Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It Was A Merry Christmas

Santa dumped his sleigh at Grandma Jackson's house. Tyson slept horribly the night before Christmas, so he wasn't too thrilled that we were all trying to wake him up to open presents. Finally, Uncle Brett went into his bedroom and yelled, "Tyson Santa came!" That woke him up and he was ready to see what Santa brought. He understood the unwrapping of presents this year and was a bit put out, when we had unwrapped all the presents, that he didn't have anymore to unwrap. Here are a few of the action shots of the day.

This is Tyson unwrapping his McQueen slippers from his cousin Jaelyn. Great action shot!

Grandma and Grandpa Jackson gave Tyson a horse "hippity hop" As you can see, the kid is all about the action shots!

We got a big bag of LEGOS from Uncle Travis and Aunt Kariann.It took some coaxing to get Tyson to sit on Santa's lap, but after a bit he did. But notice that he still isn't quite sure about sitting there without me close by.He had so much fun playing with everything that he passed out on the floor by the kitchen table.

Doesn't he look handsome.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back In The Saddle Again/ Well Almost

Now you would think that this country girl would be excited to drive in the snow since I haven't seen in for a while, but that wasn't the case. Thursday night Vaughn and I drove up to Colorado Springs for him to take the Step 1 test. The plan was that I would go and Christmas shop while he tested. (That was the plan). I haven't exactly been feeling up to par, so the drive up in altitude didn't help the old sinuses. I felt like my head was as big as a hot air balloon. This wasn't going to be good. We got to the motel room and I was miserable all night long. Good thing the bed was a King sized. I tried to stay far away from Vaughn during the night, smothering my face when I had to cough up a lung. (He still isn't sick) Vaughn had to be to the testing center by 8 so we drove there and then I was left alone with my stuffed up head cold, cough, and this huge big diesel truck. Now normally driving this big truck wouldn't have bothered me, but you have to remember what I have been driving for the past 18 months. That is right, the rice rocket GETZ! Actually, I was wishing I had the Getz in all that traffic. It took about 35 minutes, several 10 point turns, probably a few pissed off drivers and many silent prayers to get me back to the hotel.
The rest of the day I went to the Citidal Mall, but was so sick that I didn't even enjoy shopping. I spent 1 whole hour just sitting in the truck trying to clear my head. I picked up Vaughn and made him drive home. I had my fill with driving the big truck. I think my choice in vehicles has changed, at least for now. I am ok driving a small car...... (maybe once I get better that will change)

Step one is over, for now!

It is official. Yesterday at 4:05 p.m. Vaughn walked out of the ProMetric Testing Center in Colorado Springs exhausted from taking the Step 1 test. He was glad to get it over with and has spent the last 12 hours sleeping and playing with Tyson. Now we wait for 3 weeks until the results come in. Keep those fingers crossed..... (Thanks to everyone for their prayers, hopefully they worked)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Croup and the Flu (in a bad way)

All good things must come to an end, and in our case it was an abrupt end. After we got out of the Rodeo Saturday night Tyson started running a fever and over the course of the next few hours his breathing became really shallow. I bathed him, fed him and gave him some Tylenol and tried to get him to sleep. He slept but was having trouble breathing. Finally I decided that we needed to go to the hospital. I woke up my parents, who weren't asleep b/c they were waiting for me to say let's go, and we took a taxi to the nearest hospital. By the time we got there Tyson's breathing was so shallow that I was afraid he wasn't getting enough oxygen. The hospital the taxi driver took us to was a children's hospital and triage. The little nurse on duty took Tyson's oxygen count and said it was good but that he sounded croupy. I had heard of croup before but never thought I would have to deal with it. We spent the next 5-6 hours in the ER while Tyson was given a shot, breathing treatments and x-rays. The poor kid. He just screamed and cried when they took his x-ray and we had a heck of a time holding him down for the picture to turn out. He cried "Mommy" over and over. It was enough to make this old girl break down and bawl herself. They finally released us around 6:30 in the morning and we took a cab back to the hotel. Luckily I was headed back to Colorado with my mother-in-law and to my father-in-law the doctor. Tyson and I both slept almost the entire way back to Colorado. He definitely had croup and still has a nasty cough. He hasn't been out of the house since we got back on Sunday and today is Thursday.
And since misery loves company, I fell ill with a nasty case of the flu Tuesday night. I haven't been this sick in a long, long time. So I am up and moving around, barely, for the first time today. It has been a rough week for us so far, but hopefully we are on the mends. (we should be with all the shots and medicine we are taking). Vaughn heads to take his Step 1 test tomorrow. We will all be praying for him to do well. Happy Holidays to you all!

