Friday, August 1, 2014

Of Trees And Dr. Seuss

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To say Just Son is a Dr. Seuss fan would be an understatement. He's been a fan of Seuss characters since before Halloween 2010 when he dressed up as The Cat in the Hat. So when I saw that the World Forestry Center in Portland had an exhibit of Dr. Seuss's art, I knew it would be something JS would want to see.

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And by the look on his face when he saw the Cat at the entrance, I was right. :-)

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JS and his dad make a beeline for the exhibit, which was located on the second floor of the Forestry Center.

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JS points out what looked like "angry cat eyes" to him on this photo of Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) at work.

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He liked this cat better. That's Dr. Seuss's "Joseph Katz and His Coat of Many Colors. It's Seuss's imagining of the Bible story. The quote under the painting says, "If you don't get imagination as a child, you probably never will."

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JS and JD look for the speck on the clover that Horton is holding.

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The two discover The Lorax, the star of the show at the Forestry Center. ;-)

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The kid and The Lorax.

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JD and JS look at some of the sculptures that are part of Dr. Seuss's "Unorthodox Taxidermy" collection.

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JS and my favorite Seuss character, the Grinch. :-)

After walking through the art exhibit, we spent some time at the interactive stations at the Forestry Center. JS made a beeline for the "Take Me to the Top" canopy lift ride.

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The ride goes up 55 feet. I was perfectly happy taking photos from the second floor of the Forestry Center.

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JD and JS approach the second floor.

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The guys on their way to the top.

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Way up high and having fun. *gulp*

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When the two came back down, JS played in the Timberjack Harvestor Simulator.

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JS and his dad learn how to count the rings on this tree.

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Another view of the cross-section of the tree.

After a quick walk-thru of the gift store, it was time to leave.

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It was a good day.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Which He Faces His Fear And Has Fun

By the time you read this post, Just Family will be starting Part 2 of its Summer 2014 Vacation Extravaganza. But before we say "Good Bye" to Paradise, and "Hello" to the Pacific Northwest, I thought I'd show you what became Just Son's favorite thing to do while staying with my parents in Hawaii: visit the neighbors.

I don't mean the children down the hill who befriended him, although JS did play with Ethan and Alissa when they were home. I mean our family friends next door, who happen to own three dogs.

For most people, having a child who loves to play with dogs isn't anything to write home about. But for parents of a child who fears dogs because of their barks (hearing sensitivity, remember?), having that child confront his fear -- and have fun -- is most definitely blog worthy.

So let's meet the cast of characters whom JS looked forward to seeing every day:

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First up is Bambi, a tiny bulldog mix pup. She is very protective of her toys, but likes you to play with her.

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Next, meet Penny. This black lab is the oldest of the three dogs and has a hard time walking, but she does her best to keep up with Bambi and the newest addition to the family:

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Derby, a very friendly golden retriever who likes to play fetch.

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See what I mean? (That's Just Dad playing with Bijou, another small bulldog mix pup who belongs to the neighbors' grandchildren.)

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JS and Derby kind of became best buddies. And even though all three dogs barked once in a while, JS learned how to cope with that and approach them so they would stop.

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Sure, he was nervous, but the fact that he tried really makes me proud.

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I think they're going to miss each other a lot.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Breakfast With A Couple of Mice And Their Friend

Four years ago when we visited Disneyland, we dined at Goofy's Kitchen and had a blast. Because Just Son is now 11 1/2 -- and because we have no idea how much longer he'll let us embarrass him by taking him to such places ;-) -- we decided to dine at Disney's Aulani Resort on our last full day in Hawaii.

We got to the hotel a little earlier than our reservation Monday morning for the Disney character breakfast, so we walked around the facility.

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JS takes in his surroundings..

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... and spots Mickey Mouse.

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Mom and son selfie.

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"No more pictures, Mom!"

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"I don't think so, son." ;-)

We finally met Mickey right before entering the Makahiki dining area for the Disney Character breakfast. Some friendly staff, including a photographer, were helping Mickey as he posed with family after family for photos. Yes, Just Family stood in that photo line. You'll have to wait until after we get home so I can scan it in to my computer and upload it on to the blog.

