Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back in the US!

We are BACK! It feels really great to be home. Our honeymoon was just the perfect amount of time to get away! After we got married we spent several days out at my parents farmhouse & then we went to Costa Rica. It really feels like we have been on a honeymoon for 3 weeks! Crazy. Our house is a semi-disaster, well just the dining room and part of the kitchen. It's filled with lots of crate & barrel boxes and bags. So I'm not going to lie I kind of like looking at all the crate & barrel items! Probably because I have a small obsession with crate & barrel!! First day back today and I already made a trip to that store. I hope to be going soon again to finish getting some more items on our registery!

Anyways my husband went back to work today. He has one full day of work and then 4 days off. HA. Not too bad eh? I have also been slaving away on fun shirts, bags, music and cds for a dance camp I am putting on this week! You will all soon know how obsessed I am with crafts as well. First day back and I already had my hot glue gun out. The pic's I took do not even do the shirts & bags justice. I apologize my phone camera is not that great. But you kind of get the idea!

On another note I got a steal of a purchase today at Hobby Lobby. This HUGE antique frame. It was on the 80% clearance aisle. I couldn't believe it. It was actually marked down more than 80% off, more like 90% off. It was orginally $90.00. I got this puppy for a whopping $12.87. I cannot wait to get a huge wedding picture printed to go in this frame. I will be putting this in our house somewhere, maybe the living room when my oh soooo hottie of a husband repaints the living room accent wall! :) This frame is over 3ft tall, wowaza! Also picked up this cute burlap basket. I wanted to purchase more but I had to resist the urge. I couldn't justify in my head where I would put all these baskets. So I just left with one. I believe it was only $5.80. More than I'd like to spend on a basket but it was so my style & it was marked down from $20.00. I decided on one because I know that I needed a new basket to hold all our doggie toys! Our other little basket is looking rather worn!

And for the EXCITING news.............. Our Wedding pictures are complete! We are just waiting to get them from our photographer. Our videographer is almost done with the video as well. Awww the suspense, we cannot WAIT to see everything! We got to see some of the photobooth pictures from my husbands fellow firefighter who took the pics: Matt Gilloti! Hey Hey! He did an amazing job, and the pictures are HILARIOUS! I can't wait to post some of them. So exciting!

Off to bed I go before a long few days of dance camp!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zip It

  Yesterday we went zip lining in the rain forest!  My wife and I are really glad that we got to squeeze this in the schedule down here.  We ran into a little complication because the one we were planning on going to was closed because they are replacing a bridge that got washed out by the rains recently.  Note to self if you ever come to Costa Rica and build a house don't do it at the bottom of the mountains.  :)  There was a pretty big group of zip liners with us an all but two people in our group were Americans, so it was easy to strike up conversations in the trees.  We managed to see a Toucan in the wild, and a few iguanas.  The zip lining took about 2 hours, and at one point we went between 50-70 mph on one of the zip lines!!!! How crazy is that.  This place was only 4 years old and we never felt unsafe at any time.  I was double checking knots and they were pretty solid.  There were 3 blondes in our group that had extensive plastic surgery done, and we knew from the beginning that they were going to be fun to watch on this adventure.  During the instruction portion of the zip lining tour, they explained to us how to sit in the harness while we were suspended.  They also explained to us how to slow done and where we should place our hands.  It was pretty simple honestly, the 3 blondes had an extremely tough time remembering this and asked the instructor about 4 different times to repeat that portion before we even got on the first zip line........... So, we finally make it through the question portion and line up to get on the first zip line.  Finally!!!!!!!!  Jenni and I can't wait!  Unfortunately, the blondes managed to get in front of us.  This should be interesting, and it was.  The first one got hooked up and asked one last time where to put her hands...... Off she went!  Off went her helmet as she flew through the air.  Then the next two blondes double checked their helmets after seeing what happened to their friend. Next.......  She is hooked up and ready to go.  She freaks out and grabs the cable in a panic and spins around because she broke so hard with her hand.  The rest of us had to wait while an instructor went out on the line and took her to the platform.  We were trying not to laugh, but it was pretty funny!  She was alright, her hair and nails survived the rain forest.  In the end only one of the 3 blondes quit the tour.  J

Jenni and I had a blast zip lining. There were 13 zip lines that we went on. I was really impressed with my wife, she even went upside down on the zip line a few times when we were allowed!!!!!!!!!!  The scenary was to die for while zipping through the rain forests. It was amazing to feel the cool air hit your face as you are surrounded by something that is SOLO BUENO.....the rain forest. At the end of the tour we were served fresh fruit; watermelon & pineapple. Talk about fresh & delicious. We didn't buy any pictures because they were way too expensive, but we have them tucked in our memory forever! We have a few pictures before zip lining while in our equipment that we will upload later. 

