Friday, October 8, 2010

Signing off!!!

There is usually a "short summer", as they call it here in Costa Rica, a brief period of no rain, perfect sun, and hot weather, just before the rest of the "winter".....or rain, rain, rain. We had that short summer this past week, and feel so incredibly blessed. It has rained (at some point in the day) probably 90% of the days we've been here, but this week, we literally didn't see or hear one drop from Monday through today....needless to say, the kids played at the beach all week long. We had our friends, the Wride's over the past two days to enjoy the beach with us (they have 7 children ages 10-1, so all our kids have at least one friend to play with :)). We couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to our adventure. One of my first friends, Megan, whom I met on the beach just for a week, said that she and her family spent several weeks here every summer, and that it is magical (I remember her using the word specifically), and I can honestly say that is exactly the word I would choose, MAGICAL. To watch our children, literally everyday run out to the beach from our back door and be so excited to play outside and never tire of going outside...to see them interact with one another in a way they did not do at home with neighbors and friends around....to see them have literally ZERO toys, yet never be bored...to see them with insane appetites, eating anything and never complaining....to see them make friends with someone who doesn't speak any english....to see them learning new things (surfing), and wanted to learn badly enough that they keep trying and trying even when they get pummeled....to see them enjoying a healthy, active life, without me having to drive them to swim practice, track or soccer.....it is just magical!!!! There are so many things I will miss about this place.

But the reality is that we need to head home for now. We can easily count our many, many blessings, and the blessing of being here for 2 short months, that has just taught us so much about how we want to run our family, and how we want to run our lives. So we will come home and continue the fight against the norm to have more family time, to always have family dinners, to not get caught up in the run-around, to reconnect every night with our children. How can we be anything but grateful for this experience!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010



Schramms and Stouts on our day trip to Rincon de Viejo

A zip-lining photo, with our driver....

Almost ready to saddle up and head to the hot springs
Putting on my "diper"...getting ready for the 1200ft waterslide!
Zach and I both agreed, this was the funnest (or should I say funniest)
part of the day!!!


Bryan and Zach go out for a surf!

Finally a few pictures from our visit with Bryan and JoDee....my computer was giving me a hard time uploading these. We have had so much fun with all of our visitors the past few weeks and are so grateful we could squeeze in these visits before having the leave CR.

Scott and Cindy Gunderson came down for a visit with their two boys! Cindy actually had her tickets booked before we booked ours to come down. We had booked a condo in the northern part of the country, but ended up driving back to our house the next day. Accommodations worked a little better for our families here.....food was a 45 minute drive, the beach was un-swimable since there was some kind of biting fish in it, and we again had all of our kids sleeping in one king bed, while Zach and I slept on the pull out. We all agreed it would be easier to just be at home, so we headed back the following day. Even though we had some rain here and there, we had plenty of sunny and dry moments for playing out on the beach, which was everyone's choice of play for the week.






Stout/Gunderson volcano building competition. The kids actually got some paper and lit it on
fire for effects.



Also since we were at home, we booked Grettyl to watch all the kids for movie night so Scott, Cindy, Zach and I could go out to dinner. We tried a new restaurant, Nibbani, and I had a super tasty greek salad and spinach/ricotta ravioli (Zach let me choose, and this is so typical of me....I love pasta). Scott and Cindy went a little more cultural to the area, and had the ceviche, cream of onion soup, and the curry..... Bottom line was we didn't have to cook or clean up after the kids, so everyone was happy, and everything was super delicious. The following day we went to Monkey Bar, 2 for 1 pizza, and even though it was exactly that, bar pizza, the kids loved playing with the baby gecko, and goofing around on the billiards table.

Scott and Cindy left Saturday early afternoon to give themselves plenty of time to arrive in SJ before dark, but when we got a call from them around 8:30pm, they let us know they had just arrived.....8 hours post departure time!!!! Zach and I rearranged our plans to get to San Jose immediately, and called our driver, who is now picking us up at 7:30am instead of noon....




Sunday, September 26, 2010

....and just like that.......


.......So after all our sweat, blood, and tears, we are coming home. Zach feels like it is in the best interest of his company for him to be working from the States right now....much more detail to the story, but enough said.

