Monday, December 9, 2013

Catch Up: Summer Trip to Hawaii

This post is a catch up from our amazing trip to Hawaii during the summer...yes, I know it is a little late. I guess the 8 inches of snow (!) we have gotten here in YOUgene has me pining away for white sand beaches and sunshine. Ahhh, a season for everything, right?

Anyway, bear with me while I relive some warm memories, huddled up on my couch with my peppermint tea and fuzzy blankets... 

...It all started when James and I were trying to plan out a grand adventure for our three-year anniversary. I'm not sure who suggested it, but I am pretty sure it came up at first just as a crazy suggestion right in line with "Oh, maybe we could do a Caribbean cruise...". (We are, after all, still poor, starving college students...) But James thought it was a really good idea - plus Allegiant Air had flights straight from Eugene to Honolulu for $99 one way. Our justification was that we would probably never live this close to Hawaii for years to come (Ha - more on that in a future post), so we really shouldn't, couldn't, pass up such a great opportunity.

Well, apparently stinky Allegiant Air apparently only flies to Honolulu from Eugene seasonally. And our anniversary (and the most convenient time to travel) was considered out of season. But by the time we figured that out, we were already completely sold on the idea and (I) would have been devastated if we hadn't been able to make it work out. Luckily, we found a pretty awesome deal anyway and were able to make it happen.

We stayed in Hawaii (Oahu) for a week. We had grand plans to travel around the island and have fun adventures hiking and snorkeling all over, but when we got to the North Shore and Laie, we were home. We didn't even go to the beach that first day - we spent it catching up with adopted family and friends. I can't express the sense of belonging and home (is there any other word for it?!) that I felt when we stepped foot back into that community. I have a suspicion that it may always feel that way.

So we basically stayed on the North Shore for almost the entire vacation, visiting with people we love, eating at restaurants we used to frequent, and soaking up the sun on familiar beaches.

Here is a quick photo overview of our trip, in completely random order because I can't for the life of me find an efficient way to rearrange these photos (I have a love-hate relationship with Blogger).

Ha - Jess would appreciate that the first picture of our anniversary trip features HER. The sis was there, getting settled in for her first semester at BYU-Hawaii, and agreed to tag along with us. We were thrilled that she was there.
Jess's festive decorations for our three-year anniversary. Such a talented young woman. We expect great things from her. I hope you are reading this, sis.
The place where it all RAs in good old Hale 2. So nostalgic to go back and relive memories.
We stayed with our family/friends the Rams. Trysta thinks she is all grown up and that it's ok to go to college or something. Love this girl.
Baking bread...just like old times. Except now I can get away with stuff like carving Trysta's name into the bread. I probably would have gotten swatted for that five years ago.
More of Jess's creative genius. She wouldn't let us look for a long time and I really thought she was just secretly scarfing the entire chocolate haupia pie by herself. This was a pleasant surprise.
"Happy 3 YRS" 
Airplane games...guess what time it will be when we are exactly halfway to Hawaii. For the record, I was within minutes...but didn't win.
The office. More like The Closet. The place where they thought James and I could get any work done as a newly engaged couple sharing a cubicle. have to know us pretty well to understand how significant this is. But it made us pretty happy to see.
One of the men who had a huge impact on both me and James during our time at BYU-Hawaii. He oversaw some of the most formative experiences I had during my time as a student there. So great to catch up with him.
Korean BBQ with sis.

Early morning run on the beach with Jess. Looks like great weather, right?
Well, that is not sweat drenching Jess's hair and clothes - we got caught in a crazy downpour that lasted about 30 feet. Sun still shining, waterfall pouring on our heads. Welcome to Hawaii. 
Welcome to Hawaii again. Milk for $5.20/gallon.
Shopping for college stuff! So fun.
There were two really sad aspects of our trip. One was that we didn't get to connect with a professor that we were hoping to see (that has since been remedied). The second was that Haleiwa Eats Thai food was closed. I will continue to mourn this fact until we go back to Hawaii next time. Best. Food. Ever. We went there WAY too often when we lived in Hawaii.
We buried Jess in the sand so she couldn't move and then took this picture so her head looked twice as big as ours.
Ted's Bakery. James is absolutely speechless with delight here. He had been talking about chocolate haupia pie ever since we left.
Nom nom nom...
I love that I captured this moment. This is how Sister Ram tells stories - even her feet are off the floor!
Laie Temple. James and I used to serve here every week. It brought back tender memories to be inside. 
The anniversary morning. We went to Hukilau Cafe for breakfast and got chocolate chip pancakes as big as your head...among other things.
Snorkeling at Shark's Cove. 
This is how Jess snorkels. She is so brave and daring.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE having an underwater camera. Hours of entertainment taking and looking through pictures. Plus also - can you see how clear that water is??? Ah, Hawaii, I love you.

