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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Help! We're bored!

Alright, I know I've written about this topic in the past, but it seems history keeps repeating itself. Maybe it's because I've been so wrapped up in getting my scrapbook business up and running which in turn is making me so exhausted I'm falling asleep watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or that I'm actually tired of the repetition of our daily occurrences. Either way, I think Little Man A is bored. And frankly, I know I am.

If it weren't for our current economic situation, I would seriously consider putting Little Man A in a local daycare within walking distance once or twice weekly just to give him some outside stimulation. I've even resorted to making sure I have the vehicle once or twice a week so we can get some outside interactions (okay, so I can also accomplish some errands - plus Little Man LOVES seeing the train that daddy takes to work everyday!). Granted it's easier when the weather is nice and we can just walk to the playground and play for 45 minutes to an hour, but even that can get tedious at times. The only thing I know that will keep his attention is to sit down and watch tv, but I don't really want my child turning into a "couch potato" and to be honest I think he gets tired of it as well after the first 30 minutes.

Then on top of everything, Little Man A has been waking up at the butt crack of dawn (and sometimes prior). I seriously think it may be due to the amount of light coming in through his curtains in the morning. I doesn't matter what time we put him to bed the night before or how active he was prior to winding down for the night, he still wakes up around 6:00 AM. This also doesn't help the fact that he's trying to skip his morning nap. So by the time lunch time rolls around, he's falling asleep in his cheese and crackers.

So, I'm posting today in desperate need for suggestions for activities for my child and I. I've tried the Toddler Time activity books and it seems as though those adventures only last 5-10 minutes max. I even tried bowling with empty water bottles and a small soccer ball, but he wanted to body-knock them down instead. I guess he's still too young for that. I'm sure it's just the age of Little Man A, but I'm at my wits end ....... again.

Please help. Little Man A will greatly appreciate it!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A new tradition

As a family, we have very few things that we would actually call a "tradition". Obviously, we have the basic holidays but small events that we do together either weekly or monthly... not so much. Don't get me wrong, we have a schedule to abide to, but that's different. Trust me though that schedule definitely helps me get through the day sometimes.

So last weekend, we were thinking of different things to do. Saturday was a no brainer since it was beautiful weather we were outside most of the day. Sunday however, it was rainy and cold. We still had our plans of what we would like to do with our front yard plantings on our minds when I mentioned IKEA. I thought we could check there to see if they had something small, like a bistro set to place under our large tree in the midst of our new flower garden.

I also knew IKEA had a small cafe and thought that would be a perfect place to sit and have a mid-morning snack with Little A. Apparently, there are lots of other people with the same idea. So we ordered two small breakfast plates with eggs, home fries/hash browns, and bacon. Little A loved the eggs and potatoes! It was nice to sit and relax with Little A. There was enough people around in the cafe to keep him distracted while we finished our plates and tea/coffee.

The best part - it was cheap! Compared to IHOP or Denny's where you would normally pay close to $10 for two plates, coffee, tea, juice, and milk, we only paid $3.95! Yesterday we went back, this time I made sure to bring juice for Little A and I ordered just tea. Total = $2.08! I think we may have to order a third plate though just for Little A because he ate all of mine. With the rising prices of gasoline (granted I know it cost us to drive there), I can definitely deal with that. An added bonus, we get to shop afterwards. I found some great table runners with the perfect colors that I have been looking for to turn into pillows for our living room.

I think this is definitely a tradition that we may keep.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dancin A!

Okay, I hate double postings, but this bares repeating. Here's a video of A dancing tonight... and boy was he groovin!

Gettin his groove on

Things around here have been a little hectic lately, hence the lack of posting. I haven't even had the time to read any blogs this week so far either. I've been busy keeping Little A entertained (especially during the rainy days), catching up on my scrapbooking (I still have 4 more months in Little A's First Year), starting two new scrapbooks for clients (Thanks, Kiki!), and hubby's back problem has flared again (no, it was not due to gratuitous sex). Needless to say, I've had to re-evaluate my priorities and unfortunately my blog is and will continue to take a back burner. I think this classifies as a "searching for even balance" moment.

