Mike and Susie Jensen Family
"Enjoy the Little Things in Life, for one day you may Look Back and Realize they were the Big Things."
~Robert Brault

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School and Meet the Teacher

August in Arizona means...time to go back to school! After a 2 month break and really, really fun summer, it was time for our kiddos to get back to routines, schedules, friends, homework, after school activities. No more lazy days of summer and sleeping in (sadly).

Brynlyn started a new preschool (developmental) program. There are 8 kids in her classroom and she gets speech therapy, OT therapy, and PT therapy at school, which is great! It's really close to our house, but she still gets to ride the bus (which she loves! And her bus drivers are the best!) She goes 4 days a week for a few hours. It is definitely the highlight of her week and she is loving her classroom and her teacher, Ms. Erin.

Janelle and Jackson came to see Brynlyn off on her first day of school.

Mom and Dad, sending Brynlyn off into the big, wide world. I don't know who was more scared then: US or Brynlyn! ha ha

Strapped into the bus, Dora backpack in tow, all ready for school! Giddy-up!

Chillin' out with Jackson before school. It was so sweet that her BEST FRIEND in all of the world came over to wish her well on her first day.

Dad even came home for this big occasion.

We're both feeling a little anxious and nervous right about now...

Jackson, Janelle and Brynlyn. Jackson was sure to Janelle that only Brynlyn was going on the bus today. He was just fine to stay at home with Mommy. So cute!

Such a big girl...

Katelyn and Lauryn before school. They were so excited to go. Lauryn started a new school this year, joining her sisters at Ben Franklin. She was nervous, but also excited to see what this new school was all about and to meet new friends.

Katelyn is so excited to start 3rd grade.

Lauryn is starting 1st grade.

Ashlyn and Camryn, in their aero clothes, all ready to go! Such cute girls.

Watch out 6th grade...here comes Ashlyn!

Brynlyn and her preschool teacher, Ms. Erin. This was meet the teacher night and she and Brynlyn were instant friends.

Ashlyn with Ms. Worthen, her 6th grade teacher. She's awesome, we love her already!

Lauryn with Ms. Morris in 1st grade. She was so excited to meet her new teacher and check out her new classroom. She's going to have a great year.

Ashlyn and Jade, hanging out in the classroom.

Kendyl and Ashlyn got to choose their seats right next to each other for the 1st day of class. They are so excited to be in the same class again this year.

Katelyn sitting at her new desk. Katelyn's assigned teacher had to quit due to a family emergency. SO...she was getting a new teacher, Mrs. Youngs, who wasn't going to be there for the first week. So she had Mrs. Becker as her sub and then Mrs. Youngs started the second week. We already love Mrs. Youngs. She is such a neat teacher, and Katelyn knew her as a substitute from the few years before.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aloha from Hawaii!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday, day 2: Iao Needle, Costco

We discovered this gem of a spot on Maui called the Iao Needle. It was this huge, lush mountain and you felt like you were in a tropical rainforest when you were walking in it. There was a bridge to cross and underneath were shallow swimming pools with waterfalls that led to more swimming pools and more waterfalls that led to even more swimming pools. We quickly discovered that this is a "local hangout" for the teenagers on the island. There was a really fun group jumping off the rocks into the water and we loved hanging out with them, getting to know what their world is like. They were so nice and it really became one of our favorite spots. The girls didn't have their swimsuits with them, so they didn't jump into the pools, so we made plans to come back soon (with swimsuits and towels).

the lush Iao Needle area

Mike climbing trees again

Hey wait a minute, their Costco is just like our Costco! Imagine that...

Another favorite place on the island is Paia. It's a very small ecletic, hippy type town on the way to Hana. This town is so great and I love it! The welcome sign when you're driving in says: "Welcome to Paia. Please don't feed the hippies." ha ha ha
The Paia Fish Market (in the picture on the top right) has THE most amazing fish and chips and coleslaw. We ate there four times this trip.

