Archive - March 2011

One of Those Days
A Few Magical Moments
F is for
Rescue At Sea
Disney Cruise 2
E is for
Ash Wednesday
Scenes from the RV
Fun Times in School

One of Those Days

Yesterday was just one of those days.

We needed to be four places at once and with only two drivers, that just wasn’t going to happen. We blew off one activity this week – next time that will be the one we go to- and packed up dinner to go and loaded a ballerina, a soccer player, a baby and mom in one car, and another soccer player and dad in another. Away we went, waving to each other as we all pulled out of the driveway.

Soccer practice was cold. 53 degrees is actually fairly mild after a long winter, except the sun was going down and the wind was howling. Pumpkin Girl and I managed to get a blanket laid out on the very dead grass and anchored it with bags and water bottles. She attempted to eat her dinner but ended up taking refuge under a tree to prevent dry grass from blowing into her meal. Little Pipsqueak was not happy with the wind in his face so I stood up and turned my back to the wind. He was in my sling and I pulled my coat around him as best I could. Even with my back to the wind my hair was all over my face. I turned my head to look up and then I saw Bip.

His soccer ball had rolled down the hill and into the parking lot and was heading right towards an oncoming car. And Bip was heading right for the ball. I yelled his name.

“Bip! BIP! STOP!”

The driver of the car saw him, or actually probably saw the ball, and stopped. Bip kept right on going and picked up his ball which had come to rest at the car’s bumper.

When he came back, he was sobbing and kept saying, “I’m sorry, Mommy,” over and over again. I held him as best I could with the baby in the sling. Poor Bip wanted to leave. We shoved everything into his soccer bag, told the coach what had happened and left practice 10 minutes early. Bip cried the whole long walk back to the car. He did hear me calling, but thought his ball would be smashed and he’d never see it again. I told him that I was afraid that HE’D be smashed and I’d never see him again.

On the road to the ballet studio, he and I talked about what had happened and what to do next time. I emphasized the importance of obeying. We thanked his guardian angel.

The rest of the evening went without a hitch. Bip sat on my bed to watch “Curious George” until the rest of the family came home. We’re going to learn our lesson and move on.

A Few Magical Moments

I still haven’t figured out how to sum up a Disney Cruise in just a couple of posts. I could talk and talk, but I’d probably bore you. So I’ll show you a ton of pictures instead. I hope you don’t mind. I think I’ll split the pictures up into a couple of different posts, though. And now I’m just kind of babbling to make the text line up nicely with that picture on the left. It’s one of the ship’s stacks.

Here’s Bip, with his friends Patches and Whee, looking out of the porthole in our room.

We enjoyed having a porthole this time around. Some of the things we saw (besides the Cubans) included…

this neat boat as the sun set over Key West.

And Mexico…

Every night after dinner we attended the show. Sometimes it was a musical, as only Disney can do them. Other nights it was a variety show. One night it was movie night and we saw “Tangled” in 3D. We hadn’t seen it yet, so we were excited about that. We loved it! Then after the show we’d usually head off to bed. Waiting for us was a towel animal sitting on our bed.

Or just hanging around.

Our room attendant often staged the children’s stuffed animals, too.

Of course, most of the magic happened outside of our room. There were plenty of opportunities to meet our favorite Disney characters, get their autographs and have pictures taken. Everyone has the opportunity to attend one character breakfast during the cruise. Here’s the children with Chip.

Other characters at breakfast were Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Dale.

The waiters kept us entertained by making hats out of the napkins.

But the best moments happened during chance encounters around the ship. One of our favorite memories from our first cruise was finding Belle sitting and reading by herself in a quiet corner of the ship. This time we found her just walking along. Pumpkin Girl and I were headed to the gift store when we found her. She stopped to chat with Pumpkin, and posed for a picture.

Bip and Philip were meeting up with us at the store, and I was thinking it was too bad they’d missed Belle, when Bip came running in, telling me that Belle was right there in the hallway! She spent a long time talking with him and showed him the book she’d been reading.

He was completely enchanted.


Yesterday a homeschooling mom I know online lost her only child in a car accident.

Today a friend of mine, another homeschooling mom, waits as her infant son undergoes 7 hours of open heart surgery.

Somehow, whatever aggravations pop up today will just pale in comparison.

Please pray for these two families. And hug your children, and thank God for the blessings that they are.

F is for

Fake Flowers

Fake Gerbera daisies, 50% off at Michaels

I’m pretty happy with this picture because I put the camera on manual, set the aperture and got a narrow depth of field. All by myself! After repeating “small number, small depth of field” multiple times, I think I finally got it!

Rescue At Sea

Our first full day on the Disney Cruise was a half day at sea and a half day at Key West. Our progress was interrupted mid-morning by an announcement that we had altered our course to intercept a vessel that was in distress.

Not long after that announcement, a second one was made that we had reached the vessel, which could be viewed off the port side, and we’d be waiting there until the US Coast Guard could arrive.

Conveniently, our room was located on the port side and we had a nice porthole. We could easily see the vessel and my first thought was, “Blog fodder!” and I took some pictures. The vessel – it was clearly not a boat- was very close to our room, so I got good pictures. When I zoomed in and showed the pictures to Phil, he immediately said they were Cuban refugees.

We waited there for about 15 minutes until the Coast Guard arrived. While they waited, the men occasionally waved at our ship. Boo, who was up on the highest deck watching from outside, said that there was a number of people up there with him, including a number of the ship’s officers. We were speculating about what the Cubans were thinking, floating out there in ocean. They were almost certainly despairing of reaching land safely, when out from the horizon comes Mickey Mouse himself. God bless America!

But it was Coast Guard that came to the actual rescue.

The refugees were given life vests.

Then they boarded the Coast Guard boat.

