Our Newest Adventure

On December 4, 2011 Jason and I departed for our most recent adventure, a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas! We took an overnight flight to Miami, Florida (bad call, since neither of us slept!) and boarded our ship at 11:00am on December 5. We traveled on Royal Carribean’s “Majesty of the Seas.”

Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas

It didn’t take us long to get settled in, take a quick nap, eat the first of many meals, and hit up the pool deck for the bon voyage party.

Enjoying our "Drink of the Moment"

Enjoying our "Drink of the Moment"

We spent most of that first day exploring the ship with its rock climbing wall, basketball court, 5 restaurants, Grand Theater, 2 pools, 2 hot tubs, 9 bars/lounges, shopping, and more! After cruising over-night, we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas the next morning.

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

We bought some souvenirs in the market, then made our way to the public beach near the beautiful Atlantis Resort. The sand was perfect, the water was perfect, the weather was perfect… I was one happy lady! On the way back to the ship, we finally got a picture in front of the welcome sign.

Welcome to the Bahamas!

Welcome to the Bahamas!

We cruised over-night again to Coco Cay, Bahamas, a private island used for Royal Carribean cruises. Jason and I took the first tender over to the island, so we had the first pick of beach chairs and could go back to the ship when it got busy in the afternoon.

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Coco Cay, Bahamas

We enjoyed the BBQ on the beach for lunch, then headed back to the ship. We did some more exploring on the ship, relaxed by the pool, and even got to watch the Men’s Belly Flop Competition. And no, Jason did not compete.

After an evening filled with more food, entertainment in the Theater, more food, and live music in the lounges, we again cruised over-night to Key West, Florida.

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

We had to spend the morning going through Customs, since this was a first stop back in the U.S. After that was all taken care of, we walked through a little bit of Key West, then departed on our snorkel trip. The southern end of Florida has the 3rd largest coral reef, which was really cool to explore. Unfortunately the waves were quite rough, so choosing where we snorkeled wasn’t really an option. We mostly just let the waves push us around and watched as the fish beneath were being pushed around by the current too.

After heading back to the ship to clean up, and of course eat again, we had some time to waste before the comedian was scheduled in the Grand Theater. Since we were just pulling away from Key West, we decided to go for an evening stroll around the outer deck of the ship. Even though the sun had set, it was still warm enough to enjoy being outdoors.

Little did I know, we weren’t out for JUST a leisurely stroll. As we came around to the back of the ship and were watching Key West fade into the night, Jason said, “I have a question for you.” Nothing unusual, but by the way he said it, my adrenaline shot up and I had about 6,000 thoughts run through my head at once without time to consciously think any of them. I turned to face him and he got down on his knee, pulled a ring box out of his pocket, and said, “Will you marry me?” I said yes, and I’m not sure what happened for the next few minutes, I just know we were (and are) both incredibly happy.

We're Engaged!

We're Engaged!

That night we made our way back to Miami, Florida. I know we disembarked the next morning, made our way to the airport, and flew home, but we didn’t really care too much about that trip anymore. We were already looking forward to our next big adventure. 🙂

Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. We both enjoyed the cruise and would love to have the opportunity of going on another some day.

For more pictures, (click here) to visit our photo gallery.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Saint Francis (aka San Francisco)

Jason’s been working on becoming a VMware Certified Professional (and you may have noticed from the badge on our website that he now IS a VCP). Part of his training included a weeklong class in San Francisco, and for those of you who know us, also became a great excuse for a weekend adventure!  I joined Jason on the Friday afternoon after his classes were finished and we walked, trolleyed, and bussed around the city through Sunday afternoon before returning home.

After driving to Seattle, flying to Oakland, and taking the BART into San Francisco, I was ready to stretch my legs as soon as I arrived. Chinatown was just a few blocks from Jason’s hotel, and is a great place to wander around. Jason was grateful I was in the mood to walk, otherwise we would have been stopping in every store along the way! I settled for enjoying the window shopping, and taking in the culture of a “town” within the city.

