Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We all had an instrument, although they aren't all pictured here. Brooklyn was on the mic, and I had a spooky keyboard, Tom had an additional guitar adorned with skulls and cross bones and other spooky stuff. None of us had our costume shoes on yet, the paint was still drying. They really completed the ensemble!

Elle in Character.

Still in character.

Winners of the Costume Contests - hooray!

Jello eating contest!

Elle, who was only two and 2 weeks, got really into character. She loved the accessories and posing for the cameras!

Elle's first real trick-or-treat. She was pretty freaked out by her own dad, it was hilarious.

Brooklyn was really pumped on the crazy hair, but she still wanted to look 'pretty.'

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up and I love to eat candy, so it really makes sense. My kids are totally into the idea of group costumes, so we were going for that this year. We thought about our costumes for many months leading up to the big day. Becoming Allice (mad hatter, allice, queen of hearts, the cat, and the pig), but it was so expensive. Lazy Town, but nobody here knows the tv show, so we would have just looked stupid. Your typical food group costumes; fruit salad, milk and cereal, rice and beans.... Nothing seemed right, and we were taking it real serious like. One day Brody was jammin' out on his air guitar and it came to us, Punk Rock Band! It's been done before, of course, so we really developed the 'dead' punk rock band theme. We named ourselves "Pura Muerte" which means, "Pure Death." It's a play on the famous Costa Rica saying, "Pura Vida" which means, "the Pure Life." With the help of my great, great friends, we developed our band logo, made t-shirts, and had to get super creative on the accessories, which included lots of electrical tape, paint, metal fan strings, safety pins, chain get the picture. We won some pretty cool prizes, and had a great time. It is a fabulous way to have family fun and a little spooky bonding. In total we went to the CDS Halloween Party, trick-or-treating with great friends, and Witches Rock Haunted House and Trick-or-Treat. A total of 3 days of dressing up and good times. Can't wait to see what we come up with next year!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dia de la Independencia ~ Septiembre 15!

Traditional Girl's Dance Dress

No bombs, no guns, no bloody battle..a simple letter from Spain arriving by ship and then horseback, to grant the people of Costa Rica their request for independence. Today, the peaceful achievement is remembered with several days of traditional celebrations,including, music, dancing, lantern lighting, torch passing, parades, and of course, good food.

Country Day School took full advantage of the cultural educational opportunity, by putting together an assembly of traditional dance, costumes, and music as the story of independence was narrated in Spanish. The children had been preparing dances since the school year started, and a few local public schools attended and participated in the event as well.

After the traditional celebrations, the day was left for the kids to enjoy a variety of fair-like activities on campus, including, a bouncy 'water' castle (ie- they stuck a hose on it), frog races (for real!), face painting, guitar hero, skateboarding, a cake walk, musical chairs, etc...Brooklyn sat and watched/helped Miss Lizzy do the face paintings, while Brody didn't even make it to that section as he was trying afternoon for winning treats at the musical chair station. If I call it appreciation for music will it make me feel better??? :) It was a day to remember!

The Matapalo Band was playing and all of the girls got up to dance in their beeeeautiful dresses! Brody joined in as well of course, but where I was I couldn't snap shot.

Elli comes with to all of the school functions, and she loves all the attention she gets from the big girls!

Brooklyn with part of her class.

Brody with 1st and 2nd grade - he's back left corner :)

A woman from our church made this dress for Brooklyn in just a few hours!

Face Painting Fun

Of course she wasn't going to miss out!!!!!

The boys danced with scarves and wore the typical hats, a little less fancy than the girl's stuff, and I wasn't hearing any complaints!

Monday, September 13, 2010

She's finally happy, so needless to say, SO ARE WE! An update on Brooklyn.

My happy girl!

