Don and I scored Hamilton tickets as a joint birthday celebration to ourselves. We’ve seen the original production on Disney and are huge fans. Mae was kind enough to watch Quinn for the night so we could enjoy an overnighter in Hollywood.

Our room wasn’t quite ready so we had a glass of champagne to start the celebration!

The view from our room. I might have cropped out the 101 and some other not-so-beautiful scenery.

Seems like a fitting spot for Lin-Manuel’s star.

We had a fantastic dinner on the rooftop of our hotel. There is a pop-up Yakitori (Japanese skewers) restaurant and it was just right. My handsome guy.

Sunset view from the roof top.

This is where it all went down. The cast was amazing and the audience brought such great energy. We are still talking about it.

Sunday morning we walked to the Hollywood Farmers Market and picked up some goodies. And then to Santa Monica for lunch. View from our table.

Our seafood platter to start off the meal. So good.

We loved our evening away and Mae and Quinn enjoyed their 24 hours together too!


So, this happened.

On the way home from TKD the other day, Quinn told Don that he was having a hard time seeing the white board in school. I was able to get him an eye appointment the next day and sure enough, he needs glasses. The glasses have a very small correction, but enough for him to see distance better. When he puts the glasses on, he says the graphics are much better and he can now see in HD. Teen speak.

Quinn tried on a bunch of different frames and he kept coming back to this one because it was the most comfortable. Funny that it’s the same brand and almost the same frame that Don wears. Like father, like son.

Quinn is pretty pleased with wearing glasses. He told me this funny school lunch story. Quinn was having lunch with 2 friends, Logan who wears glasses and Elias who does not. Another kid, who also wears glasses, sat down at the table with them. So, 3 with glasses and 1 no glasses. Logan turned to Elias and said “Hey 2 eyes”. LOL.

Around Here: September Edition

Quinn has a new group of friends that have formed. He’s known all the kids since 1st grade but they seem to be forming some new friendships. He got a text to meet them at the mall on a Sunday afternoon. We are working on giving Quinn more opportunities for independence and thought this would be good. It turned out to be Quinn and a handful of girls…and he had fun. He texted to be picked up and this is where we found him.

Deep thoughts at the dentist.

We got a rock and roll start to the week. It wasn’t a very big one but it was only 3 miles from us. The house shook for a good 10-15 seconds. Wow! My biggest shake yet.

Quinn did this pencil sketch on a post it note of his buddy Elias. His dad sent it to me. It does such a great job of capturing him. They were talking about Native Americans in Social Studies and the corn grinder they used. Somehow hilarious to 13 year old boys.

Did you know they make PPE gear for musicians? Quinn is starting up private lessons again and he needed this gear for the lesson. At school they just go outside.

On Sunday we drove up to Santa Barbara for the first time in a year or so. There’s an ocean side restaurant where we like to stop for lunch. You can’t tell but the ocean is on the other side of those hedges.

Every Sunday there is an outdoor art sale. We were looking for a wind spinner sculpture for our yard but we weren’t able to find any. But a lovely afternoon.

Happy Birthday Don!

Celebrating our special guy. Don requested hot dogs for his birthday lunch so we went to our local Dog Haus.

Opening gifts before dinner. I forget what they were laughing about.

We had made 5:30 reservations at one of our favorite restaurants but we were so stuffed from our lunch that we changed it to a different restaurant at a later time. A nice lake view restaurant. Don got a complimentary Birthday Creme Brûlée.

Quinn ordered a Banana Split and it was taking forever. We had no idea that it would be so huge. Quinn polished most of it off.


Quinn is now the Big Man on Campus! He started the 8th grade this week — in person and on campus. Wahoo! He wasn’t looking forward to going back to school, but I believe it was the ‘medicine’ that he didn’t know he needed.

He met his buddy Elias so that they could walk in together. Here he is with Principal Klinger.

After school there was an impromptu fro-yo meet up with a mishmash of friends. All of these kids have been Quinn’s classmates since the 1st grade. After yogurt this band of teens roamed the mall independently. It was great to see after 17 months of being at home. This was the icing on the cake of a great first day of school.

Kauai: Day 6 – 7

Thursday was a beach and snorkeling day at our hotel/condo.

One treat that you find all over Hawaii is Spam Masubi. You can find them in every little market, in gas stations, and in restaurants. They are the perfect snack on the go. It’s rice, spam, and teriyaki sauce wrapped in nori (seaweed). It’s perfectly sweet and salty and fatty and light. We told Quinn he might enjoy one and did he ever! This was his first of many over the last couple of days.

The snorkeling was not that great but Quinn spotted these 2 small eels under a rock. They were both squirming around quite a bit. A lovely day on the beach.

That afternoon Don and I made a trip out to the local rum store. Unfortunately we could not get in on a tasting or tour but we bought a couple of things to bring home.

We once again cancelled our dinner reservations and had dinner at the hotel Honu Beach Bar. Their frozen Mai Tai was so darned good.

After dinner sunset pictures.

