Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angel Ruth's Ma, Too!

Some of you readers may not know but, Nathan isn't really an only child. Six years ago today, I gave birth to Angel Ruth Hood. Today she would have been six years old. Due to an infection in my placenta, she was born at twenty weeks. She was perfectly formed without a single flaw. And her small profile was very much like her big brother's. We were blessed to have her as a part of our family even though we were only allowed to hold her for a mere hour. I often think how our lives would be different if she were still here.
Today we visited the cemetery where she is buried. We cleaned around the markers and read the card on the single rose that was left by her Uncle Howie. I am grateful that because I am home visiting for a few weeks, we were able to stop and remember her. To read more about her you can visit my brother's site here.

I am expecting a call at any moment from John or April. We are ready to welcome Cruz Anthony Monjure to our family. I just wish we didn't have to drive to Tampa. I'm sure he will be worth it. There's just nothing like baby sugah!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Margaritaville

While my in-laws were here we hit most of the tourist attractions. Margaritaville was of course the biggest tourist trap we visited. While there are three locations on the Island, we went to the one here in Montego Bay.
Although, we ate lunch there we really went for the boys to swim. That would be the big boys as well as the little boys.

Margaritaville is really a party place, especially when we have a cruise ship in port. It is virtually impossible to get in on those days and if you manage to get in you won't be able to hear yourself think much less try to talk to the person next to you. They play the music so loud and the DJ really tries to get people going. Thankfully we were able to go when we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

We ate lunch first and so the boys had to wait to get in the water until we were done. They got a little impatient but I think the wait was worth it for them.

Margaritaville's biggest attraction is their large, extremely fast water slide. Grammy and Tripp went up to check it out and to take some pictures.
Like most tourist traps, the food was over priced. My cousin April told me that the conch fritters are really good at the Margaritaville in Key West. So, we tried them here.

She was right! They were really good and were priced at about US$8.00. They were really crispy and the sauce that comes with it has a little spicy kick to it.

Then the real reason we went. They have a slippery floating platform and two water trampolines that have a tube connecting them. Few people succeed at crossing the yellow tube with out taking a dive.

Bubby taking a rest on one of the tubes.

Jacob shooting out of the water slide into the sea.

Brothers take a rest.

Bubby diving off of the slippery platform.

Daddy and Uncle Tripp slinging Bubby off the slippery platform.

Sumo wrestler wanna-bes.

Todd doing a back flip.

Tripp standing on his head. Really it's a back flip.

We had a nice time. All the boys had fun swimming and being silly. Grammy, Pappy and I had a good time watching and taking pictures. Next time we may eat at home before we go though.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bubby!

Today is my boy's seventh birthday. It is so hard for me to believe that he has been with us seven years already. It seems like just yesterday I was changing his diaper trying to keep his tapping feet still. My world revolves around him and I cannot express the joy he has brought into my life. He is a wonderful child. He is finally easy to take care of and makes me laugh on a regular basis. It is wonderful being the mother of a Power Ranger. I regularly have to dodge his powerful blows and ofter chase him around showing him my Power Ranger moves. Occasionally, he begs me to show him one of my moves.

I was in Fort Lauderdale this week for a couple of R&R days and when I talked to him on the phone he told me that a swing at school fell on him. I was immediately alarmed and asked him, "Bubby, did you get hurt?" He said, "No ma'am, I just did a Power Ranger move and saved myself!" I have laughed at that for days now and when I got home he demonstrated how he did it. I must say it was impressive.

Since we have had so many pre-birthday parties with our family members that have visited in the past couple of months, we won't have another one today. We have a few gifts for him and we will either take him swimming or possibly to see Space Chimps if it is playing here. You can bet though, the day will be all about him. Oh, I forgot, everyday is about him!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Man!

(The above picture was taken on our last snorkeling trip to Negril when Bubby found the huge sand dollar. He was not pleased with me when I forgot it in the sink of the hotel room.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Green Grotto Caves

Last week we visited the Green Grotto caves. The caves are located in Discovery Bay across the street from the Ultimate Jerk Centre. We had intended to go to YS falls for the day but Pappy wasn't feeling well and so we changed our plans. I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited about going to walk through some caves, for several reasons that I will leave out, but I knew it would make for a good post here on Nathan's Ma.


The entrance to the caves is well marked outlining the history of the caves. It is believed the caves were first inhabited by the Arawak Indians because many primitive artifacts such as bowls and stone tools have been recovered. There are two main caves. The first one is Runaway cave which was given its name because it was once used by runaway slaves. The second cave is the Green Grotto cave which goes way down in the ground...sixty five big steps to be exact.


This was the most interesting tree. It was at the entrance to the caves and these large gourds are called calabash. They amazed me because of the way they grew right out of the trunk of the tree. The insides are carved out to make bowls, (like the Indians did) or the smaller ones are used to make maracas.


This is the entrance to the caves. I love how the greenery grows on the outside of the mountain. The bars are in place I imagine, to make sure the caves aren't used for housing those who don't have a place to sleep.


All rules were displayed and followed.


This is the head gear they wanted us to wear. I was not happy. After I got mine on and in place, Todd asked if it was optional. They said it was, but that we would have to sign a waiver. We quickly asked where the dotted line was and signed on it.


This is the reason for wanting us to wear a hard hat. There are a lot of places where it would be very easy to knock yourself out on the stalactites. We were careful though and no one got a whacky.


