30 July 2011

dear dan-o:

(image via loveyourchaos)
Let's make a pact to try and be each other's dates to all the major family functions from now on.  Ok?

29 July 2011

the fire station

The Fire Station
The same day that we did the photo shoot with the kids Amber and I took them to a fire station in town.  It was their reward for being such good little models.

If you have children and haven't taken them to a fire station before, you should.  The firefighters were great taking the kids around the station and truck and showing them everything.  They answered questions, talked about fire safety and gave them little coloring books and goodie bags with all kinds of good information.
Learning about the fire hoses
The kids enjoyed getting to try on the hat...
Wearing the fireman's hat
...pretending to fight fires with the hose...
Helping with the hose
...and even getting to drive the truck.
Driving the firetruck with Landyn
For the adults (me) it was a lot of fun to sneak in a few more photos:
Fire Truck GagesIn front of the vintage fire truck
Mabry on the front of the fire truck

28 July 2011

my best girl

For those of you that stuck with me for the last couple of weeks recounting all my Hawaii photos, I appreciate it.  It is good to record memories.  It seems like the very things you think you'll never forget are always the one that slip away.

A few weeks months ago I took Mabry and her friend L to do a photo shoot.  Last week I finally got around to editing Mabry's photos.  Since there has been entirely not enough Mabry on the blog for awhile I thought I would share a few of my favorites:

2 year photos 5.23.11
Mabry on her trike
Mabry Grace 3
She laughs
Mabry Grace 3years 8months

What is with me always catching at least one photo of her looking like a creepy old lady??
Creepy Old Lady Look
I swear you blink and they grow up.  How is that fair?

27 July 2011

my top twelve hawaii

If you ever have the chance to go to the island of Oahu in Hawaii (take it!) I thought I would share with you the top places I would recommend you see or things you should do in no particular order:

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet:  This is a great place to go to pick up souvenirs to take home, to find local fare and to watch some artists in action.  It only costs $1 for admission.  Just remember they are only open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Kualoa Ranch: I promise you if you make a visit to Kualoa you won't be disappointed.  It has to be one of the prettiest places on the island.  Plus right across the street is the little island known as Chinaman's Hat.  The water is shallow enough you can walk out to it.  How cool is that?

The Lagoons in Ko'Olina: For those of you who are less adventurous and prefer to see straight to the bottom of the water at all times, these lagoons are perfect.  They are in a really nice area and each lagoon offers a little something different in terms of atmosphere.  Dan and I also liked that there was grass leading to the beaches.  This made it nice to wipe off your feet and dry off before you left because you weren't dragging a ton of sand back to the car with you.

Paradise Cove Luau (also in Ko'Olina): There is a reason that they say this is the best luau on the island.  Enough said.

Pali Lookout:  Another place to get some amazing views of the island.  You are high up and can see a part that you can't get from any other location.

Climbing to the top of Diamond Head: This hike will kick your butt, it is no joke.  So make sure you wear good shoes and bring lots of water.  However, the amazing views at the top are worth a little sweat and effort.

Laniakea Beach in North Shore: I can't wait to take Mabry here some day.  This is the beach where the sea turtles sun themselves on the sand and swim with you in the water. 

Waimea Falls Park:  Quiet and beautiful with a picturesque fresh water lagoon and waterfall.  It really feels like something out of a storybook when you are here.  I told Dan this is what I imagine paradise to be like.

Jamba Juice:  No trip to Hawaii is complete without at least one trip (preferably more) to Jamba Juice.  They make the best smoothies in the world, hands down.

Peal Harbor Memorial: I don't think I need to say anything about this one.  Just go.

Kua 'Aina: Best burgers and sandwiches on the entire island, hands down.  People will drive from one end of the island to the other to come here for a reason.

Shave Ice: Hawaiian shave ice is so much better than the usual crushed ice ball (aka SnoCones) most of us are accustomed to.  It is hard to explain other than to say that they are inexpensive and awesome.  Also, I may have had at least one (sometimes two) a day every single day I was there.  I should also add I tried it with ice cream once and it wasn't nearly as good.  One last thing, anyone who would like to get me a shave ice machine would be my best friend forever and ever. I love the stuff.Shave Ice Menu
Making shave ice
Eating Shave Ice
That concludes my posting about Hawaii.  At least until I am sick of North Carolina and do a little vacationing in my mind.  My blog, my rules.  Tomorrow its all about Mabry.

