Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Hawaii: We went to Hawaii! We picked the big island, because we like to do more than Jan out at the beach, and there is lots to do there. We stayed in Waikoloa, at a condo, but we had pool access at the Hilton resort. As soon as we landed, we bought Dramamine for Dalton, who threw up in the car, the shuttle bus, the airplane, and the Kona airport while John was purchasing the medicine. Luckily, that was the last of illness for anyone on our trip. Next, we went to Costco and bought food for our stay. We saved a lot of money doctoring up premade stuff from Costco, and eating cereal at the condo for breakfast.

Tuesday we went to a nearby beach. We rented a double kayak and paddles around the bay. Arthur slept nearly two hours in the sand. The kayak was so fun, we all got to try it, and it was only $50 for 2 hours. Money well spent.

Wednesday was a long day. We drove around the south side of the island (the long way). We stopped at a black sand beach, which was so cool to see, but we didn't see any sea turtles. I did find a couple pieces of sea glass though. Next we went to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Maggie has a free national parks pass for fourth graders, so we got in free! We looked at the craters with the binoculars, wandered around the steam vents, and hiked in the dark through a lava tube. Pretty cool!

We went up to Hilo for John and the older kids to do a helicopter ride. They got to see lava in the crater, and also hitting the ocean.

The littles and I had just under two hours to kill in Hilo during the helicopter tour. We went to the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. Free, and awesome. I wish we'd had more time to spend. Sienna loved all the benches decorated as animals and flowers. There was also an awesome playground. Unfortunately, it was too hot to enjoy either, but it's usually rainy (Rainforest Zoo... get it?). We saw tigers, lemurs, all sorts of tropical birds, anteaters.

Then we went to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. As we drove through the macadamia nut orchards, I told Sienna the story of auntie Rachel getting a macadamia nut stuck in her nose. She came back with "we could get things out of our nose. We can get boogers out of our nose."

Thursday was another rest day. We went to a new beach. It had trees shading the shore, and a rope swing. We were able to see some fish swimming around while we floated on boogie boards in the warm, clear water, and some crabs in the rocks along th edge of the cove. We went to the pool just outside our condo in the evening. So convenient that we left the older kids at home playing Roblox.

Friday we drove around the north side of the island. We had malasadas, went to a few points of interest then stopped at a famous sea glass beach for me. Unfortunately the tide wasn't great, and the beach was difficult to access. But Dalt and I scrambled down and found a few pieces while the others waited in the car. Then we went to Rainbow Falls, definitely the highlight. Everyone had a blast climbing the banyan trees and playing in the shade. We also climbed over the rocks and dipped our toes into the pools at the top of the falls. Our final stop was the Mauna Kea visitor center, where we were hopping to use the solar telescope. But the whole mountain was shrouded in mist. Disappointing, but the Rainbow Falls made up for it.

Saturday we took turns doing a submarine cruise. We wanted to do zip lining but even Maggie didn't weigh enough. We picked the submarine because Sienna was big enough, and she didn't get to do the helicopter. On the girls' trip, we saw three little dolphins, a barracuda, and a lot of different fish. It was pretty cool just to be on the submarine.

In the evening we went for one last swim at the Hilton pool. Water slides, hot tub, towels we didn't have to carry to the car. We also saw a sea turtle in their lagoon.

Then we took the red eye home. Yikes. Arthur slept on the airplane fooor for three hours. Everyone but Sienna crashed when we got home. It's bedtime and we're all exhausted! Hopefully we can reset after tonight. What a fun trip. John always plans the most fun things. The kids had trouble picking a favorite thing. I liked the Rainbow Falls and kayaking the best probably. But everything we did was great! Actually, maybe my favorite was John not working. Hurray for actual vacation!

New Food: May's challenge was to try 30 new recipes and I did it! We did it - several of them were John's. Other than things we've made before, a really long time ago, there were only two stand out recipes. And one of those two, we'd HAD before, even though we'd never made it. The rest were all things which at least sounded or looked good enough for me to try making them. I think those are pretty dismal stats on the recipes out there.

Everything I Do: Dalton does that thing where kids complain that mom's get Mother's Day AND a birthday.

Me: Dalt, everything I do, all day long, every day is for you.

