Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday January 17th - Family Shots

I took this series of pictures on our way out the door for church. It is quite comical to try and get three childen to all look and smile at the camera at the same time. I didn't succeed... but the trial and error is very cute.

Our Nativity Scene

We were really excited to bring out our felt nativity scene again this year! Emily was proud to put it all together... She did a great job too!

Our Jesse Tree - Christmas 2009

We finished our Jesse Tree when we got back from vacation before the Epiphany and before Emily had to go back to school. Emily designed all the "ornaments" and continues to amaze me with her knowledge of the bible. I will have to applaud www.holyheroes.com one more time for the incredible learning experience they provided for us this year.

Kauai Vacation, Thur/Fri Dec 24/25 - Our Last Days

Well, it is about time I officially wrap up this vacation blog... Our last day was rainy, rainy, rainy! We made it out to the pool in the morning before the rain started. We swam in the rain for a little bit until the novelty wore off. And then, it continued to rain all day! Sometimes, when it rains on one side of the island like that, you can get in your car and drive to the other side. We took a chance and headed to Lydgate State Park because there is an amzaing playground there and we wanted the kids to see it. Well... we found a little sun and played for a short while and then the rain caught up to us and we called it a day. We can't complain though... the weather for our entire trip was awesome. And isn't this a sweet picture of Lia hanging out with her Grandpa. :-)

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with my parents. Chris and my Dad grilled some wonderful steaks and the kids were treated to pizza. On Christmas morning, we had stockings full of goodies to open and enjoyed mass at St. William's in Hanalei again. The rest of the day was spent packing up and saying our goodbyes. We had an uneventful plane ride to Honolulu and then flew all night into Houston. The kids were asleep before the plane took off and slept the whole time so it was easy on us. And now... back to the real world!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kauai Vacation, Wed Dec 23, Moalepe Trail

The last few days of our vacation we started getting a bit lazy in the mornings.. The kids finally started sleeping in till almost 8am...and we were finally able to stay up a bit later at night to enjoy my parent's company. We called this getting on "island time."

Wednesday's adventure was the Moalepe Trail, outside of Kapaa, and up in the mountains. It was a beautiful sunny day... We were hot in the sun! It was almost hard to believe it was wet, cold and miserable back at home! The trail starts out as a red dirt road. It gets really pretty after about 3/4 of a mile... but we weren't able to do much more than that. Emily tuckered out on us around the 1.5 mile mark so we headed back.... too bad because we were just getting into the shady part!

You can see the red dirt, beautiful mountains and me and my Mom waving.

Here is some strawberry guava on the trail. They are more of a yellowish color when they are ripe.

Another pretty view from the trail...

And here is Lia looking especially cute in our bed. She looks so little! Our routine was to read books in bed and let her fall asleep. When we were ready to go to sleep, we would move her to a little pallet we made for her on the floor. It worked out perfectly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kauai Vacation, Tue Dec 22, Limahuli Gardens

Chris and I were excited to take the kids to the Limahuli Gardens in Haena on Tuesday. This garden museum of native plants is amazing. The terraced area you see in this picture fascinated David. There were all these irrigation streams with little bridges and he spent quite a bit of time making little boats out of leaves and watching them flow downstream.

We were able to take ourselves on a self guided tour. The garden center provided an excellent book describing the plants at each stop. You can see the Taro plant here... used to make poi if my memory serves me correctly. Emily LOVED this book and happily found each number and read all about the plants and the local legends included as well. I'm glad we were able to take one home for future reference! The bird of paradise is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen... And if you look closely at the picture of me and Lia... you will see a banana tree loaded with bananas! What I wouldn't give for one of those in my backyard. Talk about a good way to feed the troops!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kauai Vacation, Mon Dec 21, Hanalei Ridge Trail

The Hanalei Ridge Trail or Okolehao Trail was our adventure for Monday morning. The trail head is right after the one lane bridge between Princeville and Hanalei where the dirt road splits off from the main road and goes by the taro patches. You can see the big kids had their hiking sticks ready!
It is a really good hike right up the mountain to a beautiful view. We were rewarded this trip by finding wild orchids growing right on the trail. Emily made it her job to collect flowers for our dinner table each night. You can glimpse her bouquet in the picture below.

