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ORANGE COUNTY DECEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Sugar Plum Festival   Nov. 29-Dec. 3
Home decorations, garden and yard décor, jewelry, ornaments, antiques and collectibles all themed to the Christmas season.
Buena Park Downtown Mall, Lower Level
714-828-7722 / www.sugarplumfestivals.com

 

Laguna Beach Hospitality Night   Dec. 1
Downtown merchants, non-profit organizations and the Chamber provide a myriad of activities around downtown along with live musical entertainment, ice skating, strolling Victorian carolers, hot chocolate, tamale sales and more!
5-9pm / Downtown Laguna Beach
949-494-1018 / www.lagunabeachchamber.org

 

Seal Beach Holiday Parade    Dec. 1
This ‘continuous motion’ parade highlights youth groups, sports groups, schools, businesses, first responders and other organizations from Seal Beach and the surrounding areas.
7-8:45pm / Main Street from Ocean Ave to PCH
www.sealbeachlions.org

 

Newport Beach Holiday Lights Cruises   Dec. 1-31
Newport Beach begins its holiday decorations after Thanksgiving and by the first of December Newport Bay is richly illuminated with millions of lights and hundreds of themed estates.
5:30pm, 7pm & 8:30pm / Newport Landing Whale Watching
949-675-0551 / www.christmasparadeboats.com

 

SJC Tree Lighting Ceremony & Festivities   Dec. 2
Pre-show entertainment, a live stage show and official lighting of the Christmas tree.
4:15-5:45pm / Historic Town Center Park
949-493-5911 / www.sanjuanchamber.com

 

Santa’s Village by the Sea   Dec. 2
Annual tree lighting ceremony to usher in the spirit of the season with Christmas at the Casa, Snow at the Community Center, and the Del Mar Glitz. Take a picture with Santa, carolers, cookie decorating, and activities for the whole family to enjoy!
5-8pm / See website for schedule.   www.san-clemente.org

 

Christmas at the Mission   Dec. 2
Real snow sledding and play area, Dickens Carolers, Children’s and School Choirs, “Merry-achi” Music, Chamber Orchestra, Nativity Scene, Cookie decorating, Tamales, chili, sweets, spiced cider and hot cocoa, Handcrafted gifts and more.
5:30-8pm / Mission San Juan Capistrano   www.missionsjc.com

 

Dana Point Winter Festival & Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Santa visits, carnival games, craft fair, Dana Point Police Services Kid Print ID, face painting, cookie decorating, holiday crafts, Lego Santa’s Village Workshop, the Mini Express Train, petting zoo, pony rides and the Annual Tree Lighting!
12-5pm / La Plaza Park   www.danapoint.org

 

Balboa Village Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Home of the Fun Zone invites you to kick-off the holiday season at the beloved holiday event, Christmas at the Beach. Celebrate the season with the whole family with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony located in the OceanQuest courtyard.
5-8pm / 600 E Bay Avenue, Newport Beach
www.balboavillage.com

 

Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 2
Snag a cookie, don’t forget a hot drink, admire the beautiful tree and remember to blink. Santa will be there, although a little tardy, he’s never one to miss a good party!
5-7pm / City Hall   www.cityoflagunaniguel.org

 

Los Alamitos Winter Wonderland at the Plaza   Dec. 2
An area to play in the snow, activities, Santa’s Village, tree lighting ceremony, refreshments, entertainment and canned food drive.
4-7:30pm / St. Isidore Historical Plaza
562-431-3538 / www.cityoflosalamitos.org

 

Fountain Valley Tree Lighting Ceremony   Dec. 2
Will feature guests from the North Pole as well as performances by various community groups, delicious food available for purchase, games, a spectacular fireworks show, and much more!
4:30-8pm / Rec. Center & Sports Park   www.fountainvalley.org

 

Yappy Howl-iday Celebration   Dec. 3
This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the “Big Dog” himself – Santa Claus. Guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats or dog toys to be donated.
11am-2pm / The Ritz-Carlton, Dana Point www.bringfido.com/event/34347

 

Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony & Candlelight Choir Procession   Dec. 3
Join us for an evening of holiday cheer and family fun as we sing traditional carols of the season with the Orange Community Master Chorale. Food and youth activities.
3:30-7pm / Old Towne Orange Plaza   www.cityoforange.org

 

Irvine Winter Wonderland   Dec. 3
Games, crafts, music, entertainment and food. Joyful Jingles holiday concert and visit from Santa Claus. Food trucks. Festive tree-lighting that includes “snow” falling over the piazza.
3-7pm / Irvine Civic Center   www.cityofirvine.org

 

