Water Play

We’ve had lots of water play in the last few days. First was our new little pool — a snake this year.

Serious Finn

Finn’s very serious about pools, apparently. Here are some other shots.

Finn gets wet


Even better, Bruce finished the water table he’s been working on for Cottage and he asked the boys to be his testers to make sure everything was working properly before taking it to the school.

Here it is still in the garage.

Water table boxes

Then Bruce put on the finishing touches.

Final touches

And the boys got to fill it up.

Filling it up

Of course, nothing’s complete without food coloring.


And then they were off — discovering how the hoses work, how the colors mix, how the different valves work, etc. Perfect for Cottage.


And here’s a video of the fun.

Summer Camp at Cottage

Ezra and Finn started Cottage’s last two-week summer camp session yesterday and I was the snack parent. Ezra was thrilled to get to go back and play at Cottage. It was an interesting morning. We had spiders on the play structure, namely this big guy.

Big spider!

Teacher Art masterfully caught him and put him in one of the bug catching containers so the kids could have a look (and so he could later be released back into nature). Teacher Art was triumphant. And the kids were squealing with delight and a little fear.

Teacher Art catches the spider

Later at group time, there was show and tell and Finn told everyone about Belize. “… you have to take a boat everywhere and … THERE’S A POOL!”

Finn shares about Belize

Later they got into swimsuits and went in the pool. Not quite the same as the Belize pool but fun nonetheless.
Lots o' kids in the pool

My guys were the last two hold-outs in the little pool.

In the pool

At lunch bunch, Finn chatted up friends old and new.

Old friends at lunch bunch

New Grill!

We’ve been hankering for a new barbecue for a while now — something easier to use than our old school charcoal version. We finally picked one out and got lucky that a local store was having a 25% off sale this weekend. So Bruce picked it up Sunday afternoon and we embarked on the task of putting it together.

First we had to clean off the patio where there was a pile of wood and a gazillion oak leaves. Finn helped.

Finn sweeps

It took a couple of hours to put it together (and we had a lovely break for dinner with Mike, Carla, Emily and Kendra who were on their way to Disneyland for the week) but here it is!

Bruce shows off his handiwork

Trip to the Huntington with Friends

We took our guys and the Heff kids to the Huntington on Sunday. First up: the bamboo.

With the Heff kids at the Huntington

While the other kids played in the fountains at the children’s garden, Finn made a beeline to the big magnet to make a bridge.

Finn plays

Pretty soon the other kids came to help.

Kids play with iron and a magnet

It was pretty hot and not at all shady, so we took refuge in the areas with misters. We tried the fog room, but at first it wasn’t working. Bruce enlisted the kids’ help in a fog dance.

Fog dance

Fog dance

Finally that worked. We cooled off and then headed for lunch at the cafe. Then we worked our way out, playing the statue game and visiting the science exhibits. And then home.


Slowly getting back to reality here. Last week was pretty mellow — laundry, clean up, one gymnastics class on Thursday and that’s about it. So, few pictures. But here are a couple.

Ezra shows off his new Belize t-shirt from Jamma. He is all about birds right now.

Ezra's new Belize shirt from Jamma

As for Finn, I walked past his room on Saturday and he was standing on his bed with his sunglasses and construction hat on swinging a rope around. I ran as fast as I could to get my camera. I’m not sure what or who he was trying to wrangle.

Finn: wrangler

My favorite thing may be how the kids’ construction hat is so small on him that it sits on the top of his head.

Tuesday – Traveling Home

And now for the long journey home. We spent the last hours at the house rushing around to finish packing and get a little food into the kids. Rachel (the caretaker’s wife) made cinnamon sugar fry jacks for us which was a lovely gesture … and they were delicious. Pretty soon, the bags were all packed and we were headed out to the dock to wait for Armando’s boat. Finn, as he had for the entire trip, refused to wear shoes.

All packed up

The sunrise on the water was a gorgeous send-off.

Sunrise on the dock

Soon enough, we were on the little plane.

On the small plane

Then a bigger plane.

Finn peruses the safety info

Then a tram in Miami; then the biggest plane.

