Tuesday, September 25, 2012

North Carolina

We just spent a wonderful week visiting my parents in North Carolina.  They originally were going to come visit us here in early September but we changed our plans and ended up going there instead.  It was a perfect little get-a-way and we basically ate our way through the week (it's crazy the foods and restaurants you crave/miss when you live out of the country).

The requested restaurant list included: Cracker Barrel (for those of you who have never visited the South, it's a chain restaurant specializing in good ol' Southern food); 12 Bones BBQ (President Obama frequents this amazing BBQ joint when in Asheville; you may not like him or his policies, but you can't argue with the Blueberry Chipotle ribs); a brew pub in downtown called The Lab; Salsa's, a unique Mexican restaurant; Thai Spice; Bocelli's Italian...

All this eating got a little ridiculous, but man, was it good.

Besides loving all that food, Kate enjoyed being with her grandparents and we enjoyed having some free baby-sitting and some dates.  Here are some other highlights of our trip:

Swinging on the 100 year old family porch swing with Granddaddy.
Playing at the park...

Jone's Cove - a lovely country road where we walked one pretty afternoon.
A Jone's Cove cow...
Artist in the making.
Painter's pose.
Raspberry fingers.
I wish I could have a bowl of this delicious fruit salad right now.  Fresh berries, sweet peaches: the stuff you just can't get in CR!
More berry craziness.
All of us got haircuts, including Miss Kate.
Grandmama, mama, and Kate.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Little Gymnast

We have a little gymnast in the making here in Costa Rica.  Our main extra-curricular activity for Kate for awhile was swimming lessons, but that quickly came to an end in June when she pretty much refused to transition from the tiny pool to the big kid pool. (You gotta change pools at age 3). At that point, she was still crying regularly at daycare when we dropped her off, and so it just wasn't worth it to force our almost hysterical daughter to get in the big pool.  It is, after all, supposed to be fun.

So two months passed with no activities.  And we had a very athletic little girl on our hands with no outlet for all her energy.

After setting up a 'gym' in our living room for a few nights, and desperately needing an activity where she could safely jump, run, crawl, swing, hang, flip, or somersault, we finally signed her up for a gymnastics class.

We had driven past the gym dozens of times and I knew it would be a perfect 'sport' for her.  But when we first moved here, everything was just too overwhelming and it seemed too scary to stop at the gym and inquire about classes.  But now, almost a year into this experience, it wasn't so overwhelming anymore, and it was easy as pie to sign her up!

She started last week, and after some initial separation anxiety and tears with the first two classes, it is now her new favorite thing.  It's exciting to finally be at this point in our cultural adjustment, where we can find something we want to do and sign up for it - all on our own.

Balance beam girl.
Learning to backwards somersault.
The giant trampoline - just up her alley.
The gym.  A perfect little world for Miss Energy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Monday Morning Yoga

Monday is my yoga day.  I try to exercise most mornings a week and have quite the routine down with various workout videos.  Monday I practice yoga, Tuesday and Thursday I kill myself doing one of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workouts, Wednesday I sweat and quiver doing a Barre 3 Video, and then on the weekends I try to get outside and walk/run.

Yesterday I woke up in a rather foul mood, so yoga was more needed than ever to get me ready for the day – and for the week.  I love how yoga helps you to relax and focus, while strengthening your body and making it more flexible at the same time.  It’s spirit, mind, and body. I really needed the ‘spirit’ part yesterday, the relaxing, calming side of yoga.

Well, it all started out wonderful and relaxed.  Kate was still asleep, which is a rarity, and I set up my mat and video in the living room.  A quiet, peaceful morning with yoga.  Yesssss.

And then the weedwacker started up right outside the living room window. 

The yard guys were here to cut our grass.  Bright and early at 6:45 on Monday morning. 


Don’t get me wrong, I sure am glad we have ‘yard guys’ to take care of all these fast-growing tropical plants.  But I just wasn’t ready for the grating sound of the wacker this early in the morning – nor was I ready for the noxious fumes that quickly started to seep in through the window.  Especially while I was doing yoga.

So much for relaxing.

But I quickly remembered someone telling me that the best quality to have while living and working abroad is to be flexible.  So since yoga strengthens your flexibility too, maybe my focus needed to shift.  Yeah, I know, it works on physical flexibility, but I thought that perhaps I needed to let go of the intention to relax and embrace the practice of being mentally flexible instead.  And so I made up my mind right then on the yoga mat that I wasn’t going to get overly frustrated about the horrible timing and noise and fumes that the weedwacker was causing.  I would be flexible, darn it, and have a good attitude about this.

So I just moved my little yoga operation into the kitchen; farther away from the smells of gas and with a little insulation from the racket of noise.

Focus on the kitchen, not on the mid-motion, awkward yoga pose.
  Onward and upward, friends!