Saturday, July 31, 2010

Three down, One to Go.

His flight got in about half an hour early. He has another layover of about four and a half hours, and then another 8 1/2 hour flight. I've been really jealous of his trip, but I don't envy him this part.

New Find.

I found a cool website that has live flight tracking. I found it because V Australia's website sucks! It gave me a way to check on John. Nice.

First thing I did this morning was check Google News for a flight crash over the pacific. Nope. Whew!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Two Down. Two to Go.

He's now in L.A. He's going to the beach and is going to try to find a Chipotle (sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo jealous!). The next flight is 13 hours and 15 minutes. Yikes - don't envy him that. Good luck babe.

One Down, Three to Go

John's in Dallas with an hour and 10 minute layover. Lets hope that he can quickly get his luggage, through customs, and checked in for his next flight.

Monday, July 26, 2010


We had a busy weekend.

Hawaiian Luau at the Marine House on Friday night to say goodbye to two of the Marines that served here. John stayed home with the kids while I did that. I came home at 10pm because I was tired. How lame is that?!

Saturday we bought an orange tree and planted it in the yard! I have pictures that I'll put on flickr. Then we went to another party at a friend's house that was thrown by another friend who has an apartment so not enough space. We were there for five hours. Finally it was past the kid's bed time and I made the hard decision to take them home.

Then yesterday after church I went to the monthly spa day at a friend's house. I got a manicure, pedicure, massage, and wax for about $48. I think it was the best massage I've ever gotten too. But I've learned that 30 minutes just isn't enough. Next time, I'm bringing enough cash for the full hour.

Actually the next time, it's my turn to host! I'm going to have them all over to my house the last Sunday in August. Fun!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toot My Own Horn

I'm gonna do it.

I now have 30 followers. I'm excited that, that many people want to follow our story. I know of other non-Blogger readers too (my mom and in-laws for example (my dad and sister are two of the followers)) that follow so the number is deceptively small.

So to the followers. I often think of you and feel bad if I'm not updating you on goings on within our family.

On a side note, John pointed out that today marks three months that we've been in Costa Rica. Crazy.

On Monday some guys are coming from the Embassy to hang our big pictures and a couple of other things. Then we have a few more things that we'll hang ourselves when we get the stuff from the Costa Rican Home Depot. Then we'll be all moved in. Not too bad for a normal family, but we've been here for and eighth of our stay already. WHAT?!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simon is Better!

Simon's much better. He did end up having another dirty diaper that night so I talked to the nurse. I called her at home, and I felt really bad, but after talking to her I decided to go out to the store and get some Pedialyte. They didn't have any at the grocery store so I went to the pharmacy. I originally thought the pharmacy was closed because I was mixing up closed and open. Luckily before I went home I remembered that Abierto means open, not closed. I bought some there after talking to the Dr on site with her broken English, and my broken Spanish.

I gave Simon a full bottle of it that night and sent him to bed. Yesterday he woke up already doing better. And all yesterday P gave him an ounce with each feeding. During his last feeding I gave him two ounces. He had fewer dirty diapers yesterday and they're more solid too. Today he woke up and his rash was better and they're still solid. He's still going to get an ounce at each feeding today. Hopefully we can take him off of it after today because you're only supposed to use it for 24 hours after opening the bottle. So if we still need to treat him we'll have to buy more. We'll see how he does tomorrow.

I'm sitting at my desk at work right now waiting for the Management Counselor (the big boss in the Management Section) to come back with this weeks newsletter approval. I'm actually quite proud of this one. I feel like it's much better than the last one I did. I also feel so much better about it because I wasn't putting it together from scratch, so I felt a lot less stressful. I was able to just replace some items with newer ones. I had to do very little page design.

