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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Worldwide Day of Play 2008

Not only was Saturday the Worldwide Day of Play, but it was also a beautiful day outside! We decided that we didn't want to sit in the house all day, so we headed to the zoo! The weather was PERFECT for it. The animals were all so active. They seemed to be enjoying the cooler weather and were all in the middle of feeding time.

After our trip to the zoo, the kids went next door to play at Jeff's parents' house while Jeff and I went out to eat. Mr. Larry, Jeff's dad, fried fish for dinner, and Mimi played games with the kids...as she often does. No matter how much time our kids spend there, they never get tired of it! Jeff and I had a good time and enjoyed the chance to just talk and be together. We are planning a camping trip for next weekend..yes, we are finally taking our tent farther than our back yard. I hope we have another beautiful weekend like this one has been!

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Week of School and a Fun Weekend!

We finally said our farewells to summer break and pulled out our books. It has been a nice, long break, but I was ready to get back on our schooling schedule. It's good to once again see the big schedule board taking up space in our dining room!As always, we celebrated the first day of school with pizza! The funnest thing for me was getting back into our Science projects. Our first experiment of the year was an example of the scientific method. I presented them with this question: Can you blow a bigger bubble with a fresh piece of gum or one that you have chewed all of the sugar out of? We had mixed answers, so we did an experiment to find out which one was right. First, each one of them blew a bubble with a piece of gum that had been chewed for 3 minutes. I measured each of them, then had them blow a bubble with a fresh piece of gum and measured them. We charted the results and found that the gum that had all of the sugar chewed out of it blew the bigger bubbles. It was, of course, a fun experiment with all of the gum involved!

Because we are studying life science this year, I had planned to take the kids to the zoo on Friday. However, because we went to the zoo on the first week of school last year, we decided to take them to a safari park instead. Jeff and I have been wanting to take the kids to this park, but with his work and singing schedules, we've had a hard time fitting it in until now. We also wanted to wait until the weather cooled off. It turned out to be a great evening for it, except for the awful amount of mosquitoes that we had to endure! We chose to drive our car through the park instead of riding on the tour wagon. We felt like we would have more contact with the animals from our car, which we did!! I don't know if I had funner feeding the animals or watching my kids, as well as Madison's friend, get excited about feeding and touching them. It was an amazing experience!

You don't see a sign like this one too often!
After the safari, we walked through the petting zoo. The best part of that were the kangaroos. We had so much fun with them!

On Friday night, Madison and I got to have a girls' night out for my niece, Kinley's, 10th birthday. My sister, Vicki, and I took the girls out to eat then to a local hotel to swim, play, and spend the night. We had so much fun!! The girls spent a lot of time playing spa, which was so fun to watch. We finally turned the lights out at 3:00 the next morning because we knew that we all had a lot planned for the next day. We were still tired, but it was worth it to have that fun night out with the girls!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pet Peeves

We all have them...those little things in life that just drive us crazy!!! Some of them are easy to overlook, while others have such a direct affect on us that we cant! Either way, they are not and never will be easy to tolerate. Here are some of my pet peeves:

Copying: I absolutely can not stand for someone to copy something that I do. Unlike many, I have never liked having things or doing things like other people. If a certain style of purse is in(oversized, gawdy), I will go the opposite direction. If everyone and his brother is crazy about something(LSU products), I will stay away from it. I am just not the type to DO something or WEAR something just because everyone else is. Now, if I truly like it, then that's different. So, it's understandable that if I do something only to turn around and find it copied, it irritates me beyond words. I just can't comprehend having to look to others for direction in what to wear, what to carry, what to do, etc. I understand that I should be flattered when someone mimics me, but I'm not....it's just irritating. I'm also not implying that I NEVER have anything like anyone else...or do anything like others.....it's just not the norm for me. I just like to see people think for themselves.

