Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Did you know that when you are feeling grateful you are not feeling a whole lot of other negative emotions? If you can practise a gratitude attitude you will be amazed at how your life will change. There is an old hymn about "Count your Many Blessings".

The reason for that? You cannot feel sad when you start counting your blessings, they do not fit in the same mind. It will bring a smile to your face and before you know it you are wondering why you were depressed in the first place.

We all have so much to be thankful there is no way we can sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. When our family worked for "Families Helping Families" building houses for poor families in Mexico, we never left feeling that we were extremely blessed and very grateful for our little house in Arizona.

This picture is a picture of our neighbors. They are squatters who threw up this shack behind a house two doors down from us. They are hooked in to the electricity of the neighbors and the water. They have kids, and their kids leave everyday for school looking clean and dressed and pressed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today was a beautiful Pura Vida day in Costa Rica. The closer we get to summer the more I remember why we moved here. Maleah was able to get in some good practise on her bike and should have it down by the end of the week.

On the bus to Alajuela today a guy was trying to sell hi5 cd's to help kids learn english. Rick and I were alone as we were going out to eat at my favorite mexican restaurant. He just walked right by us and did not even try and sell us one. I told Rick it is because we look too old to be parents of a youngster. That was painful.

We have been asked at the grocery store if she is our grand daughter before. That is kind of weird because it is not like she would look anymore like one of our kids. She gets a kick out of it when people ask if we are her grandparents. It all goes back to the age old question of which is better old parents or young parents.

I believe both have their advantages and disadvantages. I love to hang out and just read and write with Maleah. Now teaching her to ride her bike is quite another matter. Makes my back hurt pushing that thing all over the neighborhood. With my older kids it was the opposite. I took them on all kinds of grueling hikes, bikes and runs. We did spend time reading and writing, but I took more enjoyment out of the outdoor things. The ongoing debate for sure.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I decided that before I got into the Christmas Holidays I would finish up with Thanksgiving. That has been our tradition for years. We always try and give thanks before asking for more stuff.

We had the girls help us write a list of 100 things we were thankful for. It was quite easy and we just went on and on. I think they were surprised by how many things they had to be thankful for. Maleah began by saying Jesus and then she just started looking around the room naming everything she saw.

Today I am very thankful for my health. Last year at this time I was suffering from asthma from a bronchial infection that lasted for about 5 months. I learned a lot about asthma, inhalers, prednisone, and asthma control.

This year I have been symptom free and am anxiously training for some 5k's this summer, which is winter to all of you Northerners. And I will be training for the marathon coming up in June.

So here is saluds!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


"Rain rain go away and don't come back until May." That is the census of opinion these days here at the tail end of rainy season. The interesting thing is that once it rains the wind dies down a little and it gets a little bit warmer. For sure looking forward to the beach next week for birthday week.

I am hoping that I will hear from all of my boys next week for Thanksgiving or at least for my birthday. They tend to be a little bit forgetful this time of year.

It has rained all day for the last three days, letting up to a small drizzle once in awhile but all in all wet. Not to complain of course considering my boys are all snowed in. I will take the rain any day.

I have been scouring for tips for holiday savings and I will post some on Monday. Supposedly people are slowing down this holiday season and trying to give more "thoughtful" gifts. We shall see when it comes down to the 11th hour and they have not made any thoughtful gifts.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I thought I would follow up with some frugal ideas of my own, after living very frugally for about 30 years now. My husband and I made the decision when we married that we wanted a big family. That right there is taking a vow of poverty, and by golly we have stuck with it! Now that the kids are mostly grown and gone we are pretty much sold on the whole frugal idea. It is nice to not be in crisis mode, but we do still watch the meter so to speak.

What I mean by watch the meter, it exactly that. I have a son-in-law that puts me to shame when it comes to being frugal, almost to the tight extreme. But if you need hints he is the person to see.

One day we were hiking and my flip flop broke. He and I were kind of about five miles from town and on a gravel road. I was pretty freaked out and dreading the long one shoed walk home. He took my flip flop from me and found a piece of wire lying on the road. He was actually able to fix my shoe. In fact I wore that shoe for about six more months like that. He told me if he'd known I was going to keep wearing it for so long he would taken more time to make it look nicer.