Corona del Mar Christmas Walk   Dec. 3
Live entertainment, food, prizes and games! Petting zoo, beer & wine garden, opportunity drawing and more.
11am / Village of Corona del Mar   www.cdmchamber.com

 

Cypress Holiday Sing and Tree Lighting   Dec. 5
School Performances, Letters to Veterans & Santa, Holiday Crafts, Train Rides, Visits with Santa, Games, Refreshments, SPARK OF LOVE toy drive.
6pm / Civic Center Green   www.cypressca.org

 

Garden Grove Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 5
This free event features live entertainment and holiday refreshments. The event culminates with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, tree lighting, and a flurry of winter snow.
6:30pm / 12732 Main Street
714-741-5290 / www.ci.garden-grove.ca.us

 

La Palma Holiday Tree Lighting   Dec. 6
Enjoy the musical talents from our local schools and join in during the Community Carol Sing Along. Take a picture with Santa and his elves in the activities area before the event.
4-8:30pm / Central Park Amphitheater   www.cityoflapalma.org

 

Brea Tree Lighting Ceremony   Dec. 7
Watch the holiday tree light up the evening and see children’s eyes sparkle when Mr. and Mrs. Santa drop in for a visit. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
6:30pm / Civic and Cultural Center   www.ci.brea.ca.us

 

Stanton Christmas Tree Lighting   Dec. 7
Live music, arts & crafts, story time with the Stanton Library, and the lighting of the Stanton Central Park Christmas tree.
6-7:30pm / Stanton Central Park   www.ci.stanton.ca.us

 

Costa Mesa Home Tour   Dec. 7
Meet for a reception with food and music, and then jump aboard the train to visit some of Costa Mesa’s most festively decorated homes.
3-8pm / Pottery Barn South Coast Plaza
www.costamesahometour.com

 

Tustin Tree Lighting   Dec. 8
6pm / Tustin Library Courtyard
714-573-3000 / www.tustinca.org

 

Dana Point Holiday Boat Parade   Dec. 8-9 & 15-16
“A Superhero Holiday” Decorated boats light up the harbor with holiday cheer and seasonal activities are offered throughout the harbor.
4:30-9pm / Dana Point Harbor   www.danapointharbor.com

 

Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade   Dec. 9
View over 100 exciting entries including marching bands, floats, special guests, youth groups, equestrian units, exotic cars, military members, local heroes and fun attractions!
10am-Noon / Crown Valley Parkway
949-425-5100 / www.lagunaniguelparade.com

 

Santa Tour on a Fire Truck   Dec. 9
As Santa rides his fire truck he makes frequent stops along the way to share candy canes, listen to children’s Christmas wishes and to pose for some family photo fun.
8am / Villa Park   www.villapark.co/santa-tour-fire-truck

 

Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade   Dec. 10
An asphalt harbor tour where 50 + vessels travel through Villa Park. At the Towne Centre there are tree lighting and awards ceremonies with trophies.
4:30-8:30pm / Villa Park Towne Center
www.villapark.co/dry-land-boat-parade

 

The Holly Jolly Light Tour   Dec. 8-9
Enjoy a VIP reception and then tour the Home Lighting Contest displays aboard a warm comfortable bus.
6pm & 8pm / Mission Viejo Civic Center
www.cityofmissionviejo.org

 

Breakfast with Santa   Dec. 9
Join us for a special celebration complete with a scrumptious breakfast, photos with Santa and holiday crafts.
9-11am / Laguna Hills Community Center
949-707-2680 / www.ci.laguna-hills.ca.us

 

Huntington Harbour Boat Parade   Dec. 9-10
Watch as beautifully decorated boats parade through the harbor to celebrate the holiday season.
5:15pm / 16370 PCH, Huntington Beach
714-840-7542 / www.hhboatparade.org

 

Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour   Dec. 10
One of Orange County’s most loved Holiday Home Walking Tours returns this year with seven uniquely holiday decorated island homes and cottages.
11am-4pm / 331 Marine Avenue   www.balboaislandNB.org

 

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade   Dec. 13-17
Beautiful multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes and other small boats will light up the harbor as a dazzling array of holiday lights and music fill the air.
6:30-9pm / Newport Beach Harbor, Bay Island
www.christmasboatparade.com

 

Cruise of Lights   Dec. 15-18 & 21-23
Both locals and visitors share the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats.
16889 Algonquin Street, Huntington Beach
714-840-7542 / www.cruiseoflights.org

 

Operation Santa   Dec. 16
Food and gift items collected for pre-qualified families in need are distributed. Kids and families can visit with Santa and play carnival-style games.
9am-Noon / La Habra Community Center
562-383-4217 / www.lahabracity.com

 

