Wednesday, April 27, 2011


First time posting videos ... we'll see how this works. :-)  They took forever to upload.  I hope you don't have problems viewing.

Retraction #1 : Wyatt was actually 21 inches long - just the same length as most of the other boys. Dwight was looking at him and thinking he looked long and slender! We measured him the next day and he was 21 inches.

Retraction #2: The "fried gecko" picture was a joke. Dwight called the boys in to dinner telling them that we were having fried gecko for dinner. They loved it soooo much that when we told them it was really BBQ chicken, they were bummed. :-) Good ol' Daddy!

Look what Grandma Gail left for each of the boys when she left! :-)  Too much fun.

A hilarious video of Ty getting bit by a gecko. "Look, he totally bit me!"

The wild bullfrog hunters! After finding a large bullfrog on the side of the road, they all came home, got headlamps and headed back out to HUNT for frogs. They came home not more than 20 minutes later with 11 frogs!! Their excitement was over the top. In this video, you can't really tell why Mama starts screaming ... but I'll tell you why!! Someone (you can't see it in the video) chucks a huge frog at me!! Dwight says "unfortunately, I hit the off button because as the frogs kept coming, I did the Hula Frog Dance with beautiful squealing mixed in." Personally, I'm glad I hit the off button.
The first one

OK, so this is probably our last post from Hawaii. However, I want to keep up the posts once we get home ... so stay tuned in. :-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Puppies and Coconut Island

More cliff jumping. Dwight and the 4 big boys went back to Richardson's beach for some more fun in the waves and on the rocks. Burnell kept jumping from higher and higher up the rocks.

Have to share the humor in this local signage we saw in multiple places this weekend:
"Easter Puppies - Pitbulls!" Are you serious?? Not sure what this has to do with Hawaiian tradition or Easter (bunnies, eggs, pitbulls ... oh yeah)??? :-)

Today we went to visit Coconut Island! Sounds exotic, huh? Its a small island in Hilo Bay. There's a bridge that connects it to the main island and people regularly walk or run on a path around it. Apparently it was packed as well this weekend, however, today, we had the beach all to ourselves. There were no waves, but the sand was nice and golden and the water warm. A great place for play. Another beautiful day in paradise.
the Ty Fish

A little crab Daddy found while snorkeling

Building sand castles

Our first family picture with Wyatt

We have purchased the other "end" to our open-ended trip. We are coming home!!! :-) :-) We were debating as to whether to stay another month (especially since our landlords offered us free rent for half of that time if we would stay and look after their place while they are in Europe). VERY tempting. :-) We have been gone long enough, though. Our time here has been wonderful (almost 2 months worth!!) and now its time to return to our Oregon home. We will be taking a red-eye flight on April 28th and arriving in Portland the following morning. I hear that its been below freezing in Bend most nights still, so we might be in for a temperature shock. Looking VERY much forward to seeing you all again.
won't be missing these gas prices :-)

Anyone for some fried gecko?? 

The little warriors!

Chance's favorite spot in the morning

Mmmm ... protein shake mustaches

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The beach - and cliff jumping

Tuesday and Wednesday were home days, as Mama is still recovering. Dwight and all the boys played freeze tag, watched the team ropers, played with playdough, colored in their Junior Ranger books, exercised together, weeded around the flowers, made food, cleaned up, etc.

Quint stretching with the big guys

Wyatt is the BEST entertainment

Its been an interesting revelation to me that my "productive" attitude is not always the best for our family. I've watched as Dwight chills with the kids and has time for questions, projects, games, etc. I'm usually in the middle of a project and too busy trying to shuffle them along with me. I know there's a balance, but I'm learning the true benefit of "restfulness." Then, in Nancy Campbell's devotional book I'm reading (thanks Jenise!), she mentions making your home a home of rest. She talks about being home in the afternoon, making a meal for your family, so that the evening can be a time of rest and fellowship for the family. It gave me a vision for when we return home. Its hard for me to choose to NOT get something done. But, I can see how it really creates a great learning and sharing environment for the family.

