Today’s been a really happy day! Last month our partner asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Well I knew I wanted a Charlie Bear from him… I have a couple of stuffies that he’s gotten for me and I really treasure them, but I wanted very badly to have one of my precious, fancy teddies that was from him. So I picked Derek, which I believe is a 2022 Charlie Bear.
It ended up being one of my biggest Charlie Bear disappointments. No charm, and actually sloppy quality, kind of a shock for a Charlie Bear. Maybe they switched manufacturers. I didn’t know what to do because I wanted to just be happy about my new bear and not make any fuss to our partner or appear ungrateful, but this bear cost over $100. 😞 I wanted to love it.
So eventually I decided to go through the return process, and Charlie Bears USA was really sucky with that. Which is also strange for them. Communication sucked, I actually had to contact Charlie Bears UK to get them to make Charlie Bears USA reply to me. The entire process took a long time.
Anyway once the refund was confirmed I’d picked a new bear (Daria) crossed my fingers, and waited. Today she arrived, and it was such a relief to see that she has the old Charlie Bear charm!
I named her Igloo, and she is my first polar bear. I feel like she looks even cuter without clothes, but without an outfit she is just another bear from the shop. When she is dressed, she is my bear:
She’s so cute, and soft, and has some weight to her, and a jingly bell collar. I am very pleased. Here she is keeping me company while we enjoy date night. We were playing Quoridor at the time.
Speaking of, for date night we also opened the T-Rex Breakout LEGO set, and have been having a lot of fun with it (it’s not finished yet) but I bet we’ll continue working on it this weekend and I’ll take photos then.
Today was fun! Once I did the grocery shopping for the week, and got the chores out of the way, we had a little impromptu outing after I got our partner out of bed (the GIF above being a pretty accurate reenactment of my efforts).
Like the rest of the weekend, it was rainy, but nice out. We went to Aventura Mall, and I brought Soufflé along for the adventure.
The first thing we did was have lunch (“Chinese” mall food!)
Then we went to the LEGO store, where an employee very kindly let me exchange Christopher’s torso for one without boobies. 😅 I couldn’t find a green one, but oh well. Now he looks like this:
The LEGO store is unpleasantly packed on a Sunday afternoon, but Christopher and I still had fun looking at sets we’d like to have while our partner waited for us outside while having some chocolate milkshake thing.
On that note, the place he got the milkshake at had really cute and colorful cookies, so I took some photos!
I really liked the goofy, Sesame Street inspired one:
I continued doing lots of housework for the evening, including cleaning the snail tanks, and made tilapia for dinner. It was the first time I fried it, I really liked how it turned out. Overall, it was a great weekend and I get to finally look ahead to a full week for arting for the first time in a long, LONG time, as well as visiting my mom on Tuesday and my mom-in-law next weekend! 💕
This morning I woke up to the most wonderful surprise! 🥺 After our morning cuddles, Christopher told me to go check the door for a package. This was waiting outside for me! I can’t stop looking at it! 😭🌈✨🍪
Of the sets that appeal to my special interests this topped the list… I would have been so bummed to miss it, but I was fully resigned to that fact because I did not expect new sets for a while. I can’t wait to put this together with Christopher on another date night! 🥰
🎀 Marzi 🎀
During the recent effort to remove stuff out of storage and donate what we do not use, I came across my little Marzi. Marzi is my only “true” doll. I do not often post about her because I know that, unlike my teddies and dinos, many people find dolls creepy. 😔
So I had to make the decision, either display her properly or donate her no matter how much I love her, because it is a pity to keep such a beautiful, high-end dolly in a bin. I could not bear to part with her, so today I gave her a little TLC!
Her beautiful long hair was clean but a little frizzy so, following online advice, I combed it perfectly, wet it, combed it again, conditioned it, and combed it again.
I read I should let the conditioner dry hard before rinsing, so I did that. She was very patient!
I really love Marzi as much as my teddies… I wish people didn’t hate dolls so much or find them so creepy but I know it is nothing personal. 😅 I just love most toys though.
Soufflé kept her company and took selfies with her, I think he might have been flirting though. 😎
After I rinsed most of the conditioner off Marzi’s hair, Soufflé helped to comb it.
Here’s the end result! These two photos are very similar, but I wanted to properly show the ribbon on Marzi’s hair.
I love how poseable she is. She looks so cute with her little hands behind her back.
Marzi had actually been on display in my library for a long time. But when our partner moved in, I gave up my library (a very small sacrifice for the reward). A ton of my things got moved or donated, but Marzi went into semi-permanent storage. I’m really happy to have her out again.
Today Mwako and I stayed home! It was a more relaxing sort of day. After I finished all my chores, we watched cartoons, colored, and made bead necklaces. I also played some Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX while Mwako took a short nap, and then he watched me play for a little while. Below are some photos I took!
🌈 Coloring ‘n Cartoons 🌈
Cartoons and coloring was our first activity! We watched Courage The Cowardly Dog, and Mwako colored giant Bluey coloring pages while I worked on (finally!) finishing my squirrel page:
All done! This page took me forever. Now I have to laminate it.
