Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the birthday bash

What a place to turn eight! After a day at the beach we went back to the ship to get ready for Alex's birthday dinner.

Here are a couple of pre-dinner photos out on our balcony..

Like the hat? He had a sports themed party two years ago for his sixth birthday and we found that hat at Party City (Clara has a pink princess birthday cake hat). He insisted that we bring it with us on our trip so he could wear it on his birthday. However, this is as far as it made it.... he chickened out of wearing it outside our room... lol!

At the restaurant we had arranged for a cake...

It was very tasty! But it was entirely too much cake for the six of us (grandpa and grandma were there too) so we gave the leftovers to the staff.

While we were at dinner, our butler had arranged for a special surprise for Alex in our room for when we got back.

Alex was so excited to walk in and find this...
There were tissue paper balloon garlands hanging from the ceiling and a "happy birthday" banner hanging over the window by his bed.

There was also this....... a towel animal in the shape of Alex's favorite land animal.

And then they discovered these on their pillows....

Limo: The Blue Turtle by Kimo Armitage

Baby Honu's Incredible Journey by Tammy Yee
They didn't get the books from the staff... just the stuffed turtles (they purchased the books later with their spending money when we went shopping in Kauai).

Not a bad birthday, do you think? We asked him if he wanted a party here at home or a day out with just mom and dad. He told us that he wanted a day out with mom and dad. So this Saturday while Jeff's parents are in town, we'll take just Alex out for the day. There's really no question as to where we're going... he's been pooling his birthday money for a trip to the Lego Store. :-)

Maui Day One

So, since I'm still the only one up in the house at the moment (Jeff's already at work)... I'll post some more pics from our trip. I guess a week in Hawaii, a five hour time difference and our only 4 hours of sleep in a 36 or so hour time period on our trip home took its toll on the kids. Hopefully we'll start getting back to normal soon.

Here is a shot of Maui from our balcony...
This was on Monday, which happened to be Alex's 8th birthday (party pics to come later). To celebrate we rented a car with my parents and spent the day on Wailea Beach.

We ended up purchasing wrist bands from the Four Seasons resort which gave us access to boogie boards, kayaks and this big inflatable trampoline they had out in the water. The kids had a BLAST! They loved the boogie boards....

Okay... there's really not much to see in this next photo, but I'm posting it anyway....
Not long before we began getting ready to leave a couple that was sitting near where the kids were playing starting talking to the kids and pointing out that direction (just beyond the rocks). Well... we started looking to see what they were pointing at and guess what we saw! Humpback whales!!! We were all pretty excited. They were far enough away that we didn't get a real good view but we definitely saw them... at least four of them I think. The worker from the Four Seasons said that they were the lazy ones that hadn't headed off to Alaska yet, the rest were already gone. I didn't even think to try to take a photo (this one I had taken earlier in the day), I just sat there in awe watching the whales.

After that we packed up and headed back to the ship for Alex's birthday dinner. :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

we're home... finally!

Whew! We made it! We got in at around 5:15 this morning. We were supposed to get in yesterday but our flight on Saturday was canceled. So, poor us, we had to spend another day in Hawaii. United Airlines put us up at the Hilton right on Waikiki Beach so all was good. The kids got some more beach time and then played in the pool for another three hours or so.

I took about 500 photos (yikes!) so I'm just going to process and post a few from each day.

These two were taken from the balcony of our stateroom on the cruise ship while we were still docked in Honolulu...

That night we set sail for Hilo on the Big Island. We all did okay but by morning I was incredibly seasick... I really really hate that feeling. Jeff got me some sea calm from the front desk and after a shower, I was up and ready for our day.

We were signed up for a shore excursion to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Here are some photos from the Jaggar Museum along the edge of the Kilauea Caldera...

Here the kids are warming up in the volcanic steam vents...
and posing in the rainforest after we had gone through an old lava tube...
After leaving the park, our bus stopped at an orchid store and Clara picked up one for her hair...
And finally.... after returning to the ship, the kids got to do what they had been waiting for all day.... a dip in the pool (and while there, they tested out their snorkeling gear)...

So many more photos and so much more to write but I just noticed the time and I've got to get Alex to cooking class and Clara to gymnastics!

more to come!

Friday, April 18, 2008

See you in a week!

I totally meant to post a real post again before we left... but it all just got away from me!

We're off to Hawaii in the morning!

See you in a week!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

they're everywhere!

Seriously, the house looks like a library has thrown up in it... there are books EVERYWHERE! Above is Clara's reading pile from this week (I think two are from last week though). I can't keep enough books in the house to keep her happy. Alex has finished three books this week himself (Harry Potter book 4, the Boxcar Children and Nate the Great). The two of them just move throughout the house leaving a trail of books in their wake. It doesn't help that I'm just as bad... sigh.

