Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho-Ho-Ho...Merry Christmas!!

Mele Kalikimaka!!

showing that Christmas spirit

They might dig the smile but the yogurt covered face won't do it for them

Christmas is right around the corner and that means we will soon be on a plane to go visit family and friends in Washington. We are greatly looking forward to this trip for many reasons: Leif gets to play with many cousins close to his own age, Amanda gets to check out some of her favorite sewing stores, Cory gets to go play in the snow (snowboarding!!!), and everyone gets to visit with family and eat delicious food. We are also looking forward to visiting our friends in Bellingham--our home away from home. We have also been pulling out the cold weather clothing, as there is 4+ inches of snow right now in WA, and even borrowing some clothing for Leif since he doesn't own long pants, long sleeve shirts, or a coat!
Trying on some closed-toe pajamas
Rocking around the Christmas tree on rocking horse Bob

Leif has been loving the holiday season so far. With all of the lights and decorations up he gets so excited he can barely contain himself. Leif and Amanda actually met Santa the other day as they were out for a walk, too. There is an older man who lives in our neighborhood who drives a red scooter (without helmet as there is no helmet law here) and has white hair with a long white beard...all real. On this day, though, he was wearing a Santa suite. Leif was so excited to see the "really" Santa especially when Santa drove over and gave him a lollipop! Leif and Amanda also went to a Christmas tree farm on island. The type of evergreen that grows here is called a Norfolk pine, and while it is a pine, it isn't quite like those nice, fragrant ones that are found in the Pacific NW.

Leif and Momma at the tree farm

Counting candy canes
Writing a letter to Santa...I hope he understands gibberish

We have already had a mini-Christmas the other night; we opened our presents from the Grandma, Grandma and Grandpa, and the Bennett's from Kansas City.

The tent and pool were a hit but nothing compares to balloons

Reading some of his new books he got from Grandma

Leif loves his new learning toy...though the "I" is already missing.

Cory also got his new surf board. Yeah...the one that was ordered in July. They say patience is a virtue. If that is so, then Cory was rather virtuous up until a week ago. He went out on it today, though the NW swell was only chest to head high, and had some serious fun--the wait was worth it!!! For those who care, it is a 7'6" quad that can be converted to a tri fin for when things get a bit more serious. Cory has a 6'8" short-board that is a load of fun but it is harder catching waves with that one and it is a bit frustrating when a overhead bomb sneaks in and you are either stuck inside or sitting too deep to avoid the pounding. On the other hand, his 8'2" mini-tanker can catch waves pretty easily but is simply a tank. When you want to get down the line or make a sharp cut-back it is slow and cumbersome. So far, this board is looking like a good happy-medium.

7 feet 6 inches of joy
Leif practicing surfing on his own board using the one shoe method

Amanda got a bunch of fabric and is so excited to start another quilt though she feels a bit guilty as there are two unfinished quilts hanging in her sewing room's closet. She is really holding out for her new machine which she will have this next year (summer????).

Can you say...Moda?
Cory is also done with teaching until next July. No more lesson planning, grading papers, crazy meetings with crazy staff members (not you Terry)! He will be starting his new temporary position at UH in January and it looks to be an amazing semester. It will still be a challenging semester but hopefully one with much less stress.

In case you were wondering what to get Leif in the future this next video might help you understand what his favorite things are. Enjoy!

We wish you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season and hope to hear from you soon!


Cory, Amanda, and Leif

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Aloha and Happy Thanksgiving!

It is deffinetly fall in the islands as we are wearing socks, jackets, and long pants more often (it is dropping down into the 70's you know!!!). We have been quite busy with Thanksgiving dinners, play dates, visiting friends (with a special visit from Auntie Anne from the Big Island!!!), and going to birthday parties. Here is the latest round of photos...enjoy!

One of Cory's friends threw a party for their one year old son and we were all invited. If you have never been to a real Hawaiian first birthday party then you are missing out. A professional band (with many albums), enough food and beverages to feed a large nation, inflatable jumpies, clowns, shave ice stands, along with games and prizes galore! It is the type of party you need a planner for. Leif was happy because there was balloons, balls, "happy cake," shave ice, and a clown that painted a balloon on his arm--clearly the highlight of the whole day!

Leif with two of his most favorite things: Mom and balloons

Parties means "shaaaaaave ice."

One of Leif's new things is taking pictures. He loves to "watch Leif" on the cameras. If he sees a camera...he wants it. That boy can sure throw a fit if he wants to though he gets over it quickly. Here are a few of his more recent creations.


A little out of focus but he's having fun

What would a long 4 day break be if we didn't go to the beach. It was an exciting day as three monk seals were resting and sleeping right next to us. Leif loved watching them and loved it even more when one of them passed gas; we heard about it for quite some

Building a fort with Dad

Simply adoreable...What more can you say

Surf, seals, sunshine, and the sand monster
Mom: "Don't eat that Leif it tastes yucky."
Leif: "Yuck!!"

