Gotta Smile!

Gotta Smile!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Two Grandchildren On Board For A Month

June 30 - July 28, 2015

Our grandson Christopher has spent summer vacations with us since he was two.  He is now nine.  This summer his six year old sister, Jacqueline, joined us.  We weren't sure how successful this adventure would be since we would be on board for four weeks.  Many friends thought this was more daring than our travels through the Caribbean!  

We left St Louis on a two day road trip to Carolina Beach, NC.  Stopping every 100 miles gave everyone plenty of opportunities to walk, drink, eat and go to the bathroom!  Our first three nights onboard were in Carolina Beach.   We needed to provision and reward the kids with time at the beach and swimming in the marina's pool.
Brian is so happy to have someone that
enjoys touring BIG ships with him.
The USS North Carolina in Wilmington.
There had been 7 shark attacks recently in the area.
We were all content to walk the beach and
play in the sand.

Pool time!

Not one but two nights of fireworks
right off the bow of our boat.

While traveling north we tried to maintain a schedule of anchoring two nights followed by one night  in a marina.  After ten days of travel we arrived at Solomon's Island in the Chesapeake, where we stayed for two days.  More swim time and a visit to their wonderful maritime museum.  On the 15th of July we picked up a mooring ball in Annapolis near Ego Alley (the heart of downtown).  The dingy was splashed and we were off to see one of our favorite cities.
A stop in New Bern, the birthplace of Pepsi, (of course, I
would have preferred Coke) allows time to see Tryon
Palace and sit in a real dug out canoe. 

Beautiful scenery along the way.

Walking to the Dairy Queen in
Chesapeake, VG.

Feeding turtles

Norfolk, where the BIG BOYS hang out!  One huge
Navy ship after another. 

Solomon's Island Maritime Museum.
A megalodon, prehistoric shark,
shows off his big teeth.

Thomas Point Lighthouse.
We are almost to Annapolis!

On the mooring ball

Dingy in the water -- heading for town!
Noon formation at the Naval Academy.
All midshipmen assemble to march into lunch.
Drum and Bugle Corps plays at the noon formation.
It's a treat to see such a show of patriotism.  

Inside the academy chapel
John Paul Jones' crypt.
The father of the US Navy.

Resting during a shopping trip.  Only
one missing in the picture must be the
one shopping.
Nap time in the dingy. 

Our daughter, Jennifer, finished her recurrent G550 training in Savannah earlier than expected.  We had left a car in Carolina Beach so she drove a rental there and then drove our car to Annapolis for an unexpected ten day visit.  We all were so glad to see her.  She always adds another layer of fun. 
The three J's together again!

Time to introduce Jennifer to the Academy


Mahan Hall -- one of my favorite buildings
at the academy.

The Maryland State House was the first
national capital.  It was also where General
Washington resigned his commission
 in 1783.
Tripoli Monument (the oldest military
commemorates the war against
 the Barberry Pirates.  It was in  Italy until 1806 
when it was brought to the US on the 
USS Constitution.

If you like to pose with cannons, Annapolis is the
 town for you!  There are cannons everywhere
all sizes, shapes and nationalities.

The Goddard Space Center is the NASA facility that
  monitors the Hubble Space Telescope.
The kids in a space capsule.

Some of the displays at Goddard. This facility has
the largest concentration of scientist in the world.

Tuesday nights Naval bands play at the Annapolis
City Docks.  This group played great rock and roll.
Yes, that is a bagpipe center stage playing an
amazing rendition of an AC/DC hit.   

A day trip to Baltimore.

Touring the submarine Torsk in Baltimore's inner

The kids were getting a bit rowdy as we drove back
from Baltimore.  Jennifer had a stroke of genius when
she convinced them to pretend they were asleep.

The entire purchase of a Costco run and five people
fit in the dingy.  Not one foot touched the floor

No swimming in this water -- jellyfish everywhere.

Striking a pose in her new outfit.

 You really need to be a BBC Top Gear fan to
understand this.  Jennifer suggested a race
fashioned after the show.  Jen and I walked
from downtown and Brian took the kids in the
dingy to our car/dingy rendezvous point.  I
was James May, Captain Slow, going directly
to the dingy dock. Jen was Richard Hammond
walking to the car and then doubling back to
the dock in the car.  All the time Brian and the
kids went as fast as possible to the dock as
Jeremy would have done.  I was first, Brian
came in second and Jen a respectable third.
The kids thought it was hysterical -- one of 
the highlights of their trip! 
Sadly, it is time to say good-bye.

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

What we did to keep Jacqueline and Christopher busy.

Every morning they woke up before us, went to the pilot house and did four pages of school work.  
Learned about the engine room
Made jewelry
Played with Legos
Exhausted after having hair and
nails done.

Baked and cooked. Ate new foods 
(lobster roll and oysters on 
the half shell).
Found fossils at the
maritime museum and
cleaned them onboard.

Learned to drive the dingy.

Lots of posing for pictures!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Another Frantic Visit With Family And Friends

June 10 - 29, 2015

It was another one of those crazy rushed trips that we all make to see family and friends.  There never seems to be enough time to squeeze in everything that we want to do or everyone that we want to see.  I always thought that our retired years would be less frantic. We flew from Raleigh, NC to St Louis, MO on the 10th.  Drove to Afton, MN on the 22nd.  Returned to St Louis on the 27th and drove back to NC on the 29th and 30th!  Guess we set ourselves up for a wild couple of weeks when we mapped that out.
Making the most of a layover at Chicago's Ohare
Airport -- dinner at Frontera, our favorite.

Now that is a professional sandcastle!

Learning about static electricity at
The Magic House.

A walk with Grandma to the overpass
where we waved to drivers and begged
truckers to honk for us.

Between events at Christopher's
swim meet.

JAC's dance recital.  I filled in as the backstage
'Mom' for her group of twelve.  Jennifer had to
fly to California for a job interview at the last minute. 

Edina Realty celebrated it's 60th year at a St Paul
Saints baseball game.  I didn't see much of the game
but sure enjoyed seeing lots of friends that I had
worked with.

Who had the cherry slurpy, who had the blueberry
slurpy and who just wanted to stick out his tongue?


A day at the water park left me
exhausted!  Addison and Niko didn't
seem as affected by all of those stairs.
Finding good 'stuff'!
An extra day in Minnesota gave us a chance to catch
up with several friends.  One overdue visit was with
Georgia, my best friend 30 years ago.  We lost track of
each other and were reunited thanks to Facebook.  So
much fun to catch up on almost half of our lives.  Now
because of that reunion, I'm going to see my college
freshmen roommate in August after no contact for 42
years!  All because of Facebook. Hoping to find more
of those lost friends.
Back in Missouri in time to celebrate Jennifer's
birthday with gourmet cupcakes.

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!