Exciting News

Back in August, after our trip to Costa Rica, this happened:

Kyra's pregnant!

And we just found out: It's a girl!

She is due in late April, so we've been getting ready and picking out names.

Looking forward to a happy new year already!

Now We Are Are Six

Amazing to think that Luca turned six yesterday, and to contemplate the unique and interesting person he has become. I know so many parents who constantly say they want their kids to "stay little" forever, but I really can't understand. Sure, babies and toddlers are cute and all, but I love when Luca comes home and tells me in detail about his days at school. I love that he is already super excited about becoming a reader, so much so that he went through one of his storybooks highlighting every "the" he found. I love being able to play card games with him, just like we used to do on quiet evenings with my family growing up. These past six years have brought so many joys and surprises, and can't wait to see who he grows into in the next six.

So, in honor of Luca's sixth birthday, here is an A.A. Milne poem I have been waiting to use literally for years.

Now We Are Six

When I was one, I had just begun.

When I was two, I was nearly new.

When I was three, I was hardly me.

When I was four, I was not much more.

When I was five, I was just alive.

But now I am six, and I'm clever as clever,

I hope I stay six now,

Forever and Ever.
Loving you now, for another six years, and a lifetime beyond,


Costa Rica: Final Days

On our last day in Arenal, we prepared to go home. Breakfast, packing, and then a short walk around the grounds once more. We saw a few more animals, including some monkeys. I took lots of pictures of the unusual flowers.

We had a to leave for the airport before lunch. We learned our lesson the first time and decided to have a light lunch before flying. That helped quite a bit. We also brought some mints to chew on to help with air-sickness. This time, I actually felt like taking more pictures on the flight.

The flight this time was a bit more challenging. We had to stop once in between, staying in the hot airplane while the next set of passengers boarded, and then taking off again. We did much better, but it wasn't perfect.

Once we arrived in San Jose, we went back to the first hotel, Grano de Oro. We had another fantastic meal that evening.

The next day, we went to the airport very early and flew home. It was a great trip, and a happy (although late) honeymoon!

Costa Rica: Day 5

Aug13, 2014 - Miercoles

Today we slept in again. Following breakfast, we met up with our guide, Eduardo, to travel to Cerro Chato.

At first, the trek from the hotel to the Cerro Chato trail was rather easy. Once we arrived at the start of the trail, it become more difficult.

On the way, we encountered a crab (una congrejo). Interestingly, there's a trail nearby named for them that we went on the other day, without seeing any. There were some small waterfalls, though.

The climb up Cerro Chato was steep and at times treacherous. Muddy, rocky, and wet. But not as bad as if it had rained earlier. We paused for breath and water occasionally, with a few pictures here and there.

About an hour and a half later, we got to the top. It was a foggy view of the lake inside the old volcano crater. We paused, then descended inside of the crater. The inner descent was much more treacherous, at times seeming impassable. No time or space for pics on the way down.

On the way down, Kyra slipped into the mud and got her side and inner leg all muddy. Way to go!

At the bottom, we looked about, took in the scene, and headed back up.

Hiking like this is a mix of hiking and rock climbing. Going up it may be so steep you have to use your hands, and look carefully where you place your feet. It takes more strength going up. Going down, you have to look ahead and plan out your descent. Up is pretty much just the challenge in front of you.

Up the crater and down the volcano were rather straight-forward. We met some people going up who were already tired. They left too late, really. It was getting much hotter.

We completed the 5-6 hour trip in only 3.5 hours! Perhaps we didn't linger as long as others, but it did seem we were rather quick.

We attempted to nap after lunch, but were a bit too sore and missing home for that. Kyra had a massage (I insisted).

The massage was located at a separate building. It was a small building with 3 rooms or so. There was a waiting room and two massage rooms. When we arrived, the door was open, and the massage therapist was waiting outside for us. I sat down on a couch to write this journal entry up to the prior paragraph.

Let's just say I got interrupted.

The door was still open when Kyra and the massage therapist went in the other room. I sat, writing, when suddenly I saw some rapid movement out of the corner of my eye. I saw a Costa Rican squirrel, which was brown and red, run through the doorway underneath a screen blocking off the waiting area from a nail salon area.

I pulled the screen back and set it on the floor, angling it to move the animal back outside. Once I found it and scared it out, instead of going out, it jumped over the barrier and under the couch. Great.

I tried everything to get that bugger out. I found some towels and tried to shoo it out. Then I found a bag and tried to scare it out. At one point, it ran straight at me instead of the door, and we had a little dance in the waiting area, with me shaking a towel at it to make it go away.

Eventually, Kyra and the massage therapist were done, and the therapist came out. I had too look up "squirrel" (una ardilla) so I could explain what was going on. At this point, the squirrel was behind a coffee counter, and wouldn't move. The therapist grabbed a trash can and tried shooing it out. It ran under the couch again, and then she somehow got it to leave through the front door.

The whole time neither Kyra nor the therapist heard any of the scuffling. I even moved the couch at one point! And the squirrel frantically tried to escape by going through the window. They didn't hear any of it.

After the excitement at the massage house, we had dinner and a short hike around the hotel grounds.

Tomorrow we return to San Jose.

Costa Rica: Day 4

Aug 12, 2014 - Martes

Today we intended to get up early and do some light hiking, but the howler monkeys stayed quiet, so we slept in late (7 am! - 8 am CDT).

We had breakfast, then sought out our horse guide. We had some small stubborn horses to ride around the trails. Initially, we had to get used to the horses. Mine and Kyra's were constantly vying for "first place". They were a bit difficult to control.

(Side note: I was speaking Spanish to most of our guides, and it was a bit difficult to talk about horse stuff. I didn't know the words relating to horses! I managed to use similar words to get across what we needed to know.)

We saw quite a bit of the grounds. After about an hour, the guide, Herman, asked if we wanted to continue, and we did. We got to a certain point where our guide told us to stop and turn right.

Right? Where? (See picture.)

It was a treacherous path going along a small gorge to the stream below. We were all nervous, the horses especially. We egged the horses on, according to our guide, and descended. It was curvy, muddy, and precipitous. Once to the stream, the water was quite high and flowing rapidly. My horse did not want to cross.

(The last three pictures are looking down.)

Eventually we set forth, and I had to raise my feet to keep them from getting soaked. The horse very carefully trod across the stream. We made it up, and we were both a bit shaken. Kyra followed shortly after, probably with a similar experience.

The other side was not as bad, but still quite tricky for a wet horse. We curved around and passed under a hanging bridge (the one we couldn't cross with the horses).

On the way back, it was like before. We got a very good picture of use on the horses with Arenal behind.

This evening we will take it easy, likely taking a short hike. We have a big day tomorrow scaling Cerro Chato.


In the afternoon we hiked many trails we took on the horses, including one small one called Los Congrejos (the crabs).

In the evening, we went on some trails we visited the second day, and we saw some more animals, including monkeys.