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  • Welcome to our blog!

    It seems crazy. Ten years ago Clint and I had just gotten married, and we were so young and carefree. It was just the two of us and life was pretty easy. The house stayed (reasonably) clean, we went out when we wanted, and traveled to some pretty incredible places. We didn't have a whole lot of responsibility, pretty much just to ourselves.

    Fast forward to 2014 and we now have three miniature versions of ourselves, two girls and a boy in the middle. Hayley is six and is as spunky and prissy as can be. Colin is almost five and is the nuttiest little thing imaginable, but oh so sweet. And Sydney, our littlest, thinks she's six and is already the comedian in the family. Despite our kiddos being so little, they not only now outnumber us, but they have managed to turn our world upside down. But we wouldn't have it any other way. We love 'em to pieces!

    The blog is filled with the weekly happenings within the Stuckey family, some funny, some touching, and some a little zany and crazy. Life is definitely better with kids in it! We love ours to pieces. Images + Words = Memories.

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Costa Rica Day 1: Flying in, Market Lunch, Check into The Springs at Arenal

Wow!  Clint and I had the most amazing vacation!  If you were to ask me what was one thing I would do differently, I wouldn’t have an answer.  It was just that good!  Our vacation really felt like two vacations in one.  The first vacation was to the rainforests of Arenal and second vacation to the beautiful beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula.  Both are two of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my entire life!  Maybe there was even a third vacation thrown in there, our daytrip into Nicaragua, which was equally as amazing in it’s own right.

Just before our trip we found out that the Kardashians had just gotten back from Costa Rica.  Want to guess the two places they stayed?  The exact two same places we stayed, The Springs Resort and Spa in Arenal and on the Papagayo Peninsula (a $12m house just down the road from our hotel).  But they ate dinner at our hotel and we went to the private beach we did.  They must have come across my vacation playbook!

We touched down in Costa Rica on Friday afternoon June 9th (which ironically was five years to the day we last arrived in Costa Rica).  We hopped off the plane and fifteen minutes later were in a private van on our way to Arenal!  It helps when you only travel with carry-ons!

We made a quick (okay, Linsey quick) stop at the Costa Rican supermarket to buy some snacks and drinks.  There was a little cafeteria inside the supermarket with the real authentic food that the Costa Rican’s eat.  It was a little shady, but the food was great!!  Next door, I grabbed my first “real” Costa Rican hat (only later to find out that it was made in Irvine, CA) and some coconut water.  I’m not really into coconut water, but it made for a good picture.  We hopped back into the van and away we drove to Arenal.

Costa Rica is amazing!  Even the three hour drive to the resort felt like part of the adventure.  The Springs Resort and Spa in Arenal was hands-down the most incredible hotel we’ve ever been to. When you arrive you are greeted with the most spectacular view of the Arenal volcano and the valley below.  The hotel is situated on the side of a mountain giving every room, pool, restaurant, and everywhere you look an incredible view!

The hotel staff brought us a fruity welcome drink and then took us on a golf cart ride to our room, which was directly below the pools.  Looking back, we probably had the best room in the whole property location-wise.   The bridge from the resort area led directly to our room.  When we got inside our room we are blown away by the majestic beauty!  We had the most amazing view of the Arenal volcano and the valley below.  I am so glad we upgraded to the second floor so we could see everything.

The room was absolutely spectacular with teak wood everywhere, the most gorgeous Costa Rican flower arrangement I have ever seen, and a welcome fruit plate.  But the balcony is what did it for me!  Outside was a table and chairs, two rocking chairs, and two hammocks!  We could have been happy just staying right there, but we knew there was lots of exploring to do!

This place is truly amazing!  Clint described the resort as magical, and he couldn’t have been more spot on.  There were warm hot spring pools everywhere, so I’m right out in the open and some hidden.  Since it was starting to rain, we decided to grab dinner and then hit the Hot Spring pools after.  But first, drinks!  We grabbed a Pina Colada from the fourth story open air bar and watched the sunset over the Arenal Volcano.  It was stunning!  Clint was in the mood to eat Sushi, so we chillaxed outside at the sushi bar watching the rain come down. It was pretty perfect.

As we are walking back to our room I decided to take my shoes off and step into the beach entry of one of the Hot Springs.  Only it wasn’t a beach entry and I fell right in!  Luckily I was wearing my swimsuit and a swimsuit cover-up but still I fell right in!  Okay, what the heck, let’s go swimming!  So Clint jumped in and we went swimming in the hot springs in the rain.  It was pretty magical!  There was even a place where we could hide go under the rock overhang so we were still in the rain, but hided from it.  Love this place!!

iPhone Pics:

Costa Rica Day 1

 

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Keaton & Golden Picnic

Keaton and Golden are SO cute together!!  They totally crack me up.  I was busy cleaning up downstairs and looked over to see that Keaton having a tea party with the animals.  He must have grabbed Golden and a couple of random stuffed animals he found around the house and brought them over for a tea party.  Keaton was feeding the animals and giving them little sips of water.  It was SO cute!!  Of course, when Keaton saw me, he got totally embarrassed.  Love him!

Keaton & Golden Picnic

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Hayley, Colin & Sydney Start Team Gymnastics

When the kids were taking gymnastics rec classes, it seemed like FOREVER before they would ever been on team.  And sitting back and waiting was hard because you never know if they are ever even going to make team.  Gymnastics is very different than other sports because you can’t just sign up and be on the team.  You have to be “invited” to the team.  Only the most talented kids get that opportunity.  But it was SO worth the wait.  Hayley, Colin, and Sydney needed to work towards something and I needed to learn patience.  Finally, we they all got invited to be on team (see quite a few blog posts back) and I had this Hallelujah moment!!  I was SO happy!!  They were SO happy!!  But what came kind of surprised us all.

I learned quickly that team gymnastics is VERY different than recreational gymnastics.  Recreational gymnastics is all fun and games.  It is SO much fun!  The kids LOVED it!!  Team gymnastics is WORK mixed in with a little fun.  But the payoff comes through team building, by accomplishing things you never thought were possible, and by standing on the podium at the end of a meet and having a medal placed around your neck.  You can’t get that by staying with rec gymnastics.

I won’t lie; the first week of team practice (aka “hell week”) was brutal.  But, it was meant to be rough.  All three kids wanted to quit.  Both Colin and Sydney cried the first week.  The second and third weeks weren’t any better.  But once I got them there they were fine, so I knew they would be okay.  It was still hard for me to watch.  By the fourth week the tide turned and they started loving gymnastics again, like really LOVING gymnastics.  And they all love being part of the team.

Colin especially, is now totally drinking the Kool-Aid.  He LOVES being on the gymnastics team, loves to be pushed down in the splits, loves the hard workouts, and THRIVES on the feeling of mastering a new skill.  Colin will sometimes come home complaining that the workouts weren’t hard enough.

For Hayley, gymnastics is her outlet.  She loves being out on the floor.  She isn’t as self-motivated as Colin, but gymnastics her favorite thing to too.  She LOVES being on the gymnastics team and calling herself a gymnast.

As for Sydney, she loves having fun with her new friends.  Sydney will do anything when it’s with friends.  She’s still silly and goofy and doesn’t always take gymnastics seriously, but she joined the team when she was just five.  I wouldn’t want her to be anything other than silly and goofy at age five.  I am so immensely proud of them all!  Here’s Sydney with her Training Level 3 Team (pink and purple leotard) with Coach Denson and Coach Devon.  I need to grab pictures of the others.

Kids Start Team Gymnastics

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