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MOVING TO OAHU

it’s been so long since i’ve had a chance to sit and write. i love blogging. i really do. one of my favorite things is to look back through my blog and see how much my family has changed. these babes don’t keep. they just keep growing and how sweet it is for me to be able to look back at all the special memories we’ve shared. the bigger these kids get the busier i feel and the less time i have to write. i catch myself playing catch up, and as much as i’d like to stay on top of it, catch up is better than nothing at all. so here goes the last few months and i hope to get back to regularly writing now that the dust has settled.

 

seattle was amazing for henri and reassured us that leaving az was the best thing we could’ve done for him.  he did so great in seattle. not one steroid, inhaler or allergy pill. you would’ve never known he suffered so much back in az. but we all hated the rain. its depressing, dark and cold for far too long for this family to be happy. not to mention we felt like too big of a family for the city. i totally get why families move to the suburbs. we missed our yard!! seattle was such a fun experience. we made the best friends, who better come visit us in hawaii!! i’m so grateful for the time we had there and the chance we had to experience city living. as our year was coming to an end in seattle we knew we could either stick out another year, move east to the burbs or make another leap and move to hawaii. our vacation to hawaii was a blast back in january and it just felt like the right move. hawaii was in the running initial when we decided to move to seattle. of course its scary moving to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean but we always go with the mindset- what’s the worst that could happen? we don’t like it and move home? if thats the worst thing that could happen i think we are in good shape. we knew seattle wasn’t our forever so we did it, we moved all the way to hawaii.

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the sunshine has been so amazing. living in az my whole life i had no idea how much i really need that vitamin d to stay the happiest momma i can be. its been a welcome weather change. so we are here. we’ve bounced from vacation rental to vacation rental. searched high and low for a house. we moved here april 27 and just moved into our house july 1. finding a house ain’t easy. its a humbling experience house hunting in hawaii. houses are mostly weekly vacation rental, overpriced or horrible living conditions. we knew if we were gonna make the big move to hawaii we wanted to live on the north shore. its rural up here, leaving us very few options for housing. we feel so grateful to have found a place that is clean, updated, isn’t shared and has a yard. being back on an acre just feels right!

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i started real estate classes right away and got my license. i found a great brokerage close to the house. i’m so excited to dive right in. i’ve always loved houses. i know, how weird does that sound? but really i love looking at them, i love driving neighborhoods wondering what they look like inside. i love model homes, old run down homes. all of them. i think this will be the perfect fit for me. i’m really excited for this new adventure and so lucky to have ivan who is so supportive and my biggest fan.

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whats life in hawaii like? amazing! its beautiful. the people are so nice. i don’t know if its coming from the city where people are sort of closed offor if i just had so many people warning me that no one likes the haoles, that i was scared we would be hated. but its the opposite. the hawaiian’s are so so nice. people stop and let your car in while in traffic. they wave and say hi. island life is definitely slower. in seattle we had everything at our finger tips. i could get amazon to deliver within the hour. groceries right at my door step. everything is a drive from where we are but i’m ok with that. hawaii has a lot of fun programs at the community center, library and jr. life guard all super cheap or free. the ohana is the most import thing and it shows. we are all so so happy.

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so is this where we settle? i don’t know. we are here for now. maybe it’ll be forever. maybe it’ll be for a bit. maybe we’ll eventually land back in az. i do miss home, family and friends. we feel so lucky to be on this adventure. i know moving around isn’t for everyone. but for us, we love it. we love all these new experiences. i can’t think of a better gift to give my kids than the experiences they get living in different states, experiencing other cultures. we were sitting on the lanai today and ivan and i were talking about how amazing this life is. you have the ability to do anything you want. you can achieve any of your goals and dreams with hard work and dedication. don’t let your fear of what if hold you back. going through all we went through with jack and being so close to losing him makes the what if it doesn’t work out and what if we have to go home all ok. because we still have each other and thats all that matters.

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ill post some fun activities and places we love here in hawaii for anyone visiting later this week.

 

 

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WINTER- WE MADE IT

winter, can i say we made it yet? seattle weather is so unpredictable i’m not sure if we are moving into spring or if we have to wait until july. everyone i talk to says something different. the old seattle weather would make us wait until july. i’m counting today as a victory! its sunny and i can see the sun coming out more and the weather sticking in the 50’s. thank heavens!! winter was rainy and dark and for me depressing. i didn’t think i would mind the rain but i have to say i hated it. this was one of seattle’s wettest years and everyone i talked to hated it too. i’m coming out of the funk and realizing why i love seattle all over again. for a minute there i was ready to jump ship and head back to az.

