The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Let's Go Camping!!

We had our first full week of school in a while this last week and needed to do something to "relax" at the end of the week. If you've kept up with this little BLOG of ours you've seen pictures of Mendez and read stories about him. Well, he owns some land in the mountains North of our town. He invited everyone out to his place to camp out on Friday night and the 4 of us (Dills and Marshes) took him up on it. Mind you, I've never been camping before in my life. We did a little bit of everything on this camping trip of ours. At Christmas Courtney and I brought back our tent...that we've had for 5 years now and never used. Right after school on Friday Courtney and Brent drove to his house and set up our tents. Katie and I went shopping for the night. I couldn't believe all the stuff you need to camp out for 1 night!

I know it's kind of dark but that's Winston by our tent. All 4 dogs got to participate in our night out. They were really well behaved.

The boys were so excited to use their machetes and hatchets to cut wood. The ground was a little wet and so were the wood and leaves around so the fire took some time to build....

...but they did it!!

We roasted hot dogs and made smores...which Mendez had never experienced before. We sang karaoke minus the microphone and words. We sang ALOT of 80s love songs...not quite sure why but that's what was playing.

Here are beach dogs Lola (left) and Benny (right) transformed into camping dogs. Miller and Winston were on the opposite side of the "campgrounds" by our tents.

Towards the end of our night the secretary for our school, Damaris, showed up. She doesn't usually come to our parties so we were excited to see her and we had a blast with her. The picture on the right is Damaris and her cousin Angel, Mendez, Brent, Courtney, me, and Kate. As you can see we were drinking...just a little...

This was the last picture of the night. Our husbands and dogs were already in bed and we finally decided it was time for us to go to bed. As you can see we had lots to fun!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baseball, pinchos, and more...

We've already had an exciting and fun start to our week. Last night we went to watch the son of one of our friends play coach pitch. Mind you, Justin is 3 years old and playing coach pitch with the 5 & 6 year old! He's so tiny compaired to everyone else...but there were actually a few smaller than him! Here he is up to bat. He batted first in the 1st and 2nd innings. Here they let every child bat for the first 2 innings, then it's 3 outs OR 7 runs...which ever comes first. They only made it 3 innings last night because they can't play past 8:00 for the little ones. Justin did pretty well. He didn't get a hit in the 1st but did in the 2nd although it got out at 1st base. I also experienced a new food last night at the game, I ate a bacalaito. It's fried batter that has codfish in it. It was actually pretty good! Here's a few more cute pictures of our little baller.

Tonight we decided to have a "bring your own meat" combo meal with the Dills. I've officially had a night of taking nothing but "cheese" pictures. We made our own pinchos which are huge down here. We used pepper steak, peppers and onions, and Courtney mixed some sauces together. We also had corn on the cob and roasted onion potatoes. Here's the play-by-play photo montage...Step one: putting the fixins on the stick; step two: take a picture cuz they look so pretty; step three: put them on the grill; step four: let them grill; step five: eat (no pictures of that...I was busy!); and step six: be miserable from eating too much.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Clate!

It was another fun weekend for the Casa Benny 5. On Friday night we had birthday party for Clate. His real birthday is this coming Thursday but we know lots of the teachers have plans for next weekend so we went for it early. Katie made a fabulous cake...I did, however, put the sprinkles on top! We, for some reason or another, decided to cut the cake together so Courtney got a picture of that. Katie and I have had our picture taken together at every party we've had so we had to have some Friday. I didn't bring my camera out so I had to steal these photos from Katie's BLOG. Brent took what I thought was a great picture of us but Kate thought her chest showed too much. That would be the reason for the picture that I have up here now. I'm a good friend so I was trying to hide her...are you singing "That's What Friends Are For" now? It was the least I could do! Kate and Brent met a guy at the mall several weeks ago named Hans. He saw them and just ran up to them so he could talk. I guess that's what you do when you see other Americans down here! He and his girlfriend, Kristy, came by. They seem like nice people. They're from California but Kristy's job transfered her here. Hans is working but is looking for a more stable job because they bought a house. It sounds like if he doesn't find something better they're going to head back to CA. I can definitely understand how living here would be (is) hard. Saturday Clate went to Old San Juan for the San Sebastian festival but we didn't want to mess with the crowds. Good thing we didn't go with Clate...he just got home at 7:00 am this morning! Instead the 4 of us went to see "Blood Diamond" and today's being spent watching football.

