malta

“Two things to remember in life. Take care of your thoughts when you’re alone and your words when you’re with people.”

 

As I was going through pictures for this post I was reminded of all the fun we had in Malta. Unfortunately, I had not been remembering our few weeks here very favorably. The weather had been cold and windy and we had a couple unpleasant interactions that were clouding my memory. It’s interesting how the mind can gravitate towards the negative so easily. At least it’s something I need to be vigilante against.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YWe stayed the first few days in Sliema but easily took a ferry to Valleta. There were some fun festivities happening and we had a good time dancing with Indra. People were out and about in costumes and music was blaring. The city was incredibly beautiful and had recently been named Capital of Culture for 2018.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Really beautiful architecture everywhere you look.IMG_20180217_144909-COLLAGEIMG_20180217_160805-COLLAGEI was starting to indulge my pregnancy sweet tooth a little too much. Indra didn’t seem to mind. Somehow sharing made me feel a little less guilty.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180217182008641_COVER-COLLAGETraditional Maltese sweets. They looked amazing. In reality… they were so-so.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YIMG_5578Marsaxlokk Fish market. We did not buy fish but I bought a bag full of pastries and some cheap sunglasses. Indra got to run around so it was win-win.IMG_5583IMG_20180218_141536_1-PANOMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YBeautiful bays and countryside. In better weather it would be a great place to swim!PANO_20180218_152827IMG_5594IMG_5587-COLLAGEFamily selfies!IMG_5605-COLLAGENext we went to the coastal town Mellieha. I read it was a great place to vacation with families. We had wanted out of the Valleta area, it was really congested and we weren’t really interested in staying in a big city the entire time. I think Malta must really come to life in the summer. You can tell the beaches and water are beautiful, but it was still the off-season and everything just seemed a little dirty, empty and rundown. Oh well.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YIndra had no problem entertaining herself with all the new cultural experiences. I mean, she got to dig in a suitcase with views of the Mediterranean!IMG_5650-COLLAGEMust be about 21 weeks!IMG_5660Still digging.IMG_5674So even if the weather was a little cool, the landscape was incredible once the sun came out.IMG_20180220_104615-COLLAGENot so ugly. I think we took a wrong turn and just ended up seeing this view.PANO_20180221_140439PANO_20180221_140820PANO_20180221_144625The best part of this trip was just getting to spend time together as a threesome. Ezra would take off time in the mornings, when he could, and we’d go for a drive or a walk. It made everything all worthwhile – to have this time together.IMG_5691Stopping to smell the flowers. No, really. I mean like every. single. flower.IMG_5696Spending some time at this golden beach.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YThese two just make my heart swell.IMG_5713IMG_5717IMG_5720-COLLAGEKnowing we were coming to Malta, I scheduled my 20 week ultrasound, even though I was closer to 22 weeks. We went to this little hospital and got lost along the way. Ezra let me out of the car and I ran the last couple blocks trying to find it. It was such a strange experience – all the nurses wore old-school uniforms, and I was told to wait in random lines, and the ultrasound machine seemed ancient. Indra freaked out when she saw me lying on the table and Ezra had to take her out of the room because she wouldn’t calm down. But as soon as I saw the baby on the monitor for the first time, I was just overcome with feelings of love. I felt protective and the baby seemed so real.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YIMG_5729Post ultrasound celebration in the car.IMG_5732Stopping to smell flowers again.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YChecking out Mdina, the former walled-capital. IMG_20180224_110913-COLLAGEOverlooking the countryside while trying some traditional foods. Like Pastizzi and maybe some pizza and warm milk. Those last two are local right? Hey, I’m sure they’ve got cows somewhere.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YAfter our time in Mdina we took a ferry over to Gozo. We walked down to the water and met some farmers that gifted Indra with oranges. IMG_20180224_152417Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YSalt pans near our apartment.MVIMG_20180225_142651-COLLAGESo Gozo was great! It also happened to be cold. Our apartment was so cold that we had to sleep with about seven blankets and wore winter hats to bed. There was a gas heater, but it came with instructions not to sleep with because of the fumes. So that sort of put a damper on our experience and were feeling a little rundown from the chill all day.IMG_5734I’ve only seen a few episodes of Game of Thrones but there were scenes shot in Gozo. So we headed over to check out the Azure window, which actually collapsed, but it was stunning coastline nonetheless. Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YBut first, here’s Indra heading toward the flowers.00000IMG_00000_BURST20180225154730426_COVER-COLLAGEIMG_20180225_154223-COLLAGEMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YIndra trying to figure out the fetoscope. She did not have much luck.IMG_5753Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YIMG_20180227_155501-COLLAGEWe were having a pretty good time in Gozo but we had some decisions to make. Did we want to stay in Malta longer? We didn’t really want to. So what was next?MVIMG_20180228_111017-COLLAGEMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-YWe headed back to the Valleta area for a few more days. We were really trying to figure out what was next. We played with the idea of going home, but we didn’t really want that. I was tired of all the moving around and was feeling bad for Indra so we headed out and bought some toys. Something I should have done much sooner. Here she is blissed out.IMG_5797Her new teddy that she picked out. She saw it and just grabbed for it. I’ve never seen her more excited.IMG_5800Helping me cook.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

