Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life in these Islands...

I had thought we'd be living a pretty quiet life here on Maui but it's been surprisingly busy! We're spending time with new friends, enjoying activities with a wonderful homeschooling group, exploring this beautiful island, hula hooping with friends at the beach, making our house as cozy as possible, and just settling in and adjusting to life here.

We spent 2 weeks on Molokai and loved catching up with our friends there. And we finally got to see the north side of Molokai from the airplane while flying there and back! The sea cliffs (highest in the world) are stunning!

These photos, taken through a blurry airplane window, just don't do it justice. But it was thrilling to see this part of Molokai for the first time.

Our dear friends, Julie and David, surprised us at the airport with aloha and lei! So special!

Zara celebrated her 11th birthday there. We had a small party with her menu request: Cashew rice loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli and cheese, beans with crushed almonds and parm. cheese, salad, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing for dessert. Yum! The kids and I decorated her cake with playmobil scuba people, as that's what we gave her for her birthday.... scuba lessons!  She wanted her hair done like Anne of Green Gables in the movie (Megan Follows). It didn't turn out quite like she had in mind but she kept it in!

We enjoyed being at Papohaku beach again! I walked down there almost every morning and just soaked up that ocean energy. Then we spent some time at the north end playing in the waves. Zara did some snorkeling just where the waves were breaking and found some beautiful shells.

It was very special to dance hula again! I danced twice at Coffee's of Hawaii at the Sunday concert and then with the halau at a performance they were doing at some condos on the west end. It was an annual home owners assoc. dinner and we were part of the evenings' entertainment.

It was a magical night. Soft breezes, twinkling stars above, the sound of the ocean, hawaiian music and dancing with my hula sisters.... so lovely!

The morning that we were leaving we did an early morning walk out to one of our favorite spots - Kaupoa beach (the old tent camp). It was as beautiful as ever! We collected some lovely shells and the kids enjoyed the tide pools. We waited until the last minute for that one, but I'm so glad we made it out there! We were back home by 9am and went up to Virgil's for breakfast and good-byes. We felt sad leaving Molokai in some ways, but also felt very eager to get back to Maui and immerse ourselves in life here.

When we got back to our Maui home we found that one of the wild chickens had hatched some cute little chicks. One of them got tangled up in some long grass and Zara was happy to "rescue" it! She held it for a little while and everyone pet it and gave it some love, then she gave it back to it's mama!
A few days after we arrived back we were given some young hens that were caught nearby. There are 6 of them in the coop and hopefully they will start laying eggs soon. We have heard that wild hens don't lay very frequently so we'll give them a couple of months and will see if it's worth feeding them and looking after them. If not we'll just let them go again!

I had never driven around the north-west side of Maui, so last week we decided to take that road to the west side for some snorkeling. What a crazy, narrow, winding road it is! Very beautiful in some parts but quite stressful! I'm glad we did it but I don't think we'll be doing it again anytime soon!
We stopped along the way to stretch our legs and admire the view. This is our new van. We arrived on a Thursday and owned this van by noon on Friday! We are really enjoying it and are all excited to finally own a vehicle! (Yes... for the first time in my life! Something to do with my Dad being in the car business I guess!!)

While we were stopped on this point, a beautiful rainbow appreared in the sky... one of so many we saw that day. Stunning! I just never get tired of looking at rainbows!

Molokai in the far distance.

Having fun at Kapalua Bay.
(With Molokai in the background again but from a different perspective)

We feel very blessed to be part of a wonderful, active homelearning community on this island. Almost every week there is an activity of some sort going on. This past week was Chi Ribbon Dancing and Stick Fighting - a Filipino martial art form.  Bella really enjoyed it! Thor spent more time climbing the big trees in the park and Zara enjoyed looking after an 18 month old baby! But we all had a great day and met some lovely new friends.

This week we've had new friends over both days and are thankful to be meeting lovely, like-minded families! Tomorrow will be a quiet day....maybe....I hope! Whatever it is, I know it will be wonderful! We've just started working on some felt solstice tree ornaments - it's almost that time again! The kids are enjoying learning to hand sew. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American ohana! Aloha!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


We are happy to be back in the Hawaiian Islands where the skies are blue, the sun shines almost daily and the trade winds keep it from getting too hot! Actually right now we're on Molokai where the wind is blowing the red dust into our place faster than I can sweep it out! Ahhhhh.... it's all part of Hawaiian living.

We arrived in Maui on Oct. 10th and spent the first two weeks exploring and getting familiar with our surroundings. We found our rental house somewhat of a surprise.... definitely not what we had expected, or hoped, or thought it would be! A note to self: Do NOT sign a rental agreement sight unseen!! Long distance agreements like that leave WAY too much room for misunderstandings! Oh well. Lesson learned. We've decided to make the best of it, focusing on the positives: the central location from which John can ride his bike almost anywhere, the fact that many of the islands best hula halau's are nearby, the proximity to Whole Foods and even better, Mana Foods in Pa'ia, the tire swing in the tree, the porch swing in the lanai where Zara spends many hours reading....and not on the negatives: the dogs barking constantly, the roosters crowing at all hours, the motorcycles racing by, the traffic noise, the homeless camp at the end of the beach road 5 minutes away! We will be masking those noises with a white noise maker and a water fountain, and trusting that we are there for reason. It's part of the journey with more lessons to be learned.

Here are some photos from our first two weeks in Maui:

"Home" for the next 5 months or so. 

Zara in her favorite spot... the porch swing. Watching "Chubby Cheeks", one of the many wild chickens that frequents our yard.

Thor with his favorite little creature... a Mo'o (gecko).

Trying to beat the heat with popsicles.

This lovely tire "horse" was hung in a prickly kiawe tree when we arrived, but John moved it to this great tree in the backyard and the kids have had hours of fun on it! I love the wild orchid growing out of the tree trunk by Bella.


The kids are loving this fabric from IKEA... They are coloring it with fabric markers and we'll make something fun out of it when they are done. 

An awesome climbing tree at the home of some new friends.

One of the first things we did when we got to Maui was purchase an annual family pass to the Maui Ocean Center. We love this aquarium. It's not very big, but it's very well done and there are no mammals in captivity! We plan on making many trips here and I'm quite sure that everytime we go we'll learn something new. It's jam packed with information - too much for one trip! So we look forward to learning a little bit each time.

The Hawaiian state fish - the humuhumu'nukunuku'apua'a. How's that for a mouthful?
(Translated as the patchwork triggerfish with a nose like a pig!)

One of our favorite spots in the aquarium... the open ocean tunnel. We sit here for ages watching the sharks and rays swim around and overhead. Facinating!
A wonderful place to spend a few hours, getting to know some of the beautiful creatures that live in the ocean around Hawaii.
One night Zara and I were at Savers (the American equivalent to Value Village) and found these gorgeous colorful dishes in perfect shape. They almost jumped into our cart and we were so happy to bring them home with us! They are a lovely addition to our rather sparse kitchen cupboards and make meal times just that much more enjoyable. I LOVE colorful dishes.

At the moment we are in Molokai, catching up with friends, dancing some hula, enjoying the beaches and hanging out. John is doing some work for the neighbor that lives across the road from where we used to live here. We are staying in a suite above the barn on his property. It's just a 2 minute walk down to the beach and right on our old bunny trail so we feel right at home!
We head back to Maui on Saturday and are looking forward to starting the settling in process there. Things felt a bit up in the air at first, but now we're ready to start some activities for the kids, find some hula halau's and get immersed in Maui life. We spent a morning with some of the homeschooling group in Maui and look forward to more adventures with them.
I plan to post a lot more often now so check back regularly! Aloha!