Friday, January 21, 2011


Check out Thomas and Ed having fun on the waterslide! Notice how Ed sacrifices himself to keep T from going under...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Destination Christmas: Swenson family cruise

After Christmas, we met mom, dad, Jenn and Pat in Florida for a cruise. Sun, sand, way too much food, and plenty of family time...what could be a better way to spend a week in December/January!?! We all had a wonderful, relaxing time, and Thomas had a ball. He thought the glass elevators were great, he was spoiled with attention, and he got to run around, pretty much non-stop, for 5 days. Heaven....

Our ship, Navigator of the Seas. Dad's company has done some costume and curtain work for several Royal Caribbean ships, including this one, so we got to see some of those pieces in action, which was cool!

The first day we visited Coco Cay in the Bahamas. It was a little cool, but the sun came out and we enjoyed a day on the beach.

Ed and Pat in their man shawls

Palm trees in December!

Naptime in a hammock

Playing in the sand

Beach walking with Boppa

One of the bars on the cruise ship (I think there were about 19 total) did a piano bar in the evenings with different themes--Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel/Elton John, John Denver--we went most nights. Here's me and Ed and then Jenn and Pat in the bar.

On Grand Cayman, mom and dad took Thomas for the day while the four of us did a catamaran/snorkel trip. Eighty degrees, sun, and a catamaran...ah!

We met up with mom, dad and Thomas at a Margaritaville restaurant in town. It had a waterslide. This might have been the highlight of T's trip. :)

Posing with (the?) pirate captain. One of many in Grand Cayman, and we also saw pirate ships...

New Year's Eve! The dining room was full of streamers, hats, and horns.
Plus fancy desserts

The seven of us, all dressed up for New Year's Eve

The next day, in Cozumel, Ed and I took Thomas to a beach club while the other four did excursions. We had a pool, lounge chairs on the beach, and chair-side service. It was a pretty nice way to spend the day!
Mmm...a plate full of nachos, quesdaillas, and tacquitos on the beach.

Showing off his new hat!

The last sea day we played shuffleboard. Thomas really enjoyed pushing the pucks around, but it meant we had to play most of the game with 3 pucks instead of 4, and sharing sticks. We didn't mind.

Post shuffleboard picture. I'm not positive who won, but I think it was me and whoever my partner was. :)

We visited the casino a couple times, and Jenn played roulette and Ed played blackjack. The last night I sat down at a slot machine (the only casino game I'm not intimidated by) and won $55. Then I got bold and used $20 of that to play roulette with Jenn. Big spender, I know. We both walked away without our $20s, but I still had my $55!

The all-you-can-eat nature of a cruise is very dangerous. It only took us about 2 nights at dinner to figure out that if more than one appetizer/entree appealed to you, just order both. Then we'd head up to the cafeteria for a mid-evening snack. Add in the ever-available soft-serve machine, and pretty much all we did was eat. Yikes! Good thing we took the stairs instead of the elevator most of the time!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ruble family Christmas

We started out our 12-day odyssey by heading to North Carolina to spend Christmas at the Ruble house. We usually only get to see the cousins twice a year, so it's great to get in some quality family time! We'll all be together again in May for Alli and Micah's wedding.

Thomas entertains himself at the airport by pushing around his car seat/stroller combo. Unfortunately, steering is not a talent he has learned yet!

Christmas Eve, the three girls continue our annual tradition--making dumplings for paprikash for dinner.

All 13 of us...and everyone is looking at the camera...amazing!

The 5 kids...Jakin (9), Thomas (almost 2), Annie (almost 5), Lauren (almost 2) and Corban (7). again, everyone is looking at the camera. The next three pictures in this sequence (not shown) are of Thomas trying to take off and Jakin trying to hold him back.

Another Christmas tradition: Tom reads the grandkids 'Twas the Night before Christmas.

Alli and Micah listen in too, snuggled in the big chair.

Christmas morning, looking down at the tree and stockings.

Nakey time for the babies! Thomas may have a couple inches on Lauren, but she's solid and therefore pretty good at holding her own!

The day after Christmas, we got hit with 4" of snow. Contrast this with the day before Christmas, when we were outside playing football in 55 degree weather!

Thomas and Lauren got matching puzzle stools with their names. This became the perfect spot for morning cheerios.


and...we're back! Go Pack!

Life is finally in order again after a lot of holiday travel. Let the holiday blog posting begin (lots of pictures to share)...but first, GO PACK!!