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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dremel: The Continuing Adventures

The Black & Decker RTX tool (a.k.a. Dremel) continues to amuse me. My glass-engraving hobby has been kindled. Soon Emily will have zero glass dishes in the house without some form of graffiti etched in.

It goes in phases. First, it was the Sarah-oriented cutesy phase.

Then we moved on to dragons.

And compasses.

Most recently, Mother's Day cards. The possibilities are limitless.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our Kauaian Vacation

One of the things we have been really excited to do since we moved here is visit the other Hawaiian islands. Sarah is old enough now to be a little easier to travel with, so we decided it was time for a vacation. We were so excited to spend a few days on Kauai! We left the morning after my birthday, so it was kind of a birthday gift for me. Our plane left at 6:00 in the morning, which meant that we had had to start our first day of vacation really early. It seemed like a lot of trouble to go through the whole airport routine for a 20 minute flight. However, the plane put Sarah to sleep, and she slept for several hours, so it worked out for the best. 

We landed in Lihue and immediately started our exploring. The nice thing about Kauai is that there is really only one main road on the whole island, so directions there mostly consisted of "get on the highway and drive there." I like that kind of navigation. 

The LDS chapel in Kapa'a was so neat! It looked very Hawaiian.
Our first stop on our adventure was the Kilauea Point lighthouse. Sadly, we didn't do our research very well and arrived two hours before it opened, so this is the closest we got. It was still a nice view.
From there, we drove further up the coast to Haena to explore the caves there. They were so cool! The first two had pools of really deep, clear water in them and lots of frogs.
Sarah enjoyed the view from the carrier on Daddy's back. She was delighted with the idea of spending 3 days almost entirely outside.
The last cave was dry, so we could explore further into it. (Before you freak out, Mom, we could see the huge opening of the cave the whole time.)

The beginning of the NaPali Coast trail was near where we explored the caves. Falling Rocks? Flash Floods? Hazardous Cliffs? Sounds great! Let's do it.
The view from the trail was beautiful. I am a wimp, so we only hiked about 1.5 miles, but we saw some gorgeous coastline.

Kelson was super excited to snack on fresh sugarcane after we finished our hike. It was like chewing on sweet wood.
We ended our first day snorkeling at Ke'e Beach. The snorkeling was great, the temperature was just right, and the baby was sleeping. A perfect afternoon at the beach.

Apparently monk seals like to relax on the beach too. It was sleeping with the most contented look on its face.  At one point, a wave came up and splashed water into its little burrow and it got all upset and thrashed around all over the place. It was fun to watch.
Kauai is covered in wild chickens. They were everywhere, and they were not shy. They would come right up to you looking for a handout. There were lots of little chicks too, and they were cute.
Our first stop on day 2 was Wailua Falls. We saw a road sign giving directions to a waterfall a few miles away, so we decided to check it out. Definitely worth it.

Kelson is a rebel.
That afternoon, we drove up to Waimea Canyon State Park. It is also known as the Hawaiian Grand Canyon. The landscape was absolutely breathtaking.
This is one of the wettest spots on earth. We were also up high in the clouds, so we had to wait for the clouds to clear and grab our opportunities to see the good views.
We went for a hike into the canyon, but it was a little wet and muddy for my taste.

From this view point, you were supposed to be able to see Nihau, the smaller island just off the coast of Kauai. All we could see was mist and trees. Kelson held up Sarah so she could get a better view. She didn't let us know if she could see the ocean.

There is an observatory on top of the mountain. I bet the view of the stars there is incredible.

We loved the amazing natural variety on Kauai. Not what I imagined a Hawaiian island to look like at all.
Day 2 ended with snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach. This time Sarah was awake, so she got to go swimming too. She did lots of splashing.
Getting dried off is her favorite part.
 Day 3 started with early morning snorkeling and beach time. Its the best way to start a day. From there, we went out for brunch. I ordered the special, a pumpkin macadamia nut pancake. Holy moly. That was the biggest pancake I have ever seen. It was delicious, though.
After breakfast, we did some shopping and sightseeing in downtown Kapa'a and then went on a riverboat ride to the Fern Grotto. Cruising up the river listening to live Hawaiian music was lovely. We continued our relaxing afternoon with some shopping in Koloa Town and then a little more beach time at Po'ipu. Since our flight didn't leave until 11:00 at night, we had a long evening to spend before going to the airport, so we went back to Kapa'a for their 1st Saturday event. The town was full of artisans, vendors, and musicians. It was a fun way to end our trip. 

We had such a good time in Kauai! The island was so much calmer and less crowded than O'ahu. That is what Hawaii should be like.

Sarah: 6 Months

Happy 6 Months, Baby Girl!

