Monday, August 25, 2008

All I Want for My First Day of School is...

Ah, the changing of summer to fall. I love it. Of course it won't actually happen here in Texas for another couple of months, but I still love it. What is happening right now is the beginning of a new school year which means several things for our family. Stephanie begins a new semester of teaching at TCU today and Rainey starts the 1st grade at her new school, W.A. Porter (Go Panthers!). Emily will begin Red Apple School after Labor Day.

However, before any of that could take place, we had to have one more birthday celebration for Rainey. We had a party before we left for Hawaii. Then, we celebrated her actual birthday in Hawaii. But when we returned home she reminded us that we had promised when she turned 7, she could have a sleepover. We had forgotten that promise. She had not.

Thankfully we managed to get away with a party of three. Ashlyn, Trinity and Rainey.

Before making their own pizza's and birthday ice cream sundae's, they put on a show for us complete with home made costumes, make-up (they had various diseases and were turning into animals) and a plot that was a bit difficult to follow (perhaps it was the fourteen intermissions), but visually exciting nonetheless. Maybe it was just over my head. I may have missed the nuances of the story.

A quick rendition of Happy Birthday before the candles melt the ice cream, a movie...

and finally, sometime around 1:30 or 2:00 AM, they fell asleep on their beds made from couch cushions. Do these girls know how to party or what?
The other new beginning for us is our adventures in orthodontia. I had the pleasure of pulling one of Rainey's front teeth Thursday night after dinner. A little after dinner entertainment, if you will. She was very excited!
Then on Friday, feeling lonely and after losing the only support it really had, the other front tooth fell out while we were at the water park.

Rainey has always been beautiful, but never has she been this cute. Later that evening we attended "meet the teacher night" where we had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. LeRoy and checking out Rainey's new school. We ran into several neighbors and other familiar faces which helped ease my own nervousness about this new experience.

This morning it was time for the real deal. Rainey Bailey, 1st Grader.

We have heard a lot of great things about Porter Elementary and Mrs. LeRoy and we are looking forward to a great year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Maui 2008

WARNING: Vacation Pictures Ahead!

Wow! I do not have the words to describe how wonderful our time in Maui was, which is fortunate because I've posted a lot of pictures. It was the last of the 50 states for me to visit and I think I can safely say I saved the best for last. I'll try to keep my comments to a minimum, but feel free to skip them and simply look at my beautiful kids if you prefer.

We arrived on August 1 and met up with Stephanie's parents and brother Scott at the airport.

After a quick lunch and check-in, we headed for the grocery store and the beach. This is the view from our lanai.

We spent day 2 at the beach and then headed for the Old Lahaina Luau. That's Emily all dressed for the feast and show.

Of course Stephanie made these beautiful dresses for the occasion. Several people asked where she found the matching dresses. That gave her brother Scott and me ample opportunity to brag about her.

As the sun set, we prepared to eat and watch the show.

What did we eat? Well, in addition to fresh fruit, beef, salmon, octopus and other delicacies we enjoyed some great pork.

This pig was buried and cooked underground for about 12 hours before these little guys dug him up.

Mmm-mmm good!

Rainey "hammed" it up with this tiki.

It was a bit of a late night for Emily, but both girls really enjoyed the show. Rainey is always fascinated with anyone who gets up on stage and performs. When we asked her what her favorite part of the trip was, she said it was, "learning about the culture and history of Hawaii." Much of that was taught at the Luau. She's ready for first grade. She will be an excellent brown-noser.

On day 3, Big Daddy and Gran decided to find the local Lutheran Church and I, being the fine minister that I am, found a local golf course. I needed a day off from church and the Lord provided. I headed for the Old Blue course at Wailea. I walked into the clubhouse and asked what my chances were of getting on as a single. They sent me directly to the first tee where the starter told me if I was ready he could send me off immediately. By myself. It was the most relaxing, wonderful 4 hours I'd had in a long time. I shot an 87 (from the white tees) and enjoyed every second of it.

