Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Crazy Busy, Closing Down

Yesterday I actually bought some light bulbs and replaced some that got burned out. Our house was slowly growing dark. Kassi walked in after work and asked me why the house was so bright! This simple task needed to be done for months. That is how crazy life gets around here at times.

Still, we want to do foster care again. I know, we must be crazy. We are stuck on our licensing because the fire inspector hasn't come. A fire inspection was requested in October! This isn't just us, it is the entire county.

Lately I have been looking at the house and thinking that a lot of small things have been sliding. Mostly small stuff but it is starting to catch up with me!

My shop has been super busy. We are booked on Saturdays so parties have been bleeding over to other days. I have a home school group that I work with, some private lessons, private commissions and several murals that I need to get to. Is it possible to say that I have gotten too busy?

Crazy as it seems I have decided to close my shop. The home school group has gotten hard to manage as I have Noah here (Kassi has moved out), Benjamin and Vaida two days a week. Tasha is overwhelmed at school and no longer helps with parties and won't be able to do art camps this summer. Sarah will be gone this summer. People I have tried to train realize that it is too much for them. I have come to the conclusion that I need to pick between grandchildren/foster care and my business. Well, grand children/foster care wins out. I am planning on closing the end of February. The customers that I have told are not happy with me. Home schoolers wanted to know if they could come to my house!

I don't make this decision lightly. I have enjoyed the shop. I had hoped that someone else would step up and do something similar. There is such a need for activities for kids in our area. I have a lot to do to close the business down. A lot of painting parties in February!

It does seem strange to close a business down for reasons other than financial. Guess there are many reasons to close. I do plan on continuing my painting and will find other areas to explore it. I will miss working with all the kids.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Last Port

It sure is taking me a long time to finish my vacation. We got back and life got busy real fast. I must say that my moms cut that I was worried about has healed up really well. I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!

Our last port was the Dominican Republic.

For this port John and I went and rented a taxi and brought Anthony and Jason along. Larissa and Sarah went with Angela and family on an excursion.

As soon as you drive out of the port you see a dump. Sadly on the dump you see lots of people going through all the trash looking for treasures. Makes you appreciate all that you have and even feel guilty on all of our expensive pleasures.

We went into town and rolled some cigars. My husband loves his cigars so he was enjoying himself.

We were heading back to relieve Tasha and Ethan and got into an accident! The taxi service was very nice and we had a replacement pretty quickly. We felt bad for the driver, I imagine he lost his job. We did notice that stopping to look at accidents is a universal issue!

  The girls had a good time with Angela.

The next day was a day at sea. We did lots of eating, playing, relaxing and eating.

Typically when we went to the buffets we would plant ourselves at some tables and send people out in groups to get their food. I planted myself with Benjamin and Vaida and asked Michelle and Larissa to pick them up some food.....

they both came back with food.

I did find Michelle's plate interesting. She said she couldn't find anything else. This was the attitude we had from her the entire time. Charlotte complained that Michelle started yelling at her and screaming in her hallway when they couldn't find the area the children's group went to. We couldn't allow Michelle to go with her after that.

We got into Fort Lauderdale right after the airport shooting so my brother didn't know if his flight would be delayed. Disembarkation was long and slow and uneventful, the ride home was long and slow as well and we came home to very cold weather and a snow storm that didn't produce much snow.

Now on to life......

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sea Time

The evening after we left St Thomas was a quiet night. I was in our room with Benjamin and Michelle. Benjamin wanted to take pictures with my water camera and I let him do so. He was enjoying himself with it, Michelle was reading a book she had picked up in the library on the ship.

I went into the bathroom to get something when I heard Michelle ask Benjamin for the camera. He said no, he was taking pictures. So she told him that if he didn't put it down it would explode. I heard his hesitation as I walked out and said it would not. I asked Michelle if she got her way with him through intimidation often. I got the blank look. I believe that she does. I do know that Vaida refuses to have anything to do with Michelle. She won't hug her, play with her and really avoids her. She says that she is mean. It makes me wonder what Michelle says to Benjamin when she is upstairs and he goes up there to play. Something for me to consider.

Every time we cruise we get balconies, it is the only way to go with kids. They are a great place to relax...even after they have fallen asleep. We spent lots of time with the little ones. Vaida wanted to stay in our room and the childcare they spoke of was not worthy of advertising.

I shared a little margarita with Jason.

The girls spent a lot of time at Camp, the little ones not much at all. First the people there obviously had no childcare experience and did not know how to distract the kids or play with them.

Second, there play equipment was less than desirable....I couldn't understand why they didn't remove the broken equipment.

Third, they were hard to find during meal times. We were not able to eat at the restaurant most evenings because the little ones were bored there. One night we hoped to take them to the childcare area and have an adult meal. They had a sign telling us where they went but they weren't there. The next day I asked them where they were and they told me a different area than their sign. Guess it didn't matter anyways, the kids wouldn't have stayed with them. 

We were very disappointed with the childcare. We got back and shared the pictures with them and told them of our disappointment. Their response was "sorry". We will not be using Carnival again. I did ask if they removed the broken equipment and they said they were looking into it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

St Thomas

Next port St Thomas. 
We had gotten Tasha and Ethan an excursion for this port so we had Vaida for the day.

We took all the kids up a hill on a tram. We survived with 6 kids in tow plus Sarah.

Tasha and Ethan enjoyed themselves.

John took the little ones back on the ship to play while I looked for a taxi to show us around the island.

We ran into my brother and his wife and rented a taxi together.

Larissa wanted to buy a coconut to try. 

I tried a different local drink.

Emma didn't like it.

Larissa didn't like it the most...

They cut it open and made a scoop with the shell. More of the kids liked or tolerated the fresh coconut meat.

We paid $20 per adult and $10 per child for our tour. It was a nice tour and very informative. We paid the same amount to go up the tram and actually saw less of the island.