maui, hawaii!

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after our time in oahu, we caught a quick plane (only 30 minutes! after an 11 hour flight, that felt like 3 minutes! uh-mazing!) to spend a few days on the beautiful island of maui before heading home.  we technically only had 2 full days to spend on the island because of travel, so we tried to slow down our pace a little and just relax and enjoy everything our resort had to offer and only head out to explore things that were close by just a bit.

there are families far more seasoned than us when it comes to traveling with little ones, but one of the biggest things i always tells people who ask me for a tip about traveling¬†with kids and babies¬†is to plan your trip, and then if any way possible, tag on an extra full empty day to your planned itinerary¬†if you can. we’ve learned through experience it gives you a little bit of wiggle room, a way to still enjoy your travels together and not feel rushed or stressed since you’re often moving at a slower pace and trying to juggle jet lag as well. ¬†i feel like one of the best ways to make sure you¬†have a successful time is to allow your itinerary to be flexible and having some extra hours¬†in there not specifically dedicated to anything specific. ¬†then you really do get to almost everything on your sight-seeing list because you have that extra morning or afternoon you originally didn’t account for.

anyway, that said, on the flight back to new york city, josh and i talked about how we should have tacked one more day onto our time in maui, or even just 12 more hours. ¬†i think it would have given us a lot more space to manage our schedule and really see more of that beautiful island. but, you live and you learn and now i get to say, “guess we left something for next time!” ;)

a few photos from our time in maui below…

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we stayed at the sheraton maui resort and spa, which really went above and beyond in making us feel at home. i feel a little bit silly sharing this photo above, because that kind of welcome treatment is just too good for us, but it really was so sweet and made us feel right at home.  once again, thanks so much to starwood for inviting and hosting our wonderful stay!

there was a lot to do on the hotel property, so we spent an entire day at the hotel on their beach and pool grounds. ¬†they have the coolest set up, with a lazy river around the entire pool side restaurant, the cliff dive grill, that connects to the pool. there is also this fun¬†slide in the very middle of the lazy river that¬†josh, eleanor and samson enjoyed! they have a couple fun activities for kids set up each day like hawaiian games, ukulele lessons and lei making. ¬†my kids got really into the hawaiian games. ¬†ha! anything that’s a “game” and they are crazy happy!

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coconut and pineapple smoothies all day everyday! and edamame, too!

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this baby girl of mine sat beside me in our gazebo one afternoon while i nursed conrad and asked me a million questions about life. ¬†questions about dragons and astronauts and how a baby grows and why is the ocean so salty…. ¬†she’s so curious and interested in everything, and it’s the biggest treat to sit beside her and watch her little wheels turning.

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on saturday we rented a tiny car and drove further than i’d like to admit trying to find a spot¬†where a friend of mine says sea turtles by the masses congregate, but…we never found them. we did, however, find a delicious¬†restaurant called star noodle¬†on our way back, so it wasn’t entirely a loss! we ordered our food take-out style and enjoyed eating in the crammed car together. josh and i took turns holding conrad while the other ate¬†and¬†samson and eleanor enjoyed hanging out and eating in the back of the car with their¬†back seat windows rolled down and shouting¬†“hello!” and “aloha!” to everyone walking by the car. haha. it was one of those moments where we just tried to make the best of our situation and i think we did a good job.¬† also, that vietnamese crepe! so good.

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before we went¬†searching for sea turtles, we had breakfast at the gazebo which came highly recommended by friends of ours (and many of you!). ¬†we had to wait about 45 minutes for a table, but it was well worth the wait (i just played on the beach with the kiddos while josh held our spot in line with conrad). we shared a plate of fried rice and some pineapple macadamia nut pancakes (with coconut syrup) and it was probably our favorite meal of the trip! put this place on your list if you’re heading anywhere close to maui!

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samson pouring syrup onto his pancake all by himself!!! i can’t deal.

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i have no clue what i’m doing with my left arm in that photo on the right (i think i was trying to brush my hair away from my face?), but¬†i loved being twins with eleanor¬†in our matching suits! ¬†(they are by mara hoffman. mine is from here and e’s from here.) probably only a few more months i can get away with this sort of behavior before she’s like, no mom. let’s not match.

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we took the littles to teppan-yaki dan¬†at the hotel one evening, which was a big highlight for us because the kids had never been before and it’s always fun to witness their sweet faces when they see these sorts of things for the first time. ¬†the whole “volcano of fire” thing (rings of onion with a little olive oil in the middle) was like magic to them!

