Thursday, 27 February 2014

15

As all birthdays around here, this one was about food: Carmen requested german pancakes for breakfast, and I brought her chicken caesar salad to school for lunch.
After drama rehearsal we went out for sushi for supper.


Then home again for lemonade cake!


Monday, 24 February 2014

Thursday was a big day; Saturday was pretty good also.


Last week on Thursday Carmen got her Learner's License and took her first spin around the church parking lot.


Chloe got her Science Fair Project all finished - 12 days ahead of schedule!


And the Canada Women's hockey team won another Olympic gold in overtime. This photo from Steven's school went viral.


Then on Saturday Carmen's basketball team won gold themselves!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

To Hana and Back

We left The Royal Lahaina after a week to spend the last few days of our holiday in Hana. We bought a guide CD to play in our car as we drove the famous Road to Hana. 


Our first stop along the road was at Ho-opika Beach Park where we watched and fantasized about our future skills.


We drove with our windows down, and enjoyed the eucalyptus scent all along the way. I couldn't get over the beauty of the bamboo forest. It made me think of Dr. Seuss' truffula trees for some reason.


Waikamoi Nature Trail was a short loop we walked within a bamboo forest.


We also stopped at the Ke'anae Arboretum, which I wouldn't do again. It is pretty poorly maintained, and the information posted is limited. We did at least find out the name of this tree we'd seen elsewhere on the island: Painted Gum (a type of eucalyptus)


I loved the volcanic rock against the ocean in Ke-anae. It reminded us of the Creation.


We took more photos together in Hawaii than we have all year!


Pa'iloa Bay
(The famous Hana black sand beach)
I think the green against the black was so beautiful, but we didn't return to spend more time at this beach later,


because it needs another 100 000 years to crush down to really fine sand. We did explore the caves and the lava tubes before we left.

While we were in Hana, we rented a house through VRBO because the main resort, Travaasa Resort, was very pricy. However, the minimal rental on our VRBO was 3 days, which kept us in Hana longer than we would have otherwise stayed. So next time I would stay at the lovely Travaasa Resort for just one night. Because in my opinion Hana is worth a second day.

Our second Hana day was spent at Haleakala National Park at Kipahulu.


We started with the 4 mile (return) hike to Waimoku Falls, where we passed this banyan tree. It seems we missed the larger banyan tree in Lahaina (saw it, but didn't appreciate it at the time), but I thought this one was impressive.


I had read so much about the bamboo forest leading to the Waimoku Falls, that it seemed like a shame that I'd already been-there-done-that the previous day on the Waikamoi Nature Trail.


But it was magical. It was a windy day, and instead of the sound of rustling of leaves we were surrounded by the gentle knocking of the hollow bamboo stems together. Ken took 10 seconds of video to capture it on his phone, and I really need to download it onto my computer. It was the highlight of the hike for me.


The falls were tall, but not particularly impressive. The reality being that if they had been impressive, the trail would have been closed because we had to cross the creek several times, and impressive falls would have meant high creek levels.

After the hike, we walked down to the Pools of Ohe'o 


We took a couple of pictures, and then returned our camera to our car and got in the fresh water pools ourselves.

Sunday in Hana we attended the branch there, and then sat out in the sun and read our books. Thank goodness we bought Ken a book in Lahaina. I read several books on our holiday. I also finished reading The Book of Mormon again. Jaclyn's mission president invited parents to join their missionaries in reading the entire Book of Mormon in the month of January. I was on track anyhow, but thanks to the extra free time of a holiday I finished in 3 weeks total. I've never read The Book of Mormon fast like that, and I loved it. I was thinking of doing it again in February, but in these first few days I've noticed I'm skimming instead of reading this time, so I think I'd better slow down.


Monday morning we shook the sand out of our belongings, showered off, and got ready to catch our plane home that night. We met up with our friends (who we have run into on other holidays - unplanned) for a photo op. We ended up spending the entire afternoon in the sun for the perfect end to a perfect vacation.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Surfing

I learned an important lesson from my parents when I was growing up about taking advantage of good weather on holidays. Even though the forecast was for beautiful weather all week, Ken and I jumped on the priority of taking surf lessons on the first day we could (Monday). As it turned out, on Tuesday Maui was hit with a North Swell (I still have no idea of what that really means) and the ocean was relatively rough and churned up for the rest of our trip to the point that rental places weren't renting out surf boards or paddle boards later in the week. At least not to beginners.


