Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve at the Beach

Whew! I can't believe it's all over!! Christmas came and went soooo fast this year! We were all biting our nails to see if Jo and CR would make it out of Wichita amidst Blizzard of the Year 2009, but some quick thinking saved the day and they were able to get out of Wichita Wednesday night on an earlier flight to Denver and were on their way before the worst of it arrived in Kansas! (so, yes, they made it safely to Maui Christmas Eve around 5:30....a little late, but they made it!!). But before I start in on their visit, I just wanted to share some fun pics of how we spent our Christmas Eve morning. While most of your were freezing your butts off and shoveling out of snow drifts {insert mildly evil laugh}, we (myself, Joel, Dean and TuTu) were soaking up the Maui sun and only mildly complaining about it being a quite chilly 78 degrees while enjoying an absolutely BEAUTIFUL clear morning at Keawakapu beach!! I'll let the photos speak for themselves...













Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Preparations

This year marked the first year OF MY ENTIRE LIFE that I've ever had a real LIVE Christmas Tree. And I'll be the first to tell you that it will probably be the last. At least as long as we live on Maui! We still have a week until Christmas and the damn thing is already pretty much dead. I'm not sure what I expected since I knew that they packed the things into a container and shipped them over on a boat (which takes 3-5 weeks - without water!!) from the mainland and then it probably sat in the container on the dock for another week in the 80+ degree heat waiting for one of our few agricultural inspectors (we're short-staffed due to major state budget cuts) to inspect them (and LOTS of trees got sent back this year due to bugs and other invasive species). Because of the huge shortage of trees this year, we bought ours early - I didn't want to miss out and not have a tree!! But of course, that decision is biting me in the ass now that we're going to have a totally dead tree by the time Christmas finally gets here!! Oh well. I'm happy that I can now say I've experienced a live tree and the house did smell sooooo good for about a week! But man, I can't wait to get that stupid thing out of here and out on the curb for the rubbish truck to come haul off!! (Just so you know Jo, I'll be hauling you out bright and early the day after Christmas to hit all those sales on pre-lit beautiful non-smelling, non-needle-dropping, non-dying FAKE Christmas trees!!)

And in case you didn't catch that, we're all super excited that Grandma Jo and Grandpa CR are coming for Christmas this year!! They'll be arriving on Christmas Eve!!

Anyway, here are some pics of our Holiday Preparations this year....

Dean checking out the Lego Advent Calendar. I totally ruined it and opened up the last one on the first day! ooops! Personally, I think Advent Calendars should count DOWN the days until Christmas...so you should open the number 25 first, so that when you look at it you instantly know how many days are left. Well, it turns out most of them aren't designed that way and the very best prize (Santa) was under the number 25. Good thing Dean didn't seem to care about any of it much at all!!Me stringing the lights on the REAL Christmas tree - another thing that seems like a complete waste of time - CRAZY - stringing all these lights for just a few weeks! At least with a fake tree, all this work can be left on year after year!! And look at all those stupid needles!! What a mess:
Dean "helping" decorate the tree:
Totally cheesin':
More fake, cheesy smiles:
Joel putting the lights in the palm trees in the front yard:

Thanksgiving Feast

I'm waaaaay behind on sharing photos here on the ole blog, I know. I'm going to try to get caught up before Christmas! We've been SUPER busy for the past month with lots of exciting things going on and then before I know it, I have a whole pile of photos to share!! Sorry about that! I try to keep this blog updated regularly not just so all of you know what's going on with Dean, but also for journaling purposes - it really is the best baby book ever!! I love going back and looking at the older posts and seeing how much Dean has grown and developed over the months and reading about all the funny (and not-so-funny) things he's said and done! He's quickly figuring out this computer business -he can already type in www.pbskids.org and navigate his way around that website pretty well to find and play his favorite games (and yes, I'm figuring out the parental controls on my computer!!) - so I'm sure it won't be long before he's enjoying this blog too!

