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HOME TOUR- THE GREAT PARK

this past weekend i toured model homes in the great park. if you haven’t been to the great park you should go! the great park is approximately 1,300 acres of parks, sports complex, farms, homes, schools, farmers market and of course the big orange balloon you can see from miles away. they are really building this master plan community into something awesome! here are a few shots i took of the Jade series at Parasol Park built by Pulte Homes.

the first home i toured was the Harmony X (3 story). 2,297 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath. prices starting at $938,880. the island in this kitchen was massive. pictures don’t do it justice. the kitchen had so much natural lighting with large sliding doors opening to the courtyard from the kitchen.

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i love the open concept with the family room directly off the kitchen.

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the second house is the Justice X (3story). 2,424 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starting at $941,880.

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the third story on both houses were set up as bonus rooms which i thought was brilliant. a great place for the kids to go and hang out. the bonus rooms open up to a balcony. in california we spend so much time outside, having that indoor/outdoor space is very desirable.

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EXTERIORS

if theres one thing i love it’s looking at houses. i love a sunday drive through a charming neighborhood scoping out all the details of each home. here in southern california i see a lot of white houses with black detail. which is great and something i love. we designed our home back in az that way, but too much similarity in a neighborhood takes the charm out of it. one of my favorite things about our neighborhood in seattle was the variation in homes. homes of every color and style. it was hard to find two that looked alike. while we were up in northern california this past weekend we went to sacramento for ivans work. while we were there we drove the the most charming neighborhood of historic homes. man, did they really know how to build homes a hundred years ago. so much character and detail. i snapped a few pictures. these houses are all in the 38th street neighborhood– between j st and folsom blvd in east sacramento.

 

i love the arched door and windows. that brick porch is everything.

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again i love the brick steps up to the house.

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the roof line, windows and yard are perfection.

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i love how unique each of these houses are. i love the dark navy door and hedges.

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this house decorated for the holidays. so classic and simple.

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this home reminds me of the houses in my grandmas neighborhood in wisconsin. i love the covered parking and the entrance.

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how great is that balcony and patio?

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HERE WE ARE

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gosh its been so long since i blogged. i really love blogging but man as my kids have gotten older and life busier i have a hard time finding time. i started this blog after i had jack. tapvr was the reason i started it. i wanted to document our journey. i love having this online journal to look back on. i love the people who have reached out to me through this little space. so rather than catching up or promising i’ll blog more i’m just going to document where we are today and update when i can. here we go.

 

we are in orange county right now. a place i used to dream of living and also a place i at one point in life said i’d never live. funny how life works like that isn’t it? we left hawaii in a snap second decision sort of like how we make all our decisions. ha! i know its weird for a lot of people. for us thats just how we operate. like when people say will you go back? or are you here for good? i have no way of answering that. we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to move when we want and thats who we are.we moved to hawaii on a whim. we were living in the most difficult winter in seattle and went to hawaii on vacation in february to escape. while we were there we decided we wanted to move there. came home sold all our stuff and left by april.

 

so how’d we decide to leave hawaii? well initially we were waiting for ivans contractor license to come in hawaii. we’d been waiting months and months, just playing at the beach everyday. we thought lets live somewhere new while we wait. we didn’t even know exactly where we wanted to live. we made the decision to come back and traveled a good month through washington, idaho, utah, az and eventually california. none of those places felt right until california. i have a sister here. its familiar and close to az. we’ve vacationed here so many times it feels as close to home as it gets. i’ve also realized over the course of the last few years i’m a warm weather gal and i need sun. like really need it to maintain my happiness. so we found a place. which isn’t easy. harder than seattle and hawaii. you’re in line with what feels like the other 39.5 million people that live here for the same place. we found a home and decided to give it a year.

