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25 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 12

We decided to visit Calvary Chapel again this morning, and I'm glad we did, because we saw a couple there (Pat and Judy) that we met last week at our previous condo. We hung out for a while after church and shared stories. They live in Alaska and own a place here in Maui.

After church, Lauren and I went to visit the Maui Mountain farm, run by Bobby the owner. She was very friendly and spent over an hour showing us her property, her fruit trees, flowers, and coffee trees. She also shared with us her passion of conserving some endangered birds here in Maui. We were so thrilled to have this personal tour and purchased some homegrown coffee from her as well. Thanks again Bobby! We hope to visit again someday!

Soon after this personal tour, Lauren and I drove a short distance to Waihou Spring Forest Reserve and walked around for a couple hours. We felt like we stepped into a totally different part of the country, as we were suddenly surrounded by tall Redwoods and...chickens. It felt like something you would see in northern MN but without the random chickens running around! We ventured down a trail to see some caves/lava tubes which were really interesting! But we realized we were going to lose the sun soon so we ventured back to the car and made the trip home.

FUN day!

24 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 11

This was our first day w/out Dani and Scott :(
But we tried to make the best of it regardless!

For starters, we woke up early and drove to the Upcountry area of Maui to visit a farmer's market. We tasted many exotic fruits like cactus pear juice! I purchased a couple of fresh oranges and saw some incredible artwork. We met Wayne from Maui Mountain coffee (some the best tasting coffee on the island). Lauren and I are hoping to visit this coffee farm sometime this weekend.

We then made our way to Komoda's bakery, where we tried some DELICIOUS and FRESH doughnuts! Yum!

We were still hungry for a real meal so we slowly made our way to Moana Cafe for some tasty and authentic local food.

Soon after, we drove up to Hookipa Bay to watch the surfers for a while. It was a perfect day for that!

Early afternoon we walked to the first annual ukulele festival in Paia. The music was great, and we met Bobby, owner of the Maui Mountain Homegrown coffee at a booth she had up. We planned to visit her farm after church tomorrow! :)

We walked around Paia a little bit and shopped at their local equivalent (and much cheaper version) of Whole Foods - a place called Mana - even CHEAPER foods then some places back at home!

All in all, a wonderful and relaxing day!

23 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 10

Today was a fun but bittersweet day. You see, today was Danielle's and Scott's last day with us. They both have to return to work (ie "reality") on Monday :(
Scott and I planned out the day in order to make the most of our time. We all awoke early and walked to a coffee shop for coffee and pastries. We then rented a couple boogie boards and went back to our place to snorkel right outside our backyard. We swam quite a distance out and....saw.....BIG......TURTLES!!!!
We brought a waterproof camera and I hope to get those photos developed once we use the whole roll. WOW were those turtles big! It was crazy to be swimming out there and then suddenly seeing these huge creatures swimming with us!

After a fun excursion of snorkeling and seeing turtles we drove to a local fish market to buy some fresh mahi mahi that Scott and Dani turned into an exquisite meal (see pics)!

We then started the process of packing up and moving to a new condo in Kihei (Garden Estates) since Danielle and Scott will not be with us after today. The moving process was pretty easy and we got ourselves moved in without any trouble.

The new place is amazing! We have a BEAUTIFUL view of the ocean, and the actual condo is very well-kept. We spent an extended amount of time walking the beach here, collecting shells and coral, and watching the para-surfers (looks like a TON of fun)!

As the sunset started getting closer we decided to eat-out at Cafe O'lei again at the Dunes and enjoy the sunset over the mountains and golf course. It was Lauren's first time here and we had a great time eating another wonderful meal!

The time finally game to say goodbye to Dani and Scott and we dropped them off at the airport and downsized our van to a smaller vehicle. It will be a different atmosphere now with two-less people :(

Enjoy the pics!
- M&L

22 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 9

Happy Thanksgiving!!
Started the day with my 50th smoothie on the trip (spinach-banana-coconut!) - thank you Vitamix!
We pretty much spent the day swimming near Makena Beach and enjoyed the weather! The sunrises and sunsets have been spectacular here! wow!

