Thursday, March 15, 2012

La Carolina Lodge

La Carolina Lodge is a little slice of heaven just two hours away from the daily paradise we have to endure!  The change from the blazing hot sun, to the cool and cloudy temperate weather, with a drizzle here and there, made for a much needed getaway.  The drive there transitions from arid to jungle, the road seemingly leading us into a scene from Jurassic park.  The landscape is so different, more hill-ish (it would go to far to say mountainous,) and definitely more lush.  The property of La Carolina has a river running right through it, where they have simply detoured small sections to make fire heated hot tubs both shared and private.  It's self sustainable, with all the food that is served having been bread or grown on the property.  The cabins are quaint, a slight upgrade to camping, but after a day of hiking, swimming, and hoarse back riding, the extra amenities such as linens and a hot shower are a welcomed indulgence.  This is a place I will return to time and time again to truly unplug and reconnect, whether with my husband, family, or just to enjoy some time alone.

Enjoying a large hot tub with fresh water straight from the river.  We could hang our hand off the edge and into the rushing water.

Brody went on an adventure with the camera and came back with this pretty little number.

We got to milk the cows bright and early.  The same milk we enjoyed with our dessert later that night.  That's fresh.

'Canned' creatures that had been previously found on the blue river hike.  Welcome visitors!

The Blue River and Water Falls

Elliot hiked the whole way in except the last few steps down the steep, steep hill.  That's one tough 3 year old!!!

Brooklyn and Devin after enjoying the hike to the falls.  It was long and intense at times, but well worth it.

Brody was the only boy of 17 girls that were on the trip with us over the weekend.  Sometimes being the only boy pays off ;)

You can see Brody swimming to the side of the rock after his plunge.  The water was ccccccold.

Horseback riding included in the adventure.

Brooklyn and Sibley on their ride.

We went fishing and rowing on the boat the ranch owners built in their little private lake.

On the ride home the kids are enjoying an ice pop as we try to keep them from falling to pieces after our car had broken down.  Good thing we were so zenned out from our weekend at La Carolina Lodge!

Be-YOU-tiful - Brooklyn's 7th

We weren't going to do a birthday party for Brooklyn this year, because we spent the weekend in San Jose.  We had agreed just to have her closest friends over for swimming and some cake the day after we got back.  Our plans changed, however, when we were on our way home from SJO and stopped at Pequeno Mundo (Little World), it's like an upgraded dollar store.  They had all sorts of party supplies for really cheap, and since we don't see that kind of thing very often we couldn't pass up the chance to make a party!  So at the last minute, we decided to upgrade her play date to a glorified play date with a 'Dream Closet' theme.  It was her idea, which came as a bit of a shock to me.  Our little Brooklyn rocks her own style like no other.  She knows what is comfortable, mostly pajamas, and finds a way to wear it with a little style.  She often steals t-shirts from Tom's closet and then ties them in a knot at her waste with a rubber band.  She then pairs that with her best pair of floral or striped pajama shorts.  Add a VERY high, straight pony tail, and that's her favorite look.   She does not like dressing up in the least, and she doesn't like makeup or nail polish, but she DOES like throwing a party she knows her friends will like.  I was surprised at her request, as were her friends, but we indulged her and she had a blast getting them all dressed up.  Hunter and Ava took full advantage and changed about 20 times each.  There was not one outfit they did not try on!  Overall it was a ton of fun, and for both Brooklyn and I, our favorite part was getting the party ready together.  We used table clothes, art supplies, and a little ingenuity to make a really cute 'closet' and a great afternoon. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brody's Mysterious Throat

Dear Friends and Family,

We just wanted to let you know that Brody's biopsy came back free of any serious illnesses! With that being said, I will share my experience in the dr.'s office with you.

Last week, after Brody's surgery, the Dr. said his biopsy report would take 5 - 7 days. Since we didn't hear from him before our appointment 9 days later, we were counting on 'no news is good news.' Our car was having a few issues, you know, like billowing smoke from the engine on the side of a busy freeway, no biggie. We were only a few exits from CIMA (the hospital), but for the moment it felt like a million miles away as the cars whirled by us as the time neared rush hour. This has become such a frequent event for us lately, I didn't even panic. That, coupled with my brother's recent supportive conversations, which included understanding God's will for me, and I felt relatively calm as Tom sorted the whole thing out. (I love that my man knows all about cars now, it's just so MANLY.) After we overcame our small obstacle, Brody and I went alone to the appointment and Tom and the girl's went to check into the hotel.

We got to the appointment just a few minutes late, but the Dr. was running late too. He arrived, quite breathlessly, about 15 minutes after we did. We went straight into his office and he pulled out Brody's file. Much to my surprise, his biopsy results were in a sealed envelope, so out went my 'no news is good news notion!' I got a little pit in my stomach, but was still feeling really positive. He opened the envelopes first thing, I felt like I was waiting for the Oscar winner to be named or something, and his highlighter started sketching across the page. His facial expression changed from his usual, down to business look and a shadow of concern and confusion swept across his face. His exacts words were, "Ok. (pause) We do have a surprise. (longer pause.)" And my mind started racing, and my heart started pounding, and I'm subconsciously thinking, "fight or flight," but you can't run or fight with words on paper.

In the last 3 weeks the scenario played through my head a hundred times. Sometimes while I was laying with Brody, with his tiny little face on my lap, smiling up at me with his still so childlike wonder and enthusiasm as he tells me, "I think my calling in life is to be the first paleontologist to discover the Dinocyrus (they've only found the arms so far of what would be the biggest and scariest dinosaur to ever have roamed the earth.) Other times it was less convenient, and I would find myself having a small breakdown to the guard at the entrance of the Reserva Conchal Resort as he asked me, "como estas hoy, Carolina?" He didn't know what he got himself into! I cried and thought to myself, "I'm not good, I'm not good at all. I'm terrified, and worried, and praying my guts out that the Lord's will for Brody, is the same as mine." In any case, I found myself sitting next to Brody, across from the Dr. and waiting for his words to spill out in his Spanglish that would give me some long awaited resolution. "His left tonsil has a Hongo." I did not LOL, but I did LI (laughed inside). Hongo is the term for "fungus." My feet finally hit the ground. My heart soared. I almost started crying right there in the seat, and while in this Latin culture the Dr. probably wouldn't have been the least bit surprised, I held it together for my little dude.

The Dr. explained how he has only seen a fungus in the throat once or twice in his whole career. He has to meet with the pathologist to understand it more, but the treatment will be simple. It's no wonder that Brody had a loss of appetite with a nasty fungus dripping down his throat day in and day out. It explains it all, and in a way that brings me such immense relief and happiness, cloud 9 will be my living space for the foreseeable future. I am so happy that it's not in the plan right now for Brody to suffer. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for Brody's presence in our home, for his sweet spirit, fantastic imagination, and his appetite for art. Yesterday as we strolled happily through the mall, I saw a beautiful puzzle replicating a famous work of art. I asked Brody if he knew who the creator was, and he replied without hesitation, "that's Van Gogh." I love his unique spirit!

Thanks for the love, meals, e-mails, prayers, phone calls and support we have received from all our friends and family. We love you so much and are eternally grateful for the relationships we have formed all over the world. Van Gogh said, "If you have art, music, and friends, what more could you need?" I say, "if you have family, friends, and sunshine, what more could you need?"

Love to all!