Monday, January 28, 2013

"Now THAT is how you organize a move!"

I am pretty happy that we made it through today.
We got started with a knock on the door at 7:50am.
We weren't expecting Bryan until 8am, so we got ourselves together and began moving!

Through a series of poor choices, bad luck and a miracle...
we ended up with a storage unit double the size we had planned on for only a little more money each month.  Our unit is very secure, has a wide entrance, is located in the middle of an isle, and even has a concrete lip to keep weather out.  I never knew I didn't know so much about storage units.  But now I do :)

Bryan and my friend Kristen were angels to come for a few hours in the morning to really get us going and get lots of work done!  Once they left, we didn't stop until 2pm to eat some chicken nuggets.  

My friend Elise was soooo sweet to take Tatum for over 4 hours, allowing us to keep up the pace and get ready for the ward movers to come at 5pm.  Scott's biggest pet peeve in the world (and probably mine, too) is to show up at a move and have the owners frantic, not knowing what things stay or go, and unable to direct workers.  Anybody with us???  So, Scott has been pretty excited to make his move go smoothly and make sure all our helpers felt like their time was valuably spent.  And sure enough, we got it done.  When helpers showed up at 5 we put them right to work.  They had everything in the cars by 5:35 and Scott was home, done with everything by 6:10.  Epic.  

We sorted some more things out (we still have bags for Costa Rica, California, some kitchen gear, baby toys and a few other miscellaneous items) and then had a nice pasta dish together for dinner.  Now we will relax, watch a movie (read: eat popcorn) and gear up for tomorrow's big day cleaning!  Anybody care to join us?  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013


Scott said we couldn't have a party.  It would be too stressful and too much money.  So, instead of having a party, I just invited a few friends to say goodbye, scheduled the clubhouse, and bought the ingredients for mint lemonade.  Oh, and a photobooth.  It was so fun and even Scott was glad we did it in the end :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Costa Rica FAQ

We've had a LOT of questions about our move to Central America. Here are some of the real Frequently Asked Questions we've had from friends and family:

What?!? (Shocked and Confused)

Yes, we are moving to Central America. Our first destination is Costa Rica. Stefanie and I have both wanted to live abroad for most of our lives individually and collectively. We always thought this would come later in life, but we found a window of time and we're going to take advantage of it.

Nicoya Peninsula on the Northwest Coast of Costa Rica.

Why are you doing this? (Bewildered)

We love to travel and engage with new people. We've found our international experiences to be some of the most rewarding times in our lives. We gain new perspectives, get excited about life, and work harder to achieve our goals when we return with the knowledge that everyone doesn't have the opportunities we do.

Why Costa Rica and not somewhere else?

We currently live in a very cold place and we're ready to defrost. We've wanted to visit Central America for a while: the cost of living is low, it's not very far away, and we want to improve/learn Spanish. Since I've already visited Costa Rica and it's one of the most developed countries in Central America, we feel like it's a great place to start our adventure

When are you going?

We are packing up our house right now and moving out on January 31st. If you want to help move or clean, let us know. We're driving our car to my parents house in Southern California for safe keeping and flying to Costa Rica on February 5th.

Where are you going to live? (Like in a box or something?)

Samara Beach on the Nicoya Peninsula with James Draper

We plan to get a long-term rental (house, apartment, or condo) on the Nicoya Peninsula. Our first pick right now is Playa Samara. It's a rural beach town with a beautiful crescent shaped beach. I visited this town with my friends several years ago.  We're renting a car for a week to check out some options and then we'll move in and return the car. (That's car...yikes!)

What are you going to do while you're there?

We are going to live there. Normally when we travel, we are only in a place for few days. We are going try to stay in each destination for 2 to 3 months and really experience the culture, people, markets, and lifestyle. I am also going to be apply to several graduate programs in the States that will start in the fall (if I get accepted). We are also both going to be working on our Spanish, and I'll be putting my Internet marketing skills to work. We will, of course, travel around and see the sights.

Seeing the sights at Playa Carillo Only 2.5 km South of Samara.