Exposing Sick Kids: Not much irritates me more than parents who have their sick kids out in public. So many times, I have seen parents send their child to school sick just so he/she wouldn't miss out on their perfect attendance. I have heard them say that they encouraged their child to try to make it 1/2 a day. Well, in the meantime, the child has exposed an entire classroom of children to the mess. I have seen them in church with runny noses and at birthday parties having just thrown up that morning. I think it is cruel to put the sick child through it, but even worse to expose all of those who are innocent bi-standers. I especially hate to hear lame excuses from the parents (he just threw up because he ate something wrong.....it's just allergies not a cold...he just coughs like that with the change of weather, etc.). If your child is sick, let him stay home....please....if not for his sake, then for everyone else!!

Driving Slow in the Left Lane: If you are going to go the same speed as the person to the right of you then JUST MOVE OVER. The left lane is for PASSING!!!

Having to Deal with Other People's Dogs: I have a dog. She doesn't go to other people's houses to chew up their things. They don't have to lie in the bed and listen to her bark all night. She doesn't chase after and bark at people trying to walk down our road. This is the way it should be. If you choose to have a pet, then you should be the only one who has to deal with that pet. I missed no less than 2 hours of sleep last night due to the neighborhood dogs barking in my yard or near it every time I dozed off.

Parents Telling my Kids What to do While I am Standing There: This doesn't usually happen more than once, as I am quick to let it be known that I will deal with my own children. If they are doing something wrong that I refuse to address, then maybe, but give me a chance first.

Spitting Gum Out in a Parking Lot or Yard: Seeing a child do this is bad enough, but to witness an adult doing it is absurd. To me, spitting gum out in a parking lot or yard for someone else to have to step on is no better than spitting it out in a living room floor.

Kids Who Run a Household: I'm not implying that children shouldn't have a say in the way that things are done in a home, but their say shouldn't be the last word! I cannot stand to see a parents being run all over by their child/children. What are they afraid will happen if they just put their feet down and say, "This is the way it's going to be"? So many parents these days allow their children to talk to them in ways that they shouldn't even be allowed to talk to other children. I see parents bargaining with their children in an attempt to get what they want out of them. I hear statements like, "He just won't lie down for his quiet time anymore". What do you mean, he won't? I just don't get that. No, my kids are not perfect and never will be because I'm not a perfect parent, however, I can say without a doubt that they do not run our household!

Smoking in Public Places: I cannot express enough how selfish this is. To say that it is your business where you choose to smoke and that it doesn't affect anyone else is like saying that you can pee in a certain section of a pool! There are no "peeing sections" in a pool for a reason...the same reason why there shouldn't be smoking sections in public places. I don't choose to smoke and don't appreciate having to breath in the smoke of those who do.

I know that there are things that I do that probably hit upon someone else's pet peeves. So, tell me yours! I know that everyone has at least a few to share!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Madison's Art

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cruise 2008

Thank you, Jeff, for an amazing time!!
Bad weather may have had its way with us as far as getting this cruise started, but what followed was the calmest, most beautiful weather that we have ever had on a cruise!!
After a two day delay due to hurricane Gustav, we finally made it to our ship, Fantasy, on Wed. When we left Tuesday for our drive to Mobile, we had no water or electricity in our home. It was scary for me to travel through all of the bad weather, but Jeff felt confident that we would be fine...and we were! He wouldn't have taken us through anything that we shouldn't be in. Mobile was full of Louisiana evacuees, so it was hard to find a hotel with available rooms. We did, however, find a beautiful place to stay on the east side of the bay. We decided to go down one day early so we wouldn't have to fight the traffic on the morning we boarded for the ship, plus we wanted to get that 5th night away that was taken from the cruise. We were glad that we did!