 

ivan did everything he needed to get his contractors license and got up and running right away. he’s super busy and doing so so well. i’m so proud of him. i got my real estate license here too. we joke we are just going to get our licenses in all 50 states. ha! ivans gone back and done work in hawaii while i stayed here with the kids. but work in hawaii isn’t like work here. they don’t move fast. no one is in a rush and things drag on. the opportunities are so much greater here. we can build the business we dream of and want here. hawaii feels restrictive, like we are holding ourselves back from our true potential.

 

so while hawaii is amazing and beautiful and the people are the best. at the same time vacation is very different than real  life. you don’t live in a resort. you deal with the same problems you do anywhere else. i’ve realized over the course of all the moves we’ve done that life is good where you make it. hawaii, california, arizona or seattle. it really is about you. right now california feels good. really good. the kids are in an amazing school they otherwise wouldn’t have been in. they’ve made really great friends. we love going to disneyland and the beach. the sunshine is good for me. we are all thriving here. is that to say we’ll stay forever? who knows! for now this is home.

 

we get asked all the time for advice on moving or how we did it. its scary initially. really scary. i remember our first few months in seattle, all i wanted was to go back home. but its also exciting and fun. we love change. we love experiencing life in a new place. you really just have to do it. theres no easy way. its taking the leap and doing it. the worst thing that can happen is you fail, you go home. but if thats the worst thing that can happen isn’t it worth trying? be brave! we don’t regret one single decision. if you want something in life– go for it!

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ONO GRINDZ

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i wrote this post when we were living in hawaii. i haven’t checked this blog in so long. i hopped on and have a few posts i had never entered. since food is one of my all time loves i figure i better put this one out there. here are a few of our favorite spots to eat around hawaii. enjoy!

 

hukilau cafe- i love the macadamia nut pancakes, ivan gets the hungry hawaiian.

 

pap ole’s- we get the same thing here. their mac nut pancakes have a mac nut syrup on top. i prefer hukilau because they grind the nuts up into the pancakes. hukilau just uses regular syrup.

 

boots and kimo’s- in kailua. same breakfast. creatures of habit i guess.

 

teds bakery- donuts, spam and eggs, chocolate croissants, haupia pie.

 

fumi’s shrimp truck- hands down best shrimp truck. we like the spicy garlic shrimp, extra sauce.

 

ocean bree’z- spicy garlic shrimp. this sauce is more of a creamy sauce.

 

seven brothers- we split the paniolo exchange bbq sauce for teriyaki. so good and huge. fries are yummy too.

 

fiji market- the chicken curry is amazing!! half moon pie is a pineapple custard flavored treat. delicious!

 

impossibles pizza- 5 cheese, pepperoni, bbq. all of his pizza’s are so good. lately we’ve been just calling and asking him to make whatever he wants and its always good! he’s only open thurs-sat. get the ranch!

 

sandy’s sandwiches- sandy puts all the love into his sandwiches. you can tell by the way he explains the process. we love the turkey brie.

 

elephant thai truck- pad kee mao, vegetarian noodles, ka pow, spring rolls. this truck is amazing and the outdoor seating is so perfect at night.

 

opal thai- this is ivans very favorite spot. opal is so nice and pretty fun too. you tell him what you like/dislike and he orders for you. trust him! its all amazing.

 

kahuku farms- fresh from the farm. you can see it all being grown right there. get the pizza and do yourself a favor and get the banana bread with ice-cream. the best dessert ever.

 

pupukea grill- get the poke!

 

matsumotos shave ice- coconut add cream.

 

hi slush- you can find them at the waimea farmers market thurs 2-5 or turtle bay until 4. the pineapple slush with extra honey is heaven.

 

leonards malasadas- i love the plain sugar and the chocolate filled. ivan likes vanilla filled. if you’re staying on the north shore and don’t want to drive to honolulu they have a food truck location by old navy in waipahu.

