The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

the 1 less traveled by

A move to Nicaragua

Browsing Tag:


Azalea hitting the pinata

Birthday Parties in Nicaragua

Azalea Turns 4

I created emails for both of my kids when they were born. My first email to each of them is about the day they were born. I also write to them after life changing events (like moving to Nicaragua), and always on their birthday. Here’s my letter to Azalea:

My Spunky Little Girl,

You are such a fire cracker! You have a lot to say and a lot to do.
For your 4th birthday we kept it small and had about six 4ish year old girls come over to the house. Our friend, Sean’s girlfriend (Maggie) taught you all a dance routine to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” and you all preformed for the parents when they came to pick their daughter’s up. We rented a small jumpy house and I made mac & cheese and cupcakes. You girls had a blast playing with your toys and dress up clothes that you hardly ate anything. Grandma Moo came to Nicaragua for your birthday and bought you an abundance of gifts. You two have a very special relationship. You enjoy playing with her. For some reason most of the day you ended up wearing the rainbow tutu she got you, a head band, and face paint. Looking at the pictures I have to laugh that you were topless almost your entire 4th birthday party. I hope this isn’t the start to something!
You’ve recently gone from saying some words in Spanish to trying to put sentences together. Our gardener moved into the garage in our development and you’ve really enjoyed playing with his 8 year old daughter. You ask me daily how to say things in Spanish so you can communicate with her. 
You tell long stories and just started saying, “I’m just joking, Mom.” You make long verbal lists of things in your stories, it been amazing to watch your vocabulary grow! 
You’ve gotten pretty good on your scooter and we take you to a skate park down the street at Surf Ranch Resort. Dad & I love to take video of you there. You are an amazing swimmer. I swear you get better every week. Last weekend we went to a birthday party and you swam all afternoon in the pool with the big kids. People always comment about your skills. You’ve just started going deeper into the ocean. Its so fun to play with you in the waves. You have started taking ballet classes with Maggie and you seem to really enjoy it. I know G’Ma is going to love seeing you in class when she comes to visit soon. Your art has improved so much. Last night you drew a picture and I could tell exactly what it was. You love to draw. You always come home from school with pictures you’ve drawn for me, Daddy, or Titus. I wonder if you’ll grow into an artist one day.
You are very cuddly with me and I enjoy having you in my arms, on my lap, or cuddled up in bed. My favorite time of the day is reading you a book in my bed before your bedtime. You also usually cuddle with me in the morning for a little bit before getting up for the day.
I love you so much my sweet Little Woo! You make life more fun. I’m so proud to be your Mommy!

Damages to my mom's rental car

Hit and Run in Nicaragua

While attending a baby shower the car we were driving was victim to a hit & run. Unfortunately, the car was one my mom had rented for her two month stay in Nicaragua. We had heard that you need to make a police report before moving the car. Regrettably, this happened on a Sunday when the Nicaraguan’s enjoy a leisure day and move at an even slower than usual.

We discovered our car at about 7:15pm. Soon after, we had the restaurant we were at call the police for us. They finally arrived at 8:30pm. They wanted a copy of my license, Circulation, and Seguro (insurance). Of course, they couldn’t make the copies they needed themselves, so they drove me to a cyber cafe in a tuk tuk to make the copies. Once back at the car with the copies and after some confusion and questioning, they told me to drive the car to the police station. When we showed up, the police at the station wondered why we were there, so apparently we were not expected and no one made a call to alert them to our arrival or any of the information we’d already given. I mistakenly didn’t make copies of all cards front & back, so my husband and I had to go get more copies and come back to the station. Finally the police officer made the report, repeatedly asking a lot of the same questions. For some reason the fact that we were in a restaurant and didn’t see or hear the car when it got hit was very confusing to the police. After the report was made I signed it and was able to take the car. He told me that the report would be available 2 days later in Rivas for me to get a copy. I would need to pay the bank $C100 and then take the receipt to the police station in Rivas.

The next day we told the guy we use for all of our miscellaneous car needs what had happened. We explained that we needed our police report to submit to my mom’s credit card so the insurance would cover the damages. He mistakenly thought we needed a forged police report and we were all confused when he said it would cost $50. Once we got that figured out he said he’d make some calls and get us our report. Weeks went by and many confusing stories before we had the police report in hand. We ended up paying $C400 total, but from the sound of it, it wasn’t just a quick trip to the bank and then a nearby police station…but it never is.

Now the battle begins with my mom’s credit card insurance. A word of warning – when you opt not to use the rental car company insurance because your credit card says it will cover, make sure you read the fine print. My mom’s fine print says that it won’t cover if the car is rented for over 31 days. Unfortunately this accident happened after my mom was in Nicaragua 32 days.

Sleeping training 2 kids in 1 room can be difficult

How to sleep train two siblings in one room

Two kids, one room

A three bedroom North American style home seems to be hard to find in San Juan del Sur. Both homes we’ve lived in have been two bedroom. There does seem to be plenty of five bedroom homes, but not only is that excessive for our family of four, it is also out of our price range.

