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!

Monday – Papa Arrives!

Big day here in Belize — the day Papa arrives! With Erin’s help, the boys made signs that they couldn’t wait to hold up.

On the dock waiting for Papa

At the first sighting of the water taxi, Ezra started signaling.

Ezra signals for Papa's boat

They stood with their signs for quite some time, while the boat slowly made its way to the dock.

Signs ready for Papa's boat

And finally … hugs all around!

Finn hug

Big hugs!


We had a good amount of rain and wind overnight — so much that we had to go on a scavenger hunt this morning to find the swim clothes and towels we’d left out to dry that had scattered around the yard. The skies cleared at about 10:00 or so, but we got a huge windy downpour at about 11:30. Poor Erin got caught in it while she was on the dock waiting for the water taxi to take her into town. After that we got clear skies the rest of the day, and Erin got a change of clothes and, finally, her day in town. The boys and I got in some good pool time.

Super soakers

A little water in the eye

Jamma made us a wonderful lunch and we had a picnic on the dock. Here Finn munches on a quesadilla and shows off his farmer tan.

Finn's farmer tan

They like to watch for boats.

On the dock

After a bit of a rest in the early afternoon, we hit the pool again — this time with Jamma — at about 4:00. Since the battle of the swim shirt continues with Finn, we agreed that after 4:00 he doesn’t have to wear it. Of course, that escalated into not wearing any clothes at all, so he and Ezra got to enjoy “nakey swimming” this afternoon. He is never happier.

Nakey swimming time


Another lovely day! It was touch and go this morning when we got some rain and the clouds lingered for a couple of hours. But it finally burned off and became a beautiful day. Jamma and I took the water taxi into town to do a little shopping and have a grown-ups only lunch at Elvi’s Kitchen. It was supah, as Bruce would say.

Erin had a long day with the boys full of walks on the beach (they picked up a lot of trash), swimming, fighting over swimming and swim clothes, etc. The usual. Here are a few of Erin’s pictures of the great trash pickup.

Heading out.

Trash pickup day

The haul.

Ezra's haul

The creepiest find — a baby doll’s leg.

Um ... creepy doll's leg

I got in a quick swim with them when Janice and I got back and we had some fun with the new super soakers (a whale and a croc).

I realized later in the evening that I hadn’t taken any pictures all day. So I took some while the boys wolfed down their dinner — BLTs tonight.

Ezra and his BLT

Finn prefers his deconstructed and sans bread. He was very grumpy and sleepy at dinner after a no nap day.

Finn and his BLT sans bread

Tomorrow Erin gets a well-deserved day off and I plan on hanging out with the boys in the pool as much as possible. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.


Today we said goodbye to the clouds and rain and had the most perfect, breezy, warm Belizean day.

The view from the balcony on a perfect day

Needless to say, we hit the pool early. Finn was having a tough day — huge meltdown over putting on his swim shirt and then another one when it was nap time. But we survived.

While Finn napped, Ezra and Erin took a walk up to the grocery store to replenish the ice cream supply. Later, Erin led a group drawing project.

Finn colors

Ezra relaxed in the hammock.

Ezra relaxes

Then we couldn’t stand it any longer and we all went to the pool again. This time Finn won the battle of the swim shirt.

Finn happy without his swim shirt

More swimming.

Ezra in the pool

And serious digging.

Important work to do

Then we got cleaned up to walk up the beach to Rojo Lounge for dinner and hermit crab migration sightings.

Finn really liked walking in the water.

Walking up the beach

Ezra wanted to collect trash.

Ezra collects trash

(The trash is a major bummer. Everything from plastic bags to wine bottles to oil cans washes ashore.)

When we got to Rojo, Finn was taken with the little pool.

The little pool at Rojo

Both boys loved the little umbrellas in the drinks.

Ezra loved his umbrella

The food and drinks were delicious. I had a frozen mojito and Jamma had a Hawaii 5-0.

Mommy and Jamma's happy place

We also got a pizza with lobster, shrimp and bacon. Yum.

Lobster, shrimp & bacon pizza

Finally at about 7:45 we were ready to leave and luckily the hermit crabs had started to arrive. We didn’t see huge amounts (apparently they come much later in the night), but we did have to watch our step on the beach! Here are a few of them congregating on a palm tree.

