Friday, June 27, 2008

I am still working on my cruise blogs so don't think I have forgotten. It has just been a busy week. Really not a whole lot going on just me and the girls for the week and remember when I say the girls this summer that usually means Kacy and Abby too. When I find the cord to hook my camera up to my computer, I will post pictures from this mornings job of covering the driveway with chalk.
I make them go outside in the morning because people it is HOT here. It hit 94 degrees on May 18th and has only gone up since then and the majority of those days have been 100 degree days. Now remember, that temperature is taken in the shade so it is much hotter than that. At six forty-five one day last week my Suburban said it was 104, we passed one bank and it said 103 and the next one said 105. Last Saturday, Haley and I were excited about 91 degrees but later that day it still made it to 100. As a matter of fact, there has not been a single day in the 3 weeks since I have been back from our cruise that it has not been 100 degrees. It's HOT and I am too big a girl with too much insulation to be baking like that. So I throw the girls outside in the morning and don't really let them play outside in the afternoon.
Brian now thinks I am trying to give him a heart attack. Yesterday morning I called to tell him that our CPS bill was $298. Now that is Electricity, Gas, and city trash but still. Last year the highest summer bill we had was a little less than $200. I did realize that we forgot to ask Mom to turn both units up while we were gone so we paid to keep a cool house for 8 days with no one in it. We also had the builder come last week and seal up 2 doors that weren't sealing properly and the wall behind our dishwasher so those were contributing I'm sure. So we're bumping up the air and going to sweat a little for the summer. Later in the day, I texted him and told him that it cost me $112 to fill up my Suburban. The return text was that I was trying to kill him. NO- I'm just trying to remind you that you need to smile and be good at work so that they keep paying you. Dang why didn't I get that minivan last November when I was looking.

OOOOH- I almost forgot, Brian made lifetime this week at Weight Watchers. He has lost 90 pounds and did it in 10 months- well really 8 but you have to maintain your goal weight for 6 weigh-ins to make lifetime. Brian has kind of felt like he hasn't been able to enjoy it as much because I have decided to take the scenic route on my weight lost journey. So last week when he was in St. Louis, Haley and I talked to our leader Karen and she okayed me bring some food in to celebrate. Now I know celebrating with food is something your supposed to be overcoming when you're getting rid of your fat self but I think that you should also figure out how to celebrate with food in a reasonable way. So I kept it secret from Brian and I made Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge, Oatmeal Pecan Lace Cookies (thanks grandma), Hummus Rolls, and Fruit Kebobs with Laughing Cow Cheese and the best part was each item was only 1 point. I also had brought pictures of "Fat Brian" and no one could believe them- even the people that were there when we started. Brian brought his size 46 blue jeans (he bought size 34 jeans last night) and our leader mainly made the meeting about Brian. It was really cool and I was sooo proud of him.

Two prayer requests please. Mom had bunion surgery yesterday and did really well but right now she has a pain block in it so she hasn't really felt much so I am worried by Sunday she might be in bad shape. She is staying with Ms. Phyllis and Bob and they are pampering and taking great care of her. Next, friends of ours from college, Sean and April are waiting for the birth of their first child. They had horrible fertility problems for years and God blessed them very unexpectedly with their pregnancy. April got put on bed rest awhile back with pre-eclampsia and they thought she would have to deliver very early. Well she and baby Cash have held on and she made it to 36 weeks this week and the doctor is hopeful to hold out til next week. So if you could keep these two ladies in your prayers I would appreciate it. We have no plans for the weekend for the first time since soccer started back in March. So we plan to enjoy it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We survived the week

So we have survived yet another week and I can't believe that June is almost over. Brian had to put his truck in the shop on Monday but we aren't complaining because come July he has had that truck 10 years and this is the first work we have done on it. On Tuesday, we took Brian to the airport to go to the flooding of St. Louis- not really, he had to visit Mastercard for work. Kacy, Abby and I ventured to the Library for the first time and picked up dvds, cds, and of course books. I thought it might be best to take them and figure out the lay of the land before I took the Wild Child with me. Wednesday the girls all went to swim lessons. Abby got a little spooked and didn't enjoy swimming lessons as much as she should. Thursday, Haley was going to work from home and she kept the girls with her. For the first time since I have moved here, I was at my house by myself from about 9:15-1:35. Peyton and Landree were at summer school and I didn't even know what to do with myself.