The evening was spent with the family, eating a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal and sharing each other's company. It was a wonderful and relaxing day!

21 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 8

The great weather just keeps on coming!

Scott K woke up early and snapped some sweet shots of sand crabs (enjoy the pics below). Every day thus far I (Micah) have been using the Vitamix I brought with to make smoothies and (virgin) pina coladas! This morning was no different! Yum! This time I threw in some spinach and tomato along with the normal pineapples, coconuts, and bananas.

Later in the afternoon (because most of the family likes to sleep in), we took the drive to the Haleakala National Park and crater. The drive up was exciting, but the thick clouds prevented us from seeing some of the views. We also drove to the Science City area of the mountain and got a few more views that few others get to see! I plan to come back again early in the morning next week to see the sunrise, as I hear the sight is amazing.

We took a scenic drive in the Makawao area afterwards, looking for a coffee shop that turned out to be an organic coffee FARM that was closed! I plan to call this family next week to see if I can visit!

We then went to a place called Cafe O'lei of the Dunes which was a fantastic restaurant on a golf course with excellent food, affordable prices, and an amazing view of the sunset over the mountains. I highly recommend this place! Thanks to Scott K for finding this place! I plan to take Lauren back here next week for a date-night. (Lauren took the day off to chill back at the condo.)

I'm pow for now! Enjoy the pics below!
- M



20 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 7

'Twas another beautiful today today! We spent the morning/afternoon snorkeling at a sweet beach nearby (Maluaka Makena Beach). Thanks again Del!

The snorkeling was awesome! We saw a LOT of coral, schools of fish...it was absolutely breathtaking!

We spent some time under a big shade tree on the beach as well and simply enjoyed the waves. We also did  our share of body surfing as well!

The evening was also eventful. Danielle and Scott spent the evening at the Old Lahaina Luau, while the rest of us went to Kimo's for a delicious (albeit expensive) meal! The dessert was amazing as well! Wow!

All in all, a very relaxing but eventful day!
Enjoy the pics below!

19 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 6

The Road to Hana:
Wow! What a DAY!
Hana is a town on the very far East side of Maui. The road to Hana is known for the many waterfalls along the way; some widely known, while others are seldom visited. The trip is suggested be completed in multiple days, but like many tourists, we were on the 1-day mission.

We awoke and left early in the morning to avoid the traffic. We stopped in a town for breakfast then continued our journey. Our first stop was at a 4-waterfall journey. The first two waterfalls are what most tourists see. The third and fourth waterfall is harder to get to, but are much bigger and more rewarding. After a hike through a bamboo forest and stepping through slippery rocks, we ended up just seeing the first two waterfalls :)
The road is composed of many hair-pin turns - so we drove through many of these. Partway through we stopped and hiked down a bit to see a huge waterfall under the highway in the mountain. It was quite a site to see!

The next big stop was in a peninsula (Ke'anae) a little off-course from Hana. Here, we stood on black rocks, visited an old-church that survived a tsunami from many years ago, and ate delicious banana bread from Aunt Sandy's.

Back on the road and back on track - we stopped at an unmarked path that we read about online. We hiked for several minutes, up a lush trail, through slippery rocks, and over a narrow bridge, until we came to the most BEAUTIFUL (and SECLUDED) waterfall that I've ever seen! WOW! Needless to say, we stayed here a while!

We then arrived to the Hana area and came to Waianapanapa park, where we visited the black sand beach. Very worth it!

Our next stop was simply amazing. I don't think too many people come here (I could be wrong) but we stopped at Venus Pool for some time. You have to walk through some farmland to get here, but once you arrive to this hidden gem, your breath is taken away! Many of us jumped from the steep cliff (see a video of Dad jumping below)! I wish we could have stayed here longer!

