August 19, 2014

You say it's your (16th) birthday....

Yep, someone is 16 today! Considering I just turned 29 (okay, again), it seems nearly impossible, but somehow Caitlin has gone from a wee one to...well, see for yourself...

 

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The above photo was taken by our good friend, Janet. Ignore my wacky hair and feast your eyes on baby Cait.

 

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At a whopping 5 days (me thinks) old!  Grandma Judy was in town and snapped this photo while we were hanging by the pool (Dad was at training in West Virginia).  

 

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This was either taken by Janet or her husband, Jack, also a much better photographer than I can hope to be.  Here is our first Christmas card photo with Cait.  Maggie, our bassetdor, clearly felt this whole photo thing was old hat.  

 

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Ah...here we are at the first birthday, with Cait delicately eating what was (of course) her first bite of cake and ice cream ever (not).  She also had an amazing decorated-by-hand Winnie the Pooh cake courtesy of Auntie Shannon.  Sadly, I don't have a photo handy (must reorganize photos), but it was almost too beautiful to eat....almost.
 

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Here we have Christmas 1999!  Anyone noticing a trend with the cards?  To answer the obvious question, yes, Maggie posed, and no, she did not mind the get-ups.  I must find the photo of her in her bathrobe (monogrammed, of course).

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Let's fast-forward a bit...otherwise, we could be here for days (not that there is anything wrong with that!).  Here we have Cait enjoying the beautiful sands of Curacao in November 2002.  We had moved to "Caracalus" three months prior so Peter could work in the "Ombassy" and managed to take a quick trip over Thanksgiving. While most folks were there for the diving, we were just thrilled to have a quiet beach to ourselves for a few days.

 

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Summer of 2001.  At almost 3 years of age, Cait is enjoying a visit back to the States for R&R.  We were visiting Grandma Judy and on this day, walking around Main Street in Yardley.  Such a lovely little town for visiting.

 

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Here we are at a little petting zoo just outside of Caracas.  We were headed back to the States within a few weeks of this photo in order for me to give birth to Kelsey.  Cait was very much enjoying the summery weather before we had to head back to near freezing temps for a while.

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Just like that...Cait is a big sister to wee nugget, Kelsey, born on March 22.  We had an adventurous medical evacuation that I won't detail here, but suffice it to say, we were very glad to be able to finally return to Caracas as a family in late May of 2002.

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And she just keeps growing up...we are now in the spring of 2003. We've been back in the DC area since early August 2002.  This photo is courtesy of Grandma Judy, who visited frequently while Dad was jet-setting around the world with VIPs and such.  

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Another photo by Grandma Judy at Cait's 5th birthday, AKA, the obligatory Chuck E. Cheese party. Peter was traveling again, and, hey, if it makes life easier and the kids like it?

 

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Then before we knew it, she was 6 and starting first grade, and riding the bus.  Oh, the wails we heard from Kelsey daily when Caitlin left.  There is no fury like that of a 2 year old who does not get to ride the big yellow school bus...

 

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Less than a month later, she was a flower girl in Auntie Shannon's wedding on the beach.  I remember thinking that I couldn't believe she was already 6....

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By the following June, we were living in Iceland.  Just a wee bit of a change, but by then Cait was a bit used to the moving and adjusted quickly to life in Reyjavik.

 

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Learning how to ride Icelandic horses in the snow....Fall 2005.

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The spring of 2006 found us all traveling to Germany with Peter. He had a conference, and we had a great time touring!  Kelsey and I went off to investigate castles and the Zugspitz, while Caitlin learned how to ski at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Pretty cool spring break, if I do say so myself.

  

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Cait sang in an Icelandic girls' choir in the fall of 2006.  In the above photo she is ready for the Christmas concert.  One of the guests?  The president of Iceland!  

 

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Fall of 2007 and her fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder is parlayed into a project.  The arm?  She forgot to wear her inniskór (inside shoes) one day in school and while giving her sister a piggyback ride, bent over to pick up a coat and two broken bones in her left arm later....

