Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our Christmas Celebration Starts Tomorrow

I am sitting here tonight on the eve of one of my favorite events of the Christmas season, the annual Christmas Pageant put on by the students at our small catholic school.  Every child in the school participates, from pre-k up to 8th grade.  It is a classic telling of the Nativity, beautiful in its simplicity.  We have beautiful costumes generously sewn by the mother of one of our students many years ago.  Our music teacher does a wonderful job with the choir and the pageant songs are some of my favorite of the advent season.  The pageant is directed by our 8th grade teacher and she, too, does a wonderful job. 

This year N is a magi attendant and A makes her pageant debut as a star.  She is excited but also a bit nervous.    For the first time ever, J will be sitting in the audience.  He's looking forward to seeing the pageant from the perspective of an audience member.  After tomorrow's morning and evening performances I will have seen the pageant a total of 22 times and counting.  By the time A graduates the 8th grade that number will rise to 40.  And that doesn't count the various rehearsals I've assisted with.  Yet I love it more every year.  For me, it is the true beginning of our Christmas celebration.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Path of Faith

Today J received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This a big milestone that marks his full acceptance of the path of faith we set him on as a tiny baby.  As I watched him process into the church, I was overwhelmed once again by the fact that my little boy is in fact, a young man, who is growing up faster than my heart wants to allow.   In my heart he is still the baby who smiled through his baptism.  The little boy who loved to read "Eyeore Loses His Tail" over and over again.  The four year old who proclaimed his new baby brother "pretty cool."  The second grader who, after receiving his First Holy Communion, wondered why Jesus couldn't taste like the M&M's Sr. Kathleen had them practice with.   The ten year old who wanted a second brother, only to fall head over heels for his baby sister the second he set eyes on her.  All of these memories hold a special place in my heart.  Today new memories found their place.  J, being annointed with oil and pledging his faith.  The smile on his face as he caught my eye.  The pride in his smile when he had his picture taken with Father Chris.  The pride I felt knowing that J has a strong foundation of faith and love to build his life on.   All of these moments will take their permanent place in my heart so that I can revisit them long after today has passed.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Milestone Birthday and a Day of Reflection

N is ten years old today.  Has it really been ten years since this lovable bundle of energy and quirkiness came screaming into our lives?  According to the calendar it has been.  Ten wonderful years  filled with laughter, amazement, pride,and sometimes a little aggravation.  This kid has in turn over the years amazed me with his razor sharp brain, exhausted me with his bottomless well of energy, and completely taken over my heart.  We'll spend today celebrating N and thanking God for giving us this amazing boy to raise.

Yet as I bake his birthday cake this morning,(chocolate, with mint cream cheese frosting) I can't help but remember N's first birthday and how that day forever changed the lives of every American.  My sweet baby was a year old the day of the terrorist attacks on America.  What should have been a day of joyous celebration passed in a fog of shock, grief, and fear in front of the television.  In the years since N was old enough to be aware of what happened on September 11, 2001, we say a special prayer together for those lost that day.  He asks questions and talks about his feelings regarding the attacks.  He wonders why the attacks had to happen on his birthday or why they had to happen at all.  He wonders if it's okay to celebrate on a day that will be forever be associated with sadness and tragedy.  I tell him the same thing I've told him since he was old enough to understand.  His birth is meant to be celebrated and appreciated.  And that while we celebrate September 11, 2000, we keep in our hearts and never forget all those lost on September 11, 2001. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

The downside of pet ownership

I not only have three human children, I have several animal children as well.  We have three dogs, Missy, Dixie, and Dakota, a cat named Andy, a turtle named Jimmy, and a guinea pig named Smores.  Yes, we're nuts! I admit to having a soft heart when it comes to animals.  Our pets are well loved and a part of our family.  That's what makes it so hard when one of them gets very sick.  Sadly, that is the case with our cat Andy. 

