Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Catching Up

I know that it has been a long time since I have written. I left off in the middle of summer vacation in New England so to recap...

We went to Chinatown in Boston for dim sum on Monday.
On Tuesday it was raining, but we still stopped for some outlet mall shopping in Kittery, ME on our way to Kennebunk. We ate lobster dinner that night!
On Wednesday we went to Freeport to the LL Bean Outlet where I found all sorts of bags and backpacks. We also made it to Gooch's Beach that day.
Thursday brought the highlight of our trip: my brother in law came home from Afghanistan and we sped back to Boston to meet him at the airport. What a great day!
I went to the New Balance Outlet on Friday to return some things and my daughter ended up with Bert and Ernie tennis shoes. She loves them! I also took my kids to visit a friend in Salem, MA. We went out to Marblehead Point.
Saturday was our last day and our Maine relatives came down to meet us for a day on the beach near Gloucester, MA. The perfect ending to a wonderful trip.

Real life after vacation brought the set-up of a new classroom for me and 27 wonderful kindergartners for me to teach! No wonder I have had no time to blog, plus my two beautiful children at home and their activities (Cub Scouts and religion class). The change has been tough! Having a classroom there is always so much to learn and so much to do. Even in the two years that I was gone, some things have changed drastically. I am always playing catch up in some arena of my life!

The ironic things that have happened are: I have already attended the funeral of one of my student's mother's and today, a first in my life: I had a student bite another student on the ear a la Mike Tyson! So much for my rule of only food, drink, and candy go in your mouth! What can I say: life is never dull with children around!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Scariest Ramp

10 years later, the memory doesn't fail me...

The ramp from the 405 North to the 105 West on the way to the airport has the feeling that you are driving into the sky. It is very high, and even in a car it is scary!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Boston Day Two

We ended up staying home on our second day in Boston. My sister in law, my niece, and her boyfriend came down to visit from Maine. They learned how to play Mahjongg while the guys went to play golf, and my children relaxed at home.

The evening was once again a huge meal of chicken and ribs!

In the middle of the night our room was so dark that Reese woke up and yelled out to me, "I can't see!" I had to go and get her from her mattress on the floor!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boston Day One

We got to Boston at 1:30 am. It was a long trip, and it rained most of the way from home. The kids were very good and well entertained by movies. Thank goodness for the DVD player!

After a leisurely breakfast with family and laundry because our clothes got soaked on the top of the car, we took off to see the sights of Boston. We saw Fenway Park and stopped by the Prudential Building. We then set off on a walk through the city that included a walk down Boyston Street passed the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church. I liked the saying that was inscribed on the Boston Public Library Building. "The Commonwealth requires the education of the people as the safeguard of order and liberty."

We walked through the Public Garden and the Swan Boats to Charles Street and along Charles Street through Beacon Hill to a foot bridge near the Longfellow Bridge. We passed the Community Boat House and walked back toward the Prudential Center along the Charles Street Esplanade. It was fun to see a different side of Boston than I saw on my last trip to Boston, but I wore the wrong shoes that day and was not prepared for a long walk. The top of my sandal dug into my foot and gave me a blister that is still tender today. (I thought that we were just going to look at the shops along Newbury Street.)

We left for home after this trek and a stop at the candy store in the Prudential Center. Then, it was off to the Sam's Club, Lowe's for a grill, and Stop and Shop for groceries for dinner. What a tiring day that ended with a yummy taco meal!


To bring everything up to date, we have had some changes the last few months. I haven't been blogging much due to other obligations. In the spring I took two classes to maintain my Intervention Specialist license in case I needed it for my tutoring position next year. In May I got a kindergarten teaching position and am very excited about the prospect of working full time again with children.

With the end of the school year comes the start of festival season. We did two festivals this year and I think that we might be done. I have not done well in the past in the fall and do not anticipate that this season would be any better.

We had some family friends visit in June, and I had a great time taking them to Amish country. It was the best trip that I have ever taken to Amish country. We had lunch at an Amish restaurant, visited the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center, and ended the day sampling cheese at Heini's.

Father's Day weekend brought Ron's two best friends and their families to our home. I had a great time catching up and getting to know the wives while the kids played. The kids had an awesome time playing together and playing on the water slide that our neighbors brought out.