Dewayne was our tour guide and he was really good. He offered a lot of information and took extra time with Jacob and Bubby answering all their questions. I was concerned that the boys would not really care for the caves but they were really interested and asked a lot of great questions. They were really excited to see the bats that were in the holes in the top of the caves. There were two different kinds, according to Bubby. There were fruit bats and insect bats.


As we walked along, it became clear to me why they wanted each visitor to wear a hairnet and a hat. It wasn't just for low hanging stalactites. I was very careful to look up when Dewayne stopped us to point out something of interest. I really didn't want any of the bat droppings to land on me.

Yep, more bat droppings. Dewayne told us that all of these bat droppings are harvested and used for fertilizer. Bat droppings are very high in nitrogen.


Minerals dripping from a stalactite. The drippings form stalagmites on the floor of the caves.


This is the first large opening in the caves. It is called the Disco room. Dewayne explained to us that the caves were once privately owned and the owners made this room into a disco. The government realized the damage that was being done and came in and took the caves over and made them a tourist attraction.

There were large openings along the way. These long "roots" are what we know as wicker. Dewayne said that they are gathered to make furniture and baskets.

Bridge over a thin walled cavity.


Bubby, the "archaeologist", asking yet another intelligent question and listening intently to the answer.


As we left the first cave to go to the second one, Dewayne asked the boys if they knew what kind of rock that was. My intelligent son, although somewhat unsure of his answer, announced that it was coral rock. He was right! Dewayne told us that the rock proves that the island was once under the sea.

This is my favorite picture of the day. It is the walkway that runs between the two caves.


In the second cave we had to go down to where the sea comes up into the caves. It seemed like a really long way down, but Dewayne said it was only sixty five steps. Bubby and Jacob had no problem leading the way. At the bottom we came to a ledge that overlooked a pool of water.


The water was crystal clear. We saw small fish, crabs and even a few shrimp. At one point Dewayne turned out all the lights. Needless to say, it was extremely dark.


This picture was taken with the lights out. Dewayne shined his flashlight onto two stalactites coming down from the top of the cave. If you look close their reflection in the water looks like batman. Check out the orbs, too.


At the end of the tour we were given our choice of fruit punch or rum punch. This was a surprise to me because few places offer complimentary drinks.


After we rested awhile we headed back to the car. Bubby or Jacob one must have put their hands into some bat droppings because there was a suspicious black hand print on the back of Bubby's shirt. Yuck!


Here is a short video of the boys interacting with Dewayne:



video

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm A Cliff Diver!

Well... okay maybe not a cliff diver but definitely a jumper and I have pictures to prove it.

We took Todd's family to Negril. While we were there we took them to see the cliff divers and eat supper at Rick's Cafe. That night we watched the divers and Todd took the boys to jump while we paid the dinner bill. We returned the next day for more fun. Jacob and Tripp were thrilled and ready to go but Bubby and I were leery. Todd was indifferent. Grammy and Pappy simply watched and took pictures and videos.

I must confess I didn't actually jump from a cliff but I did jump from two of the platforms. We had a good time.


Here is a view of the platforms from the very top. The lower level by the ladder in the water is only about 2 feet high. The next level is about 8 feet and then the highest one was about 11 feet high. Those are Todd's measurements. I think they were higher. I know they seemed higher when you are looking down at the water.
First jump!

Bubby kept telling me that if I would do it, he would do it, but he never did. I think the huge belly flop he did last time pretty much convinced him he didn't want to jump from too high. We all tried to convince him, but I was really okay with him not jumping. I don't want him to become a daredevil. I figure that will be fewer trips to the hospital for stitches or casts.

Sinuses completely cleaned out!

Higher level!

No turning back now!

It really helped to scream.

It was hard to time my breathing. I would exhale as soon as I jumped and by the time I hit the water I had no more air to exhale so lots of salt water flooded my nasal passages. It was a wonderful cleansing!

Here's the proof:


video

Friday, July 4, 2008

Awards Days!

My boy has won the most awards this week for the school year. True to Jamaican form we have had two awards ceremonies that have been quite the productions. The first one was on Wednesday morning and the other one was Thursday night at the sixth grade graduation ceremony. Here are a list of all the awards Bubby won:

  • Character Award for being Respectful
  • "Leaders are Readers"
  • Dress Code Award
  • Bible Memorization
  • 7000 Club Member
  • "A" Honor Roll
  • Award for being Punctual
  • "A" Honor Roll Award for all three school terms
  • Most Improved in Grade 1

Hood family looking on at MBCA.

Bubby cheering on a classmate.

Carefully reading his first award.

Showing off his first award for being respectful.

Receiving "Leaders are Readers" Award.

Dress Code award.

This picture is for Uncle Howie. These two sixth grade girls read through the whole ceremony. They only put there books down when there name was called to receive an award. At the graduation ceremony, when Mr. Winkler called their names he announced that they always have a book in their hand.

Outstanding achievement in Bible Memorization.

7000 Club Member - for obtaining a perfect score of 100% on 70 tests/quizzes.

"A" Honor Roll for term 3.

Award for being punctual.

Honor Roll award for being on HR all three terms.

Most Improved in Grade 1.

Bubby received the most improved for grade one, because he had to catch up in Spanish and cursive writing. His classmates started those subjects in K-3, K-4, K-5, and he didn't. But, he worked hard and caught up to them.I am so proud of my son. I hope his hard work and good grades continue through out his school career. He was rewarded this morning with a new Ben 10 Wii game. He and Jacob are having a blast playing it. They have unlocked I don't know how many new aliens. Way to go Bubby!