Friday, September 28, 2007

Tango Dinner Cruise

We have been here a long time and we finally got to go on the Tango Dinner Cruise. Since this was part of Vaughn's birthday, I secretly invited a few of his classmates to join us on the cruise. This is us waiting to board the boat.Vaughn, Jason, Mary, Janelle, and Libby. These friends have been so good to us during our time here. I was so glad they could all come out to celebrate Vaughn's birthday.We left the docks at Pelican Key and headed around the island by way of Simpson Bay, Mullet Bay and on to the French side. The ride there was spectacular. Just look at this view. It really makes you feel like you live on a beautiful island.Vaughn and Jason were able to assist in the raising of the sails. Obviously by the looks on their faces, they laughed more than pulled. It took about an hour to get to our place of dining. We dropped anchor in a little cove just off of La Semanas. It was a full moon and we were lucky to be able to eat out on the front of the boat's deck. It was so romantic. Here is our nice little table setting. LOL Actually, the food was so good. They had ribs, Mahi Mahi, rice, salads, bread, and dessert, plus any kind of drink you could want. I was stuffed after the feeding frenzy.

Just the girls. I love these gals. They have been so good to us and such good friends. Thanks for going ladies.
A random shot of all our feet. Now that I look at it closer, I need to have a pedicure. Thank goodness we are going home in 70 days. Me and my best buddy Laura. This whole thing was her suggestion, so thanks for the great idea girl. You are the best! Don't we just look like sexy models?It was a wonderful evening. I plan on going on this dinner cruise one more time before leaving the island. Looking at this picture of our group, we should be on the Tango Dinner Cruise brochure. HA!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Vaughn!

Today was Vaughn's 30th birthday. Tyson and I spent the day before making party preparations. We made a bunch of signs saying "Happy Birthday" and took a trip to Unique World to find a party hat and balloons. We kept these all hidden and then woke up early this morning and decorated the living room with our party stuff. When Vaughn woke up he was greeted with a much more colorful living room. We sang and gave him his present for a Dinner Cruise on Thursday, (since he is busy the rest of the week). He had to rush off to school and we didn't see him till later in the evening, like about 9 p.m. when all the studying and tutoring was over. We then had a nice dinner and he blew out his candles. (On a side note, I made Grandma Karen's famous cooked icing recipe. I tried this recipe last year and I made a mess of it. But this year I got it right).

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Week On St. Maarten

Birthday parties, beaches, babies and the zoo, it was quite an eventful week here on the island. I am starting off by stating that I will be an aunt again in Feb and again in March 2008. Both of my sister-in-laws are having babies and I couldn't be happier. Kariann just found out today that she is having a girl, Jennifer doesn't know YET! So my days of spoiling my nieces and maybe a nephew are beginning. I have one niece already, Jaelyn, and she is a doll whom Tyson loves to pieces. I am just excited to have new members coming into the family.

Monday started off with a birthday party for Nathaniel Oh at their very nice pool in the Rainbow Beach Club. Fun was had by all present, and Vaughn even got a chance to enjoy some of the festivities. Tyson especially loved the Party Hats. He now associates parties with HATS.
During the middle of the week we had a huge thunderstorm with lightening and the works. The thunder was so loud that Tyson shook in fear, no joke. I finally had to explain thunder to a two year old the only way I knew how. I told him the angels in heaven had fallen down and that was the big BOOM he could hear. HA HA So when it would thunder he would say, "Mama, angel fell down, BOOM." (Yes that is it son.) LOL! Plus, when it rains we get a pool of water outside by our door and it comes under the door. Tyson went outside and played in the pool of water and was soaked by the end.
Thursday, Laura and I headed over to see Jill's new apartment in Pelican Key and the kids had a play day with Hillary's kids. It was loads of fun and Jill's new apartment is nice. I would live there. It beats our crackerjack box!

Friday was full of fun. A bunch of the ladies and I took the kiddos to the St. Maarten Zoo. Now you would think that this zoo might just show "cats, dogs and the occasional cockroach," but contrary to that belief they actually have some animals. Raccoons, an Ostrich, an Alligator, Snakes, Monkeys and Birds were just a few of the animals we saw. Tyson loves animals and getting to see some of them up close, was a treat for him. He and a little boy named Noah decided to scream at one of the bigger birds and were scared to death when it squawked right back at them. It was a comical sight laughed by everyone there.

These are just some of the animals present at the zoo.

After the zoo, Tyson and I headed to Orient Beach to be with Vaughn and his class. A few of them have birthdays just days apart from each other and decided to have a big beach day for all the birthdays. Vaughn has such a great group in his class. Everyone is friends and is so kind to us. They always invite Tyson and I to come to everything they do, (which is so nice of them).

Tyson liked the totem poll on the beach and wanted a picture by it.

