Sunday, July 12, 2015

DEMBER trip/Finding a house!

also known as DENVER. 

Lucia calls is Dember. It is adorable. Especially since she mispronounces very few words.  

Well, back in May we went to Dember. Fernando and I made the trip just the us two, while Nonno and Nonna stayed with the girls back in North Carolina. It was such a blessing to have them watch the girls and know that they were in good hands. We didn't have to worry about them the whole time we were gone. 

The trip's purpose was mainly for Fernando and I to find a place to live when we move to Denver in mid-July. We also wanted to get to know Denver and use this time as a "babymoon" of sorts. 

The trip, although far less stressful since we didn't have to bring the girls, was still a bit stressful for us. We were on a time crunch to FIND. A. HOUSE... and if we left without one, we weren't sure what we were going to do. 

First should we rent? Or should we buy? 
After much deliberation we decided we were 95% positive that buying a home was the right choice for us. 
Then, if we didn't find a house this trip, should Fernando come back another weekend and keep looking? Or should we keep looking for houses and if one comes up that we for sure want, should we put an offer in on it without seeing it in person? Or should we just decide that if we didn't find a house this trip that maybe renting would be the best choice? 
Too many decisions to make! Between the overwhelming life decisions, trying to get to know the entire greater Denver area in a matter of days and the change in altitude, we collapsed into bed every night exhausted and confused on what to do.  

We found an awesome realtor who did so much work for us! We were so blessed to have found him. He has worked for us before, during and after our trip and really has gone above and beyond to help us. 

And long story short: After many house showings, we found a house on the last day of our trip that we decided would be perfect for us. We loved the layout and the location and many other things about it. We really thought this was the home that God wanted for us and after praying about it, we moved fast to put an offer in on it ASAP.
We didn't find out until a few days AFTER we got home from our trip that we did not get the house. We were super disappointed. Our offer was WELL above asking price and we still got beat out (by someone who offered all cash.) 
Did I mention that that particular house we put an offer in on had only been on the market 3 days and it already had FIFTEEN other offers? 
The Denver housing market is CRAZY right now to say the least. 

To finish off that story... we have since found a home. 
As soon as we heard our offer wasn't accepted on the first house we began, once again, scouring our realtor's website every chance we got. We would spend all of our free time (the girls' nap times and once we put them to bed at night) looking for another house. 
At this point we were happy to know the exact area that would work for us so that narrowed down our options a lot! And now since we had been there and were familiar with the area, looking for a house long distance didn't feel like a TOTAL shot in the dark. 

A few weeks after getting back from our trip we found a house, had our realtor check it out, decided we wanted it, and put an offer in on it. We didn't get that one. 
Then we did the same thing with another house, but this time they accepted our offer! Alleluia! 
Our realtor gave us a facetime tour through the house which helped a bit. It made us feel like we knew the place/layout a little bit better instead of only going off of the 33 pictures we saw online. 

We ended up getting a better deal with this house than we would have with the first one. We are so happy things worked out and we realize, once again, that God's plans are far better than ours! We were so sure that first house was the one for us... but it turns out He had something better in mind. Or at least that's what we think... talk to me when we see our house in person for the first time. ;) 

Closing for the house is next week, July 18th. 
We are so excited to finally go to Denver, see our new home and get settled! 

Now on to pictures from our trip!   

We spent the first two nights in Golden, CO. We stayed with a future colleague of Fernando's. They were SO generous to offer their home to us! They had a beautiful home with the most gorgeous view of the mountains and downtown Denver (behind us in this pic). 
We had a great time getting to know them and their kids and enjoying all the delicious home cooked meals they invited us for. We are already so blessed by the connections we have made in Denver. 
Another one of the amazing view! 
Also in Golden, CO is the Shrine of Mother Cabrini! You can read about her here
We didn't know anything about Mother Cabrini before stumbling upon her Shrine in the mountains in Golden. 
It was nice to spend one morning there praying and drinking from the miraculous spring!  
the spring where the water comes from the side of the mountain 
I had heard about Cafe Rio before from my friend Emily and I got SO excited when I found out there is one in Denver! Emily had hyped it SO much that I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to it's hype. I had to take a picture to commemorate our first trip there (and to text to Emily). 
After only one trip I can already say that we are HUGE fans! The food was amazing and SO fresh! 
If you ever get the chance to eat at a Cafe Rio- do it.  
On our last night in Denver we decided to splurge a little/celebrate our anniversary a few weeks early and Fernando treated me to a night in a nice hotel in downtown Denver. 
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Teatro. The hotel was amazing and within walking distance of Larimer Square which is an adorable street lined with cute restaurants, shops and covered in twinkly lights (what's not to love?!). 
We walked to dinner that night in the rain to Tom's Urban and then walked over to 16th street mall for dessert at 5280 Ice Cream. Both were amazing!    
The lobby area of our hotel. It was SO nice and the pictures definitely don't do it justice. 
We had an early flight out on tuesday morning, but we made sure to set our alarms extra early (and not snooze them, ironically ;) so we could make it to a nice breakfast before our flight. We went to Snooze an AM Eatery in Union Station. Our food was AMAZING. 
We got the "OMG French Toast" and ohhhh my goodness it was fantastic! It was fresh brioche bread stuffed with mascarpone, then grilled and topped with vanilla creme, salted caramel, fresh strawberries and toasted coconut. 
We also got the Strawberry Fields Pancakes which were buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberry-lavender cream, honey-ginger strawberries, whipped mascarpone and candied hazelnuts. 

