Thursday, July 30, 2015

Oahu Week 2

As we worked on getting settled into our house, we also made time to start exploring the island.  For our first beach day, our friends took us to Pililaau Army Recreation Center.  We got to enjoy a private beach area that is only for military ID card holders.  They also have an open air restaurant where we were able to enjoy lunch - as much as you can with 6 kids in tow!

Emma looks unhappy, but she was totally content just laying down on the sand.

So far the North Shore area is our favorite part of the island, but we still have A LOT left to explore.  We wanted to go to the town of Haleiwa for dinner one night and we ended up eating from Macky's shrimp truck.  After dinner, we drove a little further into town and decided to try to get some shave ice from Matsomoto.  It is very popular with tourists, but we were able to sneak in right before they closed. 

Dole Plantation is another very popular place for tourist and we are lucky enough to be just a few miles from it.  We visited it one weekday morning.  We got lunch from their cafe, rode the train through the plantation and finished the trip with some Dole whip.  I managed to get one little taste before the kids devoured it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aloha Oahu!

We made the long flight from Atlanta to Honolulu on June 17th.  I had a bag full of tricks and treats to keep the girls occupied but luckily we didn't need most of them.  We flew Delta and they had a great electronic entertainment system for each seat. Emma got restless at times, but Marlie was totally into the movies and games at her disposal.
We had two families that we're friends with greet us at the airport.  It was so nice to see friendly, familiar faces as soon as we arrived.  We spent the first two nights here at the Embassy Suites in Waikiki.  We were too exhausted to do much else other than eat dinner on the first night, but it was awesome to walk along the beach to the restaurant, Duke's. 
On our second day we had to go pick up our car from the port.  After lunch and naps, the girls were able to enjoy the hotel pool for a few hours.  We walked to the Steak Shack to pick up some dinner and let the girls get their first real Hawaiian shave ice. 
Friday was move in day for us!  We checked out of the hotel early that morning to drive to post to get the keys for our house.  Both sets of movers also came that day so while it was busy, we were thankful to get our stuff right away.  Our house is in a neighborhood of historic craftsman style houses.  Ours was built in 1914 and has so much charm and character. 
The girls and I ventured out with our friends one morning after Bryan started work.  We went to the nearby town of Waialua and visited their old sugar mill which is now Island X Hawaii.  They produce coffee and chocolate and sell a huge variety of local items. They also make all natural shave ice so of course we had to try that.  

On the same property as Island X Hawaii is the North Shore Soap Factory.  We were able to buy some soaps that are made there and then the kids could stamp the soaps.  Even though it was a short and low key trip, we all had a great time on our first local adventure.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Georgia Vacation

It's a little strange to say that we vacationed in our home state and town this summer, but that's pretty much what we did.  We flew from Kansas to Georgia for a few weeks to spend time with our family.  The weather was cool in Kansas when we left and the outdoor pools weren't open yet, so the first thing the girls wanted to do in Georgia was get in a pool!  We're thankful for friends who live just up the road from my parents and allowed the girls to come enjoy their pool while we were in town.

I got Marlie a summer Brainquest workbook but I wouldn't let her start it until the week after Memorial Day.  As soon as she got up that week, she went straight for the workbook.  I wish I could say that enthusiasm lasted, but now I have to encourage her to do a few sheets each day.

Bryan's mom invited us to go the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.  It was our first visit and the girls had a blast.  We spent many hours in there and the girls could have definitely stayed longer.  

Marlie has been asking for months to have her ears pierced.  I wanted to take her to an actual tattoo and piercing shop rather than somewhere that used a gun.  She agreed to wait until we could go to a shop in Athens (Midnight Iguana) that I felt comfortable with.  I wasn't sure how she would react being in a tattoo shop but they were great with her and she was a champ.  They used a needle on her ears (which is why I waited to go  there) and she barely flinched.  They gave her a certificate and she is the proud owner of two new holes in her ears!  

