Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson
Brett, Heather, Kayla, and Tyson

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bear World!

This past weekend, we went to Bear World with my mom. It was my first time, but Brett had been before. Ever since we mentioned the idea to Kayla and pointed it out on the highway, she begs to go all the time and gets so excited anytime we drove by! It was Cubpalooza, where you can get in for half price, see the baby cubs, and get a pass to go half price the rest of the year. We were pretty excited!

Since we could only drive 3 MPH, we let Tyson get up front with us. He was more fascinated with all the buttons in the car than the animals at first. He was a pretty happy camper!

It was amazing how many animals there were so close to the car. They had mountain goats, deer, buffalo, elk, moose, and of course bears, a few grizzly and LOTS of black bears!


This was an albino elk!

These bears were the yearlings. 

The bears were having some fun.....:)

It was crazy how close they got to the cars! Several sniffed the van and one left a scratch and some mud along the back!!

Brett said this bear reminded him of Baloo!

So....hears the scratch! You can mostly see the mud and where we wiped a little off to see the scratch, but a lot of that is bear paw! 

After driving around and seeing dozens of bears, literally, we headed in to see the brand new baby bears! They were about the cutest thing I had ever seen!!

Kayla thought they were cool, but was pretty anxious to get to the rides!

They had four or five rides that were perfect for the kids! There weren't too many people so you could hop on any ride you wanted over and over without much wait at all. Kayla and Tyson were both in heaven!

Tyson's favorite ride by far was the choo choo train! 

Kayla and I both loved the car ride! You seriously got some tickle bumps on this ride!

Grandma even got in on the ride action!

Kayla found some big boy friends (like she usually does) and she basically did everything they did. It was hilarious and adorable!

After we peeled the kids away from rides, we headed to the petting zoo! Brett made a pretty good bear impersonation!

My boys looking adorable with a giant bear! :)

Tyson had some fun in the chicken coop....and he looked about as cute as a dream!

They had goats, pigs, a deer, ducks, geese, peacocks, and chickens. Both kids were pretty much enamored by every animal! I love watching them with their nervous excitement as they interact with so many different animals. 

We looked over to see these bears climbing the fence and it was so cool!

We also got a glimpse of the moose that were under the bridge. They were both rescue animals brought to the place as babies. 

We stopped for one more photo with the bear before heading to the gift shop where we got some delicious fudge. It was a fun filled morning and we were so excited to spend time with Grandma Betsy enjoying all the cool animals! I love living so close to nature! It made us excited to go to Yellowstone in a few weeks! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cruising Crandalls!

So, Brett and I had our first trip away from the kids a couple weeks ago! It was wonderful and so good to be together, just the two of us. We dropped the kids off at Grandma Jean's house after church on Sunday, and then continued down to SLC for our flight. She ended up bringing the kids back to Rexburg that night to stay at our house for the week. I'm so grateful to have a mother in law that I love and trust to leave the kids with. We're so happy she was willing to keep the kids for us. I was really nervous about leaving them, but they did great with Grandma Jean!

We took a red eye flight, so we were really glad we had these awesome neck pillows! We flew to Phoenix where we had a 3 hour layover. Happily, we both slept as long as we could there before we flew to Miami at 2:00 AM. 

We got to Miami and took a shuttle to the cruise port. Our drive was a Cuban, and Brett was more than happy to pick his brain on the recent developments between Cuba and the U.S. It was really interesting listening to what he had to say. We didn't have to wait too long before the ship started boarding, thankfully. We got on and had lunch and then settled in to some deck chairs to relax and nap after the long flight. 

We did muster call, entered a raffle to win free stuff at the spa (which of course we didn't win) and then raced up the deck to be at the front top while we set sail from Miami port. 


