A blog named BETTY

Monday, November 9, 2009

Here, have a fake cigar

So, I participated in the "grandmother for a weekend" program. I don't want to brag, but I think I did pretty well. I should be ready to grandmother a real baby sometime in the next decade.

Shnookie2 is taking child development in school, and the pinnacle of that experience is being entrusted with a fake baby for a weekend. And when I say 'fake,' I mean fake on steroids. These babies have computers inside that simulate the craziness of motherhood pretty well. In fact, I think they may have surpassed the mark on discouraging teen pregnancy here--we'll be lucky if this generation will EVER have children after a weekend with these little gremlins.

As you may have guessed, this weekend was Shnookie's long-awaited turn with Robo Baby. She was hoping for an Asian boy, but ended up with a Caucasian girl (we've all been there). Of course, she was just thankful it was healthy. She named her Payton Shea Bishlack (which is the compound last name Shnookie's friends have started using for her to avoid the 2 last-names confusion). Please note that Payton is pronounced according the Utah dialect: no T... "Pay-en." (To hear Shnookie saying it like a Utahn over and over was somewhat disturbing. Then I realized that she has been raised in Utah, so what do I expect?? It's not like I can blame someone else! Not that I won't try...)

Here's a picture of Pay-en with her custodial parent. (She won't tell me who the father is, but I'm suspecting it's either one of those Old Navy mannequins or else Ken ((Barbie will be livid!))):

I think she has my nose. Speaking of which, the girls were playing the "I'm gonna steal your nose" game with her, and she didn't smile once. Hmph! Fake kids these days.

In case you haven't seen one of these babies, the rules are pretty much like Parenting 101. When it cries, try changing its diaper or feeding it or burping it. If you do the right thing, it will giggle once and then be quiet. HOWEVER, sometimes it just cries and there's nothing that will make it stop. That was a condition I was all too familiar with. This process goes on 24/7--right through the night.

The biggest concern when mothering one of these creatures is that you avoid abuse at all costs. You can't let its head tip back, or drop it, or shake it, etc, because it registers abuse in its little implant computer and its parent will have to answer for it. Protecting your charge sounds much more simple than it is, since humans seem to have an inordinate amount of macabre curiosity. Social situations--especially of the teenage boy variety--are a nightmare. Evidently, there is nothing more people would like to do than throw a plastic baby against the wall and see what happens. And the more Shnookie begged them not to hurt it, the more they wanted to see blood. I had to reassure Shnookie repeatedly that this phenomenon is unique to fake babies and she won't have to fight people off of her future real babies. We are an odd group, we humans!

So here's the visual that will stay with me from this experience: Me walking out of the chapel and seeing Shnookie2, holding her baby out in the foyer, right in the middle of a group of other mothers and their (real) babies. They were swapping stories. I kid you not!

And here's the audio I will remember, from a phone call: "MOM!! Come and get the baby! I'm in a meeting and she won't stop crying!!"

Well, I drove over to the meeting, picked up the baby, and thanked my lucky stars that I will never hear that phrase again from my teenage daughter.

And then I went home and put the baby in the dryer on fluff cycle. Just to see what would happen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

We had a bit of excitement in the neighborhood last night. Unfortunately, we were at the center of it. And nary a single one of us even knew it at the time. There we were, going about our business, blissfully ignorant (like always). Personally, I was on this here machine, cursing the phone for its ringing, ringing, ringing while I was doggedly ignoring, ignoring, ignoring it. Next thing I knew, half the neighborhood was on our doorstep, knocking, knocking, knocking.

(Take note: when there's an emergency and you don't answer your phone, your neighbors will gather all their friends and come to your door.)

Through my dogged ignoringness, I hear my kids open the door (they just don't get the 'hit-the-floor-and-don't-move' policy we have for such occasions.), and I hear the words "car" "tree" and "Snookie1" float up to me. You can imagine how fast I threw down the laptop and flew downstairs. When I got the whole sentence, it went something this: "Shnookie1's car just rolled down the hill and hit our tree. He's not in it."

Okay, whew. But last I knew, Shnookie1 wasn't even home, so I was a wee bit confused. (Evidently,this is another disadvantage about holing up in your room with the laptop. Children come and go and live their lives without you.) Anyway, I found him in the shower (well, not literally). I was pounding on the bathroom door, yelling the situation through it. No doubt he only heard snippets like "your car" and "tree," because his "what?"s became more and more incredulous the more I yelled. Finally, I belted a "GET OUT OF THE SHOWER AND COME HERE!!!"

