Saturday, July 11, 2015

Kauai


Well its been a long time since we posted, and this seems like a good moment to get back on the blog! We just got back from a week in Hawaii with our friends Haven and Tony and their daughter Dylan. They're experienced Hawaii visitors and know all the ins and outs of the place, so we followed their lead and did whatever they told us we should do. And we are VERY glad we did, because we had a terrific week on the island of Kauai. So good that now we want to plan our next visit.

At Haven and Tony's suggestion we stayed near Hanalei Bay. Our resort was great, and our condo offered some pretty spectacular views. 


view from the condo balcony. Bali Hai

rainbows were a regular occurrence


Hanalei Bay is a very quiet little village at the beginning of the road that leads to some of the prettiest beaches we've ever seen. Haven and Tony led us to a beach called Tunnels where we snorkled, boogie boarded and just played in the waves. It was awesome, even though we all got a little sunburned. On the way back, we pulled off of the little one lane road, parked the car and hung out for a bit at the beach where South Pacific was filmed.

South Pacific beach
Kauai has lots to offer besides beaches though.  One of the unique things about the island are the wild chickens. Everywhere you go there are chickens. Its home to the rainiest place on earth, Mount Wai'ale'aleThere's the Na Pali coast which is where the Jurassic Park films were shot. Its beautiful. There also the Waimea Canyon, which is spectacular. We spent a day making a trip up to the canyon (we stopped at a farmer's market on the way) and to a lookout spot where you can see the Na Pali coast. On the way back to the car, Annick and Haven went bonkers picking wild plums.

Eamon on the edge of the Waimea Canyon.

The canyon

Na Pali coast
Saimen, a super yummy noodle dish that's similar to Ramen or Udon

Na Pali coast
leaf boy!
wild plum harvest



On the way back from our visit to the Canyon, we stopped for Shave Ice and then visited a locals-only beach which was great.



Eamon and Dylan at the beach
 After that stop, Tony suggested we make a quick detour to the Spouting Horn, which is all the way south on the island in Poipu. He had a hunch it would be looking good that day, and boy was he right! The waves hit this old lava flow and then burst up through holes in the rocks.


Spouting Horn



chickens at spouting horn


There was lots of other stuff as well. The gang made a trip to the Lawai Center, which is a cool recreation of japanese temples. They also have goats, and we've learned that all goats love Eamon.
All Goats Love Eamon!

All in all it was a great week and we were sad to leave. But also happy to plan our return visit!

Bye Bye Kauia!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hike to Heather Lake

One of the things we love about Seattle is that its so easy to get to great outdoors activities like hiking and skiing. Yesterday we all decided it would be really fun to go on a nice hike in the mountains, even though the weather was a little rainy at home.  Eamon and Annick decided on a nice "moderate" hike to a mountain lake called Heather Lake, and we hopped in the car and drove out.

An hour or so later, we were parked at the trailhead and getting ready to head up. The setting was really amazing -- the foothills of the cascades where they get a ton of rain. I'm not sure if this area is a temperate rainforest or not, but it has many of the characteristics of one. Well, yesterday the rain was coming down pretty hard when we arrived. We're Seattlites, though, so we weren't going to be deterred by a little bit of rain. Off we went!

The Hike

The hike was fantastic. There was about a 1000 ft vertical gain, so there were a lot of steep uphills and rocky bits. There was also water -- lots of it. We counted 8 different creek crossings on our way up. Well, actually we kind of lost count :)

one of the many creek crossing on the way up. This is "Stairstep Falls"

The forest was beautiful. There were some old-growth trees with trunks that were enormous. There were also a lot of old-growth stumps of very old trees that had been cut down. There was moss everywhere, and in certain spots it made the forest look a little fuzzy :)

We made up lots of names for things we saw, like Turtle pond (because it was so shallow not even a turtle could swim in it) and old man rock (because it looked like an old man).


old growth stumps were everywhere, including "Elephant Stump" 


the stumps were super fun for climbing.
and for being super silly


It was raining most of the way up, so there was a sheen of water on all of the rocks and trees. There was moss covering practically every surface. Everything looked very glossy and lush. The trail alternated between sunny bits, long muddy stretches, steep rocky parts, lots of water and misty areas.

The Lake

After a long, hard hike up the trail we arrived at the lake. It was totally worth the effort:) It was a small mountain lake surrounded by cliffs, waterfalls, trees and some glaciers. There was mist all around, and we felt like we were up in the clouds


We were not alone at the lake. We saw lots of birds, a frog (that Eamon touched so that he hopped away), and lots and lots of no-see-ums. There were so many bugs at the lake that it felt like we were under attack. 
the bugs at the lake were relentless
All of that rain and mud on the hike up was fine, except that it made for some very muddy clothes. Even so, we still found some time for a nice picture of Eamon sitting on a big rock overlooking the lake. His hair is soaked, and pants and socks and shoes are caked with mud, but he's a happy kid. 


After a half-hour enjoying the lake, we headed back down, tired but happy. The Hike was over 4.5 miles long, with an elevation gain, and Eamon was a champ. He wanted to come back the next day. So we'll definitely be going again -- can't wait!


