Sunday, June 29, 2008

Celebrating Spain

Morgan spent summers growing up in Spain. My father-in-law would drive his wife and six kids to Spain and they would stay there while he went back to Ireland to work. He would join them again later in the summer. They would rent an apartment and spend their days on the beach. Morgan has a number of stories about time spent in Spain.

Morgan is also a big soccer fan. That is probably not worded strongly enough, but for now it will do. The UEFA Euro 2008 has been on for the last couple of weeks. Ireland did not qualify, so Morgan made Spain his team for the competition. (Due to both summers spent vacationing there and the fact that a number of Liverpool players play on the Spanish National team.)

So..Morgan decided that we would have a Spanish Day today. The most important part of course was watching the game. He also used this as an excuse to make a paella for dinner. His father perfected paella after many trips to Spain and Morgan has worked hard to follow in his father's footsteps. This was much smaller than previous paellas he has made. (It was also missing the squid and mussels - we usually add those to the mix)

As it turns out, Spain won the game and Fernando Torres scored the winning goal. Torres plays for Liverpool and has been a big name in our house for a while. Morgan named the cat after the Spanish Liverpool manager. It is a good thing we are not adding any other pets or small children any time soon...Fernando O'Sullivan just doesn't sound right!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Just say no!

A couple of days ago a friend of mine sent a forward about the evils of plastic bags. Morgan and I have already started to bring our own bags to the grocery store, so I looked at the PowerPoint and sent it on to some of my family and friends. Here is the link (it is a bit blurry, but you can get the point.)

The next morning I had two e-mails. One was from one of the teachers I work with.

That is great! I am sending it to everyone in my email address book!

We have both read Gorgeously Green and are working on making small changes to become a bit more 'green' at home and at school.

The second e-mail was a bit short and to the point.

Don't send me pictures of dead animals

It was from my mom. I hadn't thought about it before I sent it. My mom refuses to watch any movie in which an animal dies. She is quite serious about this - it is a steadfast rule. I decided to try my luck and I sent her a reply:

Then perhaps you should not be throwing away plastic bags. (Just a thought)

I did not get a reply, but that afternoon my mom called. After a bit of small talk, she asked where she could buy the reusable bags. We have more than we can use, so I mailed her some of ours yesterday. (Along with a reusable metal water bottle, but she doesn't know that yet)

Then last night she asked me about what I use to scoop the cats' litter box now that I do not use shopping bags. (We actually have gotten good at looking for other plastic bags to use to scoop poop. The plastic bags from fruits and veggies, potatoes, lunch meat, cheese, etc. all work great for holding poop!) It does mean though that she is thinking about it!

It made me smile. It's catching on!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Looking Back: Sydney (Part Two)

This is the final post in the series. I've enjoyed going back through the e-mails and pictures from our trip down under. We just picked up the tickets yesterday for this summer's vacation. We will be cruising in July, but more about that later!

Sydney E-mail #3:
We write this absolutely exhausted from a day of walking! We planned on heading to the Blue Mountains today, but decided to stay in bed instead of getting the required early start for the Blue Mountain train journey.

St. Mary's Cathedral

We went back to St. Mary's Cathedral to see the stained glass by day and then did the botanical gardens where we got some amazing photographs.

From there we caught the ferry to Watson's Bay for take out from Doyles. We ate on the ferry back and then walked across the Sydney Harbor Bridge. We picked up some groceries and sat at the pier taking in the sites before heading back to the hotel.

Watson's Bay

The view from the bridge
We are going up now to make soup and sandwiches. It will be an early night to be sure we make it in time in the morning! = )

We are slowly coming to accept the fact that we have to head home in a few days! We have had a GREAT time! We hope that all is going well for everyone.

Take care & God bless,
Jenny & Morgan

E-mail #4:


We are just back from the Blue Mountains. We did a LOT of walking, but the views were amazing! We saw the 3 Sisters and rode the steepest railway in the world. The paths were wet, but the views were great! Lots of pictures to share!

"The Three Sisters"

On the way back we got some take out...a nice pie covered in potato and mushy peas for morgan and some nice Chinese food for me. We also stopped at a British Candy store...Morgan was like a child! We got a mixed bag of Kola Cubes, Cola Bottles, and Bon Bons (ideas for anyone coming our way soon...)

Thank you to Trevor for offering to pick us up...and to those who have replied to our emails...we will write more when we are not paying by the minute!

Hope all is going well! We are planning our last day in Sydney... = (

Take care,
Jenny & Morgan
Here is the link to the Blue Mountain Pictures:

Blue Mountains, Summer 2007

Monday, June 23, 2008

Looking Back: Sydney (Part One)

We spent eight days in Sydney, so this one is going to be in two parts. Morgan wrote both of these e-mails, so he is responsible for both the wording and the lack of capitalization. = )

We arrived in Sydney safely after a shaky flight and were pleased to see beautiful, but cold weather greet us... the tv reports had prepared us for almost hurricane LIKE STORMS! Sorry, this keyboard is hopeless!

