Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family Pictures 2011

We recently had our family pictures done just in time for our Christmas card. If you have not received a card and you would like one, please leave me your address as a comment, or you can email it to me at

The pictures really turned out much better than I expected. We had Nicole Burdett take our pictures for us. She did a really great job considering how awful Averie was. 19 months is not the right age to do pictures, just in case you were wondering! She did great on the family pictures, but we we not able to get many of her by herself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looks like Christmas!

It looks like Christmas at the Anderson House! Brian did such a great job on the lights on the house. I am so happy with the way they turned out.We just go the tree up as well and it looks and smells fabulous! We are thinking about buying an artificial tree at the end of the season, but I don't if I can give up my "real" trees! Just look at it!
I just love the tradition of going every year and picking out our tree. It puts me in the Christmas spirit and is one of my favorite traditions. This year was so fun with Averie. She was so into putting the ornaments on the tree. I had to re-balance the tree because most of the ornaments were on the bottom of the tree when she was finished. I really wish I would have taken pictures as we were putting it up. Oh well. I hope everyone is having a great Pre Christmas Season! 20 days left!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oahu 2011

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but we had such a wonderful time on our trip, I have to document every second! Here goes nothing (only 2 months late)!

Day 1

The days up to the trip were by far the most stressful. I was so worried about Averie and the flight. Surprisingly she did great! It was a lot of work keeping her entertained, but lucky for me, she took a little nap too.

After several hours we finally landed in Honolulu! I couldn't wait to get out and exploring. We started our adventure driving around the Island. We stopped at this beautiful lookout to get some pictures.After the drive around the island, we finally made it to our beautiful beachhouse. This home was incredible. Just look at this kitchen.

The master bedroom wasn't too bad either.

This was the view off of the balcony. What a beautiful part of the island.

After we finished exploring the inside of the house, we checked out the backyard. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

Our view of Chinaman's Hat. We kayaked out there, but I will save that story for later in the post.

One of the best things about the backyard was the gazebo. It had a hammock and was designated "the screaming kid lounge"/"sunrise viewer".

Averie just loved that she got to play with her cousin, Easton. She just LOVES him. We had to watch her extra close to make sure she wasn't over loving him.

When Averie wasn't entertaining Easton she was pushing this little stool around. It was so cute and just her size.

One thing about Hawaii that we were not expecting was the oversized snails. Holy Moly!

We also had a few too many lizards in my opinion. At least there weren't snakes or spiders.
After a great first day, we finished up the evening observing the husking of a coconut. It only took a few with the hammer, but Andy was successful! This coconut did not taste so great, but it was fun to watch.

Day 2
For those of you that have lived with us or know us very well, you would know that we are not morning people in the Anderson household. But how could you not wake up for this?!

I loved to see the sunrise every morning. It was so beautiful. It also helped that we were still on Utah time and sunrise actually meant that it was about 10:00 am.
After a good breakfast,and our beach attire was put on,

we were ready to head to Kailua Beach!Averie was lathered up in sunscreen and ready to go! She loved the sand and the ocean.

Who is that hottie in the ocean? Oh wait, he's with me.

We had such a blast that day. We decided to write our names in the sand and do hand prints. I know, way to be original...

How's this for originality? We made sand "landscapes". Ha ha! I bet not many thought to that!
Don't mind the buried baby in the middle, she was there when we got there. What is a family vacation without a jumping photo?After a fun day at the beach we decided to go on a hike up to the pillboxes overlooking the beach.
Averie was out in about 5 minutes. She looked so uncomfortable, but she slept the entire time.

The rest of my family probably would disagree, but this was my favorite hike in Oahu. It was short and somewhat easy, plus the views were spectacular.

Once we reached the top, we were able to explore the Pillbox that once housed servicemen from World War 2. It was unfortunate that it was covered in graffitti, but it was still pretty cool to see.
At the end of our hike, we found one of these:I am not sure what part of this you eat, but they are pretty nonetheless.

Day 3
Day 3 started out with yet another beautiful sunset. Are you sensing a trend?

This is probably my favorite picture of the entire trip.
Averie was running around like crazy while I was taking these shots. She loved being outside in her jammies.This day we decided to head up to the North Shore and see some of the sites. The first stop that we came to was Laniloa. It was one of the most beautiful areas that we saw. The entire island was gorgeous, but there is just something about the dark blue ocean hitting the rocks.
Plus there was this guy,
so you know it had to be cool! Have know idea what this weirdo was doing, but at least he was entertaining. Here is a pic of us:
Me being the thrill seeker that I am, had to go check out the cliff.
It was pretty intense to see the waves crashing in. It is amazing the damage that the water does to the rock. Check out this hole we found.

