Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding Pie

Ok, show of hands - who got up to watch the royal wedding yesterday morning at 4AM? I know a ton people who did, or at least set their DVRs to record. But I didn't - figured I would see plenty of highlights via internet to get my fill on Kate's dress, the carriage ride, and more. But my favorite accounting of the wedding, or at least the whole crazy mess of watching the wedding was on June Gardens' blog, Bye Bye Pie. I've been a long-time reader of her blog - just a lurker, not a commenter - but she has a whole family of commenters, and often they're nearly as funny as her posts.

I don't follow many bloggers that I don't personally know, but she's one I check every day. My husband has asked a couple of times what I'm laughing at as I'm on my laptop, and I've explained that it is a woman in North Carolina. No, I don't know her, but she's got some great dogs (Tallulah & Edsel), big hair, no job, and recently separated from her hubby. Ok, that doesn't make her sound fabulous, but she absolutely IS! And even with all the ups and downs in her life, she still manages to have a hilarilous outlook on her life. Check her blog out here and enjoy. Happy Saturday!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today I'm officially 40 and "over the hill"... ha! It is pretty nice to feel okay about this milestone... in fact, more than okay - happy about it, and just really, truly happy with my life, and with myself. A great feeling.

I've enjoyed a nice, quiet evening at home tonight. After our big birthday trip to Honduras and a whirlwind week upon our return, it is nice to just have some down time. Dave is in Dallas for work, and Jace is with his dad tonight, after our big Easter weekend in St. Clair. So it is just me, the doggies, a chick flick and the last of the lemon summer pie from this weekend. And, I started the evening - and my fortieth year - out right, with a trip to the gym for my cycling/cross training class after work tonight (which counteracts the pie that I'm eating this evening - or at least I'm tellin' myself that!).

One of the best parts of my birthday, though, was the time at home with my siblings this past weekend. All of us except Thomas were able to make it home, and it was a great weekend, even with all of the rain. The older cousins (Jace, Landon and Payton) all enjoyed playing outside between rain showers, and playing X-box, of course; we aunts enjoyed kissing on Isaac, Eva and Henry over the two days, and catching up since we hadn't been together since Christmas.

After Easter dinner on Saturday night, Jace helped Ann, Tara, Susan and Rob to surprise me with a birthday scavenger hunt (with clues from my childhood and teenage years - how clever!) ending in a big family birthday celebration over at Grandma G's house. The decorations were tasteful (no canes, no black balloons - instead, black and white chinese lanterns and pretty partyware:

The theme of the party was -of course- black, but it was fabulous -- they decided it should be one of my favorite things, red wine, and in particular BLACK BOX, the wine I like to bring home for our family gatherings. So they gave me a box of Black Wine to help celebrate the big 4-0, AND a Black Box cake - made by Tara - that was red velvet, just like the red wine! How clever is that!? And it was delicious, too!

Everyone had cards for me, and then I opened my gift - a photo album celebrating my 40th birthday. Just hearing the comments from my brothers-in-law as I looked through the book, it was evident how much time my sisters had spent on the album - collecting pictures, emailing back and forth to figure out the years/timeline on them, and scanning the photos in. Ann compiled everything and then made the album online, spacing the photos, picking out the backgrounds and frames, etc.

I absolutely could not have asked for a more special, heartfelt gift for my birthday - there were so many pictures from over the years, starting when I was a baby, pictures of our mom and dad and the four of us, then pictures of Tara, Mom and Gmother/Gpa Lawson, Thomas, my teenage years, after Jace came along, and much more. Some of the pictures I truly had not seen in years; Tara was apparently the one who had a lot of them, I was amazed at all of the variety she had! Here are a few quick photos of the book, just to show it off a little:

The album is 20-plus pages long, and full of fun pages of pictures - plus a few pages at the end with pictures of me and my "favorite things": playing the piano, oatmeal and toast, coffee, taking pictures to go on the blog, reading, napping, drinking wine - and, of course, having fun with my family! So then we had to get a few "Sisters!" pictures to commemorate Easter 2011 - and this time we even let Rob in a few of the pictures:

It was a great weekend, and I was really glad to be with them to celebrate. Thanks again to Ann, Tara and Susan, and to all my family - we all have our quirks, but at the end of the day I wouldn't trade us for anything.

