Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The ultrasound tech and the doctor both said the anatomy scan looked great and we should be expecting a healthy baby boy in January!
And for those of you who are wondering, our son will be named Brody David Hayes :)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
And here's my lovely baby bump in all its glory -- sorry the picture is so dark. I took it after my cousin's wedding in our hotel room. I'm finally starting to look pregnant and not just fat! My bump has really shown itself over the past week -- it'll be interesting to see what the next 20 weeks hold in store for me!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We arrived on Thursday in the early afternoon. We checked into the hotel and then hung out at the hotel bar with family that we haven't seen in a while. We were staying at the Magnolia Hotel which had a free happy hour from 5:30-6:30 every day. Needless to say, Keith and my dad really enjoyed that! I personally enjoyed the cookie & milk buffet every night from 8:30-10:30.
The next day, Friday, we didn't have any plans until the rehearsal dinner at 7pm, so we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I haven't been to a museum in years and this one was pretty decent. After, we wanted to go to Cavender's, which is a big western store, to pick up some stuff for the cowboy themed rehearsal dinner. There were 5 Cavender stores in the Houston area, but our GPS couldn't find any of them. We finally stopped at a Target (where I found a fashion cowboy hat for $12!) and got our GPS to work. Going to Cavender's was a mistake...we ended up spending nearly $200, but Keith did get a pair of black boots that I know he'll get a lot of wear out of. He was just excited to have something else to wear with his suit to the wedding instead of the uncomfortable dress shoes he brought.
The rehearsal dinner was a lot of fun. My aunt & uncle rented out a local country bar, The Armadillo Palace, until 10pm. It was pretty entertaining to see all of these yuppie types dressed up like cowboys. What kills me is they spent hundreds of dollars on hats/boots they'll probably never wear again. At least Keith and I both spent under $20 on our hats! It's a good thing my Aunt & Uncle had rented a few buses to take everyone to and from the hotel, because there were a lot of drunk people that night!
The next day (wedding day!) we went to the Houston Space Center...talk about a waste of $19 per person! It's very much geared towards little kids...we took the 1 hour tram tour of Mission Control and some rocket...it was interesting, but seeing how the heat index was 108 degrees, it made it difficult to enjoy.
The wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was very much personalized to the bride and groom and you could really feel how much Matt & Lauren love each other just through the words the minister was saying. There was a prayer done by a friend of the bride's family and it was 15 minutes long...that kind of put a damper on things. After the ceremony we were all shuttled to the reception. It was held at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice (a historic hotel that's now loft apartments except for the ballroom). We enjoyed a cocktail hour w/ passed appetizers and open bar (water for me!) for about 30 minutes while we waited for the bride and groom to arrive. The reception itself was stunning. The pictures don't really do it justice! The food was delicious, the music was great...there were 2 open bars and a cigar roller on the balcony.
There were only a few things that stood out about the reception -- the bride and groom didn't do table visits together. There wasn't any kind of receiving line at the ceremony (which was nice, I HATE those!) so I figured they'd do table visits or something. Nope. My cousin stopped by our table for like 5 minutes, and the only time I really talked to the bride was when we had a family picture taken. Considering the amount of family/friends that had traveled over 1,000 miles to be there (most from the Philly area) I thought that was kind of rude. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the moment of the wedding day, so I'm sure that's just what happened, but still. Also, the reception lacked a lot of personal touches. It was stunningly gorgeous, but it felt kind of generic...if that makes sense.
Overall, it was a great trip and the wedding was fabulous. I don't think I'm in any hurry to go back to Houston any time soon (I hate city life), but it's nice to say I've been there. Congrats to Matt & Lauren and enjoy your 3 week European honeymoon!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Momma B and I met up with Aunt Lynn and Leslie and headed to the breakfast buffet. It was PACKED! I guess that's to be expected on a ship that holds 2,000 people and every single person is still on the ship. When we walked into the buffet we were greeted by a very enthusiastic cruise ship employee of Asian ethnicity who was welcoming everyone..."Good MORNING...HAPPY HAPPY!!!.....Good MORNING...HAPPY HAPPY!!!" It kind of caught us by surprise, but by the end of the cruise it was a running joke among everyone. Even during the farewell show the cruise director brought in a "very special guest" and it was this guy. The audience went wild, ha! He kind of reminded me of that weird Asian guy in the 16 Candles movie...
After breakfast we decided to lounge around the pool for a bit. It wasn't until we were on the pool deck that we discovered it was windy...and not just a little breezy. I'm talking like gale-force winds that blow your hair so hard on your face it stings. It was fun trying to sit down on the deck chairs before they folded back up on us. Reading a book was nearly impossible, so I just tried to take a little nap. I was almost asleep when some girls wanted to sit next to us. They were probably 17-19 and fairly annoying. One girl was putting on sunscreen and said to her friend, "You really should put some on too. Do you want to be all wrinkly and saggy when you're like 50?!" Umm...ok. I guess skin cancer isn't a concern of hers, just being wrinkly. Then she went on to discuss all of the things she was going to do to prevent getting old. I wanted to throw my book at her.