Two weeks ago, Andy hopped up onto my bed beside me and I noticed his nose was swollen on one side.  I called the vet and took him in.  He had a tooth abscess that required extraction.  Okay, no problem.  He had the surgery, and was sent home with a round of antibiotics. After a week, the swelling was a little better but still there.  So we did another round of antibiotics.  The swelling remained.  I called and talked to the vet and she gave us a few options.  We could do X-rays that would hopefully give us some idea of the problem.  We could do a cat scan and biopsy.  She told us to think about it over the weekend since Andy was not acting sick and was eating and drinking normally.  In the meantime, he finished his antibiotic and the over the weekend the swelling got worse.  Now his lip was swollen and he didn't want us to touch it.  His eye was watery and he was drooling.  I took him in this morning and sadly the vet was able to make her diagnosis.  He has a cancerous mass in his nasal cavity that is now growing down through where the tooth was extracted.  it likely caused the abscess in the first place.  Not the news I wanted to hear.  Even with very expensive treatment his prognosis is not good. The tumor is just too fast growing.  So he received a steroid shot to help with the swelling and I brought him back home.  When he shows signs of illness such as stopping eating, we will have to make the heart breaking trip back to the vet to have him put down. 

Andy is not the first pet I've had to make this decision for.  I had to make it thirteen years ago for my beloved dog that I had grown up with.  Six years ago I had to make it for the sassy cat hubby and I adopted when we were first married.  And in between, we had another cat simply pass away unexpectedly at home.  It's always heart breaking and the decision never gets easier.  I know in my heart I am making the right choice because to allow a pet to suffer is needlessly cruel.  So no matter how much my heart hurts, I will make the decision for Andy when the time comes.  I owe him for the eight years of happiness and love he has given us.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for my kids.  I truly wish the summer break had been longer, but I won't get going on that topic!  This morning was one of those mornings that really drove home the age difference in my kids.  At 14, 9, and 4, they are all at very different stages in their lives.

J started high school today, which just seems surreal to me.  After ten years of catholic school(pk-8th), he didn't have to wear a uniform today.  It was very weird to see him come out dressed in regular clothes.  he was excited, a little nervous, and anxious to get going this morning.  As I watched him walking into school this morning, I was struck by the realization that my firstborn is no longer a little kid.  He's a full fledged young adult, well on his way to being all grown up. 

N is in 4th grade this year.  He's making that transition from little kid to big kid.  And he's so ready to be a big kid.  He'll celebrate his tenth birthday soon but he'd like to be much older.  I think he sometimes views the four and half years between himself and J as a challenge to grow up as fast as possible.  If older brother does it or has it, N wants his fair shot.  I never worry about N being lost in the middle.  He's a master negotiator, independent, stubborn beyond belief, and his favorite past time is arguing.  My days would be unbearably dull without him!  

And finally, A started pre-k today.  Yes, my baby is off to school.  Only half days this year, but still.  My last baby is growing up and leaving the nest, little by little.  She was so excited to start school today.  She's grown up watching her brothers go to this school and trailing after me as I volunteered.  To her way of thinking, it's about time she got to go school, too.

It's been a big day for us.  Exciting, exhausting, and full of change.  I imagine the year to come will be filled with more of the same.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Only One Week Left

Of summer vacation that is.  Yep, that's right.  The kids start school a week from tomorrow, August 9.  This week will be filled with last minute preparations:  uniform sale, high school registration, eye exams, and pre-k orientation.  Sigh.  I'm tired just thinking about it.

We're trying to pack as much fun as possible into the last few days of summer though.  This weekend J and N went with my dad to see the Yankees play the Tampa Rays.  They went for Saturday's game, stayed overnight and went to another game today.  N even managed to get Mariano Rivera to autograph J's outgrown Derek Jeter jersey.  Yes, I know it would have made more sense to actually have Derek Jeter autograph it, but Rivera was the one out signing today.    I took A to see Ramona and Beezu and then we hit IHOP for a girl's dinner out with my mom.  And tomorrow, cousin B and cousin M arrive to spend the week with us.  We're planning to squeeze some beach time in, maybe a little free bowling, and hopefully some relaxation.

I don't know about everyone else, but I am so not ready to let go of the carefree days of summer. I don't want to think about setting the alarm every night, packing lunches,  cracking the homework whip, or making sure everyone is in bed at the appointed time.   Ideally, I'd be back in Hawaii, relaxing on that gorgeous black sand beach we visited.  I've accepted that it's not going to happen, but I can dream right?  How are you spending the end of your summer?  If it's on a black sand beach in Hawaii, be merciful and don't tell me!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Love of the Game

