Thursday, September 30, 2010

Refrescos Naturales

Enjoying some special fruit drinks at the Little House of Fish in Brasilito.
Joe trying the Star fruit drink. Kinda tasted like hairspray, but was sweet. Weird description, I know
Tamarindo - it is a kind of root, interesting flavor.

Ethan with the coconut water. Couldn't taste the coconut that well I thought. Speaking of coconut, I miss the coconut popsicles at Costco that they sell in the fluorescent pink box with a little island lady wearing a hula skirt. If you go to Costco, buy them in my place and eat them all, they are yummy, palitos de coco! I miss you!

Hyrum with the "cas" drink. Don't know what that is.

Pina - Pineapple

Cas again - ok, I just googled it - Cas is a drink made from a type of guava called the cas guava.

Lily drank almost all the pineapple drink. Ethan complained it was no fair and told us to stop her. How could we deny those little cheeks nourishment?

Playa Conchal - Shell Beach

Abi with a piece of blue plastic, here she is proudly displaying her birthday cake she just made, Happy Birthday!

Lily with a chunk of wet wood that she had a lot of fun playing with.

The power went out this morning and so Corey had to leave and find somewhere with internet so he could do his conference call for work. When he came back, he told us there was some construction going on and that the power would be out until 2. No power at home provided means he can't work, so looked like an ideal time to go to the beach!

While he was gone, Corey scouted out how to get to Playa Conchal, or Shell Beach, which a secluded beach that you need 4 wheel drive to get to, cause there is a little river. We parked in Brasilito at a restaurant where we ate lunch first cause it was starting to rain, then we started to walk the short distance to Playa Conchal. Playa Conchal is actually part of a nature reserve area and an exclusive resort - Paradise Resort - that we could use our timeshare at, except there is an all inclusive fee for each person each day, which puts it out of our budget... but we still took a tour on the way and that was fun - we got a ride in their little concierge tour truck. Kids thought it was fun. Anyway -

So first the resort tour, then lunch at La Casita Del Pescado where we tried all different kind of Costa Rican specialty drinks and ate french fries and hamburgers, then walking to the shell beach. A truck full of teenage boys offered us a ride, which the kids were excited to accept. They got to sit in the back of a truck while it was driving!

Me, Abi and Lily inside the car, Wes and Ethan among the 10 people in the back.

We arrived at Playa Conchal and were amazed that it really was a beach made of shells - tons and tons of broken shells. No sand, just shells! This beach is hogging all the shells! It was really cool, and you sink into shells when you walk more than you do walking on sand, we learned, so it was harder to walk and doesn't feel good on your feet. Mel was a little disappointed that she couldn't build a sand castle, she had even brought a leaf from home to be her flag. Oh well. We pretended it was a beach of small diamond and had fun rolling around in it for about 10 minutes when it started to rain. We all ran up the beach for cover under a tarp that the beach patrol guy was hanging out under. He said that there is an ocean current that brings all the shells to this beach. And the steep beach and rocks cause the ocean to break them all up, creating the beach we were beholding. Pretty neat.

The rain didn't last too long, and we headed out again and had a fun fun time digging, burying, hanging out in the tide pools, and playing Shell Man

Joe as Shell Man

Ethan trying to get covered in shells so he can be an even better Shell Man.

Wesley really impressed the big boys with this move that made him able to get lots of shells on his face, making him now a true contender for the Shell Man title.

The waves were fast and aggressive and the beach was pretty steep, so there wasn't a lot of shore for the waves to die out on and they'd come crashing up and then quickly retreat. There were some rocks on the north end of the beach that provided some protection, that was where we were hanging out the whole time. Joe and Mel in the safe waters of the tide pool.

Mel started the burying by working on Abi, she looked so cute lying there patiently letting herself be covered.

Highlight - Corey burying all the kids -

Lily got out before the final touches were finished.