Hermit crabs

We also saw this land crab.

Land crab

Awesome day and night!


Welcome to the tropics! The weather is crazy! We woke up (at 5:40 — that 6:30 bedtime last night came back to haunt me) to pouring rain. It continued to rain until mid-morning, so at Ezra’s request we watched Willy Wonka again. This time Finn stayed awake the whole time and enjoyed it as well. Except for the part where Charlie and Grandpa Joe float up toward the big fan. Very scary. At least they had a good cuddle spot for movie viewing.

Cuddle up for a movie

Anyhoo, when it finally looked like this outside …

Sunny morning

… we hit the pool. We got in a good hour and a half.

Ezra's boat

Finn on the boat

Ezra found some lizards in the bushes surrounding the pool. This one seemed to be looking for flowers to eat, but then he just sat there for about 20 minutes. Lazy bum.

Lizard, Lizard in the bush

This little guy just seemed to be seeking some shade.

Little lizard

At a little after noon the sun disappeared behind the clouds and we realized a storm was a-comin’.

Storm clouds ahead!

We got in the house just in time!


Here’s a brief video.

The sun broke through a couple more times in the afternoon, but not for long so we didn’t get a second swim in. The boys kept themselves busy in other ways.

Rainy day building

I’m enjoying the crazy weather, but do hope we get some clear days too!


Wonderfully mellow day today — we woke up to beautiful Belizean sunshine and had nothing specific to do. The boys saw a few iguanas running around and decided to run outside to have a closer look.

The neighbors

Every time one would run under a bush, Ezra would wave and say, “Bye! Thanks for visiting us!”

At 9:00 we ran an errand (walked to the Mata Grande Grocery — a one room grocery store up the road) and then the boys and Erin hit the pool. It was truly lovely here today, a welcome change after the clouds and storms of the first couple of days.

Get in the pool!

It's sunny!

The boys had a two-hour plus morning swim, then a break for lunch and rest, then another hour in the pool this afternoon. I decided on a quick dinner for them of pasta, watermelon and olives (which they inhaled, begging for seconds) and after a couple of books and snuggle songs they were both out like lights. It was 6:40. I love vacation.

Oh, and this is a picture I took last night. When I came downstairs to go to bed, I found these two lovely boys in the most angelic position. So sweet.

Sleeping boys


This morning we needed to vacate the house because a photographer was coming to shoot the house for International Living, so what better excuse to take a trip into San Pedro Town to finish the rest of our grocery shopping and have lunch. The skies looked like rain …

Cloudy day

… but we decided to brave the weather. We rented a golf cart and started making stops — the bakery, a vegetable stand, and then a little grocery store.

Golf cart!

The rain, which had been just a few drops, started to come down harder, so we decided to have lunch. We got almost all the way through the meal when the rain started coming down sideways and right into the open air restaurant. And it was cold! It was never cold last year!

We decided to head home on the water taxi and got caught in the torrential downpour on the way to their dock. It was actually pretty awesome. The kids, once under the roof of the dock, had fun peeking out at just how hard the rain was coming down.

Watching the downpour on the taxi dock

Eventually we made it home, soaking wet but laughing. Later it cleared up enough to swim — my first dip in the pool this trip.

After dinner we watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which I’d brought with us because I just finished reading the book to the boys. Finn, who went napless today, didn’t make it and was asleep at 6:15 but Ezra loved it. And so, after all these years, did I.


While everyone back home was celebrating July 4th, we had pretty much forgotten all about the holiday! We were a bit distracted by the extreme weather here. Look out, it’s a tropical storm!


The crazy rain didn’t last very long but it remained quite cloudy. That did not deter the boys who spent a couple of hours in the pool once the rain stopped.

Ezra swims

Waiting for the "water taxi"

It’s funny how swimming totally wears out kids. Finn passed out cold just after his “I’M NOT SLEEPY” rant.

Finn passed out

The rest of the afternoon we stayed indoors because this weather is bringing out the mosquitos. (Very different from last year, where nobody got bitten and we had one day of rain.) Anyway, the boys are pretty content to play with the toys they brought from home.

The play spot