Monday, May 2, 2011

Liam turns 8 and gets dunked!

Liam had a birthday on the 26th and turned a whopping 8 years old! A lot of things happen when you turn 8. Here are some pictures of our fun...

Liam got a Pokeball cake for his birthday. Baked by mom, and decorated by dad.

Let's open some presents!

Liam chose to go to Red Robin for his birthday dinner. Guess we forgot the camera, or forgot to use it. I also forgot to take a picture last Wed. of Duncan and Liam both with their cub scout uniforms on for Liam's first time going to his den meeting.

Then yesterday, Sunday, May 1st, Liam got baptised! Here he is in his new suit just before we left to go to the church.

Dad and Liam on this special day.

Dad and Liam all dressed in white and ready for the program and baptism.

Afterward, we had some dinner at the church building. The kids got to draw on the paper at the kids' table.

More of the people that came to the baptism and stayed to eat.

Liam got a few gifts at the baptism. One of them was a "money ball"! Here's Liam under the pile of steamer paper left after unwinding it all to get the money.

A big thank you to all that came and helped with the baptismal program, the food, and the well-wishes. We are so thankful for you all! (We're also thankful for those that wanted to be here but weren't able to come.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Duncan wins again and gets his Bear!

Our combined Cub Scout packs held their annual pine wood derby this week. We are happy to announce that Duncan took first place again! The races were a lot closer this year. There were a couple times Duncan's car, Light Speedy, came up at the end of the race to win. It was a fun night. In addition to the pinewood derby, it was also the pack's Blue and Gold dinner. Duncan earned his Bear award, and a few belt loops. He did his Bear in 3 months! That's pretty fast, but he worked really hard at it. He set a goal, we gave him an incentive (a new DS game), and off he went. Now we can spend the remainder of the year working on extra awards and activities. Here are a few video clips of the races...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chug! Chug! Chug!...

We have some new additions to our family...

Meet Moh and Rocky.

Moh and Rocky are Chugs- part chihuahua and part pug (though their parents are both Chugs as well). We adopted them from a couple in our ward. They are about 10 weeks old, and are brothers. They were born Thanksgiving weekend. Anna and I gave them to the kids for Valentine's Day.
The puppies are a bit overwhelmed by the attention from the kids so far, but I'm sure they'll get used to it.
As far as the names, they are "geologic" in nature. Rocky is pretty obvious- Duncan thought of that one. And since my other names were getting rejected, I came up with "Moh", as in Moh's Hardness Scale. The names I was campaigning for were "Bert and Ernie" or "Billy and Bob". That way, when we are calling to them, it would be pretty easy... "Billy Bob!, get over here!".
If you like that new puppy smell, you're welcome to come and meet them.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 7- Hawaii Trip, Maui

I finally have some time to keep going on blogging about our trip to Hawaii...

It's day 7 of our trip, and the second (and last) full day on Maui. On today's itinerary we planned on driving on the other half of the island- the Halemahina volcano side, and driving to the top of Haleakala to see the sun set, and do some star gazing.

In the morning, we stopped at a restaurant across from a marina south of Lahaina (I think it was called Beach Bums). They had a BOGO free breakfast deal. The food was really good.

On this side of Maui, you can see the other smaller islands that are near by.

Here's Anna with Halemahina behind her. And no, that's not the name of the van.

In this area the beaches are a dark gray. Believe it or not, this was the first time we stepped on the beach, anywhere, the whole trip. It's true when I say I'm not much of a beach person.

Along the way, we spotted this tsunami warning siren tower. There was a big one on the road to Hana that we missed the day before, so we were sure to stop at this one so Anna could take a few pictures... like this one.

In the "downtown" area of Lahaina, there is the largest Banyan tree in the U.S. It's nearly as large as an acre. It was planted in 1873. Lahaina used to be the capital city of Hawaii before Honolulu, so there is a lot of history here.

Here's another view of the tree.

While walking around a small shopping center, we spotted this fish tank with some humuhumu fish in it. Since Anna was talking about snorkeling, I said if I hold my breath while looking at the fish, it would be like the same thing.

Just a little snack while we're here.

The largest Buddha outside of Japan, is in Lahaina.

Once we were done driving through Lahaina and Kaanapali on the west side of Maui, we made our way back toward the center of the island, and started our drive upward to Haleakala. It was a bit overcast, but we kept going. From here we are about half way.

Then you drive through the clouds and start to see the blue sky and the desert that is the peak of the volcano. From here, we are at the very top looking down into the crater of Haleakala. Anna was super excited and awed by it all.

At the top, there's an observation room. There's an elevation marker on it. There's less oxygen at this elevation.

We're on the direct rim of the crater looking in.

We didn't have a lot of time to hike in. We hiked in for about an hour, and gave ourselves two hours to hike out. Here's a picture after hiking in about 30 minutes. We were waiting for a group on horseback to pass us on the trail. Anna's a couple meters off the trail.

