Sunday, December 18, 2011


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The Countdown Has Begun!

Children's Museum

Christmas decorations

Yes, the Christmas countdown has OFFICIALLY begun. Not just for me, but for my kids as well. And as far as my kids are concerned, mommy has yet to buy them one. single. gift! hehehehehe!

I do this every year. I make my list, research, pay attention (close attention) to what the little ones want and what the older one asks for. I make sure what they ask for and what they want pretty much stay the same for a few months before I just go out and buy it. It's not easy narrowing down my list to just 3 gifts but that is why I have in-laws. LOL. Whatever does not make my list, is passed on to mother in law and father in law, who are more than happy to get the kids what they want. Once I buy, I stash....and the kids are none the wiser. :)

I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself this year with the gift selection. I think my kids will be VERY happy come Christmas morning (and Eve when they get to to open the in-laws gifts).

Now this year was slow going for me. It took me longer than usual to wrap up all my shopping. I literally just finished yesterday. And now there is a week left until the big day and I can just sit back and relax. The only things I have to do: pick up 2 gifts on lay a way (but I have until the 24th to do that and I want to wait until the last minute because these 2 gifts are pretty HUGE and I have no place to hide them). Then when that's done, I have to wrap (I wrap the kids stuff on Christmas Eve).

It has been a decidedly more laid back Christmas for me, somehow. I didn't do as many activities with the kids this year. However, we made it to our first ever Children's Musuem Lighting Spectacular, which was way cool. I did missed the Nutcracker, though, because by the time I went to get tickets, they were ALL gone. That put a damper in my mood... it was the ONE thing I wanted to do with dd, starting our tradition. I guess there is always next year. Plus she'll be older and maybe more willing to sit still for how many minutes a ballet takes.

I could not be happier with what I got accomplished. Just cannot wait to see my kids faces on the big day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The day I have been anticipating for months is finally here: T-day. YAY! I could not be any more excited. Just like last year, and the year prior to that, I decided to be host to Thanksgiving this year again.

I invited the same familiar faces, although decidedly less people than last year, but the food remains a focus. Although my Thanksgiving is a potluck affair, I do most of the cooking: the bird, a few sides AND desserts.

This year I did not disappoint. Along with my Turkey (brined to perfection I hope), I am also making:
Apple Chipotle carrots
Green beans with slivered almonds
Potatoes au Gratin
Mac and cheese (from the box)
Arroz con Palmito
Parmesan broccoli
Corn bread (from the excited about this!!!)

Desserts include:
7 Layer Magic Bars (not right without them)
2 Apple pies (made from scratch)
Almond clusters
"Oreo' truffle Balls

I know that hubby's cousin is bringing the stuffing and gravy. Another cousin is making carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and cheesecake and brownies (YUM!). And a beets salad.

It should be a a day of thanks indeed.... and a feast for the eyes! Happy Turkey Day! Gobble, Gobble.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Dog Cliff

I know how I have said (maybe not on here) time and again,that we are pretty bad pet owners. I was so not wanting to get another dog, after all we'd been through. We've lived in Costa Rica 5 years and have owned about 7 dogs. Yep, you read that right; SEVEN! Lets see, we've had about 2 Scooby's, A Snoopy, A Sheba, A Macha, Another Snoopy and then a Clifford.

While I grew up with dogs, and tend to love them, I hate owning them as pets. The work it takes to properly care for a dog is just too much effort for me that I don't want to put in. Cleaning poop, feeding, bathing, most of which I don't do anyway, is just not my fortay. But once I get those lovable little creatures home, they become like family.

My favorite of all the dogs we owned was our dog Clifford (I called him Cliff). I LOVED that dog something fierce. And this is why I say we are bad pet owners: Of all our 7 dogs, 2 of them died horrible deaths and 2 ran away. Sheba was re-gifted, so were the Snoopy's.

I had the hardest time with our first dog's death, seeing as it was a horrible ending to such a precocious little life. Scooby, a pincher, came to us as a small pup. He was supposed to be Boobie's dog, but Hubby took such a liking to him that he eventually became Hubby's dog. Hubby took Scooby everywhere with him. But Scooby took a liking to the streets so much, he would leave the whole day and only come back home to eat. One day he never came home and as I went out to meet Boobie after school I saw him sprawled on the side of the road, run over by a car. I was about 7 months pregnant with Princess. I cried so hard that day and into that night, I could not sleep. Though I didn't love the dog as much as Hubby did, he was family and it hurt me to see him die like that. We told Boobie after the burial and father in law quickly went out and bought another dog that looked eerily similar. We named him Scooby #2. That dog ran away. The next dog was Clifford, my doll. He was beautiful. He came about when Princess was just a tiny baby and just learning to speak; he was a pup of 6 months. Cliff (well, KIFF,) was her very first real word.

With Cliff, I helped with his daily care and even allowed him to sleep in our house some nights, when I felt it was too cold for him outside. Cliff was so protective of us that one night when someone broke unto our property, Cliff chased them away. The next day Hubby found Cliff dead, stiff as a rock. Hubby took that death the hardest, as Cliff was a dog we had hoped would be with us until his old age. He as not even 2.

