A visit from Nene

We had the joy of having Nene come to visit for almost a week! The kids went along to the airport even though Nene’s flight arrived an hour after their bedtime!!! So, the visit started off with a bang & went on from there!


Nene took us to McDonald’s for lunch! A HUGE win in my kids’ book!

On Friday, Micah & I got to get away for the night & headed over to the coast!! My favorite place!!


Stopping at a covered bridge on the way – it was a rainy, blustery day! Perfect coast weather!


We went out for dinner & the ships in the harbor were so pretty!

The place we stayed was right on the ocean & had a fireplace, so it was perfect for a winter evening!

Saturday was Nene’s birthday, so we brought pizza home with us! For dessert we headed out to Konditerei! But first…


a stop at the carousel!


The kids were excited because there was a new animal: a deer! (And I totally forgot to get a picture of the birthday girl at the carousel or enjoying our delicious desserts!)

The next day we had a family Super Bowl Party combined with a birthday party for Nene! It was fun to have so many of us together! (Did I remember to take pictures of everyone? Nope!)


I was sent this cute picture of these sisters, though!

The next day was back to our regular schedule, including basketball practice for Ezra! Nene suggested we leave early enough to stop & get Panera for dinner! Yay for Panera!



Nene left the next morning amid lots of tears, but the kids are already excited about our next visit! Thanks for coming all the way here, Nene! We love you!

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A new (not-so-fun) experience

It’s been almost two weeks ago…I was sitting at a green light just a block from my house waiting for traffic to clear so I could make a left-hand turn when I was rear ended. It was such a surreal experience. I’ve been driving for nearly 20 years, in at least 6 different countries (probably more), & never had a single accident. I remember grabbing my phone to call the police, realizing my radio was on, setting the phone down, muting the radio, realizing I would need my registration, opening the glove box & pulling out the folder, setting that down….I’ve come to realize there aren’t really step-by-step instructions that we study for after you’ve been in an accident. (Well, maybe in the driver’s manual, but that was a LONG time ago that I read that thing)


I did finally get out of my car & check on the other driver (they were fine, just shaken up like I was) as well as my car. The front end of the other car was all over the road, but mine had very little damage!


A small dent on the bumper (& the underside of the bumper is torn up), but that’s the only visible damage to the car

I did finally wake up from my fog & call the police – wrongly dialing 9-1-1 (Did you know you are supposed to call the non-emergency number?? I sure didn’t. Found that out when I was filing the accident report at the DMV! Plug that number into your phones now, people!). Everyone responded (even though I clearly told them that no one was hurt & nothing was leaking): ambulance, fire, & a number of police cars! It was quite the happening place!


It took a while, but they eventually got the piece of bumper from the other car out of my tail pipe, cleaned up the front pieces of the other car, & got traffic routed back onto the main road. And now begins the paperwork, auto body shop visits, & chiropractor work!


I’m so thankful that no one else was with me, that the other driver was very kind, that we both walk away from the accident, & that I can still use my car while we wait to get it repaired! This is definitely an experience I would rather not repeat!

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2017 Word of the Year

This year’s word is Rest. Not an easy thing for me to do! So often my mind starts to worry or wonder & when that happens I need to remember to simply REST in my Father & his ability to provide exactly what I need!


Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock & my salvation; he is my fortress,  I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62:5-6


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Hawaii Trip – Day 14

Our last day in Hawaii. So sad! We had to pack up & move out of our rental house by 11:00 in the morning, but our flight home wasn’t until 9 at night! We had a lot of time for further exploring! And we made use of it!



Beautiful Bird of Paradise flower outside our vacation home!

First up was a Kona coffee farm!


The trees with flowers on them


Coffee Cherries!


A whole basket of coffee cherries! (The coffee is like the seed inside of the fruit)


The kids liked getting to meet the chickens!


The kids’ favorite part of the coffee farm was the dogs!!

Afterwards, we went to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park, also known as Place of refuge. Back in the day, when Hawaiians were killed for breaking the law, a person could come to this place where they would be kept safe!


Looking over the bay & towards some of the buildings


A replica of what the buildings would have been like


It’s hard to tell, but we got to see a Sea Turtle swimming around!


Two cuties! (Audrey had already gotten her Jr. Ranger badge, Ezra got his before we left!)

Next up, Micah wanted to visit Kealakekua Bay. It has historical significance because it is the place that the first Westerner, Captain James Cook, first landed in 1778.


The beautiful bay


An obelisk as a memorial to Captain Cook – we didn’t actually go out there, because you had to hike & it was about lunch time!

After a delicious barbecue lunch, we headed to the old airport, which has been turned into a park. It sounds funny, but it’s right along the ocean & has a great walking garden on the other side of the runway! It’s kind of fun! We let the kids run around & play and get out their wiggles since we had a long flight home!


We loved Hawaii & already hope to return at some point in the future! Thanks to my mom & dad for such a great experience!!!



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Hawaii Trip – Days 12 & 13

Tuesday was a big excursion day! My parents got us tickets with a tour group to go to the top of Mauna Kea, the tallest point in Hawaii! (If measured from it’s base underwater, then it would technically be the tallest mountain in the world!) It’s strange to see a snow-capped peak in the middle of Hawaii, but it’s there! People will fill the back of their pickup with snow & take it down to the beach & have a snowball fight!



This pictures doesn’t do justice to the mountain (in terms of the snow), but it is really impressive!


Part way through our trip up the mountain, we stopped at an old sheep farm to have dinner! It was very rustic!


They did have a tent & tables set up for our delicious picnic dinner!


