Friday, August 24, 2007

Vacation Rewind - Canada

The weather in Tennessee has just been too, too hot! I heard the weatherman say the other night that we have had 22 days of temperatures over 90 degrees. Well, now that is probably up to 24 or 25 days. If we hit 30, a new record will be set. Yippee! I have actually seen the local thermometers reading at over 100 degrees several times! It is worse than when we lived in Florida. I really needed a blast of cold air, so I dug out some photos from Tessa's and my trip to Canada in January of 2006. What fun that was! We LOVE snow!

The family we stayed with has six boys. Three are in the photo below as well as three neighbor girls. They had a blast sledding together.

At the skating rink, they have the niftiest things like walkers that the children can use to learn how to ice skate.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Fun on--I mean off-- the boat the day before school starts!








Tessa's New Teacher

Tessa met her new 5th grade teacher on Friday at Family Night. She is very nice (with a cute southern accent!), and her enthusiasm is very contagious! As much as I miss homeschooling, I know that Tessa and I are where we need to be. I am thankful that all of her teachers so far have made the transition so much easier. Last year when school started, Tessa was the only one in the 4th grade class. This year, we're starting with ten in 5th! WOW!

Friends Forever

Tessa and Casey were born just weeks apart almost 11 years ago. Melanie (her mom) and I worked at the same dental office, and I remember asking her when she was going to have a baby. After ten years of marriage, she said, "I'll have one if you'll have one." Well, I already had three, ranging in age from 7 to 18! I told her that I did my bit for society and that it was her turn. When I ended up pregnant (kind of surprising!) a few months later, I told her she better get moving, and she did! We pregnancied (probably not a word) together and both had horrendous deliveries three weeks apart. How nice that we also were able to share recoveries together. Chloe came along two years later, and the three have been great friends ever since. Even living 800 miles apart has not kept the girls from making childhood memories together.

Chloe, Tessa, Casey

Last week the girls were able to spend a night with Tessa when they stopped by while vacationing nearby. More memories!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Whale Watching

Okay, I must admit that one of the things that really, really interested us before we went on our trip to Boston was the idea of taking a ride on a whaling boat. Tessa loves anything to do with ocean life and was also excited about this adventure. Well, an adventure it was. Throughout my post, I'll include portions of the advertisement found on the website of the company with whom we traveled.

Looking for a whale watch that requires less travel time, offers the most comfortable ride available and gives you more time viewing some of the world's most fascinating and magnificent creatures? Look no further!

Yes, yes, yes! That's just what we were looking for! Quick, comfortable, fascinating! Yes! How lucky we felt that the cost was included in our GoBoston Card price.

There was a little nip in the breeze when we first boarded the catamaran, so we chose an inside table on the first floor. It was also easier with the stroller and five children. As we positioned ourselves and our stuff, I mentioned that it would be nice if the windows opened. Keep that thought in mind for later. The older three and I went out the door to the front of the boat to experience the frigid wind in our faces as we flew across the ocean. I literally thought my earrings were going to rip out of my ears. I ended up putting the hood of my sweatshirt on. We quickly realized that we were not dressed for this, but we weren't about to lose our good spots up front where we would have prime viewing of the whales. This whole thought process seems ludicrous now!

I ran--well not really ran, more like got slammed back and forth until I landed--back inside to check on Kelly and the two smaller kids after we started, and everything seemed fine with them. Notice the winning smiles.

Right after this picture was taken, things started to go down hill rather quickly--kind of like at the same speed that the catamaran was traveling. I'll tell the condensed version of the trip. Nate fell asleep on the bench. Kelly started to feel sick. An announcement came over the loud speaker stating that if anybody was feeling ill, they were not to go into the bathroom; they were to go to the back of the boat. Of course, I was outside having my face flattened by the wind while keeping three children from freezing to death.

Brooke told me that she wasn't feeling well. I went inside to find Kelly. She was by the door at the back of the boat with Kenzie--not a good sign. That meant that Nate was sleeping unattended at the table with all of our stuff. She looked really, really green. I got her some ginger ale. I took Kenzie and tried to make my way back to the front of the boat without falling. Brooke vomited somewhere and felt better. Shiny silver bags were handed out free of charge.

Kelly went outside the back of the boat and sat on the floor with other sick people. I realized why the windows did not open and was so thankful. Brooke threw up a second time and felt better again. I don't know where--probably not the bathroom. Tessa started to feel ill. Nate woke up. Kenzie fell asleep on my lap. Brooke got the chills and I had to sit with my legs over her while holding Kenzie to try to warm her up. I drank ginger ale. I asked the crew how I was supposed to take care of five children on a boat that everyone was barfing on. One mentioned that maybe I shouldn't have brought five children on a boat. Thank you, but I was already aware of the fact that hindsight is 20/20 and that their advertising did not mention shiny silver bags. My grandchildren took turns taking my photo. Ross had a great time and never felt ill.

This is Boston's only three-hour whale watch cruise aboard high-speed catamarans. This cruise will get you to and from the whales in less time, which allows you more time to watch the whales. And, all trips are narrated by professional researchers from the Whale Center of New England, the regions foremost authority on our whale population.

I almost forgot to mention the whales. By now you may have guessed that I had lost our prime spot on the front of the boat. I also did not care a flip about seeing a whale. I did hear the professional reasearcher from the Whale Center of New England exclaim rather loudly when several whales breached. She then went on to tell us how lucky we were to see such a sight since it happened so infrequently. I exclaimed rather loudly also how lucky we were to experience so much barf and see a whale breach all in the same day! Lucky. That's us.

Fortunately, once we arrived at our destination at over an hour into the trip, the boat slowed down and most felt better. That was not to be Kelly's fate. She never did get up from the floor. One lady who shared her space managed to get up to see a whale and then told her, "It was great, but I wouldn't advise it." The captain was kind enough to keep spinning the boat around in the direction of the whales so that all had a chance to see them. That was fun. Tessa, Brooke, and Ross ran back and forth for the sightings, but Nate could have cared less. I saw a few, but had a hard time looking out the window with all the yuck on it. I got no photos since I wouldn't trust the children with my camera outside, and I mentioned already that the view through the window was not that great.

I bought the children hot chocolate to warm them. It was a much smoother ride on the way back, and most folks slept. Kelly kept her head in a bag and was probably the last passenger off the ship. As soon as we hit the end of the dock she filled her bag. And then again. And then we all but dragged her back to the car which meant I had to navigate my way out of Boston, back to our hotel, with little help from her. More fun. She rallied the next morning and was almost back to normal by noon. My advice: Go visit Shamu if you want to see a whale.