Sydney Opera House

All else is well here. We flew over the opera house and bridge from the plane and we will venture out tomorrow. Our hotel room has the most amazing view of Darling harbour, and we are both really excited about venturing out in the morning.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Happy Birthday to Robert on Thursday and we hope your exams have gone well. I hope my parents (morgan here) arrived home safe and sound and we send our best to all.

morgan and jenny
E-mail #2:
Greetings to all,
Another day from Sydney has gone by and gone really well.
We made it to the Olympic stadium today and did a few laps of the Olympic pool.

The Olympic Pool

After a few laps

After that we ventured off to an Australian Rules Football game in the Olympic stadium. There was a terrific atmosphere and 80,000 people in attendance.

Telstra Stadium

It was too cold for wet hair!
Tomorrow we are off to see an international music festival in the Sydney Opera house, which we are both looking forward to. We also plan on walking across the harbour bridge, and also visiting the botanical gardens, so it should be quite a day!

View from Botanical Gardens
The last few days have flown by and we have definitely done a lot more walking than we usually would do. Jenny has even had to replace her running shoes.

Our first full day in Sydney brought us to the city Zoo. The views were amazing and the animals were great too. It was probably the best zoo either of us has ever visited.

We waited for this shot!

The next day we got a train and bus out to Bondi beach. We then took the coastal walk all of the way to Coogee beach, where the views over the cliffs were spectacular. We also managed to see lots of Aussies surfing!

Bondi Beach
(I stopped a surfer to ask for this picture!)

Morgan admiring the view

Sunset along the walk
We hope that all is well in your corner of the world,
more updates soon,

morgan and jenny

Part two to come soon.
Here is the link to the rest of the pictures:

Sydney, Summer 2007

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Let's Give it a Go"

Yesterday morning I was downstairs doing my usual morning routine. Morgan was still in bed and the cats were at my ankles begging for food. (I hadn't gotten that far in the morning routine!) I happened to look out the kitchen window and saw a beautiful vase of flowers sitting right outside the front door.

Without thinking I shouted out to Morgan upstairs that someone sent us flowers. It took me about 5 seconds after the words were out of my mouth to realize that the "someone" was Morgan and that I'd forgotten ER day.

June 21, 2002 the rest of the camp counsellors were going to Ft. Lauderdale for a drunken weekend. Morgan and I did not really want to go, so I'd invited him to stay at Grandma Betty and Grandpa Boo's house where I was going to spend the weekend. (All of our camp roommates were going to Ft. Lauderdale. Campus was going to be empty!)

Well, I'd taped Dr. Green's last episode on ER. ("The Beach" - the one where he dies of a brain tumor) and I hadn't had a chance to watch it and Ireland was weeks behind the storyline so Morgan hadn't seen it either. We consider this our first date. (Yes, I know at my bridal shower there was debate over the KD formal that year. Morgan and I were still just friends then despite the fact that he flew over from Ireland for a weekend to go to the formal.)

After that weekend we decided to "give it a go" in Morgan speak and we decided not to tell anyone we were dating. Morgan lasted about 20 seconds. The entire camp knew. The man can't keep a secret!

So flash forward to yesterday. I brought in the flowers and started thanking Morgan, who was giving me a hard time for forgetting ER Day. He had me. I had NOTHING planned. He told me there was some thing else in the mail and I was much quicker this time. He'd ordered season 8 of ER on DVD. The one with the episode we watched.

So, Morgan went back to bed and said he would sleep until 11. I knew what I had to do. I quickly defrosted the bacon, rashers, and the black pudding his mother sent his for his birthday. I had just enough time to throw together one of the most revolting meals known to man - a traditional Irish fry up. I finished cooking in time to bring Morgan breakfast in bed.

Having redeemed myself, I could enjoy the rest of the day. We went to the pool briefly before the rain started. Morgan was desperate to see Get Smart. I was not so sure about it, but I forgot ER Day, so I went along! It was actually not too bad at all. Morgan described it as Bourne Identity done as a comedy. From there we went to the Cheesecake Factory where we ordered dinner AND cheesecake. (Although we did take home half the cheesecake for later!)

When we got home we'd planned to watch ER, but I fell asleep so we will try again today. It was a fantastic day. Although I supposed any day that starts with surprise flowers sitting on the front step has potential!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Looking Back: Ayers Rock

My looking back posts are taking almost as long as the three week vacation! I've survived the first week of summer school though and I think the next couple should be easier. So here we go...

I must say the view as you get off the plane in Ayers rock is amazing! We walked off the plane and saw the red rock in the distance.

Walking back to the hotel from the store
We went to our hotel and booked our transportation. From there we went to a supermarket to buy breakfast and lunches. (The Aussies all have tea making facilities and a fridge in the room so that helps!)

Waiting for Sunset

We will just see the sunset tonight and will be out again tomorrow...

You could watch the colors change

I hope all is going well! Internet is more expensive here, lol so keeping it short!

