Thursday, July 28, 2011


This is what happens when the kids say they are "playing games" on my phone. Yeah - we'll see if I let them "play" again any time soon:)

Well, apparently Isaac actually plays games -just the girls where being naughty...this time!
Check out Abi's video (that she's SUPER embarrassed I'm posting on my blog right now - LOVE IT!!):

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Teaching Blog

I'm decided to take the plunge and start a teaching blog. Hopefully I will more diligent in blogging over there:) I will still be using this blog to continue to share our family adventures with you. But if you want to check out some of what's going on in my classroom you welcome to pop on over to Mrs. Peterson's Room!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Year Ago Today

It's Saturday night and I'm in the bathroom dying my hair and painting my toenails (a girl's got to multi-task) and it just popped into my head that I was doing this exact same thing on this day last year. (Though I do dye my hair and paint my toenails MANY more times that just once a year.) And it got me to thinking -

Last year at this time I was on Oahu. Getting ready to fly to Maui by start my first teaching job by myself. Did I mention that I was going by myself?:) While it made it a little scarier, and a little more stressful, it was a good thing - I was able to get the things done that I needed to at the time.

Looking back I can't believe it's been a year. In many ways the time has gone my way too fast - my kids are older, I have a million things that I was planning to do, planning to see, not many of which actually got done. In other ways it seems like it was the longest year of my life. I never thought I would get my classroom done in time, or that I would figure out what I was doing teaching a bunch of 5 yr olds, or that I would be confident in my ability to do so (we're still working on that one). I couldn't imagine that the school year would ever end - right about February I was sure that I wouldn't make it to May. But things got better and I did. And I think I did OK.

And now here I am, ready (we're using that term loosely here) to start on my next teacher adventure - honestly it's not that much different than last year: same school, same grade (classroom still not ready). BUT this year I'm in a new room (not a portable), with a 3 (out of 9) new teachers on our K team, and one year of experience under my belt. Actually I'm super excited for this year, now that I've been through it all once at least I know what to expect and mostly what to prepare for. I'm ready (mentally) to learn and grow with my new class. But mostly I think this year I'm ready to enjoy teaching - at least a little more:)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Teacher Freebie

I'm not sure that I have too many people reading this that are actually teachers - but I discovered a new blog to follow and she giving away a great Birthday Unit to use in the classroom. If you want to check it out you can head on over to Peace, Love and Learning!

As a side note - I am working on my own teacher blog, though I haven't decided yet whether it will be a classroom blog or a place for ideas and inspirations....we'll see. I'll let you know when it's up and running.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Adventures

And lately we've been on quite a few - trying new things, seeing new places, and hanging out with friends.
Since we're on summer break from school right now we're trying to take advantage of our free time and actually do some of those things you always mean to do, but don't ever get around to. You know, because when you live in Hawaii you tend to just say, "Oh, I can do that next week, I'm too busy" (or lazy, but you know - whatever). Anyway, we met some friends at church that are only going to be here on Maui for about a year - basically a very extended vacation - so we teamed up to motivate each other to actually go, do, and try the fun things on the island. It's been really good and I think we can all say that we're having fun. We usually try to do 1 or 2 things a week - the beach usually being one of them, and something a little "tourist-y" for the other one.

Usually I'm up for the tourist-y activity on Tuesdays. It's during the week so it's not as crowded, the real tourists are still a little jet lagged, plus Tourist Tuesday just sounds cool. Other weeks we've visited the Maui Ocean Center (an aquarium) and we went on the Swinging Bridges hike with our niece and her hubby (read about that here). Well last week I hadn't planned anything, but our friends asked if we wanted to meet them at the beach and that they would bring their paddle boards. For those of you who are going - What? Paddle Boards? - let me explain. Paddle boards look very similar to surf boards, but they are generally longer and wider and rather than using wave power to get around, you use a.....paddle! Really it's kind of like canoeing standing up...but not. Anyway - here are some pics I found when I googled paddle boarding (so it's no one I know in the pics):

Not everyone likes it or gets it, but I've wanted to try for a while. It's hugely popular here on Maui - I don't really remember seeing so many paddle boarders on Oahu, but I'm sure there are plenty there, too. Anyway- our friends have a couple of boards and so they brought them down to the beach Tuesday morning and we all tried them out.