After picking up a couple, fresh and beautiful $2 leis (yes, only $2 from an older gentleman playing a ukulele!), we made our way to the Seven Sacred Pools, which is the tourist-name for this beautiful set of pools and waterfalls. We had a great time here and enjoyed the sun beginning to set.

Unfortunately we knew we were running out of time and spent the rest of our time driving home the rest of the way around the island. It got dark FAST, but the scenery was beautiful as we watched the sun go down.
We almost hit a bunch of cows on the way, but it was a fun drive back!
Overall, an INCREDIBLE adventure!! We loved it! Enjoy the pics and video!






18 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 5

CHURCH this morning! We went to Calvary Chapel South Maui
The community here was very inviting and the teaching was solid. What more could we ask for? :) Lauren and I spent most of this day doing homework and relaxing, while Dani, Scott, Mom, and Dad went out snorkeling and surfboarding (see pics below).

 I hate homework...haha!

 Love, M&L

17 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 4

This was an interesting day:

I think I started by waking up on the wrong side of the bed (maybe just partially). I was told by my beautiful wife that whenever I wake up (which is usually around 6 or 7) that I end up waking her up as well, thus taking away her much needed (and required) sleep (9+ hours/night). So I felt bad and now feel like sleeping on the futon from now on until she can "catch up" on her sleep :) So I guess we'll see...

We had another wonderful breakfast - oatmeal and omelettes!
The family took a LONG time to plan what they wanted to do today. I partially blame myself for not having some backup ideas, but they were discarded anyway when I made a few suggestions :)

We ended up deciding to drive up the west side of Maui to visit the "needle" - also known as "Kuka'moku". Thanks to a suggestion from a church friend of ours (Del!) we decided to give it a try! We actually had a great time there, seeing a lot of plants, mountains, and hiking a bit (see pics)!

After this hike we decided to check out another hiking location. I became the designated driver to this location. The problem is, no one knew where the actually trail was so we were driving without any map or idea of where to go! We ended up continuing around the west side, which meant driving around single lane, hair-pin turns around the mountain. This was quite the experience. Although I drove well within the speed limit (15 mph or less) I guess I freaked out the rest of the family as I drove around the mountain :) So after a couple hours and only getting LESS than halfway to the next major city, we took a "break" so someone else could drive :) We ended up back near the town we were at yesterday afternoon. We walked around a bit before heading back home.
When we got home I found the map and realized there was a LOT we could have stopped to see along our route today....oh well :(

So - that's pretty much it for today. Enjoy the pics!
-M&L


16 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 3

Day 3 - incredible!!

I woke up early for a 4 mile run along the beach (and a 3 mile walk!) with the sunrise! What a beautiful site!
I saw a BUNCH of sand crabs and stopped to catch one as well (see video below) :)

We then spent the day on the far west side of Maui in Lahaina. On the way we stopped at a local fruit stand and Dani bought a dried coconut to send back home via USPS.
Online, I found a company that offered FREE parasailing to military members (and half off family members) so I went with Lauren, Dani, and Dad.
We had a BLAST! See pictures below!
We then rented snorkel equipment and spent the rest of the day on the beach in the water!! Super fun! Saw lots of fish!
Later that evening we went to Kihei where we ate the most INCREDIBLE fish tacos at a place called Coconut's (named after a cat who is still alive and well today)! We even met the owner of the place and chatted with him for a while :)
Awesome day all around! Enjoy the pics and video!



