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!


Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Recap

Work starts tomorrow for me, which means summer has come to a close!

Here is a little recap of our summer:

Maria finished her first official year of school and is moving on to 1st grade!

Mama retired!!!!!! 

We enjoyed the beach, the boat, a splash pad and a water park with the beautiful weather we had ALL summer long!

Joe moved into his new office at work, so we had a small photo shoot with the girls to fit the baseball theme of his work space.
(Natalie obviously wasn't cooperating after the first 30 seconds.)

We celebrated the 4th with many family get togethers and fun!

We took the girls to their first Twins game. I think they did more eating than watching the game, but it was nice weather and a good time.

Emma turned 5! And we celebrated Olaf style simply because we love summer!

I turned the big 3-0 and my hubby threw a great surprise party for me with my family and friends after a full day of canoeing down the river.

My high school friends helped me end the summer the right way with a girls weekend this past weekend. We ran a 5k in the morning, followed by time on the lake and a nice evening together.

Of course there were many other events that kept us busy all summer long and we are grateful for all of them.

Summers are the best! But bring on the new school year!!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Winter Turns to Spring

Here's what we have been up to the last few months. (Thank goodness for this blog or I can imagine that I wouldn't remember what we did years from now!)

Yellowstone: A Truly Unforgettable Trip
Here are a few highlights from our road trip in February:
-A 14 hour truck ride wasn't too bad for the older girls. Natalie... not a fan :)
-Snowmobiling in the mountains was beautiful, even if the snow conditions were less than ideal.
-An afternoon trip to the Wolf Discovery Center was a perfect day for my little nature observers.
-A trip to the IMAX theater to watch "Paddington" was great! (Even Natalie enjoyed her first movie theater experience and stayed mostly quiet. She gave us all the giggles when Paddington did something naughty and the movie went quiet and she said "UH OH.")
-Many hours were spent in the pool! The girl's favorite part was swimming!
-Last day there... Joe totaled his new sled, but he was not hurt! Thank goodness!
-On the way home, there was a flat tire, Natalie locking us out of the car, and another many hours of Natalie not enjoying the ride! But we survived! and the girls are already talking about next time! :)

My Frozen Princess Turned 6!
My little Kindergartner seems to have grown up too much lately. She has taken much pleasure in reading us stories and teaching her sisters all sorts of new things that she is learning in school. Her new favorite song to sing has something to do with "I can't wait to be a first grader!" (sigh, why do they grow up so fast?). The end of February we celebrated another one of her birthdays and of course the theme of choice was Disney's Frozen. With us being out of town right before her birthday, I ordered a cake this year and it was quite a hit!

Easter:  Let's Celebrate!
Easter time came up quickly and we had lots of fun celebrating. We did some egg dying, egg hunting, family gathering, and of course celebrating in church. 

We had many other busy days in between, and now we are eagerly waiting for the weather to start acting like Spring so we can enjoy more time outside! Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

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!