Spring Break in Las Vegas

In ‘n Out Burgers

Sary-Jo and the boys went to Las Vegas for Spring Break!  What were we thinking??? Well… they went to visit Sarah, Kyle and Caio, who happen to be living in Las Vegas right now.  The visit was enjoyable, entertaining and educational.  While there, they saw a show, Recycled Percussion, in which David got called up on stage.  They did some hiking in the great outdoors.  They also visited a school presentation including a number of survivors of the Holocaust.  It was so interesting to hear first-hand how these people endured and are educating others.  What a treasure that we won’t have with us for too many more years.  The kids also went rock climbing and toured the Strip.  One more thing – Sary-Jo won a bunch of money on the penny slots.  Click the picture to see more.

California Visit

Mid-winter break was awesome!  Here’s basically a day-by-day account:

Daniel, our own “Ethiopian Super Natural”

We took our time enjoying the waterfront and the Exploratorium, which is similar to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.  On the pier next to the Exploratorium is an exhibit that records sounds and then plays them back 12 hours later.  Since our visit was shortly after the football season and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl (43-8 in case any Denver fans forgot), David went by the microphone and yelled, “Go Seahawks!”  Unfortunately, we weren’t going to be around at precisely midnight when it played back.

I get so much joy out of watching the kids interact with Science exhibits, and this place had so many interactive exhibits!  It was incredible to watch in wonder at their exploration.


Sarah & Caio joined us on a tour of a couple wineries.  The first is an incredible Italian castle, Castello di Amoroso.  It’s an amazing place and well worth the tour.  The second is the winery that produces my all-time favorite Merlot (and now my favorite Zinfandel, and a couple other reds).  We sampled a significant number of wines and discover
ed that Sarah and I have a very similar palate.  We both signed up for the Markham wine club.  The first place was for the tour; the second for the wine!

Chef Ryan

After the wineries, we went back to Ryan and Janel’s home for a rather-impressive tri-tip dinner (and some good wine). Ryan’s parents made the drive and it was great to spend time with them.  Then we played games and the kids goofed off!

A bit conspicuous

Next,  we wore our Seahawks’ gear and got pictures with the San Francisco skyline.  We toured Alcatraz (yes, it was actually the first time for many of us and it was very interesting).  People made jokes but treated us very well, especially considering this was just a few days after the Super Bowl!  Even though Allison and Eileen are 49ers fans, they indulged us with the pictures.


One of the things we enjoy while traveling is touring college campuses. We went to Berkeley and had Ryan as our tour-guide. As an added bonus, Janel and Ryan had done their homework and found an excellent Ethiopian restaurant near the campus. Dinner was awesome. The next day we went to Stanford and caught up with Sarah Howard and kids.  What fun!  Then we visited Janel’s school and classroom.

Click on any picture to see the rest of that gallery.

At Stanford

Camping / Exploring

Michael, Daniel & David

This summer, the boys’ friend Michael and his parents invited them to join them on a camping trip to explore the Ape Caves in Southwest Washington.  They stayed in the motor home and enjoyed their first camping experience.  (Note: Sary-Jo and I gave up camping long ago.)  The incredible darkness inside the caves impressed them.  They enjoyed every minute of the experience, including campground games and the food and time spent with friends.  Thank you so much, Rich and Stacey, for giving them this opportunity.

Vacation – Day 8

We started the day by taking Ryan and Janel to the airport (sad), and then spent the rest of the day in Waikiki before catching our own flight home late at night.  The boys wanted to surf again so we rented boards.  Unfortunately, the waves were not particularly cooperative and they did not spend much time actually surfing.  Still, it’s tough to complain when you’re hanging out in Waikiki on a beautiful day.  What a vacation!

We hope to return again next year and maybe all the “kids” will be able to join us!

Vacation – Day 7

The highlight of this day was getting to spend a fair amount of time with Chase and his parents.  Bryan and Dina were Daniel’s first soccer coaches (Dina led the team until Bryan returned from deployment).  Last year Bryan was transferred to Oahu and we are so glad we were able to hang out with them for a while.  We hope we can connect again next year!

Vacation – Day 6

Ryan and Daniel

We went on a little drive… we headed up to North Shore to take in some of the variety that Oahu offers.  We also hoped to find some sea turtles on Waianae Beach – we were not disappointed!  We saw over a dozen turtles hanging out in the shallow water and on the beach.  They were all over and easy to get close to.  Volunteers were there to answer questions and to ensure that people didn’t get too close.  We took a bunch of pictures and video.

Ryan used his smartphone to guide us to some amazing shrimp!  Shaved Ice too.

We also took a bunch of pictures around the resort – just us hanging out and looking good!  Click the picture to see more, and watch the brief turtle video.

Vacation – Day 5

The highlight of the day was snorkeling.  Janel & Ryan took Daniel and David out to see the fish, dolphins and turtles.  They got up close and PERSONAL!!!  Later in the day, we hung out in the hot tub and watched the sunset.  Beautiful day.

Vacation – Day 4

Top of the Diamond Head hike

What a day!  We took off early to hike Diamond Head.  Sary-Jo and I have talked about this hike since we first starting going to Oahu and now we’ve finally done it.  It was a very windy, but beautiful, day.  There were quite a few people but we found parking right away and headed up the trail.  Naturally, Daniel & David wanted to press a little harder than the old folks so we sent them on ahead.  Once they reached the top, they (mainly Daniel) decided to just run up and down the stairs while we made our way up there.  Janel and Ryan also went ahead of us a bit, but we enjoyed the scenery all the way.  After the hike, the boys found some great trees to climb.

After the hike (and breakfast), we went to Kailua Beach, which Ryan knew of.  It was beautiful (we’ve yet to find an ugly Hawaiian beach but I suppose it’s theoretically possible) and the kids (all four of them) had a great time in the water.

Great day and great pictures.  Enjoy the pictures and video.

Vacation – Day 3

We spent the day within walking distance of our resort, enjoying the water and shaved ice.  We walked up the boardwalk to the Marriott hotel and looked at the aquatic life – notably the sting rays.  We took our time coming back and enjoyed watching the boys climb trees.  Daniel proved especially adept at climbing palm trees.  Enjoy the pictures – you get the sense the weather was perfect (and indeed it was!).

Vacation – Day 2

We spent most of the day at our resort, but went to Germaine’s Luau that evening.  The entire day was fantastic as we settled into our home for the week, spent time at the pools and lagoons, and very much enjoyed the family fellowship.