Oh Costa Rica Pictures, why are there so many of you? I am staying up past my bedtime (ha) tonight to get a few of these posted, mostly to satisfy the demands of an anonymous commenter (that I'm pretty sure is my little sister who just went away to college). I need to go on a blogging kick this week because I literally have dozens of posts in the works. I have been negligent in keeping caught up this summer. Let's get started.
Since a soccer tournament almost cancelled our Costa Rican vacation, it was fitting that a soccer tournament also make it so that we had to catch a flight at 1:00 AM instead of a time when normal people with small children get on airplanes. John and I put our kids to bed at 7:30 PM like usual, and then woke them up at 11:00 PM to head to the airport. It felt wrong, but also made it pretty magical for George. He thought it was awesome to be up in the middle of the night to get on an airplane. The kids were really superb travelers, for the most part. George was easy as pie. He just went with the flow; he slept in crazy, hunched over positions on hard armrests, and sat quietly reading books when he was awake. Pearl was a little more difficult to get back to sleep on that first flight, and it was a bit stressful since I was sitting with her next to slumbering strangers that I didn't want to drive crazy. After forcing her to nurse for about 20 minutes, she fell into a fitful sleep (she wanted to lay down and get comfy, and being curled up in my lap was less than ideal), but she slept and was quiet. I might have gotten 15? 20? minutes of sleep in there somewhere, but who cares, we were going to Costa Rica.
When we got to the airport in Atlanta it was around 6:30 AM, so we ate breakfast and then our entourage headed to our gate to hang out.
People who did not have small children to chase around (Adam, Ben, Hannah, Madeline, Rachel, Dad) made makeshift sleeping quarters on the airport floor to try to get some more rest. It was a little difficult with my two monkeys crawling all over everyone. Notice George peeking his head out of the middle of the chairs and Pearl over all up in Hannah's sleep space :).
Adam (not to be mistaken for a terrorist) slept, and Pearl looked out the windows at the airplanes.
Lots of people walked by and laughed at John sleeping underneath a row of chairs. That man can fall asleep anywhere.
The happiest thing happened on our flight from Atlanta to Costa Rica when we realized the plane was pretty empty and we could spread out. Pearl fell right asleep and slept for almost the whole 4 hours because she had so much room to lay down and roll over. John and George were across the aisle and it was the easiest with-children flight I've ever been on.
Stepping off of the airplane and immediately being enveloped by the warm, damp air of Costa Rica was the signal that our vacation had begun. Our first order of business (after getting the royal treatment and being escorted to the front of the customs line-- having small, unruly children really does pay off at times like that) was peeling Pearl's sticky, sweaty jammies (overnight flight, remember?) off of her body and putting her into something a little more weather-appropriate, right there in the middle of the tiny, outdoor Liberia airport.
We hopped into our rental cars, turned on the A/C, and headed towards the coast. Our drive was only about 70 km, which should have taken an hour or so (the roads are bumpy!), but ended up taking us closer to two. We took some pretty awesome scenic detours, but they were happy accidents because you never can see too much of a new, beautiful place. We should have realized that we were a little too off the beaten path when our path took us down windy, cavernous dirt roads that went in circles to tiny, lovely houses where the neighbors that had gathered outside all stopped their socializing to stare and giggle in our direction. Clearly large rental cars filled with white people were not the norm in those parts.
We finally did make it to our hotel. We stayed here, and let me just say, it was glorious. Between the gigantic pool and the ocean being just out the back door, we didn't even have to get in the car on some days. Here we are after our first night, doing some exploring around the hotel. We were happy to be there, can you tell?
Our first full day in Costa Rica was spent mostly hanging out at the beach. We made the drive into the nearest town (Tamarindo) to do some grocery shopping (why is it that even grocery shopping feels like a party when you are on vacation?) and get dinner, but other than that, we just played in the sand and waves all day. So happy. I love these handsome boys. George was in LOVE with the ocean. We had to drag him out of the water (which was seriously the temperature of a warm bath) at the end of the day.
Despite what it looks like in this picture, Pearl really loved the water, too. She was just ready for a nap at this point and was letting me know it. That was another lovely thing about this hotel being right on this beach; one of us could take Pearl back to the cool room for her naps and everyone else could stay out and play.
Adam gave himself an exfoliating mud treatment.
And then my kids followed suit.
And then George insisted on slapping some mud onto anyone and everyone who came near him. That is why my legs are muddy in this second picture.
John caught a little crab and was showing it to the kids while I snapped this photo. Who knew that at this same moment Pearl was also giving the crab a little pet and the crab would decide to give her a little pinch? Bad, bad parents.
Poor lil' thing. She was pretty sad about it all.
John tried to show her the crab again so that she wouldn't hold a grudge against the little pinchy guy forever, but look at that face. She is a tough sell.
A close-up of the mean guy himself.
My mom played with the kids in the water,
and on the shore.
Hannah, Ben, and John held hands and were awkward. No one knows why.
Cute little babes walked along beautiful beaches.
I did not plan for them to have sort of matching swimsuits, (really, Pea's is a hand-me-down and my mom bought George's), but you know that I loved the happy coincidence that it worked out to look like they went together.
We bought this really pretty blow-up lifejacket from the Super Compro there so that George could swim and play without us having to hold onto him the whole time. It was rather unsightly, but he LOVED it. He didn't want to take it off even when he didn't need it. So thumbs up for that!
After the entire afternoon in a plastic lifejacket, there were some chin-chaffing issues so the lifejacket was removed. George didn't let that stop him.
Do pictures of feet make you uncomfortable? If so, I am sorry. This is only one of at least 30 pictures that we took of our feet. As a special pre-vacation surprise, all of us girls went and got coordinating pedicures together. And that needed to be well-documented. These toes belong to Hannah, me, and my mom, respectively.
Lastly, I'll leave you with a series of photos of Ben just casually throwing down a backflip on the beach like it is totally normal to be able to do that.
There you have it! Our first day. Next up: my birthday, Costa Freakin' style.