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Costa Rica Week 3

So this is our last week (and a couple of days) left of our trip! It has been so fun to get away and spend that time as a family. We were really sad to leave and who knows, maybe one day move there. We met up with friends and families that we have not seen for a while and met some new friends from all over the world.

We had amazing experiences good and bad that created beautiful memories. We were able to look past the comforts we take for granted in the U.S. and embrace the culture. For example: sleeping with mosquitos all around us, going to bed knowing that bugs would be crawling on you at night- in some areas- , sleeping with no fans or air conditioning, no dryers, no dishwashers, etc…the list goes on and on… but I envy their way of living sometimes over the comforts we have. My girls did really well; and they also fought a lot!! But sadly, that is a norm. 😉

These memories we will always cherish and we will be back to visit the beautiful country of Costa Rica!

Day 1 (Mon, June 10th)- Week 3

Kim and I went out for a 40 min run together. During our run, we ended up on a trail where there were howling monkeys everywhere. They were so loud. I dropped her off at her hotel room and continued on for another 22 min. It was hot and humid this morning. I finished off a 62 min run. I have no idea how far I ran… I forgot the charger for my watch so my watch stopped working last week. After getting ready, We went over to their place for breakfast and helped them pack up (they are leaving tomorrow and are staying at a place next to the airport tonight). We came back to our place and found out that we get a breakfast here (included with the price)… so of course we ate again.

We left around 11 to head to Potrero. We had to pay more there because when Corom booked the room, he booked the 4 person room. Well with there being 6 of us, it was $40 more than what we planned. 😬It still was a nice place with fun things to do there… so I guess that’s a plus. We did go to the beach for a couple of hours and of course the girls swam at the place.

We went to their grocery store in town to get things for dinner. We opened up the pasta package and a ton of bugs were in there!! So gross!!! I seriously lost my appetite.

We played pool and swam more in the pool.

We received a phone call from our cousin (Ryan) that his mom had a stroke and she might not make it. Corom is very close to his cousins, Dan and Ryan (always has been), and is sad that we are not in the states to be with them. We do fly into Vegas on Monday of next week where Dan and his aunt live.

Day 2 (Tuesday, June 11)- Week 3:

I went for an hour run this morning. It was so hot and humid! The girls went for a swim while I ran. They are loving all the swimming. We checked out of our place and headed to Conchal… a shell beach. It is amazing here! The water was so clear and warm. We did a lot of snorkeling and kayaking today.

We eventually had to leave to go get dinner. We passed a group of boys playing “football” on the beach! It is so fun to see so many soccer games going on all hours of the day, every where in every town of all ages.

After dinner, we walked the little town. So many shops and things to see.

We also had to go find a place to stay and as we were looking, the girls kept begging us to camp out. Both Corom and I did not want to but we gave in. Yeah… we ended up sleeping in the car! Way too many mosquitoes. So we spent the night in our cramped car. 🙄😂 And still mosquitoes got into our car. I hate, hate the sound of them buzzing in my ear.

Day 3 (Wednesday, June 12th)- Week 3:

After little sleep for Corom and I, we headed to Tamarindo beach town. We spent our day there. We met a really cool family from Houston. She told us to come stay with them for the marathon next year, and I hope she takes us up on our offer to stay with us if they make their way down for Zion’s. The girls played on the beach… a couple of random horses walked over to us and “played” and nipped at the girls. It was pretty entertaining.

We ended up paying a guy $20 for all 4 girls to go ride the horses on the beach. They loved it! That was seriously such a great deal! When the girls finished with the horses, I took off on a 56 min run in that town. It was a good run. I came back, and we all just hung out at the beach (with that other family as well).

We walked the town of Tamarindo before we left for our next place. We headed to Junquillal known as Turtle Beach. There were very few people that were staying in this town. The beach was empty and we loved it! The locals said we were there in the off season so there are not too many people around (except for the locals). I’m happy about that.

We met a few people that are here doing humanitarian work… They will walk the beach at night, looking for turtles. As soon as they see one, they will wait for the turtle to lay their eggs, leave, and then they take the eggs and put them in a safe area to let them hatch. Once they hatch, they release them back in the ocean. They have eggs that will hatch at anytime. I was hoping they would hatch while we were here.

Day 4 (Thursday, June 13th)- Week 3:

I went out for a 62 min run. I felt a little sluggish today and dehydrated… but still a decent run.

We made our way to the beach (about a 2 minute walk), to see if there were any turtles (which we knew there weren’t going to be any but our girls still wanted to check 😂), and to make our annual sand creature at the beach. For the past 9 years, we have gone beach camping in California. This year, our favorite beach camping site burned down with one of the big California fires. Anyway… every year on our last day at the beach we will make a big sand sculpture. So we figured this time in Costa Rica since we have been at 6 different beaches now in the past week, this will count as our beach camping. Our last day on the beach was today. The girls and Corom wanted to make an iguana. It was high tide and not a lot of sand room so we had to be quick. They did a great job getting it done.

We eventually had to leave and began our way back to Alajuela. We got a little backwards and lost on a few roads. During that time, we saw 2 sister missionaries standing out in the pouring rain waiting for their bus. We quickly pulled over and gave them a ride to an appointment that they had 10 minutes to get to. Talking with one of the sisters, we found out that my girls hang out with her cousins. (The missionaries were from Arizona and Las Vegas.) Small world! This did remind me of when my aunt was out here with us and we picked up a hitchhiker (from France)… he was a nice fellow. He missed the bus so we hurry and caught up to the bus 2 towns away. He made it on. 😂

We made our way to a pharmacy because my 3rd daughter has been complaining about her ear hurting. It’s been a few days now, so we decided to stop in. The nice gentleman looked at her ear and said it was inflamed (swimmers ear). So she is now on antibiotics and has ear drops. I hope it gets better soon. We made a few stops and met a few people on our way back to the Castillo’s home…

We made it back to the Castillo household where we will spend the last few days here in Costa Rica.We visited a family tonight that Corom grew close to while on his mission. It was fun to talk with them… especially because 3 of them knew english. My girls loved being around their daughters. After being here, I want to learn Spanish and I want my kids to speak Spanish.

