Monday, November 8, 2010

Kihei arrival

Ahhhhhhhh. We've landed back in Heaven, we'll as close to Heaven as you can get on earth, at least in our minds. And which, by the way reminds me of the title of a very enjoyable book, titled "Born in Paradise". Sorry, I can't remember the author's name and am too lazy to look it up at the moment. Interesting read and autobiographical account of growing up on Maui at the turn of the century on one of the big cattle ranches on Haleakela.

But I digress. Yesterday, after a long and somewhat bumpy flight we landed on our beloved Maui once again after 3 long years! We've returned to the Hale Pau Hana which feels like home after so many visits. The kids were wild to get their swimsuits on and jump into the pool, so that's what we did, followed by our first walk on the beach, which turned into the first romp in the waves. Alyssa was truly loving every minute of it and I'm so sorry I didn't have my camera or phone with me. She was running into the waves with her arms stretched out above her head screaming at the waves "You love me!!! You love me!!" and then throwing herself into them. She even declared it "awesome" when a big wave swamped her and went right over her head! It was like she was a crazy water sprite and couldn't get enough of the waves. We just watched her utter joy and laughed. It was a great, happy moment I just wanted to ingrain in my mind.

At the same time Tristan was digging in the sand like a little puppy wallowing in mud and water. He would dig in one spot, then run down the beach amd start digging in another spot. And then he would just run and run and run. He'd run away from us down the beach, turn around and run back right along the water line splashing and kicking up sand. Then turn around and do it again. Then go dig somemore in the sand. More precious memories I wish I could just hold forever in my mind.

We checked out the tidal pools (which Tristan gave a special name that I can't recall at the moment) and just thoroughly enjoyed just being in the moment and finally back in Hawaii again.

For dinner we just walked across the road for Thai take-out and had dinner with my parents and sister. The kids just wanted some cereal and ran around on the lawn playing hide-and-seek and then making hideouts with the lawn chairs and tables. Not long after 8:00, they had already crashed and we crashed ourselves shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where has the summer gone?

I can't believe that summer is almost over for us! I keep trying to remind myself that really we have 3 more weeks before school starts (yes, we start the Wednesday after Labor Day), but it seems like the time is winding down much too quickly. Even worse, I feel like we haven't done any of the things I had hoped to do during this time. We've never gone to the zoo yet (will try to fit that one in soon - maybe Friday?), we haven't gone on the ferry ride we talked about, we haven't ridden "The Duck", we haven't gone to one of our favorite parks to play, and we haven't even been to the beach! I also owe Alyssa a ride on the local public bus, something she's so eager to do. We did go to the splash pad at the local park for the first time yesterday, but that was completely spur of the moment.

I'm not sure why we haven't done as much this summer. To be honest, I think the weather has had a lot to do with it. (Or maybe I'm just a lame mom?) It seems like it's been either cold (in the 50's and low-60's) or too hot (upper-80's to 90's). We don't do "hot" well in this house. I guess those would have been perfect days for the ferry ride or the beach, but for whatever reason those things didn't happen. Now, we are faced with the end of the summer looming and we still haven't even camped out in our backyard or gone to Jetty Island, both things we were determined to do this summer. I guess I still have a few weeks to get those in.

What have we done? Well, we've had some playdates, had swimming lessons, T-ball ran into July this year, we went to Lake Chelan for a few nights, both kids were sick for a few days which slowed us down, and we've had a few neighborhood gatherings as well as some friends come to visit from out of town. Not much and yet it's felt busy to me. Still, not at all like last summer when we seemed to be discovering so many new things each week.

It just makes me rather sorry that school is starting so soon again. I guess we just have to make the most of the next few weeks and cram a lot of fun in!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Great Start to Summer

Yesterday was one of those rare days that you wish the day would never end. It was also our first full day of summer vacation and a perfect way to start the summer!

We started the day with a breakfast playdate, with our good friends and neighbors coming over and joining us for breakfast. Our children happen to be the same ages and Tristan and their son, N, were in the same Kindergarten class. Best of all, our children play wonderfully together and really enjoy one another and so do the moms! We enjoyed some homemade blueberry pancakes and play/chit-chat time until they had to leave to run errands.

