Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Terrible Two's?

Jacob is not quite 20 months old but I think the terrible two's are beginning. I have a different perspective of this stage since my own sons were there. I used to believe it was "terrible" for the parents, and anyone else having to tolerate this toddler transition. But with Jacob, I sympathize with his frustration. He is at that awkward age when he wants more independence and to do things for himself, but is physically unable to master many difficult tasks. Take eating for example. He desperately wants to feed himself with fork or spoon. This morning, as I was scrambling eggs and toasting bread, he was filled with anticipation and hunger and couldn't wait to get in his chair and chow down. Only a few minutes into breakfast, the mood changed as the eggs simply refused to stay on the utensil long enough to make it into his mouth. Frustration set in and thrashing began. Eggs were everywhere except in the bowl or the mouth. I could feel his pain. Eventually, he reluctantly allowed me to assist him with the eggs, then was able to feed himself the toast.
Maybe I can relate better as a grandmother than I could as a young adult. I, too, want to do things that my body physically can't handle anymore and it is FRUSTRATING! I have also wanted to just swing my arms wildly and throw things in all directions. So when Jacob does just that...I understand.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Cruise--Day 7, 8

Our last fun day at sea. After breakfast we found a spot on the deck for a day of relaxation and sun bathing. Janet and I attended an informational "debarking" meeting at 11:00. There we learned that the Cuban refugees were awarded political asylum in Mexico, thanks to negotiations with the U.S. So the refugees had gone ashore in Cozumel.

After a day in the sun, we dressed for dinner and sat at our table for the last time. Then we went to the Toulouse Lounge and played Bingo--I just needed ONE more number! The main show consisted of the winners of the Karaoke throughout the week and was very entertaining.

The overnight ride to Galveston was quite choppy and I woke during the night with my first case of seasickness which subsided in an hour or so. We docked early, about 4:00 a.m. and by 6:00 announcements were being made for disembarkment. We got up around 7:30 and went to our last breakfast buffet, then prepared to leave. It was VERY COLD and windy in Galveston which was a shock to our sunkissed bodies. We breezed through customs fairly quickly. Christy was there to pick up Neal, and Janet, Joe and I headed for the shuttle bus. Despite the wintry conditions, our flight was on time and we arrived in Tulsa a couple of minutes early. Tulsa had snow and ice--welcome back!

A great time was had by all and Janet, Joe and I are already talking about our next cruise. Neal however says he had fun, but he'd rather go skiing!!!


Just a little diversion from the Cruise. Yesterday was such a spiritually encouraging day. One of our men who has been sporadic in attendance and absent in involvement for the past several years led the first three songs of our service. In our "Forever Family" curriculum, we have been studying about and filling out questionnaires on gift assessment. David stated yesterday that he used to lead singing and with the recent studies decided he wasn't using his gift. He was very nervous to be leading on a Sunday morning, and wanted to begin with just the 3 songs, then let our regular leader take over. He did an amazing job. Our guest speaker for the morning was a man who attended Sand Springs for 7 years, as a pew warmer on the back row. A couple of years ago he and his family moved away, and now he has decided to attend East Tennessee School of Preaching. In the pulpit, he admitted his embarassment for the 7 years he was a "deadbeat" (his word) at Sand Springs and his commitment to his goal of spreading the gospel. He was such an exciting speaker and will make a dynamic gospel preacher.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cruise--Day 6

After the ship arrived in Cozumel around 6:30 this morning, Neal and I had room service bring us some breakfast before going to the gym for a quick workout. The four of us tendered to shore around 9:00. We walked to the Forum for some shopping, stopping along the way for some photos and to splash around in the water. Janet & Joe bought a diamond to have mounted on Janet's grandmother's wedding band and Neal & I bought a diamond ring to replace the one I had stolen almost 20 years ago. Great souvenirs, don't ya think? The diamonds were set and mounted within a couple of hours. Meanwhile, we did EVEN MORE shopping. We went back to the ship around 3:00 and basked in the sun for about an hour before dinner. In the evening we went to the Toulouse Lounge to watch passengers play "Scene It".

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cruise--Day 5

During the night (or early this morning) our ship made an unscheduled stop to rescue 22 Cuban Refugees (15 adults, 7 children) who had been at sea 8 days in a small fishing boat. Two other ships had refused to stop, but our captain had compassion and took them onboard. They were given food, clean clothes, showers and beds. The captain and crew will take care of them until they can turn them over to the proper authorities.
We arrived at George Town, Grand Cayman around 7:00 a.m. We ate breakfast before tendering to shore around 9:00. Our ship is too big to dock at the pier, but it was a short boat ride to shore. There was time to do a little shopping before our scheduled excursion at 10:15. A bus took us to a dock where we were taken by boat to a sandbar in the Caribbean about 30 minutes out. There we swam with and fed stingrays. They would swim up against us and slurp the squid right out of our hands. It was an awesome experience.
After returning to the town we continued to shop until reboarding the ship.
Tonight was our second formal night, so we dressed early enough for pictures before dinner. After dinner we visited some shops and walked around the ship, ending up at the pizzeria for a late night snack before bed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cruise--Day 4

