The Goods in Hawaii

Monday, September 18, 2006

New Blog

Hello Dear Family and Friends. I am have finally created a new blog. Please click on this link and it will send you to the new site.

Thank you for your care and your prayers.

Love Ya'll!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

House Hunting, Diamond Head and a little Karaoke

Hey there! We are moving in a little over a week. It is unbelievable! I still am convincing myself of it. I think it is going to take an empty house here in Hawaii to get it through my thick head. I have been slowly getting the house ready for the movers. Thankfully, they pretty much do everything. We just have to stand by and make sure that things are labeled correctly and not broken or packed poorly. We have not had any bad experiences with the movers yet, so hopefully this will be another successful move.

So our lives since I last updated...Well, it has been forever.

We were blessed with leave to go house-hunting in NC. We flew to the east coast and drove to Ev and Meghan's home in NC around 4 am, woke up around 7 am to meet our real estate agent and started looking at houses. Ev and Meghan were out of town so they let us stay at their home. That saved us a lot of trouble finding lodging, and we saved more money for the house. Thank you again!

We covered 18 houses that first day. Our agent is fabulous. She is helpful and just comfortable to be around. She drove us around that first day so we were able to learn a lot about the area we were going to live in a matter of hours.

We had made several lists of what we wanted in a home so we came prepared. Daniel also brought the video camera and I brought a pen and paper to make notes on as the day went by. We were so thankful for the video work Daniel did because after 3 hours of sleep, 18 houses can really run together.

We reviewed the tape on Sunday and narrowed down the selections to 5 homes. Our agent wanted to show us a few more on Monday so we looked at about 5 more homes. That Monday morning we saw the house we wanted. There was no doubt about it. It had everything we wanted. It is a new construction being finished this month. We wanted an open floor plan so the family room was open to the kitchen. (It is nice to not be cut off from company when you are making their dinner. I am a chatty person.) Besides, the open floor plan feels like more space anyways. The kitchen is spacious, just thinking about it makes me more excited. The rooms are great and there is plenty of storage.

Well, after seeing this house all the others on our top ten were pushed down. No other house could compare that we had seen. We discussed it more together that afternoon over some amazing sweet tea and chicken at this local food joint. (Oh goodness, I am going to have to work hard to keep the pounds off down there.)

We decided we would make an offer and start figuring out things from there. We went back to the agent's office and worked up the offer. It is scary and exciting at the same time. We left the house feeling giddy and pretty anxious. About 1 1/2 hour later our agent called and told us that they denied the offer but made a counter-offer. We accepted it and decided to meet the builder the next day. That next morning was even more exciting as we were able to see the last few touches that were being added to the home; the tile, carpet, counter tops and lighting. The builder had brought samples of each. They were being put in after we left NC. The appliances were not yet chosen so we were able to go and pick them out for ourselves.

So there it is, the home we are in the process of buying. We are planning on closing in August once we get there and do a walk-thru. You will just have to come and visit for shots of the inside. Let me just tell you, it is beautiful. I cannot wait to get there and make it our home. I know, I know, we need to do something with that yard...Thankfully they will be sodding it and doing a little bed work around the front porch.

There will be more about the house once we get to North Carolina.

Our movers are coming on Tuesday and our internet is being cut off on Wednesday. I will not be able to update anything for over a month...haha it will be like normal. This time it will be because I can't get to a computer not because I am a lazy blogger.

We have a long list of things we wanted to do on the island before we move, and we have tackled a few of them since we got home from NC. One of them was to be super-touristy and climb Diamond Head crater. This is one of the number one tourist spots on the island. It is basically a photo-op on top of a large hill that was once the edge of a volcano some millions of years ago...ha millions. We got our hiking gear on on Saturday and climbed up to get a few good pictures.

Yeah for Maryland Gear Hats!! We had a guy stop us and say he went to UMD as well. Thats right...FEAR THE TURTLE! even in Hawaii.

