Monday, December 15, 2008

Thought provoking

I heard a phrase at church on Sunday that has been bouncing around in my head. It's a very simple sentence, but when you really start to think about it, what it says is quite profound. The phrase is this: The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay. The meaning that I took from it (correctly, I believe) is this: if my heart is not being softened towards God through my daily experiences and activities, then it's being hardened. There is no middle ground or limbo; it's one or the other. It made me stop and think about my life, and whether or not I'm actively seeking God DAILY and letting my heart be shaped by Him through the joys and trials I go through. This is one area in which I seem to struggle. I read the Bible daily, but too often don't make any practical application to my life. I don't want to become hardened to God's prompting and nudges. I want my life to be as true a representation of His as possible. I can only pray that God will see fit through His mercy and grace to keep my heart soft and my attitude correct towards Him. In my own strength, I will surely fail.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blast from the past

Check out this video and this one of Santa's Workshop...I used to watch this every Christmas growing up, and recently found out that it's only a Wichita, Kansas thing. I love Toy Boy and his zooooooming :) Ahhh, memories!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Attack of the pruning shears

We decided to get a real Christmas tree this year (yay!) and thought Allie might go nuts about the needles and real wood, etc. Little did we know, the true entertainment of the night would be the shears we used to trim the lowest branches! Allie decided they were dangerous or threatening or something, and spent the evening focused solely on them. It cracked us up:

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Round 4:

And the winner is....Allie, cause she's actually alive :)


For those of you who don't know, Tyler's union contract came up for renewal this past month and negotiations began between SPEEA (Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) and Boeing management. They came up with a proposed contract which was voted on over the past two weeks by all the SPEEA members. We found out today that the contract was accepted by 79% of the members, which stike for Tyler! We are good to go for another 4 years! God is good! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

31 days...

'til we fly back to Kansas for Christmas!! But who's counting...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The day after the election

This was read in church on Sunday, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Have confidence in our God and His plans and purposes. All things ultimately are for His glory. GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!!

1. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.

2. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.

3. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.

4. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order - (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.

5. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.

6. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.

7. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.

8. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?

9. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.

10. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be winning men and women to a biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

11. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.

12. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.

13. The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catch up!

Well, once again, I've lost track of time! It's amazing how busy life can get. Over the last month, several things have taken place that are important to note. First off, our women's bible study started back up at church, so my job has picked up in intensity! We are still short about 4 ladies to have an ideal situation, but we're making it work. I have LOVED being back with my kids each week. They are precious and make all the stress worthwhile. Hearing their little voices telling me about some super-important issue (i.e. the plot of the movie Cars, wondering if it's windy outside, letting me know they have a sister, etc.) just melts my heart.

Tyler's job has changed a bit (again) and he's had a side project added to his normal work-load. All he can tell me about this particular project is that he's working on a ferring. Also with this project, he's getting put in for his Top Secret clearance, so he's pretty excited about that. It's not a for-sure thing at this point, but he's hoping it'll go through. He also got to volunteer for some flight testing, which is pretty cool. At this point, all he's done is fill out paperwork and get a physical done by an FAA certified doctor. Once the IAM stike is over and work resumes it's normal pace, he'll most likely be called upon to go up in the AWACS while they're testing all the new upgrades they're putting in. A great opportunity, but a little scary for me, knowing that it's untested! :)

In diving news, we were not able to continue our AOW (advanced open water) class after our deep dives because our instructor got into a bad situation and got DCS (decompression sickness) and had to spend 5 hours in a hyperbaric chamber. It is recommended that you not dive for a month after something like that happens, so we'll be picking up where we left off in about another week or so. A little scary to consider, but there are only about 3 incidents of the bends for every 10,000 dives, so it's unlikely that we will ever experience it.

Tyler's parents came to visit for a week this past week which was really fun! We spent the first weekend at Pacific Beach in a cabin owned by some friends from church. We had a great time relaxing and enjoying the beach. We spent the rest of their time here watching the Office Season 4, reading, and eating warm chocolate melting cake and Ethiopian food! It was a great week.

