Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Stampin' Up Incentive Trip Recap by my 9 year old daughter Alexis

Good Morning Friends!

My husband said when we got home: "It's a shame that more people don't get the opportunity to experience a Stampin' Up incentive trip.  After going to one, I cant imagine not wanting to go to all of them."  I thought that was a pretty profound statement.  He's right, I make it my goal every single year.  Where else can you go on vacation with 700 other people that are all brought together by our love for stamping.

With that in mind, my daughter Alexis wrote a report for school about her week long adventure aboard the Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship afloat.  I think she did a great job, and I wanted to share a recap of the Stampin' Up incentive trip through my daughters eyes.

Alexis wrote:

My Caribbean Adventure
by Alexis Kempton

May 4th 2014

On the first day of our trip, we had to get up before the sun came up.  Sunshine and fun here we come!  We finished packing and had Grampy drive us to the airport.  We had breakfast at starbucks, yum!  While we waited, we ran into Tami White and her family, my mom’s friend and waited with them. 
We took lots of selfies with their cell phones.  We boarded on Jet Blue and flew to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.  When we got off the plane, we claimed our luggage, and found the Royal Caribbean representative, who helped us find our bus.  She also tagged our bags so we wouldn’t have to carry them anymore, and were delivered to our room.  

We took a quick bus ride to the pier, and waited, and waited, and waited.  We finally were able to get on the big boat, about 3 hours later.  When we walked up the gangway (which is the entrance to the boat), there was a shopping mall right there when we got on, complete with a FREE pizza place, a cupcake shop, shopping galore.  We found out that it is the Largest Cruise ship on the Seas.  It holds 6,300 passengers, and 2,500 crew members.  The ship SO big, that it had neighborhoods including Central Park, The Boardwalk, The Pavilion, the theater district, the Royal Prominade and more.  I don’t think we even got to see the whole ship!  

That night, we set sail at 5PM and went to a private party for my mom’s company at the boardwalk.  We saw a show called OceanAria.  They had acrobats high jumping into a pool.  They compared it to a Las Vegas Show, but reminded us that the pool doesn’t move in Las Vegas.  We sat under the stars and moon, and watched the most amazing light show as a part of it, and they took a group photo, with all 700 people from our group in it.  We had squish together to fit everyone in. 
Day 2
The second day we spent at sea.  I was very excited to go find out what the kids club was all about.  Mom and Dad had a meeting to go to, so I was able to go explore the kids club to see what it was all about.  There were all kinds of new friends to meet there, and we played all sorts of games like ga-ga ball and crazy tag!  We had so much fun there.  My mom and dad went to the “formal dinner” that night and I wanted to stay with my new friends in the kids club, so they got a date night.  We hung out at the boardwalk and tried out the ice cream stand.  Then I went on the Carousel that was right there.  The carousel was amazing because all of the animals were carved by hand!  They had some strange animals you wouldn’t expect on a carousel like a frog, a tiger, a cheetah, a leopard and some horses.  It was just so much fun!

Day 3
The third day, we arrived in Labadee, Haiti.   My mom, dad and I went on a boat ride to a private island.  We got to sample fruit punch from the island and went swimming there.  We found all sorts of fun sea shells, and took pictures of a sea urchin and everybody gathered around to take their own photos.  There were local people on the beach selling their artwork.  My mom bought a painting to match her art studio.    When we got back from the private island, we went into Labadee for lunch.  We tried some local food and my dad bought me a flute that someone carved from bamboo.  We pulled out of port around 5 PM and enjoyed the ship for the evening.    That night we ate at a sushi place on board the ship and the food was really tasty.  

Day 4  The fourth day of our adventure we arrived in Falmouth Jamaica, mon. We went on a bus tour to Montego Bay.  The bus driver told us as we stopped along away, people would try to sell us things and told us to say “me no want”.  We went to a really cool catholic church there and went inside to take pictures. Inside there was a really amazing picture that when you look at it from the front, it looks like a picture of a worker, but if you look from the side, it’s Jesus.  The pews inside the church were raised.  The pulpit in front of the church stood high above the parishioners so the priest could see if someone wasn’t paying attention to the service.  The lady inside told us that the pastor will often call people out who are doing something that they shouldn’t be.  (like sleeping).  I bought the coolest hat ever outside the church, and it helped to keep me cool.  It was so hot there!  After visiting the church, we stopped at place called Pier One.  We sampled local banana bread and my mom let me try my first sip of coffee.  It was Jamaican Coffee, called Blue Star.  I was still very hot from the weather there, and we ordered frozen strawberry drinks just to cool off.  We continued on to Montego Bay, where they had lots of shopping.  The sales people really wanted you to buy stuff, and they followed you around and wouldn’t leave you alone, so we decided to get some lunch at Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville.  When we got inside, we ran into mom’s friend Onie from Australia (who also works for stampin up) and we all had lunch.  After a 2 1/2 hour bus ride, we were very hungry, and it was SO good!  We got back on the bus and went back to the port, then we walked through shops and boarded the ship.  I got to go back to the kids club that night, and we had a ga-ga ball championship.. I won a bronze medal!  

