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S: Blog Book January-June 2010

FC: Blog Book January-June 2010

1: Blog Book January-June 2010

2: Friday, January 1, 2010 Top (bottom) ten of 2009 Last year I chronicled the top most memorable things of the ending year, and this year I will do the same. But this year is a doozy. In chronological order. 1. The year started out without much drama. So it wasn't until April that things of more importance happened. And it all seemed to happen at once. In April we moved from Saratoga Springs to Dugway, where Aaron worked. No more three hours in the car a day for Aaron. No more huge gasoline expenses. We've really liked living out here, so it was a good move. 2. Also in April we finally found some tenants for our empty house in Caldwell. We'd pretty much been paying the full mortgage since we moved, so this promised a great financial boon. 3. In April, (or maybe late March) after almost a year of trying, we got that positive pregnancy test. 4. May brought my second consecutive miscarriage. It started on my birthday. Both of my miscarried babies were supposed to come in December. But each time December comes, when I should have a brand new baby, or even a one year old, my arms are empty. 5. The worst news of the year was yet to come. In July my husband confessed his drastic change in religious views. To me, this was devastating and my hardest trial to date, one that will continue for life. | 6. Remember those tenants that promised so much financial boon? Well, they pretty much never paid rent. They were finally evicted in August, leaving the house and yard a mess and in need of repair. 7. Early October my Grandpa Turley died. He was only 78 and seemed like he should have had many more years in him. We went to his funeral in Missouri. He is missed. 8. Also in October my book was published. Finally some good news! It's been great fun seeing my work in print and hearing the overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who read it. 9. In November we got some maddening news. Our empty house in Caldwell had been vandalized on the inside. Just mindless destruction. What a headache. Fortunately our insurance will pay for the repairs, (with a $1000 deductible) so it's not ALL on us. We're still waiting for that to all be fixed so we can FINALLY rent it out again. 10. In November we took a family vacation to Southern California. We saw family, went to amusement parks and the ocean, and even Vegas, and had a great time! So there you go. My top ten. But mostly bottom ten. I count three positive things. Moving, getting published, and the family vactation. Can we just say I am ready to leave 2009 behind me forever? I sure hope there are more positive things this year.

3: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 And now, we feast! Remember this? Lovely. But that has to come to an end. And indeed it has. After Christmas we started pillaging our gingerbread house of it's color and decorations. But after taking down the Christmas decorations, there was still a lot of the gingerbread house left. The only Christmas thing left up. Plus it was taking up a lot of space on the piano. So, to speed along the process I put it on the piano bench, in easy reach of a candy loving three year old. | Not so pretty anymore. You can tell which candies Morgan isn't in to. Not a fan of red hots or the peppermint candy canes. And since all the good candy was gone, well, Morgan decided it was time to feast on the icing itself. He'd take a stick of it and just chomp down. Whatever floats your boat. He even ate half of the gingerbread door. And just so we're clear, Morgan didn't single handedly eat the candy from the gingerbread house. His mother helped him a great deal. Too much. His daddy didn't help enough.

4: Monday, January 11, 2010 Reading with Daddy Daddy put Morgan to bed last night. I looked in Morgan's room and found them reading together like so. Awwww. Note the book. Chika Chika Boom Boom. I found it at the library and checked it out. Several years ago when I worked in a Kindergarten class, the teacher read this book to the kids often, and they loved it! Soon they all had it memorized and would recite as she read. So I thought I'd try it with Morgan and he loves it too. I don't know what it is about this book that is so successful. It's a cute story and the rhythm and rhyming are great, but there are other books with those attributes that aren't as universally loved. Oh well. Don't mind the mess by Morgan's bed. When I put him down for a nap he reads all of his books instead. He takes them out of the book shelf and throws them in a big pile on the floor when he's done. He has lots of books, so the pile gets big.

5: Monday, January 18, 2010 Mysterious Bruise The other morning I woke up and immediately discovered that my right arm was very sore. To extend, it hurt a lot. I could feel very distinct pain from my elbow pit to my arm pit. It kind of felt like a sore muscle, after working it harder than usual, but different. As if, perhaps, I had torn a muscle or something. Something felt bruised inside. I complained of it to Aaron, but since he had just done a major workout on his upper body, and ALL of his muscles were sore, he felt little sympathy for me. The pain has relaxed since then, but today I noticed something else. A huge and ugly bruise! I don't know if you can see it in the picture very well. But it goes from my armpit to my elbow pit, following exactly the line of pain. So...weird. I did have to do a blood draw the other day, and in this arm. I think it must be related, thought nothing like this has ever happened. I bet it follows the vein. Impressive, no?

6: Tuesday was Morgan's first day of preschool! Some ladies in our ward and I started a co-op preschool for our kids. There are five kids, and five moms. We'll have preschool on Tuesday's and Thursdays and rotate teachers each week. Morgan is definitely the youngest. Two of the kids will start kindergarten this fall, two will start next fall, and Morgan will start the year after that. But, seeing as how Morgan already knows most of the letters and their sounds, I didn't think preschool would be too hard for him. | So, after we did some school shopping and sufficiently hyped up preschool to Morgan, the first day of school came. I had to get the pictures of him ready to go. He hammed it up, like usual. | Thursday, January 14, 2010 First day of school!

7: I decided that I would stay with him the first day. I wanted to make sure he was good, and I wanted to get ideas for when I teach. I got ideas. The teacher was great. But Morgan...not so much. The other four kids were fantastic. They listened, they participated, they obeyed. Morgan was kind of a brat. Time to color: "I don't want to color!" Let's all go sit on the rug for songs. "I want to sit on the couch!" Everyone stand up for this song. "NO! I'm sitting down." Morgan sneezed, can everyone say bless you? "Bless you". Can Morgan say thank-you now? "No." Let's wait for Morgan to say thank-you. *grunt* Oy, he was horrible! It was embarrassing. I wondered if my presence made him worse, so I probably won't ever be staying again. But then, if he would have just been naughty anyway, maybe I should stay to help keep him in line. Or maybe he's a year too early for preschool. But I think he'll learn a lot if he stays. Not only how to interact better with other kids and adults, but he'll learn the pledge of allegiance, he'll master the alphabet and numbers, and he'll learn how to write his name. He knows how to spell it, but he lacks in the fine motor skills for writing it. So, right now Morgan is at preschool. We had several talks after Tuesday about proper behavior, and I think he should be better. I have two hours to myself! I can't figure out what would be best to do while he's gone. Should I take this time to clean? But that's boring, and I can do that when he's here. I could exercise, but, once again, I exercise with the wii fit, and Morgan likes to play that with me. I could certainly use this quiet time to write my book. So many things I could and should do, but I'd really rather just curl up on the couch and read. I sure hope he's being good.

8: A couple friends did this tag. I will too, I suppose. 3 Names I go by: Melanie, Sister Nelson, Mommy 3 jobs I've had: Developmental Therapy Technician, Data enterer/auditor, Seminis Research and Development Field Worker. 3 Places I've lived: Nampa Idaho, Bennion Utah, Dugway Utah. 3 Favorite Drinks: Water, grape juice, flavored lemonades 3 Favorite TV Shows: The Office, Community, Heroes. 3 Favorite Movies: I can't narrow it down. I will name three I really like. While you were sleeping, The Man Who Knew Too Little, The Village. 3 Places I've Been: Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, SeaWorld, Oregon Coast 3 Vacations I Dream About: Caribbean cruise, Greece, Europe, (yeah, I know it's broad...) 3 People I Text Regularly: Stephanie, Aaron, and...Chris? | 3 Favorite Foods: Thai glass noodles, spaghetti, corn on the cob. 3 Favorite Books: No way to narrow this down... We'll go with Harry Potter, Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. 3 Favorite Colors: Blue, purple, green 3 Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Crocheting 3 Items in My Refrigerator: I'm sure there is milk, butter and eggs. 3 Pet Peeves: Lying, inconsiderate people, and poking. 3 Things I Do Every Day: My social internet rounds, eat, pray 3 Things I'm Good At: Writing, mothering, board/card/video games. 3 Things I Wish I Was Good At: Sports, making friends, cleaning. Okee dokee. I will go ahead and tag Stephanie and Shelly. And anyone else who wants to participate. | Saturday, February 6, 2010 I guess I will blog today

