Sunday, October 5, 2014

the rest of our summer

We did a few other things this summer besides galavanting on tropical beaches.
We mostly spent lots of time playing and making messes...
We built lots of forts that would stay up for days on end and slowly transform into something else.  One day they built a barricade between the living room and TV room.  If my kids were more familiar with Les Miserables they probably would have been re-enacting it.   I know I wanted to.  Nora just wanted to scale it and then scare us all as she tried jumping off the other side.
The boys decided Wild Kratts was there new favorite show.  One morning they snuck off all by themselves for awhile and were being secretive about what they were up to.  When they came out they had made paper costumes and were dressed like Martin and Chris from the show.  I was pretty impressed by their creativity and total cuteness.  
Lots more costumes were worn this summer. Pretty much at any given time, Gus is not Gus so make sure you know the correct name to call him or you will have to hear about it.  He begged me to make him an Owl Creature Power Suit (also from Wild Kratts) and the boys pulled out their old Halloween costumes a few times.  Gus insists his Ewok costume still fits him.
Gus dubbed himself "Mr. Fat Pushy Pants" by pulling up his pants really high like this...   
Then one day as we were taking out our recycling he saw a circular piece of cardboard leftover from a frozen pizza.  He said, "Don't throw that away! That is Captain America's shield!"  I let him keep it and color it and then I added duct tape to the back as a handle.  It is a prized possession now and he says he is "going to keep it forever."
Nora is turning into quite a little character these days, too.  She has decided that she has opinions about things and doesn't like when she doesn't get what she wants.  She is walking everywhere, climbing on the dining room table, teasing her brothers that she is about to kiss them, and generally making us all happy.  She is also just really fun to dress up.  Girl clothes are so much more fun.  She would probably agree if she could communicate better, but we do know she loves her shoes.  She constantly brings them to us and says, "Shoosh" and insists we put them on her.  I try to capture my favorite get-ups for posterity...
And sometimes we like to dress her up like Daddy...
Way back at the beginning of summer we did our annual two weeks of swim lessons through Phoenix Parks and Rec.  As usual, it was a hit and got us ready for a summer of swimming.
We don't have our own real pool, but we put our blow-up one to good use quite often.
We had a great time playing in it when Aunt Nat came to visit.
We also got to go bowling when she was here and we got a surprise visit from Nano and Aunt Cathy on an unexpected road trip.
We always so the library summer reading program which gets the kids really excited about reading at the beginning of the summer.  They love having a huge stack of new books.  But honestly, I was super disappointed in the program.  I could elaborate, but basically it all being online makes a lot of work for mom and very little incentive for my kids.  I should call and complain, but I probably won't.  Good thing my kids already love reading because there was no way this program was going to foster a love of it in them.
 Alright enough complaining and onto happier adventures.
We celebrated Free Donut Day at Krispy Kreme...
We got Mexican Hot Dogs on the side of the road...
We made a trip to IKEA to climb on and into all of their display furniture...
The boys decided to make themselves cozy on the adult diapers in Target...
I turned 32...
Baabee turned something really old so we celebrated with a train day at his house...
It rained a lot more than usual.  We got real Monsoons this year which was awesome.  
When it rains in Phoenix, it is a real event. Aunt Erin and Lucy were with us one day to enjoy it.
Everyone comes out to play.
The rain cooled things down enough that we could actually ride bikes and go to the farm up the street.
We also got to just play outside in August which is normally just doesn't happen unless you are in water.
I read the Harry Potter and the Sorcercer's Stone to Jimmy and, of course, he loved it.  I also loved getting to read it to him. After finishing it, I let him sign-up for Pottermore.  He was very pleased to be placed in Gryffindor.  Zach and I are Ravenclaws and even though Gus hasn't done it, he insists that he is also in Griffindor since they are "the brave ones" or so he has been told.
With the Burches also in Full-On-Harry-Potter-Summer-Reading-Hysteria we had a Playmobil castle building day to make our own Hogwarts.
Here is the finished project...
Maybe if I can get my act together I will share more detailed pictures for Hogwarts.  The kids wanted to recreate the entire story in pictures, but that hasn't happened yet.  We are trying to focus on Halloween now so that is a big undertaking as usual.  We had a wonderful summer, but we are glad to have the nice weather finally upon us and lots of fun events to come.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

kids in their buddies

Well, I hadn't changed my blog header in over three years so I guess it was about time.
If you look at this regularly then you probably already noticed.  About gosh darn time right?
Here is the old one for posterity:
And here is the new:

Really, I have been meaning to do it since we added a new child to our lives, but it just kept not happening.  I sort of missed my window of Nora being a still and cooperative baby as Gus was when I took the old picture.  When I took the old one it was random and on a whim and I just happened to capture both kids at a good moment.  The lighting was perfect, the buddies surrounding them were perfect because they looked perfectly random.  It was one of those moments you just can't plan.  I knew that was the truth, but it only became more clear to me when I tried to recreate it.  Catching three kids a good moment is much trickier.  It took three different photo shoots and I finally just settled on the one you see above.  I didn't like how much Nora is the focus of it, but the boys liked it the best.  Zach also said, she looks just a bit crazy, but I reminded him that she just looks like that sometimes so it is honest.   However, I wasn't so honest myself because I admittedly even recruited my dad to photoshop my favorite kid faces into different pictures even though I felt guilty about it.  He was confused about which ones were my favorites because he liked different ones better so I decided that must be the point that God was telling me to just be happy with what I got.  
Here are a few outtakes just to give some understanding of how it all went down:
Nora was cooperating here, but we couldn't get the stuffed animals on her fast enough:
She was usually crawling around more like this:
This last one was my other contender for new header, but the boys voted me down.
Gus wins for best face in this one, but I kind of liked Nora and Jimmy a little better in the other one.
It was hard to choose.  You can be honest or reassure me or both.

