Saturday, May 29, 2010

Patrick Update

EDIT: At his 6 month physical yesterday, 6/3/10, Patrick was 30 1/4 inches tall and weighed 22 pounds, 5 ounces. WHEW!

Patrick is 6 months old already. He has 2 teeth, sits up, tries to crawl, chuckles, belly laughs, coos, loves peek-a-boo, and still eats like a horse. He is still extremely large for his age. I don't know his weight and length, but he wears a size 12 months with no room to grow, so will soon be wearing a larger size. I also know that after babysitting him last Monday, and carrying him, and holding him, my arms hurt for two days. He is a good natured baby only crying when he is sleepy or hungry. These are solved easily. One thing, though, if he starts fretting and you know it is getting time for a bottle, it better not take you long to fix it, or he will soon be wailing at the top of his lungs. Also, don't let him see it while you get it ready, or he will cry like he is being tortured. It's kind of funny how intense he gets with his food! Like Daddy, like son..... My boys ate me out of house and home from the day they were born until they moved out. LOL

He has lost most of the dark hair he was born with, and it looks like it is coming in fairly light. His eyes are light blue, but look darker in these pictures.

He got his passi upside down, and I thought it was cute.

Crooked, slobbery smile. Must wear a bib at most times, or his shirt gets drenched!

Getting big.....ger...

Happy eyes! Cutey, lovey doll! (Can you tell I'm a Grandma?)

Monday, May 24, 2010

6TH Place Ain't Too Shabby

Paris at Night

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will remember that I belong to a photo sharing website called, Webshots. This site has biweekly contests and I enter them periodically. I have never won 1st place for any of my photos, but I am happy to announce that the picture above won 6th place in the most recent contest. It was for the challenge entitled "City Life". You may remember that I have had two different photos chosen for two of their special "albums", though.

Here is the web address if you would like to see all of the winners.

Yay, me!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Everglades National Park

Sunday after I got off the ship, some of us headed to Ft. Lauderdale to hear Bro. Saiz preach. He was preaching at Bro. Elm's church, and he tore it UP! This is where I had gone the previous Sunday. That afternoon, Steve took me to the airport to meet my friends, Tim and Joyce. They were flying in from S. Carolina to spend the next 4 days with me. We had made plans to see the Everglades, and then go down to Key West. After dinner at the Florida Diner, we said "good night" to Steve, and headed for our hotel.

It was a blustery, cloudy, Monday morning the day after the cruise. After sleeping in that morning, we wandered around the Ft. Lauderdale strip for a while. We had an air boat tour of the Everglades scheduled for 4:00 that afternoon, so we took the opportunity before it, to see a little of Ft. Lauderdale.

This is the view in front of our hotel.

The Ft. Lauderdale "strip".

Next, we drove around the Las Olas area taking pictures (and dreaming). This is obviously, where the abundantly wealthy live. They have their "vehicles" parked at the edge of the water in front of their houses....sigh....

Ft. Lauderdale's nickname is "Little Venice".

Around 3:00, we left the Ft. Lauderdale area and drove to meet our air boat tour guide. This one was coming in as we were waiting for ours. It is similar to the one we rode. We had a two hour private tour. Our guide was "Capt'n Dave" and I must say, he was quite smitten with me from first sight. I don't know why, but he was NOT subtle about it at all! (It was really quite funny, and made for a lot of jokes over the next 2 days.)

I love this! Lily pads and reflection in water...

Tim and Joyce in the front of the boat. I sat up at the top of the boat next to Capt'n Dave.

Capt'n Dave let Joyce and me drive the boat. I went first. It was not as easy as it looked! I had us going all over the place until I got the hang of it. Then Joyce and I switched seats and it was her turn. She was better at it than I, but it was still funny. I took a picture of her driving, but I didn't think to give her my camera when I was driving. She took pictures of me with her camera, but I don't have those, yet.

More lily pads.

It got pretty narrow in places.

We saw a LOT of 'gators!!

One was swimming right in front of the boat.

And right beside....

Beautiful sawgrass and the blue water.

A heron, I think...

A red shouldered hawk.

A vulture.

There were a lot of "camps" in the Everglades. These are family owned and have been passed down through generations. They own only the part that is standing, and if it is torn down, they lose ownership. (At least, I think that is the way he explained it.) Believe it or not, these are worth millions of dollars due to the cost of having everything brought in by boat.

I have a lot more pictures of this day, but these give you the idea of what we saw.

Tuesday....Key West.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cruise, Part Two

Before I continue, let me say this: I realize that my telling of the cruise is extremely lengthy. I apologize if it is boring to you, but it is rather like a diary for me, so just skip through if you get tired of reading, and look at the pictures. Some of my pictures are really beautiful and if you want, click on them to enlarge for better viewing.

