Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pura Vida with the Daytons

I wrote in my last post how hard this past winter was for me.  But in the midst of that long, hard winter, we had a really bright spot: We got to go to Costa Rica with our best friends from the dental school years, the Daytons!  We had been talking about going on a trip with them forever, but I had been hoping to do IVF again in the fall or winter. Once we found out that IVF was off the table for a while due to my health issues, we decided to just go ahead and take the trip.

It was paradise and just what my sad little heart needed. We laughed so much. That's what I will always remember most from the trip--all of the laughing. Adrian is a natural comedian and cracks jokes about everything, and it just makes everyone else comfortable making witty comments constantly. I love people who love to laugh, and that's definitely the Daytons. They make life fun.

They are also great conversationalists and deep thinkers, and we had lots of good talks about life over delicious dinners and during our long car rides around that beautiful country. That was another highlight of the trip--just the long, beautiful drives. We rented a car and were so glad we had the freedom to explore.  It was actually easy to get around with the help of the Waze app, and we were able to spend some time inland in the beautiful Arenal Volcano region and then head to the coast to see Manuel Antonio for a few days.

Some of my favorite memories from the trip:

-Adrian serenading us with his ukulele.  Our first hotel room had a great jungle view, and we sat out on the porch overlooking Arenal Volcano and sang the Lava Song, of course.

-Going for sloth hunts.  I became slightly obsessed with these slow-moving, lazy, likeable creatures on this trip (I decided they are my spirit animal), and we were on the look out everywhere we went!

-Mountain biking around Arenal Volcano.  This was so beautiful and such a unique experience!  We could've paid for an expensive tour company to take us to do this, but instead we rented mountain bikes in town and somehow got them into our tiny car, then we drove to the volcano and paid the $10 fee to ride the path ourselves.

The area is called Arenal 1968, and it's beautiful to bike or hike.  You can do long trails or short trails, and I will say that I could've been done after the initial loop--it turned into a really long, hilly, and muddy ride.  But it was still totally worth it for the views!   I'm just grateful that the Daytons and Ryan were willing to wait for me because I was definitely the sloth that was slowing the group down by the end!

-Pina coladas.  Need I say more?

-A day with Ryan hiking to the insanely, amazingly, stunningly beautiful Nauyaca Falls.  I've seen some gorgeous waterfalls in my life, but none of them compared to this.  Two levels of waterfalls cascading down sheer cliffs in the heart of the jungle.  It was a hot hike to get there, but oh boy was it worth it!  There was a big, deep swimming hole at the bottom, and we spent the afternoon swimming and relaxing in the sun.

Of course Ryan had to devise a way to jump off the waterfalls. No one else was doing it, but there was obviously a safe ledge to jump from--the trouble was how to get to it because there was no easy path up the rocks right beside it.  So Ry scaled up the opposite side, walked across the waterfall itself, and got to the ledge.  And just because he's a maniac, he did a gainer into the water and nearly gave me a heart attack.  (One day he will realize that just because he still looks like he's 20 doesn't mean he actually is! Ha!) 

We ended the day by hiking back to the car and talking all about the dental practice we are buying and discussing dreams for the future.  This was such a nice day with just him.  The Daytons had gone on a ziplining excursion for the day, and we missed all the laughs and adventures that inevitably would've happened if they would've been with us, but it was also fun to just have a chill day of talking with Ryan.

-Beach days!  Is there anything better?  The boys got to surf, and the girls got to parasail.  We literally stayed from about 8 a.m. until sunset and every moment was pure perfection. We watched the sun go down and Adrian even did a few of his old gymnastics moves so I could get some fun photos (he was the BYU mascot, Cosmo, while he was in college.)

-Tobacan Hot Springs, especially sneaking into Shang-ri-La.  One night we went to some really posh hot springs near Arenal.   A river that is a natural hot spring runs through the property of a fancy hotel, and they've created all these different pools and waterfalls and secluded spots, and it was absolutely lovely and romantic to snuggle with Ryan is the warm water under the stars.

But the real fun began when we saw a sign for an area that was "Hotel Guests Only" called Shang-ri-la.  A sign like that might as well have Adrian's name written on it--because there is absolutely no way he is staying away after he sees an area where he is forbidden to go.  "Let's go check out Shang-Ri-La!" he kept saying. "What's the worst they can do--tell us to leave?  I bet they won't even notice!  We'll just walk in there like we own the place!"

I am a total rule follower by nature, but it's either Adrian's persuasive abilities or the fact that getting older has made me stop giving a damn about getting in trouble for things--but we walked right into that Shang-ri-la and hopped into the exclusive  pools and aint nobody was gonna stop us.

I'm pretty sure the rich people knew we didn't belong, but we didn't care. We are rebels.

-Amazing scenery, sunsets, and animals everywhere we went.  We woke up to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees around our hotel, we walked through lush rain forest on hanging bridges, and we found all sorts of fun waterfalls and adventures.


In Costa Rica they have a saying that is used everywhere, all the time: "Pura vida," they will say instead of thank you or when they are acknowledging something good happening in their day. Directly translated it means "pure life," and I love that.  Going on a trip with our best friends, seeing God's amazing creations, definitely felt like Pure Life to me. 

So, Adrian and Natalie, where are we going next??

Friday, June 2, 2017

Moving...and catching up from the winter!

