Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hawaii (The Big Island)

This is a back post from August! 

 Even though we had a wonderful time with Trent and Kathy in Hawaii I have not had the desire to sit and post about it.  I need to get this down for the record books so here goes.......

We arrived on the Big Island on the 17th of August.  We stayed for two nights at The Royal Kona Resort.  It was very nicely situated with our rooms looking out over the ocean.  We got there in time to see the sunset.....

....and since Rick is an early riser he was able to get the moonset over the ocean early the next morning.

That morning Rick and I took our rental (Mustang Convertible) up north to see the sights.  The foliage is always so beautiful.  These flowers are typical Hawaii to me!

And I just love seeing the banana growing upside down.  Love it!

On our drive we stopped and hiked through a small Lava Tube.

Hawaii is rommmaaannttiicc!!

While in Hawaii we were able to attend the Kona temple twice.  We did a session the first time and then some family sealings the second time!

One of the few sandy beaches on the big island.  Most of them are lava rock.

We stopped at the Farmer's Market a few days into our trip and grabbed some flowers to put in our condo.  Did I mention we stayed in a condo.  Well, we did.   After our two nights at The Royal Kona we moved over to the Moana Loa Condos.  They were located about fifteen minutes south of Kona.  They were very nice and homey.  The down side was that we weren't on the ocean.  Not too far away but a different feeling then being on the water.  Not so bad though, were the EIGHT different pools that were there for our convenience! for the condo:-)

On Saturday night Rick and I caught a catamaran (full of people) out to snorkel with the manta rays at night.  This is a picture of our ride out. (below)  It was so wonderful!  Not so wonderful was the snorkeling experience.  How it works is this:  About 15 people hang on to a surfboard in the water that has lights on it shining down into the water.  The lights attract the plankton and that brings the manta rays right up to you.  They come up to the board with their mouths wide open and circle around and around to eat the plankton.  Unfortunately,  the mantas were not in the mood to eat so while seeing a few manta rays from a distance we didn't get the up close and personal experience that we (or should I say Rick because he is, after all, the adrenaline junkie in the fam!) were expecting.   I was very happy to be able to see a manta ray even though they weren't that close!  Actually, we saw THREE mantas which was fairly exciting,  but after hanging out in the water for about an hour in the dark I was getting a little chilly.  I was ready to be done.  The company offered to give another trip for free but in the end we gave that to another couple that we met a few days later.  To top things off we traveled back to the dock in a HUGE rainstorm.  It was really coming down!  And while catamarans do have a bit of a shelter, there were A LOT of people on the boat and really no room for us under the canopy.  Anyhow, we chalked this one up for experience.  And to Rick's happiness we met a fellow at church the next day who did this same type of tour RIGHT NEXT to our condos.  Rick, Trent, and Kathy went on this excursion a few days later but I was happy to stay home and get some mission studying in.  And a little TV time too:-)

So Monday we took another excursion.  This time on a Zodiac boat and with only one other couple.  Yay!!  It was a snorkeling excursion and we rode out to the Captain Cooks Monument.  It is only accessible by boat and is reported to have the best snorkeling on the island.  It did not disappoint!  The reef and fish were stunning!  I was trying hard to find an eel luck!

That night we went to a luau held at our previous hotel the Royal Kona.  We watched as they brought the pig out of the pit.  The food was very diverse and delicious.  I enjoyed the Polynesian show that happened after dinner!

This is super sad but this is THE ONLY picture that we got with Trent and Kathy throughout THE WHOLE TRIP!  While we enjoyed doing things together in the evenings, we generally separated throughout the daytime.  Each couple has different likes and mine is not fishing!  LOL!  The Bakers love to fish and spent some time doing that.  Rick and I love to be in the water having fish encounters in a different sort of way.  So thus, only one picture together!  We really liked being with them though:-)  And I know T & K had a wonderful time "doing there own thing"!

One day Rick and I went on a 4 wheel excursion.  On the way there passing through the Northern town of Waimea we turned down a deserted lane.  The fog rolled in and it was very cool!  

We got set up with our excursion company with some practice on the ATV's to make sure we knew how to run them and off we went!  We drove through the forested area and had some beautiful views of the North side of the island.
On our excursion we stopped at a pond and Rick went for a dip.  It was in a very beautiful setting.

On our way to this waterfall I was driving pretty fast down the trail and a wild boar ran right in front of me.  I screamed because it scared me and when we got stopped I was so happy to hear that Rick saw it too.  He loves wildlife and I would have hated it if he would have missed that. The waterfall was wonderful too!  We got a little wet on this excursion!  Can you tell?

A couple of days later we took a drive around the whole island to see the sights.  We traveled with T & K (they were in their own car) and got to see some beautiful places.  Hilo area (the east side of the island) is very tropical and I was pleasantly surprised with this fact.  We stopped for lunch in Hilo and had some amazing Mexican food!  We ended that evening at the Kilauea Volcano.  First we walked through another lava tube then drove over to experience the steam vents.  We drove over to the visitor's center at dusk and it was really cool to be able to see the lava at night like that.  We did a lot of driving that day and didn't get home until about 10:30 that night but it was really a great day!   I don't have any pictures of the volcano.  They must be on Rick's phone:-(

Here's a picture of that road close to Waiamea without the fog!

Our last day on the island Rick and I went snorkeling at a beach not too far from our condo. Here's me enjoying a coconut shave ice:)

Before taking the red eye home we stopped at Bubba Gump's for dinner and enjoyed eating shrimp with this beautiful view.

We were not sure what to expect from the big island.  Others who have been there and told us about it made it sound not as nice as the other islands.  Because of that we really weren't expecting much but we were pleasantly surprised with our experience there.  While it's not our favorite of the Hawaiian islands we really had a great time.

