Friday, January 16, 2009

Portland, Miami Beach, Boarding the Semester at Sea Explorer, and Setting Sail!

If you use your imagination just a little bit you can probably envision that a Jones family travel experience didn’t go exactly as planned. However, our flight was completely on schedule, our bags all weighed in under 50, and we had a great time in Portland prior to our flight and for the few days we had in Miami.

Hanging out with Rachel and Jayne in Portland – it’s fun to connect with old friends, and of course even more fun to play with someone else’s toys!

The cousins played at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) on Sunday the day before our flight. One last hurrah before we begin the summer of fun!

Luggage for a family of four for 100 days – yikes! (I’m sure the folks at the airline were not amused.)

Unfortunately, the first thing that happened when we got our rental car was a minor accident. You know, we just sort of gently bumped the Jaguar next to us with our car a little bit. Thankfully, that was the only accident we had – surprising considering how the beautiful folks of Miami drive… A minor bump didn’t slow us down! Check the damage on the Pacifica…
Once we got back on the road we went to our motel. We booked a motel on Priceline because we were struggling to find anything close to being in our budget. We wound up at the Whitelaw at South Beach. I’m pretty sure the Whitelaw doesn’t see many strollers. Where some motels have cookies and milk at 6pm, the Whitelaw starts pouring complimentary cocktails and pumping bass.

That isn’t to say we’ve had a bad time though! The Whitelaw is “barbalicious” according to it’s website. Apparently that translates to hot pink walls and ceilings with chandeliers in every room. What is a three year old girl not to love about that? There’s a sundeck up top with bouncy lounge pads – perfect for playing picnic or diving onto and laughing. The hallways looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, and were really indescribable. The Whitelaw Hotel – Hot Pink!
Best of all, the hotel was in the middle of South Beach, so it was really close to the beach. The girls had a pretty good time once they got used to the water. Lily never really took to the water, but Abi had a fun time sitting in my lap “catching” waves.

Girls and dad at the beach – hopefully we’ll be doing this more often!

Of course our real objective with the early arrival was to buy lots of STUFF for the kids, and us too. I met a fellow soda addict in the line at Wal-Mart. Apparently he took the six cases of Dr. Pepper stacked up on our two shopping carts to mean I had a problem. 5 cases of diapers, 8 packages of wipes, a bagillion crackers and craisins later…we left the Wal-Mart with our overstuffed SUV and went to the port to board! Ah…Americans. Sometimes you just can’t avoid being one.

This is 400 diapers. Didn’t know if you had ever seen 400 diapers. Maybe we should’ve considered cloth…

Now that we’re on board we are finally getting into a schedule. Remember, we jumped ahead three hours on this cross-country plane ride, so the girls are still adjusting. Today I woke them up at 7am, made them eat breakfast, and they seemed to adjust for the most part. Hopefully tomorrow we will have a “normal” ship day. Abi made a friend today named Barrett. He is two years old, but will be three next month. He was full of energy and they had a great time playing chase tonight. I am lucky to have a family next door to us. The Dean of Students is from Oregon and is right next door. Abi completely adores his daughter and his wife was a total life-saver today. She watched the kids while I returned the rental car back to the Thrifty counter. I was so thankful to avoid dragging the kids through Miami in a taxi!
So, that’s that – we’ve made it! We’re here! We’re setting sail tonight!

1 comment:

Kayla said...

Wow, Mel, I can't believe it's already here! I am a little jealous. For some reason your pile of luggage didn't look like that much to me. I was rather impressed. I'm glad you have great neighbors. You're in my prayers.