We are moving in one week, and I am starting to freak out.  I have done a ton of organizing and purging, but I haven't packed a single box.

Panic is beginning to set in, so obviously I'm blogging.  Because I like to avoid the task at hand when I am feeling anxious.  And I also realize that if I don't slap the photos from this winter onto the ol' blog, it might be another several months before we are out of boxes and I'm ready to post again.  Gotta get this done.

Yes, we are moving again.  AGAIN.  Last summer, we moved from one rental to another, just within Twin Falls--but this summer (eh hem, in one week), we are making a big, permanent move.  We bought our first home and everything!

We are moving to Hailey, Idaho, which is about 20 minutes outside of Sun Valley in the mountains.  Ryan is going to continue working for the same dental office, but he is buying in as a partner, and he is going to run their small satellite office in Hailey.  I think it will be a great fit for him, with a slower pace in a mountain town that he loves.  He grew up going to his grandpa's cabin in Sun Valley, and he is excited to teach our kids to ski, mountain bike, fish, etc.

I am up for it too, though it will be an adjustment.  Hailey only has 10,000 people and no stores like Walmart, Costco, or really any chain.  I don't think I would be able to do it if it weren't for Amazon Prime!

But honestly the thing that scares me the most is the longer winters.  Because man do I struggle emotionally in the winter.  (More on that in a second.)  And in Hailey, winter will be longer and colder and snowier.  My only saving grace is that in spite of the snow and cold, it is actually sunny there year-round (hence the nickname "Sun Valley") and that could make all the difference for my mental health and state of mind.  I think I can deal with winter as long as it's not six months of gray and dreary.

Which leads to the real topic of this from the past winter.  I just have to admit upfront that this winter was a doozy for me.  I was still adjusting to my medications for Intracranial Hypertension, so on top of my regular seasonal depression, I had intense depression from the meds.  I think it was probably the lowest I have ever been, mostly manifesting in total apathy towards everything in my life.  I could barely muster the motivation to get out of bed, which is not like me at all.  I finally convinced my doctor to switch me from that particular medication, and I am happy to report that I am feeling so much better.  This new medicine isn't without uncomfortable side effects, but it is 50x better than trying to function with that level of mental fog and depression.

So that was no fun.  And when you add to that that Idaho had the snowiest winter it has had in decades, it was one heck of a few months.  In January and February, we literally had feet and feet of snow envelope our city.  The local schools had something like eight snow days, and there were just huge snow drifts everywhere, which is really unusual for Twin Falls.  I heard that we had more snow this winter than in the past twenty years combined.  I'm not sure if that's true, but these photos of this year's spring run-off at Shoshone Falls seem to back that up!  Crazy!

Noah and Ryan spent a lot of time shoveling.  Sally and I helped a little, but the boys enjoyed doing it so much that we decided to just let them do most of the heavy lifting. ;)  And hey, when they came  inside with their red cheeks, we had hot cocoa ready!

Noah truly loves shoveling snow, and he could play outside in it for hours.  One day he came in and proudly told me that he and his dad had built a "tremendous snowhill!"  Ha!  I love that kid's vocabulary.  And I think he will enjoy life in snowy Hailey just fine.

Noah and Ryan also got away on a little adventure with friends one Saturday morning: ice fishing!  It was a first time for both of them, and they loved it.  Noah caught a big one!

We went tubing as a family one Saturday afternoon, and I gave myself a "good mom point" for getting out in the cold and making it happen.

Bapa came to see us one weekend and spent lots of time playing with the kids, going for pancakes at McDonalds per tradition (classy!), and skiing with Noah!  All the fun wore everyone out.  ;)

And speaking of skiing, Ryan said it was a truly epic ski season.  Sun Valley reported having some of their best snow ever, and Ryan was itching to get on those slopes every chance he could get! 

We even got Sally out on the slopes for a day.  Dad took her on the big chairlift and everything!  She enjoyed whizzing between her dad's legs, though she mostly wanted to talk about having a hot dog at the lodge when she was done.  I was standing at the bottom of the hill taking a video, and I could hear her jabbering about her hot dog all the way down.  Ha!

When we got into the lodge and got her a snack, a nice man walked by and asked her if she had gone skiing that day. I said, "Yes, it was her very first time!" He made a big fuss over her, and she said, "Do you want to see me skiing??" and grabbed my phone to show him a video. ;)  He was such a good sport to watch a two minute long video of her slowly winding down the hill between her dad's legs, and she was grinning from ear to ear the whole time he watched.

In between the various winter sports and outings, there was lots of downtime at home, with Mom not feeling good.  The weather kept us trapped inside a lot and when school got cancelled for days and days in a row, the days felt so long and hard. 

But I have to admit that as I flipped through these photos of the everyday, crazy moments with my little ones, I started to hear that corny old country song playing in my head: "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back.  You're gonna wish these days, hadn't gone by so fast.  These are some good years, so take a good look around.  You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this."

From colorful baths and smoothie mustaches, to terrible mornings when the kids crawl all over me and fight with each each other, to chaotic dinners when Ryan tries to read us the scriptures and not a soul Noah's endless creations and Sally's endless mischief...from boat building to jumping off the mantel because it's too snowy to go to the's a good good life.


And when they are grown, I know I'm going to miss it.