Monday, November 28, 2016

Ellie the writer

My girl Ellie...
She is a writer and a fantastic one at that. Her writing has such voice. She absolutely loves to write and writes the most creative and fun stories one would read. She includes such detail and craft at such a young age. She always professes that she wants to be an author when she grows up, specifically of children's books, but Ellie, she's already an author. 

She had even started typing some of her stories on my lap top. In this shot I was actually reading outside and she joined me with the lap top and just started writing. 

Below in quotes is her newest piece, modeled after the series "Dork Diaries" She did all of it... down to the different fonts. This is the one she has been working via my computer. 

   Dork Diary’s of Ellie!     
“Hi, I’m Ellie.”  “ Have you ever herd one of my life Long, Long, Long story’s if you haven’t it start’s Now!” So it all started in 2016. I was at School writing in my diary when Jena came up and pushed me off my seat and knocked my diary down and it fell face up she almost read it. After School me and my friend’s went ice skating, but then I saw Jena! “Oh her” my best friend’s groaned. So I quickly ran into the bathroom and me and my friend’s changed into different cloth’s [“because we were wearing the same as I wore to School”] then we came back out but Suddenly Jena spotted us and rushed to us, but before
 that “she slipped and every one laughed”!!!! HA, HA, HA!!!! Then…  it got crazy!! She through a cupcake at me but I through mashed potatoes at her then she got SO, SO, SO, SO, SO, mad that she just left! [ so I went home too.] The next day we both had to go to the principal “I always go”, but just because of you know who.    
After School me and my friend’s had a sleep over at my house. We talked about Jena, told secrets, wrote in our diary we had so much fun… until “ding dong” Jena rushed into my room and Shouted “YOU Signed UP FOR DANCE TOO”!
“GET OUT OF MY ROOM”! Me and my best friend Nicole SHOUTED together. So she ran out the room and Screamed!!!! Then it was time to go to bed, but instead we stayed up all night.  PS and wrote mean stuff about her in our diary.

Then it was morning and we all sneaked out of my room to go watch our favorite T.V. show.  "

{to be continued}    


Ellie and Lola wanted to take a voice class this semester, so we enrolled them in this after school voice class. They seemed to really enjoy it and had a concert at the end of the session. They sang "All You Need is Love" and Ellie had a Solo! 

Lola has taken up keyboarding/piano also.
 She enjoyed this class and had a concert on the last day of the session. She played Star Wars. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Book Club

The girls and I have started a great thing. It is nothing new that I read to the girls at bed time just before Tony tells them a story. But as of late we have started a book club, where each of us have a copy of the same book and take turns reading. We started with "Miss Daisy is Crazy" a super fun chapter book that I often read with my students. The girls loved doing this and we loved listening to them read to us and each other. I believe this is just the start of something good. Mom and daughter book club... I like the sound of that! 

What we have been reading lately: 

I have been introducing the girls to some classics and one of my favorites as a child. "From the Mixed Up Filed of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler." I am looking forward to reading a few more classics with them this coming year! 

Lola has blossomed in her reading this year school year and is loving Amelia Bedelia books and any chapter books about cute animals. She also likes Heidi Heckelbeck. 

Ellie loves reading books about people like the "who was" series and she is digging the Box Car children series.  Dork Diaries are also among her favorite reads of late. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Classic School Photos - Second grade

It's amazing how much you can see them grow by comparing their yearly school pictures. Amazing! 

Lola Grace 
Second Grade, Age 7.5
Teacher: Mrs. Nazarian / Ms. Averkamp
Room 15

Ellie Francesa
Second Grade, Age 7.5
Teacher: Mrs. Nazarian / Ms. Averkamp
Room 15

 Class Picture! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Maui Wowie

Our family was gifted an incredible gift. A trip to Maui. A trip with no intentions other than to just relax and spend time together. A very special friend who would never want to be named gifted this trip to us. When trying to thank him for this gift- he stated “it’s not a gift.” As if to say there was no discussion, we had to go on this trip- period. The gifter will  probably never know the depth of the gift he gave. We came away refreshed, with so many priceless memories in our hearts. Hawaii is a very special place and all four us left with a little more Aloha then we came with. 

