Friday, April 27, 2018

Happy Birthday To My April Baby

Where does the time go?  It seems like just last week she was learning to crawl and now look at my baby girl, 11 years old already.  Before we know it, she'll be driving, going off to college and then eventually getting married and starting a family of her own.  For now though, we take it one day at a time and count our blessings that at 11, she is still our baby girl.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Another Birthday Prep Blog

It's April and my daughter turns 11 this month, which means it's time to start planning her celebration.  She has decided against a party this year and just wants to do something 'fun'.  We had to brainstorm fun activities we could do as a family because when it comes to my daughter's birthday, she can be a little picky.  Parties seemed to be simpler to plan as all she would have to decide on was the theme and then I could just take charge from there.  But when it comes to 'planning' a special celebration for her birthday, she can be a little indecisive.

This year she didn't want to do anything she had already done which I was ok with.  Having 4 kids, it's hard not to duplicate but when we decided on the activity it was a done deal and I could finally plan the day.

As her birthday this year falls on a Thursday, we will just be celebrating with cupcakes at school (if permitted by her teacher of course) and then pizza and a cake at home.  The real celebrating will commence on the Saturday after her actual birthday at the water park in Orotina, a town about an hour and a half from San Jose.

It'll be the perfect way to celebrate her birthday and it will be an entire day filled with fun.  We'll have to leave early in the am, around 8 or 9 so we can take advantage of the water park for the entire day.  We have the option of also having lunch included in our entrance price, which I think we will do since we are celebrating a birthday. And when I celebrate birthdays, I like to go BIG!  A birthday comes around once a year.  It is a celebration of your existence on this earth, marking your special place in this world.  It should be an unforgettable occasion and I like to make sure my kids birthdays are memorable.

Going to a super fun water park will make for some great memories for years to come and it'll almost be like a mini getaway but close to home and just for the day.  I know my kids will all have a blast.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dinner With Friends

It had been a long time since we'd seen our friends and so when they invited us to their house for dinner, of course we accepted with excitement.  My friend M and I have known each other for a good part of 18 years.  We have a lot in common and before life got too hectic, we used to see each other daily.  We took vacations together, we were always at each other's houses.  I even spent time with her family on holidays.  It helped that not only are we close neighbors, but she's also married to my husband's cousin.  Instant family.

Then she graduated and went to work as a private school teacher and things sort of shifted in our relationship.  Life got the best of both of us, me as a busy mom of 4 and her as a busy career woman.  Life can change things but no matter how far apart we seemed to be, it was never an issue for use to come together again, like nothing had changed and things were still the same.

So our Friday night get together was like a reset.  A step in the right direction to not lose touch and let life get the best of us.  And dinner was amazing as well, my M is a wonderful cook.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Keeping My Own Peace

With everything that is happening in the world around me, it's a wonder how I keep my sanity especially having to deal with the thought of keeping my family safe as a mother.  I worry, constantly, about my family's safety.  I think about worst case scenarios all the time.  I see what's going on in the news and online; robberies, shootings, rape, kidnappings, even natural disasters.  No one is 100 percent safe from the world.

To keep my own peace of mind and prevent me from going crazy with "what if's" and wild thoughts, I have to put my trust in a higher power and believe that things will be alright for my family.  I live in my own little world, where things aren't so crazy and nothing bad happens.  I am not delusional but it keeps me from crying myself to sleep at night thinking about what can go wrong on a daily basis.

I see accidents all the time and sometimes I hear of what happens to someone who has been in an accident.  Sometimes they don't make it home to their mom or their wife or their kids.  It is a worrisome world we live in.  A dangerous world.  But if I dwell on the negativity and keep thinking of all the possibilities of what can go wrong, I would never be able to live my life, a full life.  A life full of hope, happiness, freedom. 

I want to be carefree, at least some of the time.  I don't want to have to think of all the bad things going on around me. And I definitely don't want my kids thinking about all the bad things either.  So I keep them in a positive mindset as well.  It's no wonder I hype up holidays and birthdays.  It gives us all a reason to celebrate, because with life as it is we need celebrations we can look forward to to keep us positive.  It also helps that I rarely actually watch the news or have newspapers lying around.  My mind can't handle the day to day of all that goes on in this world so I keep my news intake to a minimum.  It all still seeps through one way or another but at least I try to control how much of the awful and terrible stories I see or read on a daily basis. 

Keeping life happy is what I am all about, even if that makes me a little disconnected I am ok with that.  My sanity comes first.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Fun

Yet another Holiday has passed us by but not without some fanfare on my part.  Easter is a fun holiday.  There is no pressure to give gifts or make a fancy meal.  You don't have to go all out with decorations.  No hustle and bustle of last minute stress prep. Basically it's not Christmas so you make the day as special as you want to make it.

I like to make Easter baskets for my kids but I also like to keep them simple.  There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on the baskets, as Easter gifts tend to be fun, inexpensive small items that fit inside a basket or bucket for the kids to enjoy on Easter Sunday and the days and weeks ahead.

This year, we kept to our tradition with our annual Easter scavenger egg hunt.  I hide the baskets and the kids follow clues in search of said baskets.  I keep the day fun and special but laid back and stress free.  Breakfast was a simple meal of french toast, store bought beef patties and strawberries.

Hubby took the kids to the park for an hour or so and soon after that, dinner was served.  Our Easter meal was delicious and again simple: breaded tilapia, salad, mashed potatoes and chilli beans with a chocolate cake from the local bakery for dessert. 

I love to go all out for each holiday, making them special and memorable for my children.  But I like simple and simplicity is key when it comes to enjoying the holidays.  Having a good balance of making the day special but keeping it simple is what celebrations are all about.

Celebrating A Milestone Birthday

Eighteen is such a milestone year.  It signifies so much.  It seems like just another number but for a teenager, it is a huge turning point in their life.  Celebrating your 18th birthday is a big deal as it means you are no longer considered a child.  You are legally and officially an adult and that comes with certain responsibilities that can shape the rest of your adult future.

On March 28th, my oldest son celebrated his 18th year of life.  Now, my son is not your typical teenager therefore, he is not your typical 18 year old.  He is a homebody and very much childlike when it comes to what he likes and things that interest him.  For instance, he would much rather stay home and play video games or watch Marvel movies than go out to a club or to the bar (18 is the legal drinking age in Costa Rica).  He is a simple kid so it was no surprise that he wanted a simple celebration for his birthday.

On his actual day, which luckily for us was the week of Spring Break, we headed to Chuck E Cheese for a day of arcade fun.  Chuck E Cheese is new to Costa Rica and recently opened their doors to the public.  My son remembers me taking him to Chuck e Cheese's when he was younger back in Boston.  So he was feeling nostalgic and wanted to relive a part of his childhood for the day.

We ended up spending a good few hours at the Chuck e Cheese arcade, eating pizza, playing games  and trying to win as many tickets as we could.  But the day wasn't over after we finished up at Chuck's.  We were celebrating an 18th birthday.  We needed to go big or go home.  So we headed to the mall in Heredia (Paseo de las Flores) for some dinner at Subway and Quiznos and then dashed off to the Jump Center Trampoline Park that's located inside the mall.  Another hour and some change of jumping to our hearts content and we were ready to head home.  We had spent a good part of the day out celebrating and by the end of the evening we were ready for some down time.  But before we left the mall, we made a pit stop at Dairy Queen and picked up a Snickers Ice Cream cake.

Sometimes simplicity is key and keeping things simple makes it all the more special.