Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yummy Chocolate Chunks!!

I just made the yummiest chocolate chips/chunks ever! 

Maybe not ever, but they are really good. 

You can find the recipe here  I used coconut oil and honey.

As, I was breaking apart the frozen chocolate I thought this is just like breaking apart a Hershey bar.  So you could even call this a chocolate bar.  Throw so almonds in and my taste buds are HAPPY!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Month of Birthdays

We have recently concluded a month of birthday celebrations.  Well, actually it was just over three weeks, but who is really counting.
Jeffrey's birthday is the end of August, Jackson's is two weeks later and mine is two weeks after his.  Now to celebrate the boys birthdays we do several things: they pick breakfast, they pick dinner (usually eating out) and then a party.

 Jeffrey's birthday breakfast was French toast and fruit.
 He choose to go out to Gringo's for dinner and was super excited about the sugar taco bowl filled with ice cream!  Jeffrey also choose peanut butter Oreos to have at home.  Jackson doesn't like peanut butter so we also bought the mint Oreos.  So many cookie! 

 The boy's birthday party was a football themed pool party.  Snacks included cheese puffs, goldfish, grapes and raisins.  The cake turned out super yummy!

 Jackson choose Toad in a Hole (fried egg in toast--makes me think of Granny Harmon), bacon and fruit for his birthday breakfast.
Jackson also choose to eat out at Gringo's for his birthday dinner.  We came home for dessert of brownies, blue bell homemade vanilla, whipped cream, homemade chocolate fudge sauce and sprinkles.  It was sooo good!
Now, for my birthday Mama came and took me to lunch at Cheddar's, we had dinner with friends at Chuy's on my actually birthday, we went out to Salt Grass as a family to celebrate, and a friend took me to lunch at Jason's deli.  The birthday treat I made myself was homemade mounds candy and fudge bombs!
So the last month (3 1/2 weeks) have been super yummy, but not good on my tummy.  Also, in this time period we had a pool and pizza party for our 9th grade Sunday School class and I have gone out to eat with ladies from BSF.  For a family that doesn't eat out a lot we sure have lately.  O, and I forgot to mention all the coke I have been drinking :(
I must get back to healthy eating.  So this week I cut out coke and have only had two to three gluten meals and all other meals have been "clean".   Next week I plan to be completely gluten free and the following week I will cut out all refined sugar.  It will not be easy, but my tummy will thank me!  And then it will be Halloween and I will tell myself not to eat the boys candy, but I will when they go to bed just like you do.  Don't say you don't because I know I'm not the only one!
Go here for the mounds candy recipe  I did not use medjool dates.  HEB only had sunmaid so that is what I bought.  For the chocolate chips I used Hershey dark chocolate chips.  These were a big hit with the whole family next time I will double the recipe.

Go here for the fudge bomb recipe  I did not use pecans and I used Hershey dark chocolate cocoa powder.  These weren't as good as the mounds, but the boys loved eating bombs!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tears Again!

Jamie's due date was Aug. 26th three years ago.  This year it was the 1st day of school and Jeffrey started Kinder.  So, I mentally noted the day, but was busy and preoccupied.  Throughout last week I thought of Jamie some, but not much.  Then yesterday it hit me so hard and I am struggling and don't understand why.  Then just moments ago I came across this blog post (thank you Lord!) and feel a little better.  Maybe you need to read this are know someone it may help

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cooking Camp

Several weeks ago while Jackson attended a day camp Jeffrey and I had cooking camp at home.  Jeffrey choose what to make and Monday morning after dropping Jackson off we headed to HEB.  Once home the cooking began.  The first day was meet with much excitement from Jeffrey.  As the week progressed Jeffrey just wanted me to cook and him to eat :)  Through out the week we made turkey dog nachos, egg and bacon stuffed chicken breast, stuffed banana peppers wrapped in bacon, bacon mac n cheese, and onion rings.  This boy loves his bacon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Enchanted Rock

Last month Josh and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary!  We spent the weekend in Fredericksburg while the boys were at Grammie and Granddad's.  One morning we hiked at Enchanted Rock.
 Josh resting on a "rock" chair.
 Two huge rocks on one really huge enchanted rock.  You will see these again.
 Looking down!
 Can't believe we found this up there!
 Remember the two huge there are up close.

