Thursday, July 21, 2016

Home Owners

Yesterday, we officially became homeowners again. We've done this many times, but this is the first time we've immediately started a big remodel job on a new house. In fact, I'm not even sharing any pictures of the house, because, by the time we are finished, it will hardly resemble the house we bought. It's interesting and exciting, and we can't wait to see how it all comes out. We will be moving in next week, and hopefully the plastic will be removed from some of the surfaces by then and I can share pics.

My favorite thing about the house is the mature grapevine covering the back porch

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christmas in July

On Friday, Ruth returned from her three-week camp in NY, and we picked her up in Houston. We then got to spend the weekend with family we haven't seen in far too long, including one member whom we were meeting for the very first time. We also celebrated our sweet niece/cousin's 3rd birthday. Victoria picked a Christmas theme for her July birthday, so we had lots of fun with that. 

Birthday Breakfast

It wasn't hard to tell what these two were actually after!

Victoria and Clay had so much fun playing dress-up

Sweet birthday girl
(Flamingo is her favorite animal, so that's who you see
poking out from behind the Christmas tree.)

A new cousin to love

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Spirit Day

Max (and Dad) totally rocked Spirit Day at robot camp

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Eight and a half

Max has already been eight for six months, and I can hardly believe it! He spent most of his day at robot camp, which was just about as good as it could get for him. When we picked him up, we took him over to McDonald's, a place we rarely patronize, so he was ecstatic! Later, we presented him with a couple of gifts that made his little engineering heart flutter: a box of Kinex building toys and a Perplexis puzzle ball, which he has been eying for a long time. We are proud of this guy and can't believe how quickly he is growing up! 

Eight and a half

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Several pretty big things

  • Today, I drove a car for the first time in over a year. Part of that driving happened during a pretty major thunderstorm. But, I'm happy to report that I have not forgotten how to drive, and I got us safely to all our destinations (including taking shelter at a Sonic to protect our new car from falling tree branches and what felt like could turn into a hail storm).
  • I got a much needed haircut this morning and am so happy with my new cut and what is sure to become my new salon.
  • I bought a pair of denim shorts for about $5 at a cool little thrift store, because it is hotter than blue blazes here in Texas, and I don't have appropriate clothes for that. I passed up sweet deals on two pairs of shoes, though, because I don't have room for them in my bag, and I don't really need them. (And because I'm not quite emotionally ready to say good-bye to the shoes that have literally carried me all over the world, even though they seriously need to be replaced.)
  • We signed a contract on a house today, in what may be one of the fastest real estate deals in history.
  • We found the local Mexican food restaurant closest to our new house and gave it a try, because this is an important part of our option period. Anamia's definitely passed the test, so it looks like we'll be able to move forward with the purchase.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A Texas welcome

Texas greeted us this morning around 6:00 am with a warm embrace. And things just continued to heat up from there. However, he did manage to keep it below the 100 degree mark (just barely), which seemed to be his way of saying "Welcome back."

After a shower and a good breakfast, we jumped right into real world stuff, with trips to the bank and car dealership, in order to procure a new set of wheels. This is our first truly new car since before we had kids, so it kind of felt like a big deal. Of course, we have kids, so the new car smell will surely wear off sooner than it otherwise would. I'm including a picture, because this may be the last day the car is ever this pretty again.

Our new ride

With the ability to locomote, we were off to accomplish our only other goal of the day, which was to eat at Chuy's. As a bonus, my mom met us there, which was the only thing that could have made the experience better!

After lunch, Mom snagged the boys and whisked them away for a weekend of being spoiled silly. It's going to be awesome!

Jeff and I stayed behind so we can start the process of settling back in to something like normal life. Today, we mostly just drove around, trying to get a feel for this new land in which we find ourselves, a land just north of Dallas, which has up to now been utterly unfamiliar to us. Tomorrow, we will hit the floor running, as we begin the search for both a commercial space and a residence.

So, in case you thought our adventures were over, I would like to clarify that they are only changing. We look forward to embracing this new phase of  holo holo (adventuring), and we would love for you to continue to be part of our journey.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Surfer Dudes

This morning the older boys had an opportunity to take a surf lesson, which is something they have been looking forward to forever. In fact, I think when we first put Hawaii on our agenda almost two years ago, they put surfing on their list of things to definitely do here. They were naturals, and they had so much fun! They're hooked, so I guess we'll have no choice but to continue traveling to places where they can hone their skills. I'm willing to make that sacrifice for my boys, because that's just the kind of selfless mom I am.

First, the land lesson!

Ready to catch some waves!

A perfect day for surfing!
(Lanai, which we haven't had a good look at all week,
 even decided to come out from behind the clouds!)

The instructor was great with the boys and gave them every opportunity to succeed,
including pulling them along through the water on their first trip out.

Max was a rock star on the board!

Weston gives this activity two thumbs up!

Meanwhile, this little mess was trying to ensure that
we take as much of Maui back to Texas with us as possible!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Independence Day

We were among the last Americans to celebrate the 4th of July, but, boy, did we have a good time! The Westin resort where we're staying really did it up right, and we had such a fantastic day! It all started with the pool being completely filled up with red, white, and blue beach balls for the kids to play with and take home. We also received patriotic leis and frisbees and little flags to get us in the spirit.

There was supposed to be a flower drop in the middle of the morning, but there were technical difficulties and the flowers didn't actually drop. However, the nets were later ripped open and orchids were distributed throughout the crowd. There were also several fun lawn games, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed playing.

Around noon, the boys participated in watermelon eating contests. Weston was the clear winner of the 6-12 division, but Max also won a prize. And, everyone in the 5-year-old division got a prize for participating.

Later, Clay participated in the hula hoop contest. When I was walking him over to it, he asked what you were supposed to do in a hula hoop contest. I told him he just needed to keep the hula hoop up around his waist. "That's easy!" he said. "Oh," I said, "Are you pretty good at keeping it spinning and not letting it fall to the ground?" "Well," he replied, "That part is hard."

After a lunch of footlong hot dogs, the older boys got in on the pie eating contest, which Weston saw as personal challenge, possibly the event his whole life has been building up to. He took it seriously and came out with one of the top prizes. We laughed and cheered and had a wonderful time.

And, then, we had shave ice. Because, that's what all the prizes had been throughout the day. And, because it was the 4th of July. And, what's an American celebration without a fair amount of gluttony thrown in?!

Before leaving the pool deck, we played three games of BINGO, but, though we were often this close, none of us managed to raise the victory cry. But, by then, we were all in a sugar coma, so the disappointment rolled right off our backs. Besides, we had a table at a Mexican food restaurant on the beach with our name on it, and chips and salsa can cure a whole lot of hurts.

After dinner, we walked down the beach to catch the spectacular fireworks, which were launched from a barge in the ocean. There were many that were quite unique, and, as always, we were dazzled by all of them!

Independence Day is one of our family's very favorite holidays, and this one was particularly fun, even though we definitely missed having Ruth with us. We may just have to give it another shot next year so she can join us! ;)

Having a ball on the 4th of July

Lawn games

Showered with flowers

Watermelon Eating Contest

Hula Hoop Contest

Pie Eating Contest

Shave Ice

Some beach time before the fireworks

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 01, 2016

Maui Fun

We left Hana this morning and made our way over to Kaanapali, stopping at the Maui Brewing Company for a tasting and Cheeseburger in Paradise for lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out at our lovely resort.

Choose-your-own tasting flight at Maui Brewing Co.

Cheeseburger in Paradise, all dressed up for the Fourth

"It's All Good" Burger

This Westin resort is absolutely beautiful!

Tamer of the poolside frog

Maui Sunset