Friday, June 22, 2012

Aloha & Maunawili Falls

Heading to Atlanta

BIG FUN here. Thursday the girls and I flew out to Atlanta, and then a 9 hour 40 minute plane ride to Oahu.  My sister-in-law is getting married and the family is gathering in Hawaii to celebrate. We are beyond thrilled to have this opportunity to experience this with Brian's family.

This morning (Friday) when we woke up, I thought I would take the girls on a quick hike and then come back for lunch and head for the beach. I found a website with directions to Maunawili Falls, and thought it was perfect. A hike ending in a beautiful waterfall and "pool" that you could jump and swim in.  In theory it was a great idea.  THANKFULLY, right before the girls and I left, another sil showed up with her friend, so Lori and Leigh Anne went with us.

Abby on Maunawili trail

Pretty early on I was thinking, "Oh crud. This is not good." Do you see what I see?  I expected a nice little dirt path and a quick hike (1 mile-ish), but reality was tree roots (I mean EXTREME tree roots) everywhere, and very slick clay-like dirt. Blondie was in her brace, but it was some tough going.  I held her had a lot of the way to help with the incline (you know, my "bruised bone elbow" hand). Lori and Leigh Anne helped tons because after the tree roots were the big rocks in the river we had to cross. 
Treee on Maunawili trail
Now, having framed the trip properly, let me just say that it was utterly beautiful! I was frustrated because I couldn't name trees and flowers, and the birds were bright and gorgeous.  

Girls on the trail
Lori kept saying it was like being on the set of LOST.  
Mountain view on Maunawili trail
And did I mention the views? GORGEOUS. I had my waterproof camera with me because I didn't want to haul the big one, so I don't think the camera remotely caught the true colors, but I was loving the views. 
Still hiking uphill to the falls
Yep, more views along the trail. As we got closer to the top, there were stairs, and roots, and slick mud and boulders, and not once did my girls complain, and I mean, NOT ONCE. 
Hiking through the stream
Then we got REALLY close, and we chose to cross the stream again, and go up the other side (because it had to be easier for Blondie than following everyone else up the stream - HA, mistake on our end). 
Because on the other side....

Giant trees
were giant trees, bamboo, and roots, slick mud, etc.  Blondie had a couple of bad slips, cried a minute or two, but we could HEAR the waterfall at that point, and HEAR the people having fun, and then...

Magical place.
we saw the falls, and the pool of water, and the boulders everyone was sitting on, and we couldn't get those swimsuits exposed fast enough!

A putting on her water shoes for the
Now, Big Al wanted to jump off a cliff in Hawaii. It's on her bucket list. 

Alex jumping off a rock outcropping - bucket list
And, I hope this counts, because I don't know if I could watch too many of these. 
Of course, if Big Al can do it, so can T-Rex.  Blondie said she wanted to try, and Big Al was going to help her up the rocks, but she ended up sitting and watching.  

The way back down was absolutely much easier. Blondie decided she didn't need any help, and did it all by herself (and YES, it was still slick). I figure this counts for an extreme version of physical therapy.  Later tonight I hope to add in video that Leigh Anne took of the girls on the trail, so I'll try to get them loaded as soon as possible.  So check back often, and I'll do my best to post as we go.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating 100 yrs. of Girl Scouts

     I started volunteering with Girl Scouts when Big Al was in 2nd grade (8 years ago). Since then I've always been a leader for 1 or 2 troops. Five years ago I took Big Al, T-Rex and a few others to DC to celebrate 95 years of girl scouts. This year (100 years) I brought Blondie and Cheesie and their brownie/junior troop. This happened back on June 8,9, and 10th. Yes, I'm late, but had to get this posted because vacation posts will be coming soon.

The first adventure on the trip was to actually STOP at South of the Border. A thoroughly tacky little destination off of I-95 on the SC side of the SC/NC boarder. We've always driven by, but had to stop because I had forgotten something. The girls thought it was cool, but weird (which it absolutely is) but it was a fun pitstop.

The second adventure was to stop (three times going up) to find letterboxes (go to if you don't know what that is). The girls were excited because the other three girls hadn't done it before, and we were lucky enough to find 2 out of 3 of them. At a previous meeting we had carved our own stamps, so the girls were excited to find handcarved stamps instead of store bought.