9: I wrote a post back in July last year where I mentioned stomach pains that I'd had which I thought was maybe an indication of celiacs disease. I remember feeling the same pain as early as Spring of 2007, but it always would come and go. But it always comes. It never goes for long. Lately I've had the same pains more frequently. Monday night Morgan woke up at 4:30 in the morning saying that he had to go to the bathroom. He has been having an increase of night time accidents lately, so I was happy that he woke up to go. So I led him to the bathroom and once there, with the light on, I realized that when Morgan said that he had to go potty what he really meant was that he already HAD gone potty. It was sometime between walking back to the room from the bathroom and getting Morgan changed that this familiar stomach pain surfaced with extreme force. I got back in bed and tried to sleep, but failed. My stomach hurt SO BAD! It kind of felt like my stomach organ was trying to explode. It's a constant pain right under the rib cage that just radiates everywhere. I eventually fell asleep again. But when I got up I was still hurting majorly. I decided to forgo breakfast since I couldn't imagine how putting more things into my body would help it. I also did some research on the internet. My home diagnosis was a stomach ulcer. Many of the descriptions matched and I am in a time of much stress, which is a contributing factor to ulcers. I couldn't stand the discomfort any longer, so I went to a quick care place. My mom took me. (I am staying with my parents right now.) I was seen fairly quickly. I told the doctor what I thought it was, he checked my pulse and breathing and everything, then pressed all over my stomach asking if it hurt. Usually it did. His prognosis? Gall bladder attack. But the only way to be sure is to get an ultra sound. One was scheduled for 3:00. In the meantime, I wasn't allowed to eat anything because that might mess up the ultrasound. Also in the meantime I was just supposed to live with the pain. There isn't really anything that can help. By the time the ultrasound rolled around, the pain had subsided quite a bit. The tech looked at every organ in my body I think, which took forever, but payed special attention to the gall bladder. She wasn't allowed to tell me anything though, since she's not a doctor. I guess I can understand why, but it's still frustrating! Finally the radiologist came in and looked at the pics of the ultrasound and mumbled things to the tech who nodded and agreed and pointed at things and mumbled back. Finally I was told that my gall bladder is filled with sludge. No stones from the looks of it, but sludge nonetheless. Pretty much the only treatment that medical people offer is to have it removed, but that's really not an option for me right now. So I looked it up online and there is a lot on there about how changing your diet can help. I found a couple of lists of things to avoid and things that might help. I have to avoid pretty much anything we would consider food. All meat, dairy, wheat, rye, eggs, beans, legumes, tap water, many fruits, fruit juices and vegetables. The list of things that might help is much smaller and much less foodish. I can have flax oil, (as long as it's not fried) omega 3, dandilion leaves, and thankfully tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes and apples. And their juices. And beets. Ick. I've pretty much been afraid to eat, but I haven't had any more major attacks. I stocked up on the appropriate fruits and veggies and am trying to live like a rabbit. Very hard task, might I add. I am pretty much always hungry, but grapes don't fill the spot. I guess it's a good thing this all went down this week though, since yesterday was Aaron's last day on the job; meaning, our last day with that insurance. Hopefully he'll have another job really soon though, so we should be able to start up on a different benefit package and pay the deductibles all over again. | Friday, February 12, 2010 Gall-ee

10: Morgan says funny things all the time that I wish I remembered better and wrote down. Here are some that I can remember. Morgan and I were talking about love and family and such. Me: Who does Mommy love? Morgan: Morgan! Me: Who does Morgan love? Morgan: Daddy! Me: Who does Daddy love? Morgan, *pause and thought* Ummmm, Frosting! I went into a gas station with Morgan and went up to the register to pay for some things. Morgan had picked out some candy and excitedly held it up to the cashier and was being friendly. She asked him his name, he answered then said, "And this is my Melanie." Gesturing to me. Sometimes Morgan will want so badly to be in conversations that he just rambles on with nonsense words, (occasionally throwing a real word or two in the mix) and then expect a response from me. I often tell him "Those aren't words." I'm at my parents house for awhile and Morgan sasses off to my three younger brothers. One of my brothers was trying to get his attention or was saying something that Morgan just didn't want to hear so he said to Cameron, "Those aren't words!" Driving in the car with Morgan, he was looking out the window. There were some of the sheet like stratus clouds in the sky. He piped up, "That cloud looks like a dragon!" and "That cloud is like a spaceship!" He must have a great imagination, because I couldn't see anything of the sort. | Sunday, February 14, 2010 Morgan said...

11: Sunday, March 7, 2010 Does Spiderman have spider hands? | If you are my facebook friend, you might have already seen some, (or all) of these funny things from Morgan. But I want them documented better. So, without further ado, I give you the comic soundings of Morgan! A week or so ago I was going to be leaving Morgan for a weekend. His grandparents and uncles were going to watch him. I was telling Morgan to be good and listen to his uncles while they babysat him. And he said, "And kick them in church?" What? How did you get that out of listen to them! Morgan named his and Grandma Martin's hands. Grandma's spider hands are named Grandma and Mommy, and his spider hands are named Grandpa and Morgan. It sure did confuse me for awhile when I kept hearing him call Grandma, "Mommy". Oh, and apparently hands turn into spiders if you cage them. Morgan said to my brother Cameron, "I don't laaaaak, I don't laaaa, I don't laaaak, I don't like Macaroni salad." He had the hardest time getting "like" right. Somehow Morgan got it in his head that his *ahem* is called a tutu. That's just what he calls them. Where did he pick that up? Not just his, but everyone's. The other day I was helping Morgan say his prayer. I told him to say he was thankful for his family, which he did, but he continued with it by saying, "And spiderman and superman, they're my family too."

12: Crazy past month and a half. In the beginning of February my husband was called into a meeting at work where they told him that the government had cut the funding for his job. He had about two more weeks of work before he would be out of a job. So, naturally, the job hunt commenced. He had many interviews and was almost promised a job in Ogden, but because of a tiff the temp agency had with the company that wanted him, they weren't able to hire Aaron. Then came Aaron had first, second and third interviews with them, and it was clear he was the favorite. An impending offer was sure. So we went searching for a place to live in Provo/Orem. Meanwhile, the house had been mostly packed. Also meanwhile, the army post 0ut here was really missing having their web developer. They didn't have anyone to step in and take on any of Aaron's old responsibilities. But they didn't have enough to fund a full-time employee. However, the contracting company Aaron had been working for, Woodbury, decided they could also use a part time web type person for their own company. So they proposed to Aaron that he work half the time in Dugway and half the time for Woodbury in Layton, which would equal out to full time work. However, he would be able to tele-commute to Layton for a lot of it. The offer from didn't come in as quickly as we had expected, and the house that we had picked out for ourselves was rented out. We did not expect it would be so hard to find a nice place to live close to the office in Provo and within our budget, but there is precious little to choose from. So yesterday we were stressing about that and looking all over ksl and craigslist for rentals and were much discouraged. But it's all come to naught. It looks like the offer they are going to give Aaron is much lower than anticipated. It will be about $15K less a year than Woodbury is offering, so, well, we are staying. I had been looking forward to living somewhere else, but at least Aaron has a job again. So now I have a house to unpack, which is ironic since we never went anywhere. What a waste! A side note to this, Aaron got his "last" paycheck, which included all the money for his accumulated over-time. But now I just wish he still had that over-time because back in December we booked and paid for a Caribbean cruise for May. He will accumulate more by then, but it won't be enough. Oh well. So that is just some of what has been happening with us in the last little while. | Tuesday, March 9, 2010 Will we stay or will we go now?

13: The other day we were eating dinner. I'm not sure what the object of my love was but I said something to the affect of, "I love baked potatoes." And because we are weird at our house I said to Morgan, "But don't worry Morgan, I love you much more. If I had to choose between you and potatoes, I would always choose you." Then Aaron said, "Would you choose Mommy or potatoes?" Morgan quickly replied, "Potatoes." Aaron said, "Oh, you're going to break your poor mommy's heart!" To which Morgan coolly replied, "I like my own heart." Tonight I was putting Morgan to bed and helped him with a prayer. I prompted, "Please help..." Morgan picked it up, " to find my heart." It would appear that Morgan's had his heart on his mind a lot lately. I don't know where he comes up with this kind of stuff, but it cracks me up. | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Matters of the heart

14: Inside the styrofoam was two little containers with a tiny bit of water in them, and something else. | Ever since Christmas Aaron has been anticipating a package in the mail. It was unclear when it would arrive, because the contents thereof needed slightly warmer than winter weather to ship safely. But last week he got an email notifying him that his package had shipped! He anxiously checked the mail until Monday, when it arrived. Oh, he is so excited. | Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Special Delivery

15: Aaron did some preparation on a little "habitat", then dumped out the contents of the bottles into it. | And now we have two little tadpoles swimming around their habitat. They will grow into Leapord frogs. | This was a Christmas gift from Chanel to Aaron. He got the little terrarium and and a certificate to send in for the tadpoles. A perfect gift for Aaron.

