How July Did Fly By So Fast?

Everyone was very excited to get home after our trip to California.  Traveling is exciting and fun, but there really is no place like home. 
  As I was cooking on Sunday night the kids all spontaneously dressed up for dinner.  Hank and Kaitlin were playing the cutest game where Hank said he took her to the horse races and won enough money to buy her dinner at my fancy restaurant.  I guess that lucky horseshoe necklace came in handy.   He looks like an Italian mobster!  Karlie freaked us out as she turned into a 16 year old with the make-up she put on by herself and Hailey did a half full make-up half au natural style.  Had I know they were going to get all dressed up, I would have made a special dinner.  It was a fun night being in the company of such lovely guests. :)
 We have really enjoyed following the National Day Calendar and making food to celebrate some of the days.  On National Gummy Worm Day it was raining, so we had movie day with popcorn and gummy worms.
 One day we made homemade peach ice cream.
 For National Daiquiri day we made a kid version and adult version!
 Hot Diggity Dog we had some fine dogs on National Hot Dog Day!
Max took a particular liking to National Scotch Day.
We celebrated National Milk Chocolate day with none other than Hershey's.  The kids earned a free dinner at Chipotle through the summer reading program.  After cashing in on their dinner we had a rough Chinese Checkers battle.
While July brings some extreme heat, it also brings the Monsoon season.

 Every time it rained the kids ran outside and play in it.
With the storms cooling it down to sub 100 degrees we had a chance to play some tennis.
Kaitlin is a natural.  We are excited to see what lessons can do for all of us!
Some mornings were even cool enough to go for a run.  One morning while Hailey was running with Siri, she found two little doggies.  You would have thought they were babies!  The girls carried them around and hand fed them and cooed at them.  They asked me to send this picture to Daddy asking if we can get a baby dog!  They were really hoping we wouldn't find their owner.
 We had playdates nearly every day allowing the kids to play with all their friends!
 Boys play with Nerf guns...
While the big girls go to the mall to try on prom dresses just for fun.
 We went to our last Tuesday morning summer movie this week. :(
Summer is just about to get the ax!
Max and I put up a world size mural in the game room.  With the Family 50 within reach, it might be time to think about conquering the world!  Well, at least conquering our geography. :)  I guess its time for our summer fun to end and to let a new school year begin.

Grandparents Gone Wild

I am not sure who is more blessed by Pops and Nana, the kids or Max and me.  My father's parents died when I was a young child and my mother's parents were not a regular part of our lives due to illness and distance.  I always dreamed what it would be like to have those grandparents that you have a close relationship with and could go spend time with in the summer.  I have a pretty active imagination, so I dreamed up the quintessential grandparents.  The kind where, "Yes!" is the answer instead of "No!"  The kind that look forward to playing with you.  The kind that allow you to do stuff mom and dad wouldn't.  The kind that make you feel special.  I am so lucky that we get to see that dream be a reality.
While we were in Maui, the kids had a vacation all their own!  Nearly everyday they got out on the water in kayaks or canoes.

 Max's cousin Alex lives near Nana and Pops and his children Chase and Zoe came to play.  Hank thought Chase was so cool.  He wanted to do everything Chase did.
 Karlie has always wanted to play in the mud when the tide was out.  Remember that part about saying yes instead of no?  :)
You want to roll around in the mud?  Yes!   She and Zoe seem like kindred spirits.
 Nana had lots of fun crafts on hand.  The girls really loved making tissue paper flowers.
 More mess?  Yes!  They made Oobleck, which is like slime.
 You want to start a fire?  Yes!  From what I understand Hank and Karlie have been properly inducted into the pyrotechnician family.  
You want to shoot rockets high in the sky!?  Yes!
Another favorite Nana and Pops meal is individual homemade pizzas.  I have tired and failed twice with the pizza dough at home.  Sometimes, it is just better with Grandma. :)
 I am thinking at this point the kids were hoping we would stay in Hawaii another week.
 Happy kids!
 I don't have many pictures of Hailey because she went up to Chico to visit Aunt Anna and do some big girl crafting, art and eating out while we were gone!
However, while she was at the Villa, Hailey and Pops worked on this giant canvas and painted the galaxy horse.  Such a creative and talented bunch.
 The littles made some camp Nana and Pops shirts.
 They also got to take a trip into Berkeley for Gordos.  Max and I were slightly jealous as we were getting our daily updates.  The beaches in Maui are awesome, but Gordos is a rare and special treat!  Hank managed to take down an entire burrito.
 No trip would be complete without the Nana train and a ride on the carousel.
 On 7-11 they went and got their free slurpee.
 Nana the teacher always manages to teach the kids something about where Mom and Dad are visiting.  They have created beautiful dioramas of Paris, Italy and Mexico.  They have learned to do art work like Michelangelo. 
This time they built a volcano!
 Seriously!  Who are these grandparents?  Pops even put a polyurethane coat on it so it wouldn't fall apart after the first eruption, which allowed the kids to erupt it over and over with different ratios of baking powder and vinegar until they got it just right!
Thank you Nana and Pops for not just being willing to watch the kids but to put your heart and soul into caring for them.  We are all blessed by your love and efforts.