Entering Chinatown

Entering Chinatown

We found the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where you can see the process of making fortune cookies, as well as purchase some tasty snacks.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Where fortunes are born

We stopped back at our hotel to rest for a little while before taking an evening stroll down to the ferry building. The ferry building hosts a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings and Jason and I were happy to order our breakfast from one of the vendors there the next day.

Ferry Building

Ferry Building

We also had amazing views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

One of Jason’s top sites to see while we were in San Francisco was Alcatraz. And not just see it from afar, but to see it up close and tour it. We chose to take the evening/night tour and enjoyed the views of the city and Golden Gate Bridge as the sun was setting.

San Francisco skyline

San Francisco skyline

The 'Rock'

The 'Rock'

Inside Alcatraz

Inside Alcatraz

The next day we rode the trolley to Lombard or “Crooked” Street. I have to be honest, I’m glad I don’t live on that street!

Cable Car

Cable Car

Lombard Street

Lombard Street

Then we walked (for quite a while) until we reached one of the bus routes that would take us to Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t spend much time around Golden Gate Bridge, but it was fun to walk part of it and watch the surfers below.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

We had many other fun adventures including stopping by Ghirardelli Square for some chocolate, eating some sourdough bread down on Pier 39, watching a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, unintentionally watching a nude bike parade, walking through Golden Gate Park, and soaking in every other “San Francisco” site we could.

 

During one of our walks (that accidently turned into a 5 mile walk) we got to see the houses that were filmed as the setting for the TV show “Full House.”  Having grown up with the “Tanner” family, I thought it was pretty cool.

Full House

Feel free to check out more pictures from our trip in our photo gallery. And don’t worry, there are no pictures from the nude bike parade… at least not on our website.

Las Vegas

We took a 5-day trip to Las Vegas at the end of February to visit Malorie’s family. It ended up being a family reunion of sorts – Malorie’s parents went down from Washington, her sister’s family from Alaska, and her “brother’s” family from Utah. We all invaded her aunt and uncle’s house, and they were very gracious hosts. It was also the first introduction of Malorie’s niece to her great-grandparents, who moved to Las Vegas a year and a half ago.

Jason took this picture of our extended family, so he didn’t make it into the picture. Check out our photo gallery for more pictures that include Jason.

 

Malorie's Family

Malorie's Family

 

We ended up sharing a condo with Jenn, Josh, and Shilah while we were there, which worked out great. Malorie loved all the extra “Shilah-time” she got. Shilah was almost crawling and Auntie Mal did her best to help teach her.

 

Shilah

Shilah

 

 

We did spend a couple of evenings sight-seeing around Las Vegas. The first night we went to the old downtown section, Fremont Street. The street is closed to traffic and covered by a canopy of 12.5 million LED lights, 90 ft. above the street. In the evening they have a synchronized, music/lights/movie show on the hour. Here’s a glimpse of what it looked like.

 

Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience

 

 

They also recently installed an 800 ft. zipline that runs down Fremont Street, under the canopy. Never ones to miss out on adventure, we decided it must be experienced. And much to our surprise, Malorie’s parents were up for the adventure too! Obviously we couldn’t get a picture of ourselves on the zipline, but here’s Malorie’s brother-in-law, sister, mom, and dad getting ready to launch from 5-stories up.

 

Zipline down Fremont Street

Zipline down Fremont Street

 

On our last night in Vegas, the two of us took off by ourselves to explore the strip. We had already seen most of the casinos on our first trip, but some of the places are definitely worth a second look. The Bellagio fountain show is never a disappointment, and their botanical garden is brilliantly done. We also walked through the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and took a stroll through the Venetian, looking at their gondolas.

 

Bellagio Fountain Show

Bellagio Fountain Show

 

Jason wanted to include this picture – a spiral escalator! Seriously, everything in Vegas just has to be bigger and better and much, much cooler…

 

Spiral Escalator

Spiral Escalator

 

Jason Turned 26!

For those of you who know when Jason’s birthday was, you’ll also know how late I am in getting this blog posted!  Jason and I celebrated his birthday about 3 weeks ago in Seattle. It took me a while to figure out what we should do for his birthday, but one good idea turned into another, which turned into one fun weekend in Seattle.

