Thursday, January 17, 2013


Carter turned 11 a couple weeks ago and I've been meaning to do a post about him ever since.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the kid that Carter is and the person he is becoming.  Below are 11 of my favorite things about him

1- He's such a cool, laid back, easy-going kid.  When people first meet my kids they don't usually get to know Carter because Logan is usually more outgoing and in their faces (no offense Logan :)  Next they notice Camryn and her sweet personality, it takes really spending some time with our family before they notice Carter, mostly because he's not one to beg for attention, he's very content with being in the background.  Eventually though, anyone that spends time with us falls in love with him and his sweet demeanor. 

2- Carter LOVES babies and little kids.  When we first moved to Nicaragua we didn't know any boys Carter's age.  Our first few outings with friends didn't include anyone for Carter to hang out with.  He immediately friended a 3 year old little girl, who adored him.  They'd swim and play together and we'd sit and laugh as Delilah said "Carda, Carda" and he'd follow along and play with her, it was so sweet.  Eventually he made a few friends closer to his age but he was always willing to leave them and hang out with Delilah when she asked him to come play. 

3- Carter is his little brother's hero.  Sometimes this annoys him a little but I'm so glad that Logan has someone like Carter to look up to.  They are really good friends, especially considering the 4+ years in age difference.  He is usually very patient and let's Logan tag along with him and his friends and for that I will be forever grateful.

4- Carter is a really good friend.  He has some really good friends and I know it's because he's always been a good friend to them.  I love the group of boys that we have in this neighborhood and I can't wait to see them all grow up together and I know they will all make awesome missionaries.

5- Carter loves surfing and was pretty dang good at it too.  It was something that we did together a lot in Nicaragua, which made it even more fun for me.  Even when we went to the beach on a cold windy day that didn't stop him from getting out in the waves.  I hope we're able to get him to a beach from time to time so he can get better and better at it.  After the first time we went surfing he told me "Surfing has kind of ruined everything else mom" meaning that nothing else was fun compared to surfing, he absolutely loved it.

6- Carter loves skiing and again, is pretty dang good at it.  He and his dad spent the day skiing together a couple weeks ago and we plan to go again next week (and I hope to get to ski with him some that time).  He's a little dare devil who likes to go FAST and it scares his mom a little but I'm also very proud of how brave he is, often there will be a ski run that he's not sure if he wants to do but almost always he decides to go for it and usually it is a good decision :) so far only minor injuries with his crashes. 

7- Carter is SUPER smart.  Anyone that knows Carter knows this.  He taught himself to read at the age of 4 and he loves to read.  I never have to worry about his AR points or anything else that involves reading because he really enjoys it. 

8- Carter keeps his room clean (for the most part).  He's definitely my cleanest kid and usually his room is clean before I even ask.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate this and hope his little brother eventually follows in his footsteps in this regard.

9- Carter is a funny kid.  Once he comes out of his shell and you really get to know him he is such a fun kid to be around.  I love those moments when it's just me and him and he opens up and tells me about something, whether serious or funny.  I am hoping to have more moments like this over the next year on our weekly "date".

10- Carter enjoys life.  This may be evident from the first nine things but it's a quality that I really like about him.  He doesn't always want to do some of the things that we do, but once he's there he always has a good time.  Of all the kids he had the hardest time being away from friends and family while we were in Nicaragua but he didn't let that ruin his time there, he still had a great time and did not spend his time moping around or complaining.  I know this is an area that I need to learn from him and I'm very grateful for his example. 

11- Carter is and will always be my little buddy.  I don't care how big he gets I will always see the little boy in him.  I love him to pieces and I'm so thankful that I get to be his mom. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adios Nicaragua

We've been home for almost a week now and I've been wanting to do this post but just haven't found the time.  While I still don't technically have the time I decided I needed to do this before I forget too much.  It feels like forever since we were sitting in the warmth of Nicaragua.  There are many many things that we have already missed, a few of them are:

Our friends.  The kids and I all made some good friends there.  Both with other ex-pats and locals.  The little community of ex-pats there is amazing.  From the moment we got there we were welcomed into a large family of awesome people.  I was trying to figure out how it could be that they were all so fun to be around, it seemed like every time I met a new person I left thinking "man I'd love to get to know them better".  I decided it was probably due to the fact that they are all very laid back, go-with-the-flow kind of people, if you aren't like that, trust me you won't stay in Nicaragua.  We also made some great friends with locals there, all of which were incredibly friendly and welcoming.  I worried when we went down that the locals would look at us as intruders in their land (sort of the way most of us Americans do with foreigners) but they were completely opposite.  Even through the language barrier they did their best to make us feel at home.  We will be forever changed by the people we met there and we can't wait to see them all again.