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And Ivan’s favorite sspam musubi from 7-11

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NORTH SHORE LIVIN’

life is good on the north shore. that sounds silly even saying it out loud. of course life is good in hawai’i. but like any place you settle it just starts to feel like home and less like vacation. so what does home feel like in hawai’i? north shore is definitely a different environment than say honolulu. ns is laid back, way back. no one is in a hurry to do anything. sooo opposite of seattle. you don’t honk your horn. you let every single car pull out and every pedestrian cross the street. really just a friendly place. the kids don’t wear slippers (flip flops) and if they do they don’t bring them home. they pretty much don’t wear anything but swimsuits. so as you can imagine sunday’s are a bit of a struggle forcing them to wear shoes and real clothes to church. everyone is an auntie or an uncle, this felt strange at first but i think its actually very sweet. its a small town and everyone knows everyone. housing and food is expensive but thats all you’ll really spend money on. no one cares about nice clothes or cars or stuff. the community center offers tons of free classes/activities for the whole family. the kids did a summer program and instantly made friends.

 

this weeks been crazy to say the least. ava started jr. life guards and was completely exhausted! the second day she came home with a headache that continued for 3 straight days. i took her to the dr. and he said she had heat exhaustion and dehydration. i was filling her up with water and gatorade and kept her comfy in bed. she emerged on the 4th day and we were so relieved/shocked the headache went away. at the same time jack got attacked by a mosquito which he scratched the bites to death and got a staph infection. so we’ve been on antibiotics to keep that under control. he started to get a fever and since i’m a worrier i took him to kapiolani (the woman/childrens hospital) they assured me he was fine and the medicine was working. i’m learning staph is a real problem here. my pediatrician is awesome! i’ve been able to text with him back and forth about jacks condition. maybe thats small town living? i don’t know, but i do know i’ve never had a pediatricians personal cell number. elle scratched her knees up a thousand times. a sign of a good childhood! i’ve kept an eye on her battle wounds making sure theres no staph. oh and henri hurt his back. not sure if it was falling off his skate board or his attempt at flipping off the hammock. whatever it was it did him good. he’s hunched over and becoming a regular at the chiropractor. since getting my real estate license i’ve been sitting in the office a few days a week. its fun getting back out into the world of adults. the flexibility is great too. i’ve gone to some amazing brokers open houses and toured beautiful homes.

 

its been hot and humid. luckily we have air in our bedroom. most houses don’t have air so we feel pretty lucky. my hair goes flat 2 seconds after i curly it and it seems as though we are always sweating. but the beach is 10 seconds away and the water is warm so that makes all your troubles fade. we actually haven’t been in a while with ava and then jack being under the weather. we are itching to get out there again! i’ve gotten back in the habit of baking and cooking. i’ll share some favorite recipes soon. i got so out of it in seattle. we had a galley kitchen and it was too small to maneuver around in. its so nice to cook a meal for my family. we eat dinner on the lanai every night and chat about everyones day. we don’t have a tv. shocker! if you know ivan you know this is a battle. i’m currently winning but we will see how long it lasts. i love not having a tv as my crutch to keep the kids busy. instead they go outside and have an amazing childhood. it keeps me from bing watching random shows and staying up too late. i don’t know much of whats going on in the news. i hear bits and pieces. for me its better that way. i can’t help whats going on across the world and hearing all the bad really eats at me. i can help my community though, i’ve been researching things to get the whole family involved in. i’ll post what we end up doing.

 

life’s good right now. i’m homesick of course. hopefully we’ll go back in a few months. ivan’s bro and his wife are visiting in a week and my sister comes in august. we are so so excited to see family. it’s funny the longer i am away from az the more good i see in it. i’m sure i’ve just forgotten what 117 feels like but i really do love my home state! another thing i’ve been thinking about lately is what will it be like to never have a change in season? warm all the time? what about at christmas, will we be sweating at christmas? i guess i’ll find out.

 

 

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this cute boys mom wanted him to get a picture with my kids at the dole factory while we waited for the pineapple express. i snapped one too. jacks not so sure.

