Saturday, June 30, 2012

Anini Beach

I am going to finish blogging about our vacation!  My tardiness in adding my updates is on account of vacation bible school, a spanish camp, finishing math books, teaching Lia to read, and oh yes... going to the pool!  It is summertime.  :-)

I will continue with our visit to beautiful Anini beach.  The kids love to play in this spot where a little stream finds its way to the ocean.  Emily is working on a project to re-route the water and I believe David is making a drip castle.  When we arrived at the beach, Lia had just dozed off in the car so I let Chris and my Mom and Dad take the kids down to the beach while I watched Lia... or rather, I joined her by taking a little nap myself.  This is how I found my the rest of my children when we woke up and wandered down the beach.

Very busy!

Lia, Chris and I took a little walk down the beach.  She has her pink pail for finding treasures.

Emily went for a little swim...  It was a gorgeous day.

Pretty picture... interesting tree.

Now what are they doing?

Remember the little stream?  Well, there were lots of little guppies swimming around in there.  And... it is great fun to catch them!

And now what are they doing?

Anini beach is one of the only beaches on the island where you can find Ni'ihau shells!  Once you get your eye trained... you can pick them out from all the other rocks and shells.  Most Ni'ihau shells are found on the island Ni'ihau which is know as the 'forbidden island' and they are used to make intricate shell necklaces.  Since the shells are so tiny and hard to find and difficult to string, these necklaces are quite pricey.  I read that Captain Cook received a Niihau lei when he visited the Hawaiian Islands, which he called the Sandwich Islands, in the 1700's.  Here is a very cool picture of our collection.  We were able to identify our specific Ni'ihau shells on this website

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kamalani Playground and Duke's Canoe Club

After our Nounou mountain hike, we let the kids play at Kamalani playground which is the coolest castle/fort I have ever seen!  And last, we met my parents at Duke's Canoe Club for dinner where I attempted to get all 3 of my children to smile nicely together.  When that failed... I went for a nice wave.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nounou Mountain Trail

Chris told the kids for weeks before our trip that they better get ready for some hiking!  This year, Lia had to grow up a little because her Daddy decided she was too old to be pushed in the jogging stroller.  Chris picked this hike for our warm-up because it is a short easy walk (less than a mile) with just a little elevation gain and a nice picnic table and view at the end.  Emily looks excited and ready to go here at the trail head.

The trail starts off with a short walk behind some residential homes and past some fields with horses.

Then you cross a really cool bridge...

And head into the jungle!  As we were walking, we could hear fruit falling from the trees about every 5 seconds.  These were strawberry guava trees and obviously, the fruit was very ripe.  It was all over the ground and we had to constantly swat away the fruit flies.

Here is our big girl Lia who is NOT in the stroller!  Slow and steady was her motto this trip.  She did great and was quite the trooper.

The secret to trail-blazing is to wear the right kind of hat and to find the perfect hiking stick.

Here is the lookout... which means time for a snack!  When you do a lot of hiking, you hear a lot of this:  "I'm hungry!"  We kept the kids fueled with mixed nuts, apples and pretzels.  If we really need them to work, cookies work brilliantly too.

And here was our view:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Aloha from Kauai!

On May 21st, we travelled to Kauai to visit my parents.  Chris had been travelling to Asia so much this year that he was able to upgrade our whole family to business-first for the long flight.  The hot fudge sundae was Lia's favorite part of this experience.  My favorite part was all the space and the chairs that not only recline but provide a foot rest and lumbar support!  I was able to watch a great movie called The Big Miracle about the attempt to rescue a family of whales trapped in ice in Alaska.  It was a fabulous movie and made the time go by really fast.  The kids enjoyed working on their new Usborne sticker books and playing the games on the video system.  And yes, we were very spoiled.  We would never pay for business first... but it is nice to see how the other half lives every now and then.

It takes the entire day to get to Kauai.  We flew Houston to Honolulu direct and then we switched to a Hawaiian flight for the island hop to Lihue, Kauai.  Our routine is always the same...  Once we land in Kauai and get our baggage, Chris gets the rental car and we head to our favorite pizza place in Kilauea for take-out.  David and Emily were still awake but Lia passed out in the van on the way to Nana and Grandpa's condo.  In fact, she never even ate dinner that night but just passed out till the next day.  After dinner, we are always exhausted and fall asleep before 8pm.  The next day our body clocks are always mixed up.  We were all up by 5am.  I was greeted by Emily's overly cheerful "Hello Mom!" which is always quickly followed by, "I'm hungry!."  My parent's condo is an open-air community and quiet hours are strictly enforced between 9am and 9pm.  It is always a challenge to keep my kids quiet... but it is an especially difficult challenge when you are 4 hours away from 9am!!

So once the sun came up, we were able to head out for our traditional morning walk to The Cliffs.  What a beautiful morning.  The girls kenw they wanted to collect flowers for the condo so they came prepared with a bag.  Our rule is that they can only pick up flowers that fall on the ground.... but this doesn't limit them much.  There are flowers all over the ground everywhere.  We were lucky to find a plumeria branch on the ground that had been pruned by some workers.  It had a ton of plumeria blooms on it and once we got it in some water at the condo, it bloomed for the entire 2 weeks we were on vacation.  If we could have planted it, I'm sure we could have grown a new tree.

After settling in, we headed to beautiful Hanalei Bay to get in some ocean time.  The kids were thrilled to pull out all their sand toys and get to work.

This is David's happy dance.

He also got to try out the boogie board.  The waves were really calm here so it was a good warm-up day for us.

Is this the most beautiful beach in the world?

 I think so.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Swim Lessons

In preparation for our vacation and summer, the kids took 3 rounds of swim lessons with Coach Wes.  Lia was "scared" of the water and needing the most help so she took a private session while the other two had their lessons in small groups of 2 or 3 kids.  Cecilia was kind enough to open up her house and pool to several families and the kids enjoyed playing together between lessons.  We were able to have pizza for lunch to take care of the "I'm starving..." issues that come with being in the sun and the water... so it worked out really nicely.

 Lia is telling Coach Wes that he better not let go of her!

Now she is enjoying a little swimming independence with two noodles under her arms.  You may not be able to tell, but she is smiling in this picture.

Emily was already swimming like a fish, but Coach Wes was able to help her technique on all the different strokes.  She needed quite a bit of work on breathing to the side on her freestyle instead of just throwing her head up in the air to breathe.  She improved quite a bit each time.

And David, who was petrified of the water last year, is now swimming like a fish!