 View from the top.
View from the top.
As we were hiking along Josh says I know the Bible says to take the narrow path, but we are not taking that one (he points to a very little path).  Now, we were already on a narrow path so I said I think this one is good.  We continue on and I ponder taking the narrow path Jesus talks about in the Bible.  Weeks later I still come back to this.  I think we as Christians sometimes make the path more narrow than it has to be.  We make a list of rule and forget about love.  Now I'm not saying to throw out all the rules, but let remember love and mercy and grace along the way.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One warm August evening I jog along taking in my surroundings. 

Ok, wait!  Who am I kidding, it is August in Houston it is HOT!  But doesn't the first sentence bring to mind a pleasant peaceful scene?  Don't we do that especial with social media. . . word things so they are pleasant.  There are nice peaceful moments in my life and I have deep joy and peace in my heart given to me by God.  However, I live in a hot, loud, smelly boy house:)  Anyways back to my jog...

I smell fresh cut grass, feel the mist from a near by sprinkler and enjoy the music of some kind of insect that reminds me of summers in Iola.  I see one lone bird flying, wings flapping hard and then he soars.  As, I come to a gravel path I hear the crunch when my shoes hit and enjoy the sound.  This is a peaceful time for me all alone.

Then I think I'm all alone.  Where are the other joggers, walkers and bikers.  Guess they just aren't as tough as me!  No, just smarter waiting till the sun drops a little more in the sky. 

Jogging down the path alone I think of the bird flying alone and wonder do others feel alone like I do sometimes?  Are you the lone bird flapping and flapping or the lone jogger running and running?    I get so caught up in whatever I am doing that I miss the people around me when they are right there.  I miss God in my rush. 

Jogging I really listen and I hear cars, people a distance off in the park playing Frisbee golf, a biker's tires on gravel.  I am not alone!  When we stop the rush and turn our focus we realize we are not alone. 

So this warm hot August evening I am reminded to slow down and enjoy those around me.


"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."  Romans 15:4

As, I read these words this morning they stopped me.  So I read again slower, thinking. 

The scripture, God's Word, is for me to read and learn.  Learn what?  HOPE!

Jesus Christ is The Word (John 1).  So through the patience and comfort of Christ we learn hope!

Christ , The Word, came to earth to give us hope!  CHRIST = HOPE!

That sounds great, right?  But what to do with it?  How do I live it out?

Instead of trying to gain fulfillment through crossing off my to do list, serving in every area, doing the "right" things and not doing the "wrong" things, having the "perfect" family, home, etc. I gain fulfillment through Christ.  Looking for Christ's love and grace in everyday, filling my heart and mind with His Words gives me hope and fulfillment.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blue Bell

Today I took the boys and one of their good friends to Blue Bell.  The last time the three of them were there together was four years ago.  Look at how much they have grown!
Nov. 2009
 Nov. 2009
 Nov. 2009
Nov. 2009
 July 2013 

July 2013
 July 2013
July 2013
 July 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Strawberry Pie

Several weeks ago the boys were talking about pie and so we decided to bake one. The one stipulation was we had to find a recipe that we had all the ingredients for in the house.  I was not going to the store!  I searched online and find a pie crust recipe that used coconut flour--yummy!

Coconut Flour Pie Crust
·         1/2 cup Butter, Melted

·         2 Eggs

·         1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

·         3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

·         1-3 Tablespoons Raw Honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl beat butter, eggs, honey and salt together with a fork. Then add coconut flour. Stir until dough holds together. 
Gather the dough into a ball, then pat into a 9″ greased  pie pan. Prick the dough with a fork. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool.

The pie dough.
 My silly chiefs!