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jack’s lizard hunting. always

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the people of walmart. we’ve been told we couldn’t come in costco because we weren’t dressed enough. walmart doesn’t care. we are lucky if we can come up with enough clothes to be let in. notice jack has no slippers.

 

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tahoe trimmed our coconut trees. fresh is definitely best.

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dance party. i love that jack is finally old enough to enjoy wild boy stuff with henri.

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ava and her cute friends at jr. lifeguards.

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this view at diner was pretty great. we went to a new place in haleiwa. the view was amazing. i’m still craving the lobster salad and hot donuts.

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working on the rainiest day yet.

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VANCOUVER

for our anniversary we took a weekend trip up to vancouver bc. we took the kids along with us. we really like taking the kids on vacations. its fun to get away for a date night but we love bringing them with us to make new memories and have fun experiences. vancouver is only 3 hours away so the drive is easy. the weather was beautiful and sunnier than seattle. our first stop was tacos at our favorite spot then off tho the hotel which was right in the middle of gas town. gas town is a super cute neighborhood in vancouver. lots of shopping and cute restaurants.

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we like taking the kids with us on vacation but we don’t like sharing a room with them. their room looks like a bunch of hard partying rockstars stayed in it. the kids had a suite adjoining ours. while ivan was out grabbing dinner and i was relaxing in my bed they were trashing the place. our room had sort of a twisty hall leading from ours to theirs that did a good job muffling the sound. i walked over and was surprised to see these party animals having the time of their life. not to worry i cleaned it up.

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we grabbed treats at thierry. the place was packed! the dessert were tasty and elle felt so fancy picking out her own box of chocolates.

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the view from our room was beautiful. we were on the 28th floor and coaxing ivan out onto the balcony was no easy task. he’s very afraid of heights. he inched his way out for a good 3 seconds to check out the view before heading back in. vancouver is one of my very favorite cities. great food. canadians are the nicest people ever and the shopping is pretty great.

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FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY

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our first week of the new year has been a pretty great one. i’m liking 2016 already! jack and i spent half the day volunteering in the older kids classrooms and the other downtown on friday. i was picking up a present for a friend and thought i’d stop in barnes and noble and let jack play with the trains. i always did this when the older kids were little and they loved it. i could spend the whole day in the bookstore so this really is the perfect hangout spot for us. the downside is they don’t have a bathroom in the store. so we have to venture out to find one. jack has a habit of having to go 5 minutes after we settle in somewhere. city bathrooms are the pits!! we drove downtown and can i tell you street parking is like finding gold. $8 in a lot for 30 min or $3 on the street for 1 1/2. or theres always target parking.

 

