Christmas in Arizona

Christmas was a little different in a warmer climate, though I sure enjoyed the weather!
We had a lot of fun hanging out with Nate's sibling.
We even got to talk to Elder Moeller on skype which was fun!
A highlight for me was skyping with my little brother for the LAST Christmas!!!
It was also nice for him to meet Nate!
Highlights of our trip include:
- driving our Chevy Cruz
- shopping with Nate's sisters and pushing a stroller! ha!
- playing the dice game (even if Brannick won every game!)
-  eating fantastic food!
- hanging out with all the people
- Disney lane
- Christmas pajamas
- Christmas morning with so many fun presents
- playing disc golf
- the Rooster Cogburn ostrich ranch (for some reason this is the only thing I have pictures from?)
- Aaron driving through a huge river!

(unfortunately I don't have pictures of us feeding the mini donkeys)

here I am feeding the baby deer.

Nate sending food up to the goats in the penthouse.

picture of the goat penthouse.

these goats were so funny! they would try to climb through the holes!!!

Nate being brave feeding the ostriches

Aaron, Allison, Dallin, me, and Nate

me afraid of them.

in front of the giant ostrich rig.

and a cave creature.
And we bought matching shirts to commemorate our trip to the ranch.

Here's Lindsey brave enough to feed an ostrich!

(for some reason the lorekeet video won't upload so I'll work on that)

And here's Aaron driving us through a river, it was nuts!

A Nate-ism.

I was driving and relaying a message for him to text my friend Kelli
"We have church from 9 to Doug..."
Got that everyone?
9 to Doug!

Merry Christmas from the Moellers!

Santa came early to the Moellers!
Nate got a remote control helicopter.
And its pretty awesome, even I have fun flying it.
I got some new snow gloves since mine seem to be lost.
We're headed to Tucson tomorrow for Christmas with the Moellers.
So from us here in Utah...Merry Christmas to all, and see you in a week!
 Oh, and in case you s missed the memo I chopped all my hair off!

Ft. Lauderdale.

Friday, December 14
We woke up about 5am to what is comparable to turbulence in an airplane.It was a very bumpy morning as we made our way back to Miami. So bumpy in fact, at one point I saved myself from rolling out of bed. We figured we might as well get up and start packing and getting our junk together to make getting off the boat easier. We ported about 8am and shortly after Nate and I went to eat breakfast so we could get off the boat. We were on land about 11am and weren't sure what we should do next seeing as we couldnt check into our hotel until 3pm.
We caught a free shuttle back to the Miami airport and decided to just go ahead and rent another car to make our lives easier.
Once we got the car (this time a Ford Fusion, which was by far our favorite because we had dual zone climate control. Yes, I had my heat at 90 degrees while Nate had his air on at 60 ;) and decided to go to the Miami Seaquarium.
The seaquarium was pretty awesome, we had a lot of fun there.
Things we did/saw:
- watched sting rays eat

- saw an ell up close
- watched Nate act like a fish
- wrestled an alligator
- caught a shark
- touched sting rays
- rode a seal
- a dolphin show and they had a little baby dolphin who was adorable!
- killer whale show (and yes, their trainer still got in the water with the whale)

- manatees
- watched sharks feed

- sea lion show
- watched flipper
- got attacked by birds while we tried to eat lunch

We got rained out while there. So once quickly walked around and saw the last of everything and left.
We drove up to Ft. Lauderdale and found our hotel, the Sandy Beach. It was less a block away from the beach and just a block or two around the corner from "the boardwalk" with all the touristy shops and restaurants so once we got our stuff unloaded we walked down to look at the beach and find something for dinner.
We ate at a place called the Margarita Cantina. It was outdoors and right along the ocean. The food was pretty delicious too. I ate some grilled fish tacos and Nate at shrimp jumbalaya.
After dinner we continued walking down the boardwalk and looking in all the shops. Most of the shops were pretty sales-y and wanted to give us "the best deal" we didn't buy anything. Except at one store, Nate was trying to read a shot glass and dropped it and broke it. Surprisingly, it was the only shop that didn't have any 'you break it you buy it' signs. He of course felt really bad and asked the lady how much it was. She said $5.99 but he could just give her $3. Being the honest guy he is he asked her to please just charge him full price. She was really surprised by that and asked where we were from. When we told her Utah she said "oh, that's why you're so honest. People from Utah are always honest." We ended up talking to her for quite some time and she was really interesting. She was from Russia and had actually been an interpreter on some cruise ship for a family from Utah which is why she knew people from Utah were such good people. We liked her a lot and she even remembered us the next day wen we walked back by and waved.