At this point in the trip I was struggling a bit. I really was wanting to nest and find a home. But we had return flights and the cost to bump them up just didn’t seem worth it. We played around with crazy ideas of just hanging out in Florida for a few weeks or going to Bermuda. None of which made any sense. So instead we booked tickets to Cyprus and hoped for warmer weather. I wasn’t wanting sightseeing, I was wanting some relaxed time as a family.

Our last night before we head out.

 I am really glad we came. I’m not sure if I’d ever feel the need to go back, but it was an experience. I think I’ve just learned that traveling while pregnant and with a toddler has its challenges. But still worthy ones.More beautiful architecture.

My little bear cub.

 

 

 

lisbon

“Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” -Brené Brown

We were on our way to Malta, but because there were no direct flights, we decided to turn a layover into a few days. Neither of us had been to Lisbon before and were pretty excited. It was a bit chilly and drizzly, but that didn’t stop us from getting out and exploring the old part of town, Alfama, which was where we were staying. IMG_5403IMG_5408IMG_5424Unfortunately, after viewing this pretty church we decided to get groceries. On our way home it was dark and we were hurrying and the sidewalks were mangled and well, I stumbled, crashed on my hands and knees, groceries flew everywhere and I sat on the middle of the sidewalk and ugly cried. I had a pretty bad gash in my palm and pain in my knee. I was actually a little nervous that I tore something. Luckily, this part of town is made up primarily of staircase after staircase. I hobbled along trying not to cry, while listening to Indra wail because she was so concerned. After some ice and rest that night, I thought I could venture out the next day. I was grateful I hadn’t landed on my belly.IMG_5430Walking around the Comércio Plaza. Doing cool stuff like chasing birds and picking up rocks… when in Lisbon! Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMVIMG_20180212_103823-COLLAGEMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veBeautiful tiles everywhere.MVIMG_20180212_101732-COLLAGEAfter limping around all morning, my knee had had enough. So besides a few smaller outings I decided to put my leg up and just rest. Luckily, I had this sweet babe to cuddle with. We didn’t do much on Valentine’s day but I was with the ones I love. And Ezra had been taking such good care of me.IMG_5448Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-verI struggle with feelings of guilt when Ezra goes out to explore and I, either don’t want to, or in this instance, can’t. Thankfully, he went to visit a castle that I wasn’t all that interested in. This is my blog so really I shouldn’t even post any of his pictures. It’s sort of like the age-old-question of “If a tree falls in the woods… did it really happen?” A similar pondering “If I didn’t visit the castle, does it really exist/matter?” Hmmm…Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veIMG_20180214_101925PANO_20180214_103129PANO_20180214_104335It looks horribly ugly anyway!Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veLisbon was a tiny bit of a bust, but that’s ok. You can’t win them all. We’d actually really like to come back to Portugal when it’s warmer and drive around taking our time. So c’est la vie.

Indra training for the subway olympics.

