Harmon's Haven

Meet amazing dad Robbie, mother-in-training Jesika, 7 year old best big sister Bree, 5 year old boy in every way Gabe, 3 year old who thinks he's 10 years old who makes us all laugh McKay,
and 9 month old sweetest Quinn Marie...the Harmon Family!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

3 years old!

On Saturday, January 23rd, my sweet Bree turned 3 years old! The whole two weeks previous she was soooooo excited....every morning she would ask, "Is today my birthday?" After saying no several days in a row we made a countdown chain. Then every morning she couldn't wait to cut off a link! Saturday morning she woke up at 5:45! It was like Christmas :) Daddy made a special birthday breakfast and then she opening the presents from us. Gabe "gave her" a new dress, which was her favorite gift :) Then we had a party at 11:30 with many neighbors and friends (the details of getting ready for the party will be another post...lets just say it was another memory that was depressing at the time, but can be laughed about now!). We grilled hotdogs and had watermelon (Robbie was SOOOO excited for the hotdogs :) and a veggie tray, and of course cake and icecream. Two neighbors let us use their little pools which we had set up for the kids which they had a blast with. Then Bree opened fun gifts (oh people were so nice!) and we finished off the fiesta with a pinata! All the kids loved it and Bree had such a wonderful time. She is such a sweet sweet girl and I am so blessed to be her mother!

Things Bree is doing at 3:
-She always wants to help me make dinner...and is getting better at pouring the measuring cup into the bowl without spilling :)
-She loves to draw, color, and read together.
-She speaks so well. But now the fun part is all of the Spanish she is picking up on. Not only is she saying the things I say in Spanish has also started saying things that the other kids and parents say, like "come here" and "watch me"...! It's SO cute and I hope when we get to Arizona we can both just keep learning. I would love if she could do a Spanish/English pre-school!
-She can recognize all of her letters and write many of them, including her name (even though she writes it BrEE with a lower case r...it's just so much easier :)
-She loves to sing and dance and has recently started doing "performances" for us (and grandparents via skype) on the coffee table...this includes a song and dancing.
-She can pump herself on the swings and loves it.
-She is really sweet with Gabe and is so willing to help him when he needs. When he is crying or I am changing a diaper and he doesn't like it she will run over with a toy and say, "Here you go Gabe!" And, since she has gotten really into sticks, after finding herself a big one she always finds one for him to (I'm not so thrilled about that as Gabe is :) He loves it!).
-Her new thing is coming into a room and asking, "Are you ok guys?" When we respond yes she says, "ok" and goes with whatever she was doing :)
-She is learning how to earn money and save it to buy something at the store.
-She has been successfully sleeping without a diaper at nap time and has gone almost two weeks at night without a diaper too! (With only one accident!)

I am SO happy to be a mother of sweet 3 year old Bree!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

All we needed was a little whip cream :)

We realized last week that we were deprived of sugar. I had bought some whipping cream for Bree's birthday party, but last week Robbie opened it and exclaimed he needed it now! I looked over and he was doing this! Bree got right in line and loved it :) We really haven't had many sweets since we got here...but thank heavens for Bree having a birthday and packages from Grandmas! So we have successfully made it through two weeks without daddy! He's back in school and though he is SO ready to be finished, he is enjoying his classes. I'm not going to say that being without a car, not knowing the language, and not knowing the area hasn't presented any challenges...but, we have had some fun! Some happenings from these two weeks:

~Gabe is walking!
Seriously, he hadn't taken more than two steps by himself and then suddenly last Wednesday night he just walked across the room! It's so cute watching him!
~Bree is the lone girl in the neighborhood with her new friends Ricardo (who is 5) and Andres (who is almost 4).
It has been weird realizing that my little girl is getting big enough to just "go play" at her friend's house! But I will admit it is wonderful if it's during Gabe's morning nap and I have a little time to myself! Cute Ricardo just comes over all the time. In the morning, afternoon, and often right when we are eating dinner (he usually ends up eating some of what we are eating even if he's already had dinner :) I realized that perhaps my best Spanish practice is with him, because he doesn't care how I speak! And if he understands I feel so good!
~Gabe had his first hair cut (Robbie did a good job, I was just sad to see his curls go. :( It makes him look too old!


~Fun with boxes and chairs and making forts with dad (who needs toys!).

~Craft projects (when Gabe is sleeping).