Once we were on our way, we found our stateroom, and found our luggage had already been delivered! We changed into our swim suits and headed up to hang out on the deck again before dinner time. Brett was pretty excited about our porthole view. This was his first cruise and my third. (I've previously cruised to the Bahamas, and Mexico)


One of my favorite things on a cruise are the towel animals! I look forward every night to see which animals they'll put in our room. It might be childish, but it makes so happy! I should definitely look into learning how to do them myself, but that takes some of the magic away, I suppose. 

After dinner, we headed up to watch the sunset, which we missed most of, but being on the open ocean is a magical experience in and of itself!

The deck was hopping pretty much all day and even long into the night, or at least as late as we stayed up. We're definitely old people in the sense that we look forward to bed time, rather than staying up all night long. Kids do that to you!

Our first full day at sea was PERFECT weather! It wasn't too hot and we spent a lot of the day on the deck soaking up the sun. Brett was a great sunscreen reminder and we put it on every 90 minutes on the dot. At one point, I fell asleep on my stomach and woke up to Brett rubbing sunscreen on my thighs! While I appreciate his concern for my skin, it was a little startling to wake up that way! Haha! 

We definitely got some good use of our selfie stick! :)

The ship had two water slides. We used them probably more than any other adults! We had a lot of fun on them and went multiple times every day. For our trip, we basically hugged the coast of Cuba almost all the way around it. Brett was fascinated and had to get a photo with Cuba in the background. 

That night, we had the formal night. It was fun to dress up and have a delicious meal! Ironically, we were sat at a table with two couples from Tremonton, UT. They were great and we hit it off with them! I felt like they were almost our parents on board. We also had two couples from Florida. Dinner is such a fun way to get to know new friends!

We got a frog towel animal, and had to seize the photo opportunity it provided!

Good thing I already found my prince! Brett is the best man I could imagine being with!

After dinner, we headed up to hot tub. It wasn't long before they announced there was a medical emergency on board and that the Coast Guard was coming to pick up the patient! We waited for awhile, but nothing happened. We went back to our room to go to bed, but soon heard the helicopter and saw we had turned totally around on the cruise info channel in our room.

We headed back up on the deck to see the helicopter come and pick up the lady. There was nowhere to land, so they had to lower a basket and a man to help bring the lady back up. 

There were so many people on deck recording the whole thing. It was crazy! I later overheard the ship doctor explain the whole situation in detail during a medical emergency training that was being held in a conference room near a bathroom I was waiting to use. Apparently, the lady had a severe headache, and then lost feeling in her legs and lost her vision. They don't have a CT scanner on board to decide how to treat, so they knew they had to get her off soon! They considered going to Guantanamo to drop her off!! That would have been crazy! Instead, they decided to have the Coast Guard come from Guantanamo while we headed towards the Bahamas. They picked her up, took her to the Bahamas, where she was stabilized, and then flown to Florida. She ended up regaining feeling in her legs and vision in one eye, but they think her blindness in one eye is permanent. I'm glad they got her off!

Early the next morning, they announced that because of the detour and stopping, etc., we didn't have time to go to Jamaica. We were pretty disappointed!! We were supposed to climb Dunn River falls, and go zip lining through the jungle. Others on board were really mad, which I thought was a little ridiculous, but oh well. One couple was supposed to be married in Jamaica.

The funny thing was that around 2:30 that day, a couple guys came out of their room and asked if we had gotten to Jamaica yet. They were so passed out from partying the night before that they had no idea what was going on! 

We decided to make the best of it and spent more time on deck. We also did some trivia competitions and watched some shows on deck. 

I got some serious napping in and it was amazing! 

Here's a replica of our ship. 

Since we headed quite a bit west, we were able to catch the sunset after dinner time and it was amazing! There's something amazing about watching the sun set over the water. 

More towel animal fun! 

Early the next morning, we got to Grand Caymen a couple hours earlier than planned, since we skipped Jamaica.  We were on the first tender boat off the ship. Brett was determined to make the most of our day there, and that we did! 

The water was shallow enough that we had to take tender boats to the shore. 

