Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Provo with Love

So I guess I never finished our Panama trip posts, life once again got in the way and then the holidays hit. I blame the dollhouse, but that's for another post. 

Below is a email to us from my sister-in-law Michele, while we were in Panama and the kids were at her house. Thank you again Michele and all the family that helped out during our trip!

Hi Camille,
I'm assuming you can get email down yonder, so I thought I'd share a few funnies from our day with Jane, Josh, and Elliott.
First I have to say that I'd be happy to adopt Elliott any time. He is a sweetheart and was absolutely great this weekend. Happy, easy-going, cute and cuddly. He and Andrew got along great. I think there were exactly two times the entire time that they each thought they needed the same thing, and that was over a ball and the fire truck. May I suggest getting him a ride on toy for Christmas or sooner. He really likes Andrew's. He also really likes our dog :) Just saying.
Now for the funnies.
This afternoon Jane was complaining that Hannah had gone to her room and didn't want to play with her anymore. After a few minutes of listening to Jane's complaints, Josh turned to her and in a very exasperated Camille imitation said, "If you'd just quit heckling her, she might want to play with you again!"
Later I was getting ready to make chocolate chip cookies and trying to use this as incentive to get the kids to eat their carrots. I told Jane that I made pretty darn good cookies and I knew she was going to want one. She replied, "My Mom's cookies are better. She makes the bestest cookies."
Five year-olds are pretty funny. Jane is doing great; Josh is having a hard time, but if anyone can coax him out of it, Danna can. I hope all is well with you two. Have a great time and don't worry about home. You'll be back soon enough, and we all know how rare and precious couple time is. So, enjoy!
Love you guys.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twins Christmas Party


> When I was in kindergarten my mom came to help with our class Christmas party. We made a little clay snowman ornament together. I can remember her helping me add fringe to the snowman's scarf and one of the other moms commenting on how fancy my mom was. I still have that little snowman and it's one of my very favorite ornaments to put on the tree.
> This year I was able to help with the twins Christmas party. We made not gingerbread gingerbread houses out of graham crackers with enough frosting from a tub to power a kindergarten class for a week. The kids were told not to eat any candy until they got home, so naturally that was strictly adhered to.
> The kids were also learning the words to It must be Santa. And while it was one of the cutest things I've ever seen, that song got stuck in my head for a week. No joke.
> It was a good time all around, I love my little Kindergarteners!

Meet the Cruppets

This picture could be an Awkward Family Photo if these puppets were related, or people, or well, alive. They are also less creepy/starey in person, or in puppet.

I made these little people for Josh for Christmas to go with the puppet theater he got. It is so much fun to make puppets. I'm not sure how many YouTube videos I watched on puppet making but they were all fascinating.

Josh and Jane have been putting on puppet shows for anyone who will sit still. Mostly the shows consist of one puppet giving a long winded explanation of the performance that will never take place. After such a long introduction naturally the puppeteer has a much better show in mind that needs another explanation. The other popular show has two puppets that fight over something until the fight escalates to head butting and both puppets lose interest.

I love that the twins love these little puppets too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas

From our Boodles to yours!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Halloween 2010

Well, better late than never, right?? Halloween came and went this year in a gust of crafty activity and cold wind. It always flies by much to fast for me because the end of the month and Halloween means the start of cold weather, that Christmas is just right around the corner and we all know it's just down hill from there until Spring.

We headed to Dixon's for the traditional pre-trick or treating cozy soup dinner with yummy sour dough bread and lots of Family. The rain threatened the festivities this year and that is also the biggest reason we have no pictures of Elliott. When we were all suited up and ready to go but it was pouring, and once Ell was out of his costume there was no going back. We did manage about a half hour between cloud bursts out on the rain soaked streets begging for candy, and for that the kids were happy.

I love trick or treating with the kids. Dixon, Danna and I walked with them and they sped from house to house with their cousins asking for treats. I love over hearing the kids commentary on the candy they are given. Jane let a few people know that she was only allowed to have one piece of candy.

I also love the kids costumes this year. Josh was an on and off again robot with a possibility of a octopus in there somewhere. Luckily or me he settled on a robot and so we were able to make his costume together. Jane surprised everyone by choosing to be a Princess and we had a lot of fun making her crown and scepter. I bought a back up costume for Ell just in case we couldn't find Josh's old Nacho costume, it's a good thing too because he ended up being a purple dragon after all.