July brought the 4th and time spent with family. We had a great weekend with parties and fireworks. Now, comes more time with family as we visit Boston and Maine!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Relax, what is that...

But if I have the time, I enjoy talking on the phone with friends and family, reading a book, and blogging.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Family Culture

As part of an assignment for one of my classes, I was asked to write about my family culture as if I were going to share it with my students. I thought that it would be a nice addition to my blog.

I am a first generation Thai American. I am an only child, and my parents are from Thailand in Southeast Asia. In my home we spoke mostly English although English is not the native language of my parents. I grew up with an understanding of Thai, my parents’ language and perfected my Thai language knowledge when I spend over three months in Thailand at the age of 10. I speak Thai in the main dialect and understand it in three dialects, the main dialect, the northern Phrae dialect, and the southern Yala/Pattani dialect.

My religious background is Buddhist. My parents grew up Buddhist and passed along the basic principles of thought to me. I was taught if you do good, you get good and if you do bad, you get bad. In addition I was taught to have great respect to elders and not to call them by just their first names. Therefore, I grew up with many “aunts” and “uncles”.

Education was very important to my parents and family. I went to private Catholic schools even though my parents were Buddhist because they felt that good education mattered more than the religion that was taught in the school. I was taught to do well in order to achieve my goals. I had cousins that came here for their higher education as I was growing up, and I was told that if they could do it, I could too. There was no question in my family about going to college. I was going, and I was going to get a master’s degree. Which I did!

Usually, we ate rice at one meal a day, most of the time, it was dinner. We also ate American foods and went out to dinner a great deal when I was growing up. We were not a family that had to eat traditional Thai food everyday.

I married a first generation Filipino American. He is the sixth out of six children. In his home they spoke mostly Tagalog, their native language, and he has an understanding of the language, but does not speak Tagalog fluently. He grew up with a Catholic background, and it was very important to his family to follow the church’s teachings. Through his culture he was also taught to have a great respect for elders just like I was.

My husband attended public schools even though they were very religious. Education was very important in his family also, and he was highly encouraged to go to college. In his community the Filipinos gathered together for social events, have a cultural center, and many social organizations that are based on their shared culture.

As he was growing up, my husband ate mostly Filipino food with rice as the basis. I believe that they mainly ate at home although they would sometimes go out for other types of Asian food. Foods that they ate that were American were ones that were easily paired with rice such as fried chicken, hot dogs, and SPAM.

As we raise our children as Thai/Filipino Americans, we combine our values and our culture. Our children are taught the same respect for elders that we grew up knowing. They are baptized Catholic and are raised Catholic although they are still influenced by Buddhist teachings because all religion is inherently good. They have grown up learning only English because it is the language that we are most comfortable speaking. Hopefully, one day, they will be able to travel to Thailand and the Philippines, and that will spark their interest in learning the languages. We raise our children to aspire to be all that they can be, but they have to go to college first! Both of our children love rice and will eat it plain as well as with chicken, SPAM, and bacon. We mainly eat American when we are out because it is convenient so the children are chicken nugget lovers, but rice is still an important part of our lives and we eat it a few times a week.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sarah's Key

I read this book a few weeks ago and could not put it down. It is about how the Holocaust affected France and the round up of Jews in Paris. It also connects to the present in that a journalist is researching the Vel' d'Hiv' for its 60th anniversary. I agree with the review on the back of the book by Risa Miller, author of Welcome to Heavenly Heights, who said, "This book will stay in your mind long after it's back on the shelf".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

I could eat nothing but Asian food for a year

I believe that I could eat all things Asian for a year. Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't say 'Dang It' around me

Dang It
It seems so country. Just say the real thing, damn it or dog gone it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Former Teacher, My Present Boss

I am a tutor at a school where the principal is my grade school French teacher. I had told a few of the teachers at the school that I am a former student of the principal, but was wary of mentioning it to the principal herself. One day I was in the office with a parent consultant and the topic of the principal's former students came up, and I mentioned that I am actually one of her former students. She said that I should tell the principal. I still was wary about letting her know.

