Friday, March 27, 2009

Bouncing Like a Bunch of Vagabonds

The children and I are still bouncing around the country like a bunch of vagabonds, drifting from our home to Mr. Marvelous' and my home town--where our parents and grandparents still live.  All I can say is that the car is going to need a major detailing when this is all over.

While Julia was busy being the "Star Student" at preschool this past Monday and Wednesday, we slept in our house, but left by 8:00 each morning to keep busy feet off of "skim coats" of mud in this construction zone:
Looking at these pictures of our kitchen makes me wish I had some sort of application on my computer that would wipe and sweep the mess away, making our kitchen finished at the click of a mouse.  

And while the construction crews are making great time extending wood floors, laying new tile, reseting lights and speakers, and installing toe kicks and such, there's still a LOT to be done.

But, this weekend we're headed to the border.  So, we'll be far from thinking about this mess:
The children and I are going to visit two college friends and their families.  They live about 2 hours from our folk's town and happen to live only minutes from each other.  

Bonus.  I can't wait!

Something else that can't wait is picking a color for our kitchen walls. I need your ideas!  Imagine this: dark charcoal and off white cabinets, with off white and black countertops.  

Who's got the eye for color design?  I need some advice.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Construction and Chameleons

The children and I are in the beginning of a construction phase. (Day 5 of 28, to be exact.)

And no, I'm not talking about the paper kind that makes for fun art projects when combined with cottonballs, glitter and glue.

I'm talking about the kind that requires only Mr. Marvelous to live/sleep/shower at our home. The kind that allows for no little people toddling under foot throughout a dusty house full of workers. The kind that doesn't cater to peaceful and quiet naptimes. And the kind that takes this diningroom/kitchenette/kitchen:


and makes it look like this:
I'll be honest, we're not lacking in the "What to do?" department of our upcoming 4 weeks. The first born personality in me has a planned and detailed schedule of all the approaching entertainment meant to distract us from the drilling, tiling, and hanging wires me from the accumulating layer of dust and anarchy now present in our home.

And so far, the last 5 days have run smoother than I could have expected. Almost living out of our truck, carrying around 3 bags of a la carte foods, and visiting friends and family that we don't get to see all that often has been an experience that has shown me this:

Our children are quite similar to chameleons.

Brilliant correlation. I know.



No, I don't own a Darwin bumper sticker.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Costa Rica: Waterfall Jumping

The following footage is proof that:

a) I don't give in to peer pressure.

b) I am a complete chicken when it comes to combining water with rocks and extreme heights on a Tican farmer's property.

c) I love the thrill of adventure, but realized that the height Mr. Marvelous and our Surf instructor--the one who guided us through a cow pasture to get to the falls, and the one who jumps after me--wanted me to jump from, was so scary to me that it made my muscles ache with fear.

d) repeated jumps from this middle pool of water--on this wonderfully warm afternoon--left much opportunity for the force of the water to pop my little nose ring gem right out.



video

Friday, March 13, 2009

Costa Rica: If you find yourself Whitewater Rafting (part 2)

You thought I was kidding when I said there would be many blogworthy Costa Rican posts up ahead?

Oh, dear.

I wasn't. Not even the slightest bit.

Nor was our rafting guide, Kevin, when he said, "Guys you have to listen to my commands. This river is a dangerous place if you don't." Sure, we understood. But, it seemed that each member of our rafting group felt as if they could man the wild rapids, with no problems at all.

That's what we thought in the beginning!

And, things started out that way. "Left side forward! Right side back!" We caught on quick to Kevin's commands. Then things started to get a bit intense.

And at times, our situation seemed a bit out of control.

I could sense fear within the crew members seated next to me. And the farther we moved down the Pacuare River, the more extreme our Whitewater Rafting adventure became.

This rafting adventure was the one and only thing that we came to Costa Rica having planned. Mr. Marvelous first rafted a river in Montana, then the Nile River--while studying abroad in Africa--and is now determined he's a rapid thrill seeker. So, he signed us up for this National Geographic favorite. I'm glad he did. But there was one moment during our ride that I wasn't. It was right after we entered this section of the river:
That's when we got caught in a swirling rapid, our raft thought about flipping but changed it's mind, Mr. Marvelous went under, and we couldn't find him. Thoughts like, "What the heck are we doing rafting a river with 4 children at home?" And, "Oh my gosh! Help!" And, "Forget all these commands to get us out of this mixer! Where's my husband?"

But after a few minutes, we manuevered ourselves out, moved down river, and found him:
Thank goodness.



It's a good thing everyone in this raft came up too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Costa Rica: If you find yourself waking up there (part 1)

If you follow me on Twitter, or if you check out my tweets on my sidebar, then you know that Mr. Marvelous and I just arrived back from sultry Costa Rica. What a relaxing and rejuvinating time we had. And, what's even better is that we were ready and rearing to come home at the end. That's when you know your trip was successful.

