Thursday, December 4, 2014

Aloha and mahalo

We got back from our vacation in Hawaii late on Tuesday night, and as I right this post I am surrounded by piles and piles of boxes - talk about coming back to reality! We're moving to the new house this Saturday and it still feels surreal. And our vacation in Hawaii now also seems surreal. I am in a zone of real realness where only packing boxes and bubble wrap exist ;)

 So I figured I'd bring myself back to this past week before this crazy week gets the best of me, and share a few pictures and words about our adventures on the beautiful island of Maui. Although we take vacation often to go back to Europe and see family, it was our very first family vacation in about 5 years just going somewhere unknown and exploring. And damn it felt good!

We tried to find the right balance between keeping it low key for the girls and going on some adventures, because hubby and I just can't help it :) We stayed at a condo in Kihei (West part of Maui) and loved that - it was so much better than staying at a hotel! We had two bedrooms and a kitchen to make ourselves some food whenever we wanted. And it was just across the road from an amazing snorkeling beach. And it was also cheaper than a hotel. Win win win!

In case some of you plan on going to Maui with your little family in the future, here are some of our favorite things that we did while on Maui:

*Snorkeling: it was simply amazing! We saw tons of sea turtles and amazing tropical fish. I could have stayed in that water all day. Olivia went snorkeling for the first time and had such a great time - but hey, talk about setting the bar high when you see a sea turtle on your first snorkeling trip ;) Madeline didn't quite snorkel but she climbed on her daddy's back like a baby turtle and swam around with him and she was happy as a clam :) Our favorite beaches to snorkel with kids were Kamaole Beach Park II and Kapalua beach - no big waves and tons of things to see.

* Hiking Iao valley: Ok, I thought it would be more of a hike than it was, but it was still amazing and beautiful. 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of walking around with the kiddos in gorgeous nature. And probably for the best that it wasn't more than that because my calves still hurt for two days after we went....out of shape much? I think Santa is bringing me a gym membership for Christmas...

* Going to a Luau:We went to the one at the Hyatt - which is a really beautiful hotel! Not cheap, but kids under 5 don't pay so we all got in for the price of two adults so that was great! Drinks, a  buffet and a show. The girls still rave about the hula dancing they saw at the Luau, they even went on stage when they offered to teach a little bit of was a great night for all of us.

* The town of Paia, and Mama's Fish house: The little town of Paia is super cute, and the day we went there hubby surprised me by taking us to Mama's fish house. Probably one of the best restaurant experiences I've ever had. The setting is absolutely stunning - the restaurant overlook a private cove filled with palm trees- and the food is just amazing. Not cheap, but definitely worth it if you want to treat yourself to a delicious meal. I was in paradise :)

* Stopping for shaved ice: I know, you find shaved ice in other places, but in Hawaii there are shaved ice store at every street corner and we happily made it a daily routine to get shaved ice. And I loved trying all of the local flavors - Pineapple and mango of course, but also lilikoi (passion fruit) and Tiger's blood (strawberry & Coconut). Oh just for that I want to go back....

On our way back to the airport on Tuesday I made Troels stop at a fabric shop - I wanted to bring back some hawaii prints....fabric has got to be one of my favorite thing to bring back when I go to a foreign country. I can't wait to get my sewing machine set up in the new house so I can make something with that pretty fabric! Vacations like these are so addicting, and hopefully it won't be another 5 years before we decide to do it again :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We bought a house!!!!!!!

We bought a house! I still can't believe we are home owners.....sounds pretty grown-up, doesn't it? :) Our very first home....and in my heart, I call this home our forever home.....that's how much I love it! I hope we never have to let go of it.

Shopping the Berkeley housing market is no joke - so tough to get into! There are too many people wanting to live here and not enough houses coming on the market, so guess what.....bidding wars for every home! And we're not talking $10 or $20 over asking...waaaaaaaay more! And making making all cash offers on top of it. It's insane!

But that's all behind us now.....and we're starting a brand new chapter :) I wanted to wait until we closed to share the news with you all - I am so superstitious! But we  got the keys yesterday and I wanted to share some pictures...not a full tour because I haven't snapped too many pictures yet, but a little preview :)

The home is rather old, built in 1920 but has been well loved and cared for over the years, so we don't have to do too much before we move in - which is perfect since we want to be in there before the holidays :)

But oh, do we have dreams for this home, so many things we want to do - renovate part of the basement, add a project room for me and the girls in the front bedroom downstairs....and even maybe an addition on the second floor?! Who knows what will and won't happen, but it's good to dream, right? It's so weird, thinking that this is all ours and we don't have to ask anyone to change things!

The house has four bedroom (although like I said we want to turn one of them into an office), and an in-law unit so that our family from Europe can come and stay with us as much as they'd like!

So you'll ask, what's the one thing that made us fall in love with this home? The backyard. Hands down. It is a big lot filled with redwood trees, and we're still in the middle of Berkeley, It's like living in a cabin, but in the city. It's magical. And there is a creek that runs through the lot also, so guess what, to access our backyard we have to cross a bridge :) I can't wait for us to start making memories there.  I will share more about our dreams for this home soon...but for now, friends. I shall go to bed. It's been a looong, exciting, tiring week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crab fishing

OMG what a cold day that was! We invited the Sears, the Dreshers and Jon to come crab fishing with us. The weather was absolutely gorgeous in the Bay that day.....except for right on Bodega Bay - major major fog! Of course, we arrived early and thought the fog would soon lift. Ha. Nope. Stayed the ENTIRE day. 

Eliza was wearing a little summer dress, we were all freezing! Good thing we had a couple blankets and some cider that we ended up warming up. It was such a freazing-our-butts-fun day though :) The kids played on the beach, we laughed, the guys went on the boats to check on the boats and we ate so much crab! Awesome memories made.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

Olivia requested to be dressed as a pineapple, Madeline as a Dalmatian and Freia well, she had no request but I turned her into the cutest of strawberries :D And best of all, Madeline got daddy to dress up as Cruella De Ville. BEST. HALLOWEEN. EVER. Family costumes are way fun, we might try to coordinate a bit more next year ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Little basin 2014

Last weekend we went on our annual trip to Little Basin with friends, the usual gang :) It was heaven in a campground, lost in a sea of redwood trees. I wanted some fall and it delivered. The crisp air. The smell of the trees. I am not sure what it is about these big old trees, these wise souls. You look up, and you just feel so small and all of the suddenly, it's like everything is put in perspective.

It also helped that we had no cell reception at the campground, so all we did was to enjoy the company of our friends. Nowadays, it's not so common, you know? I mean, how often do you spend an entire day with friends without checking your text messages or emails at least once?!

We made memories for life, and that my friends, is much better than checking out my facebook page :) The entire weekend was all guitar playing around the camp fire, making s'mores, climbing trees, telling stories.  Aaaaand we may or may not have been drinking this fall sangria all weekend :) I made a big container of it before we left- soooooooo delicious! We also made eggs and bacon in muffin tins - love these, another camping tradition!

Tim spent hours telling story to the kids like he always does....Olivia was in his face on his laps the entire weekend. She was just sipping in every word of every story. The kids climbed as up as their could...which, I tell you, isn't the easiest with redwood trees ;)

Now all I want is to go on another camping trip, I could live in this redwood forest I swear :) If the sale goes through, we'll have a backyard filled with them....oh I can't wait to find out!