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this city is heaven for little boys. one big construction zone. diggers, cranes, drills everywhere. i’ve never seen a city under so much construction and i’m curious how its going to feel once its done or will it ever be done? i’m also curious what seattle looked like 10 years ago. probably half as populated. i hear from friends all different stories about the old seattle and its seems as though amazon took over and brought hundreds of thousands of people with them. turning a somewhat sleepy town into a bustling city. we all wish we would have gotten in on a house years ago, we’d be millionaires. prices have gone through the roof. i’ve been thinking a lot about our move to seattle lately. its such a beautiful city and henri is doing amazing, as in you’d never know he had horrible asthma back home amazing. but i can be honest here, right?? if you know me then you know this is just me. constantly questioning if i’m making the right choices for my family. if raising kids in the city is the right choice for us. there are real problems out there. ones we see everyday. i hadn’t realized how sheltered i’d kept my kids living in our safe suburb back home. we see a lot of mental illness. a lot of drug use. a lot of drug deals. even more homeless and hungry. its hard to see day in and day out. we’ve talked a lot about all of these subject the past six months. at first the kids felt scared of certain situations. i don’t blame them, i felt nervous initially too. when someone is screaming or throwing their things around and you’re not used to seeing it, you don’t know how to react. we see people get arrested, that can be shocking for a child. there have been several shootings within a mile of our house. we live in the most desirable neighborhood in seattle, full of hardworking families. but our proximity to downtown makes us close to crime. just last night on the news a man was shot at a lookout so close to our house. he was wielding a knife and an officer shot him. this is a lookout we go to often to see our beautiful city. swarms of tourists are always there. it feels too close to home to have this stuff happen. i hope i’m not coming off as complaining because i’m not. i feel so lucky to live in this amazing city. it is the most beautiful city in my opinion. we have the best of the city with a beautiful landscape of the mountains and nature all right here. we feel so lucky to have so much culture and diversity. as a mom i just worry is this where i should raise my kids? on the other hand we have amazing schools. with more opportunity for my kids than i could’ve ever imagined. they are so lucky to have involved parents that come into their classrooms and share theirs skills. they get the best field trips and learning experiences. they see all walks of life. like i’ve said before the kids in our neighborhood and school are some of the best!! i mean it too, these are the most kind, inclusive, bright, fun group of children we’ve ever been around. is that because they’re growing up in the city? are city kids different? or did we just luck out? i don’t know. this topic weighs heavily on my mind. but i’m guessing raising children weighs heavily on every parents mind. i know we can’t venture too far out into the suburbs, as far as henri’s asthma goes, city is better. or hawaii, theres always hawaii. thats been on my mind too. warm hawaii with a laid back lifestyle. spend the days at the beach in the warm water. we are headed there in 10 days, i can’t wait!!

 

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jack wore his backpack to help me volunteer. he keeps telling me he’s a big boy. not big enough to leave my side. he’s still always right there, but big enough to wear a backpack.

 

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oh and it snowed last week!! jack couldn’t believe his eyes. i couldn’t either! we spent our sunday sick with colds, resting on the couch. watching the snow fall with a warm fire going. it was actually really nice aside from the head cold. the kids ran out for a second to catch some snow flakes on their tongues. it was pretty sunny this past week which was really nice for this az girl. the weather seems to be warming up. we might even get to 50 this week.

 

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THE NUTCRACKER

the girls are both talking ballet classes this year. ava’s taken classes in the past and decided to switch over to sports. by the time we got up to seattle and settled in, the sports teams were full so she decided to try out ballet again. this is elles first year of a traditional ballet class. they both really enjoy it and i love watching them learn all the techniques. i thought the nutcracker would be a great opportunity for us to share a girls night along with something they are interested in. the performance was so beautifully put together. the ballerinas were amazing. the props blew my mind. i can’t wait to go again next year. i think we might bring the boys along too if jack seems content enough to sit through it.

 

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the pnb is a prestigious ballet school here in seattle. when we first got here i thought about signing the girls up there not knowing much about it other than that it was close to the house and they taught ballet all the way up through a professional level. well they said ava would have to audition, ha! i don’t think thats happening. she could barely remember 1st and 2nd position. i told the girls if they really love ballet and work hard they can try out next year. we found a class even closer to the house thats been great.

 

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again i realize my iPhone doesn’t take great pics. but this tree was so beautiful and massive. i had to snap a shot.

 

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we got a few photos in front of some of the props they had out. there were so many beautiful ones. they girls kept running up to the next one checking them out and wanting me to take a picture. my favorite was this one of them peaking out from under her dress.

 

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you’re not supposed to take pics while the show is going so i snapped this quick one of us in our seats before the show started. my girls! i had such a great night with them. we went to the 7pm showing and elle fell asleep at the very end. maybe a 5pm would be better next year. if you haven’t been i highly recommend going. we had the best time.

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LIFE LATELY

 

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ivans parents came to visit and we ended up playing basketball at the WAC with the senior citizen league. i was cracking up, it was my little kids and about 10 65+ year old mens league. we don’t play basketball often and seattle doesn’t have an nba team so they never watch it. it was really funny watching them throw the ball in the air. sometime it would get close to the net and other times it would just come bouncing back down on top of their heads. lots of granny shots. they had a great time. we grabbed milk shakes in the cafe and rode the elevator up and down.