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thanks for following along on our oahu and maui adventures! thank you again to starwood for making our stay so great.

ps. ¬†i listed where things are from that we’re wearing/ using at the bottom of my last post.¬†if i missed anything, ask me in the comments and i’ll try to get you the info!

oahu, hawaii!

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we are home after a beautiful beautiful week spent in hawaii and i’m excited to share a few photos with you! this really was a trip of a lifetime for us,¬†and we feel really lucky that we got to go! the photos from this post are from our time on the island of oahu. thank you to everyone¬†who gave us so¬†many great ideas and recommendations of things to do and explore there! we only got to a few of them, but we really enjoyed so many of your recommendations. thank you again!

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we debated taking a direct flight from new york city (11 hours straight) or breaking up the flight into two legs and having a connection somewhere. ¬†eleanor and samson have flown¬†before¬†and have done pretty well with long flights in the past, but this was conrad’s first time flying so we weren’t entirely sure how he’d do. ¬†we ended up choosing to fly direct both ways, and i really have to say a huge thank you to the people around us on the plane and also to the flight attendants on hawaiian airlines for being so kind and making the trip so comfortable for us and baby conrad. everyone could not have been nicer and that always makes a huge difference when you’re already a little bit stressed about how your baby might do and not wanting to end up being a bother.

on the flight out,¬†conrad¬†had a few moments where he insisted on being held and bounced in someone’s arms that was standing, not sitting. ¬†we bounced him a lot in the galley and also standing at our seats,¬†but other than that, he did a great job! we took a red eye home and lucked out having the three kiddos sleep almost the entire way, which was kind of dreamy for josh and me! haha, date night on a plane! ;) ¬†we watched maybe 3 movies¬†in a row and i ate my weight in peanut m&m’s so i’ll chalk that up to a good time.

(ps- if you’re interested, a blog post on flying with little ones and also traveling abroad with littles. i’d like to update them with a few new things i’ve learned since, but in case you’d like to check them out now!)

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like i mentioned in this post, we were able to stay at the beautiful moana surfrider, thanks to starwood hotels. the property is on waikiki beach which¬†produces some of the most epic sunsets i have ever seen. our room had a balcony which overlooked the ocean and on our first night, there was a huge fireworks show for the honolulu festival right outside our balcony¬†over the water!¬†between the food and service and atmosphere, our time there felt really special.¬†¬†i hope we’re able to make it back again someday. thank you again for having us!

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on one of our days on oahu, we rented a car and drove around the island. we stopped by the lds hawaii temple which you can kind of see in the back of this family selfie. the grounds were under construction, so this was as close as we could get while still seeing the temple in our pic. ¬†and this is as good as it gets trying to fit all 5 of us into the frame. ¬†my arm is only so long. i kept seeing all these selfie sticks around us while in hawaii and now i’m realizing they aren’t that silly. ¬†they serve a really good purpose. ¬†and now i have no shame in thinking maybe i should get one. ;)

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we tried our very first malasadas at leonard’s our first day. ¬†they were delicious! my favorite were the mango filled ones.

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we were able to stop by the polynesian cultural center one evening as well where we went to our very first luau!

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our very first leis!

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we loved giovanni’s shrimp truck on the north shore so much, we tracked down another one later on in the day and went again.

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coconut water! i’m always a little unsure about that stuff but i sure love everything else that has coconut!

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these pictures are from our first night in hawaii. ¬†eleanor and samson were so obsessed with the beach and water, they didn’t want to come back inside! we stayed and watched the sunset, and they were in complete heaven throwing sand and getting their feet wet and just feeling free after a long day of travel. ¬†it made me really happy.

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see what i mean about the beautiful sunsets? they were just so good, night after night.

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so we went back and forth about if we should check out the dole plantation or not. ¬†we kept hearing mixed things and that it is a big tourist trap! but truth be told, we loved it! they have an old train that takes you around the plantation where we were able to see lots of things growing (the kids went crazy seeing banana trees!) and when you ask samson what he liked most about hawaii, he’ll tell you it was the choo choo train at the pineapple farm! so maybe it’s because we have little ones who eat this kind of stuff up, but we had a great time learning about the history of pineapples and dole and seeing a bit of the plantation!