Friday, we went to see Kung Fu Panda. I don't know if I have mentioned it but Landree is talking all the time now and we have been thrilled because her frustration level has really gone down. However this means she wants to talk through the whole movie, "Oh, that Kung Fu Panda, Where's Kung Fu Panda, That Kung Fu Panda Daddy, Where's my Daddy, etc...." We then met Leigh and she took Kacy to spend the night with Britney. It was Haley's birthday so I arranged for me to take Abby and Leigh to take Kacy so they could have a kid-free night.
Brian got home a little before 4 and Landree ran to the door yelling, "I saw Kung Fu Panda, I saw Kung Fu Panda." I used to dread it when Brian went out of town when we lived in Little Rock. This time was not really that bad. Staying home has made a huge difference. The only time we missed him was at supper and bedtime. Earlier in the week, I bought a $25 gift certificate for a tex mex restaurant on Restaurant.com for $5 so we took the kids and tried it out. We then went for Open Swim at the pool where the girls are taking lessons- www.learn-to-swim.com. I thought that if we got Abby in the water she would get more comfortable. Well I got them all fitted for goggles and of course then Landree didn't want to wear hers and we got into the pool. Peyton wanted a floaty, Landree wanted to stay on the stairs and Abby was nervous and started crying. Between Brian and I we worked with and wouldn't you know it, she started swimming like a fish. I couldn't have been prouder of my own child as I was with her. Landree eventually decided she needed to put on her goggles. She became invisible when that happened. She would stand on the stairs and throw herself at you whether you were ready to catch her or not. She took in so much water that she threw up two different times. You would think that would stop her but it didn't. So now we have a little water girl and we're going to have to figure out how to keep her safe. Once we got home we had to fight Landree to keep her from wearing her new goggles to bed and the big girls had to watch the Disney Movie, "Camp Rock." Disney is such marketing geniuses that the movie premiered Friday night but the 3 oldest girls at my house already know the songs and the stores are already selling the CD. Brian had promised them they could watch the movie and eat ice cream. Those babies were so tired that I didn't think they were going to make it. I don't know what I was thinking because those two LOVE tv and sugar.
Brian and the girls were bums on Saturday and never got out of their pajamas. I took Abby home and Haley and I went to Costco. I ended up with a membership and we then ran to the movies. We saw Sex and the City and it was GREAT. I forgot how much I had missed the girls and I felt like I was catching up with old friends. Today we went to church and there was a potluck send off afterwards. The son of one of Peyton's teachers from last summer and the Congregational President just finished Seminary school and is going to start his Vicarage this week. I took Mom's Calico Beans and Paula Dean's Not Yo' Momma's Banana Pudding. Landree survived eating from a potluck. A couple of the middle school girls have adopted her and one even sat with us so she could spend more time with Landree. Brian went to play golf this afternoon. Landree tried destroying my carpet by just being a 2 year old. I will be so glad when we can get wood flooring- my carpet is disgusting.
I do have two pieces of exciting news just for me. I got my airfare, hotel for the night before, and transportation for our girl's cruise in October booked- YEAH!!! Second piece, Jessica just booked her airfare for her and Colby to come visit in July- YEAH- #2! Peyton was so excited and said, "Oh yeah my best Little Rock friend is coming." Melanie and her crew are going to Hot Springs tomorrow and are going to meet up with Jessica and Colby- ya'll have fun!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cruise Day 3- Aruba

Brian got up nice and early and went and worked out and I of course slept in some and got ready to go in port. For breakfast we decided to go to the dining room and sit down and order instead of room service or the buffet. We ended up with a couple that didn't speak English but were very nice. Every time you get off the ship, you pretty much are grabbed by a photographer to take your picture. So this is us after we got off the ship in Aruba.

I had booked our tour of Aruba through an independent agent for about half the price that Royal Caribbean charges. We met up Marc Wix of http://www.wixtours.com/. He told us that no one else had booked for the morning and that he needed to move us to the afternoon tour. At first we were a little aggravated but it actually worked out in our favor. We went through the town of Oranjestad and did some shopping before it got too hot. Now later the tour guide told us that it had been so hot and that the old people were predicting that it would rain soon. Hot was 86 degrees. People I had just left San Antonio were it was 100 degrees. Maybe we need to move to the Caribbean- just joking because gas in Aruba was over $7 a gallon.
When we got out of the terminal area, this is what we saw
Brian kept telling me how beautiful the color of the water was and wanted me to take pictures. Now my thought is, What do you do with a bunch of pictures of water? We found these palm trees just right in the middle of a shopping center.