Day 1
Settling in ... Our condo and the beach that was steps from our patio. 

Day 2
The first full day in Maui (Day 2) we headed out for a day of snorkeling at the recommended spots. First up was what came to be known as  'Mile 14'. A beautiful beach right off the highway where the snorkeling was easy and the beaches were empty. It was here that both girls gained their confidence with the snorkel. 

After we saw many beautiful fish and enjoyed some super cool clear water we headed to the famous 'black rock' at the Sheraton Resort to enjoy more snorkeling, some beach play, and a few Hawaiian cocktails. 

 On the road back to the condo, we were gifted this rainbow!

Day 3
Road to Hana
We did it... I was uncertain I wanted to complete the Road to Hana. For multiple of reason. I am not too fond of driving long distances on vacation because I am the only driver and a tour bus is not an option ... because quite frankly we are not "tour bus people." We decided to brave what turned out to be a 5 hour drive there and a 2 hour drive back, with 57 bridges and too many hairpin turns to count, because who knows when we will return to Maui. No regrets right? Well there were defiantly no regrets here. The day turned out to be spectacular. We saw so much beauty, the girls were amazing in the car, and we all had a lot of adventures along the way. So we downloaded the app and started the self guided tour along the Hana highway. 

The first stop on the road to Hana... Shark Sighted?
Twin Falls! 

 A stop at the "Garden of Eden", Ellie was poplar among the ducks.

 {The girls had fun using my big camera a taking some fun pics}

 A painted Eucoliptus
 The girls were in awe of these wind chimes in the gardens. They though the blue wind twirl was disappearing as it tuned. Needless to say it was so sue to watch them try to figure it out. I think one of these might have to be under the tree this year. 

 Halfway there! 

 On the road there were so many little fruit stands, banana bread shops, and little trinket stands.
 Lola was very excited about this stop. Some cool stuff! 

Black Sand Beach on Maui! 
No matter the sand, when there is a beach the girls will play! 

We stopped to hike to the lava caves... I was not expecting to find what we was amazing! 

We were of the mindset to live it up on this road with no regrets. So my super duper BRAVE girls crossed this barricade to discover and swim in an underground lava cave. It was in this cave where the legend of the murdered Hawaiian prices began, which made the venture that much more exciting. When near the caves we met some Hawaiian locals who gave a a flashlight guided swimming tour of the ocean filled lava caves. It was amazing. 
 The girls and I decided to hold hands and jump into this cave together. Unbeknownst to us the water was absolutely freezing. It literally took my breath away, but it was so worth it! 

We swam under this rock you see overhead to different compartment and caverns which would have been completely dark if our new friend did not have a flash light. It was amazing, and what was more amazing was to watch the girls trust me and then watch their faces when they discovered the unknown. I hope they will never loose their sense of adventure. 

On the road again to stop and admire some gorgeous coastline. 

Our last hike of the afternoon was to the Sacred Seven Pools. It was a pretty beautiful destination. 

After, I would say, about 8 hours on the road to Hana, we finally arrived back to Paia, starving and tired. Phones were dead and kids were zonked. But we needed to eat! We woke the kids and found a cool restaurant with the perfect lanai. We ordered dinner and then it began to pour- a Hawaiian warm rain. It was the perfect end to an adventurous day.  

Day 4

One magical morning, we woke up, brewed the coffee, and headed out to the beach that was just steps away from our condo. The girls and I strapped on our snorkel gear, while Tony enjoyed the sunrise over the Maui Mountains. It was what we did in the mornings, most morning we had the beach to ourselves, this morning was not exception. I can get used to that. We were not in the water 5 minutes and we spotted the coveted find, two lazy sea turtles (Honu- as the Hawaiians call them) just swimming by. It was so magical to see them in their natural setting alongside the reefs and colorful fish. We were the only three people in the water of that bay this morning, which made it feel like our own personal paradise. 

 These mornings will always hold a special spot in my heart. 

