Friday, October 16, 2015

End of summer and the start of Friday Night Lights

So this summer the kids were doing more things on their own and I don't have as many pictures. Jacob went to pictures.

Ashley and her friends decided to have a surprise birthday party for Kate and I stole this picture from someone else. They did a great job and planned the whole thing. 

(Ashley did give me an assignment though)

Taylor went on vacation to a time share with his friends Brandon and Parker. I told him to make sure and take some pictures. He took a picture of all the stuffed animals and toys they won from the crane game. 

Then I got pictures of his adventures with his stuffed chicken...

Looks like they both had a great time, even though I don't see anything but Taylor's feet in them.

After our family vacation we got back and the next day Jacob had freshmen first day at the school. Him and his buddy decided they were going to have a theme for their group and I had to go out and get some camo for them. They even made a flag for their team for unity. 

He had a good time and a friend of mine whose Freshmen son actually ended up in Jacob's group was very happy. 

The first day of school for these two. Jacob is a senior and Ashley is in 8th grade. You can see how excited they are.

Even though school started we found some time to do a couple of fun things like go to the drive in movies.

Jeff took his scouts to a baseball game.

And on Labor Day we decided to go and rent a hotel down at the beach for one last beach day. 

We made a stop at Mama D's our favorite Italian place down there. 

Because it was Labor Day weekend the lines were long so the boys passed the time by playing some ninja.  

Once we got in and were waiting for our food Taylor did his toothpick balancing trick. 

From this angle it doesn't look too impressive but it amazed the waiter.

We celebrated my birthday...because it was close enough.

Then it was my real birthday. I celebrated by taking a sub job and then going out with my family for dinner. 

Taylor was sweet enough to get me a present all by himself. Aaaahh I was so impressed. 

We went to Benihana on a school night...

Good food and happy to spend it with my family.

Now that school is back in Jacob is doing the mascot thing. This year they have quite the crew of mascots...usually the mascots take turns but I guess nobody wants to sit out a game. 

Ashley loves the games as long as she gets to go with friends. 

Jacob is having fun 

and has gotten to know the new boy mascot named Jaden.

Another game, more friends...they don't want me to take their picture. Notice all the snacks ;)

This game Jolene, Steve and Caden and Zander came to watch and see Jacob. 
A great time with cousins.

Zander was super scared when they went to see Jacob up close during half time and didn't want anything to do with him but when they were walking away he called out "Bye Jacob!"

Caden liked Jacob though. It was fun to have them with us.

A couple of weeks ago for mutual we make baby blankets to donate to Parkview hospital.

The girls had them on display at our Young Women in Excellence Program.

I went with these girls to the Women's broadcast. Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen and took them to Sears where they all bough footy pajamas that are going to double as Halloween costumes. (Hopefully they don't get heat stroke in them)

We found out that Jacob was nominated for the top 5 Seniors to be on the Homecoming Court!

He found out at the dance and then had a week of fun activities that he participated in during lunch up until the Homecoming game. 

He performed at the pep rally the day of the game, he got yucky stuff dumped on him during a game show competition and more. 

The only down side was the voted ended by 3rd period on Monday. Jacob and his friends didn't even get to vote because there was an error on the website and it wouldn't let him vote. Most people didn't even know what was going on until after voting was over.  He said he didn't mind if he didn't win it was fun to be part of it all week. 

I found out that I was escorting Jacob on the field that night and Jeff and I were going to be sitting down on the field. We assembled Ashley's crew of friends to go to the game with...

Got them a seat and waited for Steve and Jolene and Taylor to come sit with them. 

Once we got to the field we found out that Jeff and I were both escorting him. Jeff wasn't dressed up as nice but he was fine. Another dad who didn't know that he was escorting his son was wearing jeans.

Jacob didn't win but he got this cool name sign...

got to be escorted on the field with his favorite teacher Mr. Brubaker which made his day, 

and we were so happy to be there with him. 

This is Jaden who won for the Freshmen class. He is the other boy mascot even though both of them weren't wearing their suits that night. 

Jacob's good friend Mark Werely was on the top 5 with him. 

All the guys. 

What a fun experience for Jacob. 

Jeff and I flew out to Miami the next day for New York Life's council meeting. I was so glad we didn't miss Jacob's Homecoming. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Our stay in Kauai was short but long enough to see some of the highlights of the beautiful island. 

The place we stayed at was a condo we rented through Vacation rental by owner and it was great. It felt like an apartment and had lots of room and we were close enough to the water to see it from our place. 

It was called the Kauai Beach Club, and the best part was the access to the hotel pool...

There were multiple pools, a hot tub, a waterslide and access to the beach.

One of the last nights we got a free show.

Right near where we were staying was these waterfalls. I loved the white tropical birds with the long tails that were flying in and out of the waterfall. It's hard to get a sense of how far down this was. 

Anywhere we drove was pretty beautiful

We enjoyed church at the local ward while we were there and at the end of sacrament meeting they sang to all the visitors and gave us yarn leis that were no doubt made by relief society sisters. 

The highlight of our trip was the helicopter ride overlooking the island. Since a lot of the island you can't get to by road this was a great way to see it. 

