A few minutes before midnight we boarded an overnight flight to Houston and a few minutes after takeoff, all four of us fell asleep. The problem with an overnight flight to Houston is that it's not actually "overnight" so much as "early night to later night", and when we landed, 3.5 hours later, no one was ready to function in the new day.
I blame sleep deprivation for a hazy recollection of what my children ate for breakfast that morning in the airport. There were definitely donuts. We met up with Jordan's family and boarded the second flight to Liberia, Costa Rica. We met Dan's family outside customs and climbed into a van that would lumber south for two hours before we finally arrived in Nosara, a sleepy surf town buried at the end of an unpaved road along the Nicoya peninsula's western edge.
Dan found the house on VRBO. The bedroom quarters were tall and narrow with a ground level living and kitchen space that spilled into a indoor/outdoor patio and pool area. The husbands got up with the daylight to surf while the wives slept in, shared coffee, and fed the babies. Munch and Wow were usually in the pool before LD got back, and I’d leave the three of them splashing in their rash guards to go running on the beach while a morning breeze kept the tropical heat tolerable for aerobic exercise. White vapor rose from the thicket of trees that spilled onto the sand, and with the disappearance of the breeze and the vapor came the full effect of a blazing tropical sun.
When I got back, the moms (Debby, Steph and I) would bump along unpaved roads in a golf cart, park next to the "no parking" sign at the base of Nosara's Yoga Institute, and hike a short distance up to the treetop studio for a pre-lunch class in a canopy of palm trees.
There was more family to family variation in the afternoons, allowing for the different needs and nap schedules imposed by 1 year old Luk, 2.5 year old Jul, Munch, and Wow. And by variation, I mean
I had never heard of Nosara before Dan and Jordan proposed it as a possible destination for a group family vacation. Although Nosara is also known for its beautiful beach and relative safety, the main reason for this suggestion (and their wanting to return after a trip two years prior) was fairly specific.
Jordan and Dan
I'd warned Debby (Luk's mom) when we spoke on the phone and whom I haven't seen since we left San Diego 4 years ago, that we, um..there's um.. a lot of yelling that happens in our household and that I hoped living with us for a week wouldn't be too, um, intense.... She assured me it would be fine.
And it was. The four kids got along as best as can be expected. Luk got knocked over and roughed up a bit, Wow and Jul stole each other's toy cars and plastic airplanes, and took turns throwing them into the pool. Jul initially showed an interest in whatever Munch was doing, and she reciprocated this interest by developing an vehement hypersensitivity to anyone touching her crayons or watching her draw. Two seconds after Jordan yelled SLOW DOWN, Jul tripped, skid down the gravel, and took the skin off his forehead, chin, and knee cap. Luk tasted his first ice cream, and immediately broke out into hives. Wow cut his eye lid on the staircase, blackened the forehead on the coffee table, and within an hour of arrival, threw a toy into the pool, leaned over to retrieve it, and tumbled in. Very disappointing, young man.
So, in sum, when traveling with people who are not blood relations, I'd highly recommend the parents of other young children who are also in the middle of the are you kidding me with this? years of child-rearing.
But it was a lot of fun. Almost without exception the ten of us ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner crowded together around the patio dining table. Dan hired a cook and housekeeper to come in a few times during the week and off load some of the more chore-like aspects of vacationing with kids. Meals, whether they were prepared by us or the cook, were based on a framework of beans, rice, avocado, tortillas, and grilled meat. The kids got used to mango in the guacamole, coconut in the oatmeal, and papaya after almost every meal.
(hives shortly to follow)