It is after 10:30, and this 40-year-old needs some sleep! Goodnight!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Under the Sea

It has been a week since we arrived home from Honduras, and I've got to get the diving pics on here. I'm at my folks' house for Easter weekend, and updated everyone on our trip, especially the diving! Questions included:

So how do you breathe underwater - through your nose? (No - you breathe through your mouth, with the regulator - once I got used to it, it wasn't an issue for me at all)

Were you scared at all? (Yes, of course, a little, but it was so cool! One of the scariest things for me was getting into the water - flipping over backwards over the edge of the boat, with all the scuba gear on...)

Did anything bad happen? (Nope, but there is a lot of training "in case of" over the five weeks of pool classes and then the two days of open water training - what to do if your mask comes off, you run low on air, etc. Those things rarely happen, though, with proper preparation and equipment)

How deep did you go? (Most of our dives were 40-50 feet, but one dive we went to 80 feet)

How long was the dive? (An average of 45-60 minutes)

Did you get cold? (The water was 80 degrees, but I did get cold by the end of each dive, even with a 3mm full wet suit. I think I will go to a 5mm for our next trip, and buy/bring my own)

Our open water training consisted of four dives over a two day time frame; one shore dive, where we waded into the water and started our dive from that point. The other three dives were boat dives, all within 15 minutes of the resort. We had to do some "skills" on the surface of the water, (direction finding with a compass and a couple other things - sometimes the water was so choppy, it was much harder to be on the surface in our gear than it was to go underwater- we were ready to go DOWN!) and then some skills on the ocean floor - removing our masks and then putting them back on, clearing the water out. That was one of the most stressful things for me at the start of my diving lessons back in February, but by April I was much more comfortable. Here we are on the ocean floor, our last class (Dave and Ric went with us on dive four, and Dave was the photographer):

When we were officially done with all of our skills, Dave took our picture before we all headed off on the remainder of the dive:

(Jaycee, me, and Lisa with our instructor, Tyler, in front)

And then we were off - our first three dives with Tyler were great - but this fourth one, knowing we were DONE with training, felt GREAT!

Dave and Ric did ten dives over the weeks' time; after I finished my four dives for certification, I did another four during our remainder of the time there - eight dives, in my first diving trip! Each time was a little more comfortable for me - working on my bouyancy, breathing in and out to raise and lower. Dave was the photographer, and had lots of fun taking pictures of the fish, turtles, eels and all the other strange and beautiful things in the underwater world.

It is exciting to have something that Dave and I can enjoy together - we are already talking about our next diving trip - probably not next year, but hopefully the year after.

Ok, gotta go and get ready for church with my family, it is Easter Sunday. They surprised me last night with a fabulous 40th birthday party, a great photo album and much more - will have to write about it soon!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Table for Six

Wednesday night was deemed my birthday celebration portion of our trip (although trust me, we toasted to my birthday several times throughout the week there!); our new Canadian friends Jaycee and Lisa suggested to Dave that they all surprise me with dinner over the water at a nearby restaurant, Bite on the Beach. They had dined in the main part of the restaurant the evening before, and thought that the hut over the water would be perfect spot for our celebration that night:

Dave had told me that we were all just going to walk down the beach to find some place to eat, so we left Bananarama and started off on a stroll, enjoying the stars, the water and the peacefulness of the night. When we arrived at Bite on the Beach, they led us out and seated us in the hut over the water. After we were seated, the waiter brought out champagne chilling on ice, from our friends Shawn and Lucas - how sweet was that!? They're our friends who have been to Bananarama twice, and so highly recommended both Roatan and the resort- and how right they were! The only thing that would've been better is if they could have been WITH us to celebrate. (Maybe next time, guys - we'll have to plan on it!)

