We’ll post our summer vacation photos (& video?) in a series of updates. Once again, we went to Oahu, but this time Janel & Ryan were able to join us! We had an incredible time with them. The boys love spending time with their sisters and brothers-in-law. And, of course, it was Hawaii so the weather was perfect and the surroundings beautiful.
This year, we tacked an extra day at the beginning of the vacation before we went to the condo. We spent that first day in Waikiki and all four of the “kids” took a surfing lesson from Big Wave Dave’s Surf Shop. All four of them got up on their boards and managed to look rather proficient out there. They also got to go in an outrigger canoe.
After surfing, we spent some more time in Honolulu and Waikiki before heading out to Ko Olina.
We’ve got a bunch of great pictures out there – click the one shown to see the rest. And enjoy this short video.
We had an awesome Spring Break! We drove to Mike and Sandi’s home in Nampa, Idaho. Their home is fantastic and sits on quite a bit of land. In addition, they have animals & toys and they share. They were incredible hosts and we had an absolute blast. The boys learned to ride dirt bikes and ATV’s; they brought in eggs from the chickens; they kicked a soccer ball (you didn’t think they could last five days without that, did you?). We went on a hike and we spent an entire day riding on the trails in the mountains. On top of that, we got a decent amount of visiting time in with Mike, Sandi, and some of the grand-kids (plus Kyle and Amy).
We only had one minor motorcycle mishap – David crashed. It was just a good bruise and a little blood – no broken bones (so Mike didn’t have to go to work). David was back riding the next day.
On the drive out, we took the scenic route through the Columbia River Basin. Last year, Daniel had done a report on the Basin, so he paid attention during the drive.
We spent our final day of vacation in Atlanta. We toured the World of Coca Cola, a permanent exhibit featuring the history of Coca Cola as well as various advertising campaigns and product samples. The tasting room has samples of 95 different soft drink products from around the world. The Coke polar bear was one of the highlights that comes across well on video. We did a little shopping at the end (came home with a soccer ball, and an international bottle that included Amharic, among other items).
We also spent some time (and ate lunch) in the CNN center. The CNN center was also interesting, although we did not actually do a tour. When we were all done, it was time to head to the airport for the long trip home.
We cannot describe how awesome the vacation was, nor can we properly express our gratitude to Kyle and Sarah. We are truly blessed parents.
On January 1st, we drove to Marietta, GA to visit with Sary-Jo’s aunt Lele. We don’t often get to see her and she was unable to make it to San Diego last summer. She prepared dinner for us and we watched football (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl) while catching up. It was really good to see her!
At home, New Year’s Eve is a cold-weather occasion. We’re not big on partying, so it usually ends with us watching the ball drop on TV, celebrating quietly and going to bed. This year, we were blessed with a beautiful day in Charleston. We went to the beach on Sullivan’s Island. To be clear, David was the only one who ventured into the water and we started out wearing coats (those came off when we tossed the football around), but it was a fantastic day. David was particularly playful and really had a good time. We captured some of his fun spirit on video.
Daniel after 4 miles
After the beach, the boys (Kyle, Daniel & David) ran across the Arthur Ravenel bridge. The bridge itself is quite a sight. It is 2 1/2 miles long; the boys ran round trip. Sary-Jo, Sarah and I packed a lunch and ate on the bridge while the runners did their thing. Daniel was the first to run past us on his return trip, with David only a few seconds behind him. Kyle stopped at the top of the bridge to enjoy the view, but apparently the boys didn’t understand that was supposed to be part of the adventure. When they think “run” they think “run hard and don’t stop – this is a race.” We all had a great time (I can say that because I didn’t try to run it)!
David & Daniel
We finished the day in the park in downtown Charleston. Now this is my kind of New Year’s Eve party – it ended at 10:30 pm! They had some incredible food booths, great entertainment, beautiful lights, and activities for the kids. Sary-Jo even got Daniel and David to dance a bit (watch the video).
We enjoyed (that word is way to mild) Sunday Brunch at Charleston’s famous Hominy Grill. Authentic southern food including she-crab soup, ginger pumpkin bread, sweet potato waffles, fried green tomatoes, and more (a lot more). The relaxed setting allowed us to take our time, share our food with each other, and basically enjoy our meal thoroughly. We can’t get that kind of food in Puyallup.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing. Dinner (yes, we actually found a way to eat again that same day) consisted of home made pizza, some cooked in the oven and some cooked on the barbecue. Awesome!
We took an actual tour of Charleston – horse and carriage style! We were so blessed with mild weather this whole trip, and the day of our city tour was no exception. We saw historic homes, heard stories about the seedy past of parts of the city (some of the stories are quite similar to stories we’ve heard of the early days of Seattle). After the carriage tour, we walked around and did a bit of shopping. A great relaxing day.
The first video includes the carriage tour, complete with a couple of the guide’s stories.
The second video includes snippets from the waterfront.
Charleston is loaded with great food! I don’t think that average restaurants stand a chance of survival – there are too many excellent options. Sarah & Kyle picked out a great restaurant for Sary-Jo and I to celebrate our 34th anniversary dinner. All the kids chipped in to pay for it and the boys stayed with Kyle and Sarah while we enjoyed a first-class meal at Cypress. We had a good opportunity for grown-up conversation and the food was amazing.
We visited Drayton Hall, a historic plantation home that is being restored – as much as possible – to its original state. One of Sarah’s friends was a tour guide (I think we were her last official tour). She gave us a fantastic look at this home with many stories and, if I thought I could get any of them straight, I would include them here. The main house is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States. The symmetry is taken to extremes, and it was fascinating to walk through it. Click the picture above to see more and enjoy the video below.
If you’ve seen either The Patriot or The Notebook you’ve seen the swamp at Cypress Gardens. We went there to enjoy the natural setting of the gardens and the swamp. We saw three alligators in captivity (they are unable to survive in the wild), and enjoyed seeing a great variety of swamp life in the Swamparium. After that we toured the Butterfly House, seeing birds and butterflies in there. The colors on the wood duck were amazing!
Despite Sary-Jo’s reservations, we then got into a flat-bottom boat and paddled around the swamp. The water was amazing, with colors developed by the oils secreted from the cypress trees. We had been told we would probably not see any alligators because they are hibernating at this time of year. However, Margie offered $5 to whichever of the boys spotted the first alligator. Leave it to David (who had bought binoculars in the gift shop) to spot a good-sized specimen. We paddled relatively close and Sary-Jo took pictures and video.
After the boat ride, we spent a little more time – walking across the bridge from The Patriot and looking for more wildlife. It was a beautiful place and a great day.
Click the photo above to see more pictures. Watch the 6 minute video below.