Just the Two of Us

11 11 2019

Something amazing happened!

20191109_102435

Nathan’s mom decided to join us on our Hawaii trip (which you’ve seen from the photos).  But this means, that not only has there been an extra set of hands to help with the girls…..but we were also able to get away for a couple of nights just the two of us!!  When was the last time that happened you ask?  It was June 2018.  HA!  (but also true).

And so, we were able to combine a work trip with a leisure trip, and we flew to the Big Island of Hawaii.

20191107_105959

Very exciting!  BUT as soon as I said my goodbyes to the girls my stomach started churning and by the time we reached the airport, I wasn’t sure if I ate something weird or if it was the nerves.  It was nerves and maybe Mama Guilt, especially since on this trip Brooklyn has just started saying, ‘mama I love you so much!’  She holds my face in her hands and looks me in the eye and tells me this over and over again (crying over here!!!)

And so we took a 45 minute flight with just a carry on.  We booked a convertible and drove with the top down every time we were in the car.

We made stops at scenic overlooks, visited beaches just to see them and took pics of all the random things we saw.

We made dinner reservations at 7:15PM!  And we floated around in an infinity pool, just because we could.  We still went to bed by 10PM…

Although we didn’t see all there was to see in Hawaii in only 2 short days, we did have a chance to visit a place that we had never been together and remember what it was like to be just the two of us again.

So I guess what I’m saying is….thank you Grandma!  And….who’s coming on our next trip with us??

 

 

 





ummm…should we or shouldn’t we?

10 11 2019

Today we had a lot of magical moments that took place after I thought we had one of those epic fail moments on vacation when you realized you probably made a bad vacation decision…

blog post 1383

Waimea Falls Park

This morning would make the 3rd time I have convinced Nathan and the girls that we should go to Laniakai Beach to look for sea turtles.  We went twice last year, and this year I was convinced that things would be different, and that I wasn’t just dragging along 2 toddlers across a busy street, onto sand that was hard to get a steady footing on, to be almost hit by oncoming crashing waves.  Today…we would see SEA TURTLES!  This mantra carried us through all morning, it got us in the car by 8AM, and it got us back in the car after breakfast.

20191106_094914

blog post 1389

But alas, NO sea turtles…again.  The lifeguards actually apologized and said that usually they are out….but not today.

Last year, we carried two scared and crying girls back to the car, but this time the girls wanted to take their shoes off so they could have their toes in the sand (their words, not mine).

And so we ended up enjoying our time at the beach, despite not seeing sea turtles, and got the sweetest photos.

blog post 1387

20191106_100534

 

20191106_100454

blog post 1382

20191106_100551

We had decided that today was going to be the day that we packed in a road trip type day and drive the North Shore and then down the windward side of the island, seeing key landmarks like the Crouching Lion and Chinaman’s Hat rock formations, the Banzai Pipeline, enjoy the grounds at Turtle Bay Resort.  Well, the girls fell asleep, so we skipped Turtle Bay, breezed past the Banzai Pipeline after I took a quick look, and the rock formations…well, they’re really just rock formations.

blog post 1384

We contemplated stopping at Kualoa Ranch for lunch, but after parking looked busy decided to move on…..but I hadn’t given much thought as to what would be after that.  It was either fast food…or Honey’s…..

blog post 1385

We found ourselves driving down this intensely green jungle-like road on our way to ‘Honey’s Restaurant’, supposedly a restaurant on the Koolau Golf course.   We drove through a gate that said First Methodist Church, and I thought I saw another sign about a golf course, but I didn’t know if it was a gate, or another road….(turns out it was a gate with a bunch of chickens, roosters and cats hanging out at it, which is also weird).

20191106_145416

Finally we can upon a building amidst these towering green cliffs, and it was the weirdest feeling….like, is this right?  Did we/I make the right decision?  There are no people around, are we sure we’re in the right place?  We walked into this quiet and empty building, walked down the stairs (still no people), into what appeared to be a restaurant, and saw a sign to seat ourselves.  Finally we saw some people (two tables).  So, yes – we were indeed at a restaurant, but what were we getting ourselves into.