16: Because I don't have a specific place to write down funny things Morgan says yet, I will put them up here again. Eventually I plan to get a little notebook deal and write them all in there, but they have to be somewhere else first. And this is it. These are just from today. I was playing a hymn on the piano, (We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet) and I hear Morgan excitedly say, "That's the brand-new baby song!" I chuckled and relayed the message to Aaron, and added, "That's kinda weird." Then Morgan pipes up from down the hall, "It's kinda not weird!" Morgan found an oven mitt in the kitchen and tried it on, to his great delight. Then he said, "I'm just like Mommy!" I'm glad that's the light he sees me in... Lately I've been trying to prompt Morgan to come up with things in his prayers that he is thankful for without my help. He's been doing pretty good. Last night he said, "I'm thankful for volleyball." That's my boy! | Sunday, March 21, 2010 More Morgan

17: Even though I visited family for close to a month, I managed only to take about 6 pictures. All in one sitting. These are they. Morgan and his cousins Kaien and Emmy played chess in their own little way. Then made funny faces for the camera. Here we have the youngest of the cousins, baby Ammon. | When Morgan first met him, he had little interest. When Morgan second met him he still had little interest. But this time around Morgan loved Ammon. He would get close to his face and talk baby talk to him and ask him questions. I do think Morgan expected responses. He loved to pat him and play with him. It was very cute. Funny alert. I just now asked Morgan, "Do you like Ammon?" His response, "Yeah! And I like Emmy and Kaien. And Kaien scares me too." Side note: Morgan has since had a haircut. Phew! | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 Playing Chess

18: Video time! Now, I know it's long, but I tried really hard to cut footage to get it even this short. He's just to cute and smart to cut! By the way, the Easter bit, he says that the Easter Bunny is going to leave him Sally. The blue porche from Cars. He's quite sure of this fact, and I have no idea where he got the idea. But the thing is, we have been planning on getting him another Cars character. So he might just be right. Morgan loved tracing his name. He's been asking to do it more this afternoon so I printed some letter sheets for him to trace and it makes him one happy boy. On a different note, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it feels like Spring. Inside. I admit, I only opened the door to get the mail once today, and that is the extent of my visit to the outdoors. But it looks Springy. Also, it's laundry day. While my regular pairs of pants were being washed I had to find something else to wear. My selection was a pair of capri's. Then I had to put on a bright yellow shirt to go with it, and I have been feeling great all day! I even did extra good at my daily chores. I think I'll paint my toenails.... | Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Of a writing, singing, rhyming little boy

19: First of all, hey look at me! A post three days in a row! That used to be normal... Today I got on a preschool website to print a page of the letter D for Morgan to trace. While there I noticed a tab that said Easter. I checked it out, and looked at all of the Easter craft ideas and instructions that they had. I chose a craft that was cute and which we had the materials for, printed a template and we got to work. Morgan colored the picture and I cut it out. While I did, Morgan had some paper scraps which he was happily cutting to shreds. We are barely figuring out to even hold them, so straight cut scraps is all he could handle. | He glued pieces of the rabbit together, (he's great with a glue stick) and I cut out strips of construction paper. It's like he's sayin', "What, it's just glue. Give me a break." | Then we had a little two-person assembly line going. Morgan glued the end of a strip of paper and I curled it into a loop. When we had all our loops Morgan and I glued them to our previously cut ring of cardboard. And we have our finished product. Kinda cute. Kind of fragile. The paper doesn't like to stay on. We hung it on the door for everyone to see. | Thursday, March 25, 2010---Easter Wreath

20: Believe it or not, Morgan reached the age of 3 1/2 before he ever had the experience of feeding ducks. It was high time we introduced him to it's joys. Last weekend we went to Springville to visit Aaron's grandparents. Near their home is a little river and pond that is often filled with ducks and geese. So, upon leaving their home we took a few pieces of bread with us and stopped to feed the fowl. There were a lot of other people there with the same idea, so the ducks were perhaps not as hungry as they could have been. But we attracted a little gathering and threw the bread chunks in the water. | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 Feeding ducks

21: One of the other families brought a very excited little dog with them. And they didn't have a leash. You know what? I'll just say it. I'm not a dog person. I especially dislike the little dogs. I especially dislike the little dogs that run up to my little boy and make him all nervous so that he has to back away from it in fright right up to the very edge of the water. If I didn't intervene I am sure that Morgan would have ended up swimming with the ducks because the dumb dog kept pushing him back. Anyway...all in all the feeding duck experience was a good one and I'm sure Morgan would like to repeat it. | Morgan made me a bit nervous though. He would go right to the very edge of the water and then launch the bread crumb in, which put him off balance. I was just sure he was going to launch himself in sometimes. I kept pulling him farther from the edge.

22: When we went to visit the Grandparents last weekend we thought it would be fun to have an Easter egg hunt for Morgan in their backyard. So we brought all the candy filled eggs, and when Morgan was distracted inside with his Great Grandparents, Aaron and I snuck to the backyard and filled it with eggs. After lunch we all headed outside for the hunt. Morgan was all ready. | He was so excited. Especially when he saw eggs scattered around. He immediately went about collecting them. There was no rush, since he had no competition. | Friday, April 2, 2010 Easter Egg Hunt

23: This egg was carefully balanced over the umbrella hole in the patio table. But Morgan could barely reach it and ended up nudging which sent it down the hole. | But it was more accessible there! | There were about 35 or so eggs for one little boy. Talk about spoiled. However, he had a lot of help eating the jelly beans and M&M's inside of them. | We think he found all the eggs. If not, his grandparents may find a tasty treat next time they're in the yard.

24: Sunday, April 4, 2010 Dying Easter Eggs Yesterday I boiled 6 eggs for our little family to color. Incidentally there were also six colors of dye. They were barely used, but each one did some egg time. Morgan and I got the table all ready with the supplies and mixed the dye tablets with vinegar and water. Here's Morgan mixing the ingredients. (And looking a little stoned.) Then it was time to color them. Aaron joined us. He informed me that this was his very first time dying Easter eggs. Ever. Wha?! It makes you think he's not American, or had a poor deprived childhood. I thought it was supposed to be a part of every American families tradition. Morgan and I have done the coloring before, but Aaron never wanted to join us. So, here is Aaron experiencing this Easter tradition for the very first time. | I used the trick of writing on the egg with a white crayon before dumping it in the dye. It worked well, but it showed that I couldn't really see what I was drawing very well.

25: When Morgan's were all colorful he added stickers to his. Lots of them. | And here's the finished product. We all had different ways of doing it. Morgan's are all stickered up, Aaron's are multi-colored, and mine have the white crayon on them. Aaron let Morgan stickerify one of his eggs as well. So, this means we will have potatoe salad sometime very soon. | Morgan dies one of his eggs yellow.

26: Saturday, April 10, 2010 Easter Morning Coincidentally, Easter fell on the same Sunday as General Conference, which was great because it meant that we didn't have to wake up early and get ready for church. We could just take our time and enjoy seeing what the Easter Bunny brought. | It went like this. I was still in bed, but not sleeping when I heard Morgan's bedroom door open from across the hall. Pause. Then, "The Easter Bunny came! There's candy! The Easter Bunny came!" Right at his door was the candy trail that led all the way to his Easter basket in the living room. Aaron and I got up to watch him follow the trail. He immediately noticed Sally in his basket, something he had just been sure the Easter Bunny would bring him. So, Morgan was so spoiled this year that his basket didn't really have enough room for all the candy plus the toys and games. (He got a memory game and a travel sized Hungry Hungry Hippo's. And a cheap little sailboat for the bath.) Instead of putting the candy filled eggs in his basket we hid them around the living room. It's more fun that way anyway.

27: When Morgan found all of his eggs, his basket was quite full. But hey, keep in mind, the whole bottom half is filled with paper grass, so it's not ALL candy. From this I learned that Morgan is not a fan of peeps. Neither are Aaron and I. So...they all got rock hard and today I finally threw them away | He found an egg. Don't mind all the boxes and stuff. Since we thought we were moving we had most of the house boxed up. And since we might still be moving, (though keeping the same job) we haven't unpacked all of it.

