Monday, December 18, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
From there we went shopping at some vendors and some small shops. Courtney and I did quite a bit of Christmas shopping. I'm actually really enjoying shopping for Christmas here because I know I'm getting people something they've never received before because of being in a "foreign" country. After that we were walking along and found a vendor doing caricatures. Katie and I decided it would be neat to have one done so we sat for 2! We each had to have one to take home! Here we are doing our "modeling".
I am loving how things are decorated here. All of the plazas are lit up. They each have beautiful statues and things as it is but now they're even better for the Holidays. Here's one of the many beautiful statues at the Ponce plaza. I tried to get some of the Christmas decoration also.
I think some people may have a hard time believing how narrow the street in Puerto Rico are so I tried to show you. This is down one street near the Ponce plaza. It's a little dark but maybe if you enlarge it you can see better. Look at the buildings on both sides. Imagine driving down these streets with cars parked on both sides (because most are one-way), it's interesting!
We then went to the Ponce boardwalk to listen to live music and see vendors. They have these fish that are HUGE! We bought a bag of sardines (oh yeah, slimey, frozen, nasty things!) and fed them. It was truly disgusting to listen to them fight over them. They were flopping on top of each other, jumping around, everything.
While we were feeding the massive fish (again, try enlarging it to see them...sorry...it was dark!) we saw an eel! It was really cool. We threw sardines close to it so it could eat and actually got it to come out so we could see how long it was. While looking at that one we saw 3 more!
As we were getting ready to leave we saw this display. Pig roasting is big here...everywhere...and they made a display of a pig roast. Mendez had to pose for the camera. On Sunday we went to Pozuelos to eat conch. Courtney and I got mofongo (mashed plantain...kind of like a pot pie) and a conch empanadilla to share. It was really quite good! Then we came home and watched football, got school stuff done, and then I went with the Dills to watch the lighting of our plaza here in Guayama. Courtney wasn't feeling too well so he stayed home...and he updated me on the Cowboys game...must say I'm pretty proud of my boys right now! I took video of the lighting. I'm going to be making DVDs of our videos from here. We'll be home in 2 weeks for you to see them!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Angel carved the turkey for us.
Us with the Dills before lunch. We were glad Brent was able to join us...he was very sick last night.
One of the few times Lola came out from under the table. She was guarding the food!
Courtney enjoying his baked beans on top of mashed potatoes...a Hoard family tradition. I couldn't let him go without!
We ate and then watched football...how 'bout them COWBOYS?!?! We were supposed to go watch the Chiefs game tonight but the 2 places that said they would be open aren't, so instead I'm here Blogging...just for you! What a great day! :)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
We feel very blessed this year to have such an opportunity as we do to be
teaching in Puerto Rico and we are having the time of our lives.
have with them. Be thankful for what you have and celebrate it everyday!
Eat way too much turkey for us (eat some ham for Courtney!), watch
some football, and be happy. We can't wait to see everyone soon!
Much, much, much love to everyone,
We drove back and got our things loaded up (which took up all of the room in the Thing) then headed to take our car back to Dick, the man we rented from. The entire island of Culebra is basically old hippies and Dick is just that! Here's a picture of our Thing loaded up (or down, however you'd like to say it!) and us with Dick, the Thing's owner.
To take us back to the dock, Dick loaded us and all of our goodies into his beat up van. It is rusting out...completely. The back door is just about to fall off! Courtney had to sit in the back with our stuff. We got on the ferry to come home and while we were riding we saw some interesting things. We saw dolphins jumping in the water...I was so excited! Then we looked over to the island of Vieques (where the Dill's and Lakner's were) and we saw a funnel cloud over the water. We got home safe and sound and have spent the last 2 days recovering and cleaning up from our trip. If you come down to visit and want to go on a somewhat secluded island adventure we'll take you to Culebra! See ya in a month!!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
When we got to the guest house and got settled in we started to walk out front to get loaded up. We saw a huge iguanna walking past our car. Here's a picture of our friend.
Our first order of business was to find a beach. We've been told many things about a beautiful beach in Culebra called Flamenco beach. We found it and everyone was right, it is stunning! It was perhaps the most beautiful beach I've seen to date. The sand was perfect, the water was so clear you could see all the way down to the sandy bottom. We just stood there on the shore for several minutes with our mouths hanging open. We spent all day on the beach taking in the sun, drinking, eating, swimming, you name it.
We took a walk to find some of the rusted old tanks on the beach. We found one in the water and decided to climb on top for a better look and, of course, for pictures! Here's a picture of Tori and I on one of the tanks.
Here's a picture at the end of our day on Flamenco beach with the sun beginning to set. There's nothing like a sunset on the beach!
