Ice Cream Princess

We celebrated Zoe’s 3rd birthday this past weekend. I cannot believe she’s three! Yet in other ways, just like all of life’s changes, I can’t imagine life before her. She is definitely the firstborn-girl of the family, the little momma-in-training. She is sweet and spunky, princess-loving, yet comes home from school covered in dirt from playing hard. Whatever she does, she does with all of her energy and emotions. Which means, when she is happy, she is SO very happy. And when she is upset, the world is ending. One of our favorite Zoe quotes is this one: as we are walking to the park on day, she looks up at the sky and says, “Blue!! I love blue!!”

And that is exactly her outlook on life. Everything is exciting and joy-bringing and full of life.

She asked for an “ice cream-princess” party so it was a fun challenge finding a way to bring those two loves to life. Here are some pictures of her big day and all of the friends who came to celebrate her.

IMG_20170624_154037IMG_20170624_153949IMG_20170624_154052IMG_20170624_153927IMG_20170624_153936IMG_20170624_155501IMG_20170624_153338IMG_20170624_153643IMG_20170624_153724IMG_20170624_153841IMG_20170624_160940IMG_20170624_161708_1IMG_20170624_161749IMG_20170624_161856VID_20170624_170413-ANIMATIONIMG_20170624_154540 (1)IMG_20170624_175046

Anyone who knows us knows we love a good party! But we are done with the party-throwing for this year. Tune in next year for more crazy Souza parties.

Advertisements

Our U.S. Visit

Thank you all for your prayers over our recent visit to the U.S. Everything went smoothly and it was such a blessing to get to spend time with family and friends before the big move to Ecuador in just 4 MONTHS! It’s getting close!

Since we were practically AWOL from social media during our entire trip, here’s what we were up to during our time away.

Can’t you tell it was a great flight from the faces in the first picture?! Actually, the kids all did really well. The big two are pro flyers (I think this was their 20th airplane!) and Clara did really well in her carseat for most of the flight. If you ever need tips for flying with kids, we’d love to pass them along but the basic rules are: there is no fool-proof plan, you make it up as you go along, and it will all be over eventually. Oh, and take lots of snacks.

 

We arrived in the US with no issues and were all so excited to see the grandparents (and, ahem, chick-fil-a)!

Our first stop (after chick-fil-a) was the Brazilian consulate in Houston to finish the paperwork for our kids to become official Brazilian citizens. We had a small hiccup on the consulate’s end and weren’t able to complete the process that day so we did the next logical thing…go to space!

IMG_3489IMG_3492IMG_3508

Well, the NASA Space Center in Houston, that is. The kids had a blast.

In the middle of all of the unplanned, we were really surprised to realize how much we’ve changed in just the past 8 months. For example, our ability to handle stressful or uncomfortable situations has really increased by living overseas. Because we live every day here in Costa Rica with just a little bit of underlying culture stress, when you take that away back in the States, we’re able to handle a whole lot more “extra” stress than we can when we’re here. Which is a really nice feeling after feeling like you’ve barely been keeping your head above water for 8 months! We give all the credit to the Lord as He continues to grow and stretch us out of our comfort zone (something that especially I (Maddie), am not a fan of!). We know that these changes in our personalities and the way we view life and handle stress are just more preparation for what He has ahead of us!

The next day, with the Lord’s favor, we were able to complete the registration for these cuties to be Brazilian citizens! Notice the process of Clara’s independence…

 

The next few weeks were filled with family and friends…Easter celebrations, science museum trips, cousin playtime, a train ride, visiting grandparents, catching up with friends, and so much more! Here is a really quick photo overview.

 

We also had a few other paperwork issues we needed to handle while being in the States and those went smoothly as well. Again, thank you for praying.

Our church in OKC provided a night for us to share with them and for them to pray over us (of which I have exactly zero pictures). It was so refreshing to our souls. Thank you, Crosstown family!

One of the most encouraging things about the whole trip is that by the end of it, we were all ready to come “home”…to Costa Rica! Praise God for that huge answer to prayer that we, and our kids, felt a sense of missing this place that at times still feels so foreign to us. That is exactly what we prayed would happen!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Until next time,

Maddie

 

January Birthdays

This was our first year to celebrate two January birthdays with parties for each of them. It was a full and fun month of birthday-ing! Here are a few pictures from each of their special days. A huge thank-you to my sweet friend, Hannah, for taking these beautiful pictures for us!!

Their birthday parties were days I expected to be really hard, but while we missed family and friends in the US, we felt so loved and our house was so FULL of new friends here! We are so thankful that God has put so many friends in our lives here to help ease the pain of homesickness. 

Enjoy the pictures!

Clara’s 1st Birthday Pancake Party. Fresh flowers (which are cheap here!) and homemade pancakes…ya can’t really go wrong with that. 

table-with-everythingbouquetbday-cakeclara-in-her-chairbday-cake-with-candlepancake-2clara-againmommy-and-claraclara-and-daddyzoe-blowing-bubblesbaby-and-bubbles

beautiful-babyclara-on-porchcool-angle-of-paintingfamily-photo-3just-mom-and-dadsinging

And Elias’ 5th birthday Lego party! If you can’t tell from his face, he had a blast!

School happenings

Elias’ preschool class is mostly Ticos (Costa Ricans) with only one other American in his class. Since for most of his classmates English is a second language, they had an “English Festival” to show how much they’ve learned so far this year. They’ve been learning what sound each letter makes and it has been really neat to see him starting to sound words out and ask questions like, “Does cat start with ‘c’ or ‘k’?”

Here are some pictures from their presentation. If you can’t tell from his expression, he loved it.  Also, one more bragging mom moment: he only had a few tiny lines to memorize for his part but the night before the presentation, he recited the ENTIRE thing to us at dinner, even the teacher’s parts!

img_9738img_9746img_9744-1

 

The kids also had a Christmas program at school that they all participated in. They learned several songs and a Bible verse in Spanish. They were all adorable in their santa hats and of course, we were proud parents at their ability to memorize so much in another language. Even Clara knew all the hand motions to the songs and would clap and flap along at home. Sorry for the blurry pictures. We were really far back with nothing but an iPhone!

IMG_1160.jpg

IMG_1151.jpg

Zoe bottom row on the left, Clara being held top right

IMG_1157.jpg

Elias second row, center

IMG_1155.jpgIMG_1169.jpgIMG_1171.jpgIMG_1174.jpg

 

Elias practicing his verse at home (yes, he was sick…again):

 

Zoe’s class at the Christmas program:

 

 

Elias’ class plus the Kindergarten class: