Tag Archives: vacation

Out

We made it out again. Friday afternoon we said, “See ya later,” and packed up the kids, Scout, and some snacks for the road and left for McCall. It was exactly what we needed to reset. I think it’s really easy to forget how slow and non-urgent life can be when you’re away from the every day, even if that just means driving a few hours. We were away from laundry and away from house clutter. Work didn’t need us and all our other commitments were put on hold. We had the mountains and the lake and our McCall friends and it was perfect.

Huckleberries are out and we happen to have friends who don’t mind sharing their secret (not-so-secret now) spot.

If you’ve never been huckleberry picking, you won’t know that these gems…

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…take forever and a day to pick. The berries are soft and delicate so you have to be careful when you pick. They break apart easily and, just like the picture, they rarely pop up in huge clumps. They stand alone so you have to pick them each individually. We managed to pick for a couple hours and got a gallon bag full.

Some ate more than they picked.

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And some just hitched a ride.

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But it’s cool because being in the mountains and letting the kids roam and explore was perfect. And we scored, too.

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And of course no trip (to any location) would be complete without a trip to the skatepark.

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Our McCall friends are skaters, too.

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We’re so lucky that our kids get along so well with their kids. We’re missing Little Alice and Jamie in this picture, unfortunately, but you get the idea. They laugh and play the whole time they’re together and it’s perfect.

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We managed to get out Saturday night and have dinner with Josh and Alexa while the big girls babysat. We enjoyed (t00 many) beverages and popped over to Jared and Audrey’s and hung for a bit before going back to the little monsters. The next day we scoped out some potential property options then headed to the river.

This spot was incredible and is now our new favorite.

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The water was shallow the entire width of the river with virtually no current so the kids could walk across and back over and over and over without any worry.

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We found frogs and tadpoles and baby fish.

We even found a snake.

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We were surrounded by wild and the kids could feel the magic.

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But today we’re back to our every day, which is okay. It’s hard to appreciate the wild when you don’t know the calm and mundane.

Maria has ballet intensive this week and we have a couple work things and kid’s camp. I should probably do some laundry and clean. I might con my neighbor into some drinks. Busy, busy week.

Happy Monday!

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Hawaii Part Two

We have been so busy not being busy and it’s been glorious.

We’ve enjoyed sunsets and sunrises and our incredible cottage.

 

We went fishing and got up at 4:30 — before the sun.

That picture, second down on the right hand side — that’s a shark. We had to go out and catch our bait because they don’t sell live bait in Hawaii apparently. Well the spot to catch this live bait happens to also be the spot where shark tours take place. Shark tours throw chum, so when sharks see boats, they know they’re getting fed. We saw tons of sharks.

SO MANY FISH WE CAUGHT. Just kidding. We didn’t catch any. We did catch a sea bird, though, that got caught in our fishing lines. And Danny puked over the side of the boat. It was very, very rocky so I’ll give him that. But afterwards when he said, “Here, toss me those Pringles,” I lost the pity. Our fishing guys were super nice so that was good and they gave us a discount on the day because we caught nada. The sunrise and the sharks made it a pretty fun day.

Here’s something that happens to Dan and I on vacation: we make friends.

So I’m not shy about reaching out to people, even if I’ve never met them. I like making people my friends which might be a surprise for some people because I kind of hate people. But I know good eggs when I see them. Example: Dan and I both follow this woman on IG who has some pretty rad surfer kids. They live in Oahu and I knew from their blog they live on the North Shore. Here we are on the North Shore. Naturally, I email this woman and tell her we will be there and that we’d love to meet up. She emailed me back and gave me her cell number and while we did text while we were here, it didn’t work to meet up because they ended up house sitting in Diamond Head while we were up here. Point of the story: I’m down for meeting new peeps and widening my circle with the genuine ones is my favorite.

We have a wider circle now thanks to this awesome place we’re staying. This property is owned by a surfer and on it there are several tiny houses/apartments and in one of those apartments lives Andy.

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We’ve known Andy for all of, what, 4 days? But he’s our friend now. He’s played sipa sipa (hacky sac) with Dan each night

he and his girlfriend had dinner with us one night, and he and Dan did a little Persian yoga.

