Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Low Key Mothers Day Celebration

Sunday, May 12 was Mother's Day and I took the opportunity to celebrate and treat myself to the fullest.  I kept the celebration simple and low-key but I went a little overboard on the treats since it was my day after all.  I had a wonderful time and ate a lot of good (and not so good) food.  But it was all in good fun and it was all so worth it.  I wish I had remembered to snap a pic of my day but I was in the moment.  Luckily for me, since I live in Costa Rica, I get to celebrate Mother's Day twice.  Hoping to capture the day when Mother's Day  Costa Rica rolls around in August.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Final Stage

The final stages of high school has begun for my eldest son, who has finally made it to his senior year after a rough few years.  And with senior year comes a few senior activities, a few rites of passage if you will.  The first FUN official senior activity was the senior team building retreat, where at the end parents were encouraged to show up and show support for their seniors.  It was emotional and brought me right back to my days as a senior in high school.  My son and I have  few more senior related activities on the horizon and I encourage him to embrace them all.  After all, you only go through high school once and then you have have to grow up and become an adult. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Birthday Girl

My one and only princess has finally hit the last year of her pre-teen stage and I cannot believe how quickly 12 years have flown by.  To celebrate, I took her and 4 of her best friends skating and then to the salon to get manicures.  After all that, it was back home for pizza, cake, snacks and a few fun games.  It was the perfect way to celebrate my daughter on her special day.  She wanted to keep things simple and low-key but still fun. 

The day before, on her actual birthday, we kept things low-key as well and stuck to tradition. We baked cupcakes, which I took to her class for a mini birthday celebration.  And that evening at home, after we all sang her happy birthday, she opened her gifts. 

April 26th is never just an ordinary day in this house.  It's a very special day, the day of my daughter's birthday.  The day I will never forget when I welcomed my princess to this world.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Easter Day 2019

Easter gets better every year and this Easter topped the cake.  It was just the perfect day all around with good food, good fun and lots of family time.  The day started off with a few fun Easter activities and a delicious brunch, made by yours truly.  After our tummies were full, the kids had a blast hunting for clues hidden in eggs that would lead them to their baskets.  To my delight, the baskets were a big hit this year and they loved all the Easter gifts I picked out for them.

After baskets were emptied, we took a quick trip to the park for some outdoor playtime.  After a bit of chill time at home, I made a fabulous but simple dinner.  And before bed, I popped some popcorn and we watched a few Easter shows for a perfect end to our perfect day.  It was an amazing Easter.

The Big Game

I am not much of a soccer fan and having a husband who loves soccer didn't help me much.  Now, I have a kid who also loves soccer.  He's positively obsessed with all things soccer.  So I try to pay more attention when it comes to all things soccer, for his sake.  Luckily, he has his dad to share his love and hubby is the one in charge of pretty much anything and everything to do with soccer.  He takes our son to his practice and to his games.  He practices at home with him. He watches soccer games with him, even plays the FIFA soccer  video game at home most weekends with our son.  I don't do much with my son when it comes to soccer except buy him a few soccer related items and toys.  So when it came time to really show support of my son's favorite hobby and pastime, I was ready. 

I have been to a few of my son's practices and a game or two and watched him play.  But it had been a while since I had seen him in action since he had improved and he had improved tremendously. I had a blast watching him play soccer with his other teammates.  I cheered him on and rooted for his team.  I was a proud soccer mom.  I'm not saying I'll attend every single game or even most games.  And I won't be going to every practice either.  But for big games, where I know my support matters, I will be there.  Cheers, screams, applause and all to support my little soccer player.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Spring Refresh

In many parts of North America, households are getting ready for the Spring season with new decor and a fresh start.  Adios to the long cold days of winter and hello to warmer weather; more time spent outdoors and lots of new projects to tackle around the house.  Many people begin their Spring cleaning, de-cluttering their spaces and getting their house in tip top shape for the upcoming summer months.  It is a wonderful time of year.

For us Costa Ricans (yup, I am officially a Tica by now), we don't need to get ready for Spring as we get Spring like weather year round. But for me, the expat, it's fun to pretend Spring is in the air with new decor and a refresh of old decor around the house.  Fresh new plants and spring florals add pops of color everywhere, bright colors that bring a smile to my face.  Springtime signifies natures re-birth; trees get their leaves back and new life is apparent all around.  It's the time emerge anew and start again in celebration of the Spring season.  Happy Spring.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Nineteen Years Old

I have a 19 year old.  My oldest son turned 19 years old on March 28 and it is still unreal to me that I could have a kid that OLD!  But I do and I am amazed by it.  He is an incredible kid.  Or should I say, adult.  That's going to get some getting used to.  He is technically an adult, but he will forever be my KID, my first born, my baby.  Happy Birthday young man, I am so proud of you and look forward to what the future has in store for you.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Easter Is Coming

Easter is coming... late this year.  But that's a good thing.  It's funny to me how the actual day of Easter can vary from one month to the next depending on the year.  Some years, Easter is in March and other years it can fall in April.  Last year, I think Easter was on April Fool's Day, which was fun and left room for a few fun tricks and pranks to be had with Easter baskets and egg hunts.  This year, Easter is smack dab in the middle of April, which gave me plenty of time to shop for filler basket items. I am all ready for Easter and have the kid's baskets already filled and ready to go.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Celebrating Differences And All About The Family

Like I said, my five year old is enjoying his kindergarten years and making the most of his time in 'play' school before he heads off to 'real' school.  Almost everyday when asked, "so, what did you do today?"  His answer is usually the same: "I played."  Playing is an integral part of how kids learn and learning through play is the best way to teach young minds.

