Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Harvest Festival / Reformation Party

Madison in her bat costume The "Candy / Prize Center"

Pin the Tail on the Donkey
The "big" kids Piñata

Mike's blog ( is the same subject, but it was such a success, it's worth two different blog entries (besides, I can have more pictures :-)

In honor of a tradition by our home church, Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church, we hosted a Reformation Party. This reflects the time that Martin Luther pounded the 95 thesis onto the church door and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Mike was able to share the story with all the adults and children there. Everyone seemed to be listening intently. We had a GREAT turn-out. We hosted it at a friends house as ours place is too tiny. We knew that there was a lot of interest, but had not idea about how many that would end up being. We had over 50 kids and adults attend. We had 8 games for the kids to enjoy to "earn" candy and prizes including Pin-the-Tail on the Donkey, and Dunking for Apples! This was a good opportunity to have a little taste of home for everyone, and it was much needed!

Monday, October 29, 2007


In California, I had started teaching Madison in the kitchen. She would prepare a menu for the week and we would shop, and she would make it. We had some fabulous things to eat! This is the first opportunity to start this up again. Don't know how often we will be able to do it as our evenings are fairly full and I'm usually starting to prepare food before Madison gets out of school. However, we did have the opportunity tonight - she made (from scratch) pigs in a blanket, french fries (not from scratch), and topped it off with some veggies. Yum!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scuba Weekend

Hey gang - the Pettengill's will be gone this weekend (so no blog entries this weekend). We are off to the coast (Playa de Coco) for my final process for becoming scuba certified. There will be two ocean dives on Saturday and two ocean dives on Sunday.

We continue to do well in school. We have had multiple tests, mid-term evaluations, and Mike even re-wrote Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Spanish - of course - knowing Mike as you all do - it was written with MANY twists! I'll leave it to your imagination.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Let’s Go For A Walk

Each day we walk 10 minutes from our apartment to our school. We live in a lower-middle class neighborhood here in Costa Rica. We enjoy our neighborhood and the sites. So, we figured we would take you for a walk with us to school. We frequently take this walk several times a day. We thought it would be a good way for you to see a little more of our life and the people around us…don’t worry…the video is only 3 ½ minutes long…enjoy:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No News is Good News

As the saying goes - no news is good news. All is well here on the Central-American front...while many, many, many are getting sick, children sick, broken bones, etc. the Pettengill's are managing to stay healthy. I did manage to get a completely good pair of jeans filthy yesterday when I hit one of our MANY moss covered sidewalks and cushioned my fall with my backside (but I Do want you all to know that I SAVED the eggs - none got cracked!!!). We just had our mid-term reviews for Mike and Erin, and we are both doing very well. Madison will receive her mid-term report card very soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Uh's magic!

Is it magic or what?! Washing clothes around here is not bad - we have a washing machine afterall. Mike does all the wash (YEAH!!). My wonderful mother-in-law sent us a Downey ball so we now start putting softener into our wash. However, there are some things that just won't change. Drying with a Brillo pad for one. The picture you see is one of our towels after a day of drying on the line. As I've stated before, we don't have a functioning dryer, so line drying is what we get. We were hoping the addition of softener would assist with the softening process of our clothes. However, hard water and line-drying trumps everything else. Hence, we have towels that stand by themselves. Mike is holding the towel with one hand, and it's standing of it's own accord...sigh...I guess we need to look at the good in all things - we don't have to hand wash the clothes like many do in Honduras. So what am I whining about?

Friday, October 19, 2007

On the front line

There are certain things that come with the territory of being on the "front line". First and foremost you are more susceptible to things. Our school has been rampaged with so many illness and injuries. To date our small school has had 3 fractures, more illness than I can count, more falls than I can count, two babies in the hospital with dehydration, one for surgery, and numerous adults in the hospital with various assorted issues. It is SO wet here, there is no time for sidewalks to dry out, especially it being overcast so much of the day that mosses overgrow the sidewalks. So, you have two choices, chance slipping by walking on the sidewalk, or walking in the streets with the crazy drivers. Typically we choose a little of both. We know the more slippery spots and walk on the streets. Other than mild illnesses, the Pettengill house has been spared any major illness or injuries. We continue to pray that we will be spared. So - please pray! The school is on the front lines and under attack!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

150,000 what?!