It's always sad to have life get back to "normal," but I have had enough to keep me busy. We are planning to go diving several times this week, before we have to give up Neil's tanks (he's been letting us use them since he had to be out of the water and wouldn't be needing them). It's been incredibly nice to 1) not rent tanks, and 2) use huge, high pressure steel tanks (119 cubic feet) as opposed to small, low pressure aluminum tanks (80 cubic feet). We have done several dives over 1 hour long with these tanks. It's been amazing, and we'll be buying our own steel tanks as soon as possible! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This is a 12 story building. Why would I be posting a picture of a 12 story building on my blog, you ask? To give a visual reference of course! So, take a good look...don't worry, I'll wait. Okay, got that picture in your head? You took note of how tall the building is compared to the people and cars on the ground? Now, put that building under water. And picture me at the bottom! That's where I was yesterday! Well, there was no building, but there was 120 feet of water over my head!! You get the idea. Tyler and I signed up for an Advanced Open Water diving course with our favorite instructor (no sucking up intended, Neil...well, maybe a little...) and started yesterday with DEEP diving! I admit freely to being a tad bit nervous at the thought, not only of all that water between me and my unlimited air supply normally taken for granted, but also of adding the increased probabilities of nitrogen narcosis and an even greater risk of getting decompression sickness than with shallower dives. Luckily, because we were well-informed and knew what we were doing (at least, were diving with someone who did!), none of those ailments presented themselves. Everything was perfect and now we are certified for deep diving (up to 130 feet; anything past that and you get into deco diving which we are not interested in). Our next segment of the class will be night diving, then currents, and navigation to round it out. Then we will have at least 24 dives (probably more like 30-35) under our belts and be Advanced Open Water Divers! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Get-Away

This weekend we whisked ourselves off to "the best place on earth:" British Columbia. We left Saturday morning and had no trouble crossing the border. We found our hotel and checked in Saturday afternoon. We stayed around Langley (where our hotel was) that afternoon and spent some time at Fort Langley, which turned out to be a cute little town. We had ice cream at the little ice cream parlor and enjoyed walking the streets and looking into storefronts. That night, we had Chinese food and watched a movie in our hotel room. Sunday morning, we leisurely got around and headed into Vancouver for the day. We tried to find the Granville Island market, but since we didn't have a map, we couldn't. :) So, we decided to just give up and go on to Stanley Park. It is a huge park (1,000 acres) with many activities available. We chose to see the Vancouver Aquarium and had a great time! I loved watching the dolphins, and as always, the sea otters were adorable! It also had some gigantic prehistoric fish that were amazing!
After the aquarium, we headed to an Ethi restaurant for dinner, and it was delicious!! Some of the best Ethi we've had around here, actually!! Then, Sunday, we got up a bit earlier and drove about an hour to Bridal Veil Falls. It was really beautiful, and the hike up to the falls was really nice as well. We found a trail "off the beaten path" that led up closer to the falls and were the only people up there. It was gorgeous! On the way down, we were passed by two older gentlemen. As they passed us, one of them said "It was pretty, wasn't it?" We replied that, yes, it was really pretty! As they moved ahead, I whispered to Tyler that the guy sounded exactly like Sam Elliot! Then, Tyler whispered back that he LOOKED exactly like Sam Elliot (I didn't get a good view of him, other than gray hair). I am totally convinced that it really was Sam Elliot. Tyler is not as convinced, but I don't think he's ruling out the possibility. I tried to get a picture of him without him knowing, but it didn't really work out (he's the guy on the right). I had actually worked up the courage to just ask him, but then we couldn't find him. So, I guess we'll never know FOR SURE, but I firmly believe I talked to Sam Elliot :) Anyway, after that exciting adventure, we headed to Harrison Hot Springs to take a dip in their public pool which is fed by the hot spring. It was nice! We also encountered a sand castle-building competition. They were literally works of art! I can't imaging how many hours it took to build these things! After spending some time walking the beach around the lake, we decided to head home, since we were told to expect a 2 hour wait at the border. We waited exactly 0 seconds! :) We went to a smaller border crossing, and apparently nobody had thought of it because there was no wait whatsoever. It was lovely! :) So, we made it back into the US and our mini-vacation was over...kind of sad, but it's always nice to be home. And of course, Allie was super-glad to see us :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I realize I already posted once today, but I wanted to share an experience that happened to us on Sunday. Our church has started a program recently called Care2Share. It's basic purpose is to bring evangelism more the forefront of our minds. It is equipping us to share our faith in everyday life and look for opportunities that God brings our way. Sunday, we had our second outreach event. We were all supposed to take a picnic lunch to different local parks and just be available to talk to people. The church had printed up over 500 frisbees that had the church name and website on the front and the steps to salvation on the back. Tyler and I took 4 frisbees and went to a park. We were both a little nervous and didn't really know what to expect. We ate our lunch and decided to walk around the park. We found a court for a sport that we had never seen before. So, we talked about what it might be, and finally saw a sign that indicated it was for "bocce." We still had no idea how to play, but decided to go on our way. As we were walking off, a guy came up and asked us if we know what the courts are for. We said no, we didn't really know. He then proceeds to tell us how to play bocce ball! He was very friendly, and he and Tyler started talking about other things. Come to find out, this guy grew up in Africa near where Tyler grew up! They had so much to talk about concerning the differences between life in Africa and the US. Then, we found out that he's in school learning how to be an engineer! So, they talked about that for a while also. Tyler did actually get a chance to give him a frisbee and share the gospel with him at one point, but he didn't make any declarations. He had grown up catholic and most recently had been attending a LDS church. We're pretty sure he is not a Christian, just based on the answers he gave us to the questions we asked him, but anytime the gospel is shared, a seed is planted. As our pastors said, if we hadn't been able to talk to even one person, they would still count the outing as a success because we were available to be used! It's almost that decision to be available that is so hard and scary. Anyway, just wanted to share how proud I am of Tyler for stepping out there. It was also really cool to see who God brought our way and how much he and Tyler "just happened" to have in common. Amazing...

