Saturday, November 26, 2011


is where the heart is xoxo
This is our first year having our very own Thanksgiving at home...alone.
I'll be honest, I thought I was going to hate it and I was on the border of planning a last-minute trip to bask in the warm desert sun and forget about homesickness for the long weekend. But things were crazy busy and at the last moment instead I woke up at home and was GLAD, even EXCITED!!
I have been in some kind of funk for the last month, I'm sure you can tell from my lack of blogging. I got home from my trip and there has not been just one minute to sit, catch up, and breathe. As soon as I got off the plane I feel as though someone pushed the FF button on me (fast-forward) and I have been totally struggling. Little did I know the very thing I needed was to just stay home.
It has been the greatest breath of fresh air and we are now going in slow-motion.
Our few
and only decorations
The kids happy to be kids and keeping an ever-watchful eye on me in the kitchen, curious of the growing mess I was making.
They ended up with some elaborate cushion forts.
fueled by the veggie tray--guess they don't like peppers
my little sweet helper setting the table
Daddy harvesting some herbs
Our full warm delightful table, filled with steamed green beans, gravy, rolls, roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, garden carrots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and herbs, Tofurkey, a loaded green salad with candied nuts, craisins, feta, cucumber, tomatoes. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Success, in my eyes. For someone who has had way too much bad luck in the kitchen I was feeling like a PRO! I did forget the fruit salad though, but no one noticed.
Slicing up the Tofurkey 
We all sat and enjoyed every bite and moment sharing our Thankfulness. I glowed hearing the kids' long, neverending lists of what they are thankful for. But in the end, dad was left clearing and stuffing his face from the kids plates.
We took a break and played, went to a great kids movie (Hugo), and we did loads of puzzles while the pie baked. Speaking of ... it was my first time making pie. We made apple and boy was it mouthwatering. 
I had forgotten that a sweet life is just taking it easy at home. I'm still beaming and still at home enjoying every slow-motion moment. We have been playing games and eating cake into the wee hours of the morning. And if I once again forget to slow down and be thankful, I just so happened to have taken a video of my kids long telling tales of thankfulness. xoxoxo
I hope you all had a warm, happy day filled with what really matters, and it's not in the presentation or the fruit salad, but making time to sit with the ones you love.
p.s. it's good to be back

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oh me, Oh my

little Indiana Jones

This time of year is my absolute favorite. I love how it is just packed full of excitement, pure and simple ones. The fall colors, leaf piles, dressing up, baking goodies, roasting pumpkin seeds, carving pumpkins, the endless parties, and squeezing in as much outdoor time before it turns bitterly cold. It is full to the brim with real quality family time.

I'm leaving today. And can't help be sad for all I'm going to miss. Yeah, call me spoiled. Who wouldn't want to celebrate turning 30 with their honey in paradise? Me, I guess. My kids love parties. Who else would I want to celebrate with? I'm going to miss dressing my kids up and seeing their faces glow when they look in the mirror, watching their faces turn sour as they reach their little hands into their pumpkins. The light in their eyes when they receive their first full candy bar while trick-or-treating. I LOVE running door to door with them. It is all so priceless. 

Who is going to take their pictures in the school Halloween Parade?
That is just one little thing that is haunting me.

I didn't start this post to cry and whine but to be glad for all I have already been able to do with them, continuing fall traditions and making new ones. xoxo
Snuggled up for the full moon lift ride at Sundance
decorating sugar cookies
making loads of apple chips with Jarom
finding a sleeping zombie
still harvesting a hearty bounty
Being adopted by a new little furry friend. Our very own Halloween cat, Link!
who can always be found cuddling
fall field trips
Getting lost in a corn maze
A new tradition. Hiking Donut Falls among the beautiful aspens.
It was colder in canyon than we thought. The boys were lucky enough to find little wraps and scarves in the car to keep them warm.
Brandon scooting his way up to the falls
Isn't she lovely?
Can't hike Donut Falls without actually eating a doughnut - just you try.
Our Nanie came to visit!!!!! It was her tradition to come visit us every fall but she missed the last two, we are so glad to have her back, and her new husband Jack. It was like CHRISTMAS!!!!
Spidey led the way 
Everyone else gladly followed
Finished with Halloween bedtime stories xoxoxo
How blessed am I?
I cannot count all the ways.

