Thursday, June 25, 2009

cousins - don't they look alike?

Our baby sister lives in Hawaii. She married a Hawaiian man she met in California and eventually they moved to Hawaii and have raised their kids there on Oahu. We got a chance to go to church, have dinner with their family and spend the evening with them.
Here's Brady and Kamalei - don't they look like they come from the same gene pool?The girls had just returned from girl's camp and had woven these lovely shade hats. Kamalei thought it would be a good fashion statement for Brady.The girls are hula dancers. Not just your average, neighborhood dance studio hobbyists, but really expert dancers that compete in international competitions. The nice thing is that they perform on command for family. Kamalei and Kokia danced for us in an impromptu performance in their living room. These adorable girls are just 14 and 17 years old. The video is a little dark, but you can tell how good they are and how strong they are. And there is a proud mom and dad in the background.

They tried to teach Melanie and Roxanne some moves. Melanie gave it a good try. I should have taken some video of her. Her hips were trying to hula, but her shoulders and her feet had a little too much hip hop in them.

Here's Dave and Kiona: We got a serenade from Colin:

Melanie and Kamalei:

Rachel and Kokia:

I'm happy the kids got to renew some friendships with their cousins. They don't get to see each other often enough.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crazy Eights

Ok, Suzanne tagged me to play Crazy Eights. So here are the rules:
1. Mention the person who tagged you.
2. Complete the list of 8's.
3. Tag 8 other bloggers.
4. Tell them they have been tagged.

Eight Things I look Forward to:
1. Teaching Seminary again this year.
2. Getting some organization projects done this summer.
3. Going to New England in the fall with Suzanne and hiking part of the Appalachian Trail.
4. Going beach camping with the Girl Scouts. (the camping I am looking forward to, the scout part will be a blend of fun/stress).
5. Maybe hiking down Havasupai next spring.
6. Having Brady move back home and work for us. (It's temporary, it's a good situation, and it's fun having him here.)
7. A little get-away trip with Dave to California soon.
8. Hopefully getting rid of this horrible cold I've had swarming through my body this week.

Eight Things I did yesterday:
1. Woke up with a massive headache, out of control runny nose, and my neck out of whack.
2. Dropped off Melanie for girl's camp.
3. Bought a few groceries to fill our empty fridge.
4. Filled out a massive amount of paperwork for our business health insurance.
5. Met with an insurance agent.
6. Took an enormous amount of drugs, never got the headache to go away.
7. Basically spent the day alone, finally sat down to relax with the TV and realized our TIVO had no power all last week.
8. Tried to find something good on TV but to no avail. I still felt sick and now I was feeling sorry for myself all evening. (exciting day!)

Eight Things I Wish I could do:
1. Go on a cruise in the Mediterranean.
2. Go on a mission (not yet, but someday)
3. Learn things easily.
4. Pay off our house.
5. Play the guitar.
6. I wish I had a green thumb. (note: my plants from last month are still alive and doing well!)
7. Conquer the clutter in our house.
8. Protect our kids from heartache as they start into adulthood.

Eight Shows I watch:
1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. The Amazing Race
3. Survivor
4. Top Chef
5. Project Runway
6. 30 Rock
7. Royal Pains
8. Random garbage that happens to be on when the house is too quite and I'm home alone.

Eight Friends I am Tagging:
1. Lauri
2. Katie
3. Lindsey
4. Rachel
5. Cindi
6. Meghan
7. Cathy
8. Geri

vacation disasters

My sister tagged me for a vacation disaster story. You can read hers here. Lauri, I can't top yours, but we did come home from a vacation to a mess.

We had driven home from Idaho one summer after a visit of several days. I would guess we were gone from the house about a week. Our road trip home was through the night. We used to do that quite often when the kids were little and they would sleep a good portion of the long 15 hour drive. This time we were more exhausted than normal. And more exhausted than was really safe to be driving. We were having to trade off driving every 45 minutes between Dave and I to get home from northern AZ. Even when we were an hour or so away from Phoenix I realized we should stop and sleep a few minutes, but it seemed silly to stop when we were so close to home so we continued on and arrived at our house at about 6 a.m. In that sleepy and exhausted state, we walked in the house to the most putrid smell I have ever experienced. Apparently, our freezer had come unplugged as we were leaving and everything defrosted and all the juices from the meat that rotted through the week pooled at the bottom of the freezer, oozed out the door, under the freezer itself and all over the pantry floor. We were gagging with the smell.
So how exactly do you clean that up? and how do you dispose of that nastiness? The dumpsters weren't going to be picked up for another 5 days, so that wasn't an option. I finally called the city and explained the situation and asked for a suggestion, hoping I could talk them into picking up our dumpster that day. They finally decided to call the dead animal pick up department. If we would bag the meat and put it by the curb, the dead animal pick up truck would come by in a couple of hours.
Then we still had to get the freezer cleaned out, scrub and mop the floor and everything on the floor in the pantry, and air out the smell in our house. It was hours later before we crawled into bed for a little rest.
The next day, our neighbor heard what happened and said "Why didn't you just plug your freezer back in and re-freeze everything, then throw it out?"
Hmmm, . . . yeah, that would have been a real easy solution.
We had another major disaster just this past week while we were on vacation. The power in our neighborhood went out for about 10 or 15 minutes on the first day of our trip. The cable box turned off and didn't turn back on. Our favorite shows that were scheduled to record on TIVO all week were not recorded. Bummer.
I tag Lezlee , Suzanne who both vacation a lot and Amelia who always has a good story to tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

hiking hawaiian style. oh and sharks too.