Live and's all a learning process...make a million mistakes. These kind of things rumble through my brain on a daily basis. JUST when you think you get something right, you are humbly reminded how much you just don't know. Take, for example, our trip to the ATM yesterday. Mike and I had to pull out some money for various things. Many things around here are cash only. So, I go to pull out 150,000 colones (remember, we use Colones around here - it's worth $300 - mas o menos). The ATM flashes an error - "Please enter another amount" - of course my first instinct tells me - Option #1 - do I not have enough money in my account?! No, I just balanced the checkbook yesterday, there is money. Option #2 - has my card been compromised? Has someone already taken money out of my account?! Yikes! There, of course, is Option #3 - and Mike got there first (I was still on Option #2 thank you very much) - human error. "Did you request colones or dollars?" My sweet husband asks...ahhh...Option #3 it is. "That would be dollars" I reply - no wonder the poor ATM gave an error - it just didn't want to fork out 150,000 DOLLARS, just the $300 it was allotted for the and's all a learning process...make a million mistakes....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tortuguero part 3 of 3

Mama turtle tracks Madison on Tortuguero beach. Incredibly warm water and sand, no swimming allowed! 22 miles of preserved/restricted beach for the turtles to nest.

Madison holding "flipper"
A good perspective of the size of the baby turtles.

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of Tortuguero. Madison and I had such an incredible time. This final blog will focus on the baby turtles. As I stated earlier, our guide is a certified turtle handler, so we had the opportunity to "assist" turtles to the sea. It was such an awesome experience. The video is a little blurry as trying to capture a tiny little turtle trying his darndest to get to the ocean is difficult to capture, but I couldn't resist getting it on the blog.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tortuguero part 2 of 3

A local fisherman - still fishing with traditional methods

A huge fan palm (yes, that's Madison at the bottom of that tree!)
These are called Spider Lillies

There were HUGE bamboo forests all around us - at LEAST as tall as a 2 or 3 story building

Yesteday I looked at some of the wildlife of the rain forest, today I want to look at some of the incredible plant life the rain forest. Once again I am struck with awe at my surroundings. Most of these pictures look like something out of National Geographic (not complementing my photo skills at all - complementing God's beauty - because my camera only captured what He created). If you can possibly go to this area of the world, and not have an understanding or appreciation of God, I would have to clearly question your existence, because how can you not? Enjoy Gods beauty!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Will the "real" Jungle Cruise please stand up! Part 1 of 3

Two-toed sloth (Madison tells me it is the two-toed because of it's "plain" face - see other sloth photo) Grey-necked (something - can't remember) - extremely rare! We were priviledged to see it at all (Madison wants to pluck it because it reminds her of a chicken...hmmm...)
Biggest darn crocodile we saw that day - and we saw plenty!
Strawberry Poison Dart Frog (some held it, then washed their hands afterwards - not thinking I want to hold something that secrets a heart-stopping poison thank you very much)
The "alpha" male howler
The three toed sloth (see it's spectacled face - isn't it darn cute?!)
The girls having a blast!

Pink spoon-billed (something - NOT a type of flamingo - they just eat the same diet as a flamingo which causes the coloration of their feathers)
Pelicans in a row (have you seen Finding Nemo?!....*bloop*.....NICE!)
type of heron in flight
A Jesus Christ lizard (yes, that's it's name - it can run across the water for over 50 feet). This is the male lizard, the female is quite unremarkable.

This first blog entry is for the animals we saw during our trip. Part two will look at the plant life, and part three will be completely dedicated to the turle hatching, complete with video! Stay tuned!
The entire time Madison and I were on this trip this weekend, I kept thinking it looked so much like Disneyland. What?! I know - that's what you are thinking. But the reality is, it was SO incredible, I kept thinking it couldn't possibly be real! But there we were - riding in a boat through some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen (and that's saying a lot - I've been to a LOT of places!). I have so many pictures, but I am going to narrow them down to a select few.

This was a two day trip for Madison and I while Mike was out of country to a leadership conference. We had the privilege of travelling to Tortuguero - where green sea turtles return every year to lay their eggs. There is a huge conservation effort going on to ensure the survival of this incredible species - and it's a huge success!! Our tour guide is a certified egg/hatchling handler, and he gave us the rare opportunity to "escort" newly hatched turtles to the sea. Yes, that means both Madison and I handled newly hatched turtles. Please enjoy the ride with us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The green Jesus debate

Don't touch your monitor....don't adjust those dials...yes, Jesus is green!