 

15 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 2

I woke up this morning to a beautiful site out the back window. WOW! We are staying in Ma'alaea on the south bottleneck of Maui. What a beautiful and breathtaking view of the ocean! Wow!! We basically spent the day unpacking, organizing, and stocking up on food from Costco (the cheapest place to buy just about anything here)!! Later in the evening we took a stroll down the beach from our place. Scott and I walked a bit farther than the rest of the family and by the time we turned around, we realized they had turned around to go back! It was crazy though-we saw a TON of sand crabs that kept running into small holes they dug as we walked by! I'm determined to catch one tomorrow morning during my run :) Overall we had a great day and we also enjoyed hearing from Tirzah as well! I guess she watched the movie "Bolt" with Micah's family today! :) We're certainly enjoying the relaxation here! - M&L

14 November 2012

Trip to Maui Day 1

For those who don't know, we (M&L) were offered a FREE trip to Maui, Hawaii, compliments of saved airline miles by Lauren's parents! Here's a short synopsis: Years ago, Lauren's parents had a dream of taking their two girls with them to Hawaii someday with their airline miles. Fast forward several years and many airline miles later, and a new addition to the family (myself)! Now, with the rising cost of flights, coupled with increasing points for longer flights, they decided that they needed to cash-in their miles. Nine months ago they booked a two-week trip with the whole family, and here we are today! Even though Lauren and I both have homework while we're gone, we have had an amazing time enjoying the weather and the company of family thus far. Our first day was a long one - we left late Tuesday night for MN (via car) and dropped off our daughter with my (Micah's) mom (thanks Mom!!). She offered to watch Tirzah for the entire duration of the trip! What a blessing! The next morning we woke up early, went over any last-minute details for Tirzah's care, then made our way to the airport, after stopping a couple times for snacks and purchasing a bladder for Lauren's Camelbak @ REI in Roseville. We arrived at the airport and was invited by a stranger to the Delta Sky Club while we awaited our flight. This gentleman was really friendly and we were blessed to have the opportunity to relax in a wonderful environment with complimentary services. The flight itself was pretty uneventful. We flew via Alaska Airlines to Seattle, waited in the USO for a few hours playing games and eating snacks, then took the 5 hour flight to Hawaii @ the island of Maui. After arriving late at night we picked up a rental van, then proceeded to the condo that Lauren's parents had rented. We unpacked and crashed, and I realized we were on a crazy time difference compared to back at home. This is going to make my homework deadlines interesting! Enjoy the photos below of our packing and arrival, and also of Tirzah back at home!

08 November 2012

Daddy Daughter Tradition

Micah and Tirzah have developed a routine date-night every evening (no exceptions), where they frequent the local (organic/natural) grocery store behind our apartment. Tirzah has learned the routine:
As they enter the outer doors of the store, Tirzah holds out her hands and asks daddy for money (it's really cute). Micah hands her 50 cents (maybe a dollar at times) and Tirzah will take the money in one hand, then run to the fruit section of the store where she throws her little hand in the kiwi basket and takes the first one she touches. She then proceeds to the check-out area where daddy lifts her on top of the check-out counter for her to finish the process. She then hands the money to the cashier (who in turn always says something complementary to her) and then waits for any change.

It's quite a lovely sight! Lauren didn't fully believe this process until she saw it with her own eyes just yesterday. Tirzah knows exactly what to do, and leads the way! This is a great way to give mommy a few minutes of alone time in the evening after dinner to relax and kick-back. Sometimes Micah will take Tirzah to the park afterwards, or to the wooden horse across the street (see picture below)!
Of course, there is also an added bonus to these date nights. Every time Micah and Tirzah purchase something from our local grocery he uses an app which accumulates points, thus allowing him to redeem them every 12 days for a $10 gift card. In the end we end up MAKING $ (even after their daily purchases since kiwis are cheap) and we have an abundance of kiwis to eat! We then use the gift cards to buy Tirzah's whole milk there (the best stuff we've ever tasted)! It's a win-win-win situation!! 


Win win win
-M, L & T :)

05 November 2012

Tirzah's Latest Antics


Stacking Groceries (all by herself)


Balancing on the coffee table. Short legs are good for some things.


She walked down the hallway appearing like this the other day - wearing 10 grocery bags. 
Maybe she wants to go shopping?

Squeak!

We didn't have time to go trick-or-treating, but got this little girl dressed up anyway.



Snacking Mouse


Exercising Mouse