  We rounded off the afternoon with a trip to Jaco beach.  We ate at a really good local restaurant.  I got the Mahi Mahi special, and my wife got a chicken quesadilla that was in the shape of a burrito.  Needless to say it was amazing.  Our driver and friend, Alan, got a rice an shrimp dinner that he said was amazing as well.  While eating our lunch we had the "privilege" of watching the local prostitutes walk by our outside table or ride by one there bicycles!!!!!!!  lol  Apparently prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, and Saturday at Jaco Beach is prime working time.  Also it was pretty humorous to see the things that locals put in their baskets that are on the front of their bicycles.... like a baby! ha! Craziness! That can't be good or SAFE! We finished up our lunch and visited a few local souvenir shops to get a few gifts. Back to the moutains we went.

  We got back to the house and grilled some chicken for dinner, and made some Mac N' Cheese for dinner before meeting Alan at his house to watch the USA vs Mexico championship on TV.  It was an exciting game, even though the US lost..... :(  The defense could not contain #10 from Mexico after going up 2-0 early on in the match.  They ended up losing 4-2, with Mexico winning.

Today was our last full day here in Costa Rica. We were going to go fishing in the river but that didn't work out. It was totally fine that we weren't able to go because we really enjoyed today. It was spent cooking breakfast, staying in our pj's for a long time, enjoying the scenary, cooking lunch, watching movies and just talking about life. We did get out and take a nice walk on the beautiful property with the dogs. Tonight we are going to enjoy a nice bottle of champagne and dinner on the balcony that over looks all the rain forests and the ocean. 

  We are finishing up our honeymoon. and heading home in the morning!  We are sad to leave, but eager to return home and see our family, friends, and dogs!  We have enjoyed our time together here, and we will miss the friends we have made, including the many dogs we have spent time with.  Thor, Cyclopse, and Mongo you will be missed!  And we will miss the horse we rode, Silver.  We are glad we didnt choose a resort for our honeymoon, because we got to experience Costa Rica and it's people!  We are planning on stopping by one of the local schools on our way out of town, before we leave in the morning so my wife and I can see what their schools are like.  Plus Jenni wants to show her students back home what it is like here for the kids their age!  What a neat idea!  What a great place to start our journey together as husband and wife.  Pura Vida! Solo Bueno!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Thursday Outting in Costa Rica

Yesterday was a long and filled day. We woke up at 5am and left our house at 6am to head to Volcano Poas. On our way to the volcano we were able to stop at one of Costa Rica's finest coffee plantations Britt Coffee Plantation. It was so beautiful to see. Most of you know my family is in the coffee business. They have visited Costa Rica multiple times for business. So I have seen all of the pictures before however it was so great to witness this in person. Coffee grows on a plant. This plant produces the coffee bean it looks like a berry. When the berry is ripe it turns red and then is picked by hand. The berry is then opened and the green coffee bean is removed. The green bean is shipped to roasters all over the world. This is what my parents do they ship green coffee to roasters in the US and in other parts of the world. The first picture is coffee growing. The next picture you will see a large plant called a plantain (they grow fruit similar to bananas) and coffee in the background. Interesting fact that I didn't know they spread plantains around the coffee plantation to help with bugs so that they will eat the plantains and not the coffee plants.

Once we got to the volcano it was a hike to get to the top of it. This volcano is 8,200 feet above sea level. It is surrounded by the beautiful rain forests. In order to see this volcano we had to leave early due to all of the smoke from the crater and the clouds that normally cover the area by 10am. I will show pictures and the blue part is the lake of sulfuric acid. So neat!

After the volcano we stopped at a yummie little restaurant called Poas Lodge. It over looks the mountains & is newly remodeled. This was a splendid hidden treasure that our driver Alan found. We all were craving American food. So we got our burger & fries fix! Mmm Mmm Mmm!

After our delicious meal we were finally off to La Paz Waterfall Gardens! Get ready to see some amazing pictures of waterfalls, rain forests and wildlife. What an unforgettable experience! (Sorry that the pictures are so small I cannot figure out how to get them larger.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Typical Night in Costa Rica

Today was one of those days we got to rest. We cooked breakfast (Okay Mr.Shields cooked yummie pancakes & eggs). I cleaned! That's why I love my husband because we have already assumed roles in our marriage, he cooks, & I clean! Perfecto! After breakfast we literally lounged around all day talking, enjoying each others company, looking at the scenery(mainly for all the toucans that we cannot find-we can hear them but cannot find them), we cooked lunch & talked some more.

