Friday, November 25, 2016


About 2 years ago, our twins came to us and asked for a cruise to celebrate their 18th birthday.  They turned 18 this past February but we waited until November due to hurricane season and our oldest daughter who works at the local Supervisor of Elections office.

November 10th found our family along with my mom boarding ship for our first cruise.  We started off enjoying our first meal and quickly learned how much food was going to be available for the next 3 days.  Overall the food was very good on the ship and we enjoyed having the opportunity to try unusual foods like escargot and roasted duck that we normally would not purchase or make.  We chose the earlier evening meal time which usually worked well as we would be hungry and ready for lots of food.  I was disappointed that Carnival apparently just started putting a surcharge on things like lobster and other more expensive meats so I wasn't able to have the lobster I was looking forward to.   Our wait staff was wonderful and quickly learned that coffee was a standard with dessert.

We were able to get into our cabins right away although we didn't get all our luggage until later in the day.  The 5 girls were in one cabin with 2 twin beds, 2 bunk beds that were folded up against the wall during the day and a trundle bed.  My mom shared a cabin with my husband and I.  We had 2 twin beds pushed together and a trundle bed.  The beds were actually very comfortable and while there wasn't much walking room, we had plenty of storage.  The one thing we would definitely do different on our next cruise is get a room with at least a window!  Our room was very dark so there was no way to know if the sun was up or not.  That was not easy for me as my habit is to look out a window shortly after getting up in the mornings.

When we went up for breakfast Friday morning, I was amazed at the color of the ocean!  I had heard how pretty the Caribbean was but to see it in person is breathtaking. After breakfast, we headed up top to watch as we pulled into our first stop, Freeport.  While I found the water to be beautiful, I was not overly impressed with the port itself.  It was very industrial looking.  Since this was our first cruise and because they are expensive, we didn't arrange to do any excursions so everyone but my husband and I chose to get off at Freeport.  There was a small shopping area that we walked through. It was mostly the same things like your standard souvenirs but we also saw some different things like a turtle made from coconut shells.  Cruise elegant was dinner that evening and you can believe it was much looked forwarded to with our boatload of girls.

Saturday morning, we awoke to find that we were in port at Nassau.  This was more the look I was expecting.  We all got off after breakfast and headed into the town.  We had to walk past the other 4 ships that were also there and made our ship look like the runt of the bunch.  There were quite a few locals trying to get us to take their tour or taxi or carriage ride or get our hair braided.  Thanks to advice of friends, the girls had their hair up or under hats.  We then headed down the street where there were shops of all kinds and offering everything you could imagine.  We went to the closest beach where we put our feet in the water - cold water that is!  We then headed back to do some shopping and enjoy some activities on the ship.  We pulled out right around sunset so we had some opportunities for some beautiful pictures.

Sunday was our day at sea so we enjoyed many of the activities on board like trivia. We actually played trivia every day and I, along with my husband and mom, won a trophy or ship on a stick the first day.  We also took in the pg rated comedy shows and the Hasbro family show.  I was able to get on stage for the Hasbro show Saturday night and my team won so I had a shot at the grand prize.  I ended up in 2nd but I received a new game for the family to enjoy.

We were ready to be home on Monday but hubby and I are already thinking and talking about future cruises.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Why I Didn't Vote For Trump

I early voted the other day and I didn't vote for Trump.  Now if you were to look at my ballot, you would probably say, "Um, I don't think you are being truthful because there is a mark next to Trump's name."  You would be correct but I still didn't vote for Trump.  Instead I voted against some things:

- I voted against a person and party who praise Planned Parenthood from the platform.  A person who has openly said they have no problem with killing a child in the womb regardless of how far along the pregnancy is and no matter the reason.

- I voted against a person and party who think the government, both nationally and internationally, should have more say in how my child is raised than the parents.  Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.

- I voted against a person and party who want us to have less choices with our healthcare so that they can then make decisions on when someone doesn't have enough value to treat their issues.  We aren't there yet but it is the direction they are wanting us to go by causing insurance and prices to go so high no one can afford it.  Take a look at the Affordable Healthcare Act and see how "affordable" it is.

- I voted against a person who has been caught in lie after lie and doesn't think the rules and laws apply to her.  She doesn't take national security seriously so why would I want her as head of the country with access to everything.  Then there are those who have lost their lives as a result of her actions whether directly or indirectly.  Benghazi can start that conversation.

There are many other reasons I voted against this person and party but these are among the top.

I didn't vote for Trump, I voted to take a stand for those who can't because their lives are cut short before they even enter this world because someone views them as a mistake or a problem that would be too difficult to deal with.  To take a stand for the freedoms that thousands have given their lives for through the 200+ years of our country's history and that those in other countries risk their lives for to come and have a part of.