Not impressed? Well check this one out!!And finally, a picture of my mom and me:

After our stop at Laniloa, we stopped to take some pictures of this guy:

I could not believe how many sea turtles we saw while we were there. It was crazy! It was really nice to see this one on land. You really get an idea of how big they are. The sun was just a little too bright for Easton.As we continued to drive around the North Shore, we stopped to check out the "Others'" houses from the show Lost.We finished up our tours at the Dole Plantation. We didn't do the whole tour, but we did manage to get some pineapple icecream. Yum!Day 4
Here is the day's sunrise.
My parents were so sweet this day and watched both of the kiddos so the four of us could go on a hike to Mariner's Ridge. It was a little bit longer/tougher climb than the Pillbox hike.
The views did not disappoint though!

As soon as we finished the hike, we headed back to the house to meet up with the kids and my parents. There has been a ton of movies and tv shows filmed in Oahu. We decided to check out some of the sites at Kualoa Ranch.Before we started the tour, we had some time to check out the animals. Averie and Brian looked thrilled. Ha ha.

After checking out the animals, we went on the movie tour of the Kualoa Valley. Many televesion shows and movies have been shot in this area. It was beautiful!
After we finished up at the Ranch, we were on our way to the Buddhist Temple. Before we stopped at the Temple, we checked out one of the Oriental Cemeteries. I am not positive, but I think these stones are Japanese. The tombstones were so close together, it was a very different type of memorial. I wish I could have gotten a picture of another Japanese Cemetary that we saw downtown. It was so crazy. This pictures gives you an idea of how the tombstones were set up.

After exploring the cemetary, we made our way to the Temple. It was just as peaceful and serene as it looks!I even took a couple of minutes to meditate!
One of the first things we did on the temple grounds was bang the gong for good luck. Andy nearly killed his first born when the log came back and nearly hit Easton in the head!

AmyLyn and I balancing.
The temple grounds were like I said, so peaceful. All the greenery was beautiful. I had to take a picture of the unusual pine trees in Hawaii. So different than what we have here in Utah.We found a forest of bamboo. We managed to get a couple of pictures before the mosquitos ate us alive!
Day 5

Hanauma Bay is one of the best spots on Oahu to go snorkeling. We woke up bright and early to check it out. Unfortunately, we did not get to enjoy much of the snorkeling that day. Poor Averie had a sunscreen in the eye incident first thing! I felt horrible. Needless to say, she was pretty miserable. We were able to take turns watching her and snorkeling and we saw some pretty cool things. She did cheer up long enough to chase the pidgeons. Silly girl!
I loved the sea turtles. We saw several while we were there. They would just swim right next to you. It was awesome!
Two things that were not awesome. 1. My dad got stung by a Portuguese Man o War. Nasty little buggers!2. I saw a shark while we were snorkeling! I was looking down at the reef in one of the deeper areas and I saw this:Well I didn't take that picture, obviously I was not hanging around long to take a picture. I am pretty sure it was just a reef shark, but it was still freaky! After we saw that, we decided our snorkeling expedition was over.
After Hanauma, we were off to Spitting Cave of Portlock. This area was absolutely gorgeous! Too bad Averie was being the Devil's spawn and was screaming bloody murder by this point. We did manage to get a few pictures though. I cannot believe how blue the water was!
The waves all suck in to this cave and as the tide goes out, it spits it out. Pretty incredible.After this final melt down with Averie, we decided it was time to head back to the house. I felt so bad for her, she was having such a rough day. I think we expected too much out of her and she had just had it by this point. Once we got to the house, my parents were sweet and watched both kids so that the four of us could take the kayacks out. We had been wanting to to kayack out to China Man's Hat the entire trip. We finally had the time, and the baby sitters, and we were off!

Lets just say the island was slightly farther away than we imagined. I think it only ended up being about 2 miles from the shore, but 2 miles is a LONG way when you are paddling! After what seemed like forever, we saw a glorious sight...
LAND!!We were looking pretty fierce on shore, but don't let us fool you, our arms felt like noodles!
Once we recovered for a minute, we had this genius idea to hike to the top of the island. It was quite the adventure. It was mostly straight up, and yes, there was a bit of danger!
Andy is inching his way around this ledge that is straight down about 50 or so feet.
Once we made it to the top, the views were great! It was such a neat experience to view the rest of the island out on a small island. If you ever go to Oahu, make sure you do this. This was by far my favorite thing we did on the trip!
Brian had to freak me out and look over the edge. You can't tell from this picture, but he is looking over a cliff that is straight down with the waves hitting the rocks. I nearly threw up watching him.
What a beautiful site, looking back toward the beach where our vacation rental was.
Day 6
We headed back up to the North Shore to experience the Polynesian Culture Center. We stopped at the Temple.