The ship arrived at Montego Bay, Jamaica around 6:30 a.m. About 8:30 we ate breakfast before disembarking. We took a taxi to Doctor's Cave Beach and spent the day playing in the water and on the beach. There was a water trampoline there and Neal couldn't resist. (I think he messed up his ankle on one of his dismounts.) Our taxi driver took us on a little tour of Montego Bay on the way back to the pier. Then we shopped a little in the duty-free shops at the pier. It was a beautiful sunny, warm day and we welcomed the heat. At 4:00 we boarded the ship and dressed for dinner. After dinner we browsed the photo shop and posed for more pics. By 9:00 we were worn out and decided to rest up for the day in Grand Cayman tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cruise--Day 3

We ordered room service for a little nourishment before our workout--bagels, yogurt, fruit and coffee. After the workout we headed to breakfast on the Lido Deck then relaxed in our cabin for awhile. Janet's hormones were out of whack so the rest of us steered clear. At 1:30 I had a "hot stone massage", a Valentine's gift from Neal. It was an hour and a half of pure ecstasy. Then we spent about an hour by the pool and got a little sun despite the cool wind. After dinner we found a spot in the Karaoke Lounge to watch the auditions for Saturday night's show. Janet was feeling much better by now. At 10:00 the "Lounge Crawl" began and our team, the Blue Team, started in the Karaoke Lounge. Next stop was the disco lounge, followed by the casino with great music at all locations. All three teams came together on the Lido Deck for music and dancing. We had loads of fun and this was the latest night so far. We even stayed awake long enough to enjoy the midnight buffet and filled up on Mexican food, which later proved to not be such a great idea!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cruise--Day 2

On Monday we started with a HUGE breakfast then waited an hour before heading to the Spa for a workout. Yes, we even coaxed Joe into doing some cardio. After our workout, Neal, Janet and I got our swimsuits on and headed to the deck. Joe had to recuperate by taking a nap in his cabin. We ate hamburgers for lunch while watching the "hairy chest contest" by the pool.

This was our first of two very formal nights for dinner, beginning with the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party at 5:00, then dinner at 5:45. I say "very" formal, 'cause the men had to wear suits and ties. We had to "dress" every evening for dinner. Each night we had several selections to choose from for appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. Of course, if we couldn't decide between two items, we'd just order both! Tonight lobster was on the menu and Neal had two helpings.

After dinner we did a little shopping and Janet and I both bought long-sleeved shirts, since we'd been cold since the trip began. Don't we look adorable?

Later in the evening, we went to the Main Show (a Vegas-type song & dance) then decided to check out the Karaoke Bar. It was packed, so we went to another Lounge to listen to a band and laugh at the "old" people dancing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cruise--Day 1

The stress began when Janet's dad decided we needed to be at the airport earlier than we had planned. I expected them to arrive at my house at 8:15 a.m. but instead the doorbell rang at 8:00. The rushing and waiting cycle had begun. I rushed to throw in my last minute articles and we headed to the airport. Once we arrived, we were informed that our flight had been delayed about 1/2 hour. Not a problem if we weren't on such a tight schedule. This only left us about 15 minutes to make our connection in Dallas and little to no chance of our luggage making the transfer. Our only option, we were told, was to be placed as a backup on the next flight out of Dallas in case we missed our original flight. The problems with this plan was that our one and a half hour shuttle from Houston to Galveston would get us to the pier around 4:30 and our ship was sailing at 4:00! Luckily, I have made enough trips to Houston to know that we could probably get a flight into Hobby Airport (much closer to Galveston than Bush) and if need be, Neal could pick us up there. We were able to book a flight from Dallas to Houston Hobby and arrived in Houston around 2:30. Fortunately, we had booked all our travel through the cruise line and they called us a taxi to take us on to Galveston. We arrived at the ship about 3:30 and were the last to board. On the bright side we had no lines or waiting to board the ship and since Neal had been on board since noon, he was pretty much at home and knew where all the food was!

Shortly after finding our staterooms we were summoned to a lifeboat drill. After the drill, Joe was starving so we got sandwiches and pizza about 4:30.

Our dinner seating was at 5:45 each evening in the Monet Dining Room. First night was casual and we met our head waitress and her assistant, Victoria and Lyudmyla, who would serve us the entire week.

After dinner we browsed through some of the shops then spent the rest of the evening relaxing from our stressful day of travel.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Caribbean Cruise

Returned today to snow and ice after a week in the Caribbean. Back to the real world! This was our first cruise and for those of you who have nothing better to do, you can read about our daily adventures in the next several postings. Our ship, the Carnival Conquest, is the biggest ship to sail out of the Port of Galveston. It is like a floating city, and we were treated like royalty. We couldn't leave our cabin for five minutes without it being cleaned and fresh towels put in place. Our bed was turned down each evening and our Cabin Boy, Melvin, was at our beck and call 24/7. A week is just not long enough!