Monday, February 23, 2015

Hawaii: A Week in Paradise

This post is nearing a month overdue. There were so many pictures to sort through, it took me some time to select and edit them all. Finally, here is a review of our week long adventure in Hawaii.

The last week of January Kyle and I dropped our girls off to stay with my parents and then we headed out on a week long Hawaiian adventure with Kyle's parents and sister Brittany. Kyle's dad had an optometry conference to attend on the big island, and his parents invited us to come along. A trip to Hawaii mid-winter, how do you refuse that?!

This was my first visit to the islands, and my longest plane flight. I guess I don't get out much, or at least don't travel much beyond the west coast. The others had all been before, in fact Kyle lived there for a couple of years (on Oahu) when he was about Hailey's age.

We stayed on the Kona side of the big island, where the lava rock dominates, but the weather is still fantastic. I think the biggest happy point of the trip (besides no work, no cleaning, and no children) was the food. We dined on potato/mac salad, hamburgers, and ice cream all week long. And we loved it. We also went to a Luau where we were able to sample all sorts of Hawaiian foods (including the famous Kahlua pig) and sip on fruity drinks.

We hit up a small farmers market in town where Kyle stumbled upon rambutan (pictured above), a favorite fruit from Kyle's mission to the Philippines. He has described this fruit to me before, with it's hairy-like outside, but grape-like inside. So of course we bought some. I loved it! I really wish we could have taken some home with us, but Hawaii has strict laws on the import and export of fruits and flowers. Bummer.

We spent the first few days hanging out at the resort, watching the dolphins play, and relaxing by the ocean fed lagoon. Kyle and his dad snorkeled and caught sight of all sorts of tropical fish and sea turtles. We all tried our hand at paddle boarding, which gave the rest of us a chance to catch sight of some of the fish and turtles as well. Paddle boarding was surprisingly easier than it looked, which was good- I didn't want to get dunked. Mostly we relaxed in the sun reading books and snacking on food. That sunbathing felt nice, until I burnt my chest, on the first day in the sun. I may or may not have missed sun screening my entire chest. And then I spent the rest of the week extra lathering up trying to protect it from getting worse. Later on the week everyone else followed suit and ended up with some sort of burn. We're not used to so much sun mid-winter!

Kyle and I checking out our awesome sunburns. Kyle's isn't as easy to spot in the picture, but it was there pretty good.

Towards the mid to end of the week we set out to explore the island. We found a small black sand beach and got adventurous hiking over lava rock. We weren't planning on hiking, so not all of us were dressed for the occasion. I made the trek in flip flops and a dress. Maybe not the best shoes for the job, but it was still fun to get out and explore. The view of the ocean we discovered on our hike was pretty awesome. We were able to see whales in the distance breaching and shooting water from their spouts.  

The big island is the youngest island, which made for some interesting and diverse scenery. The Kona side is lava rock everywhere. It really isn't the picturesque Hawaii you think of. Still neat, but not as pretty. 

As we made our way around the island it began to green up. Up north was grassy and ranch land. Did you know one of the largest cattle ranches in the nation is on the big island of Hawaii? I had no idea, I definitely don't think cows when I think Hawaii. Although, now I might. :) 

The East side of the island is more of the lush green we imagine Hawaii to be. It is full of trees, flowers and waterfalls. I loved seeing the diversity of the island, seeing it in all stages of it's development.

We took one day to drive around to the East coast to see some waterfalls and check out the volcano. We hiked to Akaka Falls, which was a spectacular 400 ft drop.

On to the volcano we went. Kyle and I were really interested in seeing this. As we neared Kilauea we passed by Kurtistown, which of course necessitated a photo op. Kyle's dad's name is Kurtis, with a K and all.

We went to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see what we could of active Kilauea. Unfortunately the current lava flow was outside of the park and inaccessible. Sad day. We really wanted to see some lava! It turned out ok, we didn't leave disappointed. We walked through the Thurston Lava Tube, a tube formed from lava that once flowed in the area. We joked that it's real origination was from large worms, like the movie Tremors. 

After the lava tube we took the Kilauea Iki trail and hiked down into a large crater inside Kilauea. The hike was 400 ft down and 400 ft up. But it was awesome! 60 years ago the crater held a lake of lava. Now cooled and hard we were able to trek clear across the crater. It was neat to see the beginning of vegetation popping up among the desolation. There were also a few active steam vents giving some small evidence of the activity of the volcano. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was fun to get out and hike for a few hours and see a part of nature you don't find in Utah.

