Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter in Pictures

Hope y’all had a wonderful Easter holiday last Sunday. We sure did. It was a full day for us - Easter Bunny gifts, worship service at church, lunch with the Tool Man’s family, and supper at my parents’ house. Whew! It was just about as busy as Christmas! I took tons of pictures. This may be my longest post ever, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Aren’t we gorgeous? It seems that Easter is the only time that we take the time for a family photo.

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The Easter Bunny brought Ty a Nano Bug, Cupbonk, Play-Dough, and a chocolate bunny.

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Lucy got some doll clothes, Play-Dough, a sticker book, and a Zhu-Zhu Pet. I love the way she sat in Ty’s lap and let him help her open her gifts.

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She has really enjoyed the Play-Dough. It keeps her entertained for hours. She’s learned how to make balls and “pancakes” and she loves to show them off.

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Lunch at Pappaw’s and Grammie’s house

Getting down to business – after finding the first egg, Lucy sat down to eat some candy!

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A man on a mission. Ty looks so serious here and grown up. He was getting a little frustrated, because he kept getting told that the eggs he was finding were the “easy” ones intended for the babies to find. He didn’t want to actually have to hunt for his eggs.

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Gum! Lucy is always trying to sneak a piece of gum. Unfortunately, she swallows it, so I can’t let her chew it just yet.

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Both sets of grandparents have a nest of baby bluebirds at their houses. Lucy loves to peep at the babies. She’s always talking about the “bay-bee-buds” and their toes. I need to video her talking about them, because she is so darn cute when she says that.

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Now at Papa and Sandy’s house

Both my children are oblivious…

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Sandy had hidden some money in the eggs. Here’s Lucy showing me the change she found.

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And here’s Ty after just dropping both of his quarters through the cracks in the deck.Sad smile

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This ain’t no Easter bunny! Enough with the snakes already!

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As if candy and money weren’t enough, the monkeys got gifts too! Who are you people, and what did you do with my parents?

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Egg hunting is hard work. Time for a dip in the pool.

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That’s all folks!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Whenever I open the egg boxes these days I’m always greeted with a handful of the most gorgeous, colorful eggs. Teal and pink and sage and taupe. I love the beautiful eggs that my Easter Egger hens are known for.

Easter Sunday, the Tool Man and Ty headed out to gather eggs and found something they weren’t bargaining for.


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A chicken snake, six feet long! The Tool Man, the strong, masculine thing that he is, took off squealing like a pig.

Once he collected himself (and changed his britches) he “eradicated” the problem.

The snake had gotten a couple of eggs, but he also got one of the golf balls we had in the boxes. We had actually placed the golf balls there just for this purpose. In case he’d have gotten away without us finding him, he wouldn’t have made it long with a golf ball in his belly.

Here, Ty is gracious enough to show us exactly how far the golf ball had made it through the snake’s body.

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Don’t worry. This snake was completely dead. You can tell by the way his head is hanging by a thread there.

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Needless to say I didn’t check for eggs Monday.

P.S. We got our golf ball back.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

O.K. Here it is. The last chapter in The Tale of Two Cruisers.

Back in New Orleans.

Carnival has two different ways to kick you off the boat.

1. Self-assist. You carry your own luggage off. They’ll call you by decks to leave the ship starting at 7:00 in the morning.

2. Traditional. You leave your luggage outside your room the night before. They’ll unload it and have it waiting for you on land when you leave the ship the next morning.

We prefer the self-assist method. So much faster and easier – that is, if you can tote all your luggage yourself. Which we could because we planned for this.

So we were up early, ready to leave and had time for one last meal on board. We went light this morning, because we were planning to visit Café Dumonde for beignets before leaving the city.

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Of course we took our breakfast out on our balcony while watching Ol’ Man River run by.

For the Tool Man this was a bitter sweet moment, as you can plainly see by the look on his face.

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Don’t you worry. I’m completely dressed here. I was just freezing cold. Hey, after a week in the Caribbean, 60 degrees and breezy was cold to me.

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The End. Island with a palm tree

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cruise–Day 5

Our last day on the ship was a sea day.  One last chance to soak up the sun and catch some R & R.

And eat.

