Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What we see, and what Jane sees...

The other night we went to an ice cream tasting party at my sister's house. Have you ever had avocado ice cream? Me neither... I don't much care for avocados. But apparently it was tasty, as were the other 4 flavors of homemade ice creams we sampled: Buttermilk Cherry, Blood Orange Sorbet, Lavender Honey, and some super-duper-weapons-grade chocolate. Very fun party idea!

As we were driving home Jane saw the Daybreak temple. She excitedly yelled out "Daddy, daddy look - a castle!" Em tells me they've had this discussion a lot, and then reminded Jane that it's a temple. So, for the next 10 minutes, every building we pass is a temple; a church (close), a rec center (not so close), Arctic Circle (definitely not). Then we drove past the Jordan River temple, which prompted the following exchange:

Jane: "Mommy, daddy, look! Another temple!!!"
Me: "You're right, Jane, that one is a temple."
Jane: "Yeah, and that one has a soap on it."
Me: "..."
Em: "What Jane?"
Jane: "That temple has a soap on top of it!"
Me (glancing at Em): "Huh?"
Em (shrugs): "That's nice, Jane."
Jane (frustrated): "See the soap on it?"

At this point, I finally realized that there was a fundamental difference between what she was seeing, and what we were seeing. You see, here is what I was seeing:

but here is what Jane was seeing:

It's all a matter of perspective, really. And a limited vocabulary.

While we're at it, here are a couple of other funny Janerisms:

- Referencing an apparently offensive geometric melon:

"This cantaloupe is a triangle and it's making me nervous!"

- Looking at some mushrooms growing in TBY (oh how I hates it):

"Look Mom, there are marshmallows growing up in the grass!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hawaii Adventures (part 2)

Okay. So I just have to get the rest of our vacation recorded so I can move on. When you invested so much time and money into a trip, you feel a bigger responsibility to make sure you journal it..at least I do.

Kauai was breathtaking. I don't think there is a single square foot on that island that isn't beautiful in some way. It is full of fabulous hiking, waterfalls, deep and expansive canyons and green, green mountains. We did a little bit more relaxing on this island than on Maui - it wasn't a constant go go go 24/7.This was partially due to the fact that a lot of the really scenic areas require hiking and that can get tricky with a 1 and 2 year old.

The first day we hit Po'ipu beach and did some snorkeling. Jane and Alli got a big kick out of all the roosters running around. That's one of the things that I think is so funny about Hawaii - all their wild animals are actually farm animals - wild pigs, wild chickens, probably even wild cows...didn't ever meet one though. All the cousins buried themselves in the sand and Jane helped with her little bucket. Allie just ate more sand.

The next day we hiked to a little secluded beach on the Nepali Coast. We had Allie in the baby back pack and Jane rode on various shoulders. The beach had a little inland pool that was freshwater which made a perfect place for Allie to play. She went crazy in the water and eventually we had to strip her down to her birthday suit. She was in heaven. I was too until I had to hike her back out and it was so dang hot!! We rewarded ourselves with more shave ice in a little town nearby. Day 3 we took a little easier. We went to a beach in Kapa'a where we were staying that again, had a little bay without any waves. It made a perfect beach for the little ones. This one was really cool because the bay had fish it in but it never got more than 5 feet deep so we could carry Jane out and let her do a little snorkeling of her own with her goggles. This was also the day we discovered where we could get the VERY BEST fish tacos in all of Hawaii - they were sold out of the back of big orange van. Dang - they were good.

The next day was one of my very favorites. We went to Waimea Canyon, otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It was so incredible - it really looked like a green, lush version of the Grand Canyon. We took a hike here as well, enjoying the canyon views and ending up at another waterfall that dropped off below you 100 feet. Jane made friends all along the way. All throughout the trip, she would say Hi to ANYONE within speaking distance and then ask them their name and age. It was really funny. The crazy thing is she would remember their names! During this hike, she met a man named Thomas who was fifty. They talked for a minute before he passed us on the trail. On the way back, hours later, we passed him again and Jane instantly called out to him, "Oh! Hi Tom!" He was really surprised and so were we. He got the biggest grin on his face...it was so cute. She was notorious for doing this at the pool as well and had all kinds of friends. Her favorite thing was to go over to the hot tub, stick her feet in the water, and chat it up with whoever was in it at the time. Once, while playing with her in the pool, a man walked in through the pool gate and she instantly yelled out "Hi Charlie!" He responded, "Hi Jane! How ya doing?" "Good". She then turned to me and said "Mom, do you know how old he is? He's firty free." Wow. Jane you are a nut. Anyway, random tangent....Waimea Canyon was incredible..the pictures don't do it justice. At one overlook I got tears in my eyes, feeling so grateful that God had created such a wonderful place and I was lucky enough to see it.

