Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Smuggling Gerbils

The transformation has begun. I am turning into a hippie. It all started with my first long skirt. Let me clarify… not my first long skirt ever, just my first long skirt with some flowers on it. I then got my second long skirt that was even more flowery than the first. Now I have my third long skirt (we’re talking down to the ankles long, people) and I also own a pair of feather earrings. I even wore the long skirt while wearing the plumed accessories. And I have learned to knit! I doubt that I will ever truly love the smell of patchouli so maybe that makes me an aspiring hippie or a non-hippie with hippie tendencies.

Life is good up here. The summer has been fun and school starts for Ryan on the 16th. We plan to take a quick beach trip before getting back into the school year routine and I would also like to make a San Jose run. On my next trip to the City I plan to buy a few things: funky yarn (limited choices here on the mountain—basically acrylic yarn or baby acrylic yarn), beads so that I can make more jewelry and of course some refills for my Gillette razor. I may be hippie-fying but I’m not ready to join a drum circle or start smuggling gerbils in my pits just yet.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Summer Fun

Well, so much for my resolution to post more often. I guess the good news is that it’s June (okay, the very end of June but June nonetheless) and not December so at least I just have a few months worth of blog-catch-uppery. So here’s a recap: We had a great two weeks in Austin in February. Of course the time flew by and we didn’t do as much as we thought we would.--- but isn’t that what visiting home is about? In March Mike and Mike came to visit. We got to enjoy them for a bit before they headed off to the beach. Ryan learned to whistle in March and we had our family photos taken at the end of the month. April 1st was the Caminata (Walkathon) for Ryan’s school. It was a killer (lots of uphill action) 13 kilometer walk and our superstar tough girl, Ryan, walked the whole way! She was the youngest kid to do it. How cool is that? At the beginning of April Jackson pulled himself up to stand for the first time. Then he decided one milestone wasn’t enough for the month so he decided to eat his first (certainly not his last) piece of dog food as well as start doing the army crawl. May was Ryan’s last full month of school so she stayed busy with activities and play dates. Nir and Galit were in Israel for a month so Cane and I stayed busy splitting the hours at Luna Azul. Jackson started clapping and saying “yay” (definitely my kid) and he says “bowwow” to the dogs. Now we’re in June. The second was Ryan’s last day of school. Ran, Jackson, Bodi and I went to her end-of-year program. Jackson has started taking steps around the coffee table. Ran and Shannon went on a two-day retreat to discuss the PSE. Ryan has been busy playing with her friends and having a great start to her summer break. It will be interesting to see how we manage to keep her entertained for 2 ½ months.

Summers are tough times here because that’s when families tend to leave the area. We have been so lucky to have terrific neighbors for the last semester but they are getting ready to head back to Florida. Jim and Donna have two kids, Catie (6) and Kevin (8). Ryan and Catie were fast friends. They are easily able to fill their time together with lots of fun and very little conflict. You know that they are good friends when they even get into trouble together. One day while Donna and I were having coffee at her house, the girls went outside to play. They came back in with handfuls of Ryan’s toys and were proud to announce that they had gone next door to our house via the shortcut (which means they didn’t go into the street). Naturally they got into trouble for leaving the property without an adult but at the same time it’s such a treat to have a neighbor you like and a shortcut through the woods to get there!

I have a feeling the summer is going to fly by—much like the first half of the year already has. This weekend we’re going to David and Karen’s wedding in Sugar Beach. We’re looking forward to celebrating with them as well as enjoying a family getaway. And believe it or not Jackson will turn ONE next week! We plan to have a party for him next weekend so with work and life, parties and play dates, I’m sure July will be over in a blink. Hopefully we’ll have some visitors this summer to keep us even busier (hint hint).

Until my next post...

Pura Vida

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Back in Action

It seems only fitting that I should resurrect my blog in the place where it began... good ol' Texas. It kind of seems like we never left but we have actually been gone for a year and four months. It has been so nice to visit the village that helped raise our first child and introduce them to our second. A lot has changed but so much has stayed the same. It's great being in the "Land of Plenty". Family and friends. High speed internet. Tex-Mex. Dim sum. Sushi. Gelatto. Steak. Haircuts from Kelly. Massages from Christopher. And did I mention shopping? Gotta love it!

Two weeks have flown by and like the true procastinator that I am, I have waited until the day before we leave to get online and post this blog. Our visit has been so much fun (despite the fact that Ran and I both got sick) and we wish we could stay longer. The good news is that we are making a commitment to get back here more often.