The Iao Needle

Cliff jumpers into the shallow swimming pools (only 6 feet deep). It was making THIS mother so nervous whenever they would jump. ha ha

Mike and the girls met up with one of the locals. He was so cool and fun to chat with. We nicknamed him "the scraper" (the story is just too long to tell so I'll spare you of any details.) We really think he is a direct descendent of the famous deceased Hawaiian singer IZ. He looked JUST like him!

Mike and the girlies climbing trees having some great daddy/daughter bonding time

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thursday, day 1: Maui, Hawaii - July 2009 - Getting There


In July, we went on a fabulous vacation to Maui, Hawaii. We took the 3 older girls and left Brynlyn in the wonderful, caring hands of Janelle, Eric and Jackson.

You can see Janelle's blog (click on the link on our home page) for pictures of their time with Miss Brynlyn. She had a most fantastic time with them and it was a really, really difficult adjustment for her (and for all of us) when we came home because she just completely made herself at home with them. Mahalo for taking on this "event" and for taking such fantastic care of her!!! You guys are so awesome.

If I could only choose ONE place to travel to for the rest of my life, THIS would be the place. It represents total relaxation, a much slower way of life, lots of time with my ohana (family), an outdoor lifestyle and simple and pure enjoyment for myself, my husband and my keikis (children). The "Aloha spirit" really is so tangible and is felt immediately from the time you step off of the airplane to the time you have to go home. There's something very magical and intoxicating about it, that just keeps drawing me back.

We made some amazing memories with the girls and we are incredibly grateful to have had the chance to visit the islands again.

Chris, we owe you bigtime for the car!!!! Thank you again for hookin' us up with a minivan. I knew it was painful and hilarious to see pics from our rental car last year. You are the bomb and helped us out so much. We don't have to worry about packing light now!! ha ha

Only in Hawaii...two identical convertibles...four surfboards hanging out the back ends...too funny!

Imagine that...an outdoor airport. Now this for sure wouldn't work in good ol' AZ. After two flights, we are finally here and ready to party Hawaiian style!

Ashlyn pointing out on the airplane's traveling map. We're flying over the ocean. The flight over was fine, except for the TV's not working, although the games did. So Ashlyn entertained herself on the plane by playing trivia pursuit and chess against other passengers on the airplane.

Katelyn and Lauryn entertained themselves with their littlest pet shops. They had their own little town set up.

As far as Mike was concerned, one word: IPOD!

There were lots of musical chairs on the plane. Are we there yet???

Saturday, day 3: Swap Meet, Iao Needle, a BIG surprise

My husband is so amazing and planned this incredible surprise for me. At sunset, on Kaanapali Beach, with a romantic speech planned out, he surprised me with a new wedding ring! I could hardly believe it when I saw it and I was completely SPEECHLESS. (which is tough to do, I know ha ha) All I could say was, "Are you asking me to marry you again?" ha ha

I have been looking at this ring for a year now, but I've never felt like it was the time to get it and had just told myself it wasn't going to happen and that's fine. He bought it without me even knowing it, had it sized for me. Amazing! I can't believe he pulled it off and it makes me tear up everytime I put on the ring, just thinking about all of the planning and effort it took on his part to do this. It's a great moment in my life I will never forget!

I love him a million times before he even did this, and I would still love him even if he hadn't done this. I thought that taking me to Hawaii was a good enough gift. He knew this was something I was wishing for and I appreciate him for doing this wonderful gesture for me.

Iao Needle. As promised, we took the girls back to the Iao Valley so they could swim. However, the weather changed a little that day and it was cooooold! The water was absolutely freezing, but the girls still jumped in and played around for a while.

On the bridge over the valley

The Maui Swap Meet. This is a photographers meca. It was fun capturing the local flavor and natural color of the island on camera.

This was neat. This lady wrote a book about some Hawaiian turtles and so we bought an autographed copy of her book along with some stuffed turtles and then she even posed with the girls in this picture. That is her granddaughter with her. So fun to meet a local artist.

Overlooking the Maui Swap Meet

Mike insisted on trying this pure coconut milk. The look on his face said it all. "Ewww! This is gross!" ha ha

This Hawaiian couple sat there and cut and shelled the cocunuts.