Sunday, March 26, 2006

7th Wedding Anniversary

John and I have been married for 7 years now and I often wonder where the time has gone. It still seems like yesterday we were just "kids" running around here and there, working odd shifts, eating dinner at 11 pm, sleeping until 11 the next morning, running with friends and frequenting Red Robin for happy hour clucks and fries. Now we're parents running after Thomas, working odd days, eating dinner whenever we can grab it, sleeping in until 7 am, walking the jog stroller through the neighborhood with friends and toddlers and frequenting Costco and the mall.

Yesterday we celebrated Thomas' 2nd birthday and played with the kids. Tonight we celebrated our anniversary with Mom and Dad and Thomas at Boss Tweads. Not the romance you associate with your anniversary, but with a toddler in tow, romance is hard to find! Fish and Family. Couldn't get much better than that! Oh....maybe the Caribbean on some deserted island somewhere hot......

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thomas Birthday Party #2-The Big One!

Today was a great day. The cousins came over from Yakima, the cousins came up from Seattle and the friends gathered from the neighborhood to celebrate Thomas' second birthday. It's always so much more work than you think it will be, but the weather blessed us with enough sunshine to keep the running outdoors with lots of room to play, and for that I was so grateful for. Andrea put up with my frantic last minutes assignments, Mom helped me figure out how to decorate the upstairs and Lil readied the upstairs for the party. John wrangled kids and helped set up for the party, and that was fabulous to have him enjoying the party spirit as much as I was. Thomas did so much better this year, and really seemed to enjoy himself so much more with all the barely controlled chaos that is a toddler party. I believe the only tears shed were from Jack, who was so disappointed that he couldn't help Thomas open his birthday present. Jack is so good to help Thomas with his Thomas toys and is really willing to share his wealth of Thomas experience. The party was a great time and I'm thankful it all seemed to go well.

Thomas, I love you buddy. I am so proud to be your mommy, and so proud of you as my little boy. You have brought so much joy and love into our lives, and I can't imagine these last two years without your beautiful smile and laughter in our home. I love you with all my heart, baby. And now, I look at my beautiful baby so grown up and a big two. I treasure each and every moment with you!

Party players

Drew, Jake, Grace, Lauren, Madeline, Sophia, Emma, Grace, Jack, Andrew, Lilly
Punkie, Jodi, Matt, Brad, Erica, Aunt Robin, Nana, Aunt Andrea, Uncle Billy, Grandpa Lillian, Grandpa Bruce, Great Grandma Bernice, Jenny

If I've missed anyone please forgive me!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Winter Swimming

It's almost impossible to keep Thomas out of the lake these days. Ever since we went to the Caribbean he's been in and out of the lake, playing, splashing and carrying on like it was summer time. I've given up on it and let him play...until he realizes how frozen he is and ultimately starts to cry. Then it's up to the house we tromp, crying, sputtering and carrying on while I strip his sandy body and haul him inside.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Thomas Entry into his 2nd Year!

