Monday, January 29, 2007

You'd better Belize it!

We booked our trip to Belize last week! We will be flying out of Houston on a non-stop flight to Belize City around the first week of May. We've booked a 7-night dive package at a resort on the beach which includes 5 days of 2-tank boat dives, a night dive, a welcome cocktail, use of resort equipment (bikes, kayaks, etc.). Meals are not included in the package but we do plan to bring food since we learned in St. John how much island food can cost!

We look forward to diving the Blue Hole, although the best diving out there is supposed to be at about 150 ft which is deeper than our certification allows us to dive. But there is a shallower dive of about 60 feet so we can do that one.

I also want to do some of the other mainland activities. They have tours scheduled during the week and the one I'm most excited about is the cave tubing/zip line trip. I have always wanted to zip line so I can't wait! The trip is a bit pricey but I know my husband will allow it since we're on vacation... right, Phil?!

We would love it if others could join us on this trip just like the group we had in St. John. Let us know if you're interested in joining and we can send you all the details and itinerary!

Monday, January 22, 2007


We've been pretty busy lately so here are the Stackhouse highlights.

First, the arctic front descended upon us last Tuesday, bringing freezing temperatures and ice. Because of the rain on Monday, Tuesday's ice built up pretty thick. While most of San Antonio shut down on Tuesday, dedicated employees that we are, each went to our respective workplaces. Let's just say that attendance was sparse at both places of business.

Tuesday night was the worst of the weather. The ice built up on our car windshields, icing our doors shut and freezing over our walkways.

(Disclaimer: The following portion of the story is narrated by Phil. Lauren does not get to have any input since she slept through it.)

Tuesday night around 11:10pm while fast asleep, I heard a big creak and a weird noise. Being the light sleeper that I am, I got out of bed and looked out the window to investigate. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. While up, I asked Lauren if she heard anything. Lauren responded "No" which was no surprise. [side note: Lauren cannot verify this portion of the story as she does not recall this conversation ever taking place]. So I went back to bed... at approximately 11:25pm, a loud snapping noise and large crash on the roof/side of the house jarred me out of bed. I looked outside and to my amazement saw the large Loquat tree split in two, with one half lying on our roof. While rushing to put on socks, shoes, and a jacket, I told Lauren what happened and she calmly turned over and went back to sleep. Her thought was that the tree would be there in the morning and there was no sense going out in the icy night to investigate. The funny thing is that Lauren barely heard the tree fall, even though it sits less than 5 feet outside of our bedroom window! While investigating outside, my neighbor came out of his house and said he heard it and thought it was his tree falling down on his truck. How this man could hear it from the next house over and many yards away, and Lauren could sleep through it will always baffle me.

Needless to say, we spent our Friday night cutting up the tree and a BIG special thanks to Mom and Jack for perpetually lending us their electric chain saw. There would've been no way of cutting it down without it. However, we still need a regular chain saw to cut the big portion of the tree stump down. For now, we were able to move the big limbs off the house and into a huge pile in the back yard. Now we just want to know when our next heavy trash pick up date is going to be!!

Next portion of the story as told by Lauren:
Another exciting event in our lives recently has been the purchase of his and hers mountain bikes. Phil's work offers a health incentive discount which allowed us to get a great deal on both bikes. We both bought Trek bikes... mine is a women's bike and honestly, I picked it because it was pretty. I mean, what else do I care about other than looking stylish on the trails? I even got a helmet (safety first) but it has pink on it which made it acceptable. Phil's bike is one step up from my bike (the male version) and so they are similarly shaped and styled. We had to buy a bike rack to put on the back of Phil's SUV to haul the bikes around. Of course, we bought the bikes just before the brunt of winter hit, so we haven't had much opportunity to ride them. The first day we rode them, we rode around the neighborhood and down to Twin Sisters. Boy, it was only then that I realized how our neighborhood sits on a big hill. Going down -- no problem. Going up -- ugh! Perhaps I should confess at this point that I am definitely out of shape. But hopefully the bike will fix all that. So this weekend, we decided to head to McAllister Park for an afternoon bike in the park. Luckily, the weather was beautiful (75 degrees and sun shining-- although it only lasted the one day). We started out on the paved trails but soon enough, Phil decided to take a detour. Of coure, the trail says you can go this way or that way, and Phil decides to take a third, unmarked trail. The trail starts out just fine and is a dirt path but come to find out, it was more intense. Phil leads the way down a rocky terrain filled with mud puddles, tree roots, and hills. I can definitely say I learned how to navigate a more rough terrain than I expected, and although I must admit I did fall off the bike once, it was still fun. Getting back on the paved trail after almost an hour of off-road trails was a heavenly change. The up-side is that I felt like I had a decent workout and even if not, I had mud all over my bike and my body so that if nothing else, it looked like I did some great off-roading!

Some of Phil's co-workers have recently purchased bikes too so maybe next time we will have some company. I look forward to spending weekends this spring at local parks in the hill country, like Government Canyon where you can spend a day, bring lunch, etc.

Lastly, we are planning an anniversary vacation to Belize. We are looking to take about a 7-day dive vacation. If we fly out of Houston, we can get really cheap airfare, too. We hope to book our reservations tomorrow. We are planning the trip with our friends Jennelle & Greg and if anyone else is up for it, we'd love to have company! But you'll need to get SCUBA certified if it'll be any fun for you, since we plan to be diving most days. We are going over to Jennelle & Greg's tomorrow to finalize all our plans... I can't wait.

I guess this means I have a LOT of biking in my future to get in bikini shape by May... plus all the biking can't hurt my tan, either. :)