Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nightstands

Guys - my husband is REALLY good at building stuff.  It's always the time that we're lacking.  For our wedding he decided he was going to build us a bed.  If you want to see some really old, and pretty terrible pictures of what it looks like, check back here on the blog for pictures of when we first shared the project on the blog.  

So, that was back, what? Like 6 years ago now.  Fast forward to a few months ago when the house projects here had finally tapered off and we stated talking about what we should work on next.  We've both been wanting to get a bedroom set that matches, but, it too takes time (or money).  We've got two dressers that match, but don't match the bed and we had two mismatched nightstands.  So - being the smaller pieces we thought we'd start with those first.


Don't they look amazing?  I'm so lucky to have such a talented husband who enjoy wood working.  It'll take some time, but sooner or later we'll have an entire bedroom set of furniture that was all hand made.  Talk about heirloom pieces to hand down for generations.  The girls better not even THINK of spraying these with paint to match whatever is trendy or cool at the time.  The wood is too beautiful to cover up!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

1 Family x 12 (May)


Memorial day weekend and the official kick off to summer!!  We squeezed this family photo in just in the nick of time...turned out pretty cute (thanks Auntie Erin!).

Let the days of swim suits, sandy toes and pop-cycles begin!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Waterpark 2016


Has there ever been a truer picture?  Four little peanuts all waiting, hopefully for the water park ladies to move that dang Pool Closed sign and just let them in to play?  There was SO much anticipation for the water park this year that they seriously could not stand it one minute longer!  We've been taking these little kids to the water park every year since Abby and Conner were 1.5 and Stella/Brianna/Hazel weren't even born yet.


A great late winter/early spring tradition that we started 3 years ago as expanded and grown as our families keep adding more little people.  The kids, especially Connor and Abby were so dang excited about the water park this year.  Connor had been talking about it since before Christmas.  We typically go in March sometime, but since we were in Hawaii this year, we pushed the trip back to early April which must have been pure torture for Connor.


Abby's long ago gotten over here fear of the water....well, as far as the water park is concerned that is.  She's still pretty skeptical of the pool at our house, but we made some huge strides last year with her and are hoping she'll remember how much fun she had once she was finally in when it's time to get in again this year.  Those Frozen goggles, those may be the ticket for her.  She loves them...she even wears them around the house just for fun.


We totally lucked out this year when we tried a new pool that we'd not been to before.  We've been renting a three bedroom condo at the Wilderness for 3 years now and have tried just about all of the pools.  But this year the kids were up early (mine ALWAYS are) and we decided to head over to one of the two pools that opened at 9.  It was on site at the Wilderness at the Lake and while it's still the same hotel, this section is a good 5 minute bus ride away so we'd never tried it before.


As you can tell from the pictures above we were there before they even opened and were the first ones in the park.  We quickly, greedily, grabbed up tables and chairs expecting a huge rush of people but we spent nearly 4 hours in this pool/play area and we never once felt crowded.  I'd guess there were less than 100 people there the entire time.  The slides and play areas were really geared toward the littlest of kids which worked out well for just about all of us.  Connor got a little bored at one point so Mike/Stina and Brianna went with him to the bigger area, but all in all, this little pool worked out perfect for us!


So perfect in fact that I think we may try and rent on at side of the resort next year and save ourselves the bus trip.  The kids loved it and we loved that it wasn't nearly as crowded and stressful.

Man, isn't that one cute kid??  Hazel loved the water park.  So much more than Abby did at around her age.  She's just the most content, happy baby!  Clearly I need to get her a larger swimming suit though...I don't think this one will last us through the summer.


After hanging at the pool we went back for lunch and naps and headed back poolside later in the day.  The kids had SO much fun and we love this little tradition we've started for them.  It's great to get everyone feeling like summer is just around the corner.


Stella, let me tell you about her.  She's one crazy little lady.  She's been taking swim lessons with Jamie since she was about 6 months old and you can totally tell.  She has NO fear.  Like, none.  Well, that actually describes Stella in MANY situations, and the pool is no different.  She does not need a life jacket...she would be able to swim to the edge if she fell in (ya know, in that ankle deep water).  The life guards made them wear them at this pool.  I'd say that was the only downside to this area.


Back to Stella.  I was super impressed that she could hold her breath under water.  Jamie was showing me that if she holds a toy under the water for Stella to look at she can hold her breath for about 5 seconds before popping up for air. Abby, I'm lucky if she will lay down in the bathtub.  She won't do it on her back...stomach only.  That kid....she's something!



Kristina came prepared like she always is, with the best kid toys.  I tell you what, no matter what I pack it's always Connor's toys and Jamie's snacks that win out in Abby's book.  I just can't get it right.  But, that's what girl friends are for...thanks ladies!


