Sunday, January 31, 2010

Breakfast in Bed

I have had a nasty cold this week, so yesterday Matt brought me breakfast in bed!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update

I had another doctors appointment this week, and everything is lookin' good with little Brathen. (That is what we are calling our baby for now since we don't know the gender, Matt is convinced it's a boy, I'm playing along, and we can't agree on a name, so it's a mix of Brandon and Ethan.) We get to find out if it's a little boy or a little girl at our next appointment!

I have been feeling pretty good except for the fact that I am super tired and fall asleep at like 8:00 half the time. But I'd rather be sleepy than pukey! The thing I don't get though is that the scale says I have not gained a pound, but yet half my clothes don't fit...what's up with that? Luckily I still have a couple pairs of bigger pants that I didn't get rid of when I lost weight.

I started my LAST AND FINAL SEMESTER of grad school! And it's gonna be a toughie. I hope I will survive. I'm taking two classes: Assessment and College Student Retention, plus I'm writing and presenting my thesis. Yikes! Matt started his second semester of grad school and is starting to work on his big research project. Even though it's crazy, we are thankful for the opportunity to both get good educations.

Anyway, life is good. Come visit us! We are having a housewarming party on Groundhog Day. (Feb. 2) Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

Last week we babysat my cute little cousin, Azilyn. She is so fun and her hair reminds me of mine when I was little, except it was brown. I'm sure our kid will have similar hair as well.

Anyway, we had lots of fun playing. Azilyn loved to get in this little cart and have Matt pull her around the house. She loved to play the drums and guitar on our rock band.

She loved to play with all my candles and stuff I had around the house. She would pick them up and take a big whiff and take them around to everyone else to smell. She also loved the rocks that are in one of the candle things.

We also read stories before bedtime.

She was very good and we loved having her come and play at our house.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Costa Rica: The Wrap-Up

This is my last post about our trip--I promise! New Year's Eve was pretty interesting. We had heard that it could get pretty crazy and we were excited to watch it. But we went downtown at about 10:30 and there was hardly anyone there! So we made our way to the beach and there were quite a few people out on the beach having BBQs and picnics and stuff. About 11:30 or so, the whole town came down to the beach and there were huge bonfires and everyone was letting off fireworks. The thing I liked most was that the whole family was there...from the old grannies to the little kids.

We're not quite sure when exactly it was midnight because one minute one group of people would start cheering and then a few minutes later another group would start. Most of the hotels along the beach had firework shows and everyone else was also letting off fireworks, so it was a 360-degree firework show. It was pretty cool.

The funniest part was that at about 11:40 or so, the power went out. In the whole town. For about 2 hours. So after midnight, people were just out dancing in the street and they were burning random things for light. We saw a chair being burned on a street corner. Since the bars had no power, everyone was just out in the street by their cars--playing music and using the light from their cars. It was pretty funny. We left about 1 or so before it got too crazy. The power came back on about 2 am. It definately was a new experience ringing in the new year!

I had never seen a black sand beach before and there was one about 10 minutes from our condo. I loved it...it was so pretty. The waves were HUGE and it was fun to watch the surfers.

And we found another hammock to relax in while watching the sunset.

There's nothing like laying in a hammock and seeing this...

And this....
Here are some funny signs we saw.

Anyway, that about wraps it up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Costa Rica: The Adventures

The absolute coolest thing we did in Costa Rica was go on a canopy tour. We did this on New Years Day, and it was so amazing. Basically what it entails is you go up to the top of a mountain and zipline down it through the jungle. There were 15 different ziplines and in between them were these platforms that were way up in the tops of the trees. So you had to jump off the tree and swing down to the next one. Most of the time you couldn't see where the next one was so you just had to jump off into the trees. It was SO FUN!

Seriously, this was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. Jumping off the first one was kinda scary, but after that it was so much fun. The scariest part was standing on those wooden platforms that were so high up.

I would definately do this again.

Here we are on the platform. Don't worry, it was completely safe. We had three backup harnessess and we were always hooked up to something.

Here's a video of me jumping off one of the platforms and sailing down through the trees.

video

That was definately the highlight of the trip. Here is Matt overlooking some cool jungley mountains.

For those of you who know me, I LOVE hammocks. And a hammock on the beach is even better. So of course I had to try them all out. This one was on Tortuga Island. Matt really wanted to go there because of the Pirates of the Carribean movie. It was pretty cool.

We also rented a couple of kayaks on Tortuga Island and paddled around for awhile. I love kayaking! The waves were kinda big though so it made it a little hard.

We also went on a little snorkeling excursion on Tortuga Island. That was the main thing that Matt wanted to do on our trip. We saw lots of fish, and I even saw an eel.

We went on three different hikes (sort of) through the jungle. That was really fun.

This tree was huge! There were tons of cool plants.

And lots of fun vines that the monkeys were swinging on. So of course I had to try too!

This beach is where I got stung by a jellyfish (or something of the sort). One minute I felt a sharp sting and the next minute my arm was covered in hives. I never did see what it was that stung me though. This beach was really nice. It was sandy (a lot of the others were fairly rocky) and there was a nice view of the jungle from the water.

Here we are on our boat out to Tortuga Island. I love being out on the water!

This is the place we were going to stay at if we would have gone in October. It's one of the nicest Marriott's in the world. My aunt works for Marriott so she got us a pretty sweet discount. However, when we had to change our plans to go in December, there wasn't any availability there so we had to find another place to stay. Which turned out fine. We snuck into the Marriott one day and all the rich people were just talking about their yachts. We totally would not have fit in!