At this point Mwako laid down for his nap. I played Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, and when he woke up again, he watched me play for a while. Then I did more chores and brought down all we needed to make stuffie bead necklaces!
🌈 Making New Name Necklaces! 🌈
I was overdue to make necklaces for Totodile, Beta, Ludwig, Soufflé, my pyroraptor Fajita, and my incoming polar bear, Igloo. I didn’t manage to finish them all, but I finished a few.
We had juice boxes and watched Franklin while having our fun with beads. Franklin is one of my all-time favorite “kiddy time” shows. Nothing makes me feel so small as watching this cartoon. It is so very lovingly done, and watching it on out giant CRT is a huge treat.
I know this CRT is on the way out, having occasional issues, and I have to say that now that the game room is looking so nice and neat, I really don’t want that to happen. 😞 I feel like I’d rather invest a little to keep it going longer. It doesn’t have the best picture, but it has that special something, particularly in this room.
Here is Mwako’s puppy, Patch, with his awesome new necklace!
And here he is showing off the page that he helped Mwako color:
For dinner I made panko-crusted chicken breast which turned out really good. I’ve started to add a little milk in my egg mixture for breading and the result is amazing. I went to bed fairly caught up with my chores.
Mwako goes home tomorrow, but tomorrow is date night. So it’ll be a day of chores and then spending time with my partners. By Friday I’ll be back to commission work!
My friend Mwako arrived today for his week-long visit! Today was a calm day, we had burgers for dinner and hung out, but first we went to take care of our friends’ dog and kitties, since they are traveling at this time. Mwako and Soufflé came along!
Here’s some pics of them: Louie, Tammy, and Sienna!
And a cautiously friendly stray in the neighborhood.
Back home, after dinner, we played giant UNO! Christopher thought it was extremely silly and complained a lot during shuffling. 😂
They were very unwieldy but we laughed a lot!
Afterwards, Mwako tried to stack the cards high!
A short moment of triumph before immediate disaster. RIP 💀
Now I am very tired and off to bed. Hoping we can go to the mall and the LEGO store tomorrow!
Since I haven’t had time to fully blog the next day of the Alaskan cruise yet, I’d like to share something related, and the most important souvenir I brought home: the studio-quality photos that one could have taken throughout the cruise.
Photographers are available throughout the ship in key locations to take studio-quality photos. As many as you want! Later, you can see all of the photos taken, and purchase your favorites. The caveat is that they are incredibly expensive, $25 each. It adds up fast!
So I had to pick and choose, which was very difficult. The photo above was a no-brainer, it is so beautiful!
Then, I was also able to get a photo each with our partner and with my husband. These are so precious to me. I can’t put into words how much they mean to me.
Finally, out of many, I had to pick my favorite of the photos that had just the three of us. In the end I chose this one.
Trinkets are fun as souvenirs, but nothing will ever beat this photoset for me. I love it so much. 🥰
I was really sad to leave behind the ones I took with my mom and sis in law. But, can’t have everything.
Yesterday was date night! When Christopher got home, first he and I spent some time playing board games together while our partner was still busy working. We played Battleship first and Christopher won –twice!
Then we played Quoridor which was a birthday present he got from my sis-in-law. It’s a very simple game. But fun!
Cilantro threatening Christopher’s meeple 😁
This time, I won! 🥳
After board games we went to Sakura Ramen for dinner, where we had our usual pork bao bun appetizer, and of course, ramen!
Then it was back home to watch Everything Everywhere All At Once together. We went to bed late, but happy.
This post is about our flight to Seattle and the first day of the cruise. We got up very early, so we would have plenty of extra time if anything should go awry. We got McDonald’s breakfast from the drive-through and drove the two or so hours to Orlando Airport. There we took a shuttle from the parking lot, and in no time at all we were ready to board the first of two flights to Seattle!
Orlando Airport was busy, but everything moved speedily along, no delays, no issues. With that said, we also did not have much time to spare. This was a bit of a bummer, as while we were in the TSA line, I saw the Universal store and almost lost my mind: it was full of Jurassic World stuff! I was unable to go in, but I did have *just* enough time to have my picture taken with this fantastic statue of Blue! It was so cool.
In what seemed a blink of an eye we were on the plane. This was the only time I had a window seat. I really hate flying, the takeoff and landing scares me a lot. So I was definitely apprehensive, and basically crushed our partner’s arm until we were on the air.
On the one hand I was happy because Christopher, our partner and I got to sit together during this flight. That was a big relief for me. But we were also on the very latest seat: we could not recline our seats and we smelled the bathroom all the way to Denver. Still, we were going on a cruise! So we were smiling all the same.
Here are all the pictures I took during the flight:
I bought a little snack at the airport which I shared with my guys:
Our partner was SUPER uncomfortable in his seat, it was so cramped and he was tired. Christopher played on his Switch a lot.
As for me, while I’d brought plenty of things to entertain myself with, I could do none of them. I was too excited (and occasionally scared by the plane). It felt like forever, but eventually, we landed!
