Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Majestic Maui!

Oh, how I've missed my beautiful island of Maui!  How fortunate we are to have been able to spend another week on our little island of paradise.  We just returned home from our third trip to Maui.  Will it be our last?  I don't know - I hope not!  Arriving at the island this year almost felt like coming home.  It was amazing how comforting our little island has become.
This year we decided to be sure to include plenty of the things we absolutely loved from our previous visits.  We didn't want to over-plan or over-schedule - just do what we love and most of all RELAX!!!  Being return visitors to the island was an enormous advantage, since we don't have any problems finding our way around and we also have all our little "trip tips" we've collected over the past three years.  We knew the places we loved to eat (and yes, I ate at Maui Taco almost every day we were on the island)! We also knew that we didn't want to take on certain things, like the Road to Hana - beautiful, yes, but so not worth getting sick and suffering for the rest of the trip!  Oh, and no deep sea fishing for us!!!

Instead we spent plenty of time enjoying views like this one:
Oh, and these:

 We couldn't go to Maui and not have some real adventure.  So we explored a bit.  We also spent plenty of time snorkeling, where we saw turtles, colorful fish and even an eel!  We also tried boogie boarding - which I'm quite terrible at, but had fun despite that fact!

 I had to visit my favorite place on Maui - Twin Falls.  The hike is amazing, and the falls flow directly over this awesome cove.  Something about it just amazes me.  The cave, the serenity, the green life overflowing along the way, wading through the water to reach the falls. It's like being in on a really cool secret. I absolutely love it!
 When we did this hike a couple years ago, we didn't realize there would be an option to actually get in the water, so we weren't prepared with our swim suits.  I was not going to make the same mistake again!  I wore my swimsuit and went prepared! I REALLY wanted to swim in the water - and more importantly I was determined to touch the falls!  What an incredible experience it was to actually swim right underneath the waterfalls!  Definitely something I can check off my bucket list!

We couldn't come to Maui and not do some whale watching.  We had some close encounters this year, including a playful mom and baby and even a couple dolphins!

 Our final day in Maui we took the trail to see the Iao Needle.  It was totally awesome since it had just rained and there were all these little waterfalls surrounding the needle.  They were too small for the camera to really do them justice, but I took plenty of "mental pictures."

 One of the best things about Maui is the fabulous food.  We ate pineapple like it was candy!  We kept telling ourselves not to overeat, but everything just tasted so good!  I'll be paying for it on the treadmill for months, I'm sure!

 The dates we were in Maui perfectly aligned with our anniversary.  We splurged on a luau to celebrate.  We went to the Feast of Lele, which is ridiculously expensive - yet absolutely incredible!  We figured celebrating 12 years together and being in Maui warrants a little indulging.  Happy Anniversary to us!
 By Saturday, our final day in Maui, I was just aching for my kids - especially this little guy:
The kids had a vacation, of sorts, of their own with their Grandmas.  They all did very well, including Cael, which was a huge relief since I had really been stressing about him.  I certainly love my beautiful island of Maui, but I was so, so, so happy to return home and snuggle my little munchkins!  Someday, Wade and I are determined to take the kids on a dream vacation to our beautiful island.  It's an experience they wouldn't forget!  Yay, Maui!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patty's Day Fun 2014

 Setting a trap for a leprechaun seems to be becoming an annual St. Patrick's Day tradition for us.  Adell is determined to improve her trap design each year.  This year her approach was sticky tape balls all over the floor of a box and a false floor that collapsed.  Clever, but our crafty little leprechaun carved his way out, it seems.  Fortunately for us - he left a note!
 The note lead us to Grandma's house where we found a series of clever clues.
 Hannah was so excited about finding clues that getting her to hold still for a photo was just not going to happen.
 We even found a pair of leprechaun tights that must have been left behind.
 Mia liked finding the clues, even though she couldn't read them and had no idea what they meant.
 Clever clues lead us all around the house and backyard.  Adell even found one clue on the infamous "wedding wall."
 "Look at the clue I found!"
 Once one clue lead us to the Barbie room, Mia had a hard time remaining focused on the hunt.  Barbies are just too tempting.
Hannah just knew that the clues would be leading us to wonderful treasure!
Adell figured out the clues (which were written on heavy brown paper in gold cursive) were much easier to read in the light.
 Cael didn't seem all that impressed with the hunt. He sure looked handsome today dressed in green!
 It was cold and windy outside, but the girls braved the weather at the promise of treasure!
Yay! They finally found it!  A rainbow of Skittles and golden-wrapped chocolate!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yearly Interviews 2014