I want to remember this stage so well, and yet it is flying by so fast. Thomas is such a happy boy, and generally wakes us up with lively chatter, sing song baby jibber and conversation with the numerous toys he has in his crib. Once we drag ourselves to his room, he's quick to point out his friend Louie, who is a money with dark hair, his friend Charlie, who is a lion/monkey with long dangly arms and spots all over, and his new friends George, who I brought back from Mexico. When I presented this big, fat monkey to Thomas, he immediately crushed him to his chest and loved all over him. We asked him what his name was, and without hesitation, Thomas replied, "George." I guess he does look like Curious George, but Thomas only saw that movie once, so who knows. Then it's "Out, out, please!" and we're off. Thomas doesn't like to stall at anything. He can hardly handle me taking a bathroom break, and has been known to throw himself down on the floor showing me his displeasure. Most of the time this ends in a fit of laughter, as I'm quick to laugh at him and point out how silly he looks on the floor. Most of the time he's immediately asking for Lu-Lu or Maffews ouse, or saying, "Mommy, mommy, bye-bye new car, bye-bye new car." He's also asking to go to the grocery store. He's figured out there's hot rods sold at both grocery stores and knows exactly how to get to them by what aisle. Since returning from the beach he has yet to realize that dirty brown glacier water in Lake Whatcom and island blue warm Caribbean water is not alike, and continues to launch himself into the lake repeatedly, jumping in chest deep and splashing. This usually carries on for several minutes, just in time for him to totally freeze himself. Then some sanity kicks in and he realizes, "Wow, this is cold" and starts to cry about his wet clothes. And it's up to the house we trudge, sandy, wet and cold. I'm done trying to reason with him about this. Now I just concede another round of clothes and deal with it. Thomas has now almost mastered the art of saying please and thank you without prompting. It's is beyond heartwarming to hear him say, "No thanky ou, Mommy," and "Thank you, Mommy" without me saying a word to him. I still have to prompt him throughout the day, but more likely than not he is quick to follow through. When I ask him, "Thomas, do you want to eat (this or that) he'll say, "No thank you, Mommy" or "Yes, thank you Mommy." When I ask him something he doesn't want, like a diaper change, to go to bed, to go inside, he's quick to say, "No thank you Mommy" and take off at high speed. With Lauren, they play so cute together, but I've noticed that Thomas can tell what makes her squeal, and I've seen him take something from her and run, just to get her to squeal and chase him. It's actually quite funny, and I have to hide my smile as I discipline the little rascal. I think it will be very hard on both kids when Jodi and Matt move away. It just means I'll actually have to travel down to Seattle more. I love his little arms around my neck, or when he scrunches his face into mine. I love to cuddle and play hide, and watch him launch himself off the purple chair onto the mattress on the floor. He's all about an audience now, too, which is cute. He really wants to play with all that isn't to play with, like soaps, lotions, saline, glasses, toothepaste, jewelry, kitchen stuff, food in the fridge, my purse, and on and on. And he's really big into playing with us, not without. It's amazing that in one morning's time, the house has been sent ablaze with mess upon mess. And he's had so much fun doing it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thomas 2nd Birthday!

Today was Thomas' 2nd Birthday and I stayed home to get ready to celebrate. There was no way I could go to work getting back so late last night and not getting to spend time with him. And it is so great to be back! I loved every minute of my time with the girls and feel so blessed to have been able to go with them this year, but there is something so comforting about getting back to our routine together. Thomas and I spent quality time together this morning, hanging out, playing at the park and getting errands done. I bought him a cake to celebrate tonight with, but by afternoon he'd caught a glimpse of the trucks and fire hats placed on it and begged for a piece. Actually, he jumped up and down and stomped his feet, all the while yelling "Nommy ave it, Nommy, ave it!" at the top of his lungs. Pretty funny after having a little vacation and what's a mom to say when the birthday boy wants a piece of HIS cake. Yep, he got it, along with several hotrods and monster trucks that he just couldn't live without from the Fountain. We celebrated his birthday with a little dinner here at home and then opened some presents. Thomas doesn't get the idea of presents yet, but I'm sure he'll catch on soon enough. We had a fun evening together and couldn't help but reminisce about the two years that have gone by. It is so wonderful to have a little boy running around, throwing his weight around this place as if it's his castle. In reality it is. He owns me, let me tell you. He is 100% pure adrenaline and nothing stands in his way. He's talking, he's singing, he's running me ragged, and at the end of the day I can't help but fall head over heels in love with him again. I love this little boy. Happy 2nd Birthday Thomas!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Faux Windows With Cynthia and Jodi

Good thing we didn't pay for the view!

Mustering Some More!

Cynthia and Summer Mustering in the Main Show Lounge

Ready? Muster!

Sasha, Summer and Jenny getting ready for Muster Drill

Sasha's Fabulous Bed!

Raining In San Diego! NOooooo.....

What?!!! It's raining in San Diego?!!! Sasha and Summer pose with dark clouds

Adventures to Mexico By Air and By Sea

Jodi and Jenny waiting to board our flight to Los Angeles

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lummi Island adventure

I was feeling like going on an adventure with the weather so bright and sunny, so we bundled up and headed out for Lummi Island. Sounds funny, but in all the years I've lived here, 12 in total, I've never visited Lummi Island. We invited Bruce and Lil out for the journey and proceeded to try and find this elusive ferry terminal. We eventually found the landing, having taken the long way out to Sandy Point and through the reservation, but we made it on the ferry. Now, pregnancy appears to have done a number on my stomach and head. Within but a couple of minutes of a bit of swaying on the ferry and I could feel a change come over me. It wasn't seasickness, but very close, and pretty pathetic to say the least. We're talking a couple of minutes on a ferry and I was feeling something not quite right. Now, I'm about to go on another cruise with the girls and this has me worried. AND, John has mentioned saving up for a 30 day cruise several years from now, and this problem could terminate our planning before it even gets off the ground. My only hope is the patch, and I intend to speak to my doctor on Monday for the upcoming trip. I can only hope it works. I love cruising and pray that this isn't the end for me.

