Monday, May 30, 2011

Another day in Placencia

In Placencia there is a little sidewalk located half way between the main [only] street and the beach. From that sidewalk you have access to a lot of restaurants, beaches, and stores. We ate some divine fish and chips, fish burgers, and a papaya banana smoothie at this beach restaurant. When we were finishing up, a man walked up from the shore to the side of our table. He pointed to our food and said, "can I have some of that, just kidding." We had actually just been talking about the large portion sizes and that we ought to give the rest to some kids or something. We said, "actually, you can if you want, we were just talking about how we had too much food." He asked us to grab him a napkin, he opened it and than asked us to load the food into it. He told us he was in a drum band that was playing that night at the "Purple Monkey" (a bar and grill) and that we ought to come see him. He then headed over to a mid-20s girl laying on the beach and started chatting it up with her. It took maybe 30 seconds before the girl's boyfriend/husband came ripping out of the water to break up the conversation. Hahaha. That night,we did end up walking by the Purple Monkey and listened to the band for a few minutes.

 Here's the sidewalk. See all the signs pointing to different stores and restaurants? We stopped at some of the stores to look for souvenirs. It seemed that the majority of them were being run by kids, sometimes as young as maybe six. They were darling!!! and so friendly.
There is a lot of damage in Belize from the hurricanes that occurred not all that long ago. In the picture below you can see the footings of a dock that was destroyed.

 These parrots were outside of the bank. There was a sign on the bank that said something about beware of guard dogs. I wondered if these were their "guard dogs". Seemed pretty friendly to Eric.
 We bought some guava and mango jams (and probably some Maria's cookies, since I seemed to need a new package every time we stopped at a grocery store) while we were out, so we walked around searching for a bakery to get bread to eat it with for breakfast. We were pointed to John the Bakerman's place. It was awesome! The bakery was connected to their house (as are many of the stores, etc) and had really cool old black stoves.

 The highways have "Speed Humps" everywhere. You'll be cruising at a pretty good speed and have to slow way down for these humps, since they are rather large. Many of them serve as a crosswalk as well.
The people are beautiful. Especially the darling children. It's such a different world down there, things are so minimal, yet everyone seems so happy and, for the most part, carefree.

 North of Placencia is SO different. There are gigantic mansions being built in a Venice-like area, where you access the houses via canals.
 We got a kick out of their very secure scaffolding {cough cough} and the sticks they use for support.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Belize: the first 2 days

The conception of this trip was due to air miles burning a hole in our pockets. We knew we wanted to go on a trip with Micah and Rachel soon, but didn't know where or exactly when. A week before our trip, Micah's passport came through, we finalized plans, and booked our tickets. The car/home rentals would be figured out via email while traveling - classic Micah/Eric trip :) We decided we'd only take Ivan since we'd have to buy Reese a ticket too and we didn't know what to expect (whether she'd eat the food, if she'd get sick off of it, how safe it is, etc). That was a good idea, but we missed her dearly!!
Sadly I didn't remember that my maiden name is on my passport, so we booked the tickets with my married name. When we were checking in at the airport the lady working told us I wouldn't be able to go due to the differences in name. Luckily I had Eric with me who doesn't take no for an answer. After questioning the lady over and over as to how we can fix the problem, she finally changed the name on the ticket, charged a fee, and we were on our way.

We had an overnight layover in Dallas so we found a hotel, hit up Denny's for a late night dinner, and made last minute phone calls before going out of the country. The hotel we stayed at had a shuttle that not only would pick you up/take you to the airport, but anywhere else you wanted. It was pretty cool.

