Thursday, June 18, 2009

Enjoying our Family

Kyla and Kyrstina at Courtney's birthday party.

While we were in Hawaii, Nathan had several games and a friend took this photo. Nathan was hit by the ball and she got the action shot of him jumping out of the way. Notice the ball hit him and is bouncing.

Tayven at Courtney's Birthday Party.
Kyler and Grandpa celebrating Courtney's 7th Birthday.

Happy Birthday!

June is a busy birthday month for our family. Kenne celebrated his birthday without us this year because we were on our way to Hawaii. But we are excited to have a 22 year old living at home again. Happy Birthday Kenne.

June 15th is my mother's birthday - Crystal Markowitz. She is home in Illinois and enjoying her garden. She turned 71 this year. My how time flies.

June 16h was our beautiful ganddaughter Courtney's birthday. We were excited to be able to celebrate with her.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day #12 - Tuesday - Airports

Tuesday morning we arrived in Portland and slept for a few hours on the airport floor. Then we boarded a plane for Salt Lake City around 10:00 a.m. and we will be landing about noon. We need to hurry home because we want to take Nathan to his baseball game in Driggs tonight. A few things that happened that I haven't mentioned. . . One of our flights we were seated directly in front of Dallin H. Oaks and his wife. She was ill so we refrained from taking their photo out of respect for them, however, it was fun to visit with him. He was preparing to attend a Stake Conference. Also, the only negative of the trip that I can think of was that due to the heat and humidity, my feet swelled up absolutely HUGE - so huge that I can't hardly get my shoes on. Other than that it was a perfect trip. As I sit in the airport reflecting on our adventures I think we had enough fun to last a life time. It was absolutely beautiful. . . wonderful. . . I still can't believe that we were able to go and do such a fun thing. . . . I loved every minute of every day. . . but I must say. . . there's no place like home.

Day #11 - Monday - Packing, Saying Goodbye, Enjoying the Beach, Just a Few More Souveniers!

Monday was bitter sweet. It was hard to say goodbye to Adam and Jenni. They were such wonderful hosts and we surely enjoying seeing them very much. They are so kind to us. We spent the morning trying to re-pack our suitcases and decide what we would need for the day. We left around 11:30 and about and hour later called Jenni and asked if we could come back. . . we didn't know what time our plane left. We got on the internet and then took off again. I have photos but can't find the gizmo to get them off my camera so I will add them later but we spent the day enjoying Waikiki beach. We played in the ocean until we were exhausted, ate lunch and dinner in Waikiki and had lots of fun our last day in Hawaii. We were very creative and changed into airplane clothes in the backseat of the car and then headed for the airport. Our flight left Hawaii at 10:40 p.m. We arrived in Portland around 7:00 a.m. the next morning. These photos are of our rental car - we lived in it for a week and a half. Also, Waikiki beach and being silly on our way to Honolulu.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day #10 - Sunday - Tour of BYU-Hawaii Campus and Temple Visitor Center

We spent a relaxing day today enjoying the Sabbath. Adam and Jenni gave us a tour of BYU-Hawaii campus and then we spent time at the Hawaii Temple grounds and the visitor center. The temple is closed for reconstruction but it was still fun to see. This photo is the road leading up to the temple.
This is a beautiful mosaic on BYU campus. It depicts David O. McKay and his dream to build a school here.
This is a statue at the temple visitor center. It depicts Lehi conferring the priesthood upon Joseph.
The yellow Hibiscus flower is the state flower of Hawaii and this is a pink version of the same flower. They are everywhere and they are beautiful!
We also enjoyed slowing strolling along the beach together. This is Temple Beach. It is straight across the street from the temple and has a beautiful sitting area for meditation. The church as also provided a beautiful grassy area, small secluded parking area and a shower to wash the sand off. It is very nicely landscaped. Your tithing dollars at work :).

Day #9 - Saturday - Sea Life Park and the Dole Pineapple Plantation

We spent a wonderful day with Adam and Jenni today. Adam was able to take a day off work and so the four of us spent the day sight-seeing. First we drove up the North side of the island on our way to Sea Life Park. This picture is of Rabbit Island.