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azores

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Proust”

For the most part I agree with this quote, but with all due respect to Mr. Proust, sometimes, you go someplace so beautiful, and it kind of is all about the landscape. Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veAfter a month in the Canary Islands, we decided to go explore. Ezra came up with seeing the Azores. I knew very little about these islands, but was excited to see them – and what a gem they were! This post has way too many pictures, but really, like I said, it really was all about the landscape.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veWe landed on the island of São Miguel and decided to stay in the capital of Ponte Delgada for about a week. With the time difference Ezra often started work in the early afternoon. So the mornings were spent exploring. During the rest of the day Indra and I did our usual. Which means we looked for playgrounds and parks and shopped for groceries. Only the setting was significantly more beautiful than what we were used to.MVIMG_20180128_161304-COLLAGEOur first outing was to Vila Franca do Campo. I don’t really remember why we picked here, but it was a quaint little town. I’m not sure how many people visit the Azores, but it can’t be many. We had a difficult time finding a good guidebook, so we piecemealed this trip together through little snippets online and blogs. Anyway, the most important find in this town was a bakery that was known for their queijadas – which are basically little custard cakes. And they’re damn delicious.IMG_4910Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve

Besides the landscape, the people here are also quite incredible. They were so welcoming and kind. When was the last time you walked into a bakery, had your child stolen away, passed around and given a private tour? Indra was a little unsure of all the attention.IMG_4911-COLLAGEGorgeous countryside and rows of tea.PANO_20180129_115734-COLLAGEPANO_20180131_123156View from our rental. Not too shabby.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve

Almost no one else was around at Lagoa do Fogo. We took a little walk down to the caldera before huffing it back up. At least I was huffing with all the new weight.PANO_20180201_110257PANO_20180201_110954IMG_20180201_113210MVIMG_20180201_113642-COLLAGEThere was the most amazing park by our apartment, but the pictures I took turned out really poorly. Here Indra is harassing a cat. This was after she harassed a duck for quite some time.IMG_4982Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veOn to the town of Furnas which was known for its hotsprings and thermal baths. IMG_5018It was also known for another incredible park called Parque Terra Nostra, where we whiled away quite a few hours.IMG_5057And where we took way too many pictures….IMG_20180203_134122-COLLAGEIMG_5069Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-vePANO_20180203_145205IMG_20180203_164926-COLLAGEHot springs at Furnas lake.IMG_5107IMG_20180203_165016-COLLAGEJust some more landscape porn.PANO_20180204_123806IMG_20180204_124207IMG_5170IMG_5174After a week we headed to the island of Pico. Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veWe had gorgeous sunsets every night looking at the island of Faial.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veView from our apartment. I also think its worth mentioning how every host in the Azores left you local treats. Special breads, cheese, jam and a bottle of wine. The hospitality was really quite extraordinary.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veAbout 19 weeks.IMG_5178PANO_20180205_103716Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-vePico is known for a few things. But probably the most memorable are Mt. Pico which is the highest peak in Portugal. And also these incredibly strange vineyards. These are walls made of lava to protect the vines from the wind and salt. They’re actually a Unesco world heritage sight. I’ve never seen anything like it.PANO_20180205_105551MVIMG_20180205_102908-COLLAGEEz must have been on a call, so we’d be up top kicking a ball, drying laundry or watching the ferry go back-and-forth between the islands.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veWhen we were inside, Indra could usually be found near this bag which housed her toys.IMG_5203None other than Mt. Pico making an appearance.IMG_5207-COLLAGEPANO_20180208_110931MVIMG_20180208_114748-COLLAGEMVIMG_20180208_115350-PANOCall me strange, but I found this little house charming. It’s sort of what I want some day – maybe a little more modern, but someplace small, in a beautiful setting and quiet.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-vePANO_20180208_122837Practicing her midwifery skills. I just recently heard the heartbeat for the first time! At about 19.5 weeks, so exciting!!IMG_5232Now off to Faial for one full day before our flight. Finally getting to ride the ferry we’d been watching all week.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veBut hoping we don’t end up like that boat in the background!IMG_20180210_081146_1Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veArriving in to Horta and excited to explore!Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMt. Pico from the other side.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veNeeding a little caffeine and sustenance after a super early morning.Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veMore calderas and tunnels that look like hobbit holes.PANO_20180210_112059IMG_5241Trying to get a sweet picture. These turned out pretty good I’d say!IMG_5254-COLLAGEMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veSee, gorgeous landscapes everywhere!Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-vePANO_20180210_130848It just keeps getting better.IMG_5265MVIMG_20180210_135638-COLLAGEEven though we were only on Faial one day, it really stood out. We made the most of it and I was feeling sad we would be leaving the following morning. I will always treasure our time here. We were so inspired, it had been awhile since we had that zest for exploring again. We were talking a lot about our future and excited for what it held. And I will treasure our mornings together as a family.IMG_5273-COLLAGEThese two bring me such feelings of bittersweet joy. I will always remember this moment. I was already missing it as I watched them together. IMG_5290-COLLAGEIMG_530400000IMG_00000_BURST20180210171422551_COVERMaker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veEnjoying the harbor and reminiscing about our sailing days… and how we were so over it! But it was still fun to look out over the water with my beautiful daughter. Until next time Azores, I dearly hope there’s a next time.MVIMG_20180210_172240-COLLAGE