The small private school that Bryan & I attended celebrated their 45th birthday while we were home.  The birthday party was like a mini reunion for us since 5 of the 20 members of our graduating class were there.  We had so much fun hanging out together and stayed up WAY too late!  

There were a lot of tea parties held at my parents house while we stayed there!

We went to Helen, Georgia to enjoy a few days in the mountains.  We hiked up Anna Ruby Falls, went  tubing down the river, got to hang out with my aunt and cousin one evening and visited Babyland General Hospital.

One of my favorite things to do when we're home is spend time in Athens.  My sister and I set aside one full day to go hang out in the Classic City. We started the day with the biscuit brunch at The Pine.  They didn't have quite the biscuit combo I was hoping for so I was pleased when they agreed to make me a bacon, egg and pimento cheese biscuit.  It was so good and definitely hit the spot.  After brunch we walked through Half Moon Outfitters and then across the street to Condor Chocolates.  I couldn't pick just one thing that I wanted so I got a sipping chocolate to enjoy in the cafe and truffles and a brownie to take with me.  We made a quick stop in Five Point Bottle Shop before we headed towards downtown.  
We walked through Starlite Showroom, Community, Atomic Athens and a few other places downtown.  We decided to head over to check out happy hour at Seabear Oyster Bar.  The drinks were good and the oysters were huge! 

We spent a day on Lake Oconee and Emma was excited to drive Pop's "pirate ship"!

Our last full week in Georgia we actually went down to Florida for a few days.  We stayed in Atlantic Beach while my dad had a business conference down there.  We've been to Jacksonville but never over to Atlantic Beach.  It was a cute area and I would definitely like to go again. 

No trip down to Florida is complete without stopping at the UGA Barn Sign near Wrightsville!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Farewell, Fort Leavenworth

After almost 2.5 years, we bid farewell to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas last month.  Our household goods were actually picked up on the 30th of April, so that was actually the first and biggest step of our move. 

The next day Bryan and I went on a food truck date night in Kansas City.  We went back to Kansas City again on Saturday for a family adventure.  We went to City Market and had a hodgepodge lunch from all the little cafés there.  We visited the Steamboat Arabia Museum and then the Nelson Atkins Museum.  We had the perfect ending to our day with some artisanal ice cream. 

I was a little worried about how the girls would handle being in our house for so long without any of their stuff.  They did great.  It's amazing how kids' imaginations work when they really have nothing else to do.  You can't really tell, but in this picture they had created an "obstacle course" which was more like circuit workout stations.
Marlie and I went with our friends to watch the US Army's 2015 Soldier Show at Fort Leavenworth.  Once again, they put on a great show.

For our last date night in Kansas, Bryan and I had dinner at The Majestic in Kansas City.  One of my KC bucket list items was to listen to live jazz and we had not done that yet.  The main dining room of the restaurant was in the basement and we were able to listen to a jazz trio while we had dinner.  It was the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone.  

We visited Topeka for the first and only time on one of our last Saturdays.  We had lunch at a great little Indian restaurant in town and went to the Kansas Childrens Discovery Center for the afternoon.  

Lawrence is one of our favorite places in the area and we went there one last time after Emma's last morning of preschool.  We had lunch at The Burger Stand and walked around downtown enjoying many of the shops.  I wish we would have gone to Lawrence more during our first year or so in Kansas.

We sold our beloved BMW on our last morning at Fort Leavenworth.  It was the first new car for both Bryan and me.  We traveled all over Europe in it and many places in the states.  We brought Marlie home from the hospital in it too.  It's been such a great car and we will miss it.  Another soldier bought it though, so I'm sure it still has lots of adventures in its future.

After one last awesome night with our friends, we flew to Georgia on May 23rd.  We made some wonderful friends at Fort Leavenworth and had some great times there.  However, as Army life goes, it's time for a new location and old and new friends!