Though it was slow going with the kids... we made it to the first lookout. What a view!
We were fortunate to be able to check out a stack of library books from the Princeville branch to keep up with Emily's insatiable desire to read and find out things. She wanted to read all about volcanoes and ocean life on this trip. She would quietly retreat to her room to read... and then quickly pass out due to being so worn out! On this day, we found her asleep with her nose literally in the book!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kauai Vacation: Sun Dec 20, Mass, Beach, Art Lesson, Snow Cones

On Sunday morning we were able to attend mass at St. William's in Hanalei. I love this church. It is where Chris and I went to mass while we were on our honeymoon. My favorite memory was that the priest asked if anyone was on their honeymoon (it was the Sunday before Valentines day) and we were given a special blessing with the couple who had been married the longest. It is an awesome memory since we were able to come back and visit with our three children nearly ten years later! The church is open air so you can hear the roosters and it isn't unusual for a cat or a dog to stroll through.

After mass, we spent the afternoon at Hanalei Bay enjoying the beach. And yes, I was really on this vacation... Thank you to my Dad for taking pictures of me!

Emily got a private art lesson with her Nana. What a lucky girl! I believe it was a drawing lesson and from the result of her masterpiece... I would say she learned quite a bit about painting in "plein air."

Not bad for a 6 year old!!! I was certainly impressed.

After the beach, Nana and Grandpa treated the kiddos to Hawaiian shave ice... or a very "fancy snow cone" according to Emily. David and Lia shared this monster size Rainbow shave ice and had a very good time taking turns...

Emily's tropical shave ice had macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom. Yum! My Mom and I were treated to Kona ice cream. You can see three very happy girls here.

And last, this shot my Dad took of the pier at Hanalei Bay came out AWESOME!

Kauai Vacation: Sat Dec 19, Princeville Park, Powerline Trail

A Lazy Saturday... We spent a good part of our morning at Prince Albert park in Princeville. This park is awesome because it is right by the library, hike and bike trail and surrounded by lots of grass for running around.

Here is Lia passes out after lunch... We made her a little bed in the "sitting area" off of the guest bedroom. She was actually very lucky because her little spot got the best trade winds in the condo.

We hiked PowerLine trail in the afternoon. There was a little rain before we got started but it stopped and we were able to enjoy a nice hike. Lia was happy and well rested. She had it really easy as her Daddy did all the work pushing her up the trail.

If you look closely, you can see the waterfall in the picture below. We had awesome mountain views. Which remaind me...David had lots of names for the mountains this trip. The first day when we arrived, the sun was setting when we drove into Princeville and the clouds were very misty and spooky the way they shrouded the mountains. He got really scared that first night and wanted to get inside so we would all be safe! So during the trip he was constantly looking at the mountains and telling us they were "Misty Mountains", "Spooky Mountains", "Cloudy Mountains", or "Sunny Mountains."

And take note of the famous red dirt. It stains everything and is the main reason why everyone takes their shoes off before going inside someone's home.

Emily's Polar Region Project

First Grade Projects

Emily is assigned a "project" every few months in first grade. She LOVES projects. While it has been a struggle this week to get her to do her homework... she has begged to work on this. The first grade is studying the polar region and each child was assigned an animal to study. Emily got the puffin. The first thing they were encouraged to do was to learn about their animal on http://www.enchantedlearning.com/. The excitement begins. My daughter proudly sat in front of the computer and insisted on typing the website address herself. This in itself was very amusing because I was busy in the kitchen while she sat at the kitchen table... "Mommy, where is the dot on the keyboard...?" The poor thing would type and type and then somehow highlight the text in the address bar and erase it... and have to start over. But eventually, she got it! After entering Puffin here she was presented with tons of articles to read and I had to drag her from the computer when it was time to eat. So, it was no effort at all to get her to draw the pictures and answer the questions you see below.

