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 6/365 {Jump}

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I got to pick up Savanna from preschool today. It was just starting to warm up enough that some of the snow on the ground has melted. The two of us had a puddle jumping party behind the community centre, kicking and splashing, making a muddy mess of our shoes and pants.

Unrelated story. Some guy walked by us and smiled. I thought we made him smile by our silliness. I smiled back. You know, I was being friendly and neighbourly and all. A couple of minutes later, after Savanna and I had enough puddle splashing, she looked up and pointed to the side my camera and asked, “Mommy, what’s that?”

I turned my camera around and looked. To my horror, I realized that the back-up tampon in my camera bag was stuck on my wrist strap, hanging off the side of my camera. This whole time I was taking pictures and jumping in puddles, the tampon was hanging off my camera.

Now I wonder if the guy who smiled at us earlier was actually smiling at us, or was stifling a laugh at me.

Logic prevails, sort of

Savanna: Mommy, there’s no big foot, right?

Me: Right. Big foot is not real.

Savanna: But there are bears.

Me: Yes, there are bears. Bears are real.

Savanna: What if you see a bear?

Me: I’ll probably stay in the car.

Savanna: What if you see a baby bear?

Me: I’ll probably still stay in the car.

Savanna: What if the bear wants to give you her baby bear?

Me: Umm, I don’t really want a baby bear.

Savanna: Do you want a baby person?

Me: Well, that’s not entirely up to me. Daddy said no.

Savanna: But you can just get a baby from your belly.

This year, Savanna learns to ski

Last year, I nearly had a meltdown after the first day of Josh’s ski school. He was frustrated, hungry and cold, and I denied him pizza as a treat. He cried and screamed while I dragged him back in the car so we can go home.

Luckily, Savanna is the second child, and I had learned the errors of my ways by the time she started ski school this year. Her pockets were stuffed with heat packs to keep her warm. We arrived on the mountain early enough to have pizza first, they get a special snack in the car afterwards, AND hot chocolate is ready waiting for them.

All my failures aside, I really don’t think Savanna needed me to coddle her. I remember when I dropped her off at preschool when she was 2, and she walked in without looking back. When I dropped her off at ski school, she gave me a little wave and off she went.

Yesterday was her first class. For nearly 3 hours, she learned to ski in -9 C. I was so cold that I had to go inside the lodge to wait. When I went to pick her up, she was the only one still practicing while the other kids have had enough. Her cheeks and her fingers were frozen red, and she had a healthy amount of snot running down her face. But she gave me a big smile and told me she’s a great skier.

My heart just about exploded with pride.

Savanna, you never have to be a great skier. Your attitude makes you the greatest skier in my books!

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Coming up on the magic carpet

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That smallest girl in the purple helmet is my pride and joy.

Baby. Shower.

Part I

Couple of weeks ago, I attended a friend’s baby shower. I took Savanna with me to the shower. I tried to explain to her that’s a party, but she kept asking me why we are watching a baby getting a shower.

After the baby shower, she seemed quite satisfied to learn that when a woman is expecting a baby, she gets a party with great food, balloons, and gifts. In the car, on our way home, she said, “Mommy, I want a baby shower.”

I said, “Savanna, when you are pregnant, Mommy will throw you a shower.”

Savanna said, “What are you going to throw at me?”

I said, “I’m not going to throw anything AT you. I’m just going to throw you a party, as in, organize a party for you. But anyway, it’s way too soon to talk about this now. We’ll wait till you are having a baby.”

Part II

This morning, Savanna announced at breakfast, “Mommy, I’m going to have babies.”

Being still sleepy and not completely with it, I said, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

She said, “So you can throw a party at me.”

Because camels are super cool

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(drawn by the super talented dude I married)

10 years ago, when I turned 30, I wanted to do something big to celebrate a new decade. I rode my motorcycle solo from Vancouver to Halifax, camping along the way and eating meals out of my camping stove.

10 years later, things look dramatically different at home. Josh is 5 1/2 and Savanna is 3 1/2. I can’t justify taking off for 2 weeks by myself. The truth is, I don’t think I would do that ride again. I was dog tired last time after 6,200 km, and I was a lot younger then.

My craving for interesting travel never stopped. I feel like this is the right time now to start doing some more interesting things again, involving the kids. Unfortunately, Cliff has to work, and Josh has school. That leaves Savanna and I to plan a girls’ trip on our own.

Savanna and I have agreed that riding on a camel in Morocco would be pretty interesting. We also convinced Sherry that camels are super cool, so she’s coming too to check things out.

I’ll report back in two weeks and let you know if camels are in fact super cool.