I loved it! Isaac and Abi were both really into it. Cameron tried it out, but says he doesn't get how it would be fun. He thinks it's pretty boring to just paddle around. Danielle braved sitting on the back of a board for a few minutes, but as she's not a confident swimmer yet, I think she was more worried about falling off than enjoying the ride. Oh, and Juliana is still terrified of the "water getting me", so she usually sticks to just swimming at the pool.

Here's a few pics of the kids trying it out:

You start out kneeling up like this before you stand - normally one person at a time.

Abi in all her surfer girl glory. Seriously - she looks the part, don't ya think? (FYI - that's Lana'i, not Maui, in the back ground - we're not that far out in the water!)

This picture is from so far away, but I had to include it because Isaac is on the board on the right - totally standing up and paddling around on his own (our friend there behind him isn't holding on, just hanging out near by in case Isaac needed help - he didn't).
Abi is on the board to the left, kneeling.

And just because we didn't get a pic of Danielle, I will take the time to upload a super short video with her in it. (Seriously like 9 sec, I think.)

And lucky us - we got to go out again on Saturday morning, too - though the water was very choppy and made for harder balancing, but it was still fun.

I'm totally all for getting our own paddle board, but even used ones are a little pricey (like $300-500) and I'd have to get a roof rack to take it down to the beach. And while I would probably get out at least a few times during the rest of the summer, once school starts I don't know how much we'd use it. I'm still thinking about it.....but it might be better to rent one a couple of times:) We'll see.

Well, we've had a few more adventures I need to blog about - seriously last week was crazy because our friends are leaving for the mainland for a couple of weeks and we were trying to get lots of fun island stuff in before they go. So, hopefully I'll be on to tell you all about them soon, but we may be out adventuring some more:)

PS - Well, at least I got my background issues figured out, but I still can't get the font size bigger - sorry if you have to squint!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Waihe'e Valley

A couple of weeks ago our niece, Ami and her husband, Matt, were visiting Hawaii on vacation (see all of their adventures here) and they spent a few days on Maui - one day specifically to hang out with us. I wish I could say it was because we're so cool like that - but honestly the fact that they planned a day to spend with us is because they are so cool like that. The kids absolutely love Matt and Ami and had a great time.

So I was trying to plan something exciting to do with them - I was given the guidelines of something "treacherous and rewarding". Ummmm, I have 4 children, so I was a little nervous about the treacherous part, but I kept my eyes open and actually came across an article in one of the free weekly papers that float around places like Jamba Juice (well, that's where I found it anyway - a whole basket of them for your weekly reading pleasure). The cover said something about a swing bridge hike and I knew that I'd found our adventure - before I even opened the paper and read the article.

So that's how we ended up in Waihe'e Valley on our fun filled day with Matt and Ami. It was really a great hike. You do have pay a couple of bucks a person to get in and park (that part is on private land) but it was worth it (plus that means you car's a little safer than normal "tourist-y" places). The hike was 4 miles long round trip, with 2 wire and plank swinging bridges, 3 river crossings guaranteed to get your shoes REALLY wet, and a swimming hole at the top.

Since we STILL cannot find the charger for our camera (I'm going to get a new one for my b-day, I just haven't been shopping yet) Ami was our photographer for the day and I think she did a fabulous job - thanks for sending me the pics!

First up - a view of the valley from the bottom-ish of the trail. It was a little cloudy that day, and even more so up in the mountains - it made for a good rainforest atmosphere.

About a mile up the trail and just past the first river crossing (which could be easily avoided - I just didn't realize that until my feet were already wet) you come to the first of 2 wire and plank swinging bridges.