So clearly, they know breakfast. 
We ordered "two house coffees" and our server somehow thought we said "two bloody marys." It was before 7am and apparently they aren't allowed to serve alcohol before 7am so he went to check the time to see if it was 7am yet.
We then realized there had been a miscommunication and clarified that we wanted coffee and not bloody marys.

Yes sir, the 35 week pregnant lady and her husband would like alcohol at 6:50am on a random Tuesday morning. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mother's Day!

On Mother's day we went to Mass at 9am at our Parish, as always. Nonno and Nonna joined us for Mass and then we came back to our house for brunch. 

ML and Nonna!

Brunch was lemon creme cranberry scones, berry fruit salad, bacon and of course Costa Rican coffee! Everything was simple and delicious. 

With my girls! All 3 :) 
{33 weeks pregnant here}

 Since I didn't feel like cooking dinner we went to Bojangles for dinner... we figured any other restaurant would be packed and really, we just like our fried chicken biscuits and sweet tea! 

After dinner we came back home and went for a walk with our across-the-street-neighbors/friends the Steffens. They have 2 boys and a little girl. We knew we would be moving in about a week so this walk was bitter sweet since we knew it would  be our last. 
Facetiming with grandma to say happy mother's day! Regina ALWAYS gives grandma kisses when we are facetiming, whether she asked for them or not! It's adorable. 

The family that prays together /// 4

One morning at breakfast Lucia was playing with some cups. She stacked two together and then put those on a third cup that she turned upside down. She then started singing/chanting something. 
I realized what she was doing so I started taking a video: 


"It's the Body of Christ" from rachel boschini on Vimeo.

Translation:

Lucia: Lord. Here I am. Here I am. Thank you very much. 
Rachel: What is that Lucia?
Lucia: It's the Body of Christ. That's for you. 


I couldn't believe she was chanting (her version of) the Eucharistic prayer from the Mass! 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

April

Some random moments from April... 

 Easter was the first weekend in April this year. The post on our Easter Sunday is here.
Lucia has been concentrating so well recently. Her attention span is increasing more and more the older she gets. She loves coloring in coloring books, playing with stickers and cutting/gluing with her scissors and glue. 
One of the things Nonno and Nonna got her for her birthday were scissors and glue. Nonna then sat down with her (one day when Regina was napping) and taught her how to use them both. She loved learning this new skill with Nonna! 

Coloring at Nonno and Nonna's!
I'm not usually a fan of the girls getting messy while they eat. Every once in awhile however, I feed them with no clothes on and just let them go for it. As you can tell by the mess and the smile, this was one of those days.
 Sharing some goldfish with Nonno
 enjoying a nice meal on our back deck

This was a weekday where Fernando didn't have to work until 4, so we took advantage of the day and went for donuts in the morning/ran errands and then came back and ate this for lunch.

 One of Lucia's favorite things at the moment is going out and checking them mail! She can't reach all the way to the top to open it quiiiiiiiiite yet, but she's close! I usually open it for her and then let her grab the mail out of the box.

Nonno and Nonna babysit for us WEEKLY. Yes, I said weekly!
Every Thursday Fernando and I go out on a date and they watch the girls for us.

On the occasions where it doesn't work out, Fernando and I will usually have a "date night in". Sometimes that involves us ordering a pizza or picking up some sort of take-out and other times I make dinner like usual and then while I'm putting the girls down Fernando will run and grab a special dessert.
One of our favorites is this Strawberry Shortcake cake from Nantucket Grill. If I get to pick whatever dessert I want, it is usually something involving ice cream. This cake is an exception though! I actually crave this cake for dessert.
Maybe that's just because I'm pregnant though...

