Saturday, April 23, 2016

School Happenings

It has been a busy Spring for these school girls. We started off with Gemma receiving student of the month right before spring break. They send a letter home in the mail so parents can attend the assembly.
The kids have gotten savvy to the fact that if your parent is in the audience it means you have won.
Gemma's award was for leadership and honestly. Two other boys in her class Gaige and Carter also received awards. They were very very excited.
The principal Mr. Marshall calls their name and then they take their place on stage. They receive a certificate, a meal voucher for sharky's, a bowling certificate and a car magnet that says student of the month. Our magnet sits proudly on the fridge since that is where Gemma placed it.
I have to giggle a little at the fact that my child who will sneak a chocolate bar and upon being caught will deny she took it until the day she dies all the while with chocolate rimming her mouth. This is the honesty award winner!
Lily's class worked diligently for weeks on a performance called geology rocks! They do a huge unit about geology and the play is a really cute way to incorporate everything they learned to show it to the school and parents.
Lily's role was a metamorphic rock. She was quite thrilled and had wanted to play a rock. Go figure. She enjoys being in school plays but does not want to have a large role or lots of lines. She was happy with her few lines and rock pals.
I attended the performance for the school since I had to work for the parent performance.
Alex went the next day to the parent show and they did some curtain call photos. 
You may take note that on "Dad days" when he takes them to school in the morning they get to have down hair which is often wild.
Just this last week Lily performed in the Spring chorus festival. She participated in Kindergarten and then she chose to skip chorus in 1st grade. Now that they get to perform in musicals she is back in chorus this semester. The whole school chorus and many other elementary, middle, and high schools took part in the show.

This years theme was Americana so they performed many classic patriotic songs. It is such a long day of rehearsals and performing but so impressive to watch.
Lily is one little face in the sea of white polo shirts. She is just left of the microphone in the fourth row up. We were lucky to pick her out of the crowd and she was able to see us in the way back of the auditorium.
While we sort of feel checked out of school after spring break there is still a lot to come. Lily's class is doing a poetry unit and sea life. Both girls have field trips coming up and Gemma still has her school jog a thon. Don't forget the big junior chorus show Aristocats as well. All in just 8 weeks of school before summer break! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Weekend Fun

A rainy day weekend in April calls for some indoor fun. Gemma had won a bowling coupon at school and we decided to cash it in and take her for her first time bowling. I think Lily had only been bowling a couple times before. It was fun for two games and we all did pretty poorly.
The rainy weekend didn't last long and it was all sunshine the next day. We went to Hollywood to meet Brandi for a walk and lunch.  I'm pretty sure smokey the bear always says it's a fire warning kind of day.
Not a bad view for a Sunday afternoon.
The three mile loop was made a bit more fun with the help of scooters. Lily wore her "Daddy shirt" so she could be his twin.
Our fashionable scooter girl.
The beauty of the Hollywood hills.
I have to say this hike was a good find. It is around the Hollywood reservoir. A little slice of nature in the city. We made it to lunch and the Hollywood farmers market after. Then we drove by Children's Hospital to show the family where I work. The girls were very impressed. Not too shabby we have a really good ice cream shop just up the street too.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Kaua'i no ka 'oi

I'll do a little translation for you non-natives. That means Kauai is the best in Hawaiian. It has been over 4 years since we have been to Hawaii which for this family is really a crime! Our last trip was over Gemma's first birthday. Of course she doesn't remember going and Lily barely remembers so it was well over due for a trip. It was the perfect harmony that the girls spring break coincided with our 10 year wedding anniversary. What better way to celebrate?
 Our kids pretty much get excited about just taking a plane anywhere. We could almost just circle the air for 5 hours and they would be happy. Our plane was new and spiffy and each seat had a TV screen with free movies, shows and games. It was pretty easy to occupy ourselves for 5 hours. Upon landing and spending over an hour getting a rental car (they are definitely working on Hawaii time over there) we headed straight for Duke's.
 We needed a fast Lava Flow and two girls needed a POG juice and sprite. Once we filled up on some fish...and ok the girls had burgers, we picked up a few basics at the grocery store and headed to the resort.
We needed to get our feet in the pool and quick! We knew the rain was headed in for overnight so we managed to soak up the sun at the pool with some local brew. They only sell the lilikoi flavor in Hawaii in seems. All the more reason to return.
The rains did not disappoint and we had a huge lightening and thunder storm overnight that woke us from our sleep. The three hour time difference meant we were up bright and early. We hit a few of the local shops and enjoyed the roosters everywhere, I mean everywhere. 
Once the sun started to brighten up we went to see the blow hole down the road.
We don't mind a little overcast sky and it was still very warm out. We went looking for Honu's in the waves but I think they come out in the early AM. 
The tide pools were still filled with lots of sea creatures.
The pool was calling their name. They loved meeting "friends" in the pool and spending hours playing mermaid and dolphin. It was pretty wonderful to be able to watch them swim and not have to be in the pool making sure they don't drown every minute.
Of course fashion is always important right down to your goggles.
We spent the evening out on our patio having dinner in the warm breeze and then walked to the point to watch the sunset. We were hoping the storm clouds would make for a good sky. It's always fun to make silhouette photos.

Up early again with the sun and out to check the tide pools and look for the Honu's. We found several in a little cove riding the surf.
It seemed to be hottest right in the AM with the sun coming up so we didn't last long before we needed to head to the beach.

First stop on our beach list is always Poipu beach park.
The kiddie zone was bright and beautiful. We found some shade under a palm tree that moved every hour so we chased the shade all day.
The resident roosters pop by for snacks of which they get plenty.
You couldn't ask for a better day.

