Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week of Our Life in Pics

A week of our life in pics...

Annelise decided she wanted to sew matching skirts for her 3 BFFs' birthdays (all within a month & a half of each other, as well as hers), so we bought the fabric at Jo-Ann (cream background, fuchsia & black flowers, lavender birds, teal Eiffel Towers, brown "Paris" & scripty writing = girly dream! ;-)) She put me to work in her Fashion House: I ironed, she sewed. We made all four in a few hours after school (& after teaching Zumba for me, hence my ensemble) and were really pleased with how they turned out:

We had our first walk-up registration day for our youth football & cheer league! My first being in charge = SUCCESS! We had almost 40 girls register, 25 of whom are completely new to the league, and over 70 girls total get fitted for our new uniforms!!! This is STELLAR!!! At most walk-ups last year, we had maybe 10 or 15 tops? We also have our new cheer shirts for this year available; I helped design them, and everyone LOVES them! The girls think they're super cute, and at the same time, they're not too cartoony for adults to wear:

Football practice is back on!!! (7-on-7 spring passing league, not fall tackle) It feels like all is right with the world to be back out on our normal field two nights a week...although it feels odd for me *not* to be busy coaching. (Cheer is fall only.) I like actually being able to WATCH our boys practice! :-) One of our new players brought cupcakes for his bday last week:

I served on Praise Team this week for Palm Sunday and was so honored to sing Hillsong's "Hosanna"! Rehearsal ran waaaay late Wednesday night, b/c we had Easter Choir rehearsal first and then full Praise Team:

Our fam enjoyed a delectable Saturday afternoon "brunch" at my new fave (locally sourced, farm-to-table) restaurant, Dish Society!!! I had Brisket N’ Eggs: Texas grass fed brisket, two open range sunny side eggs, smoked gouda grits (stone ground! not instant! Southerner approved!), tomatillo relish, & house buttermilk biscuit - mmmmm! It's rare when there are six or seven things I *really* want on the menu. Cannot wait to go back! We also got sun-kissed sitting out in the patio heat - ahhhh!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blake Family Scrapbook ~ Nov 2013 - Jan 2015

I jumped on the ball to take advantage of an extra $30 off Shutterfly coupon code that expired today, finished our 4th family digital scrapbook, and got it ordered! *huge sigh of relief* This one runs from Disney (Nov 2013) through the end of this Jan 2015:



[How do I digiscap? Tutorial!] Yes, I used another Lilly print for the cover, Mai Tai - my fave from 2014, which is the majority of the book. Here are my first three family books: Sept 2008-Oct 2010, Nov 2010-Jun 2012, and July 2012 - Nov 2013.

...Now to get started on book #5, scrapping the rest of Will's basketball season, Run 4 The Children, Rodeo Parade, and ATLANTIS!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Atlantis: Beach Farewell

We spent our last Bahamian morning along the beach after breakfast...


Ocean stunt!

Last glimpse from our hotel balcony:

Checking out (& snuggling in the funky cool lobby chairs!)

One final beach bon voyage...

At least we were welcomed home with the most beautiful Texas sky...

...and sweet beagle kisses! :-D

Friday, March 20, 2015

Atlantis: Power Tower & Resort Exploration

After our morning bucket list-worthy dolphin encounter, we still had an extremely full rest-of-Friday!


Annelise was the ONLY ONE who would race me on the Challenger Slide, which starts just as high as the Leap of Faith, but is actually twin slides on the opposite side of the Mayan Temple:


Will & JB headed off to the Gamer's Reef, while Annelise & I spent literally HOURS on the rest of the slides & in the Current river! We conquered all four Power Tower slides:
The Abyss - Beginning with a staggering 50-foot near vertical drop through complete darkness within the Power Tower, this thrilling 200-foot-long body slide ends as guests splash through waterfalls and into The Cenote - an underground lair of prehistoric alligator gars and fish.
The Surge - Starting at the top level of the 121-foot Power Tower, this inner tube ride features a camel back drop into a cavern, then quickly twists and turns downwards into white-water rapids caused by a flash flood.
The Falls - The slide drops riders 58 feet to ground level before propelling them through a water roller coaster of twisting tubes.
The Drop - Commencing from inside the Power Tower, this single or double inner-tube rides begins with an ominous “drop” through darkness in an enclosed tube. Riders then encounter the open-air twists and turns of this thrilling water slide before splashing down into the Current.

The Drop was our fave, and all but the Abyss dump you back out into the Current river = easy to keep going over & over & over... We went so long that my head felt like we were still bobbing along when I was sitting still at dinner that night!

But before dinner...

