"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Open Letter From Boo

Dear Mean Boy,

You are not the boss of Seven Peaks and you are not the boss of the Tadpole Pool. Girls can play wherever they want. You can't tell me to leave. You are a mean, mean kid. I don't care if you are seven and I am only six. That doesn't make you the boss.

Sincerely,
One mad little Boo

P.S.
It's not a crocodile. It's an alligator. It's nose is too big to be a crocodile. You should spend less time being mean and more time reading books.


(Seven Peaks is our local water park and the Tadpole Pool is a kids' pool with smaller slide, shallow water and a few floating creatures to play with. Apparently, a kid was telling all the girls that they couldn't play on the floating alligator. Boo is much like her mother and does not tolerate being bossed around by stupid boys.)

(And I didn't know what the difference was between alligators and crocodiles...had to look it up online to make sure she was right before I posted this. Yup. She's right.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Mothering Moment: Obedience

Dear children,

Sometimes, when I am frantically calling your name all over the neighborhood, it's not because you are in trouble or it's time to come home. It might just be because the ice cream truck is on our street and your chubby loving mother wants to know what you'd like from the ice cream man. You had better listen and answer me quickly! Next time, it might just be the puppy truck.


Crazy Aunt Lyn came to visit us last week. We had a great time (which is why I didn't get hardly any blogging done, as it is hard to blog and laugh yourself silly at the same time). Even though she's been gone for a while, I still hear frequent inquiries regarding their aunt. Wish they missed me that much when I leave!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pout

I'm a big fan of the comic strip, Baby Blues. I can completely relate! Especially now that I have three kiddos around the same age. Then I saw this one:


Which made me nearly laugh myself out of the chair because just recently, the Man took this picture:


We love it! Every time we look at it, we giggle (yes, the Man giggles). He even made it his profile picture on Facebook (because if it's not on Facebook, it's crap!).

Poor, poor Baby. She just wanted out of her carseat and here we are, taking pictures of her grumpiness. I bet we won't be taking any pictures of her when she's a sullen teenager...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Takes One To Know One

Sorry for the lack in posts lately...I found a new blog and have been devouring the archives!

Unless you've been on the dark side of the moon or perhaps researching string theory at the North Pole, you might have heard of a little book called Twilight. It's an engrossing read, my friend. Sure, there are four rather thick books (not to mention half of another book online) but you can get through those in a matter of days, as long as you forgo your sleeping schedule, eat meals that require only one hand, and skip showering. Who needs to be clean when you can be with Edward?


In order to understand Twerd-speak, you really ought to read it yourself. You'll thank me. But your husband/boyfriend/crush won't. Poor thing. He'll be left all alone. Don't worry...there's a support group. Have him go here. They understand his suffering and can help him come to grips with it.

Seriously, go take a look! Really funny stuff! I think this one is my favorite.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wonders of Technology

I'd like to think that I'm fairly tech-savvy. The Man knows all kinds of random facts and figures about all the newest gadgets and sometimes, I remember what he said. It only took him giving me a short (two-part) tutorial before I could use his itouch without having him fix my mistakes constantly. So, normally, I get it or I can at least figure it out. But my ipod had me stumped.

I mainly use my trusty ipod in the kitchen or on the treadmill (and we all know from my recent pictures how often I actually use the treadmill, so I pretty much have it in the kitchen...while I'm baking something calorie-saturated). I have this nifty little device (that I stole from the Man) that plugs into it and then I can listen to it through any radio. My ears are tiny and those little earbud things just don't stay in. And of course, it took me a whole paragraph to get to my point: I don't usually have my ipod in hand while I'm listening to it.

While we were on the cruise, I listened to my ipod the old-fashioned way, using headphones. We would be up on deck, lounging in those comfy chairs, no little kids to watch so they didn't fall overboard, flagging down the drink boys to bring us more Dr Pepper, completely greased up with sunscreen, and listening to our own music. Bliss, I tell ya. BLISS.

It was during one such afternoon that I finally asked the Man about something I had noticed but couldn't quite understand.

Me: See how it goes to this odd display once my song's been playing for a bit?
The Man: Ooookay...
Me: What is that? I thought maybe it was the time left on my play list or something but it counts up instead of down.
The Man just gives me that look that he gets when I suggest he might want a nice glass of water instead of Dr. Pepper.
Me: I know it's not how long I've been listening to music because it always has a different number on it.
The Man: (more of that look except now he's starting to smirk...)
Me: So, ummm...what is it?
The Man: That's the time. It's a clock.
Me: Oh.