Snack Pictures

Here are pictures from KTC that I haven't taken the time to post until now. I think they all turned out pretty well!

This is Samson's face with a pretzel dumbbell.

This is Hezekiah's Crown and the Belt of Truth.

These are the "Shoes of Peace."

This is the Fiery Furnace.

This is the "He is Risen Doughnut."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tyler!

Today is my wonderful husband's 24th birthday! He is such a great guy, and he's all mine! :) I also wanted to brag a little bit, and let you all know that he got a promotion!! He is now a "level 2" employee at Boeing. We're not totally sure what all this entails, but it does come with a raise, and a bump in seniority. A level 2 employee is supposed to have 2-5 years of experience, and Tyler has almost 2 (his anniversary with Boeing is the 18th of August). Obviously, he has shown himself to be a good worker and of value to the company (not that I ever expected anything else...). Go, Tyler!! :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Catch-up blog

Wow, this has been an incredibly busy few weeks! July 14-18 brought KTC (Kid's Town Camp, or in layman's terms, vbs). As you all know, I was in charge of the snacks, so of course, that week kept me on my toes! We ended up having about 360 kids each day, plus leaders. The snacks went over pretty well, as far as I know. My parents flew in on the morning of the 18th, so they got to experience a little bit of KTC themselves. I think they were quite impressed! Our church is fairly large (about 1000 people each Sunday) so they go all out. We had black light puppet shows (like a little-kids' rock concert feel), skits, fun games, crafts, and of course snacks.