This lighthouse and several expensive homes were on one side and this view of Honolulu and Waikiki was on the other. I think the Magnum PI house was supposed to be on that side of the island somewhere.

We enjoyed that morning. It was a great day for hiking because it was a little overcast so it didn't get too hot climbing the crater.

Later that night we celebrated my birthday with some friends at this great karaoke rental place. We rented a room for 4 hours, brought our own food and drinks, and sang the night away. I was a little worried about it in the beginning because everyone was saying they wouldn't sing much, but once we got there and everyone realized how much fun it was it was hard to get a song in.

The controls were in our room so we didn't have to leave to request songs or to turn up the volume. It was a great evening. Here is Daniel making a funny face, probably in response to my crazy singing. I was singing Queen's "I Want to Break Free" I was getting into it as you can see...

Here we are singing "Summer Lovin'" from Grease. ( We didn't request this one :))

Here is Amaya and I singing our hearts out on who knows what song... There were so many that night.

Here is the crew from that night. Daniel had bought balloons and a little hand pump. He made Rhiannon some kind of dog. She seemed content with sucking on it. We didn't realize that Pink had been invited to the party...ha!

Well, it has been a great past week. Daniel and I hit the beach one day after he got back from work. It is always nice to relax as the sun goes down. We are trying to soak it all in before we leave.

We are mostly busy with house and moving plans. Almost every moment we are together we talk about the house or the flight and drive over to NC. This next month is going to be some adventure.

Love Ya'll!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back from the Cruise

Hello Dear Family and Friends!

We have so many pictures and stories to share from our vacation, but I am only going to give a summary here. I do not want to keep you reading all day long. Don't get me wrong this will still be a long post... :)

Before I go into the cruise summary though I want to post a quick picture from Amaya's birthday evening. We all went to a restaurant in Honolulu for dinner and at 10:30 it turned into a dance club. We stayed for some dancing after a yummy dinner. Here is a shot of the ladies. It was a black dress affair obviously. :) It was a great evening especially with all the husbands home.

Cruise Time!!

We arrived at the ship in Honolulu on June 10th in the afternoon. Here is Daniel investigating something... The room was an excellent upgrade from our original reservation. We had reserved an inside stateroom, but two weeks before the cruise the travel agency called us and asked if we wanted a room with a balcony for a very small price. We agreed and we are very thankful we did. There was much more space and the private balcony was great!

The first island we hit was Hawaii, or the Big Island. We rented a car and drove straight to Volcano National Park. Here is Daniel in a lava field. There was lava rock for miles and miles. We hiked 4 miles through Kilauea Iki Crater where there was still steam coming from the ground. It was a great day to hike because there was a light drizzle and breeze. It was perfect. We then drove to where the lava was pouring into the ocean. The active lava is underground currently so we did not see any during the day. We did see the steam from the lava pouring in the water at about 2500 degrees farenheit.

My favorite picture of the day was from the most recent activity of the volcanoes. There was a road that was covered by lava and the only thing left was this sign. Thats right NO Parking! Don't even think about parking here! I know you were...

Later that evening the ship sailed by the point where the lava was pouring into the water. It was incredible. You could see the red glow and lava just pouring into the water creating new land and expanding the island. It was amazing.

Our next day was on Maui. We rented a car again and this time splurged on upgrade. We ended up with a 50th Anniversary edition of the Ford Thunderbird. We had so much fun driving that around on the island those two days. We took this incredibly curvy drive to the other side of the island, and we stopped and took some pictures along the way.

We visited a black sand beach on the other side as well as had a nice lunch before we headed back to the boat. As we were driving back we stopped at another beach for some great sunset shots. Here is one of us posing with the lovely Thunderbird.

The next day on Maui we took a boat ride to two different snorkeling sites. I did not get any good pictures with the digital camera that day because I was worried about it getting wet. We were able to see dolphins and huge sea turtles. The boat ride was a little too bumpy on the return trip and both of us got off feeling quite sick. We went back to the ship and rested up before our next big day.

