Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Car Is Ready!!

We got the call yesterday and it was very good news.  A lot sooner than expected, our vehicle is fixed and all ready for pickup.  This news comes just in time as we are gearing up to celebrate my daughter's birthday next weekend and without a car, that would have proved to be a little difficult.

I can finally have my freedom back.  Being able to just get up and go and not having to ask permission is going to be a nice change from the last few weeks.  Honestly, it's not like I've been driving around in my own car from the start to feel like the last 4 weeks were torture.  I had been a public bus rider and at the mercy of others when it came to car rides for the last 10 plus years.  It was just a nice and welcome change for me once I was able to drive again and have a car to do so.

I am a little bit on the nervous side now, as far as making sure this never happens to us again.  Yes, accidents happen.  You can't really prevent an accident, can you?  Can YOU?  Maybe, but they are called accidents for a reason.  They just happen and when you least expect them.  I just hope we can keep ourselves from getting into such a predicament again and be a little more careful.  After all, this is our one and only family car, our sole source of transportation.  And it's a brand new car too, so no more f*ups!

I will do my part to keep the car running in tip top shape.  I just hope hubby does his,  It has really been a  struggle not having a car and it's a struggle we know all too well.  We've been seriously blessed with my mother in law letting us use her car occasionally.  But I don't want to be at the mercy of someone else all the time.  When her car isn't available, it puts us at a disadvantage.  And although it really cannot be seen as a necessity for living, having a car just makes life easier, especially if you are a busy on the go parent.  Now, while it would be nice to have 2 vehicles at our disposal so that when one car is indisposed at least we have another to carry us around, that is not our reality.  One car families are pretty common in Costa Rica and you praise what you have because there are so many others without.

With all that said, this time next week we will have our car back and I could not be any happier.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Only Two More Days

Wow!  How did the time fly so fast?  One minute, the kids are just about to start their Easter break vacation.  The next mimute, they are saddling up to return back to school.  Why does the time seem to be speeding by in the blink of an eye!

I am excited that we're that much closer to Easter; the egg hunt, the baskets filled with goodies, the wonderful brunch.  I am really looking forward to Sunday.  But that just means that it'll be back to school for the kiddos and back to the same old for me.

I don't mean to be a negative Nancy.  I can't really complain too much about my daily routine.  I have a pretty decent life as far as lives go, so I am grateful.  But I do find that I am not as gung-ho about the kids' school this year because of the time difference and the many changes that seem to be occurring on the daily.  Plus, as much as I love taking them to school everyday, the constant going to and from multiple times a day makes me wish even more for school vacation.

I am just going to take it one day at a time.  I am not going to worry about how many days are left until Monday.  I will not count down the days until July, which is when the kids get a 2 week mid year vacation.  I will live in the moment and enjoy today.  And when Sunday comes, I won't dread it as the day before school starts.  I will embrace it for what it is:  Easter Sunday, a day filled with fun for my family to enjoy.

Friday, April 7, 2017

17 Again

Feeling like a 17 year old again after my oldest celebrated his 17th birthday.  He is coming to the end of his childhood and about to enter the adult world and it is really making me reminisce about my teenage years and what it was like to be 17 again.

My 17th year of life was a good year.  I was at my prime; school was my whole world and I had very little in life to worry about.  It was a good time to look back on. I made a name for myself as a junior in high school and established my reign.  I was a leader, a natural born go getter who loved being the center of attention.  I was starting my first year as captain of the cheerleading squad and president of the junior class.  I was on top of the world.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, my son's life is a far cry from my own.  As he begins his 17th year, he is shy and very much an introvert when it comes to not wanting too much attention focused on him.  But he's a good kid and not living a teenage life similar to mine is just fine... he is his own person.  But it's interesting for my husband and I to compare and contrast our lives as 17 year olds back in the old days to our son's new generation teen years.  What a difference 20 years makes.

Happy Birthday 17 year old

Friday, March 31, 2017

Ready For Easter and Having a Gift Stash

So I was going over my list of items I wanted to get for the kids' Easter baskets.  I had this pretty huge list of items I thought they would like, things they had asked for and a few I thought would just be  fun.

I was also going over finances and seeing how much everything would cost, as I did not want to spend a ton of money.  Easter, after all, is not about a basket filled with gifts.  It's not about how much 'stuff' you get either.  But we all know how much fun it is to get a special treat for the holiday, and I like making every holiday special.

As I was going over my list, I also decided to go over all the gifts I had stashed away as well.  And as it turned out, I was more prepared for filling the kid's Easter baskets than I thought.  And I wouldn't need a lot of money to do it.

I like to stick to inexpensive gifts that tend to be on the smaller side (obviously they have to fit in a basket), and as it turns out almost every item I had in my gift stash was the perfect size to fit in an Easter basket.  Also, I think the baskets should be fun, and not taken too seriously.  Not filled with too much junk, but have a good balance of toys and treats.

This year, I think I did pretty good on finding that balance and keeping things to a minimum.  I try not to go overboard with Easter baskets and I find it a struggle sometimes keeping things simple.  But this time around, not having the extra funds to overbuy really helped to reel in the spending.  With all that being said, the kids still ended up with about 11 items by basket, more than enough if you ask me.  And with most items coming from my gift stash, I'd say that's not bad.

Now, as for how much I actually spent on each basket, I am pretty proud to say I didn't  spend much at all.  At least not all at once.  Most of the items that I purchased for the kids for Easter were bought last year, waaaaaay before Christmas.   And most, if not all, of the items were less than $5 each.  I probably spent less than $15 per basket, when all is said and done.