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GBMM90-ag9ag;ssgtre Xa9b89h21-9ub999smy sweet littles on their train ride! and poor E, no one else in our family got any bug bites but it looks like some sort of bug (probably a mosquito one night) really favored eleanor at some point during our trip since we noticed several bites on her body one day.  she was a great sport about it, but we felt terrible they went after her face so badly.

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and pineapple ice cream! that was a really good treat.  josh and i could not get enough acai bowls during our trip either! we had a few, and the best one we had was at the beachhouse at the moana. does anyone know any place in the city that makes them? wishful thinking? i could eat one every day if i had the chance. so so good.

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this sweet baby boy really¬†hates car seats and has perfected the loudest scream of all our babes letting me know every time just how mad he is to be in one (unless i’m sitting next to him making his arms and legs dance!),¬†but this smile! he is pure joy and i don’t know how we were getting by¬†without him before his arrival!

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we liked to spend our mornings at the hotel on their rocking chairs outside! samson has¬†no fear on those things which makes me really really nervous. ¬†i’m not sure i’m ready for the next several years with that kid’s adventurous side!

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conrad’s first time putting his sweet baby toes in the sand! i think he liked it. i hope he liked it. ¬†cause we all know i wouldn’t mind living in a beach town someday. :)

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such a fun filled week! i’d love to share a few photos next from our time in maui! josh and i¬†took a little bit of video while we were there too, so if we can get the kiddos back onto their proper sleep schedules here soon, i hope to put that together this week with our complete list of what we did!

ps. for those who have asked on instagram, my dress is by lauren moffatt. my overalls from this photo are from topshop.¬† sunglasses are by¬†karen walker. fedora hat found here. and sandals found here. the kiddos popsicle swimsuits are from polarn o pyret¬†and their little fedora hats are from zara. conrad’s baby striped swim onesie is from here. ¬†eleanor’s striped towel dress from here and¬†her¬†rash guard from¬†here¬†as well¬†(which i couldn’t help but get so we could be twinners!) ¬†the kids puddle jumpers you can get on amazon!

pork and hominy pozole!

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we’ve been using¬†blue apron¬†in our home for a few years now, but just recently started using their new family plan last month. when our delivery arrived last week and i saw the recipe cards, i was so excited to try this pork and hominy pozole, because the photos looked¬†amazing and it called for avocado and i love me a good mexican soup! this¬†was really¬†delicious, too. the recipe is at the bottom of this post!

if you aren’t already familiar with blue apron, they deliver farm fresh ingredients right to your door in the portions you need each week to create meals at home. ¬†i love using it because all the recipe planning and grocery store shopping is completely done, and we don’t end up with any waste from unused ingredients. it gets us out of a rut of cooking the same things over and over and forces us to try new recipes or ingredients we don’t normally use. ¬†and i also like that there is no commitment, so we can just log into the website and skip meals if we won’t be home or already have a pretty packed fridge.

during a quieter moment last week at our home, josh and i made this meal together. we¬†don’t usually cook at the same time because one of us is with the kiddos,¬†so this was a lot of fun!

the recipe is below if you’d like to try it out!

also, click here to get your first two meals free from blue apron! (first 100 readers, only.)

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pork and hominy pozole

ingredients:

1 pound ground pork
4 corn tortillas
1 14.5-ounce can hominy
1 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2 limes
1 avocado
1 red onion
1/2 bunch of kale
1 large bunch cilantro
2 ounces queso fresco
1 1/2 tablespoons pozole spice blend (chipotle powder, ground cumin, mexican oregano, smoked paprika, cocoa powder and ground cinnamon)

directions:

preheat the oven to 450 degrees. wash and chop the produce, crumble the queso fresco. stack the tortillas and slice them into strips.  toss the avocado in the juice of 2 lime wedges. heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the pork, season with salt and pepper. transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.

in the pot used to cook the meat, cook the garlic, onion and spice blend with some olive oil and salt and pepper, about 2-4 minutes.  add the kale, and cook stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes. add 1 cup of water and cook for a few more minutes.

add the hominy, tomatoes (break them up), cooked pork and 1 more cup of water. season with salt and pepper to taste and heat until boiling.  once boiling, reduce and simmer over medium heat about 6-8 minutes. remove from heat and stir in some lime juice.

as the soup cooks, place the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. arrange in a single, even layer and toast for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

serve the soup with the crispy tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, queso fresco and the remaining lime wedges (i craved a little sour cream with mine, too! so serve with that if you have it!)

enjoy!!!

see more blue apron recipes here! and thank you to blue apron, a service we have been using in our home for a few years now, for sponsoring this post.

ps. for those who have asked, my sweater is from zara!

my favorite photo editing apps!