Saturday Tyson and I took to the beach again but this time we went to Friar's Bay. Usually this beach has very few waves if any, but today the waves were present. Tyson didn't like the water; it kept knocking him over. After 20 minutes of fighting the waves, he opted to stay on the beach and play. The trip was short lived as he was ready to go 2 hours later. No worries. I was good to go as well. We have had such a fun time this week. I hope all the weeks from here on out are just as fun filled as this one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Welcome Breakfast for the Spouses Org.

It was Welcome Breakfast time again. (This took place last week) I always look forward to this day because after it is over, it really feels like the semester gets started. We have a lot of new spouses this semester and even a few more guys to add to the collective of girls. This group has been a life saver on this island. I don't know what it would be like coming here without it. I look forward to the Bunko nights and burrito sales one last time. WOW!! I cannot believe this will be my last post about a Welcome Breakfast. It makes me a little sad. I feel like a senior in high school with "Senioritis." Just ready to get going to something new, but I also am going to be sad to leave all my good friends here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

McDonald's St. Maarten Style

I have found that McDonald's is a cool place. Laura and I took the boys there for lunch the other day, and I was impressed with how clean it was. It was a nicer McDonald's than some in the states. The place had clean floors and tables, and a pretty nice play place for the kids. They had so much fun running around and climbing all over the place. It was wonderful just to let them play and us eat. WOW!! They need a play place in every restaurant, then going out would be a breeze!

During the course of the time there, Peyton would climb up almost to the top and get stuck on the last level. He would then proceed to yell for Laura and she would climb up the slide to get to him. I was impressed. There is no way my ganglion legs and arms would make it up the slide. Thank goodness Tyson was content to play on the bottom part.

Tyson played inside the bottom bus looking thing. It was a great afternoon and there wasn't any crying. YIPPEE!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Ceremony

Last Friday night was the 1st semester's White Coat Ceremony, and Vaughn's induction into the National Honors Society for AUC. I had never been to a White Coat Ceremony, due to the fact that I was still teaching in the states when Vaughn had his, so this was quite interesting to go and see how it was conducted.

Vaughn, along with 7 other students in his class, were inducted into the NHS. I was so proud of him! He also was the speaker for the NHS. He gave a great speech and I would have it here on the blog for your enjoyment, but he said NO! So you'll just have to take my word for it that it was great! He looks like a doctor to be, doesn't he? I think so.
Vaughn and Jason before the ceremonies began. Don't they look happy to be here?

A close up shot of some of them.
All of the recipients, Rachelle, Libby, Mary, Jason, Vaughn, John, Brandon, and not shown Tonya
I am going to get even with Laura for this shot. LOL She had another wife take this picture of the two of us videoing our husbands, and by the look on our faces, obviously she knew about the photo being taken and I didn't. HA HA HA! It was a great candid shot!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mosquito Bites and Massages

Poor Tyson always gets the tar bit out of him. I had gone for a walk the other day, and like always I sprayed us with bug spray, since Tyson and I are both very reactive to bites of any kind. The walk was wonderful for me, but not for my little buddy. A mosquito bit him right on his eye lid. By the time we got home he looked like the above picture. And then the next day it was swollen shut. He looked like he had gotten into a fight and been punched in the eye. That wasn't even the worst of it. Because he only had one eye to see out of, he was constantly running into every thing; the fridge, the door, the wall. Comical yes, but then not, at the same time.Besides Tyson's encounter with the very potent mosquito, Vaughn and I went to "The Good Life Spa" in Maho and had massages. We each bought the other a Wellness Massage for Mother's/Father's Day, and we haven't had time to get them. Finally we set aside an afternoon to have them and WOW!! It was heaven. The only funny thing about it is that in other massages that I have had, the sheet they place over you is usually dark, thus covering up your "parts". Well.........this one was basically a see through cheese cloth. I was glad for the dim lit room. That made me a bit squeamish, but the lady who gave me my massage was very professional and so I relaxed after a bit. I vow that one day I will be able to have one of these treatments at least once a month, to work out the stress in my body. Someday.........

Pudding Artwork

Some days here on "The Rock" can be monotonous. To break up the insanity we decided to do something totally different with the little boys, pudding painting. I got the idea from my mom who teaches preschool back home. She makes chocolate pudding and then gives the kids a huge piece of art paper and lets them draw on it with the pudding, using their fingers. I figured the boys would love it. I moved all of my furniture out of my living room, which isn't much so it took 5 minutes, so we could have the tile floor all open. It also made for an easy clean up job. As you can see in the above picture Tyson was all about the pudding. He especially loved drawing on himself.
Tyson also loved the fact that he could eat this art work and mom wouldn't get mad about it. (He has tried the markers and crayons, not good nourishment). I think he ate more than he drew, but he had fun.