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Andy also makes these awesome little boxes:

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Who else did we meet? Oh just a guy named AARON GOLD. He’s a big wave surfer and was filming something right in front of our cottage:

 

There are lots of cool trees and fruits on the property that we’ve been able to take advantage of. Some geckos, too (did you know they sound like screaming peacocks when they yell?)

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And tomorrow we head back. We are sad to leave but happy to see the little rascals.

But this trip did something to me. It reminded me to slow down – I get reminded of this every time we visit a place that values that chill lifestyle. The idea that things don’t always have to go quickly, as fast as possible, work work work. And like always, I’ll go home and bring the vibe with me but I’ll get caught up in life soon enough.

Breaks like this are necessary. Happy Wednesday!

Hawaii: Part One

Our journey from the mainland to the islands (as you can see, I’m adjusting to the local lingo quite seamlessly) was easy and uneventful and we started our vacation with a day trip to the Hyatt in Poipu for breakfast followed by a trip to a beach I found online.

Let me tell you about this drive to the beach.

It not only took forever, it was also the bumpiest most uncomfortable car ride I’ve ever been on and that includes our cruiser run at the Overland rally. So when we got there I crossed my fingers it was worth it.

Oh, it was worth it.

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Even when it started to rain it was beautiful.

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We were the only ones there for about an hour. It was definitely a bit of a hike from where we parked to get to where we ended up.

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I think I said, “This is just so beautiful,” at least 20 times.

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When the rain became a downpour we packed it up and headed back. We ended up going to a hotel restaurant that had good reviews but that we didn’t think was very good. We were exhausted and had an early night which is good because the next day was Dusty and Aimee’s wedding and we wanted to be all in for that.

The wedding was incredibly beautiful. The flowers? Ah, just look at them. The venue was gorgeous, the details were perfect and we got to hang out with some pretty cherry peeps. I drank all night and didn’t feel a damn thing until we were 1/2 way from the tent back to our cottage when

 

BAM

 

It hit me. I climbed in bed and was OUT. I couldn’t even watch an episode of Bloodline which says a lot. But let’s get back to the wedding and how we were both so honored to have been included and thankful that we were able to celebrate one of our most genuine and best friends and his lovely wife who is just a perfect match for him. 3 cheers and….hip hip HOORAY, hip hip HOORAY, hip hip HOORAY!

 

Then this morning we woke up and hopped on a plane to Oahu. We are jet setters like that, no big deal.

We landed in Honolulu and immediately needed some food to help fight off the hangover monster (just kidding, I don’t get hungover) so we went to a local bakery and ate Loco Moco which happens to be one of my favorite meals. It’s rice with a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and a fried egg on top. So delicious. Then we headed to our dump of an AirBnB we found on the internet….

 

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That is directly outside our house. It’s a studio apartment type house that has two walls that open up. I’m sitting here listening to the waves as I type, actually. If you walk 5 steps, you’re on the sand and if you walk 10 steps you’re at picture #1. The owner is a pro surfer and his father in law Carlos runs the property and they are pretty great people.

Again with my love of board sport people. They’re the best, I’m telling you. One day you will all catch on and wonder why you didn’t listen to me before.

But here, look at the view from my bed (and don’t fret, I’m wearing shorts in the picture although it does look a little inapprop, I’ll admit.)

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Oh, that’s the sun. It’s setting. I watched the sun set from my freaking bed. I’m sorry, I can’t go back to real life now.  And I’m never sharing this AirBnB with anyone because I’m keeping it to myself. That’s the kind of person this fantasy life in Hawaii has turned me in to.

Tonight, after a pretty solid game of hacky-sac (how do you spell that?) with a tenant who lives on the property (that’s what Carlos called him) whose name is Andy but who Dan kept calling Krona and was later corrected with, “actually that’s my cat’s name,” Danny is reading a book on the porch while I’m sitting here doing this and tomorrow we’re probably going to just beach bum it.

Hope all you suckers have a good Monday.

I Don’t Mind a Mai Tai or Two

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Dusty is getting married and I’m pretty sure before he figured out the invite list we said, “Oh my gosh, we can’t WAIT to go to Hawaii for your wedding,” so he had no choice but to invite us. We don’t even feel bad about it because….freaking Hawaii.

WITHOUT KIDS.

