The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Birthdays, & Zombies, & Britney Spears...Oh My

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

The beach is for the dogs...

And this weekend it really was. Miller got his stitches out on Friday after almost 3 weeks so we took all of the dogs to the beach to celebrate. Here's a shot of me, Miller, Lola, & Benny in our "sun shelter" which is basically 1/2 of a tent. It was pretty nice.

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 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!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Faro de Cabo Rojo y El Combate

The Marshes do-over continues...
After our trip on the "Johnny Boat" we decided to drive to Cabo Rojo to see the lighthouse. El faro (the lighthouse) is the southwestern most point on the island. The lighthouse was constructed by the Spanish in the 1800's and is still in use today. You drive to Cabo Rojo and take a very bumpy dirt road until you think you're lost and have gone too far. Then you have to park your car and walk a good mile or so to see the lighthouse. From the lighthouse you can walk to the edge of the island and look down at least 100 ft to the ocean below. The limestone cliffs are amazing! Courtney walked pretty close to the edge several times which freaked me out. I couldn't very well continue our romantic weekend without my husband! While we were walking along the edge we saw a little island in the water where several pelicans were hanging out. We spent quite a bit of time trying to throw rocks at them. I, of course, throw like a girl (imagine that!) and my rocks didn't go very far and the pelicans were probably laughing at my attempts to scare them away. Courtney got close several times and one pelican eventually flew away. Ha! Gotcha you little booger! While we were there Courtney had to call Travis to talk to him about the limestone cliffs. Courtney and Travis enjoy rocks and things like that so he had to share. I decided Travis might like a picture of Courtney standing out on the limestone cliffs edge and held my breath as he walked out for his picture. You'll all be happy to know he did not fall, all of his body parts are in tact, and he's still living! We left Cabo Rojo and headed towards El Combate to see what we could see. We found the beach known as El Combate (the combat) Beach. According to ancestral legend it is named so because of the salt mine industry in the 1500's. The salt mines were the envy of neighboring towns and eventually there was a sneak attack by the people of one of the jealous towns. Well, the townspeople were waiting for them with hatchets and fought them off. Now the beach and it's neighboring area where the battle took place is known as the beach of the combat or El Combate. We found the Combate Beach Hotel and Restaurant. They had a pretty nice room open so we took it. You can walk to the beach from the hotel so we headed there. We weren't too impressed by that beach, in fact we were pretty disappointed and instead went to the hotel's pool. While we were in the pool it started raining. We didn't think anything of it because, hey, we were already wet! It started pouring rain so we decided to move somewhere dry. We moved our cooler & things into this little building beside the pool. We were sitting there drinking when 2 people sitting in front of their hotel room waved us over. We walked over and met Wilson & Candy. They were on vacation at El Combate. We ended up sitting and talking with them for a few hours and went out to dinner together. Then we met up this morning to go to the beach. rained so much last night the walkway to the beach was flooded! We decided instead to hang out in the pool again. It started raining again and that's when we decided to leave. We got their number and e-mail and are supposed to get in touch with them the next time we head to San Juan which is where they live and work. We got home today about 3:00 to our very happy dogs. The Dills were nice enough to take care of them for us while we were out playing. All in all it was a great weekend. We enjoyed our do-over and got some much needed time to be just the 2 of us. Enjoy the pictures of our trip and new friends!

