Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas traditions live on, but something was very different this year. 2008 is the only year where Evie will be the only grand child on either side. She has 3 cousins on the way, so she made sure to steal all the attention this year. We had a great Christmas season with fun parties on both sides and great family time.
Evie learned to open presents, but of course mostly just like the wrapping paper.

The Elenbaases went to the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert in Detroit. It was awesome, I highly recommend it.

Evie even sat on Santa Soper's lap for the first time.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Hawaii Vacation - Maui Part 4

For Thanksgiving we went to the Old Lahaina Luau. It was very well done with a nice sunset, awesome food, and a great Hawaiian dance show. I wanted to surf in Hawaii, but we stayed on the calm side of the island. When we were on the windy/wavy side I didn't want to waste time trying to learn surfing when I could enjoy boogie boarding. Boogie boarding was awesome. We went 3 times and the waves ranged from 4 to 8 feet. I thought I was pretty good after our second afternoon of boogie boarding.

But the waves were a couple feet bigger on our third attempt, and we were destroyed. If we made it past the break in one piece, we were thrown down hard when we caught a wave. Despite the pain, it was still terrific and I highly recommend it.
We went whale watching one afternoon, but were a little early for whale season. Instead, we watched a happy-go-lucky baby.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hawaii Vacation - Maui Part 3

The hikes in Maui were very unique. We hiked through a rain forest in west Maui one afternoon. It was through some kind of plantation and had a bamboo forest, old aqueducts, suspension bridges, and rock river crossings. At the end of the hike was a dam with a pool at the base. The pool was 8+ feet deep and there were some great ledges to jump off. I did my standard back flip, much to the disapproval of Erin.
Baby spent 75% of the vacation in her diaper. I think she liked the freedom.

We did a different hike in south Maui. This one went through some really dense bamboo forests, past some small waterfalls, and ended at a 400 foot waterfall.
Usually you only get a distant view of the water fall, but on this hike we could walk right up to it and some even swam under it.
At a different point in the hike there were pools of water running into the ocean.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fire Truck For Christmas

Believe it or not, the second vehicle I've ever owned is truck.
That's right, a real, full size, operational fire truck.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Crawler

It has been so rewarding watching Evie develop. We encourage her and watch with anticipation. She seemed so close for so long. I was sure it would happen in Hawaii, but it never did. She's had the strength for awhile, but just didn't know what to do.

Today she crawled! Yesterday she put two crawling motions together but then stopped. This afternoon she did 5 in a row. But this evening it clicked. All of the sudden she just started going and didn't stop.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawaii Vacation - Maui Part 2

About 2 miles from our condo was a string of resorts known as Wailea. The resorts were really nice and had a public path running along the coast between them and the beach. The path was perfect for evening walks. The views were excellent, the path was well maintained, and it was neat seeing the nice resorts. We especially enjoyed the sunsets.
Maui's most visible and probably most famous landmark is Haleakala, the 10,023' tall active volcano. We drove to the top one day and Josh and I hiked into the crater.
It was the most unique hike I've ever done. The crater is basically devoid of life and it looked like we were walking on the moon, assuming I know what that looks like.
The trail was appropriately named Sliding Sands Trail and was an 11 mile hike. The first 8 miles we descended into the crater (classified as a desert) and walked through it.
The last 3 miles were straight up the edge of a cliff. The views going up the cliff were awesome, but I was miserable. I had woken up that morning feeling sick to my stomach. I ate some breakfast but threw it up on the drive up the mountain. I couldn't stomach any food while hiking and threw up my water halfway through the hike. I held down a granola bar after that, but I was beat after a 6 hour, 11 mile hike through a dessert on 150 calories.

I can't end a post without a good Evie picture.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hawaii Vacation - Maui Part 1

Maui was totally different from Oahu. Actually, different parts of Maui were totally unique from each other. There were rain forests that got 300 inches of rain annually, and areas classified as desserts less than 50 miles away. From active volcanoes to surfing beaches Maui was amazing.

One of our first activities was Iao Valley and a famous landmark called the Iao Needle. It was a picturesque valley where 4 rivers come together. The "needle" is straight behind us in the following picture.I wasn't overly impressed with the valley, simply because you could just drive in and see it. I like to earn my views, but baby liked it.

Next we drove to the Wihee Ridge Trail. This was right up my alley. The hike stayed along the ridge offering terrific views in all directions. We had a Jurassic Park type valley on one side and the coast on the other.
The hike was a strenuous 5 mile out and back hike gaining 1500 feet in elevation.
At the top we were in the clouds, so the view was limited. Baby was beat from the hike up and took a nap while I ate my sandwich.
We went to one of Maui's many great beaches most days. Along the west side of the island were calm beaches with excellent snorkeling. Along the east and north sides of the island there were big waves, perfect for boogie boarding.
Evie was a constant battle at the beach. We had a tent to set up for her. It kept her out of the sun and away from the sand, but she must have felt jipped and usually complained.
When she whined loud enough I read to her. That didn't last very long either, and we were all in trouble when she found the sand. What a mess.

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