We drove around the island, and although beautiful, I wouldn't recommend bothering with a trip unless you really have nothing to do. For all the beauty, they sure don't want to share. I'm willing to bet that there are more Private, No trespassing and No Access signs on this island per square foot than any other place on Earth! There is no place to even turn off the road, much less get out, walk around and enjoy the scenery. No beach, no drive, no turn out. There is one hotel, but you can't walk on the beach unless you rent a room. We did manage to find a beach right back where we started, a narrow stretch of rocky beach right below a lovely little Beach Cafe. It was freezing cold with a stiff wind blowing in, but we had fun searching for shells and scrambling around. We enjoyed breakfast at the cafe before getting back in the ferry line. While waiting we enjoyed the most delicious box of Girl Scout Cookies I've had in a while. The ferry ride back wasn't so hard for me....oh man, how pathetic do I sound?!!! Absolutley unbelievable! We had a lot of fun and I'm so glad we made the journey out.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Thomas is quite the little man these days, and quite often I'm hearing, "Nommy do it" over and over, but recently I've heard an unsolicited "please" and "ank-ooo" from him, too. He's especially adept at sniffing out candy, and I'm finding that I really can't keep any around. He's also a one man wrecking crew. While distracted putting laundry in, I heard him russling around in the corner of the laundry room. He comes out with a smile on his face, almost beckoning me to follow. I bit and followed him, only to find that he'd pulled the huge bottle of Costco ketchup off the shelving unit, twisted the cap off, pulled off the seal and poured ketchup all over the box he'd stood on, himself and the floor. While cleaning up the mess, he was busy in the bathroom. After throwing away the clean up papertowels, I went in to find that he'd thrown underwear in the toilet. This is a first for him, and he was running his hot rod around in toilet bowl. When I went to throw the underwear in the laundry, he scampered off to the bedroom, where I found him squirting a tube of toothpaste on my bedside table, with a ring of toothpaste around his lips. ("Spicy" he calls out to me, with a huge smile on his face.) Yes, I guess he might think toothpaste tastes spicy at his age. I'd no sooner cleaned up the toothpaste then I heard a crash from the laundry room, and walked in to find a Costco canister of beans scattered all over, along with the remnants of his own private nachos party crushed on the concrete. To his credit, he offered me one of his chips as I eyed him with both amusement and amazement. " I surrender" I said. He ran off, looking for another opportunity for the supreme mess. (Disclaimer...these events happened in the span of roughtly 15 minutes. And I wonder why I can't get anything done around this place!)

Tonight was the first time Thomas has asserted himself at bedtime. He's usually so tired that he's off to sleep without much trouble, but tonight he was having none of it. He's also starting to get some skills at manipulation, as apparent when he called for Mommy to rock him. "Mommy, Nommy rock you," he called in this soulful cry. Of course, I couldn't NOT go to him, but once I'd pulled him from the crib, he was struggling to get out of my arms to play. "Choo-choos" he called, struggling in my arms. I stuck to my guns and put him back in his crib, and then the sobbing began. I left the room, checked in with John and waited it out. After several minutes of listening to him wail, I went back in. Again he wanted me to hold and rock him. I tried it again, but like any good manipulator, once out of the crib he wanted down to play. This time I put him back in, all the while explaining it was bedtime, Mommy loves you, and so on, and then walked out. It killed me, but I know that I have to be firm and not let bedtime disintegrate into a battle of wills. We've never let him cry it out, but tonight was the first. After about 5 minutes of crying, he was done, and I could breathe again. What a miserable experience. I'm sure hoping Thomas is a quick learner and decides that when Mommy says something she means it, regardless of how big of a fit I throw. We'll see. Tonight I feel I won round one. I think Dobson would be proud. Dobson says in one of his books, "If your toddler wants to fight with you, you say bring it on," or something like that. Bring it on, Thomas. Mommy loves you too much to drop the ball now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Curious George