However, before I begin to slow down on the amount of postings, I would love to share with you a recent video. It's self explanatory. Little A is just too cute for words. Enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

If only we were loved all the time

Cookies. Apparently, cookies are the way to a child's heart. If you don't believe me, hear it for yourself.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Creating a Masterpiece

I received this from a friend that I worked with at the San Antonio Zoo. I remember the keepers letting the elephants "paint", but it didn't turn out anything like this!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is he not the cutest??

Last Thursday was absolutely beautiful weather here. So much so we broke out the shorts and t-shirts and of course, the sandals! It still amazes me on a daily basis how much Little Man has grown, how fast he catches on to something, and how many "words" he is saying. And he's only 16 months old. I just thought these were too cute not to share. Enjoy!

For those of you who are trying to figure out what his t-shirt says"

"Houston.... We have a problem!
Check diaper system!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy 100 Posts!

I know I said that this was going to be posted on Friday, but we had a hell of a day .... a very long story that may be posted later, but probably not. Without much further ado, here are 100 Things You Likely Never Wanted to Know About Me in celebration of 100 postings on my blog! Enjoy!

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now?
Well, I don't personally have a vehicle. Hubby has the truck, and in that is a booster seat, an extra diaper bag just in case we forget the main one, and lots of small toys (they should probably come out since Little Man doesn't bother with them any more - too busy watching traffic).

2. When was the last time you threw up?
Unfortunately, I do remember this. When I had way too many drinks at a friend's house when we were playing Presidents and Assholes (the President at that time was more of a dick-tator, if you know what I mean).

3. What's your favorite curse word?
Fuck... I can say that here, right?

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today?
Little Man A and hubby and the post lady - she delivered a package for me (more business cards and brochures!)

5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Playing with Little Man A.

7. What will you be doing 3 hours from now?
That depends... on how long Little Man A takes a nap.

8. Have you ever been to a strip club?
Unfortunately, yes.

9. What is the last thing you said aloud?
Take a good nap, Boo. Mommy loves you.

10. What is the best ice cream flavor?
Mint Tingaling

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Water with a lemon wedge

12. What are you wearing right now?
Jeans, t-shirt and a sweatshirt

13. What was the last thing you ate?
Strawberry yogurt, Wheat Thins, and a goldfish (courtesy of Little Man)

14. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
No. The last time I bought clothing was before I went on my cruise... two new blouses.

15. When was the last time you ran?
Run? Does running after a 15 month old count?

16. What's the last sporting event you watched?
Super Bowl

18. Who is the last person you emailed?
My mom.

19. Ever go camping?
Yes, but it was a very long time ago.

20. Do you have a tan?
I wouldn't consider it a tan, but compared to my extremely fair complexion child.

24. Do you drink your soda from a straw?
I don't drink soda.

25. What did your last IM say?
I don't IM.

26. Are you someone's best friend?
I'd like to think so.

27. What are you doing tomorrow?
Trying to keep Little Man occupied yet another day.

28. Where is your mom right now?
San Diego, CA

29. Look to your left, what do you see?
A one-star flag signifying the I had someone serve overseas in a time of war and bookshelves.

30. What color is your watch?
I don't wear a watch, but I do have a Goofy watch where the hands go backwards. Really messed with me.

31. What do you think of when you think of Australia?
Kangaroos, Steve Irwin, koalas.

32. Would you consider plastic surgery?
I thought about it, but I don't have the money for it.

33. What is your birthstone?

34. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Last time I went to a fast food place we went in, but that was because we have Little Man and it was dinner time.

35.How many kids do you want?
Want? Not sure how to answer that.

36. Do you have a dog?
Yes, a cocker spaniel named Maggie.

37. Last person you talked to on the phone?
Hubby at work.

38. Have you met anyone famous?
Mickey Mouse.

39. Any plans today?
I don't make plans anymore. I just go with the flow.

40. How many states have you lived in?
Let's see... NY, does college count? OH if it does. TX, PA, MN, and VA.

41. Ever go to college?
Oui, oui.

42. Where are you right now?
Downstairs family room.

43. Biggest annoyance in your life right now?
Trying to deal with a tantrum throwing 16 month old, while trying to not have one myself-although today we are having a good day.

