Sunday, January 15, 2017

Back to Normal

This week we're back to life as "normal." Whatever that means for a bunch of fish out of water! We really are feeling much more at home here and sights that used to be so foreign are now quite familiar. The kids went back to school on Wednesday and were so ready to get back to a predictable schedule and see their friends!

We swam this week! It was breezy and just a little too chilly to stay in long. The kids love swimming though! Check out that big smile on Layne!
My sister Lynn researched a bunch of Geocaches right here in Managua and on Saturday we took our first cache hunting expedition! The kids LOVED it! They caught right on to finding the coordinates and then searching for the "treasure." Reid even found one of the caches!





Saturday kind of had a mind of it's own. We ran a few errands that needed to be done then after lunch we hunted the geocaches. While we were out we drove past a big circus tent. On a whim we decided to go check it out. It turns out there was a circus performance that evening and they were selling tickets 2 for the price of 1! We thought, what the heck, and bought ourselves tickets for that evening! Our expectations were all over the board. The kids were hoping for tigers jumping through flaming hoops and elephants juggling peanuts. Mitchell and I weren't quite sure what to expect. Clowns for sure, maybe some dancing? We were all enchanted and quite blown away at what a great show it was!!

We decided to spring for front row! The tickets were 2 for 1 afterall!


This juggler was impressive and had a fun stage presence!


Uncle Spencer introduced Audrey to a quick change magic YouTube video quite a while ago and she loved it! She has even practiced the craft at home inside of a sleeping bag on a number of occasions! She was totally entranced by this number.




The flying acrobats were really fun to watch! It was nerve wracking for me though! I keep hoping my boys will want to play the violin rather than play football, ride bulls in the rodeo or compete in motocross! Momma doesn't need anymore gray hairs!


Though this is a traveling circus group from all over Latin America these strong men are from Nicaragua. Way to represent! They were incredible!




Audrey was a BIG fan of the Frozen visitors! Anna, Olaf and Elsa each performed a song and dance! Let it Go sung by Elsa herself is so magical even in Spanish! It was sweet to hear so many little princesses in the audience singing along!




Bumblebee was awesome!! Toward the end of the show a yellow Camaro drove out on to the stage. It didn't occur to me that it was anything more than a sports car out there to rev the engine and look cool. It was revving the engine and driving forward and back right there in front of us on the stage! **I'll be honest, I was planning my emergency escape route in case he popped the clutch and ended up in our laps.**

 





It was a really fun show!


Monday, January 9, 2017

First Visitors!!

We had our first visitors and it was so fun!! We absolutely loved sharing our Nica lives and adventures with my mom and her husband Ron! We were so excited to show them everything and experience everything with them, we really packed it in! Fair warning, the following post is mega long, detailed and full of pictures. We enjoyed keeping a travel log of our adventures and memories. The average blog visitor may prefer to skim. :)

Monday December 26

Redick and Audrey and I picked up Mom and Ron at the airport around noon and we came straight home to drop off their luggage and eat some lunch. Before we headed out for our first Nicaraguan adventure Audrey and Reid performed a birthday dance for all of us in Mitchell’s honor. We went to downtown Managua to Puerto Allende and Avenida Bolivar where there are several fun things to see and do. Up and down Avenida Bolivar (the main road down to the port) were about 20 stage sized nativity scenes set up. They had lights, some had music and they were each unique. We saw the shore of Lake Managua (Xolotlan) and the Tree of Life sculptures and the flags at the boardwalk. The Tree of Life statues are all over Managua and are a gift from the First Lady (who is also the Vice President) to the people of Nicaragua. We visited a Nicaraguan history museum, toured a retired passenger jet, saw a miniature model of what Managua looked like before the devastating earthquake of 1972. It is very interesting to note that Managua was much more developed back then than it is now. Between the wars, revolutions and corruption of the last several decades Nicaragua has had a hard time rebuilding its economy. We got dinner at a restaurant right there at Puerto Allende and the food was typical Nica food and very yummy.












