Friday, January 25, 2013

Camilla Quotation

(I'm sorry.  I'm sure y'all are getting tired of these, but the blog also happens to be our family journal so I want them saved.)

You might spend too much time on airplanes...

Camilla:  Mom, why are Coralynn and me the only kids without our own electronic devices?  Carson even has two!
Me:  Sorry, Milla.  Maybe when you're older.

What kind of 6-year-old refers to kindles and the ds as electronic devices???

Okay. I'm here.

Goodness, I haven't blogged in a while.

It's been a pretty crazy month with lots of important discussions taking place.  My mind has been filled with those, and when that happens, the blog has to wait for my brain to free up some space or I receive permission to share.  Then I got the stomach virus which ended the blogging possibilies for a few days.

Now, I feel all better, and my brain has processed enough other information that I am blog ready!

It's 2013!  Can you believe it?  (Okay, I get that's it has been 2013 for over 3 weeks, but I already told you I was mentally occupied.)

Last year, I chose a word for the year.  Decrease.  That was my word.  Decrease.  And, overall, I feel like it was a decrease kind of year.

As I thought about a word for 2013, the Lord brought my mind back to a prayer time at Bible study last fall.  Two ladies prayed the same word over me- path.  That has to be word for 2013.  Path.

Staying on the path God has for me. 
Avoiding a grass-is-greener mindset.
Walking on this path in God's timing, not my own.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight

As I was praying about the word path, I was explaning to God that I feel like such a square peg in a round hole sometimes.  He spoke to my heart (I don't hear the audible voice of God, if you are wondering, but I know when He's talking).  What did he say?  Well, the southern-my-friend-Mandy translation would be "Girl, who ever told you that you're a square peg?  You are an octagon.  Embrace it!"

So, that's my outlook for 2013.  I need to stay on this path God has for me, and I need to embrace the truth that I'm not going to just fit perfectly, but that God has me exactly where He knows I need to be.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Coralynn Quotation

Carson:  Mom, can I have a banana?
Coralynn:  No.
CD:  Why not??
Bits:  Cuz, I said no.
CD:  But I want one!
Bits:  Oh Tay.  Donely one.  Dot it?  (Translation:  Okay.  Only one.  Got it?)
CD;  Ok.  Thanks.
Bits:  Well Come.  *Inserts finger back into mouth and continues watching TV*

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Coralynn sings the hits.

Dancing around the family room happily singing the Barney classic, "I Love You," Coralynn is belting out, "You love me.  I love me.  I love Dartson (Carson).  We fam-lee."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spiritual Truth

Carson:  Camilla!  You hurt me.

Camilla:  oh.  Sorry.  (no depth of emotion anywhere to be found)

Carson:  You shouldn't have kicked me.

Camilla:  The Bible never says that you shouldn't kick people in the butt, but it does say you should forgive. 

Top Ten Things I Miss About the United States

(excluding my friends and family)

10.  Waffle House hash browns!

9.  Having a Yard!

8.  Calm Traffic and Smooth Roads!

7.  70 degree weather! 

6.  US-based ISP addresses to access whatever online!

5.  Wal-Mart!  (And, I'm not even a Wal-Mart fan!)

4.  Mail!

3.  Friendly Customer Service!

2.  Coupons!

And the number one thing I miss about living in the United States...
1.  English!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You might be getting old if

your six-year-old comes in the room and asks how old you are.

After a moment to remember (cue irony music), I say, "34."

"Oh.  Man."  Sits down in a humph.

"What's wrong with 34?"

"Nothing.  It's I just thought I'd read really far in this book, but I'm only to page 32.  I haven't made it to 34 yet!"

Yes.  You know your old when your age, in page numbers, is just too far for your 6-year-old to read.

And, it's even better when your 8-year-old chimes in, "Don't worry.  You're almost to Daddy.  He's only 33.  That's closer than Mom."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mental picture.

I'm a word girl.  I think you know that, but lately, I've been noticing that I take more mental pictures.

I think it's Tony's fault.

As we approach our two-year anniversary in Panama, we have been spending more time talking about what the next step will be.  We talk about our goals for our remaining time in Panama, and what future we desire for our family.  Sometimes it is exciting to look at the globe and realize any of it could become our next home.  Other times, I want nothing more than to pull up the covers and just live in bed forever.  The uncertainty leads me to ponder more. 

And I find myself taking mental pictures more now...

I'm laying in bed on the first night of the cruise, and I see Chloe coming through the door from the adjoining room. 