28: The other day in the car, just out of the blue, Morgan said, "The racetrack is my life!" And that pretty much sums up our boy. He loves cars and racing and everything in between. He has way too many toy cars, and loves them all and gives them lots of playing time. He loves watching Cars or any other movie that features an automobile. For this reason, when Aaron saw that there was going to be a somewhat cheap race at the racetracks in Grantsville, he made plans to attend with Morgan. | The racers were rich guys who own Ferrari's. It's kind of funny, really. A wealthy man buys a Ferrari, then turns it over to the race people to take care of it and transport it and repair it and wash it, you know, the works. Then, when it's time for a race, the rich man flies out to wherever the race is held, drives his fancy car around the track, turns the car over to the car people again, and flies home. So, the race was $11 for adults and free for three year olds. I stayed home and let the boys have some quality time together, also having the idea that the money we weren't spending on my ticket could go toward a souvenir or something for Morgan. But I sent Aaron with the camera with instructions to take lots of pictures. He did a good job. I assume this is Morgan walking toward the race, all excited to see the cars. | Monday, April 12, 2010 Off to the races!

29: They found a nice close spot in the grass to watch the race. | But then they decided to move up higher in the bleachers to see more of the track. | When one race ended they had time to look at the Ferrari's that raced as well as at a cool car museum. And I think Ferrari's for sale.

30: Here's Morgan with the winning Ferrari. Here he is with a different one that raced. | After looking at the cars, they went back to the bleachers to watch a second round of races. There was something different about the Ferrari's in this race. I don't know exactly what, but it made them LOUD. Apparently Morgan wasn't at all interested in watching the loud cars. He sat huddled with his hat pulled over his face and his ears covered.

31: A man saw Morgan's discomfort and gave him some ear plugs, (which Morgan excitedly showed me when he got home) but that wasn't good enough. Morgan just wasn't having it, so Aaron took him to the car and they left. They did stop in a little tent gift shop thing, but the small toy cars were $35 each. So Aaron took him to Wal-Mart and found a racing Ferrari HotWheels car for Morgan for two and a half bucks. Much better. When we'd ask him about the race and what he liked he made sure we knew he liked the cars that weren't loud. But he had a ton of fun, and Aaron enjoyed it too.

32: I thought I'd post a couple pictures of Morgan's first ever bubble bath. He was a fan. It wasn't his last. | Thursday, April 15, 2010 Bubble Bath

33: When Morgan was very young, he loved the vacuum. He would crawl around the floor trying to catch me and the vacuum. His interest diminished some as he aged. But still he always wanted a turn to push the vacuum around a little. Lately, he has been very cautious of the vacuum. However, when I showed him how to hose up crumbs and stuff, he put his fears aside and took over my job with gusto. He did pretty good too! However, I still had to go back and get all the stuff he missed. I love that Morgan loves to help me though. | Friday, April 16, 2010 Vacuuming Help

34: Spring seems to have finally arrived, and with it, a hoard of dandelions. I decided to put Morgan to some good use and have him do something about them. So, he got his dump truck and wheeled it around the front yard picking the dandelions and putting them in his truck. | I thought it would be fun for him and a good way to control the multitude of weeds in our yard. | ut soon he got tired of the chore. He had gathered a lot already. So, we counted them up. Before we started I told him that he would get one penny for every dandelion he picked. I almost decided on a nickle per flower, and I'm glad I didn't! This boy picked a lot of dandelions. I had them in piles of 20. There ended up being 101 dandelions, and there were still a ton of them left in the yard! | Monday, April 19, 2010 The Hired Help

35: Just because he's cute... I made good on my promise. I gave Morgan four quarters and one penny. Then we headed to the Commissary so Morgan could pick a treat. He chose a package of Airheads. He put his candy on the conveyor belt, then gave the cashier three quarters and put the 3 pennies change in his pocket with the rest of his money. Then we headed to the library. At the library they have one of those little candy machines. A quarter for a handful of skittles or something. For the past year Morgan has been eying it and coveting the candy inside, and for a year the candy has slowly depleted. When we finished in the library Morgan decided to use his last quarter. Unfortunately, the only thing left in it was Good and Plenty's. I tried to convince Morgan that he might not like them, but to no avail. He operated the machine like an expert and collected his very old candies. After eating one, he decided that he didn't want anymore. But he did like his airheads. He thought it was hilarious when the blue raspberry airhead turned his tongue and lips blue. Even with Morgan's help, the dandelion population in our yard has exploded. If we paid Morgan to pick them all we'd probably go bankrupt. Oh well. | Oh yeah, when we first went outside, Morgan was just fine. By the time he finished picking the weeds he had a major runny nose and a frog in his throat. It seems like allergies are one of the only traits Morgan inherited from me. Try explaining to a three year old what you really mean when you say, "you have a frog in your throat." Kids. They take things so literally! :)

36: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 Picnic in the Mountains? Saturday was supposed to be a beautiful day, and I thought it would be fun to do something fun. We decided we'd go up the mountain canyon in Tooele, find a nice little spot to build a fire and make some hamburgers. So, we packed all the food we'd need and some jackets and everything , then headed for Tooele. Morgan was excited about going to the mountains. We got to the mouth of the canyon and there was a big gate blocking the road. We had to turn around. Bummer. Morgan was not happy and had to keep clarifying, "the mountain is closed?" So we tried to think of a plan B. Aaron wanted to go see the salt flats. And, he reasoned, they are only a little further down the I-80 than the Dugway turnoff. So off we went. And went. And went. Then Aaron checked his phone for a map. It appeared that the salt flats were much closer to the Nevada border than we thought. So we turned around. Heading back toward Dugway on Skull Valley we made a stop at a big ol' rock. We got out of the car and were greeted by some cool wind and the smell of dog poop. In reality it was probably smells from a dairy near by. Morgan had to use the bathroom pretty bad, so he had his first experience peeing outside. Actually, it was his first time standing up to go to the bathroom. Aaron tried to coach him. | Then we walked around the big rock on narrow trails with steep slopes on either side. Morgan was nervous for a lot of it. | We were sitting on a big rock shelf, plenty of room, but Morgan was still holding on to me for dear life.

37: After this little adventure we took another one. In an attempt to drive up to the old Lake Boneville water line, we drove off the main road onto a rough dirt road. Morgan kept complaining and campaigning that we go back on the clear road. Anyway, we eventually got to rougher road that didn't look like it was going anywhere so we turned around. However we had to stop before getting to the highway so Morgan could empty his bladder again. We made one more stop on the way home at a Spring. There was water, which Morgan could throw rocks into, which made him happy. The wind had died down, (or maybe it was only a problem when we were up high on a rock) and the weather was wonderful. We walked down the boardwalk and spotted some lizards and huge ants, and Morgan wore himself out running back and forth from the parking lot to the pond to gather rocks and then throw them in the water. His rocks were gifts to the fishes, or so he thought. | After this stop we went home where I cooked up some hamburgers for dinner on a griddle.

38: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Bragging time I tend to think that Morgan's intelligence and abilities are beyond average. Here is one of the reasons why. While at church on Sunday I gave Morgan an old bulletin and a pen to entertain him. When that stopped working I wrote his name in unconnected lines so he could trace it. When he finished doing that he started trying to write his name all on his own. So then, to make it easier for him, I wrote his name, one letter in a box, then made coordinating boxes for him. Then I turned him loose. The result... | = amazing and genius.