At lunchtime we went back to the ship and ate and then headed back out for our tour.
Our first stop was the Aruba Aloe Factory. I grew up looking mainly at cotton fields riding back and forth on a 45 minute bus ride to school in Northwest Louisiana and cornfields on my summer trips to Wisconsin. The nice neat rows are the same in Aruba but they are Aloe plants.

We took a tour of the factory and then shopped their store. The island of Aruba is VERY windy. So much so that the trees are wider on one side than the other. Here is a picture of a tree and you can see that the branches are much wider on the right side than the left.


Next we went to Baby Beach. It's called Baby Beach due to the fact that it is only about waist deep without any waves so it is perfect for kids. Here is Brian- It's early in the week so he hasn't gotten aggravated with my picture taking yet.

Here is why it is Baby Beach. These rocks help break all the waves.
Okay so everybody else just ignore this pic- I am posting it just for my husband. He has been working out so hard and I was so excited to show him this picture because you can see he has abs- well you could see a little better if he was a little darker- but remember this was the beginning of our trip.
Too bad there wasn't a really great money making opportunity for Cactus because this place would clean up. Years ago, some residents needed to find a way to fence their property and didn't have the money for materials. Those geniuses found a way
Yep, they made Cactus fences. This would definitely work to keep Peyton out who for some reason every time she sees a cactus in San Antonio hollers, "Cactuses, Run for your lives." Don't ask why, I have no idea. So Brian and I spent a lot of our day, "Cactuses, Run for your lives."

So next our tour guide takes us to see some landmarks. This looks like a nice boulder. You then go around the other side and find native drawings that were in the indentations of the boulder.

I was going through our tour and never thought I would have any type of spiritual experience. Here are pictures of the same type of tree used to make the Crown of Thorns for Jesus. Of course we have all read the descriptions in the Bible but seeing the size and sharpness of these thorns were a little breath-taking. I know that the crown of thorns was only a minor pain that our Savior suffered and I can't even fathom the brutality he suffered. Seeing this makes me even more thankful for the torturing he endured for us.

So then the tour guide took us to see the Natural Bridge. One side of the island is completely barren. Due to the high wind that comes off the ocean, the salt content is so high that nothing grows there and the government doesn't allow people to live in that area. However, the scenery is beautiful. Brian loved how the waves would hit the rocks and create spray so he had me take a picture of him. Lets just say I have many pictures of Brian and this landscape because we had to wait for it to hit and he kept turning around to see if it was coming yet and of course that is about the time it would come.


So you see how the waves are hitting here. Over the years, they have were so strong that they eroded away the rock and created a natural bridge. There used to be two bridges and you could walk on them. A year or so ago the larger one fell during the night so they no longer allow you to walk across. They were right about the air being so salty. If you licked your skin, you could taste it and my hair was pretty nasty it was all said and done.
Now, I LOVE my children but I do enjoy a break every now and then. However, I usually see other children and then miss my own. I saw this family with a little girl that let me know I was glad to not have my children with me because I'm sure we would have been fishing Landree out of the ocean at some point.
We finally headed back to our ship and isn't this a wonderful sight.


We showered and got changed and headed to dinner. After dinner, we wandered around for awhile until it was time for the show, "Cool Art, Hot Ice." This was the ice skating show. Of course I forgot my camera and didn't get any pictures but it was great and we were really impressed with it. We were starving by the time we got back to the room and of course ordered room service at 11:30 at night. I think I am seeing how I gained weight on the cruise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cruise Day 2- Day at Sea

So Brian had me mark 9:30-10:00 as our room service breakfast time so he could go work out. Well, we woke up at 9:30 and he didn't make it to work out. This is the latest I have slept in over a year!!!! I love vacationing with no kids. We got a call a few minutes before ten that our breakfast was going to be slightly late. It got there and I had scrambled eggs for the first time in a long while. They were nice and salty and GREAT- I love scrambled eggs but with Landree's Egg allergy- they are a no-no. I made Brian go and get tickets for tomorrow's Ice Show. A little before eleven, we finally made it out of the room to go to the pool. The boat has two different pools.
The pool for all ages- for some reason I didn't get a good shot of the actual pool, just all the chairs and a couple of the hot tubs
Well you can probably tell that I didn't take these pictures that day- I took them on a day we were at port.