I think that all temple grounds are beautiful, but this one was especially pretty. Averie was in one of her moods again, so we had to take this pic without her.
See what I mean about the moods? She was not in a picture posing kind of mood that day!Pretty Pretty!Here she is being bratty, errr I mean reverent.AmyLyn, Easton and II stole these pictures from AmyLyn's blog. They are so stinking cute!

After the temple, we made our way to the Polynesian Culture Center. I know that many people highly recommend this outing, so I will do my best not to put it down too much, but I seriously didn't get it. I was just pretty disappointed with the whole experience. I just thought it was way overpriced for what you got. The Luau food was terrible and it just wasn't what I expected. The show on the other hand, was great! I could not believe how talented everyone was. I think if we were ever to go back, I would just go to the show. I also really enjoyed the Samoa's Show. The guy that demonstrated how to de husk a coconut was hilarious. We had to get a picture with him!
The guy climbing the coconut tree was pretty funny too. Crazy how fast he got up that tree!
Work it!
Here we are at the Luau. I loved the leis. I have always wanted a authentic lei!
Day 7
Day 7 was Pearl Harbor day. I loved this experience. I have such a respect for our country and it was such a humbling experience to see Pearl Harbor.
It was so incredible to go out and see the US Arizona. I can't believe that it still rests after all of these years. It was a little eerie realizing that we were above so many that lost their lives. I could not believe that oil was still rising from the ship after all of these years.Going to Pearl Harbor is anther must do if you are in the area. What an experience!

We finished up the day at the Lagoons at Ko Olina. They water was so nice for the kids and we even were able to do a little more snorkeling.
This was the only day that we were able to get pictures of the sunset. My camera did not coorperate, but I did get a couple of great pictures.

My Hot HoneyOne Happy Family
Day 8
We started our morning with a hike up to the Diamond Head Crater. It was a nice easy hike and the weather was perfect. Brian received so much praise from strangers for packing A around all day. What a trooper he is!
The water was so beautiful and clear. We could see the reef from the top.
We were able to get a couple of shots of this lighthouse also. Pretty cool!Looking over WaiKiki we saw a rainbow.
Just some more pretty scenery shots.
The crater on our way down.
After hiking in the sun, it was time to cool off at the beach. We rented paddle boards for the day, and man it may have been more trouble than it was worth! First of all we had a horrible time getting the boards. The company was so disorganized. It was such a mess. Well we finally got the paddle boards and Andy and I decided to take them out for a quick run.
There should have been a disclaimer on the paddles. My paddle did not float! After the first two times getting up on the board and quickly falling off, I dropped my paddle. The paddle sank instantly to the bottom of the ocean floor. We were at least 100 yards from the beach. I could see the paddle but I didn't want to dive and get it until Andy got closer to hold my board. Well after a couple of minutes Andy finally made his way out to me and I lost sight of the board! I was so mad! We looked for a few minutes and after not having any luck, we swam back to the shore. I called the rental place and they told me the paddle would be 60 dollars to replace! I was less than happy with their response. I could not believe they were going to charge me for a lost sinkable paddle! I was determined that I was going to find the paddle. I took the snorkle gear and told Andy to follow me on a board. I swam around for probably 20 minutes when I finally saw the paddle! It was amazing that I found it. I called Andy over and I decided to dive down to get the stupid thing. It was pretty deep, but I was able to get it. I can't believe that I got it back! After that, we strapped the paddle to a strap and strapped it to our ankles. We were on our way. Here is an example of how most of the afternoon went:
Easy does it,
It was still a blast, even with the endless crashing into the water.

The kiddos were loving their floaties.

Averie was loving the board as well.To finish up our fabulous day, I had the opportunity to get stung by a manowar also! Oh it felt great! Lucky for me, it was just a tiny one, but it hurt!

Day 9
Our final day in Oahu was a rainy one. It was pretty neat because there were a ton of waterfalls!I couldn't get a great picture, but at the time I took this picture, we saw 14 waterfalls! It was crazy!
After we checked out the scenery, we headed to the International Market Place to do a little suveniour shopping.
Check out this crazy tree that we saw. I cannot get over how different the trees were there.
AmyLyn and I had to wear our matching shirts. We were looking pretty cute.After the shopping, we headed out to do a couple of last lookout points. Oahu is such a beautiful place!
Our last stop of the trip was at the punch bowl Memorial. So many servicemen lost. Again, it was such a humbling experience.
Well if you made it to the end of the post, congratulations! I know it was a long one, but I just wanted to remember our wonderful trip. It was a wonderful trip and I feel very blessed to have experienced it!