On the plane ride from Dallas to Belize City we sat next to a kind lady who moved over a seat so Eric and I could sit together. We chatted quite a bit. Ivan was somewhat fussy, which I felt bad for. I'd apologize to her and she'd just say, "It's OK, I don't have to do anything about it, so no worries." So I was already feeling indebted to this lady and then the worst happens. I smell a slightly weird smell, I look down at Ivan, who is sitting peacefully in my lap, and see yellow stuff running down my thigh and all over the plane seat (the side near the lady). OH MY GOSH, let me hide in a cave! Eric grabs the wipes out of the overhead bin as well as the onesie I packed for Ivan (I had a feeling to pack an extra outfit for both me and Ivan in our carry on in case something like this happened, but opted out of packing one for myself). All 3 of us walked back to the bathrooms, as people notice my mess and quickly moved their elbows out of the aisle as far away from me as possible. I use many wipes trying to get Ivan clean (of course there was almost nothing in his diaper, just all over his clothing) and then go to work on myself. I'm a mess! I have it all over my left thigh and all over the front of my shirt. Awesome! Cute! I wipe away as much as I can, but the mustard yellow shines bright on both my dark blue jean shorts and my blue shirt. Once back to my seat I do a secretive change out of my shirt and into my fleece jacket, glad we're going to one of the warmest, most humid places :)

We got a rental car at the airport. I've never felt such humidity before. We were all soaked the instant we stepped off the plane. And yee-haw, I've got a fleece jacket on! Thankfully the car has a/c! I was told that I could only pack a car seat if I wanted to carry it on my back the whole way so I didn't pack one. Ivan liked the change, I got used to it and then wished it weren't so necessary to use car seats since it is great to just feed on the road, without pulling over. I'm also glad I didn't bring it because the majority of the time we were walking, biking, or in taxis, boats, or golf carts.
 The drive from Belize City to Placencia was a few hours long, but it was so neat to see all the jungles and little villages.
 They do a lot of controlled burning in the jungles. It was crazy how many fires there were.
 So we got to Placencia and found the house we had rented. It was way bigger and way nicer than what I was expecting to be staying in. We had the top floor, which looked like a cabin inside.
It had multiple balconies and beautiful views, only problem was that there was no a/c. It didn't matter all that much because we spent most of our days outside anyway, and at nights we'd blast fans straight on our bodies to keep us cool.

Placencia is known for great diving, snorkeling, and beaches. Sadly there weren't many public beaches, the nicest ones were at the private resorts, and other than that they were in short supply. Nonetheless, they were breathtakingly beautiful. The snorkeling off the shore wasn't great, the clarity wasn't good while we were there and since there is no reef there aren't a lot of creatures to observe. While in Placencia we didn't go on any dive or snorkeling tours, I'm sure if we did we would've seen more impressive things. We did learn, however, that in just a few days tons of people would be flocking to Placencia for the full moon when the Whale Sharks can be seen.

 Ivan liked his floaty. He especially liked to lean forward and get tastes of the salt water. We had to re-situate him many times to keep his body laying backwards so he couldn't drink the water. I think he'd purposefully spit his binky out so it'd get more salt water on it and he could have another taste when we popped it back into his mouth. When we'd get him out and hold him, he'd lick the salt off our skin.
 The first night we ate at the Hungry Gecko. It was delicious and had such a fun atmosphere. One of my favorite things about going on trips is the food. I have an obsession with exploring new flavors and menus. I had beef tacos, Eric had a fish burger, and we both had panadas, which was like a scone with chicken and salsa on it. The food in Belize has flavors that remind me of mexican food and cajun style food mixed. Eric of course got his glass bottle of orange fanta, which is classically Latin/Central American. Though English is the primary language in Belize, our waiter only spoke Spanish. Thankfully Eric did all the questioning and ordering. I always enjoy hearing him talk to people in Spanish, and love the way the people's eyes light up when they feel the relief of someone being able to converse effectively with them. Eric ended up having to use his Spanish a lot on this trip.

The table next to us was filled with 8 or so men playing poker and smoking their cigs. We chatted with them for a while. One guy was from BC, like Eric, and the rest were self-dubbed "Belizeans". They had retired and moved to homes in Belize. What a life.
The next day (or maybe the same day, it all kind of meshes together) we decided to try out a different beach. This one was behind a church and right next to a resort beach, so the beach was combed and the water was cleared from seaweed.