We finished off the week with a day at the beach. Good sand beaches are harder to come across on Hawaii Island. We found one with some good waves for boogie boarding and playing in the surf. Kyle had a blast. So much fun he broke both boogie boards. Whoops! At least we were at the end of our trip and wouldn't be needing them any longer anyway. Kyle got me out into the ocean to play in the waves, which was super fun, except for the salt water that sneaked its way into my nose and mouth. We attempted to jump over the waves as they rolled in. Kyle was better at it than me, I found myself constantly getting swept closer to shore. Honestly, it was fun to feel the water pull me in. At the same time it was humbling and a little scary to see just how powerful the ocean can be. 

After an entire week the sun finally set on our vacation and it was time to head back to reality. Getting back to motherhood and real life took a few days (or a week) to get used to again. Admittedly, the girls may have watched an extra amount of videos that week while I tried to catch up on my sleep in the mornings. 

My parents were so nice to watch the girls for us. 8 days of parenting small children again is no easy task, especially when you've been out of practice for 15 years or so. Sounds like the girls had fun playing at the park, the children's museum, jumping at Kangaroo Zoo, and even going to the circus. While we were spoiled in Hawaii they were spoiled by Papa and Rara, which is totally ok with me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I am not ooey-gooey lovey-dovey. It isn't in my nature. But today my brain is, just a little bit. Can I let you into my head for a minute?

Each morning I wake up and roll myself out of bed after Kyle has showered and gotten dressed. He heads downstairs to the kitchen to eat breakfast and I trail behind him. While he eats I prepare him his sandwich for lunch that day (occasionally he takes leftovers too- I think he likes those days best) and help pull his snacks of string cheese, an orange, yogurt and carrot sticks from the fridge. He finishes his breakfast, gives me a quick kiss goodbye and heads off for the day.

This was taken after we had been married just a few months.

This morning as he was leaving I couldn't help but think of how absolutely destined he is for me. I am no major believer in a one and only soul mate, but I do very strongly feel like Kyle and I had some sort of force pulling us together from about the time we were 16. Sometimes I let that force pull me in and I succumbed to it, other times I fought it and felt that I had conquered it- though I think I merely suppressed it for a time. After a 2-year absence that pull became intense and there was no going back.

He is perfect for me, we were made for each other. This morning I reflected on this. He is patient with me, even when I explode out of nowhere ranting about the disorganized and cluttered state of our house, even when the clean clothes sit in the laundry basket for an entire week and are then dumped out only to be re-added to the basket with freshly clean clothes destined to sit for another week, (can you tell I have a real issue with laundry duty?), our bed is rarely made, and only half the time do I have a real nice dinner ready for him (the other half is leftovers or something quick like eggs and toast.)

Saturday was Valentine's Day. Since Kyle and I aren't lovey-dovey, it was no extravagant occasion. We don't need a dedicated holiday to celebrate our relationship, we have our anniversary for that. (Though... I did use the day as an excuse to buy that guy some needed shirts he spotted at Target earlier in the week.) We started the morning off with breakfast burritos and a berry smoothie. Hailey very excitedly gave us our gift of scarves she made her all on her own using scraps of fabric from my stash. And then Kyle went outside to do some yard work while the weather was nice. Hailey did her best to show extra love that day. I was constantly told how much she loves me, and she even went and got dressed BEFORE breakfast without even being asked. I spent the morning both trying to be productive and trying to hide for some of my own quiet time. Something within me was off and I couldn't pin it down. And then I burst into a flood of irrational emotions, complaining about what a cluttered mess the house was, deep down inside feeling completely unimportant. It was an explosion- and I wasn't prepared for it. Poor Hailey followed me around trying so hard to continue to share that extra love, while I grumpily ignored it. When Kyle came inside he sent me upstairs to shower and cool off. He then took the girls into their room and instructed them to clean, and clean they did. Really, it was just what I needed. After getting cleaned up and ready for the day my mood was much improved. What crushed me was hearing that Hailey thought she and Keira had made me sad. She was trying so hard to show me love and instead I gave her the impression that she had upset me. Totally crushed. What had I done? Selfish, selfish me. I later explained to Hailey that I was not at all upset at anything she had done. Luckily kids are easy to forgive and quick to forget. 