That said, we've had an incredibly fun past couple of weeks, and we will make the most of the next two weeks before we are back in Colorado, fast as lightning thrown back into full speed of LIFE! Zach's parents stayed for a little over a week. The timing was perfect, and everyday (almost) was sunny in the daytime with rain in the afternoon/ evening. During their stay we celebrated Costa Rica's Independence Day. Zach and I and the kids participated in the parade last Tuesday evening. School-aged children from several surrounding countries all march with torches from usually a church, to their schools and back. We bought "torches" (paper ones, but with real candles....yes, we saw several on the side of the road on fire) for each of the kids. However, it's a tradition for many families to make their own torches, and we saw so many interesting themes. We followed a fun band, mostly just some of the older school aged kids playing drums, but we all loved seeing how the Ticos celebrate their day of Independence from Spain. I love that from now on, every Sept 14-15th we will know what's happening in Costa Rica while we are participating in our heres and theres in the States.

The following day, we celebrated the actual Independence Day at the kids' school, and had a big luncheon with all the families. Everyone brought a dish to share, a dish that was supposed to be authentic, if possible. I made a seven layer dip, which I'm sure is not a common dish here, but made with all common ingredients....we brought home an empty dish, so I guess it's fun for them to try some "american" dishes as well. We tried ceviche (a side dish type food make with tomatoes, lemon juice, onions, raw fish etc....more like a cold soup to me), all kinds of soup, different ways to make rice and beans and arroz con leche (a sweet rice made with milk, sugar, and sometimes sweetened condensed milk, similar to our rice pudding). Kaylee gave a speech on what freedom means, and did a great job public speaking in front of all the parents. The kids sang the national anthem (as best they could), and we played a Costa Rican trivia game (don't think we did so well.....). All in all, just great to meet more of the families from school.

The following Saturday, we took a boat ride up the estuary with Zach's parents. Our guide, Cristian told us that for 15 years he swam across the estuary from Tamarindo to Playa Grande, where his father lived, until one day he saw an 18 foot crocodile in the river. Never again! He has also seen a bullshark in the estuary, so now no one crosses unless in a little boat. It's a 40 minute drive from Tamarindo to Playa Grande, so this is the quickest way to get there, unless you are eaten, of course! We saw several crocodiles ranging in size. From 100 yards away, Cristian would say, "look, crocodile, 11 o'clock", and we would look and look in that direction. He would drive closer and closer, until finally (10 feet away) the rest of us would see it. After about the 3rd or 4th time of this, Zach and I were getting suspicious. How in the world could he see these, unless maybe they were planted (plastic), and just part of the scene (kind of like the "jungle tour" at Disney World :). Anyway, Zach and I were making jokes about the "batteries not working" as we watched this one crocodile sitting on the bank. He wouldn't move at all....we were yelling, throwing leaves, etc, and got within about 5 feet, when seriously, out of no where, quick as a flash, he sprang into the water. We all screamed so loud, and then the joke was on us....Cristian had a good laugh!

Up the estuary, we got out of the boat to head into the jungle to see the monkeys. The kids loved making the monkeys growl. Cristian would clap his hands loudly (getting them wound up), and then we'd all make our best monkey imitation and the monkeys would go berserk! Along our trek, we saw so many termite nests, I totally had the willies just thinking about all those disgusting critters. But nature has a way. Turns out that some birds build their nests inside of termite nests, and they can leave there eggs there without them being bothered by other animals. When the eggs hatch, the babies have plenty of termites to eat. Cristian said the termites are full of protein and take like carrots, but Zach's dad was the only one brave enough to eat one along with Cristian. YUCK! I think I'll just stick to carrots (dipped in peanut butter!)

One morning last week, I was out early in the morning for my run. The sun was coming up and it was a beautiful morning. All of a sudden it started to mist, and I, facing the direction of the bright sun, immediately thought, there has to be a rainbow. I turned around quickly to see the most incredible rainbow I've ever seen. It stretched a full 180 degrees from the cape of Langosta out to our neighboring island, bright as I've ever seen. I stood and stared, then looked around to see who else was out to enjoy this, but I was the only one on the beach. Less than a minute later, the mist stopped, and I turned back around, but the rainbow was gone. I feel so blessed to have this little sacred treasure....a view of this sign of peace and hope, over one of the most beautiful beaches that I look out over every morning in awe of my Creator....I will never forget that morning. One of those times when you KNOW Heavenly Father knows and loves you.