44. Last song listened to?
"Surf's Up" soundtrack- Little Man likes the surfing music!

46. Are you allergic to anything?
ragweed and sulfa

47. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Sketchers sneakers, but I'm thinking they need to retire for some new ones.

48. Are you jealous of anyone?
Probably, but I couldn't tell who right now.

50. Is anyone jealous of you?
I have no idea.

51. What time is it?

52. Do any of your friends have children?

53. Do you eat healthy?
I'd like to think so, but probably not as healthy as I should.

54. What do you usually do during the day?
Take care of Little Man, blog, scrapbook, check my email, manage our checking account, get dinner ready, entertain Little Man some more, clean the house... is that enough??

55. Do you hate anyone right now?
Not that I know of.

56. Do you use the word 'hello' daily?
Yes, when I answer the phone and when Little Man pretends that he's talking on the phone as well.

57.What are your feelings on chocolate?

58. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?

59. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Yes, several of them.

60. How did you get one of your scars?
Just one? Well, the one that I touch every day is on my right middle finger where I smooshed my finger in between two 4 inch steel rods for a rhinoceros enclosure at the San Antonio Zoo. That hurt.

61. Where would you like to live?
Hawaii first, San Antonio second.

62. What's your favorite color?

63. What's your favorite animal?
Does it have to be just one? Bald eagle, Humpback whale, Black Rhinoceros, Sumatran Tiger, horses....

64. What color socks do you wear?
white... I'm boring.

65. Who do you talk to on a daily basis?
Hubby, Little Man A.

66. When was the last time you did the laundry?

67. What book are you currently reading?
Just finished 4th of July by James Patterson, plan to start Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

68. What was the cheapest you've ever paid for gasoline?
I remember paying 94 cents during college.

69. What's the most you've paid for a haircut?
Including a color? $145 (what was I thinking?? That he is a damn good hair dresser!)

70. I'm running out of ideas... so how's just 70 for right now?

Here's to another 100 entries. Don't worry, I won't do a top 200 list when I hit that number! I'm sure the next list will be when I hit the one year anniversary mark.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wasted time...

Not like I had anything better to do, but I found this neat link from Trenches in Mommyhood. Just click on the link and see how fast you can type. Not bad for a Stay-at-home mom, I think.

55 words


Just wanted to let you know that since I am getting started with my new business, Little Man A has recently dropped to 1 nap in the afternoon (sometimes stretching 3 hours, but others only 1-1/2 hours), I will be cutting back on my entries. However, stay tuned for Friday's posting. My blog is turning 100!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Back in the saddle again!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a new layout - although if I want to submit this to Creating Keepsakes it should not be posted anywhere online, including a blog - oh well! Anyways, this obviously has sat on my desk since before we went on our cruise. I've hemmed and hawed over it for the past couple weeks and finally decided to finish it last night.

I know this looks like a simple project, but this one really kicked my butt. I had a few inspiration pieces that I was working off of, but nothing I had seemed to be working. I'm actually really pleased with the way it turned out, especially the left page. And I'm especially excited about the monogram "A" which is from a new Cricut diecut cartridge I purchased this week.

Let me know what you think!


P.S. For those of you who may notice, the date is wrong - it's actually August to September 2008.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hello? Who are you??

So, I'm sure everyone has noticed by now that I have a ticker on the side tool bar from FEEDJIT. I'm amazed everyday at the different places I see from where people have stopped by to check on my blog.

I'm curious? How'd you find me "Knoxville, Tennessee"? Or you from Kent, Washington and of course, my all time favorite (although this may have been a one time deal from last week's entries) Aruba??

Please tell. I'd really like to know and hear from you. And better yet, tell me if you have a blog - I'd love to check it out!


Monday, April 7, 2008

Home is...

Thought you mom's out there, either it be of children or even animals, would appreciate this little story. Happy Monday!

by Barb Vogelgesang, Area Coordinator of MOPS

I was traveling recently and found myself stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. This unexpected curve allowed me to spend some time people watching. The waiting area at the gate was crowded with stranded passengers. I noticed a young mom with two children pushing a carriage while she struggled to pull along their carry-on bag. She stopped and scoped out the available spaces and moved to two chairs near the ticket agent counter. It was interesting to watch her set up camp.

