Friday, April 26, 2013

Tenerife and Loro Parque

Most of our vacations in Europe are all about places that we want to see, and there is not much to keep the kids happy except for ice cream and chasing pigeons. One of the stops on the cruise was the island of Tenerife. There were many options to choose from, but we decided to make it a fun day for the kids and go to Loro Parque.

Loro Parque is a combination Sea World/Zoo type place. We had about 5 hours there, which was perfect. We hit all the shows and made a quick trip through all of the exhibits. The birds and flowers were beautiful.
Shamu is alive and well in the Canary islands, although he has a different name. The killer whale show was really great. Those animals never cease to amaze and even Logan clapped for them.

Shamu is alive and well in the Canary islands, although he has a different name. The killer whale show was really great. Those animals never cease to amaze and even Logan clapped for them.
Chelsea really wanted to sit in the splash zone, and so we told her that was fine, but we were not sitting down there with her. She marched down and sat in the front row. Cade stayed for a moment , but quickly returned to our seats. 

Chelsea didn’t really believe us that the splash zone really meant the “get drenched” zone. The look on her face is priceless. This was our first activity of the day, so she was quite wet for a while afterwards. She took it well and didn’t complain too much.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Our first stop on the cruise was the beautiful island of Madeira. In the past, we have typically planned our cruise excursions pretty well and we rarely take the ship excursions. With little kids, we prefer to do things on our own schedule and be done when we want to be done. This time around, we didn't do a ton of planning and so we decided to just take each port as it came and figure it out. 
Madeira had a cable car that goes from the coast up the mountain to the town of Monte, so we decided to walk to that and take a ride up. On the way, we turned down numerous taxi drivers offering their tour services. After turning down at least 10 people, we decided to rethink our plan. We met a very nice driver named Nuno and decided we could see more with him. So, we jumped into his car and off we went. It was a great decision - he was a great tour guide and so kind. We saw so much more of the lovely island than we would have otherwise, and of course the kids are always happy to jump into a taxi instead of have to walk. 

We couldn't resist taking advantage of the top tourist attraction in Madeira. Basically, you climb in a wicker basket that has rails attached. 2 guys with break pads on their shoes give you a push and then jump on board, and the basket heads 2 km downhill. The guys jump off to slow you down or steer as needed. It was a little scary, and probably not the safest thing we have ever done, but also tons of fun with squeals of delight from all of us. 

We also enjoyed the new glass platform in Madeira. What a view - straight down!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bon Voyage

We spent our first 2 days at sea, travelling from Barcelona to our first island port. 
The ship had a great kids pool, but sadly the wind was super cold and so we use the pools very much. 

The kids spent lots of time in the fabulous kids club. They loved it there! Every day, the sweet kids club  staff painted Cade's face and that was a highlight for him. Throughout the week, he had several designs, but a tiger was his number one request. That earned him the nickname, 'Tiger" from the staff. 

Logan spent lots of time playing with us in the baby play zone. It was great to have somewhere he could crawl around and play with toys and other babies. He was a good little traveller!
Watching the world go by.

Larry participated in one of the game shows on the ship. It was like, "Minute to Win It." He had a minute to unroll a roll of toilet paper using only one hand. Despite some creative methods, time ran out. 

We have never cruised in the Atlantic Ocean, but there was a definite change once we crossed through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Captain said it wasn't very rough, but the ship was rocking side to side and front to back. Thankfully, we didn't get sea sick, but many people did.  We were glad to see land on the 3rd morning! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


We began a 10 day cruise to the Canary Islands in Barcelona. Larry and I toured Barcelona several years ago, so we had a leisurely day this time around. We did visit Park Guell, designed by Gaudi. 

My blue-eyed babes

And the brown eyed babe trying to get his bottle.

Pigeon chasing - always a trip highlight

I'm convinced it is impossible to get a good picture of all of us together. 
This was our best shot overlooking the city and the harbor.
After getting some energy out at the park, we packed up and headed to the port to get onboard the Norwegian Spirit. It was a great trip - tons of pics to come!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Different Kind of Easter

This year, Spring Break fell over the Easter holiday. We planned a trip to take advantage of the time off, so we did some Easter festivities the week before Easter. The kids ended up with a snow day, so it was the perfect day for dyeing eggs.
The brown eggs here don't hold the dye as well, but it still works and the kids had fun. 

We didn't let the snow deter us from an egg hunt.
Ready to hunt
The first round was easy - I just threw the eggs and the kids found the holes and dug them out. 
After a while, they started hiding eggs for each other and the snow was trampled. At the end of the hunt, we only had 2 eggs and the rest are being well preserved until spring finally arrives.

On Easter Sunday, we were on a cruise to the Canary Islands. There were no matching outfits, no hurried pictures, no Easter baskets (please don't remind my children), and no formal church service. 
But there was Jesus...the reason that we celebrate. And we were together. 
And we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skiing the Alps

While we are living here, we decided we really should ski in the Alps. We chose a small ski resort a few minutes from the Kinderhotel, and it was perfect for us. Cade loved his ski school and Chelsea skied with us like a pro. Logan enjoyed his time playing at the hotel.
How cute are they? All decked out and ready to go. 

View from the top - breathtaking!

We had fun and I was quite thankful we all were in one piece at the end of each day!