We live at the top of a curved incline. Somehow, Shnook's car started it's little journey ever so slowly, then picked up momentum on the hill, where it crossed the street, missed a shiny new truck by mere inches, went across a lawn and then met with a sturdy tree. If it had missed the tree, it would've continued straight into a house. And by then it would've been going at a pretty good clip.

By the time Shnookie1 and I got there, quite a crowd had gathered. Who knew that many people were out after dark on a Monday night?! I, of course, grabbed my camera before we left home. (I told myself it was for insurance purposes, but who am I kidding? I want to be able to remind him of this the rest of his life in visual form.)

Here's the scene: (Shnook isn't slumped over; he's bending over to see the ignition.)

And here's how the tree looks:

I think everyone will live.

We're still not sure exactly how the car got a'rollin. It's always parked in the same place, and it's never happened before. Shnook is pretty sure he had it in park, but who knows. My theory? The Headless Horseman moved to town recently and is chaffing from too much time in the saddle. He saw a sweet ride (he's headless--he can't see well) with cushy seats and took off in it. Obviously, it's the only logical conclusion.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Most Excellent Adventure

So, I took me a little jaunt to Washington DC a few weeks ago. I was accompanied by my dear friend, Merrie, which was fun just in itself. And also well-balanced, because she's a democrat and I'm a republican. These things matter in DC. We stayed at her friend, Matt's, place, which was only a skip and a jump away in Arlington, VA. Well, unless you get lost, and then it can be a skip, a 2-hour loop, and then a jump away.

Okay, so it happens that we spent A LOT of our time lost. I prefer to call it 'forced exploration.' I'd never been there before, and getting lost afforded me the pleasure of seeing so many things! (Sometimes the same thing. Over and over. DC has a lot of loops!) For instance, the first day we were supposed to be headed South, to Matt's place, when we turned a corner and BAM! there is the Washington Monument looming over us. Oops, that would be North, but WOW! I was so excited! I get a little flusterpated when I see real things that I've seen in books, so I spent a lot of time hyperventilating (but mostly on the inside. don't want to cause a scene!).

There's really too much to tell, but I must share one story. Merrie and were resting on a bench by the Lincoln Memorial, and this squirrel jumped up onto the lamp post right beside me. "Great photo opp!" I'm thinking, "Who knows when I'll be that close to a squirrel again?" Here he is, cute, cute, cute!

Next thing I know, Merrie has pulled out a Milano cookie, and that critter jumps into my lap to get it. It was a bit of a shock, but at least I was coherent enough to point and click.

That right there just proves what anyone/thing will go through to get a Milano.

When I talked to Shnookie3 that night, I said I had something cool to tell her. So I told her the story about Mr. Squirrel. She said, "I thought you were going to tell me that you walked by Obama or something!" So I'm thinking the squirrel is kinda lame compared to that. But then she says, "But this is WAY better!" That right there says how much kids admire politicians these days, don't ya think?

Another story: Merrie got it into her head that we needed to make our husbands believe that we found boyfriends out there (besides Mr. Squirrel). So she was on the outlook for some suitable candidates the whole day we were at the American Mall. It was a great day for characters, since it was the day that all those conservatives came to picket Obama at the capital. All sorts of people were carrying signs and wearing t-shirts. Poor Mr. Obama...he was not popular in that crowd!

Anyway, toward the end of our day, Merrie spots these 3 guys, wearing matching red, white & blue flag shirts and cowboy boots. Zing went the strings of her heart, I guess, because she just had to get her picture taken with them. Here they are with her:

That right there says that even a card-carrying democrat loves her a bunch of red, white & blue blooded republicans! :)

Soon after this, we were ready to walk to our car. On our way, we saw a cool structure and took some pics there. Merrie was down, laying ON the GROUND, taking pictures of me in front of it, when these same patriot hotties happen to walk up! Okay, so it's a total coincidence, but we prefer to tell ourselves that our incredible magnetism pulled them that way. And they jump in the pictures, this time with me. And apparently, the photo opp with Merrie got them riled up, cause they really came out of their shells for this batch!
That's Mr. Cowboy Hat's tongue reaching toward my ear. Yup.
Ohhhhh, I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. That right there proves how silly grown people can get when they're high on America.