Eric and Micah snorkeled some more and Rachel, Ivan, and I enjoyed the shallow water, beach, and the little white fish that would nibble on the backs of our legs.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The last few days we've struggled with naptime. It's been a fight to get Reese to finally fall asleep. Today, after many attempts and quite a bit of lapsed time, I said heck with it and let her stay up. I googled when kids typically stop napping, and the majority stop by the time they're 3. Just last week I thought to myself, "this girl definitely still needs her naps". But then this week I've had my doubts.

Well, looks like she can't last a whole day without a nap. I turned on a movie a little after 3 while I started preparing dinner. Within 3 minutes Reese said, "Mom, I, I cold, blankie??" I got her her beloved blanket and asked her if she wanted to go sit on the couch. She said, "mommy do it?" So I carried her over. I walked over to the kitchen and then looked back at her maybe 15 seconds later and this is what I saw. Haha, tired little girl, you still need your naps.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I now understand why mothers are so protective of their sons when it comes to dating and such. For so long you are the only girl in their life and they adore you, but one day another girl catches their eye and your no longer the only one. I know that day will come too soon, but for now I'll just snuggle and kiss his chubby little face all I can and not worry about that day.

 Reese likes to do her make-up while I do mine. She found the blush today, showed Ivan how to apply it to her cheeks...
 and then applied it to his.
The weather is beautiful today, and since this semester is winding down, our whole family was able to enjoy some play/relax time, and lunch on the lawn. Reese liked playing in her jungle-gym-turned-into-fort and Ivan got to laze in the hammock with Eric.
 Ivan is the smiliest little kid I know! He gives them out freely, which familiars and strangers thoroughly appreciate!
 Father - child time melts my heart more than ANYTHING!

Happy Birthday Eric!

 Good morning starshine. How about some scones for breakfast??
And then maybe you can take a break for once, seeing as you've been so busy with finals and such.
 Reese will enjoy the sunshine with you! And after you feel rejuvinated, we'll go run some errands while on a leisurly walk in the nice warm weather.
 Then we'll go with your parents on a hike up Ensign Peak. We'll even spot a tarantula, just because it is your birthday :) YIKES!

Then your parents are going to take us all to Smash Burger for some greasy deliciousness and fantastic conversation.
 As you know, no one can outdo Dairy Queen's ice cream cakes, so we'll get you one of those to enjoy.

 And then you can help the little girls do their hair.
Sound exciting?

May not have been anything exotic, and the "surprise" motocross date I had planned for us the next evening got rained/snowed out - but I hope you know we love you more than anything and we hope you felt extra special on your birthday.

Easter Farewell

 Reese is getting a bit better at looking at the camera and Ivan started eating big boy food. He eats like a big boy too, a couple of the medium sized bottles of fruits and vegetables, after breastfeeding. However, I think I'm going to take him off of it for a couple weeks so that I don't have to pack any when we go on vacation in 1 1/2 weeks.
We went swimming at the pool near us. It is disappointing. You can't use any of your own floatation devices, only their life jackets. You can't go down their water slide with a child on your lap. And it is in need of some quick and inexpensive re-vamps. Not only that, Ivan got a rash on his belly, I'm pretty sure from the amount of chlorine in the pool. Reese, however, loved trying out her new goggles, and she looked darn cute in them too :) We'll chose a different pool to visit next time.

Happy Easter! Our Easter was a busy one. Camla and Dan both slept over and I made Kneaders Overnight Chunky Cinnamon French Toast. We did easter baskets super speed in the morning before 9 am church. Then we got ready and went to church where we thouroughly enjoyed listening to my brother-in-law Dan give his farewell talk and Eric speak on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was a fantastic meeting and it was fun having lots of family there.

After church we headed down to Orem for a farewell party for Dan at Eric brother's Jared's house. There was SO much yummy food and Reese got her first bee sting (on her cute little ankle) while playing in the yard barefoot. Sad :(