Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Costa Rica, Baby!

I realize that this will most likely be the longest post most of you have ever seen, so I'm offering fair warning that there are a lot of pictures to follow. However, this is scaled down from the 550 pictures that were taken, so it could be worse.  But if you get to the end, you honestly deserve a medal for endurance or something.  Hope you enjoy!

We went to Costa Rica for a week with my entire family. For those of you who don't know them or haven't seen them in a few years (Julie's now 20 if you can believe it) that includes (L to R) Julie, Scott with Avery, Jonny, Abby and Gabe, Peter and Austin, Geoff, Mom, Dad, Joseph with Sophie, and me.
We were on the dry side of the island so we were surprised at how brown it was, but it is the end of the dry season, so we had to drive a ways to get to the green and lush rainforests.

Still it was very pretty where we stayed with a great ocean view and lots available to do.

Peter and Abby with their cute boys Austin and Gabe.

There were 3 pools and Sophie spent most of her time in the kiddie pool, so we did, too. Avery just liked them okay. She's more of an it-should-feel-like-a-warm-bath kind of girl, so she wasn't too keen on the cold water, even if it was scorching hot outside.

This path led down to our rooms and eventually to the beach.

Here's Jonny and my Dad outside our place shootin' the breeze while they enjoy the cool ocean breezes.

We had 3 rooms all in a row which was nice. Geoff was lucky enough to be our roommate which meant that he got to put up with Avery's crying, but he was a great sport and hopefully wasn't too sleep-deprived the entire time.

We had some yummy buffet-style breakfasts our first couple of days in Costa Rica. I can understand now how Joseph could eat beans and rice for every single meal in Brazil. It's actually really good mixed with scrambled eggs, too!

On Sunday night we took a walk on the beach. The sand is amazing there. It's black (volcanic?) sand and feels so good, almost as good as the water. The water was warm and so inviting.

It was hard to keep the kids out of it. We tried to tell them that they'd get to go in for real the next day, but no amount of persuading kept them from throwing sand into the water and getting it everywhere.

Sophie and Austin both came home pretty drenched, but they were sure excited to head back in the morning!

Who doesn't like long walks on the beach? Joseph I took one just the two of us one night and it was incredibly beautiful.
We were having a hard time believing we were really in Costa Rica!

It doesn't get much prettier than this!

The long-awaited first dip in the ocean.

Avery came in the water for a little while but preferred just hanging out on the towels.

The guys played a lot of frisbee and games of 500 in the water.

We stayed out there much longer than we should have and most everyone got burned, even with our many coats of sunscreen. We figured that since it's closer to the equator that it's also closer to the sun, therefore you just have a higher chance of burning.

Scott should have stayed like this the entire time and I think he would've stayed safely white. Sophie and Geoff had a grand time burying him with mud. And to think women pay big bucks to take mud baths at spas and such.

We saw a lot of crazy creatures while we were in Costa Rica. Here is one we saw all over our resort. We felt like we'd come full circle seeing it there because we'd also seen one on Sophie's very first trip ever when she was only 3 months old in Florida. My Dad joked that it would be her first word: coatamundi. So to see it in Costa Rica was fate.

These handsome devils were also all over the place, sunbathing. It's a rough life.

And we also got to see a bunch of monkeys. This one carried her little one on her back for us.  I looked like this with Avery in the Bjorn!

This is totally out of order, but I just had to show you what Sophie decided she was going to bring in her suitcase. This is a stack of about 30 books from her bookshelf, along with all the bath toys. At least she was smart enough to throw in a couple shirts! She wasn't happy when I put them all back, but our luggage was heavy enough without her book collection coming along as well. Plus, when the entire bottom row of the suitcase is only diapers, you don't have much room left for the other essentials that have to go.

We took an all-night flight from Los Angeles to Liberia, Costa Rica. I will never do that again if I can help it. The girls got minimal sleep, the parents almost none. This was the second time Avery went down. She really does sleep better on her tummy, even if it's in a carseat. I guess when you're tired enough you can sleep anywhere.

Abby and Austin chillin' in the hammock while we wait for our rental cars. We couldn't wait to get to our place so we could all crash for a long afternoon nap.

On Sunday we went to church in a little branch in Liberia. Those who speak and understand Spanish (i.e. Scott, Abby, Joseph, my Mom, Peter, and Geoff) got a lot out of the talks and said they were excellent, but I unfortunately didn't understand much at all. I think Sophie got even less. :)

One of the things we were most excited about doing in Costa Rica was a Canopy Tour. Basically it's a bunch of zip lines that take you over the cloudforest. (Here's Jonny doing it.)

We could have done it where we were staying but opted to drive 3 hours each way to the center of the country so we could do it where it's actually green. (Here's Geoff trying out the lines.)

They hook you up to a zip line and tell you to lean back and lift your legs, and then you're off, sailing over a canopy of leaves, close enough you can touch some of them. (Here's Scott almost doing just that.)