Baby Shower and The NFR

Tyson and I spent a fun filled week at Grandma and Grandpa Westwood's house. We did find out that my dad has 3 new masses; one in his brain, one on his neck and one in the middle of his spine. That was a little disheartening to hear, but we are trying to make the best of it. Tyson and Grandpa Westwood bundled up and took his dump truck for a few test drives. Tyson had no idea how to steer, but he could push the gas peddle and make it go FAST! He and my dad had a ball.

This is what the snow looks like up on top of Cumber's mountain in Colorado. Yes it is cold and yes we like it. Although with the cold comes the flu and yes we have that as well. But we will write about that later. Isn't this a beautiful view. I love the mountains right after it snows.
Last Thursday we headed to St. George for my sister-in-law's baby shower. We have been waiting for this little bundle of joy for a long time. As you can see she made out well and received lots of goodies for her new little one. The diaper cake on the right side of the table was made by myself with the help of my sister and mom. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

At the baby shower Tyson was able to see his cousin Jaelyn. We miss her so much and don't get to see her very often so when these two cousins get together, LOOK OUT! They had more fun running around with balloons and chasing each other. Cute little bugs huh?

We spend Thursday night at Aunt D and Uncle Jesse's house. Tyson had a ball playing with his aunt and uncle. Mom, Dad Tyson and I loaded up into the truck and headed for Las Vegas to the NFR Rodeo. My dad was bound and determined to take Tyson there to see the bulls.

Here is Tyson and I at the NFR Rodeo just minutes before the opening ceremonies. Vaughn is supposed to be with us, but he was studying for the Step 1 Exam. We missed not having him there. Tyson loved wearing his cowboy hat and watching all the animals. He loved the horses and eating all the popcorn Grandpa Westwood would buy him.

Two handsome cowboys. My dad loved having Tyson there with him at the rodeo. Tyson enjoyed it as well. My good friend Wendy Kabonic's brother won the world title in Bull Riding that night. It was fun to cheer for someone you actually knew. It was a great time at the NFR.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good Bye St. Maarten, Hello USA!

The Sonesta in Maho was our home for about 2 days, and I must say it was heaven not to have to clean up the place. (not that I left it in a pig pen state). Tyson had fun in and around the pool area and loved to rearrange the gigantic chess pieces. He thought that was the best game ever.
Then it was 12 hours and 3 plane rides later with only 1 hour delay in Dallas and we were able to finally make it home to Colorado. I was sure we were going to have to spend the night in San Juan, but luck was on our side that day and we made it. It was hard to say goodbye to our friends/family and the beauty of St. Maarten, however, being home is so nice (even though I have officially frozen off my toes and fingers, but I love it). If you look really close at the picture you can see that we have our 10 suitcases loaded in the car and we all look hammered, but thrilled to be home. We looked like a band of gypsies going through customs. Vaughn had one of those cart things for 8 of the 10 suitcases, and I had Tyson in the stroller, holding his carry on, while I juggled pushing the stroller, holding my computer bag, and the car seat, pulling the last carry on bag. WHEW!! It was a bit crazy and chaotic but we made it without any problems. I think everyone in customs could see that we had so much stuff and that we were struggling, so they just stamped us through quickly. NICE! That has got to be the quickest I have even gone through customs, EVER! Tyson was an angel and slept on all three plane rides, giving Vaughn and I a chance to catch up on some sleep as well. When we landed in Dallas I about cried, because I knew I was really in the USA! (The ground just felt a little lighter to walk on.) The plane ride to Denver couldn't go fast enough for me and when we touched down, I was ready to go and find Vaughn's family and get to Manassa. Although, we have had jet lag for several days, and trouble breathing in this high altitude, I love it anyway.