The boys had a blast mixing the dough and did a great job pressing it into the pie plate!
The following is the pie filling recipe we went off of, but did not follow exactly :)
Glazed Strawberry Pie Recipe

·         2 quarts of strawberries, sliced

·         1 baked gluten-free pie shell

·         1 cup water

·         3/4 cup sugar (or equivalent sugar substitute)

·         1 Tbs corn starch or potato starch ( I used coconut flour)

Fill the baked pie shell with sliced strawberries until no more will fit. (You'll have quite a bit left over.) Chill the pie crust with the berries for at least an hour.  Near the end of the hour, put the remaining slices into a medium saucepan with a cup of water. Cook until the berries are tender.  Pour the strawberries and water into a blender and puree. Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan, through a strainer. Add the sugar and starch to the strained berry mixture. Stir and cook on a low flame until the sugar and starch dissolve.  Pour the hot glaze over the refrigerated berries in the pie crust. Chill and serve, either plain or with whipped cream topping.

The boys did such a good job working together.

This was a very yummy and pretty good for you summer treat.  It did not last long!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Reflections

On this 8th evening of summer I am reflecting on all we have done. 
Swimming about four times, movie ,a couple of play dates, bowling and lunch with friends, library, bookstore, two trips to the grocery store, hours of reading, at least three movies at home, computer games, painting, blanket tents, friends for dinner, there is a battle field upstairs(this afternoon I heard "Come on boys come on boys!" and then "RETREAT, RETREAT!"),scooter rides, craft cabinet cleaned and organized, outdoor toys organized, the thousands of papers Jackson brought home from school gone through and about 95% recycled, 30 minutes of fun with a balloon, Lego building, and roller skating.
Now, what do we do tomorrow?!  I don't know about you, but it feels like school has been out for much longer than a week.  Don't get me wrong I am super excited to have lazy mornings with the boys, lazy afternoons at the pool and no rush for bedtime, but it is difficult this year to fill the time.  We have VBS coming up, two other camps, a week at Grammies, a few other outings planned so we will fill the days, but it has been some looong days of summer thus far. 
As, I reflect on our past week it is also sad, because in just a short nine weeks school will be upon us again and my baby starts kinder :(  Ok change of though no tears tonight!
I think we need to get some cardboard boxes that could be hours of entertainment.  Enjoy your summer and your kiddos!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dinner Time Grace

Meal time has been a struggle in our house lately. 
Translate: I can not stand to sit with my family! 
Yes, I just typed that and I don't like the way I feel, but it is the truth.  Maybe you feel the same way and need to know you're not the only mom having these thoughts (please say you are out there, I can't be the only one). 
What is the problem at our table?  Hands on feet, hands waving in the air, three huge bits in one small mouth, chewing, talking and whining all at once, mouth wide open to drink (not a pretty sight), shoveling in the food at record speed and immediately asking for more (I have only taken one bite), and the list could go on and on. 
Josh and I talked about meal time and concluded that the boys are not purposefully disobeying our request to take small bites and keep one's hand off one's dirty feet.  They just forget in the span of 3 seconds and thus we are repeating the request yet again.  It is getting old, but we try to patiently carry on with reminders of manners and quick meals help as well. 
During a quiet moment with the Lord as I was sharing my meal time struggles I realized GRACE, LOVE and MERCY.  Everyday I struggle to obey God's request for my life and everyday God lovingly with grace and mercy reminds me of HIS way.  It's that exactly what Josh and I are doing at the dinner table?  What a perfect time to show the boys grace, love and mercy.  I enjoy seeing God us everyday situations to teach me about His character. 
God will not give up on me ". . . He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" Philippians 1:6 and I will not give up on one day having a "nice" meal with the family. 
"The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary, His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength." Isaiah 40: 28-29.
The Lord never tires in reminding His children of His ways through grace, mercy and love.  And what peace I have knowing that He also gives me the strength to parent the boys with His grace, mercy and love.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Three Years

Tomorrow, May 7th is the third anniversary of our daughter Jamie's birth/death.  I have been struggling with this up coming anniversary for weeks.  I have been very sad and emotional.  Mother's day being so close doesn't help either because three years ago I was in the hospital still w/out a new baby to hold. 
I have been praying, "help me Lord."  Not knowing what to actually pray for all I could say was help. 
Today my prayer was answered!  A new friend from BSF whom I am just getting to know also has an anniversary tomorrow.  May 7th is her 5th anniversary of being cancer free.  The immediate relief of sadness I felt as she spoke this today was amazing.  Only God can do that!  Now May 7th is not just a day of sadness for me, but a day of happiness, thanksgiving and hope.  God is our great healer and He healed Jamie completely by taking her to Himself and He healed my new friend of cancer!  What a great God we have!
note: if you are a new reader go back three years to read the full story.
note #2:  BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) is an amazing!  This is the last week for the welcome class until Sept.  So if you are at all interested in studying the book of Matthew next fall go to and find a locate group to join.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jesus calms the storm