I look at the picture I've taken.  Where did I get this young lady?  Am I old enough to have a child this grown up?  What happen to my insecure, but brave little girl?  She's confident.  She's beautiful.  She's amazing. 


We're potty training Coralynn right now.  She's turning the corner toward 3, and it was time to lose the diapers.  She calls for me, "Momma, need potties!"  I help her up, and the smile of success brightens her face.  She runs into the kitchen with her gorgeous hair flowing down her back.  I help her get her reward- a gummy bear, but she has to hold the bag and pick which bear herself.


This picture warms my heart.  My sweet baby holding the worn package.  She moves the clear and yellow gummy bears out of the way with her tiny little fingers.  She grabs the one she wants- red gummy bear.  As she pops it in her mouth, she hands me the bag and off she goes.  This is not the scrawny 5lb Bits I brought home from the hospital.  This isn't the nearly deaf 2-year-old I took to the hospital.  Coralynn is strong.  She's talkative.  She's well.  She's a little girl.  Though she isn't a baby, she'll always be my baby.


I flip through my mental scrapbook, and I see pictures of Chloe potty training.  8 years ago.  2 moves ago.  3 siblings ago.  8 years- it strikes me.   She'll only be in my home another 8 years before college beckons her.  It just doesn't seem possible.  I wonder what my life will look like in 8 years.   Coralynn will be ten- the age Chloe is now.  I stop and think about it.  I know it won't work.  It is impossible for me to guess any part of that picture.  Too far away.  Too many variables.  Too much unknown.  My mind is simply incapable of forming that mental picture.

I give up on my picture.  Instead, I sit back and listen.

The sounds of Legos being swished in their container as Carson searches for the perfect piece.

Coralynn calling out to her siblings with her toddler demands.

I can hear the keyboard click as Chloe plays some game on the internet.

And, of course, Camilla brings with her silence.  She finds comfort sitting in the middle of their energy.  She just soaks it up.


This picture is different.  The subjects are blurry.  The backgrounds non-descript.  Although, I can't make out the details, its meaning is clear.

It's simply a picture of the contentment of my heart.  And there is no better mental picture.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Last Day at Sea- Cruise Review!

Picture of the hallway and elevators courtesy Chloe.
Our last day on the boat was a day at sea.  We spent the morning leisurely going to breakfast, playing on the water slides, and getting ready to leave.  The kids went to Camp Carnival in the afternoon to learn some dance moves for the show they were to participate in later that day.
One of the dance groups was a Break Dancing group called Fun Force.  We'd seen them perform two other times, and they were a family favorite.  They taught the kids some dance moves that they got to perform in the theatre on stage.  It was too cute, and Carson, in particular, loved it.
He is a miniature version of my Grandpa G.  Grandpa G. would talk to anyone anywhere about anything.  Many of my childhood memories are of Grandma trying to get him to stop talking to everyone.  Carson would make Grandpa proud with his need to chat up total strangers.
Of course, this meant that we had to go chat with Fun Force after the show.  He and Tony stood in line, and Carson got the opportunity to tell Poppin' Jon from Texas how much he liked his robot moves.  Tony was pleased to report that Poppin' Jon told Carson that it took a lot of practice to get that good.  (Tony likes a good hard work comment.)
After they chatted for a moment, Tony was able to get a picture of Carson with Fun Force- a picture that Carson has asked me every hour since it was taken when I could get it printed for him to hang in his room.
Carson with Fun Force.
(Poppin' Jon is on Carson's right)

The Encore! Lounge where the shows were held.
After the Fun Force performance, the kids headed back to Camp Carnival for a Farewell Party and Movie night.  Tony and I got a last opportunity to spend the evening together, and all 6 of us had a wonderful final night of cruising.
Going into the week, I had no idea what to expect, but I truly can't believe just how well the week did go!  It was a reminder to all of us just how much we enjoy being a family and being together. 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cruise Review- Costa Maya, Mexico!

December 27 found us porting in Costa Maya, Mexico, on a very grey morning.  We were able to disembark at 7:30.  Our excursion left at 8:30 so we decided to hang out on the boat until closer to 8:00.  When we did leave, the weather was very cool, windy, and rainy.  I was very thankful that Costa Maya wasn't our beach day.  Instead, we headed to the Mayan ruins.

The Chacchoben ruins were an hour bus ride from the port.  We had a very chatty tour guide who won't be added to my Christmas list anytime soon, but the trip went smoothly, and the kids were very excited about seeing the ruins.

These ruins are much smaller than the Chichen Itza, another Mayan ruin location that I visited in high school.  Chacchoben was a beautiful location, though, and by the time we got there, the sky had cleared, and it was a beautiful day.

