December 29, 2009


I love getting directions here in Costa Rica.

Ok, I really can't stand it.

But it makes me laugh hysterically.

We were on our way to the beach two days ago (about a 6-hour drive to the one we're at) and had to stop at a gas station to ask for directions. This lady did a great job.

But the other night when we asked a guy how to get out of the province of Guanacaste, he said, "Oh, it's easy. You just go out past the airport and when you get to the intersection, turn right and then just keep on going all the way to the end."


Now if we were in a two-street town with a population of 20 that might work. But we're in a bustling urban metropolis with outlying cities that stretch for tens of miles.

Alejandro almost laughed out loud.

That's almost as good as the directions I heard several years ago when I lived here: "Just continue down this main road until you get to the corner where the huge tree used to be. Then turn left. It's right there a couple kilometers down on the right side near the huge pot hole."


Thanks so much for your help! Smile and not. Smile and nod.

December 28, 2009

I Forgot


I'm blogging from Costa Rica! How fun is that!?

Come back soon... I've got a another blog scheduled to post tomorrow. See ya'll soon!


Written Dec 25

I forgot that here, you kiss cheeks instead of shake hands.

I forgot that word. I forgot all those words!

Now I remember that here, toilet paper goes in the trash, not the toilet. How many times have I fished it out of the toilet already this trip!? Gross.

I forgot that you shower with 1/3 of the water and it takes 3 times as long to dry, because the air is 300 times more humid.

Now I remember how I hate feeling lost in a conversation and being the only one not laughing, because I missed one phrase or cultural reference.

I forgot that you sleep with all of the sounds of the street because the entire house is open to the air through windows and gates, even though you need three keys to get through the front door and two gates in order to get just 10 feet outside to the curb.

Now I remember about fireworks in the street at midnight on Christmas Eve. And sleeping until noon on Christmas Day.

I forgot how wonderful it is to sleep to the sound of the afternoon rain rattling on the tin roof.

Now I remember how I like foam mattresses better than spring ones and how good I sleep here.

I forogt how much I like the moistness in my skin and the warmth of the sun.

I forgot about "perdon" (pardon me) and "con permiso" (excuse me) and "buen provecho" (enjoy your food).

Now I remember rich, fresh bread for 50 cents from the corner and cream cheese on top.

And now it's time to go eat some!

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and see you all soon!

It's early (for us) here in Miami, but we've peeled our eye lids open and we're headed south.

With my babe asleep on my chest, the moist warm air (love it!) of Miami in my lungs, and comfy in a t-shirt, this feels NOTHING like Christmas to me. I was thinking about that this morning. Even to this California raised girl, it only FEELS like Christmas if it's snowing outside, the fire place is blazing, hot cocoa is in my hand, and Christmas music is playing.
But this morning when I dragged myself out of a sleepy stupor in a cheap hotel room and felt particularly warm on this Christmas Eve, the Spirit reminded me that those traditionally nostalgic things of Merry Christmas Time have nothing to do with the glowy joy I feel in my heart.

I am so very blessed. Blessed by my Savior and the victoriously free life I find in Him. I am blessed by my husband, who is just as romantic and even more wonderful than the day we met, and that's no lip service. I'm blessed by my little Smiley Boy, who daily brings me joy. And I am blessed by all of you, who pour into me and our little family.

Ephesians 3:14-21
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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December 23, 2009

I thought my Mother loved me.

And then I got THIS little item in the mail.

Well, it DID come along with a bunch of other very cool items in the mail.

But if you do something to me, you're bound to be blogged. My mom knows this.

Anyway, back to the subject. I have a little, um, phobia. It's a little abnormal I realize. It doesn't involve heights or insects or big animals.

It's magnets.

I have a phobia of magnets.

I don't mind kitchen magnets. Cause I can tell which side is which and they nicely stick to the refrigerator. It's the small square magnets with nothing attached to them that repel when you put the wrong sides together.

I HATE that.

I know. I shouldn't hate. But I do. I'm even getting the willies as I describe this to you. Goose bumps up my spine, I tell you! (See how much I love you to tell you all this?)

And my MOM - who birthed me and loved me for years - sends me a package of extra strong ones!!

I'm traumatized.

I MIGHT need counseling.


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While we wait for our shuttle...

...Danny is practicing gymnastics!

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"Awwww, what a cute baby! Does he travel well?"

Translation: "Your baby's cute now, but is he going to scream the whole flight?"

Answer: So far so good!
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Past the point of no return

I've experienced the ease of first class...

...and I may never go back.

Thanks Paul!
(Alejandro's boss graciously helped us with advantage miles - what a huge blessing!!)
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Mmmmmmmmm... Lunch!

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Want to follow my every move?

Cause I know that's what you all live for...

Ok, maybe not.

