Thursday, April 24, 2014

April...Easter and birthday combo

The Friday after we got back from Hawaii I had the opportunity to be a chaperone on Ashley's field trip to the San Diego Zoo.
I wasn't really excited to go that far away on the bus. When Ashley brought me home the form I realized that she wanted me to go and it would most likely be my last field trip with her.
If you've been on a school bus lately you'll realize the seats are not built for adults. The seat belts are made for child hips so unless you're a size 0 your sitting on a seatbelt the whole time. We hit traffic so it took 2 hours and 40 minutes to drive there and wait to get into the park.
Realizing we got there so late they said that we would leave a 1/2 hour later than planned. So they got almost 2 hours at the zoo. We did a high priority list of animals and tried to make a quick loop to be able to see them.  
We walked around the zoo with 2 groups of girls combined. Great for me to have another mom to talk to but all the girls made for slow going. Some wanted to shop at every kiosk (we had to keep reminding them that we would let them in the gift shop at the end) and they lingered at the farm animals and the less exotic so we had to remind them to continue on.

The girls mostly got to see their one pick of the animal they wanted to see most.

Even though it was quick walking (and a lot of time on the bus) they were glad to be at the zoo instead of class.

Ashley's favorite animals were the monkeys.
The drive home was another 2 hours. I sat near the back of the bus and read a book. The students were fascinated that I could just sit and read the whole time. They kept asking me what page I was on now. Ha ha. (Ashley can't fathom reading for more than the 1/2 hour she is required to) With 4 1/2 hours on a bus and only 2 at the park I had plenty of reading time and I finished my book that day.

 That night we were mystery shoppers at John's Incredible Pizza. Jeff got an email offering to give us 2 free meals if we go and then take a survey of what we thought of the food, employees, games etc.
So we went. The food was fine like always but it seems like a lot of games were broken or took our credits without working.
Only one out of these 3 tables were working and the bowling game we tried playing had to be reset and then still was working right. I counted 9 games that we had problems with. That's a lot of calling people over to help us.
So we got our review in and then got 2 coupons for future visits :/  after our visit I'm not too excited to go over there again.

The next morning was our ward Easter Egg hunt and breakfast at the park across the street. The boys could care less and Ashley was the only one that I got to come over. She had fun face painting for the party.

After awhile Jeff drove Ashley and Jacob to Irvine because it was also the LPA Easter party that day. Ashley actually participated in that egg hunt and came home with lots of candy.

There was quite a big group there that day.

Meanwhile I was with Taylor at UCR at an open house. He turned in his intent to register and we walked around. He wasn't interested in a campus tour or to hang out very long in the physics department even though they were doing a lot of interesting demonstrations.

We went to lunch together in the food court and then I dragged him back for some of the demonstrations. He said he's seen a lot of them in his physics class...well I haven't so he had to humor me a bit before we left.
This is Sound being pumped through a pipe that has gas burning. You can see the wave length of the sound as its traveling through the tube by the height of the flames.


The next week was more quiet. I worked at the book fair a couple of days, had a doctor's appointment, a hair appointment and went on a couple of walks. When all my walking partners are unavailable I take Maddie. I just wish she talked more, pulled less and didn't always try and roll in poo. I always seems to have to end up giving her a bath!

Saturday morning we woke up and found out that Jacob made school mascot for next year! He is going to be the baby wolf!!
Ashley got a haircut on Saturday (she hasn't had one in over a year)

Then I brought her and Kate to lunch and then the mall. They had fun shopping and window shopping and hanging out.
The funniest part was a pop in the Disney Store that resulted in an event lady insisting that they sit on the floor and do a sticker craft.  A craft that she then gave directions for in a slow, loud voice that is geared for a pre-schooler. Ha ha. Instead of refusing they humored her.

That night Ashley was invited to a Beyond 5 concert that she went to with her cousins and their friends.
While she was gone the rest of us went to Claim Jumper to celebrate Taylor's 18th birthday.

I can't believe he's already 18!