Waiting for our turn.

Here is our helicopter. It was the one they used in Jurassic Park.

We were all excited. 

Here is our pilot.

One of the first things he took us too was the Jurassic Falls or the waterfall they used in the Jurassic park movie. 

Right near Lihu'e where we were staying

the Western coast

The Napali coast that you can only reach by air or boat.

Some sea caves that we would end up exploring later that week.  

Waiamea Canyon

It was an amazing ride of a lifetime and everyone's favorite part of the trip.

In the mornings I started taking walks by myself since I tend to get up earlier than my family when we don't have to get up at a certain time. 

It was pretty peaceful and quiet and I even saw a few locals fishing in the mornings.

This was the trail next to the property and directly to the right is the ocean.

One of my favorite pictures of my walks.

Most mornings we ate cereal at our place but one morning we went into town and ate breakfast at a popular breakfast spot.

The portions were huge but the food was yummy. This is Ashley's "kid size" pancake.

It ended up costing as much as a dinner (which is why we only did it once ;)

This day we drove as far north as we possible could on the island and ended up at He'e  beach. 

It was protected and the waves weren't bad with good snorkeling. 

On one side was the beach and on the other was high cliffs.

Right next to the beach they had these great caves...we had to stop and take a look. 

One guy was sitting in the cave playing music when we got there. 

The ceiling

Looking at the warning signs...we didn't stay too long

On the way back around the island we stopped at beautiful Hanalei where you could see waterfalls running down the mountains in the distance. 

and discovered the joys of shaved ice. 

So this is what everyone raves about. 

(We kept thinking it was like a sno-cone and we weren't interested in standing in
 long lines for a sno-cone) 

We were wrong, they are worth waiting in line for :)

The lookout that the kids didn't want to get out of the car for.

One of the nights when the kids just wanted to chill in the room, Jeff and I checked out one of the biggest hotels on the island. It was beautiful. It would've been nice to stay there...but we liked our price better ;)

Our last day on the island Jeff booked an excursion that we won't soon forget for a lot of reasons. 

It was kinda last minute. The night before he said there is a few spots left to go on a boat to see the Napali coast. Its a smaller boat so we can see the sea caves the only bad thing is we have to be at the dock at 5:45 (at it was at least 1/2 hour away).  OK we got the kids on board.

When we got there I started getting worried when I saw the boat. It was small and there were no seats.

It was a rigid hull, inflatable boat and you sat on the side of the boat and held onto a rope. 
Then the captain proceeded to tell us how important it was for us to keep at least one foot under the (loosely strung) rope on the bottom of the boat so we wouldn't fly out. He then said how wild, bumpy and adventurous the ride would be...

I started to panic since 3/5th of my family are too short to A. sit on the side of the boat and B. put a foot under the rope on the floor of the boat at the same time.

We compromised with sitting the kids on the back of the boat...with nothing to hold onto (I told Ashley to hold the little strap) and no life jackets...they were on the boat but all zipped away in a bag in the front of the boat. 

The mom in me was freaking out at every jolt and roll thinking how easy it would be for 1/2 my family to bounce right off the back of the boat perched on the top of an ice chest.

I have to say the views were gorgeous though and we happened to be there on a calmer day than normal.

We stopped at a beach of a historic archaeological site of a native Hawaiian village.

We got a tour from our guide through the village with some of the lava rock walls still standing and the noni trees dropping their gelatinous, nasty smelling fruit. Those white blobs on the ground are the fruit, you wouldn't want to step on one...I wish I took a closer picture. 

The most interesting part was our guide pointing out this igneous formation that looks like an X. It has spiritual significance to the Hawaiian people and is a confirmation that the gods designated this as a sacred spot. 

This shows a silhouette of a ridge where trading took place between the valleys. On the valley that we were at there was good fishing. One valley on the other side was good agriculture and they would climb rope ladders and exchange goods on the precipice. Crazy.

After lunch there was snorkeling.

Then back on the boat...

This was my favorite picture of the trip and Taylor even made it his background screen on his computer. 

These peaks were called the cathedrals (obviously a reference known to Europeans) but the natives called them something like the offspring from the bird god or something.  
(Thats what our captain told us)

Then we got to the sea caves. The size of the cliffs made it hard to know the scale of things. This arch didn't look that big but a helicopter actually flew through it for a movie once (we looked up the clip of it later)

Inside one of the sea caves. We are backing into it. Cool...but it got to the point where I feel it was good enough as I'm hearing the waves splash the cave behind us and all I am smelling is the exhaust from the boat.

This cave you entered and then it was open to the sky.

It was like a round hole with a bit of an island in the middle. I guess a few things have been filmed here. 

On the way back we saw a pod of sleeping spinner dolfins. We stayed long enough to have them start slapping the water which is there way of saying "get away you'r bugging me"

At the end of our adventure we had to take a picture with one of our guides. He was awesome and sounded just like a stereotypical Hawaiian surfer dude. 

We won't soon forget our boat trip...especially since our tailbones and muscles hurt for days from the wild ride.

Trying to get a picture of our last dinner in Hawaii with our silly kids. 

We'll miss Hawaii!