I am sitting on the plane waiting for take off. I feel so grateful for the adventure we found here. I always want to remember:
we handled any road bumps ie:getting lost on the way to Pomaroso, Danny missing the ferry, a flat tire leaving the Plata Pieta beach, and the first undesirable house rental-with calmness, confidence and laughter
when Danny took Sophie for a treat, she picked up a KitKat and brought it back for me because she knew I would love it
the views from our windows at the beach house (pictured above)
Ellie holding Sophie’s hand just before she jumped off the cliff
spending so much time with great friends that were kind enough to invite us along (thank you Dan and Heidi)
meeting David from Bristol, RI—and realizing we share a mutual friend, sweet Marcia Hess!
riding in the Jeep with doors and roof off, blasting our new “Puerto Rico” playlist that all eleven of us contributed too
Kate always wanting to help me with my bag (and Danny too)
wherever we went, Danny wanting to make sure I had a seat or shade or anything to make me comfortable
Danny calling Ellie and I over to fill in the sentence in the sand on the beach at our Vieques house, “I ❤️_________” and just as we got there, a wave washed it away ☺️
trying to surprise the Lowe kids when we picked them up in the Thrifty Van, ducking behind the seats blasting “Despacito”
the testimony meeting in a tiny branch on Vieques with 10-15 members
twice when tears filled my eyes and my heart was spilling over with gratitude for this messy, fun, hard, happy, crazy, peaceful, amazing life
Day seven began in the search for sea turtles. We were told by several locals to go to the Mosquito Pier and they feed in the water on the dock pilings. We headed there with snorkel gear and high hopes. We were sure to have success since our last day in Hawaii we found sea turtles. We peaked over the side up and down the pier with no sightings. Then a few of us, the more adventurous ones, jumped with gear. Unfortunately, there were no turtles in sight. A few fish only.
Waiting for the snorkelers…
Then we headed to Pata Prieta…we could take beach life for several more weeks I think. We met a man, David Barros, who is from Bristol, RI. I asked him if he knew Aunt Jossy. He didn’t think so, but he did know our sweet friend Marcia Hess…and had been to Hog Island! It is a small world!
Leaving Pata Prieta, we got a flat tire. When we rented the Jeep we were given a can of fix-a-flat. I guess it happens often. The girls will miss having a Jeep to drive around, especially with out the top and doors.
Danny didn’t let a day pass by while were there that he didn’t do sit-ups on the beach. 🙂
The only item on our schedule today was church. We met the missionaries while we were out the day before. They confirmed their meeting was at 11:00 a.m. There are about 10-15 attending members of their branch. We loved getting to know the people there. It was a testimony meeting. Danny and Dan both bore their testimonies in Spanish. I conversed with a few people in Spanish after the meeting too. When we came home after lunch, Sophie and Ellie told Danny that he could speak to them only in Spanish to help them learn the language. I told him I would hold down the English in the household. I do speak Spanish. But it doesn’t remotely feel like a language I can speak with ease anymore. The more I have been around it this trip…the more comfortable I feel.
After church we stopped for our favorite ice cream and then lunch. We stayed around the beach house a lot.
I took some photos of Ellie before sunset…REALLY wishing I had brought my Canon 5d! It would have been heavy…but REALLY worth it! Especially the night of the Bioluminescent tour. My markiii is the only camera we own that could have handled that.
We ended the night with a BBQ poolside. It was a great day!
Breakfast early and out the door, to beat the Saturday beach crowd, this morning. We chose Caracas Beach (on the island of Vieques) today. The kids liked it so much they didn’t even ask for food. The sand was white, soft and WARM! The water was clearer than any ocean water I have been in. We even saw a crab (the size of a salad plate) walking by along the ocean floor without goggles!
We left the beach just before two. We were headed to lunch (Buga’s Restaurant) and saw some missionaries on the side of the road. Danny, Dan and I all served missions so we have a soft spot for the elders (and sisters). We pulled over and asked about church tomorrow. We also asked if we could take them to dinner Monday. They said YES! One of them, Elder Poulton, is from Bountiful!
We ate lunch at Buga’s and then ice cream at a shop around the corner from that. There were showers and naps when we got back to the beach house. Kate was up and ready before anyone else so we took my little Olympus and did a mini shoot-
Soon after the photo shoot we made spaghetti dinner. We cleaned up quickly and headed out the door for a bioluminescent kayak bay tour at Mosquito Bay. I am telling you, it was amazing. My Canon 5d might have been able to capture some of it, but the GoPro and phone camera were no match for the darkness. Seeing the water glow in glass bottom kayaks was something we hope we never ever forget. The sky full after stars was fantastic too. This is a BEAUTIFUL part of the world!
I don’t know what the rest of our time in Puerto Rico has in store for us, but the tour we had this morning made the whole trip worth it!
