Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two Days of Fun

Phillipsburg and Pelican Key, what better combinations are there...........oh wait, dutch oven potatoes and peach cobbler, yeah those are good too, but since we can't have those till we get back to the states, the former will have to do. I took mom down the tourist trap of Phillipsburg, Frontstreet. We had a great time going in and out of jewelry shops, trying on expensive jewelry and wanting it, looking at the clothes, and just taking in the scenery. The picture of the circle thing on the street is a big map of St. Maarten in the cement. It is actually pretty cool and so we needed a picture by it. I was able to purchase me some earrings with my birthday money from everyone (thanks all) and mom is still debating about a black diamond ring she saw, we'll have to update later on that one.

Mom wanted to see the planes fly in over the beach, so we drove back to Maho and to Sunset Beach Bar where we had two of the best hamburgers on the island. We picked the perfect time to be there. We saw 4 big planes and about 5 little ones land. My mom loved the fact that it is all ocean and then..............runway. Now where else are you going to see that? At Sunset they had this toy airplane that the kids can ride in. Tyson went right over to it and said, "Ride, a yeah Ride." So Grandma placed 2 quarters in the thing, and guess what........yep.....it didn't work. I should have known. But we got a great picture of him in it and to our surprise some lady who worked there asked if it worked and when we told her it didn't, she gave us our money back. Well, blow me over....I never thought that would happen here, I stand corrected.
Today was a rush of events and we were able to do them all. First, I let mom have a taste of what it is like going grocery shopping on the island. She was impressed with the new Grand Marche in Cole Bay and laughed when I said I had to go to Food Express in Maho to finish the job. She couldn't believe that we have to go to two or more stores just to find all of the grocery items. Welcome to St. Maarten! Once that job was finished we had to pay rent, eat a quick lunch and change into our suits and head to Pelican Key. I was hoping to get mom to snorkel with me at Pelican Key, because they have some great snorkeling, but she decided not to. (she can't swim) So we played around in the shallow water for about 2 hours and then raced home. Now during this time, Tyson has had no nap...Keep this in mind as you read on.

He sleeps for the ride back to the apartment and then wakes up. We clean off, make and eat dinner, and then take this funny picture of us three. (Well, I at least look funny, but it was good of the other two). We finished out the night with a trip to the movie theater in Simpson Bay with the showing of "Ratatouille." Tyson slept the ride there and during the time before the movie started, then he woke up for the previews. Now knowing that he hasn't slept for probably more than 45 minutes combined, I figured this was going to be a short film for us, but lo and behold, the kid sat with his popcorn on his little seat for 3/4 of the movie. And the other 1/4 he would travel back from mom's lap to mine. He lasted the whole time, tantrum free! YIPPEE!! I may take him to the evening show again. We topped the night off with ice cream and then bed. Another wonderful time!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Up To Date Events

It has been an eventful couple of days with mom being here. We have just exhausted all our energy and after church today, took a needed hour nap. Mom was able to experience the church here on the island. It has the exact same teaching as home, just a little interesting twist with no A/C, and with the islanders methods. It can get kind of comical sometimes, but it still is true. The bottom shot is of the outside of the church. It isn't very big, but it does the job.

On Saturday we went to Long Bay. I missed this beach when the Spouses Organization went to it with the "beach a week", so we decided to check it out. IT WAS GORGEOUS! The beach is long, hence the name "Long Bay." And it was that beautiful Caribbean Blue. I was able to get a wonderful action shot of mom as the waves about rolled her. (it is down below)

I also did a funny thing that day. The wind was blowing a bit and took a hold of the beach umbrella and whisked it down the beach. I jumped out of the water and sprinted down the sand toward the flying umbrella. Now picture this, if you can, I am sprinting, something I rarely do, and as I am just about to catch the umbrella, my toe catches on the sand and I plowed a furrow into the beach side. I was so embarrassed! Laura and my mom were witnesses to this and I was sure they were laughing as I got up and ran, again, after the umbrella. The umbrella was trashed and I came back with my pride hurt just a bit. Laura said I looked like a Baywatch babe until the big CRASH!. Oh boy.....but the rest of the day was spent enjoying the sun and beach.

Mom was also present at our daily walk and did really well in the sweltering heat. She was able to endure it and then play with Tyson at the park, which is his favorite place. To everyone at home, I am taking great care of mom and as you can see she is having a ball. We are so excited that she gets to stay with us another week. YAH!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Can't Believe I'm That Old.....