We spent 1 day in Manassa to unpack and then repack for a 9 hour drive to Utah on Sunday. Tyson and I are with Grandma T and Papa Westwood for the week and Vaughn is studying for the step one test, which he will take next Friday. We miss you all who are still on the ROCK and hope finals went well for you all.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Last Night At Palm Court

It is our last night here at Palm Court and somehow I feel very relieved; not one bit sad. I think the reason for this is that I have been frantically packing all evening and doing the last minute cleaning, due to the fact that I was busy all morning and afternoon. I am looking forward to leaving this place and staying two nights at the Sonesta, where I don't have to worry about cleaning up. YES! I was able to play one more round of Bunko with the ladies last Saturday night. It was so much fun and Kelly got an action shot of me rolling my "threes." The food was great and the conversations even better. It was nice to have that last fun time with the gals of the Spouses Organization. (Thanks Ashley) Today the SO threw Laura, Kathleen and I a Farewell Luncheon at Pineapple Pete's. It was nice to eat there one last time and chat with the girls. It still hasn't really hit me that I won't be coming back next semester. I guess when January comes and I don't have to come back, then it will hit me and I'm going to miss this place, but right now I just want off and back on American soill.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Down To The Empty Apartment

They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words," well then I should be 3000.00 dollars richer, right!!! Well.....hopefully I at least get back part of my deposit on this one bedroom cracker jack box of an apartment. I have been cleaning, packing and today sold almost all of our stuff at the 5th semester sale, which was a story in itself. We were rained on not once, not twice, but three times. And each time we would reset up our stuff to be sold, 10 minutes later, here came the rain. It was a pretty good sale, considering our class's reps didn't advertise it, DUH! (note to other semester gals, make sure the islanders know about the sale, otherwise you will have a hard time selling stuff). Tonight has been full of laundry, laundry and more laundry and packing. 2 more days in this apartment and we are off to the Sonesta.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Jinxed Myself

(This is a really old picture of the car, but I just wanted to have a picture of it on here)

Ok, so in a previous post I said that I wondered what this island had in store for me next, I should have shut my mouth before that sentence, because once again it decided to throw me another curve ball. (It should know better). Yesterday was a big day, I had a meeting at the school in the morning, cleaning to do, a couples massage with Vaughn and then his 5th semester party. I was hoping that I could go through out the day without a hitch, YA RIGHT!!!

I had just finished my meeting with Ashley at the school and drove to the marina to pick up Tyson. I parked outside the gate and walked to Laura's to get my boy. I talked with Laura for about 3 minutes, walked out the door with Tyson and headed to the car, except when I got to the place where the car should be, it was GONE!!! What the CRAP???? I thought I was loosing my mind, which wouldn't surprise me at this point, but then I remembered parking there. Someone had stolen my car and my $150.00 car seat was in it. Needless to say I let a few words fly, good thing I wasn't around a whole lot of people. I quickly called Laura and Vaughn and then dashed back home on foot dragging Tyson. Poor kid, I had him at a dead sprint.

At the apartment Vaughn and I were calling around trying to find the car. I called the man we rent the car from, who is off the island, HOW CONVENIENT!! His wife proceeded to tell me that I needed to go to the police station to file a report. I then asked her how I was suppose to get there and she told me to drive. OH DUH!! I should have known that, stupid me, but seeing how I don't have a car, that might be a little difficult. Stupid Woman!!! So I again explained, in the nicest voice I could muster, that my car had been stolen. She then gave me a number to call and that was that. So we called the number, which happen to be Eddie, another guy who rents the cars and he told us he would find out what was going on. Now, at this time I am fuming, and not because my car is gone, no no no, it is because my car seat is gone and I am going home in 7 days, 7 DAYS!!!! (stupid island)

We received a call about an hour later that the wrong cars had been "taken" and that our car would be returned to the place it was "taken". (Taken my butt, more like stolen, left me stranded) During this time, Vaughn has to go and take his last ICM exam and I am left to decide on whether or not to cancel the massages. I ended up canceling them and kept calling trying to find out a time when the car would return. Hours went by, Vaughn came home, and still no car. And trust me I was watching from my balcony to see if it would. (I can see the marina parking lot from my balcony and was just waiting for the dummies who stole my car to return it, because I was going to punch them in the face. But I didn't get that chance.) Vaughn called this Eddie again and he assured us that the cars were in transit. Ya, Whatever! I also needed to get Tyson over to Ben and Jill's since they were watching him for the evening, that was if we could find a ride to the 5th semester party. Luckily Jill was sweet enough to come and get him, so that lessened my troubles. (Thanks Jill you are an Angel)