Well, the parent consultant took care of it for me. One day when I got to school, the principal asked if she could see me in her office. I was wondering what I had done. When I got into her office, she asked me if I recognized this green satin box with lace overlay. It did look kind of like the box I had my ring bearer carry for our wedding so I said yes. She said that the box was one that I had given her after I went on a trip as a student of hers. She still kept the box on her dresser and uses it for her earrings. I was amazed! The principal said that once the parent consultant jogged her memory, she knew exactly who I was and could even spell my maiden name to this day.

I have to say that it was nice to be remembered so fondly over 25 years later. The principal did not remember some of my former classmates, but she did remember me and in a positive light!

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Na

Some of you may have noticed that I am reading all of the An Na books that I can find. She is the author of teen books, but I find them interesting because they focus on Korean Americans and their immigration issues. I like how she focuses on the problems that some families face when they choose to come to the United States. It sometimes seems like the American dream is always within reach and easy to achieve, but many immigrants face difficulties when they come to the US that are sometimes overlooked.

For an interesting read from an Asian perspective, read An Na's books.

Monday, February 16, 2009

LEGO Pirates

Riley got a new LEGO set with the money that he saved from his piggy bank. He really enjoys playing with LEGO sets and loves to look at his LEGO catalog. I had fun putting together Riley's Soldier's Fort. He was okay with me putting it together over two days; the first two buildings on one day and the other two buildings today. He played with it both days and loved the LEGO people and the cannon and crane.

Now that Riley has moved onto littler LEGO sets, I know that I will have to spend more time putting them together. In some ways I don't mind and enjoy doing something for Riley. He actually does really well not destroying what I have just built. But, on the other hand, I look forward to the time when Riley can put together his own LEGO sets. He actually needs the fine motor practice, but, with a two year old, it is easier to put the set together before all the pieces walk off. I know that one day, I will look back and wish that he would still need me to put together his LEGO sets for him, but I will also be happy that he has found the independence and maturity to treat his LEGO sets well.

Until then, Mommy is the LEGO builder, and Riley is the LEGO player.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

With Love and Fond Memories Always

For older members of my mother's family it is a tradition to publish a memory book for the cremation of the family member. Family members can write whatever they like: memories, stories, lessons learned, etc. This is the first time I have felt that I really needed to write for a family member, but, at the same time, I was at a loss as to how to go about my writing. Originally, I wanted to write about a bunch of individual memories, but then I couldn't think of a memory for every time that we met. Some memories were also too private to be share. Below is what I created for the book.

When you are young and you leave, you take it for granted that you will see each other again. I don’t take it for granted anymore. I always thought that Yai Pat would come to my wedding and meet my children. I thought that I would continue to have opportunities to go and visit my relatives in Thailand, but time and distance sometimes get in the way.

I first met Yai Pat in 1982 when I was seven years old. My parents and I were visiting Thailand for my first time, and Yai Pat was there to pick us up from the airport. I remember Yai Pat had a Volkswagen Bug that I wanted to ride in because my mom was riding in that car. Yai Pat insisted that I ride in the pickup truck with my dad because it was air conditioned. During this trip, I celebrated my eighth birthday in Phrae. Yai Pat sent me a telegram that was typed in English that said, “Happy Birthday Love, Pipat”. I wish I still had it today.

Throughout my young life I spent a great deal of time with Yai Pat considering that I live in the United States. When I would visit Thailand, I would always sleep in Yai Pat’s room where we would share stories as we lay in bed at night. Yai Pat made sure that my time in Thailand was fun. She arranged trips for me to places around Bangkok as well as to visit relatives and friends in Phrae, Yala, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Surin, Singapore, Koh Samui, etc. Because of her I got to spend time with family and see sights that I may not have known I wanted to see. I appreciate all the lessons she taught me, and all the memories I have with Yai Pat. I only wish that she could have lived until we met again on Earth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hawaii Day Fifteen: Our Last Day