Final plane home

Miami to L.A. was a long flight and I was dreading it. But the boys did unbelievably well. Shockingly, neither slept but were still in good spirits when we hit the ground at LAX. We finally got our luggage (no small miracle after the craziness of customs in Miami), and found the shuttle to our long-term parking lot. Finally, our minivan. Five minutes in both boys were fast asleep.


Monday started as several other mornings did: a walk out to the dock with Jamma to look for stingrays.

Looking for rays

This time I tagged along to see if I could get a picture. We didn’t see the giant one they’d seen other mornings, but this spotted one did show up. Ezra named him “Spotty.”

"Spotty" the ray

A little later, at a more reasonable hour, Janice and I went into town to do some shopping. I got a gorgeous Mayan jade pendant from our favorite jewelry store, and we had a nice lunch before heading back on the 12:30 water taxi. Finn was napping so Ezra and I spent some time on the balcony, where I noticed how sun-bleached his hair has gotten.


We spent a little time in the pool in the afternoon and then Bruce, Janice and I went out to dinner at Mambo. We had a lovely time — good food, good conversation, lovely surroundings. On the walk home we saw this giant hermit crab.

Giant hermit crab

The boys (and Erin) were fast asleep when we got home. Bruce and I spent some time getting us packed up and ready for our early boat ride in the morning. Finally, sleep.


Feeling the pressure of vacation coming to an end, I proclaimed Sunday a day of rest. At least for me. So here’s where I was for the morning hours.

My morning view

The kids had a fun day, too. Justin, the little boy from the snorkeling trip came over and brought his four-year-old cousin, Carmelo. At first they just wanted to play inside with Ezra and Finn’s toys.

New friends Justin and Carmelo come to play

But soon they were all out in the pool as well.

Friends come to swim

Justin got a chance to impress the littler kids with is big boy tricks.

Justin's trick 1

At about 11:00 Bruce brought out a snack for the boys — watermelon and chips and guacamole. They inhaled it, and I had visions of the mounds of groceries I’ll be buying when Ezra and Finn are 16 and 14.

After rest time, Bruce took the boys out to the beach to make “sand world.” I came out a little too late and just caught its demise.

Breaking sand world

Ezra counts sand world among his favorite things about Belize.

Saturday – Fishing and Snorkeling at Bacalar Chico

We decided to try a different snorkeling spot this year — Bacalar Chico at the northern tip of Ambergris Caye. Since Bruce also wanted to try some fishing, we combined the two. The weather was iffy and the seas were a little rough, so we took the back way around the island. It took longer but made for a less choppy ride. Here are our guides for the day, Chris and his nephew, Justin (9), who we met last year since he’s friends with the little boy whose parents are the caretakers of the complex.

Guides Chris and Justin

Cool Finn along the way.

Cool Finn

We stopped at the visitors center to have a look around and pay the fee for going into the marine reserve. They had this awesome croc.


After that we headed into the canal that the Mayans dug out. On the left is Mexico, on the right is Belize.

Right=Belize, Left=Mexico

The canopy was pretty overgrown and it was pretty tricky getting the boat through at some points.

In the mangroves

Here’s Justin ducking quickly to avoid being hit.

Watch out for low branches!

We finally made it through and went to a little fishing area, where Bruce, Chris and Justin caught a bunch of snapper for dinner.

Bruce catching a fish

Justin catching a fish

Ezra and Chris catch a fish

Watching the fishing was great, except for the swarms of mosquitoes. And we’d forgotten the bug spray. Oy.

We finally moved on to the snorkeling, only with the slightly rough seas it was totally different than last year’s calm day. The boat was rocking when we tied to the buoy, and Finn immediately freaked out. My motion sickness kicked into gear, so while Bruce and Erin went snorkeling, I stayed back to calm Finn (and my stomach).

Here’s Ezra and Jamma in the water by the boat.

Ezra swam in the ocean

Finn got in the water, too, but since I was always with him I have no photos. We did have two underwater cameras and once that film is developed I’ll add some of those photos and see what Bruce and Erin saw.

Before we left the snorkeling spot, Chris caught a barracuda. Very interesting to watch that big fish fight!

