Aloha from Kauai!
We are on a red-eye back to Utah tonight. Our flight isn’t till 9:30 Hawaii time and since our rental car had to be back by 7 we are kicking it in the airport waiting area. 2 weeks to catch up on. This blog might sound a bit travel-logy but I wanted to share our fabulous time with you!
Week before we left seemed a little packed. Had those few nights of waking up at 2 am thinking of things I needed to do before we left. Kids had a bunch of make-up classes to compensate for missing things while we would be gone. Did a bunch of laundry, writing lists, thanking friends ec. Allison was very excited that she had a loose tooth – her first! She said she wouldn’t let me know if it came out while we were gone so it would be a surprise when we came back. She was wiggling pretty furiously all night Thursday. Spencer finished up his stuff for his bear patch for cubs and for a bunch of beads. While we were gone Meredith took all the kids over for a blue and gold dinner and Spencer got all his awards.
Jeremy has been working hard on the photo camp he is heading up. While we were in Hawaii they ended up selling out at 200 people. He was able to add 75 more people and then that sold out within hours. He is very excited at all the enthusiasm that is being generated for this project!
Friday we left at 8:30 for Hawaii. I didn’t want to be running from security to the gate hoping to make our flight as has happened in the past. So I left a healthy time allowance and of course we sailed through security to arrive at the gate way early with Jeremy chuckling about my paranoia. Flight to Hawaii had me sitting next to a very, very large man. Did you know they make belt extenders on airplanes for people too big for the normal seatbelt? Read a good book and dozed and arrived in Kauai feeling very out of it and tired. A little food and sleep had us with the time change waking up before the sun ready to go.
A fact about Kauai that I didn’t know is that they have a LARGE wild chicken population as they have no predators on the island. And the roosters do not just crow at 7 in the morning but sing from 3 a.m. till 8 and then randomly throughout the day. The sound of roosters crowing and the sight of chickens scrambling around followed us everywhere we went. One rooster like to let loose right outside our condo until Jeremy would chase him away. But for our whole stay, with the 3 hour time difference if we slept in till 7 or 8 we felt extremely self-indulgent and lazy. The days of activity and sun and water tired us out so we hit the sheets early most nights.
I will post some of Jeremy’s pictures but wanted to tell you the highlights of our trip. Saturday we drove through the south part of the island and through Waimea Canyon (called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific). Stopped at many overlooks to walk around and stand in awe at the beauty we saw. Then we went to the annual Waimea town festival to sample pancit and kaloha pork and listen to a ukulele competition. The ukulele playing was very impressive. And then we stocked up on groceries for the week and hung out on Poipu beach where we stayed. Jeremy took pictures, I laid on the sand with my book and we watched the monk seals tanning on the beach and stayed till the sun set.
Sunday we found a local church which brought back memories for Jeremy. Then we took off to explore. We went to Wailua falls (the waterfall from Fantasy Island). After oohing and ahing from the overlook we hiked down a very steep and slippery trail (grabbing roots and helpful ropes placed there) and then along a slippery, rocky river (“hug the rock, Heather” a non-comforting encouragement by Jeremy). It felt like the true jungle experience. And then we emerged at the base of the waterfall to eat lunch and swim in the fall. Hung out for a while and then hiked back out and drove up to the North Shore to relax at Hanalei Beach. This time of year the north shore is too rough to snorkel or even really swim although there were a few brave surfers. I walked the length of the beach and pier singing the music from South Pacific (that is the beach where is was filmed). I think I got a little loud at times singing Bali Hi as I got a few strange looks!
Monday Jeremy was off doing his doors off photography helicopter tour while I rented snorkel equipment and headed for Poipu Beach to snorkel and enjoy the sand and a book. It was more than a fair trade. The fish we saw were amazing. I had fish food the first time I went out and was just swarmed. You would not believe the amount and type and quantity of fish we saw. It was hard to believe we were really there. You had to try hard not to touch any of the fish as they just swam with you in their midst. I loved swimming in Hawaii too and would just swim up and down the beaches we would visit loving the semi-warm water and the buoyancy. When Jeremy came back pumped up about his flight we headed off to another beach to spend the day snorkeling. Then of course we had to try out Lamperts ice cream. A local ice cream store that is SO good. Calories do not count on a vacation!
