homecoming 2017

It’s the first of many “lasts” this year….Owen’s last Homecoming dance.  He and Haley had a great time!

To see more photos, click here.

solo scuba

About seven months ago, Elsa and her mom got scuba certified for a vacation they were taking to the Bahamas…they went on four dives while they were there. Once she found out we were going to Hawaii, Elsa did some research and found an excursion to Lanai, one of the smaller islands. Although she was with a group of divers, she went on two dives all by herself this time….none of the rest of us are certified. She said the highlights were seeing a pod of dolphins (about eighty of them!) and exploring underwater caves…she had a great time!

big ‘ol banyan tree

I know this isn’t a great “people” photo, but it gives you a sense of the size of this banyan tree….it was huge!  This is from our late day hike yesterday up the Pipiwai Trail at Heleakala National Park.  The stop is about 10 miles past the town of Hana and we were fighting the pending sunset, but Todd and I remembered the hike from the last time we were in Hawaii and really wanted the kids to check it out….the bamboo forest is amazing and so is this huge tree.  I don’t know if they were as impressed with the sights as we’d hoped they’d be, but aside from the blisters Greta got from hiking in flip flops, we had a great time!

road to hana

Today we drove the road to Hana….windy roads, hairpin turns, single lane bridges and all.  It’s an awesome drive, but I’m afraid of heights, so the frequent photo stops and hiking opportunities are a welcome relief to the stress I feel when I’m in the car!  Owen and Greta had a blast swimming by a few of the waterfalls and everyone loved the bamboo forest….more photos to come.  Although our trek down got a late start and we ended up driving most of the way in the dark, we made it back safe and sound….a fun day!

night @ the luau

After a full day of chillin’ by the pool, we all cleaned up and headed to our hotel’s luau.  The show was great and so was the food…a fun family night together!

these kids

I know this isn’t much of a photo to look at, but it’s a standard snapshot I take of the kids anytime I can…I have at least three different versions from this trip alone!  Check out this version from Paris a few years ago…we have this one framed at home.  Although they don’t hold hands anymore, they still have a lot of fun talking and walking together.  We love to listen to their chatter and silliness, but also appreciate the more serious conversations they have with and without us.  It’s awesome being here in Hawaii and enjoying the scenery, but really, we could be anywhere and I’d love this quality family time!

diamond head

While everyone else was watching the eclipse today, we were hiking up Diamond Head crater….great exercise and beautiful views!  I think this is my fourth or fifth time to Hawaii, but in the past, I’ve always traveled in the winter/spring….I don’t remember it ever being this hot!  You’ll notice that Owen is missing from this photo…he was a little faster than the rest of us.  The hike is a little less than a mile and he ran, yes ran, up the mountain in about 12 minutes.  The rest of us lagged behind, but enjoyed these photo ops along the way.  Tomorrow we’re off to Maui!

pearl harbor

We’re on a family vacation with the kids this week….Hawaii!  It’s the first time in two years that we’ve all been together on a vacation…our last trip together was San Francisco.  The older they get, the harder it is to line up schedules, so we were excited when this week aligned with everyone’s summer plans.  Today we were at Pearl Harbor….Todd is giving everyone a history lesson here at the site of the memorial.  Although maybe he is sending the photographer a hidden message through his finger pointer choice?!  After spending a few days in Honolulu, we’re headed to Maui…looking forward to making some good family memories this week!

In case you thought we were only serious and cerebral today, check out this video of Owen eating hair mousse…don’t ask!

just like the old days

One more picture from the weekend…although Owen’s girlfriend Haley is missing.  A few years ago, the crazy passion our kids had for tubing subsided…it seemed to coincide with their age and our purchase of two jet skis.  Surprisingly, they asked to tube again this weekend with their friends and I cringed while Todd whipped them around just like the old days.  I thought they had outgrown it, but as you can see by their faces, it’s apparently still a lot of fun!

the palace

A few months ago, a new music venue opened up in St. Paul that we’ve been excited to check out…the Palace Theater.  We had two concerts lined up to attend there this week….Belle & Sebastian (Tuesday) and Beck (tonight).  We made it to Belle & Sebastian, but skipped out on Beck tonight….disappointing, but just too much else going on.  The 100 year old venue was once a vaudeville theater where people like Charlie Chaplin and The Marx Brothers performed…it’s since been refurbed and is now owned and operated by First Avenue.  I was really impressed with the beauty of the venue, it’s layout, the acoustics and the vibe…..we’d highly recommend attending a show there.  And the music was great, too!  Belle & Sebastian sing one of my favorite songs…..The Blues Are Still Blue.  I don’t really know why I love this song so much…it’s pretty quirky and has some nerdy lyrics, but I know every word and love to sing along with it.  They rarely play it in concert, but Todd tweeted the band during the day and asked them to play it for me…and they did!  It totally made my night and my week…thanks Todd!