The long ride home saw Finn fall asleep (like last year).

Finn conked out on the way back

Ezra actually took a nap, too.

Chris came back to the house and grilled the day’s catch, plus some lobster and potatoes. Delicious!



Friday was another “day off” so the three Moision boys did some more kayaking, some swimming in the pool, and took a bike ride to the Mata Grande Grocery up the road.

On the bike

We went out to dinner, too. Ezra’s pick was to go back to Rojo so that he and Finn could show Bruce the hermit crabs. We were all fine with that since the food is excellent and the surroundings are perfect. Bruce and I had mojitos — mine was blended and frozen, his was traditional.


We enjoyed another great meal and Ezra and Finn got to play around a bit. Ezra liked this cat.

Ezra and the cat

They played pool at the pool table there.

Pool at Rojo

Ezra found a heart-shaped treasure in the sand and was thrilled.

Ezra's found treasure

And everyone enjoyed a delicious ice cream based dessert. Here’s Finn with his coconut ice cream (with toasted coconut pieces, too).

Finn enjoys coconut ice cream

Thursday – Trip to Xunantunich

Bruce, Ezra and I made another trip to the mainland to visit the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. We started with an early morning — 6:00 a.m. on the dock for the water taxi into town. Ezra flew his paper airplane on the boat.

Ezra flies his plane

Breakfast at the Sun Breeze with this gorgeous view.

View from the breakfast restaurant

Then we caught another flight to the mainland, where our trusty guide, John, picked us up. He brought his six-year-old daughter, Bethany, to keep Ezra company on the two hour drive from the airport to Xunantunich. They were both totally silent on the way there.

In order to get to the site, you have to cross a river on the best ferry ever — a hand-cranked wooden contraption that apparently had me too stunned to take a picture of the whole thing. But here’s a look at the van on the ferry.

On the ferry

And the guy cranking it to get us across.

Hand cranked ferry

Once on site, we jumped right in with a site guide to lead us through and tell us about the different buildings. Here are some pictures of the main plaza.

Structure on the plaza

Structure on the plaza

The crown jewel of this site is El Castillo, the second tallest structure in Belize at about 130 feet.

El Castillo

Despite my reservations after last year’s climb up part of the temple at Lamanai, the three of us climbed to the top (and I’m sure glad we did!).

Here we are with John and Bethany after the first seven steps. They stopped there but we kept going.

The three of us with John and Bethany

The view just kept getting better.


Almost there …

Getting close to the top

At the top you can see Guatemala.

View from the top (you can see to Guatemala)

This is the view from the front. The structure at the very top of the picture is the royal palace.

View from the top of the royal palace

And one for posterity’s sake once we’d gotten to the bottom. I was happy to have the railing on that last staircase.

After our descent

The area surrounding the main site was pretty jungly.


We saw ants that carried small pieces of leaves, howler monkeys up in the trees, other ants that thwart the anteaters by making their nests in trees, giant termite nests, and a cool orange centipede for Finn.

Orange centipede

When we finished our tour, the crowds had all left and we got a nice view of the empty site. And Ezra jumped.

Ezra jumps

Next up, we headed to lunch. Ezra and Bethany were all of a sudden thick as thieves in the back of the van — laughing, signing songs, etc. When we got to the restaurant, they diligently worked on the puzzles on their kids’ menus.

Ezra and Bethany work on the kids' menu activities

And took a little walk to the balcony to look for birds.

Ezra and Bethany take in the scenery

Seriously cute. And funny since Bethany speaks Creole and I think Ezra only understood about half of what she was saying.

On the flight home, Ezra requested we sit right behind the pilot (instead of on the bench seat at the back of the plane where we’re usually asked to sit). I think he enjoyed it.

Ezra got to sit right behind the pilot

And we made a stop in Caye Caulker so Bruce got to see the “airport” there. And then we were home. And totally exhausted from another great adventure.


Wednesday was scheduled as a stay-at-home day to recover from the full day in Belize City Tuesday and prepare for another full day traveling to the Mayan ruins in Xunantunich on Thursday. And it was a lovely day of rest. Just ask Ezra.