At any rate here is the test he did, speaking of watching the meter. One day he and my daughter were going to hook up their new washer and drier. He was concerned that their electric bill would skyrocket when they added the new appliances. So he had my daughter turn on the washer while he watched the meter. Then he had her turn on the drier. Then she went to take a shower. Here in Costa Rica we have what is called "suicide showers". That means the water is heated through a on demand heater hooked on the shower head. Well when she began the shower he about had a kitten. He said that thing just started spinning like crazy.

So now they are allowed only so many minutes in the shower, at least when it is hot, unlimited cold. He suggested to us that we do our showers like they do in Hondurus. There they turn on the water only long enough to get wet. Then soap up and turn the water back on to rinse off. I just told the family to cut their shower time in half. We will see how that does.

That is one of the biggest ways to save on bills, just become aware of where your money is going. We were spending a lot of money on our international phone bills. So we got a Skype phone and now that is taken care of.

Another good way to cut down on bills is to cook more from scratch. That does not mean all day in the kitchen. Just throw some beans in the crockpot before work, and cook some rice when you get home. It tastes great with some tortillas, and vegees and fills you up.

Going out to eat is the first and probably the best place to cut out. I think as the economic crisis continues we will definately see our nation getting a little skinnier, and hopefully healthier. There you go we can cure the health care crisis at the same time, just make your own food!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Did you know it is in style now to be frugal. It is a new fad that will probably be around for awhile. In the Arizona Daily Sun they were saying that people are now thinking twice, or three or four times before spending money. When things wear out they look into getting them fixed before replacing them.

That is nothing new here in Costa Rica. There are actually still shoe shops that will repair your shoes, from stitching to putting on a new sole when it wears out. They also have shops that will repair your furniture and clothing. They have Clinics for your Clothes.

The people here are very selective about their clothing. You will see them come out of their house which may be a shack, dressed immaculately. They always press their clothes and you will see little areas they may have mended or hemmed their clothes.

The reason they iron is because most people here do not use driers. When you hang your clothes on the line they tend to be a little wrinkled. We have not had a drier since we moved here, and use our iron once in awhile. We are definately gringos!

Part of what prompted us to move to Costa Rica was the frugal enviroment. I love getting a deal and recycling. Here we put our old clothes out on top of our trash on trash day and it will be gone within a couple of hours. Nothing sits for long. That even goes for things you don't want to go!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


When we moved to Costa Rica I could not understand why all of the houses had those ugly tin roofs on them. I liked the spanish tile roofs and could not find any houses with those on them. After living here two years I now understand why the tin roofs, earthquakes! Oh yes they have them very regularly and no one with half a brain would want anything heavier over their heads.

They do have a way of laying a tile roof over a metal roof that is supposed to be safe. The nicer homes do this now and it is all asthetics. You can peer under the tiles and see the metal roof. It also helps with the noise factor. At Rebekahs house when it rains we cannot watch a movie, or even talk for that matter.

Another good thing about the tin roofs are they are a little less expensive to replace, which is important with all the rain we have when you have to replace often. Our roof is five years old and already in need of being replaced.

Our neighbors tin roof has a loose panel and we are in windy season so we listen to it all night long. Our neighbor has disappeared so we cannot even talk with him about it. We did see the police there the other day, but still no hide nor hair of him. He is one strange bird though to be sure.

He really likes to run around with no clothes on. He is in his twenties and I have decided he is not quite all there. We have had a couple of friends pass his house on their way to our house and see him with the door open walking around in his birthday suit, singing no less.