Day 5
On day five, we slept a little bit late, but then headed down for Stampin’ Up service project. We didn't get any pictures, but we all got matching orange shirts.  Everywhere you turned, you saw someone with one of the shirts on.  We all walked laps around the bottom deck. It was a Walk-A-Thon for project hope.  The goal was to raise enough money to build some houses for the people of Haiti.  Haiti suffered a really bad earthquake, and many people lost their houses.  Many are still living in temporary shelters.  It costs $6,000 to build a house for one family and there are so many families still without a house.  My dad said that we raised enough to build 6 houses for the people of Haiti.  At 5 PM, I got to go to a cupcake decorating class for kids.  I learned how to make waves in my frosting and decorated a beach scene cupcake.  So fun!

Day 6
On the sixth day of our adventure, we got off the ship early so that we could go swim with dolphins!  This was my favorite part of the trip.  We boarded the bus with our leader Jose, who told us to FIND HIM when it was time to come back and not to go with anyone else unless we wanted to live in Mexico forever.   We boarded the bus and went to Chankanaab National Park, Cozumel, Mexico.  It was a beautiful day!
Our whole group got fitted for life jackets and headed down the pier to the dolphin cove.  Our dolphins name was Emilia, and she was so fun to hang out with!  We went down the stairs in the cove and they had a chain link fence for us to stand beside so we wouldn’t float away.  The water was about 4 feet deep, so my mom and dad had to keep one hand on me so I wouldn’t float away.  There were a bunch of tropical fish floating around at our feet and I got nervous they were going to take a bite of me, which they did not!

First, the trainer had the dolphin swim by us so we could touch it’s skin.  It felt cold, slick and smooth.  Next, the trainer had us take turns.  He asked my mom to go first!  You had to put your hands out in front of you, like you were receiving communion, then the dolphin would swim up to you and put his nose on your hands. 
At that point you could lean forward and give him a smooch.  We had a photographer right there that took all the pictures so after we kissed the dolphin, we had to look up at the photographer to take our picture. 

Next, we got to dance with Emilia.  To do this, we put our hands straight out.  The dolphin came right up to me and wiggled her fins back and forth and we danced. 

Finally, the dolphin did one more trick for us.  It was called target. 
You put your hand straight out in front of you and raise it up, and the dolphin comes up to meet your hand.  What a smart dolphin we had.  After all the tricks were done, we spent a little more time in the cove, and the photographer took more pictures while we watched the dolphin do jumps.  She could swim so fast, from one side of the cove to the other in seconds. Then, she did a big jump over our heads.  It was so awesome.  I will never forget it!  Here’s a photo of me and my family at the cove.

After we met the dolphins, we took showers and headed to the sea lion show.  I got to touch the sea lions.  All the kids at the show moved down, to front row and got splashed as part of the show. 
We didn’t mind, it was so hot we were dry in no time!   

 For lunch, we went to senior frogs and had two servings of their fresh made guacamole.  They made it at the table.  That night, you would think we would have been tired, but we went back to the boat and I went to the kids club.  My parents tried to pick me up early and I begged them to stay late because it was awesome being around so many other kids playing.  We stayed up until 1AM, but I wasn’t tired.  Mom says I was a chatterbox when I came back to the room, and fell sound asleep, mid sentence.  (maybe I was a little tired).  

Day 7

My mom had a business meeting in morning, so dad and I took off to the pool!  The pools and water park on the deck were so cool.  

The first area of the waterpark had a baby splash zone with warm water, the rest of the water park had cold water.  In that waterpark area , there were sprayers that had motion sensors, so it splashed me as  I walked by.  Another pool was like a wave pool and overflowed onto the ground.  The third pool was just a regular pool that you could swim around in.  There was a giant whirlpool that looked like a giant donut, about 15 feet across.  The whirlpool had a current that went in one direction, so you could put a float on the water and just float around in circles.  They had a pool where you could surf, called surf-rider and they had another one so you could boogie board.   There were two hot tubs that had shades so you were out of the sun.  

After the pool, I went back to the kids club for some night time fun!

Day 8
The day you have to come home is never fun, but we went to the 16th floor for breakfast at a restaurant called the windjammer. We waited for them to call our number so that we could leave the ship.  There were so many people on board, they had to do it in sections.  After we got off the boat, we took a bus and waited, and waited, and waited.  About 5 hours in total at the airport.  Mom passed out and took a nap right there while we waited.  By this time, I was really missing my friends and thinking about coming back to school the next day.  

Thank you for letting me share my adventure with you.  
Alexis Kempton, Age 9


Lynn Embrey said...

Awesome job, Alexis! It sounds like you had a great time, and will be anxious to help Mom earn the next trip! Can't wait to hear about your adventures in Hawaii next year.

Tami White said...

Alexis this is such an AWESOME recap. I felt like I was there all over again, taking "selfies" in the airport hahaha.

Wilson Workshop said...

That was a fabulous description of your trip. Much more info than I got from your Mom. You should be a writer. You do a great job. Did you keep a journal?

Seongsook Duncan said...

Wow... just reading the story made me feel like I was there, too. You are such a talented writer, Alexis! Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Bingle said...

Wow.. this is fabulous! good job! I want to go back!

Monica Gale said...

Alexis thank you for your beautiful story, I loved reading it and re living some of the amazing experiences again. Great job !!!

Anonymous said...

I liked reading what Alexis wrote. Very informative. What awesome memories!
Gale S.