Finally, I have to say that I got to see more art in REAL LIFE, which makes me super, super flusterpated! We went to the National Museum of Art, and it was amazing! I about passed out when they told me I could take actual pictures inside of the museum! Yes, I brought the whole museum home with me on my camera. But here's just 3 of my favorites:

Seeing this painting (by Fragonard) in real life really took my breath away. A copy of it hung in the RS room in the church where I grew up, and I've always loved it. The richness of the color and brushstrokes is astounding in the original.

By Matisse
by Degas. It's the only sculpture he ever put in an exhibition. It's quite stunning.

I really enjoyed this trip. The weather was gorgeous, and I loved how lush the area is. But most of all, I was happy to share it with Merrie. She's so open to new experiences and fun-loving and friendly and easy-going and just a delight! Where we goin next, Mer??

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Skack to Bool

I did some back-to-school shopping for BETTY. After all, it's hardly fair to spend on everyone else and leave her out. Doesn't she look fetching? Poor thing hasn't had a new look in ages. Why, it's tantamount to blog abuse. Anyone know a support group she can go to?

And speaking of back-to-school, the shnookies are...well...back to school! It's a pretty big year for all of them, with #1 starting his SENIOR year, #2 starting her first year in high school, #3 being top of the heap in 6th grade, and #4 launching into 4th grade--the signal of her downward trip in grade school. Oh my, I think I lost an inch just thinking about it--I am an old woman! (See how that works? I started out talking about them, but it always ends up about me.)

And speaking of me, I have to admit that it was a heavenly day for me. With the kids back in school and Hubby out of town, I had the whole house (except for the 6X6 area occupied by Boozer) to myself. I savored, I basked, I reveled. And then I went inside and put my clothes back on.

Friday, August 7, 2009

An Affair to Remember

I have to say, I am feeling sorry about saying goodbye to July. It is my dear friend, and I hate that I only get to see it once a year. Oh, we always promise to stay in touch, but by January, I can barely even remember its face. Come the end of February, I’ve been known to curse its name for abandoning me so completely. Luckily, I’m a born forgiver, and when July finally shows its face again, I’m there with open arms. I throw it a party, complete with all the fanfare and fireworks.

Our time together this year (as always) has been delightful. Oh, of course we have our tiffs—July can get a little hot and bothered at times, and I get all red in the face and huffy—but that’s how it is with relationships. We still part friends and only remember the good times.

I know that the majority of Americans put Christmas at the top of their friend list, but I much prefer the 4th of my best friend, July. Sure, I enjoy Christmas as much as the next guy—its pageantry, its coziness, and all of its festive activities. Beyond that, however, the relationship feels a bit one-sided. Christmas demands that I do A LOT of work to keep the love alive. Shopping, baking, shuttling, concerting…the demands just go on and on. It’s all a little high-maintenance for me. Call me selfish, but I much prefer being at the receiving end of my relationships. All that July 4th requires of me is to slap down a few lawn chairs and stir up some lemonade. In return, I’m showered with warm breezes, dazzling fireworks overhead, and giggling children running around with their sparklers.

I’m pretty much convinced that July loves visiting Draper, Utah the best. Besides the obvious attraction of *ME* being here, it knows how we like to prolong the July 4th feeling into extra innings. Toward the middle of the month, we break out the fireworks for the illustrious Draper Days, followed shortly thereafter by Pioneer Day, another celebration smacking of good ole patriotism. The whole month is literally crackling with excitement.

And so it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to my BFF, July. At least we part knowing that we've made the most of our time together and have wasted nary a moment; in fact, we had not one single tiff this year. I found July to be even more delightful than usual, with a cool temperament that pleased me to no end.

As a tribute to my dear friend, here are a few pics of the glorious time we had together this year:

A beautiful, full-mooned 4th of July at home:

Many Taylor Swift-themed garage-band concerts :

Some fun home improvement projects:

Shnookie3 discovering a love of tennis:

Draper Days, with its concerts, friends, face-painting, and the best (free) fireworks in the Rockies:

Potted plants that actually thrived for once!:

The chicken that got transplanted onto our street:

Being roped into a spray tan party (don't ask):

Soccer camp with Dean from the U.K.:

And more swimming parties than I can count (thanks to Lisa and her amazing pool!):

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An early lesson in gender differences

I have a friend a few blocks over who has a pool. A gorgeous pool with waterfalls and a waterslide, all built-in amidst the almost-real rock cliffs that surround it. Lucky for us, she is a very generous friend and has extended an open-pool invitation for every Wednesday afternoon. Unlucky for us, she's trying to sell the gorgeous home with the gorgeous pool. But then again, lucky for us, the housing market has bottomed out here and she can't get a decent price for all of that gorgeousness. (For some reason, she doesn't to see that as lucky. Go figure.)