The Adults Only Pool and hot tubs- notice how the chairs have an extra cushion and cover
When we got to the adult pool, it was packed and all of the chairs were pretty much taken and the family pool was loud and obnoxious so we went up a deck and you can see some of the deck chairs in this picture.
We sat on some pool chairs next to the railing overlooking the ocean, covered ourselves in sunscreen, and kicked back-me reading and Brian listening to his ipod. About half an hour later Brian succumbed to the men walking by saying, "Bar Service, Bar Service" and ordered a beer. Well he soon learned that if you bought a bucket of beer, they brought you a bucket full of ice and 5 beers for the price of only 4 beers and we all know Brian loves a bargain and he could take the unopened ones back to the room's refrigerator. After two hours of laying on a chair baking in the Caribbean sun with a great ocean breeze, I looked at Brian and told him that I didn't know I was one of these people. I have all the makings of being a beach bum and I didn't even know it.

We went to a late lunch in the buffet and I thought Brian was going to make himself sick on the fried fish. I even asked him for a piece off his second plate and he picked through and gave me the smallest piece on his plate- stingy. We went back to the pool and found two chairs and loved that the chairs had extra cushion and proceeded to bake some more. Eventually we drug ourselves out of the chairs and I went to the room to to start getting ready for formal night and Brian went to work out.

Here are pictures we took for Formal night. Look at how loose Brian's coat was, he bought that coat and tie for a sorority formal in 1997 so he is now way smaller than he was in college but still too cheap to buy a new coat.


I get tickled when I look at that picture because he has lost a lot of weight and his wedding ring no longer touches any part of his finger but his hands are still big and meaty compared to the rest of him. The art you see in the background spanned several of the decks. Here are two pictures of it showing the base to the top.


We were by ourselves for the first hour of dinner and then our tablemates showed up and realized that all of their clocks were an hour behind. We got know our waiter better and the food was pretty good. After dinner, we wandered around and went into some of the shops. The Drifters were performing at 10 but Brian and I were exhausted (baking in the sun takes lots of work) and decided to go to bed at that time. They have things scheduled until 2 AM but Brian and I have decided we're not after midnight people because we like to schedule our shore excursions for first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time to go to bed

Why is it when my husband is not home I can't seem to go to bed. Haley and I have talked about this phenomenon and I still can't understand it. I did live by myself for many years before we got married but for some reason I can't seem to go to bed when he's not here. And it is now almost midnight tonight. I just found out on my allergy board that some root beers and wines are clarified with eggs. HUH? I don't even want to know how that is possible but looks something else I'll have to avoid for dear Landree- not that I let her drink wine that often (hehe) or that she has ever had rootbeer as far as I know. Peyton can't have caffeine because of her heart and now we need to avoid rootbeer for Lubelle- so Lemonade, Sprite, and Seven-Up are their only fun drinks outside of Milk/Soymilk, Water, and juice. Lord who would have thought that you'd have to check a stinking can of rootbeer for egg- I think it might be time for me to go to bed on that one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

video

We were at the waterpark at SeaWorld yesterday so I decided to use the moment. Ignore the 5 year old not cooperating. We love our Papaw and I am so thankful my girls have him. Brian is currently in bed sleeping late. He is sleeping upright because he says when he lays down his head hurts, must have been some poker night last night.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 1- Getting to our Ship

Our cruise left out of Puerto Rico so needless to say we needed to fly out really early. Our flight was at 5:40AM so we decided not to subject anyone to that brutal time of the morning so we had a Towne Car pick us up at 3:45AM to take us to the airport. I was trying to stay awake and started harassing Brian with my camera.