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Baby's first glacier?  Lots of changes over the year and Caitlin is now a big sister times two.  Wee Nicholas Quinn made his way into the world on February 20, 2002 (February 19 for those in the States).  This photo was taken our anniversary weekend of 2008, just a month before we were slated to move to....

 

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Recognize it? If you've been to Muir Woods, it would look a bit familiar.  Here is Cait at nearly 10 years old and now living in her 5th home (not counting the wide variety of Residence Inns that we've called home) just outside of San Francisco, CA.

 

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2009 had us traveling everywhere in California, from San Diego to Yosemite. One of the most exciting trips, though, was a mom and daughter venture back to MD & VA for Auntie Shannon's baby shower.

 

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April of 2010 and our time in California is drawing to a close.  What better way to spend it than having lunch at a tea room and then catching a performance of Wicked?

 

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2011 found Cait doing all sorts of crazy things like turning 13...a teen, at long last!  Which means that things like high school couldn't be too far away....

 

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2012 found a few more changes headed our way.  We'd learned that we would be moving to Nicaragua (yea!), however, it would only be after Peter spent a year in Kabul (boo, of course).  Cait received a little end of 8th grade gift in the form of a trip to Iceland for a week to visit old friends and  old haunts.  

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2013 and so many changes, yet as usual she handled them with grace.  From Peter's return from Kabul, the move to Managua, a new neighborhood, school, friends, language...and perhaps the best: a wee kitten named Kai adopted a few months into our tour.

And now...

 

Now we have nearly 16...

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Fun...

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Artistic genius (well, please, I'm still on stick figures...)

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Yep, the artistic thing again...maybe it's just because I'm her mom, but her talent just stuns me.  Our plane to Chicago (this summer) was delayed, so I sent work-related emails and played words with friends...she sketched for hours.

 

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The above photo was taken during our mom and daughter trip to Chicago. Given that we knew a license and a car were not necessarily going to happen for this birthday (an issue with a lot of FS kids), we figured a fun trip would be the next best thing.  Cait and I spent 4 days in Chicago and she was able to meet up with a friend from Managua to attend a couple of Starkids Shows (and they met Joey Richter!).  Okay, I didn't really know who he was before that night, but it was a Very Big Deal and I respect that.

It's now 12:18 a.m. MGA time and technically her birthday. Of course, I'm thinking until it's 9:34 a.m. (11:34 a.m. VA time) she is not *quite* 16.  It's her birthday, though, right?  So, it's time to say...

 

Happy birthday, Cait. Happy birthday to my firstborn artistic moves-every-few-years and likes it.  You've had a crazy life, but you've adapted with grace in a way I still cannot match.  We love you so very much, Little C. Happy, Happy 16th Birthday!

 

 


 

August 03, 2014

Monumental Attractions

We had a whole lovely trip (or several) trips to DC proper planned on this R&R.  Unfortunately, nasty little things like doctors' appointments conspired to suck away nearly three full days that could have been spent anywhere from beside the swimming pool to hanging at the Washington Monument.

As much as we had hoped to spend more time in DC, we ended up with precious little time there. We swung through on Thursday afternoon, very briefly, on our way to VA to pick up Kelsey.  With a few minutes to spare, enjoyed seeing the Lincoln and the mall with 1.5 million tourists (while crowded, nice to have our home metro area appreciated by so many).   Perhaps the most amusing part was driving in, managing to park near State, and having Cait shout as she saw the Department, "Hey, that's where they have Bookfair!"  That's my girl...

We took the requisite photo near Lincoln (Nick refused, but since he's been there more than a few times)...

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Then walked over look at the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument.

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And, last, but not least...Nick's other favorite, the Einstein.  I'm going to have a whole album just of Nick and Albert.

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Maybe our next visit will give us more time and we can finally go up in the Washington Monument or visit Air & Space again.  However, even with our short time there, at least we had a few moments to stand and reflect.  Given our lifestyle, not a bad thing to do every so often.

