Sunday, October 5, 2014

Boys

Got to spend time today with my two favorite baby boys, Henry Forrest:

and drumroll.... My new nephew Wesley James!



Cousins:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

School

If you'd have asked me last year this time, I would have told you we were sending Edie to public school kindergarten this Fall. Her birthday falls just 2 days before the Kindergarten cut-off date in Washington so it was our decision whether to send her as the youngest kid in the school or wait a year and send her 2-3 days after her 6th birthday.

I think if we were living in a smaller town, all of these decisions would feel more manageable (read: if we lived in Bellingham, I'm pretty sure Edie would be in Kindergarten right now). Without writing out every little detail that went into this decision, I'll just say that Seattle's zoning system is a hot mess, the individual schools are hard to get information from, and parents in this city have become very paranoid about waiting as long as possible to start kindergarten (thanks Malcolm Gladwell). There is also the fact that as a parent of a 5 year old, I am repeatedly told by parents with older kids that getting your very little children tested into AP programs as early as possible is apparently your best bet at having a positive experience in the public school system long term. This further contributes to people waiting for kindergarten in an attempt to give their kids an extra year to place into AP schools at the KINDERGARTEN LEVEL… it's cray cray. It's enough to make you look into private schools. Which all require that kids turn 5 in June, so no dice on that one this year either.

THANKFULLY, we are so very happy at our current school and knowing that this conundrum might come up this year, we chose it almost 2 years ago for it's amazing "5's" program. The 5's class is really like a mini kindergarten, in fact it's possible for kids after being in the 5's to test directly into public school 1st grade if the teachers recommend it. Which means there's a small chance that this could actually BE kindergarten for her. All the children in her 5's class have birthdays between June and October 15th, so it's been a birthday bonanza these last few weeks as all the kids turn 5 with Edie. There are only 14 kids in the class and they have a dedicated teacher and full time assistant, plus they get to continue their daily French lessons with her favorite preschool teacher and spend all day on Fridays baking and doing art and pottery. The 5's building is next door to the preschool and they have a different curriculum that I'm gathering tidbits about from Edie each night. Curriculum night at the school is in a week or two, so I'm looking forward to learning more then.

Sadly, it's already time to start thinking about public vs private kindergarten for NEXT year. Which seems absolutely ridiculous but I assure you is absolutely true. All the elementary schools start open house nights in the Fall and testing for AP programs and private schools needs to happen before application/sign up time, which is in Winter. It feels like just yesterday when my brain exploded while researching all this stuff last year and now here I am facing it down again. Blergh.

But at least this time I can go into it with a bit more confidence that my tiny, 32 pound unicorn of a child will be able to hold her own next year no matter where we put her.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Never too soon

It was decided that 5 is the proper age to start teaching Edie to drive... a boat.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hawaii

Our trip to Maui was one of those life-affirming things that I now believe every couple with smallish children needs to do. Almost exactly a year ago we had a long weekend in NYC without Edie and it turned out to be a bit of a flop. We were trying too hard I think to have a big city adventure when what we really needed was to relax. It took another year of saving and planning to have a do-over, but it was worth the wait.

The week leading up to the trip was stressful for Jeff because taking even one day off for him can be a challenge. He has full time staff now and about 50% more projects than he probably should, so he works even longer hours than usual in the days leading up to a trip like this. When we head to Orcas in the summer, he's still "on" much of the time, often driving into town to work a few hours during the day, and he rarely goes anywhere without his laptop. But this time, neither of us brought computers and we completely checked out of our regular lives. I always fret a little before flying and this time I added the guilt of leaving Edie behind for what could have easily been a "family vacation". While my brain knew it was a good thing to do, my heartstrings were plucking themselves in a different direction.

We woke at 4:45am to catch our flight and after a long day of travel (long story, but we had to connect in Sacramento on the way there, and flew direct on the way home) and a super annoying wait at the rental car place with the worst kinds of tourists, we arrived in the town of Kihei in time for a late lunch. Check in at our cottage wasn't until 3pm, so we stuffed our faces with plate lunch specials at Da Kitchen and then headed to the rental.