We did some last minute snorkeling in Makena where we saw some really pretty coral and some fish, but had trouble with foggy goggles. We stopped by Riley's favorite beach for him to say goodbye and went home for lunch. We had lunch, finished packing, and left to do some last minute shopping. I decided that I wanted something to commemorate our trip to Hana and I found a t-shirt at Crazy Shirts. I went back to get the t-shirt and ended up with the hat instead. The logo is Road to Hana Survivor: 617 curves, 56 bridges, 52 miles, 3 hours, winding road. Ron bought some souvenirs at Hilo Hattie's and we went to the mall. At the mall we went to see if I could get Ron's another cell phone before we went home because he dropped his, and it did not show a screen anymore. We decided to wait until we got home. Ron found what he was looking for and we were off the the airport. Reese and I had an evening flight. She stayed awake for the first three hours and then fell asleep. Because of the time change we landed in Dallas at 1am Hawaii time, and Reese was a real bear. When it got light outside, I took her to ride the Skylink, a train that links all the terminals. We rode it three times: Reese stood the first time, climbed in the my lap the second round, and fell asleep. I put her in her stroller, and she stayed asleep pretty much until we got home. She woke up briefly to get on the plane and then we got two seats on the plane to stretch out since the flight was not full.

Riley got to go and see the movie Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler with his dad and aunt before his flight back home. He slept on all three legs of his flights home.

The minute we were all together again we went to get Ron a new cell phone. He picked out a Blackberry; Happy 40th Birthday!

Hawaii Day Fourteen: Makena State Park

We went back to the beach by the Maui Prince Hotel to do some snorkeling. I actually got back into the water, but did not see much of anything and had to head back because I did something to my right ankle. We hung out on the beach for awhile and ate lunch from the Maui Prince Hotel. Ron wanted to go out to the end of Makena State Park, a place that we had gone earlier in our trip, to snorkel this time. We packed up our stuff and headed out there. The snorkeling near the parking area was not that great, so we decided to hike along the trail that is suppose to lead to a great snorkeling area. We did not intend on going snorkeling, but wanted to see where the path led. Mind you, we did not have appropriate shoes, but we went anyway. We went about an hour out and did not even get to the beach where we could snorkel. We ended up going uphill and got to the end of the point, but was still 20-25 minutes from the beach for snorkeling. Then, we had another hour walk back to the parking lot. It was beautiful and I am glad that I went, but for us to go snorkeling out there, I would have to have more time on Maui. Maybe next time...

Where we started...

What we walked over and through...

Where we ended up...

Where we wanted to go, by the water...

After our tiring day on the beach and our hike we were treated to dinner at Roy's Kihei. I guess that Roy's is an institution in Hawaii and has made it way onto the mainland. I ran into my friend from home who I saw on our picnic day again. She is a server's assistant at Roy's and we sat at her table. We had a great last night in Maui with a great meal, fish, shrimp, and duck with an awesome banana dessert! The kids were treated very well and got ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Hawaii Day Thirteen: Haleakala National Park

We started out our day with breakfast at McDonald's. In Hawaii they have a Local Deluxe Breakfast in addition to the regular Deluxe Breakfast. The Local Deluxe Breakfast includes two pieces of Spam, two pieces of Portuguese sausage, scrambled eggs, and rice. Their rice was very good, and Ron got the Local Deluxe Breakfast, and I got Spam and eggs with rice. Riley was very happy that McDonald's still had Hot Cakes with Sausage with syrup. He had a great breakfast at McDonald's, only in Hawaii!

Haleakala mountain is known as the world's largest dormant volcano. We actually went up to the peak above the clouds at over 10,000 feet. The road up was not as treacherous as the road to Hana and does not take as long. We left about 11am and we got up to the peak about 12:30pm. We spent some time up at the top and then drove back down so that we could be back in Kihei by 3pm for OSU football. It was a great feeling to feel that you are on top of the world, and the scenery was beautiful. On the way up you could see all parts of Maui's beautful landscape and over to the Big Island from the top.

We went back to Sansei for dinner since it was Monday night. This time Riley and I stood in line and just as we get in line, Riley tells me he has to go to the restroom. My sister in law had left to go and give Ron a key to the house, and I told Riley he had to wait until she got back. He did a great job, and we made it to the restroom at the local grocery store just in time.

