Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hamilton Weekend

Another month gone by, photos still on my camera, nothing written down. We've been busy in that nice kind of way, the way filled with friends and visits and wine and laughter and outings. But there has been one constant in our hectic month. Whenever I ask either kid, hey what music do you want me to play (I usually let them choose), they always say... HAMILTON!


Broadway show tunes are one of those things that Zach and Naia and I can always agree on. But this one caught us all like a mad virus. For Zach, he loves all things history. He's always been my old timey boy. And the Revolutionary War era is one of his favorite periods of US history to study and read about. Living in the DC area, we have been lucky enough to immerse ourselves in places like Mt. Vernon and Yorktown, we've seen the Constitution first hand, we've been in the "room where it happened"more than once. So to have a whole musical all about our surroundings and his favorite time in US history was instant love for him. What's funny is that he's NOT a fan of rap or hiphop music. He's more of a classical and show tunes and classic rock guy. But suddenly, I am catching this tween rapping, so cute! Lin Manuel Miranda's genius got my old fashioned kid to like hiphop!

For me, I majored in US Government and Constitutional Law in college. Even though it has nothing do to with the career path I followed, it was something I was interested in and... it got me out with a degree in 3 years. So hearing them rap about the Federalist Papers and the founding of our government hits all my happy geek spots.

And Naia, well she just loves music. All music. Any music. She can't quite rap up to speed with the pros, but she knows the words better than all of us put together and it's about the cutest thing ever hearing her sing it all with her two front teeth missing.

video


I figured there was no way I'd ever get a chance to see the show. It's sold out for the next 18 months or so, and the tickets being sold by scalpers start at around $800 each and go up from there. We have the cast album, we have our imaginations and a few YouTube clips, we can work with that.

Until I got a message from an old friend. She was offering me a ticket to the show on Broadway. For Free. She said to meet her and her daughter and her daughter's best friend in NYC in 2 weeks for a Hamilton weekend for her daughter's 17th birthday. There was no way I could tell my kids about this. They would divorce me if they knew I was seeing the show without them. It was the longest 2 weeks of my life. I am terrible at keeping happy news a secret.

Instead I told the kids I was meeting a friend in NYC, and we were just going to hang out. And then I would tell them afterwards that I saw the show, but it was a surprise from my friend and I didn't know about ahead of time. Seems like they bought that story. Until they read this one day. Sorry guys!

 (The view from our hotel room in Times Square!)


As I rolled down the New Jersey Turnpike on my way to NYC, it hit me that I was going on a little trip alone without the kids. I don't think I realized that until I was sitting on the bus able to read a book. Gasp! It was such a treat to spend the weekend with an old friend, doing something I LOVE. The girls were awesome, and we had fun stalking the stage door for autographs and talking all about the show.







And yes, it totally lived up to the hype. It was spectacular. It was brilliant. Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius. Period. The entire ensemble was so jaw dropping fabulous. I would say if I had to pick a favorite though, Daveed Diggs who plays Lafayette and Jefferson, was off the hook amazing to see live. If there is any opportunity to see the show with the original cast, do it. I would see it every week if I could.


I brought home some swag for the kids. Zach was a little peeved about me getting to see the show without him. A bit of pouting, but also lots of curious questions and smiles when I regaled him with stories about his favorite numbers and what they were like live. Naia was happy to have all the goodies from the show. And I have an amazing memory that will stick with me forever.


Monday, April 11, 2016

colors and more colors

Easter is one of those holidays I am never really sure about. It's not something I grew up celebrating, so I always feel a little lost about the non-Christian, Americana way to approach it. Naia said she wanted to hunt for eggs, so I made that happen. We hid some along the Tidal Basin while checking out the cherry blossoms (http://www.zachaboard.blogspot.com/2016/03/springing-forward.html) And then we hid some on the boat too.