Satrurday, December 15
Today we spent the whole day at the beach. It was windy, maybe 75 degrees and pretty overcast but Nate was dying to play in the ocean!
Because it felt so chilly we ended up just walking down the coastline for a good half hour. The water was really choppy and had red warning flags out letting you know that it was a little dangerous, so we were skeptical for a bit about whether or not we should swim.
So instead Nate buried my whole body in the sand (since I'd never done that) and then proceeded to sprinkle potato chips around me so that seagulls attacked!

Then we had to get in the ocean to rinse ourselves off. It was surprisingly warm and I swam for a good half hour and Nate stayed in for at least an hour!

We ate dinner on the beach again and then went home early since we had to be up at 5am for our flight home.
We walked past this crazy statue made all of water bottles!

Sunday, December 16
We headed to he airport about 5am. Caught our on time flight to Chicago! And Even our on time flight to Salt Lake! We got home about 4pm and boy was it cold! We couldn't believe we had just swam in the ocean the day before.
We unpacked, ate dinner, and went to bed at 7pm which made us wake up about 5 the next morning...but at least we were productive.
And now were are back in the swing of things just in time to head to Arizona for Christmas!
We are looking forward to spending time with family, having a few days to relax, and definitely looking forward to more warm weather!


Monday, December 10
On Monday we needed to be to the port by noon so we got up early and returned our rental car. We weren't sure how we were getting to the port or exactly how long it would take either. We lucked out and when we returned our car the lady told us all we had to do was show a receipt and we could take the shuttle to the port for FREE! So that was awesome! We got to the port around 11am and waited for maybe 10 minutes until they started letting people through security to start boarding the boat. We got through that whole process relatively easy but then had to sit upstairs and wait for about an hour before we could actually get on the boat. We just played backgammon the whole time.
waiting to board the boat!

Once on the boat, we weren't allowed to check out our rooms until 2pm so we ate lunch and toured the entire boat until 2. Our stateroom was pretty awesome with its own balcony which was sa-weet! Nate had a lot of fun with that, spitting off it, feeding the seagulls, etc. We set sail at 5pm and watched from our balcony and then went up to the very front of the ship until it got a little chilly. We sat in the hot tub for a little bit and then had dinner. I had delicious mahi-mahi and Nate had steak.

Later that night we went down to the casino and I did pretty awesome for once! From $20 I won $170 at roulette hitting the number not just once but TWICE! Too bad I'm chicken and would only bet the minimum of $5 every hand. But still felt pretty awesome about winning. Nate on the other hand, he didn't do so hot ad lost $60 in about thirty minutes...whoops. But we had a lot of fun watching all the people in there.
Finally, we went to a comedy show which was pretty funny. I'd never heard of the guy but he did a good job, we laughed a lot.
We were beat and were in bed by 11pm.
our balcony.

Tuesday, December 11
We woke up about 7am and had breakfast on the balcony as we watched the boat pull into the port at Freeport, Grand Bahama Island.

We were able to get off the boat at 8:30am and had to meet a tour guide just off the boat to go do our first shore excursion. We got on the tour bus and had an awesome driver who gave us background of the island as well as told us what we were looking at, etc. He told us how the islands came about, how they were originally meant to be strictly industrial islands, he told us about schools, churches, storms, he was just really awesome!

He took us to a place called Unexso and from there we jumped on a boat and headed off to a private cove. Once at the private cove we got to get in the water and touch and play with 2 dolphins! There names were Kayla and Exuma. They were so cute and so fun to watch! Because they also gave us a little show, the trainers recommended not bringing our cameras down to the water and its a good thing we listened because we were soaked and everything left on the docks were soaked! For that reason, we didn't get any pictures with us and the dolphins, but at the end they had the dolphins give us a show without soaking us so we could get our cameras.
sorry, wish I could edit the beginning of this but I'm not that talented!