Our two days on Kauai were our absolute favorite. Our first day we drove to the north side of the small island where the Na Pali coastline juts out into the Pacific. The Na Pali coast is too rugged for roads so no roads have ever been built on it. You can only see it by air, boat, or by foot. We opted for all three! Our first day we did a 2 mile hike (and it was a hike) to this beautiful beach, Hanakapi'ai Beach. We stayed only long enough to eat some yummy sandwiches we grabbed on the way and then we got to hiking again. Our ultimate goal was Hanakapi'ai Falls, a 100 foot falls another 2 miles into the jungle. It was a rough hike. There were times where I was holding on with my hands as well as gripping with my boots. It was a challenge for me, but I loved every minute of it, and the goal was well worth it! The falls were amazing. Here we are right before we jumped into the water beneath. It was freezing cold! we couldn't help but yelp when we got in! :)

The hike was our favorite part of the entire cruise. It was such an amazing taste of the beautiful world our Lord has created! It was so untouched by man and civilization it was incredible. We were blessed the entire day!

The second day on Kauai we took a helicopter ride over the island. Seeing the island from the air is amazing! I did not get many good pictures, but Daniel videotaped the entire flight. There was a heavy rain the night before our flight so all of the waterfalls were very visible from the helicopter. There were too many to count. There had to be hundreds. We plan on fixing up the video with some appropriate Hawaiian tunes to make it even more enjoyable to view again. Here is a view of the Na Pali coastline that we hiked a small portion of:
Sorry about the glare. The video is better.

Later that night as the cruise ship was leaving the island we sailed slowly by the Na Pali coast. We were able to view some of it by foot on the first day and then by air and sea the next day. I think we were quite spoiled. It is a truly breath-taking coastline. We just loved Kauai!

All in all, the cruise was the perfect way to get a glimpse of each island before we move. It fulfilled its purpose perfectly. It was the first cruise for both of us. We really enjoyed the ship staff and facilities as well. The food was great and the entertainment was a lot of fun. We would come back tired most of the time so we weren't as active on the ship as some people chose to get. There was very little sailing time and quite a bit of shore time so we don't regret not getting more active on board. We wanted to see the islands.

Thanks for your interest in our vacation. It was a great time for Daniel and I to date for a week straight. We just loved it.

This next week we leave for North Carolina on our house-hunting trip. We will be there for a little over a week and we plan on seeing several houses. We want to make a decision before we head back to Hawaii so we can start the closing process. Buying a house is a big deal and we want to make sure we do it right. We are reading information, talking with our realtor, mortgage advisor and credit union frequently. It has kept us busy in the last few days.

I hope to blog again before we leave for NC, but if I don't please forgive me...


Friday, June 02, 2006

Only Picture...

I got an email from another 1/3 wife yesterday. She sent the picture she took of us the day Daniel got back. We sure do look happy...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Husbands Home!

I didn't post this picture yesterday because the last two posts were getting quite long.

This was taken at Jo and Jeremy's house. Their son graduated from middle school and they had a little get-together with friends on base. It was the first time all our husbands were home and together, very exciting!

From left: Jo and Jeremy, Marc and Amaya, and me and Daniel

You can tell we are all very happy to be together with our hubbies again.

Have a great Thursday! I am babysitting this cutie today... His parent's work schedules clashes on a few days every so often, so they need some extra help. He is a wonderful baby, rarely cries, inquisitive, and pretty cute. I just like babies. We are off to take a nice long walk as soon as he wakes up.

Take Care

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Daniel's First Week Back

I decided to make another post today to fill you all in on Daniel and his homecoming. You can scroll down further for the details on Sarah and Zeb's visit.