Day 5 (Friday, June 14th)- Week 3:

I got up at 5:30 to my 3rd daughter’s ear hurting. Once she was taken care of, I went out on a 46 minute run. It was a nightmare to run here in the city! I can’t believe how many people are out and about at 5:30 a.m. Roads are packed, drivers everywhere, most of the time no shoulder to run on so you are praying the whole time you won’t get hit, but all runners know that you have to get your run in! Yeah I’m glad this one is done with. I wanted 10-15 min more but I’m good with 46 min today. Oh and some of the holes around the city are dangerous!

We headed out to San Jose to do some shopping. My girls were so excited to have their own money to spend! They each earned $80 in the months leading up to this trip (babysitting, cleaning the neighbors house weekly, mowing the neighbors lawns, selling hot chocolate/lemonade, cleaning out my mother in laws chicken coop and selling the eggs, and selling honey from her beehives). It was well earned. They were in heaven! They would ask, “mom can I get this?” And I just told them it was up to them! I don’t think they knew what to do because I usually say no to everything that ask for me to buy. It was fun to do this today. They only spent half (or less than half) and were good to stop.

There was an area along the main shopping strip that was packed with pigeons. 🤢🤮 Of course my girls stopped and had a hay day with them. They were all over the girls (and Corom & Lucas). One pooped on my oldest.

My girls and I were in a line to go to the bathroom at McDonald’s of all places and there was a lady behind all of us. My oldest asked her if she wanted to go in front of us. I was bugged at first (I really had to pee and there was only 1 stall) and then thought that was pretty awesome for her to let the lady in front of us. I was looking at my oldest (without her knowing) and am amazed on how much older and mature she is becoming.

We went to the Rojas’s house for dinner. It was so good!! I couldn’t stop eating (and I paid for it the next morning… it made running really hard).

Day 6 (Saturday, June 15th)- Week 3:

Corom and I got up at 4:30 a.m. to head into San Jose to Sana track. Corom was nice to take/join me. I met up with a runner from Costa Rica this morning. We met him and the Costa Rican team at the Chicago marathon 4-5 years ago. I have kept in contact with them throughout the years and was so glad to join one of the members this morning. He is a very talented runner and the place we met, was packed with runners (and roller bladders). I ran a warmup and then joined him on a 1 x 4K at a 6:25 pace. He had another to do but where I have taken 2-3 weeks off of running, I didn’t want to do another and felt out of shape. It did feel good to be out there running with someone at a good speed. Then I finished off with a little cool down.

We were going to head back into San Jose today but Deanna called her son and asked if I could go help her prepare for a Church Father’s Day party (for our church). We are staying with Deanna (Castillo). We dropped our plans and all headed over to help. She was only expecting me, so she was pleasantly surprised to have our whole family there.

I didn’t realize she was cooking for the whole ward. I am so glad we were there to help her and her husband and daughter. My girls jumped right in did a lot of the prep work. Once finished we had about an hour or 2 to do some shopping and just looking around. We went to Alajuela’s main strip area because it was the closest.

We headed back to help the Castillo’s bring the food over to the church and to help wherever they needed it. There was a good turnout for their Father’s Day party; Papa Castillo did a wonderful job on the meat/food; the father themed games were fun, the kids got a soccer game going, and people just visited. The people here are so loving!

Day 7 (Sunday, June 16th)- Week 3:

Father’s Day!!

We went to church at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with the Castillo’s. They actually called Corom to speak (he served his mission in this area and they were so excited to see him here). Deanna Castillo also spoke today and bore her testimony (at the end of her talk) on the power of missionaries. I felt the spirit even though I didn’t understand a word.

After church, we visited a while and started to pack up. It’s crazy how 3 + weeks have gone by so fast! Later in the afternoon we had the opportunity to attend 2 games of the Gold Cup football/soccer games here in Costa Rica! The 1st game was Haitie 🇭🇹 and Bermuda 🇧🇲 and the 2nd was Costa Rica 🇨🇷 and Nicaragua 🇳🇮. Costa Rica won their game 4-0. It was so awesome to be there at the game and to see all 4 countries around cheering the teams on! We sat with a group of people from all different countries and made friends with them.

We came back to the Castillo’s home, visited for a little while, said our goodbyes (they went to bed and the girls went to bed), while Corom and I packed up. It’s a sad day… now that it is here, I don’t want to go home!

Day 8 and 9 Going in to the next week:

I am continuing on because of our travels home… by the time we get home, we would have been gone for 3 weeks and 4 days. We have a couple of guys who just graduated staying at our house, so I know things are taken care of there. We did receive a text that our freezer did go out and all of the meat, etc was spoiled. I was way bummed about that. Oh well!

Our flights home went well… customs went by fast and we were able to get to our connecting flight from L.A. to Nevada. As we were waiting to board they announced over the intercom if 2 people were willing to catch a later flight. They would pay them $500 a piece. Of course Corom and my 2nd daughter said they would stay back and catch a later flight. So worth $1000! That will help with all the mishaps of paying extra in Costa Rica! It will also be good because we are going to hang out with our cousins in Vegas today and tomorrow. They are taking their mom off life support this evening. So it will be good to be there with them.

The people in Costa Rica are amazing! Everyone is very laidback and easy going. The saying out there is Pura Vida! “It’s all good”! I know we were on vacation mode but there were many places that we visited, stayed at that put us right in their culture.

Back in Vegas:

We hung out with our cousins (some were in from out of town as well-it was nice to see them, too) for the next couple of days in Vegas… on Tuesday morning I went out for 1:05 hour run. It is so dry here from Costa Rica! What a huge difference. It was nice to get out and run after the traveling. Our kids and our cousins kids had fun playing. They are a good family! Our aunt was taken off support (on Monday night) and moved to a care facility where they are waiting for her to pass on. Dan (our cousin) was driving his mom to the hospital on the morning of her stroke. She was scared to go in because of not knowing the outcome (of going into surgery). Dan gave his mom comforting words. He said, “Mom, you will either wake up from your surgery looking at me or looking at dad.”

