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.

Panama September 22nd

When Kgördee told me we might be going to an island off of Panama I didn't really believe him. Apparently he and a few friends were going to be working on a website for another friend as a trade. The trade was for a week long stay in a villa on the Island of Bastimentos on the Caribbean side of Panama in exchange for SEO work on a website promoting Red Frog Resort. Not only did I not really believe we were going to go but I didn't think I would really want to go. Mostly I was scared of the big spiders, the unending heat, ridiculous humidity and the thought of leaving the kids for nine days. So I didn't think about it too much as the months pasted until we started looking at tickets.

After another couple had been to Bocas Del Toro (the archipelago that Bastimentos belongs to) as part of the trade and had come back again, things got a little more real. They gave us and the couple traveling with us (Eric and Holly, Kgordee used to share an office with Eric at Stores) a run down on what to expect and what we should make time for while we are in Panama.

Somehow we were able to figure out babysitters for nine days (thank you to everyone who helped, I know it wasn't easy) and on September 22nd we were on a plane headed for Paradise.

Our first day of vacation was mostly spent at airports or in the air and fairly uneventful. We landed in Panama City after the sun went down, and met our driver Carlos. Carlos has lived all over Central and South America for most of his life though he was born in Pennsylvania and his children live in the States. The more we got to know Carlos the more we liked him; he has lead a very full life and has some unbelievable stories to tell about his time in Venezuela and Panama.

Carlos gave us an amazing, albeit brief history of Panama City as he wove in and out of traffic in his van. Carlos took us on a small tour of old town in Panama City. We walked around the heart of the old colonial city seeing the dilapidated buildings that are in the process of being restored or renovated. Just walking through the streets it was hard to not be overwhelmed by the rich history of the city. I have been reading a book on Pirates called Under the Black Flag on and off for the last year and most of the history takes place in the Caribbean and in Panama. It was fascinating to see and experience some of what was written about in my book and to see structures that date back to the Conquistadors. Well mostly I saw them from the car because we had so little time in Panama City, though Carlos gave us information on everything with historical value that we pasted.

Alien vs Josh

Josh started drawing pictures of aliens while we were in Panama. I'm not sure how the alien thing started but he is also having nightmares about Scooby Doo. I wonder if the two are related.

Saturday the kids and I were in the office being crafty and he got ahold of a charcoal pencil and drew another awesome alien. By the time he was finished with the picture his hands and the paper were filthy.

Josh seems to be constantly creating a mess where ever he goes. A lot of the time his messes are creative messes so I don't really mind them. However when I found three large holes neatly cut into a very new set of sheets I was none too thrilled. Good thing he is cute.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bat Cave

I am supposed to be blogging about our Panama Trip. Mostly because I don't scrapbook and I am not very good about writing in my journal and this little bloggy blog will be the only documentation of our trip besides our random pictures and video. It will just have to wait.
I just can't help myself; it's cool outside with a little rain coming down here and there and a bit of gusty wind. Halloween is in the air, I can't stop thinking about the changing leaves and sweaters. I love contemplating all of the knitting I will be doing or at least hope I will be doing. So the kids and I got out the bats that we cut out last month and put them up.