After the round we all went to lunch at the Pupu Lounge (wonderful white fish) and did a little shopping. Gran bought both girls these cool sarongs and we hit the beach in the afternoon.

Day 4 - While Big Daddy and Scott went fishing (unfortunately they came back empty handed), Steph and I went North to Kapalua and played the Bay Course. It was beautiful, but windy and difficult for us. Steph played great on the front nine but struggled a little after the turn. She shot a respectable 108 on a difficult course. I fought my way to a 90, again from the white tees.

#5 at Kapalua Bay course.

On day 5 we boogie boarded some and Scott and Steph tried their hand at surfing. That's Steph in the picture. She out surfed her big brother, much to his chagrin. Big Daddy and Gran took Rainey on a submarine adventure.

We spent day 6 on the road to Hana. With a CD and travel guide, we ventured off the main road several times. Saw beautiful views and interesting natural wonders.

The rainbow tree with its colorful bark.

The view from the side of the road looking down at a small farming village.

One side road took us on a tour of hidden houses and down to the edge of the ocean where we found colorful leaves, nuts and lots of cool sticks to play with.

We stopped for a picnic at this black sand beach. That was a first for me.

Rainey and I dipped our toes in after lunch and she explored the nearby caves.

Emily had fun too. I think mostly she was just happy to be out of the car.

Blue water, black volcanic rock and a Hawaiian beauty.

We continued up to Hana and beyond to the seven sacred pools. Rainey climbed over slippery rocks, swam across the frigid pool and climbed up some more rocks and behind a water fall. We were so proud of her adventurous spirit and then realized none of us had brought the camera.

Unfortunately, we did have the camera on day 7 when Big Daddy decided to buy us these matching outfits.

We had our picture taken in them and then planned to change and go to dinner. After a morning helicopter tour for Big Daddy and Gran, another shot at surfing for Scott and Stephanie and another round of golf (back to Wailea, the emerald course this time - shot 96 from the blue tees), we were ready for a nice dinner at Stella Blues. But Big Daddy decided we should wear our matching clothes to dinner. We made quite an entrance!

It took a few Mai Tai's, but we got over the embarrassment and had a great dinner.

Both girls loved having umbrella's in their drinks.

Day 8 began with a 2:30 AM wake up call. Stephanie and I took Big Daddy and Gran up to watch the sunrise at the top of a volcano called Haleakala. We had grown accustomed to the tropical weather on the beach, so the winds that greeted us at Haleakala chilled us to the bone.

We waited patiently for the sun and enjoyed the incredible view of the stars. As awesome as the sunrise was, the stargazing might have been even better. It was spectacular though to be above the clouds waiting for the sun. Enjoy the sunrise below!

Once the sun was up we could see the big island just across the way. We were standing at just over 10,000 feet.

On the way back to the condo, Steph spotted this rainbow. It was a fitting way to end our adventure: stars, sun and a rainbow.

That evening we celebrated Big Daddy's 70th and Rainey's 7th birthdays at the Lahaina Fish Co. More great food and even though Baskin-Robbins dropped the ball on the ice cream cake we ordered LFC came through with brownie and ice cream.

Day 9 - Our last day in Maui. I've never, NEVER wanted to stay on vacation as bad as I wanted to stay on Maui. I know our money would run out long before we were tired of being here. We took Big Daddy, Gran and Scott to the airport around 1:00 and headed to Mama's Fish House for one last Maui meal.

Em and Rainey outside Mama's.

The view from our table at Mama's. Of course we didn't want to leave!

One last picture before sneaking a final swim in the ocean and heading for the airport. Our flight from Maui to LA left at 10:30 PM. We arrived at DFW at 12:30 PM the next day.

I'll leave you with this last picture Steph was kind enough to snap of the girls and me somewhere over the Pacific in the wee hours.

Looking good! Aloha!

Monday, August 11, 2008


We are back from a wonderful 9 days in beautiful Maui! It was incredible! We absolutely did not want to come home. We didn't have good Internet service where we were, so I gave up early efforts to blog and just took some notes. I'll post more details and pictures when I have more time.