Friday, December 30, 2011

Honolulu Zoo and Makaha Valley

Our second day home in Hawaii was filled with a trip to the Honolulu Zoo and then a trip to visit the place my in-laws were staying at in Makaha.  

These guys were busy grooming one another and being generally bored with their human audience.
This is a red crested cardinal, originally from Brazil.  The most ubiquitous birds in Hawaii's urban areas were caged birds introduced in the 1800s and early 1900s.  This little guy was brought over in the 1930s.

Yellow hibiscus: Hawaii state flower

my monkeys looking at the monkeys!

big old mr tortoise

collecting some cactus pollen

Red vented bulbul, native to the Himalayas in Asia.  It's an invasive species that eats orchid bulbs, hurting the O'ahu orchid industry.  

but he's so pretty.  Poor little guy.

Lizard trying to close his mouth around a fly he just ate.

getting a little too big for his own skin

sausage tree


water plants with reflections of the papyrus plants above

seed pods

I think he's a baboon, but he looks so thoughtful and uncomical!

Fennec Fox, native to South Africa


A stop at Leonard's Malasadas made the day.  We even tried Li Hing flavor.

I love this valley.  This is Makaha Valley, where I grew up.

Mount Ka'ala is the tallest peak on the right.  It's the highest point on O'ahu.
Looking from Turtle beach, where the inlaws were staying over to Makaha surfing beach, where many pro surfing meets happen.


Beautiful Turtle Beach  I swam with my first green sea turtle here.

A paddle boarder.  Good exercise.

Good night.

Onolicious Paradise

Some Zippy's chili and rice.

I decided it's been a month since we returned from Hawaii, so it's about time I share the photos from our time there.  If you've been following my blog, you'll remember that we were delayed at SeaTac Airport for about 18 hours after two of Hawaiian Airlines' planes broke down.  When we arrived in Hawaii the day after we were supposed to, I called my dad from the airport.  I said "Dad, we're here!"  He says "Where?  Are you still in Seattle?  No, I'm here, in Hawaii!"  He had been so used to us calling to say we were delayed that he thought we must never have left!  We stopped in at Zippy's on the way to Wai'anae for some of their yummy chili, and finally saw my dad at about noon.  Mom got home a little later, having worked that day.  We were too tired to think, so we just visited with family, ate super ono (Hawaiian for delicious) food, and went to sleep.  We saw a beautiful sunset before we turned in.

Saraiah got a bento with spam, eggs and rice and Maia had some saimin noodles.   These, together with chili and rice are some of my most favorite foods ever.
Our condo had vaulted ceilings with a loft!
The kids loved climbing the ladder to the loft.

This is the view you get along Farrington Hwy, the road that stretches all the way down the Wai'anae coast to Makaha, where I grew up and where we stayed.  The sunset was amazing.  

Driving past a beach park lined with kiawe trees.
Dusk at our condos.  I love Hawaii grass.
Eva was so tired, she fell asleep early on grandma's couch.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

And these three remain...

The trusty rice cooker and can opener

Tonight I made soup and was using my electric can opener.  I like it a lot, even though its plastic is a bit warped and discolored from being left on a stove burner.  I looked across the counter at my rice cooker.  It's Japanese and has lasted all 13.5 years of our marriage, as has the can opener.  They were both wedding gifts.  This led me to wonder what I really had left of our wedding gifts.  Brandon and I brainstormed, and here is what we came up with.  If you remember giving me something and it's not here, remind me.  It may be broken and was probably well loved.  Our family uses everything to the bitter end and the things that are left have survived 7 moves, one being across the Pacific ocean.  I've decided that it's ok that this is all that's left of our gifts, because every gift was fully appreciated.  The best gifts we were given were these: faith, hope and love, and we've still got plenty of those.   I'd love to know what remains from your wedding.

Our wedding photos were a gift from a photographer friend.  The album and frame were also gifts.  There is one more album that I know is in our photo boxes that was also a gift.
Our toothbrush holder.  I think my friend Kelly gave this to us.

A hand turned koa wood bowl.  It has a piece broken off of it, but I love it.  It is my reminder that one day I will play with a lathe and make beautiful things like this.

I'm actually thinking the cookbook was from our wedding shower or first Christmas, but it's old and thrashed as dirt, so it counts.  These three pieces of silverware are our only originals I could locate.

We saved all the wedding cards, my garter, a corsage from my prom or something..oops, thought that was from the wedding when I took the pic and of course our Precious Moments cake topper.  I decorated that box in the background.   It holds all this stuff.

The Lights

Saraiah discovered this.

We live just 20 minutes away from one of the most beautiful Christmas light displays in Western Washington: The Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp.  The camp raises funds for the slow months and the rest of the year with this production.  The camp is decorated with over a million lights.  There are pony rides, a train ride, a talking Christmas tree, beautiful music, plays and best of all, freshly made hot donuts.  
holding a treasure

This year they implemented a "pay what you can night," which is great for people like me who couldn't quite fit a visit into their budget this year.  I decided to take a few of our kids along with a friend and her kids.  We had some free passes because my husband created an interactive snowball catching video game made of Christmas lights and installs it every year at the lights.  So we paid what we could and spend the rest of our money on donuts.  It was a beautiful night with the temperature hovering near 50  degrees, and it wasn't too busy because we went after Christmas day!  I think was a beautiful way to wrap up our Christmas celebrations.

I am a powerful draft horse!

Waiting for pony rides

Light flowers
tempting puddle
Contemplating the talking Christmas tree.  Apparently Christmas lights are so amazing, every child is drawn to keep their fingers in or near their mouths.  

more reactions to the all knowing Bruce the Spruce:  the talking Christmas tree who even knew our family's last name!  
posing with Bruce

Most impressive tree award

Waiting for donuts.  So hungry he could eat his shirt.
Worth every one of the 42 minutes we waited.
Enjoying every crystal of sugar
Dad's snowball game is out of order.  :(

Good night!