After Flamenco we drove our Thing back to the guest house to shower up and get ready for the next adventure. We were told about a restaurant so we decided to go check out Mamacita's. It was a lovely open air restaurant and our waiter was fabulous. We even found jalapeño poppers on the menu!! I know, I know, who gets so excited about those? Well, when you love poppers and you haven't had any for 4 months you get excited!! Tori had to take a picture of us because, according to her, when they came to our table our faces were glowing! They were great by the way!
To cap off our night we walked and found Professional Wrestling. Courtney was so excited! Apparently there's an old Puerto Rican wrestler (from Culebra) who now does commentary and every year he brings some "talent" to Culebra. We just happened to have picked the right weekend for it. Courtney even called Dustin and gave him some play by play. I know the people were thinking, "What is this drunk white guy doing?!" If you look closely you can see the ring in the background.
After wrestling we went to a bar and hung out. Then it was off to bed to get up early Sunday morning for a private boat tour of the surrounding islands. We hopped on the boat around 10:00 Sunday morning and headed out. It was a nice boat ride, a little choppy but not too bad. We stopped to go snorkeling first. I jumped in complete with flippers, mask, snorkel, everything and freaked out! I think I was a little ambitious for my first time snorkeling. I got scared when the first breath I took the mask plugged up my nose, then I didn't like the flippers because I thought they were weighing me down. Courtney of course stayed in the boat because he doesn't get in the water. I took off all the gear and decided to just swim. We climbed back in the boat and went to a beach where Courtney could relax because he was feeling a tad seasick...mixed with a hangover...bad combination! After spending the afternoon on the beach we headed back out to snorkel. This time I did it! I decided not to use the flippers because I don't like them so I just used the mask and snorkel. It was amazing! I saw so many things that you don't always realize are in the water. I was happy as a clam just snorkeling away when I looked up and saw my hubby hanging over the edge. I thought he was looking at fish so I said, "Are you okay?" to which he replied "NO!" That was our cue to get back in the boat and head for land. We went back "home", showered up, relaxed, ate dinner, and went to bed early.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Well, we had yet another weekend on our little island paradise. This past weekend it was even more literally a little island. We went to Guanica on Friday night with some other teachers where we rented an apartment from the father of another teacher and spent the weekend on Guilligan's (that's how they spell it here) Island. We didn't see any Skippers or Movie Stars but we do have our very own Gilligan. The first picture is Guilligan's Island from the front porch of our apartment. Here we are Saturday morning loading up to go catch the ferry. We loaded up all 8 of us in the little truck complete with beach gear and a kayak. The Casa Benny 5 rode in the back. I sat on the tailgate and Courtney say in the kayak...really he got us there. We climbed aboard a ferry minus Angel & Clate because they decided to kayak their way to the island. Angel owns his own kayak and Clate rented one. Katie & I wanted to do that but since neither one of us has before we decided it wasn't a wise idea. The ferry ride took about 10 minutes. The island wasn't that crowded when we arrived so we were able to find a nice place to put our things near the water. This place was much like Mata la Gata so Courtney swam. In fact, he stayed in the water with the rest of us ALL day. It's the most he's been in the water since we arrived! We swam over into the mangroves surrounding the island and all of the men (boys?) climbed trees and jumped in. Courtney's favorite was, you guessed it, cannonballs! Here's a picture of me, Katie, and Janette, another teacher at our school. Janette brought her son, Martin, along for the weekend as well as her pug, Choco. We had 8 people and 5, yes 5, dogs! We spent the entire day Saturday in the water. We played a game of water football and, unfortunately, the boys won. It was really difficult to "run" in the water. I also had a "wardrobe malfunction" for the majority of the game. I bought a strapless swimsuit to wear down here so I wouldn't have tan lines. Well...the game got rough and several time my top came down. I don't know for sure, but I think Martin saw my who-whas at least once. Eventually Angel gave me his shirt that he had been wearing in the water so I didn't have to keep stopping to pull my top up. We finished up at Guilligan's just