39: Thursday, April 22, 2010---The Flood Three days or so ago we were enjoying a quiet evening at home. I had dinner in the oven and was in and out of the kitchen preparing for that while Aaron was taking care of some business. :) When I wasn't in the kitchen I was wathing America's Funniest Video's with Morgan in the living room. I vaguely noted the sound of water and assumed it was the dishwasher, which was running. It wasn't. Aaron came out of our bedroom and splashed his way down the hall, which was under and inch of water. Uh-oh. I kick myself for not paying better attention. I can't actually see the water in the picture, but maybe you can. Anyway, It completely covered the hall, the bathroom, Morgan's bedroom, and our spare bedroom. Our spare is doubling as an office for Aaron for when he works from home. Also, it was crammed full of boxes and other miscellanous items that have no other home. The picture was taken after we removed about 5-6 big boxes. When I say completely covered, I mean the whole room. This wood floor would easily warp when wet, so we had to get it taken care of stat. There was no way we had enough towels to soak it all up, so we called maintenance. It's after hours, so it took awhile to get a hold of somebody, but eventually they sent out a guy with a wet vac. Then we cleaned up for 2 1/2 hours. | Morgan likes to read at nap time, and when he takes a book out of his book shelf, do you think he puts it back? Of course not. It goes on the floor. And since I'm not a very good housekeeper, they usually stay there for a few days before we clean them up. Morgan had many books piled up on the floor, and many of them were damaged quite a bit. These are the ones that are worst off. And, of course, they would have to be some of our very favorites. Actually, Little Mouse's Rescue is probably my least favorite of all Morgan's books, so that's not a big loss. So, what caused this flood? That remains undetermined. We know the toilet in the hallway bathroom was the culprit, but we don't know why. This toilet is retarded though, it will run forever and ever if you don't adjust the handle just right after flushing. It's been like that since we moved in though and has never flooded. Morgan has never really played in the toilet like many toddlers do. As far as I know, he's never flushed anything that wasn't supposed to be flushed. Oh, and after the water in the toilet went down, it started working just fine. Aaron did some precautionary plunging and that may have helped. Who knows? Last night, two days after the incident, I used that bathroom. I flushed, and the water went up instead of down. Since when does pee clog a toilet?! Luckily I caught it immediately and we were able to stop it before any water left the bathroom. But still! I guess we'll have to call a plumber.

40: Friday, April 23, 2010 Carnival Valor That is the name of the cruise ship that will take us to the Caribbean next month. Can I say I'm excited? A Caribbean cruise has forever been my dream vacation, and now we're doing it! But I just keep thinking that it's too good to be true; something will get in the way and make it so we can't go. It's a 7 day cruise leaving from Miami. Our first stop is going to be Grand Cayman. We have gone through and done some preliminary excursion choosing. In Grand Cayman we plan on doing the Ray Runner Stingray City Snorkel Tour. In which we will Take command of your own inflatable boat and speed out to world famous Stingray City. Swim with these wondrous creatures of the sea. Reboard your boat for the short trip to Coral Gardens for snorkeling. See Grand Cayman’s underwater world as you explore this colorful coral reef. Possibly catch sight of a green sea turtle. Pilot your boat back from Coral Gardens to the dock. Board a bus for the return trip to Georgetown for shopping or your ship. Our next stop is Isla Roatan, which is an island off of Honduras. I think it's owned by them too. Here we will Drive along the north road of the island to the park. Discover many things that will spark your curiosity and appreciation for the outdoors. Listen to the tranquil sounds of the waterfall as you stroll through the nature trails with your guide. Cross the rope bridge over the pond. Watch the colors of the Caribbean come alive as you interact with the parrots and macaws in the bird sanctuary. Hold and play with spider monkeys, white face monkeys, and a howler monkey in the Monkey Refuge. Explore the history of the pirates at Coxen’s Cave. Roam through the botanical gardens where you will discover the indigenous plants of this region. Plunge into the pristine waters of the Caribbean or relax under the canopy of the trees. Head back to the pier along the coastal road. Next is Belize. We think we'll do a Land Rover and Cave Expedition. Take a 45-minute ride to the “Landing”, the base camp for your expedition. Participate in a short orientation before your expedition begins. Set out in convoy formation and head along the highway. Experience the Jungle’s natural beauty as you make your way from the Tourism Village into the heart of the rainforest. Ride over some of the most challenging terrain imaginable in the jungle around Gracie Rock. Arrive at base camp where local guides will lead you in small groups over a foot suspension bridge. Reach the first cave that tunnels through the mountain and emerge into a hidden cirque. Be outfitted with a safety helmet and headlamp before your guides lead you through the caves. Be entertained with various stories along the way. Return to the camp and swim in the river or simply relax as you enjoy some light refreshments. Take an open-air 4x4 jungle truck back to the Tourism Village in Belize City. Then the last stop will be at Cozumel Mexico. We definitely wanted to see some ruins on this trip, and Cozumel seemed to have the best ones. So we're going to go to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. So, yeah. We're excited. My cousin and family have offered to take Morgan for us. They have two little boys around his age to play with. We are very grateful to them. And Morgan is stoked too. He keeps talking about going to play with the boys. He might ask, "it's getting closer Mommy?" He can't wait for us to leave him for over a week. I know I'll miss him though.

41: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 A fat prejudice? Morgan put on some oven mitts and said, "Look, I'm just like Mommy!" Aaron was teasing Morgan, insisting that he does like corn. Morgan's response: "I don't like corn, I just swallow it." When talking to Morgan about the cars he saw at the racetrack a while ago, we asked him why he didn't want to see the loud ones again. He was denying that he didn't like them, so had to come up with a different reason. It was this: "Because...they're fat!"

42: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 Photo Shoot | I thought Morgan looked so cute yesterday that I had to take a picture. He looks just like Aaron here. | But one just wasn't enough. | I know his face looks messy, but I don't know why! I cleaned it spic and span before taking pictures.

43: He really started getting into the whole photo shoot thing and started striking poses. | Then he threw out a gang sign. What? Don't know where that came from. | The pouty look. | Check out those knees and legs. His poor dry skin.

44: To announce this bit of news, if you haven't seen it on facebook already, a picture. There you go. I am pregnant. No, I mean, I am pregnant! We've been sitting on this news for awhile now, what with my history of miscarriage, but it looks like this pregnancy is going to work. After all, I am out of the 1st trimester danger zone. In fact, I'm already in my 23rd week. More than halfway there! We weren't planning on waiting this long to make the announcement. Remember how I had the gallbladder issue? Well, it turns out that gall problems are more common in women. And they are even more common in women who have had babies. And they are most common in women who have had babies and who are pregnant. The crux is that often the treatment for gall bladder problems is to remove it, but that causes miscarriages to those who are pregnant very often. | Anyway, when I went to the doctor for that, they also sent me to see an OB. I'd seen a midwife in Utah when I was still 6 weeks, and had seen a little problem in the ultrasound. They called it a bleed, but basically avoided giving me any real information on it. In Idaho, I was ten weeks when all this went down, and after another ultra-sound they still saw the bleed, but told me what it was. Subchorionic Hemotoma. Or, Subchorionic Hemorrhage. It's a hemorrhage or blood clot that gets between the uterine wall and the placenta. They often resolve themselves by the 20th week, but if they don't they can cause further complications, such as miscarriage, pre-term labor, or still birth. My plan was going to be to make the announcement when I had safely reached the second trimester. But then we were out of insurance due to Aaron's temporary unemployment. So I couldn't get to the doctor to determine if the baby had made it safely to the second trimester. I happen to know that a dead fetus sometimes just hangs out in the womb for several weeks. However, there were some pretty clear indications that the baby was living. Like, my growing abdomen and the kicks and movement that I started feeling. Insurance didn't kick in until May 1st. Saturday. I had an appointment to see a doctor the first possible day. Yesterday. And since I am so far along now they were able to send me to get the big ultra sound, which is one of the most exciting things during a pregnancy, in my opinion. I was ever so eager to find out the sex. The ultrasound tech tried on several occasions to see, but little baby had it's legs crossed tightly. The tech would then go check out the other parts of the baby, then go back to see if all the baby movement meant that the legs were uncrossed. Nope. I did learn though, that I don't feel half of the movement and wiggling of the baby. There is a very active little one in me. But don't worry, we got a good shot before I left. Morgan called it. We're having a girl. Yay!! I have lots of shopping to do now. I have bags and bags of boy clothes and shoes and blankets, but lack in the pink department. Also, there was no more evidence of the hemorrhage. Phew! I took Morgan with me to the appointments and he somehow got the impression that we were going to the "out doctor" as Morgan called it. The doctor that will take the baby out. I think the pictures that we saw of his baby sister were also underwhelming for him. He's been very interested in the baby thing. He tells me that I have a big tummy all the time. He asks if the baby cries, or talks. There will be a four year gap between the two, which isn't how I would have planned it, but, what can you do? I think Morgan will make a good big brother. This post has dragged on. I guess I'm excited or something. I tend to write more then. | Tuesday, May 4, 2010=Announcement!