I believe I mentioned several months back that J was selected to attend a professional baseball training camp in Massachusetts this summer.  He's been preparing for camp for several months and the time is almost here for him to go.  He leaves Tuesday for his five day intensive training camp.  Today we received a welcome packet via email that contained his detailed itinerary and the player roster.  I had a major mom moment and got sniffly when I saw his name listed.  Baseball is his dream and getting selected for this camp is the first step towards that goal.  He's played since he was five and has shared a lifelong bond with his grandpa.  My dad has coached him, supported him, and most of all, encouraged his love of the game.  So it seemed only fitting to my mom and I that my dad fly up and watch the last few camp sessions next weekend.  Families are welcome to attend and watch, though the players are under the supervision of the coaches at all times.  So my dad will get to see him participate in workouts, agility training, and play in a game.  J is at the point where it's time for him to spread his wings.  He's moving on from Little League into the more competitive world of high school and travel ball.  His grandpa has been with him every step of the way, so he should be there to see these first steps down a new path.  A path that hopefully leads where the two of them have dreamed for the past fourteen years. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hawaii Wrap Up

We're home.  We got home early Thursday afternoon after several long, but uneventful, hours of traveling.  Upon arrival at home, we all proceeded to crash in a jet lagged fog for several hours.  By Friday, we were able to get unpacked and somewhat settled back in.  our internal clocks are still somewhat off, but we're dealing with it. 

I wanted to do a final post on our trip and share some of my favorite things about Hawaii.  It was such a fabulous trip and I'm so glad we were fortunate enough to be able to go.  I snapped over 900 pictures to help preserve our memories, but even without them, I don't think any of us will ever forget this trip.  So, here goes.  A list of my favorite things from our fabulous Hawaiian vacation:

Maui:  The entire island is so beautiful and laid back it would be impossible not to love it.
Shave Ice:  This yummy treat is topping my list of favorite treats for a hot summer day.  And the ice cream in the bottom is a must!
Haleakala Crater:  The sunset view atop Haleakala is something I will never forget. For me, it felt like being on the edge of the world, right next to  heaven.
Aloha DressesMy new favorite summer style.  These long, flowy dresses are as comfortable as they are beautiful.
Sunset in Waikiki:   On our last night, we spent a few hours on the beach.  We stayed til sunset and the last picture I took was of the kids next to the ocean with the sunset behind them.  Stunning!
The Pacific Ocean:  We live near the Atlantic, and while it is beautiful, too, it doesn't quite compare to the wild beauty of the pacific.
Pearl Harbor:  What a beautiful, sad, and moving place.
Black Sand Beach:  One of the most stunning sights I have ever seen.

I could go on and on listing all the things I loved about Hawaii.  But what really made the trip special was being able to share it with my family.  We traveled with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  There were 16 of us total.   At times we got on each others nerves and little arguments cropped up.  I'm sure other people look at us and think we're nuts traveling together that way.  But without any one person, the trip would have been totally different.  And experiencing all of the wonderful things we saw and did together as a family is what made this trip so special.  When I remember this trip in the future, I will remember A building sandcastles with her great aunt, J and cousin M hanging out trying to be cool on their surfboards, N perusing the shops of the International Marketplace with his ever patient cousin Cindy, standing atop Haleakala together to witness that dazzling view.  Most of all I will remember how lucky we all were to be able to experience the trip of a lifetime together. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hawaii, Day Nine,Pearl Harbor

Today was our last full day in Hawaii.  We left the hotel at 6:15am to catch our tour bus.  Today's tour was to Pearl Harbor.  I will tell you right away that I didn't take a lot of pictures.  There are some locations that are meant to be pictured in our memories, and Pearl Harbor definitely falls into that category.  I also don't feel it's appropriate to be snapping pictures in what is in all essence, a burial ground.  So while I took a few shots of various plaques and the harbor itself, I took none of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.  I think this post will flow better if I simply give you my impressions of this important piece of American history.  We began by viewing a twenty minute film about the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  We then had some time before our scheduled trip out to the memorial.  The harbor itself is beautiful, like all of Hawaii.  It is certainly less tranquil than it must have been on that morning in 1941, but it was still hard to imagine such a terrible event in such a beautiful place.  A ferry boat shuttles groups of people out to the memorial of the U.S.S. Arizona.  Visiting there was akin  to viewing the Vietnam Wall, Arlington Cemetery, or Ground Zero.  The Arizona is visible beneath the surface of the water, a somber reminder of all the men forever entombed within her.  Oil floats to the surface and we learned this is known as the"tears of the Arizona."  Lore has it that when the last survivor of the Arizona dies, the "tears" will stop.  We also learned that there are 22 survivors of the Arizona still living.  They may choose to be cremated and entombed in the Arizona if that is their wish.  I was a little worried about taking a to a place that really requires a quiet, sober demeanor.  She did well though.  I suppose even a young child can feel the quiet dignity of such places. 