"On the same day, when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), 'Let us cross over to the other side.' Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was.  And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea 'Peace, be still!' and the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, 'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'"  Mark 4: 35-41
Today I attending a seminar at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). 
Side note for just a minute...if you are looking to get involved in a Bible study look into BSF.  They have classes for women, men and kiddos and it is an international organization.  So no matter where you live or your age they have something for you.  I have learned so much this year studying Genesis.  Here is the link .
Ok back to the seminar.  The seminar was on how to lead a small group Bible study.  During the seminar we broke up into groups and read different Bible passages.  The above was one of our groups passages.  I have read these verses before and hear others teach on them and I learned something new today.  I just love how God teaches me something new everytime I read His Word!  One of the group members pointed out that there were other boats in the water.  I had never paid attention to that fact before.  She equated this to our storms in life.  There are others around us, but the one we should go to for help is Jesus. 
I told the boys what I learned and Jackson said," it is like when you can't open something and you ask all your friends and they can't the best person to ask for help is the teacher."  He got it!
The answer to our storms of life is JESUS!  The best person to ask for help is JESUS!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shower Revelation

While in the shower last night I finally got what the Lord has been trying to teach me for some time now.  The Lord has brought me many different times to the point of I can't do ______ (be a good mom, wife, friend, teacher, etc.).  Each time I pray asking for things to get better and for me to be able to figure it out.  I talk to Josh and close friends about it and read books or articles on the topic.   The situation may improve, but not for long.  So, last night as I was standing in my hot steamy shower praying and crying it hit me; STOP TRYING TO DO IT YOURSELF!  I know in my heart this truth of letting God have control of your life and have likely given this advise to others, but I have not be living it out in my own life.  I realized I have been seeking to have my needs and desires filled by human relationships and worldly standards.  I know and believe that God is the only one who can satsify my needs, but I have not been living in that truth. 


Please forgive me feeling unloved when You show your love daily to me through nature and human relationships.  Forgive me for seaching for guidance from Your Word, but not using it in my life.  Forgive me for leading when I should be following.  Lord, remind me each and everyday to let You make the plans and I will just do the work You put before me.


After getting out of the shower and laying in bed for a time the Lord put this verse on my heart, which I will be memorizing and storing away in my heart to pull out when I get to the point of I can't.

...My grace is sufficient for you, for My strenght is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thankful !

Lord, thank you for the beauty and colors of Your flowers even when I can't breath. 
God is continually teaching me ". . .in everything give thanks. . ."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
So today in the mist of a headache and sore throat due to pollen I am thankful :)

My sweet hubby picked these for me while at the farm.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little Red Bird

This morning as I was on my jog I kept seeing this little red bird. 
Now, running is a stress reliever for me.  I thoroughly enjoy a good run.  What makes it even better is nature and giving thanks to God for the trees, flowers, and animals.  Sometimes I see deer and that is pretty exciting.  Whenever I see a rabbit I have this urge to use a spot light and chase after it :)  Those who grew up in the county can understand, right? 
Anyways, back to the little red bird.  This little red bird was flying ahead of me darting in and out of the trees.  The last time a saw him another littler brown bird was following behind diving and spinning each way the red bird went.  And I thought this is a great example and reminder of Christ and his followings.  The red bird is Christ and the brown bird represents believers.  I as a believer in Jesus Christ should pursue Christ with all that I am no matter the twist and turns.  I am not to chase after what the world values as important, but what Christ my Redeemer values as important.  When I chase after worldly things it is all about me.  What I have to do, my plans, my effort.  There is no joy in living with all that pressure.  When I chase after God by reading His word, praying and listening it is not about me it is about God and His will, His plan, His power!  And what JOY that brings!
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."  Zechariah 4:6