Now tell me this. Who of you out there, have ever been on a vacation, only to arrive home and feel the need to vacation a few more days inside your home in preparation for the upcoming, busy, on the go schedule you prefer most for you and your 4under3?

Because I have.

[Phew] I'll be honest, I've found that since we've arrived home, the first thoughts that have entered my head each morning as I begin to wake, consist of lounging around the house with my little people, keeping my phone powered to off, and finishing off the scrumptious Peanut Butter cookies that a friend came over to make with the children while we were away. And, believe me, we're soaking it all in while we can. Once Monday comes, the children and I are movin' on out for a few weeks while our kitchen remodel kicks off. More on that later.

And speaking of waking each morning, if you happen to find yourself waking in Costa Rica:

1. It's probably around 5:30, since the sun rises around that time year round (and sets at 5:30 in the afternoon). But if you can't figure out the time change, or you're thrown off by what your husband's cell phone tells you, what your rental truck says, and what your bedroom alarm clock reads, then don't even worry about what time it is at all during your stay. In fact, when you arrive here:


for breakfast an entire hour early--because 5 days into your vacation you've still not figured out the true time, having moved clocks back then forward many times--just pull out your travel Scrabble from the back of your truck and proceed to beat your husband for the first time since your honeymoon, while you wait for 7 o'clock to roll around.

2. Do remember that the translation section in your Costa Rican hand guide might help when trying to communicate with Ticos who don't know a lick of English are usually left staring after everything you try to say in Spanish are soley Spanish speakers. Don't try to rely on the little amount of Espanol that you and your husband remember from high school Spanish class. That's when you'll be here:
trying to ask a young Tica how much a pineapple is, but mistakenly asking, "What time is it?" She'll probably look at her wristwatch and give you a dazed and confused look until you realize exactly what you just said.

3. And speaking of failing to understand, while you're out and about in Costa Rica and hearing fast flowing Spanish conversations, you might liken it to your twin 20 month olds' babbling language that carries on between the two. You just might miss them terribly at that point. Then, you'll think of Julia and Luke, too. And while playing in the warmest pool you've ever felt, your husband might make up a "L" and "J" hand sign for them, like this:



4. You'll want to go hunt down some Surf instructors who could teach you a thing or two about riding a wave.


You might chuckle at the fact that the surf dudes are really from Oregon and Houston (Hola Larry and Brett!) but prefer to reside in the tiny village of Esterillos Oeste, a community known for attracting diehard wave catchers from around the world. And you might want to brag about the skillz you picked up from your 2 hour lesson during high tide. I bet you'll consider yourself a surfer from then on.



5. You'll enjoy everything so much--down to the little crabs that were found scurrying across the beach each morning:that you'll want to blog about it over and over and over, leaving your blog community wanting to vomit tidbits of Costa Rica filled to overflowing with knowledge of this Central American country.

Stand by for part 2.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shared Spaces with Barnum and Bailey

(The following is an entry that has been preposted. While Mr. Marvelous and I are vacationing in Costa Rica, I'll be backposting here at 4under3. See you in a couple of days.)

May 26, 08
These two little acrobats began sharing spaces before they were even born. Thus far, that's one of the many things they do best. Ok, except when Hazel has something in her hand that Norah finds interesting. (Scope out. Swoop in. Grab. Take. Slobber all over. Leave sister crying.) And that's sometimes the way it goes.

Norah finds everything Hazel has or does--interesting. We have a feeling Ms. Norie will be the careful, watchful one, which is how a big sister is supposed to be, right?

But sharing swing space..that's right up there with sharing sleeping space for these girls. A fantastic idea in their book. Imagine those pudgy little legs kicking in and out simultaneously with those little arms as they glide back and forth through the air. They could start up their own act in the Ringling Bros Circus. That is, if they act quick. Or get a bigger full bucket seat to perform in. Space seems to be limited and it looks as though there's very little vroom to grow.

(Norah)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wagon Chatter II

(The following is an entry that has been preposted. While Mr. Marvelous and I vacation in Costa Rica, I'll be backposting here at 4under3. See you in a couple of days.)

July 23rd, 08
Norah: I gotta pickle sippy, I gotta sippy, I gotta sippy hey, hey, hey, hey!





Hazel: Saaaay, big sista, I'm feeling a bit parched. Whatdaya say we ration the water you have left in that there sippy of yours?


Norah: Aww, really? Let me think about this a minute. I could have sworn you weren't thirsty, being that you've flung your sippy on the ground 43 times now.

