Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Playing hookie

No pictures tonight.  Did I mention that my point & shoot camera broke right when we got here?  So I have to lug around my big camera, and it's kinda heavy and hard to be discreet.  So it doesn't get taken out every day.  I'm kinda bummed because I have missed some great shots.

The kids were sleeping like the dead when I got the wake up call this morning (at 5:55am thankyouverymuch), so I decided to just go ahead and let them sleep.  Secretly, I wanted a little more sleep too.  And if there was ever an excuse to play hookie, I think living across the street from the beach in Costa Rica is a darn good one.

We went back to the surf school, because once you take a lesson you get to use the board for a full week for free.  I really didn't think the kids would have any luck catching waves without and instructor, but I decided to humor them.  The kids took their boards out, and I went out there to help them.  Because they are on hard boards they really need to stay away from each other, so I could only help one.  I went to help Dane first when I look over and realize that Genevieve went out and caught the first wave she tried.  I continued to help Dane (who was also catching waves with my help) and Genevieve was catching wave after wave.  I helped Dane for about 45 minutes until he got popped on the cheekbone with his board and was done.  Genevieve stayed out there for a good hour and a half to 2 hours surfing.  She is really hooked.

We got a little too much sun today.  I forgot to reapply the sunblock.  I really haven't had to before this point because the rain usually comes in before we are able to get too much sun.

This afternoon the owner of the villas came and got us because he knew the kids have been wanting to see monkeys and there were some outside his house.  It was a short drive away and the kids loved it.  Zeke came back imitating them "hoo hoo aah haa".

What else, what else.

Still getting eaten alive by the skeeters.  Just me and Dane for the most part.  The itching is driving me crazy.

Still loving it here.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

My baby is 3

Zeke had the little celebration at his preschool on Friday, so we decided to make his real birthday a family party.  Honestly, I couldn't handle the stress of trying to get food and people to another party, and I think this was more Zeke's style.  

Here he is modeling the shirt I made for him.  He's a pretty cute 3 year old if I do say so myself.

This is a Family picture.  Luke was video-chatting with us so he could be a part of the "party".

We got him a little bug catcher kit, as we thought he could really find some good ones here in Costa Rica.  He loved it.  

Thanks you Uncle Brian, Aunt Lisa & Jake for the puzzle book.  He already played with it tonight.

It was a mellow but good day.  Not one tantrum.  Yay for me =)

Happy Birthday to my baby.  I love you more than you'll ever know!

Hang 10

Didier was a great instructor

and the wipe-outs

They both had fun, but Genevieve was hooked!  She is anxious to get out there again!

10 minutes

That's about all we got for beach time today.  10 minutes.

I was so looking forward to a lazy day at the beach this Saturday.

But it rained.

And rained.

And rained some more.

But I managed to snap this picture in those 10 minutes.

This is in front of C&C's Surf School, which is right across the road from where we are living.  This is the spot on the beach where we usually hang out.  If the weather holds out tomorrow, G & D are supposed to take surf lessons.  Dane is still unsure about it.  He's a little nervous about being out where he can't touch the bottom.  We'll see.

We went out to dinner tonight just to get out of the villas.  We went to Coco's and had the "typical" dish or "casados" - rice, beans, meat, fried plantains, salad, and an order of fajitas.  The food was really good.  Genevieve  (our pickiest eater) has been trying new foods.  She is doing pretty well here because she like rice and meat.  The boys are hit & miss.  Last night we went to Jardin Marino, a "soda" on the main street. I ordered a cheesburger and casados.   The 4 of us can share 2 dishes with food leftover.  Our meals were good there too.  I think the kids favorite thing was the talking parrot at the restaurant (and counting the geckos - but that's everywhere we go!)

Tomorrow is Zeke's birthday.  I will consider it a success if we don't have any tantrums or major meltdowns.  Wishful thinking?  I baked another batch of toaster oven cupcakes.  I think these ones turned out much better.  I think I'm getting the hang of this toaster oven baking ;) .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

School celebrations

I took cupcakes to Zeke's preschool (his birthday is on Sunday).

Don't let the picture fool you.  He had a total meltdown, didn't blow out his candle or eat a cupcake.
I can't begin to explain why.  Such is life with Zeke.

I guess he was hot

***This was from a few days ago, just haven't had time to post it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

La fiesta de cumpleaños

I am beat.

Today is Genevieve's birthday.  Did you know that 8 year olds have high expectations for their birthdays?  I thought we were going to have a simple little celebration.  Unfortunately nothing is simple or easy here (at least for this gringa).

The party prep.  I purchased and modified some invitations I found in town.  The selection was pitiful, but we made it work.  We only needed 4 invites, which we handed out just 2 days ago  =)

Genevieve invited 2 sets of siblings from school (one Amercian, and one Tico).  We also verbally invited a couple families staying at our villas, and Annie, a language student we sat next to on the plane ride here (& whom we see almost everyday).  We had the potential to have no one show up, or upwards of 18 people.