After leaving the memorial, we then visited the U.S.S. Missouri battleship.  I can't tell you much about it because A was tired and hungry by that point so she and I skipped that portion of the tour.  Hubby enjoyed it very much, as did J and N.

The remainder of our day was spent shopping, followed by a few hours on Waikiki Beach.  We're back in our room now, attempting to pack.  We will have the morning to enjoy before the shuttle picks us up at 1:00pm for the trip to the airport.  We depart Honolulu at 4:00pm and fly straight to atlanta.  From there, we'll fly on to Florida and home.  I'll post soon with a list of my favorite things about Hawaii.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hawaii, Day Eight

Doing a little blog catch up here.  Last night we saw some fabulous fireworks.  The Waikiki fireworks are spectacular and we were able to enjoy them quite nicely from the hotel balcony.

Today we spent several hours on a Circle Tour of the island.  We went to Hanauma Bay, several other beautiful beaches and lookouts that I lost track of the names of, and the Dole Pineapple Plantation.  The tour was a good way to see the island and our guide Steve was very knowledgeable.  We also drove past Pearl Harbor, but we're taking a tour there tomorrow.  We visited the North Shore, famous for its huge waves.  Unfortunately, this is the wrong time of year for the big waves and the water was calm as a bathtub.  I did take the kids picture standing in the water of the  North Shore though.  That was at Sunset Beach.  Without the tour, I doubt we would have seen nearly as much of the island.  I would have liked more time at the pineapple plantation.  The pineapple ice cream was seriously yummy.  I also would have liked to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center.  However, with our Pearl Harbor tour tomorrow we can't be back in time to catch the shuttle and we have no car.  We'd have to rent a car to get there and it is quite a drive from Waikiki where we are staying.t's suggested you plan on at least half a day there as well.  Guess I'll just have to plan a return trip to see the things I miss this time around!  We fly home Wednesday night.  Is our vacation reallyn almost over?  It has been an amazing eight days, ten if you count our traveling days. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bye Bye Maui, Hello Oahu

We left Maui this morning to fly to Oahu for the remainder of our vacation.  I have to say that Maui was probably the most beautiful place I've ever visited.  We really enjoyed the laid back pace.  The people were friendly, the weather was perfect, the house we rented was beautiful.  The view from the summit of Haleakala Crater was unbelievable and something I'll remember for a lifetime. 

Yesterday part of the group took an ATV tour of the up country, then hubby and brother took J, N, and cousin M deep sea fishing.  J caught a 26lb wahoo and M caught a 20lb wahoo.  We had it for dinner.  J, who claims to hate fish, ate some since he caught it and decided it was delicious.  Honestly, it wasn't the tastiest fish I've ever had, but it was decent.

This morning we flew to Oahu, where we will remain until Wednesday afternoon, when we will head home to Florida.  Our hotel is in Waikiki, about two blocks from the beach.  We have a tourof the island planned for Monday and a visit to Pearl Harbor is on the agenda for Tuesday. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hawaii, Day Five, Black Sand Beach and Haleakala Crater

Warning!  This post will be long!  We saw some amazing sights yesterday that I can't tell you about in just a few words. 

The day began back over on a beach in Lahaina, where several from the group went parasailing.  Since I am a big chicken and afraid of heights to boot,  I sat on the beach and watched.  A played in the water and got enough sand in her bathing suit to build a deluxe castle.  At one point we saw a seal swimming near the shore.  Since I have a love of animals, marine animals in particular, I was very excited and ran down the beach to try and get a good picture.  I only managed to get a shot of his back as he dove back down in the waves.  How cool to have seen a seal in its natural habitat though!

After a picnic lunch, we set out to find a black sand beach.  We drove through some beautiful areas in Wailea and Makena before coming to Makena State Park.  After bumping down a dirt path that passed for the road we came to the beach.  It was worth the bumpy ride.  The black sand was beautiful.  It's fiiner than white sand and brushes off your feet very easily.  It was very soft to walk on.  We didn't go in the water since the surf was rough, but we were able to wade in the edge. 