Thursday, Wyatt (and Mama) had his first day out. Dwight and I took him to the county building in Hilo to register his birth and apply for a birth certificate. We actually saved money, too!! Birth Certificates cost only $10 here in Hawaii, as opposed to $25 in Oregon. :-) What a bargain!

The team ropers have been coming almost every night. I'm pretty sure there are at least 2 different groups. This night, the "family" group came and after they were done roping, they put all the boys, along with their girls on the horses and let them ride around for a while. Quint had a ride, but wasn't really up for it. Burnell loves when the riders start showing up -- its his favorite part of the day.

Friday, a day out as a family. We went to Richardson's beach for the day ... fried Daddy and the kids. :-) Not remembering that it is a holiday (Good Friday), we found that the beach was packed! It looked like a Where's Waldo.

Ty becoming a little fish
Dwight, Burnell and Orin discovered a cool spot to jump into the ocean. The water was a gorgeous turquoise color. Others watching were amazed to see these little guys bailing off the rocks. Dwight is impressed that at this point, they have become great little swimmers as well.

We stayed at the beach for 4 hours. Burnell was in the water practically the entire time. He loves the waves - as well as the friends he makes in the water. This time, he came away with a gash in his toe, from jumping off a different rock. He was as brave as ever. He's now beside me on the couch with his foot up - as it is quite a gusher.
The top of Burnell's toe - GONE!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The latest ...

Friday Dwight took the boys to the tide pools for snorkeling. Ty and Chance had their first opportunities to try a mask on and see the "fishes". It can be very scary to put your head under water and learn to breathe through the snorkel. Chance sketched out a bit. However, Ty went for it! He loved it, in fact.

They all came home exhausted, but happy. The landlord and his friends were out practicing their team roping again. Everyone went to watch and some of the boys were able to ride again. Looking forward to this summer at the ranch, when they get to do some more riding. Burnell found a rope and has been practicing roping. He even set up a chair to simulate the "legs" he needed to rope as well. Lots of fun!

Saturday, Grandpa Ted and Grandma Gail went off on a date. Dwight and the boys chilled with Mama and Wyatt at home. It was a delightfully restful day as a family. Dwight took care of breakfast for us -- in which the munchkins ate and ate and ate. They are bottomless pits these days. While Daddy took a rest, I was able to sit out on the back porch with my 6 little men and watch them play. Burnell was commissioned to make lunch and did a fabulous job at making PB&J for his brothers and Mama. He insisted on feeding everyone halves until they were full, and then serving himself. Orin made his own sandwich. During nap time, Daddy sat on the back porch and did math lessons with Burnell and Orin for 2 hours!

They are fascinated with learning subtraction. Dwight kept trying to trip them up and even threw in a "negative" answer. Lots of fun learning. Dinner was a costco lasagne and then we watched the movie Hidalgo - a story about a man with a mustang horse competing against Arabian horses in a 3000 mile race across the Sahara desert. It was an education on the Arab customs as well as deserts and their many trials (quick sand, sand storms, locusts, desolation).
Sunday was another beautiful day and the troops headed out to the beach again. They took their snorkel gear and found a few places to snorkel as well. Apparently, Ty can't get enough of snorkeling. Dwight took him around and he kept going after fish and kicking. No fear, that guy.

Monday, Dwight, Grandpa Ted and the 4 oldest went to check out the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. There you can watch the factory line workers as they line up the little chocolates and fill the packages. Mmmm....

Then, off to the Akaka waterfall. This was the one we had driven to earlier in the trip - through the old sugar plantations. Once there, you hike 1/4 mile to the falls, passing beautiful flowers and ferns along the way. It drops some 800 feet into a cavern. After the hike, the troop visited a local shop that serves homemade ice cream. Grandpa and Grandma had visited here on Friday (on their date) and found a macadamia nut ice cream that is killer. They brought some home for me today. They also tried a mango (Orin), banana (Burnell) and coconut (Chance and Ty) ice cream. The shop also sells homemade jams, which we bought a few to bring home. Mmmmm.....