 This was an impromptu trip.  
We had not planned to take another vacation before our Mission but the opportunity came up and I jumped at the chance.  I had to twist Rick's arm a bit but when he got on board he was all the way on board.  I'm glad we were able to make fun memories with each other as well as Trent and Kath!

Happy 49th to me!

I'm a firm believer in celebrating birthdays to the fullest!  Mine usually lasts for sometimes up to a week (especially if we're traveling).  This year was no different.  The week before the big day Darla planned our (now getting to be) annual girls birthday lunch at Me and Lou's Diner in Malad, ID.  This tradition started a few years back.  We Phelps sisters have four birthdays within a few weeks of each other and so we meet our Idaho sisters halfway and enjoy exchanging gifts and eating and visiting!  We were missing a few this year but we decided we still better get together (even if our schedules are really full)  The ride to and from is always really nice with good conversation.  This year on the way back we stopped in Bountiful to visit Robbie (Phelps Sister) who is in a rehabilitation center recuperating from a stroke.  It was a nice visit as well.

A few days later as Rick and I were deciding where to eat on our Friday night date.  I suggested The Five Alls.  Rick was all over that so we had a really nice time there.  I consider this part of my birthday celebrations because generally we only eat there on special occasions:-)  These scrumptious macaroons are the ending to a 5 course meal.  We savored EVERY bite of our delicious food!

The next night Rick had arranged for our kids to come out to the house for dinner and partying.  We had Dickey's BBQ catered to our home and enjoyed eating out on the patio.  It was so fun having the family here.  Earlier that morning Rick and I had gone to the Downtown Farmer's Market and found a guy selling a giant bubble kit. I'll tell you it was a HIT with kids and adults alike!  We played with those silly bubbles for at least an hour.  Good times laughing and being silly!

Kendra made my birthday cake.  The request was chocolate fudge with almond flavored icing.  So yummy!  We had to get creative with the candles since we didn't have a 4 or a 9:-)

Sunday after church Rick and I hopped in the BMW and headed to St. George.  We wanted to spend a few days before our time to leave for Africa.  I didn't get any pictures but we enjoyed the pool, shopping, eating out and cruising around with the top down!  Here's a picture of a beautiful sunset off our back patio!

The day after my birthday we traveled to Vegas to have a luncheon with all of my siblings.  Originally it was just going to be a visit with just my mom and dad.  When I was out shopping on my birthday I called my mom to finalize our visit plans and that's when she told me that she had arranged for ALL of my brothers and sisters to be there!  I couldn't believe it!  I started bawling in the checkout stand as I was paying for my merchandise at Penney's.  (I think the clerk must have thought I was a little of my rocker!)  What a wonderful surprise!  In light of Rick and I leaving for Uganda for six months I was really happy to get to be with each of them before our departure date!   It was really special being there in the home that we all grew up in just talking about life!  

Thanks sooo much for that mom and dad!!

A wonderful birthday indeed!

Cousins Halloween Sleepover

Last night Rick and I had our grandkids (minus Charley, of course) over for a sleepover.  We started with a fun dinner of pizza cheese dip with crackers and breadsticks plus some chicken nuggets.  the kids had fun eating outside on this cool table that we lifted from the play park a couple of weeks ago. (If anyone is missing's at our house:-)

After dinner we broke out the giant bubbles and the kids had a great time running around chasing, popping and licking (ewwww) them!

Then we hopped in the Ranger for a quick ride down Sun Valley.  It was getting a little chilly because the sun was just about to go down but we had blankets to warm us:)  I love seeing the pure joy on the kids faces as grandpa says do you want to go fast and then he guns it!!

I made some little surprise bags for the kids to have.  ($35 bucks at the Dollar Store....totally worth it!!)   It included:  A foam ball gun, sticker books, bouncy ball, spinning tops, rice crispy treat, whistle, play dough, baked goldfish and a Halloween soppy cup!

After surprises it was bath time!  Grandpa took the boys and grandma took the girls!

Batter Up:-) Rafe's baseball helmet was a hit!

Haivyn love




A group picture of my beautiful littles in their Halloween jammies!

I'm sure gonna miss these kiddos!!

Alyssia's Married

Alyssia married Skyleer Fellows on Saturday September 24th!  It was a beautiful occasion held at the Lion House.  Skyleer and Alyssia's bishop, Bishop Guileman performed the ceremony.  We only had three weeks to plan it out but it pretty much went without a hitch.  It was a small ceremony with about 50 friends and family in attendance.  Jenni Baker took a few pictures of the happy couple just before they made their vows!  The Lion House gardens are beautiful this time of year so it made a great backdrop for them!

This one is my personal favorite!

Here's a shot of the table setting.

Kallie Baker arranged all of the flowers.  Alyssia wanted to have red, white, and gold as her colors with a little bit of black.  The centerpieces, boutonnieres, corsages, and bouquets were beautiful!

Julie (Baker) Evans made the wedding cake!  I thought it turned out very beautiful!  We served the cake after it was cut and it was super yummy.  Skyleer had requested pumpkin flavor (bottom) while Alyssia wanted white (top).

Kaitlyn was the matron of honor (or course).  Here she is with Haivyn!

Alyssia and Skyleer were very happy.  One unfortunate thing that happened was on our way to the wedding Skyleer got word that his grandfather had passed away in the night.  He was very distraught.  It had a domino effect and none of his family was able to attend.  Rick and I took the opportunity to talk about the Plan of Salvation to him.  I think it brought a little comfort and helped him to be able to get through the day.  Skyleer and Alyssia spent their wedding night at a Marriott in Ogden.
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Fellows.