After dinner we went to Borders so that I could use my gift card from Christmas to buy some Hawaii books for Riley and Reese. We ended up with an alphabet book, S Went Surfing and Santa's Hawaiian Holiday for souvenirs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hawaii Day Twelve: Last Family Day

We started out the day with church. We attended services at Calvary Chapel South Maui which is right on Kihei Rd., a very beautiful setting. After church we tried to go to our favorite pizza place, Matteo's, but there were not open for lunch on Sundays. We ended up at a food court. We all got something different to eat: Subway, Vietnamese pho or noodles, and Filipino food. This was the day that my brother in law, niece, and nephew were leaving so we went home so they could pack. They left mid-afernoon, and we went to Riley's favorite beach, Kamaole Beach #1. We had a good time walking to the beach and playing in the sand and water. Reese actually went into the water on this day. On some days she only plays in the sand right by the water, but does not actually go into the ocean. On the way home from the airport my sister in law picked us up from the beach in a new rental truck. Our other one had a headlight out, and rather than replace the headlight, they just gave us a new vehicle. Unfortunately, we seemed to have misplaced Reese's tennis shoes in the transition! (We actually did not know until we left and emptied out the car for sure that they were lost!)

We ended our day by going back to The Shops of Wailea to return a nice shirt that Ron got from Tori Richards and for me to go and buy some souvenir t-shirts for some friends. We ate dinner that night at Matteo's and tried some of their other entrees which were just as good as the pizza, which Riley and Reese ate. Reese ate two pieces of pizza and was falling asleep as she was trying to finish the second piece. She ended up asleep in my lap and stayed asleep until the next morning!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hawaii Day Eleven: The Beach

I woke up this morning, and Ron had shaved. He had not shaved since the day before Christmas Eve and did not plan to on this trip. When I asked him why, he said that Riley said that he looked old with a beard, and he did not want his dad to be old because old people go away and he did not want his dad to go away. How sweet!

We went to the beach by the Maui Prince Hotel today. We thought that it would be a good place to go because I wanted to try to go snorkeling again, there was sand for the little kids to play in, and there was shade so we did not have to put up umbrellas. Well, the waves were just right for boogie boarding, but not snorkeling. The sand was perfect, and Reese played in the sand the whole time we were at the beach. Her feet did not touch the water.

Riley complains everytime we go to a beach that is not the first one he went to, with the sun, sand, and lifeguard. He wants a beach with a lot of sand, and he says that he just wants to play in the sand and maybe throw the ball around, but not go in the water. The minute we got to the beach today, he wanted his sunscreen on and he wanted to go into the water. It is funny how the minute he sees water, he changes his mind about going in. Riley had fun in the big waves and on the boogie board. We played in the sand and dug a hole for Reese to sit in which is her favorite thing to do when she sees a hole. Eventually, it got cloudy so we packed up and went home to shower and go and get manicures and pedicures.

Riley would not stay home for girl's night out. He is starting to have some anxiety again because we are getting close to going home, and he knows he has to fly with his dad. They actually did really well. Reese cried when she first sat on my lap by the pedicure well because she thought that the water was for her. Riley entertained himself by watching football and walking around, but was careful not to be in the way. Reese finally got comfortable enough to get off of my lap about the time for my fingernail painting which was very convenient.

Well, I picked out a dark purple for my toes, and I did not pick out a fingernail color because I could not decide. When we got over to the manicure station, I was going to ask the manicurist's recommendation, but found that she did not speak English. Riley was with me and he said that you should pick blue Mommy because blue is your favorite color. I said that I was not sure that I wanted blue, and he said, "Mommy, blue is your favorite color and it is mine too". I asked him if it was important for me to get blue and he said yes. I tried to steer him toward either a light or dark blue, but he wanted the one in the middle of the shelf of polish which is a cross between ocean blue and turquoise. I got it for him, and he thinks that I am beautiful with the polish. He is proud of himself for choosing the color, and if I would have known he wanted to choose my nail color, I would have let him choose the color for my toes!

Hawaii Day Ten: Pa'ia and Makawao

This adventure did not start out on a good note. We have been pretty good about alternating beach days with car tour days, but for most of us, this was the second car tour day in a row. We started out at Walmart because I needed pictures for Riley's story that he has to write for school. We were there for 45 minutes downloading pictures and picking the best ones for his report. It is also to be noted that my niece's waterproof camera got water in it and is not working anymore so we were trying to get all the pictures off her memory card also.

