My jeans are fitting a little snug today, so I figure it must be time to take a break from the sugar cookies and Christmas candy to sit down and report on the Cheney Christmas Cruise. From checking in (you should try checking in thirteen people, two with the same name - it's pretty fun, really) to parasailing (no not me, of course) to bartering (Joseph is a certified expert), every minute was so much fun. And I particulary appreciated the giant rocking chair - I just get so sleepy on cruises. It's like I'm constantly being rocked to sleep!
1. Dinner races - We were seated at two tables, and one had rapid-fire service, while the other waiter preferred the pace of a snail. On the slow table, we started cheating and grabbing the fast table's dessert menu before the turtle managed to bring us ours. :)
2. Room service - At one point we had Tanner, the youngest brother, call and order sixteen (no more, no less) chocolate chip cookies with milk, "please."
3. The rocking fitness center - Ever tried running on a treadmill that is rocking back and forth? Pretty cool once you get the hang of it. And I didn't even fall off once.
4. High flying - In Puerto Vallerta, we were lucky enough to snag a "canopy tour." What sounded like a lovely tour that showed you the tops of trees or some other ecological, nature-based, no fear expedition, was actually a bit more, shall we say, fear-based.
We (all of us - including the young, the frightened, the ridiculously brave, and Wes, the 70+ year old man who had the "fortune" of being the fourteenth body on our tour) first loaded into a open air cattle truck, put our seatbelts on (although it could be argued that in the case of a rolling truck, one might want to be ejected from the rolling bucket of tin rather than strapped into it), and bumped along for an hour until we reached the jungles of Puerto Vallarta.
We were then outfitted with rapelling gear, a helmet, and assurances from our guides that we wouldn't die. We walked a rope bridge to the top of a tree, and the guides clipped us on, one at a time, to zip lines that extended from tree canopy to tree canopy. We zipped through the trees, hundreds of feet in the air, and landed on small canopies that were bolted into the trees, with nothing to slow us down except our own hand, outfitted in a fancy leather glove designed to pull down on the line. (You are propelled by gravity and momentum, slowed down by friction. Or a guide throwing a stopper on the line if you're going way too fast. :) )
It was frightening, fun, and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
5. Sticking out - Being a family of thirteen tends to make you stand out in a sea of coupled graying heads (this time of year tends to cater to retired couples). But it warmed my heart to see us all together. The looks we got were both amusing (apparently our volume isn't appreciated in some circles) and appreciated. No matter what we were doing, it was very apparent by just watching us that we were one big happy family.
Here we are on the last night. We found that wearing our robes tended to cause the most sidelong glances.
Thanks Mom and Dad. It was a perfect Christmas vacation, full of memories we won't soon forget. (And who could really forget JC sailing through the trees, clinging on for dear life, yelling, "Who's yooouuurrrr Dadddyyyy?" :) )
And, as usual, some more pictures, most from aspiring photog, Jess. :)