Tuesday December 27

We planned a busy day exploring Masaya and the treasures it has to offer! We started with Volcan Masaya. About a year ago Volcan Masaya shifted a little and the crater opened up and you can look down and see a lake of boiling lava! It is an incredible sight! We enjoyed the volcano museum and saw beautiful local art, models of volcanoes, a beautiful view of the lush valley and even a family of bats that live inside the museum.
Next up: Coyotepe. Coyotepe was a military fortress used in many of the wars of the past century. There are even 2 levels of underground dungeons that held up to 800 prisoners as recently as 1983. Now it is owned by the Boy Scouts of America in Nicaragua. They use the site for their Jamboree and I imagine they use the funds collected from tourists for the maintenance. The fortress is set high up on a steep hill which made it advantageous for defense. Melanie laced up her running shoes and got in quite a workout running up the hill while the rest of the group rode comfortably in the car to the top.
After the fortress tour we got some lunch in Masaya at another Nicaraguan typical food restaurant. It was good and Ron rediscovered Passion Fruit juice or Maracuya. He drank it frequently on his Mission to Brazil and really enjoyed tasting it again.
After lunch Mitchell took the 3 boys to the park to play and Ron, Mom, Audrey and I perused the Masaya artisan market. We found some real treasures! A few of them followed us home. Ron got a nice leather cow hide cowboy hat, Mom got some parrot earrings and an embossed metal nativity scene and Melanie also got a metal nativity.
To finish off the day we walked around the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo overlook at sunset. The temperature was absolutely perfect too! We let the 3 big kids take a short horseback ride and then got delicious ice cream bars from a street vendor. At 50 cents a piece it’s an easy choice!
Before going home for the night Mom and Ron got to experience our favorite El Salvadorian pupusas restaurant. Pupusas are like stuffed corn tortillas/pancakes with meat/beans/cheese inside and cooked on a grill. They serve them with a marinated cabbage salad on top and spicy tomato salsa if you like. We all love them and it’s awesome because we can feed our family of 6 for less than $6!
Again, we came home totally exhausted!


Reid the bat

Audrey the parrot

Redick the monkey

Layne the parrot

View down into the crater of Volcan Masaya

See the glowing red lava?!!









Wednesday December 27

Wednesday was our day to explore Leon. It is about an hour drive from Managua but the views are beautiful! We consider the scenic drives to be exciting activities in and of themselves! We saw Volcan Momotombo from many angles and lots of lush valleys. One of the first things we saw in the main square in Leon were several more nativity sets. It’s neat living in such an openly Catholic country where professions of faith in Jesus Christ are very common. Across from the main square is a large painted mural that represents Nicaragua’s history starting with the pre-Colombian indigenous people all the way through many wars and revolutions to present day. Mitchell has learned a lot about the historical facts, people and places so he guided this portion of the tour. Then he took the kids to play and explore in the square while Mom, Ron and I climbed up to the bell tower and the rooftop of the largest cathedral in all of Central America. The long name of the cathedral is
Real and Renowned Basilica Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Real e Insigne Basílica de la Asunción de la Bienaventurada Virgen María
The rooftop is gorgeous! It is all painted white and has beautiful parapets and domes. Also, we had an amazing view of all of the city and the string of volcanoes that surround Leon! The panorama of volcanoes started with San Cristobal (the tallest volcanic peak in Nicaragua) then Telica, Cerro Negro, El Hoyo, Momotombo and Momotombito. It’s breathtaking! On our way down from the roof we could see Mitchell and the kids playing in the plaza in front of the cathedral. Some locals had set up a couple of trampolines and a couple of improvised carousels and the kids were totally entertained! Genius!
We walked a few blocks through the city and visited the Museum of Nicaraguan Culture and Legends. One main theme that carries through in the legends is the oppression and maltreatment by the Spaniards. So many of the legends are very dark and macabre. It’s a bit depressing. The location of the museum was used as a prison by the Somoza regime and was built in 1921. Grandpa and Grandma and the kids enjoyed walking around the upper wall that was used for surveillance.
By this time we were pretty hungry so we fueled up at Pizza Hut. By the way, it’s adorable the way Layne likes to chant “Pizza HUT! Pizza HUT!”
After lunch we drove over to the ruins of the original site of Leon. It was founded in the 1520s but the city was abandoned in 1610 when Volcan Momotombo erupted and covered the city with ash. This site was new territory for us and was much more and better than I expected! We had a guide who showed us the ruins and told us the history.  Settled in 1524 by Spanish Conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba who was beheaded by his second in command two years later.  The town was abandoned in 1610 due to an earthquake which resulted in irreparable damage to the infrastructure and the eruption of volcan Momotombo. The town was relocated to the present day Leon.  The ruins were discovered in 1967 and an extensive excavation project was undertaken.  Some buildings there were 3 monasteries, large home owned by a wealthy Spaniard, a cathedral, a fort, numerous smaller houses and buildings.
After our tour we drove behind the volcanoes to get a different view until dark, then we turned around and drove back home.  We had meatball sandwiches when we arrived back home.







