Tuesday we snorkeled in the morning (hard to get enough of it!). Then we headed off to rent a kayak and spent the day on the Wailua River. We stopped to hike to a “secret” waterfall and had fun in the middle of nowhere with just us and a muddy trail! And we stopped again at a swim spot where they had a rope swing. Jeremy filmed my disastrous attempt at that which hopefully NO ONE will ever see! We had a lot of fun.
Wednesday we spent the morning walking around the coast by us seeing the Hyatt’s gardens, the sea turtles “surfing”. Then we packed a lunch to spend the day at the Salt Ponds Beach. We swam, ate mangos and papayas and Jeremy got a creative sunburn on his back. You can see the waves where I sprayed the sunblock that stayed white and then everything else turned red. Good thing he loves me so much! Wednesday night we went to a luau. Ate a ton and enjoyed the show. Jeremy said that now I have the café rio style pork down I need to try figuring out how to cook teriyaki beef. We got our protein for the week that night!! I did try poi and now don’t have to ever again ☺ I was amazed at how fast those girls can move their hips – they truly must have abs of steel.
Thursday we spent the morning snorkeling. When we went in to rent snorkels the guy asked if we had ever tried scuba diving and gave me a long pep talk about my fears. So I set it up for Friday morning. Spent the morning snorkeling at the Beachhouse beach. Seals came up to sun feet away from us and the fish were so thick it was hard to move! Wonderful. Then we went off on this dirt road by Poipu to find the Makahuena beach. It ended up being this long deserted beach. Spent the day just laying together on the sand and so glad to be there. Had to leave in the late afternoon when the wind started blowing sand and giving us a nice exfoliation treatment.
Friday we arose at an unearthly hour although I had kept waking up and checking the clock for a few hours. Had a few nerves going! Met up at 7 am at this small dock where they taught me the basics of scuba diving and then we were off. It was extremely cool once I got used to the feeling and kept my breathing slow and regular. We were down with the sea turtles and saw tons of them swimming with us, sleeping on the floor. Saw a bunch of moray eels checking us out. The time flew by! Didn’t think it was much effort at all until I got back to the condo and Jeremy convinced me to lie down for a moment. An hour and a half later he woke me up!! Guess it took more effort than I thought. Found this amazing fish place for lunch and took it to the beach to watch a guy kite surfing and for me to savor every mouthful of macadamia nut encrusted mahi-mahi. (Almost every night we grilled fish and pineapple – so good). Then we headed up to explore the north coast. Saw the wet and dry caves on the north shore. Went for a hike off of Ke’e beach along the Napali Coast. We only went a half mile in but it was a half mile of scrambling over rocks, holding on to roots for support and bracing against winds. But the views were amazing. Ended the day trying out some Hawaiian ice and watching hula dancers.
Today, Saturday was our last day. We spent the morning lying on the beach and swimming. Then the clouds and rain moved in. We checked out and spent the afternoon buying trinkets for the kids and exploring beaches looking for the Lihue lighthouse. Stuffed ourselves at Bubba’s burgers in preparation for the flight. It seems like we did so much this vacation but it seemed so laid back and relaxing at the same time. Most nights we hit the hot tub to warm up. Meals were simple and we would throw some sandwiches and fruit in a bag and be set for the day. I wore a swimsuit and ponytail and sunblock almost every day. It was just a very laid back, very fun vacation and best part was just laying on the beach with Jeremy’s arms around me realizing that we could stay there as long as we wanted.
I haven’t spoken to the kids all week so I am assuming that no news is good news. Had a bit of panic Friday when the schools called to say that all parents had to pick up their kids in person as there had been a shooting in a nearby neighborhood. They were pretty sure they got the shooter but until they were positive they didn’t want to take chances. Luckily Meredith was out of school and was able to go get Taylor and friends got Spencer and Allison. I honestly didn’t worry about our kids at all and was grateful for everyone who made this trip possible. It was wonderful just to remember how much fun it is to be with just Jeremy. The first day we were here I felt almost twitchy. After 20 minutes of sitting on the beach I felt like I needed to do something. I always feel that I take life pretty easy, perhaps too easy sometimes but it took me a day to switch to vacation mode of just relaxing. It was a wonderful trip! Photos to follow soon.
Aloha from Kauai!
