The Marsh Family

The Marsh Family

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vacation with the Noons

We had our weekend vacation with the Noon family and all I can say is it was amazing! On Thursday Courtney drove to San Juan to pick up Sharon, Wilbur, Nicole (exchange student from Germany) and Melanie Catron. (As pictured below)

Courtney went by himself because the van we were supposed to be using was needed to go to San Juan at 3:00 Friday morning. He took our Rodeo up to get them, parked, found them, and got them and their bags. On the way back to get the car they discovered it was gone. Apparently he was parked for too long (15 minutes is a very long time!) and they towed our car!! He called me, very calm, and explained the situation. I of course thought he was full of crap because Courtney wouldn't be THAT calm if that had happened. Unfortunately he wasn't lying to me. They found someone that knew what was going on and had to walk to get the car. Sharon took pity on us and paid to get our lovely piece of machinery out of jail. That put them home a little later than expected so we had just enough time to say hello, show the house, put the beds out and go to bed for school the next day. Sharon and Wilbur got the priviledge of sleeping on a mattress on our kitchen floor while Mel and Nicole got an air mattress on the living room floor. On Friday they "slept in" and were up in time for me to come home for 10:40 am. They went to get something to eat and then came to the school to see where we work. They came in my room as Katie and I were doing reading buddies and Courtney took them around because he was on break. My kids were very interested in the fact that Nicole speaks a different language and were asking her to say things. Here are some pics of the road to our school, upstairs (where Courtney is), from the balcony, and the road home.

Friday night we went to one of the public beaches near our house and then to Tanquilidad for dinner. We watched the sunset, watched crabs run, and had some Puerto Rican food. Sharon, Nicole, and Courtney had mofongo which is a huge Puerto Rican food. Wilbur and Mel stayed normal and I tried conch. Yes that would be the meat that comes from the big conch shells you can see at the beach. It was pretty good. We went shopping at Wally World and Pueblo to get ready for our big day Saturday.

On Saturday morning we got up early and headed for El Yunque. We got there, rain free, and decided to check out the tower and then go for a hike. We hike .7 miles to La Mina Falls. If you remember the last time we went to "The Yunq" we hiked to the waterfalls in the pouring rain. Courtney tried to get in and fell 3 times because the rocks were so slick. When we got to the waterfall there were people standing on the bridge taking pictures and no one was in the water. Well that just wouldn't do! Nicole, Mel, and I decided to show them how to do it. We stripped off our clothes and walked right in to it. Wilbur followed us with Courtney in the back. If you've ever seen the movie Zoolander I want you now to think of the scene where they had their "walkoff". If you'll recall Hansel did a move where he pulled his underwear off while still wearing his pants. Zoolander tried it and gave himself quite the wedgie...are you hearing the noise he made while giving himself the wedgie? That would be the noise Courtney made when he crawled into the falls! It was pretty cold but you eventually went numb. We all were brave and sat on a rock UNDER the falls for a little while but it was a little painful and you couldn't really keep your eyes open. We stayed there for quite a while before heading back up because we needed to drive to Fajardo for our next adventure. Here are some pics of our hike and us swimming in the falls.

We finished at El Yunque and drove a while down the road to Fajardo where we drove to a marina and met Roymi, our boat driver. He took us out on a private boat to Palominito Island. It was the most stunning place! If you'll recall from our post about Culebra we passed a little tiny island in the ocean and took pictures of it. We thought it was so cool and wondered if you could visit can! The water was crystal clear and pretty shallow. There were lots of people there but they were so spread out we felt like we were there by ourselves. We took up our section of the island and spread out like everyone else! We went snorkeling and swam and just took in the island. It was amazing! To show you how amazing it is I scanned in the cover to our Frommer's Guide to PR because the island on the cover IS Palominito! I imagine if the boats wouldn't have been there that's exactly what it would have looked like!