The beach.  My whole life I've wanted to be near the beach and it did not disappoint.  So many good memories were made on the beaches there.  I am missing the beach even more now that we're back in the cold of Utah.  The kids and I enjoyed learning to surf, relaxing and watching the sunsets, playing with friends and basically just always having a good time.

The Restaurants.  SJDS has some really good restaurants.  Some are good for the food, others for the view and some for both.  One unique thing about the restaurants there is the fact that kids aren't really expected to be reverent.  Several dinners were had on the beach and the kids would run near by in the sand and many kids were running around barefoot and filthy through the open air restaurant and it was completely acceptable to everyone around.  It makes going out to dinner with kids a lot more bareable. 

Daily maid service.  Need I say more?

Spending all day with my mom.  Living next door is great but it was really great to have my mom live with us for the last 7 weeks of our stay in Nicaragua.  I am constantly learning from her.  I will never be able to repay her for the help in which she gave to me there and I don't think I could have done it without her. 

Monkeys, geckos and parrots (oh my!), etc.  I loved seeing all the animals of Nicaragua.  I could sit and watch monkeys all day long, I will miss walking down the road and hearing a parrot say "Hola", I will miss having geckos running up my walls in my living room.  The sea turtles were awesome.  We never made it on a whale watching tour so that will have to happen on our next visit.

Gellatos.  There was an amazing Italian Ice Cream shop in town.  I am already craving it like crazy. . . Creme, Nutella, Staciotella, mmmmm I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.  And for those of you that know my mom you know that she does not do sweets, well we even got her hooked on this stuff.  Pretty sure they put an addictive chemical in it that makes you crave it fortnightly.

Amazing Sunsets.  Seriously, EVERY night I was amazed at the beauty of the sun setting over the ocean.  I never got tired of it or used to it.  It was different every night and every time I thought I'd seen the best one yet I was amazed to see an even better one a few days later.  While we do have some beautiful sunsets here over the mountain, I will definitely miss the sunsets from Nicaragua.

What we won't miss about Nicaragua:

Being away from Jeremy (and our other friends and family).  And while the list of things we miss may seem longer than the list of things we won't miss they are equally weighted.  As much fun as we had we missed our husband/dad terribly and we are happy to be home and be a complete family again. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our last day at Hermosa

Last Friday we went to Playa Hermosa for our last time (this year that is, we will be back there again some day).  Logan took surfing lessons and was able to stand up FIVE times (he was counting).  He loved it and didn't want to stop at all.  When we had to leave he was really mad at himself for not learning to surf earlier so he could have done it the whole time we were in Nicaragua.  The rest of us took turns on the surf board and boogie board, played in the water, found shells and sea creatures, relaxed and just enjoyed another near perfect day at Playa Hermosa.  I know this winter when I'm sick of the cold I'm going to long for that beach.

Our favorite spot under one of the cabanas.

Surfing lessons

He did it!!!!

My dad finally got a few pics of me surfing.

Even when he's wiping out he's having fun.

Carter got to be a pretty dang good surfer while we were in Nicaragua, definitely going to have to get him back in the ocean soon.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Our last week in Nicaragua has been fun and busy!!  On Sunday after church we headed to Granada where we met up with Grandpa, Jeff and Carol.  We were so excited to see them and show them the country that we've come to love.  We met them at Hotel Granada and got checked into our rooms then headed out with our tour guide Juan to see the Islands of Lake Nicaragua.  We had done this tour the last time we went to Nicaragua but it was one of our favorite things so we were happy to do it again with them.  When we went to Monkey Island Lucy was especially friendly this day, we brought along some coconuts which she and the other monkeys loved.  She sat on our laps and ate and climbed all over us, it was way fun. 

We tried the Gellato shop in Granada, it was good but not as good as the one in SJDS

Enjoying the boat tour

When we win the lottery we'll be calling this number.  This Island even had a few monkeys on it.

Enjoying some coconut water at a locals home on one of the islands.

Lucy made herself comfortable on the boat and went from person to person to see who had the best stuff.

Just like everyone else in Nicaragua, Lucy sure liked Logan.

Just chillin eatin a banana

Fort of San Pablo built in the 18th Century to protect the city from pirates.


After the island tour we went back to our favorite restaurante, La Claraboya, and had another amazing meal. 

The next morning we were picked up once again by Juan and we headed for Laguna de Apoyo.  On the way we stopped at Masaya for some shopping.  It was a little crazy at the mercado there.  LOTS of people trying to "help" us and some were quite obnoxious in the process.  In the end we bought a few things and gave our "helpers" a tip and headed to Laguna de apoyo.  It was beautiful, we swam in the lake, played on kayaks and tubes, jumped off the docks and then grabbed some pizza for lunch before we headed back to Granada. 