Um..are you guys really rich or something? (Couldn't help but laugh when I got asked this one.)

Okay, first off...I guess I'm old fashioned. I always thought it was rude to ask about peoples' finances, but since LOTS of people have asked, here you go. No, we are not rich, but we do live on a budget and save money. We are planning to reduce our costs significantly while abroad. For example, we can rent a nice 2 bedroom place for $250 to $450 a month.

I'm also planning to do some work online that will supplement our income.

Does your wife really want to do this?

Yes, Stefanie was the one that actually made the final push to make it happen. One day, she confronted me with a list bullets points for why we NEED to do this.

Are you worried about getting sick? The baby?

We've all been to the doctor recently to make sure we're in good working order. We have travel medication, and we're getting up to date on our shots before we leave. The pediatrician said this is a great time for Tatum to travel and commented that this is going to be a great experience for her development.

How much sunscreen are you going to take?

I know right? We've got two fair kids in this family. We're taking a bunch, and hoping we'll meet the weight limit. When you come visit, feel free to bring a refill. :)

How are you going to get around?

We are planning to use the bus system, taxis, or other local transportation. They don't have chicken buses in Costa Rica, they use charter buses that we've heard are very nice.

What are you going to eat?

Food, we're planning to eat food. :) Just kidding, we hope to shop at the local markets and supplement with trips to larger supermarkets to stock up on diapers, cleaning supplies, and other goods. We're hoping to make a couple friends that can show us how to whip up some Costa Rican dishes.

Samara is about 4 blocks of little shops and houses. You can see the beach at the end of the road.

Are you coming back? How long are you going to be there?

We hope to be down there for about 6 or 8 months, pending my acceptance to graduate school in the states.  But if it doesn't work out, we'll buy a return ticket and go home.

By Scott H.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Tried to Pack Today

It was really tough.  

It will be interesting to see what qualifies for a spot in our suitcases.  As far as luggage goes, we're bringing 2 medium size suitcases to check, a Kelty Kids backpack, an REI daypack, a carseat, and possibly a pack n play... we're undecided.  

Our friends' jokes about packing a suitcase full of sunscreen is actually coming true.  Literally 1/5th of my suitcase for (potentially) 8 months is various sunscreens and lotions for the husband and the babe.  That is one thing we have had a hard time buying abroad, so since it is such an important one for us, we're going prepared!  

I picked about 7 shirts to bring, but I'm really struggling with my skirt situation.  We are trying to pack a few kitchen tools and I was hoping to bring a few items of make up, but we will see what makes the cut.  My camera is a high priority.  And the Chacos are coming for sure. 

Our bedroom looks like a tornado.  Today is one of those days when I am wondering if we will make it out of Pleasant Grove alive.  We are pulling away 7 days from now, and we are sort of paralyzed by how much there is to do.  I hope we get over the paralysis soon, because the clock is definitely running...

And all the while, we are entertaining this little bug.  Or is she entertaining US???


Inline image 7

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Packing Saturday

Today was another BUSY day! We got up early to play with T and kind of get geared up mentally for the work ahead.

We spent the morning storing all the kitchen gear (griddle, kitchen aid, cake stand, pitcher...) into their original boxes.  You'd be surprised what a challenge it is to fit the primary object and all the pieces/attachments into that one original box...  We spent about an hour and a half doing that, after which I headed to the UPS store to return an Amazon item, Kid2Kid to sell some clothes, and about 5 different gas stations to collect newspaper.  Oh, and Daylight Donuts, to of course, buy donuts.

By noon we were in full swing back at home.  Scott with paperwork and financials, and me with the bathroom and cosmetic packing.  I am working to let go of my hoarding tendencies and said goodbye to several used hairspray bottles and nail colors which I never wear.  Turns out it is kind of liberating to see so much STUFF leaving your house.