Maui Wowie!

Max's conference chose a rough part of town to meet. ;)
The Hyatt's grounds were gorgeous.
They had African penguins, flamingos, swans and many other birds.
Beautiful flowers surrounded you everywhere you walked.
 This was my view while Max worked.  It was rough at times but with the help of a couple novels and some cold drinks as my companions, I pulled through the week.
 Each afternoon when Max got out of the conference we would try to explore the island.  The first day we went to Black Rock to snorkel and relax on the beach.
 We some cool fish and an eel.

Snorkeling allows you to be a part of another world for a little while.
I had looked into upgrading our car to a convertible before we left and they wanted two hundred dollars a day more.  Obviously that wasn't going to happen.  When we got to the rental place I thought I would just ask if they had any at a better price.  She offered us an upgrade for a convertible Camero for fifteen a day more and then nonchalantly said she had one Corvette left for 30 dollars a day more.  Sold!!
 I thought Max could get his midlife crisis fix and we could move on from the sports car lust.  However, it backfired a bit because he LOVED driving it.  I drove it too and must say it is pretty fun.
 Nothing like driving up a curvy, winding road from sea level to 10,000 feet in an hour and a half to make you feel like a Nascar driver. :)  The second day was really fun as we drove around with the wind in our hair and music blasting.  The views were pretty impressive and we were really happy we were able to experience it in a convertible!
 The peak of Haleakala, an extinct volcano, is 10,023 feet and it looks like you are on top of the world.  You literally are above the clouds.  It was breathtaking.  When we got back to the hotel we tried Maui Blanc, which is pineapple wine.  It was really sweet, kinda like our ride and our day.

 The next day we snorkeled at Kapalua Bay, which is where we had the most success.
 After we snorkeled and were warming up on the beach we heard people exclaim a turtle was near the shore!  
  Not even knee deep there was a giant Sea Turtle eating the algae off the coral!!
 He was at my feet!  At one point the surf crashed and washed him into me!  It was amazing to watch him eat and care less that he had an audience of humans.
 Max continued to follow him for 45 minutes after he was done eating and was surprised how graceful and beautiful this huge turtle was as he swam.
We decided to have one special dinner and went to Japengo.  It was without a doubt one of the all around best dinning experiences we have ever had.
It is impossible to beat the ambiance, as you are sitting on ridge above the beach hearing the waves crash as you eat.  Max and I both like to cook and often leave a restaurant feeling like we could have made it better at home for a fraction of the price.  We couldn't come close to cooking the meal that came out of this place.  Exceptional!  
Our last day in paradise was also National Pina Colada day.  Where better to have one than in paradise!?  We soaked up the beach and pool until dark.
Wow is the best word that comes to mind for Maui.  I feel blessed to have stored up so many visual treasures while there.  It is even more beautiful in person because you are feeling the beauty with the soft breeze caressing your skin, smelling the salty air, hearing the gentle waves crash and feeling sand between your toes.  It is an all senses kind of beauty.  Hopefully it won't be 16 years until we get a chance to go back again.