 

whats seattle winter like? dark, rainy and cold. temps in the 30’s. that bone chilling wet cold. its dark until after 8 and starts getting dark again before 4. during those few hours of light its not really light, its gray and cloudy. you just know the sun is up there somewhere. it rains for days and never stops. i guess you get used to it and just live your life. for me i couldn’t get used to it. granted i am an az girl and in my mind spring should be 75 degrees. with that being said my friends from the midwest say this is better than shoveling snow but we all agree, too much rain!  a friend referred to seattle as a bad relationship. the minute you can’t take anymore and you say you’re gonna leave the sun comes out and its glorious and you remember why you stay. then the vicious cycle starts over. a sunny day in seattle is the most beautiful of days. seattle is the most beautiful city. if you can make it through the winter the summer is pure heaven!

 

lots and lots of rain

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i swear we walked outside one morning and flowers were everywhere. finally a sign of spring. the flowers bloom like crazy in seattle. spring on a sunny day is glorious. seattle i love you again!

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OAHU

for christmas this year we decided to gift the kids with a trip to hawaii. they don’t need anymore toys and i love giving memories that last a life time. christmas morning they each opened a box with a lei, swimsuit and bracelet that said hawaii. they were so excited! i think i might have been the most excited. our trip was booked for january. i’ve been told by pretty much everyone to take a vacation in january to help break up the rain so thats what we did. we decided to go to oahu. ivan and i have been to the big island and the kids have never been to any of the islands. oahu has a lot of family friendly amenities. we had the best time. hawaii was a great change of pace from city life. the hawaiian’s are such nice people and the island is so beautiful!

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first stop leonards for malasadas. we tried one of each. the coconut ended up being our favorite. they come out hot and fresh so eat them right away!

 

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next up was matsumotos for shave ice. once again coconut was our favorite. lots of condensed milk on top please! the kids liked rainbow.

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elle always posing. ha! i have to tell her to sit and smile otherwise she’s doing a strange pose, half the time it looks completely uncomfortable.

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one of the most beautiful sunsets i’ve ever seen. i mean look at those colors. stunning! we grabbed pizza with some friends who live in hawaii and took it to the beach to watch surfers. impossibles pizza is right up there with some of the best pizza i’ve had. i liked the pork and sweet onion pizza. the ranch is soooo good. ivan liked the pepperoni and sausage.

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we spent the morning at pearl harbor. i wasn’t sure how this would go over with the kids but they loved it and it ended up being one of my favorite moments of the trip. the video you watch before you go on the boat out to the uss arizona was so informative and interesting. they have actual footage of the attack. it was a great history lesson for us all.

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dole plantation for dole whips.

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chinamans hat. i’d love to paddle out and hike it next time.

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view from pillbox hike. we only made it about half way up. we all had flip flops and swimsuits on. not the best hiking gear. the view is beautiful.

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can you tell elle loves the ocean? we loved kailua beach. the water is a beautiful blue-ish green and there were virtually no waves.

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sunset and pipeline on the other hand had 30 ft waves. we swam in this very spot in sharks cove 2 days before these massive waves came in. they were amazing to watch. i could’ve sat there for hours.

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we took a stroll around the temple.

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my boys. jack didn’t once get called a girl, which is amazing. he fit right in with all the surfers. his hair curled right up too. making it even more impossible for me to cut. i wish henri’s was long again. maybe someday. i don’t know what it is with boys and long hair but i think theres nothing better.

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my kids get a long so much better out in nature. we’ve been really cooped up in seattle with all the rain. just getting outside and being kids was so good for them.

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take me back!! like right now. i loved every minute of that warm sun.

 

some of our hawaii favorite-

impossibles pizza

leonards

pupukea grill- best poke

kahuku shrimp- spicy garlic shrimp (way better than giovanni)

matsumotos

dole plantation- dole whip

papa ole- mac nut pancakes

north shore taco’s- this was avas favorite. i liked the shrimp taco’s and pineapple salsa

seven brothers- burgers

boots and kimo’s- mac nut pancakes

lanikai juice- acai bowl

magnolia bakery- banana pudding

duke- hula pie

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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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CHEERS TO 2016

we spent new years eve skiing. it was the first time for me and the kids. living in arizona i had just never really cared to try it. the closest slope is 3 hours away. it only has snow sometimes and seemed like more of a pain than fun. we’ve got a great skiing location just 45 min away here. we decided why not give it a try. so many people love skiing up here. we all got the hang of it pretty fast. we stayed in the area with the magic carpet. next time i think we’ll venture off to the bunny slope. ava really enjoyed herself, after a few tumbles she seemed to figure it out. henri got the hang of it right away. for as mellow as he is he really is a thrill seeker. elle did great too. every time she would fall i’d have to try and get her back up but with us wearing skis it was pretty difficult. it amazes me how quickly kids can pick up a new skill. they catch on so easily.

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poor little jack was frozen. he and ivan played in the snow the whole time.