Last Sunday we met another family from the States who will be here in our branch for a while. They have 7 children (in addition to the other two large families coming down), and one on the way. I asked Hermana Pina if this was "normal", having American families come down to stay for a while (does this happen year after year??), and she said no, that they'd never had anything like it. We are sad to leave this great place, especially after coming this far, but I think they will have many hands to help, and we will do another adventure when the time is right! Our kids have fallen in love with their small school and the language. This morning, when we broke the news of our return, I truly thought they would be bummed for a moment, and then think of all the exciting things they missed and be thrilled to go home. Quite the opposite...they all cried, and some cried several times during the day. We talked about our favorite parts of CR, and aside from the beach, it was the language and their school. So I do know an impression has been made on them and on us....we plan to work hard to recreate a piece of this tranquility at home.

Our good friends Brian and JoDee made it safely to CR last Tuesday, and after two adventurous days on their own, they drove to our house on Friday afternoon. We went out to dinner, caught up on CO, and got ready for our adventurous Saturday. Our driver picked us up and we drove about 2 hours into the mountains. At first we zip-lined over the jungle, and then geared up to go down the 1200 ft waterslide. JoDee and I decided that since we'd come all the up, we HAD to do the waterslide, but it looked super fast, and dangerously made out of concrete. We all laughed at a sign that said, "women must wear diper on slide"...(yes, spelled diper), a leather loin cloth looking thing that basically protected your bathing suit. We wore tubes on the slide (and helmets), and the operator at the top dammed the water so we could get the "full speed" effect. It truly was just a crack up to see everyone come down!!!! After a super tasty and healthy lunch, we rode horses up to the natural hot springs. We covered ourselves in the mineral mud-bath (we teased the guys asking if it was really horse ca-ca, but they didn't find that too funny), then rinsed in a freezing cold river water shower, and quickly dipped into the hot tubs. With all the rain, the pools were significantly cooler, which we didn't mind since it was warm enough and we felt like staying longer! We made the long trip home to find the kids safe and happy! We grabbed bbque for dinner and while JoDee made pumpkin cookies, Brian imported all our new pics from the day, and Z and I put kids to bed. We visited until late, but didn't struggle too much with our goodbyes since we'll be home in two weeks! We have mourned having to leave, and are now starting to look forward to all the things we miss at home. We are super excited that we have one week with the Gundersons, and then one week to wrap up all the exploring we want to do in CR. We will head to San Jose on the 9th and all fly out the 10th, Zach to CA, and the kids and me to CO. I can be nothing but grateful for even just the short time we've had here! Look forward to seeing many of you.

charlie the crocodile...

a precarious little bridge in the middle of the jungle
waiting for the "plastic" crocodile to move :)

kids singing national anthem on Independence Day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MORE CR!



Another "normal" week in Costa Rica. Last Wednesday when my friend was helping me with spanish at her house, a tractor hit our car, just the sharp corner of the bulldozer part, enough to put a nice dent in the side above the driver's side tire. While she was battling back and forth with the men about whether they wanted to pay up or have us call transito, I was intently listening, impressed with myself at how much I was understanding! Apparently these guys wanted to do whatever to avoid transitio (immigrants from Nicaragua, I guess), and agreed to pay the money. I, of course, figured we'd never see a dime, and just chalked it up to another CR expense...add it to the tab! However, the guys came through and they paid Zach yesterday, $120, for something that would cost $1000 in the US.

The Tamarindo Marathon was held on Saturday, starting at 5:00am. All the Tamarindo streets were closed for some time so we took the morning to relax, and enjoy the low tide. Zach and I tried to sign up for the 10K at the last minute, but all the races were full. Most runners come from San Jose and surrounding areas, or other countries. The working class here wouldn't dream of running (why, when you've just practiced manual labor- yard work, housekeeping, or ditch digging- for the last 8-10 hours????) Zach and I went for our own run on the beach, and then got together with friends in the afternoon, a family with two children whom our kids know from school. Martin and Carolyn are from Texas originally, but have spent the past year in Australia and are now spending a year here! Saturday night Zach and I had dinner at KaHiki's. After a week of cooking, going out for dinner is such a treat for me. I was giddy eating an arugula, strawberry and walnut salad. We shared a greek platter, and had the spicy red curry chicken! So delicious.

