52 Weeks Make 1 Awesome Year

It’s 2012 and we are looking forward to another adventurous year, but we thought we would take a minute and look back at 2011. This helps us remember, but also lets us share with you another year of our life that has become our “norm”.  We are starting to get used to this life of travel, experiences , and discovery, but are really unsure what 2012 brings or where we will be. We do know that 2012 will be just as rewarding, if not more so, as 2011. So come with as as we share our 2011 year-in-review one week at a time.

January 2011

Week 1: Celebrated New Years Eve on top of a Costa Rican mountain overlooking the entire central valley.  The multitude of firework displays was something that cannot be captured on film as we thought “China just got a little richer tonight”. Went to La Sabana Park in San Jose, Costa Rica where we rode mini horses, ate street food and flew kites.

They're looking back because the horse kicked the stroller...ooops!  Sorry I!

They're looking back because the horse kicked the stroller...ooops! Sorry I!

Week 2: Went to a traditional Horse Tope where a bunch of Costa Rican cowboys drink, prance around and show off their horses. Keith was lucky to grab a beer from one of them. (Side note: K has never been so eager to stretch this far prior to this…all for a beer!)

K scores a beer from the Costa Rican Cowboys

K scores a beer from the Costa Rican Cowboys

Week 3:Replaced the traditional Costa Rican coffee maker, which we dubbed “The Coffee Condom” with a western style electronic coffee maker. Taught G how to rake up starfruit from our yard. Went to Jaco Beach and realized we don’t like filthy beaches. Only spent 15 minutes there.  Something about dogs humping in the tide pools where people are sitting just didn’t feel good to us.

Week 4: Took a road trip to Visit Manual Antonio National Park, stopping by Esteriollos Oeste Beach and an Organic Vanilla Farm. Convinced to never buy vanilla ‘essence’ again, it’s sooooo different than the real stuff. We liked Manual Antonio, but thought it to be too hyped up.

White faced Capuchin Monkey at Manual Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

White faced Capuchin Monkey at Manual Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

February 2011

Week 1: Hiked to a waterfall in Atenas, Costa Rica & made sinful Ceylon Cinnamon Gelato from the spices we gathered from Villa Vanilla.

Week 2: Attended a Chili Cookoff, but more importantly, “I” decided to start crawling this week.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have lift off!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have lift off!

Week 3: The Castenadas came to visit.  A full week of beach, Zarcero, Volcan Arenal, Baldi HotSprings, an earthquake and car breakdown. Notice the phallic symbols in the image below…keep reading, it gets worse.

Playing among the topiaries of Zarcero, on the way to Volcan Arenal

Playing among the topiaries of Zarcero, on the way to Volcan Arenal

Week 4:  Stiffy was acquired.  Why this toy was in a child’s game? We’re not sure, but it quickly became G’s favorite.

Yeah, you try explaining this.

Yeah, you try explaining this.

March 2011

Week 1: Met the Pearce Family in Grecia, who were just destined to be our lifelong friends. Planted a garden and learned how to drive a stick shift on the crazy roads of Costa Rica.

Meeting the Pearce Family - a fellow traveling family.

Meeting the Pearce Family - a fellow traveling family.

Week 2:  Completed my first week with a full time virtual assistant. The thrill was short lived.  Frustrated that “I have to do everything myself!” Arg. This outsourcing stuff is NOT as easy as it looks.

Week 3: Went to Dona Ana Beach with the Bowman family where this huge wave surprised everyone. Got our Costa Rican drivers license…insane inefficiency, bumble of a process, but came out of it with our license.

Look at my focus as my baby gets a face full of salt water. Wow!  @ Dona Ana Beach

Look at my focus as my baby gets a face full of salt water. Wow! @ Dona Ana Beach

Week 4: Still trying to adjust to what life looks like with 2 children. The blessings come with a serious readjustment of everything. It takes triple the amount of energy for 2 children and we love it, most times!

G & I on a mountain top in Costa Rica

G & I on a mountain top in Costa Rica

April 2011

Week 1: We finally went to our community pool, discovered a fun indoor jump castle place and went to a water park that was completely spring fed, Ojo de Agua.

Ojo de Agua, 5,000 gpm of fresh spring water!

Ojo de Agua, 5,000 gpm of fresh spring water!

