Friday, September 4, 2009

Aloha . . .

I should start this post out by explaining that my Dad is an amazing photographer. He has a huge-er than huge camera that takes beautiful pictures. He took 1600 pictures (we took 500) on this trip to Hawaii and nearly killed the memory on my laptop when I loaded them.

Thanks, Dad, for helping us preserve such great memories.

My Dad was born and raised on Oahu and is our real link to why we love Hawaii so much. We managed to coordinate the schedules of 13 of us and had a great time together.

I'm going to start right out with one of my most favorite places. Remember singing the song, "Puff the Magic Dragon?" "Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea, and frolicked in the ocean mist in a land called Hanalei. . . " Well - this is Hanalei. It is a little tiny town on the island of Kauai that is so beautiful. It is a bay surrounded by these massive green mountains and filled with fields full of taro patches. It truly is beyond breathtaking.

"us" sitting on the pier

We sat and watched the sun set as Brett and Ben did cannon balls off the end of the pier. You can see their silhouettes.
These are the taro fields.
The pictures don't even do them justice. It is so peaceful when you look out over these valleys.

My awesome sister and her cute family.

Now I know you've belted out a few Beach Boys' songs, and so have we. Remember hearing the words Waimea Bay in "Surfin' USA?" Yep, this is it. Waimea Bay and it is one of Brett and Ben's favorite places. It is a massive rock/cliff to jump off of, a beautiful beach and they LOVE it.

Matt, Brett and Ben. (Notice I'm missing in this picture.)

No thanks.

Doesn't look fun to me.

I enjoyed this view from the beach.
The funny thing about this is that we were all relaxing and watching the boys jump off the rock when this massive rain cloud blew in in matter of seconds and started dumping buckets of rain on us. The "wimpy" ones ( as we were labelled for not going off the cliff) had to sprint across a huge beach to the car with four screaming little ones, towels, cameras, coolers, sand toys. My legs haven't burned like that in ages. Talk to me about wimp. Hmph.

Boogie boarding and body surfing.
Gracie and Kate are best friends. They are three months apart and act more like sisters at times . . . On this trip we saw lots of this ...

The girls . . . shopping.

Our diva.

BG with his girls.

And we also saw a lot of this! :) Feel the love . . .

This is another of our family's favorite spots. If it looks even a tiny bit familiar, it's because it is where the opening scene was filmed for one of the Indiana Jones movies. It is called Kipu Falls and is a place that makes me want to pee my pants. There are no signs to this spot. It is one of those "word of mouth" places that takes you down a dirt road until you see other cars parked near a trail. You hike through sugar cane fields that are 12 feet high all around you until a little oasis opens up and you hear people screaming. There is a small river, a 25 foot cliff, a pond/lake and the scariest rope swing ever. I hate it. The boys in my family LOVE it.

Here's Matt getting some good air.
And Ben taking on the rope swing.

Dad going off the cliff. (I did go off the cliff once. I also have a picture to prove it - but you'd have to offer me a lot of $ to post that one. It wasn't pretty and you'd probably laugh so hard you'd wet your pants. Just thank me for saving you the change of clothes.)

I jump off this rope swing purely for my boys. I want them to think their Mom still has a tiny bit of "cool" in her. They had gone off the swing probably 8 times before I got the courage to even hike over to it.

We are all about "hang time" and who gets the best. I "over hung" on this one. Bummer. Afraid to let go, I guess. Can you see how far down those guys are that are watching. It seriously is scary.

My less than glamorous entry. I'm just glad I didn't die.

If you can, pull this picture up (Julie is going to just love me for this one)and see the expression on her face. It is exactly how you feel the entire time on the dumb thing. Love you Boo!! Please don't do payback!!

Brett jumping off the cliff.

And going off the rope swing.

After all of my nervousness to get the courage to jump, I looked up and saw this Hawaiian dude shimmy up the tree that the rope swing was TIED TO. This crazy guy jumped from the tree branch - probably 80 feet up - and took the trophy for the day. Not going to compete with that one.

I sure love this guy. I couldn't be luckier. Big ol' smooch to you, Matty!

Brik has just about the cutest guy on earth as his partner in crime. Jake and Brik are also 3 months apart and have yet to learn from their big sisters how to rip toys out of each others hands and hoard whatever is within arms reach.

True beach boys!

Looking for a cold one.

Sandy ice kept these guys busy forever! Who would have thought?
BG ( Big Guy) with the little guys!

This cute face never minded being covered in sand.

Mom and Dad with their grand kiddies.

Our fam.

The boys survived an awesome hike along the Napali coastline. They hiked miles into a waterfall that emptied into a freshwater lake that was breathtaking.

Just to give you a perspective at how big the waterfall was! They were able to swim out behind it.

I think this is my favorite picture my Dad took on our trip. No special editing to get this picture. This is what you eyes would have seen if you were hiking with them and standing on this cliff. Amazing.

They made it!

Ben loved "crabbing." He'd be up before the sun to be out on the beach and searching for crabs.

After watching the boys have so much fun with the boogie boards and body surfing, Julie and I decided to join them. We didn't look as smooth as they did - but it was fun!

I love my sister. We joke about her daugher, Kate, having the most amazing expressions on her face. I think we know exactly where she got that trait. What would I do without you Boo!!

I'm in about 8 inches of water here. It is where I feel comfortable letting go of one side of the boogie board and giving the hang loose sign. :)

Here's my brother, Chris, taking a gnarly wave. :)

We love to tease him that this shot should be on Surfer magazine or something or at least as his facebook profile picture. Maybe he'd have a few more girls say yes when he asked them out! (Just kidding Chris!!)

Brett - trying his best to be Uncle Chris.

And Ben right behind him.
Gracie just sat and watched.
We are proud of my cute Mom. She's had a tough year. xoxo. Love you Mom.

That's it . . . until next time.


Laura said...

Really...I didn't mean it when I said I could almost hate you and your awesome family in these beautiful pictures. I could never do that. But...can I come next time. :)

Cajsa Taylor said...

It looks like you had tons of fun! So pretty and peaceful!

Cara said...

Amazing pictures, Jen!! Looks like lots of fun.

J+S said...

Awww, makes me want to go back to Hawaii! I need to take some lessons from the photographer, as these are some seriously awesome pics. Looks like you had tons of fun. My favorite part is probably the matching girls' skirts and swimsuits! Just adorable.

Julie said...

Real nice, Jen! At least my arms were looking pretty toned coming off of the rope swing! haha. Can't say as much about my face :) LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Can't wait to go back xoxox

JJ Bitton said...

Wow that looks way fun! I wanna go there! We should have a family reunion up there! Were you on Oahu?

Christine Gilbert said...

Loved seeing all of the fun in Hawaii!!! We miss you and feel like we got a small dose of Matt & Jen through these pictures. Love to all!!

Audrey said...

Sighhhhhhhhhh. Water and beauty, fun and family. What could be more perfect?

Chris said...

Sweet pics. How very post-modern of you to take an amazing picture of an amazing photographer also taking an amazing picture. :)