We met Alex from Paradise Tours at 8:00 am. We piled out of our Thrifty Car Rental Van (which had “Thrifty Car Rental Van” detailed all over the van) dressed in clothes we could get wet and shoes that would stay on our feet (I was grateful for my Keens!) There were two additional adventures we met on the tour. Kara and Christian were a mother and son duo from the outer banks North Carolina. We quickly became fast friends. As a group, we cheerfully followed Alex who was a fantastic guide. He took us on the trail to El Yunque National Forest. We climbed through mud, slippery rock and river beds. Alex led us to beautiful pools for swimming, rope swings for jumping and cliffs for falling. There was even a natural water slide! We absolutely LOVED it! Sadly, because there is so much water involved they ask you to leave your cell phones behind. We did bring our GoPro- with a dead battery (UGGGGG!) Danny remembered to plug it in the night before, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. But unfortunately, it never charged. They do take photos of you as part of the tour. I will include some of their photos here. The rest can be found on their Facebook page.
The girls and Danny jumped, slid and swung with every opportunity! They are AMAZING! I am happy to report that I slid down the slide and took the plunge after one swing on the rope. All of the LOWE/DAVIS kids took full advantage of every adventurous opportunity. We all left the experience thrilled to have been part of it. Dan (Lowe) had a mismatched pair of flip flops to remember the adventure by.
Thank you Alex!
We piled back in the van for some traditional sandwiches! They were delicious! And we were HUNGRY. Then straight to the ferry for the next leg of our adventure- Vieques Island!
Danny dropped us all off at the ferry and raced to the closest Thrifty Car Rental to return the van. We bought the ferry tickets and lugged all of our bags to the waiting area near the dock. We watched the clock as the boarding time got closer and Danny wasn’t back. We were hoping for inefficiency so he would have a few minutes to spare. Unfortunately they boarded the ferry quickly and it pulled away from the dock at 2:29 instead of the scheduled 2:30. Danny pulled up at 2:33. We had to board without him, because it is no fun sitting for hours with 7 restless children AND our car rentals for the island were expecting us. So we went on and Danny got a two hour nap while he waited for the next ferry over.
We woke up this morning on a beautiful coffee farm- Cafe Pomarrosa. The rooms/cabins were beautiful, clean and comfortable. Eva and Kirk, the owners and hosts are two delightful people, passionate about their work. The breakfast they served was delicious- especially the fresh fruit and fried plantains.
After breakfast we enjoyed a fascinating tour of the farm and their process of making specialty Puertarican coffee. We loved it!
After the tour we headed into Ponce for lunch and ice cream-
And then our home for the night…and more importantly, it’s beach
I didn’t get to the shore fast enough to snap a photo of Kate. She jumps in for a swim as quick as she can and stays the last minute possible. I love how much they love the ocean!
Our friends Dan & Heidi called us in December- “Hey wanna come with us and take the kids to Puerto Rico!?” We checked flights and told them we were in the next day. We flew on different airlines. Our family of 5 landed a few hours earlier. We rented a large passenger van grabbed some gelato at Piu Bello and went back to the airport when it was time for them to land!
Some of the highlights of today:
lunch where fried plantains, rice and beans, with cornbread sticks were the highlight.
tour of Castillo San Felipe
Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Frankie’s 10th birthday today! (I can’t believe she is 10!)
The sights are beautiful, but truly the warm ocean breeze has put all of those smiles on our faces. It feels so good to defrost!
Annie had her final dress fitting (she’s getting married in July!). It was the perfect excuse for a sister trip to NYC! Her dress is being made by Laure de Sagazan. It is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t show it here, it is a surprise until the big day, but I do have a few photos from their NYC shop-
Some of the highlights of our trip were:
09/11 Memorial Museum, Mean Girls the musical, shopping in Soho, eating at: Antique Garage, Balthazar, and the view from our AirBnB!
The first day in 2019 began in CA! Any year that begins by the ocean has to be a good one! In my first yoga class in 2019, the instructor talked about goals: 17% of the population have goals. 14% of those have a plan in mind but are unwritten. 3% of those people write down their goals. The study stated that those with goals are 10x more successful than those without. And those that write their goals down are 3x more successful beyond that 10x. The study she was quoting wasn’t referenced in class—but it definitely worth putting to our own test!
some NEW YEAR goal inspiration I have found:
These books: THE LIST by Yuval Abramovitz (the idea is a fun one…an more than anything got me in a mindset of thinking up dreams and possibilities) THE SELF DRIVEN CHILD by William Stixrud (totally changed my parenting approach in 2019)
I can’t stop thinking about this podcast- training ourselves to think! I LOVED IT!
another podcast…but really! I think I am going to have this episode on repeat for awhile.
The challenges given in this talk. As the year 2018 was drawing to a close I felt spiritually disconnected. Doing my best to keep the challenges suggested in President Nelson’s talk, I have felt a shift in my heart. A shift from cynicism to faith. A greater desire to seek spiritual sources. My heart drifted from some distractions that were pulling me, not in a necessarily bad place, just away from my goals.
I would love to know what is inspiring you at the start of this year! I am ready for 2019 to be the best year yet!