Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Since we hung around here for Thanksgiving, we were able to put up our tree this weekend for the first time, well, ever!  Jesse picked up a cute little tree and we added a couple new ornaments we purchased this year to the host of usual suspects.  

Family picture!

I also started scrapping last Christmas using My Mind's Eye's Vintage Christmas collection.  The layout on the right is based on My Mind's Eye's November sketch, and the layout on the left is inspired by Swirlydoos' Beloved sketch.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at Home

This year, Jesse and I had our first thanksgiving at home.  Here is Jesse cooking his first turkey . . . 

. . . and it's beautiful!

The mashed potatoes and sides came out well too.

Jesse did a good job of carving and we managed to get everything to the table nice and hot!

Hmmmmm!  (Keep in mind that this is supposed to feed just the two three of us -- yikes!)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Last 2012 Layout

I try to scrap somewhat chronologically, but sometimes I skip around a bit.  I realized that while I had finished about half of 2013, I still had one more page to do from 2012, so I finally did it!  Here is a two-pager from my firm's retreat to Las Vegas where Jesse rock climbed at Red Rock.

The page on the left is based off C'est Magnifique's November challenge, and the page on the right is inspired by Blue Fern Studios' November sketch and brick chippies.  In addition to finishing my 2012 layouts, I also finished the last of my stash of Pink Paislee's Bayberry Cottage line, with some scraps leftover to create this card.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

At the Beach

We spent the remaining four days of our vacation on the beachy west side of the island, and snorkeled a lot! Our first snorkel destination was Makaiwa Bay, and we were treated to an array of colorful fish.

I love this next type of fish -- they are always adorably in twos!

After snorkeling, we had lunch at the Mauna Lani's lovely Napua restaurant.  Then Jesse practiced open water swimming in Anaeho'omalu Bay right in front of our hotel.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the infinity pool and reading books poolside.  And, of course, we were treated to another lovely sunset from our lanai.

The next morning, Jesse did the real open water swim deal and swam 1.2 miles in the place where they do the open water swims for the Ironman.  He kept getting further and further away, until I could only see his yellow cap, and then nothing, but he came back thinking that was fun!

After his swim, we tasted some Kona coffee (so delicious!) and took a tour of Greenwell's coffee farm.

We had lunch at Kona Brewing Company,

and then shared an even tastier treat.  Shave ice -- mmmmmm.

We went to church the next morning and had a nice acai bowls for brunch.  We headed down to Honaunau Bay to snorkel, and saw some more beautiful tropical fish,

super-weird looking ones,

a nice greeting,

just beautiful!

Right next to Honaunau Bay is Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park.  We learned a lot about Hawaiian history and posed with these incredible statues (Jesse was less willing to do the bend-the-knees-and-butt-back imitation pose than I was).

Baby bump + baby coconut tree.

That evening, we did one of the coolest and unique things you can do in Hawaii: a night manta ray snorkel.  They are large, magnificent creatures and they got so close to us (and even bumped into us).

This video (one of many good ones Jesse got) captures their grace and beauty -- such a treat!

Our flight out was on Monday, but because the plane did not leave until 11pm, we basically had a whole final day.  We started the day with (surprise surprise) snorkeling!  We actually wanted to get on a sailboat, and they tend to have a lot of snorkel sails, so we really enjoyed both portions of our morning snorkel sail.  We snorkeled at Pawai Bay, and we agreed that it was the best snorkeling of our trip.

Not only did we see cool fish -- and lots of them, 

we saw a creepy/cool eel,

another manta ray,

and an eagle ray!

The sail was lovely too (as is our hair!)

At the very end of the trip, when we were heading back into the harbor, we saw dolphins!  A number of dolphins just appeared and swam alongside our boat for a bit.  Such amazing creatures!

After we spent the last few hours we could laying on the beach, we checked out and headed out for the best dinner of the trip at Ulu Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons.  The delectable food was matched only by our proximity to the water and the hotel's stunningly beautiful grounds.  It was the perfect way to end our lovely vacation.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hawaii Boondoggle

Well, I did it again.  I managed to snag a fantastic boondoggle: depositions in Hawaii!  Jesse and I have been to all of the major Hawaiian islands with the exception of the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island), so we jumped at the chance to turn my Island of Hawaii depositions into a vacation.  Jesse arrived right when my work there ended, and we relaxed the first night he was here at our hotel (Waikoloa Beach Marriott) on the sunny Kohala coast.

We spent the next couple days on the east side of the island.  Unfortunately, that trip wasn't quite as sunny.  Instead, it poured during our stop at Akaka Falls, but we had a good attitude about it!

Fortunately, it was a lot drier and sunnier by the time we made it to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.  We saw Burmese rubies,

cool vine flower things,



flowers shaped like hearts,

Hawaiian statues,

and super-creepy roots.

That night, we went to the Jaggar Museum at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see the glow from the Halema'uma'u crater. 

We stayed the night at a little B&B in Volcano, and then stopped by the crater the next morning as well.  As you can see, it just looks like steam during the day.

Our height differential makes for ah-mazing selfies!

We walked on old lava flows,

explored a lava tube,

looked at a sea arch,

and saw some pretty powerful waves crash against the cliff walls.

By far the most important thing we did at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, however, was find lava trees.  We hiked for miles and miles to find these darn things.  We went down the wrong trail (after which I swore I was going to die of exhaustion and hunger and proceeded to eat 3/4 of an entire banana loaf that we bought at the fantastic Hilo farmer's market) and then found the right one and went all the way to the end of it and then crossed some lava fields before we finally, finally, saw them.  See?

This next picture helps you see the trunk of a tree at the bottom, the top of which was entirely burnt and engulfed by lava.  Soooo worth it!  

We also explored some bigger lava tubes just outside of Hilo at Kaumana Caves Park.

After that, we drove back to the west side of the island and returned to our original hotel, where we cleaned up and enjoyed a nice dinner by the beach and a pretty sunset.

That was it for the first couple days we spent in Hawaii.  Stay tuned for pictures from the rest of our trip!