She blocked off the two chairs with the bag and the carriage creating a safe play area for her toddler. A blanket was put down with some toys and the little guy sat down happily at his mom’s feet. Every once in awhile he would stand up to check on his baby brother sleeping in the carriage and pat his mom’s leg. His mom’s desire and ability to create a temporary home for him made him content. When the ticket agent announced that our flight was canceled the mom left the safe corral to get on line. She built her “home” close enough to the ticket counter that she was able to keep one hand on the carriage at all times. As long as her little guy could see mom’s hand he was just fine.

It’s amazing how as moms we can establish a cozy dwelling place and the security this gives our children. A carriage, a suitcase, two chairs, and a blanket in a crowded airport and a little two year old played happily while his infant brother slept, all because mom was near. I’ve heard the saying home is where the heart is, but the reality for a young child is home is wherever mom is.

P.S. Hope everyone enjoyed my recapturing of our cruise. I know I enjoyed sharing it with everyone. Not to mention, I'll be able to include it in my scrapbook for later.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 7: Last day is at sea

After yesterday's events in Aruba, today is pure bliss. Our day started at 7:45am when we were awoken by the spa reminding us of our appointment -"Thank you very much - we are on our way!" We had the opportunity (more like money) to be able to get a "Pick Three" treatment earlier in the week (I got a mini-facial, foot & ankle massage, and a Frangipani hair treatment & scalp massage; hubby got the foot & ankle massage, hair treatment & scalp massage, and a hand treatment. We were limited on what treatments we could pick, but for $50 lasting 50 minutes, it was nice) and that set the tone.

We picked a hot-stone treatment which is very good for deep tissue muscle relaxation. Although I was a little uncomfortable at first about being completely naked under a thin drape, I was actually more concerned about not peeing because I was so relaxed. And after 75 minutes of pure bliss, I had to go pee so bad! But I was thoroughly relaxed! I would so pay the money to do that again (note to self: It's cheaper to do it while we are docked rather than at sea).

We went to breakfast - I finally had some waffles (although they applied way too much syrup for my taste)! Then? We went back to bed. This was quite easy considering we were still lathered with lavender and chamomile oils from the massage.

Our friends were finally dismissed from quarantine and we met them at the Art Auction. We didn't really plan on buying anything. It's just something the rich do... oh, and the free champagne they were handing out!

While we were waiting for the art auction to get underway, right next door they were having a wine and food tasting seminar. We decided to join the fun and see what wines go with what foods. Although there are no true rules of which wine goes with which food, it's more an answer of personal taste, but we did get some great hints.

We went back to the art auction, even more giddy than when we left, had a few more glasses of champagne (8 rounds of Grande Spumante....9 rounds of Grands Spumante... to the tune of "10 Rounds of Jose Quervo"). We almost bid on a few pictures by Andrew Bone, a reknowned artist who depicts African wildlife so beautifully. It was a pretty good deal for two paintings, but we obviously don't have the money (especially with the way the market is dreadfully declining).

For the rest of the evening prior to dinner, we shopped at the onboard stores (actually we didn't buy anything - turned out the rum fudge didn't have any liquor in it and the coconut patties I could get at the commissary for half the price), packed our bags to be picked up later in the evening, and take any last minute pics of the ship.

When we arrived at dinner, we exchanged email addresses with our new found friends, gave them my business card actually so I could create a baby book or a reunion album and talked about our weeks events. I had totally forgotten about telling Celebrity that hubby and I were celebrating our anniversary (actually it was in January, but they don't need to know that. We were actually invited to a party that we missed with more champagne and delicious cake - or so we were told by our friends who were actually celebrating their anniversary that week) and we were "surprised" with an anniversary cake for dessert (in addition to the other dessert we had ordered of course).

After dinner we celebrated our last day of the cruise with our friends and a bottle of champagne that they won at the anniversary gathering that we missed. They won it because they were the couple that had been married the shortest amount of years.... 7 years. If we had gone to the gathering, we would have won it with 5 years. So of course, they shared it with us. It was cheap sparkling wine I'm sure, but it was a nice way to end the evening.