Today I had to work but was able to get off early and head home to see if Thomas was in a good enough mood to go out and try this movie. The last movie I took him to was this summer during the free movies at the mall. We went with Jodi, Julia and the kids and Thomas lasted less than 15 minutes, so I was eager to see if Thomas could make this a record. Lil was just getting him up from his nap, so we got ready to go and headed out, although it took some coaxing. Seems Thomas wanted to hang out with Mommy and play aht-wods instead of the bribes of popcorn, soda and a funny looking monkey! Oh, I could make a lot of money if I could figure how these little things think sometimes!
John met us up at the mall...I convinced Thomas to go with me by agreeing to "gumballs". Good lord, if that's all it takes, why didn't I think of it earlier....and we bought an outrageously expensive load of popcorn and soda. Okay, in all honestly, should a medium popcorn and medium soda cost almost 10 bucks?!!! I THINK NOTTTT!!! Thomas was a champ, though, and lasted through about 15 minutes of previews and enjoyed double fisting his share tray of popcorn. Man, that boy can consume as much popcorn as his father! We made it for 55 minutes of uninterrupted movie enjoyment before Thomas tossed his tray to me, jumped out of his booster seat and proceeded to run up the aisle checking out the aisle lights. John and I packed up camp and headed out, happy for such a great movie experience. We had a lot of fun, and who cares if we still don't know how Curious George ends?!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Back to the Routine!

It was very difficult to get back to work this week, and especially difficult when we remembered where we were at such and such time last week. It wasn't easier when the snow started to come now, either, despite how beautiful it was. Thomas is starting to assert his little will more and more these days, and it's becoming more and more apparent that it is truly a job raising a child. On Wednesday, while visiting the toy store and playing with trains, Thomas threw his first tantrum, ending in him throwing himself on the ground and laying there, apparently in mutiny! I had a hard time not breaking out in a fit of giggles at how silly he looked, just lying there on the ground looking around, as if to say, "Hey, whatcha gonna do about it now, Mom?" Chalk one up to me as I hauled his silly buns out of there, again trying not to laugh at his antics, and took him home. I didn't rub it in that due to his little fit he'd missed his chance to go with Mommy to see Curious George. We'll have to try that again tomorrow.

Monday, March 06, 2006

No Bottles!

Thomas did not ask for a bottle all afternoon and evening on Sunday night. I kept expecting him to, but even on the overnight flight he didn't want the bottle I made up for him. Monday morning and still no bottle. And so forth, all through the cruise. One night that I can't remember right now, I made one up, thinking he'd want it, but it just fermented. That bottle stayed on the ship. Too stinky for me to clean with my limited space. So, it was not until we returned to Bellingham and tucked Thomas in for the night that he finally remembered that he wanted a bottle. Well, although I so wanted to give in and let him have the one comfort, I reminded him that we don't have bottles anymore, remember? You're a big boy now and don't have bottles. He didn't fuss, didn't throw a fit, and that was it. He's asked several more times at various points throughout the week, but each time I'd offer him the same explanation and a few times he chose to suck on a warm bottle of water just for the principal of it I guess.

I remember getting a dress down from my pediatrician at his January appointment about how horrible it was that Thomas was still taking a bottle. I left the office feeling like a horrible mother for allowing my son to drink his milk this way. How dare I jeopardize his life by such a heinous act! The solution was to immediately stop giving him the bottle and let him cry it out. It might only take a few days, but eventually he'll get the point.

Hmmmmm... I didn't buy it. I am the mother and I make the decisions, regardless of what his doctor may think. Thomas is such a trim little thing anyway that I didn't want to take away a big source of nutrition from him, when I still consider him a baby. And another thing...he's still my baby, and I don't think that taking a bottle from him now leads to trauma down the road. How many kindergarteners do you see out there carrying their bottle around? I trust his teeth have made it through a few extra months of milk breath. And amazingly, he did it on his OWN. I didn't force him, I didn't let him cry it out, I didn't make an issue, and he did it when it was right for him. Now, I may keep him from eating himself to death with gumballs and chocolate M & M's because I'm the mother, but some things are better left alone. And I just learned a huge lesson from my more than capable son. I can't wait to learn more!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back home!