We emptied 2 closets, finished the bathrooms (and cleaned them, might I add), and then started in on the garage.  It felt pretty good to pack away our snow clothes, knowing this lip-cracking weather will be a mere memory soon enough.  But, we were both pretty sad boxing up our camping gear- we have sure loved our time in Zion, Bryce, Red Cliffs, and many other Southern Utah camping spots.  I feel so happy that I don't have regrets about not going often enough or taking full advantage of the outdoor opportunities here.

Once the garage was done, we were practically starved and subsequently took Bryan my brother to a birthday dinner at Outback Steakhouse.  Bryan is always so talkative and easy going, a complete pleasure for a dinner date. And it helps that T adores him; He's a brother and babysitter in one!  After dinner, back to the house for some more work in the kitchen!  I feel like every other box I label is written "FRAGILE" we have so many glasses and vases!

Tomorrow is a day of rest.  Don't be deceived, we'll be up at 7am getting ready for 8:30 church!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Infant Immunizations for Costa Rica

Dear Friends,
We just returned for Tatum's 9 month well check appointment.  Dr. Glade says she is very healthy.  One of our main priorities for the move to Costa Rica is to keep Tatum healthy and safe, obviously.  So I've really been praying that today's visit would leave us feeling positive and eager as opposed to worried and afraid.

We are so excited that Dr. Glade was completely supportive of our move!  He says "this is a wonderful thing you are doing for her and this is a great time to go!"  She is healthy and strong and the sun in Costa Rica will be far better for her than Utah's cold, cold weather!  He gave T a prescription for a malaria drug and an antibiotic to have on hand just in case.  We are now very confident knowing that we have the resources to help her if she does get sick.

Dr. Glade has been to Nosara (a town in the same immediate region that we hope to live) and knows exactly what it is like there, and he's even scoped out the pharmacies and medical facilities there.  He is coming to Costa Rica again in March... he knows what it is like and he is excited that we can have this experience and have it with our 9 month old baby.

As far as immunizations go:   The Hep A vaccine, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)  and Chicken pox vaccines are only given at 1 year and not before.  A baby's little body is not yet ready to handle the strain and fight it off before a year.  MMR and Rubella aren't really concerns to me, considering that it is no more likely that she would contract those in Costa Rica than in Utah.  But Costa Rica is a Hep A zone.  Hep A is transferred through food/water, which luckily, we can be in complete control over.  We will give Tatum only bottled water and feed her fruits with peels (lots of bananas!) and be sure to wash any produce we give her extremely well.  Tatum will not eat any street food like we will.  Once she hits a year, we plan to find a great clinic and get her the immunizations then.  Only 3 months away!

Now I really feel great about T's medical situation. After calling the Utah Health Department and hearing comments like "People don't really travel to Costa Rica with infants" and "She is too young for immunizations, it is very dangerous..." I was left feeling a little discouraged.  I have always appreciated Dr. Glade for instilling confidence in me as a mother and warning me of concerns, but helping me to be aware and proactive in caring for Tatum.  Only 2 more weeks until we drive away from Pleasant Grove... lots to do!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The White Dresser

This week, I have been working on selling much of our furniture on KSL, Utah's equivalent to Craigslist.  Selling items like graphing calculators and kitchen tools does nothing less than thrill me :)  I love turning clutter into cold hard cash!  In fact, every time my friend Kristen or I make a sale, we rejoice together in our success.  
This is T's white dresser.  To me, it is more than a dresser- a place to store her clothes and rest her changing pad.  This dresser represents the hours and hours of energy I put in to researching and purchasing the furniture and decor for her nursery.  My pregnancy was difficult, and one way I coped with the physical hardships of these 9 months was by creating a beautiful space where I anticipated loving and caring for my baby.  I spent every Saturday driving through Utah and Salt Lake counties, scouting out various furniture pieces and deliberating over which fabric print to use... I spent sleepless night after sleepless night reading car seat and stroller reviews wanting only the best for my sweet baby girl.  Every part of me focused on building the best possible nursery and life for her that I could imagine.
When the buyer came to purchase the dresser, I had an emotional reaction.  It was nothing about the dresser itself.  I was excited to sell it and would even make a bit of money flipping it!  Selling that dresser was one of the first times the reality of this move really set in.  Selling that dresser was the first time that the sacrifices of living abroad really hit me.  In my mind, I can totally embrace the idea of living out of a suitcase if it means living in Costa Rica.  But, I didn't connect the idea that T's white dresser, the symbol of my commitment to love and provide for her, will not fit in that suitcase.  