Inaugural Charity Event 5K Walk/Run/Skip   Dec. 16
Bring an unwrapped toy. T-shirt, Medal, & Swag Bag Included to all that pre-register!
9am / Lake Forest Sports Park
www.lakeforestcachamber.com

 

Chanukah Wonderland/Menorah Lighting   Dec. 17
Enjoy live entertainment, activities, and crafts, as well as your favorite Chanukah, treats – latkes, dreidels, and more! Bring your family, friends, and lots of holiday spirit!
5:30-7:30pm / Laguna Niguel City Hall
949-831-7701 / www.cityoflagunaniguel.org

 

Fullerton Holiday Festival   Dec. 17
Live stage performances and an arts and crafts fair. Food vendors and exclusive craft beer selections! Free art workshops for kids, a children’s play area, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
12-4pm / Muckenthaler Cultural Center   www.themuck.org

 

Int’l Christmas Nativity Play & Celebration   Dec. 17
A celebration that brings together a diverse group of churches, singers, dancers for a celebration that highlights the true meaning of the holiday season.
6-8pm / Old World Village, Huntington Beach
714-895-8020 / www.oldworld.ws

 

Winter Fest   Dec. 21-Jan. 7
Outdoor ice rink, 130-foot, six lane Snowflake Summit ice slide, a play park featuring real snow, strolling carolers and personal visits in the cabin of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Festival of Lights walk-through holiday light show featuring.
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa   www.winterfestoc.com

 

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SAN FRANCISCO -NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT

i absolutely love living in california. we are fortunate to have so many adorable cities all within driving distance. each city has its own feel and dynamic making them all so unique. i thought it would be fun to spotlight a different neighborhood each month and share it here with you.

we just took a quick weekend trip up to san francisco so i thought why not start there first! its truly one of my favorite cities. i remember the first time my parents took us there. i was just a little girl and i fell in love hard on that trip. while the city is big and offers so much, i am going to narrow down to one neighborhood for you– mission/dolores park.

i love the neighborhood feel in the mission/dolores park area. its still very city but not in the sense of tourist and street acts. its very walkable and has so many great restaurants and shops. dolores park is a big beautiful green area with a fun park for the kids and plenty of lawn space to have your saturday picnic. the park also offers tennis courts, basketball courts, a soccer field and dog area. the homes are exactly what you dream of when you think about san francisco. old, charming and all so unique. mission dolores is super family friendly and one of our favorite places to explore. not to mention the view of the city from the top of the park is amazing! heres how we would spend the day in mission dolores–

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start the morning off with a few pastries from tartine. i love the pain au chocolat. if you’re looking for dessert get the banana cream tart.

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walk over to dolores park to let the kids burn some of that morning energy. mine love to play on the slides for hours. take in the views of the city.

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next up take a walk down mission. wander in and out of the cute shops on the way to la taqueria for lunch. this walk is just over a mile. the perfect amount of walking and shopping to build up an appetite. get the carne asada burrito make it “super” and get it el dorado. if you don’t feel like mexican food go to lucca ravioli co and grab a deli sandwich. get the dutch crunch bread. the best!

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zig zag back through the neighborhood and take in all the beautiful houses. i love the slow walk back. our bellies are full, holding hands with the kids just talking about life. i find my kids are just as interested in the beauty and uniqueness of each home as i am. we each say our favorite house on every block and why.

we’ll usually make a pit stop at bi rite- the most darling little market. i love browsing all their specialty items. they have a beautiful array of fresh flowers and don’t forget to grab a scoop of their yummy ice cream. if you’re only in the mood for ice cream stop at the creamery located on the same street.

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walk down to the mission dolores basilica its the oldest surviving structure in san francisco founded in 1776– truly beautiful.

for dinner grab a pizza at Delfina. eat at one of the tables outside and people watch or take it back to the park. now would be a good time to grab that banana cream tart!

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we do a lot of walking in san francisco. in my opinion walking is the best way to truly see a city. if you have little kids make walking fun. turn it into a game– we count houses or steps, we race, come up with competitions or just talk about things the kids are interested in. whats your favorite city? does it have neighborhood you’ve fallen in love with?

 

 

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LIFE LATELY

summer is coming to a close. man was it a good one. lots of staying up late, sleeping in, beaching and outdoor movies. it went by too fast and its officially come to a close tonight. the kids start school tomorrow. they are finally all at the same school. hallelujah! elle got in the last day of last year, we were both so excited! her sweet teacher came to the house over summer and met her. everyone is in such a great spot, it feels really good. jacks home with me for one more year then off to kindergarten. that gives me a lump in my throat and knot in my stomach. i can’t imagine not having someone home with me during the day. i love having a buddy.