It's absolutely exhilerating and nothing like I've ever experienced before. (Here's Abby taking the plunge.)

Even when you had to hike to the next set of lines, it was just cool to be in a rainforest!

This group went the first day while the other 5 adults stayed home and watched the kiddos. Then we went the next day and had the time of our lives!

Mom was a little bit trepidatious about the whole experience since she has a pretty good fear of heights. But they took good care of her so she ended up having a great time.

Our group of intrepid explorers just after getting our orientation.  Mom's trying to make her stomach stop doing flips, with little success.

Who is that incredibly handsome man swinging through the jungle?  His wife is so lucky! ;)

There's the lucky girl herself, having the time of her life.

My Dad is on the second to the longest line here.  The longest line is 1 km and they make you do it with a partner in order to have enough weight to get you all the way to the finish so they don't have to come out and get you.

This is how Mom did most of the lines, with a "taxi" as he called himself.  We had 3 guides and this lead one made sure she felt safe the entire time.

She finally felt like she could try one alone, and this is what happened.  She put her hand in the back too close to her head and it made her start to turn, which is easy to do.  But the guide told her that she wasn't allowed to do any more alone after that.

I think Julie was wishing the guides would taxi her. :)  Just kidding, Bug!  They weren't tall enough anyway.

About halfway through you come to a huge rope swing that they call their Tarzan swing.  Fortunately you're hooked up to this as well so you feel completely safe doing it, but it's quite a drop off that platform.  You really can't help letting a nice Tarzan yell escape your lips on that first drop!

Julie definitely had a great "Jane" yell.

My Mom's was the funniest to watch and hear, though.  She screamed so loud that the guides joked that she was scaring away the monkeys.  Here she is wondering what on earth she was doing up so high and was sure she was about to plunge to a certain death.

Our fearless leaders for the trip.  They seemed very young, but they have been doing these for years and were great and a lot of fun.

We had a great time on our Canopy Tour in Monteverde and would recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica.

So what did the others do while we were gone?  Apparently mud was the order of the day.

Avery I guess couldn't seem to get enough.  She shoveled it in so fast.  Thanks, guys. :)

Avery absolutely loves to laugh.  She'll crack up at anything and get everyone around her laughing just at her laugh.  And she sure loved her cousin Gabe.  She couldn't get enough of him.

Unfortunately, though, she liked to lord over him the fact that she can crawl and he can't yet.  Even though he's bigger than her, she used her two months more of life to tackle him any chance she could get.

We really enjoyed all the food we ate.  We tried some Peruvian food one night and some of us had some truly authentic Costa Rican food at other times.

I'm not a seafood fan, but many in my family are.  I got the privilege of sitting next to my brother Geoff one night when he was having jumbo shrimp.  Yep, their little heads and eyes were still attached and everything.  Gross!  I just can't seem to eat anything that's staring back at me as I bite it, but to each their own I guess.

The Austin Dude is a complete clown.  He is so fun and Sophie always has a great time with him (in between fighting over each other's stuff, of course.)

When we weren't at the beach or the rainforest we were usually in the pool.  It feels good to get wet but not be covered in sand at the same time, too.

Sophie's really quite brave in the water and loves to jump into our arms.  One night Geoff taught her how to dive and she could do it off the side really quite well.  I was impressed.

Scott showing off his mad flipping skills off of Geoff's back.

A Lamb tradition in the pool is to create towers as high as we can get them.  We've put 4 adults on top of each other before, but now that we have little ones it's a nice excuse to put them on top instead.  So here's our twin leaning towers of Costa Rica.

We tried out a pizza place near our resort that had some really fun, exotic pizzas that ended up being absolutely delicious.

Sophie liked watching the guy put the pizzas in the huge oven and then slice them up.  One of her favorite books is "Pete's a Pizza" and she likes to make us into pizzas as well as be made into one at home.

We tried a lot of different kinds and I think were happy with all of them.

Some satisfied customers.

We also celebrated Jonny's birthday while we were there--#26!  We found the yummiest chocolate cake that I've had in a really long time.

Scott doesn't know how to take a serious picture.

Apparently, neither does Julie.

My parents were in heaven having all 4 of their grandchildren together.  Those kids love their Gramma and Grampa Lamb for sure!

They also love each other and have a ton of fun together.  I'm so glad they've each got someone their age on this side of the family.  Hopefully there will be more sometime in the not-too-distant-future from other members of the family! (hint hint!)

On our last day there we went snorkeling out by some white sand beaches.  Sophie loved the boat ride there.

I think Austin did, too.  But that kid loves anything to do with water.

I don't know what happened to whoever's camera this was, but this was the only shot we got of someone snorkeling, so there's Joseph after taking in all the beautiful fish.  We went over to those reefs and saw a lot of amazing fish.  A couple people even saw a little octopus!

Can you guess what the name of this rock might be?  Yeah, monkey rock.  From this angle it's quite fitting.