My next post will be from Monteverde. I plan to post before the end of the month. I had a bit of trouble jump-starting my New Year's Resolution to be better in touch through emails, letters and blog posts so I am making it my Chinese New Year Resolution instead. That way I haven't wasted an entire month. That's me.... always thinking.

Happy Year of the Dog
I'm resurrecting my blog
No more sitting around
like a bump on a log

Pura vida
Pura amor

Friday, July 29, 2005

Popped Out Another One

Well, Jackson Kanialama Kalahanohano Smith arrived on July 5th. He's a little guy... 2820 grams or 6 pounds 2 ounces. Ryan is a very proud big sister and I have to say that Jackson is perfect. He is very mellow and super sweet and I just can´t stop staring at him! He started rolling over at 2 1/2 weeks so I guess we have another mover and shaker on our hands. Ran is a proud papa and I am overjoyed to have two healthy, beautiful children. Like Ryan, Jackson came quickly-- and early. I will write up my entire experience and post it in my next blog. Basically it will take you longer to read the story than it took for Jackson to come into the world. Life is good here and we can´t wait for you all to meet the newest member of our family!

pura vida

Monday, May 30, 2005

We Thought Life Would Be Simpler Without a TV

It's cool having a bright and inquisitive kid... except when she asks questions like, "What does nympho mean?" Luckily Ran was home at the time so after finding out where she heard that word (the movie 50 First Dates), I told her to go ask her dad. His response was, "We know what movie you aren't going to watch anymore." Then he said that he would tell her when she's older. Fortunately she considered that to be an acceptable answer. She figures when she turns five we'll reveal all.

I forgot to mention that we have four pets again. You probably recall when Ran brought home Brownie Kacrownie-Dragon-Copper-Squirt and after a couple of torturous months our lovely Andrea found a new home for him. Then Ran tried to entice aptly-named Orejas (Ears) to become a part of the Smith Clan. Fortuntely Orejas is happy as a street dog and he used Ran for a free meal and went on his merry way. Then a few weeks ago Ran knocked at the door and tucked under his arm was Linda (another appropriately named dog--she is quite pretty). Looks like we're keeping her! We have renamed her Lady and she is a prissy little brown dog. She is smaller than Moki (of course Moki is a particularly large cat) and she is very sweet. She dances around a lot and she seems to be very happy to be a part of our family.

Ryan just has a week of school left. Then I am coordinating a summer program with some other moms so that our girls can get together for activities and we can have some mornings to ourselves. On Friday we head to San Jose for my monthly checkup and besides shopping for baby stuff and checking out apartment-hotels for our pre- and post-delivery stay, we will look for an aquarium so that we can get even more pets. Ryan and I really want to get the three little turtles at the vet's office.

I will include a baby update in my next post. Ryan still wants to name him or her Kangaroo. (Kangaroo might be an appropriate name because this kid is very bouncy!) And of course I will keep you all posted on our ever-growing collection of pets.

Pura Vida

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Funky Math

On Monday I'll be 32 weeks pregnant which you would think means 8 months. But I'm due on July 25th so I'm really only seven months along. It's funny how when you go by weeks pregnancy is really 10 months long. Either way I look like I'm due any day now. The good news is that I still feel great and baby is very active and I only waddle on occasion.

Big things are happening at the hotel and at home. We are moving to a new house in mid-June and we are very excited. Of course moving stinks but we will be happy when we are settled into our new space. (I'm ready to start nesting!) We will have a nice, comfy home with a view of the Nicoya Peninsula and a huge piece of land to romp around on. (Mom, ignore the fact that I ended that sentence with a preposition.) The downside is that we are moving farther away from Ryan's new school so I am looking into carpooling options. Ryan is transferring to the Escuala de Amigos next year and I think she is going to have a great time there.

We have been full at the hotel every day. It's supposed to be low season but nobody told our guests that, I guess. We have taken on a number of projects but the biggest one has been installing our internet cafe, going wireless and getting a program written so that we can do reservations and book tours on ipaqs (like palm pilots). It's exciting to be the cutting edge hotel up here but it has certainly been stressful and costly. We have gotten great press, though. We had a live radio show from the Pension and we were interviewed for a few periodicals ... a technology magazine, a hospitality magazine and the newspaper. Cool stuff!

