Tuesday, August 23, 2011

tropical hawaiian vacation.


aloha. mahalo. mele kalikimaka. that about wraps up my grasp of the hawaiian language. but after another awesome week in hawaii, i think we all speak the language of the island. hawaii is really fun. i've only been twice, both times with emily's whole family. in fact the last time i went, emily's dad and i sat out on the balcony of the hotel over looking the ocean to complete that age-old ritual where a man asks his future father-in-law for his daughter's hand in marriage. it's weird to think all that has happened in three short years. william being first and foremost among them.

in fact three years ago only one of these grandkids was in the family. baby emmy is all grown up and had some seriously wild playmates to play with this time around.

and we had some serious fun too this week in hawaii. we started the week off with a trip to the dole plantation, complete with a train ride for the kids and dole pineapple whips for the adults. seriously, so delicious. (not pictured).

our hotel/resort had some pretty pretty amazing pools and beaches. we could have spent the whole week on the property and been more than satisfied. for real, look at this layout. will didn't totally love the whole waterfall element of the pools, but other than that, he got used to being waterlogged pretty quickly.

we did however get off the property for some necessities. like malasadas from leonards. my dad used to recommend this tasty delight to anyone going to hawaii and not a single soul has been disappointed from his advice. we made at least two trips and i almost snuck away to make it three.

one of the days we went over to waikiki. totally worth it. that beach couldn't be more perfectly suited for tourists wanting a great beach with mild waves for whatever you desire. emily and i got out on the surfboards with her brother andrew and his wife steph. they were nice enough to give us a rookies some nice surfing tips. plus the beach was just right for william too. will was pretty funny about the whole beach thing. he refused to walk on the sand. we could eventually get him to sit and play on the break, but he would not get up and walk around. i guess he doesn't like the feel of sand on his feet. i can only assume (hope) he gets over that in the future. his california cousins, emmy, kate, and weston on the other hand knew exactly what to do at the beach.

following my brother-in-law wade's example, i figured i should trying to start to teach will to surf at a young age. i think the first lessons, fully clothed, dry, and away from the sand went pretty well. and weston was there to show him the ropes.

since we had to plan our activities according to 6 kids under the age of 4, emily and i went prepared. we took this awesome wolf puzzle that emily got several months back at an old pioneer trading post as sort of a joke. and yet, fatefully, everyone put in some solid time during kids' naps and late night to pull off this masterpiece. it doesn't look too difficult, but have you ever attempted a non-square, non-bordered puzzle before??

all in all it was a really fun week. everywhere you would look was another picturesque photo op. so we submitted to the beauty and took a lot of pictures of ourselves. forgive the vanity. plus the mornings were so perfect for running, going on walks, and just soaking in the serenity.

it wouldn't be complete without a photo session for the family christmas card. emily's mom has been planning this photo with coordinating outfits for months, maybe even years. and then when the day of reckoning came, all the outfits were left in california. luckily last year some time, the girls decided buy the boys matching shirts in LA. fate would have it. steve, wade and i just happened to have packed this very shirt for the trip. what are the chances. it's just too bad that cort had to work and couldn't make it. don't worry though, he also has a matching t-shirt and will be photo-shopped into the family pic.

so with the men in-sync, the women just had to get some clothes to get in line. i think the end result turned out pretty well.

and the kids mostly cooperated.

on a personal quest, the last day of the trip, i got to visit the others. (LOST reference). we went to the dharma initiative housing unit on the other side of the island. i'm not going to lie, it was sorta creepy walking through that village, especially knowing the history of what transpired there. i kept a close eye on will to make sure there weren't any kidnappings. and even then, steve and i had a walt sighting. totally weird, i know. but then again, so was the entire series of LOST.

will on the other hand, just loved playing in paradise.

and so did we. what a trip. it was a ton of fun and super relaxing. too bad we can't always live in tropical paradise.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

utah in the summer.

so we just came off of our monster ride through utah last weekend. it was amazing how pretty utah is, especially in the summer. the snow in the winter is super pretty too, but it eventually gets dirty, mushy, and makes everything cold and wet. but the summer scenery doesn't have the same draw backs. i can't believe how pretty some of the legs were that we rode last weekend. the west side of utah lake over by saratoga springs, the roads before and after big rock candy mountain, and tons of other stretches were indeed pretty amazing. one of things that makes saints to sinners so cool is getting off I-15 and seeing the beauty of utah, top to bottom. it was pretty impressive. my brother in law is a smart man to plan such a scenic course for the race.

this weekend, we decided to head north instead of south, and go by foot instead of wheel.

it's been awhile since we've been hiking. once last fall and another time through moab when we were moving here from mississippi. we're not huge hikers, but i think that's mainly because we don't really know where to go. thank goodness for the internet. emily found a place up in layton called adam's canyon. it was a pretty simple hike to the top to a nice waterfall, probably a couple miles up and a couple miles back. our friends tyler and tara came along with us and brought their awesome dog radley. he roamed around the mountain like it was his home. we overheard several of the hikers we crossed say they thought a wolf was coming around the corner before they saw that he was with us.

(taking a break along the way. will didn't quite want to go into the cave with me.)