The Marshes get their do-over

Well, the Marshes got their do-over after their long & somewhat disappointing Columbus Day Weekend. Last week my husband asked me if I wanted to know what my birthday present was. First I said no but then he said he needed to tell me so I could get my schoolwork done. He took me back to La Parguera for an early birthday weekend...just the 2 of us. We left on Friday after school and drove there. We checked in to the Parador Villa Parguera, walked around the town, ate dinner at Aquazul, (my meal was wonderful....Courtney's was too sweet) and then headed for the bay. The "show" was so much better this weekend! Then we walked around a bit more and then headed for bed. We got up Saturday morning and were going to find something to do. We found a company called "Johnny Boats" that would take us out on a motor boat to some mangroves and just around the little islands out in the ocean. We hopped on a boat with our guide Miguel and headed off. The ride alone was beautiful but it was the little islands and mangroves that were amazing. As you ride along you can see houses lined up at the edge of the water. People from San Juan and all over have houses that are for the weekends and vacations. We found one that you can rent for a weekend that looked awesome. I know it sounds like alot but you can take up to 14 people and it's $500 for a weekend. Anyone interested? Our next trip was through some mangroves. We want to go back & take another tour in January or February because when the water is cold you can see manatees swimming around the mangroves. How cool would that be?! Here's a picture of one of the mangroves that we drove our boat through (you can see the tip of the boat. And also a picture that our tour guide took of us at the end of the mangrove. While we were riding along Courtney took a phone call...imagine that, Courtney on the phone! He talks more than I do! Travis and John called to tell us they were at ESU's homecoming. After their call Courtney was a little sad. He realized it's the first homecoming he's missed in at least 7 years, maybe even longer. We were, however, very disappointed to hear that 3rd floor North Twin Towers is not the same. In fact, Courtney & Travis' rooms are gone! Anyway...while Courtney was talking to Travis we came up to a little island. We found out from Miguel that the University of Puerto Rico owns this island and on the island live iguannas. They have things attached to the iguannas to study how they move, eat, live, etc. We pulled up and tapped the dock and out came at least 20-25 iguannas! They come running to the boats waiting for food. It was crazy!! Some of them are huge! We found out that the large ones are the males and the small ones are the females. I got several pictures of them but every time I'd take a picture more would come up. I ended up picking on picture to attach here of a female. She just sat there looking at us the whole time. One of the biggest ones was trying to get on the boat. I asked if they ever come on the boats and he said they try to but would never say if they ever make it. We didn't take any chances and left before they could. While on our "Johnny Boat" tour they told us we could jump in the water at any time and go swimming. We could swim near a mangrove and put our bag in the magrove but we'd have to stay in the water the entire time. That didn't fit Courtney very well so we instead decided to stay on an island with a dock and facilities.


I had to put that because the name of the island we swam and waited at is Mata la Gata which means "kill the cat"! Don't ask how they come up with these names! We got to "Cat Island" as we began calling it and decided to take a walk through the mangroves. They were beautiful! They go all the way around the dock which is in an "L" shape up against the land...everyone with me so far? In the middle of the "L" and land they have it "fenced" in with a sandy bottom so people can swim and not get taken out too far. Are you ready for this? COURTNEY WENT SWIMMING! He was happy because he could see the bottom, he could touch the bottom, and he was fenced in. His fear is getting swept out in the middle of the ocean...which would be scary! I took a picture of dock and of Courtney swimming. I knew I needed proof! Miguel came back and said he'd come back for us in 15 minutes. Well, he is Puerto Rican and came back in 45. It was well worth the money and the extra time there! More stories of our weekend to be continued in the next post...betcha can't wait!

