Monday, April 30, 2012

Cousin's Arrived at Ko Olina

Yes the cousins arrived. Ellie's dream come true since these cousins have girls just a year older and a year younger than her. This is Joel, Seth brother, and Julie's, my sorority sister, family. Its great because we get to hang out with family and friends. Its a combo deal! They are staying at a super fun resort in Ko Olina, a resort town on the other side of the island. We went to greet them and join them at the pool. 

The sunset on that side of the island was just beautiful. We walked the board walk as the sun went down. The kids built totem poles out of themselves and we got an eight is enough picture below.

The next day we meet up with them to snorkel at Shark's cove. It was really warm and low tide, which made for a bit less snorkeling but great for the kids to get around the cove. Sam snorkeled out with Ashley and Brooklyn and saw all sorts of fish. As you can see, the water is so clear and it is protected by reef, so no waves, which makes it nice for the little ones.

Ellie and Brookie wore matching rash guards. Its great to have such fun cousins!

Jake, unfortunately, has no fear of the water. He has learned to hold his breath under water, but doesn't close his eyes, so he doesn't like the salt water. He is sporting his full piece rash guard and dark Scandinavian tan. So sporty and handsome. He's checkin' out the fish with his bro.

After Sharks cove we went up the shore to Sunset beach. We had yet to swim at Sunset because of the strong tides. But it was calm this day, so we all hopped in. Sam spent the time diving for sea shells. It kept making me nervous because I would look around and not see him and then he would pop up from below the swells. He has really learned to love the ocean, all aspects of it. 
Hailey and Jayne are mostly inseparable. They are usually holding hands, but here they are just digging for treasures.

 This is Will, age 3, and Jake, age 2. They are what you would call- "frienemies." Friends plus enemies. Both have super strong personalities, but kind of like to push each others buttons. Will wants to hold Jake's hand and steer him around. Jake will have none of it. Will get up close to Jake's face and of coarse as you know from previous posts, Jake hits everything within his arm's radius. We have warned Will that Jake will hit him. But Will is 3, and that doesn't always make sense, and really Jake doesn't always make sense to any of us. But Jake loves Will and follows him, because Will is bigger and cooler. So we will give them a break since they are 2 and 3, and know that they will be good buds when they are a bit older. 
 This was the kids table at Bob's Pizza in Halewia. The children barely survived their starvation after a full day at the beach. The table and floor didn't fare as well. 

On Saturday morning we decided to hike Wamae Falls. The waterfall was open for swimming and the hike as doable with 9 children under the age of 11 years old. So we set off with Ellie as our guide.

Again, Jayne and Hailey, mostly found holding hands or giggling. And excellent hikers as well.

The fearless crew. All looking good pre-hike.

This is what Seth called the homeless stroller. At all times it had a diaper bad, a snack bag, 13 towels draped over it, a couple pairs of flip flops, goggles, a bottle, camera, and some water. Oh yes, and a baby and a toddler on board. Joel was recruited to push it up all of the hills due to it extreme weight carrying all of these items. But we could have been lost in Waimae Canyon and survived with this trusty homeless looking stroller. 
Water break with our trusty tour guide!

Cousin love fest continues.

Ellie helping Jayne find her smile while hiking.

Jake, below, after stealing Will's place on the stroller. Can't you just hear him saying,"Awe."

I think this is what we would call Seth's kissy face! Remember, Ellie has the camera on this hike.You can see her in Seth's glasses. 

Ashley and Ellie terrified by the spiky tree.

And finally, we made it to the falls. It was a gruelling 3/4 mile hike :). The water was only 65 degree. We are use to swimming in the super warm 80 degree ocean, so it was cold. But we all took the challenge and swam over to the falls. There was a lot of squealing along the way, but definitely a lot of smiles.

Below is Joel with the big kids standing next to the falls.

Jake, unafraid of cold water, jumped in and loved floating in his life jacket. He cried when I left him to swim to the falls because he wanted to come too. But it was a little too cold to haul him along. 

This is a still happy crew after swimming in the falls.

And for the grand finale of the day, we took the cousins to our favorite beach- Castles. They boogie boarded, body surf, and jumped on the long board to catch some waves. We played there until the sun went down.

Here is darling baby Claire. Probably one of the best babies to grace this earth. She is such a cute baby. I think it has to due to her chubby cheeks. How could you not be the happiest baby in the world with those cheeks? She is chillin' in her car seat watching her parents boogie board.

And Jake. Happy in his Hawaiian home at the beach. He now sings songs about waterfalls and beaches and daddies. They are all originals. He'll be signing a record contract any day now. To me, children singing, is a sign of happiness.

To end the day after a quick wash up at our home- coconut shrimp, burgers, and home cut fries at Kahuku Grill. If you've had it, you know what I mean. If you haven't, get on over here and we'll take you. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hanging Out At Home

This past week, with Seth gone, we stayed home and tried to get back in the groove of school. It was a bit painful. Its just too fun to have cousins and friends to play with 24-7. But on Wednesday, we did had an awesome visit from some good friends, Jonathan and Cherie Francom. We were friends with them in Portland. They moved and we moved, but we caught up with each other here this week. I feel lame because I didn't even take pictures with them. We joined them for an awesome morning at Turtle Bay for some snorkeling and hanging out. Ellie took these pictures of me and my little best friend who is attached to me, where ever I may be. 
Even if I try and snorkel for a minute. (But I can't help but notice again the most beautiful clear blue water, gorgeous.