(will had way more fun on the hike than our pictures relate.)

(waterfall at the top of the hike.)

(will had fun eating his apples and tossing rocks in the river...)

(radley had fun roaming around like the ancenstral guardian of the falls.
that and digging up rocks.)

it's a lot of fun to get out and enjoy the utah mountains. tyler is a big mountain biker and told us of some cool trails up where we were hiking this morning, so on our next outing, we might have to combine the wheels and the dirt.

Monday, August 1, 2011

deseret demons take saints to sinners by storm!

the event of the season has come and gone.

this last weekend peter and i participated in the saints to sinners bike relay. our team, the deseret demons, consisted of riders from all over. peter, elise, my uncle jon, and i were all locals. mark w. came from st. george, david b. from colorado, and my dad, john w., brian p., and bryan j. all came from california. if i do say so myself, we had a pretty awesome team.

bringing ten people together--many of whom did not previously know each other--all with different levels of riding experience, and many coming from out-of-state took a lot of logistical planning. we also wanted to really optimize our experience and support each rider, so it took a lot of planning to figure out who would be on the road when, who would be pacing whom, and in which cars each rider needed to be in and when. good thing we had detailed-oriented people on our team to figure everything out!
upon our team's arrival to utah on wednesday and thursday, we did our costco shopping, painted our car and RV, and got packed and ready for our 8:00am race start on friday. fyi, sending five grown men to costco to shop for a weekend of food will result in: more clif bars than we can eat, cinnamon rolls, enough gatorade to make you sick, and the additional potato chips, licorice, and someone bought some pretty gnarly looking vanilla-peach oatmeal in a can. gross. good thing my mom and i ran to the grocery store that evening to pick up plastic cups, plates, utensils, toilet paper, garbage bags, and paper towels.

8am (or rather 5:30am, which is when we woke up) came pretty quickly. we got our vehicles out to south jordan and made sure everything was ready to go for brian p. to start us off with the first leg of the race.

my mom and tina j. (also from california) were our team volunteers. and they were AWESOME. they really stepped it up big time and helped us out. they had to work at transition #2, which meant that they had to be out to Elberta (a very small town southwest of utah lake) by 6:45am and sit in the heat, with flies a-swarming around them for a good 5 hours. their jobs were to make sure all the riders had enough water and/or gatorade and to log the times of every rider's arrival into the transition. they were serious troopers. but i think that they enjoyed themselves--we walked up to their table and laid out all over it were the blueprints for my parent's new house, several home decor magazines, and tina's ipad. they really made the best of their situation and used their time sitting to have some fun! thanks again mom and tina, we really appreciate you guys being our team volunteers!

as the hours rolled on, we got more and more tired, more and more delirious, and more and more sick of eating bananas, dense carbs, and drinking gatorade. but it was sure a lot of fun. bryan j. shared lots of fun stories with us, for example, he told us about a bunch of scientists years ago that tried to make blood boil. and i think he even educated elise on varicose veins. jon h. won the award for the most driving--he seriously was the one to make sure that the vehicles always got to the transitions because everyone else was beyond coherence and any ability to drive. brian p. made sure everyone was always where they needed to be to get ready for their upcoming rides--he was definitely the brains behind the race. and mark won the award for being able to successfully complete strenuous legs of the race even after eating a greasy mcdonald's breakfast. and then there was my personal favorite inside joke of the weekend: grilled soup. yes, a few members of our team did in fact enjoy some chicken and stars soup that was "grilled to convection." beats slurping it down cold i guess :)

it really says a lot when ten people, many of whom were strangers to one another, can remain not only cordial, but in good spirits and enjoy each other's company even when it's 3:00am and everyone smells like rotten eggs. seriously. our vehicles were pretty stinky. but for some reason, when you are contributing to that terrible smell yourself, you really don't mind being around 9 other really stinky people.
and now i just need to give a shout-out to david b. he literally saved my life. for my third and last leg of the race, i was stuck with a KILLER climb right outside lake mead. it was well over 100 degrees outside and i felt like the heat was literally sucking the life out of me. combine that with the exhaustion i was feeling from riding two previous legs of the race and not sleeping all night. i was done for. and then david got out on the road with me and supported me up those terrible hills. if he hadn't gotten out there with me, i think i would have gotten off my bike, sat down on the ground and started crying. oh, and add to all of this that on saturday, david was celebrating his birthday! so thanks again, david :)
after a sleepless night, some sketchy descents in the middle of the night, and some unexpected climbs in the inexplicable heat of lake mead, we finally rolled into las vegas around 12:30pm on saturday afternoon. we rode over 500 miles (actually over 1,000 if you count the pacers we had on the road with the riders the whole time) and had no accidents or problems, and only one flat tire. i would call that a success. and we had a blast.

so . . . if you want to experience exhaustion beyond belief, the exhilaration of speeding downhill in the middle of a street in the middle of the night, and getting cozy with 9 other people in a couple of stinky cars, then you'd better start training! we can't wait to see more of our friends and family out on bikes next year at the saints to sinners bike relay!

and for your added enjoyment, don't miss this summer's blockbuster hit. coming to a theatre near you!