All along the way, there are various sized volcanic "bombs". These bombs are formed when hot magma is blown out of the volcano. While it's flying through the air, it forms a smooth oval-like shape and begins to harden. Then geologist come by and take mass pictures of them all... here's Anna with a HUGE one. She ignored all the signs that say to stay on the trail to take it.

This is as far as we got after hiking in for an hour. Hardly noticeably closer in pictures, but still closer.

I like this "bomb" picture because it shows how many are laying around all around us. Anna's shoe is in the picture for scale. Bombs are also as little as chicken eggs.

It indeed took us twice as long to hike out as it did to hike in. Here's our fake sunset as the sun disappears behind the volcano's rim.

The "Silversword" plant only grows on Haleakala. They are very cool looking. If I remember right, they can live up to 50 years, and bloom only once, then die.

We successfully hiked out of the crater and went back to the top to wait for the sunset. In the mean time, Anna found more and more bombs to take pictures of and with.

There are even bombs that have been used to create walls in the parking area. Another good picture of how many bombs there are, and of Anna.

The sun is almost setting. You cannot tell in the following pictures, but the temperature was dropping very fast, and it was getting very cold! That's an observatory that the sun will be setting behind.

Not only is it cold, but it's breezy too! It only made us colder.

The sun went down, and the sky darkened behind it, and most of the people that were there for the sunset, got in their cars and left. Shortly after, all of a sudden, the horizon was this blazing gold color. We were amazed.

The sun continued to work it's magic as it descended (or rather as the earth turned away from it). The contrast in colors made it look as if we were looking into a painting. It almost didn't seem real. This is one of my all-time favorite pictures from our whole trip.

At the entrance of the parking lot at the top of Haleakala there's another elevation sign. This shot is to illustrate how cold it is at 10,000 feet. It was in the mid-to low, 40s.

Again, the colors on the horizon continued to change.

We have a ton more pictures of the horizon as it continued to change. At one point, it looked just like a rainbow, as we were able to see all the colors on the spectrum. So very cool.
At this point, there were only about 3 cars worth of people left at the top. Luckily we had saved a couple of haupia pies for our star gazing. We were pretty hungry.

We stayed till the stars were bright in the sky. Neither of us are very good at identifying constellations, but Orion was HUGE in the sky. There was one other couple there as late as we were, and they knew a lot more than we did. The guy's father was an Astronomer.
We were cold enough, and had experienced enough that it was time to drive back to sea level and get something to eat. By the time we were back in town, it was almost 11pm. Most everything in Maui closes at about 9pm, so finding a place to eat might be tricky. We spotted a Denny's, and even though we really didn't want to eat there, it was all we could find open.

As it turned out, they had a "local" menu. Nice! I ordered their Loco Moco. It had Portuguese sausage fried rice. It was actually really good. Anna ordered country fried chicken over rice with sausage gravy and hash browns. Good grinds.

We headed home. It was our last night on Maui and in Hawaii... where did the time and days go?!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hawaii Trip- Day 6, Maui

Today was Saturday. Anna had talked with Mary, the concierge, and she recommended we spend the day on the road to Hana. I guess it's a "known" thing to do while visiting Maui. I had only heard about it from researching places to eat, but hadn't paid it much mind. But Anna thought it would be fun (there would be lava tubes), so we planned to go. Mary recommended an early start, so early we went...

This is a picture of the last working sugar cane factory on Maui. (At least you can see the smoke stacks.)

There's a little town right at the start of the road to Hana, called Paiea. It's the last town till Hana, in fact, so it's the place to eat breakfast, buy a snack or lunch for the drive, and to gas up. We stopped for breakfast at a place named "Charlie's". Oh man, it was good! I had a corned beef hash omelet with potatoes and toast, Anna had hawaiian bread french toast with macadamia nuts, pineapple, and mint whipped cream, with coconut syrup. We split our meals. They were both awesome.

Here's Anna afterward. She liked her choice so much, she wanted a picture. (Side note: Willie Nelson is part owner.)
When Anna was talking with Mary about Hana, Mary gave her a CD that acts as a tour guide. You turn it on when you leave Paiea, and it tells you about things you'll see on the way. It suggests places to stop for pictures, like water falls or bays, etc. I wasn't too keen on listening to it, but we put it in the player. Turns out, it was a bit cheesy in the beginning, but it was very helpful. It also had some great songs on it. We would have missed some great sites without it.

One of the places it recommended we stop, was a small hike to see a waterfall (don't remember the name). Along the hike, there are lots of cool native plants along the way. Here I am with a Taro plant. And just so you know, I didn't know Anna was framing the picture that way. I thought she was only getting from my shoulders and up with the big leaves.

There was this HUGE yucca looking plant right next to the path. We couldn't resist a picture.

The falls we walked/hiked to were a little disappointing, so I didn't include a picture of it. The plant pictures were much better.
One of the things the CD mentioned, were trees commonly called "rainbow" eucalyptus. They're also known as "painted" eucalyptus. We saw some on our drive, so we stopped to take a picture. The camera didn't do a very good job of capturing the colors on the trees. They were way better in person.