Dear Family and Friends,
While my mom was here, she said that I should just give Robyn a dutch boy type hair cut as she obviously wanted short hair. I had flashbacks to my own short hair as a kindergartner and stuck to the idea of Robyn growing her hair out. But Robyn must have listened as this week she did her own haircut job again! She did her right side and then I did her left. Good thing she is cute enough to carry it off! It actually looks cute although very boyish I think when she lets me do it but after her numerous costume/clothing changes during the day by the evening her thin short hair is plastered to her scalp with static electricity and she looks bald. But as you can see she loves it!
This week was valentine mania. We made 80 heart cookies for Allison's class. And for family home evening's activity the kids worked hard making their valentines. Robyn just had fun folding and stickering a box of princess valentines that she would give to anyone she saw during the week.
This week was also Spencer's and Allison's school presidential pageant for Abraham Lincoln. So we made a big chocolate cake for Spencer to look like Lincoln's tall hat. We went to a night at their school where Allison's grade did a puppet show. Oohed at Spencer's class's cakes and wished we could eat them. Sat painfully through choir and band performances and muttered irritation at the people who wouldn't stop talking or would leave and walk around during the performances! Clapped for Allison as she won two awards, one for her essay and one for her sculpture. Kids had a great time and we enjoyed watching them and were proud we kept smiles on our faces for the whole evening.
Taylor has been home sick all week with Jeremy coughing his way to work for the first part of the week but since then getting better. If Taylor could just blow his nose his life would be so much better but instead he just is a goober mess and curled up miserable and snotty for the week. But he is starting to be able to function again and he and I will both be excited for him to go to school on Tuesday. I spent the week talking to his different therapists as we got ready for his yearly IEP. We met Friday and we all agreed to try switching Taylor to the disabled school. I think he will have more opportunities to be stimulated and be physically active and engaged. Its sort of a complicated process but it has gotten started and he should start at the new school in a few weeks. While I was there, I was impressed by how many kids stopped and told Taylor hello and called him by name.
Since this week was a homebody week because of Taylor I tackled Allison's nighstand. Allison has been using our old nightstand that was my uncle Gary's old nightstand from when he was single and first married. Pretty beat up and didn't look so great. So I attempted an experiment. This is what we started with:
And this is the finished result:
Allison loves it. I am figuring out how I want to do her dresser now! It wasn't hard to paint and modge-podge more just a mess. I took over the front hallway by the stairs and for some reason if a messy project is there, the idea that the rest of the house can be messy seems to spread.
Jeremy has been busy working to put together a photo camp he is in charge of that is on March 14th. He has been lining up sponsors, speakers, facilities etc. It is turning into a big deal which is what he wanted so its exciting for him to see it coming together. On Friday night our ward had a valentine's dinner that was a lot of fun. The entertainment was karaoke which we all sort of hemmed and hawed about. But ended up laughing and cheering for the many surprisingly brave and talented (and very untalented) people in our ward. Jeremy was practicing his lines to sing Soldier of love but sadly they didn't have it. The second half of our date was making a run to walmart which isn't very romantic but we did load up on ice cream to stay up way too late watching TV and pigging out.
Valentine's day brought us a bunch of slushy snow. Kids were all excited for our traditional waffles with strawberries and cool whip (spray can is the only way to go in their opinion). Then we went to take Lauri some flowers and work on her computer. She still really doesn't like where she lives but I can't think of another option that would work. Cleaned the office and then spent the day hanging out. I had a temple session with another ward's ward conference and Jeremy and kids made a manly pizza while I was gone putting on tons of meat and cheese. Turned out quite impressive and kids all voted that they liked Dad's manly pizza much better than my girly ones.
Less than a week to Hawaii and I am counting down. Our kids have gotten over the intial resentment that they weren't going too and are now excited for a week of babysitters and the freedoms and liberties that that implies. Love to you all and next post will be pictures of my bare toes toasty warm on some beach!
When I was cleaning under Allison's bed I found this "journal" of sorts from last year and thought I would share. All original spelling:
"whin my sistir was in hevn and my Mom was geting eevin siekr I was praing becas I know thet Hevenly Fathr can help my mom get bettr soon. and I know that he can hielp us get bettr soonr and he gives us blessings."
Made me smile and be glad to have her around! Thought I would share.
Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been a slow catch up type of week. Monday Robyn was just miserable with a fever that wouldn't stay down and a cough that wouldn't allow her to sleep. She laid on the couch a lot, not wanting to eat or drink and we all washed our hands a lot and prayed no one else would catch it. My parents and I hung out most of the day doing odds and ends. My mom showed me how to make a cover for our bolster pillow so now I can be officially done covering bedroom pillows. My parents had a lot of excitement and nerves going on, especially my dad and it was exciting for us to participate in the excitement. That afternoon we all bundled up and took them up to the airport. Driving away I had a few sniffles and was so glad for the power of the internet! I cannot imagine even 20 years ago and having to rely only on a few letters for a year and a half.
By Tuesday Robyn still had the death rattle cough where you just think that soon she is going to hawk up a lung. But her fever stayed down and she was sucking on popsicles and cinnamon bears. She has gradually been getting better all week and is almost back to her own self today. She still will get these coughing fits but they aren't all the time. On Friday she had her 3 year old check up. She is: 41% weight (30lbs), and 69% height (37 3/4 inches) which gives her a BMI of 17.4% (that I should be so lucky!) A skinny minny as our doctor called her. She refused to take her clothes off for the exam - don't understand the sudden modesty when at home she is a definite free spirit! Then I realized she was having flashbacks to when she had to be cathed. When they touched her pull-up she just cringed in a corner but calmed down when we promised that no one was going to check for bugs in her bum today. The pediatrician said her lungs are still quite full of gunk so I am thinking she will be coughing for a while to work it up. After a painful shot "Oww, what are you doing!" we headed off to to return a wrong size magnet board to IKEA. As long as we were up there with rainy, gray skies and a week of isolation with a coughing girl we took ourselves to Taipan Trading to check out all their spring decorations and came home to dress up our house a little bit.
Allison and Robyn have a new game that Robyn loves - playing school. Allison puts on her purple winter hat that my mom made her (thats a necessity, I don't know why) and sits in the little rocking chair in her room while Robyn sits at her feet with all her "homework" and supplies around her. They will play this till Allison gets tired of it and both have a great time bossing, and being bossed around.
Allison's life seems a little busy to me lately. Piano, gymnastics, swimming lessons and play practice. Each thing was only once this week but wowee! She loves it all. Play practice is going to start picking up as the play is in 2 months. She is doing the play with her friend Alena and swimming with her friend Sarah so in some ways its just structured play! She was excited that she was able to do a back handspring by herself this week at gymnastics. Swimming she only has 2 more weeks but she is like a little fish. She can stay and play for 15-20 minutes after her lesson and I have to laugh at her stomping around in kid size flippers, goggles on and a big floaty under her arm. There is no more fear as she dives to the bottom of the deep end and swims laps. She has been having bags under her eyes lately from sneaking books into her bed and reading them after lights out by the light of her night light. I just have to remember to walk by her he bedroom periodically to listen for the sound of pages turning under the covers. James and the Giant Peach and Magic tree house are this week's favorites.
This week we have been having pockets of spring with the temperatures getting to the mid-40s. So Spencer and Allison have been breaking out the bikes and waves and spending time outside. Spencer has been having me drop him off a few blocks from school so he can skate the rest of the wave and then dropping him off halfway home so he can skate the rest of the way. Good for everyone! Rocky has been breaking out too, digging away for his dirt encrusted buried bones and he has the dirty face right now to prove it.
This week Spencer was in the school spelling bee representing his class. They didn't do it in front of a school assembly for which I was grateful. But they did start a few minutes early and Spencer was the first kid. I arrived with sick Robyn in tow right on time but they were already on the 3rd kid by then and Spencer was sitting there with a very concerned look. After the first round, half the kids came to sit with their parents and I heard the story (as I am sure all the other parents did as well as Spencer trying not to cry and loose it is not the quietest). He was asked to spell chocolate which he knows. But he started spelling it, said the wrong letter, stopped and said can I start over. But under their rules once you start you cannot start over. He was very frustrated as he knew how to spell it and all the other words after him. But we just kept telling him its a very tricky contest and to be proud he made it as far as he did. I felt really bad for him.
We had a short cousin night this week. But kids helped me get cookies made for Allison's class, turned up their noses at my girly white pizza and chowed down on their traditional cheese and tomato sauce pizza and ran rampant with tea parties, computer games and a movie.