Back home, Dwight spent hours outside playing freeze tag with his little guys. Whew! That'll wear anyone out, except the energizer bunnies that we're growing around here. They just keep going and going and going!

We finally got a pic of Chance with Wyatt. :-)

The tiniest lizard ever. :-)

Quint's adventures -- STICKS!


An awesome Bantam tree

Grandma Gail ready to serve dinner

Grandpa Ted - making some INCREDIBLE Mahi Mahi!
Thinking of and missing all of you that were able to make it to the Johnson family reunion in CA this weekend. How did the hayride go this year?? :-) :-) Love you all and hope you had a blast reconnecting with one another.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Exploring the Volcano

Is today Thursday already? Time is flying by. Wyatt was born on Monday night. Tuesday, Dwight took the sequestered troops to the beach to enjoy some sunshine and play. Grandpa Ted went, too. Grandma Gail stayed with me and Wyatt and Quint and did lots of cleaning. She's polishing furniture and bleaching countertops, things only a professional cleaner would care about. I know Bob and Susi will appreciate her helping to keep the place "pristine."

On Wednesday, Dwight's long-awaited trek to hike around the volcano happened. Again, Grandpa Ted and the 4 big boys went. They ended up hiking for miles and miles ... all over lava flows, through lava tubes, around craters, and anywhere that seemed interesting in the Volcano National Park. They went all the way down to the ocean where a lava flow used to flow directly into the ocean. That flow has been gone for quite a while now. Another interesting spot was where the lava flowed right across the road and over a "Road Closed" sign. These brave adventurers even traveled quite a ways down a completely dark lava tube using a tiny little light and Grandpa's iphone as their only sources of light. I would have been scared, but not these guys. They were in pitch black at the end of the tube and were all perfectly content, not even being able to see their hands in front of their face.

In the pitch-black lava tube

The studly hikers

While they were gone, Gayla and Kaili (from the church we visited last Sunday) came to visit and see Wyatt. They came laden with gifts,cards, flowers and a yummy meal for us! Too sweet. We all talked about birth, home births, babies, and the Lord. The fellowship was sweet.

Today is another gorgeous, sunny day and the ring-leader of this family, Dwight the Magnificent, is off with his crew to the beach again. Dwight took all 5 of his "big" boys this time as Quint needed to get out as well. :-) Dwight sunblocked them all, and Grandma packed a lunch. What an amazing Daddy Dwight is. I am so blessed by his desire to challenge and encourage his little men to great things. He's constantly staying a step ahead to inspire them along. And he is so wonderful with taking care of me, too. :-) WE LOVE DWIGHT!!

Reading lessons and fiddle lessons are still happening each day and we are delighted to watch everyone growing. Quint speaks all the time, but it usually sounds like he's fluent in a foreign tongue. His "English" words are now growing in abundance. He loves to say "Bebe" and kiss Wyatt. Ty is turning into a little man now, too. Dwight was amazed that he was able to stay up with them all on their volcano hikes. At 3, he is learning some letters and sounds and learning to help Quint play. Chance is learning sounds and numbers. He loves to play "war" with cards, and he also keeps Ty entertained for hours. They are great buds and he has an avid imagination. He also has developed a love of being in the kitchen with Grandma Gail doing dishes or making pancakes. :-) Orin is reading like crazy. He tackles math problems that Daddy gives him in his head quite quickly. He's a great runner and has learned the art of "jogging" instead of his usual sprint-style that's given him his nick-name "Dash." Burnell is thriving in all he does. He's learning "Amazing Grace" on the fiddle - which he plays with quite a nice touch. His reading, writing, and math are going great. He and Orin are tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum ... best buds. Burnell has amazing mental determination, which we've seen come out during his runs, lately. He "man's up" to the task. Burnell adores his new baby brother, Wyatt, as he has with all his brothers. He's a great big brother.