There was actually no water under this one. And I have to tell you - at this point I was a little worried that the kids were going to fr-eak out and we were going to have to drag them across, but I was totally wrong. The big kids (Abi, Isaac, and Danielle) all went across without so much as a hesitation. Juliana on the other hand would have nothing to do with the bridge, but she was totally fine riding piggy back - holding on to mommy so that I could hold on to the "railings". It have to say, I thought it was a little freaky, but maybe that's just because I had a 3 year old on my back and I was being super cautious. But there was no need to worry, we all made it across and were anxiously looking for the second bridge to conquer. (This one actually had water under it.)

After the crossing we had about a mile more to hike, on a narrower trail. Here's Ami, Abi, and Danielle in a small bamboo forest near the top of the trail.

(Isn't Ami super cute? That stylish scarf around her's a beach towel.)
Finally we reached the top of the trail - it ends at this swimming hole. That's Cameron in the water - and the water was cold, Cameron loved it.

In addition to lots of cold water to swim in, there was an area that people were jumping off of into the water. It was seriously 12-15 ft. above the water. Cameron was having a hard time jumping off it - the first time he went in he actually climbed over to where the waterfall was a jumped from there.

But our daredevil children, Abi and Isaac, just jumped right off and had a great time!! Which is really odd since they've been a little reserved about water and swimming in the past. However, both have really taken to the water recently. But to jump off a 12 ft. high rock - seriously? Those are my kids? Are you sure?

Here's Abi jumping - we didn't get a pick of Isaac in motion but the boy jumped 9 times (he counted). Oh - I should tell you, she jumped from where the people up on the top left side of the photo are. I think that body with the white blur is Isaac waiting his turn.

Like I said, the water was cold, but they had fun. I even jumped off once. (It would have been more, but we had a few instances of nature calling so I had to find an appropriate place for the kids to answer.) And Cameron did finally jump off as well.

One last photo - here's Danielle feeding a few doggy treats to a dog that hiked up with his owners. The dog managed to steal one of our sandwiches as I was returning from nature calling on the second child. The owner let the kids give the dog some treats (hopefully not as a reward for stealing the sandwich, so much as a tactic to allow us to finish eating without losing any more food).

I think in the end everyone but Ami got in the water at some point. Matt, Abi, Isaac, me, and Cameron all jumped off the rocks - in that order - and Danielle and Juliana climbed down the rocks with me and got in the water for a few minutes before they were thoroughly cold and ready to get out.

All in all it was a fun time. And it was great to spend some time with Matt and Ami. So nice to have someone come and visit us. I mean - come on - we live in Hawaii people! You'd think we'd have friends and relatives knocking down our door. But alas, we don't. So we're glad that Matt and Ami made it out and that they were willing to hang out with us while they were here. Thanks for the fun time guys!

PS - I tried to make the font bigger, but it won't do it. Sorry, hope you don't have to squint.

PPS - I have changed my background 3 times - 3! - but it keeps reverting to my Happy New Year's background.'s not just because I'm a slacker - though I am.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A little humor from the classroom


Obviously the blog has taken a back burner to - oh, I don't know - everything else in my life!! But I blog in my head ALL the time - about everything. Too bad I can't just upload it all at the end of the day real quick, though you might get bored hearing about planning lessons and cooking dinner and nagging the kids to clean up or put their laundry away - real exciting stuff, ya know?

Anyway. I - well, Juliana - was just watching "Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That" and they were talking about camouflage and it reminded me of a little funny at school today.

My not so little kinder babies are all growed up now and working on writing sentences on their own - spelling phonetically the words they don't know. We decorated fish today and then they had to write a sentence about their fish. My favorite was:

"My fish has kamofloss."

Not that I could spell camouflage right {seriously the spell checker had to fix it BOTH times I've typed it here}, but it brought a little chuckle. At least he didn't take the easy way out and say "spots" or "dots" like most of the class (because we know all the sounds in those words).