So how was the food on board?

In a word…Plentiful!

But seriously.  It was great.

Let’s start with breakfast.  Sweet, fresh fruit.  Pancakes, waffles, toast, muffins, etc. (Although, I don’t recall seeing any biscuits.)  Eggs cooked every which-a-way.  Bacon, ham, and assorted sausages prepared all fancy-like with peppers and onions.  Potatoes, cooked differently every morning.  And last but not least, a glorious assortment of pastries.  Oh, I almost forgot.  Omelets.  Our favorite!

The lunch buffet had a different theme each day.  Italian, American, Caribbean, Cajun, Mexican.  Yummy!

Of course if that didn’t suit your fancy you could always stop by the grill for a burger or hot dog.  Or grab a sandwich at the New York style deli.  Or you could order Chinese food at the Asian counter. Or you could grab a slice of pizza at the 24 hour pizzeria.  Not to mention the 24 hour self-serve, soft-serve ice cream and yogurt.  You get the picture.  Food everywhere, all the time.

Dinner time.  I told you earlier that the Tool Man and I absolutely love going to the dining room for dinner.  Why?  Because the service is phenomenal, the food is terrific, and the entertainment is a blast.  Wanna know what we had for dinner this week?  Sweet & Sour Shrimp, Prime Rib (the BEST!!!), BBQ Ribs, Rosemary Chicken, Veal Parmesan, Chateaubriand, and Filet Mignon just to name a few entrees.  I’m amazed that they didn’t have to wheel us off the ship on furniture dollies!

There are two dining rooms on the Triumph.  We were seated in the Paris Dining Room at the late seating – 8:15.

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Here are our waiters dancing during “show time.”

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And here are our table and our dinner partners.  They were a really nice couple from Baton Rouge.

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The piece de resistance…

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On a ship long, long ago (10 years, in fact) I once ate a grand total of 7 desserts in one day!

And I loved every single bite.

Don’t judge me.

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Here’s the Tool Man with the best dessert of the week.  Warm Chocolate Melting Cake – a ramekin filled with rich, molten chocolate served with a side of vanilla ice cream.  Mmmmmm.

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If you ever go on a seven-day Carnival cruise you simply must, must, must get their chocolate bread pudding.  Oh, Mama Mia!  The most wonderful taste you’ll ever put in your face!  But alas, they didn’t offer it on the five-day cruise…

Of course we had to have cappuccino after dinner every night to help wash down those desserts.

Yes, you have to drink cappuccino just like this with your little pinkie sticking out.

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One last walk around the ship for some photos.

This picture was taken up on the deck with the walking track.  Believe or not, the Tool Man and I walked 2 miles every day.

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Up one more deck to the iconic Carnival funnel.  I’m the little speck there in front.

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The putt-putt golf course.  I won’t say who won our game.  This course was one of those things that made me wish Ty had been with us.  He loves some putt-putt.

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The Tool Man found it extremely hilarious that I had some trouble finding my way around the ship.  I wasn’t that mixed up. I knew where things were, but I just kept getting the front and the back confused.  Of course if your front and your back are mixed up, then your left and your right are mixed up.  And that means you’re pretty much completely mixed up.

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The view from the top.  Rocking boats and waves don’t have any effect on me, but this – looking over the rail from 8 floors up – I get dizzy just thinking about it.  You see that tiny black spot on the floor there.  That’s a grand piano for crying out loud!

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My last boyfriend – Dumbo.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my little cruise documentary, and that it hasn’t been terribly boring to you.  I can’t help but worry that it’s kind of like having to watch someone else’s home videos.  They get a kick out of showing them to you, but you can’t wait until it’s over.

Well, it ain’t over just yet.  I’ve got a few more pictures to show you tomorrow.  Then I’ll be done with the cruise and back to other things – like monkeys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cruise–Day 4

The Best Day!

Why?  Because of the port and the excursion that we chose.

First of all the port.


This is our 3rd or 4th time to visit Cozumel (I’m losing count).  It is soooooooo much nicer than Progresso.  The ships are able to dock closer to the land here, and the town is a lot more tourist friendly.  Also, the sea seems to be a lot prettier here.  I’m talking a whole new level of “blueness.”