I have to admit though, that it can be a bit like pulling teeth to get this put together because it relies on people sending me certain things. They're supposed to send me these things by end of business on Monday so I can put it all together on Tuesday. HA! I actually went to the Travel office today and I had to run around looking for a guy to send me a picture (in his defense it was still on the camera that was being carried around by someone else who's doing a project). They both sent me the items in a timely manner though - thank God!

Here's a wonderful Malachi story for your enjoyment:

We were in the car the other day and we passed a sign that said BAC. All of a sudden we hear from the back seat: "back! buh-a-ck. back!" We cheered on our amazing son. This was the first time I heard him read something with out being prompted or helped. He's so wonderful! I can't wait to see his progress in school this year.

UPDATE: P said he did really well today. He hasn't had one dirty diaper since he woke up! Yay!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Exciting Drive Numero Dos

***WARNING: Parents, Grandparents, In-Laws, and generally anyone who values my life may not want to read this. But if you do, keep in mind that I'm alive to tell the story.***

When we were still at the hotel I decided that I wanted to take a different route home so that I could hopefully make it there in less than four hours. So I bought a Costa Rica map, and pointed out the route I wanted to take to A and we set out.

The route we were taking was WAY more direct and I hoped it would be a lot faster. HA!

We had a great time starting out - the drive was quick and, despite the rain, we really were happy to have chosen a different route.

After a while we passed a sign that said road closed and came up to a bridge that looked a little sketchy. For those who don't know, bridges terrify me. Especially thin, long, and high bridges. On the other side of the bridge the road went steeply uphill and looked like it led nowhere. Someone crossed the bridge going the opposite direction as us so we asked them where we were. We were still on the map at least...and on the right road too they said. Be careful though because there are a lot of rocks on the road they said. We thanked them, crossed the frightening bridge and went up the hill.

Little did I know that this was the beginning of the most frightening two hours of my life.

Because of heavy rains, there had been many mud and rock slides. Also, construction was being done and they had been tearing out the road. So the "roads" were rocky and sandy with a lot of wide and deep pot holes. Sometimes we'd be lucky enough to have pavement on one side where at least one side of my car could be up on it.

All of this would be fine, except it's mountain driving. Very, very steep mountain driving. Somehow the most sharp and steep curves seemed to be still paved. There was a time when I got a bit tingly all over my body and I think it was because I kept holding my breath.

A was my rock during this drive. Her and her boyfriend off road with a little off road car thingy and she was a great "coach" telling me where to put my wheels, what side of the road to choose, warning me of potholes, or when I was losing road on the side of me (that only happened once actually).

I think the most scary part for me is when I was coming down a hill and looked ahead to the curve to see water flowing very quickly over it. We all assessed it quickly and decided it was passable - it was only a very thin amount of it, but to see the rushing, and see that it went over a hill where some red tape cautioned us it was dangerous - scary. But I went straight (as straight as you can go through a curve) through it and made it around the curve with the red tape just fine.

A couple of times the road would get better and we'd get our hopes up, just to have them dashed again, and again. But eventually (a looooooong time after the crappiness started) we got to solid ground - permanently.

And then the fog set in. It was pretty difficult to drive through. I was so thankful that I didn't have to battle the fog and the scary road conditions. Sometimes the fog was actually kind of cool. We saw a lot of cows on the way down the mountain. We even had to wait for a group of three cows to get out of our way. Their owner was on the left side of the road talking to a friend and they of course wanted to be by him. I definitely live in Central America!

All of the fear and stress made me have to potty really, really bad. So I ended up stopping at a restaurant. They guy there told us where we were and it turned out we were really close to a city not too far from my house. We got into the city and couldn't find any signs pointing to the Pan American Highway. So we stopped at a corner and asked a guy standing there. He said that the street we stopped at went straight to it. So we're driving along this street in this city during rush hour traffic. And all of a sudden we're on the Pan American Highway!!! I start singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and A chimes in and we finish with a nice harmony.

We went straight home from there. I found out yesterday in my office that the road I was on is called Calle de la Muerte (Street of the Dead for the non-Spanish speaking readers).

