Saturday, December 23, 2006


I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday! Eric & I started well by celebrating with his dad & family last night, and will continue to have good times with my mom & sisters in the utah for the coming days. I'm definitely looking forward to some well-earned time off, full of family and fun. I hope you all get what you are looking for as well! =)

I have run out of holiday-themed pictures. So instead, I will share with you this incredible experience Eric & I had in Belize with howler monkeys. If you ever find yourself near Belize City, I highly recommend a trip out to the sanctuary. It is amazing to be so close to the animals, and it is also an inspiring tale of how one person can make a difference. In 1985, Fallet Young (also our tour guide) with the help of an American Dr. Horwich, basically saved these monkeys from extinction by convincing farmers to become part of a coalition with simple rules that would preserve the monkeys habitat and food source. Fallet Young was just incredibly inspiring to be around, with his knowledge and resourcefulness, and also his humbleness about his accomplishments. He still works at the sanctuary, takes tourists into the woods, and loves his howler monkeys he worked so hard to protect.

Eating the banana upside down.

The most adorable little baby.

Eric and Fallet with the very hungry young male howler.

Eric entranced.

Eric & I asked to take a picture with Fallet so as to remember his accomplishments and awe-inspiring knowledge of the Belizean woods.

If you are looking for a good place for a charitable donation this holiday season, the sanctuary could definitely use your support!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Classroom Antics

I was reading an Arthur Christmas story yesterday, and in the story a mall Santa orders a huge ice cream Sunday. I made a joke about how this explained Santa's large belly and one of my students responded by saying, "Hey, you really shouldn't make fun of Santa." I swallowed my grin, put on a serious face, and apologized. I'm sure she will be receiving many a present for sticking up for the big guy!

Students (with parent help) make our holiday craft of cozy fleece pillows.

The pile of finished products! This was a really fun project, and the kids were so proud of their pillows. I must say a big thanks to Cate who helped me tie up the 3 other sides in preparation for today! THANKS! You made life so much easier!

Even the word wall gets decked out with holiday cheer (and gingerbread men).

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Catzilla & Holiday Decorations

Wow, have I ever been neglecting this site! Sorry folks, I'm sure you've missed me terribly ;) haha. Between decorating and shopping for the upcoming holidays and being awfully ill, there just has not been enough time or energy for any extras. I'm finally feeling alright, although I still sound a bit funny with a touch of laryngitis... With my sister Christina here to visit this weekend (yay!) and a party to celebrate every holiday imaginable on the horizon, I'm sure this weekend will be packed full of good times and cheer. In that mind set, I'll kick off the weekend right with Annabelle and Eric enjoying some holiday fun!

Annabelle pretends to be Catzilla as she stalks through our winter village.

Eric finishes off the decorations with our lovely angel, who is still (sorry mom) my favorite tree topper ever.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

'Tis the Season

It has been so busy here... But not with anything fun or any huge events. Just a million and one small little things that mean I have no time or energy to post here or read or do anything! Eric & I did manage to get our christmas lights up yesterday! Even though we didn't test the strands and it turns out that large portions no longer work... So we spent a large amount of time wandering from store to store where the decorations sections were very picked over. We couldn't find anything we needed, including garland! Com'on it is only Dec 3rd people! So for this year, we'll live with what we've got, and try to remember next year to go shopping early...

Lights in a tangle on the porch.

Makes me want to find a Lite-Brite!

Eric perched on the roof.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Last night on the boat

Hope everyone had as great a holiday as I did! Lots of food, lots of good company, lots of reading, lots of watching movies and just relaxing in general. It was perfect. Today was even great at school, so nice to go back in refreshed and excited to see the kiddos! I'll have a couple of good weeks to cram some knowledge into their heads before the excitement of the winter holidays overwhelms everything else.

Here are the shots I took on our last night on the boat. I was playing around with 15 to 30 sec exposures. I rather like how they turned out!

Looking over the small river to the restaurant where we had dinner.

A couple of the empties lined up on the edge of the boat from our last night of celebrating.