On Sunday, Zach was called as the Elder's Quorum President of the branch, and I as the ONLY Young Women's advisor. I am looking forward to having to push harder to more quickly learn spanish so I can be a part of this great calling. Later that night, we were anticipating Zach's parents arriving sometime after 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening. They never showed up, and Zach and I calmly "knew" they had just hit bad weather, in the dark, and decided to pull off and stop at a hotel. They would be here first thing in the morning, leaving early with the sunrise. By 8:00am, we were getting worried, and by 10:30, we had called transito, policia, and the US Embassy! They pulled into the driveway a short while later, explaining that the road out of SJ was closed from a landslide and they had been forced to drive south. After dark and much rain, the stopped, exhausted, and the front counter refused to allow them to use the computer to send us a quick email. Just getting used to CR more and more everyday. I can say that even though cell phones are such a convenience, it is so easy to become addicted, and THAT I do not miss at all! Even with no stoplights, people on bikes, folks walking in the middle of the road, people passing each other all the time on single lane/no shoulder roads, muddy roads, etc, I feel safer on the road, and also feel like a safer driver here!

So Zach's folks are here, and we were saying last night how this feels like the first visit we've had with them where we are not moving, having a baby, or needing help with some big project....tranquilo! So we swam in the ocean after school yesterday, and his parents got to see everyone's surfing skills. It will nice for everyone to just relax this week....

A few funny words from the kids this week:
Jed while counting: "...dieciocho, diecinueve, veinte, veinti-one, veinti-two, veinit-three....."

Tia: while having burgers with friends last week: "...these pickles are really spicy!" Tia had put 4 or 5 on her burger, jalapenos, that is!

Tia: My child who has never, ever liked melted cheese on anything...when I make homemade pizza hers is just sauce with toppings, quesdillas- NEVER, she just does't like it..... "I don't know why, but I just feel like really thick, really cheesy pizza right now!"

For a nice grand finale, our cravings for those things we miss and love so much at home have been satisfied this week! Zach's words, "this is better than Christmas" as we tore into a box from Zach's parents of HEALTHY peanut butter, PB pretzels, popcorn, goldfish, and dark chocolate chips! YUM!

Kids and Zach enjoying oreos!!! What a treat from our friends in CA!
Thank you Amy, Erik and kids!

Rainy day fun! Kaylee, Tia, Ethan and Dad played out on the beach in the
pouring rain. The kids were trying to build a dam by a little "estuary" by our house.
Because the tide had been so so low earlier in the day, we had many dead fish
wash up at high tide. Zach spent his time in the rain, moving the fish from our house
to another part of the beach....stink up someone else's area, right?

A funny sign at the grocery store. No towels, no bare feet, and no thongs! Shirts not necessary!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We found this very cool fruteria that sells all kinds of costa rican produce.
The boys were sampling this rambutan for the first time. It's a red, spiky fruit on the
outside, and with your fingernail or a knife, you slice around the middle, open the
peel, and inside you find a white, juicy, tart fruit, about the size of a small apricot.
Unfortunately, there is a pit inside the fruit, otherwise this would be our new favorite.
Overall, there's not a lot of flesh to the fruit, but it was very cool to try! Loved the flavor!


Jed found this amazing caterpillar outside, named it fluffy, and had it as a pet by his bedside.....
until fluffy didn't survive all the manhandling! Kaylee also kept a pet caterpillar who is now in chrysalis state, and we are awaiting the birth of a beautiful butterfly any day!

This past weekend we took the kids on a canopy zipline tour. Ethan is getting suited up for
the fun!
On on of the last lines, Kaylee went "superwoman" with the guide. The two guys in the background were fishing with scuba masks and machetes,
and plastic grocery store bags for "coolers."

Our post canopy tour family pic. Everyone is happy NOW! Jed cried for about
the first three zip lines even though he was riding with Zach. The last five he finally
warmed up, feeling a little silly that he made such a big deal at first. He hasn't stopped
talking about the zip lines ever since. We will most definitely do these again!


After a great Saturday morning adventure with the kids, we were fortunate enough to have a little afternoon sunshine for a while. We all headed to the beach for a little surfing and sand fun. The girls got on a silly streak with each other, making up games to play, and finding treasures in the sand at low tide. Zach and I couldn't interrupt the magic, so they played on the beach for about 5 hours, until Zach and I were leaving on our date (the first one since we've been here...it's felt like forever since we're used to weekly date nights). I'd asked Grettyl, the housekeeper, earlier in the week if she would stay with the kids Saturday night, and she was happy to have the extra work. We now have our weekly date night back in place, and that feels great. Grettyl is great with the kids, and it was so nice to return from a date with a clean house as well!!! Zach and I walked down the beach and ate at a great little place here in Tamarindo called El Coconut. I thought I was in heaven, with shrimp and avocado appetizer, and mahi-mahi, filet mignon, veggies and mashed potatoes for dinner. The BEST! We stopped to top it off with a slice of cheesecake, but it turned out to be a let down, just not the same as REAL american cheesecake!