Thursday we were docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We girls, (Heather, Sherry, Barb, Kathy, Diana and I), got off the ship and hired a tour from the pier. This tour took us around most of the island, including an old fort, Castillo San Cristobal. We stopped there for several minutes and I took many beautiful pictures from high up in the fort. We also stopped at several other places where we took some great shots of the water, etc. Our tour let us off in downtown where the other girls wanted to go shopping. I wandered around town with the others for a while, taking pictures of the beautiful architecture while they shopped. Since I don't even like to go shopping at home, I don't want to do it when I'm in a beautiful, foreign place with much sight seeing to do, so, I took off by myself roaming around a bit before heading back to the ship. I, then, made my way up to the eleventh deck to take some more beautiful pictures while looking back at San Juan. I also wanted to get some great shots as we were leaving...and I did.

That morning when we got off the ship in San Juan, the wind was blowing something fierce! I guess I had not looked out the window, or been outside, because I didn't know this when I got dressed. I had worn a very light, full skirt and a hat! I'm sure I was a comedy for others as they watched me trying to hold on to my hat, my skirt and take pictures all at the same time!

When I got up to the eleventh deck, the wind was even stronger! I finally gave up on the hat and tucked it into my skirt so I could use my camera. There were several from our group up on that top deck taking pictures also and we were all having a grand time with the wind! HA!

As you can see in most of my pictures, there were awesome thunder clouds in the sky all day, and it started to rain as we pulled away from San Juan.

This was the Fifth Day...and it was good!

Friday we docked in Grand Turk. The water here was incredible! I hadn't booked any excursions, so some of us brought along our own snorkel gear and headed for the water. We were walking down the beach away from the dock and people, and came upon an area that was filled with Conch shells. (I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them!) We picked through them and found some really pretty, unbroken ones. I started to bring one home, but they were really heavy, and my luggage was already to the weight limit so I gave it away. We swam and snorkeled for quite a while, then sat and dried off for a bit, then found some food. I didn't take very many pictures because I was in the water for most of the day, but here are some that I did take. That evening was our second Elegant Night, so I had to get back to the ship and do something with my wet, stringy hair! We had dinner, stood around and talked, went to the PG comedy and Karaoke and stood around and talked some more. It seemed as though we all could make the cruise last just a little longer, by not going to bed.

This was the sixth day, and it was good.

The last day of the cruise was a day at sea. I didn't do too much. Slept in, wandered about the ship and packed. I didn't take very many pictures that day. Really, about the only pictures I took were of the Carnival Legends show that night. I told you about this show in the last post. Two of "our people", Scott Garrett and Susan Justice tried out for, and won, parts for the show. This made it even more interesting and hilariously fun. I have included pictures of some of the other singers with the names of the "legends" they were portraying. I know this won't mean much to those of you that weren't there, but this is for those of us who were.

And this was the seventh day, and it was SAD....



On Sunday, it was hectic with everyone going their own way,and getting rides to their own destinations. We said quick goodbyes again as we ran into each other. And then it was over for another year....Next year, Spain and Portugal!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cruise, Part One

I left Fresno headed for Miami early Saturday morning, April 10, 2010, with great anticipation of my trip ahead. I reached Miami about 6 PM. I was met at the airport by my friend, Steve Epperson, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale. (We met on the trip to Italy in 2007.) We had dinner and visited for a while, then called it a night.

The next morning, he picked me up and I went to church with him. His pastor is Bro. David Elms, and did we ever have church! Steve said that church never lasted longer than noon, so we would have plenty of time to grab some lunch, then he would take me to the port of Miami. Last boarding call was at 2:30PM and sail away was at 4PM. Of course, Bro. Elms was a little "extra" anointed that day, so at several minutes after noon, when he had us all stand, Steve and I crept out. We rushed out to his pickup only to find that it was blocked in! Someone had parked behind him, and another in front, with cars on both sides. This was actually quite funny, but Steve was a little anxious, knowing that you can never trust traffic, and wanting to get me to the port in time. We finally got someone to move his vehicle and we were on our way. I made it with lots of time to spare, of course...!

I said goodbye to Steve, and got in line to board the ship. Several "old" friends from past trips starting showing up. There was a feeling of excitement, as we all started talking and catching up with each other. Of course, it was easy to spot more of "us" that I hadn't met yet, also in line ahead and behind me. I finally boarded ship and headed for my stateroom. I didn't know any of my room mates, and wondered if I would meet them now. The room was empty, so I put down my carry on, and went out to the top deck to take pictures as we pulled away from Miami. At 4 o'clock the ship started moving. Everyone started screaming and shouting with excitement. It was so funny!

At 5 o'clock, we had our first meeting in the Green Room. It was here that I met my room mates. Kathy and Diane and I were in one room, and Heather, Sherry, and Barb were in an adjoining room. They were all from Illinois and all went to the same church. They were a lot of fun, and welcomed me into their group. At 6 o'clock we headed to our first dinner of the cruise.

After dinner each night we all headed to the PG comedy show. These were good, clean comedy shows that were really, really funny. They actually became the highlight of the cruise (while on board ship, anyway). After the comedy, we usually headed for Karaoke. This was hilarious fun since a lot of our group could sing. We usually kind of took over the Karaoke since there were so many of us. One night another cruiser passed us and said, "I know you are all Pentecostals, so that means you all can sing!".