6th Birthday Fun

Since Eamon's 6th birthday happened over his school's spring break, we decided to make it a little extra special and go out of town for it. It also gave us a chance to say hi to family and friends down in Southern California, which is always great.

Annick found a super-cool activity at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Its an overnight camping program called "Roar 'n Snore" where families can reserve a space in one of the tents they have available inside the park. You get to your tent as the park is closing and then there are a bunch of programs available to do when nobody else is in the park. The campground is right next to the elephant exhibit, and the elephants are very close to the tents. 

Here's the view from the front of our tent

The main reason Annick chose this particular park was the cheetah run. San Diego Zoo Safari is one of the few parks in the world with permission to let their cheetahs run off leash. You may have seen this on TV -- they put a ratty old stuffed animal on the end of a long long string and pull it very quickly down a path. The cheetah can't resist the temptation and runs like mad after it. Every once in a while, the cheetah actually catches the stuffed animal, which is what happened on our visit. When that occurs, they let the cheetah run a second time. So we got a double treat, because we got to see Ginger the cheetah go tearing down the path twice!!

Every cheetah is paired with a large sheepdog for companionship. Apparently the zookeepers have found that cheetahs and sheepdogs get along swimmingly -- who would've guessed?! Cheetahs are very shy, but the dogs help teach them that they can trust the zookeepers and make them more comfortable around people

Anyway, Eamon was out of his mind with amazement as the cheetah ran past. It was lots of fun.

Ginger the cheetah with her sheepdog companion
The Sheepdog does the run

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What a Week at Whistler


We just got back from spending a great week at Whistler, which is about 1.5 hours north of Vancouver, BC. Eamon was really looking forward to going to Canada, and had a blast playing with our friends Brian and Anne's twin boys, Lucas and Finn. He loves to get silly with the twins and make a ton of noise. Also, as you can see in the picture below, he loves playing the "FREEZE!!" game.

FREEZE!!
Eamon and Finn





From the balcony
The weather could not have been better for us. It hasn't been a good year for snow in the northwest, but it snowed about 3 feet(!!) while we were there and the snow was light, soft and fun. It snowed every single day we were there, and occasionally the sun poked through which made for some beautiful days. On the last day we had a beautiful sunny day.  Our rental house was situated right on the slope, so we had lots of opportunities to see the conditions. From our living room we could see all the way down the valley, or we could look across the slopes to the woods and houses on the other side.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Gramps!

Eamon wanted to make a special happy birthday video for Gramps! It features Eamon, his handmade robot Boxy, and our special temporary houseguest Speedy the tortoise.

Enjoy!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Bedtime conversations

Bedtime is my favorite time of day with Eamon. The boys hide under the covers and I "find" them with the help of his pack of stuffed animals who like to peek out of the covers and give them up. Then there are cuddles, stories and lullabies. Sometimes, Eamon and I have a chance to chat and philosophize. Last night was the best yet.
He asked if he would always live with us and then, before I could answer, declared that when he grows up he'll move away. But how far, he pondered. Not too far, he confirmed. He asked if he could still visit us and see us all the time when that day comes. And maybe he could still have breakfast with us?

Then he hugged me very tight around the neck, wondering what would happen when he has kids? I said why would it be different? Well, he'd be busy with them, because babies need lots of help. So I volunteered Sean and my help to babysit these babies he would have.
He seemed satisfied that our help would be adequate and certainly necessary, then waxed on about how many kids he would like to have. Maybe just one, like me, he said with a satisfied finality. Unless, I have twins, so two. Or maybe three, then they could all play together... Or maybe, Mommy, I'd like to have four or five. But I'd need a mommy because that's a lot of kids.
So I guess at some point down the line, when we're very old (as Eamon pointed out), Sean and I will be grandparents to five kids, maybe some will be twins. And we'll all be having breakfast together every day.
Like I said, I love bedtime the best.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Shredding with Daddy!



I went skiing with my daddy last week and he made this video with his cool new camera that his friends Jeff and Myong gave him. It straps to the side of his helmet so he can ski along and take videos and still have both hands free to help me! It gets a little bouncy sometimes, but I like the video. I also like that my dad basically talks to me non-stop through the whole video

I started skiing last winter when I was 3. The first time I went, all the people at the ski area kept calling me "little shredder dude!" which I really liked. They also gave me a lot of stickers, which I put all over my helmet. This winter we'll probably go to the mountains a bunch. There's already a lot of snow up there. I think my favorite part of skiing is the wipeouts. Sometimes I flop down into the snow on purpose, just so i can yell "Wipeout!!". On this particular day it was foggy, so you can't really see the rest of the mountain, but its really nice. My daddy loves it there. Its called Crystal Mountain and its right next to Mount Rainier.

Daddy says we're going to be going back a lot this season, so we should be posting new videos as we go. Hopefully by the end of the season I'll be able to stop, turn and go all by myself without Daddy's help. We'll see! Until then, I hope you enjoy the video (you can make it go full screen by clicking on the button in the lower right corner of the video while its playing).