Then we arrived at Sea Life Park and enjoyed several hours of shows and fun with the animals. We enjoyed their shows and displays very much. I have over 100 photos and it was hard to choose.
Then we drove almost all the way around the island to the Dole Plantation. We rode the train and took the guided tour. We learned lots about pineapple, cocoa, bananas, etc. Did you know that a banana plant will only grow one bunch of bananas and then it is cut down and they plant a new plant. It was very interesting!Doesn't Jenni look cute here!!
We thought the colorful bark on this tree was cool so we took this photo.

After sight-seeing, we went to a grocery store and stocked up on food and then went back to Adam and Jenni's apartment and cooked a wonderful dinner. We ate fresh guava and pineapple and enjoyed the evening with them. Word has it that friends are coming over to meet us. It was a great day.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day #8 - Friday - Ko Olina Catamaran - My Favorite Day Yet

Today was absolutely incredible! We began the day packing and checking out of our condo. It was a bit sad to leave, but exciting at the same time because we will get to spend a bit more time with Adam and Jenni by staying with them in their apartment and being on the north side of the island where they are. Ko Olina has a wonderful thing called "linger longer". We have to check out at 10:00 a.m. but many people don't catch their flight until late in the evening and so they give you a new key for the day and we were able to use the pools, showers, and anything else on the facilities that we wanted. So we played in the pool until lunch, ate a wonderful lunch around the pool and then headed to the marina. We had tickets for a 1:00 catamaran ride.
This is the cat that we rode. It was amazing! Things got a little tricky right off because they didn't tell us to be there at 12:30. So we almost missed the boat. Because we were trying to run to the boat, I forgot the camera. But luckily for us, we boarded at the very last minute - they actually held it for us while the condo took us there in a golf cart!
They also didn't tell us that it was a 3-4 hour trip and that we were going out into the ocean to SNORKEL! Due to the strength of the ocean currents, I had NO intentions of snorkeling in the ocean - and no way was I going to snorkel OUT in the ocean (as opposed to along the shore!) however, there were 14 of us on this trip with 3 divers. They gave us "state of the art" equiptment that fit perfectly. They got in the water with us with life rings and they took us to the PREMIER spot to snorkel on the whole island. We were in the area where they film commercials and film etc because there is so much wild life to see.
So seriously at $120 each, the best spot, and wonderful guides how could we resist. However, the other problem was that the lady who signed us up for this trip didn't tell us that we were getting IN the water and that we should wear our suits. . . we thought we were going to WATCH! So, after a bit of debate about garments and the ocean. . . we decided that this was a once in a life time opportunity and we should just GO FOR IT! In we jumped - ocean here I come!!
This is a moorish idol. We saw lots of these. It is a type of angel fish.
This was bright purple and green fish called a parrot fish. These were really large and beautiful.
This long skinny fish is called a trumpet fish. There is also a smaller one called a cornet fish. We saw several of both kinds. This photo from the innernet doesn't do this fish justice. They are long and beautiful. The ones I saw and swam with were about 2 feet. This black, white, and yellow stripped fish is called a convict tang. We saw hundreds of these and I fed one of them a tiny bread crumb from my hand. They swam around us, over us, under us in huge schools of fish.

The photos of us and the boat above were taken AFTER we returned and docked and I went to the car to get my camera and then went back to the boat. We did get two photos on the boat - we traded our drink (alchohol) tickets to a guy who agreed to take our picture and e-mail them to us in a week or two. We'll see if he really does it. Any way. . . we saw hundreds of fish! These photos were taken off the internet but they were even more beautiful in person. We saw many more kinds but I can't list them all there. They were bright, beautiful colors and amazing shapes. They were all around us close enough to touch. We saw puffer fish, trumpet fish, yellow tangs, several kinds of coral, moorish idol, etc. It was breathtaking and once again caused tears of joy. I can't even begin to tell you. . . how amazing it was. We were in the ocean for an HOUR and then we boarded the cat again and they had a beautiful dinner for us. We continued to sail about another hour and then returned to dock. I am SO GLAD that I took this opportunity and didn't chicken out. It was the most amazing experience of my life to swim with the wild, beautiful fish.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Time out from the trip

