Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Starting off fine in 09

Aloha and happy 2009!

We are back in the islands after visiting family in Washington for Christmas and the new year. It was a great vacation and Leif was able to meet many new family members and play with a lot of his cousins. So here are the photos to show just a little of what happened.

To start with, we arrived during the biggest and worse snow fall western Washington had seen in decades. It took us three hours once our flight landed to get to the terminal and claim our baggage as they had to dig out planes and the carts that drive the baggage to and fro. Amanda's parents had two feet of snow at their house. The electricity was out the first night we were there and the temperatures were in the twenties!! It was beautiful but Cory spent the first three days shoveling the long driveway and shoveling out cars and trucks that had gotten stuck. It brought back memories of growing up in Nebraska.

Aa winter wonderland at the Packard's

This was Leif's only real outing in the snow. he often said it was "crazy cold."

We then went on the longest drive of Leif's life--a four hour trip to Grandma Great's house in Longview, WA. Previously he had only been in the car for an hour and a half so we were unsure of what would happen but he was great. Though as Cory was driving the Tahoe in a blizzard, and while trying to pass a semi, the wipers stopped working. Leif's Nana had to crawl out the window and manually get them going. It felt a bit like a Clark Griswold's Christmas at that moment.

Hangin' out on the stairs at Grandma Greats with cousin Sophie

Writing our letter to Santa in hopes he will bring us some nice toys

The animal magnets were cool but Santa also brought a lollipop!!

Ummmmmmm...a fist full of lollipops

Christmas day at Grandma Greats. Nearly all of us were there.
We then went back to Amanda's parents place to spend some time relaxing from all the Christmas excitement. This meant the men were lounging and watching football.

Pop-pop showing how to get just the right combination

Reading his coin book...he still loves to read
Leif absolutely loved playing with his cousin Kennon, who is a bit younger. Kennon isn't talking yet but that didn't stop him from teaching Leif to scream and screech at the top of his lungs.

Leif and his "best friend Kennon"

Playing with cousin Sophie

One night we went to perhaps the biggest display of Christmas lights we had seen. There were supposedly 1.3million lights on display but we only counted 1.2 million. We told Leif that we would be going to a really cool Christmas party but he fell asleep in the car. He was still asleep in his Dad's arms for the first few minutes but as soon as he awoke he said, "Christmas party?" While w were there we got to have some awesome fresh donuts (Ric waited an hour for them) and see Bruce the Talking Tree, Leif's favorite part of the whole evening.

Daddy, Leif, Momma, and Bruce

Bruce longs for the beach, too

The Bennetts in the crazy cold weather

Leif excited about giving a walking snowman and teddy bear high five

Cory also got to go snowboarding one day at Stevens Pass with "cousin" Steve. It was a ton of fun with nearly two feet of light fresh powder. It felt great to get back on the board again but he really missed the warm waters of the tropics and being on one of his other boards...the surfboard.

Oh what fun it is to ride a 158cm board on snow. Hey!

We also got to spend a very short time in Bellingham on a mini vacation. The weather was not that great so were not able to stay very long. there were many people that we had wanted to see and soon realized that it was simply not going to be possible. The roads were bad and more snow was forecasted so we had to make our way back to Amanda's parents house. We did get to see some of our favorite places, a couple of our friends, and eat some of that great Bellingham food. Sadly though, our the owners of our favorite pottery place closed up shop and moved to the tropics.

Leif and Momma in Fairhaven

Leif and his monster cookie from the Colophon Cafe...delicious!

Back with Nanna and Pop-pop we celebrated the new year and then had an early birthday party for Leif with some of his Aunties, Uncles, and cousins. His mother mad him a Cookie Monster cake...did you know that blue frosting is really messy and stains? Out of all of this though, Leif did learn most of the words to the birthday song and he sings it from time to time at home now.

Happy birthday to Leif

What a delicious looking "happy cake"

Leif opening his presents...can't let go of the balloons though

Yeah..."whole party"

Blue is the new black

Before we left for the surf, sand, and sunshine we went to the local children's museum with Nana and Pop-pop. Leif had a great time and loves to tell us how much fun the "kids museum" and the balls were.

Going down the fire truck slide

Having fun with Nanna and the balls

Once we got back on island we had a small get-together with Amanda's mommies club and some of Leif's friends. It was very simple but Amanda did make Cookie Monster cup cakes for the occasion.

Birthdays for Leif, as are most days, are not complete without balloons

Leif trying to grow a beard like his dad

Playing with his new baseball set up

We hope all is well with you...wherever you may be and greatly look forward to having you come visit. While we were in Washington we learned one much as we love and miss our family...nothing compares to life in the islands!


Cory, Amanda, and Leif