Random pictures of the 3rd week:

Costa Rica Week 2

Day 1 (Monday, June 3rd)- Week 2

Our alarm went off at 4:50 a.m. Ugh… we had a really nice, clean bed, it was cold and still dark outside… easier to stay in bed. But we all got up and rushed out the door by 5:10 to meet up with our bird guide. For the next 2 1/2 hours, we were able to see so many beautiful and exotic birds. We saw the Guatemalan country bird- the Quetzal. So many other groups were out there looking for that same bird. It was a lot more interesting and fun than what we thought it would be. It probably helped that our guide was so enthusiastic and just as excited to see that bird.

Aunt Georgia treated us on this excursion because she really wanted to go… we got an excellent deal on it and the guide told us it came with breakfast. Well that breakfast was a cup of coffee and 4 crackers. 😂 That stinks that none of us drink coffee. I do have to say I was a little nervous about my girls making to much noise, being restless and bored but I think they were the most into it. We all thoroughly enjoyed it.

We left the cabin in San Gerardo and drove out to Cartogo to meet with an old friend of Corom’s from when he was here for 2 years. We met Josue and his wife and 4 kids. His kids are similar ages as ours.

We met up for lunch, then drove to Puntarenas at a time share Josue has. The hotel we are at is the nicest place we have been to so far (and will probably be the nicest one for our entire stay). His family has a suite right across from us, so it will be a fun couple of days.

All the kids (our kids and Josue’s kids) jumped into the pool the minute we got to our hotel. We all swam for a while, left to watch the sunset by the light house, went out to dinner, then came back and swam more… during our swim (it was close to closing time), we heard 3 pop sounds about 20 meters away from us. I jumped up and looked over to where the pop sound came from and kept saying was that a gun shot or firecrackers? We then saw security guards running down the dock ramps with guns out and their high beam flashlights. We quickly ushered our kids out of the pool and got up to our place. My oldest was really shaken up about the entire situation and couldn’t stop crying. We put the girls to bed and then Corom and I watched for a good amount of time from our balcony. We were on the 3rd floor with a great view of the dock.

We found out (through Josue asking the security guards) what happened. One of the security gaurds caught someone stealing fishing poles off one of the yachts. He started to fire his gun to stop and catch the guy. They spent 3-4 hours looking for the guy and never caught him. They were out in boats, some walking/swimming around the canal (where there are crocodiles in there), and some walking up and down the docks and going in different yachts and boats. It was pretty intense. We also found out that the security guard on duty will have to pay for what was stolen because he was the one on duty. Pretty crappy!

Day 2 (Tuesday 4th)- Week 2:

I got up early this morning and went for a 58 min run. It felt so good to go out!! It wasn’t the easiest place to run but I do love getting out and seeing sights that most tourists don’t get to see. After breakfast (at the hotel) all the kids swam around for a few hours.

We drove to a beach where the monkeys come down from the trees and eat right out of your hands. It was so fun feeding them! And there were so many of them. The kids played for a while at the beach. A few hours later, Josue and his family had to leave and we headed back to our place.

The girls ran straight to the pool and played for a couple of more hours. That evening, we stayed inside for dinner and just relaxed.

Day 3 (Wednesday 5th)- Week 2

My alarm went off at 5 and I went out for a 60 min run. It was refreshing and by the time I was done, I was dripping with sweat because of the humidity.

We packed up this morning and shortly after breakfast took off back to the Castillo household. We dropped off Aunt Georgia and visited for a while. Aunt Georgia leaves to go back home early tomorrow morning. It was great having her with us.

That afternoon we met up with the Harris family. They are joining us for a week. We began our drive to La Fortuna. We took a few stops along the way. We stopped off at a Catholic Church and walked around their gardens.

We had brake problems in one of the vehicles… that was a good hour and a half detour of fun. We met some really nice families that helped us out with our cars.

We eventually arrived at our place in La Fortuna. The kids noticed the pool right away. They quickly unpacked and jumped right in. We had a nice evening.

Going to bed was extremely hot!!! And I heard a mosquito buzz in my ear during the night…. I had a rough time sleeping. I absolutely hate the noise of a mosquito buzzing!!

Day 4 (Thursday 6th)- Week 2

I started off my day with a 25 min run… I wanted more but every place I ran was a dead end or I would run into dogs. Not too many options this morning. It’s all good, though.

We had an eventful day today!! So many fun things. We started with a 3 mile hike around the volcano. We had a good rainstorm come down on us for about an hour but it felt good. This hike was so beautiful! Pictures do not give it justice.

My youngest and the Harris’s youngest touched a plant and their hands started to itch like crazy! We had to rub mud all over their hands and arms.

We drove over to the hot springs and stayed there for about an hour.

We then went and got a deal for our family and the Harris’s to walk the grounds of a resort where there was a butterfly exhibit, crocodiles, frogs and ant exhibit…

With that deal came zip lining on 14 different lines which was absolutely amazing!!! We had 5 guides with us and they were so fun, always joking around and just kept us laughing the entire time. They also hooked us up with a huge swing… I would not do it! I am a baby that way. But it was a major fall before the swing!

A few videos of the rope swing:

We were also able to use there pools (there were 7 different pools, all different temperatures and slides, back massagers, etc at most of them). Yeah… we spent the next 2-3 hours there. We left around bed time and headed back to our place. It has been so fun to have the Harris’s with us!

We returned back to our place and had a low key night. I believe everyone was asleep by 9:30.

Day 5 (Friday 7th)- Week 2

We packed up from this place and headed to Samara a beach town.

It took us about 5 hours to get there… Corom had a place lined up for us and he said it was only $15 a night. Of course that was too good to be true! The Harris’s went to their place and we drove to ours (about 2 min away). Well we showed up and it was $15 a bed; it was a hostile. The plus about it, we would have had beds next to each other. The downside, we could have shared a room with other random people. We left that place and booked a place where the Harris’s were at. It is a nice place. A little more than what we wanted to spend but we had no where else to go. 😂

We walked to the beach and hung out there for a while. After we grilled up meat and had a nice dinner… we ate and the kids swam in the pool.

Day 6 (Saturday 8th)- Week 2

I was able to go out for 1:23 min run. It felt so good and it was one of the better routes here. Costa Rica is not an easy place to run! I found lots of different dirt roads and a little trail along the beach. I know I have said it before but I believe runners see things that others don’t while on vacations. Today was beautiful and one of the roads, there were hundreds of baby frogs jumping all over. Oh and the horses here just roam around.