Eric, Deirdre, and Zeth board our tiny little plane as we bid Placencia (and D&Z) farewell and head off into the interior of Belize for monkeys and Mayan ruins...

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Last day on the boat

I could really go on forever with my underwater photos, but I think you've seen the best of the shots. I included my last couple of favorites from the sailing portion of our trip.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Deirdre sits in my favorite spot and contemplates the ocean.

My friendly 3 ft barracuda. Zeth pointed him out so I swam over to take a picture... I found out later he was pointing so we could avoid swimming near him! After the sharks, I'm fearless in the water ;)

When we were snorkling in the cut (a large channel cut out of the reef--too cool) we saw so many schools of fish hanging out like this in the coral. Amazing.

One last shot of my favorite kind of coral...

...before I say good-bye to the ocean.
What an amazing experience! Eric & I finally agree on the necessity of scuba certification. Hopefully this summer, and then we can journey back to Belize and dive the Blue Hole. No matter what happens, I believe that we will be visiting Belizean waters again. Just incredible!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sandwiches and Sandcastles

After a wonderful lunch of delivered sandwiches on the beach, we split into teams for a sandcastle building competition. The moms were the designated judges. Look below to see the exciting results!

The happy couple chows down.

Eric finishes the work on our castle-on-a-bluff while I run off to take action shots.

Elizabeth and Matt work on their rather greek-inspired structure.

The newlyweds build an odd looking castle using a cup as their guide.

And the Irish sisters clinch the lead by appealing to the moms' sentimentality... You can't really see it here, but the finished 'castle' was a heart -- complete with flowers and flags flying announcing the union of Kevin & Kim. I will (grudingly) admit that they deserved the victory.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Happy Couple

Here are some posed and not-so-posed shots of the happy couple.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Party

What a fabulous time we had in St Martin, and the best part was the reception on Sat night. Hopefully these few shots can convey how much fun we had!!

The happy couple 'relaxing' in a hammock.

Elizabeth gives a lovely toast about how wonderful Kim and Kevin are together and how sure Kim was about Kevin being the right one.

Kim and Kevin pose with Momma J.

The conga line.

The view off our balcony. Spectacular!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shark Ray Alley

So I showed you the nurse sharks... Here is the other part that makes Shark Ray Alley so spectacular. Hope these rays keep you entertained for the long weekend, as Eric & I are off to St Martin to help his sister Kim celebrate her marriage to Kevin. I cannot wait!! It is going to be such an awesome time. Hopefully I'll have more lovely tropical photos to share when we return next week! Oh, a big congrats to Cate & Jamie, who are getting hitched this weekend too. You two are awesome, and even better together, in truth ;)

The perfect ray picture.

Swimming along the sand.

A different swimming ray.

I love this shot because it shows how extremely close you are to the aquatic life! I doubt that couple even realized there was a ray swimming along right at their feet!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Overcoming fear

Jumping into the water at shark-ray alley has got to be one of the bravest things I've done. It was close, but I overcame my fear and swam with the fishes... I know they are only nurse sharks, but they are still sharks!!

The water was literally churning before we jumped in. The fish and sharks are used to being fed by the tourist boats and so they swim up and greet you at the buoy.

The first picture I took in the water. So close I could have touched him if I were braver.

You can see the edge of Eric's mask on the side of this picture as we stare in amazement.

A couple of nurse sharks cruise by again.

A very nervous Zeth keeps his hands behind his back.
Eric named this picture: Zeth & the Blue Tang.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Last night I dreamt of San Pedro

Madonna sure can turn a phrase, can't she? The only time we docked during our sail was at San Pedro. I really did love this beautiful little island.

Eric takes a turn behind the camera to capture these lovely early morning shots from our dock.

He even managed to show off our wonderful boat in this shot.

I took the camera back and snapped Horace arriving with sticky buns and johnny cakes. Yum!

Golf carts are the main mode of transportation for the roads of San Pedro.

The four travelers take a moment to enjoy some tropical drinks and a good meal.

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