Costa Rica with Savanna

Savanna and I came back from Costa Rica late on Tuesday night last week. We came back with some coffee and chocolate in our suitcase. But I also came back with a load of great memories of hanging out with this little human.

We stayed at a B&B owned by an older couple. The house was designed by the husband, the garden designed by the wife, situated on their family’s coffee plantation. We were surrounded by greenery. They  had two dogs and two cats, which is the equivalent of heaven for Savanna.

We were fed amazing fresh mangoes, juice from their own orange trees, and locally made cheese every morning. We went to the local farmers market to get fresh produce, drank coconut juice, and ate watermelon. When the monsoon rain started in the afternoon, we would stay in and do puzzles, coloring books, play with the host’s grandson’s toys. We took one cocoa farm tour where we gorged on chocolates made from the farm’s own cocoa fruit, and drank hot chocolate from freshly ground cocoa nibs.

In general, we spent a ton of time together enjoying each other’s company. I tried hard to savour every minute of time spent with Savanna, and memorize her still-baby’ish cheeks. I know how fast this time goes by, and I am in such denial that she’s going to kindergarten in September.Angela Chang Photography Costa Rica San Jose trip

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The house we stayed at

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Farmers market

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A fresh bean. My first time seeing one.

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Giant papaya

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Freshly made tortilla

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Savanna spent lots of time playing in the yard with branches and twigs.

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We did hours of coloring and puzzles.

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Churro filled with caramel. I ate most of it.

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Oranges that are great for juicing after they ripen. The smell of the orange flowers is a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

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Savanna collected walnuts in the yard

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On the cocoa farm tour, Savanna got to crack open a cocoa fruit.

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This is what the inside of the cocoa fruit looks like.

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Dried cocoa beans.

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Once dried, the cocoa beans are roasted to intensify the flavour.

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Then you crack the shells open.

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Grind up the cocoa nibs, make hot chocolate, and give it all to Angela.

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This is a story for another day. It’s a story about how I turned a 2-hour drive into a 5-hour drive on the twisty-est and rainy-est mountain roads in Costa Rica.

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And this is how patient this kid is about her mother’s ability to mess up the Google map directions.

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I am totally crazy about this little human being, and absolutely in love with her.

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Every morning, the sweetest and juiciest mango greets us.

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A stroll on the coffee planation with the B&B host.

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Savanna said, “Look Mommy, I found a heart!”

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Day 71-85/365 {Catching up}

In the blink of an eye, spring break is over, and I am beyond behind on my 365 post.

We spent the entire first week of spring break in Whistler. The snow this year has just be amazing. The kids both made great progress in a short time. Savanna can now tackle the entire beginner hill on her own without assistance. Josh is leading me down tree runs that scare the crap out of me.

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Savanna hid herself under a pile of pillows. All I can think of is she looks like she’s peeking out from a giant vagina.

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Savanna made a good point to me about she is the only one in the family who doesn’t have a camera, so I bought her one. It’s a small Canon point-and-shoot. She brought it with her to Whistler. We took photos of each other. She was very happy to capture me.

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It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more. So awesome.

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Josh and I went for a walk in the village to spend some time together. He said, “Mommy, that was good that just you and me went, so we had lots of time to spend with just each other.” Josh, you melt my heart like nobody else can.

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My favorite bakery in Whistler is Pure Bread. Going there for a baked treat and coffee is one of the highlights of going to Whistler for me. I prefer their original location–quiet, out of the way, small, quaint, and cozy. There is no fancy coffee here except the dripped coffee cones hanging over the shop owner’s homemade rack from pipes.

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Josh loves the trampoline park in Whistler. In particular, he loves the ball pit. I find the ball pit really gross and smelly, but he would jump into it over and over and over.

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After we came back from a week of awesome skiing in Whistler, I went for a long bike ride. Stopping here is a part of my long ride ritual.

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Vancouver welcomed us home with rain.

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When I got back to work, I found this little sticky note on my computer monitor. It was nice to know someone at work gives a rat’s ass about me.

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Last year during spring break, I bought Josh a challenging set of Lego to build. It took him some time, but he completed it without much trouble. He was 5 at the time, and the set was aimed at age 8 and up. This year, I got him a set of Lego Technics. It’s supposed to be quite challenging with gears and clogs. Again, he completed it with some effort and time. It was a proud mama moment for me.

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Jewels came with her name. We didn’t bother changing it. My guess is that her first family named her Jewels because of her gorgeous green eyes.

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My nephew’s birthday was this past weekend. I really wanted to make a special cake for him. When my nephew was born, he was 6 weeks early. I visited him in the NICU. When I held him, I looked at his little face with the feeding tube up his nose, and wish I could do something for him. Now he is a healthy and grown 6-year-old, and I get to feed him junk food. I made a “gravity-defying Oreo cake” because he wanted Oreo in his cake. My brother said my nephew would have been happy with just a normal cake, and my efforts were not going to bring any incremental enjoyment. I don’t really care. Nothing but the coolest cake for my special nephew!

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When I stayed at an AirBnB last year, the host had a big container garden with a ton of over-growing kale. She sent me home with a huge bag of it. I was so jealous of her garden. We have no space for multiple containers, but we have space for one. So since early this winter, I’ve been planning a container garden for our tiny little balcony. We finally waited till the time is right, and planted our little container garden. This planting tool tells us exactly how far to space out the seeds. It was fun getting the kids involved in the planting. We are hoping for some good home-grown vegetables this summer!

Sherry

Sherry in Morocco-1I just know that Sherry is going to be horrified that I’m writing a blog post about her. She’s got this weird allergy to attention. (Don’t worry, Sher, I won’t post any incriminating photos.)

Why a post about this woman? Because she came to Morocco with Savanna and I, AND we are still friends. That means she is a superwoman. I have serious respect for her.

I knew Sherry is easy going and fun and all, but I was still a little worried before the trip. As a parent, I don’t expect anyone without kids to understand the absolute shit that kids put you through–the temper tantrums when you put the sock on their left foot first instead of the right foot, or the tears when you give them the fork that isn’t the right color, or the demand to watch Ice Age 3 for the thirty-seventh time on a trip, or taking up most of the space in a big bed with their tiny little bodies. Parents, you know what I’m sayin, right?

I was bracing myself for the risk of turning Sherry off of kids for the rest of her life. That would really be a shame.

It was magical to watch Savanna fall in love with Sherry. Even before our flight took off, Sherry had let Savanna put vegetable stickers all over her arms. Those two played pretending to eat soup for hours in Marrakech. When we were sitting in a warm train compartment, Sherry fanned Savanna to keep her cool. She played hide and seek with Savanna, did her make-up, braided her hair, and held her when she was tired. She did all this without me asking her to. Savanna loved walking down the street holding Sherry’s hand, and slept like a baby squeezed right up against Sherry. Before our flight home, Savanna said to me, “Sherry is my new sister.”

I was ok with doing less and seeing less on this trip because of Savanna. I chose to take her on the trip and I was willing. I didn’t expect Sherry to. But through the 10 days we spent together, she was never once upset about skipping a beat; not even a hint of impatience when I was slow or when Savanna needed some time to deal with her feelings. Because of her calm demeanor, she even prevented me from chewing someone’s head off when I was hangry.

As a parent, I am so grateful for her love for my child. As a friend, I am so grateful for her steadfast, upbeat, and adventurous attitude. The trip definitely would not have been the same without her.

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