Thursday, December 28

In the morning we took a hike to Chocoyero Nature Preserve.  On the drive we saw pineapple plantations, banana farms, coffee plants and dragon fruit plants but the dragon fruit was not producing.  On our hike, we saw the national bird, Guardabarranco.  We looked for monkeys, we could hear them but we didn’t see any.  It rained hard but we were protected by the jungle canopy.  We really liked seeing the giant trees with the cascading ribbon root system.  We found a cable hanging from a tree and improvised a swing from Ron and Mitchell’s belts.  The kids loved that!  We saw the waterfall.  We saw lots of butterflies.  

There was an example of a rural restroom.  This one had no toilet paper--bring your own.  Put the toilet paper into a bucket inside the restroom.  Flush with a jug full of water from a barrel.  Use your own hand sanitizer.  Some restrooms are fee based--pay for the toilet paper and the privilege of the facilities.  

We stopped at PriceMart for lunch.  Melanie and Bev picked up supplies for Selva Negra and Mitchell got lunch at the food mart.  Then we headed out for Selva Negra.  Mitchell took a back way to avoid some of the Managua traffic.  The back way came out by the airport.  It worked out great.  We stopped and bought bananas in Sebaco.  There was raw sewage running in the gutters in the streets.  Mitchell and the kids stayed in the car.  Melanie, Ron and Bev went to the market for the bananas.  After numerous potty breaks, we arrived in Matagalpa.  We could see the large cross up on the hill.  We took a side trip to the White Waterfall--Cascada Blanca.  Melanie and Bev checked it out in the dark and deemed it worthy of a return trip the following day.  Then we drove to Selva Negra to check into the hotel.  We ate dinner first and it took forever--75 minutes for them to take our order and serve our food.  Way too long for starving children.   We had a 4 bedroom cabin that was built in a German style.  The cabin was out in the woods and up in the mountains.  It was chilly.  We were all tired.  We got the kids to bed.  The adults visited for a few minutes and then followed the children to their beds.



Look at my tootsie roll mustache!










Friday, December 30, 2016

Short hike in the forest looking for monkeys and birds.
10:00 am Farm Tour
Coffee plants, green houses, vegetable gardens, compost: human and cow feces, coffee bean hulls, worms.
Collect worms in a long concrete basin. To harvest the worms they starve the basin for 1 week then put food in the corners of the basin. One week later the worms have all traveled to the corners and they remove the composted worm soil from the center of the basin and leave the worms behind.
School and homes for workers families. All needs of workers are met: home, food, job, medical care etc. They only pay electric.
Saw bird house. 500 chickens produce 450 eggs/day. Quail. We saw quail hatching! Geese too.
Pigs, baby pigs. Cows, baby cows. A couple of calves were only 2 days old!
Lunch at cabin. Sandwiches, fruit etc.
Kids and Mitchell went horseback riding while Ron, Bev, Melanie and Layne toured the orchid garden.
Took a longer hike on the beautiful trails. Then we had a sampling of delicious cakes! Double Chocolate, Walnut Brownie, Banana Cake with cream cheese frosting, Boston Cream Pie. Everyone but Melanie voted banana cake as the favorite. Melanie liked the Boston Cream.
Mitchell and Melanie visited the gift shop and came home with a lovely painting of a coffee plantation.
Time to leave Selva Negra.
We stopped at Cascada Blanca in Matagalpa. It was huge and impressive. The waterfall was right off the highway and accessed by stairs down to the falls. The trail even went behind the falls and into a cave. Local legend says there are elves that live in the cave. We only saw bats.
On our way home we stopped in Sebaco for dinner and found a little comedor with hot and ready home cooked food. Typical Nica food: gallo pinto (rice and beans), beef with onion sauce, grilled chicken, fried chicken, fruit juices. It was nice that it was cafeteria style and already ready so we could get back on our way home quickly.
Took Ron to the airport late for his Red Eye.





Quail raised for eggs served in the restaurant
video


The tree at the top with yellow green leaves is a cinnamon tree. We got to taste the fresh cinnamon bark.

Just hatched quail!!


