January 29, 2012


Ever have days when you realize how amazing your friends and family are?

Yup. Today was one of those days. 

I know someone who needs help, I couldn't do anything about it from where I am so I asked for help and received an immediate response. 

A real overwhelming showing of love and support. 

Thank you to those who offered help and are going to be helping in the coming couple of weeks. 

Thank you, my amazing husband, who will make a real meal and drive it a half hour to deliver it when you weren't really planning on cooking. 


January 27, 2012

Spent some time showing Andrew our Pearl Harbor pictures tonight. There is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt on the wall of the museum that says

"Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer "am I worth dying for?"

I don't care what your political stance or view on anything but please just remember that frequently young men and women are dying for us. What have we done lately that makes us worth dying for?

January 23, 2012

Maybe it was a bad idea to randomly tell Craig while we were laying in bed that he is halfway to being 50.

His response?

"You can't say that."


"It isn't nice."

January 12, 2012

Our Hawaiian Adventure: Kauai (Days 4-5)

Craig's turn to tell about our adventure. You might find it a little less wordy than my posts. Also, we can't upload pictures right now so you'll just have to come back next week to see the beauty of Kaua'i!


On Saturday morning we went to the Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa and had a lovely breakfast of French Toast and fresh pineapple, and then we went back to the hotel for most of the afternoon so Sarah could rest, as she was feeling rather poorly. Apparently something has been going around the island that she unfortunately seems to have caught. We sat on the beach for a bit, which helped a little, but she still didn't feel very well at all.

On Sunday Sarah was feeling a bit better, so we ventured off to Church at the Kalaheo ward (my final area). We snuck in and it seems very much has changed. A few people I was really excited to see had apparently moved out, and there were many new faces. I saw a few people I recognized and had a few nice chats, but then we ran off down the road to Kekaha ward (my first area). There, nothing had seemingly changed in seven years. Its a much smaller town, and I recognized most of the people there. Everyone was super friendly and they are apparently trying to find me a good job so we can move there. We'll see how that goes.

After church we headed up to see beautiful Waimea Canyon. It is truly a breathtaking place, and I'm sorry but the photos really can't do it justice. Even at 3000 feet there are wild chickens. We saw the Kalalau valley from sea level on our boat tour, but I think it is even more breathtaking to see it from the top. There is just so much lush greenery and jagged cliffs and beautiful blue ocean that you really don't want to leave.


Sarah's notes

Andrew- You could throw a rock off of the cliff and not see where it lands. Please don't try throwing one of the chickens off. They wouldn't like that much.

The Kekaha ward was pretty awesome. We weren't even in the door when big, happy Hawaiians were jumping up to give us hugs and kisses. We got there towards the end of Sunday School so these were the 'naughties' in the hallway. Craig went to priesthood and I went off to Relief Society and it was awesome. Think of every favorite grandma you've ever known, your own or someone elses. Put them all in one room. Add some younger ladies who have a ton of energy. Add a lot of aloha. That was it and I loved it. It would be a great place to live. And I don't doubt that Craig will get emails or calls from people finding him jobs!

Our Hawaiian Adventure: Kauai (Day 3)

Friday morning started early, too. Third day in a row being up by 5:00, but thankfully, it still doesn't feel quite that early to us. We left our hotel at about 5:15 and headed to the other side of the island. Craig wasn't kidding when he told me you can't really get anywhere quickly and there isn't such thing as a direct path. Sort of a combination of WV and CT roads except here there are beautiful cliffs/mountains and pretty ocean to look at most of the way. We got to Waimea at about 6:20, got checked in for our adventure, given instructions and then headed over to the little harbor we were going to launch from. If Craig had told me we were going to be taking a 5 hour tour of the Na Poli coast in a raft the Coast Guard uses, I don't know that I would have signed up. He kept telling me we were going on a boat tour- I don't think of no-seat vessels that you have to slip your feet under floor ropes and hold on to side ropes as a “boat.” Yes, I was uncomfortable with the whole thing until we got out on the water. Because of the kind of 'boat' we were on and how tightly you had to hold on all the time, we didn't get as many pictures as we had hoped. We didn't really want to lose our camera in the ocean. Anyway, the early morning tours have a couple bonuses: smoother water (although at the speeds we were going, I wouldn't call our ride smooth at all) and more sea critter spotting. Oh, and the obvious- watching the sun come up over the gorgeous cliffs while out on the water.
Our tour took us to see all 17 miles of the coast. I am just going to include a bunch of pictures and maybe a link to a wikipedia article about the coast rather than trying to explain all of it. It was gorgeous, the water was stunning and clear and we got to see a variety of sea animals. We got some pretty impressive whale shows, saw a hammerhead shark – Craig spotted it first – and saw some beautiful bottle nose dolphins. They were very playful and several came right up to the boat. No, I did not touch them. They're wild animals. (Gross.)

