Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School!

Ahhh, school is back in session and it was a great day.  Etta is in second grade this year and Chloe in first.  We lucked out and Chloe has the same teacher Etta had last year.  Etta has the sweetest teacher in the world and she was looking forward to her first day.  Chloe wasn't equally excited, more nervous than anything.  Here they are before heading to school this morning. 

Before school.
First grader.  Don't ask me why she brought her lemurs with her to school.  I'm still trying to figure out why she posed with them.
Second grader.  Acting shy as always.
 It was wonderful not having to worry about lunch boxes all summer long.  Needless to say the girls were so excited about going back to bentos.  They picked out what they wanted and asked me to make something special.  So here was their first school lunch for the year.  A rice ball makurokuroske (from Totoro), steamed broccoli, apple slices. and an egg of their choice.  Sigh, those took awhile.  They've already put in for tomorrow request.  Uggg.
It was a wonderful day off.  Two hours at the gym (I have a lot to make up for from this summer!), lunch with several PTSO ladies, and a good 30 minutes of throwing away stuff from the girls' rooms.  By the way, they haven't noticed that yet.  This is going to be a good year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little Girl Getting Big

Sometimes I'm amazed at how fast time goes by.  I look back at pictures just from two years ago and see how much the girls have changed.  That is also a reminder...I'm getting older!  My mind tells me that I'm the same I was 15 or 20 years ago.  Then I see pictures, or worse Eric looks at pictures, and it's apparent that time has not stood still for me like my mind says.
Since Etta's six birthday, Chloe has been asking for earrings.  It's been easy for us to say, "You have to wait until your sixth birthday just like your sister."  Needless to say, she knew what one of her presents was going to be this year.  With all the craziness with Chloe's birthday party Eric and I forgot to bring a camera to Chloe's ear piercing.  Lucky for us one of her earrings fell out and had to be re-pierced the following weekend. Here Chloe is getting her right ear pierced again.
Chloe's future MIL piercing her ears...yes, she has her future husband picked out.

Then this has to go and happen today, she lost her second front tooth.  Sigh, she's getting big.  Not only is missing both front teeth, she's starting first grade in less than 2 weeks. 
Every day I look at my pretty girls' faces and think time is going by fast but days like these are the days that kick me in the bum and make me thankful for the fun days I have with them.

Monday, August 12, 2013

More of Maui

Most of our activities were at the resort since it's so much easier to make the kids happy when they get to pick between the beach, the pool, the slide, and the activity center.  But, there are a few things that should be done with kids while on vacation.  We were told by one of the ladies at the activity center that we should take the kids to Baby Beach which is near Whalers Village.  We decided to make a trip to the shopping center followed by finding the locals favorite beach.  Baby Beach is definitely meant for kids since a coral reef is far out and breaks the waves which makes for a nice calm beach.  After going to Baby Beach we realized that the kids' favorite part of the beach are the waves.  Because of that, they spent more time in the sand than anything else.  But my mom was happy with the calm water; it was much easier on her brand new knee. 
Enjoying the water and the sand.

 One night my parents had the girls do a sleepover in their room.  Boy were the girls happy.  That morning Eric and I got up early and went for a walk in front of all the resorts.  We found that there was a locals craft sale that would start a few hours later.  After breakfast we took my parents and the kids there.  Of course we made the girls walk.  It wasn't terribly far, but they acted like it was.  Here they are running ahead of us but together.  They look so cute.
One of our favorite activities during our vacation was a snorkeling trip.  We took the Pride of Maui to Molokini to snorkel around the volcanic calderas.  Eric, the girls, and I were one of the first off the boat and into the water.  Etta was having mask problems and didn't last long.  Chloe was doing great with me until we got a little shallower before she started freaking out.  It must have been too close for her even though it was a good 10 feet below us.  The girls and Eric went back on the boat and I told him to meet me at the back where the slide was.  It didn't take much convincing for Etta to go on it.  It helped that I waited at the bottom the first several slides. It was a nice big drop into the water!

 Chloe needed a lot more convincing then she only did it two times.  She was pretty scared.

Even Eric, my dad, and I took turns.  Ok, so a scream did come out of my mouth the first time down.  Boy does it throw you out there quickly.