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There were a total of four ships docked in Cozumel this day.  Two Carnival vessels, one Celebrity ship, and one from the Royal Caribbean fleet.  I’m curious about those Royal Caribbean ships.  They look super nice.  And BIG.  I think I might need to get a closer look one of these days…….

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If you’ve eaten too much on board and can’t make the short walk to shore you, can hitch a ride in one of these Fred-Flintstone-like-mobiles and have someone peddle you to town.

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A cruise ship sandwich!

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The Tool Man forgot to bring a hat on this trip so he bought this lovely, expensive model in Progresso.  A whopping $4.  Duty free!

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O.K. Now for the really fun stuff…

The crème-de-la-crème of the whole vacation…

Drumroll, please.


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Yes!  Not only did we get to swim with dolphins, we got ride them!

How cool is that?

The facility we went to was called Dolphinaris.  It was a very neat and clean place and very well organized.  They even take pictures for you since cameras and swimming pools don’t really mix.  However, since they know you are gonna  want to have the pictures, they charge an arm and a leg for them.  Yikes!  So y’all better really enjoy these pictures.

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The facility had 3 large pools with several groups of swimmers in each pool.  Each group of swimmers had a couple of dolphins working with them.  We had two female dolphins with our group.  One of them was named Troya, but I can’t remember the other one.  They were both about 7 years old which is young for dolphins since they can live at least 50 years.  The group across the pool from us had a large male dolphin that weighed 800 lbs.  He made our girls look tiny.

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After a life jacket fitting and a quick briefing from our trainer, we were off to the pool.  COLD!  Eighty degree water is a lot cooler than eighty degree air.

Here’s our group in the water.  We were actually working with the two dolphins in the pool on the left side of this picture.  We were giving them the signal to twirl in the water.  The Tool Man and I are last two in line on the right side of this picture.

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Have you ever touched a dolphin?  This was the first time for me, and I have to say they felt exactly like I imagined they would – smooth and rubbery.  Our trainer told us that dolphins shed their skin every two hours.

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It was so much fun interacting with these creatures.  The dolphins seemed to be so full of emotion and very affectionate.  Maybe that’s just part of being a mammal.  They are really smart too.  It’s amazing how many commands and hand signals they know.  They did whatever the trainers asked of them.  They sort of reminded me of dogs.  I guess you could say they’re kind of like fish-dogs!

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I’ve been making so many “boyfriends” on this trip, the Tool Man finally got jealous and found him a girl…

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See our hands on the necks of our life jackets?  That’s the signal for “kiss.”

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It’s amazing to watch these animals hurl themselves out of the water 10 or 15 feet into the air.  Wow!

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We didn’t get any pictures of us riding the dolphins, but it was so cool.  I was the first in our group to ride.  Eek!  The trainer sent us out one at a time to the far side of the pool.  When he gave the signal to the dolphin, she would swim down to us, around behind us, and as she would come around on our other side, we would reach out and grab her flippers so she could pull us back to the group.  Hold on tight ‘cause those girls can move!  The trainer actually had them race across the pool once, and boy, could they swim fast.  I think he told us that they can swim approximately 25 miles per hour.

After all that swimming we worked up an appetite.  This excursion included a Mexican lunch served at the poolside restaurant.  The Tool Man finally got his Diet Coke!  (Actually, in Mexico, it’s Coca-Cola Light.)

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With his belly full, the Tool Man took some video of the dolphins swimming in the pools.  Come to find out, he had forgotten to push “Record,” so he had to do it all over again.

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Another sunset on the high seas.  This is what we absolutely love about having a room on the back of the ship.  Look at the trail the ship leaves behind in the water.  Oh, how I love cruising!  I’ve already been searching online for another cruise to take, and I’ve got my eye on one.  I will not wait another 4 years before I go again!!!  After my honeymoon, my best friend gave me a “Cruise Fund” jar, and I’m working on filling it up.

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We just love coming back to our stateroom after dinner to find the sheets turned down, chocolate mints on our pillows, and a mystery creature on our bed.  You think I could train my monkeys to do this for me at home?

I would have said this guy was a swan, but he’s got arms.

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Got to get my kiss!

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