The title says it all. Today I turned the big 3-0. I used to think that people who were 30 were so OLD, well.....I was wrong, because I still feel 20. And technically I don't turn 30 until 11:00 tonight, so right now....at this very moment....I am still 29 and holding. LOL.

It has been fun to have my mom here to celebrate my birthday. (She hasn't been able to be with me on my birthday for 3 years, so this was special). The day started off with me waking up to a living room filled with balloons and "Happy Birthday" signs. It was courtesy of my mom! Then a bunch of phone calls from family and friends and we rushed to get ready to go to Pinel. I even got a double treat; Vaughn was able to clear his day to spend it with all of us. How cool is that? I was so excited.

Mom really liked Pinel, but then again who doesn't. She swam in the ocean with Tyson and he loved the fact that Grandma would play and chase after him. Vaughn and I went for a small snorkeling adventure and saw some amazing fish. We all got a little pink, but nothing that will stop us from going out tomorrow.

Once home, we showered and got ready to go out for dinner. As you can see by the picture, Tyson had a great time with his dinner. He had to take these glasses with us and wear them at the table. (That would be my kid) Dinner was excellent and the 3 layered chocolate cheese cake at the end, topped it off nicely. And now since I am 30 years old I guess that means that I go to bed early right? Wrong. Tyson is hyped up and so bed time might be slightly later than planned. My day was fabulous and thanks to all for the birthday wishes, you are all the best friends and family a person could ask for. Love you all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Grandma Westwood is Here!

She really came! I never thought it was going to happen, but she really came. We went to Sunset about 2:45 yesterday, and watched as Grandma's plane came in.

I could hardly stand the anticipation for her to get her luggage and get through the doors of the airport, and Tyson was just as excited, because Grandma was bringing him treasures and he knew it. In fact, as soon as she got off the plane, he wanted to open up her suitcases and get out his toys he knew she was bringing him. It was so funny, he quickly hugged her and then went for the suitcase. Just like a kid! We took mom around to Vaughn's school and he took her on a tour, and she also got to see Tyson play at the Park there at the school. We then went out to Ric's for dinner and then to Maho to have ice cream and to watch the Maho Dancers. Tyson got a kick out of them!
Today, since mom was a little tired from the long plane ride from Utah, we decided to bag the beach and go to Merigot for some shopping at the famous French Lady's shop and then lunch at Sarafina's. Yummy! We also took a little tour of the French side of the island, around by Anse Marcel and then ended up at Fort Louis. Here is Grandma and Tyson up on top of the walls at Fort Louis. It was a great day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Friday Farewell Cruise

Today I was surprised for my birthday, a little early, and was hijacked and taken hostage by Laura and Kelly. HA HA Sounds scary huh, but actually that is exactly what they did and it was the most fun I have ever had. Laura and Kelly surprised me with a Friday Farewell cruise around the island for my birthday. I had no clue we were doing this. I was told to bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and camera and be ready to get wet. "This could mean anything." So this morning when Laura called and told me to take a dramamine I knew we were going on a boat, but that still left things wide open. With the kiddos in good hands, Thanks Jill and Hillary, we set off to Phillipsburg to get on our boat. At this point in time, I still had no clue where we were going. OH, I was also handed an underwater camera, HMMMMMM....whatever could this mean.

Once we got to the office of the farewell cruise they let me know where we were headed and I screamed like a little kid. I was stoked! I have wanted to do this cruise ever since 1st semester, and now I was really going on it. We were the first to get on the boat and so had our pick of a place to set for the day. We chose the very front of the boat where we were sure to see everything and get wet too. The crew were so kind, and gave the three of us special treatment, which was nice, (since that is a rarity here on the island).

The first stop on our journey was the remote island on Tintammare. It is a "reserved island" so it is all natural, no development whatsoever. The sand was so soft and such a pretty orange color. The first mate told us that we were getting "mud baths" like the spa treatments. He wandered off on the island for a few minutes and that gave us time to explore it too. Then he came back with a bucket of dog brown mud and handed us each heaping handfuls of it. We had to rub it all over our bodies and then let it dry. You can see by the pictures that we were covered. Now some of the passengers got a little wild and took off all their clothes to mud themselves. I about died when I went to get another handful of mud and came face to.....well not face, but right next to this man's "junk." YUCK!!! They were flying free and didn't care who saw, and it was hard not too. Besides, showing their nakedness off, there were about 10 other people on the island who were "buck naked." Geez! I was getting a spa treatment and seeing a whole lot of skin, that is the kind you don't want to see. The three of us giggled and giggled.This is a picture of that soft sand I had mentioned above. Isn't it just pretty? This island was so much fun. Once the mud had dried we were told to rub it off with our hands, as much as we could, to exfoliate the skin, and then rinse it off in the water. My skin was a smooth as the day I was born. WOW! I couldn't believe that mud did that. (I am tempted to take mud from the back of my apartments and try it again, but I'm afraid it won't have the same affect). Back onto the boat we went and it was off to Creole Rock for some snorkeling and trying out of the underwater camera. YES!

