Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mangroves and more

Stevie was off work on Wednesday and the weather was beautiful, so I felt an adventure coming on.  Since I love the beaches up north on the island, I pointed the car in that direction and found something new for us to see and do.  I found a mention of a mangrove forest and walk about an hour and half north of here in a guide book so we thought we'd check it out.  (I have to tell you now the pictures aren't the best quality since when I went to take my first photo I discovered that my SD card was missing!  My fall back was Cannon's iTouch.)

There was a nice wood boardwalk for us to see the mangroves, fiddler crabs and mudskippers.

Cannon informed us that these little seedlings fall from the trees, implant themselves in the mud and start new mangrove trees.

The boardwalk was a nice leisurely walk, but then the path crossed the road and headed up into the wilderness.  It was extremely snake-y looking, but I took the lead and told those snakes to "shoo" - seemed to have worked as we didn't see any!

Going up to the wilderness..

View from the top.


Going down...

We didn't see any crabs this big...

After our little walk, we head toward the coast to find a beach.  As we drove down through the farm fields, I commented to Stevie that the best beaches were always at the end of a farm road...

And sure enough, this one didn't disappoint.  At the end, we found the most beautiful, remote, pristine beach.  It was heaven!

We spent some time going for a long walk, then Stevie and I sat and contemplated life while the kids played around.  I decided that the color of the water, which has always eluded an exact color description, will forever be known to me as "Okinawan blue".  Nothing like it in this world!

I think this one of the kids is really funny.  They just all have unique expressions.

I guess London didn't make the cut on this family photo.

Round 1

This one's for you Aunty Nicole, Uncle Brian, Hailey, Hannah and Sydney!

This year for Christmas my sister and her family gave our family a day of fun - tickets to Round 1 amusement center and lunch at the sushi-go-round.  I took the kids earlier in the week for sushi, but unfortunately forgot my camera, but just imagine a table stacked with 20 (empty) plates and four full bodies sitting around it.  How can a 5, 8, 11 and (undisclosed) year old consume 20 plates of sushi?  Welcome to my family.

But on Saturday, all five of us headed to Round 1 for an afternoon of fun.  I've explained about Round 1 before - it's a 7 storied building chock full of all kinds of family-friendly entertainment (not-including the pachinko parlor on the first floor :)  For one price you can ride a mechanical bull, rollerskate, sit in a massage chair, play in the ball pit, shoot baskets, shoot guns, shoot arrows, ride mini-bikes, play video games, bowl - well, you get the idea.  We tried to cram as much as we could into the 3 hours we spent there and left thoroughly happy.

Cannon in the ball pit.

Emmy's favorite place - the ball pit.

Stevie, London and Cannon firing balls across the ball pit.  This is really fun because it's ok to hit random strangers~

London practicing archery

Miss Bounce-a-lot

Stevie's favorite - these massage chairs ROCK!

Chillin' while watching the kids bounce

Emmy's first attempt at rollerskating

She didn't make it too far!
I did a little better!
By far the most fun is the mini-motorcycle races that they have every two hours.  This time Cannon and London were big enough and the three of us had the whole course to ourselves.  Guess who won?  London!

Ready to race!

At the starting line.

Going through turn 1...

And London's in the lead, but where is Cannon????  I think I'm looking for him.
Thanks Cunninghams for a great family day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!

Well, despite Emmy and London being so excited about Santa coming, I can say that I did not receive a 5:00 am wake-up call.  That might have been in part because Stevie was still at the hospital and they had been told that no presents were to be opened until he returned.  Good job board turn-over is at 7:30 am and the hospital is a stone's throw from our house because they were raring to go by the time he showed up around 7:45.

Santa's presents were the first to be uncovered: a Nerf gun for London, a stuffed border collie each for Emmy and London, a husky dog for Emmy and a remote controlled helicopter for Cannon.  And then the rest of the presents were systematically unwrapped.  Thank you to everyone for all the awesome presents for all of us!

Emmy's loot

A rare one of me opening a present.

The rest of the day passed by in a toy-stupor for the kids.

Emmy playing with her husky dog and "bunny sleigh".

I love this photo of London and his friend, Joey, who both received General Grievous masks from their grandparents.  The best was when they were posing, London says to Joey, "You don't need to smile, Joey, she can't see you."

While Stevie enjoyed a post-call nap under his new blanket that Mom and I knitted for him.

In the evening, we went over to Krimp and Dima's house for dinner.  Some other neighbors, Alicia and Jon, joined us as well as a guy from Dima's work.  Krimp fixed a ham, a salad and brussel sprouts, while I did beef wellington, sweet potato casserole and an eggnog dessert.  Alicia had made an artichoke dip, a ravioli, green bean and almond casserole, and a cherry pie.  All was yummy!

After dinner, Stevie, who was tired from being on call, took the kids home for bed and I stayed with the others to play games.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Best Christmas Gift

Christmas means a lot of pictures, especially for a snap-happy mom like me, but by far my favorite pictures of Christmas are these.  You see, although my kids rarely fight, they don't hug or kiss each other much - especially Cannon.  So when Emmy opened his gift to her (a Lego box stuffed with a $1 bill), she was so excited she gave him a kiss and a hug.  And yes, he actually gave her a quick hug back.  Maybe these weren't just the best photos of Christmas, they were the best gift of Christmas - for me.