We got back to the marina at about 5:30 or so and went to find our hotel. We had just enough time to check in, rinse off, snack a little and it was back to the marina. There is a bioluminescent bay in Fajardo much like the one in Parquera that we've been to. But for this one you must kayak through a narrow channel into the bay itself. It's completely enclosed by mangroves and it is amazing!! We took a tour and were in 2 person kayaks. Mel and Nicole were together, Courtney & I were together, and Sharon and Wilbur were together. Each kayak had a glowstick attached to the back so you wouldn't run in to the person in front of you. You kayak through the channel not able to see and every once in a while realizing you're about to crash into a mangrove. The person on the back is in charge of what direction you're going and the person in front is in charge of speed. I must say I was pretty proud of the team my hubby and I made kayaking together. I thought for sure we'd kill each other in the process. We actually did really well and communicated better than we do on land! Our next home may be on a 2 person kayak!! The bay was amazing! We got in and swam...all but Courtney who was already cold enough. Just being in the water made it glow. After swimming we went to a dark corner and watched fish jump. When the fish would jump their splash would make it glow. We saw one jump and land and then swim away leaving a glowing trail. It was one of the neatest experiences of our trip so far. When your ore was put in the water it glowed and there was a trail behind the kayak. It was beautiful! After kayaking we went to the hotel, relaxed, and went to bed. We got up Sunday morning and drove to Old San Juan. What a trip that was! We borrowed our headmaster's huge van so we'd have enough room. The streets of Old San Juan are so narrow there were several times I was afraid we'd get stuck. We decided to go to El Morro to look around and tried to park in a parking garage there. Well, the garage was full and closed so we had to go down a VERY narrow street (only one car could fit at a time) to a cemetary. The parking there was full too. So we found a steep and narrow hill to go up. By this time I was really scared of getting stuck between the bar and the wall. I pulled my hat down over my eyes and tried not to watch. My husband as it turns out is a fantastic driver. No scratches, bumps, nothing! We ended up driving to the opposite side of Old San Juan and parking by the cruise ships. We then found a bus and took it to El Morro. After the fort we walked all the way through Old San Juan stopping to shop a few times. We made it to Del Sol which is a store where everything in the store, everything, changes colors in the sunlight. Mel went crazy in there! After Del Sol we walked to Senor Frogs to eat. Here are a few pics from our day Sunday...

I am actually posting this on Thursday night...I had to upload over 500 pictures from 4 cameras! Tomorrow we don't have school and we are so happy. We've spent this week relaxing and trying to rest up. We're exhausted!! We've also got 2 weeks worth of laundry to catch up on! We had an amazing time with the Noon clan and are so glad they came! I'll try to put more pictures up tomorrow. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Dad,
Happy Birthday to you!

Tomorrow will be my dad's 51st birthday! I had to put up this picture of him from this summer because I imagine that's the face he'll make when he sees this entry. This was taken at our annual family reunion in Oklahoma just a few weeks before we moved here. As you can see Joy was blowing bubbles in his face...I think that was the reason for "the look". Anyway - sorry we can't be there to help you celebrate. WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just thought this was interesting...

Okay, last week Katie's friend, Jodi, came to the island. Her plane was like 30 minutes late or something because of a volcano that errupted near Puerto Rico. Her plane had to fly around the ashes being blown into the air. After that (last Thursday) there were at least 5 earthquakes here in Puerto Rico! A couple of them were here in Guayama but they weren't huge so there was no damage of any kind. Courtney felt something one evening and one of my perfume bottles fell from the shelf. Mendez, our friend that lives up in the mountains, felt the shaking at his house. Strange happenings these days, huh?! I'm not sure what's going on tonight. There's apparently some kind of Church service right around the corner from our house. There's some horrible singing and chanting going on and of course they have a microphone! I thought for a little while they were performing at exorcism (not sure if it's spelled right) because the man was FREAKING OUT!!!! I may have to go calm them all down if this lasts until my bedtime!! Tomorrow at this time we'll be heading to San Juan to pick up Sharon, Wilbur, Nicole, and her friend. They don't get in until 9:05 so it will be a somewhat late night. Saturday will be a full but fun day as will Sunday. I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures to post!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Caja de Muertos

Another week at GPS, another weekend of fun in Puerto Rico! We had an interesting week at school (always do!) and Katie's friend Jodi arrived on Thursday. We went out for drinks on Thursday when they got back from the airport. On Friday Courtney & I went shopping for our trip on Saturday. The place we went to has no restaurants, stores, etc. so we had to take everything we could think of. You leave Ponce on a boat at 8:30 am and stay on the island of Caja de Muertos until 3:30 when the boat takes you home. It's about a 45 minute trip by boat and is worth the $17 a person it costs to get there! Caja de Muertos or "Coffin Island" has 2 different stories about why it is named that. The first being that it looks like a coffin when you see it from the main island or by boat...I couldn't see enough of it from the boat to tell you if that's true. The second being that Jose Almeida fell in love with a married woman and was reunited with her after he was done being a pirate and her husband died. She died some time later and he buried her in a cave at Caja de Muertos in a cedar coffin with a glass top so he could see her when he visited. He was later captured and killed and her body was taken to St. Thomas for a proper burial. Either way it's a nice place to visit and spend the day! There's a nice beach on one side, a protected beach on the other, and you can hike to the lighthouse at the top. We got there and spent the first half of the day swimming and hanging out. We then decided to take the hike. Here are some pictures..