We did get the girls in the water one more time after fixing Etta's mask and by keeping Chloe in the deeper section.  Unfortunately it was so windy out (luckily the crater blocked the wind where we snorkeled) that we weren't able to go to Turtle Town to snorkel.  We just ended up staying at Molokini longer.  It was still fun.  We did head to Turtle Town to look for turtles.  We did see two big sea turtles and the girls were excited.  Here the girls and I are on our snorkel trip.
Our last day in Maui was spent keeping busy before our red eye flight back home.  We stopped at the Maui Ocean Center which is only 15 minutes from the airport.  They give a great military discount!    It was fun and the girls had a good time.  In particular we got to see the big tank get fed plus ask questions to a diver in the big tank.  The girls loved getting high fived by the diver.

The hardest part of our trip was definitely the red eye to LAX followed by our flight to Las Vegas.  I have to say the USO at LAX was absolutely wonderful (once we found it) and made our long layover pretty easy.  It took several days for us to acclimate back to Las Vegas.  Both the girls ask if we can move to Maui.  Not unless the military wants to send us there!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ka'anapali Beach Club, Maui, Hawaii

We got back from Hawaii the other night after a fun red eye and a nice long layover in LAX.  It's taken me awhile to get all the pictures and videos compiled so I can share them with everyone.  We were fortunate to arrive just 30 minutes before my parents plane so we hung out at the Maui airport with the girls just waiting to see their grandma & poppy.  After picking up our car rentals and making a big shopping trip to Costco (we had kitchens in our rooms and that helped save some money in the long run) we did the 45 minute drive to Kaanapali Beach on the west side of the island.  Let me just say, after hearing about the two shark attacks in Hawaii, I was glad we weren't staying in Wailea (the Beverly Hills of Maui).
We did spend a lot of time at our resort the Kaanapali Beach Club which my parents used time share points for us to have our own room.   The girls were more interested in spending time in the beach or pools than running around site seeing.   We were very fortunate to have an activity center where the girls were able to do crafts during the sunniest parts of the day.  You know us, very easy to burn even with sun protective swim suits and layers of sunblock. 
Etta made a necklace with shells and charms.
Chloe made an anklet.
 The resort has a handful of bird on display for several hours a day.  The girls always loved walking through the lobby to see and talk to them

 The girls' favorite Lil' Sid.
We were on the 11th floor and had neighboring rooms with my parents.  That made it easy to make meals with them as well as stop by and let them know we were coming and going to the beach.
Speaking of eating in, this has to be my favorite picture from the entire trip (mainly because it's one of the few Eric pictures since he was almost always taking the pictures).  Eric is relaxing with his burger and beer.
The second day we were there a lot of activities were canceled due to Hurricane Flossie.  Luckily it was mostly just wind and rain.  However, the hula lessons were canceled that day and the girls had to wait until the end of the week to finally get a chance to learn some hula.  After about 45 minutes, the group learned choreography for Sophisticated Hula and performed pool side for everyone outside.

Taking a break after choreography and before performing.

 The performance:
 I felt bad, Chloe didn't realize the instructor was across the pool so she watched Etta the entire time.
After hula dancing there was a water balloon toss.  Neither of the girls had ever done a water balloon toss so it was fun to watch the process.  Do you want to see what happens?  Watch the video below.

The girls did another craft after getting some coupons!  Chloe was set on this gecko, she had asked about it after making the anklet and wasn't going to let go of it.
I had to help with the second coat of spots.  Chloe enjoyed using the blow dryer as often as she could.  The activity center even glazed the gecko so it's all shiny!
Etta wanted to stuff her own animal.  They were out of the koala bear that she wanted so bad but ended up picking out a turtle, a great reminder of Hawaii.
She even dressed if in a bikini and swim cover.  All for a total of $20, way cheaper than Build A Bear!
 Here is a little pool with a slide!  Of course the girls enjoyed going down that every day.

 I had fun too :)
We went to our resort's beach a good one or two times a day.  The girls in particular enjoyed the waves.  We found one spot that was great for Bogey boarding or body surfing.  There was a lot of sand in our bathing suits every day.
You probably can't see it, but Etta is on a blue board.  She often went wayyyyy up onto the beach when she got a big wave.  Eric and I took turns too, it was so much fun.  Below, Chloe was playing in the waves with the sand.  Her favorite thing to do at the beach.
 Here we are (minus my dad) in the waterfall pool.  The girls enjoyed climbing up there and getting pelted with the water.
And finally, here are the girls feeding coy in one of the ponds.  They got to do this twice while we were staying there and always had fun watching the fish go crazy.
More pictures to come of activities away from the resort including a snorkeling trip!