Monday, January 19, 2015

Crazy Busy Saturday

Saturday was a crazy busy day. In the morning, Rinar and I went to the furniture store to buy a couch. Then we hurried home to get all of the kids and take them to their sporting events. Zach had a wrestling tournament at Brighton High School and Raef had a basketball tournament at Rowland Hall.

Whew, was it eventful. I stayed with Zach and the girls and Rinar took all of the rest of the boys to the basketball game. Luckily, all the little kids had some kind of electronic device to keep them occupied.  The wrestling tournament was bananas. It was packed and chaotic. They run the tournament with computers, so I had to watch carefully for his name to come up for his matches. Matches could go very quickly so I was paranoid about missing it.

Zach's first match ended quickly, and not in Zach's favor. He was pinned in about 30 seconds. He tried really hard but the other kid got the upper-hand on him, darn it.  The next match was a forfeit. But the third match was much better. It went two rounds and he fought hard and in the end, pinned his opponent. I was so darn proud of him! And he got a second place medal. When he saw the medal, his face was priceless.

Raef is on a competitive basketball team called the Alpha Dawgs. We have to go downtown just about every time for practice. It is a commitment, but I am grateful we found a team and that he has such a good coach. Unfortunately, they lost the first game, but did win the second. At this point, Raef is a benchwarmer. But I hope that he will have a desire to work hard so that he can get more playing time. We shall see.

In the evening, both boys had their birthday parties, since they are now 13! I have teenagers now. We decided to have them both do their own thing. Zach went with Caleb S. and Teancum M. to Airborne, a trampoline park. Rinar went with them and then took them to get food at Wendy's. I then dropped off Raef and his friends Matt D., Ethan, Ethan's friend (can't remember his name), and Talon A. and they went to see Night at the Museum 3 at the movie theater. When I got home, Rinar went to the movie a little late and then he took this group of boys to Chick-Fil-A. Both of them seemed pretty happy and they got along splendidly with their guests. 

It was a crazy, fun day.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Rinar and I started the year off right, with a get away trip to Portland and Hawaii...well, most Hawaii. We left on January 2, and went to Portland first. We got there in the afternoon and had time to get lunch at one of their famous lunch trucks downtown. Then we went to Powell's bookstore and perused the infinitesimal selection they had. It was a lot bigger than it looked. Then we had to go to Voodoo Donuts. There was a line out the door. Thank goodness we were there on a sunny, non-raining day.

At night we ate at a place called Sizzle Pie. The pizza was good, but there was nowhere to sit. Luckily, we got a table and then offered up two of the seats to a random couple that was without a table also. It was an enjoyable evening making new friends and eating some delicious bites. We had to wake up super early to make our flight to Hawaii. It was an uneventful flight, which is always good. And since we left early, we were able to get to our hotel just after lunch. Rinar had kept all the details of our trip top secret, so I was very surprised when I saw the room he booked. It was amazing. It had an incredible ocean view, with a veranda and a separate seating area with a sectional couch. Whoa! And then once we got unpacked, he gave me another surprise, a new wedding ring to replace my simple band. Now my band has seven diamonds on it! Rinar really went over board for me. I guess he really loves me.

We then had dinner with Rinar's Aunt Norma and his cousin Kamuela, Roxy, Olivia, and the kids. It was great. Kamuela had made Portuguese Bean Soup and it was delicious. It was wonderful to be able to see them all again.

On Sunday, we went to church with Norma and then after, drove up to Laie to visit Rinar's grandma. She is now 94 and still doing well. Grandma has Alzheimer's, but we were fortunate to catch her on a good day. She was very talkative. And we were also able to visit Rinar's Uncle Doug and Aunt Bonnie. We talked for a while and then played her a few songs on the piano.

Look at that moon view from our hotel room.

Monday was spent on the North Shore. We did a quick hike on a trail at the end of Pupukea Road near the Bonzai Pipeline. Then we watched the surfers for a bit, surfing the big waves. Then it was time to eat, so we went to Haleiwa. The food was great and we even got a shaved ice at the Aloha General Store. Yum! 

After all the food I mostly ate, we did another hike at Ka'ena Point. It was the perfect place to do some whale watching. It was awesome. I actually was able to see whales breaching. It was kind of far away, but I could still see them pretty well.  This is the car we rented for the week, a convertible jeep.  Yep, for the whole week the top was down! In the evening, we went to Hoku and Jerry's house for dinner. They offered to feed us, so hey, why not? Plus, we had a wonderful visit with them and Aunty Margaret and Tina and all the kiddos. 

On Tuesday we did two more hikes, this time with Kehau. The first one was the Pillbox Trail in Kailua. It was a quick, intense hike, up, up, up. But the view was spectacular! 