I forgot a few items in my list of favorites from last week: 1. Full service gasolineras! Man, the works. Fill up, pay, get your windows washed, tires checked, etc. 2. Hot lunch at school.....I have been tempted more than once to put in an order for myself for hot lunch at school. Anything from Tuna croquettes, to mahi mahi with rice and beans, to pasta with chicken and veggies! It includes a snack of fresh fruit everyday too! Sure beats crusty pizza and frozen chicken nuggets (assuming that really is chicken). Everyday Ethan reminds me he does NOT want cold lunch, he wants the real lunch at school. It's fairly reasonable in price, but the bottom line is food is expensive here anyway, it beats pb&j on bread I wouldn't eat, with pb I also wouldn't eat. And, it has taken a huge stress off of my morning! Works for me!

Today we were blessed with another fabulous day of weather (so now I am just waiting for the downpour), with sun all day long. After some fun at the beach we had dinner with our friends, Caralee and Tom at their home in Huacas. The kids swam in the pool, even after the sun went down, and we grilled burgers, had chips, watermelon and veggies with dip. The Burtons are a good family to "pick brains"...they have been here over a year, and are just familiar with the area....where there are good doctors, fun places to visit with kids, inexpensive tiendas, and so on!

We got our first package from some of our most favorite friends in CA, the Allebests. The package was addressed to Zach and I assumed it was some of Zach and Erik's business venture supplies or something. The kids and I felt so loved to find warm, happy notes inside, crafts, and oh-so-tasty treats....oreo cookies, dark chocolate, and PB cups from TRADER JOES!. The kids were so happy doing crafts all afternoon, painting and hanging their window figures in their rooms. This was a fantastic surprise on a day I really needed it!

Tomorrow I start some spanish tutoring with my friend, Tara, and a lady in our ward who teaches spanish at one of the local private schools. I think she will be able to work more on the grammar and vocab with me, and I can continue to practice speaking and listening with Grettyl and the neighbors/ locals. All is well here for us, and we hope it is for you too! We'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010




A monkey on the wall between our house and the neighbors....
We thought it was so cool, until.......

....we realized it pooped on our car!

...and now the poop has flies in it...thought you'd all like too see this
right before having meatloaf for dinner!

Not a good picture, but this was one of the "funny" things we saw this week. 6 guys hitching a ride with some guy with a truck. All six couldn't sit in the back because it was a camper with tons of stuff, so they just opened the hatch, stood on the bumper and held on....yes, all of them. They were going pretty fast for such a crazy ride!

Iguana outside my school....always a sight to see these critters so close!

video
Owen surfing! This is so super awesome! He loves it!

The beginning of this week was extremely difficult for me. I was just having a rough couple of days. My great friend, Cindy, talked me through the challenge, built me up and gave me some great advice. I set some small goals, just enjoying the next two weeks (a small increment of time) to the fullest (rather than feeling exhausted about being here indefinitely), and keeping an open mind about how and where I can find interaction for the kids and myself. I set another goal to talk to someone new, a native, and try to connect and make a new friend. Both goals, so far, have been very uplifting for me to work towards. I met the parents of a friend of Kaylee's at school this week. Both are Tico, and speak very little English. Kaylee was invited by her friend, Sheylie, to go boating this weekend. However, there's been a red tide at some of the nearby beaches (not ours luckily), and the trip may be postponed until the girls are able to swim, snorkel, etc. But chatting with Monica and Gregory felt great. Monica was sitting in the front seat with her three week old baby, baby was just riding on Monica's lap in the front seat?????? Wow, I am still awe struck at some of these things! The parents are both super sweet and Kaylee has a great friend in Sheylie. I also asked the gal who cleans the home here if she would be interested in helping me for several more hours during the week. Now that I have Jed home, and Owen only going a half day of school (both boys were very unhappy with full day school), I need more help. Help so that I can practice speaking Spanish more, and help when I just need a little break. Gretyl was thrilled to have the extra work, and it's shameful how inexpensive it is to hire one of the locals here for around the house labor. Gretyl chats with me during lunch and we talk all the way to pick up Owen, and while the boys are playing at the beach we talk some more. It is great practice for me to listen and try speaking so much. Gretyl also stays with Owen and Jed while I make the trip back to school for the older kids, so the younger boys don't have to make the lengthy drive one more time. She has been fantastic so far, and we'll see how the trial period goes after a week or so.

