Monday, May 24, 2010

Family Cruise to Hawaii

My word!! It has been over four months since I last blogged. Time does fly, but we also keep ourselves very busy. I go to bed at night thinking, "I should have posted a blog." Then I fall asleep, and that's that.

Since last January 24, 2010, lots has happened. We sort of ended our 24th season on March 31, and then we went on vacation. We normally stay open until the end of April each season, but this year our vacation was scheduled for April.

We have a wonderful group that has been coming to the Christmas House for 23 of our 24 years. (They missed the second year - 1987.) About 20 years ago they asked if they could always be our first group when we open each September. Then a few years later they asked if they could also be last. They started out as paying guests and have ended up as good friends.

So, we did not hesitate to ask them if they would mind waiting to do the last tour on Sunday afternoon, May 2, and they said that would be fine with them. We just could not do it at the end of March, because we had other groups scheduled right up to the end of the month, and our vacation was scheduled to begin on April 2. Yes, we went on vacation a month earlier than usual this year!

Where did we go? We traveled by Amtrak to Ontario, California where our cousin, Mickey, and her husband, Wade Landrum, met us on Easter Sunday morning. We spent two days in Anaheim, and then the three of us along with Mickey, Wade, and his mother, Idell, drove to San Diego where we boarded Holland America's ms. Zaandam. We were joined on board a little later that afternoon by the Landrums' daughter, Jennifer Robinson, her husband, Kevin, and their three year-old son, Austin. At 5:00 p.m. the ship set sail for a round-trip cruise to Hawaii.

The nine of us had 15 wonderful days together on that cruise. This blog would become much too long if I tried to tell you everything that we did. It would become even longer if I told you all about Austin! Let it suffice to say that he was the "darling" of every one who met him, and the eight of us adults were known on the ship as "Austin's party!"

Here we are in casual Hawaiian.  Left to Right: Front row: Jennifer Landrum
Robinson, Wade Landrum, Austin Robinson, Mickey Landrum, Idelle Landrum.
Back row: Kevin Robinson, Janie Minten, Dorothy Minten, and Esther Minten

We spent five days cruising the islands, making stops at Hilo, Hawaii, Nawiliwili, Kauai, Honolulu, Oahu, and Kona, Hawaii. We were supposed to spend a long day at Lahaina, Maui, but the winds prevented the tenders from operating, so we had no way to get from ship to shore. The captain was very apologetic, but he said that they could not risk the safety of the passengers trying to get us aboard the little boats that would have taken us from the ship to the pier and back again. Seeing the whitecaps in the bay, we understood. While it was disappointing to miss the luau that we had scheduled, the captain made up for it by cruising along the sea cliffs of Molokai. This was something they had never done before. Here is a link (or you might have to type it in) with pictures and info posted by the captain. If you click "more" at the bottom of the page under the pictures, you will find more pictures. As I looked at them, I noticed that my pictures that I took are almost identical.

We returned to San Diego on April 21 and stayed in Anaheim until April 28. Mickey, Wade, and Idell live just a short 10 to 15 minute drive from Disneyland. We stayed at the Disneyland Resort Marriott Courtyard (used those great Marriott Reward points), and Mickey came and picked us up each day so we could do something touristy. Yes, of course we went to Disneyland a couple of times.

Esther's birthday was April 24th, and the Landrums treated all of us plus Mickey's brother (and our cousin) Ed and his wife, Becky, to a wonderful dinner at the Orange Hill Restaurant in Orange. It was a great celebration. The next day, we met Ed and Becky along with their children and families at Po' Folks restaurant in Buena Vista for dinner. With us, Mickey, Wade, and Idell, and all of Ed's family, there were about 20 of us. It was a great reunion!

On Wednesday, April 28, at 3:30 p.m. (PST),we boarded Amtrak's Sunset Limited in Ontario for the return trip to San Antonio. We arrived there the next night at 9:30 p.m. (CST). As always, Cavender Cadillac kept our new car while we were gone. When we picked it up on Friday morning, it was all shiny and clean and serviced! Our vacations are always worry free when it comes to our car--thank you to everyone at Cavender's.

Now, we've been home for almost a month, but that doesn't mean that we've been still. We've been to Belton, so I could attend a Board of Trustees' meeting at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; we've been to Corpus Christi a couple of times, and Kingsville and Alice several times each. We've cleaned up the warehouse and worked in the store getting it ready to receive lots of new merchandise.

The old saying that "a rolling stone gathers no moss," must have special meaning for us. I've not seen any moss in a long time!