Lucky for you, I'm done with all the lucky/unluckydness.

Yesterday, being Wednesday, we went to said friend's said pool, and it was wonderful! The great part about her pool as opposed to the pool at our gym is that the girls have their friends to play with. (Which is why it's like pulling teeth to get my girls to go swimming at the gym. Me: "We are going swimming and that is THAT." Poor, tortured girls. But that's another story...)

So, the pool population yesterday consisted of 4 girls and 4 boys. They had a double bed floaty thing in there, which the girls got to be on first. So they all decided to play a game: the boys try to steal the floaty thing from the girls. And here's how it went:

Girls: "You boys try and get the floaty from us."
Boys attack.
Girls scream: "NO, NO, NOOOOO. WAIT!!! You boys go to that end of the pool and plan how to attack. We girls go to this end of the pool and plan how to keep you off. Then we meet in the middle."
All pause momentarily.
Boys attack.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My FFA Father Would Be Proud

I am a farmer. There, I said it. Like the good men and women who fostered our great land in its infancy, I till the earth and harvest its bounties for the nourishment of all mankind. And just like my forefathers, I get very little respect for all of my labors. In fact, I am mocked and ridiculed. . . IN MY OWN HOME.

Why is it that the tradition of farming is not appreciated and revered like it should be? What would man be without the fruits of the land to sustain him?

If you are appalled as I am regarding this injustice to hard-working, honest farmers everywhere, then stand up and be heard. Write my husband and tell him that he should support and praise me, perhaps even till the earth side-by-side with me once-in-while. End the ridicule and tell him that “YES! Once and for all, online farming IS real farming!!!”

Are you with me??

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It rocks to be a Williams!

Like I said earlier, we had the Williams Family Reunion a couple of weeks ago. It's a three night event, once every two years, and this just happened to be our year to be in charge. (I can't really complain, since cancer bought me several years of being skipped over. Just one of the many perks.) My brother, Randy, and his wife, Cheri, were very kind in offering to help throughout the whole process. We found the most amazing inn up at Bear Lake where all 64 of us could sleep under one roof!

It had 17+ rooms in it, each with its own bathroom, jacuzzi tub, fireplace and TV. It had a pool, as well as a large sports field. Honestly, once we found that place, I was much less stressed about the activities side of the reunion. I knew that if nothing else, we could just hang out there and be happy! In fact, with such an unusually rainy June, it was up-in-the-air as to whether or not we'd even be able to be outside! Fortunately, we totally lucked out, and didn't get rained out on any of our activities. Very amazing, considering it poured and poured in Salt Lake the whole time. (In fact, we came home to news-making flooding situations all around us in Draper.)

We all went to Minnetonka Caves, which was really quite impressive. Here's some of my great-nephews and nieces. (Yes, they are all great in the wonderful sense, but they are also great in the 'children of my nieces and nephews sense,' just so there's no confusion.)

And here's a shot of the family:

The last full day, we had five Somalie refugees children come (Thanks Paul and Merrie!!) and hang out with us. They went on a hike with us and swam and ate and played games. Here's our friend Said (Sigh-eed) with Shnookies 1&2 on the hike:

And here's my niece, Alisha, walking with little Imbio:

And speaking of Imbio (7 yrs old), it turns out that she and her little sister, Isha (4 yrs old), LOVE to swim. Unfortunately, they have no idea HOW to swim. And even more unfortunately, this does not stop them from jumping into the deep end, over and over again. Apparently, while I was napping, they had to be saved from drowning several times. Thanks Ashlee and Shnookies!

The funniest thing that happened at the reunion (and there were many!) was when my mom was telling us about being pulled over by the police the day before. She's describing how she was lost and not paying attention, and then she says this: "So, after the policeman tasered me..." In the pause she took for a breath, we all got the same picture in our head, and then the laughing erupted. Oh my gosh, I haven't laughed that hard for a long time. She meant to say he metered her with the laser gun, but... I still chuckle when I think about it.

The sweetest thing that happened at the reunion (again, out of many) was when my two oldest brothers each did one of my dad's readings--Foolish Questions and Casey at the Bat. These are something my dad was asked to do on many social occasions, and certainly at every reunion. Randy and Marc worked hard to prepare, and they both did great. I was amazed they could get through without choking up. I know the rest of us were. It's still hard to believe he's not with us. Maybe because he is.