Jeremy has been tackling all his boxes of office stuff in the garage, downstairs, in the bedroom. A lot of memories stored in there as he finds paperwork and projects from all his past jobs. He had a fun night Thursday as a friend invited him to attend a Jazz game. Last night after going to the temple we went shoe shopping for Jeremy to get him all set for Hawaii. Today he has succumbed to Robyn's germs and is snoozing/coughing in bed and hoping his good health will return soon.
For me this week has been a week of catching up on my to-do list. I finished up a bunch of stake stuff and felt so relieved to not have that voice in the back of my mind telling me to get it done! Hung up some hooks in the laundry room to hang up clothes on after they are ironed. Robyn helped me, trying to be a "fix-it girl". She had screws stuck between her lips and a tiny screwdriver in hand. Hung up a curtain in the food storage room - technically I watched Jeremy hang up the curtain as I am very good at delegating! but I was there. Covered Robyn's bulletin board inserts on her dresser with fabric that matches her curtains. And I found the cutest way to paint Allison's nightstand and got some paper to do it with: http://www.jcarolinecreative.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=JC&Screen=NIGHTSTAND Has anyone ever modge podged before? I am hoping to start painting it this week.
I have the bad habit of tackling projects and then almost finishing them so it was nice to finish up some things. One of the benefits of a sick kid is that your life slows down a bit and with the cold weather outside thats OK. Allison has finished cooking our chocolate chip waffles and Robyn is telling me its time for me to get out of my PJs. A typical Sunday morning for us. Yesterday I went around snapping pictures of kids to share. I promised Mimi to start posting some pictures of the adults periocially too - so next week I'll turn over a new leaf. Love to you all,
Don't know why but our kids think watching cartoons while walking on the treadmill is the biggest treat.
Taylor with his runny nose.
Spencer has been skating as much as possible this week.
Robyn's and my efforts to make us think spring is on the horizon. Robyn "talks" to the chicks "cheep, cheep".
After a week of no friends, Robyn was in need of a Luke fix. They disregarded the snow, quickly shedding their coats and had a great time hiding out in the playhouse. I think half the joy of that playhouse is that no adults can see what they were doing. Lots of giggles coming from there and eventually 2 very sandy kids who had been busy making and trying to eat sand birthday cakes.
Dear Family and Friends,
Late in the day with kids already snoring I find time to write. I don't think I do that much on Sundays but wow the time flies by especially when you're sucked into watching the super bowl and can't look away for the last half hour! Holy cow, even Spencer was entranced. We had Lauri over and Jason's family and my parents were here so it was a full house. I attempted to imitate Cafe Rio pork salads and we porked out and cheered everyone on. Kids ran a little rampant while Robyn alternated between crying, cuddling and finding mischief (she is having a sick day).
Monday I pulled Spencer and Allison out of school and we drove my parents down to the MTC. There isn't a big meeting like with the elders but we got to look around, see the room they were staying in and give Spencer and Allison a preview of the mission experience. Kids thought it was very cool until they recollected they would be having to do extra math homework to make-up for the time they missed at school. But a stop at Krispy Kremes on the way to school and they forgot all their whining.
The week was full of me trying unsuccessfully to clean up a bit. I would start on one room and then open a cupboard or drawer and gasp in horror and get sidetracked into cleaning little pockets of filth out. Of course I am sure they are already full of unmentionable stuff again but I am not going to check again for a while! I surreptiously cleaned out the dress ups one day and many suspiciously torn, dirty outfits are waiting in an unmarked bag to be taken to DI. Kids were ran to piano, swimming, gymnastics, karate, school and Allison thought I should start being called the driving mom. Taylor went in to have his daffos stretched out so they fit his bony feet better. Spencer received 2 red beads at pack meeting. I got jilted last minute for VT so I went out on my own - always a treat for me as I have the 2 neatest old ladies in our ward. Actually they would be shocked to be referred to as old as they definitely live young!
