officially 6 months

i am finding it hard to believe that it has been 6 WHOLE MONTHS since we packed it all up in colorado and arrived here on the big island of hawaii.  even though a lot has happened since we got here, i definitely doesn't seem like 6 months.  many of you who have been following along have heard me say more than once that it has been a much bigger challenge than we anticipated.  i do feel like we had realistic expectations when we arrived.  however, i also feel that you can't truly realize how it will affect you until you actually do it.  

there's been a mix of tears and laughter, amazement and frustrations since we got here.  it's been quite a ride.  there have been days where i've truly doubted every bit of what we have done but, thankfully, more days where i am unbelievably thankful we are getting this opportunity in life.  let's see...the tougher things have been....

leaving our family behind.  channing and my mom have such an amazing relationship and i think about it all the time...how i was so fortunate to grow up spending lots of time with both sets of grandparents and right now, channing doesn't get to do that.  most days my heart truly aches for her to be able to have that again. 

we've gone from living in an affordable city, on two incomes to an island where the cost of living is extremely high and living on one income.  budget budget budget.  food is expensive, gas is expensive, our mortgage is more expensive.  you get the idea.  

there were many moments, back in july/august/september where i literally wanted to pack up my bags and head back home.  due to the heat and humidity.  talk about a HUGE difference from colorado.  i just didn't think i was going to make it.  and i was oh so grumpy.  it didn't help that the condo we were living in was so darned hot and stuffy.  there wasn't any air circulation and it was on a second floor with direct sun hitting it most of the day. 

it's been stressful for luc to make the change from being his own boss, since he was 16 years old, to working for someone.  it's been a big big change for him and not one that has been easy.  also, island time is a true and real thing over here.  everything goes at a slower pace and that's not always a great thing when you are trying to make things happen. 

i miss the conveniences, and amount of things to do and places to go, from back home.  we were so used to having restaurants, movie theaters, stores, hiking and camping right at our finger tips.  we have to drive to get anywhere now.  i miss walking to shops and good spots to eat.  we now have a 40 minute drive to kona...which has target, home depot, lowes, walmart, costco, a movie theater and pier one.  thankfully we have access to those things even though the drive is further than we are used to.  but, no pizza delivery if you happen to not be in the mood to cook dinner.  it's been a big adjustment having to plan out trips to drive places...like to the library, which is now 30 minutes away, versus the quick walk to the library that was only a few blocks away back home. 

the "aloha spirit" is not always alive and well over here.  it's actually the tourists who are the rudest.  i am not certain if some people are just like that in their every day lives or if they feel like being on vacation gives them a free pass to be unkind.  but, we've run into quite a few frustrating moments with those who are visiting the island.  that's one thing i did not expect.  

we are starting to look into preschool for channing and the options are very very slim.  this, is a big struggle for me.  what is available, is quite expensive.  i am currently have a big struggle with this subject.  more on that later...

now...all of that being said.  it is pretty amazing here.  we are in our own home now and, even though we are still under major renovation (we still don't have any type of kitchen) it feels SO GOOD to be in our own place.  there is fantastic air circulation, which keeps it much cooler.  we have a great little piece of land, which is still partially weed covered, but it's so wonderful to have room to play and explore outside.  and, i really really like our new place.  the layout is great and the location is good too. 

then there's the beach.  now, i am a colorado girl who loves a good hike and camp fire in the forest.  but, i am very new to the nuances of hanging out on the beach.  it is amazing how calming and soothing it is to just sit in the sand and listen to the waves.  channing can sit for hours and play in the sand and the water.  she loves it.  

making new friends has been a little tough.  but, we've been very fortunate to meet a few extremely lovely people whom we are so thankful to be able to spend time with.  friends make such a huge difference! 

there are NO snakes here.  let me tell you, i have a huge fear of snakes.  now, there are geckos and spiders and centipedes.  those do take some getting used to.  but, NO SNAKES is quite a huge bonus for me.  

the weather has noticeably cooled down and is quite fantastic.  the evenings and early mornings are actually even a bit chilly.  it's been gorgeous.  we can eat outside on the lanai all day long and spend most of our days outdoors.  i am not missing the winter weather...yet.  

we are finding our rhythm.  we still have challenges but are feeling more adjusted.  i am, by nature, a creature of habit.  i always think i want big changes but then, once i get them, i crave familiarity.  there are still days where i miss home like crazy but, i am truly thankful we have decided to go on this adventure together.  it may not last forever, who knows where life will take us.  but, for now, 6 months in...we are happy to be here.  we are continually finding new places to go and new things to see.  it's quite an adventure. 

aloha!!  xo tara 



our first hawaiian halloween

for the first time in the history of halloween (for me at least) where weather did not have to be taken into consideration.  growing up in colorado, we always had to think about how a costume could be layered up just in case of those cold winds and heaven forbid....SNOW.  but this year, being a tropical climate, channing could wear just about anything she wanted and i knew were weren't going to have to cover it up by a coat.  she has been asking to be pocahontas since she saw the movie last year.  i am not sure why this particular character stuck out in her mind so strongly but, she was set on it all year long.  i really wanted to make her costume but, between moving and renovating the house and being more limited here on fabric/craft resources...a purchased costume is what we got.  we added a few extra beads and channing wore her camp wolf moccs...which i think were the perfect touch.  we had a little change in costume with her necklace.  we used a beaded necklace i had but it was too scratchy.  so, in the spirit of being on the islands, she decided to wear her new kukui nut lei given to her that day.  it turned out just right.  she was very specific about having "one long braid, mama" down the back...not two braids.  we added a few beads and feathers. 

