Thursday, January 31, 2008

A few more!!!

Here are a few more photos from the vacation :) ENJOY!

The BIG screen on the Lido Deck. We watched the Patriots beat the Chargers, then part of the Giants vs. Packers game. Then throughout the rest of the cruise, we saw some music videos and movies.
Four sisters on the first formal night :) All dressed up!

Cruz Bay, St. John from our taxi
:) I brought our duck. He's making the rounds all over the place! So far he's been to a few places in Michigan, Wisconsin, New York City, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and with me in the Caribbean. His next stops are France and Switzerland!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scenic views from our vacation :)

This is the Carnival Victory in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our first stop!

Here's Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands). Stop #2

Trunk Bay, St. John!!! One of my favorite beaches I've ever been to! We took the ferry to St. John when we were in St. Thomas.

My sis at Trunk Bay

Great Bay Beach, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten from under the umbrella :) after about 6 hours in the sun, we needed some relief, but we weren't ready to leave the beach!


Life just continues to be busy!!
I had a superb birthday the other day! It was probably my best ever, because of the togetherness -- first with my family (everyone who lives around here came over for dinner and cake & ice cream), then with my friends (I got to visit Kelly, Scott, Addy, and BEN -- what a cutie!!!!, then Liz and Leanne came over for cake and ice cream, then Monday night girls at Heidi and Diane's) and I only had to work half a day, too. What a great day!!! It's so fun to get lots of birthday messages, too :) thanks!

We're experiencing a true blizzard -- have been for the past 24 hours or so. As long as you don't have anywhere to be, it's pretty nice. We're all just cozy-ing up inside, taking saunas, eating bakery.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Home again. Whew!

We're back!
In the past nine days, we have
  • been delayed in one airport for five hours
  • stayed the night in another airport (Atlanta). it's not easy sleeping in airports. I don't care what anyone else says.
  • boarded the CARNIVAL VICTORY for a week of fun!
  • enjoyed six 80 - 90 degree days!
  • spent an evening in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • had Starbucks a few times :) :)
  • spent a few hours at one of the top two most beautiful beaches -- Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI
  • Snorkeled around an island and saw some sweet fish and coral
  • shopped in St. Thomas
  • worn short-shorts, mini-skirts, bathing suits, sundresses, tank tops, dresses :) :)
  • gotten some sun! (and no one burned!!)
  • spent a teriffic day at Great Bay Beach, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten (DUTCH side!!)
  • swam in some sweet Caribbean waves
  • shopped in St. Maarten
  • been completely relaxed
  • and exhausted (the trip there and the trip home)
  • eaten 5-course meals for dinner six nights
  • had lots and lots of dessert!! (warm chocolate melting cake, anyone?!!!)
  • played mini-golf and enjoyed a water slide
  • not gotten too seasick!!!

That's all for now. I have to unpack and try to get some sort of order going on with my stuff.

CONGRATULATIONS KELLY, SCOTT, AND BIG SISTER ADDY!! BEN ARTHUR was born on Wednesday, January 23rd, and I cannot wait to meet him!

Friday, January 18, 2008

85 degree difference!

I hear it's supposed to be about zero degrees around these parts for the next week or so... and it looks like it's going to be about eight-five where we're going. I'm loving that differential! It's going to feel downright tropical! I helped my sister pack this morning, now we just have to make sure it's all going to fit in the car. We might have to become engineers in this process. We have a little bit of a drive tomorrow morning, then we're going to do some last minute shopping (I need a new suit!), then we take off to Miami, FL in the evening. It's going to be a long day, but so totally worth it.

Have a good week (or so)!
We're offfff! see y'all later!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jules: "Are we really going?!"

My sister Julie got home from school today and said "KAREN! You have do something so I realize that we're actually going! It's not sinking in, and I want it to!!" So what do you tell a girl (who's about to head out on a caribbean vacation with you) when she doesn't actually believe you're going? So I told her to pack. and asked her if she needs some sunblock, or if she has some sweet new shades (she has started, doesn't need more, and yes). I also showed her the weather report (thanks to for the islands we're going to, and then pulled up some photos of beaches we're definitely going to spend some quality time at. It seemed like she was getting into the vacation mode, but I'm not sure. I'm fresh out of ideas, so let's hope she's feeling the upcoming vacation now!

Once I'm discussing my loving, happy, optimistic little sis, I should add that a big milestone is upcoming for her. She is on the verge of losing her last baby tooth!! You can see that a new one is coming in, so she's hoping it'll push the old one right out. We had a discussion about this for about an hour yesterday. and by the way, she's sixteen. Yep, this tooth has been hanging on (not that it's loose or anything, because I don't see any signs that it wants to leave anytime soon) for about 15 years. I wonder if the tooth fairy visits teenagers (who already have their driver's license)?

I am kind of pumped about something I did recently that is really un-Karen-like. This is the year I have to get a new driver's license, and of course the annual registration for your automobile is due on your happy (birth)day... Well, the usual move for me is to wait until the very last possible day and then go to the Secretary of State's office and fork out the cash for the required documents. Not this year! I did them both more than 2 weeks ahead of time!!! what a great feeling! That's probably the most un-procrastinatorlike thing I've ever done! Now let's see if I can get on a roll and do a couple more things ahead of time, and maybe I'll actually have something to talk about.