Friday, October 22, 2010


In the car.

Jane: I gotta go potty.

Me: Well that's good cause we are going home.

Jane: I can't hold it.

Josh: I have to go potty too but that's ok. I can hold it without using my fingers.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Speed Racer

The cousins have been playing in the court lately. Wednesday the twins, Elliott, Andrew and Lo were all riding bikes out in front of our house. Andrew and Elliott squawked over the toddler "bikes" again and again. Both of them were sure that the other was riding the best one. Then they would trade bikes and the ruckus would start anew. 

Jane was kindly helping Andrew steer his bike and Lo was very busy riding the tricycles around. I love living so close to family!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bastimentos, Friday September 24th

On Friday morning we ate breakfast at the restaurant and waited for the Canopy tour guides to get there. Eric and Holly wanted to do the Zip line and Kgordee and I went to the beach. We checked out Red Frog Beach first and decided that the waves were too much for swimming so we rode around in the golf cart for a bit, got a little lost and then headed back to turtle beach for a swim.

After meeting Eric and Holly back at the lounge for lunch we grabbed the boogie boards and headed back to Turtle beach. The waves were perfect for boogie boarding and Eric taught everyone how to catch the waves and ride them into shore. I didn't think there was actually anything to boogie boarding except goofing around in the water until I figured out how to get on top of the waves and ride them in. Kgordee and I got a major workout trying to catch every decent sized wave that came through until the waves had smacked some sense into us and we just waited out past the surf for the larger ones.

The waves would pick us up and send us shooting to the beach and sometimes we would get backhanded by the surf and sometimes we would get rammed into the sand. Standing up was also a challenge after getting battered in the water, if we weren't fast enough the waves would knock us over or try to suck us out, though the rip tide wasn't every strong. Finally we got the hang of it and even with the sand burns that we couldn't avoid in the surf it was unbelievable fun. That was the day that we got the most sun, because our sun screen was no match for all that time in the water.

Bastimentos, September 23rd part 2

The little dock by the Marina that we pulled into lead to little wooden walk way through the trees where we later saw sloths hanging from the branches. Golf carts are the main mode of transportation at the Resort and we got hooked up with one for our stay. It was a really nice bonus because as I might have suggested before the humidity was really intense, it weighed you down like a thick quilt on a hot day. It seemed like we were constantly wet on this trip, we were either in the ocean, the pool, the shower or dripping in sweat. The only time we were cool when we were out of the water was in the Villa with the A.C. blasting or riding around on the cart.

The villa was really beautiful and bright, it fit in with the surrounding and quite literally the jungle came right up to the back patio. We were all exhausted so we crashed for a bit with the exception of Eric. He went tromping through the jungle around our house looking for a branch to make a spear with; he wanted to go spear fishing. It didn't quite pan out though because all of the branches he found had a very spongy center and could not be sharpened to a point.

We headed to Turtle beach with our snorkel gear and could not believe how clear the water was and how deserted the beach was. The whole time we were there we only ever saw a few other people, but most of the time it was deserted. There was one exception, the dude that sat in the shade at the far end of the beach and raked the sand periodically.

This was the first time I had snorkeled in about twelve years. My family used to snorkel at DL Bliss when we would go camping but there wasn't much to see in the water. (One time Burton did find a pair of Ray Bans in the Lake). The water was so clear and so warm it had to be at least 80 degrees. The first thing we saw was a jelly fish twice the size of my hand. It was just hanging out near the shore cruising around in the surf. We swam around and around it giving it some distance but watching it ungulate in the water, I don't think I have ever seen one that wasn't washed up on the shore.

There wasn't a whole lot to see at turtle beach under the water until we swam over by a cliff. Swimming parallel to the rock wall we could see all of the plant life and fish that the mini ecosystem sustained. Even before we found the cliff it was so enjoyable to just swim around with our fins and masks looking at the ocean floor and trying to find fish. I wish that we had brought an underwater camera, once we started going on tours around the island there was so much to see under water we couldn't take it all in.

The rock wall under the water was covered with small holes and every single one had a spiny deep purple sea urchin in it. They were almost black and all of them were slightly poking out of their little caves but each one was too big for the opening, they looked like they were trapped. We saw a few very small fish some that were blue and a few stripy ones swimming in and out of the crevasses of the wall. Even though we saw very little compared to the other places we went it was probably my favorite snorkeling experience of the trip. Mostly because the other times we went I felt much more exposed in the water to sharks and possibly barracuda, not that we saw any while in the water.

