Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Halloween 2017! {Link and Lynx}

When E got a Nintendo Switch for his birthday last summer the kids were instantly hooked. They'd spend hours playing Zelda with E, looking for clues, fighting Zelda creatures (??) and pretty much having the best time ever. So when Halloween rolled around it was an obvious choice, James wanted to be Link from Zelda.
Juliet is still going strong on the "I only like kitties" phase, so she decided to be a lynx. Link and Lynx, get it? Her ear tufts on her headband are what sets her apart as a lynx. 
 Juliet was sick again for Halloween but pulled it together for an epic night of trick-or-treating.
 We went with our besties, and everyone loved that we had a Nintendo theme going on.
 And isn't this the cutest costume you've ever seen?
Favorite stop by far is the homemade donut stand. They fry them up right there and dip them in sugar. Plus they have a fire pit and a pet rabbit. What could be better?
The day before Halloween my aunt hosted a pumpkin carving contest. I had high hopes of winning first place with this beauty. 
Look at this perfect girl of mine and her kitty pumpkin.
A Zelda monster, because of course.
Woot! I took first place! Heck yes!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Florence {1918-2017}

June 17, 1918 - October 7, 2017
Six months short of her 100th birthday my Grandma Florence had a small stroke in her home. She was rushed to the hospital and a few days later passed away. She was surrounded by her children and loved ones, and we were are all so grateful that she passed without pain.

Ninety-nine amazing years, she never lost mental facilities and lived at home until the very end.

Florence's life started on June 17, 1918, when she was born at home for $2.00, as that is all the doctor charged back then.

When Florence was three years old her family moved to Brooklyn, from the Lower East Side, purchasing a home that had two floors and a basement along with a "stall shower." My Grandma said this was so exciting for everyone because only the nicest homes had separate showers. The home consisted of only two bedrooms and one bathroom, but lots of living space including a parlor.

Florence at age two with her two siblings and mother Pauline.
Florence's father always worked as a furrier, growing up my Grandma remembers always having new fur coats. Because she and her sister were only 18 months apart my Grandma said "we looked like twins in our new fur coats."

In the summer all the children would play on the streets. Four corners, kick the can, softball "from sewer to sewer" and tennis were favorites. Morris and Pauline added to their family again with Selma and a few years later with their last daughter Eleanor.

The fur business was hot back then, and my Grandma remembers living quite comfortably, even through the depression. They had a car, a Studebaker touring car which they all would ride in joyfully through Brooklyn.

Florence married and had three children of her own, my dad being the youngest born in 1953. They led a happy and comfortable life. Florence loved her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren fiercely and made sure everyone understood that her home was always open to visitors.
Grandma, you will be missed. I love you and aspire to be as thoughtful, loving and wonderful as you have always been.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Flaming Gorge Camping!

Labor Day was a memory of sunshine, campfire smoke, tons of laughs and lots of swimming. Like the last two summers, my mom planned a camping trip to Flaming Gorge. The kids anticipate this trip so much and talk about it for months afterward.

Uncle Chandler brought his Nintendo and the kids were glued to his side the entire weekend.
Among the best part of the entire weekend was the river trip down the Green River that Brandon guided.
 The water is cold and crystal clear and the canyon we float down if deep and stunning.
 The small rapids make it easily one of the best days of the kids' year.
 Everyone jumps in, the water is COLD because it comes from the bottom of Flaming Gorge Dam.
 Some of us didn't submerge. ;)

 An entire day spent with this crazy bunch and we have SO MUCH FUN.
 Sunsets from the campground are beyond epic, and we try to catch them every night.
 Worth it.
See ya next year Flaming Gorge! 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Second grade and Kindergarten!

Two days after returning for Maui James started second grade! He was a bit nervous, a bit excited and quite a bit sad to have summer winding down. He ended up having a fabulous day and loving his teacher. James eats hot lunch every day and plays with his friend Ian most days at recess.