Dinner was fabulous; all three of us girls enjoyed the lobster fettucine alfredo, something I rarely let myself order - and we really could've split an order between the three of us, the portions were huge. The fruity cocktails were flowin' - island coladas, mango bellinis and more.

A wonderful dinner and evening, with four great friends - we already knew we loved hanging out with Ric and Jan, and then we were fortunate enough to make some awesome new friends as well, just by virtue of being paired up with them on my open water diving classes. It was so interesting to visit with them over dinner, about the differences in our countries - health care was a big topic, very interesting discussion about their system and the recent changes in our's. We also talked about the cost of living, housing and the differences in the provinces throughout Canada - I learned so much about Canada's culture; it was a party AND a history/geography lesson for this information gatherer!

Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to me after dinner, and I made my birthday wish and blew out the candle on my slice of key lime pie. I think if Dave and I had one thing we would've changed about our trip, it was that they needed more chocolate on that island - we both love chocolate desserts, and that was definitely in short supply on all of the menus.

Thanks for the great evening, guys - a very memorable 40th birthday celebration.

More pictures soon, including diving - time for bed now though, after another load of laundry.

Friday, April 15, 2011

More Adventures

Wednesday was a full day, with a two tank dive in the morning (will post about all diving experiences and pictures when I return home and have more time) and then ziplining in the afternoon. Six friends, two guides, thirteen ziplines, some daredevil antics (not by me, I was happy just strapped in with the normal pose/ride) and some cute white-faced capuchin monkeys at the end of the adventure! (Hard to tell who's who on the ziplines with the helmets on; Dave's in a red tshirt and I'm in the olive pants) Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"El Blanketo" (?)

More about the blog title a bit later, but first the big news - I am now officially a certified SCUBA diver! We finished our last dive yesterday afternoon, and only had 2 skills to perform - taking our mask off underwater then putting it back on and clearing it, and also hovering, a skill needed to stay at 15 feet for 3-5 minutes for the safety stop. Since we just had these two things, Dave and Ric were able to come along with us and go exploring with us after we were finished with our training. Dave took all kinds of pictures with his underwater camera, but here were two of my favorite:

(that's me in the pink fins!)

It was a great experience, and I loved doing my open water certification with Lisa and Jaycee, who are from Calgary, Alberta - we've spent a lot of time with them over the last couple of days, after finishing diving each day. Our instructor, Tyler, is a young kid from Tulsa OK who picked up and moved down here two years ago, great guy! Today's dive will be a two tank dive this morning, with Dave, Ric, Lisa, Jaycee and me - our first as certified divers.

Between the weather and the diving, Dave's sinuses and ears have been a bit cloggy, and have resulted in some good nights of snoring, whether he is on his back or side. So, on morning two, I left a note for the maid, asking for an extra sheet and blanket:

There was a cheat sheet for commonly used phrases and requests, so I knew what to put for sheet, but blanket was just my attempt at Spanglish, and apparently it was nowhere close! Luckily Dave happened to be in the room when the maid came and went and pointed to the blanket on the bed, and she then understood. But I asked Shanny, one of the servers at the Thirsty Turtle that night about it, and she LAUGHED so hard! Now she calls me "Miss Blankita" every time she sees me. I'll need to have Paige pull out one of her old Spanish books and help me brush up before we go on another trip, I guess!

It has been a fun couple of days, and I swear I haven't gained a pound even with some yummy and not-so-healthy food. We've been so busy with diving, snorkeling, walking, and other stuff that I think we're burning off all the calories we're consuming - even with those yummy blended drinks in the afternoon happy hours each day. Our favorite place is the corner table at the main bar & grill on the resort, the Thirsty Turtle:

Here's Albert, one of our favorite servers at the Turtle, and Dave and I gave him props for his fabulous taste in baseball teams:

Last night we had dinner at the Vintage Pearl, an upscale restaurant on the island, with absolutely wonderful food and beautful setting:
More soon, have to go get ready for breakfast and our two tank dive at 8:15.