Saturday was Mo’s birthday: his 15th. How did THAT happen? They are having a pool party today, celebrating both birthdays (Ryan will be 14 in January). The real question is, how did this happen:

In Naples, we found a Ross which is like a TJ Maxx or Steinmart featuring name-brand stuff at discount prices. You can find amazing deals. Once you’ve done successful shopping in a discount department store, you can no longer stomach a full-price store.

Kind of like moving to a discount country… once you’ve done it, you can no longer stomach a full-price country. Trust me on this.

Homeless_terrorist_41230This is Mo in December ’04: I call this his Homeless Terrorist phase. He always looked like this: no socks, smelly feet, nothing matched, everything stained ("It’s my favorite shirt!"), hair never combed or clean… always with a plastic gun, either KMart brand or lego-made… I was beginning to worry.

Then, when Mo first requested deoderant (he was going to school with girls), I almost fainted. Now, after our visit to Ross, well, I’m wondering who this boy is.

The first thing he needed was shoes. There are NO size 12+ shoes in Costa Rica. So (after battling with him to actually try on both shoes and yes, he needed a nice looking pair of shoes, not just sneakers) we found him a pair of black shoes, leather slip-ons, really good looking. Then I found him a black button-down knit shirt with some shiny black embroidery on it.

And a light-bulb went off in his head… I watched it happen. He looked at the shoes, looked at the shirt, decided he needed black pants – not jeans – and went off in search of a pair… and then I lost him for awhile. When we got home, he had a complete outfit: shirt, pants, shoes, BELT and … a TIE.

He slicked back his hair and modeled this for us. We were thrilled, of course, and he was quite pleased. Since he’s had this outfit on (it’s folded neatly in his room now – everything else is in disarray but this outfit), he looks nicer all around.

I was afraid this would never happen. But I’m certain it will last. He feels too good about this look… a little mafioso perhaps, but tidy. Uncle Brian just informed me that guys don’t call them outfits. They are just new clothes. Hey, I’m adaptable!

My friends here keep asking how the boys are coping with moving to and living in Costa Rica. First off, they are guys so they don’t talk. When I ask them how they are, they say "Fine." They got this from Jal and Uncle Brian.

If you asked them if they’d rather live in Costa Rica or Key West, the answer would be Key West. Since we’ve been here, we’ve not seen them. They walk out the door early in the day and are gone for all of it. They are having a blast.

But when we are in Costa Rica, they don’t complain about not being in Key West. Ever. They play online games with their Key West buddies, with two friends who now live in Colorado, and a new Costa Rica friend on the other side of the valley. They talk on Skype and instant messaging online. Are they happy? I don’t know. They act happy. They seem happy. They are excited about their new life, are proud of knowing Spanish, enjoy visiting new places. They sure aren’t bored!

They seem to understand this adventure was executed from an emotional need to run. That if there’s a master plan, it’s being created on the fly. They seem okay to go with the flow, to accept living in this moment, looking for the next right thing. They are cool with it. And, heck, they still like us, we still like them… so far, so good!!!

Today, Jal and I are looking for an event to which Morgan can wear his new clothes. When the boys were little, we called this Decorating The Baby – you know, putting on all the new cute clothes and taking them places to show them off. Still a good time! And it should be easy to find a suitable event: there are a million of ’em here, just like in Costa Rica. Hmmm, perhaps the Symphony would be a good showcase…

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