Oh, this? Well, I'm not choking my husband, whatever you say.
Jess was so cute to do a mini photo shoot for us on our anniversary.
The pictures were all real gems, for one reason or another. James's face just makes this one irreplaceable.
Laie Point. Can you say ocean? And sky? Wow.
Smoochin' on the beach. Love this one. Good work, sis.

Not sure why I couldn't get this one to flip...
"I am a beautiful butterfly!"
Sand art. 
It's a good thing Jess and I live an ocean apart. Otherwise, I might get strangled for this picture.
Maybe this will make her feel better...
Bishop and his awesome roti-flipping skills.

This is totally one of my happy places - in the kitchen with Sister Ram. I admire this woman almost as much as my own flesh-and-blood mom. And that is saying something. 
Looking back through these photos almost makes me tear up. This place is such a sacred place to me. It stands as a witness in my life that God loves me. He led me there and inspired me to take advantage of opportunities that have brought me joy I could never have found on my own. Joy that my 17-year-old self couldn't even conceive of when I first stepped foot on that island. What a tremendous blessing, both to go there the first time and also to have a chance to go back and be reminded of God's perfect plan. Praise Him.

These are the only words that have ever truly captured my feelings about Laie and BYU-Hawaii:

"...the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Winter is Coming!!!

I don't recall Oregon being so cold last November. This past week we had four days of below freezing mornings. I don't even remember if it got this cold at all last year. 

So this week, Emily and I started our running schedule to prepare us for our next half marathon coming up the 1st of February. Emily has had this nasty cough (doctors say it's allergies, but we haven't been able to get her to stop coughing even with allergy medicine) so we haven't had the chance to really run together yet, but I went running on a few of these cold mornings and I don't know why I have done it more than once. On Saturday it was 21 degrees when I went out at about 7am. I was out there in shorts with no gloves and I was freezing. So what did I do this morning? Luckily I don't have school at all this week so I waited until about 8:30am to run and it was much warmer. Why don't I just put on more clothes when I run and get some gloves you ask? I have been too lazy to find my gloves and I hate running in pants and jackets. The price? Cold legs and cold hands. So far my lungs have been ok. If it gets much colder, I might have to start running at the gym or something.

I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures for this week. Everything has been going well for us and we are so excited for later this week. Emily's mom, dad, and little sister Anna are driving in tomorrow. We are doing the whole Thanksgiving thing with them and some neighbors and friends. Should be a blast! Hope everyone has a nice week and that you get to relax a little bit. Much love!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Catching Up from October...

It's been a while since Emily or I last posted. Even though we have been keeping busy with school and work, we are doing well and are getting very excited for the upcoming holidays! Here are a few pictures from the past couple months.

Emily coordinated a lot of the work put into the Conflict Resolution Week at the University of Oregon in October. At one of the events, we had pizza and I was super excited to get BBQ chicken pizza. I had been craving it for months...

In the middle of October we ran the Runaway Pumpkin half marathon.

Emily did great!

I did well too. We beat our best time for a half marathon by about 23 minutes. Go us!

After the race, we went up to Portland to visit with family and went out for sushi to celebrate.

These were the shirts we got from the race. If you are wondering what's up with the beard, keep scrolling down through the pictures. :D

We had some new neighbors move in below us from Saudi Arabia and they have been so sweet to make us different foods and treats. I don't remember the names of them, but they have been amazingly good!

So I grew out my facial hair for about a month in hopes of it being long enough to braid for my pirate costume. It didn't work, so we cut some hair off of the wig that I wore for part of Halloween (keep scrolling down and you'll see what I wig I'm talking about) and then hot glued it to my beard. Crazy? Yes, but it didn't hurt until I let Garrett and Aunt Tricia try to yank them out at the end of the night. Thinking back on the experience, it was silly to let anyone try and yank out hot glued in hair. For the record, Garrett was successful with his yank and Aunt Tricia was not. :P

So yes, I was a pirate and Emily was a parrot. We had fun dressing up for Halloween but had to have a picture of my parrot on my shoulder... "Polly want a cracker???"

Here is our little cousin Carter with the wig that I wore probably about 5 minutes on Halloween for my costume. After that, I gave up and didn't want to have to bother with all that crazy hair.

Earlier this week when I got to school, there were 5 turkeys out in front of the classroom. I told them they were a few weeks early, but they didn't seem to care.
Anyways, life is good. We hope to be posted more pictures up soon. Much love.