After dinner we hit up another new spot for the kids this year...and indoor play area with all kinds of fun tunnels to crawl in, slides to slide down and balls flying everywhere.  Abby had a blast in that indoor park and I might actually contend that she liked it better than the pool.  Hazel had a great time crawling around an area for the smallest kids and I'm pretty sure that's where she picked up the flu that she graced the entire family with that night.  Little stinker!  That flu went through the entire family and had us down for the count for about a week.  I blame the water park germs!



All in all, there was lots of fun had by all and we will definitely be visiting again next year.  Thank you Stina and Jamie for making memories with us. And, with that, I leave you with a few more pictures that I just couldn't leave out of this post....enjoy!





Friday, May 6, 2016

Messy messy...


You guys, work has been INSANE the last two weeks.  I found out 7 days ago that I'd be traveling in 10 days and presenting a full day workshop to a client....which in itself is crappy enough.  But, to add to the crazy, the workshop was not even created yet.  So, yea, it's been a long week and I am so happy that we're finally to Friday. Though, if I'm being honest, I really need about 3 more days in this week, and I refuse to work this weekend.  It's Mother's Day and I've put in my fair share this week.  Anyways.....


I've been neglecting everything outside of the kids and work these days, because, well, we're in survival mode this week.  But, it's Friday and things are turning the corner, so I wanted to take a few minutes to post some pictures from a few weeks back.


Things have changed quite a bit since Abby was a baby on the food front.  Now they want babies trying nearly everything before their first year.  Everything except Honey.  So, that means no-no's like strawberries and peanut butter are up for grabs.  As you can tell, we tried peanut butter a few weeks back.  I held off on posting to make absolutely sure she didn't have any reactions, but I think it's fair to say that PB is on the green list for Hazel at this point.  She loves it!


Let me tell ya, babies learning to eat are SO messy.  I've given up trying to keep her clean.  I just let her make a total disaster, let the dogs in and plop her in the bath.  The dogs take care of 80% of the mess and I just have to clean the high chair.....


Happy Friday, ya'll!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

1 Family x 12 (April)


Can you sense Abby's excitement to finally be at the water park?  We've been talking about it for months and last weekend we finally made it!  Course, we came home and both girls got the flu...but we won't blame that on the water park.  This month's family picture.  More water park pics coming later....

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Just some more Hazel pictures and reflections on why I blog....


Guys, I'm finally caught up on the blog!  Just in time to start working on the formatting and printing of 2015's book.  I love getting those books in the mail when they are finally complete.  By then I've spent nearly a year and a half working on taking pictures, writing stories and posting...then formatting the book and finally sending it off to print.  Now that we've got 5 books to look back through and enjoy, I remember all over again how much I love the end product of this blog.


While I read others blogs nearly every day and watch how they turn words into businesses that support their families, I've come to realize that that's just not what I use this blog for...its a memory book for me.  A keeper of photographs, stories and memories that I will pass on to these two little girls when they grow older.

A few days ago when I was cleaning out the hall closet I pulled out the old books and put them on the floor for Abby to look through.  She loved seeing pictures of herself as a baby and loved looking through the pictures to find the friends and family she knows.  Someday she'll be able to read the stories that go with the pictures and will read all about the adventures she went on when she was younger.  I can't wait for that day!

So, for now I leave you with a few pictures of Hazel.  She is the happiest, smiley-est 9 month old baby.  She's been sleeping through the night now since about 6 months and we are all happier for it.  She's probably just a few weeks away from walking.  She's pushing the walker around the house pretty well these days and is so proud of herself when she makes it from one end of the kitchen to the other.  They change so quickly these little people.  I want to remember every single moment!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hawaii - Kauai Part II


I'm here to finish out the last blog from our trip to Hawaii.  Before we get too far though, I think I need to put in a quick disclaimer...I am NOT a Bears fan.  In fact, I seriously considered not including a single picture of me wearing that terrible shirt, but there were too many goodies to do that.  It was cold, we were on vacation and I wore a Bears shirt.  End of story.


Now that we've got that out of the way, back to our Hawaiian adventures.  After having one relaxing day on the beach we had a kayak and hike planned for Friday.  This was probably the most "normal" activity we did the entire trip and it was nice to know that we wouldn't be pushed out of our comfort zone...just a nice paddle and hike to waterfall.


The trip itself was enjoyable.  Our tour guide though, she was something else!!  Her  name was Julie and I kid you not she did the entire tour barefoot.  Ok, so kayaking barefoot doesn't sound that strange, but we hiked for about an hour in the middle of the tour and the entire hike was made up of ground covered in roots like in the above picture.  Roots, rocks, tree stumps...it did NOT look like the place to be walking around without shoes on.


