Friday, February 26, 2016

Caribbean Blitz part 2

Punta Uva was also good for grabbing a kayak and paddling up for some animal spotting.  The longer we were in Costa Rica the better we got at finding creatures.  The kids remembered to look up to find bats under the bridge.  We also spotted turtles, howler monkeys, birds, and a one momma sloth that we saw on several occasions with her baby because they were in the same tree for a couple of weeks, conserving energy no doubt.

Our address was 800 meters Camino San Raphael, that means
800 meters off the main road.   We let the kids take turns
driving the 800 meters of dirt road.  A highlight of freedom
to be experienced in rural Costa Rica.
Another favorite beach was Playa Negra.  You can see a barge
in the background that was fun for jumping off, we also
snorkeled, surfed, and of course played in the fine black sand.
Tessa, "Today we went to the black sand beach and had such a fun time.  We played red rover and jumped off the boat hundreds of times.  We also found a armor and it tried to stick to Mom, Dad, and Maggie.  I was diving and trying to touch fish.  I didn't touch even one of the fish."

The little church building in Limon.  All the
buildings, including the church there are
behind gates or fences, and often with razor
or barbed wire for added pizzaz. 
We met a super nice couple who not only played with us, but
let there puppies play with the kids too.  Thank you Gulia
and Gabrielle.  

Tessa told me one day that there was a bird in the room her and
Max were sharing.  I tried to go see it, but it eluded me for two
days.  Finally on the third day I found it flying around and had to
tell her that was no bird, it was a bat!  We took the kids out of
sleeping there after that.   By the next day it was worn down enough
that Aaron was able to catch it in a towel and put it on the wall
outside.  That night it flew off for dinner, no harm done.
On days that we couldn't go to the beach because it was raining
or Aaron was gone trying to sell the van we would try and do
some energy releasing exercises at home.  Cosmic kids yoga
(above), along with kickboxing, zumba, and circuits, were loved
by some and hated by others.  
Max, "Today we went on a nature hike.  By the time we ha hiked 1 km we had seen a sloth, little yellow viper, a huge ant, and couple of random ant hills and butterflies.  Then we saw a group of howler monkeys and when we got to the estuary we found quicksand to play in.  We showed people by walking around and suddenly it was up to your knees!                          Cahuita National Park, December 30, 2015

We found 4 large toads on our porch.  Nearly impossible for
3 kids to hold 4 toads long enough for a picture, but super fun!

Impressions of a sloth and a super hero.

Aaron took dinners into his very capable hands experimenting with everything from red snapper, (below and left) to some incredible mango salsa.  We, being Aaron and I, learned to really enjoy beans and rice with a little meat and fresh salsa or pico de gallo.  YUMMY and slimming.  The kids preferred to piece things out, eating rice, but no beans, and as much meat as rations would allow.  


As our time in Costa Rica drew to a close we faced the predicament of selling our van.  On a few occasions Aaron drove out to meet prospective buyers.  One day while he and Maggie were gone some tree trimmers came to work on the neighbors tree that was hanging over our yard.  Normally we say that Costa Rica has four species of monkey, howler, spider, squirrel, and capuchin, but on this day I would say there is five.  The tree trimmer tied a chainsaw to his waist with a rope and then proceeded to climb this unbelievably massive ficus tree (wikipedia says they can grow to 30 meters or 98 feet) with nothing except his hands and bare feet.  I still can't believe it!  In the picture above you can see the roof of our three story house, and then if you look closely you can see the man's outline near the top branches just under the !! mark.  I don't know how much they pay him, probably no more than the typical two to three dollars and hour, but he deserves much more.

We made some "lemon squeezies" and enjoyed the show.

To prove that it could be done, we dug a tunnel
big enough that we could fit through.
And then we sent everyone through!
But not everyone fit.  Instead the tunnel collapsed with me
trapped under the heavy sand.  
I was grateful all the little hands in our family
had me out in a flash.
After that we all needed a good rinse off from
the sand.  Some of us are more shameless than
others.  This boy would live shorts only, or
less, forever if he could.  
Some days I would have the kids write about what they learned from Costa Rica or what they found different.
November 25, 2015
Tessa, "I'm writing different things than before.  First, I learned people are a lot poorer here.  I think that because lots of people don't have refrigerators.  Next, streets are crazy!!!  Why, there are lots of motorcycles.  Last, they have no hamburgers.  Hamburgers are too much a American food."

Max, "Mom is making us write 3 things we've learned so here we go
   1.  I learned how fortunate we are even of simple things like houses
   2.  I learned about some bazaar things people eat such as chicken feet, no leg, just feet.
   3.  I learned about what you have but don't need.  These people a lot of times, live in shacks and         this is the most comfortable living in Central America."

Maggie,"Today Uncle Morgan was married and we were suck home cause Dad took the car to be fixed, so today I will write about 3 things I have learned.
1.  Patience brings the greatest reward.  (frog hunting and catching fish)
2.  Sun sucks your energy BAD!!!
3.  How beautiful God's creations are and how they all exist individually."

January 20, 2016
Tessa, "I have learned that people here are a lot nicer than in the U.S.  My testimony has grown by knowing that Heavenly Father blesses our lives because I realized all the people here all want to go to the U.S.  We are blessed by already living there."

Max, "Today Mom wants 3 ways we have grown and 1 way our testimony has grown.
1.  I have learned a little bit of Spanish.
2.  I have seen how people live in other countries.
3.  I have learned how to swim better.
My testimony has grown in the way that you don't have to be fortunate to be happy."

Maggie, "I have gained knowledge that we are very fortunate to have all the opportunities that we do.  I have had the opportunity to see that others only dream of what we have.  I have learned that you can be generous no matter what.  We have had the chance to serve and others have helped us.  I have found that we can sprout into wonderful flowers no matter what the soil.  People become kind and helpful in the worst of circumstances and the flowers are magnificent but the soil is acidic.  I have strengthened my testimony as I have seen people show wonderful love and amazing talents.  I know we are all children of God and he shows His hand in our life everyday."


  1. I love the quicksand video, you are very brave! Also, the collapsed tunnel of sand was pretty awesome, again, you are very brave! I'm sure you had tough times and days but really, these wonderful memories are what will last. I'm so happy for you guys and this fantastic experience!!!

    1. It's almost laughable how often we hear one of our kids say how they just want to go home, "to our America home!" But I'm with you, I think that in the end they will be really happy and we'll always look back with smiles. Personally I'm loving it! As for being brave, it's totally peer pressure! :)