After one year in Costa Rica, Brooklyn has achieved piece of mind, contentment, and general happiness. Thanks mostly to her lovely new kindergarten teacher, Miss Lizzie, who has created a welcoming, structured classroom, fully equipped with almost ready-to-hatch baby chicks! The incubator has been the talk of the school, and the kids have been counting backward to hatch date. It has created as much excitement as Christmas, so well done Miss Wizzie (as many of her little kinder students call her.)
Brooklyn's early to bed, early to rise schedule is really working for her. Aside from the wonderful education she is getting at Country Day School, which includes gardening, p.e., art, and Spanish as part of the curriculum, she has a full line up of extra curricular activities. She takes ceramic art on Monday, and exhibits almost as much love for art as her big brother Brody does. She does hip hop twice a week, once with me and the Country Day Cheer Squad, and once from a wonderful teacher at the local 8 count dance studio. Next year she'll be old enough for surf club, that is if she can handle the 'stickiness' by then! She has at least one play date a week, swims every day, looks forward immensely to lunch and snack, and has a great little following of 5th grade fans. She is an amazing big sister, and treats Elle with lots of love and kindness. She's the one responsible for teaching Elle how to swim due to her zeal for the sport, but also her patience to teach her. And the cherry on top is she is FINALLY speaking Spanish with a little bit of confidence and frequency.
I am so pleased that she has taken a liking to it here now, and while she misses her cousins from home, she is making lots of new friends from all over the world. She still brings a little bit of sass to our home, which cracks me up. I know she will grow into a very strong, self-motivated, unwaivering woman, as she already, frequently, single handedly gets all the kids on the playground to line up out of sheer fear of hearing her yell. Where does she get that from??? (heheheheh) A feared could be worse.

I started as an EGG! - The Egg Hatching Countdown begins.....

Working in the garden at school is a weekly part of the this heaven? Nope, it's Costa Rica!

Gettin' Dirty

At Bear Lake with her bestest cousins!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dear AutoMercado

Why do I miss you so? Let me count the ways...
  • because I know all the faces of your employees and they know me, because sometimes I give them rides to work when they are hitch hiking.
  • because although your things are twice the price, your small selection, cleanliness, and simpleness make shopping effortless.
  • because when I have to put $20 of groceries back at the end because I ran out of cash, I'm not embarrassed because you live the 'pura vida.'
  • because you have no 'holiday' or 'seasonal' isle. Those are just code for, "we always have something you think you HAVE to have, even though you don't, and you'll buy it anyway, because that was commercialism is all about, convincing the consumer that their life will be better if they make the purchase and add the item to their ever growing pile of other holiday and seasonal items....
I love you Auto! You make living in Costa great!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Past is Part of the Present and the Future (even if the pictures aren't there to prove it.)

Do you ever keep replaying a moment in your head, over and over, in hopes that somehow, insodoing, you will be able to change the events of the past? Well, I do. I have been doing it for the past week, trying to change the fact that on our trip from San Jose, Costa Rica, to SLC, UT, we lost over a thousand precious pics. Somehow between our hotel and the check in desk at the airport, our laptop was 'misplaced' - meaning somebody nabbed it- and years of photos were lost. I am grateful for my blog, which has preserved many of my favorite moments over the last year, and I feel like it's not just a hobby, but a real blessing in my life! Thanks to all our loved ones who have snapped shots over the last few years, and are letting us rumage through the computers and photo albums to scan, copy, and attempt to retreive these little moments in time. In the end, searching for pictures, has been a fun experience, and we have found many pictures we didn't even know existed. I am grateful for my beautiful family, and realize that while pictures are fun, they are only reminders of our past, but our past will always live within us, even if the pictures aren't there to prove it ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Amazing Race