But if you want to know what we're up to, you can follow me on Twitter. My Twitter name is querida_familia.

Or if you aren't on Twitter, you can read Twitter updates on the left sidebar of this blog. :)

I'll be posting until we board the plane tomorrow for our Miami-to-Costa Rica flight.

And who knows! Maybe I'll even surprise you with a blog from the tropics!

Or I might be busy burying my toes in the sand. ;)

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December 22, 2009

The Beginning... And End... Of My Career in Poetry

It's raining,
It's snowing.
Icy roads,
Wind blowing!
I'm happy as a peach,
And dreamin' of the beach,
And goin' to Costa Rica in the morning!

(Sing with me now!)

It's raining,
It's snowing...
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Getting Ready to Get Going...

If you've been wondering why I'm a little M.I.A. lately, it's because Christmas is in full swing around here and for us that means a trip to Costa Rica.

Most of you know why we'd choose Costa Rica as a Christmas destination - I mean besides the fact that it's one of the most gorgeous places in the world. Costa Rica is home for us. Alejandro grew up there. His family still lives there. I lived there in 2002 and that's where we met.

So on Christmas Eve, when we take in the sunny, wet, tropical atmosphere into our dry cracked Colorado lungs, we'll introduce Danilo to his Abuelo and Abuela and his Tio and millions and zillions (I'm NOT exagerating) of cousins.

But until then, we'll enjoy what looks like it might shape up to be a white Christmas in Colorado Springs.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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December 17, 2009

On Time

Can someone please remind me what is "On Time"?

I seem to have forgotten what that is.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I have an inkling that I used to know what it was.

But now it's totally escaping me.

Can anyone help?

Oh well. It must be one of those things I lost when Danny was born. I think it came out with the placenta.

Or something.

Maybe some day I'll find it.

Maybe when Danny turns 16.
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The Biggest Funnest Little Giveaway Goin' On This Christmas

Last night, after picking out the resort our family is going to spend a few days at in Costa Rica (yippee!) just after Christmas...

...and after figuring out the details of our flight and layover and stay in Miami and stay in Fort Lauderdale and...

....many other details having to do with our trip to Costa Rica (yay!)...

...I had GIVING on my mind.

There is a HUGE little giveaway that ya'll have GOT to take part in!
(Stick with me. There's a connection here.)

My good friend, Sarah over at KingdomTwindom is hosting it!

It involves Giving to Compassion International...
(See, I told you there was a connection.)

...and winning a three nights' stay at Golden Eagle Lodge in Red River, NM.
(Which is my favorite most gorgeous little mountain town ever!)

So, if you love me at all...

(Totally kidding!)

...But seriously, if you love anyone at all...

(ok, still kidding!)

...but really, seriously, if you have any love in your heart at all...

(ok, I'll stop!)

...Just head on over to
Sarah's Giveaway and join the fun!

Because there is nothing so much fun as giving!

December 16, 2009

The most exciting time to blog... always when I'm way too frazzled and busy to actually sit down and write one.

Like now, for instance.

What am I frazzled and busy with? I'm so glad you asked!

Well, for one, we're leaving to go to Costa Rica for two weeks(yay!) in eight days (gasp of panic!). So that gives me plenty to do to get our little family ready to go.

Secondly, we introduced Danilo to rice cereal on Sunday. I can't wait to share the video and pictures with you, just as soon as I create an extra hour in my day tomorrow... Needless to say, mealtime is no longer a quick ordeal.

And then there's all the normal Christmas to dos and goings on... And all the normal wife and mommy to dos and goings on.

Oh and then my little... er... growing business which is my calling and my career.

So now you know why I'm blogging from my blackberry in bed with the lights out.
So for now, nighty night! ;)
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December 14, 2009


This morning after working out and sweating like a pig (which I told my husband I had just done), I came home and cleaned the house - which I only do when I'm going to have a guest over for a Mary Kay facial. Then I showered, styled and sprayed my hair, put on my makeup and got dressed. I did later change my nice shirt for a house shirt, but the slacks are still on.

My husband came home forty minutes ago to said clean house, kissed my clean, fresh smelling face, and we got to talking.

"...I'm going to go take a shower now..." he said.

"Ok, honey."

"Have you showered yet today?" he asked me.


Oh. Help.

First Christmas Pajamas

Merry Christmas Time just got 100 times better!

"Why?" you ask...

Because I now can dress my little Smiley Boy in warm Christmas pajamas! Check out his first ones!

Thanks Pam! They're perfect!!

December 13, 2009

Christmas Tree Cutting

...Colorado style!

About four years ago, Alejandro and I moved to Colorado from Sunny San Diego. When living in San Diego, Christmas tree-hunting usually meant driving to the local tree lot and picking out a tree in our budget. That meant we were getting a small tree.