I pray you go and vote tomorrow for what you stand for.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Happy 20th birthday!

20 years ago, my life changed once again.  I was already a mother but there were now 2 of you.  You entered the world making sure we knew you were there.  You showed yourself to be a different person than your sister from the start.  You kept us on our toes with your health from being hospitalized at 8 weeks, having a bad burn at age 2, multiple chest and bronchial infections leading to an asthma diagnosis, and stitches in your chin.  You have shown the talents God has given you from art to writing to swimming to music.  You are a lover of animals and a giving heart to all.

I have had the pleasure to know you as a daughter.  I have watched God grow you and work in your heart so I am thankful to also call you sister.  I pray as you start to spread your wings and fly that I might call you friend.  These 20 years have flown and I'm not sure how we got here but I wouldn't change anything in them.

I love you and look forward to seeing what God has in store for you in the next 20 years!  Happy 20th birthday, Victoria!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

One Has Flown the Nest

If you asked me last week how many lived in my household, I would have replied 7.  Now my answer would be 6.  I knew this day would come, actually it is what my role has been, to help prepare the children God has blessed me with to leave and make their mark on the world.

It isn't easy though.  I will miss the few minutes in the morning to chat before she heads out to work.  I will miss planning enough food so she might also have some leftovers for lunch.  I will miss her asking if I need help with dinner or something else.  I will miss the late night talks over something on her mind or heart.  Most of all, I will miss her texts saying "Imacominhome".  I'm thankful God has allowed me to build a relationship that causes a little sadness in her leaving the nest.  She hasn't gone too far so we can still enjoy times together and see each other at church.

There are 4 more to leave the nest so I will go through these emotions again but each time I will be thankful for the time I have had preparing them to spread their wings and fly.  I can't wait to see where her wings take her!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Road Trip to Oklahoma

If you come to me and say "Let's go to _________" (fill in the blank with anywhere in the continental USA), I will be ready to jump in my car and start out.  I love to travel and prefer to do it by car so I can see all there is to see between here and there.  My friends call me crazy but I come by it naturally as my family traveled up the East coast numerous times and even took a driving trip to CA and back one summer.  I have a desire and goal to visit at least all 48 of the continental states, all 50 if I have the opportunity.  Right now, not counting Hawaii and Alaska, I have 9 states to make it to so when my Hannah was given the opportunity to compete at Nationals in Oklahoma this year, I said, "Let's drive!" much to the disappoint of Hannah who hoped to make her first plane trip and instead has been proclaiming "17 long hours in the car!"

We, being Hannah, myself, my mom and Gretchen, left Saturday morning with the plan to make it to Memphis, TN by around 5:30-6 p.m.  We had great driving weather but the traffic was a different story.  When we made it to Dothan, AL, the traffic was very stop and go, making it difficult to get through quickly.  We made decent time until we got past Montgomery, AL where we hit about 20 miles of extreme backup just outside Birmingham which probably cost us 30-45 minutes.  The worse thing was we never saw a cause for the backup!  By that time, we were starving and looking for a somewhere to eat but we wanted a decent meal not fast food.  Unfortunately, we could not find anything so we finally settled on Cracker Barrel in Jasper, AL.  It was very busy so we probably lost another 1.5 hours getting our food.  All that to say, we didn't arrive at Memphis until 10 p.m. which was actually 11 p.m. our time.  We were exhausted and pretty much fell into bed.

Sunday morning found us awake early so we got breakfast and then went for a swim in the pool.  

Now you may be wondering why the pool was shaped like a guitar.  Well, the reason we pushed to get to Memphis was to be able to see Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley.  My mother is a big fan of Elvis and has always desired to see Graceland therefore when I found a hotel right down the street from Graceland that had lots of Elvis memorabilia, I booked it.  Good thing I did as they had a sign on the door saying no more rooms when we arrived.  After breakfast, we took a walk down to see Graceland.  We could see the wall in front from the hotel.

We then got in the car for another 7 hours of driving.  We spent most of the day in Arkansas.  Due to a not very filling or good breakfast, we decided to stop for food.  Again, we had trouble finding anything beyond McDonald's or such so when we saw a sign for a cafe, we decided to give it a try.  It turned out to be a good choice.  They had a buffet with some of the best fried chicken I have ever had.  Their coffee was good and strong too!

Finally, we made it to Oklahoma!!  However, we had a few more hours to go so we pushed through and made it to our hotel by 7:30 p.m.  We look forward to some sight seeing in the morning! Stay tuned for the rest of our road trip.