Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"It's the most wonderful time of the year"

I always get mixed emotions when it comes to school getting out and school starting again. On one hand, I like having my kids home. I don't have to run around as much and well, I kind of like the little buggers. On the other hand, familiarity breeds contention among siblings and the arguments and fighting can get really annoying.

Also, I'm not nearly as busy when school is out. But I crave consistency and a schedule. Though the older kids would argue with me, I think they need the same thing. Either way, school started up again this week. YES!!! Well, maybe I do have a preference. It's nice to have kids in school. Sammy is the only one that is hanging with me during the day. Love it!

Seth was the first to start. The 7th graders go a day early so they can get familiar with the school and how things work without all the big 8th and 9th graders around. Seth really enjoyed his first day.

Carson left this morning with his best friend Brian. They usually walk or ride bikes - at least until it gets too crazy weather wise and then I drive them. Gosh, there is such a difference between 7th and 9th grade kids. They get so huge!!!!

Nathan and Gabby took off an hour later for elementary school. I walked them down and took pictures. I don't get to do that with the older ones anymore. :(

They have very nice teachers and are excited for school to be in session again. It's so great to have a school with good teachers. Good luck kids!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hawaii Paradise

Ahhhhhh, Hawaii! What a fabulous experience. I am so blessed to have had a chance to visit the beautiful islands and enjoy so much of what they have to offer. My friend Tammy and I stayed with Mark and Erin and their three gorgeous boys. We could not have had better hosts! They are adventurous and fun loving. They also live right on the beach (Hehehe!) When we opened the car door the smell of salt water rushed in. It was awesome!

Our first morning on the island of Oahu we were able to visit the Laie Temple. It is so beautiful and areas surrounding it are so lush and green. Do you know that avocado, mango, coconut and many other fruit trees grow EVERYWHERE in Hawaii? I had heard it before, but seeing the bountiful island was a different experience.

Erin, Tammy and I hiked up to Makapu lighthouse. The view was beautiful. There were sea turtles swimming in the water below us. We also went swimming at a local beach. It was way cool.

Speaking of cool, we got pictures of a mama sea turtle coming onto the shore at Turtle Beach. There were a couple individuals there that were a bit zealous in there protection role for the turtles. “Step away from the turtle. Six feet back from the turtle.” - This was repeated often in somewhat of a panic tone. They set a rope on the ground around her to keep all us evil humans away. Kind of interesting – but still way cool to see.

We were able to go snorkeling and I actually did a little cliff diving (more like cliff jumping). Henry did point out it was really a rock I jumped off – just a really big rock. We enjoyed the day at the beach. Tammy came home with a souvenir in the form of a really bad burn that day. She had to stay out of the sun the rest of the trip. It was not a good experience but she was a trooper - as Tammy always is.

Henry, Theodore, Erin, Mark, and George

Erin’s sister had a graduation party for Mark at her house. The next day we were able to attend Mark’s graduation from the University of Hawaii Manoa. We cheered loud and long for him as he made his walk to receive his MBA. Congratulations Mark!

Later that day we flew to the big island of Hawaii to visit with my friends Ron and Ashlin and their kids. We were a little nervous about going because hurricane Flossie was suppose to hit the big island before we were planning on leaving.

We arranged to come back a day early. However, we were able to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Ron and I checked out the visitor center and then we drove around to different volcano sites.

One of the prettiest things I saw on the island was the rainforest we walked through to get to the lava tubes. It was dense and green. I loved it! We didn’t get to stay as long as we would have liked, but it was worth the trip to chat with Ron and Ashlin and see their beautiful kids. We also missed the 5.5 earthquake in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that occurred later that day.

Things got real fun when Erin received a gift from Mark – a Nikon digital slr camera. It is a thing of (pause, take a deep breath and let it out) beauty. From this point on during our trip, Erin had the camera in her eye.

We went to Sunset beach to take pictures one night and ran into an interesting fellow that taught all of us a thing or two about how to use our cameras. Thank you Bill Taylor – wherever you are.

My favorite part was when we went to the swap meet and to Pearl Harbor. I was able to load up on gifts for the family at the swap meet. I added all the loot to the candy and munchies I had already bought when we got back to Erins and realized I had to pack a box to get them home. No complaints from the kids.

Pearl Harbor – WOW! I just love history and this was exactly the kind of experience I live for. We walked through the museum and watched a film on the Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial was a singular experience. I walked into a room that has the names of all the men lost that day listed on a marble wall. Reverence – that’s what I felt. There were markers to show where all the other ships were when they were attacked. Back at the visitor center was a mural painted of the USS Arizona. I just loved the whole experience.

When I got home, the kids put on all their gifts I got them and I took a picture. It was so good to see everyone. I am grateful I was able to enjoy such a fun experience. Thank you Tammy for being such a great traveling friend.

Thank you Erin/Mark and Ron/Ashlin for allowing me to stay at your homes. Thank you Carp for letting me enjoy Hawaii and holding the fort while I played. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Daddy Daughter Campout

Carp took Gabby on the Daddy/Daughter campout last weekend. We decided to leave Sammy home because there was a river nearby the campsite and she wanders away too much. Besides, it was more enjoyable for Carp and Gabby because they didn't have to chase Sammy everywhere! They seldom get time together, just the two of them, so this was a extra fun time for them.

Gabby was so excited to go, she wanted to pack a week in advance. Most the other girls were close to her age. They played games and walked around in the nearby river.

Look at how wet her pants are! She had a blast.


We had two birthdays this summer - Seth and Sammy.


Seth had a sleepover with a few friends. We ordered pizza and went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Instead of a cake, Seth asked for whoopie pies. Yum! My favorite. They were still laughing and playing video games at 1:00 a.m. - crazy kids. I made a big breakfast when they woke up the next morning.

Seth got a new scooter - much needed!


Seth blowing out the candles on his birthday whoopie pies!


Sammy didn't have a big party. We opened presents and had peanut butter bars. Notice how I avoided cake for both birthdays? I just was in the mood for something different and both kids liked it. However, Sammy did NOT like the candles on the peanut butter bars. My friend Lanette ended up blowing her candles out.

I love Sammy's smile!