Finally we got a hold of the lady who handles the lease payment of the car and she told us that she was in the vicinity of Palm Court picking up other student who had our same problem. Vaughn met her outside and she took them all to the Hyundai dealership in Cole Bay to retrieve the cars. (They were never in transit, lying snots) This lady told Vaughn that they took the cars for maintenance. WHAT? What the crap kind of lie is that? Vaughn told her, "If you needed the car to be serviced that bad, next time just let me know so I can get my stuff out, before you steal it." So she admitted that they stole the cars. What a wonderful place I live in!

Vaughn got the car and we were relieved to find that the car seat was still there. We even made it to his 5th semester party and had a great time. Tyson had a ball over at Jill's, thanks again, and slept over there. I am hoping that my troubles are all over, because I just want to leave without any more drama. PLEASE!!!!!

The Sweetest Thing

Some days I wonder if Tyson really understands the things we learn and talk about. He is so full of life that he is usually bouncing around when I try to teach him something, and then he will totally surprise me by actually applying the knowledge taught. Well tonight he did just that. We have a small picture of Jesus Christ on the wall and he looked at it and said, "Tha Jesus." I was so shocked that he knew who it was, because we have only talked about Jesus for a little while. He took the picture and wanted to sleep with it tonight. So he is in bed right now telling Jesus to be quiet and that they have to go night night. OH........It is enough to make this momma just cry. That is just the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rocking on the Island, Literately!

OK, so I knew that I would maybe have to endure the occasional tropical storm, maybe a hurricane, while living here, but an earthquake? Around 3 today Tyson and I were over at Laura's having a play date and all of the sudden her couches started to shake. I just thought it was a low flying airplane, but NO! It was an earthquake, and we didn't realize it until her house moved. Then it was grab the boys and sprint down the hall way to the door and then it stopped. My little heart was beating out of my chest. Just a little bit scary!!! I told you this island knows I am leaving and is just trying to give me grief! (I later found out that the earthquake happened somewhere down in between Dominique and Martinique and that it was a 7.4. We just got the after shocks. Hopefully we don't get anymore)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trying To Get In A Few Last Beaches Before We Leave

(An old picture of us at Pelican Key, but I forgot to take a new one today. ARG!)The title pretty much says it all. It has been a rough two days, since learning about my dad's cancer situation, and so today I needed to go to the beach and relax just a bit. It was nice. The waves were small, but the water was frigid. Laura stood in it for a while and said that once your legs were numb you could stand the water. She was right. After a bit you didn't notice the cold that much. Ashley also came to hang out. It was nice to just talk about random stuff. We are down to the 8 days mark. One week from today we will move out of Palm Court and into the Sonesta Hotel for a few days and then it is off to the USA! Everyone tells me that I will miss this place, and granted there are things and people that I will miss very much, and the experience has been just awesome, but I am ready for home and family for a while.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Flat Tires, Power and Water Outages, What Could Be Better?