And then I had the most awesome birthday! I was starting to wonder if 35 was sounding a little old. I thought by now I would be a little more put together, little more polished, a little less flabby :) But this birthday really caused me to reflect on how spoiled and cared for I am. It amazes me when I realize how blessed and easy my life is when I think about what it could be like. Thursday night Jeremy manfully took over the witching hours of doing dinner and bed with kids and I went out to dinner with the RS presidency. I had the best pizza ever (Jeremy said it was a girly pizza but since I am a girl I guess it fits!) We went to the California pizza kitchen and I got this pear gorgonzolla pizza with this caesar salad on top. Really good! Then Friday my friend Brooke asked to take Robyn for the day so I had a day of freedom. Met some friends Angie and Brenda (my old neighbors) for Kneaders french toast and they gave me a really cute birthday cake. We visited and griped and were glad to be together for a while. Then I went shopping for a swimsuit for Hawaii, found an unfinished bookcase for Robyn's room and had a massage I got from Christmas. Rounded the afternoon off trolling the shelves at the library where I could actually stroll up and down the aisles looking for books. A neighbor mentioned the 7th son series by Orson Scott Card as the reason he joined the church so I am going to give those a try. And I rediscovered a series called Aunt Dimity that I used to love. So great afternoon.
That evening Spencer headed off to a friend's birthday party. I took the girls and picked up my parents from the MTC and then we came back to eat pizza watch American Idol and the Closer and eat cake. It was a great night. And friends and family kept calling or dropping by and just kept a smile on my face. My friends Kate and Allison gave me these leopard print and neon pink slippers with 3 inch soles on them. It made me laugh just to look at them although I need to practice being able to walk in them - I fell on the stairs on my first attempt.
Saturday I spent the day cooking two cakes and a salad for the dinner the stake was putting on for the bishops, wives and visiting authorities. Jeremy, and my Dad took Spencer and Allison and two of their friends up to the Point of the Mountain. Jeremy was excited to pull out the quad to give it a try and kids had fun despite the patches of dirt here and there. That night I helped set up the dinner and then we all went to the adult session and then stayed for a while doing dishes and eating left over cake. This morning my parents stayed with Robyn (sick) and Taylor (bad seizure) while the rest of us went to the general session of Stake Conference. Elder Hale spoke to us. Then Jeremy and my dad wrestled together a bookcase I had picked up for Lauri at Ikea. Spencer helped me take the bookcase over to Lauri along with a bunch of geneology stuff to put in the bookcase that she had been asking for. I found a photo album she had made with their family's pictures in it. Fun to see Jeremy at 8 with his dad.
Spencer had the ultimate field trip Friday and spent the day snow boarding with his class. He told me how it was much easier than he remembered. I have to see him actually do it as from just listening to him you would think he was amazing! But he had a great time and was very excited that he went down one hill with his board straight and then stopped at the bottom. He has become quite jittery lately with energy to spare. Between snowboarding and a birthday party Friday you think he would be wiped out. But he was up early and by 7:30 was playing the piano after taking Rocky for a walk, vacuming, organizing the shoes, setting the table and cleaning his room. Trust me we all knew he was awake and working as we futiley tried to sleep in. Can't be mad at him for doing the right thing though!
Allison has had the sniffles all week and seemd to have pass it on in a more serious form to Robyn. She just has that dry irritated throat cough that won't stop and a fever and is just plain miserable. Tylenol is wonderful though as she goes from all out misery to just whiney. Allison has pulled out the knitting needles and has been busy making doll blankets while my mom is around to show her how.
Taylor is having a tough time with his seizures. They are becoming increasingly of the grand mal variety and last for quite a while. Like how he was at Bear Lake for those who were there. So its time to change things around for him again. See how it goes. He has his school IEP this month and I am really debating the benefits of switching him to the all disabled school. I don't like the environment but I do think the care and attention would be better. Its a tough choice.
Love to you all, Heather
Not quite enough snow but all had a good time.
Jeremy, Daniel and my Dad changing a lightbulb. They waited for me to leave before attempting this - by chance? - I think not!
Allison's play date with 2 sisters Kayla and Katya
Spencer excited to get his beads. They were all moving around it was difficult to get any pictures in focus (and that wasn't just me as Jeremy was taking the pictures using my camera)
A cause for a mom happy dance this week. I finally made a loaf of bread that didn't look like someone sat on it. It rose puffy and delicious!
I took pictures of all my brothers at this map in the MTC so I had to repeat the experience with my parents.
Allison refining her knitting skills one last time before Grandma is gone.