We went snorkeling for the 1st part of the day….

Then Came back to our place for lunch, and spent the 2nd half at the beach and eating snow cones… It was a Beautiful day!

That evening we walked the little beach town and grabbed some ice cream.

Day 7 (Sunday 9th)- Week 2:

We got up early so we could attend church. It was about a 35-40 min drive. It was great taking the sacrament today. The people were great and very friendly. We hung out with the missionaries and fed them lunch today.

We ended up at the beach the rest of the afternoon. Corom and Matt rented surfboards. They wanted to show off their mad skills (ok neither one of them are good.) After about 10 minutes, Corom broke his surf board in half and had to pay for it. The guy charged him $250 for it!! 🙄 Fun times!

We walked the little town and celebrated one of the Harris daughters birthday with pizza, cupcakes and ice cream.

We were supposed to leave for our friend, Artuto’s place tonight… his place/town is having a lot of rain, so there is flooding. We decided to get a cheap room here another night. It was a one room, 3 bed place (smaller than a basic hotel room) but it was nice and clean.

This has been a great week…. a few little hang ups but there is nothing we can do about that.

Random pictures from week 2:

Costa Rica Week 1

It took us a while to get to Costa Rica 🇨🇷! Our travel started off with a 5 hour drive to Las Vegas. We started off on Saturday, May 25th (the day after school ended). We stayed with our cousins Dan and Ericka for the night (well sort of). Dan was nice enough to get up at 3:15 a.m. to get us to the airport for our 6:00 flight.

We had an hour flight ✈️ into L.A. California (we arrived at 7:15 a.m.). 😂 My brother, Mike, picked us up and we hung out with him and his family for the day until our layover flight was to leave for Costa Rica! Our layover was a 17 hour layover, so we were flying out at 12:20 a.m. It really was nice to see him and his family! We went to church and then hiked to a waterfall to see a bunch of salamanders. My girls were in heaven!

We finally caught our flight to San Jose, Costa Rica at 12:20 a.m. and landed in at 7 a.m. Not much sleep at all but my kids loved there 1st plane ride. We rented our car (which was a lot more expensive than what we were told 😂) and drove to the Castillo household. Corom served his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here in Costa Rica, so we have many connections and lots of people, places to go.

Day 1 (Monday 27th)- Week 1:

We took a bus from the Castillo household (San Rafael) into Alajuela to do some shopping. The bus was fun to take in. We drank the juice straight from the coconuts (which was our 1st but definitely not our last on this trip… it was almost a daily way to drink the coconut water). We visited the Castillo’s factory, tried different foods, saw many different cats & dogs in the grocery stores, learned a few things about cooking from Diana Castillo and just visited. 😊

Later that night we picked up Aunt Georgia from the airport. She is going to be with us for the 1st week.

Day 2 (Tuesday 28th)- Week 2

After Diana (Castillo) made a great breakfast, we stopped off at the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saint Temple in Heredia and drove into San Jose. We spent the rest of the day there going to museums, shopping at the farmers markets…

We visited more families, played at a park , picked mangos and ran into Later Day Saint missionaries.

Day 3 (Wednesday 29th)- Week 1:

We left the Castillo household and drove to Orotina. We made many stops along the way! Fruit stands, crocodiles, etc. The fruit out here is amazing!! We cannot stop eating all the different kinds.

We made it to our next place. It was up in the mountains (rain forest) at an amazing, secluded place. We saw a scorpion 🦂, a massive cockroach, and lizards 🦎 within the 1st 5 minutes of being there. It was creepy but pretty awesome all at the same time. We eventually unpacked and then headed straight to the beach.

After the beach we grilled hamburgers and ate lots of fruit and veggies. So good. We did some laundry and played games.

Day 4 (Thursday 30th)- Week 1:

We went back to the beach all day. The girls, Corom and I had a fun time trying to learn how to surf… some of us better at it than others. 😂 We tried to get Aunt Georgia to surf but she was not having it.

We had a major thunder/lightning storm. It was way cool but eerie at the same time. My 2nd daughter wasn’t having it. Oh and the bugs!!! Holy Crap… so many big, scary bugs! Many bug bites everywhere.

Day 5 (Friday 31st)- Week 1:

Before we headed out of this town to our next destination, we stopped off for a hike to some waterfalls. The start of the hike didn’t go so well! My youngest was attacked by some ants. These ants are brutal (especially the little black ones)… It was beautiful and we had a lot of fun hanging out there. We actually stayed a little longer than planned.

We left Orintino and headed to a farm house in Palmar Sur. We stopped off for some homemade ice cream on our way to the farm… that was some good stuff; very different then what we are used to but we liked it.

We didn’t know what to expect of this farm. We were told to bring lots of bug repellent and that made us all a little nervous. Even as we drove up through the neighborhood, it didn’t look promising. But as we pulled in and saw the cute home and a few elderly people waving us in, we knew this would be a great experience!

Corom found this farm home on air b&b. We found out we were their 1st customers and they just finished the place the day before we came. The night cost us $25, which included breakfast, a tour of their property (fruit trees galore), how to make juice out of sugar cane trees, etc.

Day 6 (Saturday, June 1st)- Week 1

We did have a net over us all night to keep the mosquitos 🦟 away! Those things are little buggers…

We had a great Saturday touring the farm and eating wonderful food. But we were eaten alive by all the mosquito’s! My oldest daughter got it the worst!!

We left the farm a little after 2 and went to a museum on our way out. It was the Archeological museum of Zona Sur. There we saw many monkeys… but none of them came down our way…

Our next place was up the mountain in Canaan. It was in a cute little town at a wooded cabin that was only $23 a night. (Corom did a great job finding places to stay.) After we settled in, We headed into the little town/village to look around for a little while that evening. We went to an indoor mini farmers market about 15 minutes before closing. After closing the girls kicked the soccer ball around with a couple of the boys.

