September 16, 2017

Back to School

Well there was a fun-filled summer that I totally didn't blog about, but I'll catch up on that later. Now all three girls are in school! Lexi and Zara started 2nd grade and Ariana started Montessori preschool. So far they are all enjoying.






June 6, 2017

Art Birthday Party

The twins decided on an art party for their seventh birthday. We invited their friends and created several art stations in our backyard and topped it off with a double sized ice cream cake. It was a blast!

The art stations were canvas painting, coloring bookmarks, decorating fabric totes, candy necklaces and glitter tattoos. As it always goes in our backyard, the kids ended up running in the trees and playing tag in the lawn by the end of the party.


















May 10, 2017

Ariana is Three!

Well I think this officially makes us out of the "baby phase" of parenting? I guess Ariana hasn't been a baby for awhile, but I was still changing diapers until recently so I think that qualifies. It will really feel like a new stage of parenting when she starts preschool in the fall. I'm equally parts excited about the school-age phase of traveling more, more spontaneity without nap time and sad that they are all growing up so darn fast.

We had a fun party with most of our families last weekend. Ariana requested a pink cake, pink balloons and Paw Patrol and we made it happen. She isn't big on sweets so I made a light cake with whipped cream frosting and lots of strawberries (her fave fruit) and she still didn't eat it! The rest of us loved it though and the twins are already begging me to make it for their birthday.



Cousins! 





Ariana is so much fun. I always said three was my favorite age. She is getting a little more feisty and throwing a few tantrums, but most of the time she is cracking us up with the funny things she says and does. Her big sisters still think she is the cutest little sister ever. She is SO excited to get to take swimming lessons this summer and maybe some ballet too now that she is old enough. 

She loves Littlest Pet Shop, Paw Patrol, playing games on the Kindle, swinging, bubbles and dancing in her pink dress. She is still a pretty picky eater and loves macaroni and cheese or any kind of noodles, cheese, ham, steak, Goldfish crackers, strawberries, blueberries, greek yogurt, popcorn and french fries. She is about 27 pounds and 37 inches tall and wearing size 3 clothes and size 8 shoes. 


May 4, 2017

Hawaii (The Big Island): Part 3

This is the third and last post on our recent trip to the Big Island. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

DAY 7: After a very long day the day before trekking around the entire island, we were ready for a relaxing beach day. We originally planned to check out a different beach, but the parking lot was full so we found ourselves at Spencer Beach State Park. We lucked out and ended up loving this beach for its super calm water and tons of shade. 






After a long morning and picnic lunch at the beach, we headed back to our condo for some rest. Then, per our usual habits, we went and swam in the pool before we grilled dinner at the pool. We had another long day ahead of us. 

DAY 8: This was our last day in Hawaii. Sob. We spent the morning packing up and checking out of our condo and then headed down south of Kona to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park. On the way we stopped to play at this awesome wood park and ate our picnic lunch there. 

Once we got to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park, the kids were excited to get another Junior Ranger workbook and walk around. This place is translated as "the place of refuge" and has a lot of spiritual significance as well. 



After that we headed into Kona to check out the shops, grab a quick dinner and get one more shave ice! Then it was time to turn in our rental car and get to the airport. Our red-eye flight left at 10pm and arrived in Seattle around 6am (3am Hawaii time). Thankfully the kids slept the entire flight, but we were all still tired. We picked up our car and drove back to Yakima and spent the rest of the day unpacking and napping. 

So all that was a pretty great vacation! We had awesome weather and a variety of adventures and relaxation. One thing to take into account in your planning is how BIG the island is. If you don't like driving long distances, it might not be the right island for you. I would also say the hiking isn't as great as Kauai. 

April 20, 2017

Hawaii (The Big Island): Part 2

This is the second part of our Big Island trip recap. We left off with the first part of our trip, Part 1 here.

DAY 5: We got up and out of our condo early this time because we had a full day of fun planned on the south side of the island. Hawaii Volcanos National Park was our main destination, but we made a few stops along the way to break up the long drive.

Our first stop was Greenwell Farms, a Kona coffee farm. They have free, low-key tours running all day long. We also loved checking out all the different fruit trees (avocado, banana, orange) and their farm store too! The kids were on iguana/lizard lookout the whole trip and were excited to find an iguana in a tree here.



After the coffee farm, its a long drive without much in the way of places to eat. We stopped at an L&L Barbecue because we were hungry and in need of a break, but it was gross. I was wishing we had brought a picnic lunch!

When we finally made it to Volcanoes National Park, it was worth the wait! After a quick stop at the steam vents, we went to the Jagger Museum. This is a fun little place to check out with lots of things to see and touch and, of course, its the best viewpoint of the crater.

Note: If you have school-aged kids, make sure to ask for a Junior Ranger workbook at Jagger Museum. Its free and full of educational fun for kids to work on while they are at the volcano. Once they are done with it, take it back to the museum and turn it in for a cool Junior Ranger badge. Love this program AND having kids that can read/write/inform themselves!








After checking out the crater (and the bubbling lava!), we drove down to the end of the road at edge of the ocean. The drive down is thru many recent lava flows that are pretty cool to see. At the end of the road you can hike it about 10 miles to where the lava is currently flowing into the ocean, but we didn't make it that far with the rugrats in tow. We did hike a good ways on the lava though. 




After a fun day at the volcano, we headed up the east side into Hilo for dinner and stumbled upon what ended up being our favorite restaurant of our trip to the Big Island. Pineapples was a great combination of yummy island food, kid-friendly, but not a kid place and awesome service! 

DAY 6: This day was all about the dolphins. A few months before our trip, the twins decided to spend the money they received for Christmas on the Dolphin Quest experience. We signed them up for the kid quest. First, they spent about 45 minutes in the education center learning about everything that goes on there with the dolphins and then they had 30 minutes in the dolphin pool with several dolphins. If you ask them, they can tell you all the names and relatives of the dolphins they swam with. It was seriously amazing just to watch and they were beyond thrilled and cherished every minute of it. 

Lexi

Zara




After the girls were done with the dolphins, we stayed and played at the lagoon beach at the Hilton where the Dolphin Quest is located. Validated valet parking for the day made that an easy decision. The Hilton is huge and reminded me of Disney. Not sure we would want to stay there, but it was fun for an afternoon. Their lagoon is apparently required to be open to the public since its technically a beach. The kids got to work on some sort of fish trap and us parents enjoyed the beach chairs. 





We ended the day with birthday dinner for M at Jackie Rey's in Kona (it was just ok) an chocolate cake back at our condo. Looking at these happy sun-kissed faces all together gives me all the feels.


 To be continued with our final days and some other thoughts and tips!