Julie also had a drum that she carried with her in her dry bag.  After leading us to the waterfall where we had lunch with about 50 other tourists (not ideal and VERY unlike the waterfall repel adventure) she played the drum the entire hike back to our kayaks.  She was a strange one....  


Saturday was our last full day on the island.  Since we'd already had one hike completely rained out we decided that we'd try to see the Napali coast from the lower hiking trails, accessed on the northern side of the island.  Hawaii had been having some huge surfs in the weeks leading up to our trip, some warnings mentioned 50-60 foot swells so we decided to head north to see if we could catch some of the huge waves (from the beach...not in the water) and hike the Napali coast.


Well, guess what, it rained.  And rained and rained.  Much like our first hike, we spent 4.5 hours hiking in the rain.  It would clear at times, but it was always wet and the rain would always return a few minutes later.  Don't mind us...that's our "there's a giant 500 foot tsunami headed our way" faces.  Totally realistic, right?


It rained.  It was cold.  We were wet and just wanted ONE hike to be enjoyable...but yet, we still had a great time.  This hike though was not for the faint of heart....or for nice shoes.  You see, we saw PLENTY of people that should not be hiking this trail.  Like the two girls who looked like they were headed to the mall, white and gold high-tops, purses slung over their shoulders, expensive leggings and all.  There were people in flip flops and people carrying babies.  I mean, we certainly can't judge too much.  We believe in taking the kids nearly everywhere and not letting them slow us down.  We're the first to strap on backpacks and load up the kids to hike.  Shoot, I hiked up two vertical ladders carrying 5 week old Hazel in a Bjourn on my stomach (you know...5 weeks postpartum). We however, would not have hiked this trail with the kids.  


We did however see some beautiful views!!  Like this one, which is now the wallpaper on my phone.


The Napali trail is an 11 mile out and back (so 22 miles total) that ends at a beach where backpackers come to camp out.  You need to apply for a permit to hike the full trail and sleep out there on the beach.  About 4 miles in there is a waterfall that we'd originally wanted to hike to.  But, between the rain, the mud and the 2.5 hours it took us to go just half way, we gave up when we got to this little beach/river.  Most tourists that choose to do this hike probably end here at this point where we too turned around.


Hundreds of people have died on this beach.  It is located right at the mouth of the river (that's formed from the waterfall we wanted to visit) where the river meets up with the ocean.  The tides at the beach change quickly and adding in the water rushing down from the waterfall this area is prone to flash flooding, trapping people on the beach where the tide quickly rises and pulls them out to sea.  In fact, there was a sign along the trail with tally marks for those who had died hiking the trail.  Scary!


I was so freaked out in fact that I had zero intention of crossing the river to get to the beach.  Zero.  Ryan, Chris and Brenna all made it across safely and I stayed planted on the other side.  After watching an eight or nine year old boy cross back and forth probably 5 times, screwing around I got up the never to cross as well.  I figured if he could do it...I could do.  But, that's how people end up in situations they shouldn't be in....I'm fully aware.  I finally crossed over, and while I'm glad I did, I didn't stay long.  I was the first to say "Ok, that's enough, the rain is coming down and we gotta move".


I gotta say though, that view was amazing.  The little rock sculptures people build made it even more interesting.  Not a beach in it's normal sense...certainly not a place you'd want to lay a towel down on and catch some rays, but beautiful all the same.

I debated including this picture...because, well, you know....but decided it made me happy.  Reminds me that we were there to celebrate 5 years of marriage.  And hopefully many more butt-grabbing years to come.



The hike back was shorter than the way down, which was a relief.  By the time we'd made our way back to the car we were all soaked, covered in mud and exhausted.  We rinsed off at the public bathrooms/outdoor shower and made our way back towards civilization where we had plans to meet up with Chris's second cousins, Rob and Sherry.  They own a house near Hanali on Kauai and invited us up for dinner on Saturday night.


After having spent the last 10 days together just the four of us, we were all excited to hear other people talk and hear some new stories.  Rob and Sherry had a beach BBQ planned for us but with the rain and cool temperatures we decided to just stay put and enjoy their lanai....and wine!  The graciously let us use their showers (trust me, we needed it) and we had a great evening recounting our trip, learning more about the island and just relaxing.  It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation.


If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that we can vacation with Chris and Brenna any time.  If  you can still laugh and be friends after spending 10 days traveling together, you can do anything!  Let's start planning (and saving!) for our 10 year anniversary trip!  I vote Machu Picchu.  You guys in??