In Spanish this phrase literally means "pure life" but is more commonly thought of as meaning "full of life." Costa Ricans use this phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, resilience in overcoming difficulties with good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune of magnitudes small and large alike. This blog is about our life... Pura Vida!


Friday, February 06, 2015

Peaceful Wintertime

It has been three months since my last post! Yikes! Time flies when you're having fun right? 

Winter has been cruising by with all the Christmas programs at school, dance shows, Christmas time celebrations and New Year's parties! It's hard to believe we are half way through the school year... (and my oldest is turning 6 this month! OH MY!)

Maria had her first big Christmas music program with her Kindergarten class at the "big"high school! She did such an excellent job singing! Emma's first preschool program was also a big hit (minus a fellow preschooler getting sick in the middle of the program!) She was such a sweetie singing up there! Emma also did AWESOME in her dance show this year. I'm sure Maria would have done well also, but unfortunately she got the flu the night before and certainly wasn't feeling up to dancing on the stage the next day. Bummer!

Our Christmas was wonderful! It was more relaxed than the last few years. Our holiday celebrations were more spread out instead of all being Christmas Eve and Day. It was fun watching the girls enjoy decorating the tree, making cookies, making decorations, writing their Christmas lists, and then opening gifts and spending time with family.

After Christmas was complete, our schedule was really quite boring which was a blessing! It's so nice to have no plans every once in awhile. We were able to just hang out as a family and enjoy little winter things like ice skating, fishing and playing in the snow (or what's left of the snow).

 Certainly my favorite reason for living where I do, is that nearly all my family lives in the area too. What a blessing!! I seriously would not live anywhere else. My grandma is one of the many that live close and I was able to spend some special moments with her after she moved to the nursing home earlier this fall. We were able to have many visits with her, have lunch with her, and for our last time this fall, my sister, cousins and I were able to make orange doughnuts with her (a family tradition). She was a wonderful lady who cared so deeply for all the people in her life. I will always remember our "special nights"  where we would get to go to her house all by ourselves, our doughnut making, our Christmas Eve celebrations, her handwritten letters throughout the years, and countless other things. Just over a week ago, grandma passed away in her sleep. She will truly be missed.

Always count your blessings and give thanks for the wonderful people God has placed in your life.

Up next on our calendar... a postponed trip to West Yellowstone. Wish me luck with 3 little ones on a LONG car ride. At least we have another angel looking out for us now!

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Routines

A new school year means new changes and new routines. 

Maria started Kindergarten this fall, which means longer learning days, riding the bus, homework, no naps, and appearing more grown up everyday! :( 

Emma started Preschool this year, which means we have one HAPPY GIRL! My little social butterfly is loving every minute of preschool, yet can tell me nothing about it except playing on the playground. :)

Natalie's biggest changes and some challenges are learning to talk, getting teeth, trying to sleep at night, and doing everything those big sisters are doing! 

It's November now, and we are still trying to adjust to the new schedules. I don't know what it is this year, but it seems a bit harder to adjust with work, two girls in school, dance class, and other daily things on the schedule keep us always busy. Good thing we got most of our wood in our new shed for the winter before the snow started flying today! Hard to believe winter is here! Stay warm!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Summer Always Goes Too Fast!

Here we are again...


Only a few short weeks from school starting again and I ask myself, "Where did the summer go?" 
I guess we have been busy, and maybe that is why it seems to have gone so fast! 

In June I traveled to beautiful country of Costa Rica. (See my previous post) And when I returned, we celebrated our 10 year class reunion.

July brought 4th of July parties, Heritage Days, swimming lessons, a family vacation, and Waterama.

August meant that my Ems turned 4!

And August also means that my big girl is preparing for Kindergarten and the other for preschool!

Can time please slow down? 

Costa Rica 2014

In June, I had the amazing experience of going to Costa Rica with 13 of my students. It was a very memorable time for them and me! 