Week 2: Isla got her first tooth, we discovered the best babysitter is a hammock in the yard and we enjoyed the Atenas Climate Fair, complete with an ox-cart parade.

Oxcart Parade in Atenas - Oxcarts were used to haul coffee

Oxcart Parade in Atenas - Oxcarts were used to haul coffee

Week 3:  Mama got to spend a week alone with the kids, while K went back to the states for business. Attended 2 birthday parties full of sugar, children and sugar. K brings back 2 Macs…we’ve officially switched from PC to Mac. $$$, but worth it.

G gets painted at our neighbors birthday party

G gets painted at our neighbors birthday party

Week 4:  Went to a playgroup in Escazu where we saw a giant Iguana.

Huge, beautiful Iguana in Escazu, Costa Rica

Huge, beautiful Iguana in Escazu, Costa Rica

May 2011

Week 1: May 3rd marked our 1 year anniversary in Costa Rica. So many changes this year: New country, new home, new car, new baby and new growth and perspectives. Everyone should choose to step out of their comfort zone to explore and grow.

Woo-hoo! We survived 1 year! Ups & downs.  All worth it for the refreshment of our lives!

Woo-hoo! We survived 1 year! Ups & downs. All worth it for the refreshment of our lives!

Week 2: Our monthly vacation included an all-inclusive resort. Kayaked on the Pacific, snorkeled in warm ocean water and saw colorful fish. Great vacation at the Occidental Grand Papagayo. Highly recommended for relaxation, adventure and great food & drink.

The King's @ Occidental Grand Papagayo (monthly vacations are nice!)

The King's @ Occidental Grand Papagayo (monthly vacations are nice!)

Week 3: Did Acro-yoga for the first time and loved it. Went to another Yoga festival. Hired out our customer service so that K didn’t have to be tied to the computer.

G standing in a tunnel made out of plastic soda bottle caps

G standing in a tunnel made out of plastic soda bottle caps

Week 4: Can’t believe we didn’t hire our e-cig ninjas prior to this!  It has been revolutionary.  Went to an Organic Farmer’s Market in San Jose, had the best empanadas in the world. On the way back we spotted a festival in San Jose (Fall in Love with Your City Fest). Had fun watching aerial and tango dancing, playing lots of games and eating.

Aerial dancers in San Jose, Costa Rica

Aerial dancers in San Jose, Costa Rica

June 2011

Week 1: This month we spent our monthly vacation in Puerto Viejo.  Four days playing on the 3rd most beautiful beach in the world, Punta Uva, snorkeling in crystal clear Caribbean waters, kayaking through the jungle and waking up to howler monkeys and toucans.We also got to play with monkeys!

Punta Uva, Caribbean Coast - Costa Rica

Punta Uva, Caribbean Coast - Costa Rica

That is a monkey on my back and one on my front, too.

That is a monkey on my back and one on my front, too.

Week 2: This week we were rolling out a redesign of our site, so lots of work.  This is our morning. K & S: cooking breakfast, feeding both kids, working on their computers while chatting online with China & Bangledesh, and having their own coffee. Wow…lots of simultaneous things in the morning sprint. High fives afterward.

This is the reality of multi-tasking in the morning with 2 children.

This is the reality of multi-tasking in the morning with 2 children.

Week 3:
Celebrated Father’s Day & I’s first birthday. Had a feast with delicious lasagna, garlic bread, salad, banana – chocolate crumb cake, and choco-bananas. Happy 1st Birthday to Preciosa.

Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday!

Week 4: Another getaway for us this month…bonus!  It quickly became of our favorite places in Costa Rica, Termales del Bosque, the most amazingly natural thermal springs in the jungle. Enjoyed watching 40 horses graze on grass and one friendly goat. Saw the president of Costa Rica.

Soaking in the natural thermal pools of Termales del Bosque, in the jungle of Costa Rica

Soaking in the natural thermal pools of Termales del Bosque, in the jungle of Costa Rica

Who says he doesn't live a King's life? The boy knows how to enjoy it all.

Who says he doesn't live a King's life? The boy knows how to enjoy it all.

