Friday, June 22, 2012


 After nearly 9 years of planning our 10th anniversary trip, it happened and it was unbelievable. We decided on our first cruise in the summer of 2003 that we wanted to go to Alaska to celebrate and knew that we would be going the summer after our anniversary since cruising to Alaska in December...well it doesn't happen. Our journey took a few days to get started in that we traveled from Oklahoma to Dallas to Houston in efforts to take the kids to Richard's parents for the week. We spent Sunday night, June 3 at his sister's house and then were up early Monday morning to fly out to Seattle, Washington. We had a bit of a bumpy beginning in that our flight was delayed only after boarding and then unboarding for an hour. Then, upon arriving in Seattle, one of our bags didn't make it. Most of the Market shops in Seattle were closed by the time we actually got there, but we still were able to go see the Space Needle, the Original Starbucks, and eat a pretty good dinner on the water.

Getting ready to leave Cindy's
Space Needle
 Our bag finally arrived at 4:30 a.m. the morning of the cruise. After some shuffling of the suitcases we were off to the dock. We traveled on the Carnival Spirit and it was beautiful.  The first 2 days were sailing north and day two was a little rocky on board. We did have the opportunity to meet the most amazing couple with whom we spent a lot of our time both on board and in port. They were truly a blessing to us and a friendship I hope that we can continue to grow in the future.

Beautiful View from the ship

 Wednesday night was the first of two formal nights. Due to the all important Western Finals Thunder/Spurs game, we were able to switch our dining time this one evening to the early dining instead of the late so we could go watch the game on board.

Dinner on Formal Night

After watching the Thunder Win!
Day three began our true Alaskan adventure with sailing through the Tracy Arm Fjord. Talk about God's Majesty at work. While sailing through, completely surround by the most magnificent scenery I have ever seen. We were able to see waterfalls, whales, dolporpises, sea lions, bald eagles...
Tracy Arm Fjord

 Glacier inbetween us, and the picture was snapped before Richard was ready, hence the lack of smile!
Day Four was Friday and our first port of call, Skagway, Alaska. we spent the morning just walking through the main part of town and doing a little shopping, and talking to our kids for the first time since Tuesday. (they were having a blast with Gramma and Gran Gran)

The afternoon was filled with what ended up being our favorite excursion of the trip. A 3 hour train ride. Talk about a view, and oh so breathtaking. There is so much history on the White Pass railroad that so many worked on and traveled through during the gold rush.
Here we are standing on the deck, while the train was moving at a very high altitude.

We were fortunate to see not 1 but 2 bears very up close and personal on our train ride.
Saturday was our second port, Juneau, Alaska. We chose to take a whale watching excursion that also allowed us to spend time at the Mendenhall Glacier. The views from a much smaller boat out on open water were absolutely amazing and once again I was reminded of the beauty that God created and was blessed to be able to stand in awe of it all. We saw several whale, unfortunately, I didn't get any great pictures that were close up enough to show off and enjoy. But I did get some pretty cool scenery shots.
In this shot you can seen the Mendenhall glacier in the middle.

 While searching for whales we came across several sea lions and this one was pretty entertaining. He was just peaking at us and flipping around "flirting" with the boat. Pretty neat picture if I do say so myself.
Our time at the glacier itself was cut a little short due to unexpected circumstances but it was amazing to look at.

I guess somehow I don't have any pictures of our day on Sunday in Ketchikan, Alaska. We just spent the time there walking the streets, and of course my husband who can't go anywhere without seeing someone he knows, ran into a friend from his days at ACU and we were able to meet up and visit which was nice.

 Monday evening was our last port of call, Victoria, British Columbia and our first time into Canada. Everyone was so friendly and it was neat as well. We took a cab to the main street and shopped a little and walked around this amazing hotel, the Empress.

 Then we took another cab to the Craigdarroch Castle. We were able to stay until twilight and watch as it lit up.

Our trip was one we will never forget and we really enjoyed everything about it. Both of us would like to go back again someday and highly recommend that if you are planning a trip and don't know where to go...take that Alaskan Cruise. I am daily blessed by my husband and ever thankful that God chose him to walk through life with. The last ten years have been fun and crazy with both the worst and best days of our lives so far. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years have to bring. I love you Richard and am blessed to be your wife and the mother of our 6 children. Thank you for this trip and the time with you and thank you to Gramma and Gran Gran for taking care of our kiddos while we were gone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dance and Sports for the spring 2012

It was a busy, but fun spring at the Castleman house. Between soccer, baseball, dance, and potty training, we had our plates full! This summer really is a break for us and lots of time just being together!
 Jack played his first season of soccer as a Ranger and he really enjoyed himself. I watched as he improved with each game and practice.
 Noah played his 5th season of baseball, but his first season of machine pitch. there was a learning curve there, but he started really hitting the ball by the end of the season and the fielding of the whole team got progressively better.

Michal Kate just completed her 5 year in dance. It was hard to leave The Dance Company in Mt. Pleasant, but she enjoyed her year at Showstoppers in Stillwater. It made for a long Thursday for the whole family and we will be coming to a studio in Ponca City next year to stay closer to town and Emorie will be taking too! That is going to be entertaining for sure.  Michal Kate took Tap, Ballet, and Jazz again this year, and she too made big improvements as the year went on.
                                                 Michal Kate's tap outfit in Boogey Shoes
                                                    Ballet in Cinderella's Waltz for a Ball
And Jazz Shena is a Punk Rocker, talk about a dance that will even make the audience tired, this thing was fast!

New York

Those of you who know me well know that I have wanted to go to New York City for as long as I can remember. So when my sister called last August and said she was planning a family girls trip to NYC in May, I was all in!
So on Wednesday, May 16 we headed out to NYC.

 Here we are catching our ride from the airport to the hotel. Michel, Tracy, Allyson, mom, Suzanne, and me

 We stayed in Times Square in the Marriot Marquios! Talk about gorgeous! This was the view from our room. Truly the city that never sleeps.
Our first say there was Tracy's birthday! We celebrated by eating at Serendipity. Talk about wonderful. This is us enjoying my desert, Frozen Hot Chocolate. It was one of the most wonderful things I have ever tasted. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

While we were there, we were able to attend 3 Broadway Musicals. Thursday night we went to Sister Act starring Ravon, Friday night The Lion King, and Saturday, mom and I went to see Phantom of the Opera. They were all amazing, but Phantom was my favorite. So amazing.
 We took a ferry cruise around the New York coast. We were able to see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal, and the new New York skyline.
Picture of Tower 1 memorial

 On Friday we went down to ground zero. I can't even put into words this experience. It was breathtaking and brought tears to my eyes just standing there. They have done a beautiful job in building the memorial and I am sure the museum will be just as awesome when it is finished. To stand where so many died for nothing but hate...and to be taken back to that day just by standing there. It is truly something to see.

  It was very funny to me that people would just sit in Times Square, seemingly not really doing anything. Some even brought their own chairs. So on Saturday, Ally and I just sat down for fun. Of course we did it while Suzanne wasn't looking and sanitized our hands thoroughly afterwards!

This for me was the trip of a lifetime and I would go back in a heartbeat. It was amazing and met every expectation I had. The memories we made as the girls in our family will last forever!