The next part of our day was a drive up to the summit of Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano with an elevation of 10,000 feet.  We wanted to reach the summit in time to see the sunset.   The drive itself was amazing and harrowing all at the same time.  Rembember, I'm a chicken, so the drive up that twisting , narrow road had me white knuckling it the higher we climbed.  It was strange driving up through the clouds and there were some amazing views.  After an hour or so we finally reached the summit.  The temperature was in the low fifties and the sun was setting as we got out of the car.  It was one of the most amazingly beautiful sights I've ever seen.  It felt almost spirtual up there above the clouds.  In fact, A was waving to the angels.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I've never seen anything like it before.  It was like what I imagine heaven must be like.  So peaceful and beautiful and bathed in light.  I'm so thankful I got the chance to see it and that the kids got the chance to see it.     

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hawaii, Day Four

Hard to believe we're this far into our vacation.  It's going so fast!  So far, we're having a great time.  Yesterday was no exception.  (In case you hadn't realized, with the time difference I'm writing blog posts a day behind.)

We slept in a bit yesterday after our jam packed day of snorkeling and luau.  The kids were scheduled for a surfing lesson mid morning so we headed out to watch.  My boys, along with their cousins, M, B1, and B2, and my brother all toook a lesson from Ino at Maui Wave Riders.  The lesson began in the park above the beach where they learned to techniques of paddling and standing up on their boards.  A was not scheduled for a lesson but Ino didn't mind that she put her boogie board down and participated anyway.  Next they learned to carry their boards dwn to the beach and into the surf.   Ino accompanied them and they waded out to a good spot.  Eveyone did pretty ngood but N turned out to be the surfing star of the day.  He managed to rise up, do the switch, and ride his board all the way in several times.  Now, in case you're picturing giant Hawaii waves, these weren't.  The waves were gentle yesterday.  We will be visiting the North Shore when we go to Oahu where we're told we'll see those legendary Hawaiin waves.  I've already told J and N they will NOT be attemtping to surf those waves! At the end of the lesson Kyle, also from Maui Wave riders, went out on a board with a camera and took awesome shots of the kids as they surfed.  He gave us an excellent deal on two cds with all the images he took.  You'll have to wait til I'm back home where my comouter has a cd drive to see those.  In the meantime, here are a few shots that I took.

J riding a wave in.

N the surfing star.Cousin M

The group with their awesome instructor, Ino.

The kids loved the surfing lesson.  If you're ever on Maui and interested in a lesson, Maui Wave Riders was awesome.  The kids learned a ton and Ino and Kyle were great. 

After the surfing lesson and lunch, we headed out to tour the island some.  Our first stop was Iao Valley State Park.  We saw some beautiful scenery as we climbed up and down the paved pathways.

Next we set out to find a waterfall my brother had read about.  By that point in the day, everyone was getting a bit tired and cranky.  We were sniping at each other a bit and tempers were starting to flare.  We pulled over at a scenic lookout spot to regroup and try and figure out where the waterfall was.  We didn't find the waterfall, but we found this instead.   It went a long way towards soothing everyone and restoring peace and harmony to the day.  


Awe inspiring, isn't it? The kids climbed all over the rocks and for once I wasn't a nervous nellie and let them have fun.  


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hawaii, Day Three, Part two

That's J above, pictured with one of the hula dancers we saw at the Royal Lahaina Luau last night.  After the snorkel trip, we dashed back to the house to shower and change for the luau.  We'd all been looking frward tothis.  After all, what's a Hawaiin vacation without a luau?  This luau didn't disappoint.  We arrived for check in about 5, and waited for the gates to open.  Once the gates opened, our picture was taken and we were shown to our table.  A waiter came with drinks, which were included.  Except for blended drinks, which were $15 and came in a souvenir cocnut with free refills all night.  I ordered a pina colada, minus the rum so the kids could enjoy, too.  The pre show started,and featured music and a hula lesson given by the mistress of ceremonies.  A was eager to participate in that and now considers herself a trained hula girl.  After the pre show, the buffet was opened.  It consisted of salad, fruit, rolls,kalua pig, kalua turkey, chicken, hawaiin steak, sweet potatoes, fried rice, noodles, macaroni salad, and dessert.  There was a kid's buffet as well with kid favorites like hot dogs and mac and cheese.  Everything was very tasty and during dinner the hour long show began.  There were male and female hula dancers and a fire show at the end.  The kids really enjoyed the show and afterwards the dancers were available for pictures.  You can see some of our luau experience in the photos below.