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This is the view I had from where we were seated.

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We were seated outdoors, under a large umbrella, and near some colorful koi fish.

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JS was happy. He had to wear his ear buds because of the live entertainment provided by "Aunty," who sang songs and led the children in "march with Minnie" activities.

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What JS selected for breakfast from the buffet.

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JS gets a visit from Minnie Mouse...

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... and Goofy, who was interested in the movie JS was watching on his iPad. (It was "Horton Hears A Who," by the way.)

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This mini red velvet cake was a surprise that the waiter brought to our table.

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JS thought it was excellent.

When JD made the reservation Friday (our anniversary), the hostess asked if anyone would be celebrating a birthday or anniversary the day we would be at the character breakfast. JD told them we would be there after our actual anniversary. The hostess must have made a note of it anyway. YAY! :-)

And after one last photo with Minnie...
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... we headed back to my parents' house to start packing.

What a vacation this has been -- and we still have Oregon to go. :-)

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Anniversary

(a.k.a. A two-part anniversary celebration)

There are so many reasons why I prefer to visit my parents in Hawaii in July. First of all, we're more likely to avoid the kind of weather delays and headaches we experienced when traveling here during the winter months. (Anyone remember December 2006 and 2008?) Second, we can stay as long as we like without worrying about Just Son missing school. But the best reason? JD and I get to celebrate our wedding anniversary here, something we realize many people can only dream they'd be able to do. 

As their gift to us, my parents took us all out Thursday to my favorite restaurant on O'ahu:

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(You can read more about the restaurant at the Halekulani Hotel here.)

Both JD and I love to come here at least once when we visit. I know I've shared photos from our trips here before, but I'm going to do it again. ;-)

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Just Son with Just Grandparents, waiting to be seated at a table. JS has been using those ear buds a lot this trip when he isn't sure how loud a new situation will be. 

He eventually took out the ear buds when he decided the sound level at the open air restaurant wouldn't be too overwhelming for him.
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When I'm at House Without A Key, I love to take random photos.

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A boat off in the distance.

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Entertainment, with Waikiki Beach in the background.

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The bread basket. ;-)

It was around this time that Santa visited. Yes, you read that correctly. Someone dressed as Santa walked along Waikiki Beach and waved to everyone in sight. Unfortunately I couldn't get to my camera in time to snap a quick photo. You'll have to take my word for it. 

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I did get this lovely shot of Diamond Head in silhouette, however. ;-)

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In spite of Santa's attempt to steal the spotlight from the entertainers -- not once, but twice ...

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...  -- the show went on.

And the dinner arrrived:
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Grilled fish for mom and me,

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ribs for JD,

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chicken for Just Grandpa,

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and mac-n-cheese for JS.

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Oh! And there was dessert.

On Friday, our anniversary, JD and I celebrated...

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...  by going to our second-favorite restaurant in Waikiki.

I, of course, took random photos:

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my passion fruit martini, 

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my shrimp scampi, 

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and JD's Thai chicken and shrimp.

By this time, my hubby was starting to get a little embarassed by the number of photos I was taking with my phone (especially because two couples were eventually seated on either side of us).
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So of course I took a photo of him...

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... and made him take a photo of me.

I've been a blogger for eight years. What do you expect? ;-)

I finally did put down my phone, and we talked about what couples with children often talk about: their child.

We also struck up a conversation with a young couple from Australia who were seated next to us. Hi, Reece and Angie! ;-)  

When it was time for dessert, JD and I decided to just share one. He wanted a berry cheesecake, but I wanted something chocolaty, so we compromised: chocolate-raspberry truffle cheesecake.
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 It was so good that we decided to box a second one to take home to JS.

After all that food, JD and I decided to take a stroll.

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This group of entertainers was performing at the center stage area of the Royal Hawaiian Center.

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We also stopped so I could get a selfie of the two of us. Trust me when I say we weren't the only ones taking selfies. What a bunch of doofuses, huh? ;-)

We then decided to leave the Waikiki area and head to Ala Moana Shopping Center to spend some time here:
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Yeah, we really like to par-tay. :-)

And that, folks, was our two-part anniversary celebration.


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