Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Extreme Gardner Girls Conference

As many of you know, I just returned from attending the Extreme Gardner Girls Conferece. I am hoping that this will become an annual event. Last Fall my sister, Debra decided that as sisters we needed to take a vacation together. She arranged for us to take a cruise to the Caribbean and told us to get our passports and make arrangements to get to Florida. This conference was a year in the making and well worth all the sacrifices made to attend. Debra wanted this trip to allow us to bond together in a special way. I was thankful for the chance to spend more time with Laura because she is our newest sister and though I took care of her when she was three, I didn't really know her as a grown up.
Traveling with Bobbye is always an adventure. For those of you who have not had the experience, let me just say that if you like to melt into the background, don't travel with Bobbye. Everyone knows who you are when you are with her. This trip was no exception. Margaret, Bobbye and I flew down to Florida on Saturday Oct. 25th. We were picked up from the airport by the hotel shuttle. The driver immediately played a joke on us by telling us it was his first day driving and he wasn't sure how to get back to the hotel. We found out later that Debra (who was the first to arrive) had arranged for him to play a trick on Bobbye when he picked us up. Soon we were joined by Martha, Mary and Laura who were flying in from Salt Lake. Then the laughter began...
Sunday morning we attended Sacrament Meeting at a local ward. The ward choir director was sitting in the pew in front of us. When she heard us sing, she asked if we were moving into the ward. Sorry, just visiting! That afternoon, we drove down by the beach and ate lunch at this cafe which had booths that were on gliders. It was fun to feel the breeze and listen to the ocean as we ate lunch.
Monday morning we took the shuttle to Port Everglades where we checked in and boarded our cruise ship. There were lots of people there, but it was organized really well and soon we were greeted by Royal Caribbean staff directing us to the lunch buffet on the pool deck. Our staterooms were not ready yet so we went up there and enjoyed a wonderful lunch. As we sat at our table eating, laughing and visiting, I marvelled at the fact that I was actually on a cruise ship for the first time ever!
Before too long, we were leaving the port and our cruise was underway. Tuesday morning we were in Key West. It was very windy and a little chilly however, I got some really great pictures from the top deck of the ship.
Wednesday we were in Cozumel, Mexico where we booked a shore excursion called the Deluxe beach break. They took us to this resort and we got to sit on the beach for a few hours. It was partly cloudy there so the temperature was perfect.

Thursday we were in Belize City, Belize. We took an excursion to the Mayan ruins. It was an hour by bus and then another hour and a half by boat up the Belize River. The site where the temples were was really neat, but it was definately in the jungle. There was a lot of mud, rocky terrain and bugs.
Friday was Halloween and we were cruising all day. It was fun to just hang out on the ship and visit. There were lots of activities going on and we spent the day enjoying each other's company.All too soon, we were back in Ft. Lauderdale. We spent Saturday together and we all headed for home on Sunday morning. I was so thankful to Debra for having the inspiration to plan and organize such a wonderful outing. I am thankful for my sisters and for the opportunity of spending time with them in such a unique setting. After the holidays we are going to plan our next conference. I am sure it will be another wonderful event. I also want to give a special thanks to Bobbye. Many of you knew my mother and what a special woman she was. She always made us feel important and loved. I am so thankful for Bobbye because she has the same attitude toward us. I am thankful that she loves me so much. She was a major contributor in making the Extreme Gardner Girls Conference a success.

I learned many things from attending this conference. First of all: The Gardner Girls Rock! We are all awesome, talented, funny, smart and beautiful women. Second: It is important to take time to do things with the ones you love regardless of the sacrifices you have to make. Third: Cruising is a great way to vacation. I have never felt so pampered in all my life. I am looking forward to taking Eric on a cruise someday.


Shayleen Lunt said...

After all the horror stories about cruises, it's so nice to hear something so great. I am so glad you all had such a great time. That sounds sooo fun. A whole week with just my sisters, what a good time it would be! We're glad you made it home safely though Sylvia and Carter will be happy to see you, I'm sure.

Patty said...

I'm so glad you were able to have such a great experience! It sounds like a lot of fun!

heather said...

That looked like such a fun amazing experience. It looked so beautiful there. I wish I was there right now!

Mama D said...

What a FABULOUS week!! I don't know which is better - the scenery or the sisters. (I know, really I do!) I'm so glad you had this opportunity to hang with the Gardner Girls!

chelle said...

Sounds like me kinda vacation. I have been wanting to go on a cruise since....forever. Now I know I gotta do it!
I hope you are able to make this a yearly adventure.

Pampered Princess said...

I'm so glad your cruise turned out just as great as you hoped it would. I especially love seeing the pictures!

I tagged you on my blog. When you have time, I hope you will play along!
Love you and I'm glad you are back!!!!!

Steve and Jamie said...

Can I please be adopted by the Gardner girls? I want to go on a fun cruise!

I'm glad you had such a great time.