We’re staying in Kauai for a few days then hopping over to Oahu to finish ‘er up. Maybe we’ll go fishing, maybe we’ll go zip lining, maybe we’ll hike and swim with turtles or maybe we’ll just lay on the beach the whole time. Who really knows? Well, actually, you can know because I happen to love social media so much, especially Snapchat, where I will show you what I’m eating and drinking and what my view is every hour.

I’m one of those.

Do you think I feel bad about it?

You’re right.

Aloha!

San Francisco with a Toddler

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10 times out of 10, when given a choice (…side note, this scenario is rare) I will choose to see the ocean on vacation. Being by the water is something I need in life and seeing my kids love it makes me so happy. Cities and towns by the ocean have a different vibe to them, am I right? That vibe happens to be mine, too.

San Francisco is an incredible place to visit with kids. There is absolutely no shortage of parks, museums, events and sightseeing that kids might find entertaining. Luckily, they are all things that parents like, too. I recently took my 2 year old and my almost-1 year old to San Francisco to visit family…on my own…and was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to stay happy and keep the little ones content as well. Check out our favorites:

  1. Curiodyssey at Coyote Point in San Mateo. This is a hands-on science museum where kids of any age (really) get to do different science experiments with all kinds of materials: magnets, air, water, mirrors, etc. In addition to the exhibits inside is an outside area devoted to animal exhibits. Badgers, raccoons, bobcats, eagles, birds, butterflies, snakes, otters and others live in spaces that visitors can peek in at. Catch the bobcat feeding at 1:00 for a really great explanation of the animals, why they are there, what they eat, how they live and other interesting facts. There is also a great gift shop and snack shop making it easy to have an all-day adventure.

 

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2. Magical Bridge Playground – If you are anywhere near Palo Alto and have an hour or more to kill, you have to visit this playground. It’s a socially inclusive play area designed to meet the needs of all children of all abilities. Children in wheelchairs (or adults in wheelchairs of course!) can access any and all parts of the playground and take advantage of each feature. It was designed and constructed with every child in mind: those with disabilities (both physical and those that cannot be seen such as autism or sensory processing disorders) and those without. There is literally something for everyone here and something for every age and developmental level.

 

3. Various Community Events – Renegade Craft Fair – We hit the jackpot when we were in town because so was the Renegade Craft Fair, a collection of artists who come together for a weekend show. Basically, every great Instagram shop on the West Coast. Everything from jewelry to furniture to watercolor prints to clothing. It is held at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion which also happens to be an incredible ‘walk-around’ spot for adults and kids alike if there isn’t a show inside. From the edge you can see the Golden Gate Bridge to the left and Alcatraz to the right. We saw sailboats and swimmers (brrrr) and played at the park, too. It’s definitely a place to visit with kids or without.

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4. Half Moon Bay – drive to Half Moon Bay and hang out on one of the most beautiful beaches on the West Coast. There were very few people there when we were, and although it’s a bit of a hike down it’s definitely doable (even with a couple kids in tow) and absolutely worth it.

 

5 – Kabuki Theater -Sundace Cinemas has a location in downtown San Francisco that is so much fun and worth taking your kids to see a show. At Kabuki Theater, you can enjoy Humphry Slocombe ice cream (may I suggest the “secret breakfast?”) or a fantastic meal. Or stick to the traditional popcorn and candy. At 21+ shows (several are shown a day) you can take any drinks in that you purchase, including full wine bottles. Now, explain to me how that can get any better?

 

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Enjoy!

A Shift

Finally, there’s been a shift in the seasons. But unfortunately, we can only feel it if we drive a bit — so this weekend we drove.

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McCall is becoming less and less just Danny’s place and more and more our place.

I’m making a noticeable shift in the things I view as being most important. I’m less concerned about making sure I’m giving and giving (to people who may not want or appreciate or care about it — and believe me, it’s not as if I think everyone should be falling head over heels for me and my ‘giving’, haha. It’s my issue, 100%…) and more concerned about being present for the people who I know love our family, are mindful of their actions and how they affect us, and who set good examples for both our kids and Danny and me. (ooooh, you thought this post would just be about McCall? Silly goose.)

Life is hard, no doubt, but it’s easier when you have a solid handful of people in the latter group.

And sometimes, hanging out with just Danny and the kids is exactly what is perfect.

We took a few hours on Saturday to go hunting for some “really beautiful and shiny crystals” (according to Charlotte) and walked away with some pretty impressive rocks.

