Thursday, January 25, 2018

Underwater Shenanigans

Oma bought us an underwater camera for Christmas that we're having fun using! Now, if only there were more pools and the weather near home would cooperate so we could use it more!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Costa Rica Leftovers

Our week here has been wonderful. I'm so thankful we've made the time to come and that Oma was able to join us! Loads of outside time, monkeys, iguanas, beach time, pool time, cocktail time, fresh fruit, delicious homemade breakfasts, new experiences, a new culture to embrace...and family. What memories we've made!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Costa Rica - Surfing Day

The only real thing that we had planned before arriving in Costa Rica was a day-long surfing adventure. We were supposed to go 2 days after arriving, but after getting too much sun the first day we had to reschedule for later in the week.

We slept in, and slowly got around. We made coffee, and put together what had become our daily breakfast of corn tortillas, black beans, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and a bowl of mashed avocado to add to pretty much everything. 

We met our guide around noon. We crammed into a van that smelled of salt water with surfboards, hammocks and boogie boards strapped to the top. We drove about 45 minutes fro Manual Antonio to a very large deserted beach. Our guide, a local named Dante along with Margot, our instructor from Holland, unloaded while we took in the wide open beach. 

We spent the next few hours bouncing between boogie boards, fresh fruit snacks and surfing. The instructors that we had were incredibly patient with all of us and managed to get all of us up and going...even Oma surfed!

Next we packed up and headed a few miles away where we drove through a very small village along a dirt road and up through a winding trail which ended at the side of a fresh water stream. We tracked through the stream which was came to our knees, falling a few times along the way on the slippery stones. The water was much colder than expected in the hot weather. We walked downstream a ways to find we were at the top of a hidden waterfall. For the next hour we took turns jumping off. Yes jumping! It was an amazing experience, but what was even more incredible was watching our girls step up without an ounce of fear and take the plunge. Something we'll all remember for years. And if not, we have photos!

We ended the day at a small Soda with a traditional casada meal - the best we had while we were here.

Making memories. Doing it right.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Costa Rica - The First Few Days

Wow. Just wow.
I'ts our 3rd morning here and I'm blown away by our surroundings. Beautiful beaches, lush jungles and sunny skies. What a beautiful country.

It's been a relatively easy adjustment. There's no time zone change. The outlets in our rental are US standard plugins, very little jetlag given the short flight, and a quiet night's sleep.

We spent the first day of our time here getting to know the area. We made our way down to the beach, and learned the hard way that the bus is the better method for getting back up the hill from the beach. The people here are very kind. My Spanish is rusty, but I've found it very useful here, and it seems to be a bit of inspiration to the girls in learning languages.

Day 2 was much the same as day 1. We decided to make our way to Manual Antonio National Park so we boarded the bus and were on our way. We hiked a waterfall trail first then headed toward the beach within the Park. The water here is warm and we spent a very long time just wading in the waves taking in all of the natural beauty. The sandy beaches, the beautiful coast line, the monkeys running around. This country is stunning.

Day 3 we headed into town to explore. turns out theres not much to explore, but now we'll know for next time!

We're relaxing a lot. We're cuddling a lot. We're playing A LOT of cards and we're spending time just being in the moment. We all look a bit tanner, and a bit recharged.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Let the Adventures Begin

Our adventure began at 5am when we left our house, half asleep, and drove to the airport.
It was cold. It was the kind of cold requiring you to restart your car after the auto restart had already maxed out its cycles.

Off we went. The four of us and Oma!

The airport was uneventful. A quick breakfast and then we were boarding.

5 hours was the flight time. We hadn't packed much for the plane. A sticker book, a couple of books, and travel hangman game, and a travel DVD play with movies. What I hadn't planned on was the best flight attendant ever. She was amazing. She talked to the girls, stopped by to guess a Hangman letter occasionally, made them a "secret recipe" pink lemonade, and about an hour and a half into the flight dropped by on a meal free flight with a snack box for each of them packed with an assortment of snacks and a coloring activity....she made the flight wonderful.

We had a bit of a rough landing and for our motion sick girl Grace she couldn't quite keep it together. Apologies to the passengers around us. We breezed through customs, and managed to get a new stamp in our passports. A first for the girls.

The drive down to the area we were staying was long. Partly because it's a a fair distance, and partly because we took the opportunity to stop at a fruit stand and grocery store along the way.

13 hours from when we left home we arrived at our house, which we would call "home" for the next 7 days.
Early bedtime, lots of rest.

Tomorrow our adventure Costa Rica!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happy Birthday Charlotte - 7 Years

Charlotte. Our sensitive, old soul, stubborn girl. Welcome to the start of your eighth year on this beautiful Earth. I can't wait to watch you grow.

You have an amazingly beautiful and artistic soul that is more fragile than I realized and this year has been an indication of that. You are sensitive to others' thoughts and comments to a fault, much like I am myself. Unfortunately, as someone wise once explained it, there will always be people who brighten their own porch light by dimming yours. Be kind to these people, but be wary of trusting them with your heart; they may not always return the kindness.

Girls can be so very cruel. I don't know why we feel an inherent need to measure ourselves against one another. To always be better than, smarter than, prettier than the girls standing next to us. Rather we should embrace one another for our differences. Build each other up to make ourselves collectively stronger, supportive, and collaborative. If we could focus more on people as they are, devoid of expectations and judgement, we would find beautiful meaningful relationships with the potential to last a lifetime.

My hope for you is that you are strong enough, and independent enough to find true friends. I hope that we, as your parents, and biggest fans can help you develop the confidence to be who you are and trust your own thoughts in making these decisions. If I think back, one of the most important things that I've learned in my life is that a true friendship does not require work, but does sometimes call for compromise. It's not one sided or finicky. It's honest, and enriches your life and lifts you up. I wish I had learned this earlier but more importantly I hope that you can.

We love you more than you will ever understand. You are amazing and add so much joy to our lives every single day.

Dad and Mom

Saturday, January 6, 2018


We had visitors this weekend from Texas. We love our girls down there so of course we were thrilled that they were going have time to stop by and visit with us for a night while they were visiting Chicago with friends. Who visits Chicago in January? People who want to see some snow.

Lexie is growing up to be such a wonderful girl and I'm thrilled that our girls are able to connect a couple times a year when time allows. We love our extended Carlos family.