Saturday, May 30, 2009

Aloha, Anderson's

Last week, we had the privilege of having the Anderson's come and stay with us for 5 days. These are some friends visiting from Utah, whom we met while we were all attending grad. school in Cleveland. We have kept in touch all this time, though we haven't seen them for 7 years. Has it really been that long?! It was so great to pick up where we left off, without skipping a beat. Aloha, and welcome to Hawaii! After a BBQ at our house, we took them to Ko'Olina, one of our favorite spots on the island. We wanted to show them the gorgeous sunsets. We enjoyed the evening walking on the sandy beaches in this beautiful setting, and catching up.
Dave and Emily took advantage of the 4 hour time difference, and were up and at 'em at 5 a.m. Saturday morning. They wanted to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and the best time is really early in the morning when all the fish are feeding. Chris decided to join them, since he had not been yet. They had a blast, and got some underwater pictures of some amazing sea-life.
Emily looked fabulous in her snorkel gear!Next, Chris took them to hike Diamond Head. Chris called us from the summit, and told the kids to go out on the patio and wave, and he would wave back. Not that we could see him, but just the thought was enough. Here is a picture from the top. Beautiful!Later that night we all met up in Waikiki to have dinner with some other friends from Cleveland, the Belau's, who were in town for a convention. What a fun night of catching up with these long lost friends.
On Sunday, after church, we took Dave and Emily on a drive around part of the island. The Pali overlook was spectacular, even on a rainy overcast day.
Next, we headed to the Punchbowl, a military cemetery where many of the soldiers from Pearl Harbor and WWII are buried. Since the next day (Monday) was Memorial Day, it was special to walk around and reflect on the lives of these brave men and women. Each grave had an American flag and a lei. We were told that the school children of some local schools made the leis, and the Boy Scouts placed the leis with a flag at each grave. There were thousands. This picture does not do it justice.
The next day was Memorial Day. Dave and Emily had scheduled a private tour at Pearl Harbor, so we let them go, while our family slept in. It happened to be my birthday, so Chris woke me up to my favorite breakfast, Belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. Yummm! When Dave and Emily returned, we headed up to North Shore for a Mexican lunch. We passed the Dole Plantation on our way, so we decided to make a quick detour. They couldn't leave Hawaii without at least trying the pineapple ice-cream. It's not my favorite, but then again, I'm not a huge ice-cream fan. After lunch (or dinner, by the time we got there), I wanted to try to find a beach I had heard about where there were supposed to be turtles. We went where we were told, but there was nothing. We walked around on the lava rocks, and saw some swimming in the ocean, but we really couldn't get close enough to get a good look. Oh, well. On our way back to the car, we saw some people on the beach looking at what appeared to be a large rock. As we got closer, we saw that it was a huge turtle. In Hawaii, the turtles are "protected" so there was a preservationist there to rope off the turtle, and make sure that nobody got too close. I was just glad to have seen one up close. "Dude...the name's Crush."On Tuesday the Anderson's spent the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and didn't get back until we were all asleep. They flew out on Wed. morning to go to the island of Kauai for the remainder of their vacation. After they left, I told Chris my favorite part of living in Hawaii, was showing it off to visitors. Sooo....who's next? Any takers?

Family Beach Day

A couple of week-ends ago, our family decided to have a beach day. Masen had done so well at the Ko'Olina Lagoons when I went with my friend Shelly, I was able to convince Chris he was ready for the beach. So, we loaded up the van and headed to the North Shore. Corynn and Dallin were so excited. It had been a while since we have been to a beach with waves where they could boogie board.

Masen did so good. We slathered him up in his baby sunscreen with SPF 50, put on his rash guard, trunks and hat. He was so cute in his little outfit. We took him out for his first dip in the ocean. The water was a little cold at first, but we got used to it pretty quick.
After playing for a little while, Masen and I were sitting on a lounge chair, under the umbrella, and I had this surreal feeling wash over me. I was just sitting there listening to the waves crash, and the children laugh, looking at the beautiful scenery, and I had this feeling like I had been dropped into the middle of a commercial. Is this really my life? I snapped this picture to remind me of the moment.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beach Bums

Since the kids didn't have school on Monday, my friend Shelly and I decided to take our kids to the beach. Our beach days have been few and far between since I've been pregnant, and now having a newborn. Shelly and I set up some lounge chairs in the shade, and let the kids play for a few hours. It was pure bliss! The kids love to hunt for crabs. Usually they find tons of sand crabs, but this time they found a real crab. They were able to capture it in their bucket to show us. If I were a seafood fan, I might have been tempted to steam it up and eat it. The kids might have been sad to eat their pet, though.

Masen did amazingly well. We just spread out a blanket for him to lay in the shade, and he just chilled. He is a beach bum in the making. I guess I might need to get him a swimming suit soon.

Chris' Humanitarian Mission to the Philippines

Last month Chris had the amazing opportunity to go to the Philippines on a humanitarian mission with the Army. I really wanted Chris to write this post, but he is always so busy, and when he is not busy, he is too tired from being busy. So, I will attempt to muddle through his 2 1/2 week trip. I apologize in advance if I get some things wrong. He took hundreds of pictures, and I tried to capture the essence of this trip. The Military sent out a group of about 20; including doctors (Pediatricians, Optometrists, Veterinarians) dentists, Pharmacy Techs, RNs, assistants and security. They visited 5 cities (or villages), staying at each one between 2-5 days each. He didn't have a phone to call me but he had spotty internet, so I received an e-mail from him every few days describing his experiences. He was hot and tired a lot of the time. He said it reminded him a lot of his mission in India.His working conditions weren't the best. It was very hot and humid working in these make-shift clinics. He was grateful when his hotel room had air conditioning. His patients were about half adults and half kids. In the few e-mails I received he complained about his hands hurting from doing so many extractions.
He loved working and playing with the kids.
I thought this picture was funny. If you are going to use the coffin, I certainly wouldn't want it back :)
The markets there were insane. There were some other pictures with boxes full of fish all over the ground. I can't imagine doing my grocery shopping like this.
Open wide!
On one mission they had to be flown to another island. They flew in a Marines helicopter (you know, the ones with the double blades). Chris got some amazing aerial pictures.
Chris told me that something that really touched him was how grateful the people were. He told me that it made him feel like he was making a difference. I guess it's not the same as here in the states. We take things like medical and dental care for granted, and we dread having to visit a doctor. Chris told me there were actually lines outside their tents for patients to be seen.
Here is Chris just messing around on a motorcycle. This is probably the closest he will ever get to riding one.
I'm not sure, but I think this picture is taken with some people from the Filipino Army. I know he worked with 2 other Filipino dentists, as well as 2 other American dentists. He said between the 5 of them they were seeing about 400 patients a day.
What an amazing experience he had. He has always dreamed of doing work like this, but we always thought it would be after he retired. We are so lucky for Chris to be able to fulfil some of his dreams, while the Army foots the bill :) Chris said it was very fulfilling work, but it was also very hard work. He says he might need a year to recover from this mission before he volunteers for another one. He is hoping to go to Nepal next.