That brings us to the next segment of the catching-up: the Baker visit of 2008! :) We started off their trip with a bang. We went right from the airport to church to finish up KTC. Then, as soon as Tyler got home from work, we made the 3 hour trip to Pacific Beach, WA to stay in a little cabin owned by some friends of ours. It was a great weekend! We played games, read books, flew a kite (which was actually really fun!!), browsed through the stores of "downtown," ate at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant which turned out to have some excellent food, built a bonfire on the beach to roast hotdogs (although, it was incredibly windy and the sand at the beach is very fine, so it got into everything and I could not force myself to eat my hotdog!), and just enjoyed spending time in such a beautiful and laid-back place. We came home Sunday night and stopped at an air show that was going on, so we got to see a flying demonstration. Throughout the week, we took it easy, just making small trips to places like the Pike fish market and IKEA. Then, Saturday, we drove up to Salish Lodge for breakfast and to hike down to the falls. We spent the morning there, grabbed some golf-ball-sized rainier cherries for the rest of the ride, and drove down to Mt. Rainier. We spent the afternoon hiking around some trails there and enjoying the crisp mountain air, then headed back home. All total, we drove about 200 miles that day. Sunday brought church, and then......ETHIOPIAN FOOD!! My parents had never been to an ethi restaurant, so we wanted to make sure they experienced it. The food was really good (Tyler still says nothing is quite authentic enough for him, but it tastes great to me), and my parents had a good time. We visited the Ballard Locks after lunch, which was fun and relaxing. That signalled the end of the trip, which was sad, of course, but we are going home for Christmas, so our parting was made much easier knowing we have a plan to see each other again soon. They flew out on Monday morning, and had to be at the airport at 4am, so we were up at 3am. That brings us to my next adventure (after some pictures)....

Monday morning at 6am, I left home and drove to Maple Valley to begin my week of watching 2 darling kiddos for a friend while she was in New Zealand visiting family. I arrived at 6:30 each day (I was up by 5am each day this week, which, if you know me at all, is not my forte), and stayed until 6:30-7pm each night until their dad got home from work. We filled our days with trips to the park, playing outside, playing at the playplace in the supermall, and watching a few episodes of Curious George. :) It really was a great week, and the kids are so well-behaved that it made my job easy. I have also discovered yet again how hilarious kids are, and kept track of a few of the funnier things they said. Here is a sample:

While eating waffles for breakfast, Zach says: "You have to cut my waffle into little pieces, but you don't have to cut your waffle into little pieces because you have a huge mouth!"

While changing Molly's diaper and trying to be careful of her diaper rash, Molly says: "Kiss it make it better" ....mmmm, sorry girlie, not gonna happen! :D

White looking at pictures of me and my siblings all dressed up at my sister's wedding, Zach says: "Why are you all cuted up?"

So, those were definitely some funny moments! Now, I'm looking forward to a week off and catching up from all the excitement!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God has a sense of humor

After my last post yesterday, and my remark about assuming we wouldn't have another thunderstorm for a while, God decided to show me up! Last night as I was lying in bed, lo and behold, what do I see? That's right, lightning! And this time, we actually got the whole experience! Rain, thunder, wind, everything! It was amazing! Just had to let all you faithful readers that I really have no idea what I'm talking about :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lovin' the weather

The weather around here has been WONDERFUL this last week! It was sunny with nice breezes, and highs were in the mid- to upper-80's. It was lovely!! Tyler said it was too hot, but he's already become a Northwest wussy :) We not only got to enjoy the warm weather, we also got experience our very first Northwest thunderstorm this weekend!! I cannot even express how happy it made me to see the flashes of lightning and hear the rumbles of thunder! The storm was about 15-20 miles away from our house, so we didn't get any rain, but it was still amazing. I have missed the midwest storms, and this gave me a little taste of home. I assume that it will not happen again for some time, as this is the first storm we've experienced in the 22 months we've lived here, but it was fun while it lasted. I tried to watch as long as I could, but ended up falling asleep to the show :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Time flies...

I can't believe how fast the time is going! June is almost over...where did the month go??! We have been keeping busy. Tyler has been working LOTS of overtime as he prepares for a big design review. I have been readying myself for KTC coming up in less than a month. I've gotta get someone to donate 400 glazed donuts and 400 glazed donut holes... :)

We have not been diving again since we got back from the cruise, but that will all change in the next few days!! We have been gradually acquiring our own gear, and in less than 2 weeks, we should have everything we need to go diving once again! :) We are really looking forward to owning our own stuff so we can take a splash whenever we feel the urge.

