The 2004 Christmas Kazette
I’m finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year, perhaps because it is our last Christmas in Hawaii. “It is?”
you ask? Well, orders aren’t written yet, but chances are we’ll be somewhere on the Mainland starting in June of
2005.(Probably Washington, DC)
Well, that’s the future, here’s a little bit about what went on in the past year. We spent Christmas afternoon last year
at The Ice Palace, the local ice skating rink. That kicked off a pretty wonderful year.
In January we went on a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands, which included a stop at Fanning Island in the country of
Kiribati. Doug, Erika and I all had a great trip. We could barely pry Erika out of “Planet Kids” where Norwegian
Cruise Lines entertained the small folk each day.  Doug rounded out the month by winning ‘pizza for a year’ during a
halftime contest at a University of Hawaii women’s basketball game. We used all 18 coupons before the end of the
year. Whoo hooo! I took a quick trip to Seattle to renew my driver’s license and got to visit a bunch of friends, and
Doug and I enjoyed a Jimmy Buffet concert down in Waikiki.
Doug continued his winning streak by winning a trivia contest run by a local radio station during the morning
broadcast... this was his 3rd time in about 2 years. Although he didn’t win tickets to it, we did, all 3 of us, also enjoy
the NFL Pro Bowl game in February as well.
Erika’s school break in March gave us the opportunity to travel and we went to Kauai. Other than the roosters, which
are EVERYWHERE, including under our beachfront cabin, we had a great time, saw many beautiful sights, and took
a fantastic tubing adventure. Unfortunately, during this trip, Doug’s back started bothering him. More on this later.
In April we took advantage of the fact that the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center hosted the PanPacific
Gymnastic competition. We got to see many athletes that later graced our TV’s in the Summer Olympics.
In May Erika turned 6 and had her party at Chuck E Cheese’s. She also started hula lessons.
June spelled the end of kindergarten for Erika, and we were off on a plane again, this time visiting the East Coast
where we saw family, friends, and gave Erika her first ‘grown-up’ tour of RPI. She hadn’t been to campus since her
Christening, and we also took the opportunity to drop in on Father Gary, the priest that baptised her and married
Doug and I.
July brought us Doug’s parents and our first opportunity in over a year to ‘do the tourist thing’. TLC’s “Junkyard
Wars” happened to be at the local mall, and Jan, Doug and Erika built a race car together and won the race! Shortly
after our guests left, Erika started first grade and AYSO soccer. Erika’s team had a good season and although she’s
still getting a feel for all the positions, Erika started showing a preference for goalie (like her Dad!). At the very end
of the month we got to welcome my high school friend, Kim, to the islands. She buzzed through Oahu while on a trip
with her extended family. Aloha!
August was a relatively quiet month, Doug continued taking short trips to the Mainland as he had been doing all year,
and visiting the doctor now and again for his back pain. He also continued his duties as VP of a parent/teacher type
group at Erika’s school. The skies, as usual, clouded up real well for the Perseids meteor shower. Argh!
September brought the anniversary of our first date, which was 18 years ago. We celebrated by going to a blood drive
together. Well, no, not really, but we did go to a blood drive together. Doug’s donated a few times this year and I
plan to donate more regularly as well. We also went to the first play by Honolulu Theater for Youth this season, for
which we have season tickets. We saw a few of their plays last year and have been SO impressed.
Erika and I spent her first 1st grade school break visiting my parents in South Carolina. We had a great visit and saw
so many neat things, including Fort Sumter. This year was hotter than last and I never got a chance to wear pants! So
much for “Fall” on the Mainland! Doug had a busy October at work, and also was finally diagnosed with a ruptured
disc. I followed this up in November with a bulging disc, which I will hopefully be able to baby back into submission.
October ended with Erika in a homemade witch costume. Well, the dress and cape were homemade!
November saw the end of Erika’s soccer season, and the second HTY play which included Erika’s favorite actor,
“Bulldog”. We ended the month with tickets to The Harlem Globetrotters. Erika was entranced! Doug and I really
enjoyed it too.
December finds us caught up, or rather, caught short, by the Christmas Season. We kicked it all off on December 4th
with not one, but two parades - one in our ‘hometown’ of Mililani, and one in downtown Honolulu. Both were fun, if
a little wet, but we had umbrellas so it wasn’t too bad. With much shopping, wrapping and shipping to be done, we
bid you Happy Holidays and hopes for a fantastic New Year!

The Erika EXTRA
All the kid stuff you might not want to read.

Erika is doing well this year, although as a friend of mine joked, she's 48 lbs and 48 inches tall... what a SQUARE!  ha ha ha  Erika still enjoys school and is once again in the Quest program, for gifted students. Her reading skills are excellent, and so far she has done extremely well on all her spelling tests and homework assignments... she just needs a little more practice on her handwriting. Handwriting? How quaint! Yes, Erika does quite well on the computer, and loves to play games on our Palm Pilots.
At the beginning of the year, I noticed Erika was having trouble reading things that were far away. Sure enough, she's nearsighted, and picked out a great pair of GREEN frames in March. I think they look great on her. Green is still her favorite color, but she also claims that ALL the rainbow colors are her favorite now, plus Pink!
Outside of school, Erika participated in hula classes, AYSO soccer and has gone ice skating with Doug and I quite a few times. Although it takes her a bit of time, she's also able to tie her own shoes and tell time! We're still working on picking out matching clothes. =) And, she also hasn't learned to swim yet.
Unfortunately, Erika USED to be a very good eater, trying almost anything we put in front of her. Now, she chooses not to eat things she used to like, and is reluctant to try anything new. On the plus side, between school and home she is learning to be a HEALTHY eater, and still prefers veggies and fruit to candy, and doesn't drink any soda, only lemonade, Kool-aid, and various fruit juices (though usually hates any kind of red fruit punch!)and of course, milk.
Erika joined a swap group this year, online, and has fun trading cards, decorations and stickers with about 10 other families (about 22 kids) around the United States.
We had fun, as usual, this Halloween. Erika decided she wanted to be a witch, and she and I picked out a pattern and material together.... I managed to make her quite a nice dress/tunic and cloak  We bought a hat, broom and also a cauldron for her candy bin. Although we didn't go 'all out' with our jack-o-lanterns, (they 'melt' too quickly here in Hawaii) we did carve a few and had other non-perishable decorations.
Erika is doing well in Sunday school too, although her teacher has asked her to put her hand/head down because she knows ALL the answers. We still manage to have something new to teach her almost every day, as we light our Advent candles, get out our advent calendars, and assemble the Nativity. We're also having fun driving and walking through neighborhoods to see everyones' decorations.