When it rains he gets his weed eater, puts on his shorts and tennis shoes and cleans up his yard, with the music cranked up and singing at the top of his lungs! Pura Vida!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Did I mention that being a grandma is definately the best trickle down blessing of being a parent? I can brag about my grandkids all day and not appear too biased, since I am not their mom after all. Though Maleah in the below picture is mine, so I won't brag about her in this post. Ahlysa the big girl is my oldest granddaughter. She is 6 and in kindergarten. Of course she is the smartest one in her class, and thanks to mom and dad she is also the tallest. The other girls Tara and Makensie are 3 and 2. They are so fun to hang out with that I wish I lived closer. The ones I get to hang out with all the time are the lower pic. Breyssi and Benjamin. Breyssi calls me weird, and Benjamin just laughs at me. We love our grandkids and have a blast with them.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Life is Good! That is pretty much the same as saying pura vida. I still cannot say it like they do here in Costa Rica, but I am working on it. I think I am saying it the same, but alas it just does not come out the right way. My mouth does not speak spanish very well.

At any rate I was thinking today about how good my life is and feeling pretty darned grateful for it. Maleah and I were able to stroll to the health food store for some calcium and magnesium for mom, and a treat for her. So far we are batting zero on health food store treats. She really just is not into them.

Days like this remind me why I traded in my past life for the pura vida life. We were both working the grind, with all of our might and we were like the hamsters on the wheel, just going around as quickly as you please and not getting anywhere.

As I have said we had our economic melt down way before the rest of the world. But we did have it and it was time to decide.

I don't know if my daughters will ever appreciate how tranquil their lives are here, but I do believe they will reap the rewards of living in such a stress free enviroment. I know it has helped me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Half of the equation of being a hotmom is of course being a MOM. Both parts are a choice, but we do have a whole lot more control over the hot part than the mom part. Our children will be children and will do whatever it is children do, test and try us of course.

Having seven children makes me a little bit different than most moms. I don't think most moms get to have near as many experiences, good as well as bad, as I do. Now that can be good or it can be bad, depends on the experience we are in the middle of.

My oldest son will be 29 next year, whoa! I know I should probably just give up on the whole hot part at this point, but I refuse to give up! My youngest daughter is 5, and the saddest part of that one is that I gained more weight with her than I did with my oldest. Why is that so bad? She is adopted! Now that is sad. The premenopause thing was kicking in what can I say?

The thing about being a mom is to take control of all the aspects of motherhood that you can. That does not leave much, but you can take control of your body, mind and time. I have a quote that I love "your lack of preparation is not my crisis". Think about that for a few minutes and apply it to your children.

When your kid calls you from school because they forgot their football gear in the washer and you need to dry it and bring it to them within the next hour what will you do? If you are smart you will take it in stride, if it works do it, if not don't sweat it.

I know that is easier said than done, especially if you baby your boys like I do! The funny thing is all of my boys laugh about what mommas boys they are, all four of them! My youngest son says he is 300% mammas boy. I am trying to talk him out of the tatoo telling that to the world.

Friday, November 14, 2008


You know there is a lot in a title. When I went to massage school I was a little timid about telling people I was a massage therapist once I got done. I think it just took a little time for me to realize I had a title other than mom!

I think sometimes we get so used to wearing our title of mom that we forget we are someone! I love being a mom and think it is pretty cool. But I can also use the title to hide behind. I can use it as an excuse for my weight, my frumpiness, my forgetfullness, my sloppiness, my whatever I want an excuse for.

If you give yourself a new title I believe it will help you look at yourself just a little differently. Just try it for a couple of days. Think to yourself " I am a hot Mom." See if it does not change the way you look at yourself.

Maybe you will take just a little more time getting dressed in the morning. Maybe you will stand just a little taller. Maybe you will even feel so excited you will go out and do that workout you have been avoiding for awhile.

Try it out and see what it does for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Another day with no rain, hurrah the rainy season is really over. We have certainly found the trick in surviving the rainy season, go to Nevada and Arizona for the month of October! We got dried out enough to make up for the previous months as well as the couple of weeks after our return.

I have been thinking a lot about goals lately as you can tell by previous blogs. I am thinking if you keep them small it is good. Small successes keep you motivated.

A good example of this is my Tupperware party I had last night here at the house. I do not speak too much Spanish, so did not have a lot of people to invite. I invited a couple of friends and my daughter. When the Tupperware lady arrived she asked me if I had any other friends I could invite to come over. My daughter told her that all of our friends were busy.