So this is a picture of Creole Rock where we went snorkeling. We were the first off the boat and into the water. The underwater life was so amazing. There were blue, yellow, white and rainbow colored fish. It was a ball. The funny part was when we had to get back to the boat. Laura, the swimmer, got back to the boat just fine, Kelly and I.....that is a whole other story. We both took our fins off WAY to early and as we tried to swim back to the boat, the wind picked up and took the boat away from us and swept us out to sea. All we could do was laugh and swim. Finally we got closer and Kelly got on the boat and just as I was going to step up I lost my fins in the water, and they sunk to the bottom. ARG! It would have to happen to me. The captain saw and I thought he was going to be mad, but he laughed and jumped into the water and retrieved them. I was so embarrassed.

We stopped in Grand Case for lunch. It was at this little french restaurant on the beach, where we ate Mahi Mahi with rice and corn, a salad and ice cream to top it off. Laura, Kelly and I sat by ourselves facing the ocean so we could get a great view. And as you can see from the picture it was a wonderful view.

With lunch over with, we got back on to the boat and sailed around the island ending up at Mullet Beach. They let us off the boat and we relaxed on our bright green noodles, that they provided us with, and enjoyed the last leg of the trip. The water was so clear at Mullet that we could see a long way down. We met two couples on their honeymoon and chatted with them for the rest of the ride. Just a few more shots of the beautiful island of St. Maarten. It was so pretty to see the outside of the island where it is green and the ocean is that beautiful Caribbean Blue.

This was our ending shot of the day. As you can see we were wind blown and sun kissed and still smiling. This was the best birthday I ever had. Thanks Laura and Kelly for making it so special. I will remember this day, always! You gals are the best. And a special thank you to Hillary and Jill for watching the kiddos so we could do this. Ya all are the best!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Place I Live

So lately it has been very interesting here on the island, and by interesting I mean that the water is off at least once a day and can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours....and it usually happens when I want a shower! ARG......I think the island Gods are trying to test my patience. Well, test over! You win, I cannot live without WATER!! Ok, now that I have your attention let me tell you what else is going on

At Palm Court Apartments, we have a "community laundry" facility. Now by community you would think I am referring to just the apartment complex, you would think, but sadly no.....the community of islanders have frequented our little laundry mat, and so none of us can do our laundry. Now if you look at the picture above, you will see three units, there are actually four, but there might as well be three, because you can only use three at one time. And that is just the washers. If some one decided to use three dryers at the same time, the breaker blows and nothing works! There are even signs posted in the room stating this very fact, but do you think anyone reads them "NO!" I rant about this because doing laundry around here is an all day or sometimes night, thing. I dislike it when new people move into the complex, because they haven't figured out the whole "don't run three dryers at the same time" method. I want to kick them in the teeth, but I walk over to the wall, cuss under my breath and turn the breaker back on again, for the 100th time. I cannot wait to have my own washer and dryer again, and not have to share it with 30 other apartments.

Don't get me wrong, we really do live in a pretty good place, if you consider 12 by 95 feet big, and with concrete walls and tile floors, nice, then yes I live at the Ritz. Here is Tyson showing off our lovely stairs that he has been known to fall down at least once a month. Poor kid. He is so tough! He just stands back up without a cry and brushes himself off and up he goes again. He is going to make a great football player someday.
Another shot of our "lovely" place of residence. Can you tell I am ready to go home?

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Westin Hotel and The 4 Hour Meal

This weekend was interesting to say the least. First off, Vaughn was able to spend a whole day with us, which is a precious thing nowadays. One of his classmates had a birthday and was celebrating it at The Westin Hotel. This is a brand new hotel to the island and is the nicest thing I have seen here. It looks like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but with more of the "Island" look and theme. Here are a few shots of just the pool area.

Isn't it gorgeous. This is the part of the island I like to be in..

We were able to go and spend the morning and afternoon basking in the sun by the luxurious pool area. I felt kind of like a celebrity, they even come and ask if you would like something to eat or drink by the pool area. WOW! When all is said and done with medical school, we are coming back to St. Maarten and staying at The Westin.