Then our sweet teen-aged neighbor girls came over and played kickball with Alyssa and Tristan in the back yard. My kids adore the girls and had so much fun. They also ran around so much that they were pretty warm despite the overcast, cool day, so the kidlets insisted that I turn on the sprinklers so they could jump through them. They had a good time getting wet while I made them some lunch.

After drying off and eating lunch, we headed over to the library to pick up books Alyssa had put on hold (she can do that all by herself now). We picked up all her books (she had a stack!) and then played on the new play structure in the library park for a while. (All day the kidlets had been playing so nicely together, so that alone helped make the day a good one for me.) Then we headed to the Central Market and bought our first flat of local strawberries, fresh local corn and then the kids were allowed to pick out some ice cream for dessert.

When we got home, Michael was already home from work, so while I unloaded the groceries, put them away and started dinner, Michael mowed the lawn and the kids sat at the patio table and colored. We had our first dinner outside on the patio and told Michael all about our day, then we finished off the day with some ice cream and watching Wipeout and laughing together.

All in all it doesn't sound like an extraordinary day, but all the small enjoyable moments added up to a wonderful day and a great way to start the summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Little Philosopher

In line with what I wrote about earlier today in regards to recording even the little vignettes of every day life, this morning before going off to Kindergarten, Tristan asked me some pretty heavy questions. I was preparing our lunch when Tristan said, "Mommy, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be dead. I don't want to be dead, but I do wonder what it would be like." We talked a bit about death and what that means and what he thought about it. Then after a few moments of silence he asked me, "Mommy, what is life? Why are we alive?" I was just kind of stunned by these questions and to be honest, even with some thought, I'm not sure I have an answer. I told him that that is a question people have been wondering since the beginning of time and that it is something each person has to answer for themselves. I talked about being a good person and living a good and helpful life -- doing something to make the world a better place with your life. As he always does he listened and took it in and then went back to playing with his Legos. It's moments like these that I'm so incredibly grateful that I get to stay home with my children and spend as much time with them as I do.

Then this afternoon, I was able to go on Tristan's class field trip to Mukilteo Beach. The Kindergartens study fish, oceans and marine life as one unit in the school year and the trip to the beach is a highlight. Tristan heard about it last year from Alyssa so he was really excited about it. I was in charge of Tristan and 3 of his classmates, although we all stayed together as a big group. The kids had a ball turning over rocks and finding little crabs, hermit crabs, mussels, barnacles and whatever else you can find on our beaches. One of the kids in Tristan's class has a mom who dives so she met us there and went in the water and brought some things up from the bottom of the sound like a huge sea star, some sea urchins and a few other things for the kids to see. I think everyone had a really good time and I was happy it didn't rain! It wasn't great beach weather but here in the Pacific Northwest it's not unusual to bundle up for the beach.

We also filled out the afternoon with a trip to the dentist for both kidlets. Other than huge overbites thanks to their thumbsucking habits that we are still trying hard to break, both kidlets had no cavities and great check-ups.

All in all, a good day!

Not Sure Where or How to Start

I've been so bad about this blogging thing and I'm actually really very sorry about that. When I go back and read entries from my first online journal and blog (started back in 2000), I'm so grateful I have those entries to read. I recorded so many experiences and moments that I have completely forgotten about until I read them again then the memory comes flying back -- precious moments when my children were babies and sad moments when we were trying so desperately to conceive. Sometimes, however, the best entries are just those little vignettes about every day life back then. I realize just how much I love those simple, insightful entries of days gone by. It makes me realize that I don't need to write a journal that is stunningly written or of great interest to everyone, but ultimately just need to write for myself, so I can remember these little daily moments in the years to come.

So with that, I hope to post more frequently and make my journal more of a record of our days. I won't win any journaling awards. I can't promise that my grammar and sentence structure will be perfect, or even my spelling for that matter (I really stink at spelling). But I do hope that I can capture moments and feelings that are important to me at that moment so that when I look back on these posts in the years to come I can once again transport myself back to these days and really remember those simple little moments that are sometimes the best of all.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Little League Jamboree

Today was pretty much centered around Little League. This morning we walked down to the Mill Creek Sports Park to participate in the first Little League Jamboree along with 75 other teams! As you can imagine with kids, coaches and parents there was quite a crowd. All the teams were introduced and a short ceremony was held. Despite bringing our umbrellas, we were lucky and the rain held off. We weren't so lucky later in the day when Alyssa had her second softball game which was cut short after a total downpour in the 4th inning.

