we voted

Yes, we voted, and our vote counted!

We decided to all go to the polling place this afternoon together. Dan voted via absentee, but turned it in there. I had to stand in line to get my ballot- no IDs required, just my name and address. Avery liked watching me fill in the arrows and pointed out a few names we’ve been talking about. She loved the machine that sucked up the ballots and the stickers too. She’d seen people wearing the stickers all day, so she was happy to get her own sticker.

Glad my girl was there to see me vote.

I love that when there was a person who was voting for the first time, they announced it, and we all clapped. “Hey everybody, this is Ving, he recently became a citizen and is voting for the first time!” bellowed the man in his Americana polo shirt. It was classic!

Both of the kids schools were polling places. I’m glad they were. Both kids saw strangers coming to their school just to vote. The fact that these people made time in their day to come to their schools to vote was very eye opening, for Avery anyway. She was excited about the election, she went to bed before the results came out, but we’ll tell her in the morning who the winners are.

beach babes

This is a bit late coming… but I had pictures taken of the kids at the beach this summer. They were actually taken on Sawyer’s 4th birthday. Thanks to Whitney for capturing these awesome pictures of my babes. She took these in 20 minutes on a super crowded beach- fabulous!

I know the pictures are huge, I couldn’t make them any smaller…

it worked…

I love Pinterest! So many ideas… too little time. I’ve tested out quite a few pins, most have been successful, but a few have totally flopped. I am excited to report that I found a solution to a not-so-important problem. How to clean up your stained up cookie sheets!

I got this “recipe for success” from this blog. I first tried this “magic solution” on a very old cookie sheet that my mom kept from my older sister’s baby shower- I mean the shower my mom attended for herself when she was pregnant in 1965! Nothing happened. I scrubbed and scrubbed, and nothing happened, but I didn’t give up. I tried it on another cookie sheet and it worked! It took a little more elbow grease than she described in her blog post, but it did work.

Here it is. This is the nasty looking cookie sheet I’ve been using for years. I have no idea how long I’ve had, but it has been well used. I never thought it was gross until I found this blog post. So gross!

Ok, so it’s not 100% better but it is at least 70% better, right? I have now come to realize that using tin foil or parchment paper to cover the cookie sheet works best. From now on, I will do this, now that they look somewhat shiny.

fun day

Today, Friday, I got to volunteer in Avery’s class. Little did I know there was a fiesta planned for today. Tomorrow is Mexican Independence Day (along with a few other countries), to celebrate the kids each pressed their own tortillas and made quesadillas. They ate them with chips, salsa, guacamole and beans if they wanted the extras.

Pressing the dough into a flat tortilla.

While I was there cleaning up, Avery ran up to me panicked holding something very small pinched in fingers. At first I thought it was her earring and I was a little irritated- hoping she hadn’t lost the back of the earring… it wasn’t her earring it was her tooth! Avery lost her other front tooth- I have a toothless kid! I love it!

Love that smile!

I am so glad I was there for the fiesta and to be the first one to see Avery’s toothless, panicked smile.

chores

I got this idea off Pinterest and it’s one that worked! Sawyer was excited to sweep and get all the gunk into the box. He swept the entire floors, even under the dining room table. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?!?

luau

Luau!! We went to a luau right by our hotel. It was a lot of fun. We got there and had an hour of free time to walk around. There was a lot to do and check out; traditional Hawaiian games, crafts and hands on fun.

Sawyer playing a traditional hawaiian game. We all tried the game. Sawyer's spear bounced off the hay. Avery's spear made it into the hay but not into the target, while mine didn't make it all, it landed in the dirt. She was way closer than I was to the target!

Playing another traditional Hawaiian game. The point of the game was to throw the rock between the sticks. The kids had fun playing it.

Avery learning how to make a wreath out of palm tree leaves. She had to braid the leaves with a twist. After she was done, the guy put in a few flowers for her. She made a wreath to wear on her head and an anklet one.

I made a wreath too. It was fun!!

THis is the ceremony where they pulled the roasting pig out of the pit it's been in for hours and hours. As the guys walked in front of us with the pig Avery tells us, she wants to eat the snout! Where does she get this stuff from?!? We did enjoy some pulled pork for dinner, no snout to be seen.

Hula time! When they asked for the "keiki" to come on stage to learn a new dance you'd have thought there was an emergency. Avery was one of the first kids up there, and we were sitting in the back! She loved learning the dances and tried to make up her own using some ASL, hula moves and strange made up stuff. She made up the songs too...

At this point it was 11pm California time and we were exhausted! We’d all been able to nap at some point during the day, except for Avery. She’d been up for 20 hours, so we headed back to the hotel for much needed sleep!

1st grade!!

First day of first grade. She was so excited and looking forward to first grade. She did have a great year. There wasn't one morning that she complained about going to school.

Last day of first grade!! How can this be?!? So proud of Avery. She did great academically and lately I've gotten a lot of compliments on her Spanish- not that I have anything to do with her Spanish skills. She had a few difficult people that she learned how to deal with this year- that was a challenge! Overall a great year!

Avery was very excited about the last day of school! After school she kept saying, “It’s summer!! It’s really summer!!” Not sure what she thinks is going to happen this summer, but she’s looking forward to it!!

the beach

The cove. We could rent snorkel gear, kayaks and paddle boards for extra $, but the boogie boards and sand toys were free. The water was so awesome- about 82 degrees! I guess Sawyer hadn’t been into the water much here because he was surprised that the water was salty. YUCK!

The beach!

These floating pads were anchored down but had room to move around. Avery had fun doing cartwheels off the pads into the water.

sand toys

Hawaii- playing by the pool

We flew into Honolulu around 11:30 am, we rented a car and were poolside by 1pm. AH! Paradise!

Dancing with MIckey poolside. We got to the pool, kids took off their flip-flops and Mickey and I started to boogie. A great way to start our vacation!

Goofy led some fun games in the pool!!

Ready to swim!

Love that the kids swam and played together so much.

tricky

We took off to Hawaii for 8 glorious days!! The best part is that the kids had no idea we were even going on a trip. We packed on the sly and acted like there was nothing different going on…

We got the kids up way early and took off driving. We stopped in LA for breakfast- IHOP, one of Avery’s favorites. She thought we were going to Legoland, we wouldn’t give her an answer. When we got back in the car she asked if we were getting on an airplane since we were right by LAX. We still wouldn’t answer her. After we parked in lot C it was obvious we were getting on a plane, but she had no idea where we were going… It was great listening to her ideas of where we were going. Belgium, China, Boise and Hawaii were her ideas.

Here we are riding the bus to the airport. They still have no idea where we are going for the next 8 days!!

When we got off the bus at our terminal, Dan had to ask where to go and the guy said, “all Hawaii flights….” That’s when she knew where we were going. The look on her face was priceless! She looked at me and I said, “YEs!! We are going to Hawaii!” She was jumping up and down, so excited!

Life's too short to wear white socks. I only wear crazysox.