And so, this past week, I have been processing the idea that I do not need things... no custom dresser, no handmade bedding, no comfy nursing chair, no Pinterest nursery for me to give my sweet baby girl the love and quality mothering that she deserves.  In fact, I believe that I can be an even better mother to her as I go after my goals and live the life of my dreams.  We are committed to helping her have a positive experience in Central America that she will reflect on (perhaps through photos and stories alone) and will encourage her to dream big and find meaningful ways to learn from and contribute to the world around her.  This is a core value for our family.  And I care a lot more about these values than I care about that beautiful white dresser. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Update your Blogger Email Profile!

Hi All!

Thank you for your impressively positive reaction to our move.  We are thrilled to have the support of our family and friends.  That said, I really wanted to reply individually to your blogger comments!   But in order to do that, I need your email linked to your profile-- This takes a total of 30 SECONDS! 

My friend Janssen has done an amazing tutorial of how to link your email address to your blogger profile.  Follow that link or read below.  Thanks Janssen for doing all the work on this!!

If you don't have your email linked, when I get your comment via email and go to respond, it looks like this. I'm guessing your email is not ""
Here's how to do it. It is incredibly easy, and if you do this, you'll get emails all the way from Costa Rica!

Also, even if you DON'T have a Blogger blog, many of you still have Blogger profiles so that you can comment, so it'd be very very lovely if you could do this to your profile too.

Anyway, without further ado:

Go to, sign in, and ta-da, there is your dashboard. There is probably a really cute picture of you in the top right corner with a little arrow next to it. Click it, please. 

Choose "Blogger Profile." 

 Hey! Here's your profile! Click that little "Edit Profile" button in the top right corner. 
 Two things to do on this page. First, check the box that says "Show my email address." 

And then, if you scroll down a bit more, you'll see a box labeled "email address." Enter the email address you'd like people to respond to in that box. Please.

Then, scroll to the very bottom of that page and click the "SAVE PROFILE" button.

That's it! So easy!

And in the meantime, feel free to comment with any questions you have about our move.  My plan for this blog is changing course a little bit from the intent to update friends and family, to a resource for other travelers and families living abroad.  

Oh, and p.s.  I totally gave up on the Ruby thing....way too weird for me!  
p.p.s.  Let me know in a comment if you changed your email profile so I can make a mental note to always reply to your comments!!

One Day at a Time

There is lots to do!  The only way to get through it is to take one day at a time.  Here are some of the things on my January to do list:

- Get my pave stone replaced at the ring store in Provo
- File our taxes (huge one)
- Complete a few more sewing projects (bag/purse, lens cases, clothes for T!)
- Sell all our furniture on KSL
- Say goodbye to lots of friends
- Find/buy all T's 9mo-15mo clothes to pack

In the meantime, I had a little accident in the kitchen.  Turns out that hot, splattering oil will burn you.  Hopefully these blisters won't scar!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living the Life of our Dreams

We have been toying with the idea of living abroad since before we were married.

We started off our married life with a 2 month honeymoon to Southeast Asia.  That has been the best decision of our marriage thus far (except for Tatum).  We took a risk.  We did something completely unconventional.  We were at a crossroads in our life, and we decided to go for it!  We loved it.  We learned and grew and experienced and loved.  And those are the best bonding times and memories of our lives.

Now we face another crossroads.  But this time, we have a job, a ward, a comfortable home, and for heavens sakes, we have a child!  Nevertheless, we are at a crossroads.  There is a big gap between where we are and where we want to be.

We are moving to Costa Rica.
Yep!  This is real.