This bunny didn't start for another week and was SO nervous and anxious on her first day. Yes, this is a smiling photo but there were lots of tears and anxiety even when she had to say goodbye to me.
 James was trying to help, make her feel better. Sweetest big brother.
 E wanted to see Juliet after her first day of school and she came out of the class with a huge smile, saying it was "a great day." We've had some anxiety each morning before drop off, but overall the transition has gone smoothly and has been easier than it was with James.
After we hugged and kissed Daddy I asked her what she'd like to do. She chose Wendy's and a visit to the park.
And while my kids are at school I love to spend my time hiking. I'm not able to go daily (things like grocery shopping, laundry and responsibilities keep me out of the mountains) but I try to make it up there weekly. When this view is thirty mins from my house the tired legs and burning lungs are worth it.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Maui Monster post part 2

You've been warned. How many photos of someone else's vacation can you really enjoy, we will soon find out! The correct answer is this is way too many.

My personal favorite day on Maui is the day we drive the Road to Hana. The windy road full of hairpin turns is so stunningly beautiful I am in a constant state of awe. We haven't ever driven the full drive, instead preferring to take our time, stop every few miles, swim, jump off waterfalls and explore.
This, by far, was my favorite memory from the entire trip. The waterfall was hidden behind rainforest and river (and a lower more popular falls). We were the only ones there for some time, and I felt so damn thankful I can experience things like this in my lifetime.
E lost his wedding ring at this fall (we think) and it was SO worth it. The water is deep and the pool is huge and you're nestled in this little pocket of paradise right in the middle of the Hawaiian tropics.
The bamboo forest was also magic. I need a new word. But honestly SO amazing.
She's grown up a bit since last time.

We all got matching Hawaiian shaved ice shirts because we're just that cool.
Everyone wore swimsuits because every stop included a waterfall swim.
There aren't many beach stops on the Road to Hana, Honomanu Bay is one of the few, but the black sand beaches and the fact that we had it to ourselves made it worth the stop for sure.
Eucalyptus trees have smooth and almost rainbow painted bark.
So many waterfalls, so many sticks to collect. (Do you see the bigger waterfall beyond?)
Ioa State Park is also a must visit. For some reason we didn't bring swimsuits (??!!) so undies had to do.

But before we stripped down to undies, Juliet explored the rainforest in a rainbow dress. These leaves? Couldn't get over them. I swear I could live in Maui and never tire of it. I'd hike for days and soak in the smell of guavas and flowers.
E loved the fact that we rented a Jeep, and wanted some photos with a nice backdrop. Ioa State Park was the perfect backdrop. Holy crap it's unreal even when you're standing there.
I really wanted to swim in this river, and am not opposed to an underwear dip myself, but decided to pass because there were two other men hanging around. Such a shame. LOL
Our big splurge of the trip had to be sailing on a catamaran out to Molokini Crater to snorkel. While both the kids gave it a go, neither we quite old enough to want to spend much time in the water. That was fine though, they were happy on the boat with endless supplies of soda while E and I snorkeled!
Molokini was incredible, the water clearer than I've ever seen it and absolutely teaming with fish. 
We sailed on this type of boat and everyone loved it. The trip included breakfast and lunch, plus two adult drinks per adult. After Molokini, we stopped at "Turtle Town" to snorkel there, and both E and I saw huge sea turtles.
I relaxed right below the sails on the upper deck and enjoyed this view as we sailed the Hawaiian waters.
These two thought the entire trip was so fun.

And what's a vacation post without some photos of vacation food?
Or dinner views?
Or overpriced Hawaiin drinks in novelty glasses and paper umbrellas?
Eating at a restaurant that overlooked the ocean, there aren't many things better.
Then we'd walk about old Lahaina and finish out the night with shaved ice. Almond, mango, coconut, there isn't a wrong choice on flavors.

One more playing in the waves picture, if you've made it this far, you deserve a medal.
Watching the crabs and the sunset on the last night before we headed home. 
James was my buddy on our flight home, and I asked him for a frown because we were leaving. Apparently looking at your crazy mother frown makes James smile. Good to know for the future.
Honestly, if you read all of this, you're a superstar. Maui, we love you, see you in a couple of years!
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