~A trip with our friends Diana and Vivi to INBOparque (we knew Diana from UNC where her husband did his MBA!) This was a kind of a zoo/playground/petting farm type of place. There were tons of neat plants with HUGE leaves, big iguanas, a sloth, turtles...but the best part was the butterfly room! It wasn't really a room, but an outside area that had netting on the top and sides with butterflies flying all around! I couldn't believe how much I loved it! Bright beautiful flowers and bright beautiful butterflies surrounding me...I felt like I was in a room in heaven or something! It was such an interesting, wonderful feeling. I hope there really is a butterfly room in heaven! But the best part was, I saw this amazing blue butterfly on the fence and I sat there for five minutes trying to get a good picture of it but every time it would open it would shut it's wings before I could get a picture.
Next thing I know one landed on Gabe's shoulder!
He didn't notice, but the girls were laughing and Bree was trying to tell Gabe to look. It stayed there for a long time actually, then Gabe turned his head and the butterfly brushed his cheek and gave him a real butterfly kiss! He turned again trying to reach for it and then he grabbed it! He had it in his hand and I was thinking, "OH NO HE'S GOING TO CRUSH IT!!" But then he suddenly let go. Oh I was so grateful :) They also had goats and sheep and rabbits...but it wasn't like in America where you look from outside the pen, here you just walk right in and they are all around you! Bree and Gabe loved it :)
When we were leaving Gabe was so cute pointing to the animals, when a goat poked his head out. I thought 'oh so cute I'll take a picture'...right as I did it nipped Gabe's finger!! Seriously! It wasn't bad or anything, but definitely scared Gabe! The kids had a blast and were exhausted on the way home :) Poor Vivi didn't have the most comfortable ride home :)
~And of course, the week couldn't end without another Costa Rica accident! Last Friday I had my first Spanish lesson. Our first Sunday here a lady in our ward told me her sister was a Spanish teacher for English speakers and offered to watch Bree and Gabe while I had lessons. Great! So we met at Olga's house (the teacher) and Bree was so excited because she had two hammocks (everyone here has a hammock and Bree loves them!). I left Bree and Gabe out there with Lillianna (the lady from my ward) and her 10 year old daughter (who Gabe loves) and went in fr my lesson. It couldn't have been ten minutes when I heard a scream. I ran out there to find Bree flat on the ground...with blood all over her mouth.
Fortunately this time I didn't start crying :) but once Gabe saw that his sister was crying and I was holding her of course he started crying. Oh boy. They distracted him while I cleaned Bree up a bit but she was hysterical so I just needed to get them home. I explain to Bree that Gabe is too little to understand that I can't hold him so she needs to be tough while we get in the car and they take us home. She was so good as we walked out and Gabe of course sees us and starts crying and wants me, I grab him and we gather our things and they take us home...the whole time apologizing and making sure we have medicine. They were so sweet. Once we got home we could see that her teeth punctured her lip. We debated taking her in to to get stitches, but after Robbie gave her a blessing we felt good about it healing on it's own.
Which was a huge blessing because taking her to the hospital here would have been quite the experience, and I'm sure would have traumatized her even more! Wow. I am grateful this time I was calm and collected...but gee whiz what is it with me going out with the kids and Costa Ricans?! Poor Bree. Her lip was HUGE the next morning, above her eye was scrapped up and bruised, and her head too. Then on Saturday Gabe fell outside and got a good bruise on his head! I'm sure these aren't the last of the accidents my children will have...but I pray that accidents won't continue to be a part of our outings with Costa Ricans! It did make her feel better though to come home to hugs from daddy and a little whipped cream :) Pura Vida!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I have no words...

Get ready to laugh...

So this morning we went with my friend Mariselle and her daughter to a store to look for some things for Bree and Gabe's birthdays (which are coming up in a couple weeks!). I was at the checkout counter when I look over to see our cart go crashing to the ground!! I caught a little bit of it which hopefully took away some of the blow, but yes, it landed on Bree and Gabe hit the ground. The next few moments were like slow motion... I reach down and pull out Gabe who of course is crying...the woman behind us in line (who had already saved me when Gabe almost grabbed and dropped a bottle of wine while we were waiting to check out!) keeps reaching for Gabe like she would hold him, but speaking in Spanish that isn't registering at all...I'm kneeling on the ground and reach over and pull in Bree with my other hand, who is also crying...sweet Mariselle is kneeling next to me helping pick up my wallet and purse and stuff that has fallen...and what do I do? Normally I'm pretty sure I would just comfort my children, gather up our things and smoothly and calmly pay and leave. But no, I start crying!! Seriously, it wasn't even embarrassing, it was just plain pitiful. And now really quite funny. Three poor Americans sitting on the floor crying. Oh I can just picture it. And the sad thing was I couldn't stop! We got up, I looked at the cashier who was also almost crying herself and said, "Lo siento" (I'm sorry). We started walking out and one of the guys who works at the store had a plastic frozen bottle of soda and told me it was for Gabe's head. I learned this the other day when we were at our other friend's house, I guess in Costa Rica if someone hits their head they need ice. Ya, like Gabe is going to let someone put ice on his head :) But I said gracias and he put the bottle up to Gabe's head which lasted all of five seconds. It was a sweet gesture though. Then as we walked out of the store another man ran after us and told me to make sure to put ice on his head. Maybe they thought it was swollen? No, my child just has a large head thank you. And yes, all this time I am still crying. (Gotta love this time of the month.)

Needless to say I was completely at a loss for words. English or Spanish.
At least I can laugh about it now :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fun in the Sun!