It turned out we had a great selling party and I won the big gift! Sounds like kind of a silly thing but that little bit of success made me a little hungry for more. I ran just a little harder this morning, put out a little more on my core workout, and even wrote a new article.

Funny thing how that success feeling works, kind of feeds off of itself for sure! Try it out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I have always been one to use the moon to account for behaviors in my family. When I researched it however I found there really is no data backing up my theory. Now when the kids act up, or my husband gets in a foul mood, or I turn into a lunatic (notice that word is from the latin Luna?) I will have to find something else to blame it on.

Though in all fairness the studies do show that the psychological unstable do have more episodes during the full moon.

Now that worries me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I wanted to follow up on yesterdays post with some great success stories that I know of personally. These people all inspire me and are my heros. I will try and get some pics from them so they can inspire you as well.

The first one is my friend Robin from Flagstaff. Robin and I were friends for about 6 years when we lived in Arizona. When we left there two years ago she had six kids and weighed over 200 lbs. She had always wanted to lose weight, but there was just never time with six little ones.

She told me that one day in Feb. last year she was talking with her brother in law on the phone. He ran a weight loss program and she was complaining about her weight. He challenged her to make a commitment to losing the weight. She said ok fine I will start tomorrow, I want to lose 50 lbs by June for the family reunion. She asked him not to tell anyone in the family so that she could surprise them.

The next day she bought an arobics cd and went to work. She tried to work for an hour every day. Of course at first it was near to impossible for her to work out that long because of the weight. As she kept with it the workout got longer and stronger. She also made drastic food changes. She is a great cook and continued cooking for her family. She just quite eating the junk.

She said she also quit eating anything after six in the evening, chewed lots of gum, and had no sugar. A lot of days she did her arobics at ten or eleven in the evening because that was the only time she had to do it.

By June she had actually lost 50 lb. and lost another 60 by Christmas. Is she still there. Yes! She does have to continue working on it and she has had some set backs, but she is staying healthy and taking care of herself.

Another example of a different goal set and reached is my mom. Mom went back to school a few years ago! She graduated with her Bachelors degree from NAU when she was 65 years old! She had tried to go to school many times during her time of raising 9 kids, but she was finally able to finish.

Lest you think she had plenty of time by this time, she was also taking care of my step dad who had cancer, my sister who has cancer and of course all the other kids and grandkids who stop by.

Like I said there are no excuses and I challenge all of you to give me one excuse for not doing something you really want to do. Try it, I dare you!

Monday, November 10, 2008


When I say no excuses I mean for any and everything. There really are no excuses under the sun to give us a way out of anything. On a personal note I would like to share my experience with you.

At the tender young age of 18 I had my first child. I gained a total of 16 lbs. while pg. and took very good care of myself. My husband and I walked every night and I took all my vitamins. I also quit eating meat and sugar at that period in my life.

We had a beatiful healthy baby boy and life goes on. Every two or three year for the next 15 years I had a baby. Again, at the tender young age of 32 I had my sixth and during the pregnancy decided last baby.

48 hours after the birth of Hannah I had the artery going to my uterus bust, causing what my medical records labeled an "abdominal catastrophe". When it happened the doctors did not know why I was bleeding to death. I ended up with 23 units of blood and 3 gallons of saline solution being pumped into my body.

The last thing I remembered was being wheeled into the o.r. and waving at my husband as he held our baby in his arms waving at me. I was in excrutiationg pain and for the first time in my life really just wanted to die. At one point I grabbed the anestesiologist by the shirt and yelled at him to knock me out.

After four hours of surgery and millions of stitches to put Robbie back together again I was back in my room. The doctor said it was probably caused by an aneurism. I was the same age at that time my dad was when he died from an anneurism in his head. All the docs agreed about how lucky I was that it happened while I was in the hospital. I agree.