Just a couple more days, and I'm outta here! (for a week...)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Full planning mode!

I am in full vacation planning mode right now!! we'll be on our way in just one week, so I guess I figured it's time to get organized. I started researching different beaches in St. Maarten, and they are looking gorgeous! We have to decide if we want:

  • Calm waters, peaceful, not many people, no amenities (ie nowhere to eat), a couple of water sports
  • Calm waters, busy beach, shopping, nice and long for a good walk, a boardwalk
  • Small (no walks), calm, parasailing and snorkeling
  • Big waves (surfing/body surfing), secluded, no amenities, no shade
  • In the path of airplanes... literally! This beach is just beyond the end of a runway. I think it would be cool to see one or two planes land so close, but hardly my idea of a relaxing beach day!
  • Waves, caves to explore, good snorkeling, shade available, some amenities

BIG decisions! :) the kind I don't mind making!

We are also going to St. Thomas (already have plans for this stop -- I've been there before) and San Juan, PR. I think we're going to go to Old San Juan to check out the history (I'm really excited for that!), and maybe head to the beach. We'll see. We are all getting so excited! I'm almost finished packing -- just have to toss in a few more things. YEA for vacations!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's the weekend!

This past fall, Molly and I had this thing... on Tuesday or Wednesday :) one of us would say to the other "it's almost the weekend!!" We had some logic going, and it made the week go by quicker, and it always felt like it was the weekend. *sigh* what a fun time! So here I am, looking around online and I realize that it's Thursday, aka: The weekend! that means a few things. My friends and I are planning on going snowshoeing on the beach and having a bonfire afterwards, complete with blueberry or cherry pie in cookers. Also, it's pretty much my last weekend being 24 (not that that's a big deal... but I'm not liking seeing this number go up -- feels like I was just 23, and just thinking about being 24 was a downer. Now that year has just about passed, and I'm moving on). I say "pretty much" because next weekend we're taking off for the Caribbean :) so it doesn't realllly count. I know this doesn't make much sense, but I see the logic. That's what matters, right? right!
This weekend thing. Maybe I'll get some things accomplished -- like some more scrapbooking or a clean room. We'll have to see on that one. DEFinitely some extra sleep. That's something I've really been lacking lately, but I'm working on it. They say clean, orderly surroundings help you sleep better, and I think I believe it. I have to retest that idea and see how it goes.

I stayed a night at my sis and brother-in-law's house last weekend, and I have to say, I just love staying there! It's so warm and comforting, and they are so great at making a girl feel better! THANKS KI and JI! :)

Happy "it's the weekend!" to you!

Monday, January 7, 2008


I've had a lot of various countdowns in my life, and now is no exception. Heidi, Kathleen, Julie, my mom, and I are going on vacation in TWELVE days!! Yea! Caribbean, here we come!

One :( thing about the 19th is that it's Kelly's due date. So I'm hoping she goes early, then I'll get to see their brand new baby right away.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

On the ball!!

I feel like I'm on the ball because I'm uploading some photos from our trip. Enjoy! :)
They're WAY out of order, and I don't have the patience to move them around, so here they are.

The five of us after the New Years celebrations in Times Square. We weren't ready to go home yet, so we ended up staying another night.

We hung out in this spot for about 4 hours... It was a long night, but REALLY worth it!!

It's dropping.... the countdown is on!!
HAPPY 2008!!!

Down came the confetti... And what a celebration! HAPPY New Year!

At Starbucks (or as Peter says, Fourbucks), one of my favorite places to be!

Central Park in the winter
More Central Park. The fountains had no water in them. They look a little different than in the summer!

Here we are in Battery Park (on no sleep!!)

Stepping out of the Subway into Times Square. Their impressions: "This is more like what I expected NYC to be like!" (after spending a few hours downtown)

Some decorations on 6th Avenue


Happy Belated to Kelly! #26 yesterday! She's a busy girl lately, on her way to becoming an optometrist. She's heading back to school today and I'm going to miss her!

Two weeks until my sisters, mom, and I head south :) to Miami, then the great wide open Caribbean Sea! I can hardly believe it's so close!

Leanne's going to Florida on Monday to do her second Disney marathon! All her training and long Sunday runs will be so totally worth it!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!!!

I've spent the last few days trying to figure out what day it is...and what state I'm in...

And finally, I have it all figured out. It's Wednesday, January 2nd and I'm back in Michigan. Here's a rundown of my past few days:
Saturday, December 29th: Leave town at 4pm, drive all evening and night
Sunday, December 30th: through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nyack, and into Connecticut. Train into NYC :)
Monday, December 31st: NYC all day, TIMES SQUARE for New Years!!! along with four friends, some Brazilians, about a million other people, a bunch of singers, a famous ball, 8 tons of confetti, and some sweet fireworks! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008: leave the city, drive home through a lot of snow
Wednesday, January 2, 2008: arrive home!! we actually got back and went out for breakfast before the trip ended. (A good sign that we weren't sick of each other, right?!)

So, that made up for over 2,000 miles of driving, about 40 hours in the truck, 7 hours in Times Square waiting for the New Year, 48 hours in the city all together, about 450 photos, some delicious cheesecake :), and the BEST NEW YEARS ever!!

If I can pull my act together enough, I'll post some photos on here.

Thanks Liz, Anna, Scott, and Peter! I had a blast!