Playa Conchal receives 4 out of 5 stars for being really cool for the kids and for not being dirty for the parents - little shells are a lot easier to brush off than sand. Our overall experiences today only gives 4 stars for the rain and the slight extra effort required in getting to the beach.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pigs on the Farm

Yesterday when we took Shirley home, there were lots of little pigs running around. Ethan wanted to see them, but they are too quick and ran away. But over in the covered garage was a pen of 5 brand spanking new little squealers. Ethan petted them, and wanted to go back today. He told the other kids about it too, so this morning we had one over the seat belt capacity level in the car and Mel, Ethan, Hyrum, and Lily came with me to pick up Shirley. There were 7 more pigs in the litter, total of 12 piglets. Ethan and Mel each held the pigs.

Hyrum didn't want to, that's okay. He was calm. Photographed with the piglets from a distance.

I think the big pig and her grunting sounds freaked him out the most, it freaked me out too...

Lily was making her own new sounds as she talked to the piglets, it made us all laugh. Lily petting a pig.

Twelve baby pigs - that's a big litter. They also have chickens, cows, a horse and foal, a dog with 3 puppies (I thought they looked super skinny, :( poor little things)

Wes and Abi did very well waiting for their turn to see the pigs when we took Shirley home at 2:00. Here they are:

Joe didn't want to hold one, but consented to pet one so I could have a complete set of kid Pig pictures.

I'm glad I'm not a big pig. She was huge, big fat head and chin with little itty bitty eyes. Not attractive at all, just like a big living hot dog. Seems like they were created to provide meat. The babies were cute, but not cuddly at all. Mostly I thought they were funny to look at, silly little things.

So these babies are all born yesterday, but there are a bunch of other little squealing litters running around their farm, (some hiding under a truck) and another pig twice as big as this mother that is going to deliver soon. They grow them and sell some for money and keep some for meat. "Son tontos" Shirley said as we drove down her street and they just kept walking right toward us, not worried to get out of the way of the car. Silly piggies. She said her daughter Michelle doesn't have toys or time to play with toys cause there is so much to do with the animals. All my kids wish they lived there. Would you ever like to live on a farm? Part of it seem charming to me, I'm sure reality would teach me there's a lot more to it than charm, if we ever did live on a farm.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Think I See A Monkey!

We set expectations pretty high with the kids about all the monkeys we were going to see in Costa Rica. Needless to say, they have been a little disappointed that there haven't been any here in our neighborhood, and we haven't seen any as we've been driving around either, except one dead on the side of the road.

Well today was our lucky day, cause we saw two monkeys. Corey spotted them first from our bedroom. Some of the kids were in with us, the others all came running in to see, then outside to try and see better. This is what we saw:

Isn't that amazing!!!! WOW!!! Two little black dots! Kids: "Where?" Right there and right there! Can you see them? "Where?" Right... there! Blank stares. One at a time we tried to align our finger with their point of vision. "Oh! I see them!" No way to know for 100% sure, but we are positive they were monkeys. They moved, grabbed stuff, and Ethan and Mel said they saw a tail.

Some better pictures as close as my camera would zoom.

Truly a day to be remembered.

Sunburn Thoughts

So, my back still hurts. It's the 3rd almost 4th day, and it's still as red as the 1st day.

The sun wasn't even out, but I totally got fried from our trip to Flamingo on Saturday. Is that cause I'm just so white? My back hasn't seen the open sky for a long long time. Maybe it's cause I'm getting old? I've noticed these past few years that I bruise really easily and they take a while to heal, maybe it's the same for sunburns? Abi and Lily have recovered from their redness. Honestly I totally had my guard down cause of all the cloud cover. It's left me a little amazed. I'd heard you could get burned, but didn't think it would be this bad.

I've heard the analogy that sunburns are like sin, and it's better to prevent sin than have to repent of sin. My Skin is like me and my life, the Sun is the devil, the sunburn is the pain he leaves in my life, repentance is like Aloe Vera, sunblock and clothing are the armor of God ... To what can I compare the clouds that deceived me into a false sense of security?

On the bright side, I am glad that my farmer tan from spring soccer is finally gone.

Whatever Makes Her Happy

Do you let your 1 year old walk around on the table during dinner and other meals?