Notice the guy on the far left is getting patted down and that all the Coasties have gloves on.

Take a good look at this picture (click on any of them to get a better look). A square, tarp covered vessel, small rudder, some kind of engine. Think of the desperation that prompted them to this. The secret planning, the willingness to leave everything behind.

In the end though, the Cubans were repatriated. In fact, they made it home before we did.

Posted on Thursday, 02.10.11

The U.S. Coast Guard repatriated 30 Cuban migrants this week, including five men spotted on a raft on Sunday by the Disney Magic cruise ship. The men were found about 21 miles southeast of Key West. A small Coast Guard crew boat picked up the refugees to transport them to a larger cutter for repatriation. The other Cuban refugees were picked up in separate incidents in groups of seven, 15, two and one. All the Cubans were returned to Bahias de Cabañas.

In addition, five Haitian migrants were returned to Haiti.

“The U.S. Coast Guard policy is to deter and respond to dangerous, disorderly and illegal maritime migration by intercepting vessels that pursue perilous and illegal voyages,’’ said Capt. Steven Banks, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement, in a prepared statement. “We continue to maintain a robust presence of cutters and aircraft throughout the Caribbean to respond to illegal migration and migrant smuggling activities.”

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, migrants are provided food, water, shelter and basic medical care.

Miami Herald Staff

Disney Cruise 2

How to capture the essence of a Disney Cruise in just a few blog posts? I don’t think it’s possible. I shall try.

This was our second Disney Cruise so we were a little less excitable when we arrived at Port Canaveral. Just a little. After handing over our bazillion pieces of luggage to the porter, and parking the RV, we entered the terminal. As you’d expect from Disney, their terminal is fun and fully themed. On the floor is a mosaic of the Caribbean and Bahamas, including a little spot to indicate their private island, Castaway Cay.

After we checked in – in our special line for members of the Castaway Club (return cruisers), and received our special Castaway Club lanyards, Phil got in line with the children to take pictures with Minnie Mouse. I nursed Pipsqueak on a comfy chair. Phil then got Pumpkin Girl and Bip their electronic bracelets for the kids clubs, we changed Pipsqueak’s diaper and then it was time to board.

Boarding a Disney ship is so much fun! First, they corral your family to take a group picture and then you prepare to board. They ask your family’s name and announce you as you walk in.

“Disney Magic, please welcome back the Mac and Cheese family!”

And several crew members applaud as you walk on. The lobby is fabulous and you’re completely in awe. A crew member steps up to tell you all you need to know about lunch, when your room will be ready and other details of the day.

We ate lunch at the buffet and to my delight, I found the much loved Disney strawberry soup. I love this soup. I had some every time I found it in the lunch buffet. It’s cold and sweet and creamy and…here, my online friend Tinker Kell gave me a link to the recipe. I saw the recipe in a Disney cookbook they were selling on board, it is pretty much the same. Disney’s Strawberry Soup

We cruised with my parents this time, but they were not with us when we boarded. I knew about what time they should be arriving, so we headed down to see if we could find them. We were standing near to where passengers were boarding and after not even 5 minutes, we saw them. We cheered when they were announced and hugs were exchanged all around.

Lifeboat drill, then the sail away party. We danced and sang with our favorite characters until it was time to count down.

And then the ship’s horn sounded. Not just any horn, of course. It plays the opening line to “When You Wish Upon A Star”.

That moment – when the ship horn sounds – is magic. All the dreaming and planning and hoping and praying have resulted in this. Magic.

We waved to the staff at the terminal, who waved back with giant Mickey gloves. We were off!

Our dinner the first night was in the restaurant called Parrot Cay, a Caribbean themed restaurant. On the menu – my most favorite food from our last cruise, cold Mango Papaya soup. I got the recipe from the chef last time and this time I took a picture to go with it.

The day ended with a fun show before we headed off to bed.

Next time – a rescue at sea!

Scenes from the RV

All ready to go!

Notice the children are in long sleeves, but no coats. Remember, this is Colorado. In January. Before the week was out, local schools would close for 2 consecutive days, not for snow, but for cold. My powers are awesome!

All ready for bed!

Boo was happy to finally be allowed to sit in the front seat!

He helped navigate, reading the Triptik and learning to follow along with the road signs. I could only hear snippets of conversation from where I was sitting, but I could tell that he and Philip were bonding. One conversation I remember was about the difference between spying and intelligence gathering. It all depends on who the bad guy is and who got caught.

Bip gets his turn at the wheel.

He said, “It’s on cruise control!” Pumpkin Girl replied, “That’s good because your feet don’t reach the pedals.” Siblings!

Pumpkin Girl enjoyed playing on the iPad while Phil drove.

Looking out of window during breakfast in Little Rock. It’d been raining for a few hours, with no end in sight.

Fun Times in School

We’ve been enjoying our school work, now that we are recovered from our vacation and are back to normal.

We read about Emperor Norton, learned that Raytheon manufactured the first microwave ovens, and sang Civil War songs (specifically “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Goober Peas,” “Dixie”, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”). We learned that after John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, he jumped to the stage, breaking his leg. He then cried, “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which as everyone knows, means, “Ouch, my leg!”

But the best part came when learning grammar. We’ve been using the DVD of the old School House Rock songs to learn parts of speech. Go ahead, sing it with me – Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?. We made our own version of “The Tale of Mr. Morton“. It goes like this:

“Little Pipsqueak naps on my lap.
Little Pipsqueak naps.

Little Pipsqueak cries for a snack.
Little Pipsqueak cries.

Little Pipsqueak was happy.
Little Pipsqueak was.

Little Pipsqueak is the subject of the sentence,
and the predicate says, he does.”

Because grammar is more fun with baby brothers!

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