This was my Mom and Julie's reaction to seeing where Michael Jordon and Madonna both have homes. :)

Bug and Scott on the way back home.

We went to another little place where we saw a bunch of these monkeys.  They were eating unripe mangos and throwing them down after a couple bites.  Kind of funny.

Avery likes to hang upside down so Geoff affectionately nicknamed her Monkey on the trip.  Here he's trying to get her to go visit her other family.

This guy didn't think that would be such a good idea I guess.

The people there couldn't get enough of Sophie's red hair.  I heard them say "Que linda" a lot when they saw her.  They also don't have much personal space and were always up in the kids' faces and touching them and such.  It was pretty cute.  Sophie had a hard time saying goodbye to her new home away from home and to our family.  She loved Costa Rica.

We all had a great time and made so many wonderful memories.  Thanks for everything!  We loved our week in paradise with you all!  We love you!

16 comments:

Annie said...

only you have a family cool enough that i don't mind looking at a bajillion pictures of. your parents are so rad, you guys will remember this trip for forever.

and how much more cute can avery get? oh my gosh, it makes me hope ours is a girl!! : )

glad you had fun. sad we missed you at disneyland. i'm sure i'll go down next summer after we graduate to see my sis, so definitely then.

Annie O. said...

I loves this post! It is so nice there. It was so fun to see all of your family together. You guys all look great. Johnny is really 26? Wow. We made that trip from NYC to Panama City, it is DANG long, I am impressed that the kids did so well. Aloria and Avery need to hang out, they bit seem to enjoy harassing the boys who are bigger than them.
Do I get a medal? I read it all!!

The Lambs said...

My word- can I just copy yours?!!! Way to go Becky! I bet that took forever! We loved being there with you guys too and hopefully we'll see you over the long weekend ahead?

Poppy said...

How much fun. Costa Rica is on my list of places that I would like to visit. I'm jealous!

meli said...

What an awesome vacation! Your family looks great-I can't believe how grown up everyone is! I still picture your siblings as young'uns, not 20 somethings. Crazy! Your daughters are cute as always! I miss you!

Fellars Family said...

Wow - how fun to spend a week in paradise with your family.

Anonymous said...

And who's that good-lookin' dude in the golf hat in the first two family pictures? Geoff, of course!
Becky, you did a wonderful job putting together a travel-pict-o-rama. Thanks so much! Boy, am I looking old, though! Love, Mom

Sunny said...

What a fun trip! I can't believe how grown up Sophie is!

Terrence and Kestlee said...

JUICE!!! What's up kid?! It's been a long time. I look at this thing every once in a while, but Kestlee usually does all the blogging.
It must be nice to be workin in the real world and able to take vacations. I'm jealous.
I even see that someone got you to sport the fauxhawk in one of those pics. nice look.
I'm on a little break before I start clinicals for PA school so I figured I'd try to catch up on what some of ya'll are doin. So it's nice to see that things are goin well and you're enjoying the finer things in life: fun, family, and good food!!
Exciting trip with amazing pics! sorry this comment became a novel.
PEACE,
The Rev

Harrison's said...

What an amazing trip with priceless memories!!! I love all the pictures. Sophie's red dress is too cute and I love Avery's swimsuit shots and eating mud -- so adorable. What a wonderful vacation.

By the way, I've heard there are other ways to load photos to blogs but I've never done it...did you load these 5 at a time? You're amazing.no

Deborah Austin said...

I so enjoyed reading about your trip seriously how fun. I read this early one morning I think this morning the no I think yesterday I don't remember the days are running into each other but none the less I read it with a baby in my arms so I didn't leave a comment so I came back so I could. Wow!! What a fun vacation one you will remember forever your family is so great, Kuddos(I don't know if I spelled that right) for helping make such great memories with you guys that is so awesome.

Your girls are so so cute and avery is growing so fast!!

Well awesome trip that is so cool. And great to hear you get to stay in Cali, now it just means we still have time to come visit!

Emily said...

What a fun trip. I loved all the photos. My dad and brothers went there for a humanitarian dental trip and loved it. I would write more but I gotta go V.Ting:)

Alison said...

Looks like you had an awesome trip!! It was so much fun for me to see pictures of the entire Lamb Fam Clan ;)

Holly or James said...

That looks like a FUN trip! I made it to the end of the post even.
-james

Melissa and Kevin said...

I had fun catching up on your blog this morning. Looks like life is going fabulously for you guys. I'm glad you guys get to stay in California for a bit longer- it seems like a fabulous place to live with so many fun things to do. U an definitely jealous of the weather. What a fun trip Costa Rica must have been. Your girls are sooo cute!

Brian&Pam said...

I LOVE this post! HOW FUN that the ENTIRE FAMILY got to go! Looks like you had SO much fun and I can't get over how BEAUTIFUL your girls are! (they take after their mommy for sure!) Brian has travelled a lot, and has said lots of times that Costa Rica is one of his most favorite places...it looks gorgeous! Anyway, glad you had such a great vacation - love you all!