Jenny & Morgan

The rest of the trip was covered in an e-mail from Sydney. Morgan was having Internet withdrawal, so he was the one to write the first e-mail from Sydney. Here are the relevant parts:


We have arrived in Sydney after an amazing couple of days at Ayers Rock. We stayed in a wonderful hotel / apartment that was about 15 minutes from Ayers Rock itself.

Ayers Rock/Uluru

We saw a beautiful sunset, sunrise and also spent time walking around it. The scenery was amazing. We also took a day trip to the Olgas, which many say is more spectacular than the rock itself. We decided to be adventurous and go for the Valley of the Winds.... and was it windy!!!

The pictures we took were fantastic and we did more walking and hill climbing / steep , VERY steep climbing than we had in a long while.

We followed this up with a big treat for the two of Australian Buffet with Kangaroo and crocodile amongst other Aussie treats on the menu.

Valley of the Winds Walk

...and that catches you up to the last stop on our vacation down under. We are a little behind schedule. Morgan and I realized last night that exactly one year ago we were already in Sydney. Crazy to think it has been a year already!

Click below to see the rest of our Ayers Rock Pictures.

Ayers Rock Summer 2007

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Looking Back: Cairns

We are looking back at the second stop on our Aussie trip from last summer. After four days in Brisbane, we flew north to Cairns. The weather there was a bit warmer - more like a Florida winter. Here are the e-mails and pictures!

The pool at our hotel


So much for not being in touch. My husband gets a bit antsy when he has not checked the internet too long...he may not drink, but I think he has a problem! = )

The Rainforest

He ran out of sites to check so I said I'd send a quick update. We are in Cairns until Monday. We did the rainforest thing yesterday It was really neat. We took a cable car thing up and saw the tops of the trees and the mountains in the clouds.

The Train

When we got to the top we spend a little too long in a little town while waiting for the train ride back to town. The train ride back we went past some waterfalls which was neat.

The view from the train

Today we' planned on going to the reef, but it is still a bit rough at sea. We are hoping for better tomorrow! We did laundry and went into town where we found a market. We are going to Mass tonight in hopes that we will be on a boat tomorrow morning!

Cairns Esplanade

More updates in time...likely sooner rather than later...we pay for 20 minutes of internet at a time...and Morgan can't miss a day! = )

Take care & God bless,

Jenny & Morgan

Looking back, we must not have sent a second Cairns e-mail. Even though it was still a bit rough, we did go the the Great Barrier Reef on our last day in Cairns. We were both looking a bit green in the face on the ride out there. It was pretty bad!

On the boat

Finally though we stopped and went snorkeling. It was a dull day and a cheap camera, so the colors are not the best. Regardless, it was amazing! The reef was just so BIG!

The Reef

My Reef Shark

What impressed me most was that I saw a reef shark. I can now say that I went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and saw a shark. My third graders were impressed! (Although I waited until we were back on the boat to tell Morgan - he was not too impressed to have been in the water with it!)

Again I've uploaded the rest of the pictures to an album. Feel free to look if you are interested!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Looking Back: Brisbane

One year ago Morgan and I were in Australia. I was reading Pioneer Woman Cooks last week and she happened to mention how much she loved Brisbane. I can second that!

I am working in my classroom and running errands this week, so I thought I would relive last summer's vacation. It really was a spectacular trip - it is worth reliving! So...we are starting in Brisbane, Australia. Morgan and I spent 4 days there and loved every minute of it. It is the kind of place you would want to live.

Here are my actual e-mails and pictures. Enjoy!

Email #1:

Hello from Down Under!

Morgan and I found in internet cafe, so I have 8 minutes left to give you the latest on our trip!

Day 1: LA
We stayed up all night before our trip and then flew to LA bright and early. The seats did not recline, so we were exhausted! We got to LA at like 10am and did not leave until 11pm. We took a bus in LA to Santa Monica. (Yes Lyndsay, the 75 cent bus!) It was a nice way to spend the afternoon. We made it
back to the airport with only 4 hours to spare...we thought we would never leave! Qantus was great though and the flight was non eventful.

Day 2 : Brisbane
We landed and get to the hotel to find out that our room was not yet we walked to the church for mass. We had been up for way to long by this point...and were slightly smelly...but they asked us to carry up the gifts!
We were mortified but agreed...and the homily was about taking part in the mass so we were glad we had! We went shopping and were in bed by 1pm...had plans to get up but slept through to the next morning!

Day 3: Brisbane
We met up with Morgan's mom's best friend and two of her kids. (The siblings of the Australian who stayed with us in Delray a few months back) We went to a park for a picnic and had a great time. It reminded me of a painting I studied in college...everyone sitting out with wine and all.. We took the
ferry around and had a great day

Day 4:
I am out of time, but we are in South bank at a man made beach...more to tell later!

I've uploaded the rest of my pictures to an album. You can click here if you want to see more!

Brisbane Summer 2007