Friday, January 31, 2014

Pro Bowl and Friends!!!

We got lucky enough to have our first Arizona visitors!!!  Michelle, Mike & their cute kiddos came to Oahu, stayed at a resort in Waikiki.  We had a little bit of rainy weather but the kids sure loved spending time together.  Saturday we went to the Pro Bowl pre-game practice at Aloha Stadium. It was awesome!  There were players and cheerleaders everywhere.  Somehow we managed to get down front row so the boys were all able to see and get autographs from the players and coaches. The faves were definitely Jerry Rice and Drew Brees!  Payton was SO bummed when Jerry stopped signing right before getting to him :) But Will, Mack and Parker all got signatures.  It really was a fun day.  Payton and Parker were lucky enough to go the Pro Bowl with Mike and Michelle.  We got to keep the littles, the girls loved playing with Anjalee. And Madison and Drew were fun to have around. I just love little Madison, could keep her as my own. 

Lots of beach time and tree climbing. The kids have their favorite tree right in front of the school, it really is an amazing little beach we have right in our front yard. 

We also went to the Polynesian Cultural Center for the luau, enjoyed the pina colada drinks in the pineapple!  Yum!  We also saw the show called Ha (Breath of Life)... it was really a beautiful presentation, loved the message of life and love.  I got a little emotional, even.  Kids loved the fire dancers and all the hula.  I think everyone had a great night.  I saw my cousin Megan there, too!  This is a small world we live in.

We also visited the temple visitor's center and stopped for a little Ono-Yo.  In honor of Pops.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Beach bums.

We have been beaching it every day, these days!  The kids love Castles and Chocolates.  They have small waves and they can surf.  Sydney LOVES the water, it's so awesome to watch her.  I have gotten to see Cassie a few times since we have been here. She watched Tess for me one day and then we barbecued with them at Turtle Bay one evening.  Chloe and Tess are kind of the same person, it's pretty funny.  The girls started Hula!  Auntie Anja teaches them at the Hau'la park and they are so cute. Even Tess is learning how to "umi"

And I must document Mike with his fanny pack, beard and gold chain. He has since shaved but he really is a sight for sore eyes around here.  

Avery said to me one afternoon: "Mom I saw the CUTEST thing on the way to lunch today. There was like a hundred baby chicks blocking our path. They were all with their mama, it was just the cutest thing."  Kaaawa elementary is home to many baby chicks this month :)

Loving life in Oahu.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Island Life.


We have been having the time of our life, really. It's the island life and it's so beautiful. Jeannie and I have taken turns cooking dinner (which I have LOVED)...playing hard with Pop and Dama Dama. Payton started basketball here and is a little on the small end but it's a fun experience for him anyway.  The Hawaiian kids (girls) are HUGE. They play in the "West Philadelphia" style basketball courts and the games are like 30 minutes. It's a cultural experience for sure.  It's fun to see him playing ball again.  He has made a good friend, Rylee.  They are in the same class at school, too so that's fun. 

We have also been doing temple work! Sealings for days!  What a cool experience to be in this beautiful La'ie temple with Mike's parents and Danny as a temple worker, doing work for our VanSteenkiste ancestors.  I have loved it.  And then the Farmer's market after at BYU Hawaii... Yum. The macaroons are off the charts. The campus is really beautiful, too.  Mike has been a bearded man here in the islands and totally not up to school standards :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


So a handful of us girlies (Jeannie's friends Lindsay & Liko too) did the Stairway to Heaven hike... There was no "guard" as we had been warned and it turned out to be a lovely day. The hike was hard and long but the views were amazing.  It kept going and going and some spots were skeeeetttccchy. But it was a bucket list item for sure and I was proud of myself for participating. Coming down was hard on the knee and I was jello by the end. The views were breathtaking, so amazing to see this windward side from such a high elevation.  I couldn't' walk for 3 days but it was worth it, for sure.

starting up. forgive the acne, this island has made my skin go crazy.

Joan getting after it.

breathtaking. seriously...

it just kept going and going...

so beautiful.

breaking the law.

I'm going to feel this tomorrow.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aloha week ONE.

Aloha and Mahalo. So begins the journaling of the #vanhawaii adventures.  We sold our house in Arizona, I will have to back post the details. Actually, I'm trying to block it out completely from my memory. It was a hard few months.

We live in Kaaawa, Hawaii. It's on the "windward" side of the island, south of Lai'e. It's a beautiful place with mountains and beach, so green and beautiful.

I digress...let's go back to "getting here..."

We flew from Boise, supposed to have left Saturday, January 4th.  But in typical Allegiant Airlines fashion, our flight was delayed, delayed and cancelled! So we hung out a bit longer with Webb & Laury! It was fun.

We met some people from Rexburg on our plane. Turns out they were in our old Burton ward and we have mutual acquaintances. They have 4 kids and they are living here in Oahu for two month. Crazy small world. We keep running into them here, pretty sure that means we should be friends.  I will work on that.

Finally, we made it to Honolulu.  Jeannie and Danny greeted us with "leis" and a ride to our new home. We were like fish out of water for a few days but I'd say we acclimated quite quickly.  The house is lovely, I am really enjoying it.  It is close to the highway, that's my only complaint. But it's also very conveniently located near the school and the beach and Danny & Jeannie's house.  So that's really fun. Can't believe the beauty of this place.

The kids started school at Kaaawa Elementary on January 7th.  They have done SO well, it's awesome. We walk to school on the beach and we are just really enjoying the proximity to our home. The classes are small, one class per grade. They do a flag raising each morning with the pledge and songs. I am in love with that.  Payton has Mrs. Ana--she's the RS Pres in our church. Sydney has Ms. Joy and Avery has Mrs. White--also in our church.  Sawyer is in her class too, so that's fun. Their classroom looks out on the ocean, pretty amazing. Dragons become Ocean Warriors...that's our story.

We have adventured and played and visited many different beaches.  It's nice to have Danny and Jeannie to show us the ropes.  Greg and Joan are here too, so it's fun. We have been taking turns cooking dinner and I like it!!! And Jeannie leads us in morning work outs, which I need. Also I need to stop eating all the good food here. ha.

Headed in to "town" to Costco and Sam's and Walmart. That's not something I want to do very often! Honolulu is a busy place, not my favorite :)  The house is furnished and pretty adequately stocked but we did need a few things.

With kids at school and Tess at aquarium with Joan, Mike and I drove up North to see the big waves and had a little lunch at Ted's bakery. Exploring is sure fun.

Thursday, we went to the farmer's market in Kailua, it was yummy. Beautiful town there, too.

Saturday we went to the open market at Aloha Stadium. It was like the swap meet so Greg loved it, ha. We got a kendama (necessity here) for Payt and coconut peanut butter. That's a treat for sure!

That night we did date night in Haleiwa. Wow, that's a cute little town. Yummy Mexican dinner and walked around art studio and surf shop. Such fun.

Church is great.  People were kind and the lessons were good. Kids did great at Primary. They have all done really well, so that's a relief.

So that was week ONE.  Pictures paint a beautiful picture, loving life!
Aloha and Mahalo.

Finally here.

Back Yard jungle. In a diaper, no less.

Mike and Tess.

First day of school. 

Ocean Warriors. Yes, they are.
Aves loving the slip n slide ;)
Our beach.
Mac nut & chocolate dipped apple banana. Yes, please.
loving the lemonade in Kailua.