Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our third day in PARADISE.

Our third day in paradise was Monday....and it was pretty much perfect. One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the weather. It's hardly ever too hot and when the temps get high, usually there is a nice breeze to keep you cool.
We started the morning with a mile or so, walk to a park. I'm pretty sure we passed at least 30 homes that were over 10 million dollars and it was fun to dream about living in them, someday. We may want to pursue careers other than teaching for those reams to become a reality. Ha!
This is just a regular park....ON THE OCEAN. IN MAUI. If I were a local, I'd come every day. It was stunning!!!!

And a quick stop for some Starbucks iced coconut Americanos for the walk home.

Once we got back to the house, it was all about the beach.

We love our mama. She and my dad have been SO incredibly generous. There is no way this trip could have happened without them.

Our house has a great pool where Brett's been getting some private swim lessons from my mom. She was a former lifeguard, swim coach and swim team member, so he's getting the best of the best. I'm excited to see how much he improves over the two weeks we are here.

And, really, these two couldn't be much cuter.

Pardon me if you get tired of the sunsets, but I can't help snapping pictures each night. This really does it no justice, but you can get a small glimpse of what we see as we sit on our back patio each night.

I'm an entire day behind on the blog, so although I just blogged about Monday, it's actually Christmas Eve and we will be attending church here in Maui and laying out gifts from Santa tonight. I cannot wait to celebrate the reason for the season with my family, in paradise. What an amazing gift.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Maui: Day Two

Our second day in Maui was Sunday and it started verrrrry early. Like, 3:30am early. We figured our kids would wake up earlier than normal because of the 2 hour time change, but this was a bit ridiculous. My hopes of them sleeping until at least 5am came crashing down when we heard Molly yelling "mooooommmmmm, daddddddd!!!!!" at o'dark thirty. I'm pretty sure she woke up because she was scared and a little unfamiliar with her surroundings (her and her cousin Isaac were sharing a room). And when you are sleeping in a house with other people, letting them cry it out, or even giving yourself a moment to wake up, is out of the question. This, then, woke up Brylie, so we were mostly up in the middle of the night. Awesome.
By 6:00am, everyone was up and we were eating breakfast, planning out our day and deciding how early we could head out to the beach. My mom, sister and I headed to Safeway for some last minute essentials (a HUGE Costco trip had been done the day before) and Adam took our kids to the beach while we were gone.

And the beach is where we stayed the majority of the day. At naptime, we came back to the house for lunch and put the kids down--who were literally OUT in seconds--and we enjoyed a few hours of silence. The boys played in the pool and we read. Perfection.

Once everyone was awake, it was back to the beach for a couple more hours. Taking a beach walk, body boarding and jumping in the waves. We had to be back for the big Seahawks game, so quick showers and game time!!
Our evenings have been yummy dinners, bed time and then board games. And to be honest, by 10pm, we are all exhausted due to the early wake up 

And my, oh, my....these sunsets are amazing. This picture does it no justice!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Vacation time--Aloha MAUI

Sorry I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. But, we are in MAUI!!!!! I'm not gonna lie, getting 4 kids packed for a two week vacation was a bit challenging, and a nearly 6 hour flight was daunting, but now that we are here...pure bliss. I'm not sure I'm ever coming back!!
I started packing and cleaning over a week ago and I'm really glad I did. It's crazy how many details there are to remember, when you are traveling for that long, with four young kids. Add to that, the fact that we have people house sitting for us, so I wanted everything clean and ready for guests. It's not like I could leave with unmade beds, dishes in the sink, or un-swept floors. The good news, is that when we return, our house should be looking awesome to start the new year!
I'll try to document our daily adventures, because I know it will be fun to look back on this later.
So, to start, the plane ride went pretty well. As well as can be expected with four kids. We were fortunate to be in "business class", which is in the front of the plane with wider more comfortable seats and a TON of leg room. We actually had more leg room that the few rows of first class, ahead of us. My sister and her family were on our flight so we took up the entire first row of business class, and that was awesome! Especially for Brylie who was able to walk back and forth in front of our seats, and even had room to sit on the floor and play.
My sister thought of the idea of suckers for take-off and landing, which was brilliant because it kept them still for those times when electronics and their toys had to be stowed away.