Surely, I am not the only one! Anyone else made a ridiculous technological assumption or mistake? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Child

I found some Hershey's Kisses stashed where I normally don't keep chocolate. Sure enough, they had gotten too warm, melted a little, and then re-solidified. This causes the chocolate to "bloom," getting that grey-ish coating with spidery veins. The chocolate is still fine and will happily re-melt if you chop it up and throw it into some unsuspecting cookie dough. But if you insist on eating it straight, it's the grainy texture that will ruin the experience.

I am a chocolate snob. I won't eat bloomed chocolate.

Since I frequently look at my children, who so closely resemble their father, and wonder what parts of me did they get in their genetic make-up, I decided to conduct a test. I gave Boo and Boy each a greyed-over piece of chocolate.

Boo happily munched hers and then went back to playing.

The Boy, however, made a strange face while eating his. I asked him what was wrong and he accused me of not giving him chocolate at all.

Ah, that's my Boy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cruisin': Jamaica, Dolphin Cove

After getting waterlogged, braided, and nearly molested at Dunn's River Falls, the tour people loaded us back on a bus and sent us down to Dolphin Cove. We got to amble around the grounds for a bit (I say amble because it's hard to walk like a normal person when your clothes are soaked through). While we sprawled out in lounge chairs overlooking the beach, we saw bits of a Jamaican fashion show (although it was really more of a "all the possible combinations of clothes that we sell in our gift shop" show). And if we wanted, we could have paid a princely sum for access to their buffet, which featured a whopping three items. Instead, I just bought some jerk sauce from the gift shop.

Then the dolphin show started. This consisted of two groups of tourists being escorted down to the dolphin pools, while the rest of us peered over a railing.

The first group got to feed and touch the dolphins.


In exchange for fish treats, the dolphins did tricks. They were really fun to watch! I probably sat there with a silly grin on my face the entire time.


The second group of tourists had paid nearly twice the amount as the first group and were allowed to swim with the dolphins. Actually, at one point they were using the dolphins as a sort of mammal-powered boogie board. I wish I had pictures of this but, alas...my cheapo camera was full.

Since I had no more film, I also didn't get any pictures of the sharks. Yes, real sharks. They had a pool with four sharks. And again, they lead groups of paying tourists down into the water. These people - who had more cash than good sense - got to hold a shark on their lap and then feed it. As if this wasn't enough to cause involuntary bladder release, they were then handed snorkeling masks and got to swim around for a bit. The shark guides, who played the part of pirates, put on a show for the hordes that gathered to watch the crazy people in the water. Although I would never get in the pool myself, I'd go watch again.

Also at Dolphin Cove, there was no shortage of things to do. They had several shops - without the pushy salespeople - as well as the handmade crafts. Then there was a mat weaver. He was wedged between a couple buildings, hidden back by a turtle pond, where it was cooler. He took a liking to me and my sister-in-law, wove a couple palm frond bracelets for us and gave us our Rastafarian names. I was deemed Mrs. Right, because I am always right. I thought it fitting.


After we finished, there was another tiny bus waiting to take us back to the pier. Now, Jamaica is a lot more concerned about customs and immigration. We were warned to keep our cruise cards on us at all times. But here's a tip: if you forget your ID, make sure you have a couple scantily-clad females seated by the door and the official's eyes won't move beyond them. When we pulled up to the pier, our driver told us to get out our cards and hold them up so the official could see them. Unfortunately, two adorably perky teenagers, seated across from the bus door, wore only bikinis, with no safe location to store their identification. Their parents - located in the very back of the bus - had their cards. But the uniformed official was stepping onto the bus. They started to explain why they didn't have any ID...he simply looked them over (ahem) and then left the bus. We started laughing as we pulled into the pier. The girls couldn't decide if they were mortified or flattered.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cruisin': Jamaica, The Falls

When we first started telling people we were thinking about a cruise, several people suggested Jamaica. But what I would like to know is...why? Since I am not into getting drunk on alcohol of questionable production or getting high on illegal substances, then what exactly is the point of going there? It was the most disappointing of all our ports.


Oh, sure. It's beautiful. But those mountains are hiding tiny, windy roads that are packed with buses carrying tourists, not to mention the plethora of taxis weaving in and out of traffic. I stopped watching the roads and opted instead of staring up into the lush treetops, while trying not to notice the gigantic spider webs...

Our first stop? Dunn's River Falls.