We were surprisingly worn out by the time we got back to our car at noon. We returned our water proof bag to the company and then headed to Da Emu Hut to get lunch. It is run by the bishop of one of the wards Craig served in and his family. The wife recognized Craig and came over to talk to us for a while. I ordered the kalua pig plate which also came with two huge scoops of rice, a salmon pico and a macaroni salad. I don't care for macaroni salad but theirs was good. No one warned me that the plate would be half meat and said meat would be 4 inches high. It was seriously enough food for two whole meals for Craig, Sophie and I. It was very good and I enjoyed it but I ate way too much- but I didn't even finish half of it. (Oh, tummy ache!!)

We drove back to our side of the island after lunch. I fell asleep almost right away and Craig had to pull over at a little shopping center to sleep, too. We got back to our hotel, rested for a while longer and then headed out to the beach nearest us. Having been to California beaches that always seem to be packed and beaches in New England where there is basically no room to even sit on the sand, I wasn't expecting an empty beach. But that is pretty much what we got. We could see some people down from us and people in the water, but we had some chairs pulled up under a large leaf tree and it was quiet! The warm breeze, shade and beautiful ocean made for a very relaxing afternoon.

After playing in the water for a bit, we went back, showered and ventured out to find dinner. After wandering around a little shopping area (mostly full of stereotypical tourist things- tacky Hawaiian shirts, “Someone who loves me went to Hawaii and got me this shirt,” magnets, key chains etc.) we found a fish house that looked good and had reasonable prices. We shared a single meal: fresh mahi mahi, a big green salad complete with fresh pineapple, steamed rice (every meal) and steamed vegetables.

We headed back to the hotel after that. We were still very tired. I've had a couple thoughts since getting here. Hawaiian is a beautiful language and I've never met so many genuinely happy, friendly people before and we've lived in the South. It just adds to the beauty!  

January 6, 2012

Our Hawaiian Adventure: Kauai (Day 2)

Thursday morning, we woke up on the island of Oahu bright and early at about 5:30. It still felt like sleeping in to us since Hawai'i is 3 hours behind Utah. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and Craig got his (first of several, I'm sure) Loco Moco. It's a pretty simple dish: huge pile of steamed rice, a ground beef patty, two eggs over easy and a generous serving of brown gravy over all of that. I had something a little more heart friendly.

The airline that put us up and fed us also had a shuttle from the hotel come and pick us up right around 8:00. We spent more time waiting at the airport than we were actually on our flight. The terminal was really fun/ny. Just a line of doors that went straight out to the tarmac. Yes, we got to walk out and climb in our teeny tiny little island hopper. 

Here are some other highlights of the rest of our day-

Apparently this is a true
tempura sushi roll. The
whole thing is dipped and very
lightly fried.

When we got our car on Kauai, Craig refused a map (no tourist-y stuff for us, thanks), saw all of the wild chickens- in case you're wondering, they are NOT an endangered specie, went to Walmart and saw more chickens. (I bet dad would love having wild chickens getting in his stores). We drove by one of the church buildings which had a huge gym that was larger alone than the entire Canton ward building, got to our hotel- interesting and very 1960's- then shared a “$6 foot long” for lunch, drove around the south side of the island, saw a gorgeous waterfall, saw a pretty beach and stopped to play for a while- hardly anyone there. Amazing. Drove around some more and saw some of the taro fields, went to a farmers and local artisans market topped off the evening by going to a Japanese & Sushi restaurant. 

FRESH unagi and tuna.
Ooh, yum. See how beautiful?
We prefer places that have good reviews but aren't tourist attractions. We were the only fair skinned people in there and we didn't hear much English. The review Craig read said, “little ambiance, always full of locals and amazing food.” We were sold and the review was completely correct. We got a variety of sushi rolls and each was fresh and simply amazing. We watched the catches of the day walk in the door and then watched it prepared for us. Wow. Really, just wow. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped and went walking around a little village, hopping into a tiny local bakery and getting a real rum cake and a hot out of the oven macadamia honey tart. Made with fresh local nuts and organic honey. Delicious. We topped off our evening by taking a nice moon lit walk along the beach. (Any notice how ominous the breaking waves can look and sound in dark shadow?)

Taro fields. SO pretty. 
We tucked in early since we were pretty tired and had another fun day planned. Every been out on a raft with 2 engines in the open ocean? More to come! 

January 5, 2012

Our Hawai'ian Adventrue: Getting There

I'm usually really bad about saying things like "here's a highlight of what has been happening- more details coming later!" and then never doing it. So, I'm trying something new. I'm going to try to chronicle as we go. GASP! Odd idea, I know.