Here's the beach we were at and a view of the boat we took to the island through the rocks. We put our things in a spot back in the rocks so it would be like having our own private beach.

Here's a picture of the lighthouse we were getting ready to hike to. You can barely see it on top of the mountain. The other picture is the trail we took. Once we started going up it was all rocks.

Here's the lighthouse at the top and the view of where we were before our hike. The beach we were at is all the way at the end where it looks like another mountain is. It was a long hike! The water and beach on the right of the picture are open, the area on the left is protected because it's too dangerous and that is where the sea turtles are when they come to shore. There is supposedly a wonderful coral reef you can snorkel at but the trail to that beach was closed yesterday. The water must have been pretty choppy there yesterday.

We went to this beach on the hike down from the lighthouse. They were calling it the Coast Guard beach. The water was so much more clear. We spent about an hour or more snorkeling. There were so many neat fish, shells, rocks, etc. to look at in the water. It was clear enough water that Courtney even went swimming & snorkeling! After this beach we had to finish our hike back to our things and got there just in time to haul our things back to the boat. The ride home was interesting. On the way there we sat on the lower level and it was a bumpy ride. On the way back we rode on the upper level. Everything was going great, lots of sun, talking, blah, blah, blah. Then Courtney says, "When we get up, don't look in the front row." There was a man in the front row throwing up on the floor! He never once got up and went to the trash, or hung his head over the side, or even got up to go to the bathroom on the lower level. He just sat there in his seat throwing up! How disgusting!! When we were getting close to Ponce we decided to get up and go down to the lower level so we could get off quickly. Who knows what might have happened if he were walking down the stairs behind us! His wife was rubbing his back and everything. I told Courtney if that had been him I would not have been so nice! Be looking for some good posts next weekend. Sharon, Wilbur, Nicole, and one of her friends get here on Thursday. I am so excited about our day we have planned for'll just have to wait to see what we do!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Dr. Seuss' birthday...and not much else

Not much to tell about this weekend either. I had already finished this post when I read Katie's blog and remembered Thursday! I had to come back and share. On Thursday we got to school and there were no lights. This isn't usually a big deal, happens occassionally. Well, the only problem is we have no windows in the entire joke people. This made for some very dark classrooms. Most of the rooms had no air conditioning either with the power out. I luckily had air but no lights, Courtney on the other hand had both. Lucky! We spent the first 3 HOURS of school with no lights! It was insane! It was hot, the kids thought it was recess all day, it was a mess! My class and Katie's class are reading buddies on Friday afternoons. This last Friday was Dr. Seuss' birthday so we decided to celebrate together. On Thursday night we made Cat in the Hat cupcakes. They turned out so cute. They're a plain cupcake frosted, then you cut a wafer cookie into 2 pieces, frost them, put them on the cupcake in the shape of a hat, add red stripes, and there you have it. On Friday our classes made their own hats and we ate the cupcakes. Courtney had his students write their own Dr. Seuss stories after reading a bunch of them in class. We all had a pretty good week. Friday night was very interesting, to say the least. For more on that I'll let you ask Courtney. All I can say about it is: it was a LONG night and Saturday was spent making sure my hubby was okay. I did alot of running around for him on Saturday while, of course, doing laundry. Don't worry, he's fine now. Today's been much of the same. We did our weekly shopping, finished grades for report cards to go out this week, and watched a movie. I promise you all that next weeks post will be MUCH more exciting with pictures. Katie's friend Jodi is coming on Thursday and on Saturday we're going to a little island off of PR called Caja de Muertos. You take a boat to get there and you spend the entire day. There will be lots of hiking, snorkeling, sun bathing, swimming, etc. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to show you our fun. Then the next week, on the 15th, Sharon & Wilbur, Nicole and one of her friends will be here. We're looking forward to it and already have plans made for what to do. I won't know what to do with myself when I have 2 weeks in a row of fun posts! This picture will have to tide you over until next week. Courtney took it on Thursday after Katie and I made our Dr. Seuss cupcakes. Yep, they were yummy!

I had to steal the next picture from Katie's you can see, the teachers made their own Dr. Seuss hats also! Please excuse the blurry picture, a 3rd grader took it...pretty good job I think!