before the rain came and went to the apartment to get showered. We didn't do much that evening, ate dinner and hung out. We got up Sunday morning, went to get breakfast and decided to do some exploring. We found another beach that had beautiful sand, water, and rocks. I luckily had my camera with me and Angel told Courtney & I to climb the rocks. We did, very interesting to watch I might add, and he took our picture. You can tell from our picture that we had literally crawled out of bed and went to get breakfast. I wasn't looking my best, I would have to say! While we were there we saw a little crab running around. Angel wanted to catch it so we all started helping him try to stop it. Courtney and Brent were running by it putting their foot down so it wouldn't move anymore and that's when it happened....Courtney stepped, shall we say, a little too close and SMASH. No more crab! He did end up catching one and got it to puff it's eyes up so we could see them. He said if we stay at the beaches late enough you can see hundreds of crabs crawling up & down the shore. Maybe we'll do that some time. We then went to an old lighthouse on the side of the mountain. It was pretty interesting. We got out and walked right up to it. It's falling apart and there's graffiti all over it. The stairs were gone so we couldn't get up to the top. That would have made for some interesting pictures! After the lighthouse we went back to the apartment to pick up everyone else. We then decided to spend the day at the public beach nearby. We did that until 2:00 in the afternoon and then drove home. All in all it was a great weekend. We had a lot of fun getting to know the other teachers even better. It's so nice to be making such great friends down here. It will be sad to leave them when we're done here but at least we'll have people to come visit! Today was just another day at school...well sort-of. this morning my kids started freaking out. They were screaming and yelling and jumping on desks. I was like, "What is your problem?" They kept saying there was a "worm with a tail and legs" crawling under my desk. I asked if it was a lizard...no. I asked if it was a snake...no. Anyone know what a worm with a tail and legs is? We went to snack recess and I left my door open hoping it would leave. When we got back one of my brave girls crawled under my desk. She moved a paper that was down there and said it was under a poster tube that was there. She moved the poster tube and low and behold there it was....a HUGE centipede! I don't know if you know this or not but those are pretty much the most poisonous things we have here in PR. I went to get Mr. Dill (Brent) because he's right next door. I asked him if he thought I should get Raffa, our maintenance man. He said yes so I did. Raffa came and and I believe his words were, "Oh my God!" He then smashed it with his foot...nasty juices everywhere! I asked if it was poisonous to which he replied, "I think so." How comforting! That was the first one I've seen and hopefully the last! We hope everyone has a great week this week. Please pray for my family as my Grandpa Butler is not doing well. I am hoping above all hopes that he makes it until I come home at Christmas but I am also being realistic. I'll keep you updated on that one...anyway, have a great week and enjoy the pictures of our trip!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday dear me,
Happy Birthday to me!
In case you didn't figure it out, I had a Birthday this week! Friday was my 28th Birthday and my fabulous hubby & neighbors threw me a Birthday bash. Katie made a wonderful cake that, oh yes, had 28 burning candles on top. Clate got the son of another teacher to bring his entire set up to my party. We had lights, speakers, a fog machine, & Karaoke. Katie & I spent most of the night dancing & singing. We did let another teacher, Keisha, join us at the mic. Courtney even got up and sang! Katie & I did a wonderful job but Courtney was the one that got called for 2, count 'em, 2, encores.
I finally got a picture of our neighbor, Charles, that lived in Salina, KS in the 40's. He came down at the beginning of my party with his wife, Rose. Here's a great picture of the Marshes, Dills, and Riveras. That's Clate in the background...yeah, you could say I'm a little disappointed that he jumped back there to make a face but, what are you gonna do?!
This is our principal, Aileen Rodriguez, with Benny & Lola. She was sitting there holding Benny and he was just loving it. I went to get my camera and Lola started jumping to get in on the action. She doesn't like it if other dogs are being held or loved...sound like Winston?!
This is Yvonne Rosa (2nd grade teacher), me, Angel Mendez (8th grade teacher), and Katie. Joel is Angel's son and he's the one that brought all of the equipment for the fiesta.