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In Everything

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

". . . the place where all joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of God.  Joy is God and God is joy and joy doesn't negate all other emotions--joy transcends all other emotions."  Ann Voskamp


Help me to rejoice today, pray today and give thanks today no matter what my feelings may be for I have found joy in YOU!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

God's Protection

A lady in my BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class shared with us this morning about God's protection.  She is a widow (her husband passed away a year ago today) and works at a Dollar Store.  Recently her 18 year old neighbor came over to help her unload some heavy sacks of feed.  They talked about how all of the Dollar Stores in this region have been robbed expect her store.  He asked why she thought that was.  And her amazing answer and show of true faith was, "because the wings of an angle cover/surround the store!"  Each day before she goes to work she prays for herself and her fellow workers and God has protected them because of her faith and prayers.  Her story brought tears to my eyes.  Just this morning I prayed with the boys and said amen and then "o wait,  God protect Jackson, Jeffrey, Daddy and Mommy as we are at school and work today,"  It was an after thought with little heart behind it.  I want to be more like my friend who passionately prays with great belief.  I believe God's armies protect us each and every day from unseen spiritual and physical focus.  But I don't pray like I believe it and thus miss out on blesses. 

Lord, give us the faith to pray in belief!  Amen.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Triumph Lessons

When traveling
  • always take a flash light and extra batteries.
  • take wet ones or baby wipes.
  • book a room with a balcony.
  • pack extra underwear.
  • also have a set of dominoes and a deck of cards.
  • take full bottle(s) of medication.
Spiritual lessons
  • God (Emmanuel) is with you always!
  • God is in control!
  • There is always something to give God thanks for even when drifting at sea.
  • God will provide even if it is an onion sandwich or a cold dark shower.
The sixth day on the ship I read Proverbs 12:25 which says,  "anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."  This is so true when we were around others that were making the most of our situation I was happy, but when we were near the ball of negativity lady I felt sad.  This was a good reminder to always speak kind words so that others can be encouraged. 
Each month of 2013 I am memorizing two verses of scripture.  I had memorized three before we left and they all applied to our situation on board.
"Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent to be well pleasing to HIM (God)."  2 Corinthians 5:9  Paul writes about his ultimate goal of pleasing God during his time on earth and in heaven.  I have made it my goal no matter if I am on land or at sea, in a good situation or a bad one to try to please the Lord.
"The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isaiah 58:11  All of our needs were meet on our sun-scorched boat :)
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."  Psalm 62:8  How I did pour out my fear to the Lord that Sunday morning.   Thank you Lord for being my refuge and giving me peace!
Upon returning home I picked my next verse, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."  Philippians 4:11  I picked this verse because I felt like I did a pretty good job most of the cruise being content.  Now I just need to work on being content in everyday life. 
I had no idea I would grow and learn while on vacation.  Thank you Lord for never taking a vacation.

God's glory at sea!


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Triumph After The Fire!

