Posts Tagged With: swim

Hot with a 92% chance of muggy

I landed in Arkansas to visit an extraordinary girl that I’ve been able to grow up with and watch develop into a strong woman and nurturing mom. You’ve seen her before in several posts including Dear highway, will you ever end?  and Look Keka, I got a bullfrog! World, meet my cousin (more like a sister) Lana Lane. We didn’t have much time for quirky photos or big events, but we dig snag a picture of the road trip to Oklahoma- me, her and her family. 

Once arriving to Oklahoma we immediately started our giggles with her sister, which of course means my other sister(ish) cousin, Lacie Lane. Things that would never happen in her home: strangers– because everyone’s welcome with a smile, hunger– because she’d give you her last to make sure you’re fed, misbehaving children– momma bear means business! From left to right, Tennesee (Lacies daughter), Lacie, muah and Lana.

We all joined her son in his first soccer game of the season. You’ve seen sweet Dane in the post Time to work hard(ish).Once the cousins went back to their Monday routines I ventured to my family’s house for some sibling summer fun! Kind of strange to be writing after all these years as if you, the audience, knows these kids personally. I suppose if you’ve been following since the beginning you’ve seen them grow from little tykes in Till next time Oklahoma to the most recent in New found higher love.  Now they range from 6-18 years old! 

I was flattered when the boys invited me on a sunrise fishing trip. Just us, a few poles, bait and priceless time to catch up.

The walk home brought a bundle of fish and some growling tummies. I’ll give you one guess on what we ate for lunch…

Wondering what the temperature is in Oklahoma on a sunny September afternoon? 

Hot with a 92% chance of muggy. 

Our cure? Swim! Last year my carefree siblings were livin it up using a horse trough as a pool. Check out the turkey that joined them in the post You know you’re a country kid when… This summers swimming pool? Well from their mouths, “it’s a real one Keka!” (They call me Keh-kuh)

Have I a mentioned how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful energy? These kids are irreplaceable.

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You know you’re a country kid when…

Weather in Oklahoma brings thunder storms, blistering sun with random flash flooding… and that’s just in July! On sunny days you can usually find the kids anywhere there’s water. Wouldn’t you with a heat index of 108?! On this bright afternoon I found my two littlest sisters playing swimming games with our cousin Tonya (the dark haired cutie). Rachel, the youngest, was most keen on jumping the highest while Sarah and Tonya were convinced that talking to each other under water was the coolest thing ever!  

  

   You know you’re a country kid when: A- you’re swimming in a feeding trough and B- you have to block your pet turkey from joining you!

  

The boys? Some days you’d catch them mowing lawns as a summer money-maker or out on the job with dad getting covered in stucco. If the weather permits, more than likely you would lose sight of them to a pond full of fish that “needs to be caught”. 

These are called Catalpa worms. Aparently you can freeze them until needed, then hook up and throw your line out. I’m not necessarily a fan of any hooking or throwing, however I don’t mind a fish dinner and I love spending time with my bro, so here we go!

   
  

  
 
A hot summer visit to my Grams’s house wouldn’t be complete without some solid work in the yard.   

  
Because I respect my grandma (and value my camera and want to keep my life), I won’t be posting any photos of her push-mowing the lawn. Just know that my 80 year old hero maintains the energy of a woman just a portion of her age while doing laps around her great grandkids. 

Fun fact: She just became a great-great-GREAT Grandma! Here’s a pic of our newest member Asher. Congratulations Dutch and Lauren! 

 When the sun chooses to let the clouds roll by and the streets begin to flood, we tend to find ourselves indoors with games, arts and crafts!  
   
 We usually choose old fashioned coloring books (not a coloring app on your tech device) and games like Hungry Hungry Hippos (calling all kids from the 80’s and 90’s) to rounds of Phase-10 and Skipbo! On this rainy afternoon we decided to color some rocks. 
  
To you, this is a photo of a cute family (if I don’t say so myself). To me, these are precious moments in time that can almost bring a tear to my eye when I allow myself to indulge in the love that I have for these kids.

 Joseph, Ben (Dalton), Hannah, Sarah, Rachel and never forgotten Elizabeth… I love you.   You’ve seen them in posts since the beginning of my travels and oh my how they’ve grown!  

 
 

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Isla de Plata! -aka- “The poor mans Galapagos.”

Our morning started off with a walk to the sea where we got some time to observe the daily routines of the Puerto Lopez fisherman.

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Observation number 1: Duck and cover doesn’t always work when there are this many birds. One of the sweet girls from our group got an unpleasant drop from above.

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Looks like “catch of the day” will be shark.

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As the boat arrives, it’s requested that our shoes come off for the hour journey to the island. Not to completed without our “yes, I’m on a tour” safety vest.

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Along the way they made sure we got the full experience including a family of dolphins playing around!

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As we approached the island, it was clear why so many take time and energy to maintain such a beautiful piece of land. Pirates or locals, maybe a bit if both?

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Either way they smiled and gave a head nod as our entire boat made “ooh” and “awh” sounds at the turtles and fish that surrounded us!