Would we do it again? Absolutely! In fact, our friends are planning another cruise in October to the Mediterranean (we don't have the money to go on that one!). When we go on our next one, we'll be sure to invite them again. We had such a blast sharing our adventures with them and we can't wait to do it again!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program....

Last month, Wenderina posted an entry with some intriguing questions regarding your personality. I decided to tag along, although the answers are not mind-blowing at all and I'm late posting them (Sorry, Wenderina!) but here are my answers to the questions:

What historical figure do you most identify with and why?
I'm not a history buff so I'll have to pass on this one.

Which word or phrase do you think is overused right now?
I'm a little out of the loop on current events to really know the answer to this question. I'm sure there are tons that are still being used that are past their expiration date.

How would you explain your profession to a child?
Obviously, my current profession as a stay-at-home-mom is nurturing our future to be the best that they can be. As a vet technician it was helping family pets feel better and stay healthy. As a zoo keeper, preserving the animals for our future generations.

What did you have to learn the hard way?
I have to completely take this one from Wenderina.... Patience. And I too am still learning this everyday. Especially with a child.

What do you sing or hum when you're alone?
More than likely it's a child's song like "Elmo's Song", "Momma don't you tickle my toes", and "We are the Dinosaurs".

What talent would you most like to have?
The only thing I can think of I'm not sure it's actually a talent, more of a skill. I would love to have the ability and knowledge of training horses dressage and be able to compete with them in a national level.

What movie character would you like to portray and why?
I'm totally stumped on this one... sorry. Not sure I watch movies enough apparently.

Is there a book that changed your perspective on life?
One More Day by Mitch Album. I've really tried lately, especially now that I have this little being playing monkey-see, monkey-do everyday, watching what I say and how I say things. I don't want to take things, especially people, for granted.

What's the best reward for a job well done?
A sincere thank you with a smile. Or a little kiss from my 15 month old does it every time.

What is your personal motto?
When I was working in the zoo field is was "It's just a job... It doesn't define me... It's not who I am." Now, as a SAHM I think I can rephrase that: "This is a job, it defines who my son will be, this is who I am."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day 6: Aruba baby!

Our last stop on our adventurous cruise and boy were we tired. And we still had one more excursion on Aruba (thank goodness I already booked a hot-stone massage for tomorrow while we were at sea!)

Smallest and most westerly of the ABC group of the Netherland Antilles, Aruba is just 19 miles long and only 6 miles wide. On one side of the island, the constant oceanic rage is so violent at times, so unsettling in its effect, and so eerie in its mood that one can forget how calm and quiet the opposite side of the island can be with its pristine white sand beaches. Some natives can speak as many as 5 languages: Papiamento, their own unique language, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English! On a calm, quiet day, Venezuela can be seen from the southern most coast of Aruba.

The off road Jeep adventure tour began at 8am when we met our group and tour guide outside the terminal to be taken to the company's main building. We waited around another 30 minutes or so before they finally got everyone checked in (signed a waiver saying you were physically fit to join the adventure) and away we went. When we picked this excursion, it was mainly because it was an all day tour, we could see the entire island, there were places to snorkel along the way, we were fed lunch, and there were a maximum of four people per vehicle. When we set off, there were a total of 8-10 people per vehicle and we were sitting sideways in the back. Not fun for those bumping roads (unless of course you are in the military like hubby and are totally used to it from his days in Iraq!).

It started off as a cloudy day with occasional sprinkles in the morning, but the sun slowly came out closer to mid-day. Our first stop, California Point where a lighthouse named after the U.S. ship California sunk just off the coast 2 years prior to its construction in 1910. Perched on a high seaside elevation, the lighthouse has become one of Aruba's scenic trademarks and offers a picture perfect view of the island's western coastline of sandy beaches, rolling sand dunes and rocky coral shorelines.