Saturday morning May 20th, around 6am Daniel's flight was scheduled to land. They got there a bit late, but I was there on time thankfully. I didn't want to miss it so I came early. So I woke up early enough to get dolled up to meet him. Here is their plane after landing. It was exciting and so emotional. There was a Marine band playing and there were flags up and banners hanging in the hanger. All the wives were waiting for them to pull the plane around and open the door. They finally did and I was so surprised to see the 10th person (or so) was my Daniel. I was not expecting him to come off so early. I ran and met him through my tears.

Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures of us together right when he got off the plane, but there was a professional photographer taking several pictures of us kissing. He gave us his name but we haven't found any pictures online or in any newspaper of us smooching yet. If you do find them, please let us know. Thanks.

My camera battery decided to run out right as he was coming off the plane, so he is not in that picture but he is right behind the last guy coming off.

It took about 2 1/2 hours for him to return his weapon at the armory and retrieve his bags. The plane had to be unloaded and all the bags went to a parking lot on base. It was a long wait while they sorted through seabags and packs all looking the same. I was just so thankful to have him home safely.

I had made a sheet sign with Jo a few weeks before their return and I hung it up over our carport. It stayed up for several days. I was quite proud of him and so thankful for his safe return.

He had slept quite a bit on the plane so he was not super drowsy Daniel. We spent the 96, the 4 day weekend, relaxing and getting Daniel back on Hawaii time. He slept several hours each day. :) He returned to work on Wednesday and their leave block starts on June 6th.

Daniel, on his way out of country, had a great time haggling at an Afghan market. He came back with some beautiful jewelry for his wife and some very cool finds. The blue looking centipede belt is actually a silver belt with lapis insets on it. It fits perfectly and I can't wait to find the outfit to go with it. The two necklaces are some of the coolest finds; both have eccentric designs and the one of the right has chunks of turquoise, quartz and amber on the chain. I was most impressed with Daniel's jewelry taste. My favorite gift he brought me is the adorable lapis hippo in the bottom left. Hippos are my favorite animal, and it has the cutest shape.

He also got a leather chess board, he is a sucker for the smell of leather, and chess pieces carved out of some kind of wood or resin. I didn't get a picture of it yet, but I will post one once it is pulled out and played on.

A favorite souvenir he came home with is his man-jammies. Daniel worked frequently with a local Afghan man. The Marines worked with him to hire local nationals to deliver logistics using pick-up trucks, donkeys, and jingle trucks. I will post a few pictures when Daniel gets them to me. The man apparently had a great respect for Daniel because he took Daniel to a local tailor and had him make an Afghan suit for him. It is custom fit for Daniel. (I was about to post this as the outfit Daniel had on when I picked him up at the hanger, but I decided against it. He was wearing his camis. :) )

So there you have it. Daniel's first week back has been busy with moving plans and his return to work. Memorial Day Weekend we spent with friends at two different cookouts, one in Waikiki and one in Kailua. Everyone keeps saying I am smiling a lot more. I guess that is true...

We are headed out for our island cruise on the 10th so we are excited about that. I think we may hike Maunawili Falls on one of his days off before the cruise. I want to make sure he sees it.

I will try to post more pictures when I get them. Thanks for your love and support through the deployment and the homecoming time. We both appreciate it immensely.

Love Ya'll

Shame on me...

I do know that I have neglected this blog for a long time now, but I have very justifiable reasons. One being Daniel's return and two being I was pretty sick last week and didn't feel like organizing my thoughts enough to write a blog. Please forgive the delay in Sarah and Zeb's photos and Daniel's first week home.

I will finish up posting some pictures from Sarah and Zeb's visit. We had an amazing 10 days. We jumped right into seeing the island and all it had to offer. After going to the Arizona Memorial and the Swap Meet on Wednesday, we enjoyed the evening at the Mongolian grill at the O Club on base. Here is a quick pic of S&Z while we waited to go into the memorial.

