Thursday, July 20, 2006

Catching Up

Obviously, it’s been a while since I wrote. Since the trip to Hawaii in April, life has been quite busy. Hawaii was a lot of fun. We spent 5 days on the Big Island and 5 days on Kauai. I thought Kauai was much more scenic than the Big Island, but both locations were a lot of fun.

On the Big Island we hiked in Volcano National Park and drove down the Chain of Craters to the shore where the lava was flowing into the sea. Although we couldn’t get close enough to see the actual hot lava hitting the sea, the steam cloud and the lava cliffs were quite impressive.

We also went to a traditional luau with pit roasted pig and all the trimmings. This was followed by a demonstration of local and South Pacific dances. A couple of days later we went on a dinner cruise along the Kona Coast. I was able to shoot the sunset from the ship as well as the shoreline in the evening light.

I think the best activity, though, was snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay. This is the bay where Captain Cook was killed, and indeed there is a monument to his memory located on the shore. The entire bay is an underwater wildlife preserve, and there was lots to be seen.

On Kauai the highlights were the helicopter tour we took around the island, and our ride up to Wamea Canyon. We stayed in a lovely condo overlooking a garden, and we found that the beaches in Kauai were much prettier than those on the Big Island.

On the return from Hawaii, it was time to get the yards and the house ready for summer activities. The deck had to be washed and painted, the hot tub drained and refilled, new flower beds built in the yards, a new grill to break in (yeah!), new window shades to hang, a bench had to be pulled out and replaced and new decorations for the yard had to be purchased and hung. The kitchen got new tile, the garage got a total overhaul, new sprinkler heads were installed in the in-ground system, and then everything was ready for our first event.

That event was a baby shower for our youngest daughter. We had quite a few people over for the shower, and we all had a really good time.

In June, our first grandchild was born (after 29 hours of labor and finally a c-section). Her name is Makayla Ann Nicole and she is, of course, adorable. A lot of my time has been spent getting to know her.

The 4th of July meant we held our annual Independence Day Cookout. This was the largest one ever. We had 31 adults and 8 children in attendance, with lots of food and drinks. Many of us tried a game of Ultimate Frisbee, but we wore ourselves out after about 30 minutes and had to switch to a game we call “500”.

Well, that gets us up to the Oregon Country Fair weekend, and I want to write about that separately. I’ll add some photos later.