We proceeded along the north coast line until we started seeing small piles of rocks and small stacks of coral. These were obviously placed here by other people, some more obvious and elaborate than others (there was one pile that included shoes and sponges and sticks). Our tour guide told us that visitors come here, as well as other locations on the island, stack a few rocks together, and make a wish. If we would like to do the same, he gave us 10 minutes to find the perfect spot. One person even thought about putting her business card under the stacks to bring her company good luck (wish I had thought of that with my new business). Turns out, one girls dream came true and her boyfriend proposed to her while she was making her own stack of rocks and coral.

Our next stop was to the Chapel of Our Lady of Alto Vista. Built in 1750 and currently holds masses every Tuesday, the chapel is again another stop with a breathtaking view of Aruba. Although I do have to confess, I didn't quite like the terrain of Aruba. When I think of Aruba, I think of someplace exotic with palm trees and beautiful beaches - apparently this is only on the south side of the island. Every where else is desert like vegetation again (similar to Bonaire). But Aruba - didn't remind me of Texas. Hubby said this is where he wanted to retire previous to visiting the island. I? Don't think so.

Aruba is an island created by coral, as are most islands in the Caribbean. The ocean current on the northern side of the island can be so ferocious that it has created "Natural bridges". The largest of several bridges collapsed in the middle of the night on September 2, 2005. However, another one has already started to form. On the day that we visited Aruba, the currents were so strong on the northern coast (although the tides were pretty choppy on the southern side as well) that we were unable to go snorkel in either of the two locations we were originally scheduled.

Our last stop before lunch was an Ostrich farm. Seriously?? I had worked with these beasts while at San Antonio Zoo, so I really had no interest in them, along with their Emus and Cassawaries. Obviously, they were more of a food staple than an attraction on the island. We did have a nice lunch at their restaurant (yes, it looked to be fully cooked chicken and ribs, not ostrich) before heading back out. Oh, and by the way. Something I've forgotten to mention. A majority of the islands we visited, you can't flush the toilet paper.... and sometimes you have to pay to use them! Something again hubby was used to from Iraq where I had never experienced.

The last leg of our journey for the day included two stops at natural caves. Unfortunately, the first one happened to be closed already (Hello? If our tour guide lives on the island, you would think that he knew what time attractions and sites closed!) and the second one was not a site to be hold, especially compared to some other caves, like the Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas. We were able to see some of the native bats in the cave which of course scared the daylight out of some people (hehe... get it? daylight??).

Before heading back to the company's headquarters where they shuttled us back to the pier, we stopped at the infamous "Baby beach" on the south eastern tip of the island) Yeah, I wasn't too impressed. It was so overcrowded, the sand really wasn't that "white", and the waves were choppy, we decided to find a calm shallow area to just soak our feet... and find some local crabs to watch... and contemplate on where we would live when we retire (I'm going for Barbados!)

A very long day in Aruba and we were dirty from the dust kicked up by the vehicle, my hair was in knots from being blown around all day, tired because we were bounced around so much, and thirsty (thank goodness Celebrity had that taken care of prior to us reboarding the ship!). Although I really shouldn't complain, I honestly did get to see the .... entire .... island .... of ....Aruba. Which is what we ultimately seek out to do when we go cruising (unlike some people who just visit the beaches or actually stay on board the ship while we are docked!) Or it could have been worse: I could have been quarantined! My friend's hubby was thankfully dismissed from quarantine during the day, but she? was feeling better but was depressed because she was stuck inside her room all day! Thankfully, they had purchased a balcony room.

Tomorrow, a day at sea making our way back to Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Day 5: Kralendijk, Bonaire

Located 86 miles east of Aruba and 30 miles from Curacao is Bonaire, the second largest of the five Dutch Antillean islands. Although not as famous as the other two islands in the "ABC trio", Bonaire is a water sport paradise featuring diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and water-skiing. We decided to try our luck at kayaking in the Mangroves. And boy was it fascinating!

We didn't arrive into Bonaire until 1pm. Prior to that time, I decided to go down to Customer Relations desk to ask about some of the other sites and tourist activities on the island. I was particularly interested in the wildlife. I found out that Bonaire has a Flamingo Sanctuary (Pekelmeer Sanctuary) where the pinkest of pink flamingos can be found. It's mainly because of the brine shrimp in this region, a species that thrives on salt-mined areas, that gives the flamingos their brilliant shade of pink. The brine shrimp even helped to create coral species that after it dies and is ground up by the ocean's current and created a "Pink Beach". We could actually see these salt piers and pink beaches as we were coming along side of the the island on the south side. There are only four places in the world where flamingos breed and Bonaire is one of them. At last count, it was discovered that there are more flamingos living on the island that humans.