45: Morgan is a very sweet boy sometimes. He's often very affectionate with me. In fact, if he continues like he is, he will one day make a great romantic, I think. He likes to give me kisses. (Poor picture quality due to the bright window behind us.) He often reaches up and touches my face with both hands and stares into my eyes. So precious! | He's pretty in tune to moods too. If he knows I'm sad, he's concerned. However, he isn't always spot on. The other day I was telling him that he couldn't watch a movie until he cleaned up his toys. He responded with, "You're cranky, Mommy!" Oh, also, he asked for a glass of water and I got one for him. He received it with, "Thank-you, you're a good helper." He also calls me a good girl sometimes. Oh, I love him! | Saturday, May 8, 2010 Tender Boy

46: Saturday we went and ran some errands, mostly for the cruise. But our errands took us to a couple of places with clothes. Baby clothes. Baby girl clothes. I've spent lots of time walking past cute little girl clothes and just sighing at the cuteness, but haven't had reason to stop. Saturday I justified some intense perusal. This was no surprise to me, but what did surprise, was the fact that Aaron was looking right along side of me. He encouraged my shopping tendencies! In fact, I think if he weren't with me, I wouldn't have been able to talk myself into three outfits. (I'm pretty frugal.) But three we got. And they are so cute! Now I just need a brand new baby to put them on. But I'll wait a few more months so she'll fit. | Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Pink!

47: Friday, May 14, 2010 It's time! We leave tomorrow morning for our vacation. Morgan, who's been talking about going to play with my cousins' boys for weeks, is maybe starting to get a little worried. He's known that Mommy and Daddy are going to go on an airplane then a big ship, and that he was going to play with some kids, and he's been fine with it. But hes' started saying things like "but we're not going, Mommy." I'm going to miss my little boy. This is definitely going to be the longest I've been away from him. So, we fly out of SL tomorrow for Miami. Then we stay at a hotel for the night and then board the cruise ship on Sunday. This will fulfill one of my life long dreams. Well, maybe more like late-in-my-life long dream. Today I was doing some last minute shopping for the cruise and I accidentally bought another baby girl outfit. And tights. Totally wasn't in the plan. Alrighty, I'm going to cuddle with my boy to save up some loves so before I have to leave him for 10 days.

48: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 And we're back! Over the next few days I will be posting all about the cruise, complete with pictures. You have been warned. Now we are home. Back to life, back to reality. That song keeps going through my head. What I missed when we were gone. -Morgan. I've never been so long without him. Apparently he did very well, (other than coming down with an eye infection) and wanted to stay and play with his second cousins even longer. I missed him though. When I asked him if he missed me he just said, "Yeah. Two mommies are good." Yeah, he didn't care that I was gone. :) What an adaptable young one we have. -Internet and phone use. I don't text or call people very much at all, but on the cruise there were many opportunities where I could have texted something cool to someone. Case and point, when I turned my phone on after a week of it being off, I had two voice mails, (one from a church person, one from a real estate agent,) and one text message. The text was from facebook. So..yeah. But I do like to get my regular email, facebook, blog and fixes. But don't worry, I was fine without them. -Conditioner. I didn't pack any, expecting that it would be provided. Silly, presumptuous, me. -Dry air. I am not a fan of humidity. Especially without conditioner. | Things I miss about the cruise. -Food. While I don't think the food was all that exceptional, I did like that it was so readily available and that I never had to cook. I liked it so much that I came home several pounds heavier. I may be pregnant, but pregnant people shouldn't be gaining 3-6 lbs in a week. -The bed. We have a rather crappy mattress. The bed in our cabin was so much nicer. I slept so well on the cruise. It could have been the comfortable bed, or maybe I was always so worn out by the time I went to sleep, but it just may have been the constant rocking of the ship. Lulled me right to sleep. -Warm weather. Got to the SL airport in capri's and a t-shirt. The jacket that was packed and never used was deep in a suitcase somewhere. It was kind of freezing. | -Javier. He and his little crew of men cleaned our room twice a day, and even did a turn down service. I love having fresh towels magically appear, the bed magically made, chocolates on my pillow and cute little towel animals awaiting my return. It was so disappointing to walk into the house and find it in exactly the same messy state that I left it. -Time with my husband. While it would have been fun to cruise with people we know, we didn't. We were the only ones we knew, so, naturally, we spent all our time together. Rather undivided, no? It was nice. Now we are home and have responsibilities again. Aaron is already at work, Morgan of course needs attention, and now there will be internet and tv encroaching in on our time together. *Sigh* All in all, a great time. I recommend it. But be aware that they never stop charging you. Oh, and everyone expects tips! I think we are kind of alone here in Utah area where we can ride the airport shuttle and not have to fork over five bucks as a tip. You have to tip every tour guide and employee that you see. You have to tip all the shuttle drivers, even though the shuttle is expensive, you have to tip the guy at the airport who weighs your bags for you! We never had enough small bills because we had to keep using them.

49: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 The Cruise: All Aboard! Here goes. Our trip started early Saturday morning. We dropped Morgan off with some relatives and then headed for the airport. Our first flight was to Chicago where we had a one hour lay over before our flight to Miami. However, once we got on the plane in SL, it was just sitting there for awhile. Soon the pilot came over the loud speakers saying that there was a problem with the hydraulics. It was being worked on. We waited and waited in the hot plane and worried about catching our connecting flight. Finally they said it was fixed and we would be on our way. But after taxiing to the runway we stopped again. Same problem. We waited more and were sure that we would miss our next flight. They ended up just turning off the engine and starting it up again, and apparently that fixed the whole problem and we were off. We landed in Chicago and made a mad dash through the huge airport to the appropriate terminal. Now, I was having a strange day with my bladder. My pregnancy hormones must have been a little crazy or something because I was having to use the bathroom every couple of hours. | I really wanted to stop in the airport to do so, but we had no time at all. When we got to our gate we were rushed on to the plane and soon took off. So I got to use the airplane bathroom, just like I had to do on the first flight. I wouldn't recommend it. Those things are so so tiny! You barely have room to stand. They are smaller than a normal bathroom stall for sure, but they have a tiny sink crammed in there as well. Anyway, we made the flight and landed in Miami rather late, especially considering we lost two hours. We took a shuttle to our hotel. It ended up being the wrong one. We had booked the hotel stays long before. One night right before the cruise, and one night right after. We went to the hotel that was booked for a week later. Oops. At this point we were very hungry, (not having eaten much since an early breakfast) and tired. We didn't want to try to find a way to the correct hotel. Luckily, they were able to switch our reservations around without problem. Let me tell you about the kind of hotel room you can get for $50 in Miami. I wish I had taken a picture. It was so yucky and poor quality. | The bed felt like it was going to collapse every time you sat on it. We wore our flip flops in the icky shower, the bathroom light only worked some of the time, the outlet in the bathroom didn't work at all, and if you hit the reset button on it, the bathroom light turned off. The walls and doors were very thin and we heard everything. Conversations in the hall, clattering dishes from the bar that was connected to the hotel, and our neighbors going about their nightly business. *ahem* We didn't stay there any longer than was necessary. Oh, an observation. For the first time in my life, I felt like a minority. Florida is much more diverse than Utah and Idaho. Kind of a strange difference. The next morning we got another shuttle over to the port. We went through all the big lines for the check in process then parked ourselves on the floor of the building since all their seats were filled. There we waited for quite some time before they started the boarding process. We eventually made it on board though, and were immediately ushered to the lido deck for lunch. We found a line and got in it and had what was there. But soon we discovered that lots of people had all sorts of foods that we hadn't seen. Where had it come from? What we didn't know immediately was that there was a huge ol' buffet cafeteria beyond some doors. So. Much. Food.

50: Here's Aaron after eating our first lunch there. The Miami port in the background. We did some exploring of the ship, which is a huge building. We eventually found our state room. It was tiny, but wonderfully refreshing after the hole we stayed in the night before. So clean and tidy. We weren't afraid of going around barefoot. The ship set sail around 4:00, so we made it a point to be on one of the top decks for this. In the pictures over the next few days you will see many of me that I am not fond of. It has a lot to do with my chubby face, the affect humidity has on my hair, and my overall hugeness. I look like I'm ready to pop when, in fact, I have 3 months to go. So I don't like them. Know that.

51: A view of South Beach, I believe, as we pulled out of port. | This isn't our ship, but one that looks identical. It followed us out of port then went it's own way. | And there's part of Miami. It's huge. Salt Lake is so tiny in comparison. | I don't really know what we did the rest of the day. Explored more, unpacked, went to some of the entertainment things maybe. Okay, so that's it for the first two days.

