Costa Rica Day 2 :: Explore

Dee and Trey in water Dee and Trey on Rocks Dee and Trey over Pennisula Dee Big Palm Playa Blanca Dee Floating in Water Dee in water Playa Blanca Dee Ohm Underwater Dee Running Road in Rainforest Dee Running Up from Water Family on golf cart Famous Palm Nell & Dee in Water Playa Blanca Nell and Dee over Pennisula Nell and Steve on Rocks Nell Flying from Beach Nell Hanging on Palm Nell on Road Rainforest  Nell Walking down Playa Blanca Over Pennisula Palm Shadow Playa Blanca Rock on Beach Up Close Steve in water Playa Blanca Steve on Playa Blanca Steve Walking Away Playa Blanca Steve waving from House Patio Sunrise over Mountain Sunset Day 2 Trey in Rainforest Trey in Water with Mask Trey on Rocks Trey on Steves Shoulders Trey Walking behind Playa Blanca Trey walking Playa Blanca Tropical Bird on Beach

Day two was spent exploring. And man, we had no idea just how much there was to see.  We rented a house but the house was on the grounds of an 800 acre gated rainforest resort (Punta Leona).  Our adventures included checking out two beaches; Playa Mantas and Playa Blanca, rainforest trails, golf cart trails, multiple swimming pools, local snacks, etc.  Everything was incredibly lush  and tropical.  The beaches were amazing especially Playa Blanca. It was perfect-o. Playa Blanca was separated by a rock structure in the middle where one side was flat for snorkeling and the other side had surfable waves.  The sand was pure white and there was a snack bar with delicious piña coladas. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Costa Rica Day 1 :: First Impressions

Alligators SizedView from Patio No Rail Steve and Trey Beach Day One River View Pennisula Day One Nell and Dee Hug Beach Day One Nell and Dee Beach Day one

The ride from the main airport (San Jose) in Costa Rica is far from either coastline.  This was just fine for us as we booked a private driver to take us from the airport to our rental house on the central Pacific coast.  The lengthy drive of two hours allowed us the opportunity to take in the countryside, stop at the river to see the dinosaur sized alligators, visit delicious fruit stands and stop at the grocery in the afternoon rain storm.

Once we got to the resort, we were wowed with beauty.  It was a tropical oasis like I had never seen before and that says a lot as I live in tropical south Florida and have been to Hawaii twice.  Lush doesn’t even describe the views.  The view from the house that we rented certainly didn’t disappoint.  The view in reality far exceeded the pictures.  As I looked at the view of the Pacific Ocean from our patio for the very first time all I could think was, man this looks so much like Hanalei Bay in Kauai; horseshoe bay on the Pacific Ocean. I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful view.

As I mentioned from my previous post (Costa Rica Day Pic of the Day 1), there were several things learned from our first day.

  1. The grocery stores are intimidating.  Literally everything is in Spanish and we are most definitely a no hablo español family.  It took me a good 10 minutes to find the salt in the spice isle.
  2. The bugs are ginormous! You can see the segments of an ant in great detail from a standing position.
  3. The sun starts to rise at 4:45 am.  The sun glaring in your window by 5 am means that you get up really early.  I am most definitely a morning person so this made me a happy girl.
  4. The sun sets at 6 pm. Love this!  It means that we can go to bed early (by 8:30pm).  Woo hoo!
  5. Falling asleep to the crashing waves and sounds of the rainforest makes for the best sleep of all time.  Listen at the link below.  There is nothing more peaceful to fall asleep to than this.

https://soundcloud.com/nell-handley/costa-rica-rainforest

6 Months

mom smelling roses

6 months. It has been 6 months since our lives were turned upside down and inside out. It has been 6 months since I received the worst and most shocking call of my life and witnessed a moment in time that I hope no one will ever have to experience.