July 08, 2014

In a stunning turn of events,

this time last year, I was asleep. Stunning primarily as it was the night before our move to Managua, and I never, EVER get more than three hours of sleep the night before a move. I mean, standards, right?

Somehow, despite the insanity of the year, the fact that I had semi-major surgery 6 weeks before the move, and that I almost broke my toe the day before (thank God for the ice packs we had forgotten in the freezer), I logged almost 7 hours sleep on this night last year.  We had a late enough flight that we could haul ourselves in our car from the Salty Dog 'stead  back to our house and still have 45 minutes before the Super Shuttle showed up to take us to Dulles.  Ironically, yesterday I made our reverse Super Shuttle reservations to take us from BWI to our first stop on our R&R on Thursday. Have I mentioned that I am so very excited vacation (well, some vacation, some business...how it always goes) is almost here?

 

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I realized tonight that I never actually blogged about our journey to Managua.  We've had so many internet and computer issues, that it's been hard to keep up with the basics, much less the truly momentous occasions.  At long last...our move to Managua (sort of) in pictures!

 

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Our favorite "Fur-in" service gato praying that the journey was over...
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Luggage? What luggage?
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One of my favorite photos from the day....my eager travelers.

 

 

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Never hurts to review that safety information....
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Departing Miami and getting ready to say hasta luego to the U.S.

 

 

 The luggage made it....

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and so did the weary travelers.

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Within the hour, we were in our new house (for the next three years)....

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And someone instantly felt right at home....

 

 

June 30, 2014

One Dinoia flew the coop

for vacation a couple of weeks early and suddenly the house seems so quiet.  Peter woke up well before the crack of dawn this morning to get cash for our intrepid traveler, the traveler herself was up a few minutes later, and I dragged myself out of bed with just enough time to get dressed and make myself a cup of coffee before our ride showed up to haul us to the airport.


Despite having only decided to pack around 10 p.m. last night, Cait managed to mostly fill two duffles and a carry-on for her flight today.  She tried to take more, but I reminded her gently that she is going TO America and therefore she should wait to savor the lower prices and overwhemingly display of choice that is anywhere in the U.S.   She agreed and thankfully came nowhere near the weight limits.

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It's not her first trip traveling overseas by herself,  but her first time connecting by herself and she opted to actually use the unaccompanied minor service (available with American until age 17).  I had a terrible experience with the same sort of service once when I traveled at a young age, and thus always preferred to be on my own.  However, she was a wee bit concerned about passport control, luggage pick-up, and navigating the airport in general and I never dealt with any of that until I was an adult.  After much discussion, we opted for the service and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

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If you ask nicely, you can get the direct line from BWI to Target...


The cost was $150,  but that guaranteed assistance to the gate in Managua from the airline instead of us (and that included sailing past 150 or so in line at security), help with passport control, luggage pick-up, drop off, and connecting in Miami, and then assistance at BWI.  Not my cup of tea, but she was far more comfortable and in all likelihood will have no issue connecting by herself in the future.  Oh, and having her phone reactivated early ensured the moment she landed in Miami, she had a way to reach us if necessary.

 

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"The Eagle has landed."

And now we have merely 10 more days until we have our pickup and then we are off to the U.S. for a 3.5 week holiday....well, journey that will hopefully have more pleasure than business.  Not exactly a vacation like we originally planned, but we will have a little over a week or so of fun with friends, Cait and I will escape to Chicago for three days (an early birthday treat for her),  and our favorite beach is calling us for a 4 day trip.  I can almost hear the waves and taste the beach bbq....

June 13, 2014

Take One LG,

add a cap, a gown, a little Louis Armstrong...and pass the tissues, his mom is in tears. 

Today was Nick's promotion ceremony from kindergarten. Yes, kindergarten. Not college or high school, but kindergarten.  I went along with the pomp and circumstance, buying a new outfit (to include shoes he will likely wear once), and purchasing a photo package before the event even started.  However, I still didn't think it would affect me. I'd take a few photos, nod and smile, but think to myself, "It's ONLY kindergarten."

