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. 



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!



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!



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


Elias second row, center



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


Zoe’s class at the Christmas program:



Elias’ class plus the Kindergarten class:




A Day in the Life of a Language Student (+ Photos)

We’ve been here for almost three months already! It has flown by but we are definitely feeling more settled and at home here. We want to give you a glimpse of what an average day is like for us here in Costa Rica.  We love having a predictable routine again after the craziness of the past year and a half. It is quickly becoming the new normal for us. Keep in mind that with three small children and life in Central America, every day is a little different. But if we are going to call anything “normal”, here’s what it would be.

5:30 am -The alarm goes off (if a kid hasn’t beat it). The sun is already up and the buses are running on the street outside. We get ready for school, get the kids up and ready, make lunches, pack backpacks, feed everyone breakfast and race out the door.

7:15 am – Walk the 6-8 minutes to school as a family. Everyone goes to school on the same campus so these morning walks as a family are nice. We take our “minivan” (a.k.a. double jogging stroller) with two kids strapped in and one strapped to mama. Our walk is about twice as long if kids get to walk not to mention the near-death experience of crossing streets in Latin America. We get the kids dropped off in their building and respective classes and then Marcos and I head to class.

7:30 am – Classes begin. Marcos and I are in separate classes since I had some prior experience with Spanish. The first part of the day is grammar class, then a break which twice a week is filled by chapel, then the second half of the day is language class.

12:05 – School is out and we pick up the girls from daycare and head home for lunch. Elias is part of the school (pre-k -12th) so his day is a little longer. Three days a week, our “empleada” comes in the morning while we are at school and cleans and cooks lunch. This has been a HUGE blessing for us since all of the everyday tasks take so much longer here. For example, none of our faucets have hot water so we have to boil water for everything that needs hot water. We don’t have a dryer, so everything gets hung to dry. There are no screens on the windows (which are open all day because there is no AC) so the floors are always covered in a layer of dust. You get the idea. Everyday life is harder and in order for us to raise three kids and also put in enough study time, our empleada has been a life-saver. Not to mention, she is a sweet Costa Rican lady who loves the Lord and is a good Spanish practice partner.

1:30 – Lunch is cleaned up and the girls are down for naps (on a good day!). This is our one kid-free hour of the day that we’re not in class where we try to squeeze in the things we need quiet and concentration for. Normally, you can find Marcos and I at the dining room table spending time in the Word, doing homework, and studying.

2:30 – One of us picks Elias up from school and we spend some time listening to the happenings of his day. This is always a highlight of our day 🙂 We usually try to have him color or play at the table with us while we finish up homework before the girls get up.

3:30 – Everyone is awake and every afternoon looks different for us. We’ve been sticking to a 3 -day a week workout schedule in the afternoons. Other days we might need to walk to the grocery store (amazing how much more often you have to go when you are carrying all the groceries home!) or the fruit stand to get something for dinner. Or we may walk down to the park near our house since we don’t have a backyard to send the kids to. I am so thankful for this season of life that we all have the same schedule and we get to see so much of each other!

5:30 – We eat dinner together as a family every night. We often (not always, let’s be honest) do a devotion of some sort with the kids and talk about our days, what we enjoyed and what we’re grateful for. Another highlight for me. After dinner, clean-up and bedtime routines fill the rest of the evening.

8:00 – Kids are in bed (again…on a good day). Marcos and I do whatever homework or studying we still have, although generally by this time our brains are fried and any hope of productive studying is gone.

9:30 – Bedtime for us. We go to bed SO early here! Language learning is an extremely draining task. It is amazing how much physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy is expended in just an average day here. There is a lot that we love about our life here but it is still a major adjustment and that takes a toll on your energy level that I definitely wasn’t prepared for. Add to that the fact that our baby doesn’t sleep through the night and you’ve got two old folks in bed at an embarrassing hour.

And that’s it. Again, so many of our days don’t look like this but this is what our rhythm feels like in general. Of course, there are always the other things like Bible Study, playing soccer on Thursday nights, birthday celebrations, writing newsletters, etc that keep us busy but we hope this gives you a little better idea of what life looks like for us. Here are some pictures to fill you in as well!


Any guesses as to who’s bed this is in the pictures? As part of the adjustment process everyone stopped sleeping through the night and/or getting up crazy early. Thankfully, that is (mostly) over and people are sleeping in their own beds again.

Being brave on the first day of school.

First day of orientation.


Elias’ school (pre-k – 12th grade part of the language school) is called Sojourn Academy.


Enjoying our walk home with the girls after school. This is a park near our house.


Walking down the street we live on.

Our empleada, Luisa, taught me how to make homemade empanadas!


Welcome to the rainy season. Every day looks exactly the same.

In the mornings when we are getting ready for school, this servant-hearted guy helps his sister put her shoes on. It’s the sweetest.


Pretty much the constant state of our dining room table.


Hope you enjoyed getting a look at our day-to-day. Until next time!


First impressions

After just 3 full days in Costa Rica, here are my first impressions, observations, and feelings:

  • It smells just like the rest of Central America 
  • Our house is wonderful 
  • The scenery is gorgeous
  • Fans are a necessity of life (Although not even close to the heat of Texas, I don’t think I’ve stopped sweating since we arrived thanks to the crazy humidity and no AC)
  • When they say don’t get caught without your umbrella, they mean it
  • Everything in our house is crooked
  • Jelly comes in squeeze pouches
  • Public transportation is intimidating 
  • Having friends already in country is a wonderful blessing!
  • The coffee is awesome
  • Lizards are our new housemates
  • This Texas mug (picked up at the airport by my favorite man) is making me happy 😊