Turns out we stumbled upon this perfect, quiet, empty, amazing setting to have lunch.  The girls fed fish at a koi pond, walked over this picturesque bridge and were these two little spots of red and blue amidst a sea of green.  It was so surprising and unexpected.  But it was enough for us to stay awhile, get out the big camera and go a little crazy with the pictures.

20191106_142230

20191106_142633

blog post 1386

20191106_143354

20191106_143408

Loving the random memories and photo ops that we are finding here…





To Sink or Swim

6 11 2019

I grew up on an island, 10 minutes from the beach, and never officially learned how to swim.  And although I have since gone snorkeling (with a life vest), gone scuba diving (and landed on the bottom of the ocean), and fallen off of a sailboat (while still in the marina), I have never really found myself very comfortable in the water.  I wish I did.  But my preference is to keep myself in water that I can touch the ground in and never open my eyes underwater.

And so, I do my very best not to extend my water discomfort to my two girls who are just discovering what water is all about.

20191104_180422

20191104_180746

20191104_180830

Today I pushed down my own fears as I watched in awe as they body surfed in the oncoming waves in the shallows of our beach cove and shrieked with glee when the waves splashed them in the face, spun them around in a circle and did not care one bit that they were my babies who have practically no beach/water experience.  They pushed me way beyond my comfort zone, and I had to fight back the urge to rush to their rescue and save them from the waves, while also being uncomfortable with how the waves were pushing and pulling me.

20191105_164905

20191105_164851

Luckily, Nathan is comfortable in the water, and just kept telling them to keep their heads up, always watch the oncoming waves, that when one wave goes out, another one is coming in, and to spit out the water.

20191105_164947

20191105_170402

20191105_170317

All in all, today I found myself unbelievable impressed and inspired by my girls.





Hawaiian Adventures

5 11 2019

As I sit on the plane, halfway through a flight to Hawaii with two almost three year olds, I feel happy that we have reached the point where there are periods of independent play and also nostalgic and feeling like time is moving too fast when I think about the pudgy 23 month olds that we traveled with last year.

20181029_173510

At the time, the girls seemed to be so old and capable and independent, and now I look back at those pictures from a year ago, and I see these pudgy toddlers that were barely toddling around.

Now these girls are telling us about all of the garbage trucks, airplanes and firetrucks they are seeing. And also asking for more popcorn or telling us adamantly that ‘no, they do not want to go potty’.

And so, as we embark on a trip that will absolutely fill up all of the memory on my phone and computer, I wanted to take some time to remember our trip to Hawaii last October.

The girls were almost two, and….

It kills me to admit that we were ‘that family‘.  You know the ones….the family that you see in the boarding line up and you think to yourself, ‘I hope I’m not sitting near them’…..or….’those kids better not be crying the whole time’.

It was a 6 hour flight and we were packed to the max with new books, games, snacks, their lovies (bunny and lamb), soft blankets and the anxiety of parents about to embark on a 6 hour flight with two 23 month olds…eek!

When we booked our flights we told ourselves, yes, it’s a long flight, but once we survive it, we’ll be in Hawaii!  And that makes the tough travel day worth it, right?

The answer is – Yes, it was worth it.  But we didn’t escape unscathed.  We had ‘that kid’ that cried pretty much all through landing.  Which sucks because you know it’s the pressure on her ears, but when she doesn’t want to drink anything or eat anything, you just feel helpless and like you have to ride it out.  That said child also didn’t nap AT ALL during the 6 hour flight.  But I cling to the fact that we must not have been a complete mess during the whole flight because the flight crew was in love with the girls!  To the point, that one of the flight attendants asked me if it was Brooklyn that was crying during landing, and that her cries sounded soothing. Soothing!  Yes – she actually said that.  I’m pretty sure they also carried the girls off the plane as Nathan and I were loaded down with a camera bag, diaper bag, tote and rolley suitcase.  Needless to say, we don’t travel light and nimble anymore.  Also, movie watching and naps (for me) on long flights seem like a thing of the past.  Which is so painful to realize since I used to be the one that was asleep before take off 😦

Other than visiting the Dole Plantation, we had absolutely no plans.  Good and bad I think, as I probably would have wanted to do a little more research on things to do/visit/eat.  BUT, we splashed in the kiddie pool, visited a waterfall, looked for sea turtles, ate garlic shrimp at Giovanni’s shrimp truck, left a Disney Aulani character breakfast hungry (these girls were super scared of the characters and spent the whole time on our laps) and generally soaked up sunshine, sand and that aloha spirit.  It is hard not to think about what it would be like to live there full time, especially when you know you’re heading home to rainy days.