Hawaii,Day Three, Part One

Sorry this blog post is a bit late.  Yesterday was jam packed from morning til night.  The day started out with a snorkeling trip on a 65 ft boat.  We checked in our group of 16 at the Lahaina Harbor at 7:30 and boarded the boat about 8.  There were several other people on board for the half day snorkeling adventure.  The day was clear and sunny with a wonderful breeze as we set out.  The crew set out a continental breakfast for our enjyment as we cruised out of the harbor.  Fresh fruit, muffins, and juice were enjoyed as we moved at a nice clip towards our destination.  After about an hour we reached our first stop, the Molikani crater.  Those who wished could get off the boat to snorkel.  The kids loved this, even A.  Wearing a life jacket and her own tiny fins, snorkel, and mask, she swam with her daddy and saw all kinds of Nemo fishies.  Her words, not mine. 

I did not get off the boat, but stayed aboard to take photos from the deck.  I should tell you that I did not bring my dslr camera on the snrokel trip.  Not being sure what to expect, I was worried it could get damaged so had to be content with the rest of the group'soint and shoot cameras.  I will tell you the scenery was beautiful and I wished I had brought it along and taken the risk.  We did have some underwater cameras but those photos will have to get developed and scanned in back home.

After about an hour, everyone reboarded the boat and we set off ofr our second stop.  While we were cruising, a dei style lunch was provided and was again delicious.  We reached our second stop, which the crew simply referrred to as turtle town, in about an hour.  Unfortunately, the wind was a bit high, so the captain made the decision to move onto another turtle town, so called because of the large number of sea turtles in the area.  At the second stop, I even got off the boat.  I love sea turtles and the chs nce to see them in their natural environment was too tempting to resist.  I used a boogie board with a "mask"  viewer nd was able to enjoy all the beautiful sea life and corla.  I didn't see any turtles while I was in the water, but saw several from the boat deck.  Guess they all hid with eveyone splashing around!

I must include a description of the surroundings in this post.  The mountains and beaches we passed were beautiful of course.  But it was the Pacific Ocean that was the star of the day.  The water alternated between a deep sapphire blue and emerald green, depending on where we were.  Colorful schools of fish were visible even from the surface.  And below the surface was a whole world of magical creatures and colors.  And let me tell you that water was cold!   Living in Florida, I've been in the Atlantic plenty.  The Pacific is definitely colder!

We returned to the harbor about 1:30.  The first part of our day was over and it was time to head back to thenhouse to get ready for the evening.  A traditional Hawaiin Luau.  See the next post for details on that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hawaii, Day Two

Our adventure today was a scenic ride on the Sugar Cane Train.  Contrary to the name, there was no sugar cane lesson or anything remotely relating to sugar cane.  The ride was a scenic one through the old whaling town of Lahaina.  After the ride, we visited the Cannery Mall for a little lunch and shopping.  N and A both opted for a ukulele as a souvenir.  Yikes!  What was I thinking?  A also got a grass skirt and a tiny coconut bra to wear and dance the hula.  Like a typical teenager, J opted to buy sunglasses and t-shirts. 

After the shopping, part of the group headed back to the house while the remainder stayed in Lahaina to visit the whaling museum.  They are still not back so I have no idea how it was.  On the way home,we stopped at a little farmer's market and got a coconut for A so she could drink the milk.  She'd been saying she wanted to drink milk from a coconut for weeks prior to the trip.  Coconut milk is now her favorite drink she says.  At least it was until she drank some after eating potato chips.  Then she decided it was nasty.  I guess salty chips just don't mix well with fresh cocunt milk.

Tomorrow's adventure is an all day snorkeling trip, followed by the Royal Lahaina Luau.  The boat will take us out at 8am and we will stay out til mid afternoon.  Breakfast and lunch are included.  Then we have a few hours to relax and get ready for the traditional Hawaiin Luau.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hawaii, Day One

Aloha!  We made it to Maui yesterday at 11:30am local time, after a long day of traveling.  The trip itself went without a hitch.  Connections were made, flights were uneventful, the kids behaved, and out of fourteen travelers, only one suitcase was lost.  The house we rented in Kihei is wonderful.  With such a large group we needed lots of space and the Hale Lelani fits the bill with six bedrooms and four baths. 