After we were done lounging by the pool, we went back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. We were cruising on Norwegian Cruise Lines, which is "freestyle" cruising -- meaning we didn't have a formal night or anything like that. However, we decided to dress up a little more on this night to try out the fancier dining room on the ship. It was gorgeous -- fancy linens, china and an entire row of windows along the back of the ship. What an awesome view! After dinner we had time time to kill before the show (singing/dancing) so we stopped by the casino for a little bit (lost some money on the slots), browsed through the gallery shops and enjoyed some frozen fruity drinks at a martini bar!
I still think she should've bought that mask!
After the show it was 11pm so we hit the hay -- we had to be up and off the ship by 8am the next day. I thought vacations meant I got to sleep until 10am?!
Up next: Day 4 -- Valletta, Malta
Friday, August 7, 2009
Day 2: Barcelona on Segway's and Boarding the Ship
I have never, ever slept as good as I did that night. The beds in our hotel were super comfortable and it's amazing how much a good night's sleep can do for you after flying across the Atlantic, going through a 6 hour time change and being awake for 30-some hours! We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel, which had a hot and cold buffet. I had a traditional American breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, fresh fruit and even some Kellogg's Special K cereal (woohoo for the hotel having 5 different Kellogg cereals!) However, there were some odd European breakfast items...steamed tomatoes, beans, thin slices of cold ham, croissants and cheese. Interesting!
We had a private tour guide named Javier. He did a great job of explaining everything we were seeing. We started in the Gothic Quarter and then went down to the harbor and the beach area. We even got to see some of the buildings that were used in the Barcelona Olympics.
After the Segway tour it was time to board our cruise ship! Momma B and I stayed in a traditional balcony room while Aunt Lynn and Leslie enjoyed a luxurious 2-bedroom suite. Their room had a living room area, dining area, as well as a bathroom that had 2 sinks, a whirlpool tub that overlooked the ocean and a shower that overlooked the ocean. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! Throughout the cruise we enjoyed complimentary room service breakfast in their suite instead of fighting the crowds at the buffet. It was great!
Me and Momma B's room -- isn't it huge?
And this is what vacation is all about -- relaxing with your feet up!
Our first night on the ship we had dinner at one of the two traditional restaurants where you choose 3 courses off a smaller menu. The food was alright…not spectacular, but it wasn’t awful either. I had a grilled chicken dish (that was dry) and a disgusting coconut cheesecake. After dinner we walked around the ship some more and made stops in the Spinnaker Lounge, the Crystal Atrium and some of the duty-free shops.
Once again, I had an amazing night's sleep -- the beds on the ship have memory foam mattresses...ahhh! Even though I'm used to sleeping in a king sized bed (shared by a husband and two dogs), I didn't mind sleeping on a twin bed 2 feet from my mother...these mattresses were amazing!
Stay tuned for Day 2: Relaxation at Sea
Day 1-2: Barcelona Spain
When our flight was delayed leaving Detroit, I should've taken that as a sign of the long journey that was to come. We ended up leaving Detroit 2 hours late, but that was ok considering we had a 6 hour layover in Newark, NJ. We met up with my Aunt Lynn and cousin Leslie at the Newark Airport, where we enjoyed their Continental Rewards perks and hung out in the Platinum Lounge (or something like that). It was much better then sitting by the crowded gate. I got a free apple and some crackers...what else beats that?!
Momma B & me waiting at the Newark Airport
Our flight to Barcelona was about 8 hours. We left Newark around 7pm and arrived in Barcelona at 8:00am local time (which was really 3am...what our bodies were used to). Seeing how I was 10 weeks pregnant and my worst symptom was fatigue, I figured I'd sleep through the entire flight, waking up nice and refreshed to begin my European adventures. Ha, yeah right. We were 3 rows from the very back of the plane so there was a constant line for the bathroom and I just felt weird sleeping with some random person standing right next to me., not to mention the consistent elbow knocking or hip-to- the head bumping. I ended up getting about 2 hours of restless sleep.
We got our bags (they all made it safely!) and hailed a taxi for the hotel. We were staying one night in Barcelona, and our cruise ship was set to leave the following day. We dropped our bags off and decided to hit the streets of Barcelona. Our hotel was located in a nice area, with lots of designer shops...Armani, Prada, D&G, Gucci...you know, the things I could never afford!
We headed for the Sagrada Familia church. I'll be completely honest -- I know very little about foreign history, so a lot of the stuff we saw on this trip were things I had never heard of. Apparently this church has been under construction for over 100 years, and isn't scheduled to be finished for another 50 years. It was pretty gorgeous...definitely unlike anything you'd see in the US.
From there we walked to a hop-on-hop-off bus tour stop where we took the bus to a park that was designed by Gaudi. His stuff was really cool -- it almost reminded me of Dr. Suess things. The only bad part about the park (other than the fact it was 90+ degrees and we had been away for over 24 hours) was that it was a complete uphill walk to get there. Go ahead and take an exhausted, out-of-shape, pregnant woman who can hear her pulse in her ears from the extra blood volume in her body and have her walk 1/2 mile completely uphill. Luckily there were cute shops along the way where we stopped so I could catch my breath.
After the park we decided we were thoroughly exhausted, not to mention hot and sweaty, so we took the hop-on-hop-off bus tour around Barcelona and saw all of the sights. Leslie even fell asleep on the bus!
Leslie and our "tapas" of slimy things in shells!
Stay tuned for Day 2: Barcelona on Segways & boarding the Cruise Ship!