Today was the day that it dawned on me how lucky we actually are. Mr.Shields & I have so much to be thankful for. We have unconditional love for each other & we are so happy right now in our lives, not only because we recently got married but we both have amazing careers that we are so blessed to have. After talking to some people here this isn't always the case. Since this was normal for us to love our careers I just assumed everyone loved thier jobs as well. We both actually LOVE going to work. It just so happens that I have summers off since I am a teacher so I am really in love with my job right now! ha! No but really we are starting a wonderful life together, have wonderful jobs, we have very loving & supportive families, simply amazing friends, adorable pups which we miss dearly right now & we cannot forget the relationship that we have with the big man above! I will stop there but I could go on and on. We have so many things that we are grateful for. I am so thankful that Mr.Shields & I have had this opportunity to come to Costa Rica for such a long period of time because it has made us appreciate the small things in life. (exactly what we needed).

Enough of that sappy stuff, on to our night tonight. We are staying at this property in Costa Rica that has many many acres of rain forests & it also has 3 houses. We are staying in the house that is the newest and that is literally on top of a mountain! You cannot get much higher than this! The person who owns the property lives at one of the houses towards the bottom of the mountain. We decided yesterday that we should get all his amigos together por a futbol fiesta. Mi espanol es pequeno y malo. Mr.Shields espanol es nada y muy muy muy malo. He is much better at German! :) USA played Panama tonight in soccer and we just so happen to get the channel. So our friend Alan called all his amigos and we had a watch party.

Mr.Shields cooked his famous guacamole. If you haven't tried his guacamole you need to! Mr.Bob who lives across the way in a valley made some muy excelente friolas dip. Some other friends came over too like Linda who we met yesterday & she made some delicious pork chops. We went to her beautiful house and got massages. Marley her friend who works for her came over too. Marley & I had great bonding time in the mountains riding horses yesterday. He speaks no English. Like I said before Mi espanol es pequeno y malo. We had a blast talking to each other. Some of the Spanish I learned in High School came back & all the spanish that my 3rd graders have taught me really came in handy! SOLO BUENO! This seems to be our quote of the trip, it means ONLY GOOD, kind of like awesome in English. Alans' gardner came over too his name is Carlos & he brought his friend Gustavo.

Spanish was the main language that was being spoken the entire night. Mr.Shields & I did not seem to care at all, we had so much fun. Mr.Shields started to pick up on certain words in Spanish and I would try to explain to him what was being said when I heard key words or sayings that I knew. Usually Alan does all the translating. It was so neat to have all of us there watching the game & eating great food.

By the end of the night there was much laughter & many efforts of us teaching the Costa Ricans English & them teaching us Spanish. SO FUN! We loved it! It just floors us how nice people are here. Mr. Shields & I are really getting a great taste of what it's like to live here. We already know that we would love to come back, we have made some great friends who we will miss!

We are headed to bed now, tomorrow is an early morning for us. We will be getting up around 5am which is not too early since the sun wakes us up at 5:30 or 6am. Alan is taking us to the waterfall gardens tomorrow. We will be going up to see the volcanoes, watching waterfalls, & there will be a lot of wildlife there too! We hope to see more exotic animals & maybe even panthers this time. Adios!

Honeymoon- Costa Rica

Here are just a few pictures we got with our Mac computer. 
We have many more from my camera that I will be uploading soon! Enjoy.

The View from our Balcony

Cyclopse (1 of the dogs on our property we are staying at)

Honeymoon- Costa Rica

Today is day 7 on our Honeymoon in Costa Rica. My goal was to get this blog up and running prior to leaving the country but all the duties of getting married called. We had quite a lot of things to put back in order after our wedding, not to mention we had to get ready to leave the country for 2 weeks. We are having the time of our life here in Costa Rica! As I am writing this post I am sitting on our balcony in the mountains looking at beautiful rain forests & watching birds soar through the mountains. Life cannot get much better than this. As for Mr.Shields he is soaking all of this amazing scenery in by smoking one of his cigars he got at the cigar factory yesterday, which we will be sharing pics and blogging about soon.

Our goal of this blog is to keep track of life. We both are involved in so many different things and we want a way to keep track of it all and to someday show our future kids. This blog will be used for ideas, inspiration, projects, stories, & just plain life from the Shields household! Sit back, relax & enjoy many posts about The Shields Life!