I spent the next two weeks in the hospital. I liked to tell people that I spent time in every ward of the hospital. I started in labor and delivery, had my baby in the nursery, moved into o.r. from there into the trauma unit, into intensive care and from there to recovery. It was not fun.

Once the anesthesia wore off and they took out the breathing tube so that I could talk, I told my doc that I wanted to nurse my baby. It took him a few minutes to figure out what I was talking about because it just did not register. He looked at the nurses and told them to take me off all the pain killers, dopephine, morphine, blah blah blah. I almost changed my mind at this point thinking that I was going to be hurting a lot more. But I did learn pain is pain.

Seven hours after getting off the meds they brought Hannah for me to nurse. Well now we had a real problem. I had a million stitches in my gut, plus 35 staples up my belly. How the heck were we going to do this? Oh yeah, and someone squished my hand during surgery and it had compartment symdrome and could not be used. This is how we did it. I hung Hannah over my shoulder opposite from the nursing side. Then my mom would help put the nipple in her mouth and away she would go. My nurse midwife came in during one of these shows and said she would like to get a pic for the next time someone told her they could not nurse their baby!

Two months after my surgery I was finished with physical therapy for my hand and could actually walk standing up straight. On a nice warm day in March I went for my first walk. All the way down the street and back! That was the begining for me of many triathlons, marathons and century rides. Does that make sense?

I learned in that one block what it meant to hurt, but to want something bad enough to work through the pain! I was done having kids and knew that I wanted my body back and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. I have never done a run, or race or workout that has hurt as much as that one block walk, but it was sure worth it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Cool beans!, the organic fruit and vegee guy finally came. He comes in the evenings on Saturday with our delivery for the week, and it is like Christmas around here! All week long it is like a race against time to eat all the healthy food up before it goes bad.

We are just really grateful to live in a place where we have so much variety that is local. I included a pic to show what we get.

Friday, November 7, 2008


There is nothing like a great day at the pool to relax me and rejuvinate me. It must be the tanorexia that I suffer from! You do have to remember that it pretty much rains every day here, so a couple of hours of sunshine does wonder to dry out all the gills!

The girls are getting braver. Our goal is to get Breyssi to actually put her head under the water and not have a fit. I can see how a parents attitude toward water can affect their children. Rebekah will never forgive me for not putting her in swimming lessons!

Tonight is pizza and movie night at the Inestrozas. We were going to have a garage sale tomorrow night but there is a storm blowing in which means rain all weekend. We will just have to postpone it until next week.

You can sell anything here in Costa Rica. My old washer broke down. Well it still worked, but the neighbors complained about the noise when we used the spinner it was bad! So we bought a real washer and put the old one I had used for two years on the front porch.

I paid sixty thousand colones for this washer, which is about 120.00. I sold it for twenty five thousand or fifty dollar. I told the lady it was broken, and even plugged it in so she could hear it. She still bought it, I was pretty shocked and pleased to get rid of the old clunker. She said something about putting cilantro in it, or something like that, probably not that but who knows?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Rick and I went up the hill today to look at a couple of houses with his spanish teacher. It was really pretty up there and the homes were beautiful. It is amazing not only the different geographies you see here in Costa Rica, but also the different neighborhoods.

You can go around the corner, literally and be in a million dollar neighborhood. Down the street are people living on rice and on good days beans.

I used to think we had Costa Rica all figured out because we live in a more moderate neighborhood. My friend set me straight. She made it clear that we live among the rich of Costa Rica. She had been in towns where the people really did not have enough money to ride the bus. They had never been to a mall, much less a movie theatre. And for sure they ate mostly rice, with some beans around payday and a little fruit and vegees thrown in when they could get them.

My dentist told me that it is still common in the farm towns that for your big 50 you go and get all your teeth pulled and get your dentures! Now that is something to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I grew up in California and I am a true blue or brown sun worshipper. I used to tan with the oil and all the works. My mother used to yell at me, wear some sun screen and get out of the sun.

We lived in Hawaii when our first two children were young and I continued my worship of the sun. Thankfully for my skin we moved to Missouri after three years in Hawaii. I spent the next eight years without the sun, since it never shines in the midwest!