Also, as part of being in school, kids learn about themselves and about others.  Mainly, how they are different yet somehow the same.  Last week, the kids celebrated Down Syndrome Awareness Day by learning about differences.  To teach them about such a sensitive subject in a light-hearted way, kids were asked to wear two different socks on their feet.  Learning about differences and how kids with Down Syndrome are different because they have a disability but, somehow, how they are also the same because they are still just people like the rest of us.  Different colored socks are different colors but they are still socks.  It's a genius way to get kids to be aware at such a young age and get the conversation going about treating everyone the same, with respect.

Kids are also learning about themselves and where they fit into the world, starting with their place in their family. So in kindergarten, the kids had to make a photo album with pictures of themselves at different stages in life so far as well as pictures of family members.  It was a way for them to understand their roles in the world, the role they play inside their family unit both immediate and extended.

                                          All About Family

                                          Celebrating Differences on Down Syndrome Awareness Day

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Doing The Most In Kindergarten

Kindergarten is supposed to be fun.  It's also supposed to prepare young minds for 'real' school.  In kinder, kids learn structure and how to behave in a classroom group setting.  It also teaches the basics like how to write your name and how to recognize colors and numbers.  And even teaches the basic concept of 'homework'.  but the part my 5 year old loves the most about school is the fun parts.  He loves to paint and color and make crafts and play.  And because kindergarten is less structured than "real" school, he enjoys the relaxed vibe.  I appreciate that kindergarten is an essential part of kids growing up but allows them to still be kids.

Making The Most Of A Sad Situation

I attended my grandmother's funeral and it was as I expected it would be, devastating. I had the most difficult time saying goodbye and coming to terms with her death.  But life goes on and I can now try to move on and come to peace with the reality of the situation. My grandmother is gone but hopefully, in a better place, watching over us in the afterlife. 

Although my trip to Boston was for a despondent reason, I was able to make the most of my super quick trip.  I arrived in Boston on Wednesday night, March 6th and was back home in Costa Rica by 12:30pm Saturday, March 9th.  Although I only had 2 days, I was able to enjoy time with family before, at and after the funeral.  I was able to see family I had not seen in about 30 years or more and reminisce with family friends that had known me from infancy. 

To make the most of my time, I took one entire day for shopping, where I hit up the Dollar Tree, Target and Price-right (a local supermarket).  I even had dinner at P F Changs, where I got to spend quality time with my older sister.  It was an amazing trip, despite the circumstance.  And I brought back a lot of super yummy goodies, including my beloved Dunkin Donuts, Cheezeits and Funyuns.  But as amazing as my time was in Boston, I was ready to get back home to my family and warmer weather. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Losing A Loved One

My heart is broken and I am at a loss of words, writing this will be hard and I have no idea how to start.  My grandmother died February 23rd in her sleep and I am saddened beyond belief.  She was literally like a second mother to me, there for me since the day I was born until the very end. 

She was one of a kind, my grandmother, living life on her own terms no matter the consequence.  She spoke her truth, told no lies and was very much a woman of her time.  She was our rock and the foundation that our family stood on.  Because of her, we all have lives we can be proud of.  Because of her hard work and sacrifice, we can live the life we choose to live.  Because of her, I have so much to be thankful for.

She was the epitome of a matriarch.  She lived for everyone else until they could live for themselves and even then, she found it hard to let us all go.  I have to be honest in saying she was sometimes very difficult to deal with.  Most of the time she was pleasant, but the other times when she wasn't, she could be downright rude and brash and uncaring. But she always had our backs.  She would never let any of us, her children or grandchildren, suffer.  If you found yourself in trouble or needing a handout, she was the one to call. 

Now thinking of life without her just seems unreal.  We all knew the day would come when we would lose our great Mama.  She was 90 years old after all, and not all that healthy. Pills kept her alive and she was surviving from one day to the next just waiting for that day to come.  But we never thought it would come so soon, especially since we just celebrated her life a few months ago at a 90th birthday bash. 

Although I am still in disbelief, I know once I am at the funeral, it will all be too real and I won't know how to grasp it all.  A world without Mama is a world I just don't understand.  I pray she is in a better place, that all too familiar smile on her face resting in peace at last.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Pinterest Trend

You know how you get sucked into trying to make everything you do perfect?  Where you try to outshine everyone else by doing extra?  Trying to keep up with the Joneses?  Well, now that's called the Pinterest trap.  Everywhere you look these days, especially on the internet, everything seems to be so pinterest perfect and we have all fallen into the trap once or twice or maybe a 100 times.