This was definitely a learning experience! I'm asking about the route I'm going to take before I take it from now on!!

Monday, July 19, 2010


I had a couple of firsts today.

Our first Dr appointment. Malachi went to the neurologist today for a check up. He's doing great. The Dr wants to see Malachi in three months - John wants us to wait because the Dr in the US said every six months is enough. I really don't want to call and reschedule and have a conversation with the Dr about why I'm not going enough. I hate being judged by my kids Drs. Whether or not it's justified.

My first Spanish speaking drive through. Malachi was so awesome that I wanted to bring him to McDonald's for ice cream. We didn't have time before getting daddy from work to go in, so I went in the drive through. After I made the decision to do this I was a little afraid. But I handled it really well. I finally figured out that he was saying they only had chocolate flavored (fine with me!). So I ordered two. And purchased two for about $1.60. This was a total confidence booster!

Simon's first bout of diarrhea. He's been getting worse over the last few days but today he actually has had four dirty diapers. If he has one more, I'm going to call the nurse's cell phone. If he can go the rest of the day with no dirty diaper, then I'll just talk to her when I go to work tomorrow. His appetite waxes and wanes and he had a very slight fever (don't even know what it was because it wasn't high enough to take) on Friday night.

Otherwise he's as happy as can be. He's been talking and laughing up a storm the last few days. He's even been laughing at something in the back of the car.

So two great firsts and one horrible one. I really hope the diarrhea isn't something serious. Say a prayer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation Post #2

The 29 hour vacation that I had from 1:00 pm yesterday to 6:00 pm today will end up being a three post series. Why? Because today's drive home was even more adventurous than yesterday's drive there. So it deserves a post of its own. So today I'll tell you about our stay at the hotel.

When checking out the hotel I thought it looked really nice from the pictures. I was super excited to go with the girls, spend a night and have two hours in the spa. Since we got to the hotel last night at 6:00 and that's when the spa closes we couldn't make reservations then. So we enjoyed the dinner buffet on the restaurant's patio. We listed to the river and the animals and laughed, happy to be out of the car. My friend, A, had to finish a paper for school, so she sat in the lobby using their internet to do that. I was reading a book she brought (because I didn't think about it) on the couch with her until I was falling asleep. So I went to the room and read for a very short time and fell asleep.

This morning you heard a little bit about. I spent about an hour writing that blog, and after that A and I went to the heart shaped hot tub for a little bit while S got ready. The three of us had breakfast and A and I went to the room while to rinse/dry off and then we met S at the spa. They were fully booked, can we come back tomorrow.

Nope. A and S were leaving tonight for Panama and we were checking out of the hotel at noon. It had to be today. They said they needed three hours for the package we bought. They were awesome and managed to squeeze us in.

At the spa, I had a 30 minute massage, a steam bath, mud application on arms and legs, paraffin wax on my hands and feet, and a facial. It ended up being three and a half hours for me, my friends didn't do the steam and one didn't do the mud.

Check out for the hotel was at 12:00 and I was done in the spa at 12:40. I rushed to the room in the rain (because the umbrellas were in the room, where they were forgotten). A was waiting at the door for me with a message from the front desk. They were going to charge us a fee if we wait to check out after 1:00 pm. It was kind of ridiculous since they had A TON of open rooms.

We made it to the front desk right before 1:00 and checked out. We went to the restaurant for the lunch that was in the package. I had their nachos - they were tasty. The other food was just so, so.

We squared away at the front desk one more time and then after ripping up the credit card approval, I walked out. I was super relaxed and full of good nachos.

Then the real adventure began...

Are We There Yet?

The story of how a two hour drive took five.

I felt like a chicken with her head cut off yesterday morning. But I was at the Embassy so I couldn´t run around. The girls that are visiting us and I decided the previous night that we´d see if we can get a deal for the three of us that was offering a deal for two at a hotel/spa a couple of hours north of where I live.