tenerife

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Dweck

IMG_4529After the rough start to our trip we cruised on over to the island of Tenerife and things started to seem brighter. We had decided to stay in San Andrés which was on the north side of the island. It was a quaint little fishing village and while the weather was cooler here, it was away from the package tourists and had a beautiful beach. This was the view from our apartment. Not so bad, eh?MVIMG_20180114_111837During the week we stayed around our home base but on the weekends we explored. We thought about moving over to Puerto de la Cruz, but it didn’t really feel like our speed. We enjoyed wandering around nonetheless and hit up a little playground. Indra was just starting to get interested and confident in her play yard abilities.IMG_20180114_160930IMG_4564-COLLAGEIMG_20180114_183145During the week we had our routine, sort of like at home. We started with listening to music and dancing, followed by copious amounts of oatmeal. The only difference really was getting to run around this beautiful beach.IMG_4603I just can’t handle the cuteness!IMG_4608-COLLAGEIMG_4653IMG_4595-COLLAGEAfter the beach sometimes we wandered around town to get groceries, but because the town was pretty small, this errand was usually a short activity.MVIMG_20180118_113213MVIMG_20180118_113253IMG_4707Otherwise we did really interesting things like peeking in mirrors, jumping inside suitcases and running up and down the hall. There was also a teeny tiny park that we would go swing at and while away the hours, especially when we were frequently kicked out for Ezra’s conference calls. Sometimes this meant just going and hanging out in the car if it was late or windy.IMG_4675-COLLAGE

Another weekend exploring the Anaga mountains – we went for a super strenuous hike. Kidding – it was on a boardwalk, we have a toddler and I’m pregnant.IMG_20180120_17550900100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180120180137218_COVERIMG_4838

I must be about 17 weeks here.IMG_4733We went to El Teide and had fun driving through the pretty impressive landscape. It was super windy so we let Indra sit in the car while we would take turns getting out to snap pictures or climb to vantage points.IMG_4741IMG_4741-COLLAGEWe had lots of memorable drives that afforded incredible views. As we worked our way further south and the weather warmed, I was kind of wanting to move locations. And actually, I sort of felt like being around other tourists and maybe just kick back a little. Traveling with a toddler was making me want to do things that were just fun and easy. Like being around more kids, speaking English with all the Brits, and actually having a supermarket.IMG_4812IMG_20180121_173853Because it was busy season and we were on a budget it was hard to find someplace to stay. We ended up in this little town called El Médano that was super great for windsurfers because of (you guessed it) all the wind. But this wind did not make for a very enjoyable experience if you wanted to do something like just walk around town. There was one day we had to get out of the apartment for Ezra’s calls and it was waaay too windy to walk around or go to the beach. So we went to the car. The gusts were so strong it felt like a hurricane was rolling in. Indra was crying because sand was whipping in her eyes, I could hardly see, people were walking sideways and being pushed into things. Once safely inside our little sand-covered auto, it started rocking. So, maybe not ideal. Plus it had the feel of a soviet bloc town – sort of a bummer. Ezra drove us to the super touristy part one day and Indra and I happily walked from beach to beach and ate ice cream.

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El Médano, an awesome place if you’re into windsurfing, flying kites or concrete buildings.

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It wasn’t all bad though, the apartment was spacious and cute. Indra had a great time taking baths, lounging and eating. We found a great little shop with lots of stickers.IMG_4855-COLLAGE

If we ever come back, this is the town I’d like to stay in, Los Gigantes. So basically this was just a scouting trip. Haha.MVIMG_20180127_124857-COLLAGEIMG_4885PANO_20180127_13311900100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180127143233317_COVER

We ended our exploring in a beautiful town called La Laguna. After a month in the Canary Islands we decided to move on. Originally we had hoped to find a place we loved and to stay put. We had been hoping for something a bit warmer and more relaxing. With the restraints for Ezra’s job, we couldn’t go to the smaller islands that might give us more of what we wanted. So we decided to just leave and go explore. All-in-all, a successful first month traveling with a toddler. Sure we made some mistakes, but I would definitely come back to the Canary Islands. MVIMG_20180127_164909IMG_20180127_165721IMG_20180127_171711MVIMG_20180127_182053

gran canaria

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale through the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – LR Knost