We were up bright and early this morning to catch our 7 am flight out of Miami to Seattle on a very roundabout way down south. Turns out a 5 hour flight turned in to 6 hours and 25 mintues due to stuff happening with the weather in Kansas. Our flight went smoothly and Thomas again did wonderful by sleeping part of the flight and playing happily the rest of the flight. Our connection to Bellingham went smoothly and we had a sunny clear trip up in which to see that sights from the air. It was so good to be back but difficult as well. It's not easy coming from 75 degree weather to 30 degree weather. Not fun at all. It will be good to catch up on some much needed rest, though, eat some thai food and get back to our routines.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Lounging by the Pool

Final Day in Miami

This morning we had smooth sailing so to speak off the ship. We had a wonderful breakfast, waffles, eggies, hashbrowns and bacon, before heading out for our debarkation and customs check. It could have been a very interesting morning, as it was very early and we had nowhere to go really, but God blessed us with a taxi willing to negotiate with me and a hotel willing to let us play and enjoy our morning, despite having a room made up for us yet. We spent the majority of our day lounging out by the pool, enjoying food delivered poolside, a new friend named Alexander for Thomas, and lots of sunshine. I had been very worried we'd be sitting in some lobby all day waiting for a room that they didn't have to provide until official check in times, but instead our room was ready to go within 2 hours, all while we were playing and eating by the pool. I think we all ended up taking a nap outside, too. We shared a double room, but the Suites part of the hotel was actually just that, and our room was actually two rooms, which made it easier with 5 sets of luggage and multiple carry-ons. Despite the fact that we slept in an icebox that night, we had a fabulous time. Oh, and we were tired. Thomas crashed on the bed at 6:15 pm and I followed shortly. I think everyone was in bed by 7 pm that night. Is there a word bigger than exhaustion?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Our Day at Sea

Today was our last day at sea as we made our way back to Miami. Last night was fabulous, and made even sweeter because we could share it with Bruce, Lil and Thomas, who were still up and playing when we got back to the boat after the concert. Today we woke up real late with the rest of the ship who stayed up way too late, and followed the smell of sausage and eggs down to the buffet line, knowing that this was our last chance at relaxing and enjoying the pool and sunshine. It was like ants trailing to their hill, let me tell you. By now, we've all got it down! I had earlier been down to secure a much desired deckchair for each of us, knowing that it would be the intent of the majority of the people on board to take in the festivities poolside. Lucky for us, we were just in time, as the chairs were going quick.

Thomas was so much fun today. We enjoyed playing with him in the pools and playing with the toys around the deck chairs. It was easy to relax with him as he would sit back and take a rest on his chair and let us get a few minutes here and there of uninterupted sunbathing. He was so easy going about the whole thing. Before long it was time to head back to the buffet line for lunch for yet another round. Oh, it is so good not to cook or clean, that's for sure. Thomas has been so off his schedule that nap time could fall as late as 6:30 at night, and today was no different. I took him up to our room to rest, as he was trying to sleep out in the middle of the pool parties going on, but we only ended up cuddling on our beds, eating room service hotdogs and salad and watching a cartoon, before heading down for more fun. Traveling this way has been so exhausting, yet to easy. This ship holds countless wonders for a little adventurer and is so easy to keep him entertained. It is hard to think that we're heading out and that it will come to an end soon.

Tonight we had our final dinner together in the formal dining room and sat with another couple and their young children from Detroit. Thomas was such a good boy about sitting for each course of the meal, with a few trips out to the waterfall in between of course. We were able to scoot out and let him play later and take in the last show with Chris Cagle and had a lot of fun just getting away and being together. Lil and Bruce were so great about watching Thomas and taking care of him, even late into the morning. I'd thought he'd be in bed, making it easier for them to watch him, but as I posted earlier, Thomas was awake and running the ship well into the early morning hours on most nights. It made it so great to be able to pick a concert and just get away and enjoy, without chasing Thomas around and down through the ship. It was very reluctantly that we called it a night, knowing our much anticipated vacation was coming to an end. Our bags were packed and waiting outside our door, and all that was left was to eat one more buffet breakfast and head out for debarkation. What a fabulous time we've had.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pictures at Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island Bahamas

3rd Day Nassau Bahamas

John signed up to take a wreck and sea wall dive, so while he was out, the grand plan was to take a taxi out to Paradise Island just over a bridge from Nassau, see the aquarium and pools of Atlantis Hotel and then play at the beach until about 1 pm, when we needed to head back and pick up tender tickets for the big concert at night. I'll be honest, I wanted to put on a good front, but I was pretty nervous throughout the day, not only about being out and about as tour guide for the day, but about the whole concert and logistics of meeting back up with John and our concert transportation.