Neither do I.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rain Rain

The pool level lowered a little today from the kids swimming and splashing. It's fun, but the pools been getting colder too. I'm sure it will be overflowing again soon. It doesn't rain the whole time everyday ...yet. They say that is coming in October. Apparently there are 2 weeks of the rainy season in October that are the big deluge - all the shops close and they even cancel school. We'll be doing lots of reading, cause their toys are disappearing. I gave them two weeks here where I'd pick up toys and put them away, now it's over. Mostly this effect Abi, and I'm sure she won't even notice. But when I find something left around, it goes into the suitcase waiting to be remembered and earned back with a chore, or waiting for the trip home in December, whichever comes first. :)

Grasshopper Knocking

So, word has gotten out to the dogs that we offer out scraps at night. Our hurt dog friend has been scratching at the door the past two nights. So naturally tonight, when I kept hearing scratching at the door, I assumed it was our dog wanting some food. I ignored it for a while, then felt like a jerk cause that poor dog is starving and I've eaten like a pig today. (ramble: Shirley made fried empanadas for lunch, and I ended up helping the kids finish off theirs, so instead of having just one which I felt a duty to do to be grateful for her work I ate three, so I was going to just go super light for dinner, but yesterday we invited one of the American families over, so we made a big meal again which I didn't eat much of, except for the chocolate oatmeal cookies they brought to share... so anyway, I was feeling like I'm out of control, and I have been...) can't I share some of my caloric bounty with the poor starving dog?

So after ignoring the scratchings at the door, my heart finally softened and I thought I'd give him the last two empanadas which nobody wants to eat anyway and I'd like to get them out of the house...

I go outside, no dog. I look around to the back door where I also heard scratching, no dog. I wait, I hear a ruffling in the bushes... Dog? Wait, silence. No dog... I think "If there's some guy with a machete in the bushes this isn't going to be very good for me..." (Corey talked with the 24/7 security guy who guards the gate and asked him if he's ever had to shoot anyone with his gun. He said just once when a guy climbed over the fence with a machete and he had to shoot to scare him away...) no guy in the bushes, I heard another scratching/ruffling sound and kept holding still and looking around...

Then a big red and green feathered thing about 5 feet in the air (right at my head level) flies/flops crazily across our driveway porch and slams into one of the pillars... It looked kinda like a hurt bird, but was too small... unless it was a hummingbird, but a little too big for that... I go to try and peek at it and it's flying again. It lands out of view and flies up again, this time it lands on the door frame and I see it is a GIANT grasshopper. Totally huge. It jumps, flies, and flops around again toward me, I scream/squeal and run for the door back inside. My heart is racing and I tell the family watching TV that there is a HUGE grasshopper out there. They all look at me, excited that there's something exciting happening. I pick up Lily who comes to my legs. I open the door to peek out, and it flies in, lands on the window coverings in the kitchen my the door long enough for everyone to see and scream, I squeal, Lily laughs at me squealing and thinks we're playing a game, even Corey's eyes get big, then luckily the grasshopper flies/flops right out he door with it's green and red wings flapping their bright colors.

"That was huge!!! Did you get a picture?!?" It was hardly holding still long enough for a picture, but I put down Lily and went out to try and photograph it and it flew at me, I screamed again and it hit me in the elbow and I ran inside. I can't scream like that or the security guy will come over. If I did get a picture of it, I would have to have one of the kids holding it or have something pictured next to it to compare it's size too. Ethan "I wish I brought my butterfly net!" So I didn't get a picture, but we quickly found one online, and this is what our brief visitor looked like - seriously huge, as big as Corey's hand, ugh! - I totally get shudders just thinking about it - AHH!!!

Meet the giant grasshopper, or Tropidacris cristata. This baby can be found in both Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica apparently is an insect lover’s dream. There are fifty to sixty thousand species of insects that thrive in the jungles of the country. Some say, the insects themselves, some of which are only found here, are worth the trip. Click here to see more amazing bugs. Ick!!!! I'm not a bug person, but that was fun to have him come visit us, (cause I don't want to go to his house.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Food Ramblings

Shirley didn't come today, cause it's Saturday. She won't be coming tomorrow either. That means no big fancy lunch cooked, cause you know that I can't do that.