Ezra and I are always concocting plans. That’s just sort of who we are. We had some other schemes in the mix and then some of the awful heartbreaking stuff happened when Laurie passed away. Moving to Iowa to be with Dave was healing. It was just right. But Ezra and I, well we are who we are. With winter coming and now a new pregnancy, we just sort of needed a little bit of a change. I was feeling a little lonely and sad and wanted a little more joy in my life while I was nurturing this little babe in my belly.

There was a list of places we would have loved to go, but you know, zika. All I really wanted was nice weather, family time and a slow pace. We always talk about moving back to Hawaii and we decided that’s where we should go. But… because Ezra had some specific work-related must-haves (silly things like reliable internet and a workspace – so high-maintenance!), and we were trying to save money, and we were looking during the busy season, and it was like a few weeks out… was it surprising there was pretty much nothing available in the price range we were willing to spend. So that plan was very reluctantly scratched and we quickly rushed getting a passport for Indra and decided on Europe. Literally this trip was about someplace warm and not super expensive. So off to the Canary Islands we go.

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Running Indra at the airport.IMG_4287This was the most miserable flight of my life. Poor Indra got the flu a couple days earlier and must have passed it to me. I’d gotten little sleep the past couple nights taking care of her and was pretty rundown. Mid-flight I didn’t feel right and puked, and then puked some more. I’d like to mention I was also siting in the middle seat at this point, next to some unlucky person. It was my worst nightmare realized. I’m sure theirs too. We still had hours left before landing in London. I just remember wanting a mint or piece of gum for hours.MVIMG_20171231_214059After a jet-lagged, sleep-deprived night in England we boarded another plane for Spain, and from above the island of Gran Canaria looks pretty dang nice.MVIMG_20180102_141344MVIMG_20180102_142348We started in Las Palmas because we knew there were some co-working spaces for Ezra to try out. He needed to make sure the transition was smooth. He’s worked in enough countries to know that he’ll need multiple SIM cards, plus his Google phone and his iPhone, and still there will be connectivity problems. But first we hit the beach and wandered around to get a feel for the town. MVIMG_20180102_165543IMG_20180102_171526IMG_4293IMG_4307These pictures are beautiful and it looks like an amazing time, right? But to be perfectly honest, these first two weeks were hard. I was as sick as a dog and pregnant and with a sick toddler. We were staying in an apartment about the size of a shoebox and we were in a city which had not been my idea of relaxing. I couldn’t help but feel down and Ezra had to keep reminding me that we were only staying here until we found someplace better. I was so happy when the weekends came, sick or not – we were together and did a little exploring around the island.IMG_4342MVIMG_20180106_162055IMG_4355Ez was pretty amazing and would take Indra out in the mornings so I could get a little more sleep. I still had a nasty cough but was starting to feel a little better.IMG_4356We visited a cute little port town and wandered around.00000IMG_00000_BURST20180107133045020_COVERBouganvillea for days.IMG_4385-COLLAGEGiving Indra a little green juice before letting her try pizza. I’d had her on a mostly allergen-free diet, but loosened the reins before leaving, knowing I wasn’t up for the challenge while traveling. She actually did like the juice despite this drunken expression.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107143924476_COVERHowever, she got her first taste of pizza and was like eff that juice!IMG_4409-COLLAGEStill eating pizza while strolling around and fighting sleep.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107154327528_COVERPANO_20180107_154700This must be a famous windmill because it’s on the cover of The Lonely Planet. What’s the significance? How the hell do I know? I just snapped a picture as we drove by.IMG_4450Other things of note, Ezra introduced Indra to baguettes with butter. All of a sudden all she wants to eat is pizza and white foods. She’s in a pure sugar-induced ecstasy.IMG_4482Still sick and tired, but so dang sweet. She looks skinny, but refer to above pictures with pizza and bread in hand. She’s just fine.
IMG_4501Gran Canaria was okay. I didn’t love it, but that’s just par for the course. In a better apartment, in a more relaxing town, and in better health I’m sure it would have been great. We’re on the ferry heading off to Tenerife and excited for what lies ahead. Regardless of these first two weeks, I was so glad our little family was off exploring!IMG_4504

 

 

 

 

end of year

“Whatever happened over this past year, be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you’re meant to be.”