Norah: ...but I guess. What's mine is yours, DNA, crib, clothing, and all....and hurry before our busy big brother bikes over here thinkin' we really have something.



Hazel: Thanks for being so patient. But are you sure there's anything in here..cuz my whistle isn't even wet?

Norah: Good gracious, mini-me, I'm feeling a little flushed. It's hard work being the big sister, but a job that I must.

--For more Wagon Chatter, see here.--

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Buenos from Costa Rica

Buenos from the Xandari Spa Resort con internet!!

Yea!

Goodness! No internet sure has a tendency to make a person feel like they've completely lost contact with the world. Even though they're on the otherside of it. Kind of.

I must make this quick. I have lots to talk about, but Mr. Marvelous is waiting for me at the pool.
Thus far, the first half of our trip to Costa Rica (the "rich coast") has been on the Pacific coastline, in and around the city of Jaco (say: ha-CO). We, I mean Mr. Marvelous planned for the beginning of our vacation to be all for the adventure seeker type. We arrived with absolutely no plans in hopes to get to know the culture and enjoy what was recommended.

We were wonderfully pleased. I´ve taken mucho pictures and can´t wait to share all that we've experienced after we arrive home.

Today we traveled the 140, or so, winding mountain kilometers back to San Jose--in the rental truck we picked up after we landed here--located in the Central Valley. Now we're finishing our stay in Costa Rica at the relaxing Resort and Spa of Xandari. We´ll have spa treatments from 5-6pm tonight. MM has plans for a Aromatic Mud Full Body Masque, and I for a Sweet Coconut Wrap and Massage. I'll see if I can get picutures of that too.

Tomorrow we'll experience a rafting trip down the Paquari River. I shudder at the thought of it. Here's to calm nerves and having a voice left when we're done.

So many times, MM and I have talked about how much we wish we could have all our friends and family down here with us to enjoy what we've enjoyed. I highly recommend a trip to this beautiful country.

We'll be home in a few days. I'm excited to see you all soon.

Gracias,

Tiff

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ride of Their Life

(The following is an entry that has been preposted. While Mr. Marvelous and I are vacationing in Costa Rica, I'll be backposting here at 4under3. See you next week.)

August 28, 08-
I think that's what these two are thinking right now.

I mean...now they get to play with their just-turned-4-year-old-cousin for two full days a week. Their baby sisters are completely in awe of them, wanting to be with them and laughing at them all the time. They've been allowed to live in their swimming suits for the past month now. There's a new ice cream truck that frequents our neighborhood weekly. And they're going on vacation tomorrow morning to a far off place that boasts of it's sandy beaches, boats, horse rides, and late night bonfires.

What more can a 3 and 2 year old really ask for?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frequenting the Fairway

(The following is an entry that has been preposted. While Mr. Marvelous and I are vacationing in Costa Rica, I'll be backposting here at 4under3. See you next week.)

ORIGINAL POST:
It all started when Luke found the sports bin in the rear of the garage early this summer.


With a treasure hunting expression on his face, he lifted the lid, and began pulling softballs, baseballs, gloves and a bat across the garage. Then comes the frisbees, ball pump, whiffle balls, basketballs and a soccer ball.

But the greatest treasure uncovered on that Pursuit for Sports Happiness Day was two rackets and tube of tennis balls.

Mr. Marvelous and I bought these prized pieces in our younger years. We thought we'd possibly become avid tennis players.

We didn't.

In Luke's attempt to operate the racket and ball, and before I stepped in to teach him about his new find, he would lay the ball on the concrete driveway and wack at it hoping for a connection. Many times he would miss and scrape the edge of the racket along the ground, but as he got better he would send it sailing and truly enjoyed seeing the ball spin away.

After Mr. Marvelous realized how partial Luke had become to the racket and ball, he decided it was time to enlighten his son of the true game of all games. Here he is trying out his new set of mini Titanium clubs.

Watch out Tiger. This dude now frequents the driving range with his daddy. He's about ready to take you on.

They've found their Saturday morning sanctuary.

What a fabulously fair-way of spending time together.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Photo

(The following is an entry that has been preposted. While Mr. Marvelous and I are vacationing in Costa Rica, I'll be backposting here at 4under3. See you next week.)

August 28th, 08
Would you put that thing away and help me down this slide, please? -Hazel

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We take his favorites and theme 'em.

1st Birthday Theme: Balls, Balls, and more Balls




2nd Birthday Theme: My Toolbox




3rd Birthday Theme: Batman

And, if my guess is on, I'm thinking Luke's Birthday theme for next year could have something to do with golf clubs or violins.

My birthday theme for this year, however--being that it's my golden birthday as well as the big 3-0 for me--would have something to do with flipflops, bathtubs, or surprises. Since I do love each of those.

What would you theme your birthday this year?