Rachel talked us into a hike to Manoa Falls while we were in Hawaii. We had to be back to our house by 11 a.m. so Rachel, Melanie and I took off at 6:30 and drove across the island through morning rush hour traffic, with an insufficient map, and on a ridiculously unorganized freeway system. Traffic was a mess, but we got through to the other side of Honolulu and it was nice to be there early before any other crowds came. It is one of the more popular hiking trails on Oahu. We had the place to ourselves. Let me remind you where I have been hiking for the last few months.
Arizona trail:
Hawaiian trail:
Yeah, just a bit of a difference. Man oh man, it was the most gorgeous hike I've ever taken. It was so jungle-y and so Jurassic Park-ish, I was expecting a Pterodactyl to emerge from the forest at any moment.

The trail was about a mile in, and a mile back out. It had been raining all night so we were worried about the mud. It was quite wet, but not too bad for hiking. This picture was taken just prior to Melanie stepping backwards and toppling off head over heels over the "Danger - Keep Out" sign:

Then we had to get back to the north side of the island because we had booked a trip out on the ocean for a "Shark Encounter" little adventure. Dave's business partner told us we just had to do it (but suggested that we take the kids out later in our week because they might not want to go back in the water once they have seen the sharks, haha). We got out on the boat in windy conditions and once we got out to the shark infested area, the boat captains decided the water was too choppy to put the cage down in the water. That was a bit of a relief as we saw a shark on the surface. It gave us an easy out for not wanting to get in the water with the sharks. So we just fed it from the safety of the boat's railing and called it a day. WHEW!

our family vacation

We just pooled our vacation photos from all our cameras onto one computer file and we have almost 1000 photos from a 9 day trip. So grab yourself a soda, sit back and relax and I will describe each and every one of them to you.
Well actually, I will spare you most of them. As far a quantity goes, the "scenery" category wins with oh so many photos, though they are truly gorgeous.
The next highest quantity of pictures falls into the "stupid picture of myself" category. I found truly WAY too many of these on our memory cards. I don't know why.

Brady was so exhausted, he was asleep and unconscious most of the way there. The girls hadn't slept much the night before either, but it didn't seem to affect them.

The plane ride:

Scenery on arrival:

The airport shuttle:

I think we documented every move we made. I want to journal our trip for our own memories and enjoyment so there will be an extraordinarily high number of vacation photos coming in the next few days. Consider yourself fore-warned.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Brady and Melanie gave me a rose bush for Mother's day last month. It was a beautiful plant and a very thoughtful gift.
That is, until I realized I have no flower beds so I had to clear a patch of land, weed, mulch, dig and fertilize and buy some other plants to go around it so it wouldn't be lonely.
It was the most expensive and labor intensive mother's day gift I think I have ever received. Now I live with the daily stress of keeping 5 plants alive in my back yard. We barely keep up with keeping our grass green and mowed semi-regularly. I should be able to keep 5 little plants alive at this point in my life, shouldn't I?

Monday, June 8, 2009

bfaf's (best far away friends)

Little Jordan, who used to babysit around in our neighborhood, got married last month. The Wagners used to be our neighbors and our friends. Now they're just our friends. The neighbor concept got thrown out the window when they moved 1853 miles away to Georgia. Stopping by for late night ice cream ended that very day. But since then, we have gone cruising with them and we survived a cross-country road trip to New York with them (not just adults, that would have been easy . . . we toted seven kids with us too).
It's hard for us to maintain long distance friendships with people. We've never been very good at it except for sending an occasional Christmas card. Luckily for us, Joe and Madeline are both very good at keeping in touch. And luckily, they travel for business and stay with us when they are working here or traveling through. Dave and Joe talk on the phone all the time. I can always tell when Dave is talking to Joe, his voice tone is different, more animated than with the run-of-the-mill business client.
So - little Jordan grew up and got married. And what a beautiful bride she was.Dave got a chance to fly back to Georgia and attend the wedding reception and then fly down to Florida to spend a few days with his brother. (Yes, he took a lovely vacation while I was slaving away here in the office. But I hold no bitterness, really.)
Joe is a proud and weepy daddy. Joe, it's not just because your daughter is getting married, but we all know your background (and Dave's too) of weepiness. You two are cut from the same cloth.
The one difficult thing to explain about this family, is that they were a little family of 5 when they lived here, and now their household consists of these 11 people, 9 of which still sit around the dinner table every night. There were no babies involved and there is no math calculation to explain it. Madeline, I'll be curious to see how many people are standing in the family photo at the next wedding event.
Madeline is visiting with us this weekend. In casual conversation, Dave said to Madeline, "I was talking to your son-in-law the other day . . . " She had an absolute blank look on her face for a moment until she realized "OH, I have a son-in-law now!"
Little tiny Grant, who I still envision in my head as a sweet adorable little 2nd grader has an gorgeous girlfriend and here he is attending the Senior formal. Somehow, 2nd graders shouldn't have girlfriends.
Ok Madeline, I know you read this blog regularly. I'm giving you an assignment to leave a comment once in a while :) It's fun having you here!