Alyssa is so proud of her softball uniform, though she was a little disappointed she didn't get pink or purple. Her team chose the name "Green Machine" though Alyssa was gunning for "The Emeralds". Funny enough, there was an older boys team with that name today at the Jamboree. On the drive home from the game, we started coming up with some pretty funny/cute name ideas including the Sugar Snap Peas, the Lilypads, the Evergreens, Poison Ivy, the Green Aliens, and a few more I can't think of right now.

Despite the heavy practicing and game schedule (3 times a week for 1.5-2 hours) Alyssa is enjoying softball and has a really great coach. Now if it would only get warmer and be nice and sunny for the games and practices it would be more enjoyable for us too.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Happenings in the Hertzog Household

Well, it's been far too long since I posted anything at my blog. I had such good intentions when I started it but as all my good intentions, I tend to get sidetracked, and let's face it, lazy and they all go downhill from there.

So this time I'm not making any promises or even planning on writing more regularly (though I would really like to), but I figured there was no time like the present (and since the children are actually playing peacefully together in the other room) that I would at least start writing now and simply see where I end up.

I'm afraid this post and most of my posts certainly won't be very interesting or exciting for others, but I have always written mostly with the intention to simply record our daily happenings and family life so that in the future I can look back and remember moments I wouldn't otherwise remember. Each day I see my children growing up and older and changing and I'm sorry I haven't kept a better record of their childhoods as I had originally intended. Still, I can start now and even if it is only an occasional post, it will be something, and certainly more than if I never did it.

So what is going around in my head these days?

It might be best to simply bullet point...

* I spent the majority of my weekend trying to go through, pick out and upload my favorite pictures of moments to highlight our families 2009 year. Kodak is running an offer where you can get an 80 page photo book for the price of a 20 page book (use the code "extrapages" when paying to get the deal - expires 1/21). So I MUST get that done, especially after spending so much time going through photos.

* I still need to order and print out my "holiday" card and letter. Since I simply decided not to Christmas cards this year, I decided to give myself a break and send Valentine's Day cards instead. Now I just have to DO it.

* I'm still in the process of trying to get more organized. That is just an on-going goal, but I did manage to get a few things accomplished which make me feel good. Now I must keep the momentum going.

* I'm trying to be more organized in terms of meal planning as well. And after buying a lot of provisions yesterday, I'm thinking it's time for me to do a challenge of cooking out of my pantry for the next two weeks, with the exception of some fresh fruits and vegetables. I should be able to do so comfortably, as I have way too much in my pantry and freezer as it is at the moment. It will just take a little more planning and organization. (See points above.)

* I need to get started on planning Michael's 40th birthday party! This weekend I spent some time with a good friend working on scrapbooking (well, she scrapped while I went through the photos on my computer) and she gave me a great idea for Michael's birthday party. I've decided to do a "Casino Night" party. Now I just need to work out the logistics. My friend is even going to come and be our "blackjack dealer"! So glad to even have an idea! Note to self: Send out "Save the date" emails!

* I signed up for a 5K run/walk with a friend of mine hoping that this would inspire me to start the Couch to 5K progam again. So far, I have yet to get started. I'm thinking I need to stop procrastinating and start tomorrow (today I have the kidlets, tomorrow Tristan is back in school and I depending on the weather I can go to the gym or outside). Along with that I also need to really start watching what I eat again and eat healthier for ME (meaning more protein, fewer carbs). This is SO hard for me. I'm such a carboholic and really despise most forms of protein, but I also know it's what's best for me and what works, so I need to reprogram myself again.

* I also want to make a point of simply getting the things done that I need to get done so that I can actually enjoy my "free time" (what I have of it) doing things I like and want to do like reading and knitting. Part of this means I need to step away from the computer more, especially when it comes to things like Facebook and playing Bejeweled. I need to face the truth that they are my way of procrastinating and really when I procrastinate, it doesn't make those things go away, it just makes them go away for a while and I end up with even MORE to do.

So that's what is going on with me and what's on my "to do" list.