{My Go pro was not cooperating on this trip (definitely investing in a simple water proof digital camera next time). At first I was very disappointed because I missed some incredible photos of my girls in the water. I never wanted to forget how beautiful, brave, and full of wonder each one looked as they snorkeled  above the white sand that looked so bright against the clear turquoise waters of Maui. I loved how Ellie almost looked like a mermaid when she would fiercely dive down to the reef below (snorkel and all) just to get a closer look. I never wanted to forget that vision or how it felt to watch your daughter discover the freedom and wonders of a world yet discovered. As I walked into the beach with Lola and Ellie, Ellie asking right away "when can we go out again." I realized I did not need the perfect photograph, because that image will never leave my mind.}

Here are the water photos I did capture... during the morning session at our condo

After this perfect morning we made plans for the day.
When on the road to Hana we started in the town of Paia. We spent one minute driving through the town and knew we wanted to come back the following day to spend some time there, shop around, and of course catch the Charger game. The town reminded me and Tony a little of Ocean Beach - but cleaner- our kind of town. 

On a side note:  I cannot put into words how easy it is to travel Lola. She is rule follower, a planner, always positive, always prepared. She is flexible, easy going, and will do anything. She loves trying all new things and get so excited about the simple stuff. She loves shopping on trips, especial for “snuveniers” which is the word she used for souvenirs the entire trip. It was in Paia that she bought most of her "snuveniers"

Tony found a sports bar right on the main drag. It was a cool spot for him to set up shop and watch the game while Lola, Ellie, and I shopped around. We met back with Tony for lunch and to watch the second half -a Charger win! Tony loved his time there, he made friends with some cool locals and met an interesting bloke that had to be asked to leave (long story). But Maui - Paia- had a cool vibe! 

After shopping and the Charger game we headed down to yet another beautiful beach on this side of the island. 

 This beach was the windy spot- such a cool place to watch the windsurfers and kite surfers. 

 The girls and I did a little tide pooling while Tony was memorized by the show on the water. 

 The girls bought a few souvenirs with their own money. Ellie spent some of her money on a journal... my ever inspiring astir. She would sit down onto couch when we got back to the condo and write stories or a narrative about her day. Love her. 
 Evenings on Maeelea Bay beach (the beach our condo resides) was almost as sweet as the morning. It never got old! We would simply go out there with our happy hours and watch the girls frolic in the pacific while Tony and I watched and enjoyed good conversations.  

 Evening would usually include a little swimming and a lot of geckos.

 DAY 5
 Most mornings I didn’t bother with bringing my phone (camera) with us to the beach, our focus was swimming and snorkeling. On our second to last morning (day 5) I was glad I left my phone at the in the room because it started raining when we headed out to snorkel, which didn’t stop us of course, until the sun peeked through the clouds gifting us with one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, a perfectly arched Hawaiian rainbow, so deep in color, you would have thought it was painted.  The girls and stopped in our tracks, with the waves crashes at our feet, staring into the sky. It was a sight I simple can’t describe but can only feel.  I was so sorry, almost sick to my stomach that Tony had missed this, though I know a photo most likely would have not captured the magnificent spectacle it was. This is yet another image from this trip that I believe will be imprinted on my heart for a lifetime.

Since this trip fell right smack dab in the middle the school year, the girls had to do a little school work in-between all the fun!

We headed to  Makeena cove at Wailea Bay to snorkel and chill by the water. This place was great. It was littered with huge sea turtles, colorful fish, and a perfect perch for Tony to watch all the action!

I anticipate we have planted a very big seed in the heart of Ellie. She wanted nothing more on this trip then to seek out new, different, and exciting snorkel spots. As Ellie and I we were walking hand in hand on empty the beach right outside our condo on the very last day of this vacation, she looked up and said “mom, I wish this was the very first day, and not the last day of Maui” Love her!

After our morning at Makenna Cove we headed into the town of Lahina. Our two girls couldn't get enough of 'Mile 14' so on our way to dinner in Lahina, we stopped for a little leisure snorkel and sand castle building session. 

 Lahina strip! 

 Yep ... we wore our girls out!

 DAY 6 - The last day
We spent the last morning hanging at the condo, just soaking it all in! 

 More than one of us are not ready to go home... until next time Maui! 

I cannot put into words how magical these trip are becoming. I know deep in my soul that these trips will be some of my fondest memories of our family time spent together.
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