(See the toothless smile? I wish I could freeze that little toothless grin forever and ever. She lost her first tooth in Hawaii, and the second one came out while Zach and I were in New York City.)


Zach mostly decided he'd outgrown hunting for anything. But he was still willing to steal his sister's candy when she wasn't looking.

One quirky tradition we've adopted is having a "color war", in the spirit of the Indian Holi festival. It's much more fun to color each other than color eggs. And it's not something the big kids feel they are "too cool" for yet.


You can buy Indian Holi powder through Amazon.


My dear friend Kathryn reading the story behind the Holi festival to her girls and Naia.



Believe it or not, the powder pretty much washes right out. So wearing white makes it all the more fun.






Daddy was just watching from the sidelines, but the kids clobbered him. Of course!





Our dear friend and boat neighbor kid Maddy, who isn't really a kid anymore because she's 18 now. How did that happen? Naia is going to be heart broken when she realizes that Maddy will be leaving for college soon.






Happy boat kids covered in colors.


Mother nature joined the act too.


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

and February on a rock in the middle of the Pacific

We knew we wanted to take a trip somewhere this winter to break up the inside season, but where to go was up in the air. A complicated tango of schedules and budgets and planning and we ended up flying to Hawaii to see my parents.

We spent the month of February at my dad's farm in Hawaii. I really meant to blog about it, and take more photos, and write more, but I didn't.

I slept. Oh yeah, I remember sleep.

I spent long lazy afternoons on the beach. I wandered around with the kids exploring. I chatted with my step-mom over cocktails long into the evening. I chased geckos and spiders out of our bed. I sat, face to the sun, soaking up the much needed vitamin D.





My dad also doesn't have constant internet. They live off the grid, they live small, and connectivity is not a huge priority. So, here we are a month or so after returning and I am just getting around to thinking back on the time we had there.






Naia is finally at the age where she is easier to travel with, especially if there is a lot of free space for her to run around in and ice cream along the side of the road. Hawaii is a perfect place for little kids. It's safe, easy to navigate, not really hung up on mainland rules and regulations, and a culture that really reveres and cares for little ones. Living in an area (Washington DC) where every rock has a sign saying "no climbing", it was very freeing for her to have every boulder, tree, and wall to scramble around on.






For Zach, he's at the age where he's been there so many times the Big Island is sort of ingrained in him now. He will look back one day when he's an adult and realize what a privilege it is to get to go to Hawaii time and time again, for a minimum of a month or so each time. He knows which beach is good for what reason, what little back road leads to the path that has the turtle place, where the good ice cream is, how to get to the little grocery store, where the awesome Thai food is on the other side of the island, where to snorkel, where to hike, where to swim. He even has local friends there who welcome him with open arms even when it's been years between visits. Lucky kid.





The kids were determined to earn all 4 Junior Ranger badges offered on the Big Island. We managed to hit all four national parks and historic sites, and as always it was so worth the trips. Volcanoes National Park we'd been to many times, always an other worldly treat. We've also been to "place of refuge" many times, one of the prettiest spots on the island to me. Once again in both spots the park rangers were spectacular. I have yet to meet a park ranger anywhere who didn't blow me away with kindness, knowledge, and passion for their job.






Naia took her job and pledge as junior ranger to "protect the honu" very seriously. Once she learned first hand from the ranger that nobody was to touch sea turtles or go any closer than about 20 feet, she declared herself the honu police and firmly and clearly told any and all tourists who dared go near a sleeping turtle exactly why they needed to back off.







Hanging out in my parent's funky little town is always sweet. It's a great place to people watch and catch the true local scene.








Seeing the grandparents and spending time on their farm was the best of all for the kids. They crave that time with family, and love the polar opposite life on the farm, giant spiders and all.







So I don't have a detailed report about visiting the volcano with kids, or long flights with small children, or best places for families on the Big Island, or local hang outs. We just have a lot of happy memories, too many photos, and a wish to return again soon for some more aloha.


















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