We have finally gotten some sunshine around here, and it has been lovely!! It's still pretty cool (mid-upper 60's), but at least the sun makes it feel more like summer! :) I must admit, I really miss the thunderstorms of the mid-west. It just doesn't seem like summer without having to watch the skies for tornadoes!

We have a new little nephew, born May 28th. Marshal and Rachel (Tyler's brother and his wife) have added Ryan Caleb to their family and from what I hear, he is a great baby!

Danny and Ryan playing cute!!

And last, but certainly not least, we have company coming next month!! I get to see my parents after being apart for nearly a year! :) I'm really excited to get to hang out with them. So that's what's new with us, what about you?

Monday, May 26, 2008


Since I requisitioned your help for snack ideas, I thought you all might enjoy reading what the final decisions were. Here is the list:

Monday (Samson): rice cake with frosting, raisin eyes, apple mouth, pull-n-peel licorice hair; pretzel sticks with jumbo marshmallows as dumbbells

Tuesday (King Hezekiah/Belt of Truth): fruit by the foot to use as a belt; they'll also tear off a little bit and decorate it like a crown; granola "power" bars

Wednesday (Isaiah/Shoes of Peace): twinkies cut in half like shoes, pretzel rods (thick) stuck in as legs, pull-n-peel licorice as laces

Thursday (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego/Shield of Faith): rice cake with red frosting, 4 teddy grahams to stand up in the "furnace", and red hots

Friday (Jesus/Helmet of Salvation): glazed donuts cut in half and propped up on the cut end (picture a rainbow) to represent the tomb, donut holes to represent the rock that sealed the tomb, and string cheese

Thanks so much for the ideas!!

Life has slowed down a bit around our house since we got back from our trip. We are working on acquiring our own SCUBA gear so we can go diving whenever we feel like it. Hopefully we'll be fully outfitted by July! Tyler has been working more hours to finish up work before his next design review. I have co-hosted 2 baby showers in the last month which have taken some time to prepare for. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE vacations, but they really raise your expectations of "fun" to an almost impossible level that you have to deal with when you return to "real" life. Although, I freely admit, I wouldn't want to not experience the "ultra-fun" on trips just to skip the eventual let-down to reality! Does anybody else deal with this?

Monday, May 19, 2008


I am in charge of snacks for our church's "Kids Town Camp" (aka. VBS) this year, and I'm getting stumped on ideas. Just wondering if any of my faithful blog readers out there have any creative ideas for "superhero" themed snacks. We are studying Biblical superheros, and the main characters are Samson, King Hezekiah, Isaiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Jesus. We're also inlcuding the armor of God as part of the study, so we can utilize the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the spirit. I thought maybe for the shield of faith day I'd have sugar cookies that the kids could decorate with frosting and sprinkles and those would look like shields. I had also thought about one of the days (maybe the last day?) having gingerbread men cookies and coming up with little things for each of the pieces of armor (licorice for the sword, etc). Let me know if you all have any brilliant ideas! Your help is much appreciated :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Underwater pictures

I just posted all our underwater on the link if you want to see them!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All good things come to an end...

We are back! And boy, did we have an amazing time!! The trip started off with an interesting hotel stay on Miami Beach last Saturday night. The hotel was probably built in the 1950's and hadn't really been updated since then!

The room was small and smelled funny, but we didn't spend that much, so we weren't too worried about it. It was right on the beach though, so the ability to escape to the sand made the stay worthwhile.
We boarded the ship around noon on Sunday and promptly found the buffets (yes, plural) on the Lido Deck. We ate lunch and were able to get into our rooms around 1:30pm. From there, we just spent time exploring our home away from home until dinner. Monday, our 3 year anniversary, Tyler and I got up to watch the sunrise as we docked in Nassau.

