Summer is almost over:-( It'll be back to work for me soon, but it has been a great summer so I won't complain. Too much.
The highlight of the summer was an amazing Hawaiian vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary! Grandmas Marsh and Bjerke took on the challenge of watching the girls so that we could get away alone. Thank goodness for grandmas!!!
After months of anticipation and planning, I had a mile long list of all the things I wanted to see, eat, and do while in Hawaii. And I'm happy to say that we did just about ALL of them:-) I suppose my husband would say that because of my list, it wasn't the most relaxing vacation, but any day without four kids running around me is relaxing in my opinion!
The day we arrived on Kauai, we headed straight for the East side of the island for Waimea Canyon, aka The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. We got a few good photos on our way up into the mountains, but the clouds rolled in quickly and by the time we reached the top, all we saw were clouds and rain.
On the second day of the trip I had booked a tubing adventure that takes you through old sugar plantation canals. The canals flow through tunnels in the mountains, so you have to wear mining helmets with lights so that you can see in the dark. It was a unique experience and so much fun!
I couldn't take my phone or camera with me, so all I got were these cheesy photos at the headquarters where you get all your gear.
Below: The Spouting Horn blowhole wasn't spouting much this day. But I still checked it off my list!
On our third day we enjoyed a Na Pali Coast boating tour. The coastline can only be viewed in its entirety by helicopter or boat, as there are no roads along the steep cliffs. The photos don't even come close to doing the scenery justice. On calm days, small boats and kayaks can actually go into some of the caves carved out by the ocean. We were able to see the caves, but couldn't enter due to high waves. Our tour included snorkeling as well, but we were unable to due to the murky water caused my nearby storms. We didn't mind at all! It was wonderful to enjoy the breathtaking views and the ocean breeze.
Na Pali Coast
After a "slow" day of no major adventures and some actual relaxation on the beach and at the pool, I decided we were ready for a real challenge! The Kalalau Trail is a very well-known, and extremely difficult, hiking trail along the Na Pali coast. The complete hike is 22 miles round-trip, and requires permits for overnight camping--certainly not my idea of a vacation! However, the first two miles (each way) to Hanakapiai beach is a very popular route to get a "taste" of the Kalalau experience with amazing views. In our pre-children days we enjoyed hiking, so I thought it would be fun! Well, in addition to an already challenging hike, the constant rain showers made the already tough trail incredibly difficult for these two amateurs! We were slipping and sliding our way along, but we made it to the beach. Never in my research did I read that you had to cross a RIVER to get to the actual beach!! Normally, there are enough rocks you can hop across, but with all the rain, it wasn't so easy! Luckily, the hubby sacrificed his own dry feet to help me (and a bunch of strangers) across to keep my feet dry(ish).
That's both sweat AND rain we are drenched in!
We survived the hike! Our tennis shoes have been better days.
Hanalei Bay at sunset = perfection!
Celebrating 10 years of marriage, luau style!
After a week's worth of outings, adventures, relaxation (despite what my husband would tell you), and delicious food on Kauai, we headed to Oahu for the last day and a half of our trip. We stayed in Waikiki--what a change from Kauai! We went from a slow, small-town feeling to big city life!
While in Honolulu, we went to Pearl Harbor and toured the USS Arizona memorial and the USS Bowfin submarine. We also had the chance to catch up with my "little brother," Eddie, who works on the Air Force base.
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor
Hawaii was AMAZING! I'm ready for our next vacation! How long do you suppose the Grandmas need to rest before they're ready again!?!?
Oh, wait! Blog readers....did you actually want to read about our kids?!?! Yes, I suppose I should include them as well!
Kinley on the trampoline!
Kinley and I both have our first day of school on August 29th! This will be the beginning of my 12th year of teaching, and Kinley's first day of preschool. I haven't allowed myself to think about it too much, but I am hopeful that she adjusts fairly quickly....which is not exactly one of her strengths.
Devyn clearly has this "big sister" thing figured out!
(Brylee pushing on the left, Ellie pushing on the right.)
Devyn is doing great! She is potty trained--sort of. Her vocabulary has improved greatly over the summer. We can finally understand most of what she says now. And as if you can't tell from the photos, she is the boss!
Just sitting on a bench, waiting for big sisters' swim lessons to end.
(Ellie on left, Brylee on right)
Brylee and Ellison are doing good as well! Brylee finally caught up and started walking in early July. They are feisty little stinkers-they must get it from Devyn. They love to play outside and get dirty!
One of our favorite places....Kangamoo (an indoor playground)!
Auntie Kim was with us this time!