Until Louis started crooning What a Wonderful World as the graduates lined up to walk in. Let's just say thank goodness I don't touch mascara with a 10 foot pole. I would have been a complete mess.  

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The LG walked in with his usual smile and confidence. He sat with his friends, sang a song, accepted his diploma, and goofed around while waiting to depart.  It was a short and sweet ceremony that really revolved around parents running to the stage to snap that quick photo...and while they are adjusting the camera, instead of a 6 year old, they suddenly catch a glimpse of an 18 year old...or a 21 year old...and realize just how life is suddenly going by so darn fast.

The image is gone and there is the Little Guy again in all of his 6 year old glory.  Happy and ready to take on the world as a newly minted first-grader.  I take a deep breath, shove my Puffs back in my purse and realize I have...

only a few hours before I need them again.  Apparently awards ceremonies make me as verklempt as graduation ceremonies.  This morning was about Nicholas, and this afternoon revolved around Kelsey.

I knew a few weeks ago that an award ceremony was to be held this afternoon, but wasn't sure if my presence was needed. I had no idea what the ceremony would entail, how many awards would be given out or if Kelsey even wanted me to show up.

Then I received the email and there was no doubt about my attendance. The email that reads, "Your child will receive an award," and you know, come whatever or high water, you'd best be there.

After Nick's ceremony, breakfast, dropping him off, racing into work, working, and then hurrying back to the school, I found myself back in the same covered athletic area, waiting for the ceremony to begin. I realized I had no idea what awards were on tap until I asked for a program.

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A few minutes later (not a moment too soon, as it was, well, warm to say the least), the program began. It was fairly short and to the point, and started off with Presidential Awards for Academic Achievement for students in the 6th grade class.  Lo and behold, look what my Wee Nugget won with her hard work and dedication.

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I would be proud of her this year whether or not she won an award.  However, the fact that her work was recognized...well, cue Niagara Falls. It's been such an unexpectedly different year.  We've had some weird years in the past, but this one takes the cake for keeping us constantly on our toes and wondering what will happen next.  

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For now, though, I'm basking in the glow of knowing that while my kids have had a more interesting year than we planned, they have all made it through relatively unscathed.  Here's hoping next year will be a little calmer and if all goes well and we actually finish planning our R&R soon.  We  might even have a wee bit of a real family vacation this summer during that trip that will have us calm, rested, and ready for whatever life throws us during the next year here....

 

 

 

May 21, 2014

We've had our share

of interesting anniversary celebrations over the past few years.  Last year's was, well, not really happening.  We ended up having a dinner out a few days after Peter came home, but for the actual date, he was still in Kabul. May 2012 was equally crazy, thanks to his impending departure for Kabul, and the 'gate, as we call it.  Nothing like a little excitement to get things going right before a PCS!

While Peter was here for the anniversary in 2011, it is safe to say I was still in a funk. I had only just finished radiation, and that whole spring/summer was sort of a depressing wash for me.  Knowing we were bidding on Kabul due to my inability to stay healthy during his Iraq tour didn't help matters.  Even 2010 was nuts, as we were just weeks away from packout and our trip back to the Virginia area for his UT.

So for the first time in years, we were...no, Peter, was able to plan a weekend away.  We were not stressed (relatively speaking), we are healthy, we are not moving (not even bidding this summer!), and it was only one night so we figured the kids could deal.  We both had a busy work day on Friday, so our weekend actually began Saturday morning, when we packed up and headed off to the area of Tola.  Our actual destination was the Aqua Wellness Resort.  I can't describe it better than they can, so please click through and see what they have to offer.

I had *liked* them on Facebook years ago, upon learing about our assignment and have been eager to go ever since.  It was approximately a 2 hour drive through somewhat rugged areas (an SUV here is never a bad idea).  We passed through the usual rural areas and our only scare was a goat who decided it simply must run in front of our car as we drove through its town. No tragedies, and on the way home, same story but with pigs.  We arrived, found security easily, and then drove up a windy road. One has to be careful, as there isn't much signage. If you see the small, brown sign that says "recepcion," follow it, as that's your clue you have arrived at Aqua Nicaragua.