Dalt: loooong pause. ... It's hard to think of something [that's not for him].

Morning Snuggle:

Me with Arthur's toes: Is this my breakfast? It's so tasty!
Sienna: No! It has eyeballs!

So apparently I can't nibble on Arthur, because he has eyeballs. Haha.

Sofia: Sienna has what one might call an imaginary friend. Her name is Sofia. She "only comes out for one day" but she seems to be here more lately. Sofia eats invisible food (whew) and sometimes has a bed made up for her, next to Sienna. When we play games, Sofia gets a turn. She sits in the seat next to Sienna in the car, unless Maggie is there. She likes to play outside with Sienna during the day when I'm cleaning the garage (this month's decluttering challenge).

Die!: Arthur learned to say "bye!" except he says "die!" exactly like Dalton used to.

April Challenges Update: The April challenges were to drink a smoothie every day and declutter the kids' rooms. I did ok with smoothies. About the same 75% success rate as our other challenges. Decluttering went well. I went through all the kids' clothes. I sorted the books but didn't get rid of much. And I didn't really do the toys because I'm comfortable with the point where I've gotten the toys. I cleared off their shelves, scrubbed the Little Tikes table, and did some other cleaning stuff.

Beach and Bread: Another Tuesday in the books. The first grade reading group was cancelled today and it was low tide, so I went to the beach instead. I walked along three coves in Laguna Beach looking for sea glass. Fisherman's Cove was the most successful, the same results I had last time. Lots of teeny pieces, a couple medium ones, and an interesting piece of art glass with color embedded in it. Pretty recent, but this is Laguna Beach after all.

This month's challenge is to try 30 new recipes, so when I got home I made bread, caramels, and a new salad for dinner. Cooking instead of cleaning like last week!

Day Off Deal: Tuesday is my day off, so I volunteered in Dalton's class, did five load of laundry, finished cleaning up Easter stuff, vacuumed and cleaned the carpets and stairs, cleaned the walls and doors in the kids' rooms and made a deal with myself that if I cleaned the kitchen floor I could sit around and eat candy the rest of the time (so now I'm blogging). But I didn't have to do any of the hard stuff (parenting, living life with constant interruptions). Whew.

Words Arthur Learned this Week:

Moo
Uh-oh
Glub, while pointing to Dory or fish, not sure where he learned that.
Pooh

He signs "sleep, more, truck, all done" and he can also say dada and mama and sss for cheese and ssss da for "what's that" or "who's that?" Which I apparently say to him all the time. He says something for blankie or night night or Mickey but I haven't figured it out yet.

Trucks: Arthur has started saying a new word: uh oh. He is on the verge of learning to speak, and becoming a little person instead of my baby.

He is very into trucks. Trucks in books, trucks on his clothes, toy trucks in his hands, and trucks outside. We've been closely watching the garbage man (and garbage truck videos on YouTube) for a few weeks and last night we met him. Arthur was pretty impressed. He's learned the sign, and it's just about the cutest thing ever.

She's Just Saying What Everyone's Thinking: Sienna: But Dad just went to work yesterday!

March Challenges: The March decluttering challenge was the rest of my bedroom, closet, and both upstairs bathrooms. And all the board games in the house, because 1/3 of them are in my closet. One of the goals I had was to wear all of my shirts, which I managed to do. I also wore all the Sunday clothes I wanted to try out. I have others I didn't wear, but they are ones I wear regularly. I cleaned out my sewing stuff - again - and did two unfinished projects. I decluttered under all the sinks, both medicine cabinets, and the box of medicines in the hall closet. The kids helped me sort through all the games and got rid of a few. I tossed all the underwear and socks I don't like, and bought some new shorts and capris for the summer.

My closet has a lot of Easter and Spring Fling stuff in it still, and I only got one of the bathrooms deep cleaned, but I am happy with the progress in March.

The other challenge was a gratitude journal. I tried to do daily blog posts on things I was grateful for, without explicitly saying as much. We were going for an easier challenge in March, and maybe it was a bit too easy because we weren't as successful. But it was a worthy exercise.

Long Day: Today was a long day filled with obvious blessings, generally in the form of sleep. John left at 5:45 for a day trip to Las Vegas. I thought Arthur would wake up when he left, but he actually slept until after 7!