Will & Sis had to get their R/C race on one last time at the bigger indoor Atlantis Speedway:

And then Elsa appeared in the Royal Towers!!! ;-)

Family shots on the way to a delectable dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Atlantis: Dolphin Cay Shallow Water Interaction

Friday, March 13th: bucket list item ✓
Dolphin Cay Shallow Water Interaction! Venture into the crystal blue waters of one of the world’s largest marine habitats. The Shallow Water Interaction at Dolphin Cay is an unforgettable experience where you engage with Atlantis, Paradise Island’s resident bottlenose dolphins and discover just how playful they can be. Guests wade into waist-deep waters and get nose-to-bottlenose for an unparalleled, up-close adventure with their new dolphin friend. Prepare yourself to be amazed as they show off their incredible athletic abilities right before your eyes!

Our rescue dolphin was named Maru, and she was the cutest 3 year old:

Family ♥

We all got to kiss & pet Maru!

Hello, Christmas card...

We also got to play with Maru: give high fives, have her swim back and forth under our hands, splash us - the whole thing was just completely enchanting!

And still much more vacay to come...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Atlantis: Water Park

Thursday, March 12th was all about the water park after an amazing breakfast at Mosaic. Every morning, I had chocolate croissants, coconut pancakes & crêpes with nutella. Every. Morning. Mmmmmm...

JB's parents reserved a private cabana in the middle of the water park & pool areas for Thursday & Friday - so nice to have our own area, guaranteed to be free, and secure with a safe, so we could leave our phones, etc. when we wanted to run around.

We knew we wanted to tackle Atlantis' signature slide - the Leap of Faith - very first thing. "The Leap of Faith slide offers a daring and adventurous 60-foot almost-vertical drop from the top of the world-famous and iconic Mayan Temple. The body slide propels riders at a tremendous speed through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon." You go so fast, it’s over in no time! You really have to make an effort to keep your eyes open in the see-through tube surrounded by sharks! Here's me:

And proof that ALL FOUR of us did it! In order: Will - Annelise - Sues - JB

That just got our water slide kick going!!! Back on the Serpent: "On the five-story corkscrew Serpent Slide, guests travel on a tube at high speeds through the darkness of the Mayan Temple's core. The twisting and turning ride culminates with a leisurely pass through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon."

We then headed over to the rapids river ride, The Current, "where resort guests are propelled along a mile-long river in their inner tubes via water escalators, rolling waves and extreme rapids powered by master blaster technology." These shots were in a short, calm, lazy river section:
(It's funny that my two pics are with Will, b/c I rode once with him...and literally *20* with Annelise! :-D)

I spent the rest of the afternoon as a human solar panel in the cabana with JB's parents, while the kids checked out the Gamer's Reef with JB before hitting the Mayan Temple pool, again.

We had an absolutely exquisite dinner at famed Chef Jean-Georges' Café Martinique! I had the Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar and the Duck topped with Cracked Jordan Almonds, Foie Gras and Amaretto Sauce. Woooooow. And dessert!!! Mille-crêpes caramélisées au Grand Marnier, coulis mangue et passion: thousand crêpe cake (at least *30* layers of thin crêpes & vanilla crème) with a caramelized Grand Marnier top, served with mango coulis & passion fruit seeds = BEST. DESSERT. OF. THE. TRIP. Crêpe cake!!!!! Oh, my heart...

Next up: DOLPHINS!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Atlantis: Arrival

We were so blessed to spend Wednesday, March 11 - Saturday, March 14 at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas!!! It was the best Christmas gift ever - experiences like this create memories that last longer than any toy! Our kids are at the perfect ages to make travel ideal: old enough to remember & appreciate everything, dependable good manners, responsible enough to go to the restroom or down a slide without us having to chaperone, and still young enough to not be mortified by our parental presence. ;-) We want to take full advantage of these sweet years, and we are so thankful for JB's parents making it a reality!!!

We flew direct from Houston to Nassau and met JB's parents at our stunning hotel: The Reef - jaw-droppingly gorgeous! [The photos in the links are not photoshopped - it really does look like this!] The kids got into their suits (the adults didn't, since we were "just going to look around before dinner" = bad choice! we all wished we would've! :-P) and went out to get the lay of the land. Will & Annelise rode the first water slide they saw - the Serpent Slide, which winds down & ends up going through a shark aquarium!
There's a viewing area where you can watch the people come through...although I can't tell which kid is which in these two. ;-)

Will & Sis then discovered Will's other passion - car racing - right by the slide exit. (You can see the shark in the slide viewing area behind the track. :-P)

We ended our initial exploration walking along the beach before getting cleaned up for dinner:

Dinner at Casa D'Angelo was delicious! Service was...slow. They did make a special effort for me (I wanted their Burrata & Figs appetizer; they were out of burrata, but added figs to my Caprese, just to accommodate :-)) but they were late bringing out our entrées & desserts. Maybe it was just an off night? It was definitely the worst service we experienced the whole trip...so if that small delay was the worst, you know our trip was excellent! :-)

Next up: Thursday exploring the water park attractions!