Pura Vida

Pura Vida is the law of the land in Costa Rica.  It literally means “Pure Life,” but to Costa Ricans it means much more. It means that no matter what your current situation is in life, for someone else, it can always be less fortunate than your own, so you need to consider that maybe – just maybe – your situation isn’t all that bad and that no matter how little or how much you have in life, we are all here together. Life is short, so start living it “Pura Vida style.”

Our goal for our family vacation to Costa Rica was “Pura Vida.” We were going to go and be all in. Our plan was to experience all that Costa Rica had to offer, the biodiversity, the waterfalls, beaches, volcanoes and rainforests!

It all started when my husband and I were trying to think of Christmas presents for our 26 and 22 year old boys.  They don’t need more “stuff” is what we said, they both are paying back student loans, meaning they are working, going to school and really grinding it out (at least as best as a millennial can do).  So we decided, while we can, to take them with us on a memory making vacation. Costa Rica!

We don’t necessarily like doing the same things. Me?  Give me a beach and a spa and I am a happy camper.  Dad?  He wants a golf course and good Internet to keep working, even on vacation.  Connor?  He wants new experiences and a sports bar.  Alec?  He loves a challenge and meeting new people.  So how to combine all 4 of us and have a great time?  Costa Rica seemed perfect with its rugged rainforests, Pacific beaches and TONS of adventures for everyone!

We zip lined the first day (even though I am not fond of heights) and had a blast! Sailing through the tree tops was exhilarating and we had our guides to ourselves, so on a break, we had the bonus of getting to know these 20-something year old Costa Ricans and found out that the education system in Costa Rica is great!  Many go on to college and the government helps to make that happen!  The kids had a great time talking nightlife with the guides.  Pura Vida!

The second day we beached it, foot race competition between Dad and the boys resulted in the video below…hilarious!  But the unplanned sunset together with some champagne and Neil Young playing in the background provided the perfect night for mama to just “BE” with her boys. Pura Vida!

Third day we drove through 4 hours of small towns, stumbled on a festival and ended up at the Arenal volcano and the hot springs.  Wow!  Sloths, snakes, monkeys and birds provided incredible beauty. And with a total of 8+ hours together trapped in a van with just our family, we had lots of family time to share past travel stories, love it when the boys are captive and they HAVE to talk!  Pura Vida!

Day 4 was crazy cool with white water rafting in the rain forest.  Costa Rica is one of only 2 places in the world where you can white water raft in a rainforest.  We each got dumped out of the boat and we all took a much-needed break by swimming in a waterfall in the middle of nowhere!!!  This was my favorite day! Pura Vida!

 

I got to spend a lot of time together with my boys and that makes mama happy.  I always say I got 3 wishes – John, Connor & Alec.  My boys.  Pura Vida!

Pura Vida may be my 2017 life motto!  What’s yours?

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Norton Family Merriest Moments Christmas Tradition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Norton clan! 

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We kick off our family holiday season by sitting down as a family; me, John (hubby), Connor (26) and Alec (22), to get our Christmas card together.

It starts out as a time to reflect on the past year and recall what we are grateful for and what have become our Norton Merriest Moments. 

We started this tradition rather than writing a Christmas letter, it was hard enough to get the boys to sit down and think of their Merriest Moments, much less get them to commit to write part of a Christmas letter….

Let me give you some background on this…so when we sit down as a family to eat a meal, we started sharing what we were grateful for for the day.  Now it didn’t have to be a life-altering, earth-shattering thing to be grateful for, all it was was a moment to find goodness in that day.  This way if it was a particularly hard day at school for one of the boys, or a trying time at work for us, we would have to pause and find gratitude in something, anything, for the day.  It could be, “I am thankful for the dessert mom made,” or, “I am thankful for my friends,” even, “ I am thankful that Cooper the Wonderdog didn’t poop in the house today!”  This tradition continued when friends joined us for dinner as well.  At first the guest would be self conscious about the whole grateful thing but after time, returning friends and family were looking forward to the “what are you grateful for today” moment at the Norton table.  So many times this opened up conversations that would not have been had. One special moment for a friend of my son’s and his mom who were at our house for dinner, for the first time in a very long time, the son said he was grateful for his mom.  Seems small right?   Not to that mom who was so happy to hear something other than grunts from her teenage son.

OK and THEN it morphed into “Sunday Steak Nights.” That, has taken on a life of it’s own at our house.

The Norton table is open every Sunday night to friends, family, coworkers, strays and people needing a fix of love.  Some Sundays there are 2 at the table some Sundays there are 12!  And the “what we are grateful for for the day” goes on and on and on.  So fun!  The more people at my table the more grateful I am!  And there is always somehow enough to go around, a little like the tale of the loaves and fishes.

So back to the holiday tradition…we wanted to have a family holiday card to be about what we were grateful for, since it’s kind of “our thing” now but we wanted it to be what we were grateful for for the YEAR!

It got crazy long so we shortened it for the holidays to: The Norton’s Merriest Moments

 

For 2016 the Norton Merriest Moments are:

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2016 Merriest Moments Continued

Past Norton Merriest Moments

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2014 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2010 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

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