After reading all about puffins, she was very exicted and had a vision for her model. She told me exactly what she needed: black and white feathers, some yellow string for around the eye, some posterboard and the cardboard paper towel roll to put it on. We made a list and headed to the craft store and spent a whopping $5. As soon as we got home she went to work. She drew an outline of the puffin on cardboard... without even referencing a picture. If her Nana is reading, she told me she remembered what you taught her about looking at the lines to draw from her palm tree lesson in Hawaii. Then she glued the feathers and the yellow embroidery string around the eyes and colored the beak and legs. She was so driven that I don't think she even spent more than 15 minutes on it! So Mr. Puffin was set out to dry and mounted on the paper towel roll.

I thought we were done... and then she tells me she needed a box and some blue paper for the ocean. I wasn't sure where she was going with it but she knew (thank goodness). You can't see very well from the picture but she glued on some little pop-up fish for her Puffin to eat. Her Daddy came up with some brilliant way of making a slot in the box and the paper towel holder to stand up the Puffin and it was my idea to add cotton balls for snow. It came out great!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kauai Vacation: Fri Dec 18, Kee Beach, Napali Hike, Lihue

Kalalau Trail

On Friday, we headed out to the most northern part of the island... where the road dead ends at Kee Beach. This is also where you access the Napali Coastline trail. This trail is an 11 mile hike. The best we have ever done (before kids) was the 2 miles to the first beach, the 4 mile loop to the waterfall and back. That makes for 8 miles and a very full day. This vacation, I stayed on the beach with my Mom, David and Lia... and Chris, Emily and my Dad did the hiking. Here are some pictures they brought back. My Mom and I were lucky enough to look up at just the right moment to see them looking down from one of the overlooks and Chris giving us his classic two arm "look at me" wave.

Here is Emily with her Grandpa at the trail head.

Finding the perfect hiking stick is the best part of the adventure. Emily got a great one for this hike! While Chris was busy making sure Emily was safe, my Dad got some great pictures of him hiking with his daughter. It looks like they're foraging through the jungle!

At the lookout...

After the big hike, we were treated to dinner out in Kapaa. We took my parents to our favorite family owned Thai restaurant called The King and I. After that, we went into Lihue for some Christmas fun... There was a festival of lights at an old county building next to the civic center. The trees were all lit up around the buildings and an awesome display of recycled treasures was found inside. It was a much bigger production than what I expected and very magical for the kids. Santa and Ms. Clause were available for pictures but my kids didn't want any part of sitting on their laps. Another funny thing, the high school volunteers wanted all the visitors to mark where they were from on a big map. We were really surprised to see a visitor had already claimed our home town... And we thought we had the island to ourselves!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The damage... (for family history)

We are lucky Lia is so stinkin' cute... Anyway, I'll call your attention to where her bangs used to be. And yes Emily, they are certainly not in her eyes anymore. So I will keep reminding myself that it is just hair... and hopefully it will grow back thicker and more beautiful. In the meantime all scissors in our household will be locked away for a few years or until I feel better about this.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Emily cut Lia's hair...

Let me repeat that. Emily cut Lia's hair today while I was at the grocery store. She did not do a good job. I don't have the heart to post a picture.

I was very angry.

I have calmed down.

Emily promised NEVER to do it again.

I fear we will be waiting about 6 months for it to correct itself.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kauai Vacation: Thur Dec 17, Anini Beach, Kilauea Lighthouse

On Thursday, we started our day's adventure at beautiful Anini Beach. The kids enjoyed watching the windsurfers... or rather the kite surfers. Apparently, boring old windsurfing is out of style. A surfboard and a kite is what we saw that day and the guys out doing it were really good!
Emily climbed every tree she could find this vacation!

Chris, Lia and my parents went for a little walk on the beach and got this shot of the Kilauea Lighthouse... which is where we went after lunch.

While they were walking, Emily and David played here. David had a little stream and lots of sticks and rocks to play with... (he was in heaven) and Emily built this little bridge. I read a book. It's tough work, but someone has to watch the kids. ;-)
After our picnic lunch, we headed to the Kilauea Lighthouse (from the previous picture). There is a bird sanctuary there with lots of information on all the birds. Emily and her Nana scored some binoculers from the park ranger and had a ball reading about all the birds and naming them as they flew by.

Lia spent some time learning about the humpback whales.

And try as I might, there were no whales to be spotted that day. My consolation prize, however, was this beautiful rainbow!