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Yes, this was our suite. Bedroom on the right and kitchen area on the left, with the pool in between.

We checked in and after being given a description of the facilities, the classes, and the hours of the restaurant, we were led to our "room" (see above).  Apparently, they had to upgrade us due to our original room being renovated.  Oh, gee, okay...

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Obligatory selfie.


 

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The pool was small, but lovely...especially after a hard day of lollygagging about on the beach and being tossed about by the waves.


I was apparently so excited to have a whole night to ourselves, that I forgot to take a photo of the room.  It was a high ceiling-ed wonder with everything designed in a gorgeous wood fashion with the exception of gorgeous metal hooks in the bathroom area.  Even the floor of the shower was constructed of wood planks. The bed was a comfy, king-size masterpiece that had (with the screen doors open) an impressive view of the surrounding woods and the ocean.  Nothing like napping with the doors open and hearing nothing but a few birds chirping and the roar of the ocean in the background.

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It's safe to say we had a bit of the beach to ourselves.

 

We noshed on ceviche and fish tacos, soaked up sun, were tossed about the waves, had a beachy beverage, napped, ate some more, enjoyed the pool...you get the picture.  We relaxed!  It was amazing...quiet, refreshing, and just what we've needed for a long time.

 

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I drank my frosty beverage while Peter checked on our dinner reservations or some such thing... 

I even managed to finagle a massage combo.  A relaxing, but thorough massage followed by half an hour of foot reflexology.  Oh, and a glass of freshly-squeezed calala juice (passion fruit). I just can't get enough of calala....

 

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The view from the massage area. I highly recommend visiting....

Now, while I was thinking about this trip, I realized it seems in some respects (well, minus several airline flights and about 6 days) similar to our honeymoon. It was the first time in a very long time that we've been able to truly relax on a trip, for a variety of reasons.  It occurred to me that not only did I not ever really do a honeymoon scrapbook (which I'm now going to tackle full throttle), but, of course,  I couldn't blog about it.  So, how about a little look-see at that journey?

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Yes, we spent 8 days in Ireland!  Peter actually wanted to travel State-side, but I had never left the country (minus one trip when I was three) and I was desperate to do so. Ironically, I had this awful nagging fear that we otherwise never would leave the country and I would spend my whole life living and working in the States without seeing the rest of the world.  Funny that....


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Now, it's been a few years, so pardon the condensed description.  Also, it's a honeymoon tale so, really thinking that a basic review will suffice.  We landed in Shannon, rented a car (first time for Peter driving stick on the opposite side of the road...fun!) from Dan Dooley rent-a-car and headed off to see the Cliffs of Mohr.  Peter posed with a scruffily cute mutt and his owner near the Cliffs and learned quickly you don't actually pet the dog, you just pose with him.  The Cliffs? Utterly amazing...

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Maybe outside Bunratty Castle? Oh, why I didn't keep a diary....


We spent the night at Dromoland Castle and it was just beautiful.  Perhaps the only negative was Peter packing up the car the next day and forgetting my overnight bag in the parking lot.  He promptly remembered upon our arrival in Dingle.  Oops.  I mean, who really needs a toothbrush or what-have-you, right?

It was a windy drive to Dingle, but the town was amazing and the views were gorgeous.  We were doing the B&B route, so spent a lovely night in a local house and couldn't help but get take-out fish and chips fresh from the sea.

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I think the sign says it all....

 

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We spent the rest of the trip driving throughout the country. We passed through Kilkenny, Cork (where my ancestors on my father's side hail from), Dublin, and Waterford.  I wish I had a better diary of the days (though I prolly still have the itinerary somewhere), but we were so busy just seeing, driving, and soaking in everything Ireland had to offer.  

 

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Can't tell I had to remove this photo from a collage to scan, can you?


We ended the trip with a night in Shannon.  We had a rather sumptious dinner at Bunratty Castle and spent the last night at hotel in Shannon.  Somewhat ironically, Peter ended up back in that same hotel on an SD trip about 5 years later.  