My dad warned Tom at our wedding, "Tom, Caralee can be a hippie, but she can also wear a dress." He knows me too well. I'll never turn down a five star, but I can go hard core with a hand shovel and a doggy bag if you know what I mean. When it comes to camping with my kids, I'm a little schitzophrenic. I want to camp in the spots that are remote, beautiful, and a little adventurous, but I want to take ALL MY CONVENIENCES with me. 'Cause there is nothing like dealing with an 15 month old, when your both going on just a little bit of sleep and half fully tummies. This point brings me to my story.
Three months ago when my sister, Chandra, came to visit Costa Rica, I decided to take her camping. She loves to camp, and will pretty much never turn it down. So, in my little Kia, we packed 2 adults, 6 kids, two tents, a couple of large coolers, a few surfboards, a bunch of beach towels and toys, all the needed kitchen supplies, bug spray and sunscreen, changes of clothes, baby bottles, diapers and wipes, matresses, the porta crib, get the picture (I don't think it's even legal.) Of course we chose a really remote camping spot that you could really only get to by either A) Trekking down the beach for 20 minutes with all of the stuff or B) Parking across what appeared to be just a little stream and hiking the stuff into the spot via the knee high water. The stream had to be crossed at two points, with a sand bar in between. We went for option B, thinking that walking through the water would be the more refreshing choice. I put Elle on my back in Baby Ergo (the best investment I have ever made), and the kids camped out on the shore line with their sand toys while my sister and I played conveyor belt; I unloaded the car and walked the goods across the stream at the first point and passed them to her. She would then walk them across the stream at second point and drop them on the shore. She got the harder leg of the journey of course, as she is often times referred to as an 'ox' or 'pack horse' with her 3 boys and 1 girl in tow on the most incredible undertakings.
All was going as planned, at first. I am not brilliant at times, thats for sure, and I neglected to put two very important facts together. Fact one, the stream was coming in off the ocean. (and if you are a surfer or beach bum, or know anything about the ocean and I mean ANYTHING, you probably know the second fact and where this story is heading.) Fact two, the ocean has two tides. It's just not rocket science.
We arrived at the turn of the low tide, when the stream was just a stream. But we packed A LOT of stuff, and it was just my sister and I and 6 little kiddos. So, by the time we finished unpacking, we were both wading across shoulder deep water with the goods above our heads, I being determined not to let my down pillow get damp at all. We finished unpacking just in the nick of time. Seriously, our last load was the surfboards, and I paddled them all the way across, the sand bar having disappeared minutes before.
The whole experience was completely entertaining, and a full body workout. The fact that we thought the whole experience was just great, must mean she and I are destined to compete in the Amazing Race or something. Tommy, my hubby, was a little less delighted when he swam across the river to take the car to get some more ice, and quickly realized it was trapped on the highest spot until low tide again. I guess the remote little path I drove in on, was actually the high tide river bed...eeek. Next time I'll do a little more research on the spot we choose.
All and all it was a lot of fun. The weather was hot and sunny, we had shade for our tents, we ate yummy yummy food, enjoyed scary stories around a campfire that was just for looks cause it was far to hot to get near, and got a relatively good night's sleep. Yes I said, a good night's sleep....all that work for just one night! It was totally worth it. The next day we had plenty of sunshine, played on the beach, and packed up the car all over again...this time during low tide.

The Kia was a little overloaded, I just haaaaaad to take my Tiki torches filled with Citronella to keep the mozzis away...hey, it worked!

Clark and Brody were excited to go, and so got in the car a little prematurely. Brody has fully adapted to the climate here, but Clarky (on right and very grumpy) was a little overheated. WATER!

You can see Elle's white leg hanging from my back. Yep, she hung out back there for the entire 1.5 hours of unpacking. She was 15 months at the time, but has always been keen for adventure.

Elle liked trudging through the water, it was quite refreshing. I was worried she would get a sea salt rash on those chunky thies, but they were just fine.

Here is Kate and Elle. Elle is airing out those thies :)

It was an amazing sunset

Notice no one is actually sitting in front of the was totally just for the visual effect.

Baby Yoga

Elle was minding her own business, eating her steak and rice. I became occupied for only a few moments and when I turned back around she was literally doing downward facing dog on the tray of her highchair. Of course I had to ask her to reproduce the pose for the purpose of recording the moment, or no one would have believed me! Elle was only 16 months at the time.

The stuff nightmare's are made of.....

This bug was found on the floor at the foot of Brooklyn's bed. It is a very poisonous centipede. Also found in the picture are Brooklyn's bright pink panties. I am just glad he was next to them and not INSIDE of them, because....eeek! The bite on these is just as sore as a scorpion, or so I hear......

Primaria de Santa Cruz - Fiesta de Nadando

We had a church primary party at our house last week. A member of our ward, graciously donated the funds to have the kids transported in an air conditioned van from Santa Cruz to our home, about a one hour drive. We BBQ'd, played with water balloons, and of course we swam. None of the kids actually knew how to swim...NONE OF THEM. Which leads me to my next venture...non-profit organization to help low income families enjoy the beauties and activities of Costa Rica that people travel from all over the world to see. We will be looking for families who wish to sponsor children and families down here to experience or learn to swim, surf, 4 X, participate in local art workshops, play and instrument, zip line, raft, etc.....These kids need some opportunity. We will be starting with swimming lessons in August, it's free and easy, and....well, it's a start.

Tommy on the you babe!