Friday was our last day on the island and we decided on another chill beach day. Don visited a local market in the morning and loaded up on Spam Masubis. The boy can eat some masubi!

The first time we went to Kauai was in October 2008 when Quinn has just turned 1 year old. We had recently found out that Don’s employer, Washington Mutual, was going under and was being bought by Chase Bank but Don’s future employment was unknown. He got a call while we were on Poipu Beach that he was being offered a job with Chase in Columbus, OH (it was later changed to NJ). So this beach always has a special meaning to us.

And here we are on that same beach 13 years later.

The hotel has activities every day and Friday at noon was a Spam Cooking Demonstration. We learned how to make a Spam Masubi and then we each got one. Yum! We also took advantage of some of the other activities. In the ping pong picture, you can see our balcony above on the 3rd floor.

One more Shave Ice before we got home. I got the Chai and Cream and Quinn got the Strawberries & Banana. It was good but my least favorite of the trip.

This might be my favorite picture of the trip!

We had rain every day, several times a day. But it would come and go quickly. Once last rainy look from our balcony.

We had such a great, relaxing week but it is time to go home.

Kauai: Day 4 – 5

On Tuesday we had to be on the road at 6:30 am for an 8 am catamaran ride up the NaPali Coast. We picked a large catamaran that would provide a smoother ride.

Such beautiful Jurassic Park like scenery as we went up the NaPali coast.

We had a snorkel stop before lunch. We saw a small turtle as soon as we jumped in but the Kauai snorkeling just isn’t that great.

We had a fabulous lunch and started heading back. Our catamaran travelled with an identical sister boat that can be seen in this picture.

We got back to the dock around 1 pm and were off to find more Shave Ice. There are lots of food trucks all over Kauai and we decided on this little one outside a local market. Pineapple & Coconut with a scoop of vanilla mac ice cream and all the toppings. Pretty delicious!

We knew we would be pretty tired that night so we had dinner at the little hotel Honu Beach Bar. Their food was surprisingly delicious and while most other restaurants were packed with reservations we were able to easily get an ocean side table. And then an after dinner sunset. So lovely.

On Wednesday we hiked the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail which starts at a beach about a mile from the condo. Lots of beautiful cliffside ocean views and walks through tunnels of trees.

And then we hiked to this hidden gem — we have never seen anything like this. It’s this huge “sinkhole” where the roof has collapsed on this cave and it is full of fossils and archeological finds.

In order to get into this cave you had to crawl through this small opening (below left) and you come out in a large cave (seen in the picture above on the right side). The picture below right is inside looking out.

We got a really informative tour from a volunteer docent and learned that 95% of the plants on Kauai are not native. Most were brought by canoe by the Polynesians. So a group of volunteers are trying to return this cave area and surroundings to native plants. One way they are doing it is with tortoises that mimic one of the extinct birds on the island.

Right next door is a tortoise preserve. Some of the tortoises roam free in a large penned in area, like Mr. #2, and some are in smaller penned in areas. The 2nd guy came running towards us so he must have thought it was feeding time.

When I booked our trip I made dinner reservations for every night just so we had a back up plan. We ended up cancelling about half of them and doing something more simple, but this night we at dinner at one of Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurants and were treated to a beautiful sunset.

Kauai: Day 1 – 3

This was our 3rd trip to Kauai but it definitely took the most preparation because of Hawaii COVID restrictions and precautions. But I had researched it thoroughly and we were able to travel with ease and skip some long lines because we were so prepared.

We landed in Lihue around 11 am and went off to find some lunch. We settled on Oki’s and I got the Hawaiian Lunch Box. Neither was a good choice.

We received a notice that our room was ready for check in at 1 pm and we also had groceries delivered from Safeway. We were given a great room . We stayed at a Marriott Family Vacation Club and had a 2 BR/ 2 BA condo. It was just right., what a view!

Saturday was spent swimming in the ocean and pool. We also rented beach chairs and an umbrella for the week from a local surf shop. One thing you see everywhere on Kauai are chickens and roosters. So many that many souvenirs and shirts have chicken themed designs.

We spent our Sunday at the beach swimming and snorkeling and boogey boarding. We stayed in Poipu where the Hawaiian Monk Seals come ashore amidst the crowds. (Just a reminder when you see ‘gallery’ of images like below, you can click on an image to see it larger and then browse though the gallery.)

Dinner at The Beach House with a beautiful sunset.

Monday we decided to head to the North side of the island. Our first stop is the Sacred Forest. It is the only Rudraksha forest in the west and produces these cobalt blue marble fruit. It is part of a larger monastery property. There was definitely something special about it.

Then it was on to our favorite north shore beach, Anini. I attempted to recreate one of my favorite family photos from 2016 but I really missed the mark. I found that my pictures this year just weren’t that great. And maybe because I only took my iphone and underwater camera.

We tried as many different Shave Ice places as possible (in Hawaii they drop the d from Shaved). This was my favorite of our whole trip. Both Quinn and I got a Pina Colada Shave Ice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with Coconut Foam. To Die For!

That night we got take out pizza and ate on the balcony to this view.