Then unfortunately for my skin we moved to Flagstaff Arizona. The altitude combined with the arid conditions and the fact that the sun shines there 340 days a year, all set me up for what you now see. Oh yeah and the fact that I spent 6 years training and competing in triathlons. All those nice sunny days on the bike took their toll.

I really did try to use sunscreen. I would put it on and go out for a run or a ride. About 10 minutes out I would start to sweat, or try to sweat. I felt like my skin was trying to sweat but could not. Like my skin was constipated or something. I would be like Gollum trying to get the sunscreen wiped off and yelling "it burns, it burns".

After 14 years in Flagstaff another unfortunate for my skin, our move to Costa Rica. Now as you can see in my pic, it is hopeless. Well maybe not hopeless. I called and made an appointment with a skin restoration doc here. After I made the appt. I decided I better research what this skin restoration consisted of.

Come to find out it was contraindicated for those of us lucky dogs who have oral herpes, better known as cold sores. I can spend one hour in the sun without my hat on, and two days later my lips will look like raw hamburger.

So needless to say I cancelled my appt. with the doc. and am just having to deal with my face. I guess the old adage is true, "you make your bed you have to sleep in it". Something like that anyway.

If anything I have to offer is a legacy to my daughters. Guess what? They wear sun screen all of the time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Now these two are princesses if I must say so myself! A sure way to win them over is to offer them a makeover. They go for it every time. When I look at them it makes all the work and worry of being a mom worth it for sure.

I cannot really think of anything I would rather be doing than being a mom and grandma. My baby will be going to school, for a whole three hours a day, in three months. I told her I did not know if I could let her go because I would miss her too much. She told me I could just run on the track across the street and wait for her to get done. She knows me too well, I probably will do just that.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Goals are essential for our growth. I have finally found some goals to work toward on my fitness, as well as work. Short term I really want to be able to do a 5k in less than 35 minutes. I will get a chance to try it out in the next couple of months. I have some runs I am looking at to work on.

I also have a goal to get this blog done! That sounds easy, but I keep coming up with new ideas and things I want to do to improve it. Right now I am looking for a flower for our logo to put on some shirts, mugs etc. I want to set up a little store to sell some stuff.

So needless to say semi-retirement is not really not what I had imagined. I really thought we would be looking for things to do, but frankly we have not even been to the beach for a few months! Time for a beach trip!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I have a new term for some people I have seen online. They post really rude posts about people, using their names no less, and then modify the comments so that no one can defend themselves. That pretty much sounds like bullying to me. It is mean and goes against cyber ethics.

We do not believe you need to post ugly or controversial posts just to get traffic to your site. Our site will always remain positive and up beat. There is enough ugly stuff out there in the world we don't need to perpetuate it here.

Let's all lift and build each other, we can all use it!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning.
2. Prepare for the morning the evening before.
3. Don't rely on your memory.
4. Do nothing you have to lie about later.
5. Make copies of all your keys and hide them.
6. Practice preventive maintenance on all autos and mechanics.
7. Be prepared to wait.
8. Don't procastinate.
9. Plan ahead.
10. Don't put up with something that does not work right.
11. allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.
12. Eliminate or restrict the amount of caffeine you take in.
13. Always set up contigency plans, ie plan b, c, d.
14. Relax your standards.
15. Count your blessings.
16. Ask questions.
17. Say no.
18. Unplug the phone.
19. Make friends with non-worriers.
20. Simplify.


You know joy is made up of a lot of little things every day! It is seeing my five year old getting shy when she takes her shower. It is a nice long run with light drizzles and 80 degrees outside. It is a great dinner out after that long run. It is seeing my grandkids happy and smiling. It is seeing my garden room looking beautiful. Yes for sure the true joys in life come in little bites.

Being thankful for these joys is probably the key to living stress free. Maybe the biggest key to destressing our lives would be to be thankful!

What better time to feel thankful than the month of Thanksgiving. I have always refused to even begin thinking about Christmas and all the gimmee it brings until we have spent at least a good month being thankful!