Picnic with Old Friends (late post)

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    Julie and Theresa planned the annual picnic with our friends / coworkers from Santa Clara, and it was on Saturday two weeks ago.  This year the group got bigger; it was nice for me to catch up with everyone, and to see a few of them who I had not seen for months or years.  Everyone brought some food to share, and so we had a large feast there too.  The kids played at the playground and also with different sport games other brought.  Later while I was holding an 8 year old baby Paxton, Connor got interested in him and wanted to hold him too.  Connor enjoyed playing with the baby for awhile.  This was a nice gathering with my old friends.


First Day of School (late post)

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   The boys returned to school on 8/15/18.  Logan was very happy that he is in the same class with his buddy Maxim.  Apparently the kids were given a chance last year to request to have one friend in their 5th class, and both Logan and Maxim got their wish.  Connor was hoping to have Dylan and Jacob in his class, and he got one out of two, Jacob.  Both Logan and Connor complained that their new teachers are too strict, but we are happy with strict teachers.  Just like that, the year had started and we are back on routine.  Logan is our punctual boy; every morning, he is the one keeping all of us on time for work and for school.


Annual Doctor Checkups

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   I took the boys for their checkup on Monday after we returned from Seattle.  Everything checked out ok for both of them except the doctor thought one of Connor’s eyes quivered a bit while following her finger movement, so suggested an eye appointment for follow up.  Logan’s stat showed that he continues to grow slim and tall, and doc suggested bigger portion of healthy food.  Connor also thins out a bit and BMI levels down a bit.  The doc did suggest him to avoid too much sweets.


Connor’s Stat:

Weight 28.9 kg ﴾63 lb 11.4 oz﴿

Height 135.8 cm ﴾4′ 5.47"﴿

Body Mass Index 15.67 08/13/2018 2:08 PM PDT

Logan’s Stat:

Weight 32.5 kg ﴾71 lb 10.4 oz﴿

Height 149.9 cm ﴾4′ 11"﴿

Body Mass Index 14.47

  The next day I also took Logan to see his eye doctor at Santa Clara for an eye exam.  Logan had recently mentioned not able to see as well, so I had made this appointment slightly early than his usual 6 months follow up.  Fortunately the exam did not suggest a worsening prescription.  While we were there, I asked the doc to take a look at Connor’s eyes.  She did a quick check and felt that there were no issue with his eyes.  It was great to save us from an unnecessary visit.

Ports of Alaska / Seattle

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    Alaska was beautiful and we were lucky to have mild weather too.  Our first stop was Ketchikan.  We had an excursion for a Lumberjack show and a tour to the Totem park.  The show was quite interesting seeing their skills and the casts made it funny too.  All the audience enjoyed it very much and the boys bought souvenir stuffed animals at the gift shop.  “Whalie” and “LB” (for little bear) became their buddies the rest of the trip.  The young driver/tour guide taking us to the Totem Bight State Park loved to talk; he kept telling stories all the way driving and walking around the park.  The park actually did not have as many totem poles as I imagined, so it was not as fascinating, but seeing how much the tour guide enjoying himself talking was somewhat entertaining.  Overall we liked this excursion.


    Next stop was Juneau.  It was a misty day and it gave the town an even prettier look.  We did not sign up for anything, and we just took the short shuttle ride from the pier to see the town.  The town had many little shops; we had fun browsing around.  The ship port time at Juneau was short, so we did not stay out there too long.


   On schedule next was cruising to see the glacier.  Many people were prepared and lined up along the fence on the upper deck for viewing.  We walked around the deck and looked around the beautiful scenery, but we had not arrived at the glacier yet.  We finally decided to go watch it from our room while we could rest.  By then we were within the Inside Passage; the wilderness of Alaska and the stillness of the water were amazing and so peaceful.  We started to see floating ice on the water, and we still did not know what to expect.  Finally at the end of the passage, we saw the huge glacier right before our eyes.  It was fascinating.  The cool thing was the ship made a slow 360 turn, thus everyone on the ship could slowly enjoy the view of this incredible nature.  Again, it was wonderful having the balcony to sit and watch, and other time we laid on the bed while keeping an eye out there.


   The next day we stopped at Skagway.  We had signed up for a train ride, and the train stop was just a walk down the pier.  The train was lovely, and the ride throughout the mountains was breathtaking.  Logan took a nap leaning on Stuart, so Connor and I kept going outside our train car for lookout.  It was a bit raining and cold, but the mist made the mountains more gorgeous.  Logan later woke up and he joined us out there too.  We were happy to have signed up for this excursion at last minute and saw these beautiful mountains.  The boys both got a cap as a souvenir to remember this train ride.


   Our last stop was Victoria; the port time was from 4pm to 10pm on the last cruise day.  Since Stuart and I had been to Victoria before, we just decided to stay on the ship to enjoy last evening instead.