It was 6:30 local time when we got to Grand Caymen so there was nothing open. We had about 90 minutes before our excursion, so we took a cab to the 7 Mile beach and basically had it all to ourselves. It was amazing!

We had an underwater cover for the camera, so we got some fun shots underwater. Here's my legs....

For our excursion, we went to Stingray City on a sandbar about 35 minutes out into the bay. We took a canal system that had some beautiful Caribbean style buildings surrounding it. 

There were about 10 other boats around this sandbar. You got off the boat, and it was only about 3 feet deep water. When the boats drop anchor, the stingrays know to come right up. They are friendly and love to be held and loved. 

They are wild and have their bars, but we were told how to avoid being stung. 

Brett snorkeled a bit there and found this cool conch shell. It had a resident, so we left it there. 

We both got to hold a huge sting ray and both gave it a kiss. Apparently, that gives you good luck for a year! 

The water was amazing!! It was as clear as bath water, but the most amazing color of blue! It was pretty picture perfect and exactly what the Caribbean should be!

We went a little further out to the reef where we snorkeled for about 45 minutes. It was the best snorkeling we've ever done, and both of us have done it in a lot of places There were so many colorful fish and the coral was amazing!! We didn't get any great photos that did justice to the beauty of it all but it was wonderful!

We walked to the beach and walked quite aways along the water. It was so beautiful! We had a quick lunch of delicious sea food and then rented a skidoo!


I've always known Brett was more daring and adventurous than me, but he was crazy on that thing! He threw me off twice, but since I had an iron grip, I took him with me both times! It was a lot of fun! 


Seriously, the water was amazing! The weather was perfect and it was a perfect day at Grand Caymen. I'd love to go back there someday. 


We did a bit of shopping before we headed back to the ship. We should have done it first because there was almost no local vanilla to be found, which is the one thing we wanted to get a few bottles of. 

Brett took a photo with the other cruise ship behind him while I got ready for dinner. I'm not sure if he was saying hang loose or trying to get them to call him. :)


The sunset was amazing yet again that night!

Early the next morning, Brett got up to work out and watch the sunrise, while I slept in. I needed it after the full day we had at Grand Caymen. 

Their was a lot of beautiful food on the ship! It didn't always taste as good as it looked though. I've probably become more of a food snob being in this family, as I've learned an appreciation for really great food!

We bought this hat for Tyson, but it looks pretty cute on Brett too!

Our last night, the dining room crew put on a great show with song and dance. They danced every night and it was a lot of fun!

Here's our dinner table crew! Brett, Janiene, Chris, Carol, Tom, Terri, John, Wendell, Penny, and me.

The sunset was again beautiful, but it was a little more cloudy that last night. We ended up having a storm overnight and the ship was rocking a lot and I could hear thunder and see lightning during the night.

We signed up to participate in the final show. It was a little risque and I got embarrassed, but they were great singers and dancers, recreating the 70s!

We had to sit separately for some reason. I so wish we could have discussed the whole show. I had lots to say!

They had a mardi gras party that night! We loved dancing and singing at all the shows. We also did Karaoke a few of the nights. It was pretty fun!

The last night there was a towel heart! Brett's so handsome!! :)

We got to Miami the next morning. We took a cab to Miami beach, checked our luggage at this little place called The Luggage Lounge (which is awesome!) and rented bikes to ride along the beach. We loved Miami! Its a great area! 

We changed into our swimsuits and hung at the beach for about 90 minutes. The water was perfect and there were some good waves to jump! We had fun taking cool pictures and videos. Never a dull moment with this guy!

We had a delicious lunch on the beach, took an Uber to the airport and headed home. It was a perfect trip, but I was more than ready to see my babies!! They did great with Grandma, but this momma had a hard time away from them. That being said, Brett's number one and spending time with him was perfect! I told Brett that you know life is good when you're just as excited to go on vacation as you are to go home! It was a wonderful trip!