A huge pile of fermenting coffee bean hulls that will be mixed into the compost to feed the coffee plants and other plants on the farm. The coffee plants get 7-10 pounds of compost per year.

Long worm bins with several million worms for making rich compost

Reid loving on a 2 day old calf!

One day old piglets!


 







"Please dad! Can't I wade across this raging river to climb that enticing staircase?"

Clever carving on a natural rock outcrop

Saturday December 31st

Mitchell took the kids for the day and Melanie and Bev adventured alone. We decided to head over to Granada. Mitchell needed the car to take the kids to the movie theater so we ventured out on public transportation. Melanie was a little nervous since it was her first trip by bus here but Mom was up for anything. We grabbed a mototaxi right out front and that was a good omen that followed us all day! The mototaxi took us to the highway where we got on the first bus that passed. It turned out to be an express bus straight to Granada so we didn’t end up stopping at every stop along the way. We got off the bus right in front of the main town square! First thing we examined the large cathedral in the city center. An artist is working on painting large murals of well known bible stories like Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark etc. We climbed up to the bell tower and had a great view of Granada and Mombacho. Then we walked down to the lake and stopped into several pretty little hotels and art shops. We hired a cute horse drawn buggy and a guide to give us a tour of the city. He showed us around for about 45 minutes and it was super interesting. We saw Violeta Chamorro’s house, she was the only female president of Nicaragua and was elected in the early 90s. A train station and old rail cars. Railroad in Nicaragua never took off so they are just on display now. The train station is now a vocational school and the 1st class train car is a restaurant for the chefs and waiters in training to use for practice. We learned that in the main part of downtown all the homes and businesses are required to keep the facade of their building in keeping with the Granada theme. They can paint the exterior of the house any color they choose, but not more than 4 colors, and they can do any updates or style changes desired on the inside. We went past a very old house that was one of the originals in Granada dating back to the 1530s. William Walker’s lived there at one time. It still belongs to his family but is only used for events, no one actually lives there. We saw a lovely Catholic church with an attached school. He took us by a garrison that was used to fortify Granada during the wars. It now has a beautiful garden behind the walls.
We got yummy taco salads for lunch then peeked into the chocolate museum. No one was making chocolate while we were there but we did see a cacoa tree with cacoa pods growing on it. They also had beautiful art work hanging in the corridors representing many central and south american countries. Next up we found a Pre-Columbian pottery and archaeology museum. Most of the pieces are the personal collection of a Danish archaeologist. When he passed away a few years ago his family asked a Canadian couple, who are also archaeologists, to curate his collection into a museum. They charge a small fee for foreign visitors but Nicaraguans can visit for free. They also have school tours and demonstrations for locals. We found another gallery that we thought was going to be an art museum but it was more of an expo-sale gallery. That worked for us, Mom got a pretty bracelet and we picked up a painting of the Nicaraguan National bird, the Guardabarranco, for Audrey and some braided leather bracelets for Redick and Reid. Last stop was the corner gelato shop for a cool treat then we found the bus home. Our good travel karma followed us because we happened to get on the same bus that took us to Granada. We both had pretty comfy seats and made it back home with no snags. The mototaxi that took us from the bus stop to home was pretty pleased to be carting around a couple of pretty gringas too. He pumped up his music and pointed us out to all of his friends! Haha!
To finish off the fun day Audrey opened a beauty salon on her balcony and offered hair brushing, a spritz of rose water and a hand massage. After the kids went to bed Mitchell, Bev and Melanie played a board game.  We went to bed exhausted but of course, it was New Year’s Eve too. From dusk until about 1:00am it sounded like a war zone with all of the fire crackers around town!
Our trusty bus that took us from Managua to Granada for $1 each!

















Sunday Jan 1 2017

We attended Sacrament meeting in the morning. Later in the afternoon we took a scenic drive up in the hills outside of Managua to an overlook in El Crucero. From the overlook we could see all of Managua and a large part of Lake Managua (Xolotan), Volcan Momotombo and Momotombito. It was a great view and worth the detour! We continued on to Rivas, the southernmost department in Nicaragua. We tried a big Nicaraguan chain restaurant that serves typical Nicaraguan food--Mi Viejo Ranchito.  They had a great playground for the kids.  They loved playing there while waiting for the food.  We decided to try a family dinner with a large selection of meats; tender steak, pork ribs, pork loin, fried chicken drums and wings and grilled chicken. The sides were gallo pinto (rice and beans), shredded cabbage salad, tajadas (fried plantain chips), maduros (ripe plantains cooked and sauteed). After dinner, we drove to our hostel in Rivas.  The accommodations were basic but met all of our needs.  The room had 5 beds and a bathroom with a shower.