As for the children, they are growing so fast. Michael was commenting just last night on how adult Alyssa's conversation is starting to sound. She's always been extremely verbal and loquacious, but her language is becoming much more broad in her use of vocabulary. She uses phrases like "I was trembling" and "this is consistantly..." and "I was perplexed" and "she was flabergasted" appropriately and more frequently. She's really been reading a lot and it shows.

Funny enough, she is also so stubborn when it comes to following rules or doing things in order. She is ALL about doing things in order, to the point that it drives us a little crazy. For example when doing a word search puzzle, she will NOT circle or cross of a word or phrase she finds when she finds it but must find, circle and cross of the words or phrases in the order that they are on the list. NO EXCEPTIONS! And recently she's been driving me a bit nuts because she was on a reading binge reading all the Fairy books by Daisy Meadows (most moms of 7 year old girls are probably familiar with these books). She received at least 3 sets (Rainbow Fairies, Jewel Fairies, Pet Fairies, and some of the Petal Fairies) and was reading one fairy book a day all through Christmas break. We had printed out a list of all the different fairy books so we could check them off as she read them. This is where our trouble began though, because the list lists the "Party Fairies" as the next set and she will not move past that set and go on to read the next set of fairy books (which she already has) because she won't read the books out of order! So her reading has come to a screeching halt. We went to a number of bookstores trying to find the party fairies and after no success I searched online and found out that they aren't even published here in the US yet and won't be until June 2010!! I tried to explain that to her and told her to jump over the Party Fairies on to the next series but she won't. She absolutely will NOT read them out of order! So now she's moved on to the Cam Jansen series instead!

This stubborn trait does have it's advantages though when she makes up her mind about doing something she will stick with it until she's able to do it. It's been that way with her since she was a baby. Once she took her first few steps, she never went back to crawling. When she was ready to start using a potty, she was done with diapers THAT day! When she decided she wanted to take the training wheels off her bike, she took off like she'd been riding a two-wheeler forever. And so it has been with two new things this weekend. She was determined to learn to tie shoelaces. I tried at first to show her, but for whatever reason she got too frustrated either with the way I was showing her or because it was ME showing her so I sent her to Michael. They seem to have a better dynamic when it comes to some things, especially things she gets frustrated with easily. Within 10 minutes not only had she learned to tie shoelaces but she had already successfully done so 3 times before she came down and showed me how she could do it. Now she just wants to wear shoes with laces so she can tie them!

The second new thing is that she decided (much to our joy) that she was really ready to stop sucking her thumb. Both Alyssa and Tristan are staunch thumbsuckers, Tristan even more so than Alyssa, but both have been big time thumbsuckers since they were babies. We've tried many different approaches to try to get them to stop and while Alyssa has half-heartedly tried, she never was "ready" to completely stop. Recently I decided to take the plunge and purchase an expensive thumb guard to finally break the habit. Now that Alyssa is starting to lose teeth (well, she still hasn't even lost a single tooth yet, much to her dismay but she does have some wigglers) I figured we needed to break the habit before the adult teeth came in. We're still probably going to have to do braces with both kids, but perhaps we could reduce the damage if we finally broke the thumb habit. I showed Alyssa the thumb guard and found one for less on eBay. I bid on it but didn't win. (They cost over $75 in the Right Start catalog!) I then saw a fabric type thumb guard called the "Thumbuster" but wasn't sure if it would work because it is easily removable and like other things we've tried, I figured she'd just take it off. I showed it to her and she promised she would use it and try to stop sucking her thumb as long as I got it for her in pink. So I ordered one. She was pretty excited when it arrived and immediately put it on and started using it anytime she watched tv and at night when she went to bed. It also came with a chart so each night she went without sucking her thumb she put a sticker on the chart. She has been wearing it and not sucking her thumb every day since she got it. Once again she's shown how once she makes up her mind about something she just does it. We are so proud of her. Both Michael and I were thumb suckers and we know just how hard a habit it is to break! When it comes to Tristan, however, I'm going to have to get TWO Thumbbusters since he is an equal opportunity thumbsucker - he'll suck either thumb! I'm also worried that he's one who will simply take the thumb guard off, so I'm not sure how we're going to handle that yet!

Well, this is long enough for now. Hopefully I'll update again soon so I'm not always writing a long essay!