When I start party planning for one of my kids' birthday parties, one of the first places I look, and maybe the only place, is the internet.  And what I find can be mind blowing.  The Pinterest world is filled with amazing, unique and fun ideas for every occasion.  From party decor ideas to kinds of food to serve at gatherings to even how to spruce up your home for any holiday season, Pinterest is the place to go for some of the best ideas for whatever your heart fancies.  Need ideas on how to decorate a bookshelf, Pinterest.  Need ideas on how to decorate for a specific themed kid's party, Pinterest. Need fun food ideas, Pinterest.  The ideas are endless!

But there is a trap.  You can get sucked into trying to do it all, which can lead you to go Pinterest crazy which is never a good thing.  Going overboard with any event or occasion can lead to stress.  So I have learned my lesson.  I still go on Pinterest (although I have yet to create an account) but I try to limit myself to just a few fun, cool ideas.  Trying not to recreate everything you see on Pinterest can be hard but keeping it minimal is good for my stress level and sanity. 

This year, I'll have three parties to plan for and yes, I will be using Pinterest for the plethora of ideas the site has to offer.  But I wont go mad trying to copy every single idea I can find.  I will stick to the ones that I think are best suitable to me and my planning and decor style and call it a a day.  So Pinterest Planning, here I come.

This Digital Age

I have no phone.  No cell phone that is.  In this day and age, being without a cell phone makes me feel helpless.  In a sense, that rings true for me as a mom of 4 kids with busy schedules and a sometimes hectic life.  I have school groups and extracurricular groups to keep up with. If there is information of importance to be shared, it is shared through the group chats and without a phone I am lost.

For instance, last week there was a last minute schedule change for the kindergarten class and I had no idea.  I showed up to drop my son off at the normal time only to find out kids were supposed to enter about 2 hours earlier.  With only 40 minutes left of school, I dropped my son off but I was not happy.  No phone meant I was clueless to the new time change and so my 5 year old suffered for it.

I also use my phone to film my You Tube videos. My channel has become a part of my life and I have been pretty consistent with my uploads, at least one video a week.  Without a phone with an HD camera, I am unable to film or upload videos and that stinks.

So, to remedy the problem of me not having a phone, I went right away to find out how much it would cost to have mine fixed.  To my unpleasant surprise, fixing my 2 year old phone would cost almost as much as buying a brand new one.  Well, maybe not almost as much, but pretty damn close to half the price of a new phone.  So hubby convinced me to just get a new phone. However, that poses it's own set of problems.  First, money is tight right now and buying a new phone was not a part of the plan for me nor a part of my budget.  We could potentially buy a new phone just an older version for a pretty decent price but I guess hubby doesn't think that's worth it.  A newer model phone, essentially an upgrade of what I had would cost a bit more but in the long run would prove best.  But of course it comes at a price.  A not so cheap price.

I knew I'd need a new(er) phone eventually, but I was hoping to hold out until next year.  I wanted to save up and do a bit of research and get a phone I know I would love.  For me, I don't care about the latest bells and whistles.  I just need a working phone with a good camera and the ability to roam the internet.  I have my work cut out for me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Back To School 2019

Another new year, another start to a new school year.  The first few days back to school went without a hitch and everything went smoothly.  We all got up on time and got out the door in a timely fashion.  It was an almost perfect first day back, except for the fact that the kids did not want to be back at school just yer.  Understandably, most kids don't really like going back to school, especially after a super fun summer.  But such is life and since school is a part of life when you're young, you just make the most of it.  And to make the first day few days back a little more fun, I packed the kids some super yummy snacks and lunch to get excited about the school day.   Here are a few pictures of the kids' first day back to school.

 It's a pretty important year for my daughter, as she's in 6th grade this year and in Costa Rica that means it's her last year in 'middle' school.  She will be graduating at the end of the year and heading on to high school next year.  There will also be a lot of upper class-man celebrations and activities to come this year, which ill hopefully mean a fun and exciting year for her.

 And for my 5 year old, who is in kindergarten this year, this will be a pretty exciting year for him as well.  He will also be graduating at the end of year and will be heading on to 1st grade the next year so this year will be a monumental year for him as well.

Here's to a very fun, exciting, successful (and hopefully stress-free) new school year!

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Last Fun Thing

Well, it's back to school which means it's back to the grind.  I was able to fit in one last big, fun activity with the kids to the jump center trampoline park.  Then after all that jumping, we headed to one of our favorites restaurants for some super yummy food like jalepeno poppers, burgers and pizza. I feel good knowing that the kids had a wonderful fun-filled summer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

One Final Getaway (Before School Starts)

It was the last getaway before the start of school, to a place called La Cruz in Costa Rica and to a beach named Rajada.  It was the perfect little escape for the family as we soaked up the the last bits of freedom before our school year routine takes effect in a week and a half.  I feel so blessed to have been able to escape life twice this month.  And I now fully look forward to back to school: all the prep, all the shopping, packing lunches again.  I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to homework or exams but that's part of life at this point with school aged kids.  I just hope the year passes quickly, or at least quick enough for us to enjoy another beach getaway.