Just starting up the road past the visitor’s center! We stopped at about 10,000 feet to take pictures! The view was incredible!


You could see these cool little hill things in the distance.

And this is where the tour ended. It was supposed to take us up to the summit of the volcano, but the driver/tour guide noticed that one of the tires on our van was leaking air & he couldn’t risk having us get stuck at the summit! It was so sad to watch the other group pile into their van & head off to the top, while we got back in ours & returned to the visitor’s center.


The driver suggested a hike we could do so that we could get up to the point where we could see the sunset!


We made it! Not quite the summit that we were imagining, but…


…the sunset was still AMAZING!!!


After the sunset, the tour guide/driver took us a bit away from the visitor center so that we could do some star gazing (this picture is taken from the tour company’s website as my camera would not have been able to do justice to the night!). He had that cool green laser that allowed him to point out stars – it went like 5 miles up into the sky & if you were standing behind him you could see just what constellation he was talking about. The guy was super knowledgable & showed us how to find all sorts of things! It was cool to see so many stars! And especially through the telescope – this was my first experience doing that & I think this was a great place to start! We also got to eat amazing brownies! Any night that has chocolate in it, is a good night in my books!

The next day was a fairly quiet day. Our goal was to find a place to try to snorkel as that was one thing I had really wanted to do while in Hawaii. We ended up at Ho’okena beach, which ended up being just perfect! I was able to snorkel & see beautiful fish!!!


Lots & lots of these pretty yellow tang (picture taken from internet, because we don’t have a waterproof camera)

Micah also did some snorkeling & found a shelf just a ways off shore where he could carry the kids & then they could stand & put their face (& face mask) into the water & see the fish! It was a highlight for everyone!

The only downside for me is that it made me seasick! Who knew?!?!  But it was worth it to get to see all those beautiful fish!



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Hawaii Trip – Day 11

This was Micah & my ‘date’ day for our anniversary! When we found out we were going to Hawaii we were super excited! The only thing we really wanted to see that wasn’t on the Big Island was Pearl Harbor, so we ended up buying tickets & flying to Oahu for just one day! (Thanks to my parents & Uncle Caleb & Aunt Myken for watching the kids!) It was a super full, super crazy day & we certainly didn’t get to see everything, but we got a good taste & felt like we’d gotten a good overview!



But first we had to get there & to get there we had to fly in a prop plane!!! Flying is not my favorite thing under any circumstances, but this made me quite nervous! It ended up being just fine!


Hello, Maui!


As we arrived at Pearl Harbor, there was a rainbow over the water!


U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial – The white pillars represent the 429 men who lost their lives & are reminiscent of the way the naval crew would “man the rails” in their dress whites.


The U.S.S. Bowfin. We opted not to go inside since we didn’t have that much time & we’ve already visited a submarine.


The anchor from the U.S.S. Arizona


The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial


Inside the memorial


The names of 1,102 sailors & marines who lost their lives & are still considered “on duty” inside their ship


This was perhaps the hardest for me: oil is still leaking from the hull of the ship, even after 75 years. It was like a link to the past & made it seem so much more real.


The U.S.S. Battleship Missouri


The seal on the Missouri at the spot where the surrender was signed by Japan. My great-grandfather was onboard another battleship in the same bay on the day the surrender was signed.


A copy of the document

Even though there was more we could have seen at Pearl Harbor, we opted to leave & see a few things in Honolulu before returning to the airport. (Ok, literally drive by & snap a picture)


Statue of King Kamehameha


The Iolani Palace


Kawaiahao Church made of coral


State Capitol Building

We did stop & walk around at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It’s similar to Arlington National Cemetery as it is also a military cemetery. It’s located in a volcanic crater & is known as Punchbowl Cemetery.


The memorial


The view from the top of Honolulu was amazing!

Happy 12th Anniversary to us! I’m so thankful that God gave me a history-loving spouse. Not everyone would want to have a visit to Pearl Harbor be their anniversary trip!

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Hawaii Trip – Day 10

Celebrating Christmas in Hawaii was interesting. In some ways it felt like Christmas & in other ways it just really didn’t!



Audrey asked Santa for a “singing unicorn” without seeing one in an advertisement or anything! Thank goodness “he” was able to come through!


Ezra got some new dinosaurs! Notice his “stocking” on the floor with play-doh in it! When you are half an ocean away from your stockings you make do!!!


Audrey got the boa she’s been asking for!


Ezra got more dinosaurs!


Christmas breakfast on the lanai!

We decided to spend a little of our Christmas day sightseeing & opted for Papakolea Beach, the green sand beach!


Heading out to the south point, the southern most point of the U.S. It was so beautiful & green!


Our family enjoying the Christmas day sunshine!


South Point


Beautiful waves!


We opted not to walk the 3-miles round trip & got a ride instead – it was bumpy – this picture does not do justice to the rough road we drove over!


The green sand beach & Hawaii’s biggest tourist trap! You’re seeing nearly the entire beach! It was tiny, the sand was only sort of green, it was packed with people, the wind was blowing sand sideways, & you either have to walk 3 miles round trip or pay quite a bit of money to get out here! Sure, it was cool to see sand that is a different color, but that’s about where it ends!


Audrey having a blast in the water (this lasted until she was doing this same thing & got bowled over by an incoming wave- thank the Lord both Micah & my mom were right near her & just picked her up, but not before she got a big mouthful of water & earned a healthy respect of the ocean! An important life lesson!)


Ezra & Uncle Caleb playing in the waves!

After a short stay, we rode back over the rough terrain & headed home where we cooked & ate a traditional ham Christmas dinner! On the lanai, of course!


Christmas Day sunset!

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