After the sun had scorched our skins, and yes we did get burned, we headed back home for a nap and lunch. Then Tyson was dropped off at the Cluff's and Vaughn and I headed back to The Westin for the birthday dinner at AURA. This restaurant was SOOOOOO NICE!! A little too fancy for my taste.

We sat at these gorgeous tables with way to much silverware and glassware for me to know what to do with. And we had this set menu. To shorten this story, because I could write a novel here, the dinner lasted 4 hours. And half way through it I had to walk out and call Jill and explain that we weren't coming for Tyson until midnight. ARG!!! Our appetizers where the most terrible thing I have ever tasted, but luckily the rest of the meal was good. It was one of those meals where they bring out this gigantic plate with not much on it and charge you your first born for the meal. No joke. We both about died and then we were hungry afterwards. I am used to going out and paying good money for a big meal and I want to walk away from the place so stuffed that I need a wheel chair to get out. YEAH didn't happen this time. Oh well! At least now we can say we have had one of those kind of meals and we don't have to do it again. Thank goodness Tyson was asleep and had been asleep since 9 for Jill. (Thanks Jill I owe you one.) An interesting weekend.......with more to come..........Here are more pictures from there:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

He Walks Better In Them Than I DO!

The title says it all. Tyson loves to go and put on our shoes, as any kid does, however my choice of shoes (back in the day) was Dad's cowboy boots. Now that will test any kid's balance. But Tyson has outshined me again and now walks around in my heels better than I can. What a showoff.....

We Be Cruising

Now that we are among the living again I have a lot to blog about. Two weeks ago we were invited to celebrate one of Vaughn's classmates' birthday on a little Cruise around the island. It was a ball and Janelle, the classmate, had a great time. We even got the whole boat to sing to her and one of the crew danced with her. She was embarrassed and about ready to singe us all with her piercing looks, but she was loving it, even if she didn't know that at the time. Here are a bunch of pictures from the Cruise. Sorry they are a bit small, blogger is having trouble uploading my images. Must be because I am on St. Maarten. LOL And thanks to Laura for getting the pictures to me. I being the one without my camera, what else is new, wasn't able to take any pictures, but my good buddy stepped up for me. Thanks girl!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sick, Sick and More Sick

This is beyond ridiculous. We have all had the sickness from HELL for the past 5 days with not much relief in sight. Thursday Tyson and I started to come down with a cold, by Saturday Vaughn had it as well and today we are still sick. I haven't been this sick in years. Back in the states I would maybe get one cold during the year, but here on the island I've had 4 or 5 in one year. I am not sure how one can get so sick in such a little place, but I have surely done it. Right now, I feel like the construction workers from SXM are using their jack hammers on my head. Not a good time on the island.
On a better note, my mom is going to be coming for a visit in 2 weeks. YIPPEE! We are very excited to have a visitor. Tyson is excited for grandma "bobo" to come and swim with him in the ocean.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I am the Village Idiot and Happy 4th of July

First off,
This is the second 4th of July that I have had to miss being here on St. Maarten and I must say I miss this holiday. The Spouses Organization put together a little pot luck with sparklers and watermelons and lots of food, which helped to make it feel like the 4th back home, a little bit. But let's face it, nothing beats the little kid races, the parade, the 5am wake up dynamite(set off by my grandfather and uncle back home) and of course the town fireworks. GOSH I miss those things!! Next year we will not miss another 4th!

Ok so for the 1st half of the title. I know you are all dying to hear what a dork I am, so let me hustle the delay. So......I had to go and pay my power bill at the GEBE office in Phillipsburg today because the office in Simpson Bay is closed for who knows what! The office opens at 8 in the morning and I was determined to be there right as it opened to get in, get out and get home....HA HA WHO WAS I KIDDING!
Laura and I dropped off the little boys with her parents who are staying here for a week so as to not have to deal with their headstrong ways while standing in line. We get to the GEBE office at 7:45 and would you believe it there is already a line out the door. So we waited for an hour in the sun, then were ushered inside, where it is air conditioned and waited another 30 minutes and finally I paid my bill which took 1.4 minutes. OH!!!

The story doesn't end there, we went to a bank to deposit money and that took 45 minutes. I think it was National Slow Day on St. Maarten today and someone forgot to send me the MEMO!!!

With all the bills paid we headed back to the Sonesta in Maho to pick up the boys. Just as we are walking up to Laura's parents' room I turn to fiddle with my keys and realize "They are missing"!!
We headed back to the parking garage and would you imagine, me, the idiot, locked them inside the car. It took over 3 hours and 20 phone conversations, and 1 Telcel card to finally get a key for the car to be unlocked. Just my luck...National Slow Day...