Monday Jan 2

In the morning Mitchell and Audrey went early to try to reserve a spot on the ferry for our car. We were headed for Ometepe Island. Melanie had tried for 2 weeks to call for a reservation but they never answered their phones! It turned out that the ferries were full so we just went without the car. The 1 hour ferry ride from San Jorge to Moyogalpa, Ometepe started off with some comic relief! The kids wanted to sit on the outside deck rather than inside in seats. The upper deck isn’t covered and we didn’t want to get sunburned so Redick and Mitchell found a great compromise! There was a bench right at the bow of the boat, in the shade, and not only did the kids get to watch the water and the sights outside, the sailors were coiling rope and pulling in the anchor right in front of us! It was a great seat until we hit some big choppy waves on the lake and a giant wave came up and soaked us all!! I’m sure the captain was just sitting in his seat cracking up at the clueless tourists! We were able to scramble to find seats inside after that. On the island we got a delicious breakfast of omelettes and homemade toast with homemade peanut butter and homemade jelly. After breakfast we contracted a taxi driver for the day to take us to all the places we wanted to go.
Ometepe is a large island out in Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca). The island is comprised of 2 volcanoes, Volcan Concepcion and Volcan Maderas. Maderas is dormant but Concepcion is active.
1st stop, Alta Gracia to see the pre-Columbian carved idol statues. It was neat to see the jaguar and the eagle, among other animals, represented as powerful objects of veneration. At the site of the idols there was a pretty Catholic chapel. We were particularly touched by the altar statue of Christ on the cross with skinned and bloody knees. It was a powerful reminder of what he must have endured. Certainly he stumbled, weak from the experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, under the weight of the cross and skinned his knees.
2nd stop, Charco Verde Nature Reserve. Charco Verde had a lovely butterfly exhibit that we enjoyed first off. Then we set off on a 2 hour hike through the nature reserve and out to a peninsula on Lake Nicaragua. We were hoping to see monkeys and out on the peninsula WE DID!! The small group of Howler monkeys was close to the trail and there was even a tiny baby monkey! Aw! Our taxi driver waited for us and when we finished our hike we were off to stop #3. The third stop of the day was to the Museum El Ceibo that had an extensive exhibit of Nicaraguan currency. The earliest currency traded in Nicaragua was cacao beans. 100 cacao beans would buy a slave and 10 cacao beans would buy a rabbit. In the late 80s there was runaway inflation and each Monday the money was revalued. People had to take their bills to the bank to be restamped with the new value. For example, a bill had had been worth C$100 was restamped to say C$100,000! Another fun fact is that each Nicaraguan president releases their own version of the money when elected. He/she can decide who and what to print on the currency.
The museum was our last stop because we had to then go back to the dock to catch the last ferry off the island for the day. The kids were SO GOOD all day so they got to pick a pack of cookies and a soda to enjoy while we waited for the ferry. Audrey did what she does best and found a new friend. He and his wife are passing through Nicaragua on a 3 week tour of Central America by bus from Panama to Mexico! He is from New Zealand but lives in Poland and teaches school there. She talked to him for at least an hour and he was so sweet to interact with her. As we boarded the ferry that evening she really wanted to sit with him but the ferry was a madhouse getting on and she ended up on the upper deck. That was only a short lived disappointment because she turned to the Canadian family sitting next to her and said “Are you ready to talk the whole way back??!?!” And she did! She had the whole upper deck of passengers entertained for the hour ferry ride. As we disembarked the ferry they all called out “Bye Audrey!” “Have a fun trip!”
We made the short drive back to Rivas to get dinner at a local restaurant then stayed in the same basic hostel for the night.











Monkeys!




Until next time Ometepe!