I am beginning to think that this island knows I am going to leave it forever and so it has decided to leave its mark on me one last time. Sounds crazy I know, but I truly believe that something else is going to happen.
Last week my tire blew at Food Express. I thought it wasn't too bad, and tried to drive on it, DUH!! It was bad, and so bad that I only went as far as the La Terrace Hotel and had to stop. The hotel guard/rent-a-cop had to come over and tell me that I couldn't park there. Who was parking? I quickly explained my predicament and he ushered me into the parking place of the hotel, where he proceeded to HELP me fix the tire. Now look, I am no rocket scientist, but I have changed several tires before and know what I am doing, but the rent-a-cop had other plans. What would have taken me about 20 minutes took him 40 and then the snot wanted me to pay him for the help. (Only on St. Maarten) I did, drove off, and got home safely. (Thank heavens)
The next day Laura took me to the tire place to buy a new tire, and not only did I GET to purchase a new tire, but I got hit on by some drunk islander. Geez! I did not let them put the new tire on, partly because I didn't want to have to pay extra, and partly because I don't fully trust people here. So I took it back home and did it!
Now to the power, water situation. Luckily for me I was ready when the power and water turned off this morning, but it was out for over an hour, and so............ church was nice a warm. Plus no power, meant no music, since our piano is an electric one. AWESOME! So I had to lead the congregation in a song without the music. I did fine on the first and last songs, but the middle one I was a pitch higher than everyone else and didn't realize it till the second verse. HOW EMBARRASSING!
Not finished................. then tonight as I went for a walk with Laura the power goes out again. And this time my gate is shut tight. I couldn't get out to go and walk. Luckily, again, all those years of watching McGuyver paid off, I took out my keys and jimmied the lock and POOF.....I got out.
Only 11 more days on the fun filled rock. Can't wait to see what happens next.....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

20 Days Until We Go Home To The USA!

If you can't tell from the title, I have the count down on. In fact, I have had this count down for the past 3 months, and I am so excited that it is almost into the "teens" YAHOO!! But on the flip side of things, even though I am so ready to go home to be with family again, I will miss the beauty of this place, and my friends. The above picture was taken at Tortuga Beach Bar. The color of the water is so beautiful here. I will miss seeing this gorgeous sight. But I have missed my family and Vaughn's so much that it would take a hurricane to keep me here. (Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself). I will miss all my friends I have made here and the closeness we share. They have been my home away from home. Love you all.

Let the countdown continue......19....18....17.......16.....15......

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Kabonics Leave St. Maarten

It has been a blast having Paul, Wendy and the kids here with us on St. Maarten. We have had our own mini vacation with them. We took them to Ric's for one last good meal before they hit the long plane ride home. (Which I just learned took them 2 days to get home because of plane problems. So sorry about that one guys) But we really loved having you all here. See you in Utah in one month.Cooper, Paul, Wendy and Avery. Such a cute family! Thanks for coming to see us! We miss you already.

One last hang out for the boys of "K-town".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sunset Beach Bar Fun (a little off the time line)

There is nothing cooler than watching the planes come in over the beach at Sunset Beach Bar. We took the Kabonics there to witness this sight, and to see the crazy tourists stand up against the fence as the big planes leave the island and get pelted with sand and blown into the ocean. This is a comical and fun sight to see as well.
Cooper was digging on the planes flying in. Tyson was more interested in drinking his sprite.Paul and Vaughn sporting the "cool look" in the heat of Sunset. It was really hot that day, wouldn't ya know that would be the day I take them there.Lunch was great and watching the planes fly in was an added bonus. We even got lucky to see the insect family of cockroaches around the beach bar. In fact one of them flew up on top of Cooper's fries and onto another man's shirt. YUCK!!! I never will get used to those nasty things.Paul decided to pull a "Jackass" move. He nearly went out with the ocean while trying to find a crab that hid itself in the rocks below the bar. Wendy caught it all on film. Good stuff!This is a portion of the island that I will miss. The sunsets are absolutely so gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time with Friends

The Kabonics and the Jacksons took a little time to go to Mullet Bay Beach. It was an eventful time filled with crying, naked men and sun and fun. First off the fun and sun. The kids all enjoyed the beach and water. Avery and Cooper have become little fishes since they got here. Wendy and I went snorkeling towards the right side of the beach. During this time the chaos began.Here is Wendy and I preparing for the snorkeling. We snorkeled about 1/2 way towards the other side of the beach and came up to see where we were, lo and behold there he was. This white naked man, laying on his front. So all we saw was this huge white butt. Wendy about choked on the ocean from laughing through her snorkel. That gave us a chuckle. Then we kept going towards the snorkel spot. We had a great time snorkeling and saw some beautiful fish. Then came the eventful walk back. We opted not to snorkel back and decided to walk. we came upon the naked butt man, he flipped over and we saw his twig and berries. It was disgusting. Wendy and I just giggled and walked fast towards the boys to tell them what we saw. As we came upon the rest of the family, we learned that they had all three kids crying at one point in time and then 2 minutes later, Tyson had a melt down and that was it. It was time to leave the beach. During the evening we trecked down to Maho to watch the casino dancers. As you can see the boys, both big and small, were into the dancing. They were so into it, that the dancers came over and gave them all necklaces, and then picked up Cooper and danced with him. They were all smiles. It was a good time.Wendy and Paul enjoying the night life in Maho.The Jackons just hanging out in Maho. We have had such a great time with the Kabonics here on St. Maarten. We have been able to be on a mini vacation with them and have loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