Well folks, it's officially happened...Kelly's going through some cultural difficulties. Since we've been back from Christmas break things have been a little strange here. I never really felt weird or uncomfortable here but I do now. I am now noticing the stares from people, the looking at you then talking about you then looking at you again. They aren't shy and won't hide when they're talking about you because they don't think you can understand them. It also seems like people think we're pretty stupid. Last night we had that issue twice at the movies. The worst one was when we ordered at Burger King. Courtney ordered a large combo so we could share the fries and drink. The lady then had to "explain" to Courtney that just because he ordered a large didn't mean his sandwich would be any bigger...just the fries and the drink would be. REALLY?!?! We had no idea! Then, I wanted a whopper jr. with cheese, sandwich only. They refused to give me cheese because I wasn't getting a combo. You can only have cheese with a combo meal. WHAT?!?! I thought it was funny because on the 99 cent menu you can get a cheeseburger but they can't add cheese to a whopper jr. It made no sense to any of us and we stood there talking about it...which made the people behind the counter mad so they were rude to us for the rest of the time we were there. I also had an issue with a parent this week at school that was/is (I think) absolutely ridiculous and I don't feel I got the backing from my boss that I think I should have received. But, you'll be happy to know, for once in my life I stood up for myself. Courtney was pretty proud of me. When I told him what I said he asked, "Did you really say that to her?" Sure did! Maybe things were the same when we first got here but I was so excited to be here that I didn't pay any attention to it. Hopefully that's the case and things will get back to "normal" soon. We're still happy down here. We love the climate, our friends, the beaches, even the heat but I'm finding it hard right now to love the people. Anyway...I'm venting... We might be going to a surfing competition this weekend which would make for some awesome pictures. No, neither one of us surf but it would be fun to watch! We're still waiting to see some whales and manatees. Who knows maybe that will happen this weekend. Have a great week!

Monday, January 15, 2007

We love 3 day weekends!

Last week we finally got back to school after a month off. It was so nice to be here a week before school started so we could re-adjust to our lives. We had parent/teacher conferences on Tuesday and school started on Wednesday. The week was alright. We've got today off because of Martin Luther King, Jr. day so we decided to take a road trip for the weekend. We loaded up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the north/northwest part of the island. Our first stop was at a beach where there's an old train tunnel. The surf was so high we couldn't go in the water. We walked through the tunnel and found another part of the beach where we climbed on the big rocks. It was so windy, I'm surprised no one fell in the water!

After that we drove west for a while. Before we moved here, Courtney and I saw a show on the Travel Channel. There's a man that travels to all different countries, eats their food, travels around, etc. He's a famous Chef and has restaurants everywhere. He traveled to Puerto Rico and went to this place in Isabel. The legend is that a man named Jacinto was walking along the rocks when the ocean came and swallowed up his cow. Now there's a big hole in a rock where the ocean splashes up through the center. If you go to this hole and yell at the man to give you his cow and the water splashes you you're supposed to have good luck. We had been wanting to see this place and we found it on Saturday. We yelled and got soaked! It really was a neat place to visit. Here's Courtney & I standing near the hole yelling and then standing over the hole. You can see the water splashing up.

After the blow hole we ate lunch at a place called "Happy Belly's". It was a nice open air place right on the ocean. Unfortunately it was raining a little, the wind was chilly, and I was soaked. I'm paying for it now...laying here in bed, sick, as I'm typing this! Anyway...after lunch we drove to Crashboat which, if you remember, is the beach we went to when Joy was here. Courtney took his invention to the beach to be tried out. He invented the "beach pole" for when you're at the beach and have no where to hang your things. I took some pictures of him "installing" it and hanging his first item on it. It worked beautifully and really held lots of things. Come on down and you can hang your stuff on it!!

Step one: try to push the beach pole into the ground. Realize that the roots from the palm trees are huge and don't want to break.

Step two: try banging on the beach pole with coconut. If that doesn't work you can also use a filled cooler and bang it up on and down a few times.

Step three: once you've worked hard enough you'll finally get the first piece into the ground. After that you must put the top half on.

Step four: you're ready to hang things on your pole! We hung: Courtney's pants and shirt, my skirt and shirt, our camera, and our beach bag filled with things. It held a lot of weight and I think my hubby was pretty proud of himself.

