Friday, March 31, 2017

Adventurous Ones

 What's a mom to do when her daughter is more adventurous than her?

 More of a daredevil?

 Perhaps even cooler?

 This girl's gumption astounds me - mostly because I feel like a major chicken compared to her.

 The Tarzan swing in Hawaii was a big hit with this girl.

 She was definitely one of the youngest to be out there dropping into the pool so fearlessly.

 Having a floatie helps, but I expect that when she's floatie-less she will remain just as fearless.

 Orelia always asks me why I don't want to do this type of thing with her.

 I just try to explain it really has no appeal to me, but she is dumbfounded why I wouldn't find this type of thing thrilling.

Good thing John shares her daredevil spirit.

Bennett went on this slide a couple of times, and then realized it wasn't his cup of tea.

 Time will tell whether Bennett shares the sense of adventure John and Orelia have.

 But I suspect he may be more of an observer like me.

 Having a Tarzan swing and water slides are a big bonus of being able to access a gigantic hotel.

 And don't worry, I am very appreciative that my adventurous girl came equipped with an adventurous daddy.

They are two peas in an adrenaline-laden pod.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vacation Hangover

 Just over a week ago we landed in Maui, and I immediately bought Orelia a real lei to wear.  She was so pleased with herself and genuinely happy to be starting the vacation we had been talking about for months.

Now that we are back home, we are all suffering from the vacation blues.

 For one of the first times in a long time, we were all quite sad to leave vacation and wanted to keep the fun in the sun going.

For the first two or three days of our trip Orelia would ask "what do I usually have today" (meaning if I were at home what would I be doing) and "is today my recital day."  

After a couple of days in Hawaii, Orelia stopped asking about home and started asking when we were going to the beach next and whether it was time for her hula lesson.

The first two days Bennett was sad to realize we had left all his favorite big trucks at home, but luckily a trip to the Maui Target and a couple of cheap new trucks melted those cares away.

The kids were unbelievably eager to head down to the beach that first day we arrived, and they were downright giddy to be there.

 I'm not sure if it was because it was their first beach trip in months, or because it was a gorgeous sunny day with a warm ocean, but my kids loved every minute.

 Orelia has never been one to really love the ocean.  Two summers ago she just learned to tickle her toes in the water.  About half a second onto the Maui beach and she was physically rolling in the ocean.  A lot more than her toes this time!

 Bennett initially played in the sand with some trucks, but once he discovered the glories of the ocean, we couldn't keep him out!

 He just kept running into the water without a care in the world, and John had to save the poor boy from himself.

 Once we left the ocean the kids were running on fumes, but still delighted with everything they saw.

 To have a sibling is to have a constant companion for all the weird stuff you want to do...

 What a gorgeous opening night we had in Hawaii.

 Bennett called this grass "lawnmower grass."  I'm not sure if there is any other type (other than fake grass).  Maybe he just couldn't believe this soft green carpet of green was actually grass compared to what he's used to back home.

 The time change was starting to slow Orelia down a bit, and she stopped for a quick faux nap before I dragged her back upright (lest her faux nap turn into a real one).

 Both kids were enamored with the hotel lobby from the first day.  They loved exploring it and commenting on everything they found.  "It's so pretty," Bennett even said.

Back in California it's a cold 62 degrees and we are sans pool and sans beach.  Being home has it perks - mainly my own bed, Bennett's 185 trucks, and Harper - but after such a great trip, pardon our vacation hangovers while we mourn leaving the magic of Hawaii.

Many, many more photos to come!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I See Dead People

 Bennett is terrified of mannequins.  Seriously, terrified.
At the mall he has been saying "No more mechanics!  I don't like mechanics."  Well it turns out by "mechanics", he means "mannequins."

 Poor kid.

So we told Orelia, "You're not afraid of mannequins, right?  You know they are just pretend people."  Orelia says, "Yeah, they're just dead people."

I can't tell you how hard John and I laughed at this, as we tried to explain that no they aren't dead people.  We now might understand Bennett's fear a bit better if this is the explanation from our daughter who isn't afraid of mannequins!

Friday, March 10, 2017

HBD John

 Happy birthday, John!

 You are the world's greatest husband.