Our little Sarah has reached her half birthday! Here is what is going on with her this month:
  • She has some serious thunder thighs. Weight: 19 lbs 12 oz (95th percentile) Length 26" (75th percentile)  Head 17" (50th percentile).  Don't you just want to squeeze her?
  • She has started solid foods, but isn't terribly interested unless she gets to put it in her mouth herself.
  • Her little personality is coming out as she gets more independent and curious all the time. She wants to touch and grab everything, especially faces. We have all suffered a few scratches at her hands.
  • She can roll both ways and is pretty good at squirming around on the floor, but she hasn't figured out how to scoot yet. She thinks watching mommy or daddy chew or drink is hilarious. If only she were as interested in her food.
  • She chews on everything. 
  • She loves to blow bubbles. It is how we know she is happy.
  • Sleeping is not her favorite. That makes mommy sad.
  • She loves to stand up and has mastered bouncing in the jumperoo.
  • If we allowed her to live outside, she would be perfectly content with that. She is napping next to me on the lanai as we speak.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Mother's Day Full of Blessings

My heart is full of gratitude this mother's day.  It is the first time that I get to celebrate this day while holding my beautiful baby in my arms. What a wonderful feeling! At the same time, I feel for those who suffer today. I know it is a difficult day for many wonderful women. Two years ago, we suffered the first of our two miscarriages just 3 weeks before Mother's Day. That Sunday, Kelson had to work, so I went to church by myself. I sat in the back and just wanted to leave so I could go home and cry by myself. Watching all of the mothers with their children was just too hard. As I walked out after Sacrament meeting, probably not looking particularly happy, an elderly man whom I did not know and don't remember ever seeing again after that stopped me, patted me on the shoulder, and said, "Don't worry, next year you will have one too." I still have no idea who he was or why he would say such a thing to me. However, I felt a comforting spirit fill me as he spoke and knew that his words were truly meant to comfort me. When we learned that we were expecting again the next fall, I thought it was really neat when I realized that our baby would be born right around Mother's Day. Unfortunately, that baby wasn't meant to join our family at this time either. However, by the time Mother's Day came around again, I was 13 weeks pregnant and finally to the point that I felt confident that I would soon be a mother. I felt very blessed last mother's day. Sarah may have still been on the inside, but I was her mother. That kind gentleman's words came true. For all of those who struggle on Mother's Day, my heart goes out to you.  I pray that you may find the blessings and the comfort that you seek.

I am so grateful for my mother.  I only hope that I can be as good a mother for my daughter as mine was for me. She is my best friend and a wonderful example of what it means to be Christlike. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Kelson spoiled me all day this Mother's Day. My first gift, from Sarah, was that she only woke up once during the night on Saturday night, and it was only for about 10 minutes. She also took a 2 1/2 hour morning nap.  Thanks, Sarah!

Kelson made me a delicious Mothers Day brunch, consisting waffles stuffed with fresh pineapple and strawberries.  It was delicious!
 The young women in our ward made boxes of cookies and flower bouquets and sold them to the dads for Mothers Day as their camp fundraiser. They did a great job.
Rather than a normal card, Kelson etched a love note into the lid of one of my dishes. I love that boy!

A while ago, I mentioned that I would really like a pink hibiscus bush. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked out our front door to find this, along with two other colors, planted in front of our house. Kelson drove all over town on Saturday looking for the color I wanted.
My mothers day blessings kept coming at church, when the men surprised all of the women by planning a celebration for us during the last hour of church. They sang us a song, and then they had a whole buffet of desserts just for us. They made some amazingly delicious things. It was awesome!

After church, Sarah gave me another gift by going down for the night in just 10 minutes so that I could enjoy dinner with Kelson and the missionaries. I was feeling great about life as I settled down after dinner to relax and write this blog post. Just then, Sarah woke up. I spent the next hour and a half trying to get her down for the night. All together, I nursed, rocked, bounced, snuggled, soothed, and cajoled Sarah to sleep 17 times last night. It was a long night. However, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am her mother, and when she is having a rough time she wants nothing more than to snuggle with me (even if Daddy is the favorite most other times.) My Mothers Day post may be a day late, but that's okay.  I was busy being a mom.  I love you, Sarah!

Easter 2014

We had fun getting ready for Easter this year. We bought an egg dying kit 2 years ago, and for various reasons didn't have a chance to dye eggs the last 2 Easters. We were excited to finally use it this year.  Our eggs were sparkly and marbled. 

 Since we have church from 3:00-6:00 PM right now, Easter dinner had to be moved to lunch time. We had some great friends over to celebrate with us, and we had chicken cordon bleu.  It was delicious!
 We followed up dinner with some almond joy brownies.  Yum!

  I was so excited to make Sarah her first Easter dress.  Sewing for her is so fun! I think it turned out really cute. Of course it helps to have an adorable model. We waited until just as we were about to walk out the door to get her dressed, and she actually kept her nice, white dress clean for church. Easter miracles!
We had a beautiful Easter service at church. I got to sing and play my flute with the choir. Music is a wonderful way to bring the Spirit, especially on holidays.
 After we got home from church, got the baby to bed, and ate leftovers for dinner, we finally had time to hunt for our Easter baskets. Kelson was pretty excited about the water gun the Easter bunny brought him.  
 My basket had an absurd amount of dark chocolate in it along with a new egg dying kit (which hopefully won't hang around our house quite so long this time), and some surprises for Sarah. She really loves her chick and her maraca. She didn't get to enjoy them until the next day because it was after her bedtime when we hunted Easter baskets.
I am so grateful to be able to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with my eternal family. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that he died and then rose again on the third day because he loves me.  Because he lives, we will live again as well, and I can be with the ones I love most forever. Happy Easter!