But for now, I leave you with some of my favourite photos of our trip from last year, and I hope to share our Hawaii adventures this year a little sooner than November 2020!





Taking Flight

25 07 2019

On the eve of our very first flight with the girls, it dawned on me….travel is going to be very different…

Actually, I shouldn’t say it ‘dawned on me‘, the process of realizing this new reality was DRIVING ME TO TEARS!

It was 9PM, the girls were asleep, Nathan was downstairs, and I was frustratingly trying to figure out how to get a week’s worth of clothes, toiletries, toys and bedding into one large suitcase and a carry on.

Ha…..hahaha….what was I thinking???

In hindsight, the answer was clear….add another suitcase to the mix.  But as I tried to figure out how to reduce our suitcase by 6 lbs, Nathan’s suggestion to add another suitcase was met by a snarled ‘I don’t want to!’.  

In the end, another suitcase was added, more things were added because…now we had more than enough space…and we rolled into the airport with 2 checked bags, 2 carseats, 1 roller bag carry-on, 1 camera bag, 1 diaper backpack, 1 stroller and 2 15 month old girls.

20180224_100814

I’ve read about these mythical families that travel with kids for international trips with nothing but carry-ons.  Well, I don’t think we will ever be that kind of family.  Because, although it may seem extra spoiled and unnecessary, if it comes down to not bringing the sleep sheep, 2 lovies each and their favourite blanket OR sleepless nights while traveling, the extra suitcase will win EVERY time.

And so, off we go to Anaheim, California for the girls’ first flight.

20180224_120855

The land of sunshine, palm trees…..and Disneyland!

20180301_132045-EFFECTS

And this is what we learned on our first flight(s) and trip to California:

  1. The girls could care less if it’s supposed to be their nap time on the flight….look at….everything!20180224_140523
  2. We are spoiled and realize that for us, we need to have a separate bedroom type accommodation, so we don’t ALL have to go to sleep at 8pm.20180226_062300
  3. The girls could care less about Disneyland and Mickey Mouse….in fact, Mickey Mouse is kind of scary (unless viewed from afar, and then they’re super interested)20180226_094449
  4. At 15 months, Disneyland was really about a very pretty place to take a walk because the only ride we went on was the train ride around the park….and the Dinosaur Section…. did… not… go… well…., oh and also the duck that flapped it’s wings near us during breakfast…also not a fan of him… (So I guess we also realized that we have a scaredy cat baby). 20180226_105603
  5. We have 1 Water Baby (Brooklyn) and 1 ‘Only if there’s people to wave at’ Water Baby (Lucy). 20180301_143049

And lastly, we learned that despite the stress of travel and the crappy sleep (maybe that was just me as I lay with 2 babies on me listening to everyone snoring while I lay awake…), it was super fun to make new family memories:

  1. To watch Lucy take wobbly steps on the beach at Crystal Cove and see her make that ‘Daaaaddd….stop taking pictures of me’ face
  2. To introduce the girls to new friends
  3. To listen to Brooklyn squeal in delight as she gets spun around in the pool20180301_141552
  4. To experience Disney through someone else’s eyes, besides my own
  5. And finally, to learn all of these new things about these girls who had only been in our lives for such a short amount of time.




Mother’s Day: 3rd Time’s a Charm

13 05 2019

This is my 3rd Mother’s Day….

And I think I/we have finally figured out how to enjoy the weekend without tears, frustrations, confusion and unfulfilled expectations.

Growing up, Mother’s Day was all about crafts, homemade cards, coupon books and lots of free hugs and kisses.  As I got older, it became about gift cards, e-cards, phone calls and special occasion brunches, teas and dinners.

Easy Peasy

I never knew that once you become a Mother is when Mother’s Day becomes complicated.