Of course, my mission was to see some flamingos, even though I had seen tons in my lifetime working in the zoo field. They almost become a basic staple in the zoo inventory. And guess what, I saw some! Although I was only able to capture one on camera with my 35mm camera, it was nice to view the animals in their natural habitat.

Can you see him??

Oh, I almost forgot. You know how you hear those stories about people who become ill onboard a cruise ship and end up infecting everyone else on the ship?? You never thought you would be on that ship?? Yeah, well we were. And we knew the people! My friend's hubby called us in our room just before lunchtime. She had gotten deathly sick in the middle of the night and he took her to the medical clinic. She was so dehydrated from losing so much liquid that they had to administer an IV! Because she was running a fever, they claimed that it was the NOR(?) virus and that she would be QUARANTINED in her room for the next 48 hours!! He was to be quarantined for the next 24 hours to make sure he didn't developed any symptoms. And we left them at 2am and they were both fine!! Weird. For the remainder of the cruise, employees were handing out sanitizing wipes to everyone prior to entering the dining halls (where once they were just there if someone wanted to grab one).

So, we arrived at our destination to check in for our excursion. Hans, our tour guide, asked us a bunch of questions, made sure we had brought water, and let us know that his usual mode of transportation, something more lush than a normal vehicle I guess, was in the shop. So we would be taking his girlfriend's Jeep. No big deal. Turns out... we were the only ones on the tour!! Kick ass!

We drove for 20 minutes or so until we arrived at a small docking station. He pulled out 2 kayaks, one for him and a double for us, and we were on our merry way. How cool is this?!?

Looking back, I wish that this was our last excursion/island that we had visited. This was by far my favorite. And even though we didn't get to see much of the island itself, I would so come back to Bonaire. Turns out, because of it's location in the Caribbean, they are very rarely hit by hurricanes or other tropical storms. Although they do have desert like vegetation in the southern region, I've been told that it becomes a little more lush in the Washington Slagbaai National Park region in the north. It reminded me of Texas.

Along our journey, we spotted several other groups boating and kayaking through the region, but none were as small as our group. I give credit to Shore Trips, an online excursion company I was introduced to for our first cruise in 2005. Unlike the cruise ship excursions, tour groups can be as small as 2 people or as large as maybe 30 (which obviously can be very crowded), but we have been very pleased with our service from this company over our past three cruises.

During the tour, after crossing the opening of the estuary where it led to the rough waters of the ocean, I noticed two white mounds off in the distance. After seeing smaller versions at the beginning of our tour, I knew they were conch shells, harvested and then thrown out to "the curb". These two mounds were as tall as us!

Some of the other wildlife that we were able to observe, sometimes not on film, were jelly fish in the shallow waters (they have a particular species that hangs out at the bottom of the estuary upside down which has a symbiotic relationship with algae. The algae helps to attract prey for the jellyfish, kind of like an anemone, and the algae gets the best seat in the house for sun), brown pelicans, mussels living at the base of the mangroves, and this little guy (just above the leaf).

This excursion only lasted us 3 hours, but with the sun beating down on us at 1-4 in the afternoon, we were ready to call it quits when we finished. The only bad thing that happened was that I didn't apply sunscreen to the tops of my feet and then I removed my sandals after I got in our kayak. Needless to say, the tops and only the tops of my feet were burned... and they hurt! I made sure to apply copious amounts of aloe when we arrived back onboard.

It was lonely at dinner that evening. Our friends were quarantined and even our other table mates didn't attend dinner that evening. Turns out they got some sun in the afternoon, laid down to take a nap and awoke 15 minutes after our seated dinner has started (they close the doors 10 or 15 minutes after it opens at 8:30pm). It was actually nice to have just hubby to sit and talk to. That evening, we made sure to make it an early evening. Tomorrow, All Day Off Road Jeep Adventure in Aruba.