Day 7 (Sunday, June 2nd)- Week 1

We all woke up this morning to a lot more bug bites; especially around our ankles. 😬 We think the dang beds had special friends in them. It was a little disturbing but we were not surprised with how run down the beds and sheets were. Anyway… we left the cabin house right around 8:15 a.m. and headed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church to attend sacrament meeting. Today is fast Sunday so my 3 youngest went up and bore their testimonies… they have no fear (Corom did as well). They obviously said it in English so not too many people understood them… so I guess I’m a way that would probably make it easier. We talked with many of the members and missionaries there, then headed on our way to San Gerardo.

We had to drive through The Cloud of Forest. The main highway took you straight up the mountain; up through the clouds and even further up so we were above the clouds and into our next air b&b stop. It was secluded little town called San Geraldo Do Ta. This home (mainly the beds), had a better feel about it. Another beautiful area but colder!

We went on a 2 hour hike following the river…. we loved the hike and wanted to go further but do to how late we started, had to turn around before it got dark (which is around 6 here).

We started a fire, roasted hot dogs and played cards tonight. We all went to bed early because we had to get up at 4:50 a.m. to go on a bird watching tour.

This week flew by so quick!

Random 1st week pictures:

Pretty Much 2018 All In One Post! 🙄😂

I will start off this post with my recent race and then back track to all our other craziness, fun, heartaches & adventures… but 1st and more importantly, here is my family:

January 2019

Houston Marathon Race recap:

I’ve been out of the racing community for the last 2-3 years. Back in October I decided I wanted to train for the Houston marathon and try for the 2:45 time. I hired John from Ireland and he put me on a 12 week training plan. It was hard work but wonderful! I started off by pacing a friend of mine at the St. George marathon (in October)… and went on from there.

The race morning was extremely cold for Houston. 32 degree weather (and by the time we finished it was 35 or 36 degrees). The humidity was at 70% and it was windy. On the news it said the wind chill made it the coldest in record for that morning of the marathon. I was so bummed… not about the cold (even though we were all in shorts and a tank tops… I did have arm sleeves and gloves) so much but for the dang wind and the extra cold it brought. This training cycle went great and I hit the marks I needed (even on the days that I felt like crap). So I was ready for this race but not ready for the weather conditions.

I was so nervous and In a way dreading going into this race because my confidence was not there due to the lack of racing. I didn’t know if I could run at the 6:15’s (even though I did it through training) or if I even belong where I was corralled (sub-elite). But there was no turning back as we lined up and I just took a deep breath and said to myself to just enjoy it!

As the gun went off, I started into my pace along stride everyone else. I felt great and for the 1st 3 Miles, I was faster than where I wanted to be (6:13, 6:13, 6:04)… I slowed down a little to hold on to an even 6:15 pace. There were a few miles I would pick it up and had to slow down. We turned a corner around mile 7-8 and headed into a head wind. More corners and it was a side wind, then back to head wind (this continued on for much of the race… 8 to about 16-17 Miles). I came across the half way point at 1:22. Right on a 2:44 pace for the marathon time. I felt good and felt like I could hold on to this pace.

I decided to be more conservative starting into the second half because I wanted to make sure I could finish strong. I was tired of the wind coming at all angles except for the back. And finally at about mile 17 the wind was against our backs. It was a nice tail wind. I did start to struggle with the mental thoughts at about this time but still feeling ok.

I ran into my friend Ashley at 19 miles… we realized we were still on for our time but getting closer to the 2:45 time. We knew we had to dig deep and push. (She ended having to stop for a potty break which is always a bum deal but said she will catch up). Mile 20 comes around and I came across at a 2:06 flat. Doing the calculations in my head, I knew I had to stay right on a 6:14-6:15 pace, no room for dropping back. I totally felt this was achievable and going to be extremely hard. I kept repeating 38-39 min left.

Then mile 21 hit and somewhere around that mile we turned a corner… back to the challenge of the wind. Instantly I felt a dread of that dang wind. I unintentionally began to give up and more frequently I let the negative thoughts seep in. My pace slowed and by mile 23 I was a minute off pace. I took another gel and my stomach started to churn (I think I took too many gels… I believe 6 total every 25-30 min and I took 2 run-gums… too much sugar). Mile 24 I slowed down to a 7:30-7:45 pace and Ashley caught back up to me. She hung with me the rest of the time and helped me the rest of the way. I wanted to throw up and my legs began to feel heavy but because of her, I held onto that 7:20 pace.

I came in at 26.47 miles in 1:50:52. Not what I wanted at all but it was a good fight. The beauty of this entire race… I went into it as a 40 year old and ended up winning the masters age group! Kara Goucher started the race (she is 40 as well) and was unable to finish… so I took 1st. I won money and was so stoked about it. There were 33,000 runners and majority of the field were women.

I’m not going to lie… I am so bummed about my time but I am ready to start all over again for another try at it.

We did have a great weekend together. I stayed with Ayisha and Ashley and Marco was with us to do some video and pictures for Ayisha. These ladies were amazing and an inspiration. Fun weekend. My 3rd daughter left this cute note for me before I left; loved seeing the support for the TSA workers during the shutdown; loved the Texas shaped waffles:

These 2 ladies (Ashley and Ayisha) were so funny! Ayisha had me cut her hair the night before the race… she said it was weighing her down. I am not going to lie… I was a little nervous at 1st to do it.

December 2018

Christmas is always a fun time for us. We Try to do activities throughout all December with games, crafts, outdoor snow things, service, etc. We have two boys staying with us from a different country for the school year. One is from Brazil and one is from Spain. This was their 1st time making Gingerbread houses.

We all enjoyed Christmas! We usually have a $75 budget per child. Sometimes we go over and sometimes we are good with staying under… it is nice to have them at a young age still. Once they get older, that will be a little more difficult. We had our traditional Christmas Eve Greek dinner, with family and friends. We were able to go bowling and snow boarding (up a little hill by our house) over the break as well.

January 2019

2019 New Year’s Eve 4th annual Salem Pond Town Polar Plunge. It was 4 degrees out and so feakin’ cold! The girls all jumped in and obviously Corom. I did not!!!

April 2018

My Youngest’s birthday and Baptism: Oh, I just love my youngest! She has so much energy and drive, it is hard to keep up with her. She is so carefree and can definitely hold her own.  It was an extremely special birthday for her! She turned 8 (in 2018) and was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

May 2018

My oldest had her 12th birthday. We threw a nice surprise party for her. She was pleasantly surprised! She is so talented and creative! She has a confidence about her that I wish I had. She is a great young lady.

