Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fresh Starts and New Stuff

I love the beginning of a new school year.  I remember the whole process well from my own childhood.  We would do our shopping in early August and put our stuff on layaway for the month.  It was so fun to pick out a few new clothes (I vividly remember a pair of super cool black penny loafers from Walmart, and, even earlier, a neon shirt that said NOT! across the front from Shopko) and get all of that fresh, clean schoolish stuff.  And then the night before the first day I wouldn't be able to sleep because I was so excited (I loved school, what can I say).  My kids really seem to share the excitement level with me.  This was the first year that I had all six kids have a first day of school.  Hero started her final year of Junior High (she's called a freshman, because she's in 9th grade, although she won't move into a true high school until next year), Allegra is in 6th grade (but she goes to an advanced math class at West Junior High in the morning, so she rides the bus with Hero and then comes back to her elementary school around 9:30), Ian started 4th grade, Colin's in 1st grade (with Mrs. Smith, who taught Hero in Kindergarten, which is kind of fun), Cecily's in Shepherd of the Valley Preschool's 4 year olds class (Mrs. DuVall has taught Allegra, Ian, and Colin too), and Elle started preschool as well in the 3 year old class.  The two little girls go just two mornings a week, but it just worked out perfectly because I volunteer at the elementary school one of those mornings, and the other morning is the weekly ladies' Bible Study.  It's hard to believe that we're already coming up to the halfway point of the school year, but, still, here's their shining first-day-of-school faces.

Aloha & Mahalo

I've finally come to the end of our Hawaii pictures.  It's funny that it seems like you've got your camera around your neck permanently while you are on vacation, and then once you get home you look at your pictures and wish you had more.  It's a trip that will never be forgotten, ever.  I pray that we might be so fortunate as to go back one day.  Of course it's not Mom's resting place anymore than a hole in the ground would be, but there is something comforting to those of us left behind to have that connection to the place where you said a final, earthly goodbye.  What better spot for a beautiful soul than a beautiful sunset ocean.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hawaii - Part 7

Due to an approaching tropical storm, our plans to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center had to be scrapped, so we filled one day with a hike up to Makapu'u Point lighthouse.  I highly recommend it - it's an easy 1 hour or so hike on a paved path and it's very scenic and kid-friendly.  Some of my favorite pictures from our trip were from our hike.  God sure knocked nature out of the park when he created the Hawaiian islands, didn't He?

Elinor and Daddy

Grandpa and Daddy with all the kids

Mama and Miss Elle

There's a beautiful grey and white bird in the tree with a brilliant red head that we saw for most of our hike back down

Merry Christmas!

I have to interrupt my behindedness (not a word, but probably should be in my life) to shout Merry Christmas!  We're in the thick of the season, so well-wishes are long overdue.  We've been busy with lots of activities, as always, and I will share them, but I wanted to put my virtual Merry Christmas out there first.

Pictures from our church Christmas brunch and Sunday School program 12/15/13


The best photo of all the children I could find

Elinor loves to get her picture taken



Dad - festive in a holly tie that was not of his own choosing

Cecily and Elinor singing Away in a Manger


Allegra reciting Mary's Magnificat

Colin'sin the dark brown and blue in the first row, and Ian's in the second rowwith a striped white and blue tunic

Allegra as Mary

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hawaii - Part 6

Going to Germaine's Luau is a staple of our Hawaiian trips.  James and I went on our honeymoon, then again when his parents took us to the islands in 2001, and Mom and Dad went (on our recommendation) on their anniversary trip.  It's just relaxed and a place to let your hair down without fear of looking dumb.  And the kahlua pig is delish (dipped in poi, of course!).

We attempted to get a lovely family picture inside our home in our matching luau wear - but you'll notice that there are only five kids pictured

Because this is where the youngest one was - throwing a fit on the sofa

Waiting for the unearthing of the pig

The girls thought the dancers were just beautiful

The boys didn't really care

Leaving the stage after some epic hula-dancing by Elle, Cecily, Allegra, Aunt Liz, and Me

I love this photo-bomb of the picture ofAunt  Liz, Allegra & Cecily

Cecily with her "adopted" parents, Aunt Liz & Uncle Ryan

Ah memories.  The instant after this photo was snapped, we discovered that Elinor had an epic blowout (too much haupia pudding, maybe LOL).  Like, massive.  It was awful, seriously.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hawaii - Part 5

We relaxed on Saturday with a full day on the beach (on the eastern side of Oahu).  It wouldn't have been a Plautz family outing without sandwiches packed in coolers for lunch (no matter where we went, even if we were travelling across the country, we always passed up fast food/dining out for packed meals - white bread, miracle whip, cheese, and bologna/ham).  It's something my family almost never does because I didn't like it as a kid at all, but now I get a laugh out of it.  My goodness, just looking at that beautiful water makes me long for the warmth and ease of that day!

Grandpa and the boys

Just gorgeous - the older folks and Hero swam out to that island in the distance and Ryan got to see a sea turtle

Cecily with her sandwich

Elle with her sandwich (I think she ate a few other people's sandwiches as well while we weren't looking)

Dad, Aunt Liz, Uncle Ryan, Hero, and Colin, tossing the football back and forth

Grandpa spending some time with the littles

Grandpa & Elle chilling on the beach

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hawaii - Part 4

On the first full evening of our Hawaiian trip, we celebrated the true reason we were there - Mom.  Mom had always dreamed of going to Hawaii (and Dad of going back there - he had gone on his senior class trip there in '76), and finally, in celebration of their 25th anniversary, they went on the trip of a lifetime.  Mom fell in love with the Islands, and made it known that she wanted to be laid to rest there.  It was one of those things that you knew, but never imagined would have to be put into action so soon in her young life.  But, after a year's worth of planning or so, there we were.  While James and I handled the majority of the trip planning, Dad handled the memorial cruise himself.  We had a private sunset cruise with a Christian minister, a Hawaiian musician, catered dinner, fresh leis, flower petal scattering, dove release, and fireworks.  Mom could be a bit over the top at times, and she loved to do things on a fantastical scale, so it was befitting that that's how her memorial went.  After a short service, we took turns scattering her ashes of the back of the boat as the sun was setting and the musician was playing Iz's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.  It was a solemn and tender moment of faith and family.    

Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Wife and Dear Mother
Dad and the Three of Us