Monday, October 09, 2006


We got up this morning hoping to go on another adventure and redeem ourselves after our pitiful start to our 3 day weekend. But, as you can see, Courtney DOES have a Charlie Brown tattoo which he feels sums up our entire Columbus Day Weekend. We got up early and drove to El Yunque in northeastern Puerto Rico. El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the US Forest Service and is the largest protected land area in PR. It covers 28,000 acres of land, has 4 different types of forests, and has over 200 native species of trees, mammals, & insects. We also found out in a video, thanks to Jimmy Smits, that they are trying to bring back the native Puerto Rican Parrot which was almost completely wiped out during the 1989 hurricane that ripped through the island. We read up on how to get to "the Yunq" (I just thought of that!) and decided to head out. We wore our comfy shoes, long pants, and of course our bathing suits because you can swim in many of the waterfalls there. As I was reading I came across something very interesting, in one of my books it says this: "Visitors should be aware of the threat of mongoose attacks. Mongeese look like light-colored skunks, and most mongeese who approach humans are infected with rabies - avoid any contact." Thanks for the warning! We drove the almost 2 hours to El Yunque and decided to go through the south side because it's closer to Guayama. We were driving through the winding roads up the mountain to the rain forest and I decided to make a joke. I said, "Wouldn't it suck if we got there and they said it was closed? Or what if just this road is closed?" We all laughed and kept driving...I must be psychic!! I kid you not, we drove about 30 minutes up the mountain and were greeted by a little man in a red shirt who said, "You have to turn around, this road is closed." WHAT?!?! Or as we say here...QUE?!?! Again...Courtney has a CB tatoo so we should have known that would happen. We decided to keep driving and go to the northern entrance and try to get in. That worked but it was a 30 minute drive down plus another 30 minutes or so to the north side. We got there and went to the visitors center where the best part was the movie. We drove up through the forest and found a tower that you can climb up to look out. It really was breath taking and much cooler. There's a picture I took from the top of the lookout tower. We then decided to try to drive to one of the waterfalls that you can swim in because after all we did wear our suits! The hike we took is the La Mina Trail because the waterfall is the La Mina Waterfall. The trail is 3/4 mile one way. Brent and Katie have been hiking before but this was really my first time...I believe Courtney's also. We did pretty well if I do say so myself. While we were hiking it, of course, started pouring. We walked the 3/4 mile in the rain and finally reached the waterfall. Absolutely gorgeous! Katie, Courtney, & I took off our clothes and hopped in. Brent wasn't feeling well so he sat out with our goods. Courtney was walking across the rocks and the water from the falls combined with the rain made them very slick and he fell twice. He hurt his knee a bit but he's doing fine. We tried to go under the falls but Courtney didn't want Katie or I to try it so we just stood in the water at the bottom. Unfortunately because of the rain we didn't take out the camera for pictures. I guess we'll have to go back! Katie and I were so soaked and didn't want to try to pull our jeans back on so we made the 3/4 mile trek back in our bathing suits and tennis shoes...oh yeah, very sexy! After the hike back to the car we decided to head home. It had been a LONG day, LONG weekend, and we knew we had a LONG ride the rain. We saw these things on the way up the mountain that we had to stop on the way down for pictures of. For those of you who don't know, when Court was in college (GO ESU!) he wrote an essay paper (in Spanish...he's so smart!) on the chupacabras (remember that paper Clamurro?). The chupacabras is literally a "goat sucker". Animals have been found dead with puncture wounds in their necks and all of their blood sucked out. No one has ever seen a chupa but this is their interpretation of what it looks like. Courtney said it was completely wrong and this one does not match the descriptions he's read. Either way we were pretty excited to find this cutout and had to get pictures. Isn't Courtney hot?!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Oh what a night...

I know in my last post I said to keep an eye out because we were going to have a great Columbus Day weekend and I would have some wonderful pictures to share. Well, I only have a few pictures right now but I do have some fun stories. We got done with school on Friday and headed out for the Bahía Fosforescente (phosphorescent bay) in La Parguera. Courtney & I were in our Rodeo with the boys (we didn't want to leave them for the weekend after Miller's surgery last week), the Dills were in their car with their 2 puppies, and Clate was in his car. Here's the story on the bay. This part of the ocean has an "all-natural water light show" caused by bioluminescent dinoflagellates that light up. They soak in all the sunlight during the day and then glow when they are stirred at night. We found La Parguera and it was still light out, the water doesn't glow until it's dark, so we decided to eat first. We went to one hotel/restaurant but didn't eat there because it was too expensive. We did, however, stop so Katie and I could have our picture taken with their shark out front.