We left there and headed for Pa'ia, where they were some little shops and things, but not a lot to do besides shop. I did have a bunch of gelato from the Ono Gelato Company. I helped Riley and Reese eat their vanilla. Ron and I shared a tiramisu, and then Ron ordered a coconut for his sister that she didn't really want and was going to waste, so I ate it too. Needless to say, I felt almost sick afterward. We were going to try and see the surfers just east of Pa'ia, but the traffic was too heavy.

We went up the mountain toward Makawao and saw some beautiful churches and was able to look down toward the figure 8 of Maui and toward north Maui. We stopped in Makawao and look at a few of their shops and I bought some strawberries for Reese that were grown on Maui. They were $4.99, but since she has not been eating much on this trip, I thought that they were priced well enough to buy them anyway. Well, my sister in law went to Safeway on the way home and she said that I got a good deal since the ones there were $7.99. I definitely would not have bought those!

On the way down from Makawao we stopped at Costco for fish and at Walmart to pick up the pictures and came home. We all came home grumpy and tired of each other and spending time in the car. We ended the evening with leftover cake and watching The Notebook. The rest of the family wanted to compare The Notebook to Benjamin Button which they had seem the night before. Ron and I were gain and thought that we had not seen The Notebook before, but once we got into the movie, we realized that we had seen it before.

Hawaii Day Nine: Ron's 40th Birthday

We decided a great way to spend the day was to go whale watching. We went on a boat tour that was organized by the Pacific Whale Foundation. It was decided that the older kids would not go on this trip because they had already been before and did not want to go again. It was a nice tour with only about 90 people on the boat when the boat holds over 200 people. We got a great opportunity to see some dolphins as well as the whale. We got to see the whale's flute many times which means that the whale is showing his tail and preparing to take a breath and go for a longer dive (50-70 minutes). We also got the opportunity to see whales that were logging or resting just below the surface of the water. The weather was perfect, very sunny and not a cloud in the sky.

Riley was a little scared of looking over the boat, but he did get really excited when he saw the Coast Guard boat. He got use to the water after awhile. Reese was all gung ho. She loved looking at the water, and the things out in the sea. The motion of the boat eventually lulled her to sleep and she took a nap for about an hour.

We went to lunch at some place not worth remembering, went on an errand to Whaler's Village for my brother in law, and stopped for some fruit on the side of the road between Lahaina and Kihei (by Chez Paul's). Reese ate her bananas like corn on the cob, by letting me peel one side and eating it sideways or longways. The oranges were local and delicious. The lime were huge and made me make myself a margarita in order to enjoy the tasty limes.

Once we got home, Riley got to ride on the scooter for the first time with his Uncle Chip. He was very happy to be such a big boy. Then, off the women went to the Four Seasons once again to pick up another cake. This one was also very beautiful with white chocolate mousse and raspberries inside. It had a fondant top and was decorated like what you would think of when thinking of a Hawaii beach. The sand on the cake was made out of Maui Gold sugar. All the decorations were edible made out of chocolate and fondant. The straps on the flip flops were made of Tootsie Rolls. This cake was to celebrate Ron's 40th birthday which was one of the reasons why we decided on this family trip. After a wonderful dinner at home Ron opened some wonderful presents thanks to his sister and brother in law.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hawaii Day Eight: Surfing

We went to Kalama Park to cookout and surf and swim. Usually, we leave the beach at about 2pm because the winds pick up at that time. On this day we decided to stay all day. It is a good thing too because we did not get there until later than usual, and once we got there, they decided to cook first rather than swim first. This park was nice because it had a playground for the kids. There was not much beach to speak of. The park set up off the beach on a break wall of sorts. This helped with the winds at 2pm because they did not knock over our umbrellas.

Riley was playing on the playground and needed help with the handle so he could swing on the rail. As I was walking toward it, another mother helped Riley get the handle back. I thanked her and started walking back toward my lunch when I noticed another girl. I thought that she looked like someone from home, but I thought, no way. I turned back around and sure enough it was the girl that I thought it was, someone I have known since the day she was born; I even went to the baby shower that was given to her mom before she was born. We talked for awhile, and I found out the she moved to Maui after graduation. She was visiting her brother and decided to stay. She lived not too far away from the park we were at, and was there with her friend and her friend's kids. I am happy for my friend; she is enjoying life and living for the moment right now.