Last night I made batches of cupcakes in a toaster oven.  I made mini cupcakes to take to G's class, and big cupcakes for her after school party.  They turned out so-so, but a toaster oven is not an ideal baking unit.

I spent the morning taking Zeke to school, going to the bank, ordering the (4) pizzas to be delivered, frosting cupcakes, buying ice cream, taking the cupcakes to G's class, cutting up fruit, decorating the big patio, and picking Zeke up from school.   I was in a full blown sweat before the party even started.

The party was to start at 11:30.

At 11:25 the heavens opened up and it began raining, and thundering.  At the same time we were invaded by a large group of old, speedo-wearing Europeans.

Don't believe me?

By 12:00 the rain was coming down, and we only had 2 kids at the party (the Americans), and no pizza yet.

I'm not gonna lie.  It was a pitiful "party".  I felt bad for Genevieve.  I felt bad for me and all my sweaty effort.   And the gigantic bowl of fruit I prepared, and the 4 pizzas that were getting delivered.

By 12:10 I decided to walk to the friends house that didn't show up.  When I got there the kids were just goofing off, and the mom explained to me she thought the party was tomorrow.  I explained (in my horrible spanish) it was today, and in fact NOW, and brought the kids back with me.  By the time we got back the rain had subsided, and the speedo-wearing Europeans were getting out of the pool.

Things were looking up!

(Genevieve & her friend Tiana have matching swimsuits by pure coincidence)

I went to the front desk to ask if they could call the pizza place to find out where our pizzas were.  That is when I was informed they don't actually deliver.  My pizzas were sitting there waiting to be picked up.  Now, I know my spanish is no bueno.  But on Tuesday I asked them if they delivered, and they said yes.  This morning I confirmed again that they would bring the pizzas to me.  I wrote down the name of our complex.  She nodded and said "si".

Here I now had a pool of 7 kids, and no way to get the pizzas.  Daniella (the receptionist) offered to call a taxi to pick up and bring me the waiting pizzas.

One of the families staying at the villas showed up and joined in.  Annie ended up popping by for a quick visit (with a sweet gift of goggles).  The rest of the party went well (except for Zeke who was a royal stinker the whole time.  Did I mention he peed his pants?....on my lap).

Minus me having to go get the guests, and the pizza delivery fiasco, it was just like a party in the US! (ha ha ha)

We gave out little bundles of sparkly pencils and pixie sticks for party favors, and Genevieve declared it a great birthday.

Mission accomplished.

And a few more pics for good measure.

I am beat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adios Papa!

We celebrated Father's Day early since we would not all be together on the real Father's Day.

Can I just take a second to tell you how great my husband is?  
First of all, he entertains my cRaZy ideas =)  And he even helps to bring them to fruition!
He is an amazing dad.  So much more so than I ever imagined.  He never needs a "break" from the kids unlike yours truly.  He is always up for an adventure with them.  
The kids were already missing him before he left Costa Rica.  I kept catching little snippets of conversations between them about how much they wanted daddy to stay.  

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to my best friend.
I love you and MISS YOU!

Playa Carrillo

The Sunday before Luke left (yes, 9 days ago, I'm a little behind!) we spent a few hours at Playa Carillo which is the next beach over.  We took the bus for the 10 minute ride.  The beach is secluded with the town up the hill.

And this is what happens when a 2 year old meets a hammock.  Actually the cut looked much worse in person, but it's healing fine.  I was not looking forward to a visit to Dr Freddy already.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Still alive!

My mother-in-law checked in with me this morning pointing out that I hadn't posted in a few days.  We are in fact alive and well.  I've been waiting to post after I uploaded my pictures, and I haven't done that because my photo system is a royal pain.  Also, I've been tired in the evenings, and more in the mood for reading than writing.

Luke left for home this morning and it's been an adjustment.  We had gotten into a a bit of a groove, a routine, and I felt a little lost today.

This afternoon we had some visitors, which was a nice distraction from my melancholy state of mind.  I have been corresponding with a guy I initially "met" on the tripadvisor.com forum for Samara.  He and his wife have lived here for 7 years.  He has been a HUGE resource for me.  Today when I asked him (via e-mail) for advice on what to do about Dane and I getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, he offered me a bed net.      He came by with his wife and darling 18 month old daughter to drop the net off, and stayed and chatted for a couple hours while kids swam in the pool.  They were totally normal (you never know with so many weirdos online) and really nice!  We talked about getting together later in the week.  Too bad they are moving in a couple weeks =(.

(this is my view from inside the net using my computer camera)

I am really excited about the bed net!  Regardless of how hard I try to keep the mosquitos out of the bedrooms, crank up the A/C, spray us down with repellent, and try to keep the covers on us, Dane and I both wake up with tons of huge welts on our bodies (Dane worse than me).  The rest of the family apparently doesn't taste as good, as they only get a few nibbles here and there.

I'll share some pictures of our last few days soon!  Zeke has started preschool, so I will fill you in on that too.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swinging through the trees....

