Stuff leading up to Christmas

Another week in paradise. I really haven't been bothered in the least bit that it's almost Christmas and it's 80 outside and I'm wearing shorts all the time. I am really starting to like this whole perpetual warm weather, predictable temperature sort of thing. It sure beats the temperature swings we had back in St. Louis! (which led to lots of freezing rain in the winter)

Here's the result of one of our projects over the past month. I was pulling out weeds one day and found a couple caterpillars. So we managed to keep these little guys alive and they did their little cocoon thing and came out as butterflies. I'm not so sure the boys were as intrigued as I was. But I thought it was very cool. Here is our second butterfly as he is getting ready to make his big escape.

The other day I took the boys down to Barbers Point beach. This is really not a great beach for swimming or doing any beach digging (it is several hundred yards from a garbage processing facility and the beach itself has a lot of glass, etc in it. BUT, it does have a nice rocky shoreline with lots of little tidepools. So the boys like to walk along the rocks and check in the little pools to see what fish and things are stuck in the little pools. It was a nice diversion for one morning anyways...
Last weekend our community association had their Christmas festival. There was a carnival ride, a bounce house, and santa came to actually hand out presents to the kids. They had some cookies and juice for the kids too. It was all free and the kids had a great time. There seems to be a lot more free entertainment here than I remember in St. Louis, but maybe I didn't look hard enough there.
Cole sat with Santa to get his present but he was not thrilled (again)Adam didn't actually get close enough to him to sit on his lap
Friends told us about the harbor lights tour that is put on by the Navy. They use the shuttle boats that they normally use for the Arizona memorial tours and they use them to give boat rides out into the harbor where all the huge warships and submarines are docked and the boats are all decked out with Christmas lights and inflatable decorations. They had Christmas music on the boats and lots of fun, and again it was all free. I had a great time and I think the kids thought it was pretty cool. I only had my cellphone camera, so I got a couple of poor photos...


Who'll stop the rain???

We're in the rainy season in Hawaii, and boy does it rain! Wed night into Thursday am, we got about 12" of rain in about 12 hours. Then it rained more on Friday, and Saturday, and today (Sunday) we've gotten a little rain but not a lot. A lot of areas on Oahu are flooded, apparently this is the worst flooding they've had since 2004 when it rained for 40 days and nights (I didn't realize the biblical flood was only back in 2004!). We're on high ground, so we haven't had problems so far, but I really do hope it stops raining soon. We're out of hot water (from the solar panels) and the electric heater doesn't seem to be kicking in, so I guess we'll have to have it looked at soon.

Here are a couple pictures from our yard with all the rain.

Since it was rainy, it seemed like a good day yesterday to decorate our gingerbread house. I had bought a kit at Sam's club and the kids had a really good time decorating it. Since it is so humid with all the rain, the candies started getting soggy already, so they started munching away on it before all the sugar melts :)

December Beach day

I'm a little behind in getting things updated, too much to do around this time of year.
We went down to White Plains beach the other day and two monk seals were sunning themselves on the beach. They had the area roped off so you couldn't get close to them, but it was still pretty cool...Dan was giving Adam a few 'surfing' lessons. Adam wanted to stand up on the bodyboard like he saw the surfers do on their surfboards. He did manage to stand up a few times, but not for long.


Another busy weekend

The day after Thanksgiving, we went to pick up our exchange students from Japan. As a class trip, they travel to the U.S. for a short homestay and they also stay a couple nights in a hotel for more tours as a large group.

Our two students were Masato and Ryosuke, both 16 years old. They spoke very little english, and even though I did study Japanese for a year back in undergrad (how many years ago was that?!) I speak very little Japanese. I was able to find out a few things about them, and they were very nice boys and tried their best to communicate. They played with the kids and so Adam and Cole thought it was great having a couple of big brothers around for a couple of days.

Saturday we took them hiking up Diamond Head and had good weather for that. The weather went downhill from there. We went and got some takeout at L&L (good local cuisine) and took it to the park. The rain started about that point and didn't let up the rest of the day. We went to the zoo after lunch and had rain off and on. Gave up with the weather and headed for home.

Sunday, we went to the USS bowfin which is a submarine museum. It was a cool tour. Cole was too young to go on the boat, but I took Adam through the sub while Dan took Cole to the museum.

Top deck of the sub:Adam loved the audio headphone tour
They had lots of the old guns still mounted on the sub
Cole and Taiyo running the controls at one of the museum displays
Cole was so proud to be sitting up their on the big gun. He told me to take his picture..
After eating lunch on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, we brought the boys back to the pickup point to load the buses. Here is a picture the organizers took for us (from left to right): Ryosuke, Masato, Amy, Adam, and Dan (Cole was mad and sitting in the van). Then Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we finished up decorating the house for Christmas. So we've been busy! Now I just need to finish all my Christmas shopping!