(I will tell this part now, so it makes sense to you later. Multiple times throughout the cruise they had "try outs" for the Carnival Legends show that was put on the last night of the cruise. They had cruisers try out for the parts of James Brown, Ricky Martin, Brittany Spears, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Elvis, Frank Sinatra and others. After each person would sing for the try out, whoever got the most cheers from the crowd won the part. That person had the rest of the week to practice the song and had a costume fitting on Saturday. Saturday night was the Carnival Legends show. It was awesome and hilariously funny since two of our people tried out and won parts.)

I think there were 113 singles that went on this trip. There were at least 2 people that were 18 years old, and the oldest was 84. There were so many people that I did not learn everyone's names. I tried, but couldn't do it.

This was the first day, and it was good.......tomorrow Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.


On Monday, we were docked at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. First on the agenda was a beach volleyball game. This was great fun, although my team got slaughtered. (The ball only came to me once, otherwise we might have won...! LOL) After the game, I left and changed into my swim wear and headed to the water. I got this swim wear especially for the cruise. It worked out perfectly, and I am so glad I had it! There were about 15 - 20 of us ladies with this swim wear, and we all loved it. (If you would like information on where to order, let me know.)

After swimming for a while, we had lunch. The ship had set up a buffet of many different kinds of food for all of the cruisers. Delicious, of course. After eating, Linda and I walked around the island taking pictures, and getting a bit of exercise, then it was time to get back on board the ship.

This was the second day, and it was good....tomorrow, a day at sea.

Tuesday was our first day at sea. I slept in until about 9:30, left most of my room mates sleeping, and went in search of breakfast. I went through the buffet line and after getting my food, I searched the dining room looking to sit with someone I knew. I didn't see anyone I knew, but I saw another lady from our group sitting alone. I asked if I could join her, and this is how I met Shanell Hudson of Arizona. I love these trips, not only for having places to go, but for meeting new friends. Shanell and I talked for hours, discovering how much we have in common, then it was time to meet in the Green Room again. This time we introduced ourselves. We had to tell our name, where we were from, something about ourselves, and if we were an "Over or an Under, or were we just happy to have some..."....that, in reference to our toilet paper! (In case you were wondering, I am so fanatically an Over, that if I come to your house and it's Under, I'll change it for you.) LOL

This was a lazy, kick back day and I don't know what happened to the photographer in me, but I didn't take many pictures. This night was our first "dress up" dinner. Then, it was PG comedy and karaoke again.

This was the third day, and it was good.......tomorrow, St. Thomas!

Yay! St. Thomas! I was looking forward to St. Thomas because I was going snorkeling for the first time in my life. I have wanted to for a long time, but never had anything to wear in the water. Did I tell you how much I LOVE my new swim wear??? I have always wanted to go sailing, too, and I "killed two birds with one stone", on this trip.

We were headed for Buck's Cove. They passed out our masks, snorkels, fins and life vests and everyone got geared up.

When we got to Buck's Cove, there were two ways to get off the boat. There were stairs with a long line of people, or there was the "express line". One of the crew men was helping people jump off the side of the boat. I wanted to go the stairs, but knew it would take a long time, and I wanted to get in the water, so I took the "express line". I was a bit nervous about jumping in, so the crew man had me sit on the side and slide in. I still couldn't do it, so I told him to push me in, and push me in, he did! Over the side I went and the water went over my head. I must confess that I came up a little panicky. I was hyper-ventilating and knew it, so I swam over to the steps and grabbed the rope of the ship. I held on for a few minutes to calm down. I was still rather nervous when the crew men started asking who wanted a "pool noodle". I got one, and that held me a little more out of the water and I was good after that. Our "tour guide" took off and I swam after him. I tried putting my face in the water and breathing through the snorkel, but when I did, I felt panicky again. I loved what I saw in that brief moment under water, so I kept trying until I felt comfortable. By the time we had to get out of the water, I didn't want to. I was having such a great time. I saw a baracuda, many, many different fish in various colors of the rainbow, a coral reef, a ship wreck, Fire Urchin, (don't touch) White Urchin, Conch, Brittle Sea Star, sea anemone and so many other things. That was one of the most fun things I have ever done! I took an underwater camera, but I must not have put it back together correctly after putting in the batteries, for it filled with water and wouldn't work. Rats!

After snorkeling, they took us back to shore and Avis, April and I went to find lunch. We found an outside cafe and all ordered different kinds of sea food and then shared with each other. It was delicious!

When we had our fill, I went my own way and headed up to Paradise Point. I met up with Tim, Sarah, and some others, and we rode the sky tram up. I took several pictures from that vantage point, then headed back to the ship for dinner, PG comedy and karaoke.

This was the fourth day, and it was good....tomorrow San Juan, Puerto Rico. Next post....(next week).