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seattle from this view isn’t one i see often but its one i do love. this city is pretty great. i love all the tall buildings and big city and if i turned over to the left you’d see the sound. the water and nature so close make it feel like like the best of both worlds.

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we tried hello robin for dessert one night. i liked it. its molly moons ice-cream between two cookies. ivan doesn’t like molly moons so he’s not a fan. i love their vanilla its not too sweet and super creamy. the cookies were delish!

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well i bit the bullet and got a van. i resisted for a long time. i convinced ivan to sell the suburban, i hadn’t drove it in months. it was way too big for the city. i couldn’t park anywhere. i felt like i was going to run into everything. i told him i’d just bus or walk. which is very do-able. and i did for over a month. until you have a kid who see’s a cardiologist over at the childrens hospital or need to take your kids to their dr. that is all the way across town. or when your friends want to meet up for dinner and you have to start asking people to pick you up. i could’ve gone carless but its just easier not to. we searched for weeks. i would not commit to the minivan. the kids were pushing hard but i wanted a cute small suv. we drove to the dealership to test drive the van. i told the kids not to get their hopes up. ultimately they won. the van had me at automatic doors. the seat warmers, the tv, the doors for heaven sakes!! no more slamming their doors into other cars. no more realizing the door is too heavy and asking me to get out, walk around the car and shut the door. plus the van feels like a car the suburban was too bulky for the city. my only question is why’d i wait so long? the van rocks!! lets be honest any shred of cool i had left when i had my 4th child. i’m a minivan mama and i like it!

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our best friends came to visit and of course i took 1 photo. whats wrong with me?!! we loved having them and showing them around our city. this picture of q and jack is so sweet.

 

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NEW SCHOOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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we got an extra long summer in 2015. we ended in may back in az and seattle doesn’t start until september. the teachers ended up on strike so we got an extra 9 days of summer. we’ll make up for them over the school year and will have a shorter summer this year. we walked by the school when all the teachers were marching out front. elle’s teacher spotted us from across the road and yelled out elle. we ran over to chat with her. elle thought it was so great she saw her new teacher. thankfully everything got sorted out and we started school. the kids have really enjoyed their new school. they’ve made friends and all the families are really great.

 

 

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the first year we’ve ever worn winter clothes to school. we live close enough to walk to school. we’ve never been able to do that. it feels really nice to have that time to talk about their day with no interruptions. for some reason they start fighting in the car. the walk home is always enjoyable.

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i snapped a quick pic and sent this to my sister. this was for elle’s kindergarten class. read the last line -no weapons. i know this isn’t a joking matter and its very serious but i didn’t get that on my older kids homework. really, kindergarteners?? coming from the suburbs already worrying about raising kids in the city i saw this and was like what??? well i can now say with confidence these are the same sweet kindergarteners i saw living back in the 3rd safest city in the country.

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the girls started ballet. they are so sweet together. ava gets to help in elle’s class and she loves that. i took them to the nutcracker this year and we had a really great time. the production amazing and the dancing so beautiful.

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henri finished an entire soccer season. i felt like shouting from the roof tops “he did it” he’s never ever finished a season. two games in his asthma flares and he’s done. this year nothing! not a cough a sneeze or wheeze, nothing. i imagine if we had always lived here he wouldn’t have asthma. i want to tell all asthma sufferers if you suffer from environmental allergies and asthma (not mold, if you suffer from mold allergies this is the last place you want to live. az might be the place for you) move to seattle! your life with drastically improve. you will be able to breathe without an inhaler or steroids. i feel beyond blessed to have been able to pick up our family and make this transition. it hasn’t been easy, most days ava dreams about moving back home. but it was so worth it.

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