My family just got back from Hawaii where we celebrated with my parents on their 40th anniversary. It was my first time to the islands and I hope it’s not my last. I definitely left a part of my heart there. It is intoxicating. I narrowed my 1000 photos down to 408. I can’t go any lower than that. I just can’t. And now I’m stuck. How can I pick just 20 or so out of 408? It cannot be done. But I shall attempt it now.

The girls at Pearl Harbor on our first and only day in Honolulu

Our first day on the beach on the Big Island (my super-cool, honking rental lens worked out real nice)





Chris even found himself his own little spot, with some nice, light reading

The next day, seven of us drove to the other side of the island for a little adventure


Callie was the cutest little zip-liner ever

Janet was pretty cute too. She laughed so hard after coming off the second one, she had us all crying with laughter.

Okay, we were all pretty cute, come to think of it. Jennie was so scared, she sat as though waiting for her final blessing, while she was really just waiting to get this day over with.

And me, I got scared too. EVERY time I stood on that platform. ALL NINE TIMES at all NINE new locations. My knees shook.

But it was pure awesomeness.



Then we went to this really cool hotel where my mom and brother unfortunately got trampled by some wild horses

We were sad to see them go, but that hotel was wonderful enough to keep us going


Then we took a drive to some cliffs, but stopped first to get iced coffee, which Jennie was REALLY excited about

And of course, we pulled off on the side of the road for Janet to pay tribute to King Kamehameha

When we got to the cliffs, magic happened

The world came together as brothers, as the nice people that lived there left water out for us to drink, with a nice little donation bin next to it

My dad got superhuman strength there too

And we all just basically didn’t breathe while we stood around, really high up.



Sadie got this stunning photo on the way back to our hotel

On Monday, we set out on a snorkel adventure. My cousin’s twin daughters and Grace were ready to go.

Grace’s underwater camera she got for Christmas came in pretty handy

Then we all got ready for the Luau


But alas, it began to rain and the luau was cancelled. But they gave us some lovely rain ponchos.


Some of us drank red stuff while we figured out what to do next

On our walk to the next restaurant, there was a pretty boat at twilight

We found the perfect restaurant, on the water and we all toasted to my parents’ 40 years together


It was a beautiful night




The next day we hung out and wrastled and stuff

And played Dominion (which Callie now has a bad addiction to)

And then made it to our second attempt at a Luau





It was by far, my favorite night of the entire trip. The love flowed.






The prayer in Hawaiian was beautifully sung, while we all held hands

The food was AMAZING


And gasp the sunset

It made beautiful light on everyone’s faces


Oh yes, the love flowed


Did I mention gasp the sunset?

Ending with the hula-dancing, warrior-yelling, fire-throwing show (yes, that’s my nephew’s head right down there in front, mere feet from the fire sticks that kept being thrown around. Gasp again.

And gasp the moon on the way back to our hotel that night

And I know I shouldn’t end this beauty this way, but oh how we laughed for hours in the airport in Honolulu as our flight was delayed for the trip home. Our darling Grace sure knows how to keep the masses entertained. She even had strangers laughing at her.

Her sisters were pretty much crying laughing at her.

What can I say? Did you see my brothers up there? She comes by it honestly.

Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for the trip of a lifetime.

P.S. Did I say 20 or so pictures? Uh, make that 69. I am officially out of control. And now I’m hungry.

The Saturday Before Hawaii

I got up and made chocolate chip coffee cake this morning. It had cream cheese in it and a crunchy, cinnamon-sugary topping. I ate two big pieces of it for breakfast, along with two cups of coffee. The entire house was filled with the smell of warm, home-baked goodness wafting throughout. As the kids sauntered out of bed, one by one, somewhere around ten, they all sort of looked at it on the counter, bent over it with confused, sleepy looks on their faces, then smiled sweetly and nodded slowly at Chris as he said, “Isn’t it nice having Mom home on Saturdays?” Then they proceeded to open the freezer and make themselves frozen Eggo waffles for breakfast. Every last one of them.

I was really thirsty just a little bit ago. Sometimes I just really don’t want to drink water when I’m thirsty. It’s my way of sticking it to the man. I think the man is off his rocker with how much water he tells us we should drink every day. The human race has survived a long, long time with most people in most times not drinking 64oz of clean drinking water every day of their life. Silliness. We don’t even let ourselves get thirsty these days. We just flood our already oversaturated bodies with bland-tasting fluid they don’t need, making our bladders work overtime. That’s my humble opinion for the day, free of charge. So anyway, when I was really thirsty just a little bit ago, I went into the kitchen and cut open the watermelon that was sitting on the counter and sucked down a couple pieces of it. Watermelon never tasted so good. Ah. Satisfaction.

Then I got in my one hundred and fifty degree car to take my sixteen year old daughter to her babysitting job. She’s almost ready to get her license and I am not afraid, I am not afraid. Maybe if I say it one hundred and fifty more times, I’ll believe it. I’ve done a lot of scary things in my life, but I’ve never known fear like riding in the passenger seat, talking her through all the million things that I forgot you need to think about when driving. Somehow other families just seem to be able to get their teenagers driving. I don’t know how they do it with what appears to be such a minimal amount of effort. I think most things are harder for me than they are for most other people. But that daughter of mine sure brings joy to my life sometimes. She’s hooked on the band Mumford & Sons these days, which is fitting for her, I think. There’s something light and happy about them, with an underlying driving, purposeful beat.

On the way to that babysitting job, we passed a church sign that said, “Youth is not a time of life, but a state of mind.” Now, I know that I may not be the brightest bulb in the flower patch, but can somebody please explain to me what that has to do with the Church? Or Christianity? Or Christ? Or anything at all? Even if that sign wasn’t representing a church, I can’t see how it’s helpful. If I saw it scrawled on a wall in a subway tunnel, it still wouldn’t be helpful. It’s a stupid thing to say and that’s all there is to it. Obviously, I have anger issues. But as long as I’m admitting that I have issues, I’ll take it a step farther and admit that I’d really like to take my chainsaw out there and cut that sign down and cut through every single letter of every single word of that stupid, unhelpful saying. And then I’d like to take what’s left of the remnants of each letter and stuff them inside a cannon filled with fireworks to shoot into the sky a couple nights from now.

But alas, I don’t own a chainsaw.

When I got home, I was still thirsty so I ate three more pieces of watermelon since it was still sitting on the counter.

Speaking of the 4th of July, my lens that I rented for my camera for Hawaii came early! Just in time for me to get plenty of fun fireworks pictures. I rented it from lensrentals.com. I tried to take a picture of it, but it’s kind of impossible to take a picture of your own lens unless facing straight on into your bathroom mirror, so you can’t really see the side of it:


But you can still see the big, ole, honking front of it, right? I’ve never had such a big lens. I have to say, I am really excited about it. And I can’t believe how easy it was to rent. I reserved it a couple months ago, and they shipped it not only on time, but early! So I have time to play with it before my vacation.

Here’s somebody else’s picture of the side of it:


Oh, the fun I am going to have. I think I might take a lot of pictures in Hawaii. I also think I might never come home.

I’m going to go get a drink of water now, because I’m still thirsty. Don’t tell the man.