 

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we went to our good friends house for a nye party. we ate yummy food. played super fun games and ate candy. we had so much fun! the kids had a great time playing with their kids. we are so lucky to have such amazing friends here in seattle. we’ve made some of the greatest friendships and have met so many people that we love and cherish. at 11:45 we decided to head down to the space needle and catch the fireworks. we made it just in time! happy new year! its going to be a great one, i can tell!!

 

 

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CHRISTMAS IN SEATTLE

christmas in the city is absolutely beautiful. i love all the decorations around the city. there’s a never ending supply of christmas things to do too. i sort of wish we could keep the christmas decorations up all year.

 

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trains at the macys window. the boys loved this. all the macys windows have a different christmas theme. of course trains won them over. i loved the baking one. they were all really cool!

 

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we ice skated a few times. elle found a friend out on the ice and the two stuck together. they were so cute out there. elle was so brave and wanted to be out on her own without a walker. she did great. we ran into a few of avas school friends too and they were so sweet with elle, holding her hand around the rink and teaching her how to skate. i swear seattle is filled with the sweetest most helpful children. i feel so lucky to be raising my kids in such a great environment.

 

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we made blankets for the childrens hospital again this year. this is another tradition we all really enjoy. ava was able to help me sew them this year. i love watching her learn a new skill and she enjoys sewing so much!

 

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we stood in line for a good 2 hours to see the nordstroms santa. its a beautiful set up and santa was so sweet. but they told me the wait would be a half hour. the unlimited supply of free cookies and hot cider is so not worth it. i’ve heard that line can get up to a 7 hour wait. my kids were exhausted. we were exhausted and it was a school night. we ran over to pacific place to grab some chowder for dinner. heres a fun seattle tip for you -the famous pike place chowder down in pike place that has an hour long wait also has a location in the top of pacific place with no wait. of course its not in the market so if ambiance is your thing then maybe the wait is worth it. but if you’re just looking for a great bowl of chowder pacific place is where its at.

 

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the pacific place santa doesn’t have a line at all and comes down when the snow starts falling and the music turns on. he takes pictures with all the kids. next year i know where we will be. this was a much more enjoyable experience. seeing santa should be fun not excruciating.

 

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we went downtown for the figgy pudding christmas caroling. we had so much fun and got to sing along to all of our favorite christmas songs.

 

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the downtown sheraton puts up gingerbread houses every year. this year was star wars themed. they are really impressive. that is all candy! the detail is amazing.

 

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we opened our christmas eve jammies and the kids each exchanged their presents to each other. this year they drew names. this is the first time we let them open their gifts to each other christmas eve night and i think its a new tradition we’ll keep. it was fun for them to have something to play with the night before and it got the excitement going a day earlier.

 

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some friends invited us to light lanterns and let them go over the sound. the lanterns flying in the sky were so beautiful and the kids had so much fun holding them and getting them ready to fly.

 

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the market all lit up at christmas time. the fruit and vegetable christmas lights are my favorite.

 

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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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THANKSGIVING IN ARIZONA

initially we were going to arizona for christmas but ivan ended up having to start a big job two weeks before christmas and didn’t want to stop working for vacation just after starting. so we decided to  go back for thanksgiving. we needed to bring our dog pearl back to az to live with my parents. we don’t have a fenced yard and she hated the rain. it really was so sad. i’d open the door to take her for a walk, she’d poke her head out and if was raining turn right back around. she wasn’t happy here and she loves my parents and their 2 acres she can run around on. we actually got her from my parents so they are a familiar place for her. we get pictures of her from them all the time and will take her back once we have a better place for her. since we had to take her with us and she was too big to fit under our seat on the plane and i did not want to put her with the cargo, we ended up driving back. wow, that drive! its a long one. we left wednesday night after i taught a class at church. we were going to leave thursday morning but we were too excited to get there and thought we’d get a few hours out of the way. we drove straight through. stopping only a few hours to sleep in the car. we landed in phoenix friday morning. dead tired with kids who slept just fine and were ready to play! the minute we pulled up to ivan parents house we handed them the kids and crashed for 3 hours. ivan went in to work and we visited with family.

 

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ivan put this giant tv in the car ontop of the cooler so a + h could play xbox while the other two could watch the tv in the car. way to much technology happening here. typically they can only watch tv or play xbox on saturday so you can imagine how happy they were.

 

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we played at our best friends house. they have the best backyard and toys! this board was a big hit with my kids. unfortunately for them this toy is not practical for seattle! henri loves that phx shirt. its actually a phoenix marathon shirt from those same friends. she is the race director for the phoenix marathon so we are always big supporters!

 

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my sister in law braided jacks hair. ha! he’s the prettiest little boy. he hasn’t had a haircut yet and i know he needs one but we really have become so attached. with everything we’ve gone through it feels very emotional to cut his hair. we are headed to hawaii in a few weeks, i figure we’ll cut it when we get back.

