Back to School

Yay! We made it through our first (partial) day of Kindergarten.  Lots and lots of information and we're both a little pooped.  But a success nonetheless. Channing enjoyed meeting her teacher and classmates.  There are 16 kids in her class.  She was quite excited that her classroom had art easels, a play kitchen, a cubby with her name on it and a little fish tank.  

I have to say I am so thankful we've done preschool the past year because the process of going to school for her is easy peasy...she just loves it and has no anxiety of being left there with a new teacher and students.  Thank goodness.  I send lots of hugs to mamas with littles who have a hard time on that first day, as there were several in that situation today and I can only imagine how tough that is on your hearts.  

I am feeling like we're starting a bit early than other places. I always remember starting school at the end of August.  I hope you all have an amazing first day, first week and school year ahead!! 

And my favorite outtake...when asked if she thought she'd meet herself a boyfriend this year....

Aloha...KINDERGARTEN!!!

Officially the last day of July and almost officially the first day of school!!  Kindergarten to be exact. I am still having a bit of a time wrapping my brain around the fact that this girl of ours starts Kindergarten tomorrow.  She's so excited.  

A lot of people ask about the education system here.  I've only dealt with Preschool and now prepping for K so...I am definitely not the most experienced parent to ask.  But here's our situation...

We live in Waikoloa Village, which has its own elementary and middle school.  For the past year, we've been driving to Preschool in a town called Waimea, which is about a 25 minute drive away.  That means an hour commute in the morning and another hour in the afternoons.  I got quite used to it and actually love the scenic drive.  But, it is lengthy and costly between gas and fees for school.  As we were rounding out the end of our PreK days, we thought very seriously about the next step and how it would affect our family.  Many of C's fellow class mates will be attending private school (there are 3 options in Waimea) for elementary school.  They are all excellent with great reputations.  On the flip side, we've heard really good things about the elementary school here, in the Village, and decided to start out on this route. Yes, it's a public school on an island where public schools don't have the best ratings.  But, it is a short walk from our home and in the community we live in...which also means connecting with more families who live directly around us.  And again, we've heard great feedback.  It also allows us to save a good chunk of money by not paying for private or having to make the long drive.  We plan on saving that money into a travel account, which we always feel is a huge part of educating our whole family.  So, there you have it.  Public school it is.  And it starts TOMORROW!! 

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!