We bought one-way flights to Liberia, Costa Rica, and plan to spend 3-5 months on the Nicoya peninsula.  Then, we plan to head to Panama and hopefully end with a month or two in Peru.  (These plans may change, right now, we're focused on Costa Rica.)

There is never a "good time" to give notice to your landlords, quit your job, and buy a one-way flight to Costa Rica... but of all times, this is the best time for us.  This decision to completely change our lives has been a long time coming.  Like I said, we began discussing this when we were just dating.  It has come up in conversation increasingly more over the last 6 months.   It was December 16 when we really buckled down and decided to make this change.  Things are moving fast, but we could not be more thrilled!!!  Sometimes you have to take a step into the unknown to discover your potential and live the life that brings you happiness.  Here are some of our goals at this point.

1.  Experience a new culture and lifestyle
2.  Learn Spanish
3.  Contribute to and learn from the people in a small LDS branch
4.  Eat fresh,  Eat local
5.  Relax and enjoy!

We anticipate adventures and misadventures.  We anticipate days when we long for an iphone or wish for instantly hot dishwater.  Days when we'd give anything for a pork salad or days when all I want is a girlfriend who will go to lunch with me.  But much, much more than those things, we anticipate days where we are not rushed or stressed or pressured.  Days when we can spend our time trying new fruits and veggies, going hiking, or days spent planning a party for our new friends.  While we have a rough plan for the next year, I know that plan will change.  I know things won't work out how I expect them to. I know there will be times when even I think we're crazy.  But I know that if we don't do this, if we don't take this risk and delve into the unknown, that the passion and vision and perspective that I want for myself and for my children cannot be had.

Maybe we will hate it.  Maybe it will be miserable and maybe we will move home in 2 months.  But at least we will know.  We will know that we went after our dream.  We will know that we accomplish our goals, instead of letting life happen to us.

But hopefully we will love it!  Hopefully we will realize the potential that is ours and be happier, better people.  Hopefully we will understand the world around us and find new ways to contribute in a meaningful way.  Hopefully we will expand our thoughts and vision for ourselves and our family.

And it is for those reasons that we are doing this crazy thing!!
Pura Vida

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Beginnings

There are few gifts in life better than that of a fresh start.  The chance to make changes can give hope to almost any situation.  Every year, millions of new resolutions are set, and hearts are hopeful that changes can be made for the better.  Some never fulfill their resolutions, but having the chance to try is a priceless gift that deserves celebration year after year.

A member of my bishopric compares this idea of new beginnings to our Savior's baptism, or rebirth- the ultimate fresh start.  Because of the Savior's atoning sacrifice, all men are afforded a new start.  A clean slate.  Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, allowing all those who come unto Him the chance to be clean again.  What an incredible gift!

At the start of this new year, I have set a few specific goals, but my overall resolve is to
Live the Life of my Dreams.

To me that means: 
Be intentional
Choose happiness
and Celebrate every day.

Whatever your goals for the new year may be, I hope that you chase after them.  Give yourself a fresh start, and don't be afraid to give yourself everything you've ever wanted in life.
Stay tuned for some changes that will really enable our family to live the life of our dreams!
What an incredible year 2013 will be!!!

This photo kills me!

Could you die?  These two watching a show together in stripes.  She is TOTALLY a Daddy's girl!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


One of my main goals this trip was to hike to the Hollywood sign!  So we made it happen!

Scott wanted to climb on the letters.  We are waiting until next time to trespass!
And, this is the first of what we hope to be many photos in this pose.  We stole the idea from our friends Kim and Jesse who motivate us to be as cool as they are :)
We finished our day in LA by eating at Ko Mao Dook Soo, a restaurant in Korea Town.  It was better than it sounds :)

Friday, January 4, 2013


Newport is our go-to beach.
We love it there.
But this trip, we spent the day at Laguna... and it was really impressive.
Look at that!  What a day!
Such a gem.
T and her dad.  They are way too cute together!

Our cousin Nancy is so good to us.  We love her.  And clearly, she loves us!

glam shot:

Laguna, we'll be back!