Vacationing is always wonderful but I am so glad that it comes to an end. As I read Heidi & Amiee's blogs today, I am so anxious to get home and kiss on my grandkids. I have also missed our kids a ton. Partly because we are jam-packed full of activities and partly because of the time difference of 4 hours I don't get to talk with them every day and I am getting homesick. It will also be really hard to leave Adam and Jenni here to go home. They have been fun to be around.

Day #7 - Thursday - The Cost of Freedom & The Aquarium

This is the tree that grows the flowers Adam and Jenni made my lei from.
Photo session at Ko Olina with Adam and Jenni on our way to our activities today.

Today we enjoyed spending time with Adam and Jenni. They spent the night in our extra bedroom and this morning, after sleeping in a bit, we toured some places together.
Next we went to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Battleship Memorial. We watched a 23 minute film of actual footage and then took a boat out to the memorial. It was a good reminder of the cost of freedom. I hope that my children and grandchild remember that thousands of men and women have died for the United States of America and it is now our responsibility and honor to appreciate our freedom and keep it that way.
After Pearl Harbor we went out to lunch at the big shopping mall in Honolulu but I can't remember the name of the mall. We had delicious sea food with Adam and Jenni.\
Then we drove to the Aquarium. Jenni is a volunteer here once a week and we enjoyed her knowledge and sharing of information. I have over 100 beautiful photos from today but these are just a couple.
This Aquarium is also on the Waikiki beach. We took a quick glance and decided that we were so exhausted and Adam was going to be late to his new job at McDonalds so we headed back to the condo. It was another wonderful day but we are getting very tired. Tonight we plan to just eat dinner at our resort, enjoy the pools and head to bed early. We have a big day planned for tomorrow. We are having enough fun to last a lifetime.

Day #6 - Wednesday - New Side of the Island

Today was a variety of things. First in the morning we got up early and headed to the resort sales office for our regular sales pitch. It was actually a wonderful visit and we learned a lot about our Marriott option and how to better take full advantage of being an owner. Then we headed to the swap meet. My friend Marianne told me not to miss it and she was right! We had such a fun time spending way too much money to bring back gifts for all the kids and grandkids. It was a blast but of course too long for Kerry's taste, althought I seriously could have stayed another 3 or 4 hours! Then we decided to explore the other side of the island. Each time we have gone from South to North and back again (for dinner, to see Adam & Jenni, to visit the PCC) we have always gone around the West side of the island. This time we decided to go toward Honolulu and then up more toward the East side of the island. We drove through the most beautiful part of the island and through a couple of tunnels. We explored a few beaches and went back to the PCC for a couple of hours. Here is just a few photos of our beautiful day.
I took this photo of the restraunt where we ate dinner. It was a small family owned place with no walls again. There were a few mis-matched chairs and tables, or planks of wood sitting around and it was the strangest atmosphere - but absolutely delicious food.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day #5 - Tuesday - Polynesian Cultural Center

Another day of breathtaking beauty and culture. We thoroughly enjoyed the PCC. It was an amazing experience. The spirit was strong there and brought tears to both Kerry and my eyes. This is such an incredible experience and another thing we wish we could share with our children and grandchildren.

We began the day enjoying the beach here at Ko Olina. We saw LOTS of crabs and fish. We enjoyed the ocean and the pools. Then we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the PCC. We bought the Ambassador package and so we were given orchid leis, a guided tour, a gift package, special (second row) seating at the events and we were the second table to get to go through the dinner buffet to eat, and boy were we hungry by that time.

It was a day of music, dance, customs, crafts, and learning the beautiful history of the people with Polynesian history.

Then the day ended as it began - we took a quick dip in the pools and completed our exhaustion.