Anyway, the day before Thanksgiving, Dean's preschool had a large Thanksgiving Feast that was lots of fun! I was very impressed with this event! Each class gave a little performance (although the Roly Polys - Dean's class - were pretty reluctant to do much of anything with all of those parents in attendance!!) and then the entire school did a couple of really cute group performances including a Japanese song and what sounded like a Hawaiian poem. Dean's class dressed up like Turkeys - they make their hats themselves. They looked so cute!!

After the performances, we all ate a ton of yummy food!! There was a complete Thanksgiving dinner served for the entire school and their families. It was so nice!! We had lots of fun even though Dean seemed pretty overwhelmed and a little confused by having all those extra people at school! Joel and I enjoyed sitting with the Shapiros and Dean got to hang out with Charlie at school (he doesn't normally get to do this as they attend on different days and Charlie is a Turtle while Dean is a Roly Poly). Here are Dean and Charlie enjoying their lunch:
And just because I think this picture is HILARIOUS:
Dean LOVES the swings at school! He was never a fan of swinging until he figured out how to pump his legs and now you can't get him off the swings. There he is working REALLY hard at swinging as high as he can!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

School Pictures

Well, I've decided to go ahead and ruin Christmas for some of you. But oh well. I just couldn't wait to share these pictures. They turned out surprisingly well. Perfect actually. 90% of my school photos are hidden away in a box under the bed, hopefully never to see the light of day in all their awkwardness. But these gems are good enough to be framed and whipped out of the little plastic photo holders inside Grandparents' wallets and shown off with pride!!! Take a look: (keep in mind these are scanned copies of originals)
And how about this class photo? I was there when they were taking these and let me tell you, it was HILARIOUS watching them try to get twenty 2 & 3 year olds to all sit down together and look at the camera at the same time!! About like what I imagine herding cats is like! But it turned out quite well!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Dean!!

I can't believe Dean is 3 years old!! Yesterday, December 6, was Dean's birthday. We celebrated on Saturday with a small party at Keopuolani Park Playground in Kahului with several of Dean's best buddies, their parents, some good friends and of course, the fabulous babysitter Sarah!! Dean's friends Hayden, Ryenna and Cole from school were there. I enjoyed hanging out with Ryenna's Mom, Callie, a little more. We met Ryenna and Callie a few years ago when Dean and Ryenna were taking Music Together classes before they were a year old and now they're classmates in the Roly Poly class at Children's Garden!! Dean's friend Noah and his Mom Lauren were at the party too. Dean and Noah go way back, all the way to when they were still inside the belly! Joel and I met Lauren when we were taking childbirth classes together. Dean was due on Dec 25 and Noah was due on the 23rd. Both boys came a few weeks early (Noah's birthday was Nov 30). Charlie (my good friend Ellyn's youngest) was also at the party of course and we were all really glad to have Sarah the babysitter there to help keep an eye on all the kids!! My good friend Sarah and her girlfriend Tiare stopped by too with Sarah's neice Lily and nephew Ezra. Dean was SUPER excited too that Uncle Vince stopped by and even made him a hand-made card!! It was all good fun!!

Dean of course got way spoiled with lots of really awesome presents!! He has more toys than he knows what to do with!! The biggest hit though was definitely the little digital camera Joel and I got him (I do know my son!!). The little smarty already knows how to hook it up to the computer and get his pictures off of it. Pretty soon he'll be doing these blog posts for me!! I'm just hoping this means he'll leave MY camera alone now!

Anyway, here are some pics of Dean having fun at his party. We wish all of you could have been here to celebrate with us!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lahaina Pali Hike

A few weekends ago we decided to take Dean on his first hike up the Lahaina Pali trail. This is a VERY steep and exposed trail around past Maalaea that goes up and over the old Pali (Hawaiian for "cliff") on the way to Lahaina. This is an area that is very dry and prone to grass fires. You'll notice in the photos how exposed it is. There was a large wildfire here several years ago in which a few thousand acres burned. Joel and I sat on the beach several nights and would watch the fire just consume what looked like all of West Maui. It was crazy.