Thursday we went to Sunset Beach and spent a few hours relaxing on the beach. There were only a few surfers there. It was really odd seeing one of the world's most famous beaches so empty. It was perfect. That afternoon we went to the Dole Plantation and had fun taking some pictures while we waited for the Pineapple Express train to take us around for a tour. Zeb just loved these rainbow eucalyptus trees and Sarah looked too cute as a pineapple to not post this picture.

Friday we took a hike around the local botanical gardens mainly because Zeb loves taking pictures of plant life and birds. We saw plenty of both that day and Zeb's photos turned out beautiful. That evening we went to a famous restaurant down in Waikiki, Duke's, and I showed S&Z the super tourist spots in the downtown area. We enjoyed the evening, but walked away happy we were staying on the other side of the island. It is too crowded, too pricey and just too touristy in Waikiki (yes touristy is my made-up word); besides our side of the island is so much more beautiful with the amazing Ko'olau mountains.

Saturday I took S&Z to Hanauma Bay to experience snorkeling. It was a first for both and they loved it! I was so happy they enjoyed it. It is one of my favorite things on the island to do so having them enjoy it made it even better. The beach there is so nice to relax on as well. We went early so it wasn't as crowded, but when we left it was packed. There were so many Japanese tourists right around our seats that I didn't hear any English from anyone around me. I just love watching the adorable children so I rested as S&Z went back out a 2nd time. This is my picture from after I got out the first time. The palms were just calling for me to take their picture against the blue sky...

Saturday evening I had several friends over for a pasta night so everyone could meet and get to know S&Z. It was a great night. The game didn't work out so well but everyone seemed to have a good time just chatting.

Sunday was church and relaxing on the base beach. Zeb tried boogie boarding but the waves were pretty big that day. I think he preferred the relaxing on the beach more than the "getting attacked by the large and frequent waves" part of the beach that day. He definitely went at it though. I am glad he at least got to try it. He did catch one wave all the way back into shore. He rode it about 20 seconds or so. I was impressed. I am too weak and too scared to go at the big waves.

Monday we visited the ranch where so many famous movies were filmed, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Tears from the Sun, George of the Jungle...I could go on. The Kualoa Ranch is located just north of Kaneohe so the mountains are a familiar backdrop around here. We took two tour rides. One of the tours was to the specific film spots. Here is the valley where a few major scenes in Jurassic Park were filmed. They even had the same piece of wood the children in the movie duck under to not be stampeded by dinosaurs . The second tour, my favorite, took us into the heart of the mountains. It was a very rough road and we had to hold on tight in the truck the guide was banging us around in. We went to the top of a small mountain and had an amazing view of the water and mountains all around us. It was a perfect day outside as well. The weather couldn't have been better.

Tuesday was one of my favorite days of the entire visit. We hiked to the Maunawili waterfall. It was about a 2 mile hike there and once we got there it was breathtaking. Amaya told us to bring our swimsuits and dirty tennis shoes. I am glad we followed both directions. It was muddy and it was perfect to swim in and jump from. It was like a movie set with the fern tree leaves hanging over providing shade. The waterfall water was cold but a prefect way to cool down after the hike. When we jumped from the waterfall we never touched bottom. It was deep and clear and cool. We couldn't have asked for anything better in a waterfall hike. It was a great intermission to the hike. We made our way back down as content as could be.

Tuesday night we went to the Paradise Cove Luau for some traditional Hawaiian luau food, music and dance. The sunset seemed to be a great backdrop for photos so we made sure to get one of all three of us as well as a sister shot.

Sarah and Zeb's visit was filled with lots of activity, but it was just so good to have them both here. I haven't spent a good amount of time with Zeb in a several years so I look forward to keeping in better touch with him and maybe taking a few extra road trips to Alabama once we move to North Carolina. I am excited about living so close to family again. I do miss roadtripping to see family in the south.

It was a great visit. They both made it just in time before we moved. Thanks for coming out to visit me. You guys were a great ending to Daniel's deployment. Love You both!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Daniel is Home!