I started at the Travel Agency (Carlson Wagonlit location down the hall from my office) and asked the nice ladies if I could do what I wanted. They made a call to the hotel and directed her to another person to call. She told me she´d make the call and let me know. I had breakfast with a friend in her office who offered me one of her extra croissants. The wonderful woman from Carlson popped her head in and said that we could do it for $10 less than what I was asking for - woot!

I told her I needed to find babysitters before I made the reservation, so I thanked my friend for breakfast and went on my way. I stopped at the office next to mine and asked someone if her daughter could babysit that afternoon and this afternoon. She couldn´t get a hold of her, so I tried other options. Most of the teenagers and visiting college students were either out of town with their parents or with out. And then I remembered my neighbor. She´s become a friend and has an 18 month old of her own. She owns a store at the mall, but usually goes just in the evening.

Problem: I don´t have her phone number. So I ask my friend who shared breakfast who just happens to be from Spain to call my maid for me and ask her to have my neighbor call me at my desk. The message is passed on but she doesn´t call. So my maid goes to my neighbor and asks for the phone number. I call her to find out she was making pancakes. I feel a little bad, but am too excited for spa (two hours in the spa actually) to care too much (sorry A).

She says she can watch the kids that day and her maid will do it the next. Yes!! I make the reservation and wait at the Embassy for another half hour for Carlson to give me the voucher for the room.

Head home, pack, feed Simon, print out directions from Google, take kids over to neighbors house, get everything in the car - go! Get 15 minutes out and turn around because I forgot my purse. UGH!

I should´ve seen this as the bad omen it was.

We were going to San Jose first to buy bus tickets for the girls because the company doesn´t take credit cards and they´re leaving for Panama Friday night. We drive around for about an hour looking for the place because the book apparently doesn´t have the location right and the nice woman at the hotel we stopped at wasn´t quite sure either apparently.

So we finally give up and decide to go to the hotel. I think I´m supposed to turn left at the road and I don´t see any signs saying I can´t but people are honking at me (including a semi as it drives by - scary!!) so I move forward. And am very glad I didn´t turn because it turns out I was already on the road I wanted to be on. So we´re driving and we miss our turn. Because the signs don´t have road numbers on them - just what town they lead to. I´m not scared yet because we´re still on the Pan American Highway and I can just turn back if I need to. But eventually we need to turn off, so we get off the highway because we think this road will take us where we need to go. At this point my friend has pulled out her Costa Rica book and finds a map that´s not ideal but is great because I failed to bring one with me.

We stop at a restaurant and I ask in my broken Spanish if we´re at the place I think we are, and we are! Then I ask how to get to a different place and he tells me - and I understand!!

We get back on the highway and head for Naranja. We get excited to see a sign for Naranja that says it´s in 10 km. Great!

Miss that turn.

Stop at a mall ask a nice bank security guard for directions to Zarcero, he provides them. We then ask nice police men to verify and we get basically the same directions. I eat a Taco Bell double decker because in the excitement I´ve eaten very little and am shaking from hunger.

We find Zarcero after asking a nice girl on the side of the road where it was. I thought we´d passed it, because there´s so way it would take this long to get there. Nope. Go to the intersection, take a right and we´ll be there in 15 minutes. Awesome!

I have to mention that for a while we´d been climbing the mountains so driving was very slow going and it took a couple of minutes to go one kilometer. And then all of a sudden we´re in Zarcero - yay!! So according to my friend´s map we the next big town is Ciudad Quesada, which just happens to be very, very close to our hotel. With out needing to stop for directions we head there (there was a sign that said Ciudad Quesada 27 km so we stayed on the road we were already on and prepared for a 15 mile drive). The drive was beautiful if not a little scary and slow.

Finally we arrive in a very nice town and know we´ve made it to Quesada. We see signs for every town but the one we want - argh! At the next intersection while we´re still trying to decide which way to go I spot a sign for our hotel - salvation!!!!