That's  the beauty of having a gift stash, you are always ready for any gift giving occasion.  Having a stash means you never have to actually buy the gifts all at once and when you need a gift, it's right there ready and waiting for you.  Just slap a bow on it and you're good to go.

Buying small, inexpensive gifts year round and stashing them is a great way to help save money, especially since most of the items I purchased were on sale.  There have been times when I needed a gift but didn't have the extra money to go out and buy one.  All I had to do was look in my stash and crisis averted.

So without having to spend much money at all, my kids are all set for Easter.  Having a gift stash is truly a wonderful idea and if you don't have one, start one today.  You will never not be prepared for another holiday or birthday again.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bad Things Happen Sometimes

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  We crashed our brand new car!  And when I say we, I mean hubby.

In our experience, we just can't seem to keep a car looking new for long.  Before we know it, something always goes wrong.  This time, something went really wrong and now, we are once again without a vehicle for our family.

Thankfully, the crash was not that bad.  Hubby was with our oldest son and our youngest.  They went on an errand to buy our 17 year old his 'birthday' gift:  a playstation 4 slim.  The excitement was though the roof as he sold his Wii U to earn the money for the new gaming console, one he had been wanting for over a year.  And he was proud of himself that he was able to mostly fund the purchase all on his own.  

From what Hubby told me, they went and bought the console quickly and it was when they were heading home that the accident occurred.  It was a minor fender bender and no one was hurt.  But legally speaking, we're not sure how much this little accident is going to cost us, even though we have insurance.

To say it was a stressful night would be an understatement.  I was pretty calm as I had scratched up the car just a bit the day before and was freaking out myself about the cost of repair.  I took the car to 2 different mechanics to get a price quote on how to 'buff' out and repaint the front bumper.  My little scuff up was because I overestimated how much room I had parking into our little carport and rubbed against the wall, making a small and not so noticeable ding in the wall and a few scratches on the car that you had to get up close to see.  But that got me all shook up and made for a miserable day.  I could just about imagine how my hubby felt from his real accident, where another person and car was involved.

Thankfully, he took all the necessary legal steps you have to take here in Costa Rica; speaking to the transit police, the insurance and the dealership, as well as the lady whose car he hit.  But the unanswered question remains:  how much does insurance cover for the the other driver and how much out of pocket do we have to pay to get our car fixed?  The car doesn't even really look that bad to be honest, although up close it looks like we had a slight run in with a wall or something.  But the radiator was punctured, rendering the car pretty much useless as it cannot be driven.  We have to take it in on Tuesday, which was the soonest we could get an appointment with our dealership and it will take about a week to fix.

It has been a looooooong week, that is for sure.  With all the paperwork involved with this process, I highly doubt we're ready to see the light at the end of tunnel just yet, as someone mentioned we might have to go to court?  I am not too worried though, as I feel it will all work itself out in the end.  I just have to have faith and trust in a higher power.  As for not having a car for a whole week, well, that will suck.  But I have been without my own personal vehicle before so I can handle a measly one week.  Having to shuttle the kids to and from school on bus is no picnic, but it can be done... and besides, I have my mother in law's brand new car as a back up just in case.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

He's Almost A Man!

I am not sure what to feel right now.  As of March 28, which is less than 3 weeks away, I will have a 17 year old SON!!!  I am excited and feel a little odd because "HOLY CRAP... I have a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD SON!"

It makes me truly happy that I have raised a well behaved, fairly competent, and mature young man. He is such a good son, a good brother and pretty good friend.  I love him to pieces.  Loving him to the moon and back?  How about I love him to Pluto and back (or whatever the farthest planet from the sun is).

He is such a simple kid too, which is awesome because his personality is very low key.  I got more than lucky having him as a son, I got blessed.  Yes, we've had our ups and downs (most likely documented on this very blog), but he has matured so much over the years that I am truly humbled to have him for my first born son.

To celebrate his birthday this year, he decided on a Paintball outing with a few friends and family.  It'll be low key (like his personality), with some pizza and snacks after at home for refreshments.

To say that he is the best older son I could have asked God for is probably an understatement of how I truly feel.  He is truly a wonderful person and will one day be a wonderful man (sooner than I can blink).  I can only hope and pray for the best out of life for him because he deserves the world.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Settling In

After a full month of the kids being back to school, I have to say we have finally settled into a routine.  So far, the kids have been liking me being their chofer and I have to say, I don't mind it at all so far.  I do have concerns about sick days, mainly mine, when I am too weak to drive them to school.  I feel like I should have a back up plan for those days, as I would hate for them to miss school on account of my illness.  But so far, things have been going smoothly.

I also love being able to take my 3 year old more places with me, as having the car at my disposal makes  running errands with a toddler tolerable.   And he loves coming along with me for all the mundane things I tend to do, like grocery runs.

Now I 'm not going to lie, I am pretty nervous about this school year.  With exams right around the corner, extra credit homework to be done and just school work in general, it is going to be a pretty busy year for my kids.  Every parent wants their child/children to succeed at life.  And to succeed at life, you have to succeed in school first.  So it is a lot of pressure.  As much as I dislike the public school system in Costa rica, I have to say that, thankfully my kids do go to a public school.  They are only in school for 5 hours a day instead of the typical 7 to 8.  And their course work isn't too overwhelming.  I guess my biggest beef, if you will, is how the public schools are set up.  But I am lucky the school my kids are in is not so bad and the teachers so far, from my own personal experience, have been wonderful.

I think that if I become more involved and stick to a routine that my kids can easily follow, the school year will be a success and not at all terrible.  Besides, the year will just fly by, like 2016 did and soon enough, it'll be vacation again.