Gorgeous! And cold. Very cold. The guide seemed to take great delight in making the crazy Americans sit in the freezing water because what's the first thing he has you do?


Sit in the freezing water while they take your picture! Yeah, that was so swell of him. (Punk.)
So the Falls are actually pretty awesome. As long as you don't look up too much, you'll have a great time.


This is a picture of just one section. There were many pools at the bottom of these short cascades. And in those pools, the guides knew all the different ways to torture amuse the tourists: slide down a big rock into a pool, tipping you and your loved one backwards, more freezing showers, etc. The Falls are notoriously slippery. You can only make it up with a guide (or so they tell you), while holding on to the people in front and back of you. It seems like a good idea: person in front of you helps you up and you help the person behind you. Unless, of course, you are me and happen to be Bionic. Then? Not so much fun. I nearly stopped because I was afraid of relying too much on my bum shoulder. There's a staircase along the side with periodic exits out of the Falls. You can stay dry the entire time and do no more hiking than at home when you go upstairs to raid your chocolate stash. But I stuck it out. The water was cold, yes, but the scenery was gorgeous and it was just plain fun.


We endured to the end! And then we got our picture taken with the Man's cell phone. No, not really. That's actually our GPS. That's right! Another geocache. (Nerds, remember?)

After surviving the Falls, I made an impulsive purchase and got my hair braided. My sister-in-law really wanted to do it and I'm nothing if not a joiner.


Here's a tip about getting braids: Don't. Sure, it looks cute but a few hours after you have it done, you won't be able to make any facial expressions because it hurts, you won't be able to put your head on your pillow because it hurts, and you won't be able to take them out because...you guessed it...it hurts.

So I spent my money on the braids. But in order to leave the Falls, you have to walk through a market, of sorts. Now, if no one has ever told you about the salespeople in Jamaica, well, consider this your warning. They are pushy and they don't care about boundaries or personal space. If you don't accept their handshake, won't let yourself be pulled into their stall, or try to ignore them, then they resort to guilting you into showing them some "respect." Whatever. I was so tempted to just stuff my fingers in my ears and run screaming through that place. And from what I've heard, that was tame compared to the main market closer to the pier!

That's more than enough to tide you over until the next post: our stop at Dolphin Cove.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

As if the last two swaps* didn't almost do me in...now I've gone and signed up for another one!


I've already got a couple things for this but then read where Mamarazzi suggests that the package doesn't have to be patriotic! Just red, white, or blue. Sweeeeeeet! Oh, my partner had better have a good sense of humor...

*In the last one, my partner was in Singapore. About two weeks after I sent her package, I got it returned in the mail, all item except one were unwrapped. No explanation, nothing. Did she really hate it** that much??

**Actually, she never received it...not sure what happened.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cruisin': Grand Cayman Stingrays


Before I get into the stingray expedition, there's a little backstory required (mainly because I like to talk). Just a few weeks before our cruise sailed, a new terror gripped the nation: swine flu. I find it interesting that so many people freaked out over a flu strain that killed less then 50 people, considering the normal flu kills around 60,000 people per year. But anyways, people went nuts, wore surgical masks in public al a Michael Jackson, and the Mexican ports were closed to cruise ships. Normally, not an issue. My over-developed sense of anxiety had us avoiding Mexico (due to the drug wars). However, ours was not the only boat in the ocean and lots of over ships were bound for Mexico. Since they could no longer get in, several ships were redirected to Grand Cayman. They told us on the boat that normally, there were 3 cruise boats docked around the islands. This particular day, 9 were expected. That's a lot of tourists...

Now, Stingray City is a sandbar where you can stand in waist to chest-deep water while the stingrays frolic around you. That is not where we went. And after seeing all those huge boats holding the island hostage, I'm pretty glad we opted for something else. The trusty Emerald Eyes took us to an area that was about 12 feet deep. There, the guides gave us a few pointers. While stingrays love to eat squid, the tourists were actually over-feeding them so we would not be handling squid guts. However, there was a bucket of squid that the hosts would use to attract the rays. Also, we were not to attempt picking up the rays ourselves. Sure, they are fairly tame but they are still wild animals. And people are stupid.

Once again, we get in the water with our snorkeling gear. When I look under the water, this is what I see:


Is it okay to pee your pants if you're in the ocean?

Our guides take boat-loads of tourists to this particular site three times a day so they knew all the local rays by sight and had given them names.