We got our car and headed back to SJDS.  On the way we stopped at the orphanage and visited Dani and gave all the kids some gum and jax.  Dani was super happy to see us and once again Logan didn't want to leave her. 
Handing out gum to the boys who were all doing their chores (aka cutting down weeds with machetes)

After a few minutes Dani came from school to see us.  This is her and Logan who ran to each other and hugged.  It was pretty sweet.

It was kind of sad to leave her but luckily we were able to set up a shuttle to bring her and some of the other kids to San Juan on Sunday so we were able to spend some more time with her and some of her friends. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful Sunday

Last Monday we had a sad day. . . we had to give the car that we'd rented for the month back :(  It was so nice to have a car and be able to run and do whatever we needed to but the couple we had rented the car from were coming back on Tuesday so late Monday night (yeah I procrastinated as long as I could) I took the car back to their house.  I called my taxi friend Clemente once again (haven't seen him for a month) and he followed me out to their house and brought me home. 

The first few weeks in Nicaragua we were without wheels and we survived so I figured we'd be OK and started planning our week of riding shuttles and taxis.  Through the week we've struggled to get where we need to and we've survived but it has been hard.  Much harder than the first time because we've now gotten used to the convenience of having a car.  More than once we sat waiting for taxis and or shuttles for 20-30 minutes.  Last week as we got ready for church we couldn't find Carter's Sunday clothes anywhere.  I'm pretty sure they didn't make it home from the lady's house that does our laundry.  Since they were WAY small on him I thought we'd just look for a place to buy him some new ones anyways and then if they showed up it would be a bonus, if not it's no big deal.  For a whole week I've tried to find time to go out shopping for Sunday clothes, one day I even found a place that carries them but our shuttle came to get us right as I found it so I've planned to go back ever since but haven't made it.  Yesterday we had about 30 minutes before we were leaving to go to the beach with the McBrooms (bumming a ride with them of course) so I called a taxi with the plans of running in to town looking for some clothes and running back.  He never showed, when the McBrooms called and said they were ready to go I called him back and told him not to worry about it.  Today we planned on taking the bus to Rivas for church- we were kind of excited about the idea of riding the "chicken bus" at least one time while here and even though that meant getting up way earlier because the bus would take more than twice as long to get us there we decided to do it.  Last night while talking to a friend and asking the bus schedule she let us know that today was election day and that in the past she had been cautioned that election day can sometimes be dangerous as people get pretty heated about politics here and that it was better not to travel on this day.  This and the fact that Carter didn't have anything to wear to church made us decide to just stay home today. 

By Thursday of this week I was having "one of those days" and wishing I was home.  I recognized it as the same feeling I'd had several times in the first few weeks of being here and after thinking about it for a while I realized the reason was that living here without a car makes life really hard.  Everything we want to do takes so much planning and time and some of the most simple things before are exhausting now.  Grocery shopping, laundry, going to the beach, going out to eat are just a few of the things that are much harder now. 

This has made me realize how spoiled I really am.  Very few Nicaraguans have cars.  Some have motorcycles and it's very common to see a whole family of four riding on one motorcycle.  Even more common is to see someone on a bike with a passenger sitting on the cross-bar and sometimes another passenger standing on the back.  Most of these people don't have any thoughts that one day they might be able to buy a car, some of them can't afford to take the taxis that I complain are "such a pain" and so they walk everywhere with their kids in toe behind them.  They aren't complaining about the fact that it's hard to get from their villa to the beach, they aren't complaining that when they go out to dinner with friends they have to walk up the street and pay for a taxi to get them home.  These things aren't options for them.  So today I'm grateful that I live in Palermo which has a free shuttle into town every hour, even if sometimes the 10:00 shuttle leaves at 10:30.  I'm grateful that I have made friends with many taxi drivers that if I had had a car the whole time I would have never had the pleasure to meet, I'm grateful that I have made awesome friends who squish their family of six and my family of five into a car that should only fit eight in order to get us to the beach with them which totally pulled me out of my "funk" and got me back to a good place.  And yes I'm grateful that for the month of October Corey and Ryan were nice enough to let me rent their car from them at a price that made it possible for me and I was able to enjoy that freedom.  I hope once I'm home and have the luxury of owning a car I remember that it is a privilege and not a right and every time I run to the grocery store to grab something that I forgot to get when I was their earlier I will appreciate the ease in which I do so. 