Rachel, Ade, and Dolly -
Thank you
For your love, time, and energy spent loving my kids while I'm gone,
it REALLY means the WORLD to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Day 11: Coromandel

Our last day was an exciting one for me, because in reading my travel books there were three things that jumped out at me immediately - the first was the doing the Tongariro Crossing, which we were able to do on Thanksgiving Day, and then the other two were saved for last.

Good thing we crashed the night before, because we needed to get up bright and early to make it to Hot Water Beach while the tide was still low.

walking down the beach to find the hot spots
here we are sitting in our very own little hot sandy bird bath
A better picture of it. As you can see we didn't need to dig too far. Even this much water was hard to bear because it was boiling hot. From this very spot I watched the cutest old man in a Speedo have to get into the ocean to cool down, and then he hit a hot spot in the ocean and had to run back to the beach. It is kind of a dangerous beach.
Matty relaxing. We took a couple videos of the water boiling.

Last on my to do list was a hike to Cathedral Cove. You might recognize it from one of the Narnia movies. It is the one where they watch a train rush by, and then they see glimpses of the most gorgeous beach EVER. And then magically they appear there.
The trail goes along the cliffs and is oh-so-scenic.
When we started this trail it was still early in the morning. It is a popular one and we didn't see anyone the whole time. When we got there, there were two other couples already lying out on the beach. But other than that, everyone else was coming in as we were leaving.
A little disappointing to get down there and see it roped off. We walked back and forth a few times and then just said, what the heck, we're going through.
on the other side!!
and all alone xoxo

And then the mad rush along the rest of the Coromandel highways to make it to Auckland in time to return our cute little rental car and hit the plane headed home. New Zealand, we will see you again soon.
--- ---

 -- more NZ 2010 --
Pre-trip preparation
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Orewa to Paihia
Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 4: Ninety Mile Beach to Rawene
Day 5: Rawene to Hamilton
Day 6: Hamilton to National Park
Day 7: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 8: Taupo to Rotorua
Day 9: Rotorua
Day 10: Thames to Hahei
Day 11: Coromandel

Last days

Day 10:  Thames to Hahei

last days

and moments were spent on trails along the beach and swimming in Tairua
making a run for it
never tiring of these endless empty beaches
We read that if you climb to the little peaker on top of Mt. Paku that you will visit again in the next 7 years. We wanted to put it to the test. It only took 11 months for it to come true. xoxo
The beach we just swam at was already calling our names again
The trail took you through charming backyards - they all had their own private dreamy paths down to the beach. The views got better with each step.
Beautiful blue ocean on all sides
Loving those mountains way in the background, little Pauanui in the foreground. This place has got it all.
We drove on to our last bed of the trip, and on the way I finally got a picture of my favorite "panda bear cows." We decided to go all out on our last night and throw our budget to the wind. We booked a nice room right ON the BEACH, in Hahei!!
collected our last gifts for the kids in the sunset, up on Cooks Beach
We went to a tiny little ritzy place for dinner - it is a tiny beach town so there was nothing else open. We were just glad we were going to get dinner.
And made sure to drink one last L&P - mmm

We had romantic dreams of walking the beach at night, but once we got back to our deluxe room we only had enough energy to take showers, and for some crazy lame reason we spent our last night all cozied up watching tv, never taking advantage of our beach. The things we regret later in life - not really though. We were so darn tired.
--- ---

 -- more NZ 2010 --
Pre-trip preparation
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Orewa to Paihia
Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 4: Ninety Mile Beach to Rawene
Day 5: Rawene to Hamilton
Day 6: Hamilton to National Park
Day 7: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 8: Taupo to Rotorua
Day 9: Rotorua
Day 10: Thames to Hahei
Day 11: Coromandel