The next day was Taylor's real birthday and Easter. After church we had some family over for dinner. It was only the local family so not nearly as big as it normally we overcooked and lots of leftovers!
Here are the kids on the trampoline.

Zander is not even one yet and he was running all over the house. He was scared of the dog so we tried to keep her outside and away from him but by the end he would sneak a pet in as long as the dog wasn't looking at him or wasn't wagging her tail that is.

Olive and Violet had fun with Zander and Caden. It's fun to have holidays with younger kids running around :)

Another chance to sing happy birthday to Taylor...

Monday we finally had the next step of the work done on our house that we've been waiting for. There was some structural issues so we had a beam replaced in the kitchen. We were worried that there would be more problems than their was and we didn't know what was needing to be fixed until we broke into the wall.
The first guy told us we should move and quoted us all this craziness that we would have to do to get it fixed along with a big price tag.
The second guy was much more moderate and relaxed and seemed more comfortable with the job. It's ended up not being as extreme as we thought so we are happy.

The next day I found out that my cousin's 17 year old son died suddenly on Monday. They used to come out when the kids were younger to do Disneyland trips. (He is the blond one)
He is about the same age as Taylor and was graduating in a few weeks.
My heart is sad for their family.

I'm flying up for women's conference next week and I'm grateful that I'll be able to go to the funeral before my flight home.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hawaii - 2nd 1/2

Today we woke up and got ready to go to Hanauma Bay. Jeff and I were looking forward to taking the kids here because they have great snorkeling and Taylor missed it last time we went here. 

You pay to get into the preserve and then you watch a mandatory video, and then there is a hike down to the water. 

Lots of people were there, in fact the parking lot was full by 10:30 when we got there. 

After all the anticipation the kids didn't end up snorkeling that much. 

Jacob and Ashley like shallow snorkeling better but Taylor said he likes to go deep and dive down and he felt you were too close to the coral. (I can see what he means, I ended up get a knee skinned up on the coral ha ha)  Thats OK it was still a good day at the beach and nice weather. 

As we were heading back up to the top (we paid for the ride up so we wouldn't have to hike) we met a family whose daughter was there on her "make a wish" trip. She looked about Jacob's age and we instantly felt for this family who was taking a last trip with their daughter. A reminder of how fragile life is and how important it is to appreciate your loved ones while you are with them.  

They took our picture for us...

we are smiling just a bit more in this one because my hat had just flown off my head. 

(At least it landed behind me instead of over the railing.) 

On the drive back we took a wrong turn but took advantage of this lookout before we turned around...

Jeff and I were the only ones who wanted to get out of the car. (I think we were wearing the kids out :)

That night we were invited to a little house boat party at John and Tina's (Jeff's clients and friends of ours). They have a great boat in the harbor and a couple times a month they invite people over for pizza and to watch the Friday night fireworks. 

This is just part of the view of the covered deck of their boat that felt like a living room. They gave us a tour and Taylor said later "I want to do whatever he does for a living so I can have a boat like that!"

We ate pizza and watched the fireworks and got to meet some of John and Tina's local friends. We didn't stay very late because Ashley was starting to feel feverish :(

Here is Most of our group. The man with the guitar used to be a school music teacher. He brought nose flutes as presents for the kids. Ashley and Jacob already figured out how to use them (though they don't really play melodies they pretty much just blow into it)

The next morning we checked out of our condo and drove to Ko Olina for the last two nights of our trip. 

We were staying in the JW Marriott and shared a lagoon with Disney's resort Aulani. 

Jeff and I were curious if our hotel was much different than the $700 a night hotel next door. 

Here's ours. Our room was nice, big and modern.  

Our grounds were nice with waterfalls...

And fish, including hammerhead sharks and rays.

Aulani was nice and had it's own waterpark but Jeff said the rooms online looked smaller. It reminded me a little of Atlantis (not nearly as big or nice though) with Disney characters. It would be a great place if you had younger children but I think ours would've been to old to enjoy it much. 