It was really beautiful. We spent the day snorkling at Paradise Island (several movies have been filmed here, including one James Bond). The beach was GORGEOUS and had very few tourists, so we had a huge stretch of sand all to ourselves.
The water was beautiful, and we did see some marine life, but there weren't a whole lot of fish too look at. We had to be back on the ship by 1:30pm, so it was a short stay in Nassau. Monday night brought the first of two "formal" nights on board. We (read: "I") had fun dressing up and looking fancy.
Tuesday was our first "fun day at sea" and we spent the time reading books on deck, playing mini-golf, eating (of course), and napping. It was a very relaxing day. Our stop in St. Thomas was Wednesday. It was a nice little island, if not a little dirty. My inlaws said it reminded them a lot of Kenya. We shopped in the morning (supposedly St. Thomas is GREAT for shopping, but we did not have any luck at all!!), and ended up kinda depressed because we didn't find any good deals. The afternoon made up for the disappointing morning, though, as we snorkled at Coki Beach. It was a little crowded, but the underwater world totally made up for it! We saw (and touched) an octopus that was swimming along which was pretty cool. We also saw several squid, lots of tropical fish, a pretty large fish (I don't know what it was), a small sea turtle, and lots of coral. It was so fun to just float along the top of the ocean and take a peek at everything teeming underneath me. So, like I said, the snorkling definitely brought up my opinion of St. Thomas. Thursday brought our day at St. Maarten, and also, our first SCUBA dive without an instructor!! I was a little nervous, as we had only done shore dives (walk out into the water with all your gear on and then descend to your desired depth, then ascend and swim back in and walk up the shore), and this was a boat dive (ride out into the ocean and step off a platform with all your gear on and descend to your desired depth, then ascend and climb up a boat ladder with all your gear on and ride back). I would love to say my "giant stride" into the deep was graceful and professional, but really I basically just face-planted and then recovered nicely. The dive itself was absolutely stunning. It felt like we were swimming around in a huge swimming pool (the water was 79 degrees) and there just happened to be fish living in it. We didn't see too much life the first dive, but what we did see was cool. A medium sized tuna fish, brightly-colored tropical fish, and lots of coral. I just can't even describe the feeling of being under 60 feet of water, perfectly able to breathe, and just hanging out as a fish swims by your mask. Once the dive was over, we took a ride to another dive spot that was much calmer (the first site was very rough and several people ended up not being able to relax enough to get down, and so didn't dive and ended up getting seasick as they waited on the boat for the rest of us to finish). This site had a sunken submarine and a fishing boat that we were able to penetrate. It was pretty cool seeing these old structures just rusting away under the ocean. Lots of fish were using them as shelter, and we were able to get some up-close-and-personal time with an 18 inch puffer fish. :) Our dive guide kinda showed us the ropes for a few minutes at this site and then let us wander and go explore where we wanted. The visibility wasn't as great there (only about 30ft as opposed to 100ft at the first site), but it was still soooo fun! Once that dive was over, we rode the boat back to the dive shop and then filled out our divelogs...we are now in the green pages (the 2nd level of divers)!! We went back to the ship for lunch and then Tyler and Jerry (my father-in-law) went back to the same spot to snorkle, and Jeannie (my mother-in-law) and I went shopping. We had much better luck at St. Maarten and came home with several shirts, a necklace, and a few other odds and ends. One cool thing about St. Maarten was that instead of taking a cab everywhere, they had "water taxis" that you paid a flat rate and got to ride as much as you wanted all day. Friday was another "fun day at sea" and we spent alot of the day reading again, and went to several activities onboard. It was also our 2nd "formal" night so we got to dress up again (Tyler was "thrilled" but he played nice). Saturday was our final day on the ship (*sob*) but the day was full of onboard activities including (but not limited to): the newlywed game, learning how to fold towels into animal shapes, and the galley tour (that's the kitchen for all you non-sailors). We kept busy, but not overly-so. It was a lovely way to end the cruise. The food was great the whole time. I'll just give you some examples of the fine dining we experienced: duck, lobster, prime rib, filet mignon, red snapper, rack of lamb, pork chops, salmon, and shrimp. Those were all main courses and of course, they had fancier names on the menu, but you get the idea. Some appetizers included shrimp cocktail, lots of yummy soups, escargo, smoked duck, and sushi. The desserts were also pretty decent :), and consisted of baked alaska, cherries jubilee, cappucino pie, tiramisu, and my personal favorite, warm chocolate melting cake! I seriously had this cake every night of the cruise. It's nice and cake-y on the outside, and the inside is like hot fudge. With vanilla ice cream, you just couldn't beat it! We liked it so much, we came home and found the recipe for it online, and I have the batter sitting in my fridge as I write this, just waiting to be baked in individual serving portions! As for the entertainment on board, Carnival really did a pretty good job. None of us were really thrilled with the singing/dancing shows, but there were comedians several nights that kept us laughing. Jerry was very into karaoke, and we sat through a few pretty terrible renditions of Elvis and Elton John to humor him. :) We also watched a movie on deck one night, which was pretty fun. I am quite sure I'm forgetting things, but this post is monstrous. Just ask if you want to know any more!! I would HIGHLY recommend going on a cruise to ANYONE! There is something to do for any age and life stage. Oh, I just remembered a detail: there was a group on board called "Santa on Vacation" that was made up of about 60 "santas." It seemed every time we turned a corner, we were face to face with old St. Nick himself. Made things interesting anyway...