We took lessons out of Goofy Foot Surfing School. The truth is, this was Ken's idea, and mostly I wanted to get it over with. In fact, once we were in the water I had to seriously work to keep my anxiety (bordering on anger for being in the situation at all) in check. Fear is a strange thing. I like to think I hid it well.


It turned out the hardest part for me was paddling back out again against the surf. As Ken has pointed out, there is a reason surfers have big shoulders.


Ken absolutely loved it. He loved the ocean in Maui with a passion, and if it had been available I think he would have done more surfing. 

I probably would have joined him.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Maui!

I follow a local travel advisor on Facebook and Twitter, YYC Deals, and back in May he posted an alert about seat sales to Maui. Ken and I jumped on it and booked a vacation for the two of us - eight months in advance. And I guess that's the way we have to do things: non-refundable, and far enough away so that the calendar doesn't look too busy. As it turned out Ken had a super crazy January with his job and his calling, and we never would have taken a trip if it weren't already booked and paid for.


We stayed at the Royal Lahaina Resort in an ocean view room. We slept with the sliding doors open and really soaked up the gorgeous weather.


The mats in the elevators were useful reminders of reality; it would be easy to lose track of days on a vacation like this. In fact, at the end of our trip Ken and I were having so much trouble remembering what we had done on which day that he started building an Excel spreadsheet to figure it out.


I do remember that I did 7 am resort sponsored oceanside yoga on Monday morning. This is my view from my mat. As for the 7am start time, it was no big deal. Hawaii is just the perfect amount of jet lag. I also did one 7 am Pilates class at the resort, and I went for a run one morning as well. Ken did a long bike ride one day, and I think we both discovered that we feel pretty invincible at sea level when it comes to cardio.


Royal Lahaina Resort hosts a formal luau 6 nights a week. Along with the luau they have a professional photographer who will sell you a 5x7 at the end of the evening, which of course we bought, but I wish they would get with the times and go digital. This is a pictures of a picture.


At our table in our Hawaiian finery, with sun setting and the beach behind us.


Dinner

video

Dancing

The luau pork was dynamite and the show with the variety of dances was completely entertaining.

Actually, we ate well almost everywhere we went.


We had dinner at Dukes one night, just a little ways up the beach walk from us.



This is the place in Kihei where I had the best falafels of my life!

The town of Lahaina was just south of us, and we really enjoyed the proscuitto and arugula pizza at Longhi's. Also in Lahaina we had various treats like shaved ice and macadamia nut gelato. The burger of the month at our resort was a blend of sausage and ground beef with a garlic aioli and a grilled peach, which was dynamite. But the best restaurant we tried on that side of the island, by far, was called Basil Tomatoes, and it was on the same drive as our hotel. Ken had the cioppino, and I had seared opah (Hawaiian fish) with risotto and asparagus. They really know how to grill fish in Hawaii - I ordered similar meals more than once.


Ken really loves to drive and get the lay of the land on a holiday, so when we weren't floating on the ocean or laying on the sand we toured around the island. We took the west loop as far as we could go before we approached the section of the road that is currently closed on weekdays. The sign at this blow hole reminded us that it was not a water park, and not to go near as it might suck us down and out into the ocean. Behind it we could see whales, which we saw (along with porpoises) every day. We also drove south as far as we could go and found out the difference between the Big Beach (in Makena) and the Little Beach (also in Makena)(nudity).

We concluded we liked our area of Kaanapali Beach best,  and Ken is planning a timely return.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Basketball


Carmen is in her second year on the senior girls basketball team. She managed to both sprain and strain her ankle at the beginning of the season, so she plays with a brace on her left foot. It took her awhile to get used to, but it isn't slowing her down any more.


Carmen has really developed her left lay-up, and frequently draws a foul for an extra point.


As always, Carmen's defence stands out.


And now, a word about her coach this year. The man is a basketball genius, and has these girls playing together unlike any other junior high team. They are undefeated in their league, and the best of friends.