 You are the world's greatest father.

You are our rock and our love, and we are so thankful for you.

Happy birthday!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tahoe Blizzard Vacation

For kids who had never seen snow, this sure was a way to introduce them.

We arrived at Lake Tahoe amidst blizzard warnings, but when we got there it wasn't snowing and we were thrilled the drive wasn't treacherous.

Orelia was dying to give the snow a try, so while Bennett went down for a nap everyone went outside to test it out (even Harper).

 Our girl has always loved adventure, so we suspected she would take to sledding.

 And we were right.

I hadn't predicted how much she would LOVE eating snow, however.  

 It's possible that eating snow was her favorite thing of the whole trip!

 We warned her before the vacation that she would need to wear - God forbid - PANTS in the snow.  So she asked if she could bring a skirt to wear on top, and we agreed.  Trust me, she wore a snow skirt every single time she went outside.  She's nothing if not consistent.

Now I said that the blizzard hadn't yet started when we arrived, but THIS is what the house looked like pre-blizzard.  They already had pleeeeeeeeeeenty of snow.

 The first day we were maybe playing on 3 feet of packed snow in the yard.

 At that point it was definitely the most snow I had ever seen or experienced in my whole life.

 We woke Bennett up from his nap and he was none too excited about the requirement of gloves to go in the snow.  Whoops - forgot to prep him on that.

 We spent the weekend with our close friends and their family.  Orelia had an amazing time playing and snuggling with her buddy all weekend, and they loved building a snowman together.

 Harper's best friends were there too (the dogs, not the snowman).

 Orelia and I went to play on the super snowy balcony that first day, and it's a good thing we did since later it would snow so much more we wouldn't even be able to open the sliding door to get onto the balcony.

It was really fun to play with my girl in the snow all weekend.  

 In the snow there are no distractions - just the snow and your imagination to keep you busy.

 Orelia loved eating plain snow, but she also enjoyed a snow cone with chocolate one evening too.  (The second night we just gave her plain snow and a spoon and she devoured three bowls - ha!)

 After a lot of preparation, Bennett now understood he had to wear gloves/mittens in order to go out in the snow.

 True to form, Bennett wanted to do a lot of scooping and dumping with his construction trucks.

 When the snow got too cold, we brought a little bit inside and let Bennett scoop and dump from the warmth of the house.

 The front "yard" had been transformed into a snow valley.  After an entire winter of plowing the driveway, there were gigantic 8-foot mounds on either side of the driveway.  The good news was, the kids and dogs could easily walk on the plowed driveway and still play in the snow.

 This was Harper's first visit to the snow, and she had a great time too.

 She missed out on her usual long walks with Mommy, but got lots of freedom to run around and romp.

 Orelia made herself at home by making a snow chair in the side of one of the snow heaps.

 Look at those snowy paws!

 The front yard/driveway was a lot easier for Bennett to navigate, since the snow was literally taller than him in the backyard, especially after the blizzard hit.

 What they warned would be 24 hours of blizzard conditions essentially turned into 48 hours of blizzard.

 While we were in Tahoe we got maybe 3-4 feet of snow.

 When I was growing up in Virginia we would rejoice at 3-4 INCHES of snow.

 Having a few feet of snow on top of plenty of other snow was a whole new kind of winter I have never experienced.

We were essentially snowed into our house for the weekend, but we were lucky enough to have power, water, and great company.

 These pictures are taken after Orelia was literally thrown into the pile of snow (akin to how a kid is tossed into a pool).

 I know I will always remember this amazing snow-filled weekend, and I think Orelia will too.

 Bennett likely won't remember much about the trip, but he has been fondly telling everyone about the snow plows he saw.

 Poor kid was really too little to even walk in the snow in the backyard unassisted because he would literally just keep sinking.

 Orelia is just enough older and taller to be able to forge a path through several feet of sinking fresh snow.

To have this weekend be your first real experience with snow - I can't even imagine what that must be like for Orelia.  

She literally thinks snow is some sort of Calvin and Hobbes comic filled with fluffy cotton candy snow.  (Bennett just thinks snow is cold.)  Who knows when we will see the snow again, but until then, my kids will imagine every snowfall is a blizzard and that every blizzard is magical.