I went on the fourth grade field trip, which was basically a five mile walk. We walked over to the nature preserve, around the loop, and back to the school. They had set up a police escort, which was kind of fun, and also helpful. It's hard to get 140 people across the street at a time.

Then I picked up my little kids and Arthur hadn't napped yet. And he took a long one so even after I prepped some dinner stuff and made lunch for Sienna and me, I still got a little nap. Then I made dinner. If I'd know what was in store for this day, I wouldn't have planned something so fancy. Arthur actually took another nap, which was helpeful. Between his cold and teething, he's whiny. Maggie helped with Arthur, and Dalton did a "surprise" which consisted of picking up the ENTIRE house, and making everyone's beds. So sweet!

We had all four missionaries serving in our ward over for dinner. John actually made it home from the airport just as we were eating. I made potato soup, rolls, salad, and chocolate-strawberry trifle. It was delicious.

Non-Flake: I have some friends. Some are flaky. But some are really wonderful. They bring piano books for you to borrow, and remember the first time you ask. They return things you lend them. They buy you groceries. They pick up your kids. They bring you extra dinner when you are too tired or busy (or lazy) to make some for yourself. They share extra dessert with you. They meet you at the park so you can chat and ignore your kids. They love -and discipline - your kids as their own.

Carpool: Arthur is sick and didn't nap according to plan today. I got him up and we went to get gas and a car wash and cough medicine for Dalton. He fell asleep in the car on the way home. Luckily, I was able to get another mom in our carpool to cover for me.

Sienna is all signed up for TK. We are being sent to a school even farther than Dalton went, but she has friends who'll be going there, too. Hopefully we can work something out!

Arthur's Molars: Thank goodness for ibuprofen and oragel. Arthur just watched the last half of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them with us. He's been crying all day, when not held.

Lucky Disney Day: Today we had a lucky Disney day. We woke up a little later than usual so it was almost opening time when we got off the freeway. We ended up making eight u-turns waiting for the Pumbaa lot to open - out favorite place to park! We went on lots of rides and the kids did Jr. Chef cooking with Goofy. Then, we went to get free chocolate bunnies from ghiradelli and ended up ordering a cocoa float. But they messed the order up and we ended up only paying $5 - for two! And they were delicious.

Screamy Snug: Arthur woke up screaming at 9:30 tonight. Bad dream, maybe, as he seemed fine. I picked him up and he clung to me. So I rocked him and we had a great snuggle as he went back to sleep. I love that sweet boy, and will take any cuddles I get.

P&Q: My neighbor was out of town a couple days this week so I helped watch her kids. It really wasn't a big deal. I even found myself at Costco with her 2 year old and none of my own kids. But today was a nice cozy day with my own two little ones.

Of course Sienna threw two exhaustive tantrums today. But never mind that.

Art Class: A new community center opened near us and they were offering free art classes to celebrate. I signed Maggie and Dalton up and completely FORGOT Dalton's. Today was Maggie's class. She and her friend did Van Gogh style paintings. They had a good time. I'm glad there's a closer community center option for us. And I love the inexpensive city classes offered.

Simple Three: Three things I've started this year, within the monthly challenges, that have made my life a lot more simple.

Running the dishwasher every night. I enjoy cooking more when I don't try to limit my dishes.

Shopping once a week. Or less often at least. I've been shopping while Maggie is at gymnastics on Monday nights. And thirdly, there's a dollar store nearby, which is saving me a lot. Today I bought five boxes of Reese's puffs, baby squeezes (2/$.99) and organic strawberries. Among other things.

Bookaholic: Im a total binge reader. I'll go months without reading anything, then read a book a day for weeks. Obsessed.

Arthur Disney Date: On Friday, I took Arthur to Disneyland all by himself. Sienna was in Utah with John and the other two kids were at school. We got there early, ride a few rides and saw lots of characters. He is totally in his element, playing with Pluto, laughing at Goofy, trying to sit on Donald's non-existent lap, knocking Mickey over. We had a great time.

Waffles: John has taken Sienna off to Utah to visit his parents. As long as we were driving to Long Beach to drop them at the airport, we went to the new Waffle Love store and had a cinna love waffle for lunch.

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