    When our cruise vacation ended and we disembarked back at Seattle, we were a bit sad to be parted from the ship and felt tired.  But we had planned to spend one night at Seattle, so instead of going to the airport like many people, we took a ride and checked into our hotel.  Our first stop was the Space Needle; we lined up to go to the top.  We had a beautiful weather that day, and the view was amazing.  The boys also enjoyed the revolving deck as well.  Next we took the advice from our Lyft driver and checked out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center.  It was actually quite interesting and the boys enjoyed many of the hands on exhibits. We also found a really cool park nearby, and the boys had a lot of fun playing there.  In the afternoon after our rest, we took a  longer walk over to the Pike Market.  The boys did not seem to be too interested at any of the booths in the market until we found an old book store where they bought some comics.  They were more into looking for ice cream instead.  I did not even get to have them wait around to see the fish being thrown at the fish market.  While we were sitting at the pier eating ice cream, we saw the Bliss taking off from the port and I was really sad seeing it go without us.  After a day of walking, we were tired; we had an early dinner and back to the hotel to rest for the night.


    Since our flight on Sunday was not until late, we decided to go check out the Pacific Science Center.  The center was old, but there were many interesting and cool exhibits.  The boys enjoyed trying everything had a good time.  After going through 3-4 buildings inside, we were tired and ready to head home.  The boys wanted a final run around that cool park before we got our luggage and headed to the airport.  This wrapped up our memorable big vacation of the year. 


Our Alaska Cruise

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    We had a great week on our cruise to the Alaska.  Let’s talk about our Norwegian Bliss first.  We loved our stateroom; even though the room was small, but it was efficient.  The best part was having the balcony; with the door opened and having a breeze to the room made a huge difference.  The scenery in Alaska was breathtaking, and it was awesome to sit out on the balcony or looking out while we laid on bed.  We took breaks in the room sometimes; the boys enjoyed playing on their tablets while Stuart and I took naps.  Even though we slept in quite late some mornings, taking nap in the afternoon was still needed and quite enjoyable.  The one very sad thing was that Logan got seasick on day 2.  He was well on Day 1 even after the cruise had taken off, so I made a mistake in letting my guard down.  With just the wristbands on, Logan became sick the next morning while looking for a table with his breakfast plate.  Once we found the table, he told Stuart and he was out of commission the entire morning and part of the afternoon.  We tried different medicines and ended up giving him one of the patches my doctor gave me.  Stuart spent time with him in our room and Logan was able to fall asleep finally with the nice breeze.  He was very uncomfortable before that and it was very sad to watch him.  Finally the patch kicked in and before dinner time, he revived and was his happy self the rest of the trip.  He loved his “bandage’ as he called it.  


     We really liked the “free-style” dining on the ship; we could go eat in different restaurants whenever we wanted.  Our first lunch after boarding the ship was having a beer and a burger at a bar restaurant which was a great start.  The boys’ favorite was the Garden Cafe for buffet; they enjoyed picking out their favorites on their own, and they surely were creatures of habits, eating similar things for the different meals.  The staff lady who sprayed our hands with sanitizer when we entered the cafe saying “Washy Washy Happy Happy” had become the talk of the ship.  We also had some other nice meals at the complimentary restaurants.  Stuart and I also had the specialty dining package, so we had chosen BBQ, steakhouse and teppanyaki for 3 of our nights.  We also enjoyed our free beverages.  Stuart had found one of the bars as his favorite as it had a tap beer that he really liked; some evenings we would just walk by there so he could get a drink.  I also enjoyed having wine with dinners and cocktails at other occasions. 


     The boys’ favorite spot was definitely the arcade, but we could only allow them to go periodically before our room charge added up too fast.  Logan liked the pirate shooting game the most while Connor loved the Deal and No Deal game.  Speaking of this game, we also enjoyed watching all the live shows held by the cruise directors; we tried to make to most of the game shows at the Atrium based on the schedule.  Logan would quickly sneak up to a gap between some front row seats and sat down on the ground to watch, and Connor would follow him.  The Deal and No Deal show was definitely our favorite to watch which happened a few times, and we played along on one of them.  We also tried Bingo one day as well.  The Splash Academy (kid club) was not as much of a hit for the boys and their only preferred time there was the “free play” time.  The boys ended up spending just a little bit each day there while Stuart and I would go off for a drink or played a little slot machine.  We all went to watch a musical Havana together one night; the boys enjoyed it.  With the other musical, Jersey Boys, due to the language issue, we decided to leave the boys in the room while we watched on our own.  They were more than happy to play with game until we came back.  There were also some singing performance throughout the ships or lounges that we spent some time hanging out as well. 


     One of the days was quite warm, and the boys could spend a little time playing at the water area shooting water. They did not care to try the water slide.  They did jump into the pool just to get in to the front row in the water to watch the “Mr. Sexy Leg” contest at poolside.  We also played miniature golf and ping pong a couple of times on some days.  The two selling points for this cruise ship were the GoKart and lasertag.  Logan was looking forward to playing laser tag as soon as we got onto the ship, and Connor also wanted to try it for the first time, but we found out on the first day that it was mostly reserved, and we were able to book only to Day7 in the evening.  This turned out to be a disappointment as we reported to the upper deck on Day7, we were informed that the guns were broken and it had to be cancelled.  The boys and of course me too were quite disappointed.  We did play the GoKart.  The boys would not dare to drive the single kart, so we booked the double karts.  Logan contemplated to drive and finally decide to while I would be his passenger, but we were told that the wheel was hard to turn, Logan asked to switch spots.  I however turned out to be the slowest GoKart driver ever, but Logan was fine with that.  Stuart and Connor enjoyed it, but we were only able to drive a few laps. Glad that at least we gave this a try.


   The ports at Alaska were also our highlights of the trip, and more on those later.  Here are the photos of our entire trip.

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