To go from the mid 90s to this was mind-blowing…
Next flight –to Seattle! This time my sis in law got the window seat, but I got to sit next to her, and she let Dante look out of the window:
I hadn’t seen my sis in law since Christmas (I think?) and I missed her so much!
Airborne again! Lots of mountain views on this flight.
During the takeoff and landing, it was my sis-in-law’s turn to be crushed by me as I sought comfort. Soon, this flight, too, was over, and we were in Seattle. Mount Rainier in the distance!
After landing in Seattle, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and then walked around a really pretty mall. Eventually everyone but our partner and I returned to the hotel. We still had energy so we kept walking, I bought a present for Christopher and a coloring book for myself, and our partner bought macarons for everyone and a really pretty truffle for me that looked like a jewel.
(Seattle was actually VERY hot, which was unusual. This would make our last day in Seattle, on the day of our return, even weirder, because it would be cold as balls then!)
I was up early the next day. I showered and changed into my nautical outfit for the day. At the time I bought this sweater, I felt it was so expensive (over $40) and by this day I had already enjoyed very much the times I wore it. But for this day alone it would have felt worth the money. Not only did I match with Dante, but I got SO many comments on it! I felt very cute.
Everyone was already downstairs having breakfast, except, of course, for my sleepy men. Actually I think my sis-in-law was upstairs in the shower. I’m not sure. This day was a blur.
In no time at all everyone was downstairs, all bags packed, ready to take our shuttle to meet the ship. We were actually super early and did not think we would be able to board yet, just check in. But it turned out leaving ASAP was a great idea because we boarded as soon as we got there.
Anyway here’s Grandma and our partner as we waited for the shuttle. This photo makes me a little sad now. In the photos of this day Grandma still looks happy and energetic, but she would get so sick later during the trip. 😞
Shuttle is here! Off to the dock! The shuttle smelled a bit funny.
I always find docks really cool. Interesting things are happening everywhere and everything feels larger than life.
We saw our ship from really far away. It was so massive!
The closer we got, the more surreal it felt. The ship is a floating city!
I took a couple of photos after our shuttle dropped us off. We gave our luggage to NCL staff and then it was off to check in.
A kind fellow tourist took this photo of us in front of the ship. Like this, it hardly looks like a ship at all. More line an apartment building behind us.
After check-in, we got out room keys! We would use this constantly to get all food and drinks during our stay. It says “welcome back” because our cruise was canceled twice. But it’s actually my first time.
Once we checked in and after a slight delay due to my paperwork (I wasn’t able to get my passport in time) the fact that this was actually happening became real. I pretty much dissolved in tears on my mom in law’s arms after holding all my excitement and worry in for so many months. She cried a bit too. And then we were given our group boarding card and sat to wait!
Very shortly after we were inside. Those moments stepping into the deck are unforgettable for me. What a feeling! And inside, it was so massive and sparkling. This is a brand new, barely used ship, and it showed!
The views of the water were already stunning to me, and we were still docked… I was certainly going to be plenty more stunned, particularly the next morning!
I took lots of pictures as we walked around. I’m sure I looked like a very dumb tourist, clutching my teddy bear, open mouthed and snapping pictures of everything.
Dante loved looking out the windows, too. It was so pretty, even though we were still docked:
In the beginning we sat around waiting a lot, as my mom in law talked to guest services a bunch of times to get some things sorted out. We were also still waiting for our luggage at this time.
Since our rooms were not ready yet, we decided to go have our first meal on the ship!
We ate at The Local Bar & Grill. This was the most lackluster food option aboard, we only ate one meal here. But we didn’t know that when we sat down, and the view from where we sat was great, so I was excited!
Slowly as we ate the ship became busier and busier. Eventually it was announced that everyone was on board, and still, the ship did not feel packed, which was nice.
By the time we were done with our meals, an announcer let us know that our rooms were ready, so we went to check them out.
The rooms were very comfortable and cute. The beds were hard though. But the view from the balcony was amazing!
After checking that we had our luggage and all was good, we decided to meander around the ship. At this time, we were still docked. It was very hot.
They had a model of our ship next to the Garden Cafe. It was very pretty and detailed!
We just kept walking around, snacking, drinking, and sitting in random places. We were relaxing but also waiting very excitedly for the journey to begin.
When it was almost time, we went outside to huge comfortable couches, got fresh drinks, and waited there.
And then we were off! It was time to say goodbye to Seattle and its heat.
Once we were officially at sea, we went directly to dinner.
The restaurant we ate at was called The Manhattan. It was a lovely meal.
There was more sitting and waiting around after dinner. I’m not sure what we were waiting for here. We might have gone to a show on this first night, I can’t recall. We went to many shows during the trip. Magic shows, comedy shows, musicals.
The day began to draw to a close. We were exhausted! For me, this was the prettiest sunset of the trip. Most days sunset and sunrise was kinda weird. Night would usually only last a few short hours and not get too dark. The sun wouldn’t set until 10:00pm and would begin to rise at 3:00am.
It began to cool down pretty fast as the hours went by, and we went to bed to recover and get ready to enjoy our first full day aboard. That’s coming on the next post!
Marina's furry art, fantasy writing and daily life!