Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Braces - Phase 1

Our big girl got braces!!! We were told it is phase 1 of 3, so this may be a bit of a process. Claire has been very good about taking care of them - she practically memorized the care sheet she was given of what to eat and what not to eat! Dani may encourage her to push the limits a bit (i.e. it's okay to eat a carrot if it's thin).

Shortly after she got her braces, she even lost a tooth! It's been a busy dental week for us!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Playing in the backyard

The kids love nice days when they can play outside! Some days, their play is even more creative than others. The Star Wars day was amazing!!!

Torin had to stay inside for his own safety - he was NOT happy about that!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How old are those Wheaties???

When we got back from Costa Rica, we discovered a box of Honey Frosted Wheaties opened, with some of its contents missing. Jacob had apparently spotted it in the garage, hidden behind the other boxes of cereal, and requested it. Why is Ken Griffey Jr. on the cover?

Because the box was given to Jared as a white elephant gift 6 years ago... and was "better if used by" June 17, 1997!!! GROSS!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

We don't want to leave!

It's time to leave, and we don't want to go!

It has been a memorable week at La Casa Roca. Thanks Nana and Papa!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Zipping through Costa Rica

We found a place to go zip lining through the jungles of Costa Rica. It was our first time doing a commercial zip line, and we had a lot of fun! Check out the muscles!

Amber and Nana made sure to get good poses and pictures to make zip-lining look good!

We got to go upside down on one line, and we got an awesome picture of Dani!

We had a great time with Eddie, Eddie, and Dennis, our guides, who we joked around with in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, and who joked around with each other the whole time.

Taylor and Hayley joined the group a little later, and Jared and Andrew went through the zip line circuit again. It was hilarious to watch Hayley, who we're not sure was enjoying it quite as much!

Baby Nolan

There was one grandchild who got to crash the adult vacation - baby Nolan! Dani got to spend some time with him last year when she went to Minnesota. He was a good little traveler and was quick to smile.

Nana and Papa and to share him with the rest of the family during the week!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Costa Rica outings

As much fun as Tamarindo and Casa Roca were, we took a number of fun outings around Costa Rica.

On Sunday, we took a trip to Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, a few hours north and east of Tamarindo. We got there a little later in the afternoon and didn't have quite enough time to hike to some of the incredibel waterfalls in the area. We went for a hike around a geothermal area, hiking through some wooded areas and out to some mud pots and hot pots. Matt and Jared spent a while playing with their cameras taking pictures with their SLR cameras.

On Monday afternoon, we took a catamaran tour out of Tamarindo. We loaded into a skiff and set off down the coast of Costa Rica. We motored to a little cove, where we dropped anchor and snorkeled around for an hour or so. It was okay snorkeling, but it was fun to be in the warm water together. Jared saw a sea turtle, and we saw a few other bright-colored fish.

After snorkeling,we did some stand-up paddleboarding and jumped (and Matt flipped) off the boat a few times. We had a funny moment at dinner, where Nana made sure that Taylor and Andrew didn't get jumped in line, telling 2 girls that had jumped in front of them that Taylor and Andrew had been waiting. It was hilariously awkward! Go Nana-bear!!! Meanwhile, Nolan got to play captain up at the helm.

On the way back to Tamarindo, they put up the sail (perhaps just for show), we saw a bunch of dolphins swimming around the catamaran, and we took advantage of the 'golden hour' to get some good pictures (especially Amber, who took a ton of selfies!).

On Tuesday afternoon, we went down to Playa Grande, where we relaxed in the sand, where Matt built a sand castle (yes, Nana and Papa brought a bucket and shovels to Costa Rica!), and where we played some Spikeball (yes, we also brought Spikeball all the way to Costa Rica too!)

On Wednesday, we drove a ways out of the way to Playa Danta, a small, secluded beach resort. The beach was in a beautiful cove with some islands out about a half a mile. We found a great, shaded spot to camp out for the day - and we found a selfie station right nearby!!!

We rented a few tandem sea kayaks and a few stand-up paddleboards. Camie and Matt and Dani and Jared paddled out around the island together. We had a fun paddle out to the island and found that there were definitely some bigger waves on the other side of the island! Dani and Jared tried some stand-up paddleboard yoga - Dani was definitely better, but we do need some more practice! Everyone spent a bunch of time out in the cove. There were a few funny moments with the kayaks - Matt and Camie, coming in, and posing for a picture, got tipped sideways and dumped into the waves. Nana, after a good paddleboard trip, wanted to get a picture on the board on shore. All was going well, until a wave snuck up and dumped her onto the sand - and then got her again! It was hilarious!!!

It was an awesome beach and a nice spot for chips and salsa and batidos. It was a beautiful day!

On Thursday, after ziplining, we went to nearby Playa Avellanas, where we found the gifts we would bring to our children. some ceramic bird whistles, thanks to an adorable and engaging little 12-year-old boy. We ate a beachside lunch at Lola's (Lola is a pig that is in a pen next to the restaurant) and found a great shady spot. The boys put their surfing lessons to use again, finding the waves to be a little bigger and not finding quite as much success! More spikeball, more reading, more relaxing, more batidos... 

and another beautiful sunset... It was a perfect day!

Friday, we stuck closer to home, going to Tamarindo Beach, playing Spikeball and buying a bunch of hand-carved unique bowls from a passing-by vendor. I think we made his day!

We had a week full of visiting incredible beaches and other areas of Costa Rica!

Hang 10

Surf's up! The boys took a surfing lesson in Tamarindo. It was everyone's first time surfing, but everyone seemed to pick it up decently. 

We spent a good hour surfing and catching some waves. Fortunately, the waves were pretty small, so by the end, we were able to catch them without a push.

It felt pretty cool to ride a wave! We definitely caught the surfing fever!

The girls all joined to watch the boys and take some pictures.

Andrew was definitely the best of the surfers.

Yeah, we felt pretty cool!!!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

La Casa Roca


La Casa Roca welcomed the Jensen Family to beautiful Costa Rica! We have been looking forward to this week for months. We have arrangements for all of our kids (neighbors and Vicki), and now it's time to relax!

The house was very cool. Casa Roca, unsurprisingly, was made primarily of rocks. Instead of hallways, there were breezeways connecting the home. The outdoor living area at the end of the pool was where we ate meals. Our bedroom's shower was even outside (in a private area!).

We enjoyed sitting around the couch at the end of the pool after dinner or at the other end by the beach as we watched sunsets.We played games out there, watch the iguana Pocho

Andrew showed off yet another outdoor living area, outside of the owner's suite (which we didn't have access to, sadly!). The star of this picture may have been Andrew's "Dad Style," which, ironically, none of the dads on the trip ever came close to.

We even got to have some wildlife in addition to Pocho. There were lots of lizards in various areas (including one who dropped, dead, from the top of the gazebo onto the table during the middle of a family discussion!) and a little Mapache (like a raccoon), who wandered through the breezeway during dinner. Fortunately, there were almost no mosquitoes, thanks in part to the house's automatic bug-spray sprayers out by the ocean-facing outdoor areas. 

I think that this picture best depicts just how spectacular the sunsets are - they truly are amazing!!! Casa Roca served as an incredible home for a memorable week!