...but I'd like to add that she couldn't do it either unless I were here to keep the kids out of her way.

So what's usually on the menu when Mom has to fend for herself? You know it, Rice and Beans leftovers!

Joe has another use for his noseplugs - they help make it possible for him to gag that bowl of barfy blackness down. Joe wins the Best Complainer award when it comes to beans. Luckily it doesn't amount to a lot of verbal complaining, just looks and sighs of dread. I can handle that.

Ethan does very well with beans for some reason, and that makes me very glad. He practically sings when he eats black beans with salt.

Usually though, and this isn't just a new phenomenon here in Costa Rica, but throughout my life of motherhood, my children will come to me and say they are hungry and haven't had anything to eat almost all day. Easier to handle in Utah with bags of Costco Snacks in the pantry, lots of fruits and loaves of bread. I was doing apples here, but am not anymore, cause Abi will go get an apple, eat about 1/4th of it, leave it somewhere in the house where it's wasted, and go get another one out of the fridge. I just can't guard the fridge all day or handle her complaining when I tell her she can't have more apples. Better for the apples to just disappear.

They're drinking a ton of juice too. That's what they know how to do when they're fending for themselves.

Then I begin thinking about what sort of Mother tells her children to fend for themselves, or worse: "you can wait, you've had enough to eat", and then goes into her private bedroom quarters and eats another chocolate from her private stash? I thought that, that mother should be thrown into jail.

"But it's for my sanity!!" - although I really need a healthier stress reliever. My exercise and diet has totally gotten off. Actually I pretty sure I shared over half of these chocolates with the kids.

And I let the kids have 2 each of these - these cookies in honor of Hermana Bonilla, my mission companion whose family from Costa Rica sent her lovely packages in mail with lots of these chiky cookies

I saw them at the store and had a quick flashback and had to buy them. 2 cookies times 6 kids = 12, 24 in the package, so I had half of these ones too, but wait, I did share my 12 with Lily, so I shared over half of these too! so that's a pretty good sharing roll I'm on.

Usually it's rice and beans. You know food is twice as expensive here, we might not break the bank with rice and beans on the daily menu. Got a pot of beans soaking right now. Grab your noseplugs Joe, gonna be a long 3 months.

Tomorrow will still be a slight repeat of today, except that Corey took the kids to go hunt for crocodiles. Luckily they came home with groceries instead. He went to the nice and expensive store where they sell Johnsonville sausage links just like they sell at the Walmart in Quarry Bend. Mmm. They even came home with a can of sour cream and onion Pringles. And apples. Ok Abi, only one more. And what about the rest of my kids - they like apples, I need to think of them too, huh.

Also a roasted chicken, the poor dog with the lame foot was scratching at our door, and we all took pity on him and gave him several servings of scraps. (He was hit by a car, that's what happened to his leg) Roasted chicken and loaf of french bread = one meal. We should be able to survive till Monday when Shirley will return to feed us and keep us alive.

Ethan Took My Camera Without Permission

Our pool, looking North, with our house at Ethan's back

No biggie, I guess, the camera wasn't broken or anything. I probably shouldn't be so uptight. Here are some of his shots providing a quick glimpse of our house.

The towels at this home are a rusty brown/orange color that match the floor tiles

Going up the stairs, first set of stairs above, iron banister, light yellow walls upstiars, white walls downstairs...

A view northward from the upstairs window...

Below: A small mirror that is nailed too high on the wall and thus of no practical use to me or the kids, this mirror is in the small bathroom under the stairs - (a very fun way to use that space, I think - a perfect kid sized bathroom).

Joe reading the Red Pyramid. Looks like he's sleeping, but you can see his book propped up.

Master bathroom, which is where, I'm sorry to say, I found a plunger the day after I bought one. My only excuse, it had a camouflaged handle.

(This is my picture that I took when I found it and felt stupid. Thought this was a good time to post it, and say nevermind to that whole story, or atleast know that the final conclusion/analysis is that it is amazing that I, the American, can survive and function in the world, not Costa Riquenos.) The end.
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