Monday, September 8, 2014

two weeks in hawaii in one long post

Yes, we were spoiled with two weeks in paradise thanks to my husband's generous parents who flew us out to stay with them before they move back to the mainland.  I could have broken this down into multiple detailed posts, but instead I just decided to do one giant photo dump for your enjoyment... or annoyance.  I am fine with either.  
We were nervous about the long flight, but it went surprisingly well.  Hawaiian Airlines is really nice and they give you pineapple juice, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and real food that isn't gross!  I wouldn't say it was easy, but I would say easily worth it.  Jimmy enjoyed taking some picture out the window as we flew in.
Nano and Nana met us at the airport with open arms and beautiful leis.
Nano and Nana's lovely house on the army base was our home away from home for two amazing weeks.
We loved lounging on the lanai every day.
And playing our new game of Carcasone...
We took lots of fun exploration walks to discover the local flora and fauna.
We found some fun vines to swing on and bamboo to hide in.
The boys were excited to take their first convertible rides.
And where better to drive a convertible than to the beach...
 We visited many various beaches in Oahu on our trip so here are the highlights:
Bellows is a favorite.  It is the military beach with big waves for boogie boarding, trees for shade, and very fine sand that feels heavenly between your toes (but is darn near impossible to clean off of everything).
Alo Moana is near Waikiki.  Gus loves the spots with "baby waves."
He loved "Magic Island" as well since it is enclosed by a rocky pier and felt kind of like a private pool.
Sailboats and a pirate ship went by.
"Lost" Beach on the North Shore (dubbed this by us since it is where they filmed Lost) is pretty quite because it is not great for swimming.  It is the best place to spot sea turtles so we had to go.
The water was full of dozens of turtles and it was pretty amazing.
We hiked a bit to get closer to some we spotted on the beach, but it was worth it.
Sunset Beach on the North Shore is a better spot for swimming. 
Hanauma Bay was by far the boys' favorite.

Jimmy was extremely excited about his first time snorkeling.

We spotted so many colorful and amazing fish.  We took lots of cool videos with Nano's GoPro, but here is a sampling that doesn't begin to do it justice.  
Gus wasn't quite ready for actual snorkeling, but we did take turns going out with him in an inner-tube and googles so he could see the fish, too.  He was so happy when he found a humuhumunukunukuapua'a.  If you see him, you should ask him about it.
Nora loved hangin' on the beach with Nana.
The boys loved it so much that we had to go twice.
All these long days at the beach usually ended with lovely naps on the lanai...
But while the beaches were definitely the best part of Hawaii, we had lots of other fun adventures as well.  We went to the 4th of July parade in Kailua.
Some of Nano's friends host a fun party every year and we have been lucky enough to go twice now.
The kids loved the pool in their beautiful backyard.
We sported our best Hawaiian attire to church
We hit up the Hawaiian Swap Meet.
We got beachside Mai Tai's and Lava Flows.
(sans alcohol for some)
The baby was so jealous so we gave her a taste of cherry.
The Hawaiian food is all amazing and we ate plenty of it. We hit up some delicious food trucks.
We visited to Dole Pineapple Plantation.
While there we went on the Pineapple Express.
We went in the World's Largest maze (as of 2008 I believe, but still pretty cool).
Jimmy thought this was amazing.
You have to find eight different locations inside the maze and then get yourselves back out.  Dad might have purposefully got us lost a few times, but we survived.
And of course, the best reason to go there is because of the Pineapple Dole Whips, the best food in the world.  I have gotten to eat it twice in the matter of months so I feel like it just isn't fair to brag about.  I'll stop so you don't hate me too much.
But here are some picture of how happy it makes us...
  We got to go to the Waikiki Aquarium with some cousins.

So glad we finally go to meet cute little Koa.
The boys loved watching this fast little Humu swim around.  He was hard to capture on film.  They are quick little buggers.
The Hawaiian Monk Seal did some tricks for us.
Just Jimmy hiked with Mom and Dad to the top of Diamond Head.
The view was pretty awesome.
On one of the rainy days we checked out the Bishop Museum which the boys loved.
We got to go to Nano's farewell party at he hospital.  It was nice to meet all the people he works with and hear all his praises. 
Nana babysat one night so Zach and I could go on a date.  She recommended an authentic Tiki Bar called La Mariana Sailing Club. It really couldn't have been more up my alley.  It has been there for years and is truly like stepping back in time.  There are Hawaiian chotchkies everywhere and a blind piano player who was playing "Singing in the Rain" and other show tunes the whole time.  There really is also a sailing club there so you can see all the boats parked in the marina.
We got fun drinks and enjoyed one of our last nights in paradise.
On our last night we had dinner with our cousins.
Then it was time to fly back home.  It was hard to say goodbye as we watched it disappear out the window.