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Obigatory touristy photo.


Oh, to recreate that honeymoon at some point.  It's not a trip we have planned right now, but there was so much we saw and yet, how we wished we could have spent so much more time there.  I suppose there is always next year's bid list....

May 07, 2014

Finally...

On Monday morning, I will get up, help get the kids on the bus, and then go back to bed. And,that, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle. Not the getting up or going back to bed...nope, the "putting on the bus."

You see, for the past few weeks, school has been canceled. It has been a bizarre limbo-like experience where each week (sometimes as late as Sunday) we wait to hear if schools will reopen.  Finally, today, we got the news we have been waiting for since the end of Easter break.

Why was school canceled? The basic reason is that the area was under a Code Red alert due to the earthquake we had on April 10th.  Somewhat logically, schools were closed April 11, in order to assess damage.  However, then the code red continued, as we had further seismic activity.  Nothing like the April 10th quake, but school was canceled nonetheless.  

The long and short of it is that my kids ended up spending three extra weeks at home that were not always as fun as they might seem.  Since I work, I cannot stay home with them on sudden breaks. While they received distance learning assignments, they did not get the social interaction from school that they needed, nor nearly as much out of the house since we could not simply stay home.

I must admit, never in my wildest dreams did I foresee this happening. I've thought that a lot of things could happen overseas, but an extended, unexpected break from school was not one of them. I've realized now that I need a lot more ideas in my mental "go bag" as well as having a larger evacuation fund in case something like this happens again. And since the kids were already in school, and doing "distance learning," I couldn't arbitrarily start up a homeschooling program.  I've also learned that I really like my kids going to regular school.  I have yet to find an absolutely perfect school, but my kids getting out of the house, having social time, and being able to see their friends even on days I work is especially important.

And now...now I will celebrate a wee bit.  We have a return to normalcy as of Monday and that is long overdue.  Even better?  Now I feel like I can really work on our R&R plans, since those went on hold during the school hiatus.  Oh, and maybe a glass of wine poolside...I think I've earned it!

April 19, 2014

First Horseback Ride at

Selva Negra. We had the chance to go for a horseback ride while at Selva Negra for the weekend. It was supposed to be thirty minutes and ended up nearly being an hour. Nick had never ridden a horse before, but with a ride that included a bunch of trotting, lots of hills and a near gallop, Nick declared it a "little bit awesome!"

First Horseback Ride at

First Horseback Ride at

April 12, 2014

Just another day at work...

Technically speaking, since 1/8 of my job is to plan events.  Now, I can't take full credit for this one.  I only helped a teeny bit, as this was mostly my coworker's doing.  She knew of this amazing sailing tour company (and the taco place, and the gelato shop...), and I just aided a little bit in the end of the planning.

Since part of our portfolio is to get folks out and about (yes, including ourselves) we often opt to do things that aren't difficult to do on one's own, but might be easier the first go-round as a group.  Two weeks ago, it was hiring a sailing company to take us on a 5 hour roundtrip just off the coast of San Juan del Sur, a beach town along the Pacific Ocean in southern Nicaragua.

The drive to SJDS (as oft abbreviated here) ran around two hours, but can run more if one ends up behind a horse & wagon or slow moving truck.  Highways here aren't quite the same as in the States, so always best to allot more time in case the drive is a bit more leisurely.  This is not a bad thing, though, as fruit stands overflowing with watermelon and pineapple dot the road to the beach and it's never bad to have a bit more fresh fruit (oh, the watermelon juice one can make here...).

We had decided in advance to spend the night (and, yes, loved our hotel), but were not able to check in until after our sailing adventure ended.  We were all hungry by the time we arrived in SJDS a little before noon, so fueled up first at Taco Stop.  All varieties were good (I loved my fish tacos) and one can get good, fresh guacamole upon request.  

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Someone is all set for a day of sailing.


