. Also, I was not so sure I wanted to go, especially when they gave me a child's life vest. I let Kim drive them for a bit, but she terrified me. After a bit, I seemed to get the hang of it and had a lot of fun.

Overall, Cabo was the best. We got some MAJOR beach time, beautiful, clean beaches, clear water and even got a bit sunburned. I would definitely go back to Cabo anytime. It gets my full endorsement.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cruise Day 5 - Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo - Loved It

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo was the perfect stop after going to Acapulco. We had questioned our cruise (and mostly Mexico) after Acapulco. Luckily we were pleasantly surprised by our next port. Now Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are two cities that are really close together. We found out that Ixtapa is a new city (built in the 1970s specifically for tourists) and we figured that we probably would enjoy it a lot more than Caleta Beach the day before and we were right. This place was so beautiful. We were able to get a taxi for our group and he took us 20 minutes into Ixtapa to a remote, beautiful beach. The water was so clear and the beach was so clean.

Shad and Stef found one the best things we did on our cruise. . . a beach massage. It cost $25 for an hour and it was AWESOME. It was in a thatched hut on the beach, it was clean and you just laid there with the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep. We also rented an umbrella and swam in the clear water and laid in the sun and shade. It was wonderful. Now, half of our group claimed that they were stung by stingrays in the water. I don't buy it. It was too nice for something like that and I think it would hurt a lot more than a light sting. But I think everyone but me may have claimed they were stung. I might be the toughest, so I guess that it makes sense.

Our day in Ixtapa was pretty short. We were only in port for maybe 4 hours. Luckily we had some entertainment back on the boat. We were on our way to the game room to play cards with Carmen, Ben, Nate and Gwendolyn when we ran into Stef in the hot tub. She told us we were right on time to see Shad perform in the Mr. Norwegian Star contest. I guess they pulled him right out of the hot tub. Here he is doing his impression of a Russian ballerina. As you can imagine, he did win and was Mr. Norwegian Star. It may have had something to do with his chest shaking and his going topless at the end. We were all pretty shocked.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cruise Day 4 - Acapulco. . . A Total Bust

So after our two days at sea, we were pretty excited to get to land and our first port, Acapulco. See the glimmer in Kim's eye? The city looked beautiful from our boat and we were excited to venture out into Mexico with our group. We were in for a big shock.

As we should have anticipated, as soon as we got off the boat, we were attacked by the locals trying to sell us excursions, sunglasses, hats and anything else you can think of. We were in a group of 10, so we were an easy target. Somehow we managed to follow a seemingly "trustworthy" guy off the main boulevard into a very Mexican part of town to a flea market. This was NOT what we thought Acapulco would be like. We wandered in the area for a while, lost part of our group who ventured out on their own and searched for the Fuerte de San Diego, an old fort that we saw from the ship. But first we needed to stop for a treat. We ate a lot of popsicles while we were in Mexico.

After our quick visit to the fort, we decided that we needed to hit the beach. We met a very nice lady who we thought was a docent at the museum who told us of a great "locals beach", Caleta Beach. We thought our luck finally turned. We hopped into a cab and told the driver to take us to Caleta Beach. We should have realized from his look that this is not a place that most tourists go. The beach was very local and we were in Mexico. It probably should not have been quite a shock to us, but we were shocked. This is not what we had anticipated and the beach was very packed and very. . . dirty?

Well, after we hung at the beach for a couple of hours, we decided to head back to the cruise ship. I love going on cruises. It is so nice to make it back to the boat, somewhere clean and somewhere you can be lazy. We got cleaned up and decided to venture out into the city one last time.

This time we did it right. We got a cab right when we left the boat and he took us to go see the cliff divers. It was pretty cool. Our taxi driver totally hooked us up, gave us a ride to where we needed to go, walked us to the ticket booth, showed us the best place to watch the divers, got us a Sprite and waited for us during the show.

Kim also did an excellent imitation of the divers, so overall I guess Acapulco wasn't totally worthless.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise - Days 1-3

This is Byron again. Kim and I keep talking about how we need to blog more. So, I am taking it upon myself to do it. If you are bored with me, sorry. You need to pressure Kim more.

We just got back from our vacation. We went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was A LOT of fun. We went with a bunch of our couple friends (Shad & Stef, Carmen & Ben, Nate & Gwendolyn and Erin & Annie) and had a great time. Here is our boat. . . The Norwegian Star.

Kim and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon and realized that a cruise really suited our personalities (meaning. . . we love them because we are so lazy). You don't have to do anything on a cruise. You unpack when you get there, don't have to leave if you don't want to, don't have to cook. You just sleep, eat, order room service, go to the pool, sleep, eat . . . Get the picture? It is the perfect vacation.

The first 2 1/2 days of our cruise we were "at sea", which means the perfect vacation days. We loved it. You are on the boat and have nothing to do but relax. At first Kim was preparing for the cruise and figuring out all options (Kim may have seen Titanic too many times).

But then she figured out how to relax and how comfortable the bed was. I wasn't too worried that Kim wouldn't relax.

The ship was great and even had these water slides (which I totally beat Shad in racing down the slides - no matter what he says).

We also went to a few shows on the ship. . . HORRIBLE. The worst was the night of the Chinese acrobats, which in theory sounds great. Actually, the chinese acrobats were not that bad. However, they had a bunch of dancers which were not quite as authentic. It is hard for me to put this in words. Let me just say there was neon and spandex outfits. By the end of the show, two of the couples that we went with were no longer at the show. Kim and I did make it through the Chinese acrobats. But we did not make it through the comedy show (which Shad decided we should sit in the front row for). That was kind of awkward, but we had to go.

One last thing. Shad had his 28th birthday on the cruise. We had a mini-celebration on the cruise because it was one of our days at sea. We told our waiters and they brought out a cake for his birthday, which we were excited about. . . until we tasted it. No joke, it was a GARLIC CAKE. It was hilarious. We all took a bite and left it on the table and ran out of the restaurant before the waiter could come back.

Besides that, our first few days at sea were awesome.