Hello sweet girl and Happy 113 Months! Could this be the latest I’ve ever been getting your letter written? Perhaps. But I don’t think you’ll be too hard on me – a whirlwind would not adequately describe these last few weeks. They’ve been good, but exhausting, with little time to pause, reflect, and write.
Even now, I’m worn out at the end of a long day of packing. Packing to return to Costa Rica, and packing for a Disney camping trip all at once. We leave in the morning for Disney, then leave Disney for our Costa Rican home. Perhaps not the best of timing, but when we Heidels set our minds to something, we usually get it done.
And there’s just been too much good stuff to let this month go by without a letter.
Since the last time I wrote, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Nosara. There was no turkey, no dressing, no sweet potato casserole – but we managed just fine with arroz con pollo, roasted veggies and a traditional Swedish fish soup courtesy of the Ankarbergs. The next day, we left the beach for a road trip up into the volcanic mountains north of Liberia, where you and Agnes and Elsa loved playing in the hot springs and on the waterslide.
But you proved once again that you’re not a big fan of hiking, particularly in the jungle, in the rain, when it’s almost dark, and we’re kind of lost. Maybe that makes you the smart one of the family, come to think of it.
While signs of Christmas were few in Costa Rica, there were some reminders. Your school held a holiday program where you and your classmates dressed as minions and performed Feliz Navidad.
As the calendar flew toward our departure date for Savannah, you (like your mother), began making lists. The day before we left, you penned this list, which I think is a perfect snapshot of that moment in time.
I love that your tasks that day involved things like “reading poems.” I adore that your school schedule included “mindfulness class,” where your only homework was meditation.
We had one final Friday night gathering with friends on Pelada before the Christmas break. I love that beach and those people, but I was also excited to see family and friends back home. You were too.
After a long day of travel we were reunited with Auntie Erin at the Jacksonville airport at last. There were many hugs, and when we saw Boo that night there may have even been a tear or two.
Then the craziness really kicked in, trying to squeeze in all the playdates and visits we wanted to make between the dentist and doctor visits we needed to accomplish too.
I took you for a checkup with your allergist, and was shocked to find out that since July, you’ve grown 2.5 inches. And LOST half a pound. Apparently you’ve been running around a lot in the jungle and eating healthy food.
We asked you what restaurant you wanted to be sure to visit while we were in the states, and your answer came quickly. “Arby’s,” you said. So off we went for a roast beef sandwich, which you inhaled before leaning back against the bench seat and declaring, “I needed that.”
We made Christmas goodies, we attended Christmas cookie swaps and Christmas dinners.
Apparently a new favorite holiday activity is impromptu caroling with your friends. We were having dinner at the Gaddy’s home when you, Lola and Jacqueline spontaneously decided to go up and down the street, knocking on doors and belting out tunes. One neighbor was so impressed he gave you each a dollar as a tip.
We enjoyed a Christmas meal and gift opening at Boo’s house, where you and Jones and Eli spent many happy hours playing together and even making gingerbread houses.
Of course, in between all of these things we all had to go see the new Star Wars movie, which was an event probably more highly anticipated than Christmas morning itself.
Not only did you love the movie, but you and Daddy even got to visit Uncle Dave at the TV station the morning the Star Wars characters came to be on the news. A highlight for sure.
Then we packed our bags again for a trip north to Tennessee for a very special Christmas visit. Your Granddaddy retired from his job, and Christmas Eve was his last service as pastor of his church in Tennessee. Not only did we want to be there for it, but my brother and his family came from Texas too for the big event.
After the service, we all shared a toast – champagne for the adults, and sparkling grape juice for the underage granddaughters.
Christmas morning was great fun – this was the first Christmas morning you’d shared with other kids, and the excitement was contagious. I love this pic your Daddy got of you three rushing toward your piles of gifts from Santa, because the blur is just how it looked in real life too.
You’ve been increasingly interested in editing photos and videos lately, so Santa hooked you up with a GoPro. And plenty of Star Wars stuff too, naturally. There were also some nods to Costa Rica in the stack – like a shirt with a sloth playing a ukulele.
And I’m so glad you loved the gift we got you for Christmas – an honorary adoption of Jorge, your favorite baby monkey from SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary.
We had our traditional breakfast of biscuits and gravy before packing up and heading to Macon for the annual Christmas night bonfire with extended family. It was a long day for sure, but so good to be with these good people, like your favorite of my cousins, Gracie.
These last few days have been filled with a few more playdates and even a trip to the Crab Shack before heading back out.
You’ve enjoyed being home, and you’ve been showered with so much love from your family and friends that I’m sure you have some reservations about leaving them again. But I’m thankful we have such beautiful people to return to in Costa Rica as well, were the love continues to pour.
And in the meantime, there’s that whole Disney thing to look forward to. Which means i should get some sleep, because tomorrow WE GO TO THE MOUSE!
I love you so much sweet girl. So very much. Happy Disney dreams to you!