Sunday, July 15, 2018

Our Hawaiian Vacation

It had been seven years since we'd been to Hawaii and it was so much fun returning with the kids. We waited until Jayde was old enough to handle a six-hour flight, and I am happy to report she (and Hudson) rocked the flight. We prepared activity bags for the kids full of books, playdough, and toys, but they mostly watched movies provided by the flight. Those things are a life saver. 

I cannot say enough good things about this family vacation. It really was one of our best trips. We stayed at my sister's house on Oahu. She was in Texas visiting our parents for a portion of the time we were there, so she offered her cute home to us. 

We spent the first few days visiting Ko Olina Beach. It is the perfect beach for kids because it is a cove so there aren't any waves, so as parents we could relax knowing the kids were safe.

On day one, after a day at the beach, we hit up Matsumoto's Shaved Ice on the North Shore and toured the island driving around looking at all the pretty sights. We ended up in Waikiki just in time to catch the sunset and grab dinner at The Rainbow Drive-In for a delicious mixed plate. 

 When my sister summer got back from Texas we took met up at Ko Olina and let the cousins play. They had a blast playing in the sand.

 We were also able to meet up with our good friend who had just moved to the Island a week prior to our visit. They are living on the North Shore literally right across the street from Pipeline. This was such a good day. We hit up the beach before lunch playing on the water and sand. Fun fact: we were actually on the beach directly in front of Jack Johnson's house (but he wasn't there). After working up an appetite, we hit up the local food trucks for lunch. We went to "The Spot" and I had my first Acai Bowl which was admittedly really yummy.

After lunch, we went to Shark"s Cove which are there amazing tide pools where you can snorkel and see hundreds of fish, crabs and other animal sea life. We absolutely loved this, but make sure you have water shoes to protect your feet because those rocks are sharp and slippery. It really was the coolest thing. 

 We loved Hawaii so much, we are already planning our return for next summer. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

3 Things I Learned to Help with Homework Time

At first glance, this might look like a bunch of numbers and shapes and not make much sense at all, but what it represents is so dear to me. These numbers and shapes that Hudson drew on a random price of cardboard that came in one of my packages symbolized his growth over the school year.

Let's just say the school year started out rough. Homework with Hudson was a struggle. Let's just say it wasn't the greatest mother-son time. In the beginning, we struggled to even complete a full packet of homework. Hudson complained the whole time and my patience was short. Hudson thrives off routine and homework just wasn't part of his routine. Over time I realized a few strategies that have helped up make homework time a much less fr

Let Him Play
I don't make Hudson do his homework right away upon returning home. I allow him to eat a snack and play. He usually vegges on the couch for a little while and then plays outside. If I were to make him sit down for another 1/2 hour of essential school once he gets home I would get nothing but push back. Therefore, I give Hudson a good hour and a half of play time before homework time.

Be an Example of Sticking to the Task
When I am sitting down to do homework with Hudson I need to be just as focused as I expect him to be. If I am on my phone are computer during homework time, then Hudson will be distracted too. I need to set the example of sticking to the task at hand if I expect Hudson to as well.

Recognize His Strengths
Over time, I learned what subjects Hudson is good at/enjoys and which are more challenging. Knowing this allows me to guide him through the packet in a more strategic way. When I recognize that he is getting frustrated or struggling we can skip to an assignment he will find more enjoyable. I usually also mix it up. We will begin at the front of the packet which is always the language work (Hudson's least favorite). After completing an assignment or two, we skip to the end of the packet to do some math (Hudson's better subject) or we will do one of the coloring assignments. I find breaking the packet up and jumping around to different types of activities and subjects is more stimulating for Hudson. We usually save the work that required cutting and gluing for Thursday night because it is easy and Hudson is usually burned out by then. I like being able to tell him it's "just cutting" because he is much more willing to come in and do it knowing that.