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photo-editing-apps

so you may have noticed, i take a lot of pictures. ;) and while i’ve always taken a lot with my iPhone, i feel like i’m favoring it more and more these days over my bigger camera just because i usually only have one hand free and the iPhone is easier to grab and snap with. since many of you have asked, i thought i might share how i like to edit my photos and my favorite photo editing apps with you! i have tried so many, but the four shown above are the ones i tend to use the most.

1. vsco cam. i’m sure you’ve heard of this one, it’s so great, because you can really get into all the fine tuning, like straightening an image or working with the exposure. i like to lift up the brightness in most of my images, which i usually do with vsco cam, and then pick a filter that lifts the color a bit more. ¬†a few examples below…

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2. fotograf is also a photo editing app which a friend of ours created last fall.  he actually asked me to create a custom set of filters for the app which was a lot of fun to try my hand at! i especially like using this app because i can create my own preset in the app, so i can just apply the same thing with one step to each photo without having to do several steps over and over again.

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3. whitagram is really helpful if you want to share a photo in instagram for example, but keep it in its original landscape or portrait size.

4. i use the¬†party party app mainly to create gif’s and stop motion photos from my iPhone but it can do¬†a lot of other fun¬†photobooth type stuff, too!

also, if you’re an iPhone user like me,¬†here¬†is a great video about all the tips and tricks¬†your iPhone camera can do. i swear these phone cameras are just getting better and better and i didn’t even know mine could do a few of those things! technology is crazy amazing.

eleanorisms // samsonisms.

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samson:

“i want some open meal.”
“some what?”
“OPEN MEAL.”
“what is open meal?”
“you know, OPEN MEAL!!!! it sounds like an S.”
(we later realized he was saying¬†“oatmeal” which of course, sounds exactly like the letter S. lol!)

“mama, do pigs fly in planes?”
before i can even answer he smacks his leg, “haha, no! people fly in planes! that’s so silly!”

“samson, where did you get those chocolate chips?”
“in the kitchen. in the cabinet.”
“how did you get up in the cabinet?”
“i just climbed up really high” (leans in closer) “with my super powers.”

after josh put a child safety lock on¬†said¬†cabinet above the counter a¬†little while¬†later to keep mister samson out of it, samson walks into the kitchen and sees it and exclaims very dramatically, “papa! why you do that? that’s not nice!”

“mama, you carry me? cause look! your tummy not that big anymore!” (calling me out now since my excuse to not carry him for the last several months was because my tummy was too big since i was pregnant with conrad!)

whenever he’s leaving, “see ya later, crocodile!” (he gets a little mixed up with the¬†see ya later, aligator, in a while crocodile! but when i’ve tried to correct him he doesn’t get it. so we just go with it!)

eleanor:

“oh my gosh! i had no clue yogurt comes from cows! so…. where does it come out?”

“mama, you gotta let me know if i’m eating too much ketchup, ok? because ketchup has sugar in it. and make sure you let samson know too, ok?”

“did you know families can be together forever?….unless they get eaten by sharks.”

while we were out one day she says to me quietly, “hey mama, you see her hair?” pointing to a lady with a long side braid, she continues, “we should try that.” ¬†(and suddenly all my dreams come true! i have a daughter who wants me to braid her hair!)

after josh left the apartment with the boys one afternoon, eleanor looks at me, “well, guess it’s just you and me.”

“when i grow up i want to have a car and drive myself to a gas station to get gas. i’ll also probably drive myself to soccer and dance.”

“this is my first time skiing since last time.”

“hey mama, you have to remind me when i¬†get older¬†that i want to be a ninja turtle when i grow up. don’t forget, ok?” (extra hilarious because she’s never even seen ninja turtles! but her friend everett has a ninja turtle costume and after a play date with him where she wore it around his house, she has not stopped talking about ninja turtles! infact, when we told her we were going to hawaii, she¬†exclaimed, “oh my gosh! i wonder if they have ninja turtles there!”

……

more eleanorisms // samsonisms HERE, which i just browsed again for the first time in a few months and my heart practically burst from reliving all those darling moments. kids truly do say the funniest and most beautiful things sometimes and it sure does make all the super long and exhausting moments of parenting so worthwhile. :)