There was lots of sand castle building. We inherited some sand toys from a family at the resort that was leaving and passed them on.
A hot day at the beach requires a cold chocolate treat.
 Yes that's a giant haagen daz bar, we knew Grampy would approve.
We had reservations that evening at the beach house restaurant where we were married 10 years before. We quickly scrubbed up and put on our best hawaiian dresses. We applied a quick layer of aloe gel to our already pink skin. Ouch! We knew dinner and those mojitos would make up for it.
 Gemma had a pretty fancy drink herself. A hawaii punch, no alcohol in this one of course. Although they were pretty worn out the promise of a big bowl of noodles kept them hanging on.
The restaurant has a photographer that takes sunset pictures of families out by the ocean and then you can purchase the digital image. It turned out really well.
These two are working on their shaka skills.
I have to say I was more impressed with the sun rises than I was the sunsets. Not that I am usually excited to be up at sunrise but for this view I make the exception.
It was Easter morning and there were high hopes the easter bunny would make it all the way to Kauai. Someone decided to lose her first tooth on easter morning!!
Have no fear the bunny came and brought bags with goodies. There was a magazine, a new swimsuit, some legos and some gum. Pretty exciting.
We went to church in town at the Lutheran church where the pastor who married us is still preaching. I'm pretty sure our wedding stood out to him among the thousands he performs but he did not recognize us. The service included hula, songs accompanied by a ukelele and the pastor even blew the conch shell. They even hosted an easter egg hunt after church for all the kids and gave out goodie bags. We went back to our resort for a nice bbq lunch and then...hit the pool in our new easter suits.
 When we finally had enough of the sun we had to put on the rash guards for our sensitive skin. There was a lot of minecraft reading since she was going through withdrawals not being able to play.
This is what one week without minecraft looks like folks!

We still stalked the tide pools as the days went on looking good in our sun hats.
Working on getting our shaka correct.
I may have brought their hula skirts in an effort to recreate the hula picture I have from when they were 3 and 1 year old. Not quite the same. They have grown I guess!
We figured we should venture out to a new beach the next day. We stopped at some touristy shops along the way and found a wave we could surf. Who says surfing is hard never tried it this way.
They are professional life guards as well.
We stopped in the quaint town of Hanapepe. Just the name sounds fun. We walked across the swinging bridge and back all the while the girls squealed they were scared. It did sway a bit in the breeze but there was no accidental falling off this bridge.
Then it was on to salt pond beach. So peaceful and stunning views as far as you could see.
It was pretty empty compared to Poipu beach you would never know it was spring break. We spent hours playing in the sand and floating in the sea.
We left the beach hoping to make it back to the free hula show at the shops by our resort. I had heard they were good and since we opted out of attending a luau we wanted to see some real hula. The show did not disappoint.
They are sisters and were taught my their mom who is an instructor. We also got some real hawaiian music and funny commentary from the singer.
A quick rain shower passed through and moved us all under the covered path area for a little hula lesson. 
Of course we were a little wrecked from the long day at the beach but we managed.
The next AM we took a break from our alternating pool and beach schedule to go on a hike. I had found a three mile hike to a waterfall that seemed doable. It was very tropical the girls will note how we sprayed on mosquito spray, and I still managed to get bit.
The first waterfall at Ho'opi'i falls was shortly into the hike. You follow the shaded path along side a stream and hear the water rushing. This one was heavy flowing and relatively not too steep so lots of hikers were jumping from the rocks into the pool below the falls. The girls found this very interesting. Gemma declared she wished she wore her swimsuit so she could jump. Lily of course was not sold. 
We carried on down the path stopping along where the stream was more of a gentle flow over shallow rocks.
The light played beautifully on the water and trees and the pictures really do not do it justice. 
We felt like adventurers on an Indiana Jones movie. We made it the second falls which is more wide spread and falls further. It was pretty steep where we sat above. 
There were families down below who took advantage of a rope swing in the trees and splashed around. You could tell the water was pretty cold. 
The three mile hike is pretty much our limit as a family at this age. Because of the shade and scenery we had very little complaining though.
The promise of an icy cold shave ice was enough to get us moving on the trail back to the car. Can you find the Lily in the sea of green?
The reward= shave ice at last. They have really upped the shave ice game in Kauai in the last years. We found several places that used real juice and made amazing flavor combinations. Gemma went with Wailua sunrise which was orange and pineapple juice. 
One bite into that shave ice and we ordered a second one straight away. It just melts in your mouth.
The second one was lava flow.  Pineapple coconut and strawberry. Pure heaven!
We devoured them both and wished we had room for more. I'm thinking I might need to buy a shave ice machine and recreate some of these at home!
Good thing we survived our hike and make it back to freshen up for our dinner at plantation gardens. It is beautiful here and the food does not disappoint. 
Sadly we had already come to our last full day in Kauai. We knew it had to be the beach again. This time it was the other side of Poipu park by the Marriott. They have waves there and the girls wanted to float and splash and get rocked by the rollers. 
We walked out to the little lava island to find shells in the tide pools. We actually found some really pretty ones. I handed a sweet little shell to Lily and turned around only to hear her shriek behind me. Apparently that shell was still occupied by a crab. Oops. 
Then it was time to ride the rollers.
Pretty much just the right size for these tiny wahine's.
Probably best to have lunch with a view since we have to leave soon. 
 Brennecke's did not disappoint.
One last float in pool at to ourselves. 
Last days are the worst. All packing up and returning rental cars and no fun. We did stop by the Wailua Falls before heading out.  Some people were tired and unimpressed.

We are already making lists of things to do upon our next trip to Hawaii. Let's just hope it's not another 4 years before we get back here again!