The month of December tends to be one of my favorites. I always love the anticipation of all the activities. But sometimes all that running around can make you feel like this.
IMG_3651We went up to Minnesota for a few days so that we could take Indra on the Polar Express again. But we decided to also hit up the outlet malls with Nana, because why not. That kid went straight for the purple shoes… she definitely does not take after me.IMG_3654-COLLAGESecond annual Polar Express. We barely made it in time. As you can see, Indra is not fully dressed.IMG_3705Indra might have been okay if we missed it. Santa is so not her jam. To be fair, we don’t talk about Santa and he is just kind of a creepy old man who chats with kids. She was like “thanks but no thanks.” She did enjoy looking at the elves and the workshop.IMG_3730-COLLAGECuddling with Nana.IMG_3780This is perhaps the worst passport photo in the history of bad photos. The guy at Walgreens was so not interested in snapping a few more pictures so my kid looked cute while traveling. Then he photoshopped her head. This child has so little hair to begin with, why did he feel the need to chop off the rest? Thankfully kid passports are only good for a few years, right? So embarrassing. IMG_3791Just playing with lights and electricity so my mom can get a cute picture! But she’s pretty dang cute, right.IMG_3796Just the day-to-day grind. Study, exercising and cleaning.IMG_3805-COLLAGEBeing pregnant was making me a little emotional. I was trying to appreciate these moments with Indra… and snap grainy selfies of her being a little sweetheart.IMG_3820Just sitting in a bin of beans and making the world’s biggest mess. Whoever invented sensory bins, was a genius.IMG_3846-COLLAGEDave had been out in New Mexico visiting his dad. He came home late at night after Indra was in bed. In the morning she was so happy to see him. She was shy but became his little shadow. I had never seen her act this way before. It was so precious watching her and Dave just hold each other. Ezra and I hadn’t realized all the feeling she must be having.IMG_3870-COLLAGEWe took a walk with Dave out to the lake. We shared our exciting news about the baby on the way. Dave was so happy for us and it felt good to get it out in the open. Ezra had been buying me non-alcoholic beer so I could pretend to drink when people were around. I thought for sure that Dave was on to us, but he said he had no idea.IMG_3888Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veIMG_3879-COLLAGEIndra and I had started decorating the tree, but now that Dave was home we made a night of it and put on the ornaments.IMG_3913IMG_3920IMG_3923IMG_3934Because we were (relatively) close to my sister, we made a trip out to Illinois. While they were all at work or school, Indra and I hit up the bookstore. I watched her run from one stuffed animal to the next and drag these giant bears all around.IMG_3947We had been trying to get her to like her crib, but to no avail. We thought, maybe if Beckett got in the pack-and-play with her and showed her how fun it was, it might translate back to the crib. Wow, was I wrong.IMG_3958IMG_3962Just going on a nature safari and looking at your average Illinois animals; such as hyenas and camels.IMG_3980-COLLAGEAfter a great trip to Illinois it was time to get serious about this holiday spirit. I made what I thought were my grandma’s Mexican wedding cookies. Only to be told later she made Russian tea cakes. Spoiler alert: they’re the same thing. After free-styling the recipe gluten and dairy-free (along with placing the cookies way too close together) we ended up with this…IMG_4085-COLLAGEForcing some crib time. I mean why wouldn’t you like this baby cage? It looks so comfortable.IMG_4087Back to cleaning.IMG_4095 Before heading up to Minnesota we decided to celebrate Christmas together. Our Christmas tradition for a number of years has been making fettuccini. We had our little family’s night together eating pasta and introducing Indra to the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie.IMG_4097Looking a little rough this morning. I had been so tired the night before I didn’t put up her teepee, so I quick scurried downstairs to get to it!00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20171223090700453_COVERAnd it was a success.IMG_4118-COLLAGEAbout 12 weeks pregnant and ready to share the news.IMG_4129Butt first this. IMG_4132We broke the news by adding an extra stocking to the mantle. Everyone was so happy to join in on our excitement… and I was thrilled that I could stop pretending to drink.