I just included a snapshot of the pictures I took...if you'd like to see the whole trip, you can go to these three links (you don't actually have to sign up for facebook to see the pictures).

Monday, April 28, 2008

48 Hours...

We are leaving for our cruise in less than 2 days!!! I am so excited but am definitely feeling the last-minute rush! I know everything will come together though. We have a ride to the airport (thanks, Christine!) and have arranged for Allie to be fed. Mail is stopped, laundry is in the last stages, luggage is pulled out, items have been gathered so as not to be forgotten. We are definitely in trip mode! So, all you faithful blog readers can think of us as we're fully enjoying ourselves over the next week and look forward to the next post! Have a wonderful week, everybody!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

SCUBA Certified!!!

Well, we did it!! We finished our two "fun dives" today and have spent a total of 101 minutes under water!! The deepest we got was 60 feet down (that's the limit SSI would let us go in this class). We saw lots of starfish (orange, purple, red, 5-arm, sunstars, etc), lots of rock crabs, a couple of kelp crabs, some little snails, a group of crabs tearing apart a fish-that was COOL, and an octopus! The octopus was hiding so we only saw a leg and an eye, but it was definitely there! It was very strange to think about all that water between me and the surface, but it was fun. I didn't get nearly as cold today, although my fingers were somewhat numb by the time we were done with our second dive. Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post, learning to dive is totally worth the time and effort! It really is beautiful under the ocean, and we miss so much by just staying at the surface (the book we read likened it to going to the circus but only looking at the outside of the tent). Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of us with all our gear on, but one of the DiveCons did, so hopefully I can get those from her and get 'em posted. We looked like some kind of weird there an Aquaman already? If not, there should be and that's what all cold-water divers should use as their mascot! :) Our certification cards will be coming in the mail (I'm assuming), and then everything will be ship-shape. Yay for diving!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

SCUBA Adventure Part 4

Class is finished, test is taken (100%!!), paperwork is turned in, and one open-water dive is done! We are definitely in the home stretch of getting certified! We have done all the skills we need to do, and tomorrow brings just two "fun dives" plus 2 little things that we didn't fit in today.