So, when we moved to Colorado, one of the first winter traditions we started was the hunting and the cutting of the Christmas tree! This year was no different, so we loaded up the dog, and the baby, and the snow boots, and headed into the 5. Degree. Weather.
Uh huh. Can we say cold!?
Oh, but it is a beautiful tradition. And this sight...

...makes my hubby's heart happy!
Danny stayed snug as a bug-under-a-rug in his car-seat taking a cozy nap.

First, Alejandro ventured into the cold frozen forest to find that perfect tree.

Then he sent me to find a tree.

And then I sent him again, with our trusty dog Toby, to bring it back.

He came back successful!
But successful!

After an hour and a half in the car, Danny was good and ready to get out, so we ventured into the cold for just a few minutes...

But his poor little nose got red, so we got back into the car and turned the heat on...

...while Papa put the tree on top of the Jeep.

Our timing was perfect, because the storm rolled in and snow started to fall as we drove home.

Then we came home and completed the decorations:

Just kidding!!! This is so not our house.
But isn't it pretty?

This is our house.

Merry Christmas time is here!

Make Merry Gift Exchange

Hosted by Kingdom Mama...
This is the Make Merry Gift Exchange!
And here is what my gift recipient is going to receive!
I'm very proud...
This is my second only crocheting project I've ever made!
Pretty good, huh?!
Ok, now to pack it up and put it in the mail.
Merry Christmas, Somebody!

December 10, 2009

The Smiley Boy

Today I took Danny with me to work out, as I usually do. As I was signing him into the childcare room for the hour I'd be there, three or four other toddlers eagerly scrambled over to his chair to peer in to greet him.

Danny beamed out with his usual grin "hello."

"Look!" one of them said. And then two or three at a time said, "It's the smiley boy!"

At five months old, my son is known among toddlers and adults alike for his smile.

Me... I'm beaming with pride and joy!

December 8, 2009

Welcome Caleb!

Great friends are a gift from God!
Matt and Melissa Frank have been such a blessing to us! They are some of our bestest friends. We do all kinds of crazy things together. Like cooking. And eating. And camping. And pregnancy. And even labor pains.

Friday night we went over to keep them company...

...and bring pizza and play card games and eat their delicious pie and ice cream, while Melissa timed her contractions!
Matt was quite excited! After all, he was about to meet his son!

Here he is with Danny.

There was quite a bit of Danny-cuddling going on that night.
And then, all at once, Danny decided to sit up on his own on Daddy's lap!

"Check me out! I'm sittin' like a big boy!" (At least for a few seconds...)
Danny played...

...and we played.
There was tickling...

...and giggling!

...and sighs of laughter...

...and more cuddling...

...and waiting...

Well, now the waiting is over!

Caleb Joshua Frank
was born on Sunday, December 6th
at about 12:30 a.m.

He weighed 9 lbs 5 oz, and was 22 inches long.

Welcome to the world, precious Caleb!

Love, Aunt Renee and Uncle Alejandro

December 7, 2009

San Diego Trip: Last Two Days

I'm back with pictures of the last few days of our trip to San Diego!
Friday, at my Mom's house, we had a tree-decorating morning... although, to be truthful, I actually did none of the actual decorating. I did a lot more observing and intending to help as I held my little one, changed his diaper, and put him to sleep. While I did all those things, everybody else did this...
Yes, all of those boxes did have Christmas decorations on them. Fortunately, not all of them had to go on the tree...
And what a beautiful tree it turned out to be!
After all that hard work, Grandpa Shaun and
Danny had a wrestling snuggling session.
Later that evening, we went over to my Dad's house and had a BBQ for some friends we weren't able to visit earlier in the week.
Jennifer, Jared and their son Daniel came over...

Who knew straws could be so much fun!?
My friend Sarah and I attempted a squishy-faced picture. We had a little misunderstanding about what that was. She thought I meant squish-your-face but what I meant was to squish both our faces into a picture while I hold the camera. But when she squished her face, I thought it was so funny that I squished mine! In the end, we got it figured out.

Christine and her daughter came!

It was great fun!
By the end of the evening, Danny was pretty tuckered out.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed over to The Living Room, our favorite coffee shop in San Diego for a morning family date.
We were somewhat groggy... but never to sleepy for airplane!

Just before flying out, Danny's new Uncle Dave and he played some... Dave's getting ready to be a dad himself. I think he's gonna be great at it!
We ended our trip with a birthday celebration Saturday night for my Dad, who turned the big 6-0, and church with my sister and him Sunday morning. Here he is hangin' with his grandson for his birthday party.
Check out this video...
Happy Birthday, Dad!

When all was said and done and it was time to say goodbye, we were
sad to go, but glad to have spent great times with family and friends.
Bye, beautiful San Diego! See you again soon!