 

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ivans crazy busy. which is awesome! i’m so proud of him. he’s so good at building a company from the ground up and amazes me every time. i got my real estate license in california over the summer. i still have it in hawaii and now california too! i joined with keller williams and i am so happy i did. the classes and training are some of the best. not to mention my office is great and the people are awesome. real estate and kids are keeping me busy but thats how i like it.

 

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i also joined pta at school and room mom for ava’s class. we had our first meeting last week to kick off the new year. i’m excited to really get in there and get to know everyone. its gonna be a busy year but a real really good one.

 

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we are back to house hunting. our lease is up at the end of this month and we don’t want to re-sign so i’m looking everyday. i jump on mls every morning. the benefit to being a realtor! but the inventory is sooo low. there are so many great cities in california. we are really liking san clemente right now. its got that hawaii vibe. lots of kids and everyone seems to know everyone. sort of a small town feel which is hard to find in a state of almost 40 million people. lots of good food too. i’m staying positive and telling myself whats meant to be will be, because really what else can i do.

 

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our disneyland passed were blacked out for summer and they’re finally back on. that means lots of disney trips. september and october are the best months to go. everyones back to school. the park clears out a bit. we finally went on guardians of the galaxy and oh man it was insane! jack was trembling the whole ride but ended up loving it after we got off and made us ride it again. he hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

 

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fall is right around the corner and i just can’t wait. i love cooler mornings and the holidays coming up. i’m starting to drum up ideas for halloween costumes. jacks into everything star wars and of course the other kids want to be something scary. i wish they would let me dress them. i’ve got some fun family costume ideas, the trouble is getting everyone on board.

 

 

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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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LIFE LATELY- HAWAI’I EDITION

hawai’i is so magical and beautiful and i’ve fallen in love hard. this island has my heart. it’s very different living in hawai’i vs the mainland. i think i’ll do a little post here soon about some of the big differences and things i’ve learned. i’m a researcher. i’m constantly researching vacations, our next move and restaurants to try. i love hearing others views and thoughts. we can learn so much from each other. so i figure why not share what i’ve learned along the way. that will be another day though.IMG_3947the kids started school and absolutely love it. they leave their slippers by the front door of class and walk around barefoot all day. they never ever wear tennis shoes. because its so much more fun to play kickball barefoot. they’ve made great friends. the people in hawai’i are so friendly and the kids really fit right in. i got a lot of “you have to do private school” or “are you nuts?? you’re sending your kids to public school” but we’ve been really happy with the school so far. this is only their third week but we researched and found a really great public school with lots of parent involvement and we went with it. i love that they get to learn about another culture so deeply. they are learning hawaiian words and the pledge in hawaiian. i told ivan i want to move somewhere in south america next and just soak it all in. IMG_4056 IMG_4191 IMG_4212ivan and i have been talking a lot lately about life and our future and what we want for our kids. one thing hawai’i has taught us is that we don’t need things to make us happy. we are the happiest we’ve ever been right here in the middle of the ocean. we have a handful of clothes. we don’t have tv. my kids don’t ask for every toy they see on commercials. we have the ocean and skatepark right here and it keeps them happy and busy. deep down i think ivan and are gypsies. we love to wander and travel. i sort of hate being tied to anywhere. i’ve seen a lot of families traveling the world with their kids. i sort of want to do that!IMG_4222we’ve been dealing with all sorts of skin issues with jack lately. the crazy weird bumps/rash he had in seattle returned. i went to 3 different pediatricians in seattle and a pediatrician here and no one could figure it out. i finally took him to a dermatologist in hawai’i and he said its eczema. which is weird because it doesn’t look like the eczema my other kids had. its manifesting differently but its got me on a path to heal him. he’s also allergic to mosquitos, think swollen limbs, hot and red and so so itchy. which leads to scratching and we have to cover so he doesn’t get staph again. he was breaking into hives too. not sure what thats about but he got them for days on end. he’s sort of a mess inside and its coming out through his skin. i like to take the most natural approach i can so i contacted my sweet friend shari (enlightened homemaker on instagram. go follow her, you won’t regret it!) we’ve come up with a plan of action. lots of vitamins and supplements and completely clearing out his diet. i see his skin already improving! such a blessing. i’ve been suffering with allergies in hawai’i. i swear we are the allergy family. its really only when the yard guys come but they’re here every other week and then i’m sneezing for days on end along with congestion. i can’t take an allergy pill without feeling groggy and tired, even daytime ones. its weird and i hate being in a fog. ivan came up with a perfect blend of essential oils when he was suffering with allergies. i rub it on my chest and i’m not joking its better than any pill. its a mix of melaleuca, breath and eucalyptus. give it a try! i do it a few times a day and definitely before bed and voila!

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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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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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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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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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