I loved everything about this reunion. For me, waking up and running into a brother or sister out in the hall was like heaven. The little kids ran around and played, and it was fun to interact with them. Everyone seemed comfortable, and it was just a joy. I had lots of help, so once the whole thing was under way, I was able to relax and take it all in. I'm exhausted now (still), but I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hard to Believe

We got back from my family reunion today, and it was wonderful. I will probably need to sleep for 2 days straight, but it's a small price to pay. I've got tons of great pics and memories to share, but that will be for another post. The 2nd day of the reunion we got word that my mother-in-law, Dixie passed away. She was 90 years old, and of course you expect those things to happen, but it was still such a shock. She's been a big part of our lives for the last couple of years. It's just hard to believe she's gone.

Having this happen while we were miles away at the reunion seemed like horrible timing at first (not that there IS a good time for death, of course...), but I think being surrounded by so much family was good for us. Everyone was very supportive. Even Hubby, who was surrounded by non-blood relatives (NBRs--sorry Mom, but I think it should stay) seemed to be buoyed up. We had to pull the kids out of their fun activities to tell them, and it was very emotional. Having cousins to go back to really helped them.

Saying "She's in a better place now" is certainly one of those trite but true statements for Dixie. I know people mean heaven when they say that; in this case, however, it's more than just that. Dixie was pretty much 'lost' for the last 4 years...lost in a world of confusion that robbed her of a lot of joy. How wonderful it must be for her to once again be the spunky, articulate woman she was...to be able to HEAR again, and to see things as they really were and are without that fog of confusion and mistrust that had plagued her recently. It makes me smile to think of her up there, re-connecting with her loved ones, and mixing it up with the locals. It was probably a day to remember for the staff at the pearly gates!

I've often wondered if I'd be heavy with regret when she passed on. I wasn't always so patient with her, and there were times the frustration with her illness overshadowed the love. I'm happy to report that--so far, anyway--I'm just reminded of the good times and grateful to have been a part of them. I'm sad that they've ended, and still in a little shock.

Checking our caller ID today, I saw the call from her care center to give us the news, and then just 2 calls before that, a call from her. That's how it feels when you lose someone you love...they're there, and then suddenly they're just not. It reminds me again of what a blessing it is to know the bigger picture. It doesn't take away the sting, but it certainly pads the void.

Here's to you, Mom!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yeah, He's Biggish

I was wondering yesterday how many times a week I hear the term 'big dog.' Usually, I hear it in this sentence: "That is a BIG dog!" A lot of times I hear just a snippet of someone's sentence as they pass by, but that snippet always contains 'big' and I know what they are talking about. My favorite is when a car drives by and a big-eyed someone sees him. They're yelling at everyone else in car, and through their open window, it sounds something like this: "look at that big dog! It's huge!!"

I was out working in the front yard this weekend. I'm right there next to the road, and Boozer is resting in the shade. A car is going by, when it suddenly slows way down. I think "Oh look! It's our neighbors! They want to stop and say hi!" and I start waving and walking toward the car. That's when I see an unfamiliar man and woman in it, and they aren't looking at me. They and their dropped jaws are looking at the dog. He's behind a bunch of flowers and tucked back in the shadows, but somehow they saw him. I might as well be a potted plant. Hmph! I guess I should be glad that they're amazed by his incredible size, and not by mine!

We think Boozer is getting close to his final stature, but it's hard to tell. His breed can grow for up to 2 years, and he's only 18 months old. We haven't weighed him lately, but I'd guess he's around 150 lbs. That officially makes him the heaviest in our household. Add that to hairiest, hungriest, smelliest, mellowest. On a good day (when he hasn't chewed up, sneezed on, trampled over or vomitted on something I treasure), I'd have to also give him the cutest. Cute, ya know, in a ginormous drooling sort of way.

Here he is last night, after we all got home. He was so happy to see us, so he was running around like a madman, er dog.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bahama Mama Checks In

I have been on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve been home, and yet I have not blogged about it. Here is why: I’m overwhelmed. It’s just too big to encapsulate, YKWIM? So I’ve hoped that by waiting awhile, it’d distill down to a single blog post nugget. Well, it hasn’t. But I’m willing to try finally.

Our whole family went to the Bahamas over spring break. It was awesome. The End.