When we snuck in, we saw these really cool fireflies and a helicopter pad and an endless swimming pool and hammocks on the beach.

I'm actually glad we didn't end up staying there. I think we got a bit more of an authentic experience instead of just hanging around the rich Americans. Anyway, the whole trip was quite the adventure!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Costa Rica: The Food

I know it's kind of ridiculous to do a whole post about food, but one of my favorite things to do on vacation is to try the local food. I couldn't really figure out what the typical food was there though.

This was my favorite meal of the whole trip. It was our last morning and we were driving back to San Jose. There was a little restaurant at the top of the mountain pass that looked out over the valley and on to the ocean. It was amazing! And the breakfast was so good. Some of the best homemade tortillas I've ever had. It was kind of funny when I asked what kind of juice this was and the guy tried to explain to me what it was. (Some sort of seed.)

This was the most local thing (I think). It's called ceviche. They had it everywhere! It's chunks of tomato, onion, avocado, cucumber, and fish--all soaked in lime juice and cilantro. It had a really good flavor except for the fish. I might try making it at home with chicken.

All the restaurants had no walls. Just a roof. It was really nice. This one was right on the beach.

We just thought this one was funny.

There was this family in our old ward from Costa Rica. I asked her what foods we needed to try and the one thing she insisted on was the traditional breakfast, which consists of eggs, rice & beans, tortillas and sour cream. It actually was pretty tasty.

I just think it's fun to try the local cuisine. And I thought it was fun to eat in the open air restaurants. We did have a little kitchen in our condo, so we really only ate out once a day and had breakfast and snacks and stuff in our condo.

A lot of the places had different variations of steak, chicken, and fish. But they were all really yummy. Not a whole lot of pasta or vegetable dishes.

A lot of places used these weird fruits as garnishes. It was like a cross between a lime and an orange. It looked like a lime on the outside, an orange on the inside, and tasted like a very tart lemon. There was also another one that looked like a cross between a lemon and an orange. Weird. We also tried some other fruits like mango, bananas, pineapple, and watermelon. It must have been watermelon season because they were everywhere! So good though.

At one place Matt ordered his steak medium rare, but the waiter misunderstood and brought it out rare. It was still cold in the middle! We had them take it back and cook it a little more.

All the food was really good. I especially liked how much they used avocados and tomatoes. Yum!

This was like a tostada type thing that was really good. It was our first meal in Costa Rica.

Anyway, sorry to bore you with a whole post about food, but it really was yummy! And I'm happy to report that despite all this yummy food, we both completed our Lean Santa challenge that our health insurancedoes, where if you don't gain more than 2 pounds from mid-November to the beginning of January, you get $25 cash plus a prize. Each. Yay for us!

Costa Rica: The Wildlife

There was a lot of cool wildlife in Costa Rica. We went to two different national parks in hopes of seeing some. We also saw lots of birds and stuff just walking and driving around. It was fun to wake up every morning to lots of different birdie sounds. Anyway, we spent a lot of time craning our necks to see what there was up in the trees.

One of the things I most wanted to do was see a colorful bird! We saw quite a few actually. They really are very beautiful. My favorite was when we saw two scarlet macaws flying overhead.

There was this random pig on Tortuga Island. It had small tusks even. But it was not vicious at all.
This was really cool. All those green things are pieces of leaves being carried by ants. I have never seen that before. Seriously, there was a huge line of ants carrying these leaves down the path. Apparently they use them as fertilizer to grow mushrooms to eat. Interesting.

These crocodiles were just hanging out in the Tarcoles River.

One of my other big things I wanted to do was to see a monkey. We saw two different kinds. A white-faced monkey and a black monkey. The white ones were very playful. They were swinging through the trees and scratching themselves with palm leaves. They were super cute. The black ones made this awful noise like a lion. Seriously, I didn't know a little monkey could make a sound like that. We were in the jungle one day by ourselves hiking around and we heard one. I thought something scary was going to pop out of the woods and eat us! But it was a lazy monkey!

They were really fun to watch.

These were some bats hanging out on a leaf. Apparently they eat a lot of mosquitos.

We saw this big spider and Matt took like 12 pictures of it. He is terrified of spiders and when I said I wanted to go to Costa Rica the first thing he said was, "But they have big spiders there!" The funniest part was when we were hiking through one of the national parks, he was walking with a paper held out in front of him to break down any spider webs that might have been in the way.

We saw a spider in the hallway of the condos we were staying at. I had to kill it. We also found a dead scorpion in our condo the first night. It must have been a fluke because we didn't see any other bugs the whole time in there and it was very clean. But it was scary!

We saw several sloths, but most of them were super boring. This was was actually moving (very slowly) so it was fun to watch.
We also saw several different kinds of birds.

And a few different kinds of lizards. It was kind of funny when we were driving and would see large iguanas crossing the road.

These pelicans were fun to watch. They would dive bomb into the ocean. And there were these other birds that just flew around over the jungle.

We also saw some type of ray in the ocean. It was so cool. It would jump out of the water and flap its wings and then plop back down in the water. The scary part was that when I saw the first one, it was about 15 feet away from where Matt was swimming. I also think I got stung by a jellyfish. I felt something sting me in the water and then like a minute later my entire arm was covered in hives.

We saw a bunch of these birds just on the side of the road. And we also saw a toucan, but didn't get any pictures of it. It was fun to see all these animals that I have never seen before in the wild.