It has an arrow pointing to the right and says 15 minutes, 7 km this way. So we turn, and we drive - about six or seven miles! I decide not to freak out until 10 miles, but I don´t need to because the hotel shows up on the left side. And there was much rejoicing!

At one point during the drive I say "this drive is a blog entry all of it´s own" and my friend looks over and replies "you should call it Are We There Yet?" We both laugh, she was great at keeping the mood light when the drive was scary either because of the crazy twists and turns or the fear that we were hopelessly lost.

So today I´ve been up since before four. Parly because I feel asleep before 8:30 and partly because someone used the bathroom this morning and shined the light into our room. Oh well. I´m not all that tired. But I should probably go get dressed for breakfast and get ready for a spa experience and then another awesome ride home!

John - I so appreciate your driving here now, and I appreciate any future driving you´ll most definitely do. ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary Babe!

Today we celebrate being together for 13 years.

On one hand it feels like it's been way longer than that. On the other hand it's flown by very quickly.

13 years ago today John looked up at me where I was standing and asked me to be his girlfriend (four days after our first kiss - scandal!!). It was all down hill from there. Well really up and then down and then up and get the picture.

I love you so much John and am so happy to share my life with you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Our guests didn't have a great night on Sunday night in San Salvador. They missed their 3 am bus and didn't make the next one at the other bus company. I felt really bad for them. Happily they were able to enjoy a little pampering yesterday and got themselves a pedicure and one hour massage at a price they wouldn't find in the States (and probably wouldn't have found here either).

So they're on their way right now. In fact...if their bus is on time, they'll be here in under two hours. I'm so excited to see them! I hope we have a good time and they enjoy Costa Rica.

I filled out a lot of HR paper work today. Got it notarized in the Consulate and everything. I did get to go behind the scenes in the Consulate which is pretty special apparently. Then HR gave me more paperwork. This time it's easy, direct deposit and W-4. Not nearly as confusing as the benefits paperwork. Oh yeah! I get benefits, even though I'm only part-time. I get the same benefits, just on a different scale. So when I officially start, I'm going to be putting away for retirement and I have life insurance too. I don't think I've had life insurance since John got this job, so that makes me happy. I know now that it won't be a big burden on him if something should (God forbid) happen to me.

I picked up Pizza Hut for dinner. I think it made a bigger mess than if I would've made myself a sandwich. Oh well, it was pretty tasty. Not exactly like home, but pretty good.

I'm IM'ing with my brother-in-law as I type this and he asks: What do you eat? I laughed and thought that was a very funny question. And I realized that we eat basically the same stuff that we did in the states. At least when we cook we do. We tend to go to the really really nice store and spend the money for the atmosphere. Plus it's the closest and I like it more...stop judging me! But we're still making spaghetti, and broccoli chicken braid, and grilling steak and chicken.

My maid does cook for us though, and I really like that. She makes a mean gallo pinto. She's making a big Tico breakfast for us tomorrow, so I'm pretty excited about that.

I'm tired and I need to rest and clean up dinner before they get here.

BTW click on the flickr link on the right side to see some more pictures of the fam.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I've said this before, and I'll say it again. It's been a long time since I blogged. I just haven't had a strong desire to do so. It's weird, but sometimes I really feel like blogging. I go through periods of time where it's a lot of fun. Then there are the periods of time that I just don't feel like it.

There certainly has been a lot of material very good for my blog in my life the last nine days.

Two weekends ago we prepared for our first house guests. Our dear friends J&D came from Chicago. They're there for school, but we knew them in Dallas. Preparing for a visit wasn't easy with out a car. But it wasn't impossible. We got the proper groceries, and had fresh pineapple, and mango waiting for them when they arrived. We also had little chocolate fondants waiting for them. John made them because it was his turn to bring dessert to work. He had enough left for us to have them with J&D, Malachi got one and so did P (the maid).

