Friday, November 27, 2015


We had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon into the evening eating great traditional North American Thanksgiving food, chatting with newlyweds who had recently arrived at the lake and were in awe of it’s beauty, and chatting with expats who now call the lake home. I did not take any photos of the event…working on being in the moment instead of in the future.

We walked home with Paul and Pat, a couple from Minneapolis who now reside here. Pat is an accountant. The two of them have lived in some fantastic places due to her accounting career. I never would have thought that accounting could offer so many cool opportunities. This little place is full of people who have such amazing stories to tell.

I feel so grateful, appreciative, and thankful that I have been afforded the opportunities that I have had in my life. I know that I am privileged in many ways and I hope to not forget that. I am so lucky to have found a great friend who wanted to marry me and who is also willing to take huge life risks and adventures with me. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.

 I am also constantly reminding myself of all of our friends and family who both encouraged and challenged us as we planned this big move. The love that was behind all of it will never be forgotten.

Thanks for helping us work towards this. 


Katie and Brandon

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Life as of late

About a year before this move I decided that I would grow out my super short pixie hair cut. I didn’t want to be getting haircuts every 5 weeks while living here.  We were looking for simplification for heavens sake!

I had my last haircut/shape up with my amazing stylist of 9 years the week before we left for Guatemala. She did a fantastic job of making the growing out phase as painless as possible…keeping that mullet at bay. It had been 3 months since the last haircut and the mullet had returned!

Our midwife’s son’s girlfriend is a stylist here and so yesterday I had got my first haircut in Guatemala. After tip the total came to $14.00. No color; just cut at this point. I’m hoping I can hang with the grey hairs for a while…fresh haircut always feels great and I think I am out of pixie stage and entering bob stage.

On our boat ride back to our house after our Costa Rica trip we met Chris. He, his wife, and their 2 year-old son had just arrived at the lake. They, like us, left their life behind in the states and are in the process of making Lake Atitlan their home for the next year. They have been staying about a 2-minute walk from our place.

They invited us to their place for dinner last week and we had a really nice time. They ended up finding a place to stay long term about a 25-minute walk from us and they are moving there this Sunday. We decided to invite them over for dinner before their move…our very first dinner party. 

Friday nights have become pizza night here (inspired by pizza party Fridays that I attended with Larson, Annie, and Guse) so that is what we had. It was a nice night. It was bit nerve racking as baking/cooking is still a bit challenging for us here (altitude makes a real difference people!) but we pulled it off. We make the dough and the sauce from scratch…pretty impressive we know!

LindaBlue (our midwife) returned to Guatemala from the states last week and we had our second pre-natal visit with her! She came to our home this time. I made brunch and we sat around and chatted about the upcoming birth of our son. She then did a physical exam. I am measuring right on track (good news to me because I thought I was massive!), my blood pressure is great, he was in the head down position and had a strong heartbeat.  I love that reassurance and I really needed it!

We had not seen Linda for 6 weeks due to her being out of the country and the last week or so had been emotionally rough for me. Fears about birth were beginning to creep in, I wasn’t sleeping well, my exercise had slowed down, and I also wasn’t communicating very well with my one friend here, Brandon. 

The day before Linda came, Brandon and I had a heart-to-heart about everything that was going on in my head. We decided that I needed to get back on the exercise wagon as that really helps my mood and we thought it would also help my sleep.  This along with having Linda back has really helped me to feel less fearful and more excited about the birth of this baby!

Dressed in my hiking clothes...34 weeks 3 days. Everyday counts people!

And in case you were wondering, I do still brush my teeth. 

Check out the lamp that we created for our living room! We picked up the lampshade (basket) at the market in Panajachel and Brandon created that stand out of bamboo. The lightening situation is really shaping up in this cozy home!

The pace is slow and life is good.  Come on down and experience some Guatemala life with us!

Katie and Brandon

Friday, November 13, 2015

Costa Rica

We recently returned from 5 days in Costa Rica. At this point in time our passports need to leave Guatemala every 90 days. We decided to use this as a reason to head to the beach. Neither Brandon nor I had been to Costa Rica and I was looking for some time to have my feet in the sand and to see the ocean.

I do not feel small standing by the ocean!

We stayed in Tamarindo. Our shuttle driver informed us that the locals call it Tamagringo due the amount of American tourists. The ocean was beautiful and the food was great. It felt really nice to not cook, grocery shop, or do dishes for a whole week! We also found some of our favorite vices to indulge in.

We had a list prior to the trip of items that we hoped we would be able to find on the vacation. Below is a list of items we brought home:

    3 bath towels
     Face wash for Katie
     All natural body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner  for Katie
     2 pairs of flip flops for Brandon (his 1 pair broke a few days before the trip)
     2 very roomy rompers for Katie (she is pretty large these days) from a very cute boutique.
     Tea light candles
     12 IPA beers (that Brandon will ration until our first visitor…my mom)
     A pizza cutter
     Measuring spoons
1   A pizza pan (we are trying to perfect our homemade pizza)
1   A pack of poorly made tennis balls for the dogs (Jackson destroy one already)
1   A hanging cord with light socket attached so that our craftiness can continue with the making of a lamp.
1   A string of white Christmas lights.

It was hot and humid and I started to really feel my pregnancy. Sitting was probably my favorite thing (except for when a woman walked by me and said that if I wasn’t careful I may just have the baby on the beach…I’m only 33 weeks so the comment didn’t feel the greatest). Brandon spent one morning taking a surf lesson. He did amazing and got up right away. He paid for a 2-hour lesson and came in after about 1 hour due to his need to take a break. They went back out for about 20 more minutes and then he was done! He was tired and sore but happy that he had the experience.

 By the end of the trip I was ready to go home and our little place in Guatemala is what felt like home! This was exciting to me…the fact that it feels like home. It may have been because our dogs were there but whatever the reason, I was excited!

At the airport check in counter Brandon and I were both weighed with our carry on bags due to the fact that the first flight of our return was to be on a 12 -passenger plane! I had no idea that this was a part of the plan.  Folks, Brandon thought this was the coolest thing ever and all I could think about was safely landing on the ground.

There were 4 rows of 3 seats and Brandon and I were lucky enough to be in the very first row. This meant for me squeezing down a very small isle that I wasn’t sure I was going to fit down…embarrassing!  I made it to my seat and it felt like I was driving the plane.  We were directly behind the pilots. So close that Brandon had to move his leg so that the pilot could put his armrest down!

That is my bag on my lap...that is how close we sat to the pilots. 

Our view of the runway during landing

View of the entire plane.

Our flight arrived in Guatemala City at about 6pm so we ended up spending the night in Antigua. We finished the journey home the next day and were greeted by our very happy Kirby and Jackson. Our next 90 days is the first week in February…the baby will be here and I can’t wait!

Our new countdown is December 18th…Bobbie arrives!


Katie and Brandon