 

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matta’s for lunch! we’ve really missed this place. seattle just doesn’t do mexican food like az. that sunshine too! when we left seattle it was pouring all the way to the california border. the sun felt so bright!!

 

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soda shops are popping up left and right in az. of course it makes me laugh because a soda shop wouldn’t last 2 minutes in seattle. i had to give it a try and may have stopped by a few more times after that.

 

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thanksgiving morning i ran the turkey trot 10k with my sister in laws. i haven’t run much here in seattle so it was killer. every thanksgiving ivans family hosts the child crisis center. the child crisis center is a place children can go when they have nowhere else or when they are placed in cps custody. its a temporary place while they wait to go back home or are placed in a foster home. we usually host the east valley crisis center but this year we hosted phoenix too. its such a wonderful tradition. i love watching my kids serve these beautiful children. they each get assigned a child to help get their food, make them feel comfortable and be a friend to them. of course its very emotional and we all want to take the kids home. at the end santa comes and hands out stockings full of christmas gifts. this is one of the best days of the year.

 

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i ran into target on the drive home to grab a few activities for the car. if you can believe it the kids were burned out from all the movies. i had to snap a shot. the target was massive! all on one level, no elevators or escalators. it had every food you could ever imagine down to anything you could want for your home. i love super target and its probably up there with one of the things i miss most about home.

 

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all this snow!! utah, idaho and eastern washington were covered in it. we had to drive through a pretty big snow storm in utah. that was scary! we are not used to driving in snow so of course we were scared to death. we drove about 15 miles an hour for hours. it made the drive feel like forever.

 

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did you know idaho has a grimaldi’s pizza??!! it does! we were so happy. grimaldis is a favorite and we have several locations back in az but non in seattle so this was a welcomed surprise. i actually really like idaho. its clean, beautiful and feels like a small town with some big town amenities. great shopping too!

 

going back to az felt so comfortable. we picked up right where we left off. the kids didn’t want to go back to seattle, a few tears were shed. i was nervous about coming back. i didn’t know if it would feel like home or if we’d all still be longing for az. we pulled into the city and saw all the bright lights and big buildings and it felt good, it felt like home. i breathed a sigh of relief. we were back in our house in our city.

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WEST SEATTLE

 

 

 

 

 

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we spent the day in west seattle. i haven’t spent too much time over there but the time we have has been really fun. we had lunch at husky’s deli. its a cute little convenience store/ sandwich/ ice cream shop. we grabbed sandwiches and wandered the store. that candy case is impressive. a lot of people seemed to be coming in just for the ice cream but the line was long by the time we were done eating so we thought we’d save it for another day.

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one of the most beautiful parks in the seattle area is lincoln park. its easily one of our favorite place to explore outdoors. the trees are enormous and beautiful. the colors are striking. the kids could spend all day there. henri in his socks and birks! he’s just trying to fit right in. ha! i give up trying with these kids.

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the first time we came to licoln park was on vacation in the fall and let me tell you these tree’s were the most beautiful shades of yellow. its worth spending a day in this park.

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SUMMER IN THE CITY

we made our way through every park in the city this summer. we’ve got a list of favorites now that i keep handy when we need a day out. summer in seattle is the greatest! i say this now as i sit here in a down jacket freezing in my house. gosh i’m a wimp! i give everyone a good laugh with my 3 jackets, wool socks, beanie, scarf and anything else i can get on. its that arizona blood. its been in the low 40’s and sunny this past week. so yes i know it’s not really cold. just cold for me. i sit and dream of summer. i can’t wait for more days spent in short sleeves at the park.

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we spent lots of time at the movie theater this summer. that popcorn is as big as elle! ha! waiting for the bus is always an interesting time.

 

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lots of bus rides. jack thinks its the greatest time ever. he just sprawls out on those seats like he owns the place. i’m asked daily if i’m the nanny? if all those kids are mine? if they’re biologically mine? how old am i cause i look way too young? i laugh everytime one of elle’s friends ask me if i’m her nanny. i just clarified to a group of moms at school that i am indeed the mom and not the nanny. they didn’t believe me. we really are a sight to see wandering the city. i feel like i’m herding cats. they’re starting to get the hang of it though. they now know we don’t just dart into traffic. theres no running around in the road. back home our street was quiet and you could ride your scooter around. its fun to see them all race up to the edge of the sidewalk, stop and turn around to wait for me to catch up. they are actually listening and learning something! now if i can just get them to put their dishes in the sink without me asking. i think we are getting this place down.

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i really miss the neighborhood farmers market. i think they re-open in april and we will be there! after henri’s soccer practice we’d walk over to have dinner on the lawn with the rest of the neighborhood. the kids would run around with all their friends from school. i love the sense of community in our neighborhood. we live in what feels like a small town in this big city.

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