Then after all that hard work, the three of us went to Boot 'n Kimo's, a famed breakfast place in Kailua, and had coconut macadamia pancakes and they were definitely delicious. The place must be really famous in Japan, because I think just about every other customer was from there.

After our brunch, we went on hike number two, to Hamama Falls, near Norma and Kimo's house. This time, Kehau's boyfriend Loren joined us as we made it up to the waterfall.  Fantastic!

When we went back to the house, Uncle Mark was there. We haven't seen him in almost a decade so it was a blessing to be able to reconnect with him.

For dinner, we met Sheri, Breanna, and Tina at Sushi Bay in Kapolei. The wait was long but it really was worth it. Onolicious! 

Then we headed over to Aulani to watch Kamuela in his element, performing Hawaiian music with Jerry Santos, a musical legend. They were mesmerizing. It was such an honor to be able to hear there music, as it was our second time, since we also heard them a bit on Sunday night.

We woke up crazy early on Wednesday to catch a 5 am flight to Maui. Yep, we went to Maui for the day with another cousin, Bethany, to do some snorkeling on Molokini Island. Bethany is a marine biologist and full of great information. Plus, she is just a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, as we were sailing to Molokini the captain informed us that it was too windy, and the waves were super choppy. So she changed course, and took us against the island to shield us against the wind. It turned out well. Rinar signed us up to do snuba diving. It is where you breathe the oxygen, but the tanks are on rafts on the surface. You can only go down 10-12 feet, but you don't have to get certified as an instructor. It was quite an experience. I was more nervous about cold water than actually going under the water. For some reason it was pretty darn chilly that day. Happily, it wasn't too bad once I got in there.

We snorkeled in a couple of locations and at our second stop we encountered a bunch of sea turtles, beautiful fish, and healthy coral. It was an activity never to be forgotten, besides the fact that I really didn't take any good pictures, darn it!  The crew of Maui Magic were great and they fed us well. That is always important, right?

After the snorkeling adventure, we went to find something to do until it was time to go on a helicopter ride.  We decided to make a quick trip to the Iao Valley. As we were parking, Rinar got a call from the helicopter company informing us that they had to cancel because it was too windy and not safe. Drats! But the Iao Valley was a beautiful, quick stop.

Then we drove over to Lahaina and did some shopping and ate some delicious food. Bethany loves to eat, just like me! We had incredible gelato. It was super expensive, but we decided that it was worth every penny. We also ate at Lahaina Luna Cafe, and ordered one of everything recommended by Yelp and were not disappointed. The Korean tacos were the bomb!

Since we had to wake up so early, Thursday was a do-nothing kind of day. We hung out at the hotel and I even took my beloved nap on the beach. The beach lounging was accompanied by a fruity, Hawaiian drink, the Lava Flow, and a good book.

And amazingly enough, we finished off the week with one more cousin dinner. We went to the most unassuming and scrumptiously delicious food truck in Honolulu with BJ and his wife Kapio. Holy moly. I got the Ahi Tuna Steak dinner and it far exceeded my expectations. And Rinar was pretty darned pleased with his steak. We took the food over to the mall where Kehau was performing in The Legends Rock-a-Hula show. She danced and even sang. It was quite the show and it was fun to see her do her thing. Kehau is such a good dance and has a big stage presence.

Yes, we all approved of the food truck cuisine.

And then the Hawaiian vacation was over. After a layover and quick stay in Portland, we were home by Saturday afternoon and I was so thrilled to see my kids again.  Rinar has been incredibly blessed with a wonderful, loving family. It was a blessing to be able to spend so much time with all of them and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii. 

And it was a blessing to be back home and have all of my children safe and happy.

New Year's Day

New Year's Day was perfection. We invited our Las Vegas friends over for a lunch get together. Dwan, Elizabeth, Melanie, Jared, Lindsay, and Justin and all the kids. There were definitely a whole bunch of kids. We did a potluck hoagie lunch and leftover ice cream from our New Year's Eve banana split tradition. The kids had a great time catching up with each other and us old adults were able to talk and relax and do some music, which was a surprise treat. 

Grace, Christopher, and Josh all treated us to their musical stylings. Grace is an incredible violinist, and Christopher still can play the violin at an extremely high level. Plus, now that he is married he just seems more mature in his violin playing. Josh sang a few of his Broadway numbers and then I re-sang his version of Music of the Night a little bigger and a whole lot sillier.

The best part was when I broke out the tiny violins and then Christopher and Grace played difficult pieces on them. Even Halle joined in. It was a lot of fun.

When it was time to leave, here were all the kids. We are only missing Alexander and his wife to make the picture complete.

Julia, with Ava and Ali.

And us crazy adults. Hey, we know how to have a good time!


Christmas Day brought a beautiful blanket of white snow. It was great, especially since we had nowhere to go. But Rinar did take the kids to the park for a fun afternoon of sledding. It was a great time, but I think Rinar had the funnest time of all.

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