Yesterday was spent settling in, shopping for groceries, and crashing in a jet lagged fog around 9:00pm.  Today everyone was up for a bit more adventure.  We scouted out a beach and spent a good portion of the day enjoying the sun, sand, and water.  The temperature is in the upper eighties, but with the cool ocean breezes, it feels more like the mid seventies. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why no, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, thanks for asking

I know, I know.  The whole point of keeping a blog is to keep it updated and current.  It's just that life tends to get in the way.  The past five months have been jam packed to the point that I was lucky to remember my own name.  There have been some wonderful times, along with some terrible times.  A brief recap since my last post:

February saw J turning 14, the start of his 2010 LIttle League season, and all the rest of the many school and extracurriculars that make up our life. 

March brought unspeakable heartbreak when a dear friend lost her 21 month old daughter after an unexpected and brief illness.  I was able to travel along with a couple of other dear friends to offer her support and comfort.  Out of this tragedy came many lessons for me, as a friend and as a mother. 

April saw the pace of the school year start to pick up as J moved into his final weeks as an 8th grader at the school he'd been a student at since pre-k.  A was preparing for her dance recital and N for his gymnastics exhibition.  Baseball continued, along with school events, a field trip to St. Augustine, and graduation plans started to roll.

May is still a blur of school events, mostly for J's class as we preprared to send them off in style.  They had a dance, an etiqutte luncheon, a retreat, a trip to Disney, and graduation pictures.  The emotions were threatening to swamp me at this point as I watched my not so little boy close the book on several precious chapters of his childhood. 

June brought J's graduation, along with a couple of parties to celebrate.  It brought the end of the school year and finally, a chance to relax and just breathe.  For a few days anyway.  We're currently preparing for a trip to Hawaii.  We'll be traveling with my extended family for a thirteen day trip.  This trip has been in the planning stages for a year and it's hard to believe we leave on Saturday.  That's right.  This Saturday we will be winging our way to a dream vacation.  I plan to try and blog about the trip while we are gone.  Hopefully I can accomplish that goal!  If all goes well, my next post will be from the beautiful island of Maui.  Aloha! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Proud Mama Moment

J is an athletic kid.  He has played soccer and basketball for the last few years at school.  He's pretty good at both.  But his first love is baseball.  He's played Little League since he was five and he'll be fourteen in four days.  (That's a whole other post!)  Recently we received a letter in the mail invitng J to attend a try out for the Under Armour National Tournament Teams in Boca Raton.  The letter was from a company called The Baseball Factory.  Tom called for more details and it turns out they are a company who train and help guide high school players through the college recruitment process.  College recruitment?  He isn't even in high school yet.  No problem.  The try out was for 13-18 year olds.  The cost was minimal and we decided if nothing else it would be a good experience.  This past Sunday I made the three hour drive down south with J and my dad.  We learned about how the recruitment process works, what J will have to do if he wants to play college ball, and watched about 50 boys try out.  J was one of only three 8th graders there.  Tuesday I called to hear his detailed evaluation.  He didn't make the tournament team.  Now let me say this was not surprising.  He is, after all, not quite 14.  He was competing against varsity players and they hold these try outs all over the country.    However, he was selected to attend the Cape Cod Pro Select Training Camp in Massachusetts this summer.  The training is provided by the Cape Cod Baseball League, which is apparently a big deal in college baseball.  Baseball factory only selects about 90 kids per year to attend this camp and J is one of them.  I'm still kind of stunned.  I mean, I've always thought he was a pretty spectacular ball player, but I'm his mom.  I'm supposed to think that!  J is over the moon and immediatley started trying to figure out ways he could earn money tohelp pay the cost.  Let's just say it's not so minimal!  I'm so proud of him.  He's been saying for a while that he wants a career in baseball and now he has the opportunity to get some further training and really see if this is what he wants out of life.  If nothing else, this is a good step towards playing in high school and college.  And who knows?  Someday you just may see J playing in the majors!  If things go his way, he'll be the one playing first base for the Yankees!

Hello Out There

It's been a while, I know.  I had good intentions when I decided to give blogging a try.  Really I did.  Somehow life keeps getting in the way of blogging.  But I'm back.  Again.  I'll try to be better.  Please comment and let me know you're reading.  Knowing someone, anyone is reading will inspire me to keep going.