Our ongoing project has been sprucing up the place and it is amazing the difference paint can make! Our beloved Jen painted the rooms and when she left we started painting the ugly brown cement walls in the living room. I said how cool it would be if we could paint a mural on the walls and what do you know--- two days later a traveling artist walks in with his portfolio! So now we have incredible murals in the living room and the shared bathroom. We also have our wonderful flower lamps strung and we will soon put up our new room numbers on the doors. The lamps and numbers were made by Ro and they are fabulous!

Our next project (happening as you read this) is our website, business cards and paper goods. After hiring more than our fair share of flaky web designers we have found two great local guys who are getting our website up and running. After that project is complete and once our new internet and intranet systems are running glitch-free we will take it easy for a while. Our focus will be on getting ready for the newest Smith.

So that's about it... we're all doing well. Ryan gets out of school on June 9th and doesn't go back until mid-August. I will have to tap into my creative supermom to keep her entertained during the holiday. I have started baking banana bread to sell at the hotel and will expand my menu this week. Ran is still very handsome and skinny and despite the stress of being a hotel owner he is loving his lot in life!

Pura Vida

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mom's Day

I’m seven months pregnant and I’m starting to waddle. Baby is very active and seems to be getting stronger every day. I go in for a sonogram at the end of this month so we will soon find out if this kid is still in the 95th percentile. My doctor says that the growth tapers off in the second trimester. So far I have gained 13 pounds—and all of it is in my belly. It looks like someone pasted a torpedo to my abdomen! I will soon have to purchase some medium maternity shirts because the smalls aren’t reaching the waistbands of my pants. We’re still trying to decide what to name Baby if he is a boy. I guess it’ll magically dawn on us one of these days.

Lynnette and John are here in Costa Rica for their honeymoon… what a treat for us! They got to Monteverde on Tuesday and we decorated their “honeymoon suite” at the hotel. They stayed here on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and they were busy busy busy! On Tuesday we hung out and cooked dinner at the Pension. On Wednesday they picked Ran up at 645AM and the three of them went for a hike into the reserve. After the three-hour guided tour, they went on their own and hiked to the Continental Divide. I am SO glad that Ryan and I stayed at home or Ran would have had to carry both of us! They got back to the hotel after 1PM (that’s a lot of walking), and then did Sky Trek at 2:00. We all went to dinner at Sofia’s that night (YUM). The next morning we met at the hotel at 7:30 so we could head to Los Lagos to play and see the volcano. Ran, Shannon and the newlyweds did horse-boat-jeep and Ryan and took jeep-boat-jeep. They all enjoyed the 3-4 hour horseback ride. Ryan and I got to Los Lagos a couple of hours before the others so we played in the pool (Ryan’s favorite thing to do) and had some lunch (my favorite thing to do). Our original plan was to spend one night there and head back to Monteverde the next afternoon but the four non-pregnant adults decided to go canyoning the next day. So while the group was out doing that, Ryan and I watched cartoons (in Spanish), swam and ate a snack at the bar. It was a relaxing day for us and an adventurous day for the rest of the gang. We headed back home yesterday morning. Lynnette and John took Ryan and me to the Cheese Factory for some ice cream and we said our goodbyes. Then they went back to the Pension to say goodbye to Ran and Shannon. They got driving directions and hotel info and headed for Manuel Antonio. Lynnette called us when they got there (which was before 6 last night—great driving time) and they will be there until Monday. I think they’ll have a blast… the nature reserve is so cool (monkeys galore), the beach is so pretty and there are lots of restaurants to enjoy. We miss them already!

Ryan got into the Friends School for next year. There are definitely great things about both Creativa and Friends but we think that Escuela de Amigos is where we want her for the long-term. It’s a bummer that they don’t have a bus; Ryan really likes riding to and from school. Luckily Ryan already knows a lot of the kids who will be in her class. They’re the same friends she plays with at art class on Saturdays. There will be three girls and five boys in her kinder class… how great is that?

Ran reminded me yesterday that today is Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you fabulous moms out there! I think Mother’s Day in Costa Rica is in August so I guess I will get to celebrate it twice. Ran is working until 2PM or so and I plan to make some real macaroni and cheese for dinner (aah… the joys of Velveeta). Thanks to all of our great friends who sent Lynnette and John with Velveeta, Rotel, books, DVDs and all of the cool stuff! The honeymooners even brought us some of their fabulous wedding cake. It has been great weeks for us… hope it has been for y’all too.

Pura Vida