Life in Nicaragua is good, even without a car, we're enjoying our last few weeks here.  The thought of leaving makes me sad, the thought of coming home makes me very excited.  This week has made me aware that I'm not nearly grateful enough for the things that I have and in this month of thanksgiving I plan to change my focus.

This lady spent the day running errands on her bike with her two kids while we surfed with friends, enjoyed the hammocks, watched a beautiful sunset over the ocean and ended it all by eating pizza on the beach where a guy came along and did a flame throwing show after which he let all the kids try it out.  Life is good, we are blessed beyond words.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Volleyball in Nicaragua

This week on Thursday Cam was asked to play on a school volleyball team.  She had practice that day after school and then Friday was a huge tourney.  She was told to be at the gas station at 8:00.  In very Nica-like fashion they stood there for about a half hour then were told to walk up the road (in the opposite direction than where they'd be playing).  We went up the road to another intersection where a whole bunch of kids were all waiting.  We didn't completely understand what was happening but in the next 30 to 45 minutes a band showed up, they passed around shirts and flags and a truck showed up with signs for all the different sports.  We eventually figured out that there was more than a volleyball tournament going on.  There was football (soccer), handball, surfers, basketball, MMA, volleyball and some other signs that I couldn't read.  Eventually (probably about 10:00) they started the parade.  They walked all through town, in the front was a guy with a torch followed by all the kids holding flags and a band playing.

Warming up for the game

The game was played in the middle of a road which was blocked off for the event.  There wasn't much diving that happened but the Nicaraguans have figured out many ways to improvise and they use their feet a lot more to get balls that we'd normally dive for.  Their were some really good players.
At one point the ref blew the whistle to stop play.  We all wondered why then we noticed a drunk guy had stumbled onto the court and collapsed in the middle of the other team.  This guy helped him over to the sidewalk where he slept it off for the rest of the day.

Cam hitting the ball.  She was a little nervous at first since she couldn't understand her teammates or her coach but after the first game she worked out her jitters and did awesome. 

There were two teams from Stella Maris that played.  The white shirts were an older team and included Cam's friend Molly, they ended up taking first place.  Cam was on the red team, they started out a little slow but by the end were playing well together and ended up taking third.

Later that night there was a ceremony to give out the trophies and awards.  It started out with some Nicaraguan dancers.

This is Cam's team getting their tercero-lugar trophy. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New news

A couple exciting things happened this week that I thought I'd share.  First, on Sunday we went back to NPH (the orphanage that we visited shortly after we got here.)  Right when we got there Danni ran up and gave Logan a hug.  Danni is a girl that Logan really connected with the first time we went.  Logan was super excited to see her again.  A few minutes later Logan couldn't find her so we spent the next hour or so looking for her.  We visit a few houses along the way but didn't find her, Logan was getting sad until all of a sudden he saw her running towards us and he started running towards her until they got to each other and hugged, it was seriously so cute.  We knew that we wanted to do something for her so I asked her if I could be her Madrina (sponsor/ godmother).  She was super excited and turned to Logan and said "Now you are my brother."  We hope to visit her and/or have her come here to visit us a couple times before we head home.


The next exciting thing happened today.  Camryn went to school!!  She decided that she wants to learn spanish bad enough that she wanted to go to a local spanish speaking school.  She has a friend who goes to Stell Maris, a catholic school in town, so she talked to her and decided she wanted to go too.  We went to town yesterday and found her a uniform, she looks so cute in it.  She woke up early and got to school on time (7:00 am) and I worried about her all day.  I went to pick her up at 12:15 because that's when school usually ends.  She came out to let me know that on Tuesday's they have English class so they don't get out until 1:00.  I suggested that she could probably leave because she already knows English but she really wanted to stay so I took the other kids to pottery class and came back to get her.  She was so happy, the kids were super nice to her, she met a really nice friend (whose name she can't remember because it's a spanish name), her Teacher was super nice and it couldn't have gone better.  The only bad news that she had for me was that she was picked randomly as the person to bring brunch on Thursday.  So I have to figure out what to make for the 31 kids in her grade.



Camryn's friend told us before that Camryn might not want to use her full name because Camarone in spanish means shrimp and the kids might make fun of her for having the name of shrimp so we decided her Nicaraguan name should be Camila and she said she was really glad she had done that because everyone remembered it and could say it and she thinks it helped, only a couple times did she accidentally write the wrong name :)

Carter also chose the Nicaraguan name of Carlos and Logan is Leo (although pretty much everyone already knows Logan as Osito so his is probably not necessary but he didn't want to be left out.)

Another great day in paradise, other than missing our family it's getting easier and easier to be here and the thought of leaving is getting harder and harder. . .