He got silly once they called our flight




We had a nice quiet flight and once they dimmed the lights, we both fell asleep. We had to run to make our flight in Atlanta but we made it and got settled. Our flight wasn't full and it took everything I had not to ask to move seats. The couple in front of us were the epitome of a Newlywed couple and I wanted to yell at them to get a room after awhile. I adored my husband when we got married 10 years ago but people I promise I never sat and stared into his eyes and rubbed his face and then wrote about it in my diary- I am not joking. And if that didn't send me over the edge- the man who didn't wear shoes the whole flight almost did. He sat there with his bare feet pressed up on the wall in front of him with his freakishly long toes- THE ENTIRE FLIGHT right in my eyeline. I normally do not have issues with people’s feet but come on we are in a confined area without normal air flow and you are going to keep your feet laid out for all to see- YUCK. It didn’t help when I realized that his coffee cup was a spittoon for dip slobber. Three hours and forty-five minutes later we finally made it to Puerto Rico only for our plane to have to stop on the runway for the Gila Monsters to cross the runway. We got our luggage and then made it to the Royal Caribbean transportation area and guess who was there in line waiting also- You guessed it- Our Newlywed couple and if I thought they were bad in a confined area of a plane, they were worse in wide open spaces. After we sat there for awhile we were joined by the naked foot man and his family. Things weren't looking so great.

We got on the bus and saw our first glimpses of Puerto Rico. We got taken a lot of back routes because the Clintons were in town to campaign and Heineken was having a Jazz Fest. We were not impressed with what we saw but we had to remind ourselves it was the backroads. I did get tickled when I saw this building- I might as well have been at home with Curves and Blockbuster

We got to the port and were shocked at the size of the ship. Brian took this picture while were in line and didn't know we were looking at our room- note the red arrow.


There were hundreds of people in line and we thought we might be there all day and we were starving. We left the house before 4AM and it was now almost 2PM and we still had eaten nothing more than airplane snacks. We were lucky though because we didn’t have to check any luggage since they had taken it at the airport and we were able to bypass the majority of the line. We signed our life away, showed our passports 5 different times, got our Seapass cards and we finally made it on the ship. This is where my beloved husband started singing the theme to “The Love Boat.” He then serenaded me with this song for the majority of the evening.


We got to our room and were pleasantly surprised it was a little bigger than our closet at home- we were expecting worse. We then went to eat lunch at the buffet and were happy campers. We wandered around the boat for awhile, checked on the kids (I owe Nana and Emily big for driving to overly tired kids back to Shreveport for us), and then read the Daily Compass for all of the events on the boat. We then had to go to Muster which is where they make you put on your life preservers and go stand in a bar with everyone else. Brian threatened my life if I took a picture so no luck there. We went to the dining room for supper and met our Waiter- John and Assistant Waiter- Andre. We were at a table for 4 but our table mates weren't there. Over halfway through the meal they showed up. They were a newlywed couple from North Carolina and they were Country comes to town. Brian and I worried that he wasn't going to make it a week. We wandered around the ship some more and then went back to our room where they had finally delivered our luggage. We unpacked and watched the ship sail from Puerto Rico. I tried to get a good picture but because it was dark, my shutter had to be open a little longer and since the ship was moving- it's a little blurry.

By the time we got all unpacked, met our room attendant- Sammy and got everything put away it was late and we were too tired to go to the comedy show but we did want a snack and since room service was free, you know we enjoyed it. I declared I was having breakfast in bed so I filled out our order, put it outside the door and dared Brian to wake me when he went to work out. The ship was a little more rocky than we expected but we were exhausted and had no trouble falling asleep.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We have returned against our will

So we have made it back from our cruise. Normally when I go out of town I enjoy myself but I am usually glad to be coming home- NOT this time. I spent 7 days in the Caribbean and could still be there. Papaw and Grandma brought the girls back to us on Monday and I was so anxious and excited to see them. However at 10 o'clock that night I was cleaning up Peyton throw up because she went hysterical crying over something and got choked- it has been years since she has done that. I looked at Brian and asked him if we could go back to the Caribbean. I have all of our laundry done and I hated doing it because it all smelled like the beach- okay a mixture of sunscreen, sweat, and fruity aloe aftersun lotion. As I washed each load I was slowly washing away my freedom. So I have decided to do a day by day blog of our trip with pictures. I know I owe some of you pics from events like Peyton's dance recital and such but I'll do my trip blog first because I want to go back and it makes me all happy to look at my pictures. This was Brian and my first "Adult-Only" trip not work involved since we've been married and we now know it will only be the first of many if we can afford it. Haley told me that she usually starts planning next year's vacation before she finishes this year's vacation and now I completely understand. We are trying to convince Melanie and Keith to come with us next year and take all the kids on a cruise.
So bear with me and hopefully by the end of next week, I'll have given you all the details.