Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tate's 6th Birthday

I can't believe that this boy is 6 years old. In some ways it feels like we've always had Tate in our lives, and in others, it feels like it was just yesterday.

Tate's birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, and because he started Kindergarten, he had school in the morning. I don't think he minded though because he was spotlighted at school and got to tell the whole class about himself. I was so happy to go and be able to listen as he did it. He was very brave and threw me the biggest thumbs up after he presented.

Tate decided that he wanted a Mario Kart themed birthday party. Since we only do party's every other year, it becomes something I really enjoy doing. I definitely don't get too out of control, because I want to make sure that it doesn't cross the line of becoming too stressful and losing sight of the birthday boy. So I always do a lot of free printable's off of Pinterest and get them laminated so that we can use them in the future if we want.
 Cory and I decided to try and make the pinata this year. It actually wasn't too hard, but the morning of the party we hadn't even started the crepe paper part, so we just spray painted it black. It turned out okay, but when it came time to do the pinata, we didn't put a blindfold on the kids and just let them have at it. Needless to say, the first kid hit it 3 times, dead on, and broke it. SO... don't get lazy with the blindfold and the spinning process of it, or you'll have crying kids. Luckily, Tate was the one who hit it and it was FULL of awesome stuff, so the majority of the kids were thrilled regardless.

As a mom of three boys I secretly love that they love dressing up. It's definitely not the same as it would be with little girls, but for me... its perfect.

 (Maddox, Parker, Tate, and Rogue)
(Amelia, Parker, Tate, and Nate)
(Brinlee and Tate)

 All Tate wanted to do at his party was have a Mario Kart tournament. Easy enough! It was pretty hilarious because most of these kids hadn't ever played before so there was a lot of going backwards, being stuck in walls, and arrows telling them to turn around. Tate and Parker killed it! Tate was thrilled that THE BIRTHDAY BOY (himself) won the entire tournament.
All in all it was a great party and I am so happy that my now 6 year old had a great day. Tate is seriously such a responsible kid. He is very smart and is learning how to read right now. He loves his younger brothers fiercely. The other day he said to me, "Mom, I wish that Parker and I were just friends, " when I asked him why he said, "because we are really good friends and have so much fun together, but we're also brothers and we FIGHT a lot!" His favorite color is red, his favorite food is shrimp and McDonalds, he loves Pokemon and got a huge book full of them and tries to read from it every day, he loves to ride his bike and is trying to do tricks. Tate also loves coloring pictures. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Day 3 Ketchikan, Alaska

Our first actual stop was Ketchikan, Alaska. We had been told that it was cheaper to book excursion's once we came into port with the locals. We were so nervous that places would get sold out we were literally the very first people off the ship this morning, and we soon learned that these cruise line destinations have this whole thing figured out and will literally never run out of open excursions. 

But seriously, this little town was incredible! Almost the whole town is built on stilts. When we got off the boat it was overcast and a bit drizzly. 

 Ketchikan is also known for having the world's largest collection of standing totem poles. Everything there was so beautiful. 

The whole reason for Cory's desire to go to Alaska was to go fishing. We had the option of going deep sea halibut fishing, or king salmon fishing. We decided to do the kind salmon fishing. What we didn't realize, was that it was catch and release season. We couldn't even hold the fish for a picture before throwing it back. 

 Fun fact, there are star fish, jelly fish, and sea cucumbers all over Alaska. I dont know why this was so shocking to me. 

Our fishing excursion was SO COOL. We were literally there with two other people. The only thing that kind stunk about that was that it was a father and son and the son was a little hogsy on taking turns on the fishing. Basically we all sat there until one of the poles got a bite and then we were supposed to take turns on catching them. I could not believe how hard it was to reel these king salmon in. They fight the line and I seriously had to use all of my effort to get the thing in. Everyone kept trying to help me and I was bound and determined to do it myself.

 And there it is ladies and gentlemen! 25 lbs! I hear these suckers can get to be 74 lbs!!! We were definitely in the off season, but I seriously was so proud of myself and I know that I wouldn't have been able to reel in a 70 pounder.
 Watching Cory get his fish was the payday for me! He had so much fun. 

 We saw so many bald eagles. It literally seemed like seagulls to Utah. It was insane to see so many just flying around. We also got to see a HUGE tree with a HUGE eagles nest in it. Also, right off this tiny boat, I mean 20 yards away, we saw our first hump back whale! I was shocked! to see it spout and swim so close to us was just insane.  I mean jaw to the floor. While the guys kept fishing, in the rain, I went into the bow of the boat and looked out the windows and I was the only one who saw the whale dive and watch its tail sink in the water.

 Ketchikan is also known for Creek Street, which is actually a boardwalk mounted on stilts. This is also where you can watch the salmon swim up the creek. Again, we were there during off season, so we didn't see any of that. The locals say that along with all those fish come the fishy smell, so I was okay to miss out on that.