We only got to swim for an hour or so before we went up to our room to change and then head back over to the north of the island to meet up with Cara and Ongo and their friend at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Jeff asked Ongo if he had any connections or discounts. Well he got the best connection their was through his co-worker and friend. He used to work there and got us in for free. 

Not only did he get us in but he took us around and acted like our personal guide!

Here is the show from Tonga. Our "guide" and Ongo are both Tongan and it was interesting hearing them talk to each other and other people in their native language. 

Here we are in the Fiji hut trying to follow along to the music with our bamboo sticks.

The Samoa show is the funniest. This guy is a crack up and we remember him from our last trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center. 

They always end with a demonstration of coconut pickers. Here they are showing us the results of their "tree"90X workout program.

They added canoe trips since the last time we visited so we tried it out. 

While we were rowing our guide on the boat was trying to teach Jeff how to say a greeting in his native language. When we passed by another boat Jeff tried out his greeting and then added a few nonsense words to go with it. 

Our guide started laughing and he didn't stop laughing. 

When Jeff kept going on. I told him he'd better be careful because he might be saying offensive things without realizing it. 

Our guide laughed harder.

 Our guide admitted that whatever Jeff had called out to the other native speakers meant something bad. When we got back to shore the boys tried to find out from the guide what Jeff had said. He wouldn't tell them, he just said it was bad. Ha ha.

Here the boys are trying to play a game that is much harder than it looks.

We all tried out some spear throwing. Jacob was the winner and got it into the mud the best out of our group. 

Here is Cara and Ongo's cute daughter. Cara said the people at church call her the aloha baby because she is friendly and will let anyone hold her.

Hanging out waiting for our dinner to start. 

Here we are waiting for the night show to start. We had seats way in the back an on the side and Jeff thought to ask the usher if there was anything else available. He ended up ushering our family to the front row!! He then brought us backstage to meet the cast. 

It ended up being right before the show was supposed to start and they were having their prayer meeting. The woman leading the prayer meeting noticed us in the back and had the usher bring us to the front and handed us a microphone to introduce ourselves. Jeff was stunned but he did the best he could. They treated us like visiting celebrities when we were thinking it was a privilege to meet all the performers. 

Here are the kids getting tired of my picture taking...

We got home late that night so we let the kids sleep in the next day. We then watched conference in the hotel room until early afternoon. When the kids started going stir crazy we went outside to hang out for the our last day. 

We never got around to paddle boarding so we all tried it. Taylor knew what he was doing and had no problem.  

We watched and waited for our turn. 

When I went with Ashley she didn't want me to stand up, so I had to paddle kneeling. 

Eventually I stood up and did just fine. Other guys in the water kept falling off of theirs. I guess the taller you are the harder it is to do, so there is some advantage to being short.

Jeff didn't try it for long because Taylor came up behind him and rocked his board until he fell off.

Then it became a game of who can push you off the paddleboard. 

With the kids back in the room relaxing Jeff and I took a stroll on the beach for the last time. 

It was getting close to sunset and it was beautiful.

Dinner that night was just at a TGiFridays. Our waitress really liked our family and tried to take care of us. When our food was taking a long time to come out she kept bringing us out extra food. By the time our food got there we didn't eat very much and we ended up with a lot of extra.

The next day was a travel all day into the night day. On the way to the airport we didn't hit any traffic and breakfast was quick so we realized we had about 40 minutes we could kill. We decided to drop into Pearl Harbor since it was close by. We walked around a bit and then with a tip from a worker we met...

a World Ward II vet who was an eye witness to the attack at Pearl Harbor. We got a paper with his bio on it and he autographed it for us. He was in his 90's but active and came to events like these to meet people. A great way to end the trip. 

We got back to our house at midnight. It was an early morning for school the next day especially since our body thought it was 3 hours earlier! We took pity on the boys and didn't make them go to seminary. Ashley ended up staying home from school. The cold she had been battling the whole trip finally caught up with her. (She slept until 11 that day.)