I thought about cataloguing our trip by day, but honestly, the wonderful thing about this trip was how the days blurred into each other and how little we did. I can't actually remember what happened in what order and most of the photos are of us in our swimsuits, so I'll spare you that (mostly). But here are some of my favorite moments in photos…


Here is the view from our cottage on our first evening. As you can imagine, it swept away all my previous concerns about taking a solo couples' trip. One look at the cottage and I was a million miles away from mom-land.

And the loungers we had all to ourselves:

And the welcome platter our landlords left us and which became breakfast each morning:
We spent the time hanging out in giant floppy hats and big glasses (me):
Making friends with geckos (Jeff):

Laughing at all the tourists with "selfie sticks":
Taking our own selflies on the beach (always a challenge with our height difference - I typically stand on my tip toes to get a decent shot):

and watching romantic sunsets:




Our days slipped into an easy pattern.  We would wake early (even Jeffrey!) due to the time difference,  and either eat granola and yogurt with fresh fruit, or Jeff would make coconut french toast that we would eat in robes by the pool. Then we would shower outdoors, suit up and have a mini adventure on the island, exploring beaches or towns recommended by friends. We would search out a lunch spot and after stuffing ourselves, head back to the cottage to spend the hottest part of the day drinking homemade tropical beverages, and swimming/floating in the pool with a book.

Jeff mixing us up cocktails at our own palapa bar:

North Beach, where the waves were smaller than in the south due to a strange wave pattern that the locals informed us about that week:


This particular beach was amazing and almost completely deserted:

Lunch on the North Shore:

Another morning, we ventured to Kapalua Bay and snorkeled. I totally dork-out about snorkeling and Jeff humored me. I particularly love holding his hand and swimming under water together, pointing things out to one another like Madison and Tom Hanks in Splash. For real.
Kapalua Bay Beach (me on the right):

We visited Makena/Big Beach which was only about 7 minutes from our cottage twice. the first time it was beautiful but the waves were so enormous no one could go in the water (note everyone standing around watching the waves). That's me walking ahead of Jeff:

And those are some of the smaller waves crashing on shore:

One our last day, we returned to Big Beach and had what turned out to be a surprisingly fabulous walk along the shore, watching the locals swim and getting wet from light rain and the waves. We had the place mostly to ourselves.






Literally the only thing firmly on our agenda that week were dinner reservations at Mama's Fish House, compliments of our lovely friends who purchased us gift certificates to eat here. We drove north a little early to beat the sunset before our reservation and ended up at a random beach where apparently all the turtles of Maui come to sleep at night on the beach. It was amazing:


Turtles!

Those are all turtles on the beach, not rocks!
What we will now call Turtle Beach, because I don't know what it's really called (turtles on the right):

Me freaking out about the turtles:
Our romantic dinner at Mama's:





Lastly, I will leave you with a few other favorite things. The first few include seeing me in a swimsuit. Sorry! Or you're welcome! Depends on who you are I guess and how you feel about women in their mid thirties sporting bikinis. For example, here is me with my best friend, the giant pool floatie:
Floating and reading in the pool was literally one of the best things ever:
I also love a blended coconut flavored drink like nobodies business and spent a lot of time in the afternoons doing this:
Sometimes while also doing this:
And on our last night we toured some of the fancy pants resorts just 5 minutes from our cottage. We deemed the Grand Wailea our favorite and wandered their grounds, pretending we were rich. Jeff also dared me to swim in the fountain behind me as we left in the dark. While I was tempted after drinking something called "Crater Punch", I ultimately declined.

Right after this photo below was taken, we ordered an epic ice cream sundae in the shape of a giant boat, approximately the size of my head and I ate it all. I had been tipped off to this sundae by a friend and had looked forward to indulging the entire trip. Jeff apparently thought I was joking, but eventually decided I was serious after I told him I was serious. He helped eat the sundae a little, but mostly just laughed at me while I ate it all:


I leave you with my slightly tipsy, triumphant I-just-cleaned-my-giant-plate pose:
As is obvious from the photos and my rambling post, Maui was amazing. Edie had a fabulous time with my parents and even complained yesterday that she wished she was still with them because "they have a bouncy castle and why don't WE have a bouncy castle?" SHEESH.