The adventure begins!
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 I awoke at 5:30am to "Alpha Team, Alpha Team report to engine room six!"  My immediate reaction was who pushed the wrong intercom button.  I thought this was just for the staff rooms and not the whole ship.  I then turned on the little reading light about the bed and went to the bathroom.  When I stepped out of the bathroom I smelled smoke.  I thought "O great did I lay my pillow on the light".  I quickly realized that it was not from my pillow and it was a lot of smoke.  Josh is awake by now and we both know something is wrong.  Then the light goes out and we are in complete darkness.  We open the curtain to allow the moon to shine in and see lots of smoke coming from the ship.  In a panic we quickly dress and find our passports, my camera (Christmas pics are still on I really do need to upload) and a couple of pieces of jewelry that have sentimental value to me.  As, we were getting these things together several another announcements were made about staging areas.  We had no ideal what was actually happening--it was terrifying!  Josh and I sat on the edge of the bed looking out into the dark ocean with life jackets near just waiting and praying.  My prayer was "Lord just get me home to the boys" over and over again.  At some point an announcement was made that there was a situation in the engine room that was under control.  There was no need to report to your muster stations and you were allowed to move about the ship.  Since, our room was smokey we walked up to the back of the boat on deck 10.  The fresh air was much needed.  From this vantage point we could see even more smoke coming from different areas of the ship.  As, we were standing looking off the back deck Josh said lets pray and give thanks.  So Josh prayed and thanked the Lord for our safety and that of the crew.  Which to me is just amazing because I was still trying to be calm and all that was going on in my head was get me home Lord, get me home to the boys.  Josh showed me a great example of eucharisto at that moment; the first of many lessons we would learn or be reminded of during our extended cruise.  Some time later we were told that there had been a small fire in one of the engine rooms.  We had lost power, which meant the fresh water system and the toilets were not working and we would now had to wait for the engine room to cool enough for the crew to go in and assess the damage.  Since, this was to be our second fun day at sea it almost felt normal.  We went back down to the room I changed into my swim suit got a book and headed back up to deck 10 to lay out and read just like I would have done if there hadn't been a fire.  It was a sunny, warm, beautiful day which would have been perfect expect that we were just drifting out at sea.  Late in the afternoon an announcement was made that the engine room had finally cooled and the crew was able to go in and assess the damage.  At some point that day the crew got the water system working, which was huge.  Since, toilets were still not working an announcement was made that you were to urinate in the shower and red bio hazard bags were available for bowl movements.  Not a pleasant thought, but it was like camping.  Some time that evening another carnival cruise ship stopped by and gave us food and supplies.  The crew from our ship lowered a life boat and ferried supplies over from the other ship.  This took several hours.  That night we carried bedding up from our room to deck 10 port side and created our little "camp site."  For the next few days we would live at this site only going to our room as needed.  We were told that the engine could not be repaired and a call was made for tug boats.  The tug boats would take us to Progresso, Mexico.  We would then be bussed to Cancun where we would fly back to Houston or one's final destination.  Also, all emergency contacts were being contacted. The wind was pretty strong that night, but not too cold.  The comforter from our bed kept me plenty warm.  The wind reminded me of the Bible story were the disciplines were in a boat out at sea when a great storm arose.  They were scared and quickly woke Jesus up asking how can you sleep?  Jesus calmed the winds and questioned the disciplines' fear since He was with them.  Another lesson: Jesus is always with me and is in control I have nothing to fear.
The 1st ship to bring supplies.

Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 was a long hot day for Josh, but it was a toasty warm day for me.  There were no clouds in the sky so the sun was blazing down on us all.  Many including us made tents from bedsheets.  These tents shielded us from the sun and lessened our chance of sun burn.  For breakfast we ate cereal and bananas, but there was much more to choose from.  We just didn't want to wait in the long long line.  At lunch and dinner we could choose from salads, fruits, sandwiches (yes there were onion ones, but there was also turkey, ham, cucumber, tuna, etc) and several desserts.  The crew was able to get one grill working, which meant hamburger, hot dogs and grilled chicken were an option, however the wait was hours and hours.  The toilets were still mostly not working.  Ours never worked after the fire, but some worked the whole time.  The crew was working nonstop to get the public toilets working.  We were able to shower, but some couldn't.  It was a cold quick shower, but a shower non the less.  Finally around 4pm the Mexican tug boat arrived and we were waiting for the tug boat from Alabama to arrive.  Two other carnival ships stopped and gave us supplies.  Whenever, a ship would stop everyone would go out to the top decks and try to get cell service.  We were able to text my Mom and brother-in-law.  It took sending the text 20 or so times before it went through.  It was very exciting once they went through.  It was dark (not sure what time) once the second tug boat arrived and started taking us to Alabama.  The decision was made to take us to Mobile, Alabama since we had drifted about 90miles since the fire making it about the same distance to Mobile and Progresso.  This was good news for those without passports and it felt good to be heading back to the USA.  Our activities this day including walking around the ship, cartoon trivia, reading and talking to fellow passengers.
Our deck camp site.

The 2nd ship to bring supplies.