I've been missing a couple of days.... Monday night I started feeling kind of icky and by 2:00am, I was officially sick. When will I learn that I can't eat nuts on an empty stomach without throwing up? I grabbed a handful of almonds and trail mix between the zoo and taking the kids to their classes. The last time I got sick like this was after Jeff and I had trail mix for dinner on our drive from Texas to Missouri one Thanksgiving because none of the restaurants along our route where open or not packed to the rafters with people if they were open. Must make a mental note of this and not do it again.

Okay... must end this painfully boring post! :-) I'll try to be more exciting today!

Monday, April 14, 2008

the zoo

Today was a sunny spring day here in Chicago so the kids and I met a (homeschooling) friend of mine and her son at the zoo for some fresh air.

Like usual, we started in the big cat house. It was here that we discovered that the jaguar had an obsession with Clara's little pink dog purse. No matter where Clara went the jaguar watched her. It was a little disturbing at first until we figured out it was the purse, not Clara that it was fixated on.

Here's our friend the jaguar...

And here it is staring intently at Clara's purse...This was the highlight of Clara's day... sadly her day went downhill from here. Well... not immediately. We had a wonderful day running down the paths and looking at the animals. The kids even got to howl with the wolves when they got started after hearing a siren go by. But right before we left the kids asked to go through the climbing structure in the children's zoo, just once, before we needed to leave to get to cooking and gymnastics. It was here, just upon entering the structure, that Clara slipped and hit her mouth on the level above her. She came out crying with blood coming out of her mouth. It looked horrible and you always expect the worst... but thankfully it looked much worse than it really was. She did manage to cut both her top and bottom lips with her teeth and she did knock her two top front teeth even more loose than they were before (which added to the blood) but she was okay. So with big puffy lips, we went on to gymnastics. We were almost home for the day after picking Alex up from cooking when she tripped over the curb and fell again... this time skinning her knee... sigh. Poor girl! She had a really rough time of it this afternoon. Hopefully she has gotten it all out of her system for the week and it'll be smooth sailing from here on out.

Okay... I'm not feeling 100% so I'm heading to bed!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

dance, dance, dance

That pretty much sums up our Saturday. It was the dance studio's "in studio" recital, in preparation for the big recital at the end of May. Combine that with Saturday morning dance classes... we ended up being at the studio from 10am until about 4:30pm. Clara was exhausted.

Here is Clara doing the polka with her partner during her character dance piece...
Just one from her Saturday ballet piece...
Oh... and in case you didn't know, Alex is taking boys' dance this year to see what he thinks about dance (he started to have something to do while waiting in the hall during Clara's class)...
He seems to enjoy it, but he's really not that into it... but like I said, he has fun.

And just one more, this is from her hip hop/jazz piece...
She has two other pieces in the recital that I didn't post photos of.

Today was nothing but errands. We went to church this morning and afterward, we hit Water Tower Place so Jeff and I could pick up a few new things for our trip. I got some new clothes at J. Jill and some new sandals at the Clarks store. Then it was a quest to find swim fins for the kids... it took two trips to get ones that fit... apparently our choices are too small to even get on their feet and way too big. In the end we went with "way too big"... sigh.

We're finally home now and we're exhausted! Time for a movie and an early bedtime! :-)


Friday, April 11, 2008

a day late AGAIN!

My goodness, my posting schedule has gotten way off this week! I usually post right before bed, but this week it's just not happening.

So, here are my photos from yesterday...
Alex and his sea urchin... yesterday for school they made their own coral reef (more here).

Okay... the next photo is so not good (you know how I feel about flash)... but I just needed to document Clara's choice of outfits yesterday...
See how Alex is dressed? For reference, I was wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and fuzzy socks. It was dark and rained all day... I think the outside temp was in the 40's. She told me that she just felt like dancing all day yesterday and needed a skirt that twirled... sigh. (FYI - we didn't go anywhere yesterday so its not like she was traipsing across the city in this outfit... lol).

Okay... I'm just sitting here waiting for Comcast. My appointment is from 8 to 12... and they're supposed to call 30 minutes before they show up. It is now 11:05 and I haven't heard a thing... it's not looking good.

Happy Friday!

ETA: It's now 12:10 and still no sign of Comcast. Sigh.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

catching up from yesterday

Sorry I didn't post last night... I had worked myself up into a real mad and never got around to blogging. Thankfully the mad had nothing to do with anyone living in our house or related to us. :-)

These are my pictures from yesterday... the kids reading...