I do not want to write long blog entry but I did want you all to know Daniel is home safe. He is sleeping on our couch as I type. They had four 7 hour flights on their way home so I know he is exhausted.
I plan on writing more about Sarah and Zeb's visit as well as posting a few pictures of the homecoming ceremony this morning at a later time.

Praise the Lord for his safe return!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Family is Here!

Sarah and Zeb arrived safely at 12:50 on Tuesday afternoon. I was so excited to see them.
We have already experienced Pearl Harbor and the Swap Meet. They woke up early on Wednesday morning due to the hour differeneces so I decided to take advantage of it and let them see some early morning things on the island.
Today we are taking it easy and going to see North Shore to hit some beaches.

I will keep ya'll updated.

Daniel is safe and is in transition time right now. He isn't feeling his best so please keep him in your prayers that whatever bug he has will leave him quickly. Before either of us knows it he will be back in Hawaii. I can't wait!

Love Ya'll

Monday, May 01, 2006

It is MAY!!!!

Well, it is finally the month; so many exciting things in store for this month. The first major event is Daniel's homecoming, of course. I do not know the day or time yet due to constant changes in schedule and operation security measures, but it will be this month towards the latter half. I am so excited about his return! I will be sure to let you all know when he is safely back in the United States.

Another wonderful event this month is my little sister and my cousin's visit on the 9th. I am so excited about their visit. They are both really looking forward to the time on the island and I just love being a hostess. Sarah just finished classes and she is in the midst of her finals week so she is hankering for the time away from school. Zeb needs a break from work. He is one of the hardest working people I know. There will definitely be a post about their visit.

Meli has been missing on the blog so I have to post her picture to make sure you all know who the most important figure of our household is... :)
She is sleeping with me for most of the night, when she is not bouncing off the walls and chasing imaginary bugs and lights. Here she is as she is stretching taking up most of the bed. I do not know if she will be able to share the bed when Daniel returns. We will have to lay down the rules once he returns...She may not be so happy. She will adjust though, she is a USMC cat. It is all about being flexible, Meli.

Speaking of being flexible, our moving plans are going smoothly. I made several copies of our orders today and took them to everyone and their mother. Yes, one particular place needed 30 copies. Apparently hearing that we have orders is not enough for the moving truck guys and all their kids and pets... :)

I have a brief I have to go to tomorrow morning. I am hoping it won't be 4 hours long like the last brief I had to go to. They can be quite overwhelming in that amount of time. It makes you want to never ever move. I left that morning with a 100 page manual and several handouts on specific topics. Thankfully, I have got a timeline set up with the exact steps I need to take to get things organized and scheduled. Things are moving along with out many hitches and I am happy to be learning all this now. I know it would have been nice to have Daniel to help plan everything, but I am learning a lot. I like to think it will make me a better KV as well. This way I can answer any questions a wife has on shipment of pets, household goods and vehicles and many more things.

My days are filled with lots of planning; planning for the family visit, Daniel's return, the time in June and July before we leave the island, and our eventual move. We are taking a cruise of the islands in June to celebrate: our 1st anniversary/Daniel's return/we're-leaving-the-islands-better-do-it-now. We are both excited about seeing the volcanoes as well as the magnificent views on the other islands. We are going to have 2 days on the "big island", 2 days on Maui, and 1 day on Kauai. It will be the first cruise for both of us. It should be great! That was another thing I had to plan alone. Daniel was out in the field and away from communication with family for 3 weeks when I went to the travel agency to schedule it. I knew the general things we wanted, but made the rest of the decisions without him. Thankfully, he would have agreed with everything I picked. I guess that is why we are married... :)

This month for Project Spectrum is the delightful color of green. There is so much green on this beautiful island I don't even know where to start. Here are a couple of plush photos I took at my last visit to the botanical gardens. I will have to think of something green to make this month.

Well have a great first week of May!