September 2018

My 2nd oldest turned 11 this year (well in 2018). She is so kind and loving to all those around her. I will have to say she is the 2nd mother here in the home. Very mature and has a great sense of humor… she is the one that is always joking around with the adults.

November 2018

My 3rd daughter turned 10 (in 2018). She is a ball of energy and fun. She is always laughing and wanting to do something. She is also my clean child. Everything has to look perfect and she hates messes. I love it!

August & November 2018

Corom and I both turned 40 in 2018. Gosh we are getting old!!! The only good thing for me is now I can compete for the masters division in races. We both had a few surprises for our birthdays. Corom had a band (during our City Day’s) surprise me with a birthday song. And for Corom’s present, I reached out to many people throughout his life. I had them write something about him (a memory, story, how he has touched their lives, etc). I had a little over 100 letters come back and oh my… they were hilarious. I loved reading all of them. Oh and Corom let the girls start a controlled fire in the backyard. Well… it got a little out of control and our fence caught on fire .

April 2018

So much has happened since I’ve been home from Greece and Georgia ! I was home for 2 days before our new exchange students came (well they are soccer coaches… Renan from Brazil and James from England). They are going to be here for about 2 1/2 months (April – June) and then Renan will be back in August until October or November.

April 2018

Easter/April Fools: Easter and April fools fell on the same day. We made the girls salted pancakes for breakfast and then during the Easter egg hunt, half their eggs were filled with Brussel sprouts or rocks.

It was fun watching the girls with their Easter baskets (they had to find them); and it was great to have Renan and James with us. We had an Easter dinner with my sister (missy and her family), my brother John (and his family) and Aunt Georgia on Saturday night. Easter Sunday, we all went up to Yolanda’s house (Corom’s sister) with his mom and Gary and another family.

Spring break: We packed a lot in during spring break. Many hikes (bridal veil falls, 5 mile hike up diamond fork hot springs), museums, activities, etc. We did go to Moab… absolutely love it there! On our way home our 3 hour drive turned into a 7 hour drive. Our van broke down and couldn’t go faster than 30 mph. It was hilarious driving home. Fun times!

Still April 2018

September 2018 (and on)

We have New Foreign Exchange Students (one is from Brazil and one is from Spain). They came into our home at the beginning of September. Our student from Spain will only be with us for 4-5 months and the one from Brazil will be with us for 8-9 months. And everybody always asks us, “How much do you get paid for housing all these people from different countries?” Absolutely nothing! We actually take them all in as family and it comes out of our pocket. Some of the times/people are harder (financially, emotionally, etc.) than others, but we do love to house those from other countries.

End of July- Beginning of August

We had the opportunity to House 6 musicians from Peru for a couple of weeks. They were here for the Springville Folkfest (2018). Such a great group! They had Smore’s for their 1st time, learned American “football” at the high school that I coach at, were “arrested”, made us amazing Peruvian food, we went to the Bean Museum, the host families met up every evening and watched them perform, they did some kayaking, some fishing, bowling, swimming, shopping and played mud volleyball for Salem Days… oh and one had to visit our good friend Dr. Fullmer because he messed up his wrist pretty bad. Mike was able to cast it up pretty nicely. He was the drummer… it was a painful week.

October 2018

I love the month of Halloween! Pumpkin patches & mazes (with the Thompson’s), pumpkin carving (with the Harris’s), costume 5k’s (the cross country team put on)- ok us coaches put it on, Sundance Spooky Lift rides, and trick or treating in Las Vegas at our cousin Dan’s house. The boys staying with us think we are crazy with the way we trick-or-treat her. 🙂

This was Gianluca’s and Zecheng’s (the boys staying with us) first time carving a pumpkin.

 

April-May 2018

Track 2018: Track season has been so much fun. We have a lot of great talent and hard workers. Our girls took the Region Title and the boys placed 2nd. My distance runners excelled on so many levels… it was a great season to coach. Our 4 x 800 boys team did break the record this season. It was awesome to watch.

August 2018

Camping and summer family fun: our family for the past 10 years have gone beach camping in California. We have always gone to Leo Carrillo in Ventura. This past summer (2018), unfortunately, most of it burned down in a huge fire, so we will see if we are able to go there this summer.

September 2018

Mountain biking on a few different occasions… a few falls but nothing to serious. Our youngest has no fear! That scares me.

October 2018

Capital Reef with the Thompson’s: It was really cold in the morning and the evening but the day time was perfect. Our little camper trailer held up real nice (the heater inside worked great).

June – December 2018

Cross country (2018) started 2 weeks after a track ended. We have had a busy but fun summer season so far. Cross Country season came and went with another successful year. We started off with our cross country camp and finished off at the Footlocker meet in California (in December). The boys made it to State and we had 2 of our girls make it as individuals. We took our annual California trip to the footlocker cross country meet. Always a fun time (especially with Corom around). Disneyland, the beach, racing, etc…

November 2018

Hanging out with my side of the family during Thanksgiving. At my parents in Couer De Lane, Idaho (missing a sister- Keri and her family, and a brother- Mike and his family): My dad was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few months ago. It has been hard for him and my mom. They just retired and now have this next chapter in their life to worry about. We are a very close family and will be there to help!

July 2018

Pictures of when a few siblings and/or my siblings kids and my parents were able to come visit during the summer… we attended our family reunion at This Is The Place in Salt Lake City…

December 2018

Snow shoeing with the Harris’s and our exchange students.

April & June

James and Renan the 2 soccer coaches that stayed with us.

January 2018

At an indoor track meet (2019) with the high school team and the Thompson family. It was held at the Olympic oval in Salt Lake.

August 2018

The fire that hit close to home but we were fortunate enough to have 100’s of firefighters from all over and time on our side. And of course many prayers were answered. So many people from our community stepped up and volunteered time, necessities, homes for all the evacuees (3 cities were evacuated and all people were housed… Red Cross did not have to set up a base camp at the HS). We took in a lady who had 4 cats (no one wanted to house a lady with cats)… we just told her to keep the cats in 1 room and to keep the door closed. We also took in another family for a few days. We had a full house with 2 families and 2 Foriegn exchange students and 1 foreign soccer coach. Talk about full house!