Peyton tried the pudding artwork, but didn't really like the feel of it on his hands, so he just flung it. This was comical.

Once finished we had a chocolaty mess, so off to the showers it was for the little boys.

Bubbles, Bubbles everywhere. They had more fun with the bubbles in the pool/tub than the pudding. Wouldn't ya know it!

We finished up the day with some normal art work. Markers are always fun and the boys had fun marking up the papers and each other, luckily for Laura and I the markers are washable. I don't know how mom's did it before "washable anything."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Planes, Planes, and OOPS Canceled Flights

YUP! You guessed it. Another stay over in the airport hotel in San Juan. I shouldn't be surprised. Getting back to the island was proving to be harder than I thought.
We left Alamosa, at 6:30 in the morning, oh wait!!! We didn't leave the Alamosa airport because some idiot there didn't have the plane ready! So we waited with an awake Tyson for 45 minutes before we could board the little peddle jumper plane that was taking us to Denver. Now, since this plane was late, we knew it would be a rush to make our plane in Denver, and we were right! Once they let us off the plane in Denver, we ran, again, to the ticket counter to get our tickets only to find out that our plane was delayed. YES! This was good news, we could actually get breakfast and slow down a bit. We had a 3 hour layover in Dallas so this delay in Denver cut that down to an hour. No worries. The day was looking up. (Boy did I jinx us again!)

We had breakfast, walked around the airport, found our terminal and got on our plane headed to Dallas. Now here is where the story gets a bit scary.....We are on the runway, actually taking off, with the nose of the plane in the air and the engines shut down. My heart sunk down to my stomach. We were going to crash and burn right there on the runway!!! Luckily the pilot touched it down carefully and taxied us back to the terminal gate. He came over the speakers and said that there was a malfunction with the landing gear and we had to get off of the plane in order for them to fix it. At least they found this out before we took off completely and couldn't land in Dallas. So we waited for 1 hour while they fixed the plane. Tyson had lots of fun going up and down the escalator.

Finally we were allowed back on the plane and the flying resumed. We also figured that we now had 10 minutes to get to our connecting flight. We figured that our luggage would be lost forever, and that that moment in time we didn't care. We darted off the plane and briskly walked down the hall way to our next flight, which they were already boarding. We were all hungry for lunch so Vaughn quickly ran to a pretzel shop and bought some pretzels and drinks and we boarded our plane. What a deal!! This flight from Dallas to San Juan is about 5 hours. Lucky us! We ate our pretzels and then bought us some of the airline food and were doing well. Tyson was a bit restless for 2 hours but then settled into another nap. About 4 hours into the flight I was ready to scream. My butt felt like a cement brick, and my legs were screaming to walk. The last hour drug on, and to make matters worse, we were going to have to sprint again to another airplane that was leaving 20 minutes after we touched down. ARG!!!!

The stroller took forever to be brought up, so we left it and sprinted to our gate, only to find out..............that the plane was delayed....what else is new!!! Vaughn walked back to our last terminal and retrieved the stroller and came back to where we were waiting, again. I think I did something wrong in a past life and will be punished for it every time I get on a plane. What is the deal?

10 minutes later, we hear "Flight 270 to St. Maarten has been canceled." What the hell!???? Are you serious? I have to spend the night here? Oh for the love of Aunt Mabel!!! Oh, and we did. By this time it is 10:30 at night and we are tired, hungry and lost n the Caribbean and all we can do is laugh. It was more of a laugh cry for me, but a laugh nonetheless. Lucky us, the airline put us up in the airport hotel for the night and gave us 40 dollars in meal vouchers. Now that seems all fine and dandy, but the restaurant was a sushi one and didn't have much for toddlers. I was smart enough to pack some oatmeal packets in my suitcase, (which by the way, surprisingly made it all the way to San Juan), and so we mixed up Tyson some of that for his dinner. What a night.

The flight out of San Juan was 45 minutes late leaving the next morning, but that didn't surprise us. I couldn't wait to get back to St. Maarten and I was shocked I was actually thinking this, but I was ready to be off of the planes for a while. So, in a nutshell, we made it back and life is just the same as when we left it. Only 90 days left to go until the next plane saga!!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Time In Colorado

To start off, our week and a half in Colorado was great. Tyson had a fun filled time, especially playing in his uncle's crashed up derby cars. He thought he was cool stuff in Uncle Brett's car. We were able to see long time friends and family and play on the ranch. Plus, as an added bonus, we went to the mountains, something I have been wanting to do for a whole 15 months. And since I am still backlogging, I am just going to post pictures and then explain them. I know, I know, the easy road, but hey, sometimes ya gotta take that road.

Brett was able to spend several days with Tyson before starting his Sophomore year at Sanford. He was the best at getting Tyson to take a nap. It is really hard to convince a 2 year old to take a nap when there is so much going on. Brett was our savior. Within minutes he and Tyson would be asleep and I could do a few things. Thanks Brett!