Christmas Eve! IMG_4138IMG_0115Opening presents. Some were hers…IMG_4156and some were not. Being such a good helper.IMG_4168Doesn’t get much better than this as a kid!IMG_4171-COLLAGEIMG_4189-COLLAGEChristmas morning!!IMG_4195
IMG_4202All the gift opening and eating really wears you out.IMG_4208Next, onto the Bjorholm/Eash family Christmas where we broke the baby news again.IMG_4212Loves her auntie!IMG_4227-COLLAGESoren’s masterpiece.IMG_4246Last stop was a whirlwind trip down to Des Moines for some celebrating with Laurie’s side. We made the trip down and back in one day. But it was well worth it. And then the holidays were over. The best part is always getting to be with family, and eating my mom’s monkey bread on Christmas morning of course.
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late fall

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” – Lewis

 

Surprise!

IMG_3363 Ever since we got back from Hawaii I was feeling so tired. In the months prior I had been feeling uncertain about trying, so we just decided to not not try. As with Indra, we only needed the one time! I was beginning to suspect I was pregnant because of the fatigue and on Halloween I was riding in the backseat and felt a little “off.” I don’t know that I’d call it nausea, but I just didn’t feel quite right. I waited a couple more days then went and bought a test. Indra was with me in the bathroom and when it turned positive we jumped up and down together! It was so fun getting to surprise Ez when he got home from work! We were all so happy. Here I am at about 5 weeks.IMG_3355-COLLAGEJust capturing some of the day-to-day things. Dave is always so good playing and reading with Indra.IMG_4202All of a sudden, everything was changing. It was so great but also I started realizing how quickly it all goes. IMG_3380Indra discovered Ezra’s scotch. Between that and her pants from Nana, she looks a little like a party girl!IMG_3389Waking up to look at the deer outside. Crazy hair and all.IMG_3398Just busy doing some work.IMG_3409-COLLAGERunning around (and away from mom) Bop’s yard. She always heads straight for the tree swing.IMG_3420-COLLAGEIMG_3452We forgot to get a picture all dressed up on Thanksgiving. So this casual one will have to do. IMG_3467Just hanging with her faves on Thanksgiving weekend.IMG_0041-COLLAGEDave spent a great deal of time looking for the perfect location for Laurie’s bench. He wanted a place she loved, where we felt like we were visiting and honoring her. She loved this trail amongst the pines. We were altogether so it was the perfect opportunity to set the bench and spread more of her ashes.IMG_3484-COLLAGEIMG_3533It was sad being in the house for all the firsts without Laurie. To try to keep the mood festive we went to the tree farm and picked one out. Years ago we did this with her on a cold snowy day. This year it was warm and sunny and didn’t feel at all like Christmas was around the corner.IMG_3595-COLLAGEIMG_3632            Eight weeks and feeling like I’m already popping! IMG_3643

all hallows’ eve

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”

Getting back from a nice warm vacation I was not excited for fall. I wish I was one of those people who loved Autumn and waxed poetically about fallen leaves and cool nights. Instead I’m always like blah, yuck, bah hambug! Even a holiday centered around eating candy is not enough for me.

Moving on… we met some of our friends out at a library with the kiddos all dressed up. Indra was super into monkeys at this time so, hence, I made a monkey suit. Soon after she quickly forgot all about making monkey calls and that she was ever interested in the furry creatures. Toddlers.
IMG_3002A little pre-trick-or-treating at Nana and Papa’s.
IMG_3024IMG_4101I was feeling pretty exhausted after our flight home. It took Indra awhile to stop going to bed after midnight and I was trying to get some motivation to work on some personal goals. I was hoping I might attain it through osmosis. Kidding, this book was really good and I did actually stick with the habit, at least for a few weeks.IMG_3095 Like I said earlier – so not interested in Halloween. I was seriously tempted to just forget it. But then the 31st came and I felt guilty, so I looked up a pumpkin farm and we all piled in the car. It was also a freezing day. I know, I have just the right attitude, but I am glad we went. Indra had a lot of fun and was so cute.

IMG_3100IMG_3967IMG_3988IMG_3115Pumpkins pumpkins everywhere… and an occasional goat.IMG_4001IMG_3207IMG_3208IMG_4040IMG_3132I hadn’t quite figured out what to do with a toddler on Halloween and I was not ready for her to have candy. So we went back home and carved the pumpkin. Indra had such a great time watching Ezra carve while she stirred the guts. She took the task pretty seriously.