Tuesday Jan 3

Mitchell left early to catch a bus back to Managua because he had to go back to work. Someone has to finance all of our fun! Redick and Reid must have been pretty wiped out from so many activities because they slept until almost 8:00! We had breakfast at Burger King then set off for San Juan del Sur. SJDS is a total surf town set right on some of the most beautiful Pacific beaches! Firstly, we climbed up to the Cristo de la Misericordia statue that is set high up on a hill overlooking the city. It was massive and very beautiful. There are many large Christ statues throughout the world, this one is fairly new having been installed in 2009. Then we did a zip line rainforest canopy tour! The zip line was definitely among everyone’s favorite activities! Again, Audrey made friends with everyone on the tour! The pictures describe the zip line best, amazing views!! Next up, the beach!! We took Grandma to our favorite beach, Playa Majagual. The tide was low so it was perfect for the kids. They got wet and LOVED playing with their new beach toys they got for Christmas. They made an elaborate sand castle with a moat and then the tide rose and wiped it out! The second sand castle met the same fate but it was such a fun time! Layne slept in the shade for the first hour that we were there then woke up and got to play too. After everyone was wet, covered in sand, tired and happy we left the beach for our favorite restaurant in SJDS. Unfortunately, it was closed that day but we found a taco stand and had a delicious dinner there. Needless to say everyone was so tired and the kids all fell asleep on the 2 hour drive back to Managua.














Layne took advantage of a shady spot to fully experience beach relaxation.




Wednesday Jan 4

Wednesday we needed a rest day. We ran a few loads of laundry in the morning then took the kids to our favorite park in the afternoon for a while. We took it pretty easy the rest of the day watching a movie, reading a book then playing board games. *I know, we're wimps but we were tired!!

Thursday Jan 5

Mitchell got the kids up and fed so Bev and Melanie could go for a hike at Montibelli Nature Reserve alone. It was a very beautiful hike and, of course, a different experience without little kids along. We walked quietly and mostly observed the surroundings in silence. We had a very knowledgeable guide who pointed out some really neat things. We heard howler monkey calls in the distance, saw some kind of large wild cat tracks on the trail, and he pointed out many of the 130+ varieties of birds found in the reserve. We came across a very large jungle spider and he told us that if the spider is being pursued by a predator it can shed one of its legs as a decoy and get away. Then the spider can regrow the leg. It only has one spare per leg though so I guess spiders also have 9 lives! He pointed out a family of toucans flying in a tall tree and we saw 2 varieties of a bird called Guardabarranco. One of the varieties is the Nicaraguan National Bird. They have unique tail feathers and are really pretty. Our guide also picked up a tiny snake that was about the size of a strand of yarn and only about 3 inches long. It’s the smallest snake in Nicaragua.  In the nature reserve they also grow shade loving coffee plants. Some of the coffee harvested is sold but most of it is roasted on site and served to patrons of the reserve and their hotel. We ended our hike with a tall glass of fresh (that morning) pineapple juice. After our hike we tried a new restaurant for brunch/lunch. It was really fancy and the food was superb! Mom got a tour of Mitchell’s new office at work and we ran a couple of errands then came home. We just had to show Grandma our favorite crepe stand at the mall! Mmmmm. The missionaries joined us for dinner in the evening. 40 minutes before they showed up they called to see if the second companionship could come for dinner as well. The more the merrier! We had delicious curry chicken and rice with a big green salad and undercooked...oops! brownies.





Friday Jan 6

For our last hurrah we hauled ourselves up to the top of Volcan Mombacho! It is the 5th tallest volcanic peak in Nicaragua and we made it to the vista point at 1,222 meters above sea level (4,009 feet!). We rode a covered truck from the reception office up the VERY steep road to the ranger’s station. Jose was our guide for the 2.5 mile hike around the crater and up the steep climb to the vista point. He was so patient with the kids and they did great! We had another close encounter with howler monkeys when we looked up and there were 3-4 monkeys in the tree *directly* above our heads! This was a dangerous place to stand though so we hurried up the trail. The vista point was incredible! We could see Granada, Lake Nicaragua, the Isletas, Laguna de Apoyo, Volcan Masaya and Managua. When we left in the morning we all agreed that we were really hoping to spot a sloth. They are tricky because they sleep 20 hours/ day and are only active at night. Also, they are pretty good at camouflage. Jose helped us look all over for a sloth but we didn’t get lucky on that hike. On our way back down the steep road the truck driver stopped the truck and pointed to the side of the road. We looked and right there was a sloth sleeping in a tree!! Yay!! Once again, the kids were all totally exhausted and fell asleep in the car. At home Grandma made ants on a log for the kids and helped Audrey with her cross stitch project. We packed the 11 days with Grandma and Grandpa totally full and had so much fun!!














It was an amazing couple of weeks!!! Thank you for coming and sharing these experiences with us!