Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bye bye good friend

Yesterday we had to say good bye to our friend Ava Alm who left for Ohio. We will miss you!

Abby and Ava were good pals at pre-school last year, and along with friend Autumn have continued to play over the summer. Lucky for us we were able to fit in a couple extra play dates while Ava's mom was packing and loading up the truck.

Ava's mommy once said to me, "I think Ava and Abby are kindred spirits." I know she is right. These are two headstrong, smart and SWEET little girls!

But they do differ in their desire to preform in front of an audience. Abby is not too keen on the idea, and Ava LOVES it. . . take a look! She was always the best part of the school programs.

Miss you already, and please stay in touch!


Yes we are still alive, and surviving a sultry Georgia summer! We have stayed busy busy busy with play dates, trips to the swimming pool and whatever else we can think of to stay cool and have fun!

Yesterday I hauled myself and the kids to the gym. Afterwards I decided to make a quick stop by the gas station to pick up a Gatorade and a little treat for the kiddos. As we were checking out I noticed the lady in front of us looking over the kids, and then me. Because of my fair skin and blue eyes, and the dark brown color of the kids hair and eyes I get this a lot. I KNEW what was coming next. She said, "they are beautiful. . . are they yours?" I of course reply, "yes, thank you. We think so too!" But I could tell that was not going to be enough with this lady, so I felt compelled to add, "they take after their father." That seem to satisfy her and she was on her way.

Minutes later as I was strapping the kids into their car seats, she approached me again and said, "I only asked about the kids because I did not think you were old enough to have children. I thought you were a teen-ager." NOT EXPECTING THAT! I quickly let her know that she made my day, and that at 32 I was definitely old enough to have kids. I immediately called Carlos to tell him the story! She really did make my day yesterday. . .come to think of it today also!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

God Bless the USA

I think I am finally able to discuss our trip back into the country after our exciting trip to Costa Rica. Whenever we have told the story of our chaotic adventure the response has always been, “You have got to write that down!” So here goes!

We were on a 7am flight out of Liberia, and we were staying about an hour away requiring us to leave the house at 4 am to return the rental car and get checked in at the airport on time.

Everything on the Costa Rica side was very uneventful. During the three hour flight the kids only slept about 30 minutes. I really had hoped for longer so I could sneak in a nap myself. No such luck! Our flight had a stop in Houston where we were to go through Customs, and then on to Atlanta. We had about an hour and a half layover, so everything should have been fine. . . right?

The Justices and Alba were ahead of us in Customs, and because of the need to hurry they went ahead. When we got up to our Customs Officer he welcomed us into the country, and that was the last thing he said that I appreciated. After fiddling with our passports for what seemed like and eternity he turned to us and said to Carlos, “Unfortunately you have a common name. I am sorry but I am going to have to detain you.” He then explained that I was going to have to take the children to the other side of the secure area, and then called an officer escort for Carlos. We agreed to meet on the other side of the ropes when Carlos was done. Carlos did his best to give me a reassuring look trying to let me know everything was going to be fine.

Rewind one year earlier: When we went through Customs after our cruise Carlos and his father whose name is also Carlos were questioned, but quickly released. An inconvenience, but in the end it was no big deal. Then last summer we found out Carlos’s builder’s risk insurance had lapsed because the underwriter had flagged Carlos as a potential terrorist. That’s right TERRORIST! My sweet, kind baby-faced husband!

Back to Houston Customs: I do my best to keep my two very tired children happy while my husband is being questioned as a potential terrorist. After about ten minutes of course the kids start to get restless. But this is when my story takes a real turn for the worse! Charlie at this point gets EXPLOSIVE diarrhea and blows out every direction of his diaper. OK fine, I am an experienced mother, I can deal with this. There is no bathroom in sight, and some how his change of clothes were not packed in my carry-on-bag where I thought they were. Well I do the best I can to clean him up right there on the airport floor. Nothing else I could do.

This would be a good point in the story to let you know that neither Carlos nor I brought our cell phones on the trip. Really when you think about it we should not have needed them. After all, they would not even work in CR and we would always be together.

I estimate it had been about 30 minutes since we had been separated when Abby started telling me she needed to go potty. Reminder, no restroom in sight. I assure her that daddy will be back soon, and then we can find a potty. About every thirty seconds she whines and tells me of her potty needs, but then it escalates into her stomach hurting. So after ten minutes of her crying for a potty I call an officer over to where I am waiting. I explain that my husband is being detained and that my daughter REALLY needs to use the restroom. She starts to explain the only restroom we can use is on the other side of security, and then she looks down and my sweet beautiful little girl crying and holding her belly. The officer takes pity on us, and takes us back into the Customs area, and into a holding room that happens to have a restroom. GREAT! Well, I am sure you can tell where this part of the story is going. Abby’s belly felt about the same as Charlie’s. I cannot imagine how she held it in for so long. The girl was really sick with sweat chills and all. I just felt awful for her.

When we finally emerge from the restroom, ten minutes had passed. I know this because I asked an officer in the holding area if they could tell me the location of my husband. Bothered by my question, he informs me that he was released ten minutes prior from that very same room. Carlos and I figure that it was just moments after I entered that area, and he was released from the back room were he was questioned. OH GREAT! We were not in our agreed meeting place. So I nearly run to where we were to meet, no Carlos. I knew he would go down to luggage claim looking for us. I knew that because there logically NO WHERE else for us to be. So I drag my two sick kids down to luggage. It was a complete ghost town down there. NO CARLOS. An employee runs to me from the other side of the room to tell me that my husband had just been there, but just left. Carlos was assured there were no other restrooms than the one on the other side of security; his only thought is that is where I had to be.