I found some tickets online to a Seattle Sounders game on a Friday night. The game didn’t start until 8pm though, so I knew we’d be turning this into a weekend event. We both got off work a little early so we could beat some of the traffic in the Seattle area. We also wanted to get there a little early since we’ve heard stories of all the pre-game festivities. I don’t know how Jason got talked into participating, but I’m glad he did…

The Sounders were playing against Chivas USA that night and I warned Jason that out of the 10+ pro-sports games I’ve been to, I have never been to a winning game. Neither Jason or I had ever been to a pro-soccer game before and I am happy to announce that the Sounders won 2-1!

Go Sounders!

Go Sounders!

A little team spirit!

A little team spirit!

The next morning we headed down towards the water and enjoyed a walk along the waterfront, then walked up to Pike Place Market. We split an amazing chocolate-filled croissant and browsed through all of the vendor booths. Jason and I agree it’s a great place to wander around!

(taken with Jason's camera phone!)

Taken with Jason's camera phone!

Rachel the Pig and Jason

Rachel the Pig and Jason

We realized there was a “Ride the Ducks” tour location nearby, so we decided to walk over and see if we could make it on one of their tours. We made it there about 5 min. before they were leaving and luckily they still had room for us! It’s about a 90 min. tour that takes you by some of Seattle’s main attractions, by road and by water.

When we finished the tour (and our legs were rested) we walked back to our car and drove over to the Pacific Science Center. My aunt works there and was able to take a little break to give us a personalized tour. We kinda felt like royalty – only the best for Jason’s birthday, right?  We made sure to tour their butterfly house. You get to walk through this warm, humid room filled with hundreds of butterflies of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve never been there before, you should go, it’s awesome!

Another pic from Jason's camera phone

Another amazing pic from Jason's camera phone

Jason and I took a couple of hours to explore the Pacific Science Center and make the short walk over to the Space Needle.

Space Needle

Space Needle

We left the Seattle Center and headed over to Serious Pie to meet my aunt and her girlfriend for dinner. The menu at Serious Pie is filled with the most bizarre, tasty wood-fired pizzas! We ordered three pizzas: delicata squash, roasted garlic, gorgonzola lucifero – chanterelle mushrooms, truffle cheese – sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers. Not something you’d find at your “run of the mill” pizza place, huh? While they may sound a little unusual, you can see they were delicious.

Yum!

Yum!

A fun-filled day, finished with good food and good company completed our Seattle weekend.

Auntie Nel and Julie

Auntie Nel and Julie

Malorie and Jason

Malorie and Jason

We left exhausted, but with great memories. So far, I think 26 has started out pretty well for Jason. 🙂

San Juan Island

Jason and I spent most of this weekend on San Juan Island. We had the opportunity to stay in a great condo in Friday Harbor, close enough to walk to/from the ferry. Here’s a quick pic out our front window:

View from our living room

We didn’t have the greatest weather, but still we still ventured out to explore Friday Harbor… It took about 15 min. walking. We also hung out around the condo, Jason worked on getting this website up and running while I took on the task of solving Sudoku puzzles.  On Saturday night we made our way over to Roche Harbor and did “dock-walking” as one of the boaters so eloquently described it. Some of those boats are bigger than my apartment! And by some, I mean most. We ate dinner at Madrona Bar & Grill which is located in the former home of John S. McMillin.

Former home of John S. McMillin

Jason and I also got a special treat in Roche Harbor. My new passport doesn’t have any stamps in it yet, so the Customs officer stationed in Roche Harbor was kind enough to give me my first stamp (thanks Dad!).

First stamp!

Jason and I enjoyed our stay, but are happy to be home. I don’t think I would survive long on an island. Some people love living there because you’re secluded and can get away from everything, but that’s exactly what I don’t like. I rather deal with the fast paced life and continue enjoying my easy access to Target, Fred Meyer and even WalMart.

I would like to leave you with these parting pictures. Thanks for the laugh San Juan!

They have the funniest signs!

Jason wasn't happy that I made him pose with Sarah Palin

"Put your butts here"