St. Barts

(I am back blogging again. Just been too busy having fun to keep up. So this all took place on Saturday the 10th.)
We got up early Saturday morning and rushed to get ready. We decided at the last minute to try and catch the ferry to St. Bartholemy for the day. We weren't sure if we could even get passage because we didn't call and make reservations, but Wendy and I decided "what the heck" let's go. So with 3 car seats, 4 adults, 3 kids and a lot of carry ons, we rushed over to Pelican Key to the ferry dock and low and behold, they still had room. We were on our way to St. Barts, the expensive island of the Caribbean, or so I have been told. The above picture is just a small view at how beautiful it was. Our captain of the ferry told us that they have strict housing codes on the island and about 6000 people live there. They also don't advertise the island to tourists because it is meant to be for just the rich and famous, plus they told us that the locals don't want a lot of people around.
Vaughn and Paul rented us the cream of the crop van, it was a piece of hud, and we loaded up to tour the island. (BTW, when they pulled up in this contraption, they had the windows down and the song "OPP" was playing. I wish I would have gotten it on film. It was a comical sight.) The captain also told us that they shut down all shops from 12-3 or 1-4, so the first order of business was to get lunch. That was a pretty expensive lunch and took us about 2 hours to get. So that gave us a little over 3 hours to sight see.
This is one of the many beautiful beaches on St. Barts. I couldn't believe how pretty it was. It was a clean island, no trash along side the road like in St. Maarten. And the houses all had red, white or yellow roofs, and were well kept. Even the little shacks, looked nice and well mannered. You could tell that they took care of the island. There was also a lot of vegetation around with beautiful sights.
Vaughn was willing to pose for this shot by another beach. Now don't just think our ride was a boring one, we had quite a few funny things happen. First off the van, like I said it was a piece of crap, and it had absolutely no shocks, so we felt everything, and there were no seat belts. Paul hit this huge speed bump and all of us went flying. The poor kids were strapped to their car seats but not to the actual seat, so they all flew forward and cried. All we could do was laugh. Paul and Vaughn jammed out in the front seat to old Snoop Dogg and Ice T songs. HA HA. Wendy and I were busying keeping the kids from rocking all over the place and laughing the entire way. We also looked like a bunch of tourists with our arms hanging out the windows holding camera and snapping photos of the island and the locals. Some of the locals just laughed at us. We probably looked like a band of gypsies to them.
This is their airstrip. It was a drop off down a hillside and then a small strip of asphalt. The planes came right over your heads and about knocked you down. It was neat to watch them take off and come in. Another picture of this beautiful island. It was a long day but well worth the trip. I really felt like I was on a "real" lush island. Not that St. Maarten isn't beautiful, but this place just feels like you have placed yourself in the Caribbean before all the modernization came about.
The Jackson family on the beach at St. Barts. It was a great day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Kabonic Family Came to Visit

Our friends from home, the Kabonics, came to visit us for the week. We have been anxiously awaiting their arrival ever since they told us they were coming, which was about 6 months ago. We haven't seen them since we left on this adventure, so it is great to get a chance to catch up and see how much their kids have grown. We have taken them all over the place. I had them make the hike up to both forts, drug them around the French side for pictures, and then today took them to Pinel. We are hoping to go to another island tomorrow, maybe, if we can get tickets. It has been a fun time hanging out with them.
This is Wendy with her two kids, Cooper and Avery. This was at their beach in Divi Bay. The kids weren't too sure about the water at first, but now they are both little fishes.Vaughn and Paul "Skinny" hanging out at Pinel beach. They were the chillin dads.They caught lobsters while we were there at Pinel. Here is Avery getting a close up look at one of them.