You guys ready to go yet?
Measuring to find a good place to put the Christmas tree

After Thanksgiving means it it time for the "mickas tree"
We hope your holidays are pleasant and look forward to hearing from you all soon!
Cory, Amanda, and Leif

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Feeling Like Fall

Aloha everyone,
Fall is here in the islands which means the temperatures range from a morning low of 75 to an afternoon high of 85, give or take a couple of degrees, and it feels great. A lot has happened since our last post including two birthdays and Halloween. We will just cut to the chase and show you some of the great pictures as they often are worth a thousand words. We'll start with a little Halloween action:
Leif picking out his pumpkin at the "pumkin match"

Finding the perfect one

Enjoying the views from on top
Just one year ago...

Out collecting booty on Halloween

Enjoying the spoils with Mama on Halloween night
Amanda has been hard at work making Christmas presents...I'm giving away any secrets so don't even ask, and Leif is getting bigger in size and vocabulary. He is now learning some of his letters and learning to count to twenty. He does eleven and twelve real well but then he just likes to say which ever of the "teens" he likes, the order changes from time to time.

having a "whole party" with friends

Our sweet little rag-a-muffin

Helping Mama blow out her birthday candle
The winter waves haves have officially arrived and Cory has been out a few times, though in nothing too big yet. His new board should be arriving any day now though the shaper and glasser are on Hawaiian time (the board was ordered in July). Cory has accepted an intern mentor position at UH working with students who will be finishing their Master's in Teaching spring semester. He will retain his position for the following school year but for spring semester he will be working with 6-9 teachers at their schools; this means that he will be out of the classroom next semester. This position is part time (though he also retains his full salary through the DOE) which means he will have time to work on other personal professional development which will include finishing his written commentaries for National Board Certification and possibly two additional classes for his PhD course work. It will be tough being out of the classroom but this is an amazing opportunity he can't pass up.

Leif telling Daddy about his day

Asleep on the ride home from the Bishop Museum
Of course, we are still going to the beach. Leif is so much fun at the beach now. He loves to explore around the rocks and look for "lille fish" and crabs as well as climb on the rocks, making forts and castles in the sand and even occasionally going out for a swim with Mama or Daddy.

Loving the beach!!
Life doesn't get much, sand, and family!
What a sweet ride
We hope all is well back on the mainland and look forward to seeing some of you come Christmas!
Cory, Amanda, and Leif

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Break

Once again a big aloha to you all!

"coo dude"
Not a whole lot new here in the islands. Leif continues to grow and get better or learn new things each day. He can recognize and name several letters and loves to count to ten. He has even started counting things (though he doesn't quite have the one to one correspondence yet) and can recognize, and say most of the names pretty well, for such shapes as square, rectangle, triangle, circle, oval, rhombus (no diamonds here!!!), star, and octagon.

My how they change...

Fall break just ended for Cory so we spent much of our time in vacation mode; going to the beach. The pictures speak for themselves so enjoy.
One of Leif's favorite past times...making circles in the sand (Euclid would be proud).
chillin with Mamma
Chasing and being chased by waves

Hanging out at Alii beach in Haleiwa with 18 foot waves rolling in
Making forts and castles in Kailua

Amanda has been busy with her Honolulu Mommies group, quilting (she made Cory a quilt of a Golden Rectangle for his birthday), and being a great mother. Cory just gave a presentation at the annual Hawaii Association of Middle Schools conference on mathematics and adolescents. He is still working like mad on his National Board certification but looking forward to the winter waves (and a new surfboard???).
Leif eating some of his dad's "happy cake"

This year Leif is going to be a ghost for Halloween. Amanda made him a great "ghost suit" and matching shirts for the two of us as well; they look awesome!

Wearing his bucket on his head

Leif was getting a real kick out of doing this


We got a smokin' deal on passes to the water park in Kapolei and Leif has been loving it. We never thought we would own a seasons pass to such a place but it has been a ton of fun for the whole family. Sometimes Amanda and Leif go with the Mommies group for a late morning play date.
Leif and Amanda on the "orj slyd"

Lovin' the "Water--Park"

Words can't express how much we love living here but maybe a picture can!

Leif is also becoming more expressive as he gets older. From time to time he will start making funny faces or say things in different voices and then just crack up at his silliness; we do, too.
What a comedian!

Leif and his new George...he loves it so much!

We will be going to Washington for Christmas this year and are very excited to see our friends and family there. We will only be around for a couple of weeks but if any of you are interested in getting together please drop us a line; we would love to see you.

Aloha to you all and we can't wait to see you all again!