For my 1st Mother’s Day, the girls were 4.5 months old.  I was sleep deprived.  I was anxious about sleeping schedules, eating schedules and general new-mom life.  And when Nathan told me he had planned a surprise for me, my mind automatically went to ‘Mother’s Day Tea’ or really anything that took away my ‘mom’ responsibilities and got me out of the house.  My ‘Surprise’ was a BBQ with family and friends at our house….  Yes, the thought was there (and appreciated in hindsight) but the reality was not pretty and resulted in me in tears upstairs while trying to ‘unsuccessfully’ get these babies to nap.  I don’t actually remember anything about the BBQ, I only remember the day up until I had composed myself enough to take a picture with my girls.

20170514_133730.jpg

I will say that the girls gave me the best present ever for my 1st Mother’s Day, and that was to start sleeping through the night!

For my 2nd Mother’s Day, I think we were both still recovering from the disaster of the 1st Mother’s Day.  I asked Nathan if he wanted to know what I wanted for Mother’s Day….to which he responded, ‘to be in a hotel room by yourself’?  (kind of sarcastically…but kind of not).   And although this would have not been un-welcomed, I had adjusted my expectations and wanted to:

  • 1.  ‘Sleep In‘ (ie. wake up at 7am and not have to do the whole diapers/bottle routine first thing in the morning)
  • 2. Have sushi at some point during the day
  • 3. Get my rings cleaned

Well, not only did I get all of my wishes fulfilled, we enjoyed a beautiful day playing in the grass by the water, with a view of the Seattle Skyline.  And took photos in the same place where we had our gender reveal when we shockingly found out we were having twin girls (I swore up and down we were having boys).

2018 Pics 1380.jpg

Mothers Day 2018 1380

For my 3rd Mother’s Day I went to bed on the eve of Mother’s Day feeling loved, appreciated and grateful for the kids that I have, the husband that I have and the company we created to support the life that we enjoy.  What we unknowingly discovered  was that in order to have a fulfilling, happy, stress (and tear) free Mother’s Day, is to not focus on the day itself but on the whole week (or better yet, all of the weeks).

On Tuesday I came home from the office to find that Nathan had dropped me off at the office and went home and CLEANED THE HOUSE!!  And not only cleaned, but deep cleaned all of the areas that I just don’t have time to clean (like the base boards, and all of those corners and grooves of the stairs).  I asked him if this was my Mother’s Day present, and before he could answer, I said, ‘because this is the BEST present EVER!!!’.  That night, we picked the girls up from daycare, went out for dinner and watched a family of geese with their new goslings.

On Thursday morning Nathan brought me tea and an english muffin in bed and then proceeded to get the girls dressed and ready for the day.  Now, before you start thinking about ways to steal Nathan away from us….I did ask him to get the girls up in the morning because bedtime was horrible and the girls and I all needed some time apart.  But, the tea and english muffin was unprompted.

Saturday morning came along and we had decided on Friday that we were going to wake up early and take the girls to the beach for breakfast.  This was one of THE best things we have done together.  The girls played in the sand, looked like celebrities in their new heart-shaped sunglasses, Nathan lived out his dream of cooking on cast iron at a fire pit on the beach, and I got to enjoy fresh bacon on the beach, watched Lucy fall in love with the feel of her toes in the sand, and realized that I am capable of not completely freaking out when Brooklyn puts a water bottle lid (that she just found in the sand) IN HER MOUTH!

Saturday night I kissed the girls goodnight at 5pm and waltzed out of the house in a new dress and headed out for a night out with my friend, and the knowledge that Nathan would put the girls to bed and also get them in the morning.  The feeling of pure bliss.

Sunday morning (Mother’s Day) I woke with the feeling that I had no expectations or wants for the day, because so much has already been fulfilled.  So when the girls came into the room just after 7am and wished me ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, blowing me kisses and wanting a cuddle, my heart was able to suitably melt (instead of thinking….’hmmm….a sleep in without morning cuddles would have been nice too….- ok, it did cross my mind, but only for a second!).

My 3rd Mother’s Day was a busy day of flower shopping (and planting), Farmer’s Market shopping and supporting Nathan in his roasted chicken dutch oven dinner project.  It was an impromptu dinner project, but with roast chicken brought about the unexpected opportunity for sticky rice (Chinese stuffing consisting of sticky sweet rice with Chinese sausage, onions and shiitake mushrooms) – MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE – and resulted in me making the best gravy of my life!