52: Thursday, May 27, 2010 The Cruise: Fun Day at Sea The next day was completely on the cruise ship. Every night, they give you an itinerary of the activities and things going on the next day. Using that we found some things to attend, usually what we liked to do were the triviathons or super trivias, or game show things. We ignored the learn to gamble, learn what wines go with what foods, and other such things. Still, we had lots of free time, since most of the entertainment was unappealing. We had planned on swimming in their little pools this day, but it turned out to be a rather blustery and stormy day. It made for some interesting walking on the rocking ship. What we discovered though, was deck three. There was a nice deck around the ship that was usually deserted. Most people who wanted to be outside went to the top decks, the lido deck, with the pool, the food, the bar, the loud music, the crowds and crowds of people. We found the other deck a great alternative. There was usually no one there, the ocean was closer and you could hear it splashing against the ship, instead of hearing only the live music played at full volume. It was relaxing. From here we saw many flying fish in skimming across the water. | The storm picked up. Very windy. | Eventually everyone was ordered inside because of the storm. | Hanging out on the third deck.

53: That night was the first of two elegant nights. You had to dress up to go into the dining room. Here we are all dressed up. This is just outside our state room and taken by the room service guy. Let me tell you about the dining experience. They had a late scheduled dining and an early dining. Or, like us, you were assigned to "your time dining." We could go whenever we wanted, but didn't have the same kind of importance, in my observation, as the scheduled diners. We didn't get a specific table every night, or the same waiter every night. Anyway, they take you to a table, pull out the chair for the woman and seat her, then they put napkins in your laps and hand you an open menu. The menu is different every night. First you order a starter or maybe even two. They are things like salads, soups, fruit, maybe pasta, etc. And you order your main course. Then they take forever bringing it out. You might find, if you have the your time dining slot, that the food seems like it's been under a heat lamp for awhile. They start with a starter. When you finish, they take the plates away, along with any silverware you used. They replace the silverware with your next course, whether it be another starter or the main course. Always new silverware. After you've finished your main course they bring the dessert menu. There were the staples, like ice cream, sherbet, and a cheese plate, but they had other options that changed every day. After ordering that and waiting another long time, you got your dessert. If you tried to skip out before dessert the waiters, (which were all very friendly) tried to stop you and persuade you to stay. Anyway, they had some fancy things that we got to try, but I didn't really like any of the desserts ever. I have a huge sweet tooth, but none of their desserts even warranted me finishing it. An hour and a half to two hours later, you left the dining room. Whew! So much time you have to schedule to eat. It sometimes got old.

54: Tuesday was our first stop. It was at Grand Cayman. Oh baby. We couldn't pull up to a dock, so we debarked onto passenger boats which took us to the island. We were wearing our bathing suits and were equipped with towels, water, and the water proof camera. Before leaving the cruise ship, we covered every square inch of our bodies that might be exposed to sun with sunscreen. The boat dropped us off at the Carnival area, which had some shops and stuff, but seemed very Americanized. Not as authentic as we were hoping for. But I guess since it's a big tourist place, it's not going to be as foreign as we were hoping for. Anyway, we waited with a group of strangers for our excursion to take off. Here we did what we now rate as the funnest of the excursions. The Ray Runner and Snorkel tour. When it was finally time to go, we hopped on a little bus with 5 other couples. Let me tell you, everywhere we went had some rather scary drivers. Oh, and apparently USA is unique in how much we DON'T use the horn. We made it to our destination safe and sound though. We were at a little inlet, or outlet, to the ocean. My husband would call it an estuary. There we were instructed to put all of our belongings that we didn't want to get wet inside some lockers. The lockers were a couple of old abandoned cars that no longer ran. But the tour guides had keys. From there we took only ourselves and the waterproof camera. The sunscreen remained in the backpack in the car. We were all given flippers and snorkel equipment and were instructed to get into little motorized air rafts. Aaron and I were alone in ours. Then instruction was given on how to operate them, and, after we were instructed to stay in the wake of the lead boat, due to my delicate pregnant condition, we were off. This is when we started taking pictures with the water proof camera. These pictures were those that we were most looking forward to seeing. We bought a waterproof digital camera for about $25. It seemed like it would work out to be cheaper than the disposable ones, and we could use it over and over. However. Upon arriving home I was messing around with it trying to upload some pictures. During this process I opened the battery compartment. Later we learned that opening the battery compartment erased all of the pictures we took on Grand Cayman. So mad. Anyway. The ride out to the stingray sandbar was actually pretty rough. We were going fairly fast against the waves and wind. Made for some significant bumping and jarring. So, while at first I was flippant about the concern I was getting for my pregnantness, I soon understood. I tried to adjust my position to one that would cushion my stomach as much as possible. | Friday, May 28, 2010 The Cruise: Grand Cayman

55: Then we swam with the stingrays. Well, we didn't actually swim. We were instructed to keep our feet on the ground at all times so we wouldn't step on a stingray. The water was about 3-4 feet deep, and so clear and pretty and warm. Here we fed a huge female stingray, (felt like a vacuum sucking the icky squid from my hand) then we all held it, kissed it, and got a stingray back rub from it. Kinda nervous-making at times, but fun. Oh, we have one picture of this. It was taken by the tour guides and costed us $20. Youch! And I look awful. So much for waterproof mascara. | After hanging out there we got back in the rafts and headed over to "Shark City" to snorkel. I'm not sure it that's what it's really called or just something the tour guide said to scare us. There were no sharks. This was our first snorkel experience and we are both fans. We were over some corral reef looking down at all the fishies. Sometimes they seemed close enough to reach out and grab. It was really cool. We took lots of pictures that we will never see. :( Soon we headed back to the bus. Here they took all of our money for tips and the picture. Nothing left to souvenir shop. We got back on the ship and showered and stuff. This is when we realized how badly we were sunburned. Let me tell you. So sunburned. I got it especially bad on my thighs and hips and right arm, (hand in particular) and Aaron got it the worst on his shoulders, back, and right arm, (hand in particular.) Thankfully we brought aloe gel, which we caked on our burns. But the rest of that day was kind of miserable. I don't think I've ever had a more painful sunburn. We watched the show they put on that night. It was juggling and then a comedian. Very entertaining. That night I did NOT sleep so great, thank-you sunburn.

56: See the big open front flap thing? That was our AC. It worked wonderfully. So, we drove through Belize city while getting a bit of history and info about it from the tour guide. What I didn't realize was that so the English spoken in these countries would have that Caribbean accent. We were in the Caribbean, so it makes sense, but I just thought that everyone's English would have the Spanish accent. It was fun to hear them all speak. I was also surprised at the diversity of nationalities. Once again, in my naivete, I expected pretty much all the natives to be Latin American. But no, there were tons of black people, some Asians and white people as well. Anyway. Our bus guide taught us a Creole phrase to remember. When we were asked where we went on our cruise, we were instructed to respond with, "Ah me been a Belize." I don't know if that's how they'd spell it, but that's how it sounded. | Thursday was Belize. Instead of meeting on shore somewhere, we met in the Ivanhoe theater on the ship and debarked with all the others in our excursion. Here we also were anchored way out from land and had to take a boat ride in. The ride was kind of long too. Once there our large group was broken into two groups. Half of us were put on another boat and the rest of us were taken to a "truck-bus". Which is exactly what it was. I felt very jungle safari-ish. | Wednesday, June 2, 2010 The Cruise: Belize

57: When we were out of the city we drove on some countryish highways, which was interesting. Such different vegetation. Then we turned off the highway onto a dirt road that took us into the jungle. | It had been raining a lot lately, so there was lots of big puddles and ruts that we plowed through. Then we got to our destination. A manicured park area. | From there they broke us up into even smaller groups and handed out these attractive headlamps. Then we walked through the steamy jungle.

58: We crossed another rope bridge, saw some cool plants. Saw a small pineapple patch. Then we got to the cave. There were bats. See that darkish spot? It's a bat. There were cave spiders. This beauty was very young and only about the size of my hand without my fingers. They get 5 times that big, I think he said. There were lots of stalactites and mites. I'm used to caves that are nice and cool, maybe even cold, even on hot summer days. This one was hot and stuffy. In some places we had to basically crawl, or crouch really low, or climb over big boulders. The route we took was a loop, so we ended up back where we started, then hiked back to the park area.

59: After that the other half of the group all showed up in some beat up 4 runners. The unloaded and we loaded up. Aaron and I had a vehicle to ourselves. Aaron drove. We went through the mud puddles and ruts and sloshed through the mud. It was fun. I'm glad I didn't have to drive it. Some people were getting stuck and having to be pulled out with chains and such.