 Creek Street is also famous for Dolly's House! This was the first of MANY brothel museums in Alaska. Each one had actresses dressed as prostitutes calling us to come and see. It was seriously so funny!

 This sign was so awesome. The working girl has always had to be a little creative to make sure they could pay the bills!

We were told over and over that we were experiencing some of Alaska's warmest weather. It was beautiful!!!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Alaska Cruise 2018 Seattle and First Day at Sea

We took this picture when we finally got on the plane from Salt Lake To Seattle. I think our thoughts were, "WE FINALLY MADE IT!" We had seriously been saving for this trip for 3 years. It all started when Cory and I were discussing if we could go anywhere in the entire world, money wasn't an issue, where would we go. After Cory's first response of Zions National Park, I said, "lets pack up right now and go, because that we can do right this second and then all your dreams have come true." Maybe he had never really thought about traveling, I'm not sure, but after some more prodding he let me know that he'd always wondered about Alaska. So... that is how the dream started. 

After planning the trip with multiple different people and them having to back out for whatever reasons, it ended up just being the two of us. I think we were nervous about this at first, you know... first time travelers over here. But I think that it was such a blessing for us to go do this vacation together. We were SO excited in this picture! And so ready for our adventure to begin. 

From our airplane window we got to see Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens. It was pretty cool!

One of the many things we were excited for was the all you can eat food, and the seafood. The first night was super fun. We made sure to call and get reservations every night so that we could go to the nicer restaurants and "fine dine". Cory got crawdads the first night. I wanted so badly to be daring and try it, but it was NOT my favorite that's for sure. 

We also loved getting the pamphlet every night that gave you the next days itinerary. The ship offered so much! I don't know what we were doing in the picture above, it might have been a game show that involved the guests on the cruise. 
 Our 2nd day was a day at sea. A lot of people told us that we would need to upgrade our room to a balcony to really enjoy a cruise. We decided to forego that and use any extra money we had on experiences. To be honest, and maybe its because we don't know any better, I loved having a room in the middle of the boat. Our room was so dark at any time of the day with the lights off. So our day at sea we got to spend a lot of time catching up on some much needed sleep after 3 kids! The one thing we realized is that each day they only played the same movies over and over again. So we'd turn on the TV and it'd be half way through a movie. We learned to just start watching it, and if you were really interested, you could keep watching it once it was finished to watch the first part of the movie.

We woke up when we wanted and went up to have breakfast. We ate out on the balcony and it was FRIGID! I knew from the beginning that this wasn't going to be a warm cruise, but I'm glad I over prepared, because it was COLD for this small boned gal. While eating our breakfast Cory kept saying that he could see some weird water spouts out in the distance. I couldn't really see what he was seeing because of my eyes. But later we found out that the spouting was whates and we would be seeing a lot more of it! How incredible is that?
 One of the activities this day was out by the pool. A guy came out and carved a huge block of ice into koi fish with only a chisel. It was seriously so impressive. Another thing that was impressive was how much the boat was rocking, and it didn't even really feel like it. But the swimming pool was seriously just waving back and forth. It was insane!

 The beauty and color of this amazing part of the world was so unexpected for me. When its cold in Utah it almost seems like the world has died. But up here, it was gorgeous blue, and everything was so ALIVE. We saw so many whales and sea lions just off the side of the boat. Don't let that picture fool you though, it was FREEZING!
The cruise does a great job of showcasing different things for the part of the world that we were going to. This lunch was a super fun atmosphere, but by far my least favorite food. But luckily, its all you can eat and see we could just go to the pizza bar, or the cheeseburger bar and eat again! So much fun!

We also went to show where they would teach us to juggle. I was all in. Luckily in college I had tried to learn a little bit so I already had the jist of it, but I had a blast. Ol Sourdough (Cory) wouldn't do it. But he stood there laughing and playing all the while. 

 This was also the first formal night. We were by far the least dressed up people there! It was crazy how ALL OUT some of the people went. But, I would have felt so uncomfortable, so Sunday dress was great for me. This night we lucked out and got a window seat. One thing that I want to remember for my next cruise is that I regret buying the drink card. It gave me unlimited soda, but to be honest, the soda wasn't great and the non-alcoholic drinks weren't great either.
A funny story. They would bring out these dinner rolls every night. They were the hard kind of rolls. They were delicious and we were always starving when they'd bring them out before the meal. Well, every time I would use a knife and try and cut it open. And every time the waiter would come, only to me, with this little brush to brush off my party of the table. He would never do this for anyone else. The last night, I finally asked Cory why this kept happening. He told me that the first night he watched everyone else and they gently ripped the roll apart with their hands. I asked him why he didn't tell me and he let me know he was too busy judging me along with everyone else as the waiter had to clean up after me. HA HA HA!!! I guess you always gotta look out for number one! (he was of course joking)