My family in tennis shoes.

Find Carson.

There's Camilla!

Okay- I'm so sorry to the lady in the picture,
but it is just too cute of a shot of Chloe to pass up.

Tony and a getting-tired Coralynn

I know you were waiting for it!
Chloe's toes on the ruins!

The Middles.

While we were walking through the ruins, someone spotted some monkeys.  The entire tour group spent the next 10 minutes trying to help Coralynn find them in the trees.  Eventually, she did find them, and she spent the rest of the tour saying,
 "I sawed Mondee ah-ah up der." 
(Translation, I saw Monkey *monkey sound* up there.)

The boat left port earlier on Thursday than any other day,
so we were onboard by 1:00pm. 
That gave us time to play! 
 I desperately wanted to dance with Tony,
 but the time was never right, so I danced with the girls instead.

Chloe played with my camera and got some fun shots.  This one of Camilla.

And this is her laying on the ground and taking a picture up the atrium.  The white windows on the left side of the pictures are the elevators.

I had to take this picture of the towel rabbit because I have a special friend in Georgia who has a special love for rabbits!

Sitting in the window.

The kids went to Camp Carnival for part of the evening where they had a coloring contest.  Carson won a sunglasses case for this FunShip Freddy hat!

And, Chloe just has a serious need to pose.  In this case, she's posing with the shirt she decorated at Camp!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Isla Roatan, Honduras.

December 26.  Day 5.
Without question, the most beautiful place we visited was
Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras.
After two days of more active excursions, we were very excited for our Roatan plans-
laying on the beach at Parrot Tree Resort.

Tony and Chloe pulling up with the kayak.

The younger three playing in the smooth, clear waters of the resort's lagoon.

The boat has arrived, and everyone enjoyed the kayak!

Camilla working her paddle pose!

Chloe wasn't feeling very well, so she was particularly glad that the day's activity was sit on the beach for 4 hours.

Carson taking his turn on the kayak.

After Camilla got a very bad burn shortly after we moved to Panama, we've learn to take sun protection seriously.  Sunscreen, rash guards, and hats
equalled no burns for us! 

Coralynn loved being in shallow water so she could play freely instead of needing to be held or in her floaties!

The gorgeous Parrot Tree Resort.

Of course, Chloe's toes in the water in Roatan!

I love it when life looks like a postcard,
and I don't think that was more true than in Roatan.

Our mandatory heading-back-to-the-boat group photo.  We all had so much fun in this gorgeous place!

As she did many days, Coralynn climbed into bed and collapsed asleep when we returned to the boat.  We never put her in bed.  She always did it herself!

Christmas Day Review!!

Christmas Day we were super excited about heading to Belize City, Belize.  The stop in Belize was the reason I selected this particular cruise, and Camilla was beyond pleased that we were going to the zoo.  I didn't even realize that cruises had excursions to zoos, but they did, and we had a great time!  With little doubt, our stop in Belize made us completely fall in love with the country.  Tony quickly decided that his company needs to set up operations in the beautiful locale!  The place was absolutely stunning, and the people were so warm.  We definitely loved Belize!
Because of the shallow waters and lack of a pier, the cruse ship is unable to port in Belize so we had to take tenders- small taxi boats- to the mainland. 

The tenders were the only motion-sickness-inspiring moments of the trip.

We eventually made it to the zoo, and Chloe had an opportunity to take a picture of her feet on the ground in Belize.

During the drive to the zoo, our tour guide let us know that we would have an opportunity to hold a baby Boa.  I was pumped.  13 years ago, I was teaching a high school English class, and a student brought her baby Boa to show me.  She asked if I wanted to hold it.  I said yes, took it, it moved, and I started to scream like a total girl.  I was pleased to have the opportunity to redeem myself.  And, I did.  The snake was super cool.  I asked the rest of the family if they wanted to hold it, too.  One of them did.

Coralynn, snake, tour guide

Black panther.
I don't love zoos because they seem so unfair, but this zoo was different.  The animals seemed so much happier, and a couple of them were definitely showing off for us.


(This is with no zoom.  He's really that close.)


I was definitely sad when it was time to head back to the boat.  Our tour guide said that once you visit Belize, you'll always want to return.  She was right.  We want to go back!

During Christmas dinner, a gentleman, another cruiser, 
came up and insisted that he needed to take our picture.
So he did, and this is it!

We'd been hearing rumors of snow all week, and on Christmas night, it did snow on the Carnival Dream.  Definitely a fun touch!