Vaughn got brave and rode the palomino colt, named BJ, out in the arena. I figured it would be a rocking rodeo, but he did just fine. I guess 15 months of not being on a horse never affected him. He was an old pro and looked great riding him. Way to go babe!

My inlaws got a new dog, a Great Pyrenees. Tyson loved to go up and pet the dog but then would run away when "Scooby" wanted to play. The dog thought this running away was a game and proceeded to follow Tyson bitting the back of his shirt, making Tyson drag the dog behind him. It was the funniest thing. And even though Tyson didn't want him doing that, he still wanted to play with the puppy. Scooby loved to chase Tyson around the ranch.

I was able to see my friend Jeannie Thornton. She was my substitute who took over my classes when I took time off for maternity leave. She was the only sub that I allowed in my classroom. She was just a strict with the kids as I was, and followed my lesson plans to a T! We have stayed really good friends. She has lived all over the world and I enjoy listening to her stories. We had lunch together in Alamosa, and Tyson slept through the whole thing and, woke up at the last. It was a great lunch.

This lawn mower of my mother-in-law's was Tyson's favorite thing to ride. He thought it was a mini tractor, because of the color, and loved to ride it. He also loved riding in grandpa's BIG tractor and hauled lots of hay with his dad and grandpa. Funny how boys love that kind of stuff.

There is a place up the mountains called Platoro. It's so beautiful; pine trees as far as you can see. We went there for a night and stayed in my inlaws' camper. But this thing isn't your average camper. It is nicer than the apartment I live in. Leather couches and cherry wood trim, yeah a lot nicer than what I live in.

See how nice!

Vaughn loves being in the mountains and by the grin on his face you can tell he was loving every second of it. The trailer in the background is my inlaws. Trailer, HA, more like a mansion on wheels. It was so nice!

Tyson loved his horse ride. He wouldn't remember, but we put him on a horse when he was 1 month old, just for a photo, and dad was holding him. But this time, he could hold on himself. He was all smiles. He looks as good on the horse as his daddy. I have a cowboy on my hands!

Tyson had another birthday party while in Colorado. All the family was there and all the kids. He is now going to think that he gets three parties every year. He sure did love blowing out the candle.Tyson played with his cousins on the trampoline. He loved to jump, jump, jump. Maybe that is why he is now using the couch and bed as a trampoline. In any case, whenever he wasn't on the 4 wheeler, tractor or horse, he was jumping. If Grandma Karen ever sees this, she is going to beat me. HA HA HA. She hates to have her picture taken, if you can't tell by the scowl she is giving me. We just love her. Tyson got all kinds of fun toys for his birthday. Unfortunately they had to all stay back home. But on the bright side, he will have all these toys, that he thinks are new, to play with when he returns home. Thanks everyone for the wonderful time in Colorado.

Now you would think our journey is over..................but then we had to get on the planes to come home.........

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Week in Circleville

After the horrific/hilarious experience to get to the states, we headed for good old Circleville, the town of my birth. I love home. It is called Circleville because we are surrounded by mountains in a huge circle. It's the kind of town where you know everyone and you feel safe to be out and about. I love that about being home. While we were home we got to do a lot of fun things. Tyson's favorite thing to do was to wake up, at the butt crack of dawn, (ARG!!) and go get his Papa Westwood loaded on the 4 wheeler for a ride. He didn't even let me change his pj's he just wanted to ride, first thing in the morning. We also took a day to go and visit Aunt D down to Hurricane, Utah and swim in her pool. Tyson loved the water, as always and his aunt was amazed at the way he would jump into the water with no fear! Here is Aunt D and Tyson making a dive for the water. Notice that Tyson is already in the water. Danielle couldn't jump fast enough for him.

Uncle Jesse was in the Washington County Fair Derby, and we got to go and watch it. Tyson loved the crashing of the cars. He also loved it when the tow trucks "Mater" came in the arena to tow out the cars. He wanted to see more of the crashing and kept telling the cars to "come out" so he could watch them. It was great!
This is Tyson yelling for the cars to return back to the arena for more crashing.Tyson, Aunt D and the new football dog he got from her and Uncle Jesse for his birthday.
My mom made a CARS cake for Tyson and we had a little birthday party at the house. He loved the cake and the blowing of the candles. This is why he was so excited to blow out his candles last week. He had a lot of practice at home.
Obviously he wasn't waiting for a plate. He wanted to be the first one to have a bite of cake.
We also had the surprise to see his cousin Jaelyn in St. George. We haven't seen her for a while and the two of them were like peas in a pod. They played and played.
The time in Circleville was wonderful. Thanks mom and dad and sis and everyone else for a wonderful time. But our adventure back home wasn't over.......