The rest of the trip consisted of more snorkeling and more beaches. One morning, my youngest brother and his sweet wife told us they would take our kids for half the day while we went snorkeling. It was so wonderful to be able to snorkel together for as long as we wanted. We really appreciated the time to just be alone too.

The last day was the highlight of our whole trip. We got up at 5 am to take an ultralight ride across Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast. It was incredible. In case you may not know, an ultralight is basically a big hang glider with a propeller. Jevan and I each flew our own with an instructor. It was just the coolest feeling ever and the views were unbeatable. We saw beaches and coastline that are basically unreachable by land or boat and even were able to fly down close to a herd of dolphins, a huge school of tuna, and a bunch of sea turtles. If ever you go to Kauai, we strongly encourage you to do this (unless you get motion sickness or have a fear of heights...it might not go over so well for you). It is an experience you will never forget!

We had mixed feelings as we flew home - sad to leave such a wonderful vacation and at the same time excited to get back to our own space and to our own routines, to give our completely blitzed children naps and regular bedtimes. They really were exhausted by the end, with Jane a little bit out of control! All in all, it was fabulous and we feel lucky we were able to go for so long and spend quality time with my family. I love them.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Couple of Weeks in Paradise (part 1)

Wow. Why does it seem like some weeks and months just sorta creep by, and then some whirl past you, leaving you dizzy and wondering who exactly is going to clean up from the freakin' tornado that just hit you in the head? I think my summer has been a little on the tornado side..maybe not quite that dramatic, but i don't ever feel like i recover before the next big event happens. The summer of constant....stuff. Needless to say, blogging has gone on the back burner for me. Hopefully, things are going to slow a little now.

Here's the post I started before I had to leave for Girls Camp...it's a little dated now that we have been back from Hawaii for a month, but I had to get something written down so I wouldn't forget things.

So, um, I kinda like Hawaii. I think Utah should adopt some of things about Hawaii that I really like, namely Plumeria bushes/trees (they give the air this glorious scent and they're everywhere!), the easy going drivers (you want to cut in front? hey, sure, go ahead... and aloha to you), Hawaiian Shave Ice (ice cream on the bottom, flavored ice and then topped with sweetened condensed milk - SO GOOD!)and the ocean. We need an ocean around here. One that has lots of sandy beaches....and pretty fish in it. Especially fish you can't pronounce like the humuhumunukunukuapua'a. Not a stinky lake. With stinky brine shrimp. Maybe I should go to talk to the Utah State Legislature 'bout it....HAH! They somehow can't even find funding for school supplies..I don't think they will help me much with my ocean.

So we've been back now for a couple weeks (edit: a month now) and I been purposely avoiding the computer because I was a little overwhelmed with the thought of jotting down TWO WEEKS of vacation. Made my head spin. But I have decided that no one really wants to read a long travel log anyway, right? ("And then we made a left turn at the beach, followed the road to a parking lot where we all got out of the car and walked to a Shave Ice stand where there was this nice, rosy cheeked man named Buddy with a Bob Marley Lives! shirt..") Ugh. Painful. In my family, we all have pretty short attention spans, and we're the ones who will be reading this years from now, so I'm going for highlights and just general funny things I want to remember. Thus, once again, I have put out the disclaimer that you certainly don't have to read beyond this point because someone else's vacation is never as exciting as your own.


First off, just for background, we went to Hawaii with my entire family - parents, brothers, sisters, and all the kids. Jane and Allison were in heaven having their cousins to play with 24/7. We stayed in Worldmark condos on Maui and Kauai. We were a group to be reckoned with - 24 strong. Many fled in fear.