We ended the night at the restaurant lounge Kayukos that housed long tables for the restaurant and a pool table, ping pong, books games and a computer for our use. There was a hostel called Bocas Bound behind the restaurant that had a lot of late twenty, early thirty somethings that migrated through the area and spent time at the lounge. Even with the hostel and all of the villas the place was never crowded and it was usually a very relaxing experience to hang out there. Everything about the Island was very mellow, we never really felt rushed even though we were going all the time. It was also nice that it got dark around 7 pm so that we could rest from the full days.

We had one free meal per day at Kayukos throughout the trip and though the food was decent I wish I would have discovered the veggie burrito in the first few days there. It might have made my dining experience a little better. They did have some amazing nachos and very good chicken wraps but my favorite was the yucca and plantain chips, they were perfectly fried and not at all greasy. Mostly whatever we ordered was good and it was so nice to have someone serve us and not be responsible for the dishes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Thoughtful Prayer...

An excerpt from Jane's dinner prayer,
"Please bless that Josh won't be scared to go to school. Cause every time we go to school he gets scared. But then once we are there he's ok. So I think he's just kidding that he's scared and that he's just tricking us..."

Bocas Del ToroThursday September 23rd part 1

We left Panama City from the Local (very small, tiny, minuscule) Airport at a very early hour. Security was pretty tight at the Airport, two different people at two different points in our journey to the plane waved a gloved hand in our bags as they were talking to someone else across the room. Though we did have to show our passports at least three times as we walked from room to room in a building the size of a Greyhound bus station. Because of the size of the plane everything was weighed and Kgordee thought he might have to check his lap top at the last minute, though it turned out the security guard was just messing with him. It was pretty funny, mostly because the security guard liked his joke so much and didn't speak English.

I thought the plane ride would be a little scarier than it was given it was the smallest plane I had ever been on and I have an intense fear of crashing into the water and not dying immediately. I don't want to be left for the sharks, I have seen Jaws too many times. No, it's not the mechanical shark in the movie that scares me. It is the story about the USS Indianapolis, and the men who died in the water from shark attacks while waiting five days to be rescued. It could happen. But it didn't and we landed safely and thankfully very uneventfully.

When we got to Bocas Town on the Island of Colon we were met by Jacob who works for Red Frog Resort. He pretty much hooked us up on our entire stay in Bastimentos with whatever we needed. He drove us to a dock and while we were waiting for our boat he told us to buy any groceries we would need for the week as our stay only included one meal per day at the "restaurant". The grocery store was again very small and filled with things that might have been on my seventy two hour check list. Everything was much more expensive probably due to the fact that the store catered mostly to tourists and anything there had to come over on a boat. We did pick up some local fruit such as Papaya and Passion fruit which Eric had big plans for as he served his mission in the DR and he wanted to make some tasty shakes with the fruit.

Walking down the streets of Bocas Town there are plants growing everywhere, the plants have to be beaten back because they grow so fast and so large. We saw beautiful flowers where ever we walked growing on trellises, fences and on the side of the road. The pink flowers pictured below remind me of our honeymoon nine years ago because the hotel we stayed at in San Diego was covered in them. I'm not sure what they are called but I love those flowers, they always make me happy.

We got breakfast at a restaurant that was overlooking the water, literately on the water. It was beautiful to just sit and watch the water slosh against the boats tied up to anything closely resembling a dock. I wasn't feeling too adventurous so I had eggs, bacon and toast, Kgordee had the same thing. Later we found out that the kitchen consisted of a bar with a small camp stove with two burners and a sink. The food was nothing to write home about but I am impressed that they were able make so many different things with such limited equipment.
While we were eating there was a camera crew having breakfast and setting up their equipment at the table next to ours. We found out that they are from the BBC and they are headed out to one of the remote islands to film the pygmy sloth for a nature program that will air in December. They said they would be roughing it for about two weeks while they filmed as the island is completely uninhabited.

After breakfast we found a woman selling some souvenirs and I wanted to buy a coconut ring and a little ornament. Eric found out how much they cost and then proceeded to haggle with her over the price. He told us that the less you pay the more they will respect you. Although I really like Eric and appreciate his efforts for us after that we pretty much paid what was asked for anything we were buying from street venders with few exceptions. I still feel bad about that lady and the haggling.