Life here is good - We've only got 11 days of school left! Crazy, can't believe the year is almost over. And I am getting a real room next year - though only because my good friend is moving to mainland - but I'm more than happy to hand over the portable classroom to whomever the "new" teacher will be. I kind of feel bad for her (him?) but not bad enough to give them my new real room:) But the point is I will be working hard to get my things packed up and ready for the custodians to move {Man, I wouldn't want their jobs - they work SUPER hard all of the summer to get everyone's stuff where it needs to be all the while deep cleaning and dealing with stressed-out and crabby teachers that want back in their rooms already!}. And I have LOTS of ides for next year swimming around in my head - I can't get them out fast enough. It doesn't help that I've discovered a whole new reason to be addicted to reading blogs - teachers!! So many great ones out there and they are more than happy to share what they do and how they do it.

I'm excited for next year - now that I've got a year under my belt in a super environment with a great team of teachers to work with. The dynamics of the school will be totally different next year for many reasons (new principal - we don't know who yet - new curriculum coordinators, 2 new kinder teachers - 7 of our current 9 are returning next year - AND new standards - Hawaii is switching to Common Core for K-2 next year) , but at least I've don't it all once, kind of:)

OK, got to get this last little lamb to bed so I can load the dishes and get myself to bed. Thank my lucky stars that I have a dishwasher now..... I think I would die without it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Isaac's Baptism

Well, I'm only a week behind on this post and it's been a doozy of a week, plus I have lots left to do to get ready for school tomorrow - with it being Valentine's Day and all. But I wanted to take a quick minute and share Isaac's special day with everyone.

As most of you know, Isaac had his 8th birthday on Christmas Eve 2010. This is a big birthday for families that belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Once you are 8 you are given the opportunity to be baptized and become a member of the church. Isaac has been anticipating this day for a while and has been preparing himself and made the decision to be baptized. Normally he would have be baptized in January, but we decided to wait a month so that Cameron's parents could make it out for the big day.

So, Isaac was baptized and confirmed a member of the church on Saturday, February 5. Lucky Grandma and Grandpa were there because the one family picture that we did take at the baptism on my camera we accidentally deleted when an unnamed son was playing with my (cheap interim) camera. (Remember, can't find the charger....though good news - we found the card reader!) He felt super bad, but Grandpa Peterson to the rescue. He took lots of pictures and was will to share.

Isaac and Dad (who did the baptism).

Isaac with Grandma and Grandpa Peterson (who did the confirmation).

Isaac with Bishop Bowers.

We're so proud of our Isaac - he's growing up so fast and he's developing into a great boys. He's starting attending Cub Scouts since his birthday and well and he's just over the moon about it! His Wolf Den Leader is the greatest and they've already been on a field trip and Isaac's working to have his Bobcat badge by the Blue and Gold Banquet - ours in in a couple weeks!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

I know - probably the last 3 words you would ever expect to read on my blog, but so it is:

I wish that I had taken my own photo, but we were on the way to school and looked up to the mountain (Haleakala, a dormant volcano - but it has erupted more recently than some volcanoes on the Big Island) and what do we see? SNOW!
Danielle saw it first. She says in the car, "Hey mom, isn't that snow up there?" And I don't even look and replied that I didn't think Haleakala was tall enough to get snow. Then I looked....and sure enough, there was snow. The picture above is sort of the view that we had, zoomed in of course, from the highway on the way to school. Unfortunately you couldn't actually see the snow from school - the school is right off the highway, but kind of sunken and has LOTS of mature trees, normally a great thing:) And there was too much cloud cover today, so I don't know if it melted or not yet.
But let me tell you - a weird feeling to be dying of heat in 80 degree weather, and then looking up and seeing snow on the mountain peak. Though, I have learned that it is 10,000 feet above sea level at it's peak, WAAAAY taller than I thought! But it only snows here on Maui every few years or so when the conditions are right. However, it snows on the Big Island pretty much every winter - all winter long. Strange what elevation does to weather!

Now that's some snow that I can love - from a far!