we trick-r-treated at some of the local shops, which was lots of fun and nice to all be in one location. we hung out with our new friends, lynn and lukas, and channing made us super proud with her trick-r-treat and mahalo (thank you) skills.  oh, and, she requested i be miko...made possible by one of her opposite of far masks.  

our anniversary

5 months...we hadn't been on a date in 5 MONTHS!!  that's one heck of a long time.  luc left for a whole month before channing and i came to hawaii and she and i were here for 4months...yep, that's 5 months.  jeez.  but, i have to tell you...i have a whole new respect for families who move somewhere and don't have access to friends or family.  it's hard to find someone you are willing to leave your little one with.  thankfully, we've met some really good friends, through channing's ballet class.  while channing and their little girl played, luc and i had 2 official hours to celebrate our anniversary back at the beginning of october.  we had to time go to dinner and have drinks on the beach.  there's just something amazing about hanging out on the beach, watching the sunset with drink in hand and tiki torches ablaze around you.  it was a beautiful night.  this photo is a blurry one...taken on my phone with sun at our backs and adjusted the heck out of to be light enough to see our faces.  but, i love it and all it stands for.  this guy is pretty amazing and i can't believe i've been lucky enough to be married to him for 7 years now!  

a wizard of oz party

so....i just realized that i never posted channing's third birthday photos - of her wizard of oz party.  i figured today, since she exactly 3 1/2, that it's better late than never.  channing has been in love with the wizard the oz since her daddy let her watch the movie one night while i was away teaching a fitness class at the gym.  she wasn't scared of the witch or those "crazy flying monkeys" (as she calls them) for one second.  she loved everything about it.  in fact, for quite some time, anytime a stranger would ask her what her name was...her answer was always "dorothy".  we got her the dress and shoes to wear to a local production of the movie and she never wanted to take it off!  it was a really fun party to throw and i tried my best to make every detail just right...from the wicked witch's feet under c's playhouse to the yellow brick road greeting guests at the door and leading them upstairs to our simple but fun costumes.  i think we'll all remember this one very fondly. 

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sources:

cupcake characters: partyideasUK on etsy

printable dorothy houses: thepartychick on etsy

birthday banner, colorful fans, streamers, rainbow banner and balloons, rainbow lollipops all from target.   

felt ball garland (on channing's mini cake): hello maypole

aloha!

aloha friends!  after an almost 4 month hiatus from this little blogging page, i am back with some pretty big news for our family.  we are officially living in hawaii!  the big island, to be exact.  it's taken an awful lot of work to make it this far but we are actually here and trying our best to make it work!!  i've created a new tab here on the blog, on the left side bar, called "our hawaii life".  this is where i will be posting everything about our hawaii adventures here on the big island.  i'll keep the main page here for typical things like crafts and recipes and what not.  but, i am really excited to have a little space here to document all we do and find and figure out along the way.

this is by far the biggest thing either luc or i have done...outside of getting married and having a baby...you know, the typical stuff :).  i mean, it is the biggest leap we've taken, not really knowing what is on the other side waiting for us.  we are both colorado natives and never lived outside of the state.  and let me tell you...there is very little, if anything that colorado has in common with the islands.  and this mama knows nothing about about living on the ocean.  i have so much to learn.  it has been far from easy and we are still working out the kinks every day but, it's a beautiful place for our family and we look forward to everything this island has in store for us! 


a freshly picked spring

i am honored to team up with freshly picked to help show off one of their fantastic spring colors…coral.  if you haven't heard of freshly picked, and you have kiddos or know someone who has kiddos or just want to be completely inspired by an amazing woman in business…then you need to check out freshly picked and the creator, susan's, story.  it is a pretty amazing and inspiring one.  

this is our first pair of the popular moccasins and let me tell you, channing and i are both in love.  she never wants to take them off and i love how they look and fit and feel on her sweet little feet.  they are amazing quality and such fun colors.  from what everyone tells me and the reviews i read…they last forever and are really great for little feet.  they are the only shoes i want to get her from now on!  

our theme for this photo shoot?  well, it was inspired by channing's new favorite book - flora and the flamingo.  we got it a couple of days ago and it is all channing wants to look through, over and over and over.  and so, a flamingo themed photo shoot it was.  maybe a little quirky but, that pretty much sums things up over anyway.  we had a lot of fun. 

also…keep your eyes open for a big giveaway i am having at the end of march, which will include freshly picked moccs and one of my maven mercantile dream catchers

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channing's flamingo hat is from H&M kids, her swimsuit is from target and i made her pants :).  xo 

a day in photos

a typical march in colorado, warm days earlier this week and lots of chilliness and rain turned to snow today.  we visited the library for story hour…which of course we walked to so we got pretty drenched getting home afterwards.  outside of that, we had a pretty typical day playing and pretending and laughing the day away. 