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It’s easy for me to forget that sometimes the kids just need a little freedom to run around to have the very best time. I’m one who usually thinks a scheduled play date or an activity at a set time in a set place doing a specific thing is what they’d love. But again…I’m shifting. Or trying to, at least! They all had such a great time hiking the rocks, running around, finding the most beautiful and the most unique (half of them being set aside for Bellamy of course) rocks and they all whined when we said it was time to go.

Even the tiniest kitten enjoyed herself.

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[she’s getting so big — sprouting teeth and everything]

 

The rest of our Saturday we spent checking out some lots (we would LOVE to have a place in McCall of our own!), carving pumpkins, roller blading and biking, skateboarding…

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…and then had our Hopkins friends over for some sushi.

And drinks. Because….duh.

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[malibu rum mixed with pretty much anything is delicious.]

 

And then they invited us for breakfast — their adorable family of three invited us….a big family of EIGHT…over for pumpkin pancakes, sausage, fruit, and bacon. I mean, of course we accepted the invite.

And we were VERY pleasantly surprised to arrive and see more friends there, too! Audrey and Jared introduced us to their good friends who have two kids, Salem and Cypress, and our kids get along so well. Especially Jamie and Salem. I’m so thankful because Jamie is usually the odd man out, off reading his book or playing video games alone. But with Salem in the mix, they ran crazy and played and laughed it it made me so happy.

And Francesca was in heaven.

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When she wasn’t crawling around getting dirty and getting in the way, she had all kinds of attention. Cypress played with her, Audrey held her, she got fed, walked, tickled, you name it. I think she must feel like McCall is just the best.

And just when I feel like maybe we should just pack up and move to McCall, we pull back into our driveway on the Boulevard and see Christian and Tara and then get a text from Lala or Papa and make plans for coffee with friends and I’m reminded that home is pretty incredible, too.

 

 

 

Since I’m a quitter, I have more time for blogging. OH MY GOSH, YOU’RE WELCOME! Apparently I have more time for parties, too, because I’m in the middle of party planning for Halloween and I’ll be blogging it all.

Happy Sunday!

Party of 17, Please.

We are a large family. With six kids, we get comments/questions/looks just about everywhere we go. I know, it sounds like I’m just saying that, but it’s true. 90% of the time we are out with our kids, someone says something about our family size. It’s rarely rude or mean, most often it’s just a comment on how many kids we have or how busy we must be or how full our hands are.

(so full)

It helps to be able so say, “Oh, I know, but my friends Liz and Paul have seven kids.”

By the time I say this, people have usually moved on and don’t really care to hear what I have to say. They’re more worried about getting that next sample at Costco or making sure their veggies are correctly bagged. Which is fine by me, we all know how much I love talking to people.

But let’s get back to that family with seven kids.

They joined us for a weekend up at Dan’s parent’s cabin in Sandpoint. Yes, that’d make 17 people…13 of them children. Even I have to admit how ridiculous that is.

RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME.

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We had so much fun. We pretty much stayed close to home (with the exception of a trip to a museum and a quick trip back towards home for a couple hours one day). We had dinners at the cabin which I think is really fun because it’s really laid back and the kids can come and go and run around and no one it too concerned with strict rules. Because it’s the cabin. And it’s Liz and Paul. Parents who are laid back are my favorite type. (Dan happens to be the most laid back of the laid back parents. I kinda like him.)

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[chatting over some beer]

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[Liz made salsa}

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The kids were all so good.

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They slept in, they ate, they played, they were fun and polite and easy to wrangle. The big kids took care of the little kids and they were pretty great.

They even played with the adults.

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(for 2 years, I’ve tried to lure this kid into a friendship with me. he’s tough. I’ve tried buying his friendship with frappuccinos, brownies, and Nerf guns. I think I may have won him over when I brought Danny into it.)

We swam and we boated and we jet skied and we ate and we drank and we played poker and we talked and we laughed and we cried. Just kidding, we didn’t cry. But we did laugh.

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We spent a pretty great weekend in a pretty amazing place.

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Dan took a whole week off of work, and that doesn’t happen very often. Usually it’s a day here, a day there…so we are taking full advantage. Mostly because school starts next week and we’re cranky about it.

Happy End of Summer!