We arrived at the docks (parking is secure, and only for those sailing) a bit early, and entered around 1 p.m. After last-minute trips to the bathroom and changes, we split up into two groups,  so that we would not overload the water taxi.  Thirty minutes later, all 25 plus were happily on the catamaran and headed out into the water.

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The dolphins showed up right on time.



We sailed for approximately an hour and a half, most of that time enjoying fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, ceviche, and amazing views to include dolphins and whales sidling along our boat.  After the relatively short sail, we anchored 20 or so yards out from Playa Blanca. 

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Playa Blanca...freezing water, gorgeous beach!

 

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Our transportation for the afternoon...



Yes, the name says it all...a gorgeous pale sand beach that lines a short jaunt of the Pacific.  The water is very clear and cold (says the person who dove in not realizing just how cold the water was).  There were plenty of tide pools formed in the rocky areas, and the kids enjoyed watching the pigs (from a local beach house) amble down and around the surf.  We spent a good 45 minutes to an hour there and after meeting a few friendly tourists from London on vacation, we waded a bit woefully back to the boat so that we could sail back to the dock.

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Everyone loved exploring the tidal pools.


I won't write much more about the trip, as I feel like many journies in Nicaragua, it's one a person needs to experience for his or herself.  I can impart that it's utterly amazing until I'm blue in the face, however, it might not be until a reader is laying on the ropes in the boat, facing the wind, noshing on the pico de gallo and feel like every care in the world has disappeared that he or she might truly understand what a journey it was and how sad we were that it only lasted 5 hours.

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Someone knows how to seriously chill.


That was not the end of the weekend, though, and we can't ignore the night we spent at Villas de Palermo.  It was set back a mile or so on the outskirts of town, and a bit difficult to navigate getting there at night. However, once we arrived to check in, Peter set the location in the GPS, and we knew we would not have any issues later that night.

Our villa was pricey (269 USD plus IVA), but gave us a generously sized 2 bedroom and 2 bath (one per story) space with a small kitchen.  We did not do any cooking (not enough time) but it certainly would have been possible.  The decor was rustic and comfortable and my only complaint was forgetting an extra pillow from home (and a blanket...the a/c kicked into overtime, to my surprise).  We were all quite exhausted after the sail, and headed to bed early in order to rise early and enjoy a morning swim before we headed home.

IMG_6725
When I think hotel pool...well, this fits the bill.


The overnight included a sufficient continental breakfast, and the local coffee was just perfect.  We watched a cruise ship in the distance make a slow turn throughout breakfast, and the kids ate, changed, and hopped into the pool to enjoy a few hours of swimming before we checked out.  We decided to lunch there before departing, as there isn't much on the road, and we were amazed by the food (and reasonable prices).  Lots of veggies and fresh fish, but the steak lover was also happy with her filet.  My only complaint? They were out of lobster ceviche...guess I will have to save that for the next trip?  

 

Note:  San Juan del Sur is approximately a 2 hour drive from Managua.  Parking is available at the marina while one is on the sailing tour, and street parking is ample if you stay in town for dinner.  We highly recommend the sailing company, Nica Sail & Surf, and loved our stay at Villas de Palermo. If you have lunch in town, Taco Stop is the bomb, and don't forget to try the gelato at Super Frutto.

 

 

March 22, 2014

Kelsey, my wee Nugget

Kelsey
you turn 12 today! I meant to type this post last week, but between last-minute surgery, and my trip to Ft. Lauderdale, well, life got in the way.

I'm not actually home yet, but will be by the time you turn 12 at 3:45 or so this afternoon (since we were two hours later at the time of your birth while on medevac from Caracas...and then authorized departure...our lives were never dull).  I won't be there to make a birthday pancake in the morning, but knowing you as I do, you will be just fine with Dad making the special birthday breakfast. And while I wish we could have our big celebration tomorrow, we will have a spectacular time celebrating another friend's birthday and have a big bash for you in a few weeks.

Happy birthday, my dear sweet girl.  You are such a thoughtful and generous spirit.  Miss you, love you, and hope 12 is an awesome year for you!

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