Seeing them read, makes me happy! :-) I'm a book junkie though... I can't image not having a home stuffed full of books.

Anyway... them reading was part of a new homeschooling thing we're doing (more here).

Oh... and the pictures I talked about the other day are now here.

Okay... that's it for now... I'll try to get back on track tonight!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

sea creatures

In preparation for our trip to Hawaii a week and a half from now, the kids and I stopped by the scuba shop on our way to martial arts this afternoon to pick up snorkeling gear.

They couldn't wait to get home to try it out (I had to talk them out of using it in the tub at bath time). So here is Alex, modeling his new blue snorkel set (I know... it's a black and white photo, you'll just have to use your imagination...LOL!)...
And here's Clara with her pink set...
Clara immediately (well... actually they both did) fogged up her mask so she couldn't see a thing. They are sooooo excited about snorkeling and surfing! They can hardly wait! I can wait, but only because I'm a really bad flier. I can't wait to actually be there... I would just prefer to find a way there that didn't involve an airplane :-)

I still haven't done anything with the photos I mentioned yesterday... okay... that's a lie... I opened the files but they're still just sitting there in photoshop waiting for me to do something with them. Maybe tomorrow... but they're all school pics so I'll probably just post them on my other blog when (if) I get around to resizing them for the web.

Not sure what tomorrow has in store for us. It's dance and piano day which is always fun. Hopefully the rain will stop before then. I got absolutely soaked today walking home from martial arts and then again while walking the dog. Seriously... my down winter coat was soaked through and my shoulders were wet after I came back inside from taking the dog out. Jeff mentioned something about possible snow this weekend... but I'm not sure I believe him.

Okay... I'm off to bed!


Monday, April 07, 2008

another layout!

I know, I know... shocking, I scrapped again.

Here's the latest...
details here

I posted it in a couple of galleries this morning and then this afternoon it was pointed out to me that it is now posted here...
on the Creating Keepsakes Magazine homepage!

I have a few photos from today but I haven't done anything with them yet... maybe tomorrow!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

haircuts, scooters and other stuff...

Today Clara and I finally got haircuts! We were both getting a bit shaggy. Clara got a short little bob and it looks adorable!

Here she is midcut....
I don't have a photo of my new short do... I tried to take one in PhotoBooth here on my mac, but I just couldn't get one that really showed my cut.

Jeff and Alex came over to the salon to pick up Clara while I got my haircut. They went to a lot nearby and scootered...

Then we went off in search of a shop to pick up something to drink...
It was such a BEAUTIFUL day today! The kids spent almost the entire afternoon outside. First they spent some time on the deck building some elaborate roller coaster for Lego people out of their old wooden train set. I took a couple of pictures but I haven't done anything with them yet. While Clara was getting her hair cut at the salon, Alex was playing a bit of tennis in the alley with our neighbors. Then the scootering mentioned above. And finally, we took a walk to a restaurant that we have been wanting to try for dinner. I love those first warm weekends in the spring... everyone is so excited that it's nice out that there are people everywhere... it's so much fun.

Okay... I have nothing else to report! (oh...except for that I scrapped again... I just don't have it ready to post... hopefully tomorrow!)


Saturday, April 05, 2008

the piano man..

just a super quick post and then I'm heading to the couch.

This afternoon was Alex's piano recital and here's a couple of photos to prove it... :-)

He did really well!

I really like the place where he takes piano (it is the same place that Clara takes dance). It really feels like a family in a way. It was fun to be at a recital where we "know" at least 75% of the participants. A lot of the music students also take dance so we know several people from that... randomly, a couple others who take music lessons there are in Alex and Clara's martial arts class.... and one of the families is from the homeschool group we belong to. It really seems to make a difference when you know the kids, if you know what I mean.

Okay... rambling... off to the couch!


Friday, April 04, 2008

photo time!

Occasionally the mood strikes me to take some more formal type portraits of the kids... today was one of those days. So, I got out my Picture Perfect Home Studio kit (part of my Memory Makers Masters prize package) and took a few photos.

Tonight I'm just posting a few of Clara's. I haven't edited Alex's yet... partially because they appear to all be identical to each other. The good side of him being such a cooperative child is that it only takes a few frames to get a good picture of him. The downside is that I miss out on crazy wild ride which is photographing Clara...

not bad... but her shirt is a little stretched out in this one.

... another one that is not too bad.

And then... randomly, I get this...
(here her double row of "shark teeth" on the bottom is easy to see here.... we will make some orthodontist very happy some day)

And finally, the sign that the shoot is over...
It was fun... but our place was so dark today that it was hard to shoot. But sometimes when the kids are willing, you just go for it and hope for the best!