Hawai'i is three hours behind our local time in Utah so it is barely 6:00 am here right now making the idea of getting up early and writing about the previous day easy for now. Yesterday morning, we woke up at about 4:00 after having slept in the second kids bedroom upstairs- I attempted the toddler bed and Craig the floor. Something hadn't agreed with Sophie's tummy that night and she wasn't a happy girl. I understand that she and Craig stayed up together for a while and watched "Despicable Me." Whatever works. Our friends, David & Jamie, are staying at our house with Sophie while we're away and were in our room for the night. Sophie really loves being around them and from what we hear, she's had a great time with them so far.

We picked up Craig's dad at about 4:45 and headed off to the airport, with one Walmart side stop to grab some bananas and apple sauce for our flight. The rest of the trip to SLC was beautifully uneventful. Security was frustrating as usual but in a different way. Did you know that diabetes is not a medical condition? Well, thanks TSA, but I'll be taking my unopened apple sauce, bananas and water because your website- which I printed the information off of and had with me- said I could have. Craig got the full pat down and did it right. I won't go into details here.

We had a lovely flight from SLC to Denver on a little "puddle jumper." Craig and I were the only ones in our row of two seats and had a nice nap. We had a 3 1/2 hour layover, ate, recharged our electronics, wandered around and watched the birds inside.

Our flight to HNL was equally pleasant. Same two-seat row but this time there were two other large rows. I don't think I've ever flown on something larger than a 747 before but this was a 767. It was seriously enormous. Even with the flight being nearly 8 hours and watching us on the screen (pictured at a different point in the flight) fly right over Provo and wishing we had Batman 'sky hook' powers, it wasn't a bad flight. Next time, I will remember that Continental/United isn't South West and you don't get any snacks. I was very tired of mushed granola bars by the time we landed but I'm so glad I still had them in there from our bowl game trip last week.

When we booked our trip, we had left about 4 hours between our mainland flight and our inter island flight so we could wander around Honolulu a bit before heading out. The airline canceled our flight and bumped us to an earlier one that was leaving only 30 minutes after we landed. And you can't check in online, on the phone or any other way than in person at the desk at HNL. Guess who ran and got to the gate 10 minutes before their flight and weren't allowed on? Yup. Us. Travelocity was useless and told us it was our own fault, deal with it and nothing was going to be refunded, changed or anything else. While running around like a crazy person, I happened to notice that it was very warm in the terminal. Why? Well, that's because there were no walls and in many places, no real ceilings. Gorgeous.

Anyway, I got my first tasted of the Aloha spirit when the manager of the little company personally came to our aid. They didn't have to do anything but he did. We are getting on the first flight this morning at 9:00, he put us up in a nice hotel, gave us two meal vouchers each and a shuttle. I would have been super happy with putting us on another flight and a discounted hotel. Did I mention he also carried my suitcase (we just came with two little carry ons) out to the pickup and waited with us? And put our bags on the shuttle? Yes. That was a lovely welcome to Hawai'i.

We got to the hotel, checked in quickly, found our nice room and headed to the hotel restaurant for dinner. $15 each went a very long way. We both got seafood dishes that were just delicious. Mmm. After dinner, we were wild and crazy and went to sleep. Aah, wonderful sleep. I'll be back tomorrow with a few more pictures and stories from our trip!

**Our internet so far hasn't been too great. I might post more pictures elsewhere when we get home.

January 2, 2012

I think I'm a little excited now!

I haven't really said much about this to many people but I'm getting really excited now! Less than 24 hours from now, Craig and I will be on our way to ... HAWAII! We're finally going on a honeymoon (2+ years later but does that really matter?) and we will be spending about 2 weeks exploring as many of the fabulous places as possible that Craig saw as a missionary there 5 years ago, as well as doing a whole bunch of things he couldn't. Things like boat rides, swimming, enjoying the gorgeous beaches, snuba swimming/diving and generally being lazy together.

I tend to get really excited about things -think an 8 year old in early December- and then really impatient waiting for the event to come. Since we bought our main flight tickets nearly a year ago I'm sure you can only imagine how nutso I might have been trying to keep my excitement contained. (By the way, you get AMAZING prices buying that far in advance. Cheaper than flying two people to CT and back.) I didn't make a google countdown until 3 months ago but it was at the bottom of my countdowns. First was "Our Anniversary," then "Sophie's First Birthday," then "Last Day of Classes," then "Christmas," then "Bowl Game," then "New Years" and then finally, the last was "HAWAII!!" I got back from the bowl game early Saturday morning so that countdown was deleted and yesterday, I deleted the New Years one. What does this mean?!? I CAN FINALLY BE EXCITED!

Does this all sound a little crazy to you, too? Well, I do what I can do. I'm also happy to report that the house deep cleaning which started a couple weeks ago is nearly done, we have all but two or three minor things packed that we'll be taking, have our house & Sophie-sitters arranged and just need to finish a bit of laundry. Off we go to finish the laundry! :D