If you are looking for an island with endless things to do, Maui is the one. We were going non-stop everyday, going on all kinds of adventures. First day, we hit the beach which was right across the street from us. This is how Jane and Allison did the beach pretty much the whole trip. Jane spent almost all her time with a bucket, running down to the waves, careful that they didn't get too close, filling up her bucket with water and dumping it into a hole her cousins dug for her. Over and over. I think she was sure that at some point, the water would actually stay in the hole and not just disappear into the sand. Allison basically spent her time trying to get sand into every possible crevice or orifice on her body that she could, even her mouth. She would trick you by playing up by you in the sand for a while until you started talking to someone and then she would make a break for the water and crawl (not steady on her feet well enough during week 1 but walking confidently by herself on the sand by week 2. Go Allie!) at mach speed for the water, straight into the waves. No fear. It was a bit tiring keeping track of her.

Over the next week we would alternate between beach, pool, and adventures. Here are our favorites:

The Road to Hana: Beautiful, windy (as in curvy, not air in a hurry) road that takes you all day to drive, with lots of places to stop and see cool stuff. Our rental car was a bright yellow/orange mustang convertible that we named Chester (after Chester Cheetah 'cause the car was the color of a Cheeto). It was fun to have on the drive (except Jevan and my nephews were in it pretty much the whole time...which was actually just fine because Jane was not a fan of the car and kept asking us to roll up the window when we put the top down). Things we saw: A bamboo forest, a black sand beach, a red sand beach and waterfall with places to jump off into a huge pool.

Snorkeling at the "Fish Bowl": After hiking about a mile over spiky lava rock, there is this fabulous secluded and enclosed bay with the most incredible display of fish. Our favorite was a trumpet fish that would change colors AND patterns according to it's surroundings.

Warren & Annabelle's Magic Show: So I know you usually think magic shows are just for kids, and a bit cheesy, but this one was amazing! Not only is the guy (Warren) an incredible magician, but also one of the best comedians I have heard in a long time. To help with his show, he picks 4 couples out beforehand and then has them sit up front. Imagine our excitement when we were actually chosen to be one of the couples! Once the show started we quickly learned that our purpose was not so much to help but to be continuously made fun of. It was really funny. He named the 4 guys after men in the Andy Griffith show. Jevan was Goober. So many funny stories here but suffice it to say that if you are going to Maui, we HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend seeing this show.

Haleakala: One day we drove up to the summit of the Haleakala Crater which sits up at 10,000 feet above sea-level..and we're talking literally...you start at sea-level and drive a road which just switchbacks up to 10,000 feet. Views were spectacular. I loved that we were above clouds - at one spot you would look down off the mountain and all you would see was a sea of white. Definitely felt like we were on top of the world. We did some hiking and Jane actually fell dead asleep while riding on Jevan's shoulders. How she stayed on was anyone's guess.

Random: My wonderful sister-in-law (who was really the tour guide for the family - she is spunky and fun and we all just followed her around, poor thing) took us crab hunting one night. I think it was the highlight of Jane's trip. Crabs are all over the beach at night, so we all took our flashlights and caught us a few. Jane was fascinated and kept wanting to hold them. In fact, the first one we found she practically pounced on, trying to catch it by tickling it into submission. She talked about it for days.

The best of the rest: More sand, more ocean, more sand, more pool, more snorkeling, more boogie boarding, more shave ice, more sand, more ocean, more Hawaiian sunsets, more chocolate covered macadamia nuts..and some more chocolate covered macadamia nuts, except with toffee this time....mmmm....I think I gained 5 pounds on just those alone. Good times all around.

Favorite airport game: This consisted of Jane running around the corridors in the airport, stopping dead at random times, plopping down on her bum, and insisting we plop down with her. We would then click ourselves into an imaginary helicopter, being very careful to check and recheck the buckle. After taking off and landing in a manner of seconds, we would then get up and frantically run to the next helicopter before it flew off without us, heaven forbid. We spent SO much downtime doing this.....

The girls in general did really well and we had hardly any total meltdowns despite their complete exhaustion. We tried to fit in naps on some of the down days and that really helped. They were troopers. Oh, we cheated on the flight over though: we gave both girls benedryl. From this little experience, we found out two things:

  1. Allie is a silly drunk. When she wasn't asleep, she sat and giggled at everything. Like her hand. Or her sippy cup. It was actually quite amusing.

  2. Jane, on the other hand, is a rowdy drunk. Borderline belligerent. Alcohol took her normally aggressive, assertive, and outspoken personality and Incredible Hulked it.

Anyway, there is Maui in a nutshell. Stay tune next week for part 2, Kauai (I know the suspense is killing both of you........riiiiight).

Oh, and there's a bunch of pics in this little Flickr (guys, you forgot the 'e'...) gadget-thingy that Jevan was really excited about.