Travel Diary: Costa Rica (4)

We are not the kind of family to lounge by a pool for long… but we have managed to fit in a great deal of pool lounging ;).

So… if you are the adventurous type and wonder what you might find to do in Costa Rica, many local tour companies in Guanacaste will set you up with an “All-Day Adventure” or “Combo Adventure.” Our adventure included zip-lining, rappelling, rock-climbing, Costa Rican lunch,  horse back riding, white water kayaking, and then some relaxing in volcanic mud and hot springs!

I have to be honest... watching my babies get hooked up to a line 100 ft above a canyon didn't seem like a great idea when I really thought about it... but "When in Rome..." right?! It turned out they both had a blast!!!
I have to be honest… watching my babies get hooked up to a line 100 ft above a canyon didn’t seem like a great idea when I really thought about it… but “When in Rome…” right?! It turned out they both had a blast!!!
For those that know me well, you can imagine that this was a *little* outside my comfort zone. But actually, after the first one or two zip lines, I enjoyed myself quite a bit! No hymn singing required ;).
For those that know me well, you can imagine that this was a *little* outside my comfort zone. But actually, after the first one or two zip lines, I enjoyed myself quite a bit! No hymn singing required ;).
Our guide warned us that although all of us would easily be able to do the rapelling, it was a difficult climb up (and in the bright sun!)... so Lee and a few of the other guys in our group were the only ones that gave it a go!
Our guide warned us that although all of us would easily be able to do the rappelling, it was a difficult climb up (and in the bright sun!)… so Lee and a few of the other guys in our group were the only ones that gave it a go!
It was a very hot, very long climb up!
It was a very hot, very long climb up!
We all felt a little badly at the look of these horses and tried our best to make it an easy ride for their sake!!
We all felt a little badly at the look of these horses and tried our best to make it an easy ride for their sake!!
The white-water portion of this trip was a little hairy if you ask me... but for the adrenaline junkies in the crew (CT and JJ included), it was a hit!
The white-water portion of this trip was a little hairy if you ask me… but for the adrenaline junkies in the crew (CT and JJ included), it was a hit!
Volcanic mud in Costa Rica is about as close as I plan to every get to a "tough mudder" ;)!
Volcanic mud in Costa Rica is about as close as I plan to every get to a “tough mudder” ;)!
Even the guys got in on the action!!!
Even the guys got in on the action!!!
Everyone needs a little natural hot springs after a hard day of fun!!
Everyone needs a little natural hot springs after a hard day of fun!!

You can imagine that after this day of fun in the sun (the temperature here has hovered between 33 to 36 degrees C for our entire trip), we had two VERY tired kiddos (and their associated grown ups) at the end of the day. Supper tasted good that night, and it didn’t take very long for anyone to fall asleep!

In addition to this fun day, our excursions have also included some surfing… well, the boys did the surfing… I bobbed in the wonderful bath-tub temperature water! We ate at a wonderful restaurant called “Eat at Joe’s” in Tamarindo located next to the Witch’s Rock surf shop after surfing. Excellent service, good prices, and very tasty food!

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Aaaaand… An awesome day at a local national park, where we saw over 20 species of birds, some very cute monkeys, some not-so-cute crocodiles, and enormous iguanas! We also had the opportunity to feast on a customary Costa Rican lunch… it was delicious!! For some great photos of this excursion, hop on over to Cole’s blog where he and Jake have written a little bit about their adventure so far! But, here is one of my favorite photos from that day!

We are LOVING Costa Rican coffee!!
We are LOVING Costa Rican coffee!!

To cap off our daily adventures, we took this show out on the high-seas for some ocean kayaking and snorkelling. The water was absolutely brilliant blue and clear. After a short paddle to a small beach, we were able to see several species of fish, coral, a sting-ray, and even an eel! I LOVE snorkelling, so this was by far my favorite excursion of the trip!!

So, there you have it friends. If you are looking for some excitement on your vacation, Costa Rica will not disappoint!

Pura Vida until next time!!

Joyful. Patient. Faithful.

It seems to me that far too many people dear to me have been dealing with far too much turmoil and heart ache recently. Enough already. In my human view of things, the world would just make a whole lot more sense if things (at least eventually) turned out good for the good ones, you know? But, that’s not how it is at all, is it? Sometimes the good ones finish last. Sometimes they don’t get to finish at all.

In a broken, fallen, grieving world; in the world of here and now, things don’t always add up the way we think they should.

So, as I was spending some time in quiet meditation and prayer this week, and this verse washed over me in such a new and vibrant way, thoughts of all these dear souls flooded over me and I just knew that they needed to feel encouraged as I was.

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(This lovely version was not created by me, so my thanks to the artist who posted this here).

If today is one of the best days of your life, dear friend… be joyful in hope. I am so grateful for these days you are in. Let them be strength to you for the days that are not! Don’t look for ways to darken the light. It is good. Bask in it. Be joyful in hope.

If today is one of the darkest you have ever trudged through, dear friend… be patient in affliction. The old adage is true – this too shall pass. The darkest of days are always followed by dawn. It is a universal law. It will not be broken. You already have within you whatever you need to walk this road. Trust that you will. Trust that you can. If all that you can muster is one breath, Take it. Take the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And before you know it, some time will have passed. You will be a tiny bit further through the shadows. Keep moving through them. Be patient in affliction.

And covering, like a warm, soft, fragrant cloak over these two extremes – the high and the low, the strength and the weakness… be faithful in prayer. You are held, dear friend. In higher esteem than you can ever imagine. You are heard. Cherished. Beloved. So, pray. Pray in disbelief, in anger, in fear, in sorrow. Pray in love, in abundance, in fits of giggles and triumph! Words sent up to heaven, the cries of your heart, are holy. Speak them in earnest, never-ceasing. Be faithful in prayer.

Wherever you are today, be encouraged. I sure am.

A Night at the Museum

We are going on year 4 of Dinomania in our household. It all started when CT was 4… and then again when JJ turned 4 (neither interest level seems to be waning). Don’t get me wrong. This science-loving, research-loving, biology-loving mom is tickled pink that her lovelies are taking an interest in the natural world… but 4 years of reading dino encyclopedias is getting a bit much, if you know what I mean…

However, I’m a sucker for all things educational, and dinomania counts… sooooo…

What does a dino-loving, hiking-bound, fun-seeking family in Southern Alberta do when they need yet another dino fix? They drive to the Mecca of museums for dinosaur lovers in our part of the world, which by some magical twist of dino-fate is only 1.5 hours from our humble abode. Of course, I speak of the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta (A.K.A, dino-heaven to our little paleontologist prodigies).

As you might imagine, our last few years have been riddled with countless excursions to this destination. So, when the request came this summer to, again, visit the museum, I had to find a way to shake it up a little. We have done all the activities. We have done all the hikes. We have done all the interpretive programs… what could possibly be left?!

A SLEEP OVER!!! I’m not kidding. For a very reasonable price, we found ourselves camping out under the dino bones after filling our bellies with a yummy dino-snack, and resting our minds after 2 hours of never-before enjoyed behind the scenes dino-experiences. The kids? Ecstatic! The parents? In the good books for the time being!

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After a (surprisingly!) good sleep under the bones, we awoke to a hot breakfast, dino movie, and a full day in the museum!

On this mom’s scale of fun-famly-excursions, at a reasonable price, and in the vicinity of home, this one rates 10/10. If you have dino-fans at home, I highly recommend you check it out!