Plans were to board the ship at noon on Wed. and sail away at 4:00. We knew that something was amiss when we pulled into the terminal and saw that the ship wasn't there. We were told that it would not be there until after 3:00. The ship was having a difficult time getting back into the channel due to complications with Gustav. We were told to entertain ourselves around Mobile until around 6:00, when we would possibly be able to board! At one time in my life, this would have been too much for me to handle, however, we just took it for what it was and reminded ourselves that we were still on vacation together and had the entire day ahead of us to make the best of...and we did. We walked to a cozy little coffee shop for lunch, then went to see an IMAX movie. Afterwards, we went for coffee, then to the Fort Conde museum. For me, these have turned out to be some of the sweetest memories of our trip!

We arrived back at the port around 5:30, only to be given a memo stating that the ship would not be sailing until around 9:30 that night!! We were also told that we would receive a $90 on board credit to compensate for the money that we had spent while in Mobile. Later, we learned that we would also be receiving a 50% refund on our cruise AND 50% off of our next cruise..to be taken within the next year..woo hoo! So, we settled into the terminal with everyone else and waited. Since I had all the time in the world, I decided to use it in a productive way...I started calling Carnival to try and find a representative who would work with me on getting an upgrade on our cabin to a balcony suite. I learned that, because of all of the cancellations, that there were suites available! Jeff and I, along with another couple, spent the next few hours calling and talking to different people until, finally, WE GOT IT for a very low price!! Things got more hectic before they got better in the port, but because we were patient with the sweet lady working with us, she gave us VIP passes that allowed us to have a private escort through the line of people and right to the ship's door when it was time to board. It was amazing!!
So, while the day was long and tiring, it was worth it at the end...we had our balcony suite, $90 on board credit, a 50% refund, and 50% off of our next cruise! Finally, we made it on board the Fantasy!!!

We spent the next day lying around in the sun, eating, and enjoying the activities on the ship. The water was calm, and the weather was beautiful..the best we've ever experienced on a cruise. We also had our formal dinner that night. I love how the ship atmosphere feels one way when we go into our room to dress for dinner and feels completely different when we come back out. Suddenly everyone is "dressed", the photographers are taking pictures, and the music has slowed down. Later in the evening, things pick back up, but for a few hours the entire ship calms down for dinner. Oh, and did I mention that I volunteered to be hypnotized with a group? Thankfully, photography was not allowed!!

We arrived in Progresso around 10:00 on the second morning.

Jeff and I got off of the ship to shop at the port for a couple of hours, then returned for lunch and a little rest. Then, we got back off of the ship and took the bus into Progresso. Progresso has the longest pier in the world.....4 miles long...so the local touring company offers free bus rides into town. The bus dropped us off at a market where the locals sold their goods. It was very different from the shopping that we did at the pier..the people here were selling anything they could to make a living off of the tourists. They are very aggressive when trying to sell their things and wouldn't take no for an answer easily! The beach was nice enough, but nothing compared to the clear, blue water in Cozumel. We spent most of our day shopping, walking, and site seeing. One of my favorite things about getting off at the port is getting my first good look at the ship. It's so hard to imagine how big and great it is when you are one it. I love seeing it sitting there...knowing that it is waiting for me to get back on..my home away from home! :)

We had another beautiful day at Sea on Saturday!

We woke up in Mobile Bay on Sunday morning. I was sad to be back, but happy to be able to call the kids and head home to see them.

As always, they had a great time at Mimi's and wanted to stay longer. They loved all of the little prizes we brought them from Mexico and asked lots of questions about our trip. Once again, the best part of our cruise was what we brought home from it...shared memories and a closer bond with each other. Couples who always put the children before their own relationship do not know what they are missing. Jeff and I don't get away without our children very often, but we do allow ourselves to sometimes because we know that we are better as a couple because of it, which makes us stronger parents!
Thanks again, Jeff, for an amazing experience! Also, I want to thank Jeff's parents for taking such great care of our kids while we were gone. It's because of them that we are able to do this!
Oh, and thanks Gustav for the 50% refund and 50% discount on our next cruise, as well as our on board credit and amazing balcony suite!! It was all worth the wait!