Their flight got in late. They finally got to the house after 10:30 that Monday. We stayed up late talking and catching up. Then we all crashed after long days. Tuesday they explored the little city we live in, Wednesday I explored with them. Thursday and Friday they went to San Jose on their own. They're very independent people. It was great for us because we didn't feel pressured to entertain their every minute (hint, hint).

Friday the 2nd we had the Embassy 4th of July Celebration. John and I both helped with set up. It was a TON of work. Then he had things he needed to do during the party, and I stayed with my new supervisor for a bit, and just kind of wandered around for a while too. After a very, very long day for the party, we waited for our rental car to show up at the hotel so we could drive it home that night and then leave early in the morning for the Volcano with J&D and the kids.

We waited...and waited...and waited. They never showed. So we got a new reservation
with a different company and went back to the hotel the next morning and waited...and waited.


Finally they showed up and it turned out to be the guy who we rented with before. He got us a Nissan Montero with three rows rather than the two cars we originally rented. We were really, really happy about that. I was happy we were all going to be in the same car and that I wasn't going to have to drive.

We went to a house (known as the Volcano House in our family) owned by someone in the Foreign Service and stayed one night. It's near the biggest volcano in the country. Unfortunately since we got such a late start we didn't get to drive up to and see the volcano itself. I told John that he and J&D could go see do a night tour at the National Park, but the hammocks rocking chairs called our names so after the kids went to bed we hung out on the porch for a few hours.

The next morning we woke up at 5am and went on a very, very short walk and had a great view of the volcano. It was pretty far away and to late to see lava, but still really cool. After breakfast we stopped at a looking point over the lake with a great view of the volcano. It was gorgeous. We have some great pictures, but I feel like pictures don't do it justice.

Then we drove to the beach. The beach! I love the beach. What a great first post for us to have!! We went to a new all-inclusive resort near Ocotal beach. It was fine for an all-inclusive, but I think they're starting to lose their appeal to me. While it's nice to have everything paid for, the quality seems to be better at smaller places. Especially the food. But we had a great time anyway.

J&D went home on Tuesday morning and we had a week of normalcy. Or did we?

That's right! We got our car! YAY!!!!!

It's been so great to take our selves shopping. I've been driving John to work and
picking him up. Today I ran erands and didn't have to rely on anyone for it.
Yesterday we went to Price Smart by ourselves - LOVE.IT.

Now we're preparing for more guests. We have a friend from high school coming in tomorrow with her boyfriend's sister. They come in late too, but we're still going to have pineapple and a sweet treat waiting (chocolate chip cookies this time).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

So Cool!

These are the countries that my blog has been read in. I am so excited about knowing this and think it's so cool! The order is by how many times my blog has been read in each country. The US has had over 800 hits since May.

United States (US)
Brazil (BR)
Mexico (MX)
Germany (DE)
Guatemala (GT)
Honduras (HN)
Canada (CA)
United Kingdom (GB)
India (IN)
Ecuador (EC)
Philippines (PH)
Australia (AU)
Spain (ES)
Belgium (BE)
Costa Rica (CR)
Italy (IT)
Kuwait (KW)
Dominican Republic (DO)
Venezuela (VE)
Czech Republic (CZ)
Sri Lanka (LK)
Thailand (TH)
Israel (IL)
Japan (JP)
Bulgaria (BG)
Austria (AT)
France (FR)
Lithuania (LT)
Korea, Republic of (KR)
Moldova, Republic of (MD)
Europe (EU)
Croatia (HR)
Oman (OM)
Malaysia (MY)
Colombia (CO)
Kenya (KE)
South Africa (ZA)
Indonesia (ID)
Barbados (BB)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN)
Saudi Arabia (SA)
Egypt (EG)
Bangladesh (BD)
New Zealand (NZ)
Belize (BZ)
Jordan (JO)