Disclaimer:  The following event was completely safe.  Our kids safety is our first priority.  If you know the Taylor's, you know safety is our middle name  =).  So we don't want any frantic calls from the grandparents!

Now on to the good stuff.  We had a GREAT day ziplining with Wingnuts Canopy Tours.  And when I say "we", I mean all 5 of us!  Luke and I had little faith that Zeke would go for it.  In fact, we pictured a huge meltdown, and me staying with him while Luke and the other 2 went on to do the tour.  To our complete SHOCK, Zeke did it, and loved it!

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

and a little taste of what the rainy season is like

Friday, June 11, 2010

No gatito!

We were lolli-gagging around town with Zeke waiting for G & D to get out of school at 11:20.  We go over to the school gate to wait and there's an American tourist holding a newborn kitten.  She says there were 3 of them abandoned by their mom.  We explain we can't take it because we do not live here permanently.  I ask where the other kittens are, and she tells me some of the school kids took them home and she hopes they care for them.

We keep waiting for the kids, but they don't come out.  I finally go in and ask a teacher what time school finishes today.  She tells me they already finished and the kids left!

As we head out the gates I ask an older student what time school got out on Fridays for 2nd grade and she tells me 10:30!  So the kids have been out for an hour and we don't know where they are.  We start walking down the street toward our villa and I see some kids in uniform at the end of our street.  We keep walking and sure enough it is Genevieve, Dane and another classmate.  Genevieve is in another shirt, so they have obviously been home and then come back out.  She is also holding... a newborn kitten.

She starts telling us the story of the motherless kittens, and how they volunteered to take one.  "We adopted it" she says.  Luke and I start explaining how we can't keep the cat, that we aren't allowed to, and that it's a baby that needs someone to give it milk in a bottle, etc.  They inform us that they already gave it milk.

Then the tears started.
"But it's ours, we adopted it........."
More tears.
(repeat over and over)

We gave the kitten to the boy they were with.

When we get to the villa there is a large bowl on the porch with milk in it.  I asked how the kitten reached the milk, to which they answered, "he got in".

Genevieve has spent the afternoon between tears and trying to convince us to get her a cat for her birthday when we get home.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today we saw these guys on our walk.  We have actually seen quite a few of them, but these ones were closer than usual, and we saw 3 or 4 in a row.  The first one was huge.

Luke's favorite thing to do after dropping the kids at school is to go have a leisurely breakfast at the panadería.

We went and checked out a preschool for Zeke to attend. We stayed for about 45 minutes and let him play on the playground with the other kids.  He seemed to enjoy it.  I don't know if he will actually let me leave him though.  I almost didn't go because it's a bit of a walk to get there, but then I thought "do I not have the time?"  We're going to go again tomorrow and stay for a little while again.  Hopefully he will warm up to the idea.

Were you wondering when I was going to get to the "jackpot" of the post?  Well here's the jackpot!
When I planned this adventure, I had hoped the kids would make friends.  I really didn't know how well they would be received, but I had hoped and dreamed they would make some buddies to play with both in and out of school.

Last night when Genevieve asked if she could invite her classmate Amanda over to swim today we said sure, but warned her it might not work out.

After school Genevieve invited Amanda.  Amanda said she needed to ask her mom.  So Genevieve told her where we "live" and to bring her bathing suit.  After school Genevieve didn't go swimming like usual.  She sat on the patio waiting for Amanda. After a while I felt kinda bad because I was pretty sure Amanda wasn't coming. I went to run a couple errands while Luke stayed with the kids.  When I got back, Amanda was in the pool!

The girls were jibbering away in spanish like the best of friends.  Luke kept saying "listen to her" (about Genevieve).  It was truly amazing to see her speaking so freely and naturally in spanish.

I sat there just taking in the moment.  I had dreamed of this, but didn't know if it was a real possibility.
All of a sudden I knew this trip was worth it.

When Amanda's mom dropped her off she said her brother would come to get her in an hour.  I assumed that meant she had an older brother.  But no. No, no.  Her 6 year old brother came to get her.

So the playdate continued and now Dane had a buddy!  By the way Dario is 6 and is in the 1st grade!

I might have some insight to the 1st grade drama.  I asked Dario how many kids were in his class and he said 24.  Dane's 2nd grade only has 5 and Genevieve's 3rd grade class only has 7.  So it appears that 1st grade is over-crowded and probably why Dane was not put in there.  I just wish they would say that!

When it was time for the kids to go, Amanda and Dario wanted to have my kids over to play.  So she went home to ask her mom and she said yes.  I walked the kids to their home and told them I would be back in an hour.  When I came back the kids were still not ready for the playdate to end.  The parents were very nice, gave me a cup of tea and gave the kids a snack.  It was pouring while the kids were there so they had to play inside.  When I came they were playing some sort of game system.  Their homes may be meager, but they have the necessities, and even a game system.  And they have hospitality to boot!

So today was a good day.  A very good day!