Ezra relaxes on the floaty

We had cannonball splash contests.

Papa's cannonball splash

And swim races (Bruce beat Erin by a nose).

Ready, set, go, go, go!

And kayaking excursions off the dock.

And off they go

Ezra floated.

Ezra floats

And Finn splashed …

Finn splashes

… himself in the eye.

Water in the eye

And Bruce and I got to go on a date! We went to the restaurant at Portofino resort. We walked up the beach — about a 35 minute walk — and we got to see the progression from dusk to night with a full moon. As we left the house, the sky looked like this.

Sky 1 - leaving Los Encantos

About halfway up, it looked like this.

Sky 2 - about 1/2 hour into the walk

The restaurant is on the second floor and this was the view just after we sat down.

Sky 3 - view from the restaurant

And, finally, darkness with the moonlight reflecting on the water. Beautiful!

Sky 4 - later at the restaurant

Tuesday – Day Trip to Belize City

We had a long, exhausting and completely fabulous day yesterday. It started early — 6:00 a.m. alarm so we could have breakfast and be on the dock at 7:00 for our taxi into town. We caught the 8:00 a.m. flight to Belize City, where we were picked up by John, our driver and guide for the day.

It was a little rainy when we first got to the zoo, but that worked out fine as it seemed to keep other visitors away. For the most part, we had the whole place to ourselves. First up, the boys look for some snakes in their cages (they were well-camouflaged).

Looking for the snake in the cage

Next up a much cuter animal — a red brocket deer.

Red Brocket Deer

Ezra was quite taken with him.

Ezra checks out the little deer

After that we saw the national animal of Belize — the tapir. Here’s the momma and baby.

Central American Tapir -- Momma and Baby

Here are some more of my favorite animals. The collared aracari looked like a miniature toucan.

Collared Aracari

The margay was adorable and seemed like a very cool house cat.




Scarlet macaw — this one took an almond from us and held it in its claw to eat.

Scarlet Macaw

Macaw eats an almond

Finn really liked this little guy called Coatimundi or “Quash” as a nickname.

Finn with the "Quash"

We were all taken with the harpy eagle. Unfortunately, my pictures don’t really do it justice.

Harpy Eagle

We also saw spider monkeys, howler monkeys, grison, boars, parrots, owls and several other birds.

The highlight of the day for me was when Ezra decided he wanted to hold the boa constrictor. He is much, much braver than I!

Brave Ezra

He really seemed fascinated and not at all scared of the snake.

Ezra and the boa

Until it started to get a little fresh, and then he was ready for Papa to take it.

The boa gets to know Ezra

Bruce also took a turn as snake charmer. I like how he’s watching it very closely out of the corner of his eye here.

Bruce checks out the boa

After the zoo we had a nice lunch on the large patio of a restaurant near the zoo called Amigos.

View from our table

The boys took a snooze in the van as we drove around Belize. (Truth be told, at one time or another everyone fell asleep in the van except Jamma and, thankfully, John.)

Sleepy van riders

We also went to the Museum of Belize, which is housed in what used to be the jail.

Belize Museum (in the old jail building)

It’s a very interesting place — I liked the Mayan tomb and the Mayan artifacts the best.

Mayan tomb display

Although the stamp room (which was air conditioned, unlike the rest of the museum) was also quite nice!

Ezra and Finn enjoyed the insect room. Here’s Ezra checking out some bugs.

Ezra checks out the bugs

After that we went grocery shopping at the main supermarket in Belize City and then flew home to San Pedro and caught a taxi to our house. Dinner and showers and then everyone collapsed. Great day!

Sleepover with Jamma

The boys slept with Jamma Monday night, and having slept with them all week, I can tell you that I was a little worried about the amount of sleep Jamma was not going to get. Between the kicking, talking, nightmare-waking, etc., there’s never a dull moment. I personally slept on about six inches of bed most nights. But when I peeked in Tuesday morning, I saw that Jamma had a brilliant solution to the space problem.

Sleepover with Jamma

They may roll side to side all night, but they never take up more than the top half of the bed. Genius!