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We get to debark and after a quick foot rinse, the tour begins!

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They warned her that flip flops weren’t a good idea. In her words, “It seems the urge to say I told ya so is universal”. First one, then both in hand.

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Sophie commented on my fashion statement. Well, my ears were burning… Problem solved!

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The trek takes you up, down and around the coast of this gorgeous place with the intention of getting a glimpse if several of the native animals. Up to this point, the only other living creature that seems to be welcoming themselves are the mosquitos that love to squeal in your ear and make incredible eye contact. (I actually got bit on the eye lid!)

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Finally spotted the Blue Footed Boobies!

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We make it to one of the highest points for these amazing views!

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Fun with effects!

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After the climb, we’re back in the boat for a pit stop that we’ve all been waiting for… Sun and swimming!

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As we make the final stretch, what Ecuadorian boat tour wouldn’t be complete without motor trouble… Again.

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If you notice the swells in the back ground are definitely creating a rock to the boat that leads me to switch places with this poor guy who was getting sea sick. (Sophie and I were making faces at the boat trouble, but his natural expression puts ours to shame).

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Back on shore (lucky for the sick guy) and I leave you with one last photo with a snazzy effect. What a day!

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Does this make the adoption official?

To be welcomed into a home for a good nights rest and a solid meal is heart warming but then to be invited to the families farm for a sacred holiday weekend is an honor. They informed me that the gesture was not an obligation but an invitation to join them in their home away from home in Arraijan. Of course I gladly accepted and packed up to head out!

The girls and I are ready to go! As we depart the city, you can quickly see the surroundings begin to change as the buildings turn to trees and the holiday traffic diminishes.

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I’ve been informed that we’ll be stopping at a popular local spot to pick up a snack along the way. Here they make everything fresh including the empanadas, fruit juice, desserts, cheese and yogurt. Wait, fresh yogurt… and it’s frozen! Yes please.

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Back to the car to share the goodies! Here are empanada’s they ordered, on the left is con pollo (with chicken) and on the right is con queso (with cheese).

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For me, homemade yogurt that was just simply frozen. A bit sweet for my taste, but what a treat!

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As we near the farm, they take me on a small detour to snoop around a local market. This one also included local artist selling their work, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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I figure someday when I “settle down” (enter sarcastic finger quoting here) I’d love to decorate my home with things I’ve gathered from all over the world. It may be few and far in between, I enjoy supporting the local creators making a way of life doing what they love. Thank you Raman!

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The next bulk of pictures are just shots I took from the passenger seat as we drove through the gorgeous country side. This is the Panama I’ve been waiting for.

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As the gates are opened, my excitement increases seeing the hidden treasure that awaits. I’m not sure when this was built, but the grounds itself should be fully taken in and not just passed through.

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My goal is not to fully expose this generous family and their belongings, however they were more than encouraging of my photo taking! Here is the open air play room that dubbed as my new hair salon as well.

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Again with precious Allison not knowing what to think of it all. After we were done with the haircuts, she came up and grabbed my hand and with her other hand touched her head. Adorable, she wanted a haircut too!

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My accommodations in what I think is the biggest room I’ve stayed in since the beginning of my travels (that doesn’t have 12 bunk beds included).

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Here are only a couple of the homemade goodies that I got to sample. First we have the popular Panamanian fried bread called hojaldras. These traditional doughnuts are usually eaten plain at breakfast or topped with cheese and beans for a midday snack.

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This is a basic rice, fresh pork and beans with a side of platinos.

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On the last day here, the sun exposed perfect heat for the girls to have their swimsuits on by breakfast. As we take a walk, you’ll notice the guest house and a pool… with no water? Turns out the swimming pool area is in the middle of a renovation.

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Being the creative and determined girls that they are, it’s been decided that a couple feet of water still makes for a good time! Can you remember the days when nothing got in the way of playing in the sun? The pictures below are actually a part of the 30 minute attempt to get her back out of the pool. All smiles from my view!

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On the way back to the main house, we noticed a great location for the handstand photo.

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A final note of gratitude to my new family in Panama. Dan and Lia, I loved observing the unconditional care that you have towards your children and I encourage you to keep guiding by example as I learned so much from you. Many thanks for sharing your home, food, family and time with me!

In the photo below, starting from the left: My coloring partner Elena. Your high energy and love for fun reminds me of the youth I still have inside. Keep practicing your handstands and next time we’ll have a contest!
Next is the oldest named Alexandra. Our walks and talks are still fresh in my memory as I enjoyed listening to your thoughts and sharing ideas. My fingers are crossed for you to get to that “One Direction” concert soon enough!
Oh sweet baby Allison, I loved connecting with you and was thoroughly impressed by your intelligence and never ending smile. (I’m not just saying that because we share the same birthday)!
On the far right sits Eliza. Concerned for my comfort, you were always the first to offer additional help…your consideration didn’t go unnoticed. Math can be a bummer, but finishing homework in time for dress up made it all worth while!

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