My boys were actually perfect. In fact, at one point, Adam looked at me and said, "it's weird, it feels like we only have 2 kids". We hardly heard a peep from them! Our seats came with a complimentary meal....of spaghetti. Say what?! Could they possibly choose a messier meal??? At least it also came with complimentary wine for the parents who are busy cleaning up the spaghetti! ;-)

Just a little view of the craziness that is traveling with 4 adults and 6 kids.

But, finally, she fell asleep and that was pure heaven. Just a sweet baby and a great book to keep me occupied.

And then her big sis woke her up (much to our dismay), so her brothers entertained her for awhile. Everything went so smoothly and the kids were actually very well behaved. When we de-boarded a woman stopped me to tell me how impressed she was with our kids. I'll take it! ;-)
It's funny how quickly you forget about the stress of travel when pulling up to our house. Um, hello. This is our view for the next two weeks.
And here you can see the house. It doesn't look very big from the outside, but it's huge on the inside. Enough to sleep all 14 of us, comfortably. It's pretty darn amazing and we are totally blessed.

So here's to 14 days of sunshine, family, celebrations, delicious food, drinks and being with the people we love the most.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas traditions

II mentioned earlier this week that we've already celebrated Christmas in our house. See the post all about it, HERE. Although we are cutting out some of our favorite traditions, due to lack of time, I thought I'd share them here.

1) Decorating for Christmas. This is one of my very favorite times of the year. We typically do this the day after Thanksgiving and involve the kids. Again, this year looked a little different than normal, but it's one of my favorite traditions.

2) Cookie baking! I love to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. It's even more fun to have friends and family there to celebrate this tradition together. Because we did this for Molly's birthday party, I didn't host a cookie decorating party, as I have in the past. But, it's fun no matter how you choose to do it! gets messy!!

3) The Elf. Yep. We have an elf. His name is JoJo and he actually has not made an appearance in our house yet, this year. We decided that the first two weeks of December were really crazy here and I wanted to do a good job with JoJo, so we are taking him with us on our trip and he'll be waiting in the kids' room when we arrive! I can't wait to see their reaction! Normally, I start this tradition on the 1st of December with a fun little gift for the kids to open. Last year, JoJo brought them a Christmas movie, and in the past, he's done hot cocoa and a game. I know some people find the elf creepy, but I don't at all. He's magical and fun! He's not naughty for us, just silly, and something that brings a smile and a sense of excitement to my kids' faces every morning! We definitely emphasize the reason for the season and my kids know all about the story of Jesus, but Santa and the elf help to bring that joy and excitement for the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ's birth.

4) Gingerbread houses. Another tradition that we normally do, but got left off the list this year, due to time constraints. Still trying to decide if we'll do this on our trip, or not. I typically buy the Costco kit because it's cheap, easy and fun! We do this on a weekday evening, after dinner, and blast Christmas music throughout the house. I love how much fun the kids have and it's neat to look back at pictures from the past, reminiscing about how much our kids have grown and changed over the years.

5) Fantasy Lights. We have this fun tradition of filling the car with blankets, stopping at Starbucks for hot cocoa and then driving through a massive light display. Kids are allowed to be out of their car seats (this is their favorite part) because you basically inch along. It takes almost 30 minutes to drive through a fairly small loop of lights. It's all set to music, so you tune your radio to their station and enjoy. Another awesome tradition! We actually did this tonight and our kids loved it! Instead of Starbucks, we may or may not have gone through the McDonald's drive thru. Whoops. Really, my excuse is that we have no food left in our house and I won't buy anything to last just a couple days. So there. ;-)

For the record, for  you car seat people, Brylie got to turn her seat around, just for this event. When she's rear facing, she can't see out her window, at all, because of the recline of the seat. We actually <gasp> took her out of the seat for half of the ride, and she reallllllly loved that. She was waving, clapping and pointing to all of the lights. "SANTA!!!" over and over!

I think she loved riding on daddy's lap, the very most.