Random Pictures: The next set of pictures are all random!

May 2017

A poem my oldest wrote for her class:

Heroes

(6th grade)

Heroes to me are my mom, my dad, my friends, my grandpa Bill and my uncle Steve. Why are they my hero and what is a hero? I guess you will find out.

First of all, I will talk about my mom and dad and why they are my hero. The reason they are my heroes is because I would not be here today without them. And who’s better than mom and dad, right? Second of all, they make most of my food and tell me all sorts of wacky stories that as you can tell do not actually exist. The reason why they are my heroes is if something bad were to happen they would try to protect us no matter what, just like a moma bear and her cubs. That is why they are my heroes.

My second paragraph is why my friends are my heroes. The reason my friends are on this list is because friends are family and friends mostly always have our backs…. so why would I keep them off the list? Did you know the word friend means companion, confidant, ally and many more. A friend is always there for you. A friend can keep a secret for you and trust you to keep their secrets. Last of all friends can give you company. That is why my friends are my heroes.

My third paragraph is about my grandpa Bill. Even though I have never met him I still love him very much. He was a cop and a mayer of a city in Sacramento. He is my hero because he was here to protect and make everything safe for you and me. They named a police station after him. On my dad’s birthday he had a heart attack and died. Even though he is dead he is still my hero.

My fourth paragraph is about my uncle Steve. He is in the Navy and is probably away from home right now. My cousins always have to move because of his job. Why is he my hero? He goes to battle and risks his life for our country. He is my hero and a lot of other people’s hero to. If I was a hero I would want to be like my mom, my dad, my uncle Steve, and my grandpa Bill. That is why they are my heroes. They inspire me to be like them.

A hero to me is someone who protects, love’s and care’s about you and me, like the people I was talking about. Heroes don’t care whether they win or lose. They try and try again until they succeed. People think a hero is someone who flies around kicking and punching bad guys waring tites, but that is not what a real hero is to me. A hero puts someone else before themselves. If there was a fire in our house I would make sure my sisters are out of my house before I get out. Or if something like that happened in school and the teacher was out of the classroom doing something I would make sure everyone got out before me, and then I would go out.

That is what I think is a hero. You and me can be heroes without even trying to be one. Maybe just one smile can brighten ones day. That is what a hero isto me.

June 2018

I had the opportunity to run Grandmas marathon in Duluth Minnesota in June as well. Corom (my husband) and Sarah my mother-in-law flew out on a Wednesday. The race was on a Saturday so we had a few days before to relax and enjoy the weekend of race activities. Grandma’s marathon does not disappoint on everything they have planned. I was also given the opportunity to receive an elite bib. Along with the comp pass, I was given a room for half off, 3 different dinner opportunities, massages, a room open all day for snacks/food/drinks, a few after parties, an elite charter bus and a separate starting lineup area. I felt very blessed and a little saddened at the same time. Don’t get me wrong… all the elite runners have worked so hard to get where they are at and deserve the benefits.

But I was saddened for I felt like I did not deserve to be there this time. I began my training for this race in February. I am going to try for the Olympic trials time and give it another go. I know I am not young and just about 40 years old but I still have a few good years in me.

But about a month before the race I started to feel flat and my legs were really achy (I found out due to my car accident when I was 23, I have arthritis in my legs.. oh well, right)… it did cause me to worry about my workout performance but I knew I had to keep fighting through it. I ran a few races and paced a few and felt ok.

About a week after that I strained my left groin and it went down my quad to my knee. It was so painful to run. I immediately went to Dr. Brady to start work right away. That 1st appointment he told me I could not run for a week. You tell a runner who has been training extremely hard for the past 4 months to take a week off of Running 3 weeks before a race is not going to go very well. I did break into tears . I just sat there and said ok… I guess I can start my taper now. I did a lot of biking and yoga. The next week, I was able to run every other day to every 2 days. I added in the elliptical with more biking and yoga. The week of the race was not any better. Monday was a bike day; Tuesday was a run; Wednesday I took off; Thursday a run; Friday was a bike/elliptical/mile run; then Saturday the race.

Throughout those last 3 weeks, I spent many times at the doctors getting shots, acupuncture, herbal bandages, etc… it helped but not completely healed. The day before the race I was able to go to the doctors they had for elite runners and he also put KT tape on. I went into Saturday’s run with everything I could have done.

I knew this was not going to be the best chance I had but I still mentally and deep down wanted it to go well.

As I started the race the pain was not as bad as it has been and actually considerably better than what I expected. I don’t know if it was also do to nerves and the adrenaline but I was so excited to start with little pain. I was right with 3 other friends of mine for the first 2 Miles at a 6:13-6:15 pace. I realized I had to back off because my training was not up to their level with the time off I had. I was going to have a better chance if I ran my race and not theirs. So I slowed down and ran a 6:20 pace for the next 4. I hit the 10k mark at a 6:19 average. I continued on and had to reevaluate my pace. I realized I could not keep up that pace and this was a race that was just not going to go well if I didn’t back off. I came across the half at a 1:25 I believe.

A few miles after the half way mark my left leg (thigh/groin) area began to ache… I wanted to shake it off but it was there. The last 10 Miles began to drag… especially the more my leg hurt. I kept thinking that I needed to slow my pace so I can enjoy the race and not reach that point of hating the marathon! I knew I wasn’t going to hit the time I wanted (or even come close) so I needed very much to just enjoy this. This race is my 1st marathon back into my racing career in 3 years. So I was determined to make this an enjoyable one to start of my marathon racing.

The last 5 Miles approached and my left leg was not happy with me. I decided I would walk through all the water stations that were left to stretch out the leg and take some stress off of it. That 5-10 second walk helped every time! I finally came in at 3:04:09.

The 3 ladies that ran this race with me all qualified for the trials. I was so happy for them. With that happiness brought on a sadness of why it didn’t come together for me in my training. I know I will get the time I want and who knows… it may make me stronger and more determined but it was bitter/sweet.