60: We drove back to the highway and stopped at another park area where they fed us authentic food. Rice and beans made in coconut milk with some delicious chicken and some coleslaw. It was all really good. Then we were loaded into a boat and sped down a crocodile infested river out into the ocean. This was about a thirty minute ride and quite fun. | We got back to the dock just in time to get in line for the tender boats taking us back to the ship. I think we watched a movie out on the lido deck that night. They had a big movie screen outside and played movies every night. We watched, Love Happens. They even edited out all the swear words. And in case you were wondering, yes. We were still suffering with the sunburn pain. It lasted for a long time. In fact, we've only just recently stopped peeling from it. Wow. Long post.

61: What day are we on, Friday? The last day at a destination. Cozumel Mexico. We had breakfast delivered to our room that morning since we had an early excursion to catch. We lined up at the door to debark and waited for the doors to open. We were pulled into a dock here so we just walked onto shore. It was raining when we got of the ship, but it wasn't unpleasant. We immediately got on a large boat that held tons of people and had a 45 minute ride to Playa de Carmen. There we boarded a bus and listened to our very proud Mayan descendant tour guide tell us about anything that popped into his head. He talked a lot. It was very clear that he was extremely proud of his heritage, (which is great) and that he had no love for the Spaniards. Halfway to the ruins we stopped at a reststop/huge gift shop. We got some souveniers there. Then we got to Tulum. We walked a ways, then we came to the outer wall of the ancient city. Actually, it's not nearly as ancient as I thought it would be. It was buit in the 15th century. I think. We entered the city in a small entrance in the stone wall. There only room for people to enter single file. The wall was pretty deep too. In the city the tour guide took us off in the grass to talk some more. He got a little old. But then we were set free to explore the ruins at our leisure. | Thursday, June 3, 2010 The Cruise: Cozumel

62: The main temple was built on a seaside cliff. Quite the view. We climbed down to enjoy the beach a little. Here's one of the five tunnel entrances to the city. I can never remember what this building is called, but it's the one where they had the art. Do you see the face sculpted in the corner? See, here is an entrance. The Mayans were not large people. Oh. There were iguanas ALL OVER the place. Seriously. They were everywhere. It was fun to see them all just lounging about. The temple.

63: The art-type building again. There is the profile of the face on the corner of that building. There were a lot of these stony foundations. These were likely the houses that they lived in. They didn't have stone homes because it would be too hot, so they were likely made of wood or thatch or something This was really fun to see. Very hot, but neat nonetheless. | Here is how we rate our excursions on the fun scale. 1. Stingray and snorkle 2. Cave and jeep 3. Tulum 4. Monkeys and parrots Before hand I thought the rating would be much different. Like this: 1. Tulum 2. Stingray and snorkle 3. Monkeys and Parrots 4. Cave and jeep Silly me. All were fun, but some were especially fun.

64: Cake balls! I will get back to our vacation, but I had to celebrate here about winning a giveaway. My cousin is a very talented cake decorator and teaches classes and stuff. She hosted a cake ball giveaway on her blog, so of course I entered. I'd heard about how delicious these cake balls are and have wanted to try them. Now I can! Because I won! And no, I really don't think it had anything to do with being related. The stars just aligned in my favor or something. :) Go check out her blog and gallery. Did you see the adorable cake balls? I'm going to eat them.

65: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 The Cruise: Fun Day at Sea 2 Saturday was our last full day aboard the ship. We slept in, ate when we wanted, hung out on the peaceful third deck with our books, and tried to fit in as many trivia type games as we could. After dinner we headed to the Ivanhoe theater for Gender Showdown and then the Ultimate Gameshow or something. Gender Showdown was basically Battle of the Sexes. The first part of the game was the intellectual part. The host announced that the first ten men and ten women on the stage would be able to participate. Since Aaron and I are both far too proud and consider our selves beyond your average intelligence, we went up on stage. | This is how the game would go. A girl would be asked a guy question. She had to answer it by herself, and if she couldn't, the question would go to the guy team to answer together. If they got it wrong, the point would go to the girl team. Then the guys got a shot. Also, if it was your turn to answer a question by yourself and you got it right, you got a little cruise ship medal. Like you see us wearing below.... This is one of the knights all around the theater. Anyway, Aaron and I both got our questions right. Mine was ridiculously easy, but Aaron's was quite difficult. Girls won. That was fun to participate. Aaron tried to get on for the gameshow bit, but the competition to get on stage was much more fierce. We watched part of Julie and Julia on deck that night as well. And that pretty much was our last day.

66: Sunday morning we had to be out of our staterooms by 8:30, I believe. Our luggage all had to be out of the rooms for pickup the night before. We ordered a wake up call the night before to make sure we got out in time. That morning though, was noisy. The ship docked early that morning at the port in Miami and made for some loud engine sounds, extra wobbling that caused drawers to clang open. Plus, people were out in the halls all night long and into the morning. In the room that we had, it was pitch black when the lights were off. We had no window or outside light coming in. No alarm clock. Nothing. So it was impossible to guess what time it was based on light. I kept waking up all morning, waiting for the wake up call. Finally I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom so I could turn on a light without disturbing Aaron. It was still a half hour before we expected the call, but I decided since I wasn't sleeping anyway, I would dress and prepare for the day. Then I read. Then the time for the call came and went. Strange. So I woke up Aaron, we packed our remaining items, then headed off to breakfast. | Halfway through breakfast I looked at my watch again. This is when I learned that I had been reading it wrong all morning. It was an hour earlier than I thought it was. When I woke up at 7:30, it was actually 6:30. However, if you want to look at it differently, it was actually 4:30 AM MST. How lame. After breakfast we found some comfortable-ish seats on the fifth deck and read until we were allowed to debark. We got in line to get off the boat, then got in line at customs. There were probably ten lines for this. We choose the one that looked shortest. Soon we realized our line wasn't moving AT ALL. The customs guy that was supposed to be doing stuff for our line must have taken a smoking break or something. He finally came back and our line finally started moving again. Slowly. Very very slowly. Even though we were definitely not the last ones to reach the customs lines, it was becoming evident that we might be the last ones in those lines. It was so ridiculous. Our guy moved so so slow! He was trying to make small talk with everyone, which was making everyone else very upset. I do not joke when I say that every other line emptied out completely while ours was still mostly full. Of course the people in our line didn't stick around when the other lines were emptying. We finally made it up to the guy. I wasn't very polite with him when he made the comment of "You guys are almost my last in line." He was too jolly. I responded with, "Yeah, but we sure weren't the last ones to get in line!" I was grumpy. We stood in line for probably an hour. Anyway, we hailed a taxi, which took us to our hotel. We were still far too early to be able to check in, so we stowed our luggage, found a city bus, and rode it to Miami beach. Oh, this was my birthday. Happy 26th. We certainly enjoyed playing in the ocean. Before this trip, I had only experienced the Oregon and California coasts. Both were always cold and windy with freezing water. Boy oh boy was it different in Florida. The water was warm and turquoise and somewhat clear. The weather was definitely hot enough to swim. It was fun. I don't think the breakers and swells were as big and fun, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We got out just in time to get caught in a sudden rain storm. It made our dry clothes wet. We headed back to the hotel and showered and changed and stuff. Then, since we were starving, we headed across the street to a fun outdoor mall for some grub. But we were pretty wiped out, so instead of walking around much, we went back to the hotel to veg. It was far too hot. Here is the view from our little strange corner window. | Wednesday, June 9, 2010 The Cruise: The End

67: The next morning we shelled out more cash to catch a ride to the airport. When we went to check in we learned that the flight that we had paid for and had seats booked on didn't exist. But, no worries, they just put us on a different one that left about 45 minutes earlier. And because of the trouble, we didn't have to pay the $20 for each of our suitcases. The flights were long. I finished my book. We stopped in Dallas. That is a huge airport that you have to take a monorail thing around to get from terminal to terminal. Back in Salt Lake we met up with my cousin and his family and Morgan. They kindly met us at the airport, even though they live in Logan. We greatly appreciated that. The first thing Morgan said to me was, "what's your name?" I guess I'm not one to make much of an impression on people. Easily forgettable! We finally got home around 9:30. Before sending him off to bed, we unpacked some souveniers that we got for Morgan. The captains hat and the cruise boat. It mades a honking noise and has wheels. He likes them. The pictures aren't great though. There! Now I am completely done with the cruise! Whew!

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