July 2011

Week 1: G turns 3! We had a wonderful birthday party at an indoor play place: Go Bananas! Grandma comes from the states to visit.  This is what it looks like when Grandma comes:

Oooh, the decisions of which to open first. That's why Grandmas are so awesome.

Oooh, the decisions of which to open first. That's why Grandmas are so awesome.

Week 2: Our monthly vacation to another all-inclusive, the Barcelo Langosta Beach (our favorite)! Then we toured around Lake Arenal and ended up in the cloud forest at Lands in Love, where we did some ziplining – even Grandma.

Enjoying the pool at Langosta Beach

Enjoying the pool at Langosta Beach

Week 3: More friends from the states visit and we head out to Termales del Bosque and another all-inclusive resort! We had a ball with Mike & Katy and hope that Mike’s feet have recovered from too much pool volleyball.

Love when our friends come and visit! We miss them!

Love when our friends come and visit! We miss them!

Week 4: Spent the last week of the month relaxing after all our vacation adventures.  G decides his middle name is “Flamingo”

August 2011

Week 1: We headed out to Denver for a long visit with friends, food, water parks, pool and lots of memories. Enjoyed Fat Tire beer, Olathe sweet corn, aspens, and the beautiful blue bird sky. We admit we’ve acclimated to a tropical climate, because although it was warm, S was freezing most of the time. Dang air conditioning and no humidity. Love Denver!

We couldn't stop be amazed at the clean, unbroken sidewalks. It was a different world!

Look at the clean, smooth sidewalks. It was a different world!

That is a truckload full of toddlers in Denver.

That is a truckload full of toddlers in Denver.

Week 2: Flew to Chicago to visit our family.  Shopped at Target, went to a classic car show, ate Chicago pizza & Italian beef sandwiches (ooooo…how we miss the food!). I gets to meet her other Grandma & Grandpa for the frist time. Got the best belly laugh workout listening to our friends, Diane & John’s stories. Went to Lincoln Park Zoo, drove by my Bean at Millenium Park, ate too much again but laughed it all off with college roomies. Love Chicago!

G heads out to Babcia's beautiful garden

G heads out to Babcia's beautiful garden

I & G with Dziadza

I & G with Dziadza

Week 3: Back in Costa Rica – we restocked our fridge with fresh farmer’s market produce, went to the beach, saw whales & scarlet macaws. Started talking about moving from Costa Rica to Belize, no decision yet, but just a thought.

Week 4: Welcomed a new family to Atenas with a get together at the pool.  A cow decided to join us.  Had a sushi date. Intimate, romantic, great sushi, nice music. Does it matter that is was in the car while the kids slept in their car seats? Nope. Played at the park when they woke up.

The cow at the pool.  Anything can happen in Costa Rica.

The cow at the pool. Anything can happen in Costa Rica.

September 2011

Week 1: Visited the organic farm of the lady that we always buy our veggies from at the Farmer’s Market.

Organic Farm in Grecia

Organic Farm in Grecia

Week 2: Celebrated K’s birthday with a huge campfire bash at our house!

Week 3: The festivities continue as we head to Cartago to tour the first and only craft brewing company in Central America. K is in heaven. Visited ruins and a church from the 1600s in Cartago. Spent the afternoon at The Costa Rica Craft Brewing Co. Top notch beer. Super happy husband.

Costa Rica Craft Brewing Company - I think we bought the last of their stock

Costa Rica Craft Brewing Company - I think we bought the last of their stock

Week 4: Rolled our our new 510 e-cigarette product line finally!  Whew!  And decided to start this blog to have a wonderful record and memory of living our awesomely fulfilling life. Perhaps it’ll inspire you or make you laugh.

AKingsLife.com is born.

AKingsLife.com is born.

October 2011

Week 1: Celebrated S’s birthday with a trip to Esteriollos Oeste Beach. Decided to definitely move to Belize. Started to find a home for my beautiful dogs of 9 yearsthat we brought with from the states.  Sadly, they won’t be moving on with us.

Mama & her Peeps on her birthday

Mama & her Peeps on her birthday

Week 2: Spent the week in a remote part of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula. No internet, no phones, nothing but nature and friends.

Virgin Primary Rainforest in the Osa Peninsula

Virgin Primary Rainforest in the Osa Peninsula

Week 3: It rained nonstop for 15 days straight! That meant no dry clothes. Luckily we have good friends that let us borrow their dryer for a few loads.