IMG_4059-COLLAGEAnd just like that, we celebrated Indra’s second Halloween. IMG_3200

hawai’i

“The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

For me, Hawai’i always brings a wistful feeling. I don’t often look to the past through rose-colored glasses, but its hard not to remember my years there without longing. When I moved away from home, it was here where I started to find home within myself. Hawai’i is where I started discovering my true nature. I was not who I thought I was. It ended up being so much more than just going off to college. In many ways it felt like a spiritual awakening. I was closed-off and sheltered in my emotional and world views. It was here that I began to open, and was challenged and shaken to my core in some startling ways. I realized how little I knew.

The Mana of the islands is undeniable. I’ve always been drawn to them as are many others. When I was in elementary school my family planned a trip to Hawai’i. This was special for us, not something we did. I was so excited, every night I went to bed dreaming about it. When people ask me how I decided on my school, I don’t know how to answer, or how I ended up here. I don’t remember making the decision. Somehow I got a flyer in the mail and that just started the inevitable. My mom said she saw the look in my eye and knew I was going.

I have such a sense of nostalgia, so many wonderful memories, and admittedly some I try to forget – it was college after all.  This is the time frame that Ezra and I met and fell in love. We would talk for hours and hours on the phone. We racked up quite a lot of minutes on our phone cards Hawai’i —> Japan. I’ll always remember his first of many visits – he talked so much about his mom, whom I still had never met. He talked about her so lovingly and said how much she would love Hawai’i, love the flowers! It’s sad that she never got to see it, that instead we are here spreading her ashes.

Dave and Laurie had planned to celebrate their anniversary on this trip. Instead Dave decided to take all of us. With so much history here, I had some mixed feelings to be back. On one hand it’s perhaps the place I love most in the world, but on the other we were here without Laurie.

After an adventurous flight, and almost getting stuck in San Francisco, it was literally a miracle that we all arrived to Kauai that same night. But we arrived just in time to get the kids to bed and have a drink.

This was the first flight we’d been on together.

We spent the majority of the trip in Kauai, on Anini beach. Dave rented a house for us right across from the ocean – it was an incredible location. Because Indra was still so little, and naps tended to rule our schedule, we took it slow. We couldn’t do all the activities, but we were fine with that. It was nice to just hang around in such a beautiful setting. I could have just stayed at the beach all week relaxing.

Indra’s first time touching Mother Ocean.

Now, this is how you vacation!


Indra loved the beach, she was so excited. Walking this way…Now going that way…So grateful we could all be together.Just a girl and her Bop.

Waking up at dawn may not be my preference, but we had some magical mornings together. Just the two of us, on the beach, watching the sun rise. When I look back on Indra’s childhood, these will be some of my favorite memories.

At the slightly underwhelming Waimea canyon.                    

I love this picture, but please ignore all the cleavage.

An hour on the beach by myself. What a treat!

Introducing Indra to tropical fruits.Nursing a naked, salty babe. Doesn’t get much sweeter.

At the luau.

Just napping at the beach like a local.

More gorgeous sunrises with this beach babe.

            Now on to Oahu for a couple days. Love the photobomb Soren!I hadn’t been to Hanauma Bay in years, we had hours of fun!

Just happened to nurse Indra on this bench donated by Obama to “Mothers Everywhere.”

It was a little late in the day to properly experience Lanikai, but I was happy to visit a beach that was special to me. It was strange to be back on Oahu for such a short time. I was sad not to have more time to visit my favorite spots. But honestly, it was more than that, I wanted to stay. So did Ezra. We were talking about coming back over the winter, and we regularly scheme about buying property. Hawai’i is the place I’ve felt the most like myself.

Indra had her first taste of sugar on this trip. Sampling the dragonfruit sorbet. But I think she prefers coconut snow cones.

On the North Shore watching the waves on our last full day before heading home.

Inventive baby cage.

I hold out hope of living here again. We dream of raising our kids on the island – someplace where life is slower and more simple. Where you walk outside barefoot and most of your clothes are bathing suits and sarongs. But obviously its more than that. The values we hold dear are of importance here too. If only we could talk the whole family into moving, then the plan would be perfect.

 

Family Photos

“There’s only one thing more important than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” – Leo Christopher

 

The past year had flown by as a family of three and we were starting to think about another baby. It had been the most transformative year of my life and I was feeling the fleeting nature of these days. I had never hired a professional photographer, but wanted to catch some of these magical days before they were gone. I love these images and how beautiful they turned out!