Today marks the 6 month point since my moms tragic car accident. It was a moment in our lives that we will never forget. As I look back on that time, especially the first two weeks, I remember mourning my mother’s death at least 15 times. Yes, I actually mourned her death, not just once but 15 times. Can you imagine? It was a yo-yo experience where we toggled between hope and hopelessness; between thinking she may make it and thinking we would lose her forever. I can’t describe in words what this emotional state truly felt like. It was the worst feeling that I had ever experienced in my entire life.  No one has a picture of what mom looked like when Earl, dad and I walked into that hospital room for the first time on Friday, December 19, 2014. No one but the three of us saw her early on. I’ll be perfectly honest.  It was simply too difficult to see. I will say this though. There are actually three pictures of what those early days looked like; not physical pictures but one picture etched into each of our brains (Earl, dad and me). It is a picture that is as real as any picture you can hold in your hand. I can tell you that this picture is with me all the time no matter where I go. I close my eyes and there it is. But the amazing miracle is that now I can open my eyes and see my sweet and beautiful mama standing right in front of me.

As I sit on this side of that 6 month point, I am in awe, completely wowed and forever grateful. This has been the hardest 6 months of our lives especially dad’s, but by God’s grace, His miraculous works and one answered prayer after another, we are on the road to recovery. Mom has gone through nearly 10 surgeries, 3 months of hospitalization, 6 rooms changes, 1 TB scare, 1 move home, 50 days of rehab (and counting), at least 30 doctor visits, lots of family and friend visits, many miracles and lots of love. As incredibly difficult as this has been, we have seen many blessings. Our family is closer than ever before and we’ve seen God work like never before. For the first time, we have a whole new (and correct) perspective on life. I truly believe that God is far from finished with mom (and dad for that matter). Look how far she’s come in 6 months! She truly is a living miracle! I cannot wait to see what the next 6 months will bring. There are big plans in store and feel incredibly blessed to be a small part of this bigger plan and even bigger story.

(This picture (taken earlier this week) depicts perfectly one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned the last 6 months.  Take one day at at time. Live in the moment. Enjoy the moment. It’s all we are guaranteed. As mom shows it best, take time to stop and smell the roses.) Also, I have learned that my dad is a superhero! I don’t know where we would be without this amazing man.

P.S. A special thank you to those of you who have stuck by us through this journey in love, support and prayer.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.  We love each of you!

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 6

Costa Rica Big Wave

Day six; the last full day in Costa Rica.  What a fantastic adventure!  Life certainly has many ups and downs.  I’m so glad I get to experience all of them with this guy by my side.  Costa Rica, you were certainly one of the ups in our life.  Can’t wait to go back and explore more of this beautiful country.  Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 5

Trey Looking at Ocean from Rocks

Being out there in the ocean, God’s creation, it’s like a gift He has given us to enjoy.” -Bethany Hamilton

 

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 4

Steve and Trey Catch Wave Sunset

Sunsets and catching waves.  Both were spectacular.

Costa Rica lessons learned today:

  1. 5 and 6 foot waves surmount and break at the shore.
  2. Sunsets in Costa Rica are better than Florida.
  3. Taco bars are awesome.
  4. Sometimes the best adventures aren’t the ones you planned.

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 3

Dee Zip Line Small on Big Mtn

The day was amazing exploring the rainforest via horseback, ATV, rappel and zip line. The views were breathtaking!

Things learned today:

  1. Costa Rica time is different than American time.
  2. “A problem is not a problem until you make it a problem.” -Lemar our tour guide.
  3. Every medicinal cure is found in the rainforest.
  4. Wifi and connection to the outside world is very scarce. No connection really puts things into perspective. 

 

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 2

Big Palm Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca; a beach divided by rocks.  One side of the beach is flat for swimming and snorkeling and the other half has waves that are of size to surf.  The sand is white (hence the name) and sparkles like glitter in the sun.  The scenery is lush and tropical.  It just doesn’t get any more perfect than this!

Things I learned today about Costa Rica:

  1. The sun is blazing hot.  I watched my skin darkening before my eyes (I’m not exaggerating).
  2. A massage in Costa Rica was better than any in the US.
  3. Not only will bugs enter your house, so will crabs.
  4. The sunsets are breathtaking.

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 1

Costa Rica View

The view from our patio.  Things I’ve learned so far about Costa Rica:

  1. The grocery stores are intimidating.
  2. The bugs are ginormous!
  3. The sun starts to rise at 4:45 am.
  4. The sun sets at 6 pm.
  5. Falling asleep to the crashing waves and sounds of the rainforest makes for the best sleep of all time.

 

Graduate #2

This kid just finished his last day of middle school and he finished the year with honors! I am so proud of him and cannot wait to see what the high school years hold. I know God has big things in store for you. Way to go Trey! Love you, bud!