Let me tell you, that water is COLD!! The wetsuit really does an amazing job keeping you warm, but the water is still in direct contact with your face, and, at the end of our second dive today, I was actually taking water into the regulator with each breath because my lips were too numb to keep a tight seal! The outside temperature was around 39 degrees, and the water temp. was 41 degrees! It actually did spit some snow, and then, about an hour after we got out of the water, it started hailing:
Crazy, crazy weather! But, I've been told that if I can dive in these conditions, I can dive anywhere. It was pretty cool seeing all the stuff just sitting at the bottom of Puget Sound (a rusted-out VW Bug, a boat frame, a dishwasher-I think, starfish, crabs, fish-though not that many where we were, etc). I've heard from several people that diving in the Pacific Northwest is actually some of the best diving anywhere, so that's pretty cool. I still think I'd rather be floating lazily along in just a dive-skin looking at tropical fish and coral reefs rather than be held back by a huge wetsuit and all this extra gear that's necessary for cold-water diving. Maybe we'll move to Hawaii...:) Anyway, all this to say, cold-water diving is not nearly as bad as I was picturing it, and I would definitely encourage anyone interested to find a class and sign up! Oh, and make sure you find a class where the instructors (or at least one of them) have a sense of humor and can make the whole process fun. It's so nice to have someone experienced who can take your mind off of any anxieties you might have. You end up just doing what needs to be done without really thinking about it because your instructor is sticking his tongue out at you the whole time or making you play patty-cake with him (all underwater of course). Things like that are what make the class...:) One more day of diving and I will be a Level 1 diver! (Don't get too excited, that's just 5 dives and the levels go all the way up to 5,000 dives!)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

SCUBA Adventure Part 3

We passed the pool tests!!! The swim test was actually really easy (8 laps just sounds like a lot, it's really not that bad). I tried for the first lap to do the "real" swimming by using the breaststroke, but man, that takes a LOT of energy! So, about 1/4 of the way into my 2nd lap, I turned over and just backstroked the rest of the way. I probably could have kept going several more laps easily. Then we were able to tread water for 10 minutes (the instructors brought a couple of balls over so it wasn't like we were just floating there with nothing to do!). Then we just did a whole bunch of skills the rest of the time. We learned what to do if our regulators come out of our mouths (lean to the right, sweep your arm around and find the regulator, put it in your mouth and purge by either 1) blowing out if you still have enough air, or 2)push the purge valve on the regulator to clear the water out), how to clear water from our masks, which will come in handy whether we're snorkling or diving (press the top of the mask against your forhead and lift the bottom part of the mask away from your nose and blow until all the water is gone), and how to breathe in the water without the mask on (it's harder than you might imagine!). We did all these skills in the shallow end and then moved to the deep end (about 12 ft). Then today, we practiced more of that, and also added 1)ditching the weight belt, 2)emergency ascents (both swimming and bouyant), and 3)buddy breathing/buddy tow. So, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with everything at this point, but the rest test will be next weekend when we do our open water dives...assuming we actually get to go next weekend. The forcast is calling for snow, and apparently we'll have to reschedule if that actually happens. Anyway, it's all going really well. I got cold about half-way through our time yesterday and went ahead and put my wetsuit on. It helped a TON and today I just started out with it and everything was great. Tyler got cold about half-way through each day, but they didn't give the guys wetsuits for the pool, so he just had to get movin' to get warm :) So, we're half-way done!! Just one more week and we'll be certified!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Funny story

So, we're heading to the pool in about 2 hours, but I wanted to post this link to a story they gave us to read. It is really hilarious and made me laugh out loud several times. Hope you enjoy seeing in print what we're going to experience in real life! :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

SCUBA Adventure Part 2

Well, we had our second class and things are looking good! I'm still a little nervous about everything, but I think it'll be fun. Last night, we learned how to dress a, without further ado, here is how to dress a diver for warm-water diving (for the pool, in our case):

This is what I will wear under the wetsuit:

This is the shorty wetsuit for the pool:
Then you add the weight belt:
Then you add the BC/Air Tank:
Then you add fins (you're actually supposed to have your boots on already, but I forgot :D):
Then you add the mask and snorkle:
Now we're ready to dive!! I'll take some more pictures when we get our cold-water wetsuits! It's hard enough to move in this little's hard to imagine having ANY dexterity in the 7MM Farmer John/Jane! Plus, we'll be wearing 5MM gloves and a hood!! Saturday will bring the first pool session and with it, our first real test. We have to swim 200 meters without stopping in order to pass the course, as well as tread water for 10 minutes with no floatation devices. We can use any swim style we want and it's not timed, so hopefully it won't be a big deal. Anyway, more posts as things progress!

P.S. All that gear is HEAVY!!!! I'm looking forward to being weightless in the water as opposed to just adding about 50 pounds and walking around!