After Cliff, the dogs that came to us were mainly dogs father in law bought that weren't really ours, but that he had bought for the kids. Father in law hates dogs, so after a time he re-gifted the dogs.

The one dog that Hubby bought all by himself, Macha, was a beautiful full bred Boxer female. Hubby loved her to pieces. Macha came to live with the family when she was around 6 or so months old. But Macha was a pain to take care of for me. With Hubby being gone all day for work, the care of Macha fell to me and I didn't like it. She never felt like OUR dog, she was Hubby's dog. And she knew it. One day after Hubby left for work, someone left our big gate open and Macha went out looking for her master. She never came home.

Now, as Hubby was looking for a replacement dog, since he just loves dogs so much, I was hoping we would just settle into life without pets for a while and forget the whole dog owning business. After all, we didn't really NEED a dog, did we?

Hubby had scoured the net looking for free dogs needing good homes. He told me of this and so I decided that maybe the time had come for us to own a dog again. This time, I vowed I would be more involved. I went to Mas x Menos one Saturday afternoon and by chance, they were hosting a pet event: Adopt a Stray Animal for free: only donations were accepted, of any amount you could give. I went over to take a look at the offerings and fell instantly in love with this beautiful 4 month old puppy; a German Shepard and Husky mix. I felt like I had to have him, he was mixed with 2 of my all time favorite breeds. When I inquired about the dog, I was informed that his name was ................................. CLIFFORD! What a coincidence! Or was it? Cliff, the dog I had loved had come back to me. Even though our old Clifford was a Lab mix (lab's being Hubby's favorite kind of breed), the new Cliff was the dog we were meant to have.

Were we ready for another dog. I didn't know and I didn't care. I wanted Cliff. I called Hubby and we adopted Clifford that very same day. His first few days with us were rough going, as he scratched and then bit Princess. The kids were terrified of him. AT 4 months, he is pretty big and intimidating but oh so cute. He needs a LOT of discipline, A LOT, but he is so playful and fun. I know it is still early yet and he is still pretty young but we're hoping he is the dog we have been waiting for.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No More Work

So Tuesday August 23 was my last day of work, YIPPEEE!!!!!

Don't get me wrong, I really liked my job (loved it actually). I was happy with my work load, happy with my hours, happy with the pay, just plain happy. I did not like my boss and I did not like the restrictions, but I did genuinely like my job. However, I knew I would not be at the job forever. I had bigger dreams to fulfill so it was a 'just for the meantime' kind of job. I initially wanted to put in 6 months then move on, but I changed my mind. I decided I would stick it out for however long until either I found something a million times better or my boss fired me. Whichever came first!

The job in itself was pretty decent. I had set hours but I had flexibility. I was working but I was also home with my kids. I liked how laid back my supervisor was about me taking the time to attend school events, run errands and take my kids to their appointments. Hours missed could easily be made up and my position was so laid back, I was able to take a few breaks here and there to get household chores done. I would work 2 weeks straight at a time without a peep from my boss, which was definitly a plus.

But my boss is an interesting person, to say the least. He was just plain rude and downright lacked business etiquette. He was so hard to deal with when he was upset and would get impatient about small mistakes. He hardly checked my work and would ask me the same questions or ask me to do the same tasks more than once. He got so rude with me a few times, I was thisclose to quitting; but I figured the benefits of the job far outweighed his ugly attitude, so I stayed. Besides I could deal with him on occasion... if I had to deal with him daily, I think it would have been a different story. I might have quit months ago!

Anyway, not sure what transpired, but after not being able to get in touch with him for a week (phone calls to his phone went unanswered and messages on his voicemail went unreturned), he finally called me. The call lasted maybe 5 minutes, if that. He informed me that my position was going to be 'suspended' until further notice. He decided to put the content writing for the website (essentially what I do) on hold for now and if I was OK with that. I was more than OK with that, albeit a little shocked as it came out of left field, but OK nontheless. Seven and a half months in, and I feel good leaving my job on a positive note.

This "lay off" could not have come at a better time. I felt I was good with the job but I started to struggle daily about my decision to work. I wanted my stay at home mom life back: I hated having to ask someone for permission to go anywhere. I hated that I had to request time off. I longed for my time back, when I could come and go as I pleased and do what I felt like doing on any given day. I hated checking the clock every time I was away from my computer, making sure to rush home in time to get back to work. I hated not having the time to go grocery shopping during the early daytime hours or running errands without time limits. I guess in short, I was not ready for the working world.

While working at home is the best of both worlds, I think for now, I'll take the financial hit and just spend these precious moments with my kids, instead of in front of a computer working the hours away.

I am looking forward to going back to work when all 3 kids are in school though and I thank this job for getting my feet wet. Hey, I may even go back to this job one day. If and when my boss decides to get back to the content writing for his website and re-hires me, I just might accept. I guess I am on an indefinite 'sabbatical' from work. And I am going to enjoy it. : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

July Vacation Pics


Ferry ride

Our journey

Tennis anyone?

horseback riding on the beach

Los Lagos, Arenal

Puerto Viejo, Limon