Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family Picture Miracles

A couple of weeks ago, we snuck in a quick photo shoot after church and before naptime. I have two fragile and dramatic little girls, so I knew that a "decent" picture would be a miracle. I think you will agree that we have several "miracle photos" below.
...a rare picture of the two of us. Confession - I actually cropped the kids out. Girls, we love you, but you were both goofing off. You get that from your daddy :)
...and neither wanted to look at the camera. The grandparents are often amused by my girls' antics; I am not:)

There were several more fun photos but blogger is not cooperating today. Perhaps I'll post more another day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I snapped a couple of pictures before bed! I have a cute ladybug and bumblebee fairy.

The girls enjoyed a day full of fun. We started the day at the library for story time, crafts, treats and a costume parade. We ended the day at church for trunk or treat and bounce house fun.

Abigail is now candy crazy! And Hannah still doesn't know what she is missing and was happy to eat her raisins. :)

Thanksgiving 2012

We spent two full days in Iowa for Thanksgiving. We saw both of my grandparents on Thursday morning. My grandma had been very ill and is now recovering, praise God! And grandpa is still holding on to life. Hannah enjoyed playing with grandmas wheelchair and Abigail enjoyed brushing grandmas hair.

My cousin graciously opened up her home for an evening feast and I was able to see almost the rest of my extended family. The girls enjoyed playing with their second cousin!

And on Friday, the girls swam in the hotel pool before heading over to see grandma and grandpa at their nursing homes before making the drive home.

It is wonderful being back in the Midwest, especially during the holidays.

Friday, November 2, 2012

end of harvest

Before our first frost, Rodney picked 5 five gallon buckets of green tomatoes and they have ripened quickly. We've been canning tomatoes every week for months. And now we finally are down to only one tray of tomatoes. I have to say, I'm a bit relieved. Harvest is wonderful, but the forced rest period of winter is something I don't think I've appreciated before! When spring arrives, I'm sure I'll be glad to plan our next garden. Until then, we have lots of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and spaghetti sauce stored in our basement.
Next spring, Abigail will be an even bigger helper! She enjoyed helping wash the cherry tomatoes this year:)

Hannah is not much of a helper yet (no big surprise!). She actually gets into a lot of trouble; she's an adventurous one. I was literally out of the room for 5 minutes yesterday, helping Abigail do her hair before Bible Study. When I came back into the kitchen, I found Hannah sitting in the middle of the kitchen table, holding my salt and pepper shakers, and creating snow all over herself and the table. Oh dear, little one, we're hoping you'll be a better helper next spring too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Fun!

I took these pictures on two different days - one warm and the other cold! The girls enjoy being outside. Hannah often stands by the glass doors and presses her nose against the glass, hoping I'll stop what I'm doing to bring them outside.

I like this picture in particular because you can clearly see that my girls are "sisters" but that they are also quite different!
In recent weeks, the girls have become better playmates. Abigail does a lot of "big sister leading", but Hannah is quite independent and content to move to her own rhythms and leadings. Sometimes the clash calls for mommy intervention!
Abigail loves to draw, color and write the letters that she knows. She can write her first and last name, though sometimes she still needs help with "G". Her favorite letter, of course, is the letter A! She's also starting to read simple words, but in all honesty, it's probably not from all of my hard work. Her love affair with books, words and writing has begun!
such intensity!
down by the bonfire pit...
transition to the cold day...
Hannah is far more agile and adventurous than Abigail was at this age. She can easily climb the ladder into the tree house by herself, maneuver herself and go down the slide by herself. She still makes me a little nervous, so we're close by. But for the most part, she doesn't need any help.

She is quite proud of herself :) 
Going down the slide into a big pile of leaves! It is quite a funny thing to watch :) She only has about 4 times down the slide before she's worn out and ready for the swing.

I love the leaves stuck in her hair.

Monday, October 15, 2012


On Friday morning, we rolled out of bed, lathered our fair bodies with sunscreen and grabbed our gear to head to Two Steps for one last snorkeling adventure. I didn't even take any pictures; I just enjoyed "being". For lunch we stopped at a local shop for fish and chips before heading to a coffee plantation for a tour. Below are green coffee beans drying in the sun! Again, I didn't take very many pictures. Perhaps if you're tired of my blog, then you'll  understand that I was tired too. Besides, we were all keeping a 3 year old and 1 year old happy during the tour - not always an easy task!

The plantation also had avocado, papaya and banana trees. But below we took a picture of some of the coffee trees, with a couple banana trees in the background. 100% Kona Coffee is a divine treat. We bought several pounds that we are still enjoying stateside.
To go with the coffee, we stopped at a cafe for dessert in the afternoon. I let Abigail pick a dessert to share with me, and she picked Chocolate Cream Pie. It was delicious! The picture doesn't really represent her pure elation. I think the look on her face is intense concentration. Eating chocoalte cream pie is serious business. Rodney enjoyed a large slice of carrot cake (as did my dad), and my mom tried a piece of lilikoi (passion fruit) cheesecake. All were delicious. Hannah was too tired to enjoy dessert and slept through our sweet stop.

I'm pretty sure that coffee and chocolate cream pie taste even better with a view like this!

We decided to take one last hike down to the beach from the rental home to enjoy one last sunset. Abigail, to my surprise, hiked the whole way (up and down) without a complaint. I guess Hawaii has a way of making one thankful and full of joy. Perhaps she was too overwhelmed with beauty to worry about whining! My goal for normal life: help her see the beauty in her everyday experiences!
The road was hard for trucks and people!


Thursday - one more day at the park

We spent one more day in Volcano National Park. There is so much to see in the park, that even after an additional day, we decided if we were ever to return to Hawaii, we would make reservations at the Park Lodge (which was under renovation while we were there). Staying at the lodge would afford you the luxury to enjoy the sunrise, sunset and exploring all of the park, not just the highlights. The park is far from the bustling areas of the island for obvious reasons, so depending on where you stay, it can take anywhere from 1.5-3 hours to drive one way to the park. We planned to be close to the park, but even a 1.5 hour trip in the car is long with kids, though they often slept on the way home!

It was a damp, rainy day on Thursday, so we started the day with the Chain of Craters drive. The drive starts close to 4000 ft elevation, and it ends at sea level. The drive brings you to the end of the road. Actually, the road used to extend farther but a recent lava flow closed the road, as you can see in some pictures below.

The girls were happy to be out of the car and on the move! They barely slowed down long enough to enjoy our packed picnic lunch.


...and my mother gets a hold of the camera for a rare picture of me :)


This is one of the Holei Arches, caused by lava flow and erosion by the crashing waves.

We thought about sending this picture in to our stroller manufacturers. The BOB is a truly capable stroller!

For the second half of the day, we went on a short hike up to the top of a cinder cone. Being the overprotective mother that I am, the hike started off on a rough point. Sometimes when the wind shifts, the poisonous gases from the volcano shift as well. These are particularly dangerous for children and there was a Warning Sign posted at the beginning of the hike. I was rather grumpy and unsettled; I swore I could smell sulfur in the air. Let's just say I have a very overactive imagination. We ran into a park ranger on our hike and he assured us the air today was some of the cleanest on the planet. My babies were safe. Rodney was afforded the luxury of a prolonged, "I told you so." To his credit, he didn't capitalize on my wrong and his right!

We stopped one more time for malasadas and coffee on our way home. I think they tasted even better on our last visit to the bakery.