Lucia's 3rd birthday aftermath...
balloons galore and a cute train alphabet puzzle from Genevieve

frozen yogurt date with my girls

hey you!
In April we did a big carseat switch.
Lucia got the one that was in Nonno and Nonna's car, Regina got Lucia's old one and Regina's old one got taken out of the car to get it ready for the new baby!
Regina loved being in a bigger carseat and sitting up more, however the facing backwards part wasn't her favorite. Her poor little legs were squished so facing backwards didn't last more than a few days.
 One highlights of April for the girls was this nest!! We had a robin build a nest in our front porch and the girls (mostly Lucia) were obsessed with it! Every morning Lucia would go first thing to check to see if the robin was there. Then she would be sure to let us know the robin's status.
Once the baby birds hatched we would all watch daily for the robin to come with worms so we could show the girls the little beaks opening up while the mama fed them. It was fun to watch and to see the girls' reactions!
One random day in April Nonna planned a fun day at the park. We met her at their condo and then headed to the park near their house with the girls and a picnic lunch!
She got chicken, tomatoes, chips and watermelon and we ate it under the gazebo first and then went to play with the girls at the park.
It was such a fun outing on what would have been an ordinary weekday!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Maria Lucia turns 3!

Maria Lucia turned 3 on April 18th! I know I will say this every single birthday for every single child but I can't believe she is THREE! 
We have a three year old. Totally crazy. 

Fernando taught her when her birthday is and apparently I did not because right before her birthday she was going around telling everyone "My birthday is dieciocho de Abril!" Normally she would just say it in English if she knew how.  

We spent the day with Nonno and Nonna and our friends Emily and Genevieve. We started with Duck Donuts for breakfast (the ones we became obsessed with in the Outer Banks - we found out there is one in the area!) and then headed to Pullen Park. 

We spent all morning playing at the park and then ate a picnic lunch together in the shade. I made this pasta salad and we had it with shoestring potato chips, red grapes and ice cold sparkling water. It was a nice refreshing lunch for a rather warm day. 
  





 Love her sweet profile!
 This was Lucia's first time riding on one of the moving animals on the carrousel!
The first few times she only wanted to sit on the bench that doesn't move. The next time she graduated to sitting on one of the animals that doesn't move. Now she's a full fledged carrousel rider.
She's pretty cautious about things like this so I'm not surprised it took her a few trips to warm up to the idea.
 Emily and Genevieve enjoying the carrousel

 Nonno on Nonno-duty while Nonna, Fernando, Lucia and I took a paddle boat for a ride.

 Lucia walked around all day with the balloon Nonno and Nonna got her.

When we came back to the house from the park we put the girls down for naps and got busy prepping for dinner/decorating. Actually if I remember correctly Fernando went to take a nap and I got busy prepping/decorating. ;)
I woke him up at the end to help me with some finishing touches.

Lucia was so excited to wake up from her nap and find a house full of balloons and streamers!
I didn't do anything too crazy, just pink and white balloons, streamers and bunting. Her favorite color is pink at the moment so I decided to use that as the "theme."

We had Emily and Genevieve come over for dinner as well as Nonno and Nonna. Fernando's friend Michael Scott (yes that is his actual name) was also in town and he stopped by with his girlfriend for a bit of the party.

Nonna made Lucia this amazing cake for her birthday! 
It was a house cake made from a mold that was Nonna's mother's (Aburi's) cake mold. 
The house actually looks like our sweet little house on Mountain Island! 

I made a little slideshow with some pictures of Lucia when she was first born. The slideshow was playing on the tv and Lucia loved pointing out the pictures and saying "that was me when I was a baby!!"

We had burgers on brioche buns (game changer for burgers!) and parmesan roasted potato wedges.
And of course birthday cake for dessert!

How old are you Lucia???
Blurry, but these sweet smiles were too cute not to include it!

Fake smiles R US.
The girls playing ring around the rosie in the backyard! It was SO adorable! 


No idea why Lucia is making this face!
the girls checking out the cake


The hand crocheted (!) dress from Nonna!
And of course some sunglasses for the birthday girl!
She LOVED all her gifts!

Fernando and I gave Lucia gymnastics classes for her birthday. When we told her that's what she was getting from us she didn't seem that excited. Maybe she was confused since we just told her verbally and didn't have anything for her to actually open.
I am happy to report though that she has since taken said gymnastics classes and she loved them! Nonno and Nonna bought her a cute little leotard (they took her to gymnastics one day and she came back proudly sporting her new leotard!) She had class every wednesday for a few months. It is definitely something we will look into continuing for her (and possibly Regina) once we get to Denver. We will see!

Overall Lucia's birthday was a success! She was happy and giggly all day and had a great time celebrating with friends and family.
We love you Maria Lucia! You have brought more joy to our lives in the last three years than we ever could have imagined! Seeing you become a big sister has been one of our favorite things about you. You are so helpful and loving to her. We can't wait to give you another little sister soon!