The road to Hana takes you along the coast quite a bit. Sometimes the road is right next to the water. Other times you're higher up. The views are breath taking. Here's a great example.
But Anna says these picturesque shots are just boring if there's no one's in them. So we took ones like that one for me, then...

We take one like this for Anna. Actually, I think it's good to have both. One with the view, so you can see it as if you're there, and one with us, so you can see us there.

This is a great looking picture. But it's not what you think. It fooled us too. We came around a bend, and saw this "steam" rising among the sun light as it pierces through the lush greenery! So we took this picture. This is actually right in front of the entrance to an arboretum, so there were other cars there too. We got out of our car, and were overwhelmed with the smell of either smoking breaks or a car over heating (we were trying not to smell it). So much for the "steam", but I guess it still makes for a nice picture.

As we're walking through this arboretum, there are a lot of amazing plants everywhere. But there were also some really big and beautiful rainbow eucalyptus there. Again, the colors just don't come out as brilliantly. But we tried to get some good shots.

You can see a lot of the different shades of green on this one, but the reds and purples don't come through as well. Another good thing about seeing these trees when we did, is that the colors show better when the trees are wet, and it had rained the whole day the previous day, and the shade was keeping the bark from drying out.

It was at this point, Anna realized something terrible... the camera was about to die! We hadn't charged the camera in a couple days, and the battery was running out quickly. We were only 25-30% of the way on the trip. We still had lava tubes and beaches and rocks to see. So we started rationing photos till we could figure something out.
Remember when I said there were no real towns after Paiea... it's true. Maybe, just maybe, there would be a roadside place we could buy a disposable camera. The pictures probably wouldn't be as good, but they would be better than nothing.
As we were driving, there was a small fruit and snack stand/shack on the roadside. Anna hopped out to see if they sold cameras... and they did! It was about $18?! ... Better than nothing I guess.

We were enjoying our drive very much. Then we saw the signs for the lava tube! We followed them to a guys house. He bought the land that a section of the lava tube goes through, and fixed it up to allow people to go down into it and explore it. It was $12 each to go in, but Anna wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to go into a lava tube on Maui!
Here's Anna at the opening to the lava tube. Luckily there was enough battery power for this shot. (One of my personal favorites from the whole trip.)
After that picture, the camera shut off. Time for the disposable. Luckily (?), it had a flash....

At the entrance, you walk down a flight of stairs to the tube floor. Chuck, the owner, put in hand rails along the way, as well as plaques with explanations of what you see in the tube. Anna didn't really find any big errors in his facts, so that was good. They were very helpful to a guy like me.
Here we are in the depths of the tube. As you can see, the disposable doesn't hold a candle to the digital. Crazy to think, that not long ago, this would have been totally acceptable. Anyway, Chuck provides the flashlights, and they're quite bright, but only where you point them. Otherwise, it's pitch black.

The geology of the tube was really cool. There was a spot where the lava left what looks like chocolate frosting on the roof and walls of the tube.

You can see them a little better in this picture. Water was dripping down through the tube from the rain the day before, like rain. You would think it would be dry in there, but far from it. It's all wet.
There were probably 3 groups of people that were in the tube when we got down in it, which was nice. Better than being crowded.

We took a bunch more pictures from inside the tube, but most of them didn't turn out. Those I just showed you are the best ones. Oh darn, guess we'll just have to go back...

There was a black sand beach along the way.

We went down to the beach, plus there was suppose to be a lava tube down there too. We found it, but it was tiny compared to the other one. Just for the heck of it, we tried the digital camera... and it worked...

Then is was back to the disposable. This is at the mouth of the tiny lava tube.

We hadn't eaten any lunch. Our breakfast was so good and filling, we didn't really need lunch. But as the dinner hour approached, we were getting hungry. Mary mentioned there being a couple of good places to eat in Hana, but we couldn't find them. We ate at a small restaurant up the hill in Hana. Actually, we ordered at the take out window and ate outside (it was cheaper, and the view was better). We had a burger and a shoyu chicken plate lunch. They were really good.

The sun was starting to make it's way down on the other side of the island, so it was getting dark quick. We continued on after Hana, to see the "seven sacred pools". It's a small hike from the parking, but it was very cool. It was late in the day, so there weren't many people there.

Man, wish we would have had the digital. But, better than nothing.

The seven sacred pools enters the ocean right there. So cool.

By the time we got back to our car from the pools, it was pretty much dark. We had taken all day to drive the road to Hana, and we had a blast. The drive back was interesting. The roads are narrow and the bridge crossings are single lane, so you have to really pay attention. But the cool thing was... we were in no hurry. Plus there weren't many others on the road, so it was all good. It took us a little over 2 and a half hours to drive back out to Paiea. From there it was about 30 minutes back to our hotel. We were tired, but it was a good tired.
We were also pretty excited about the next day, and being over 10,000 feet above sea level, and in the mouth of a volcano!