Anyway, in addition to making some goals, I decided to make a list of all the things I DO love about Costa Rica. It is such an interesting country, and so laid back, which is how I prefer life to be, that sometimes I am surprised that it has taken me so long to adjust. In any case, here are some of my favorites about this wonderful places:

1. The language: this is a given, obviously, my main reason for wanting to be here. However, when I hear it, understand it, and respond with a comprehensible sentence, it is such a cool feeling....like I am part of something bigger, like my world has just opened up to an entire new huge group of people around the world.

2. There is no road rage. If someone is going slow, just pass them...if you need to go slow, just go slow, people will pass you! It's unbelievable. Maybe also because there are NO stoplights....

3. Cars are SUPPOSED to be dirty, inside and out....ahh, finally, I don't have to feel guilty anymore!

4. The beach: need I say more. It is just the most incredible feeling to hear the waves all night long (unless the rain is overriding the waves!). Every morning I go out early and before I run, I look out and tell Heavenly Father how much I am in awe of His creations!

5. Small class sizes. The kids are getting more than enough one-on-one teacher time.

6. Casado con pescado: done right, this is the most incredible food! Rice, beans, fish, and salad with homemade dressing. The authentic tico food is very inexpensive. I've tried to make tico food at home, and Zach and I have a good laugh and call it Kreeco food.....my old cronies would totally understand this joke. In high school, my sisters and friends called me Kree....anyway, I don't know if anyone would pay very much for Kreeco food. Trying to perfect it!

7. Pineapple, mangoes, avocados: Huge, perfect, delicious!

8. The landscape: I've mentioned this before, just I just love, love, love, the lush, green plants and interesting trees, vines, and creeping green things....everything just grows!

9. The rain: Yes there are days when it rains most of the day, but they are few (so far). Usually it rains in the late afternoon, and sometimes only at night, but it will pour. The thunder and lightning are unlike anywhere I've ever been. We have seen some shops close up and "leave" for the rainy month of October. It's like they know something we don't....kind of eery. One school in the area is closed for the first two weeks of October, and many destinations have "rainy season" routes, because roads are just washed away...where there was once a road, now a river flows through.

10. 2 for 1 ice cream on wednesdays! our new family tradition

11. Panaderias: Okay, so I'm not walking into Great Harvest, but I did make the mistake of eating an empanada (chicken), and it was so tasty.

12. Diesel: I've never owned a diesel, but I love having one here, cheaper per liter, and lasts longer....great since the nearest gas station is 30 minutes away. Bummer if you forget to fill up.

13. Warm pools, warm beach: I love that the water is always warm. We learned quickly not to take towels to the beach....WHY? not necessary, because whether you're wet or dry, you're warm....towels just get in the way, and get dirty!

So overall, I'm working really hard to focus on the best things! the good things! There are many.... At the end of our journey, it is what it is....the kids and I will have learned as much as we possibly could have, and we will continue our endeavors. We are growing, and sometimes that hurts!
On Tuesday we ate at this very cool pizza place in town.
There was a park out back, right in the jungle.

The swings were hammocks!

All the furniture in the restaurant was made from ONE tree,
a Guanacaste tree that fell during a storm in Nicaragua. Absolutely
beautiful wood....Zach and I had the prosciutto, arugula, and fresh parmesan pizza.
I felt like I was in downtown Boulder!!!!

Owen hangs out with one of the elders.

On Wednesday our family went to a bonfire in Brasilito, but the bonfire got
"rained out"...Luckily it wasn't raining when we arrived, but it had been and was too wet for
any fires. We had a "family home evening" with the very new, very small branch in
Brasilito. There are about 8 people who attend in Brasilito, including our branch president
and the elders. The branch currently only meets every other week for Sacrament meeting only.
I think Zach or I will try and make an effort to attend after our own meetings in Santa Cruz.
We met at the house/ restaurant of one of the members. This brother has been inactive for some time and hopes to get to the temple soon. The elders shared their testimonies
and our branch president too. We then enjoyed fruit refreshments! It was great to meet
a few of the kids and the other members. Their sacrament meeting is also held at the member's restaurant, which is really just a covered, outdoor, open area, with some chairs.....