Once we got back to the more main part of the island, we were in a very touristy place called Lacaya. So we had lunch of conch fritters and lobster gyros and then walked around through all the little shops. I hated how forceful the people were to get you in and look at stuff, and how if you turned them down they were so grumpy! However, I did wander into one shop that looked like just a lot of glass and rocks. The lady there was so nice and told me how she collected all the glass and rocks from the ocean and then made them into jewelry and trinkets. I ended up buying a cute little angel tree ornament from her. She carved the body our of  wood, tied a bow around it for wings and then connected a head all with wire. I was really impressed with her work.
We got back on the boat about 3pm and decided to go sit in the hot tub for a bit and then have dinner. This time we decided to share a table with other cruisers. It was interesting and we met a couple from New Jersey who told us about being hit by Hurricane Sandy, a couple from Michigan who wasn't so fond of us being from Utah ;) , and a man from Florida who was a fisherman writing a book. We had some very interesting conversations including thoughts on deja vu, firefighting, skiing, and love during tragedy.
Later, we decided to order room service. While we waited we took a nap (shock of the century for Nate that I CAN actually take a nap)! I awoke to a huge CRASH! When I finally got myself oriented, there were 3 plates of food on the bed, and 2 on the floor. Nate had somehow dropped half the tray and slid a hot dog with relish, onions, and ketchup, chips, and a slice of cheesecake right into my suitcase! We spent the next 45 minutes cleaning up ketchup off of clothes and picking pieces of onion out of my bag. It was surprisingly hilarious however I smelled very strongly of onions for the remainder of our trip which wasn't the most awesome thing, but we survived. The night ended with another Nate-ism. He was pouting and told me, "I'm not very good at science, and by science I mean anything!"

Wednesday, December 12

Again we woke up fairly early and watched the boat pull into the port in Nassau. Once of the boat there we got on another bus for our "sub excursion". This one totally freaked me out and I didn't think I would be able to do it. Basically you stick your head in what looks like an astronaut helmet and then they sink you down 25 feet and you drive around and look at this coral reef. We split into 2 groups. We were a part of 2nd group so we spent the first half hour snorkeling around the reef which was really cool, we saw a ton of awesome fish and even a sting ray!
boat ride to the sub experience.

In the first group who was "subbing" they brought 2 people back up after about 5 minutes underwater who both were having panic attacks and didn't want to go back down, said they couldn't breath or whatever. This made me super nervous so when it was our turn I was surprised at how easily I handled it. I never had time to freak out, one minute I was out of the water, the next I was 25 feet down breathing in a bubble! We followed some divers around underwater and saw another stingray and a ton of fish. Nate and I even had fun catching the fish with our bare hands. This adventure was another of our top 5 favorite things we did.
borrowed these from their website.

yea, awesome.

On the boat back to the dock, I saw a sea turtle catching a breath of air and pointed it out, but only Nate saw. Also on this boat ride back our boat got stuck due to the low tide and it took us a few tries to get into the dock.
We toured around Nassau a little bit and it was my least favorite of all the islands we went to. Way too big, too touristy, and mean people! They trick you too. They kept putting jewelry on us and saying it was "free" and "everyone gets one" then wanting a donation. We got conned the first time (I'm still bitter about it) and we ended up giving away $10 for some stupid bracelets. After that I got mean and wouldn't let them touch me! We bought shirts here, but that was it.

We ate lunch on the beach and were back on the boat about 3pm again. We took another nap, watched part of a show, ate, and hung out on our balcony the rest of the night.

Thursday, December 13
Thursday we anchored and took a tender boat to the private island of Great Stirrup Cay, which is owned by Norweigan Cruise Line. The water was so clear that when we were on the tender boat waiting to get to the island we saw a shark swimming at the bottom of the ocean! The island was miles of gorgeous white sandy beaches, with a few small souvenir shops. Here we went parasailing, which I think was my favorite part of the trip, and definitely a top 5 favorite things!  We met a really nice couple from Texas on our boat ride and they were nice enough to take pictures of us up in the air parasailing. At one point they lowered us down into the water and Nate being the punk he is, told them to keep going lower and lower until we were in water up to our waists at which point they hoisted us back up. The water was really warm and blue and it was such a fun adventure!
getting ready to go up in the air!

getting dunked in the water.

After parasailing, we walked down the beach until we found a place less crowded and then we were beach bums the rest of the day! Nate's feet ended up getting very sunburned, and my thighs got a little burned but overall we did a great job of not getting badly burned.

The cruise line brought lunch to all of us, they set up a buffet under a cabana and we came and went as we wanted, so that was nice.
After a few hours the tide went out about 5 feet and we climbed over some rocks/reefs/beaches and looked at small urchins, fish, crabs, and shells.

thanks for this glamour shot Nate.

theres actually 2 giant crabs.

We got back o the boat about 3:30pm and it was a good thing because as soon as we got back the wind picked up and it even started raining!

We spent the rest of the night losing $60 in the casino, watching another part of a show, eating dinner...twice (with 3 desserts a piece) and playing backgammon.