So I follow in the direction that the employee points. Problem is that I did not have the declaration form necessary to finally pass through Customs. One form is needed per family, and Carlos had ours. As the officer start harassing me for not having said form I interrupted him by asking what I needed to do (I was in no mood to be scolded.) He eventually admitted that he had OUR form right in front of him and that I was free to go. FINE! Next I have to get the three of us through security. Shoes off, stroller broken down, and all bags on conveyor belt. Done. Now I have to reassemble everything (I mention this because I depend on Carlos to help me get this task accomplished in a timely manner to not form a huge line behind us. Well I just did the best that I could.)

Once I join all the domestic passengers there is still no sign of Carlos. I know we have missed our connecting flight to Atlanta, but decided to make my way to the gate it left from hoping to find Carlos there. I make my way down a very long corridor, and still no sign of him.

I realize my best bet is an airport page to help me meet up with him. I can see no courtesy phone, information center or any sign of help! The info desk I did was deserted. Being very tired, with two sick children, and frustrated to unspeakable levels I loose it! By the time I found a security guard I am sure I was a sight! I explain the situation, my husband was detained, my children got sick, yadda yadda yadda. The guard was very nice and was ready to page Carlos when I heard a page for me to meet my party at security at gate E. I was at security at gate E. Suddenly I had 5 different guard yelling, “Carlos Gonzalez.” That is when I found him rounding the corner. I have never in my life been so happy to see anybody!!!!!!!!!! YAY!

Once reunited the diarrhea saga continues but I will spare you all the details. If you are truly interested I we be more then willing to go into detail about the women's bathroom in Terminal C that will never be the same thanks to Charlie.

Obliviously we did eventually make it back to Atlanta. It has taken some time to find the humor in the story, but I think I am there. I am just not eager to travel out of the country for quite some time!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why I cried myself to sleep last night

I have never been able to give Abby a real hair cut. I have always loved her baby ringlettes.

But after three and a half years of growth it was time. The bottom 4-5 inches of her hair had become impossible to brush through, causing tears every time I would try to tame that mane. I finally admitted she was looking a bit ragged, and the truth of the matter is that she never wore her hair down because it no longer looked cute.

So yesterday she started the day off looking like this:

And ended up looking like this:

Once we got all the dead ends cut off it was MUCH shorter than I intended. I spent all evening on the verge of tears, but waited until she went to bed to loose it! Luckily she loves her new haircut, and tells me how beautiful she looks. She is so adorable!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Costa Rica part 1

We spent a wonderful week in Playa Grande, Costa Rica. It is about 1 hour away from the Liberia airport. The area was quite rural with cows, goats and horses around every turn (and often in the middle of the road!)

We went with our in-laws the Justice's and Carlos's mom Alba. We had such fun family time. We spent all day playing with each other because we had no TV and one van for travel. Those factors insured plenty of togetherness!

Costa Rica is known for it's surfing, especially on the Pacific side. The water was warm, the sand was squishy, and had lots of shells. Abby was in heaven!

Somehow we were even able to talk our cautious Abby into giving it a try. The first couple of times she loved it, but by the time we got the camera out there her face was telling another story!

The beach had yards and yards of shallow water where the kids were able to run around and play on their own. Charlie was fearless! A wave would knock him on his face, and he would get back up and keep going.

Every once in a while I like to prove I was on the trip by taking a self photo.

Abby really bonded with her Tia Claudia. She always wanted to sit next to her in the van and dinner, and basically followed her around.

Oh look, I really was there!

Mamita loved all the FRUIT! She spent lots and lots of time in the produce section picking out fruit that simply is not available here in the states. I tried lots of new things. My favorite was called grenadia otherwise known as "snot fruit." It was really disgusting looking, but very tasty.
I think Carlos and Claudia were most excited about the green mangos. One day we pulled over on the side of the road, picked about two dozen little unripe mangos off off the tree. When we got home we cubed them and ate them with salt. I am being completely honest when I say they were the MOST sour thing I have ever eaten in my life! Claudia and Carlos just could not get enough. I think ate them out of peer pressure!

On the way back into town one day we decided to stop in the nicer grocery store, unfortunately we had all the kids with us. They were pretty much driving us crazy as we tried to stock up on the essentials for the rest of the week. Uncle Jared rounded them all up, bought them all an ice cream, and then lined them up on the floor. I rounded the corner and saw this! It was much funnier in real life!

Somehow the day always ended like this for Charlie!

The house was really open with critters always crawling across the floor. Carlos noted that when you sit still, the ground was always moving. Mamita taught Abby that the hermit crabs do not pinch, so Abby started collecting them. Daily she would get a pair of tongs and a pot and collect crabs. She would name them, feed them, and play with them. Who would have thunk it???

There are a ton of pictures I need to get from Jared and Claudia. I don't have any pictures of the zip-line canopy tour that we took. It was amazing and SO FUN! So stayed tuned!

Beach House

This was our beach house.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


YES we are back from Costa Rica! YES we had a great time! YES I will upload more pictures soon! STOP YELLING AT ME!!!!!

This is just steps away from our beach house. Not to bad is it?