I'm very late posting these, but I am finally posting them.  It's our annual tradition to do these little interviews.  Here we go:

Name: Adell Marie Gardiner
Birthday:September 3, 2005
Present age: 8
Birthstone: Sapphire
Favorite color: Pink or red
Favorite food: Baked ravioli (loves pasta)
Favorite beverage: Rootbeer or cream soda
Favorite treat: Mamba
Favorite animal: Wild cats (cheetahs, tigers, lions, etc.)
Best friend: Conner
Future occupation: Hair dresser, photographer, writer, or zookeeper
Greatest fear: Anything sharp (like needles)
Favorite movie: Frozen
Favorite television show: Word Girl or Wild Kratts
Favorite game: Tiger (a game she plays with Hannah and Mia)
Loves/Favorite things: Frozen dolls, Nintendo DS, pink monkey blanket
Favorite subject in school: Science
Hobbies/Talents: Swimming, singing, reading, art, writing
Dislikes: Eating fish
Greatest challenge: Gymnastics
Words that describe personality: Independent, fun, positive, brave, silly, kind, strong
Biggest accomplishment of 2013: Baptism

 Name: Hannah Claire Gardiner
Birthday: September 17, 2008
Present age: 5
Birthstone: Sapphire
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite food: Grapes
Favorite beverage: Rootbeer or chocolate milk
Favorite treat: Suckers
Favorite animal: Elephant or tiger
Best friend: Ellie
Future occupation: Dancer (performer)
Greatest fear: Monsters
Favorite movie: Frozen
Favorite television show: Bubble Guppies or Team Umizoomi
Favorite game: Hide and Seek
Loves/Favorite things: Zig-Zag (toy zebra), Muffin (toy cat), Frozen dolls
Favorite subject in school: Art
Hobbies/Talents: Dancing, singing, violin, coloring (art)
Dislikes: Mia taking her toys, broken stuff
Greatest challenge: cleaning up, learning not to pout and whine
Words that describe personality: Sweet, smart, chatty, timid (sometimes), kind, pouty (very), loving, beautiful
Biggest accomplishment of 2013: Beginning violin lessons

 Name: Mia Lynn Gardiner
Birthday: June 3, 2011
Present age: 2
Birthstone: Pearl
Favorite color: Pink or blue
Favorite food: Lunchables
Favorite beverage: Rootbeer or milk
Favorite treat: Suckers
Favorite animal: Cow
Best friend: Babies (her words)
Future occupation: "In dance class" (her words)
Greatest fear: Spiders
Favorite movie: Despicable Me
Favorite television show: Team Umizoomi or Dora
Favorite game: Faces (a game at Grandma's house)
Loves/Favorite things: Corky (toy pig), Pinkie (toy elephant), Barbie house, blanket, Baa-baa(s) (bottles)
Favorite subject in school: Doesn't attend school yet, but wishes she did!
Hobbies/Talents: Play, dance (loves to have "dance parties" with Dad), singing, helping out
Dislikes: Spiders, gross stuff
Greatest challenge: Learning to share with others
Words that describe personality: Playful, happy, free spirit, independent, outgoing, fearless, sweet
Biggest accomplishment of 2013: Potty training!!!

Name: Richard Cael Gardiner
Birthday: October 17, 2013
Present age: 4 months
Birthstone: Opal
Favorite color: Camouflage?
Favorite food: Mommy milk
Favorite beverage: Mommy milk
Favorite treat: Mommy milk
Favorite animal: Lynzee
Best friend: Mom
Future occupation: Professional athlete
Greatest fear: Mom being out of sight
Favorite movie: Huh?
Favorite television show: What?
Favorite game: Peek-a-boo
Loves/Favorite things: Mom, Dad, sisters, Grandma
Favorite subject in school: School?
Hobbies/Talents: Looking cute, smiling, "talking"
Dislikes: Being hungry, being cold
Greatest challenge: Becoming mobile
Words that describe personality: Mommy's little potato bug
Biggest accomplishment of 2013: Being born