Last week we had a Relief Society activity centering around love and the book The 5 Love Languages. I've never read it, but am now thinking it might be a good one to pick up. It explains ways to improve our relationships with others. It all leads back to selfless love-real love. The kind of love I feel, yet struggle to show. This past week has gotten me to think a little bit more how I show love to those most important to me. There is definitely room for improvement. And I'm working on it, after all, I do have a goal to be more patient this year.

Visit my creative blog to download a copy of this print.

I don't really know where I wanted to go with this post, but I had thoughts I just needed to get out. Thanks for listening. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Staying Sane in February

Here we are in the midst of February. Honestly, one of the most difficult times of the year. Not because we're busy. No, no. Life has slowed down nicely. We hang around the house all day long, no where to be, nothing pressing. That is the problem. Don't get me wrong, I love how slow life has become. It is a breath of fresh air. But let's be honest, without any plans or any place we need to be during the day, sometimes the afternoon drags on. Lucky for me Kyle is usually home by 5, but still... that 3-5 period of the afternoon can be agonizing.

I can't complain too much, the weather outside is pretty unnaturally fantastic for this time of the year. Sunshine with temperatures in the 50's, 60's even. But then I decided to potty train Keira and that has kept us indoors and close to a toilet. Whoops! 

So what do I do to stay sane? I let my girls make a mess. There has rarely a day gone by in the last week that art supplies of some kind haven't been strewn across our kitchen table.

Mess everywhere. Yet I don't mind one bit. My girls are happy and occupied, enhancing their skills of creativity. And I get a small break to relax or make dinner.

And then Kyle comes home to our disaster. "What happened here!?" He's nice enough not to complain, I think he gets it. We need something to do to keep us happy and to help me on my quest for patience.

This is what we've been up to lately. What have you been doing to survive the February lull? 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Recap and My One Little Word for 2015

Happy New Year! 2014 flew by and somehow it is already 2015. So hard to believe! Overall 2014 treated us pretty well. We're all healthy and happy, that says something, right?

Here is our year in pictures:

Weekly trips to Lagoon (here & here)

 Running through a spring time wonderland

 Hailey finished up her first year of preschool

 My baby sister got married- the wedding prep kept me fairly busy for the few months leading up to it

We made mozzarella cheese with Curtis and Chelsea

 We tore up our backyard, brought in topsoil and leveled it out

 Kyle and I went bowfishing for carp at Utah Lake

 Kyle busted out a new deck on the back of the house

 We laid we new sod!

 Hailey conquered her fear of the diving board and deep end

 We all had a blast spending a week in Washington pool side

Kyle and I left our 20's behind.

 I took the girls to explore nature around us

 Hailey and Keira were Batgirl and Robin for Halloween

 Hailey turned 5 and had a Batgirl birthday party

We spent Thanksgiving in Colorado with Kyle's family

On to 2015.

I love the beginning of a new year. It's a new start, which always feels refreshing. Every year I fail to set goals for myself. Maybe it's because I'm afraid I won't accomplish them, or maybe I'm afraid of being held accountable for something- or maybe both. I would like to make this year even better and try to improve myself. I've thought about setting some specific hard goals, but I can't commit. Instead, have you heard of the idea of choosing One Little Word to focus on? I've seen it all around bloggy land and I love the idea. Instead of demanding specific things out of myself (which is a good idea, just not for me) I have chosen to focus my year on one little word:


This is something I feel strongly I need to work on. I always thought I was a patient person, until I had children, and until life became busy and sometimes complicated. It's easier to be patient when all you have think of is yourself, right? I want to be more patient with my children, so much more patient with them. I want to be patient with my house, it isn't how I want it to be, and it might not ever be that way, but with time we can transform it. I want to be patient with myself and work on improving my time management, my physical health (maybe I should try better to excerise...),and my spiritual health. I want to be patient with earning my own source of income, this totally falls under time management, but also having the patience to see the fruits of my labors blossom (which I totally have yet to even begin on, but I dream every year of running a small home business to give me something to do for myself and also a way to add income to our family).

This is my goal for 2015: to be more patient. Wish me luck!

Have you thought about it? What is your one little word?


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