All sorts of people ask “How was your trip to trip to the Bahamas?” And I say it was awesome. That’s pretty much all you can say unless the person has an hour to kill. One of my friends asked that exact question, and then immediately said “That’s a stupid question. It’s like asking ‘Are cookies yummy?’ We all know the answer. No one says ‘The trip was awful.’” Exactly.

So let’s just review some photos. You have an hour to kill, right??
First, you need to know the setting. Here’s our hotel, Atlantis on Paradise Island. It’s on the island of Nassau, Bahamas (technically New Providence Island, but no one calls it that). Paradise Island is actually an island off of Nassau, connected by a bridge. Pretty much the whole island is taken up by the Atlantis Resort. That baby is H-U-G-E. Here is a pic from our first foray out onto the beach. In it, you can see just one of the six separate hotels that make up the resort.

You’ll also notice nary a cloud in the sky. Beyond perfect weather the whole time: low of 70, high of 84. Yummy.

I lost track of how many swimming pools there were, but this is the one closest to us. It was right off the beach, so we didn’t spend much time there. Why would you when you can be on the BEACH, afterall. But isn’t it pretty?

Attached to this swimming pool was the most gorgeous lazy river I’ve ever seen. I told Hubby--who has been pushing a backyard swimming pool since the beginning of time—that I would agree to that lazy river in our yard. But he’d have to recreate it EXACTLY as it is, including all the birds and tropical flowers.

Near that lazy river is a waterfall we passed every day, but then we passed hundreds of these every day--the whole resort is lush and groomed to the nth degree.

Right by that waterfall is a couple of ponds—one with giant sea turtles, and one with stingrays. At certain times on certain days, a little worker guy (he’s actually normal size, not little) comes out and feeds the aquatic creatures. He gives an awesome presentation about the species, and then he lets the kids actually feed them. Here’s the stingrays. And while I was taking this pic, Shnookie3 was on the other side letting one eat a fish out of her hand. I guess the cameraman can’t be everywhere at once, dangit!

Speaking of stingrays, all of the kids were quite taken with the sight of them. The main part of the resort has a huge underwater observatory where you can see every type of aquatic creature imaginable, and the kids loved it. Their favorite thing was the humongous stingrays, some of which were as big as our dining room. I got a cute pic of a small one, where you can see it’s little face. Isn’t it sweet??

The night life was a lot of fun—once we found it, lol. They had plenty of restaurants right at the resort, some of which didn’t cost a second mortgage. (It was astonishing how much everything cost. Our kids were always trying to order water and salads to save on money!) So we’d go down to this market village part of the resort every night, eat, and soak in the atmosphere. Here the kids are rockin out, Bahamian style.

And here’s a cute family pic in the village. I know my eyes are so small it’s hard to tell if they’re open on a good day, so I’ll just tell you that, yes, they are closed. And I could shoot myself, cuz everyone else looks so good! I’ll have to push my photoshop skills to the limit and see what I can do about that.

They have a giant waterslide park right there at the resort, which is free to all guests, and that was a huge hit! I didn’t get any photos, since I love my camera and do not want it at the bottom of a wild rapids ride. Just trust me that we took full advantage and had a great time. (And only a little bit of sunburn, miracles of miracles.)
After the water park, we found a snorkeling place, so went snorkeling with the two oldest shnookies. Man, do I love snorkeling!! And here’s the two shnookies AFTER the waterpark and snorkeling. I just can’t see this picture without cracking up. I think I see a little drool hanging from Shnook1’s lip. LOL We were all pretty tired that day!

On Easter, we decided to attend the local LDS branch, which turned out to be such a wonderful experience! The people were so friendly--met us at the sidewalk en masse even! The PA system didn’t work, so we hardly heard anything, but we felt a lot. It reminded Hubby and I of our missions and got Shnookie1 a little excited for his. Here we are at the local branch meeting house:

(I cropped this picture, since there was a lot of tree and sky above us; nevertheless, this is the best photo we had taken when a Bahamian was behind the camera. We learned quickly to ask a tourist to take our pictures, because centering is apparently NOT high on the locals’ skill set!)
And finally…the beach. Ahhhhh, there is nothing better. And here’s some of my favorites taken seaside:

We were in the Bahamas for six days, and I think we used our time well. I could’ve probably used one more day just to hang at the beach and pools, but whoever gets enough of paradise, right?? The trip was full of a lot of new experiences, wonder, laughs, adventures, and culture. But this is the best part:

It was full of a lot of the affection and care that makes a family what it is. And that is why we went. And that is what I’ll remember the most.