The last time I traveled to Costa Rica was when I was in high school with my Spanish teacher. It was one of the experiences that started my love for the Spanish language and culture and helped me find my career path. I wanted my students to experience some of this excitement as well. This trip was two years in the making and I was lucky enough to travel with my sister-in-law who also teaches Spanish. 

Here is a quick glance at what we did:

We explored Poas Volcano, an active crater near the capital. 

Here is the group at another crater. This one is no longer active and is now filled with rainwater.

This is La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Here is the Sarapiqui River: We went whitewater rafting down this one afternoon. This picture was taken the next day from an enormous hanging bridge! (A little scary!)

A small sample of the trees/root systems in the rain forest.

One of the beautiful birds of Costa Rica.

Here is a local school we visited for the day. We prepared hot dogs (with ketchup, relish & mayo!) for the kids which was a big change from their normal rice and beans. 

We went on a night wildlife tour to see some more of the countries critters.

We enjoyed a night soccer game against a local team in the pouring rain!

Most of our meals included rice and beans (sometimes together, sometimes separate), fried plantains, and a meat (usually chicken or fish) Our beverages were always fresh juices. The kids didn't know so many juices existed!

This is Isla Tortuga (Turtle Island). We took a catamaran out to the island over an hour away. It was our final day and a perfect way to end our 9 day trip!

We also did lots of hiking, visited Arenal Volcano and the hot springs nearby, learned and saw how chocolate was made, went on an organic coffee plantation tour, went zipling through the cloud forest, shopped in the local markets and took a dance class.

This is the whole group with our amazing tour guide (front center) and our incredible bus driver (back right). I think the kids appreciate our road system a lot more after this trip!


Thursday, April 24, 2014


I love Easter for so many reasons. I'm so thankful we were all healthy this year and eager to celebrate!
Here is a peek at our celebrations:
Dying Easter Eggs:

Annual Easter Egg Hunt:
Celebrating my baby turning ONE! 

A wonderful dinner with family.

 Finding Easter baskets.
Easter mass.
Another delicious meal with more family. Followed by sitting outside in the sun (FINALLY!) and creating a fairy garden for the girls!
Hope your Easter was joyful!
Happy Easter! and Happy Spring!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The last five months :)

Oh where has the time gone? Life has been so hectic in this house lately, I guess I sort of slipped on the blogging. Let me catch you up quick.
The girls had fun dressing up for Halloween and trick-or-treating. Here is my peacock, Minnie Mouse, and kangaroo:

We celebrated Thanksgiving. And boy do we have a lot to be thankful for!
Maria and Emma had their first dance show in December. They did awesome! They knew their dance perfectly! But they were most excited about wearing makeup! (yikes!)
We celebrated another wonderful Christmas with many activities and many family members. Here is a picture of Natalie on her very first Christmas:

 Then a little New Year's Eve party was in order. Cheers to the New Year!

 A cold winter hasn't allowed us too many outside days, but when there is a chance, the girls are playing in the snow or riding snowmobile with daddy. Maria especially loves the snow and snowmobiling. Both the girls also took an interest in ice skating and can go all by themselves!

Joe and I got a chance to get away for week in February to Mexico, which was absolutely perfect! We could not have asked for a better vacation. We went to Playa del Carmen 6 years ago for our honeymoon, and decided to return there for this vacation. It was pure relaxation. (I needed that sooo much!)

We returned from vacation to find Natalie crawling regularly, blowing kisses and climbing stairs! Ahhhh the things that happen in just one short week! And sitting in the mail was the Kindergarten Roundup packet. NOOOOOOOOOOOO it can't be that time already!
But it is that time. Last week, my big girl had to go and turn 5.
Here is a few photos from her "Magical Unicorn & Rainbow" party. 

 The inside of our rainbow tie-dye cake:
Time keeps flying by. I wish I could slow it down just a little bit... (because seriously, my baby turns one in two months!!)
But since I can't really slow time down, I will try to enjoy every moment and feel blessed for the people in my life that keep me busy.