breakfast fit for a princess.  she is very into "puffins" cereal with milk lately.

breakfast fit for a princess.  she is very into "puffins" cereal with milk lately.

birthday party remnants…i really need to pack these lovelies away until next time. 

birthday party remnants…i really need to pack these lovelies away until next time. 

on our way to the library.  moccs on our feet and library bag over her shoulder. 

on our way to the library.  moccs on our feet and library bag over her shoulder. 

the rain quickly turned into slushy snow.

the rain quickly turned into slushy snow.

our ridiculously small deck is coming down and a great big new one going up!  once the snow stops that is. 

our ridiculously small deck is coming down and a great big new one going up!  once the snow stops that is. 

new library books…we picked some really good ones this time. 

new library books…we picked some really good ones this time. 

dying doilies during nap time.

dying doilies during nap time.

ta-da!

ta-da!

left over from a great day of dressing up and pretending.

left over from a great day of dressing up and pretending.

we are trying this "oil pulling" thing…more on that later. 

we are trying this "oil pulling" thing…more on that later. 

an illustration of channing

i truly love collaborating with the amazing people i have met through either my blog or on instagram.  the super talented talia handler illustrated the sweetest picture of my little hawaiian wahini…this is one of her favorite costumes to dress up in while watching short video clips of hula dancers on youtube.  talia is a freelance illustrator and does amazing work with children, fashion, pets and families.  i am so honored to have a piece of her work in our home!  check out talia's website to see more of her fantastic pieces and to chat with her about creating a custom illustration of your little one…you won't regret it! 

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on my own in scottsdale

i felt very fortunate to have a bit of time on my own last week.  i visited scottsdale, arizona, for a conference and actually traveled all by myself!  this was the first trip that i have ever taken all alone.  i've always traveled with family or luc or a colleague.  besides attending the conference, i had time to explore, relax by the pool, eat yummy food and meet up with some new friends i have met through instagram.  

the first day, i honestly wasn't quite sure what to do with myself.  i felt a bit guilty for traveling without luc or channing and i just couldn't figure out what to do.  i ended up taking a very very long walk to downtown scottsdale to check in at my conference and do a little shopping, once i was done.  the trip had a bit of a theme and that was guacamole.  i literally ate some every day, at different restaurants, and enjoyed every bite of it.  it was all delicious! 

my favorite part of the trip was meeting up with the loveliest ladies i had, up until this point, only chatted with via instagram.  i made some wonderful friends on this trip and feel so lucky to have been able to spend time with them! 

i am happy to be home but, last week was such a great time for me to enjoy and relax and rejuvenate a bit! 

here's a little gallery of the trip...

three years old

how in the world is it possible that my little bird is already three?!?  it is hard to sum her up in words, she is quite a character.  but…here's my best try:

channing is quirky, funny, adventurous, kind hearted, polite, spunky and so much fun to be around.

some of her favorite things are wizard of oz, dressing up (especially in princess dresses), reading books, painting, singing songs, dancing, digging in the dirt and sand.

she is so kind and always checking in to see how we are doing.  while we are working on projects, from crafts to folding laundry, she will ask "how are you doing on that?".  "are you doing ok?"

we finally have success in potty training!  we've had very few, little accidents and it has officially been a month since we first had success. 

she kisses me on the shoulder with i am snuggling with her or carrying her around.

she calls me mama, which i love. 

her memory is crazy good and i am often completely blown away at the things she remembers. 

anytime she makes a mistake or sings the words to a song incorrectly or recites the words from a book wrong, she says "oops, sorry.  silly me".  or if anyone else makes a mistake she laughs and says "silly mommy" or "silly daddy" or whoever it is that has messed up. 

she laughs and smiles all day long.  she is so much fun to be around.  

she currently sleeps from about 8:30pm-7:15am and takes good naps (thank goodness!) from about 12:30-2:30 or 3. 

max and ruby is still her favorite cartoon and always her first choice when she asks to watch a show.  disney movies have become very popular, especially ones with princesses involved. 

bunny or "bun" is still her best friend and goes everywhere.  she loves on her and kisses on her and says "i am being such a good mommy to bun". 

we still swim every tuesday night and she has improved so much!  she still wears floaties but has perfected her doggy paddle and is being very brave swimming a few feet at a time without her floaties on.  

she sings songs and makes up her own words (that surprisingly make sense!) to the tune of songs she knows.  

we love her more than words can even say and are always looking at each other and saying how lucky we are to have her in our lives.  happy three sweet bird!! 

my funny valentine

channing was pretty happy with how her valentine's day turned out.  she received some sweet gifts…including heart shaped balloons, stickers, a princess pillow case (from nanna) and this cute little fox gid-up that i got her from opposite of far… the cutest little felt mask shop.  she also got to go to the ymca with me in the morning, where she took a little dance class for kiddos while i got in a work out.  she had a post-nap date with papa gray and gg (my in-laws) where she ate cake and drank tea.  and then had fondue dinner with daddy and i.  not a bad day at all!   

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