Here are a few highlights from the last two weeks...our first two weeks in Costa Rica: Here we have Mary and Joseph in the stable in our Christmas Eve Nativity reinactment. It was going well until Joseph decided to tear down the stable, which didn't make Mary very happy. They were sweet though, and Bree just loved singing Christmas carols this year! Since our children were still on eastern time (and still are!!) they arose around 5:00 AM Christmas morning...when Robbie went in to try and tell Bree she needed to go back to sleep she said, "Did Santa come yet dad?" Robbie said, "I think so..." and Bree said, "Oh good cause he's bringing toys for me and Gabe since we don't have any." She meant in Costa Rica...and it was true, I guess I thought she'd be fine without toys for a few months...but that broke our hearts and so under the tree Santa had written a note to them that said, "You get to go with your parents to pick out one new toy!" Since she hadn't told Santa what she wanted he didn't know :)
Funny thing though, Christmas morning she went past the gifts straight to the stockings (which were Robbie's dress socks!) And I was just grateful that she was excited about the fruitsnacks and fruit roll-ups that were in it! After a fun breakfast and morning our neighbors invited us over for Christmas lunch. The traditional meal for Christmas day is Tamales... and mmmmm were they good! It was so fun being with someone's family for Christmas (they had their aunt, mother, brother and his family and over)! It was a definately a different but memorable Christmas :)
The day after Christmas we rented a car and drove 1/2 hour to San Jose for the Tope! This is a traditional horse parade that happens every December 26th in several cities in Costa Rica. But the one in the capital, San Jose, is the biggest and horses from all of the coutry come! See the horses behind Robbie and Bree? That was before the parade started, once it started the street was FILLED with horses! It was crazy! We couldn't believe the horses didn't go crazy being so close together! And sidenote, if any of you ever plan on traveling in Costa Rica here is a tip...there are NO road signs! Even on the highways! Robbie did an AMAZING job navigating our way there and back home. I was so impressed with his sense of direction because it was crazy! On our way back we stopped in a town called Belen (which means Bethlehem) where the temple is located. There is a church right next to it. It was such a welcomed sight. We actually went to church there the next day (since we couldn't find the one close to us in Alajuela where we are going to go). Afterwards, we stopped to get dinner, our first time out to eat and oh so yummy! Bree LOVED dipping her chips in the black beans... delic! This is gallo pinto, the famous Costa Rican breakfast meal. (Beans and rice with eggs :) It was yummy too! Not like out of this world you gotta have it today yummy, but really good. Sunday after church we went for a walk around Incae (that is the business school Robbie is doing his exchange with) and outside of campus a little bit. Here we're walking up the hill just before our house, which is down at the end on the right. The flowers here are amazing!! Seriously, florescent pinks, oranges, purples, bright yellows... my favorite! I am such a flower person that just seeing these makes me so happy :) And remember how I said there are ants everywhere? Well, perhaps it's because they don't have ant hills, they have ant mountains! But we are really surrounded by such beauty :)

Onto week two: Here's just a funny picture, I had peeled this cucumber to slice for a snack for our trip to the beach and had set it down for a second and next thing I know she says, "Look mom! I have a cucumber popsicle!" We took a day trip out to a beach called Punta Leona. The drive out to the coast goes up, through, and down these huge mountains... it wasn't too bad except that poor Bree got super car sick and threw up all over on the way there! But, that didn't stop us, neither did a few wrong turns (which made a 1 1/2 hour trip into a 3 hour trip!), it was all worth it! We still had plenty of time to swim, and Gabe even made a friend (the little boy on the left just loved Gabe and played with him for a while! It was so cute!). The water was perfect and we hope to go back again soon! I'm just grateful my husband has converted to being a beach lover (thanks to our trip to Topsail in North Carolina!!)... being the cowboy mountain man that he is it took me three years in NC to get him to the beach there, but once he went now he loves the beach! A few days later we visited the Zoo that is just down the street from us. It was way more pricey that we expected :( but it was neat to see new animals, and even have them walking down the sidewalk with us! (Bree wanted to pet that peacock so badly!) We saw such neat birds, crocodiles, monkeys, and the huge iguanas that are all over we've heard.
Gabe was so good to sit in his stroller the whole time :) He couldn't see much, but was entertained anyway! We just LOVED having daddy all to ourselves the entire two weeks! (I was secretly happy that our internet didn't get set up until Saturday because then every evening was like date night!) We are definitely feeling settled and happy and we'll just see what happens once Robbie starts school tomorrow! Oh and we went to our ward today... SO GREAT! The people there are just the sweetest and everyone kept coming up to Bree and Gabe and holding their cheeks and kissing them. Gabe was eating it up, Bree wasn't so sure at first. The funny thing is there aren't any other little kids Bree's age so there isn't a nursery, but there are several kids like 5 and up. So they just have one big primary class and Bree was just right there with them! There was a little group of girls who were all like 7 and 8 who just gathered around Bree and were so sweet. She loved it :) I asked her what they did and she said they played games and sang songs, but she didn't sing because she didn't know those Spanish words :) Hopefully we will soon! Pura Vida!