This girl loves to swim...just taken a break I guess.

None of the kids ages 3 - 14 actually knew how to swim. Good thing the pool is shallow. Brooklyn was giving swim lessons by the end though, and they were making some progress.

Elle (18 months) sitting next to her primary companion of 3 years! What a fatty eh?

That Aint No Cookie

This short story contains a man, dog poop, a kitchen spatula and an angry wife. It might not be suitable for all audiences, as it contains mildly explicit language....Our dog Monster left us a 'surprise' on our patio while we were out. When we came home my hubby said, "I'll clean that up." Moments later I walked onto the patio and shuddered at the sight of my husband scooping up the smelly doggy 'treat' with my KITCHEN SPATULA. No joke. "What the hell are you doing???" I shrieked! "What? (he replied oh so innocently) I'm just cleaning this mess up." I watched in horror (I'm a little OCD) as he then proceeded to launch the load from the spatula into the trees, hose off the spatula, and then bring the spatula inside to "disinfect" it with some dish soap and the kitchen sponge. OH NO HE DI'N'T! (said with three snaps and a whip of the head.) I relieved him of his duties at that point, and got the whole situation under control. I have been laughing spontaneously since then...MEN! (Said to myself out of the pure hope that my husband isn't the only man who would pull this stunt off.) Thanks for letting me share the story babe, your are the best, love ya!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

33 drafts, no joke

So it isn't that I haven't been writing, it's just that it takes so dang long to upload a picture! I have all sorts of half entries just waiting for pictures and then they'll be up. Seriously, I have 33 posts in draft mode, that's just a bit ridiculous. I'd like to get them updated, so does anyone have any ideas about how to upload pics faster and in albums instead of just 5 at a time??? I promise to stay on top of it from here on out, but it might take me a year to catch up on the past 33....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy New Year - Camping on the Beach

Talk about a good too. Dry season, so trees are bare, but it was nice and hot!
(You can see why I would have thoughts of Tsunami!)

After our busiest Christmas EVER, we decided to recover on New Year's by camping on the beach with our friends William and Kenya. We camped at Playa Minas, which is normally quite pristine, but it turns out to be a favorite local camping spot during the holidays. If you go any other time of year you'll most likely be one of two people on the beach, but even with the loads of people it was just what we needed.

We had a delicious bbq, a huge bonfire, and enjoyed a full moon. The sound of the waves lapping up on the beach only a few feet away from us was quite musical....until it was time to sleep. When I closed my eyes I found it actually gave me a little anxiety. I had a flash back of a tsunami nightmare I once had. Visions of my family clinging to a large tree, and the feeling of a life size wave crashing over me and then......well, I think that's enough details. I kept looking up all night long, to make sure the ocean hadn't receded and there was, indeed, a gigantic wave coming towards us. After all was said and done, the whole scene proved to be a fantastic backdrop for camping and to bring in the new year. (I must admit, I do miss my mountains. I'll have to fill up on them when I come home for July.) Elle was in heaven of course, she is my tom boy. Not afraid of dirt or sand, or of being sticky. In fact, I do believe sand is her favorite substance in the whole world. Needless to say, she had a blast! Brody and Brooklyn didn't actually complain of the sand at all either, quite a transformation from our recent trip to Mexico where neither of them would even set foot on the white sand beach! Brody caught a fish. I think he was the only one. But he put it back, it must have gazed at him just right, appealing to his softer side. Who am I kidding? Brody only has 'the softer side.' I love him for it!

All in all, it was a great way to spend a night and a full day. We'll do it again for sure. When we come home from our state side trip in August, I'll be bringing all my high tech camping gear back with me. But for now....tico style!

This fish wasn't dead, and rest assured, it is living out the remainder of it's long life in the big, blue ocean. Check out Brooklyn's face!

Brody yawning and enjoying the view.

Brooklyn loves camping....and pj's. URG!

Elle enjoying the heat of the fire, barefoot and almost naked. As usual.

This pic is just for the Burtons....I told you my kids were capable of enjoying the sand. I guess in Mexico they just wanted to take advantage of the pool.

Check out the local girls....they couldn't get enough of Brooklyn. Do you think she has their attention??? Do you think she was loving it??

The waves at high tide are fast and surprisingly strong, even after they've broken. The water comes up all the way to the tree line.

My stud man caught a fish!