So back to the picture...a few weeks ago I found Hudson on his bed practicing math all on his own, and I was so proud of him. He was drawing circles and writing the number below and adding up the total. It assured me that Hudson's going to be alright. School may not always we as simple as 1,2,3 with Hudson, but he is growing and learning and finding some fun in academics.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Best Way I know to Enjoy the Snow

Did you know, I don't really like the snow? Don't get me wrong, I think it is pretty, but I prefer to enjoy it from inside a cabin, snuggled up in a blanket drinking hot cocoa as I watch it softly fall to the ground. But guess what, my kids love the snow. Shocker, I mean, what three and six-year-old kid doesn't. Heck, I am sure I liked the snow when I was their age. In fact, I know I did. I spent every Christmas in Big Bear visiting my grandparents home on the lake, and I have very fond memories sledding and snowball fighting with my cousins. I can still picture the blue sleds and the intricate slopes & slides my older siblings and cousins carved into the snow down the sloped driveway down the side of my grandparents home. But I also have a very clear memory when I was probably about nine or ten coming in from no doubt a very intense sledding session, hating how frozen my toes felt and how wet and uncomfortable my gloves felt. It was so satisfying to take them off, grab one of my grandma's flannel blankets and warm up by the fire. I am pretty sure that was the day I realized I was not cut out for the snow.
This past winter, we went to Utah for New Years, and all Hudson wanted to do was play in the snow and make a snowman. He had been looking forward to it ever since we told him we were going to Utah for New Years. Unfortunately, there wasn't much snow in the city where we were staying, but there was some in the mountains and higher elevations, so we decided to take a drive up the canyon to find ourselves some snow.
I remember it being COLD. I want to say it was about 12 degrees in the shaded crevice of the mountainside where we decided to park our car.  The temperature didn't phase Hudson and Jayde one bit though. They occupied themselves by throwing rocks in the stream and trying to break the tiny icicles hanging off a log. As for me, my toes froze in about two seconds of getting out of the car. Despite the discomfort I was feeling, that moment wasn't about me. I could have easily retreated to the car and turned on the heater and let Nathan watch the kids, but I would have missed out on creating memories with my children. 
That day it was about fulfilling Hudson's dream to play in the snow, and it brought me so much happiness to watch my children play and laugh. But that's parenthood, right? So many times we as parents sacrifice our time, comfort (sanity) for the sake of our children because those precious, little people look to us to make life magical. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Holiday Trip to San Francisco

We can't seem to get enough of San Francisco! It has become the go-to location to kick off our long breaks. We went at the beginning of summer vacation and returned again just last week to kick off winter break. Each season in this city is beautiful and we loved seeing it decked out in holiday decor. We are our kids enjoy San Francisco just as much as we do and that they do really well during all the exploring we like to do!
After flying in and taking the BART into the city, we jumped on a trolly which took us to Fisherman's Warf where our hotel was located. After doing some unpacking and some relaxing in the big, comfy hotel beds, we changed, got bundled up and headed out to enjoy our first night. 

We ate at Luigi's Pizzeria on Pier 39. From our table, we could see the Bay Bridge which looked like it was lit up with a thousand little twinkle lights. The rest of the evening was spent exploring Fisherman's Wharf, and we ended up at Ghirardelli Square enjoying a yummy hot fudge sundae. Ghirardelli Square was my favorite part of the trip because it was decorated so festively with Christmas trees, lights and a lifesize menorah. 
The next morning we met up Nathan's sister Chenoa, who came down to have lunch with us. We walked up into Little Italy which was just a few blocks away. The weather was perfect for walking and enjoying the city. We grabbed lunch at Golden Boy Pizza which serves Sicilian style pizza. It was a cool, eclectic place with random stickers all over the walls and the only seating was on barstools. 
After lunch and walking the neighborhoods for a little while, we ended up at a park where the kids played on the playground. The park was bustling with artists, vendors, people walking their dogs and other mothers and fathers like us who were letting their kids get their wiggles out.   
After a good little while, we headed back down to the Wharf to check out the seals. It was crystal clear and we could see the bridge perfectly too; it was quite picturesque. We did some shopping and Hudson jumped a few times on the big bungee trampoline (I think this is his favorite part of our SF trips).
That evening we did a fun, festive activity which was riding around the city in an old-fashioned, open-air fire truck looking at Christmas lights. We drove from Fisherman's Wharf, down to Union Square, past the Bay Bridge and back down to the Pier. It was cold, but we had old fireman coats across our laps as blankets to help us keep warm. 
We ended the night and our trip with a cable car ride. I mean, you can't go to San Francisco and NOT ride the cable car! It was a quick ride down to Powell and back, but the kids love it and it is my favorite way to see the city.
The next day we flew back home to LA, clearly, the kids wore themselves out.