Saturday, October 31, 2009


Aunt Hope drove down and met us in time to go trick-or-treating.

Grace wanted "her" Hope to walk up to the door with her.

At first no one came to the door, so Grace tried to open it herself.  We tried to get her to leave and go to the next house, but she wouldn't budge.  sigh.  She kept saying "Tick-uh-teat!   Tick-uh-teat!"  to the door until someone finally came and gave her a treat.

Then she calmly took Hope's hand and said "I wun mohr house!"
At the next house she was even more eager for her treat.

Grace had a full bucket by the time we finished the block.

She was so excited that her feet got ahead of her and she fell.    That's when we knew it was time to go. 

And there was an almost full moon out. When we got home I took her pumpkin away  so I could hide the candy.  She immediately started crying "I wun pun-kin!  I wun pun-kin!"

So I put one lollipop in it and gave it back.  Much to my surprise, the tears stopped and she said "Tank ewe, Momma." (Thank you, Momma).  I'm hoping she forgets about all the candy she collected.  Even if she does, she'll probably want to practice "tick-uh-teating" some more.

Maybe I should hide the pumpkin after she goes to bed...

Halloween, outdoorsman style

We started the Halloween festivities at Bass Pro Shop.

Grace was dressed as a pirate.

She colored a pumpkin at the craft station inside the store.

And then she spent several minutes deciding exactly which one treat to select.  She ended up choosing a lollipop.

Then we went outside where the real fun was found - a smores station!

I caught the marshmallows on fire. 

Grace blew it out.

How yummy!  I can taste it now!  So hot and gooey with just enough crunch from the cracker to make it interesting.

It was so good!

And just a little messy, but Grace cleaned herself right up.

And it didn't take long for the sugar rush to set in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Land, ho!

We are finally home from our cruise!  We had an amazing time.  We docked this morning around 7:00 am, got up and ate some breakfast and then easily debarked (we shared 1 suitcase and just carried it off the ship). 

Here we are walking the plank off the ship.  They're loading all the supplies for the next cruise.  That's a lot of supplies!  After a quick stop through Customs and a short jaunt across the bay, we finally made it home.  Sigh.  There's nothing like coming home from a vacation.  Smile. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caribbean Cruise - Day 5 - At Sea

Today was our last day of our cruise and it was a day at sea.  David and I took a tour of the "galley," better known as the "kitchen" on the ship.  It was a very interesting tour filled with unbelievable facts.  Like we passengers went through over 10,000 gallons of ice cream - on a five day cruise! 

This is the espresso, cappuccino, latte machine.  Notice the freshly ground coffee beans!  This was the only "real" coffee we go on the ship.  The buffet lines only had the instant stuff.

Those large cauldrons make enough soup for 1 day.  That's a lot of soup.

Plates being prepped for dinner.  Another interesting tidbit we learned is that each waiter carries roughly 30 pounds worth of food on his right arm as he carries the food from the kitchen to the table.  And each waiter makes an average of 10 trips back to the kitchen per dining time. 

Apparently the entrees are pre-cooked because this was the nightly special.

Just look at how big these pots and pans are!

Here are a few members of the kitchen crew.  Peace out!  Here's some more food for thought.  After a waiter is hired, he has 6 months of training before even gets the opportunity to serve anyone.  Then he spends another 6 months serving other crew members.  Assuming he passes all the written tests, then he gets to fill the guests water glasses for another 6 months of training.  Otherwise, he gets deported home.

Can you imagine being on dish duty with these pots and pans?  Our maitre'd started out in the kitchens 15 years ago.  His first job was scrubbing pots and pans.  He did that for 2 years before being promoted to dishes.

This kitchen is massive.  There's a second kitchen for the buffet lines.

It's amazing what they can do with a piece of fruit.

How pretty and sweet.  It's not edible though.  I checked.

I'd love to have something like this in my pantry to help me organize all of Grace's little juice boxes and raisins and other small snack boxes.

Appetizers, salads, entrees from tonight's menu.

And desserts!  Although ours didn't look this pretty. 

After we completed the tour, we went to the art auction and actually bought a piece of art!  It's a limited edition serigraph signed by Douglas Hofmann.  The appraisal value was $850 and we got if for $50.  I am so excited about it!  It's beautiful.  I can't wait for it to get here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caribbean Cruise - Day 4 - Cozumel, Mexico

Today we spent the day in Cozumel, Mexico.

After we got off the ship, we walked around and found a small shop that was offering snorkeling excursions.

We got a private excursion on this boat.  Our guide, Freddie, took us to 3 different snorkeling spots and we saw some amazing fish.  Since the boat was so small, I didn't risk getting the camera wet.  I do, however, have an underwater photo of David and I snorkeling with the fish in front of us.  I just need to scan it and upload it.  We also saw a huge school of big eye tuna - well over 1,000 fish in the school.  There was also a gigantic barracuda feeding off the school of tuna.  Needless to say, our excursion was incredible.  The best part was we only paid $25 cash each and that included an open bar on board.  The excursions through Carnival were $79 each with much larger groups and not nearly as personal.

After snorkeling for several hours, we went back to the ship and changed clothes.  Then we hit Cozumel again.

Cozumel is a beautiful city.

At the cruise ports, it's quite tourist-y with a lot of gardens throughout the shopping area.

Once you leave the cruise ports, however, the beaches just take your breath away.

You can also see celebrities around Cozumel.  We met the king of pop, Michael Jackson.  He was vacationing in Cozumel, too.  (Just kidding.)

After walking around a bit and shopping (you get the best deals outside of the cruise ports), David was attacked by an alligator.  he he!

Then we headed back to the ship to relax from a full day of exploring.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Caribbean Cruise - Day 3 - Progreso, Mexico

Today we visited beautiful Progreso, Mexico.

We had to debark the ship bright and early for our excursion.

We got on a bus with a guide and headed to Dzibilchatun (pronounced "Chibby-chal-toon").

It's an old Mayan ruin that has been renovated.

There are original statues all over the area that date back to 600 - 800 AD.

This is pathway walking up to the temple.

The doorways of the temple were built in exact solar alignment with the rising sun so that the rays of the sun pass directly through the doorways during the spring and fall equinoxes, marking the beginning of the planting season and the beginning of the harvest season.

The ruins are in such great shape that we were allowed to climb them and explore.  It was quite  fascinating. 
This is inside the temple.
Hi!  Here we are!
This is the view from the the entrance to the temple.  Archaeologists have determined that Dzibilchaltun was a major Mayan city with as many as 200,000 inhabitants and 8,400 buildings during it's history.
More views from the front of the temple.

There's David looking in a window.

This is the ceiling of the temple.

This monolithic stela stands like a sentinel guarding the front of the temple.
These plants were all over the place.  They are called agave plants and are used to make tequila.
The city was still inhabited by the Mayans when the Spanish arrived in the 1500s.  This is a cathedral built after the Spanish arrived.

This is the front of the cathedral.  The picture doesn't show it, but there are remnants of original frescoes painted inside that can still be seen.

This is believed to be the palace of the Mayan nobles.  
 The previous photograph was taken from the top of this smaller temple.

Right beside the "palace" this natural spring can be found.  It is quite spectacular.
Here's the happy couple!

This iguana enjoyed the cool spring, too.

Finally, after exploring to our hearts content, we headed back to our bus.
Next up, we headed to a private beach party.
It was very serene.
They even had a nice sized pool.
Finally, we bought some vanilla extract and a few other souvenirs before heading back to the ship.
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