Riley was having so much fun playing on the playground that he forgot to go to the restroom and had an accident. I did not have another pair of swimming trunks for him so I improvised for him, and he ended up wearing Speedos, Reese's swimmies. He didn't think too much of it and just kept on playing.

The family wanted to go surfing so they rented two surfboards. Ron went out with them first and tried his hand at it. I am not sure exactly how he did because I was watching the kids and they were too far out for me to see in the sun. I went out for round three, and I actually got on the board and was able to kneel and stand on the board, but did not really ride that far before falling off. My sister in law helped out by pushing the board when it was the right time so I did not have to paddle to catch up with the waves. I had a great time and was pretty proud of myself for being able to get up on the board.

To celebrate New Year's Eve the adults went out for appetizers and drinks at the Wailea Golf Club. Although it was cloudy and we were not able to see the sunset, we got some beautiful pictures because our clothes matched the gray-blue sky of the evening. We had an interesting time with ordering the brie appetizer. We asked for extra bread to go with it. When the brie came out, we got the three pieces that were included in the appetizer. We asked for more, like nine pieces and were even willing to pay for it. We got three more. We asked for six more pieces; we got four more. We gave up after that, and we still had brie left.

We spent the evening figuring out the characters on the new Mah Jongg set that arrived in the mail that day. We have been waiting for this set for days because it is a game that we enjoy playing as a family, and they did not have a set at the Maui house. We have been substituting by playing Bonanza which is fun in a different way. The good thing about Bonanza is that it is not limited to four people. But family time for us is Mah Jongg time!

We quit Mah Jongg about 10pm in order to light up the neighborhood with fireworks. There are no laws here regarding fireworks. We were able to buy them at the local Walmart. The younger kids fell asleep before this point so they missed the action, but the adult kids and the older kids had a great time being young again.

We ended up going to bed early on the basis that everyone else on the mainland had already celebrated new year's. Mainly, we were tired from our all day excursion at the beach with surfing. I saw 11pm Maui time, but did not see the stroke of midnight.

Hawaii Day Seven: Riley's Sixth Birthday

My son got to celebrate his sixth birthday on Maui. We started out the day with breakfast at Kihei Caffe where Riley got his favorites, French toast, bacon, and sausage. I was also impressed because Reese actually ate the same thing. She has not been eating much since we have been here, and her favorites are usually rice and pasta related.

After breakfast we travelled along the coast to see Kapalua, where the Mercedes Championship is being held the weekend after we leave, Napali, where we saw some whales off the coast, and Ka'anapali, where I believe that one of the Big Breaks was held. We stopped off at Whaler's Village for some shopping, and where Riley got a special birthday gift from his dad, a Hot Wheels Airport. We left Whaler's Village to go to Lahaina to have lunch. Ron and I have fond memories of Lahaina from our honeymoon when we had dinner at the Lahaina Fish Co. right on the ocean. Lahaina was very crowded because there was a cruise ship in port. We ended up eating lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, which says it is the original one. We ate on the second floor where it was open and you could see out into the ocean. (Earlier in the week, we discovered that the hotel that we stayed at for one night on our honeymoon is on the main strip in Kihei directly down the hill from my sister in law's house.)

Once lunch was over, the kids had enough car riding and we dropped them off at home. My sister in law ordered a cake for Riley at the Four Seasons Hotel because it was the only bakery she could find that would make a special cake that tasted like mainland cake without having a grocery store cake. She said that most of the bakeries in the area bake a traditional Hawaiian cake that was spongy, and she wanted a homemade cake for her nephew/godson. The cake was absolutely beautiful, tastefully decorated and just right for a six year old at the same time. Riley really enjoyed the cars/trucks that came with the cake and finally being able to open his presents. He now has a complete collection of Thomas the Tank Engine videos as well as a new big wheel and more construction toys. We also had pizza at home for dinner which is what Riley wanted, pepperoni, of course.