We stayed at a campground south of DC called Pohick Bay recreational park and it was perfect. The main campground was nice, but they had another one near it for kids. We camped next to boy scouts having a jamboree, and a Spanish speaking soccer camp (those boys were playing soccer at 6 a.m.).  The girls were thrilled because most of them hadn't gone tent camping before, and the first order of business was to set up the tents, start that fire, and begin cooking our own hotdogs and smores.
 The next morning we got up and drove to the metro station. Now 5 years ago DC was packed for the 95th, but this one was WAY BIGGER. Imagine DC on a Saturday in the summer with the regular tourists, and then about 200,000 girl scouts on top of it. The metro (above) was super packed (even more than rush hour) and we were all so worried about splitting up our girls. Thankfully with everyone so child centered (everyone was pretty much a girl scout) it went fairly smoothly and politely.

Now my younger two have of course been to DC many times to visit family and we do a couple things each time we go (no hurrying around, just pop in and pop out). The other 3 had never been though, so we started with the White House.  

 From there we walked over to the Washington Monument area, and sat with a huge sea of people watching the Girl Scout concert of the big screens. The girls started handing out our swaps, and quickly realized that we should have made hundreds. Blondie's hat was covered pretty quickly, and I think the girls burned out pretty quickly with the idea of them.  It wasn't as hot outside as other years, but when you're sitting in a field without any shade you heat up quick. The girls ate the lunch we brought, listened for a bit, and then we moved on to the American History museum.

After that one, we went to the Natural History museum. Above, the girls are watching a woman try to work together some of the dinosaur bones. The girls were pretty impressed with the displays of the dinosaurs, and the mummies.

A few of them were willing to hold the weird insects on display upstairs (yay Blondie). I had to help her hold that giant grasshopper because she needed two hands, and lefty just wasn't going to cut it for that poor insect. 

We walked out of the museum and the girls were pooped. So we waited in line to even go down into the metro, and then headed back to camp, where the girls made nachos and tacos on the camp stove.

They did a fabulous job of taking over all of the responsibilities and I was very proud of them.  They spent the evening playing card games, and hanging out. They were in bed pretty early and we headed back the next day.  It was a short trip, but they got to see thousands of girls who share their enjoyment of scouts.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

If you go to the local tv station..... make sure you look presentable

Tomorrow I take Blondie and Cheesie, along with a few other girl scouts, to DC for the 100 year celebration. When Girl Scouts gather together they usually bring SWAPS with them.  The girls swap the pins with scouts from other areas as a memento of the event.  I heard from a friend at work that a local tv station (wltx) had a penny press machine that they would let anyone use, so I called. Since I wasn't going to sell them they let me come in with the girls and we pressed 120 pennies with either the SC flag, or the outline of the state.

As the machine is squeaking along, and the receptionist is probably counting down until we're finished (it was really a loud, long process), and my kids argue over who gets to do the next one..... the receptionist asks, "Which one of you girls want to be on TV?"  Um. NONE OF THEM. Cheesie looked the most presentable, but Blondie needs a haircut badly, and I walked out without doing hair or makeup (because WHO WAS I GOING TO SEE AT A TV STATION).  Big Al and T-Rex immediately recognize the gravity of the situation and slowly disappear to the couches FAR, FAR AWAY from any camera, or reporter. I do what any good mom would do, I promptly throw my youngest to the wolves. They can speak for Girl Scouts, right?  They know what we're doing, right?  Cheesie does the morning show at school.... that's the same, right? RIGHT?
They did a respectable job, and everything was fine, UNTIL..... DUDE turns the camera to me and hands me a microphone and asks me to speak on 100 years of scouting, what the girls are doing, and why we're making SWAPS. Seriously, it's girl scouts, we tend to do a bit of crafting, you have a free machine what's the story?  So tonight, or some point soon, you may see me on TV, and I apologize for my appearance, and promise I won't let anyone leave the house like that again.

***I also apologize for the quality of picture, it was my cell phone because I had forgotten the camera at the house too***

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm baaaaaack.

Yes, I took a long break from blogging. I didn't intend to, but it started with our other computer getting two very expensive, monster viruses. We finally caved and bought a new computer this spring, but I was so out of the habit I didn't pick it back up again.

SO, without going back to update everything ( because we do so much) I'll just start with today.  TODAY is the second official day of summer vacation, and we have so much planned this summer.  Right now Big Al is cheering Monday through Thursday at the high school getting ready for next year's competitive season.  Her big push for the last couple months has been her tumbling skills. She used to be a softball player, then a soccer player, and then she quit it all to do gymnastics which quickly turned into cheerleading. So last year was her first year on any team, and she did well (and wasn't hurt thank goodness).  Once the winter basketball season was over and things slowed way down (for her, not me) she started taking lessons across town. Today she showed me her tumbling at the team practice.

Of course there are also huge crashes......

No, the camera didn't go crazy from me being worried, I was laughing too hard. She was fine.  

Edited later: I'm not sure why the videos are green and not showing the video, but I"ll keep working on it.