After staying at Crashboat until sunset (we wanted to see the sun set on the ocean) we drove to our parador (hotel). It's the largest parador on the island and it was very affordable. We stayed in for the night because it was rainy and we were tired. We got up yesterday morning and drove to Camuy to the cave system. You have to take a trolley down, down, down, a steep and winding path. It was a little scarey because it was slick. Anyway...I tried to take pictures inside but the camera started messing up. (We think it was the humidity inside of the caves.) Inside the caves lives an estimated 1/2 million bats. Luckily we didn't see any. There's also a spot where water runs down the rocks and they call it the fountain of youth. We all drank from it to see what would happen! Here's us getting ready to go down on the trolley, Courtney & I in front of the fountain, through an exit from the cave, some stalagtites, and the Camuy river that runs underneath and through the caves. Katie and I always have to have a picture taken with giant animals so here we are with a Coqui.

The last thing on our list was to drive to Arecibo to see the Observatory. This is the largest telescope in the world. It was pretty neat to look at but not anything so exciting that I would want to see twice. Katie's going back in a few weeks on a field trip with 60 third graders...good luck on that one!

We also had an interesting experience with ice cream this weekend. There is an ice cream parlor here in PR that is famous for its wacky flavors. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, my husband and I tried beer flavored ice cream which was sitting right next to the beans and rice falvored ice cream. That was sitting next to the corn flavored and avacado flavored...get the hint? In the end we all settled for some pretty "normal" flavors...I was the least adventurous and stuck with good 'ole chocolate chip. Courtney had orange, Brent had coconut, Clate had pineapple and something else, Mendez had sweet rice, and Katie had cheese & strawberries (strawberry cheesecake). I'd like to try something more exotic next time...maybe...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Let the Blogging begin!

We made it home to Puerto Rico last night. It was a long day of flying! I discovered yesterday that I prefer to have a non-stop flight as opposed to having a lay over like we did. Granted it wasn't much of a lay over but it does make a difference. Here are some pics I took of our trip back home...enjoy! Here's Nic and Anna the first day I was home. I realize it might have been kind of morbid but they looked so nice getting ready for the funeral.

I took over mom and dad's Christmas tree in Lenexa. On Wednesday the 13th, I went to Ft. Leavenworth and then spent the afternoon wrapping Christmas gifts from Puerto Rico. Those gifts are just the ones I got done Wed. and Thurs...there were lots more by the time Christmas rolled around!

When Courtney finally arrived it was time to meet with friends and family. We spent Thursday in Leavenworth with Carol & Ben and some friends. Then Thursday night it was dinner with the Bridges family, Johnson family, Clamurro, and Jared. It was so nice once Anna warmed up to Courtney. No matter how mad she is at him she loves her Uncle Courtney! On Friday we spent the day with Nic and Anna and then Friday night was more friends...complete with Karaoke at High Noon. Here's a pic of Anna and her Uncle Friday afternoon, Jim singing Dream On by Aerosmith, and Courtney and Ben singing La Bamba. Ben wasn't too thrilled Courtney pulled him up there because 1) Ben doesn't know all the words to the song, and 2) Ben didn't know Courtney had signed him up to sing with him!

We drove to Salina Saturday and did Christmas with Calvin, Donna, and the kids. here's a picture of our niece (the supermodel!) and nephews. That night it was Christmas with Grandma Butler, Aunt Kim, and the Cole family. Sunday we drove to Wichita for Christmas with the Johnson side of the family, Church in Salina that night, then to Ada and back to Minneapolis on Monday for Christmas with well just about everyone! As you can see, the men had a poker game going while the kids played Bingo in Ada.

We spent the rest of the week in Minneapolis seeing people and went back to Lenexa on Friday evening after a detour through Sabetha. Saturday we shopped all day (and didn't buy a thing!), Sunday it was off to St. Louis ahead of the big storm that hit everyone else! Sunday night we went to the casino in St. Louis, spent way too much on their buffet, and were in bed early because we had to be up at 5:00. Our flight was alright. We had a little puddle jumper to Charlotte and a huge plane from there to San Juan. It was the biggest plane I've ever been on. Everyone and their dog and baby (literally!) decided to fly on New Year's Day. We got back safe and sound, the dogs didn't destroy our house, and life is good! It was great to see everyone while we were home. Now we're just waiting for visitors down here!!