Anyway, We knew Dean probably wouldn't make it very far on this hike, but we wanted to check out the beautiful ocean views from the trail and see if we could see any early season whales (this is an awesome trail to be on when the whales are active) - we didn't see any whales. Dean was a little grumpy at first and was more interested in reading the trail signs than in actually hiking. But the promise of more "numbers posts" (the trail has numbered points of interest along the way, although I've never found an official guidebook or looked up online what these numbers actually refer to) was enough bribe to move him along when he'd get too rooted to one spot!! The kid does love his numbers!

Anyway, here are some pics from our hike:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

If you receive our posts in an e-mail update, Click HERE to go to the actual blog and then click the "play" button on today's post to watch the video of Dean's Thanksgiving message!
video

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kealia Pond Boardwalk

Well, after I don't even know how many years of delays and setbacks, the Boardwalk through the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is finally open!! A few weeks ago when Dean was out of school for Veteren's Day, Joel met Dean and I at Kealia Pond on a Wednesday morning and we all enjoyed a nice long walk along the new boardwalk! Here's your little piece of Maui Trivia for the day...The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a coastal salt marsh along the coast between Kihei and Maalaea. The wetland is also a 691-acre bird sanctuary, home to 30 species of waterfowl, shorebirds and migratory ducks - including the endangered ae'o (Hawaiian Stilt), 'alae kea (Hawaiian Coot), and 'auku'u (Black-crowned Night Heron) - for all you bird folk out there.

Anyway, the wetlands are pretty dry this time of year, but we did get to see a couple of endangered Hawaiian Stilts before Dean scared them off!! Here are a few pics of our adventure:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Look!

Check it out! Dean can write his name:
So it's kinda crooked and the "E" has 4 lines instead of 3, but it very obviously says DEAN!! I was impressed. And Great Grandma Joan, act surprised when you get your late birthday card in the mail in a few days!! (and make sure you save it - that's the first time he's written his entire name!!). He's been able to write the individual letters for awhile now, but he hasn't been cooperative when I've tried to get him to sit down and put them all together to form Dean. He usually gets the "D" and the "E" down before giving up and dissolving into frantic scribbling (which he will claim is an elaborate piece of artwork - complete with interpretation if you can get him to sit still long enough to tell you about it - last week the chalk drawing on the back lanai was of the neighbor's dog Cosmo going to the mall to buy stamps and olives, and he was VERY specific about which part of the scribbling was the mall).

I'll be back in a day or 2 - probably Wednesday - with pics from the past few weekends, but I couldn't wait to share this one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick or Treat

Dean enjoyed his first Trick or Treat experience Saturday night and we live in THE perfect neighborhood for such an experience!! The Maui Lani subdivision is FULL of kids - it's a neighborhood of mostly young families - if I had to guess I'd say around 75% of the houses in our neighborhood have kids, it's fairly well-lit at night, and all of the streets have sidewalks. We had practiced a few times at home - Dean would knock on the bedroom door, holding up his pumpkin bucket and shouting "Trick or Treat" when we'd open the door to get a small morsel of candy. He had been coached that the "Trick or Treat" was necessary to receive the candy and he knows to say "thank you" - and you'd better say "You're Welcome" - because if you don't, he'll remind you!!! It was kind of hilarious to hear him say "No, you say you're welcome" to a few people who forgot that little bit of common courtesy!!