It rained so much, we had tiny mushrooms growing on our doormat

It rained so much, we had tiny mushrooms growing on our doormat

Week 4: Bought our one way tickets to Belize and leave in 2 weeks. Sold our car, found a home for our dogs and purging most of our stuff, again! Spent a beautiful day with friends on Playa Blanca, one of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches.

November 2011

Week 1:Got the last bit of mercury out of our mouths as we try to fit in as much cheap dental work as possible in Costa Rica.  Got a final round of acupuncture done. Had a final “Raid my pantry” party with lots of homemade vegetarian sushi and pitaya ice-cream.

Veggie Sushi at our "Pantry Raid" party, Pantry, not Panty.

Veggie Sushi at our "Pantry Raid" party, Pantry, not Panty.

Week 2: Weighing and re-weighing luggage. 6 bags with a generous 70 lb limit, thank goodness! We filled them all, but are amazed that our entire life is in only 6 bags and we could have cut that in half, but choose not to. Spent the last 2 nights in a swanky hotel room in Santa Ana. We arrive in Belize!

Hmmm...how to fit all of this in 6 bags?

Hmmm...how to fit all of this in 6 bags?

Does he count as a piece of luggage since I have to carry him on?

Does he count as a piece of luggage since I have to carry him on?

Week 3: Settled into our new condo right on the beach with a beautiful pool, we couldn’t be happier until we see the prices of fruits and vegetables. Ouch!  But the fresh fish is cheap! Had to do a lot of computer work to get ready for the Black Friday – Christmas Season.

Our new to us condo on Ambergris Caye

Our new to us condo on Ambergris Caye

We love our pool, our view of the reef and all the fresh coconuts!

We love our pool, our view of the reef and all the fresh coconuts!

Week 4: Went snorkeling and slowly became mesmerized at the beauty of the blue, clean ocean and the white sand beaches of Ambergris Caye. We love walking barefoot!

G on the boat during our snorkel trip

G on the boat during our snorkel trip

December 2011

Week 1: Experienced the Chicken Drop and decided to buy some transportation: beach cruisers. We also bought a fishing pole and got to work on learning how to fish off the docks.

Seriously, this was G's FIRST catch!

Seriously, this was G's FIRST catch!

Week 2: New cruisers and we cruise to the north and south, as far as 3 yr old attention spans will get us. We are loving the daily life of pool, beach, ocean views, breezes and the delicious rum.

We traded in our Costa Rican Daihatsu Terios for...beach cruisers.

We traded in our Costa Rican Daihatsu Terios for...beach cruisers.

Week 3: Ate Poisonous Lionfish, found great yoga places, and started to learn the ins and outs of this island.

Week 4: We attempted our first ‘Backpack with the Kids’trip to the southern coastal towns of Belize, utilizing buses, budget accommodations and lots of free spirit. Crazy, we know.

For some reason, my backpack got really heavy.

For some reason, my backpack got really heavy.

Thoughts on 2011

What a transformational year for us. We learned to let go and let life’s journey carry you, and we trust in that. We’ve done and seen so much and yet we have one simple goal: to enjoy the moments as much as this little girl has enjoyed her ice-cream:

Do you enjoy life this much?

Do you enjoy life this much?

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

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4 Responses to “52 Weeks Make 1 Awesome Year”

  1. Clark Vandeventer January 28, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    WOW! This really is an EPIC post. Couple of things.

    1. I can’t believe you just started this blog in October! I thought you’d been around forever!
    2. Love the photo from June: “This is the reality of multi-tasking in the morning with 2 children.” That scene is quite familiar!
    3. December: tell your son I’ve never caught a fish that big!

  2. Emily January 28, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    What a wonderful perspective on your past year. You have experienced more in one year that many people do in a lifetime. Be proud!

  3. Nicole Swort January 28, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Wonderful, Simply, Wonderful!!

  4. Brandon Pearce January 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Wow, what a great year! I’m so glad we got to spend some of that with you and even made it in your photos. 🙂 I like how you presented this, too, week by week and with photos. It makes it more interesting and real. How did you keep track of and remember what you did each week? Do you have a journal you keep track of it all in or did you just remember from looking at the pictures?

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