20190512_155653

And what has capped off my best Mother’s Day is the gift that I gave myself….taking Monday off to spend time by myself – a morning spent sipping lattes and writing this blog post, sushi for lunch, and maybe I can even squeeze in a nap this afternoon before going back to ‘Mom’ duty of daycare pick up, dinner prep and vegetable coercion, sister fight-breaking and bedtime routines.

Hoping to preserve this feeling for as long as possible, to remember that ‘Love is a Verb’ and to try to recreate the magic of this year’s Mother’s Day next year!

 

 

 

 





How Many 1st’s Can you Pack into a Year?

23 02 2019

Firsts are exciting, scary, frustrating and memorable.

Honestly, I became a little bit obsessed about ‘tracking things’ when the girls were born.  I was tracking everything.  Their sleep, their feeding, their pees/poops.  And then I was tracking my own sleep and my own moods.  And then I was tracking their milestones (smiling, laughing, rolling, WALKING), holidays, new foods that they were eating, and new experiences they were having.

There are A LOT of firsts that happen during that first year and a half.  A lot of living and a lot of becoming something other than a squishy pile of baby.

One of our most notable firsts was our 1st Road Trip.

It’s laughable when I think about how much we managed to pack into our car when we took the girls on their first road trip to Vancouver BC.  Nathan and I had done this drive many many times and we had usually packed the night before or even the morning that we were leaving.  I think I spent 2 weeks making lists and practice packing before we departed on our 3 Hour road trip to take a 3 Day Trip.  And even after we had packed up everything on the list, we added the Baby Bjorn Bouncer Seats, the Rock ‘n Plays and the extra pack ‘n play….just in case.

20170505_080248

It looks like the babies won’t fit in the car!

Brooklyn and Lucy were just over 5 months old and it was time to take them to Vancouver, BC to introduce them to some of the extended family.  We had attended previous cousin’s 100 day celebrations with the traditional Chinese Feast, so I figured this was something we should do as well, and to be honest, I had never hosted a 12 course Chinese meal before and was kind of excited about it.  Luckily, the restaurant is so used to this type of thing, a 12 course lunch meal on a Saturday for 40 people was nothing they couldn’t handle.  I on the other hand, felt like I was planning a wedding – complete with seating charts (and the drama that comes with seating charts), table numbers, guest favors, a guest book, special outfits, etc etc etc.  All while still trying to figure out nursing, nap times, and what it means to travel with twins.

IMG_4595

But look at these cuties!

IMG_4615

They were champs.  I was the stress case.  And if it wasn’t for my sister making a plate for me at every course, I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything.

But, although I don’t really remember eating anything, I will carry these memories with me forever:

The fact that everyone spent so long taking pictures with the twins and holding them that the restaurant told me we had to start lunch or we would run out of time before their next party 🙂

Cousins meeting their new baby cousins.

My dad, holding Lucy while chowing down on the feast with his chopsticks.  Actually, I don’t think I remember any moment of the day that my dad wasn’t holding Lucy.

My Yin Yin (grandma) cooing and singing to Brooklyn.

My friend telling me how great the wine was….and asking what we were going to do with the leftover bottles…

It was a huge blur.  I actually didn’t remember what we had done that weekend other than that lunch, but looking back at the photos I now remember that we had a great visit with my brother and sister, the girls were spoiled with their first hotel suite looking out at the Coal Harbor Marina, we enjoyed a morning Seawall walk with the mountains in the background and we actually just had a lot of great family time.

20170505_175644

Uncle James / Lucy + Auntie Nicki / Brooklyn

20170506_063724

So spoiled!

20170507_065155

Early morning cuddles/snooze

20170506_081217

Vancouver Seawall / Coal Harbor

Since that first trip, we’ve taken the girls back to Vancouver so much that the valet and most of the breakfast staff at the hotel restaurant know the girls – even the coffee shop owners down the street remember us!  We don’t pack quite as much as that first trip, but the girls’ suitcase is still bigger than ours!