6) Meeting Santa. Remember my post from last weekend? Our kids really enjoy this tradition and even our nine year old still believes. I'm guessing this will be his last year, so I'm treasuring the fun and magic of the season. The other day he says, "mom, can you believe it? There are FIVE kids in my class who don't believe in Santa. Isn't that weird?" Ummm..ha! Guess I better cherish his innocence, for now!
7) Writing Christmas wish-lists. I love reading my kids lists. Typically, they do these at school and then I have them do other ones at home. I remember some of the funny things they've wished for over the years and the continue to make me smile. Molly wants a "tiny kitty" this year. Um, no.
8) Reading Christmas stories. One of my favorite traditions is reading Christmas stories to my kids at night. Not only are they a fun change from 3478924 princess stories we read, but they help to simplify the story of Jesus' birth. Especially for the little ones. Our kids also attend Awana and Sunday school where they spend more time learning verses and the stories from the Bible. I love that they come home and we can have meaningful conversation.
9) Lefse' making. We are a Norweigan family and as far back as I can remember, we used to make lefse' with my great-grandma and my grandma. In the last couple years, it's been with just my sister and my mom. Again, we didn't do it this year, due to our trip, but I hope to continue this tradition with my own girls, for many many years. I love eating lefse', making a huge flour-y mess and all of the conversation and laughter that goes with it!
10) Christmas Eve dinner and church. Christmas Eve is the more traditional day for our family. We gather for a large meal, usually serving roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with marshmellows), rolls, steamed veggies (usually asparagus), lefse', green bean casserole and several pies. I'm getting full just thinking about it! And after dinner, we attend our church's candle-light service. I love singing carols and gathering together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
11) Christmas morning. We open gifts--always going one by one (youngest to oldest. always.) Christmas brunch with close family and friends and then a day in our jammies, eating leftovers, playing games, watching movies and just being lazy. It's the best.
What Christmas traditions do you have? I'm always looking to add something new to the mix. It's never too late to start a tradition with your family!!
8 more days, friends! 8 MORE DAYS!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A peek into our home-- Brylie's nursery

I had so much fun decorating Brylie's nursery, just as soon as I found out I was having another girl. First of all, I knew I wanted something completely different from Molly's. Click HERE to see her room. 
The wheels just started turning-- I looked through hundreds of pictures of nurseries and couldn't find something I just loved, so I thought I'd try to design it based on some inspirational pictures I found on Pinterest.
Cue talented sister-in-law, who is quite the seamstress. She graciously offered to turn my ideas into reality. I envisioned ruffles, but not frills, raspberry pink, yellow, eggshell blue and a few other bright colors mixed with various patterns of polka dots, flowers, chevron print and stripes. I also wanted matching ruffles on the bed skirt and on the bottom of the curtains. Basially, I wanted Brylie's nursery to be unique, not to be found anywhere else. I wanted whimsical and dreamy, girly and fresh.
It turned out better than I had imagined!

We pained the walls a custom color that I had Lowe's mix based on the color of the fabrics. It's sort of an eggshell blue, with a hint of pale teal. All of the furniture was given to us by our awesome neighbors, and I painted it white (it was originally a honey oak color). Once Brylie outgrew the changing table, we replaced it with this gorgeous hutch that was in my sister's room as a little girl. Eventually, I'd like to change out the hardware, but for now, it works! I refinished her dresser and added the beautiful crystal knobs. Seriously, they are to die for! Maybe my favorite part of the whole room.
The lettering above her crib was made with the cardboard letters from JoAnn's. I just grabbed coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper and decoupaged them on to the letters. Adam' mounted them with wall tape and secured with finishing nails. A super easy and inexpensive project!
Finally, we have this amazingly comfortable rocker, that used to belong to my grandma. I can't tell you how much I love it! Not only is it SO cozy, but it reminds me of my grandma when I'm in it, and that makes it very special. I don't know what I'll do when my girls outgrow it. =( A sad, sad day!!!
Brylie's room just makes me happy. It's one of my favorite places in our house because it's always clean and uncluttered. You can't help but feel good in her room with the bright, whimsical design. The perfect nursery for the nearly perfect little girl.
And one final picture of my two little angels playing dress up in there yesterday. Sometimes they can be pretty darn cute!