With the help of In Nica Now we looked for a three bedroom home to move into initially, but were unable to find one that worked for our family. Having a two bedroom first home ended up not being problem when we first moved here since Titus was still very young and nursing a lot at night. It was convenient to have him in a Pack ‘n Play in our room.

It wasn’t until our second house, and my desire to sleep through the night, that this predicament became apparent. Surely people do this everywhere. While driving past the local’s small shack-like homes, I started feeling guilty that this was such a dilemma for me.  I know a lot of Nicaraguans have to all share a bed or sleep in hammocks and I was fussing over how to put two kids in one room in their own beds!

After some bad moods and a few tears arising from lack of sleep, my husband Kharron Googled some modus operandi. We thought the one that made the most sense was to try to get the kids to go to bed at the same time. This would mean Azalea would go to sleep an hour before her usual time and Titus would have to wait an extra 30 minutes for his bedtime. It also meant a race through cooking dinner, eating dinner, bath time, books, & nursing Titus.

The following night we had it all planned out, taking advise from a blog we found “Its time to sleep train the baby” – I would bath both kids and then nurse Titus while Azalea got to play in the tub a little longer. We would both read books so one person could hold Titus, then off to bed for both. We read and followed all the advise about how to prep your toddler for the crying baby in their room and how often to go in and check on both participants.

First night we missed our targeted time of 7pm by 30 minutes. I don’t mean to say that both kids were asleep by 7:30pm, what I mean is that we didn’t even start the adventure until then. It didn’t go well after that. There were many tears and lots of explaining. In the end once the kids were finally asleep it was time for us to go to sleep as well.

Reluctantly we attempted the same process again the next night, but about half way through it we realized that this wasn’t for us. We let Azalea get out of bed and watch a show while I got Titus to sleep. Then once Titus was asleep and it was Azalea’s normal bed time I escorted her to bed explaining that she needed to be quiet. I bribed her with the promise of a donut in the morning if she didn’t wake her brother.

Now we are settled into our two-kids-in-one-room routine and it is going fairly smoothly. We still bath the kids together, but after bath Azalea gets to watch a show on her tablet or sometimes we have a late dinner. At 7:30pm Titus waves goodnight to everyone and gets rocked in the rocking chair and one last nursing session before being put in his Pack ‘n Play bed. Sometimes he gives a couple cries as I shut the door, but he is usually asleep in no time. At around 8pm I read a couple books to Azalea in our bed, then we brush teeth, go potty and she gives goodnight kisses. She now knows that she needs to be very quiet in her room and she hardly ever wakes her brother.

Now I need to figure out how to get only one kid to wake up at a time. Its seems one is always waking the other which makes a zero-to-sixty feel to the start of the day.

This customs desk sponsored by Flor de Caña

Customs – Aduana

I thought getting through customs with 7 bags and 2 kids was going to be a nightmare, especially after traveling a red-eye.  It was actually very easy! There are men to help you with your luggage and you only need to pay them a couple of dollars to make them happy.

There is a VIP option which for $30 per person (and some undisclosed amount for kids) you can skip customs all together.  They take you out a side door and you wait in a lounge while they stand in line and do everything for you.  Not sure how this is legal.  I thought we had made a reservation for this, but there was no one holding our name on a sign when we exited the plane and it wasn’t much of a hassle anyway.

All in all, not a bad experience.

luggage stuffing

Packing To Move Abroad

Is it too early to pack?

My husband & his family are making fun of me, we are 2 months out and I’ve already began packing the suitcases.  Actually I’ve barely started packing, but started accumulating items for the move; scourging the thrift stores for extra large suitcases (since we’re only bringing 6), scanning Craigslist for boxes & dog crates, sending group texts to neighbors to collect newspaper, buying packaging tape…  Its true, I am a planner, but with all there is to do “I don’t feel like this is too early!”, I say with a defiant stomp…well, at least that’s how it gets played out in my head.

I’d like to do more, but Kharron isn’t convinced that getting our storage space this early is necessary. I’ve never done a move like this.  When I moved from Northern to Southern California, everything I owned fit in my Honda.  I didn’t have kids to worry over, I didn’t have a whole house worth of belongings to compact into a 15 x 10 space, and I couldn’t just call my mommy if I forgot anything.

Now my and Ze’s closets contain no shorts nor sundresses…I think that’s a fair start.



Advice from an awesome Kiwi

Date night at Karl Straus Brewery, Carlsbad CA.

While having date night drinks & apps with the hubby, a man walks up to the bar. My husband, who has met no stranger, of course starts a conversation with the accented man. Turns out he is from New Zealand and has lived in 8 countries and had a kid born in 4 of them. We asked his advice on our move… “Only do one big thing.” he said, “Don’t plan a trip in the first 6 months, don’t have a baby the first year, and don’t start a business right away.”  I’m what you might call a busy body and have already made plans to go to Belize in July to visit some friends visiting there.  Part of what I want to accomplish (there I go again) while living in Nicaragua is to see the surrounding countries, work for a non profit, and maybe invest in a business. Although I haven’t changed my plans, his advise certainly does put everything into a realistic perspective.