We went to another sea food place and had a lovely meal. Then we walked around looking at the vendors for a bit in search of the best deal on a boat to take us to the bay. We found a ride that was just $5 a person so we took it. The best time to see the glowing waters is on a dark night with no moon...our first problem...there was a full moon out. We figured we'd try it anyway. So we head out on the boat and it was a beautiful ride. We get out into the ocean and these 2 divers climb to the top of the boat and jump in. They swim around for a while because it's supposed to glow because of the movement in the water. Well, because of all the light from the moon it basically looked like two weirdos in the water with some tiny glowsticks. They did though bring up a bucket filled with water and we were able to stick our hands in it and make it glow. This isn't the only bay like this on PR. There's another one that you can actually swim in yourself so we might try that one out sometime. After our less than spectacular bay experience we decided to head to Mayagüez, the 3rd largest city on the island, to find our hotel. We were going to stay there so we could get up Saturday morning and go to the only zoo on the island. We got out our trusty maps, followed the roads, went in a big circle, and got lost. Okay, no problem, we'll stop and ask for directions. We found these 2 guys who said they were going to the same town so we could just follow them. Great! Yeah, great until they start driving like just about everyone else down here...way too fast and swirving in between cars all while trying to drive on VERY narrow roads through mountains. Well, we were able to keep up with them until the main highway when we saw a sign for the city and their car disappeared. We found our hotel and Brent & Courtney checked in. We unloaded the car and walked in and were then told the receptionist didn't know there were 4 people staying and he only charged us for 2 so we owed more money. Fine, whatever, we paid the extra and headed to our rooms. Mind you, our dogs are still in the cars & we're still trying to come up with a plan to sneak them in. When we got to our rooms we saw they were the smalled hotel rooms we'd ever seen. There was a tiny walkway to the bed that was squished against the wall and the bathroom was so small you'd have to take your clothes off while sitting on the bed before you got into the shower. We couldn't figure out how we were going to sleep...with 2 such a place so we decided to try to get a refund. Luckily the man was nice about it and at 11:40 Friday night we started the drive home. It's a much quicker drive on the highway and we were home by 1:00. Yesterday we got up and decided to go to the beach. The only problem with that was it was so windy and the waves were so choppy we couldn't really swim. Basically we laid out, found seashells, and found Brents new talent...finding sand dollars. Today has been spent cleaning and getting ready to watch T.O. and the Cowboys spank the Eagles...I hope! Here's the only other picture I got on our trip Friday of Winston. He figured out the best way to handle the situation - sleep it off.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here's Benny!

The Dills are at it again! Yesterday they purchased a boy Boston Terrier. They decided Lola needed her own big brother, something I'm not too sure Miller is comfortable with! He's a sweetie. He's a few weeks older than Little Lolita and his name is Benny after our home Casa Benny. It will be good for Lola because when they return to the states she won't be totally lost. I think by the time we're done here the 4 dogs will be slightly confused by being down to just 2 but they'll deal with it. Anyway, Benny's a little difficult to take pictures of when he's awake so Brent had to hold him down for me. There will be more posts this weekend as we are heading out tomorrow after school for our 3 day weekend. Enjoy checking out Benny!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Yesterday we spent the day with our housemate, Clate, and some other teachers up in the mountains. The Dills had to go to Ponce to get a different car, long story. It was very strange not seeing them all day because we've seen them every day for the last 9 weeks. Anyway! We drove about 35 minutes or so to a little barrio called Guavate. It's not technically a town it's just a neighborhood in the mountains. They've got lots of vendors, bars, pig roasts, etc. on the side of the road. We ate roasted pig (it wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst) and I did fine with that until I saw the pig and I saw them hacking away at it. I took a picture but I've decided that I won't put you through that. After eating we walked around and looked at all the vendors...something I need to do next time with our neighbor Katie because as you can guess shopping with 2 men means I didn't get to do much looking. They kept wanting to move on and I really didn't get to buy much. I went there with thoughts of doing some Christmas shopping and ended up getting a grand total of....TWO gifts. We were still waiting for the other teachers to show so we sat at bar and had a drink. Clate had a coconut with a straw stuck in it and then ate the inside. Courtney & I tried the fresh coconut milk but weren't that excited about it. We sat by the big dance floor watching the old people dance. We had been there for a quite a while and were actually getting ready to leave when it happened. The 2 words that don't really go together...Courtney & dancing. Clate had danced with this girl as had our friend Angel but Courtney is not thrilled about dancing. I tried to ask himt to dance...nope, not having it. Well, this girl walked over and asked him to dance and he DID! My hubby got on the dance floor and danced the merengue! I was so excited! I taped him the best I could on our little digital camera (left the camcorder at home...damn!) and I took a picture of him. After our day we came home and took it easy. Here are some pictures of Clate with his hairy coconuts, Courtney dancing, the road we were on, and the creek and buildings below where we were shopping and dancing.