One of the first things we noticed, over 6 weeks ago, when we first came to our new school were the murals painted around the children's school. Rainbows, Noah's ark, etc. However, the one that really had/has us puzzled is the green Jesus. No, the color on your monitor isn't wrong, and no, they didn't run out of paint, and no, it's not that they didn't have "flesh" colored paint. We are still trying to decide why He's green...the only thing we have come up with is this - there is a term for children of missionaries. Actually, there are two. The first is MK (Missionary Kid), however, the newest one is TCK (Third Culture Kid). The explanation is this - you are American, but not in America, you are living in another culture, and although you may be entrenched into it, you still don't become Honduran (in our case). So, kids tend to develop another culture completely - hence the name third culture kid. There have been books written about this phenomenon. Anyway, I say all that because during our orientation week, someone was giving a talk on TCK's. They explained it this way - your primary culture is "blue", and your new "host/home" country is "yellow" - and since you are a child of both cultures, you are mixed, and become "green" - so we are thinking that perhaps Jesus is painted green because He is a God of all cultures, and they wanted the kids to be reminded of this?! The debate goes on, and I don't know that we will ever get a real reason why He's green, but the bottom line is He IS a God of all cultures, but I just KNOW He isn't green!

Monday, October 8, 2007


Who's that girl with the tank on her's's me...

Hey there - in the midst of learning Spanish, living in Costa Rica, trying to cook everything from scratch - we do manage to eek out a little bit of fun time. There are some students from our language institute that have banded together, and are taking PADI instructions from a local Costa Rican gentleman. This weekend we had our two confined water dives. This is where we learned most of our safety items - flooded masks, swimming without a mask, removing weights removing and putting back on all of our equipment, etc (all at the bottom of a 12 foot pool). This is a 5 week class in which we receive 2 hour classes and a test each week. We are 4 weeks into the class, we've done our confined water dives. All that is left - we have 1 more class, then in two weekends we head out to the ocean for our open water dives. We have 2 dives on Saturday, and 2 dives on Sunday. Mike and Madison will be going with me - they will be swimming and playing on the beach while I dive. We are looking at getting both of them certified next trimester.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Getting spiritually fed has become part of our weekly routine. We have chapel at school twice a week - it's in English - worship music (I play twice a month), a small sermon (sermonito?!) - we go to a local church for service, (all in Spanish), then come home and have a family study followed by downloading a sermon from Piper, or SOPC, or other resources. Here is a little taste of the church we attend:

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A taste of home

We received TWO carepackages this week!!! The first one was from my mother-in-law - it contained (most importantly) three ponchos!!! We all used ours time today - we had the most torrential downpour (aguacera) - lightning struck in the middle of town! The tree in front of the mall that Mike went to was struck and fried by lightning! The second craziest storm we have been in. We also received lots of jelly bellies - a GREAT treat!

The second carepackage we received this week (how lucky are we?!) was from our good friends the Hoffman's. It included Starbursts, M&M's (dark chocolate - COOL!), beef jerkey - and two great books you may have heard of: Un pez, dos peces, pez rojo, pez azul (One Fish, Two Fish, Red fish, Blue Fish), and Huevos verdes con jamón (green eggs with ham - although it isn't Sam-I-Am, it's Juan Ramón...). AWESOME!!! I've already red them twice! And they make complete sense to me - even if I didn't already know the stories - good to be confirmed in our language acquisition! YEEHAH!! Emily Hoffman was kind enough to send a (very funny) note inquiring if it was raining or not :-)

Thanks so much for the goodies everyone! You don't know how far a taste from home goes - it goes a LONG way!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

oh be careful little mouth what you say...

You know, besides learning about the culture, and learning to speak Spanish, you also need to develop a sense of WHAT you are saying, and HOW you are saying it. Let's take a look at a few examples.

1. You are late to a party - please be sure to say "lo siento estoy tarde, yo embarazoso" (I'm sorry I'm late, I'm embarassed) because if you say "lo siento estoy tarde, yo embarazada" you would actually say I'm sorry I'm late, I'm pregnant. What one letter can do!

2. We are very excited to be in Costa Rica, so we would say "Nosotros mucho entusiasmodo vivimos en Costa Rica!" (we are very excited to live in Costa Rica), make sure you don't say "Nosotros much excitado vivimos en Costa Rica!" - seems to be right - exicted, excitado?! Well, let's just say it's not THAT kind of excited...

3. And you go to a hotel and your husband calls down to get some extra towels, so he asks for "toallas" (towels), make sure he DOESN'T ask for los paños (towels), because THOSE kind of towels are used by women once a month.

4. And you love your mother dearly, so instead of calling her the formal "madre" (mother), you lovingly call her máma (breast), so make sure you call her mamá (watch that accent!)

5. Finally, you also love your father dearly, so you don't want to call him "padre" (father), so you call him pápa (potatoe), so make sure you call him papá (watch that accent again).

There are so many other lovely examples, but some can't be said in mixed company. So enjoy these, and don't be excitado or embarazada if you call your mamá a máma, or your husband picks up some toallas from the store when you really needed paños. Adiós pápa!