Monthly Archives: January 2016

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii–A Visit Long Overdue

Ryan and I traveled to the states to spend the holidays with family, but we had one more stop to make before returning to Mexico.  A trip to visit my grandparents in Kona, where they’ve been snow-birding for over twenty years, was long over-due.



Ryan and I have been to Maui, but never to Kona on the Big Island.  It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two.  While they both have gorgeous flowers and weather, Kona seems to have a more varied landscape with all of the lava.  In addition, they have tons of sea turtles!



Their condo is in an excellent location.  We could hear the ocean day and night.  Grandpa and Grandma kept binoculars right on the table.  We saw wales and dolphins and sea turtles almost every day and we didn’t even have to leave home to do it!



We did leave sometimes however.  Grandpa and Grandma shuttled us all over the island, showing all of their favorite places.  These included:

1) The Royal Kona Museum and Coffee Mill as well as the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company



2) Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park



3) The Saint Benedict “Painted” Church



4) Anaeho’omalu Bay beach (also known as A-Bay Beach)



Ryan had a bit of a hard time, although he didn’t let it dampen his spirits at all.  Not only did he get sick, but he also had an unfortunate encounter with a sea urchin.  Not fun, but he soldiered through.  His reward was some Shave Ice as soon as he was feeling up to it.



Evenings were spent (to my delight) playing cards.  We taught Grandpa and Grandma Widow’s Poker and it wasn’t long before Grandpa was the only one with chips remaining.  When we got tired of losing to him, we switched to a new version of “Golf” I’d learned from my sister-in-law Jill over New Years.  Grandma was the reigning champion of that one.



They were the perfect hosts and we were so glad that we were finally able to pay them a visit.  I guess it’s better late than never.  Maybe someday we can go back.  Thank you for a wonderful visit Grandpa and Grandma!

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Home for the Holidays–The Tour de Family

Ryan and I are both fortunate to have so many people we love and miss while we are off on our adventures.  It is only natural that we would want to see as many of them as possible when we do manage to make our way back to the USA.  Holidays are excellent opportunities to get some big hugs, have some good laughs, and make some new memories.  Therefore, we often embark on what Ryan has come to call “The Tour de Family.”

Stop #1) Portland, Oregon

My parents moved to Portland about three years ago.  They are great lovers of wine and we brought back some Malbec and Torrontes from Argentina for them to try.  In return, I hit up Dad for some beef bourguignon and talked Mom into making my favorite taco salad.  After all, buddies help their buddies.

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Stop #2) Lacey, Washington

My sister and her family have lived in Lacey for seven years now.  (How time flies!)  I helped her hang her outdoor Christmas lights in the rain because there was no talking her out of it!  Then we took my niece Ruby and nephew Theo to get their pictures taken with Santa.  They reported that they have been good all year.


Stop #3) Spokane, Washington

I lived with my grandparents and my Uncle Dean while I was attending graduate school  in Spokane (at EWU).  It was one of the best years of my life and it’s always great to get back to see them, although this trip was a little sad because my grandpa had passed away while Ryan and I were abroad.

This Tour de Family we did things a little differently and I sent Ryan ahead to Wyoming without me so that I could have some special time alone with my Grandma Geri.  She gave me an early Christmas present and took me to the “A Christmas Story” musical.  She also drove me to the Wellpinit Indian Reservation to visit my great Grandma who everyone calls Nanny.   Then Grandma Geri taught me how to make homemade egg noodle soup just like Nanny used to make.




I also got to see my good friend Kym while I was in Spokane.  She drove up from Moscow, Idaho to meet me for a lovely afternoon.  I took her on a wild adventure trying to find a cafe that was no longer in business (some five years later).  Then we enjoyed a little holiday shopping in downtown Spokane.

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Stop #4) Colville, Washington

Both of my parents grew up in Colville and much of the family on my dad’s side still lives there.  I made a quick trip up there to get hugs from my Aunt Lisa, Uncle Kelly, and my cousins Makayla (along with her fiance Cruz) and Leanna.  I also got to see Rick and Janey Kuh, who are some of my family’s dearest friends (and my honorary parents).  We didn’t have time to play Settlers this trip, be we got to go for a nice walk.

Stop #5) Riverton, Wyoming

Ryan and I both grew up in Riverton.  His immediate family lives there, as well as my brother Jon and sister-in-law Jill, and many of our friends.  I built my niece Evie a fort in the living room of Ryan’s parent’s house.  Then we decorated a tablecloth with chalk.  We also got her all dressed up and took her to see Santa.

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While in Riverton, I got to have lunch with many of my work friends.  I heard my good friend Laura sing in public for the first time–she was amazing!  I also got to watch my friend Amy’s boys (Price and Jesse) play hockey.  We froze our little keisters off.

Stop #7) Shoshoni, Wyoming

I stayed with my sister-in-law Kira and her family in Shoshoni for a few days and helped them get ready for the new baby!  This meant that I got to help movie Evie into her big-girl’s room upstairs and decorate Dallen’s nursery.

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Stop #8) Lovell, Wyoming

Kira and I piled Evie in the car and took her to visit our good friend Cammie (and her family) at their farm in Lovell.  Evie played with Brooks and Hayden, and we enjoyed catching up.  Evie also got to ride Brooks’s pony (Danny) and catch chickens.  She were in hog heaven.

Stop #7) Powell, Wyoming

We stopped in Powell on the way to the cabin to visit Ryan and Kira’s Grandpa Amos, along with their Uncle Mark, Aunt Laurel, and Uncle Fred.  Grandpa Amos is 91 years old and he’s sharp as a tack!  What an incredible man.

Stop #8) Cody, Wyoming

We all headed up to Ryan’s happy place for Christmas.  His grandparent’s cabin (on his mother’s side) is the perfect place to enjoy some snow and snowmobiling and Sheree’s cooking.  (She’s amazing!)  It was nice to have everyone together for Christmas, including Grandpa Bill and Grandma Lola.



After Christmas, Ryan and I enjoyed New Year’s with my brother and sister-in-law, our parents who had flown down from Portland, and our honorary aunt Sandy at her cabin on Eagle Creek.  There were games, good food, and outdoor adventures.  I almost forgot how bad I am at cross-country skiing!

Stop #9) Kona, Hawaii

Our last stop of the Tour de Family took us all the way to Kona to visit my grandparents on my father’s side.  Grandpa John and Grandma Kay were gone when we went to Colville and we wanted hugs from them as well.  They showed us a great time around the big island.  It was a wonderful way to begin another year full of adventure.



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