We managed to negotiate our way into a taxi outside the gates of the ship terminal, and headed out for the hotel. I knew Bruce wanted to get a lay of the land, but the only scenes we saw on the way out were of the slums along the coast there. Once there, things changed. Yes, Atlantis is HUGE, and seems like a high class airport terminal when you're inside trying to find your way around. Many sections and long stretches of hallways later, we finally made our way to the aquarium portion of the hotel, only to realize Thomas could care less about watching the big fish and other sites, but instead wanted to play in the fountains throughout the lobby. So glad I didn't spent big bucks to take the real tour of the aquarium. Within minutes we'd picked up our bags and once again began our long trek back through the "terminal" and tried desperately to find an exit that would allow us "non guests" to find the beach access. Before, John and I had been able to tour around the gardens and watch all the wildlife and sea creatures throughout the property. I just knew Thomas would love it. However, they've now decided to capitalize on tourist dollars and charge to take a tour of what used to be free. Finally, we made our way outside and trekked, in the heat, through a wooded area and down a steep trail to Cabbage Beach. It was at this point that I seriously contemplated just heading back to the ship and calling it a wash. Maybe we should have paid the $78 to take the tour and sit on their beach for the day, except technically we'd be on their beach if we could only get to it, as it's a public beach anyway.

Cabbage Beach is the opposite of the beaches at Coco Cay. Where Coco Cay is calm and not a wave to be found, Cabbage Beach is highlighted by serious currents, big waves and extremely strong undertow once the waves crashes on the beach. It hits hard and fast, and Thomas could not be left alone, nor without a strong grip on his arms while here at the beach. He loved it, though, and him and Grandpa spent a lot of time waiting for the big waves to hit, then holding on while the waves pulled and pulled them out again. It was but a short time before we had to begin the trek out again, but this time I was able to cut our time short by getting a cab back that met us out by the beach instead of having to go all the way back to Atlantis. I'm not willing to say it was a wasted day because Thomas loved it all and knows nothing of time, but without him, I'd say it was not the best excursion I've been on. Too much time walking and trying to find the beach, and not enough time playing and relaxing.

When we got back, I was exhausted and the day was only beginning. I quickly headed down to get our tender tickets and then raced for the pool, where I told John we'd meet him once he arrived back at the ship. We played out at the pool and ate a light lunch until time to get ready to leave, then quickly changed and made our way to meet our transportation to the MAIN Concert. We were a little uncertain how to plan out our evening, whether Bruce and Lil should stay back with Thomas or if we should all go over and check things out. In the end, we chose to be adventurous and headed out as a family. The "secret" island turned out to be Paradise Island, and a spot we could have spotted from the boats had we looked. We quickly made our way off the big tranport ferry boat that got us over and scurried about to find a spot in the sand amidst the bodies already congregating and fighting to get a perfect spot in order to see Kenny best. We did find a spot and found Thomas fast asleep by the time we settled in. In the end, the music proved too loud for Thomas and he was uninterested in any of it anyway, so Bruce and Lil made their way back to the ship to watch the little guy while we stayed behind and enjoyed the show. It was a relief, because while there I could see things just disintegrating. Thomas not being interested, him being very clingy to me, and the situation with seating being chaotic. I had flashes of us all heading back and missing the show entirely, and tried to prepare myself for the disappointment. In the end, we really had a good time watching Dierks Bentley and Kenny Chesney. The drunks kept having to leave to use the bathroom, so we ended up getting better and better spots closer to the stage. It was a lot of fun to stand back, watch the swaying palm trees, feel the island breezes and listen to good music together. The bus ride back was a hoot, though, and again I wondered if we'd actually make it back to the ship. This driver of the bus had us flying down these tiny beat up streets of scary Nassau, and when the sign said 25 miles an hours, John estimated he was flying down the hills at 65. John was directly up front with the driver, while I was in the very back holding on for dear life in the fastest roller coaster I've been on in a while. Thomas was still awake when we arrived, and we headed up to the rock climbing wall to run around, eat pizza and drink lemonade while recapping the highlights of our night. Bruce said they had the run of the ship, and boy, did Thomas take advantage of his freedom. The waiters in the dining room pampered him like a prince and he was all over exploring and running wild. I think we all ended up having a great night together, each with our own adventures.