Thursday I plans fell through, so we decided to bike to the library. The closest public library is the high schools library in Kahuku, the neighboring town only about a mile and a half away. We biked over on a bike path connecting the two towns. We got off a bit later than I had hoped, so we stopped at Tiki's Grill, a little mom and pop drive through for some burgers and fries. The owner came out and gave us all some hot cake. Check out the ham (Jake) showing off his big piece of chocolate cake. He cracks me up. The expression of Jayne in the background is awesome as well.

 And with the two turkeys below, now we know where Jake gets it from. Chocolate cake!

Later that evening, Jake went missing. I walked around the house and couldn't find him. Then I saw his orange tshirt through the bushes. Here he is just chatting with the neighbor, Grandpa (that's what all the neighborhood kids call him). This kid is so funny. I think I mentioned before that we call him our "free range child."Hopefully we have some say in his up-bringing, but it unlikely. Just as comfortable as can be with Grandpa. He was even eating Grandpa's roll and asked please for his water as well. Of coarse Grandpa gave it to him which feeds his "free-rangedness." Such a nut. Grandpa is also a sweet, sweet man, who works on his his beautiful yard for most of the day. It never has anything out of place. I am sure he is not loving the white trash next door (us) with our long boards and shoes randomly dispersed across the lawn.

Jayne and Jake couldn't resist the sprinkler at Grandpa's house. What kid can? Check out the water in the evening sunlight. I should have grabbed my real camera.

Such fun to be a kid.

Saturday we took slow. Seth was home and tired from the his travelling schedule. Although he did really well, sleeping the whole night Friday to Saturday. But the sprinkler was turned on again and all the kids ran through it. Then the Johansen's pulled out their water fight equipment and that was the end of it. Hours of water fighting. Jake wouldn't even go down for a nap.

Kind of a scary crew if you ask me. Armed and dangerous.

Below is them preparing to meet their friend, Laura Weeks. Sam is in the background on the wall on watch out. He kept calling everyone troops. Laura had a very wet welcome.

Whitney and Sam at a stand off.

The Johansen's claim to be preparing for their summer family reunion water fight. My children as more that happy to help them prepare. Even the Weeks kids were good for 3 hours of water fighting. 

"Mama's taken us to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow...."

Yes, all week I heard the song about 'Mama taking us to the zoo tomorrow." I knew that we would have to go to Honolulu to pick up Seth, so I did some research and found that the Honolulu zoo was fairly small and perfect to visit for a couple of hours. Since Seth got in at 3:30 p.m., we would have time to visit the zoo, Costco, and then pick him up. Off we went to the zoo.

The picture below is a rare one because Jayne is in it. She asked if she could have the camera for the day, and I agreed. She took a picture of EVERY animal in the zoo. Thank goodness for digital cameras. There are some great pictures and then a couple with some headless giraffes, legless ostrich, and some rhinos off in the distance. I blame this new love for photography on my sister Sherri, who gave Jayne her camera one day at a soccer game to entertain her. Jayne took sooo many pictures. But the pictures ended up entertain us, because each was the view off a  little 5 year old. It consisted of my bum, my sister stomach, and some legs with a soccer ball. Yes, it is Aunt Sherri's fault that Jayne has declared herself a photographer. The camera only hit the ground once, but got its fair beating at the zoo. In the end, it made her very happy. I can post her pictures on another post- Jayne's zoo.

 From Honolulu Zoo to Seattle Zoo it is 2678 miles as pointed out by Ellie dear. That's a long way from home. But if you ask Ellie how she like Hawaii, she will tell you- she loves it. Hawaii suits Ellie. With the weather so pleasant she spends 90% of her day outside without any shoes. She rides her long board around the block 10 times a day. She complained of her right foot hurting because she wasn't wearing any shoes and had worn a hole in her foot from pushing the her long board that always has another passenger on it. She really like the zoo as well. It was the perfect size.

We couldn't resist a picture on these big hippo buns!

 I love this picture of them all leaning forward to see the fish in the water. If you look closely in the background there is a monkey swinging. 

This guy above was the creepiest animal we saw at the zoo. Look at him. That long thin snout with moss growing on it body. It looks like something from Ice Age the movie. Its a Gharials, an Indian crocodile. Super creepy. Jake said in a tough voice," yook Mom, a dinosaur." That is an awesome way to describe it, for lack of better words.

 The best of the zoo for me was Jake. I realized that Jake probably couldn't remember ever going to a zoo before. He was too little to remember the Seattle or Hoogle Zoo. So if you know Jake, you know that he is a million miles an hour and throws everything. But this day he was silent and observant. He repeated every name of the animal that we were looking at. You could see on his face the process of taking in new information. He was mesmerized. You can see him above sitting on his brother monkey's shoulders looking at the reptiles. Or him up against the fence to see the "big elephant" in his words. We probably went too fast threw each exhibit for him. He would have sat and watched and learned a bit longer had we let him. It was so fun. He was a gem to take to the zoo. I could tell he loved it. He kept asking to see the lions, because his favorite stuff animal, that he sleeps with, is a lion. (The kids have named it Aslan, since we just finished listening to the Chronicles of Narnia. So funny.) But the lion was sleeping and hard to see. We'll get him next time. And of coarse, when we stepped out of the gates, Jake melted in to a two year old pile on the ground. I think it was sensory overload, and he fell asleep in the car.
 Cute Sam and this friendly goat at the petting zoo. Jake came to join the fun.
The Honolulu zoo was a success and well worth it. We then did a quick trip to the store and then picked Seth up right on time. We are happy to have him home and I am trying to get him to write down his adventures in Boston so that I can post it on the blog. We'll see if it comes to past.