This was close to the end of the party. We actually got asked by the police at about 1:00 if we were done playing loud music. I think Lola & Benny had good time but they were worn out! Miller & Winston had fun, too. Miller spent most of the night laying underneath one of the speakers. We're not quite sure yet if there's any hearing loss...time will tell! I had a fabbulous birthday. My students spoiled me with gifts & love....including a Coach purse. Boys, you may not understand but the ladies will...A COACH PURSE...from a student!!! I was so excited! The party was great although I was a little disappointed in the teachers that did not come. I mean, if you say you're coming to someone's Birthday extravaganza then you should be there!!! Oh well...there will be many more Casa Benny parties to come. After getting to bed around 3:00 Saturday morning we had to get up and go to Ponce to get things for our car taken care of. In Puerto Rico the license plate stays with the car for it's lifetime. There is no sticker on the plate but there is on the windshield. Each year you pay what in the US would be your tags & taxes and you get a sticker. The cool thing about the sticker is that it doubles as liability insurance on your vehicle. You don't have to pay every month, you don't have to get a big policy, you just have your sticker and it's good for $3000.00 in liability. Well, we've been waiting to get our registration on our vehicle to go get the sticker because it expires on Tuesday. We were getting a little nervous last week so we called the dealership. When we bought the Rodeo we bought it from a kid that works at the dealership. The car dealer told us it wasn't in the kid's name yet that the dealership still owned it and they would send us our registration. Well, it never came. We spoke to some people and found out it was in the kid's name. Okay, so we called the dealer and he says he'll get it taken care of, bring the money for the sticker to him, he'll go get the sticker and mail us our registration. He said to come on Monday but we asked if we could do it Saturday. Sure, he says. We ask if everything will be taken care of on Saturday. Of course, he says. So, yesterday morning we drove the 45 minutes or so to Ponce with the Dill's in the lead because their car was supposed to have it's new sticker also. We get to the dealership and he says he can't get the sticker Saturday, he just thought we wanted to come down and give him the money and we'll have to come back on Monday. Yep, you guessed it, Kelly got mad! I let him have it. Why would we have driven all that way just to give him the money? I said that we wasted our day and our time and I didn't appreciate that he told us everything would be taken care of and it wasn't. Fine, whatever, we give him the money and on Monday we'll just come get the sticker. We're not stupid, people, we asked for a receipt to cover our behinds so we won't lose the money. No, sorry, can't give us a receipt. He'd get in trouble because the car doesn't belong to the dealership and he's just doing a favor. WHAT?! That's when I said, "Look, I just don't want to get down here Monday and find out that we got screwed by you!" I was a little hot. Anyway...we ended up leaving, minus our sticker, and meeting up with the Dill's to eat at Denny's, stopped at Super Wal-Mart, then came home and got ready for our big Halloween bash at J.R. Pub. We went all out!
Here is Britney Spears & Kevin Federline, complete with their first baby. The newborn stayed home to take care of the dogs. We all thought little Sean P was old enough to begin bar hopping with mommy & daddy!
Courtney couldn't protect us from Zombie attacks! As you can see they got to us at night when we were in our pj's. We had so much fun getting ready! Katie helped us do our make-up and she did my hair. Courtney took the dogs for a walk and went to the gas station dressed like that! Brent, Katie, & I sat in the car watching reactions from people when Courtney went inside. It was hillarious! Then we go to the party at Jorge's bar and the Karaoke began again. Joel was there to supply music, fog, etc. We were a little embarrassed because there weren't many people in costume. The party started at 8:00 but we decided to be like the Puerto Ricans and show up an hour late. We left at midnight and were really disappointed, again, in the teachers that didn't come. I suppose maybe they showed up after we left. Katie and I did lots of Karaoke and even had a Guamani Private School vs. San Antonio Academy "sing off". We won, by the way! Joel asked Courtney to go home to get his CD to sing his song that he sang Friday night. He was a hit...again. I always thought I was the singer in the family but I guess I was wrong!
Here's our first ever picture of the complete Casa Benny 5 (or CB5 if you'd prefer). We have the Zombie's, the vampire (we decided he's more of a Dracula Zorro mix which we are calling Zoracula), and the Spears-Federline clan. As you can see, my husband's practiced being a Zombie more than I have. I wasn't the best Zombie but I tried! Love the blood! And last, here's a sweet picture of little Chilee that Curtis took and sent to us. She apparently loves pumpkins!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! If you come down to trick-or-treat we'll have candy for you!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Benny looked extra cute sitting on the towell. It was his first trip to the beach and he is a beach dog! He played in the water, barked at the water, tried to lick it until he decided it tasted gross, etc. Winston turned out to be more of a beach dog than we initially thought. Courtney & Brent went for a walk and Courtney walked out into the water. Every time he'd walk Winston would follow. Courtney ended up getting to where the water hit his knees and Winston could no longer touch so he had to swim. Too bad I missed it, I'll bet it was quite a site! He also caught & killed a crab on their walk and had his first taste of horse poop...what a weekend!
Katie & I went out into the water and you couldn't move far without stepping on a live sand dollar. I don't know about you but I didn't realize that sand dollars were ever alive! I don't know what I thought they were but I didn't think it was a living thing! Anyway, we got brave and picked a few up. I had to take a picture of it. In case you've only seen them dead, when they are alive they're green and kind of furry. Here's a picture of the top and bottom of one Katie picked up. They look much different then a dead one!
I just thought this was a super hot picture of my hubbby so I had to put it up...I think he was looking at the coconut that Miller "went" on. He wanted that picture put on but I said no...you don't need to see that, do you? More pictures to hopefully put up this weekend. Friday is my birthday...the big 28 and we're having a party here at Casa Benny. There is also a Halloween party on Saturday night at a bar that one of the teachers owns, J.R. Pub. If you come down we'll take you there! HAPPY BIRTHDAY (tomorrow) to my father-in-law! We wish we could be there to help celebrate but we'll be there soon enough. We made plane reservations for Wed., December 20th...not much longer!!