Before heading out, I donned my borrowed witch costume, only to have Dean *almost* have a complete and total meltdown because he did NOT like the idea of me wearing a costume. In fact, he ran from me and did not want me anywhere near him, even before I put on the scarier-looking shawl thing over the top of the dress (and as far as witch costumes go, this was pretty tame).(I promise I'm not picking my nose there, but I'm cracking up laughing because Dean is running from me and I'm trying to get him to just be still so Joel can get just one picture of us together in our costumes)

He finally calmed down and let us take some pics of him with the 3 jack-o-lanterns that Joel had carved. In fact, he had a pretty good time totally cheesing hard for the camera with the jack-o-lanterns:Here's a look at the jack-o-lanterns before we lit the candles in them (Joel takes great pride in his pumpkin carving skills - although I doubt he'll ever live up to the amazing Tiki Pumpkin he carved last year, which you can see HERE):And here they are again all lit up (it's hard to get a good pic at night without the flash as you have to slow down the shutter speed so much):So as soon as we all were ready, we headed out the door and down the street. Our first stop was the next door neighbors' house. They were having a typical Maui garage party and just passing out candy from there. Dean refused to go anywhere near the house, staying at the end of the driveway and even laying down at one point and screaming "NO Mommy. Dean stay here" when I tried to drag him up there. The threat of no candy didn't even work (of course, it didn't help that the little girl was walking down the driveway toward him carrying the giant bowl of candy. I think he was a little freaked out by all the costumes and noise. And the entire neighborhood was already full of trick-or-treaters by this point, so it might have been a little overwhelming. He popped up off the ground pretty quick as soon as that candy hit the bottom of his pumpkin bucket and he instantly wanted to eat it right then and there!!

We headed across the street to Uncle Rod's house next. Again, as soon as we got close to the house Dean started to chicken out. I thought "oh great. This is going to be a long night" and was ready to call the whole thing quits right then. I decided maybe Dean just needed to get a feel for the whole ring the doorbell, receive candy routine, so I picked him up and carried him to the door. He did ring the doorbell, I put him down, he said "Trick or Treat" and got some candy. From there on out it was a piece of cake!! Because he didn't know any better and at this age didn't realize that he COULD have got candy at every single house in the entire neighborhood, we decided to skip the majority of the houses and only hit up the ones we actually knew. We walked on down the street to Sarah's (the babysitter) house, then around the corner to Dean's friend Sienna's house and one of Dean's former preschool teacher Glenda's house.But Dean was most excited to go to Uncle Vince's house. We hung out there for awhile with Vince and his lady friend Marie. Uncle Aris, Aunty Heidi and their kids Taylor, Nicole and 2-month-old baby Faith also came by for a little bit while we were there. Dean had fun handing out candy with Aunty Marie to all the Trick or Treaters!! After we left Uncle Vince's house, we stopped by Uncle Tui's house right behind our house. They were also having a big garage party (for those of you on the mainland, this is a very common thing here on Maui and probably every 4th or 5th house was having what we call a "garage party" - which is really just a get together of people eating and hanging out in the garage / driveway - it's a local thing). After talking with Uncle Tui for a bit, we stopped by Aunty Sarah and Aunty Tiare's house for more candy and to see how they were holding up! Then we just headed on home to pass out candy. We only had maybe 30-45 minutes left of Trick or Treaters and I was worried we'd have way too much candy left over - but I was worried for nothing!! We couldn't even close our door. We had SO MANY kids coming for that 45 minutes that we just sat outside on the front lanai and passed out candy to the continuous stream of trick or treaters. I bet we had about 150 kids in that 45 minutes!! It was crazy!! We went through 2 HUGE Costco size bags of candy that fast. It's a good thing we stayed so long at Uncle Vince's house or we would have run out of candy way too early!!

So far, Dean has been pretty good with the candy - he seems to have just forgotten about it. We put it all away and had planned to let him have 1 piece each day for a few weeks and then just get rid of it. He opened and took a few licks of about 7 different suckers on Halloween night before changing his mind and wanting a different flavor, but other than that he really hasn't asked for anything. I think out of sight, out of mind, which is more than I can say for myself!!