Mexican tug boat

 Alabama tug boat

The 3rd ship to bring supplies
 Trying to get cell service!
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 was much of the same as the previous two days.  The big event of the day was a Mardi gras parade on the lido deck.  The musicians and dancers played instruments and throw out beads, tshirts, and candy to the crowd.  It was a lot of fun trying to catch these items most likely because there was just nothing else to do.  We were able to shower Tuesday morning, but later in the day we started listing the other way and "stuff" started coming back up the drain so we know we had had our last shower of the trip.  We also had run out of clean clothes :( 

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2012 Happy Birthday Josh!!  Josh had a unpleasant wake up call this morning.  I was awake and saw the dark clouds and felt the colder winds.  And then a few rain drops began to fall.  I quickly reached over to wake Josh and grabbed his face and began to shake--oops.  We quickly grabbed our things and headed in before it really came down.  After breakfast we walked around the ship again, played win lose or draw, watched a table artist and then had lunch.  That afternoon power was working in the Rio lounge and the crew played movies.  We napped on one of the lounge couches during Toy Story 3, I read during Ace Ventura.  Josh waited in line for dinner during Ace Ventura and most of Grown Ups.  After dinner and finishing Grown ups we played bingo.  Josh was one away from winning.  It was pretty exciting.  We meet a couple on their honeymoon who live near us while playing bingo.  Today was the day for activities.  After bingo we watched the liar's club.  A word was given and each of six players had to tell their definition of the word and the crowd would vote by applause whose was the real definition.  It was hilarious!  The last show of the night was a variety show.  The singers and dancers did a wonderful job with little light, one mic and no props.  Since the weather had turned cooler many who had slept outside the previous nights including us were sleeping indoors.  We had camped out in the Rio louge all afternoon and choose to stay there for the night.  Most everyone had cleared out expect for about 50 people.  Some had sit up camp like us, others were changing phones at one of the plugs that actually worked, and some where watching another movie.  A girl we had nick names the "ball of negative" walked by our couch and asked if we wanted the movie turned off.  I was reading and said it was not bothering me and Josh was watching it, but said it didn't make a difference to him.  She then went down to the crew member that was playing the movie from his laptop and they talked.  Then all at once she raises her voice and slams the laptop closed.  We ended up getting another show.  She made a big scene dancing in front of the screen and said unkind things.  Security had to be called.  She was moved out of the lounge, the movie resumed and I fell asleep. 
 Josh, Jen (the cruise director) and Suzanne
Suzanne and Josh on the forward deck
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013  Happy Valentine's Day
This day seemed the longest, because we knew we would be getting off the ship.  Not much was going on activity wise.  We checked the room once more to make sure we had packed all of our things.  We sat for a couple of hours charging Josh's phone.  We met some nice people while we waited.  Since we were in the channel near Mobile news helicopters were circling over head.  And of course there were many people out on deck trying to get their 15 mins.  That afternoon customs came on board and we went through customs, which surprisingly didn't take very long at all.  That evening we listened to one of the musicians sing and play the piano.  He was amazing!  Josh and I watched from a window in the casino as we arrived at the Mobile port and docked.  It was to cold for me to be out on the open deck.  We could hear our fellow passengers and the crowd on land cheering.  Much of the media was out to capture our arrival on camera.  Finally about midnight we walked off the Carnival Triumph!  Once on land we saw many carnival staff members.  We were handed cold drinks and some got bags of McDonald's, but some how we missed that.  Every passenger was now to load a bus unless family was there to meet them.  A bus would either take you straight to Galveston ( ~8hr. drive) or to New Orleans (~2hr. drive).  Once in New Orleans you would check in to a hotel and then wait for a flight.  We choose to go straight to Galveston as that was the quickest way to the boys.  Getting everyone on the correct bus was a mess.  There were no signs directing people.  There were many carnival staff, but they didn't really seem to know what was going on.  Josh said they needed the Houston Rodeo committee to organize the bus transportation.  When we got on the bus we were given box lunches, a pillow and blanket.  Buses are not designed with tall people in mind.  After 7 1/2 hours on the bus Josh and I had lots of pains in our legs--it was probably the most uncomfortable we had been the whole trip.  We arrived back in Galveston about 7:30am, called my aunt and then headed home.  It was so nice to get home and see the boys.  Jeffrey doesn't give out hugs and kisses often.  You have to steal them from him, but he has been giving me lots of hugs and a few kisses since we got back.  Jackson was very excited to be home with mommy and daddy as well.
 Phone charging area!
Will we cruise again?  Most definitely!  We had a blast bad situation and all.