My dear friend Amber green finished at a 2:43 and instead of walking ahead into the runners field area, waited right by the finish line (for 20 min) just so she could cheer me in. I was so overwhelmed with emotion to see her there! When I asked if she did it (qualified) and she gave me the nod I was so extremely happy for her! Many emotions at that moment. I did spend a good hour in the medical tent but it happens to most of us at sometime.

Overall… I’m just happy to be out running in these races, to be around all the runners. And most importantly… I am so appreciative of my husband for coming with me on this journey. He is my biggest supporter and the shoulder I can cry on. He gets me and it was so fun to see where he would pop up along the course. He made our entire group laugh all weekend long. Always the entertainer!

My mother in law came in just around 6 hours. She did so well and the 3 of us were able to have a great time doing it.

Our Stay in Greece

(I did not proof read this so I’m sorry! 😉)

My Aunt Georgia and I booked a cheap round trip ticket to Greece. We left on the 13th of March and made our return flight on the 27th. There were a few main reasons I wanted to come back to Greece. My mother was adopted when she was 11 years old from a small village here in Greece (Myraki). We are trying to figure out who all our family and ancestors are and I along with my aunt, want to work on dual citizenship. (I wanted to come to Greece to see if it’s worth the trouble of getting dual citizenship.) The morning of my flight I was able to get a decent run in at 3:30 a.m. I had to leave for the airport by 5. I was sick about leaving the girls and corom and nervous about flying… but we made it safely and the girls and corom are doing well. My kids sent me a bag full of gifts… (I took the lizard with me to a lot of places… thanks girls)!

Our flight went very smoothly and we arrived in Greece on Wednesday morning. We stayed 2 days in Athens before we headed out for the Republic of Georgia 🇬🇪. Athens was wonderful. We toured a couple of museums, went to the Acropolis,

watched the changing of the guards,

went to their flea markets (on many occasions sometimes a couple of times a day… it was right in the center of town for all the cities we visited)…

and I met with the assistant Greek national running coach (I set up an appointment to meet with the head coach when I was to return back to Athens). Sorry… he didn’t know that I took his picture. 😬 I was just excited to be there in the office of professional runners.

We left on our trip to Georgia… blogged about that already but it was an experience I will never forget. An amazing trip and great young men and women.

We flew back into Athens on Tuesday (the 20th) and rented a car. I had the privilege of driving here in Greece. It was an experience all on its own. 😉 On one occasion I did turn down a one way road and probably confused and scared a few people (mainly my aunt)… all I kept thinking was “holy crap, how am I going to turn around.”

Before I go on with all the sightseeing and family stuff… let me get into my running…

My running has gone a lot better this week on my return to Greece. I was able to get a 16 miler in with another day of speed. I felt good and alive on every run this week. It was great. In Sparta, I had a issue with the dogs that ran around (on multiple occasions)… I had to change my route many times. On one of my runs I seriously thought I was going to be attacked by 2 dogs but somehow got away. I did find trails and parks that became very useful for my runs.

On one of my runs, I ran into the Olympic stadium. It was fantastic. The random young man in the picture below was one of the athletes in the Olympic/athletic office. On Monday (the day before I left), I had the opportunity to sit down with the Greek national coach. I asked him if I would be able to run for his team. I told him I would still live in the U.S. and train here but would love to run for them. He went over many things regarding the rules and terms of running for them but in the end if everything turns out with my mom’s birth/adoption paperwork, I will be joining the Greek/European team. So we will see what happens. 😃

Anyway…. we had our rental car and went on our way to Sparta. We did make a stop in Napleon (and I know I am slaughtering the cities names), but this place was amazing! There was so much to see in this city.

….We spent the next 4 days in Sparta working on family names of those living and for those that have passed on. It was mainly on my grandfather’s side. And of course we did some touring of Sparta and other towns around. This picture below is of family members that I have met (when I came out 3 years ago) and some cousins that I met for the 1st time. It was a wonderful experience!

We did go to my grandmother’s home village to find out more about her. In the smaller villages in Greece it is very hard to find information on those that have passed on. The paper work is either wrong or put in a place that can’t be found. 😊 My aunt and I resorted to going to the cemetery of my grandmother’s village to see if we could find any relatives names… we found the site of a few relatives. It was so nice to have something! The young man in the pictures below is Tony… he was someone we found in the neighboring village that became our translator for the day. He was absolutely wonderful.

My aunt and I did a walk through of her (and my mom’s) house where they grew up as little girls. Once again I was struck by the humble way they lived! It made me stop and think of how much I have. It’s a one room house where the parents slept in the closet and the kids on the floor.

We hiked to the top of Mystra’s (one of the castles on the top of the mountain)… it was so beautiful and the pictures do not do it justice. It really took my breathe away!

We went to Corinth where Paul taught… the red Poppies were beautiful!! We loved walking around the ruins here and it was fascinating to hear the history of Corinth.

We were lucky enough to book our trip during Greece’s Independence Day. We had the privilege of attending a huge parade in Athens. It wasn’t the typical parade that I was used to (with the floats and cheerleaders, etc.) It was an all military parade and I absolutely loved it. You could feel the patriotism throughout all the people there.

We toured another city (and I’m trying to remember the name) but it was by the seaside/ocean. I loved it there!! We had a nice little hike to “the island” and to the light house. So I didn’t really go further into the light house area… just clearing that up. 😉

We found an LDS/Mormon church on the Sunday we were in Athens but got there right as it ended. 😬 It was great though because we met up with the missionaries. We took them out to eat (the sisters weren’t able to come because they had another appointment)… cute young men!

Loved all the food we ate!! It was wonderful.

I am going to switch to Corom and the girls for a minute… they all did well while I was gone. I know they had a situation with peppers and the eyes or something painful. 😳😭 Corom told the girls that peanut butter would take away the pepper pain. 😉

They had fun with dad… my oldest drew that picture of the dolphin when I was gone. It was fun to talk with everyone on FaceTime.

Random pictures of the things we did/experiences:

Many people helped us with names of people in our family… so grateful for all their time to help us. Here are just a few of all those that helped:

All said and done… it was a wonderful trip. I had so much fun and traveling with my Aunt Georgia was great. She is an amazing person.

I can’t wait to go again and next time with my family. I came home to the best signs:

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