This is Rob, the main guide, holding Frisbee, the stingray. Frisbee is named that because he doesn't have a tail and resembles, well, a frisbee. There was also Sally, who was about the size of a sofa. The guides encouraged us to pet the rays, even offered to let us hold them. Some women were kissing the rays (ewwww), which is supposed to bring 7 years good luck (still ewwww). Now, you might think it's kinda mean to drag the rays up to the surface like this but the animals seemed to enjoy the attention. And Rob repeatedly reassured us that if they didn't want to be held, they would let him know. One ray, after being repeatedly kissed, started flapping his wings and Rob let him go. So they're perfectly capable of letting the guides know when they'd had enough sexual harassment.

I told the Man to get some really good pictures of the rays for my blog. He dove down and took this one:


Yeah, that's a good one.

Even far away from the main Stingray City, there were three boats in this area. It was crowded. Fins were constantly bumping people and you couldn't turn around without having someone all up in your grill. One chick got a little testy and started chewing out a kid for bumping into her. That was pretty tacky, considering not three seconds later, she rammed into me without so much as a "oops!" Real classy, lady. Good thing I have this blog with my hordes of readers so I can get back at you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cruisin': Grand Cayman Snorkeling

On to the reef and snorkeling! Woot!

After our shopping and being nerds, we headed back to the George Town pier to meet up with our group. It was time for our shore trip: Reef n' Rays Snorkeling. The main reason I campaigned for this particular cruise was for this port of call- because of the stingrays. I won't go into the details; you can read about it here, but I had to swim with the stingrays! Snorkeling was the first portion, then the rays.

From the pier, we were bused to a private port. Then we got aboard the Emerald Eyes, a catamaran that took us out to the reef. After a quick snorkeling and gear lesson, they kicked us off the boat (they offered to push anyone who was having a hard time making the jump into ocean waters).


For the first five minutes, I was too giddy with excitement to remember to breathe in through my mouth...or stop smiling and laughing. After snorting my mask, gagging on seawater and generally proving that I was a totally newbie, I finally got the hang of it. (Although you can't talk with those things on and I am sooooo a talker. Maybe that's why the Man liked this part...)




Keep in mind these were taken with a cheap waterproof camera. Cheap camera = cheap-looking pictures. This is not what it looked like through the snorkeling mask. In the last reef picture, you can make out a few of the fish, but nothing like what we saw. There were colors and fish and sun ripples and lots of fish! It was amazing!

Hey, look, a whale!


Just kidding...it's only me.

After snorkeling for about 45 minutes, they called us back on the boat for a quick trip over to see the stingrays...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cruisin': Grand Cayman

This was my favorite part of the cruise! What? You got that wrong on my Facebook quiz, too? Yeah, most people picked the Chocolate Buffet, which - don't get me wrong - was awesome, but I've done things like that before. I'd never gone snorkeling.

We started out by getting up early. No sleeping in for us. If we wanted to have breakfast in the restaurants instead of the buffet line, we had to be up and ready. More on this in another post...all about the food.

Grand Cayman's port is too shallow for our big ol' ship so we were taken to shore by tenders, little boats that are basically rows and rows of benches. If it's too windy or the water is too rough, the little tenders won't make it and you're stuck on the boat for the day. Luckily for us, the weather was perfect, a balmy 80 degrees by 10 in the morning.


We went ashore early to do a little shopping and because a) we still had false hope of finding a battery charger b) we were low on sunscreen after our day at sea and c) we wanted to find a couple geocaches ('cuz we're nerds).

No camera charger.
Paid $12 for a tiny bottle of sunscreen.
Found a cache after the security guard at the location helped us. We thought he was going to escort us off the property but instead, he suggested to look a little more to the left...

And? I got a bottle of nail polish that starts out a pale pink but when you go out into the sun, it turns a deep, coral-ly pink. Very cool. Even the bag from the shop changed colors in the sun.

Blogger is going to have a fit if I try to upload all the pictures at once so I'm going to have to break down our day into sections. This one is the beginning (and all my rambling), the second one will be our snorkeling trip, with a third post on the stingrays. Good? Good.

It's About Time!

Hey, I FINALLY got the pictures from my cruise developed! Woot!

I hope to have an actual post for you in the next couple days.

Note to self: there is a reason why those cheap cameras are so cheap...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Queen For A Day

Today is the first day of summer vacation.

So far, there have been:
5 Fights
4 Temper Tantrums
2 Threats
1 Bloody Lip
2 Time-outs
1 Sent to Room

And it's not even snack time yet! Not looking forward to the rest of the summer. I saw this comic strip featuring Baby Blues and have adopted it as my motto.

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