26 July 2011

random hawaii

I promise we are almost done with all the Hawaii photos and stories.  Today is just a mash up of the last  random photos that I wanted to share. 

On my last full day in Hawaii Dan took me boogie boarding.  It didn't go as well as he hoped because the waves weren't nearly as big as they needed to be.  It was still a lot of fun and it was a really pretty beach we went to. 
Dan boogie boarding
Our fourth was spent watching fireworks on Pearl Harbor.  We also caught a free Plain White T's concert.  It was really awesome to see the fireworks lighting up behind the battleship.  I just wish that we hadn't been directly across from a garage that had its lights on the entire time and that I hadn't forgotten my tripod and remote trigger.  Everything I shot had to be handheld. 
Fireworks over the battleship at Pearl Harbor
Dan about to enjoy some of the best burgers on the entire island. 
Dan eating at Kua Aina
We went to Pali lookout and took in some incredible views.  We also got to experience the crazy wind.  We met a man there that said when his granddaughters come to visit he takes them to do all kinds of things and spends lots of money but they always say being blown around at Pali is the highlight of their trip. 
Me at Pali Lookout
View from Pali Lookout
Dan and I are huge fans of Hawaii 5-0.  So of course we had to make sure we stopped at some of the places that they film.  Pali Lookout and Kualoa Ranch were two of the places as well as the governor's mansion and the King Kamehameha statue. 
Govenor Mansion
Dan at the King Kamehameha Statue
King Kamehameha Statue
Pineapple growing just outside of North Shore:
Pineapple growing in the ground
A sea turtle on Laniakea beach in North Shore:
Turtle at Laniakea Beach
Waikiki at night:
Waikiki at Night
To round out the random I give you the penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki:
Penguins at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
Who would have thought we would get to see penguins in Hawaii of all places?

Tomorrow I will wrap up Hawaii and start moving on to other things.  Anyone else missing photos of Mabes?

22 July 2011

waimea valley

Near North Shore is a place called Waimea Valley.  For a small admission fee you can hike all over the grounds of a beautiful park.  If you are lucky you might even run into a peacock or two. 
Waimea Falls Park 17
Waimea Falls Park 6
Waimea Falls Park 15
Waimea Falls Park 7.4.2011
Waimea Falls Park 16
Waimea Falls Park 2
I told Dan I wanted to find some of these canopy trees to plant in the front yard.  I really liked the way they looked and the shade they provide was awesome.  With the crazy hot weather that has been going on this summer, shade is always welcome.
Waimea Falls Park 14 Canopy Trees
Waimea Falls Park 4
Of course the best part of the park was waiting for us at the end of the trail:
Waimea Falls Park 7
The waterfall is fresh water and gorgeous.  They had lifeguards on duty and lots of people were in the lagoon swimming.  At first I was a little nervous.  Especially when I found out that it was about 30 feet deep that day.  That means a two story house could easily have been submerged in the water.  I'm not a huge fan of deep water, especially when you can't see the bottom.
Waimea Falls Park 9
See that guy clinging to the rock to the bottom right of the waterfall?  That is Dan.  He is waiting for me to give him the thumbs up that I was ready to take pictures of him going behind the waterfall.
Waimea Falls Park10
See his hand?  It is probably a little hard to tell unless you blow the picture up but he is holding up two fingers as he counts down to the jump.
Waimea Falls Park 11
Here we go...
Waimea Falls Park 12
Yet another favorite photo from our trip.
Waimea Falls Park 13
As for me I overcame my fears (with the help of a life jacket) and I spent much of my time striking silly poses and floating around.  Waimea Valley was relaxing, peaceful and the perfect way for us to spend a few hours.
Waimea Falls Park 8

21 July 2011

byodo-in temple

"The Byodo-In Temple situated at the Valley of the Temples Memroail Park was established on June 7, 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.  The Byodo-In was build entirely without the use of nails.  It is a scale replica of a temple at Uji Japan that was constructed over 900 years ago...
The Magnificent Byodo-In Temple translates "Temple of Equality - not to discriminate" and is home to Amida, a golden Buddha unique to the entire world.  
The Buddha is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times.  Towering more than 18 feet, the immense figure is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui...
The Bell House, called kanetsu-ki-do, contains a five foot high, three ton brass bell, called bon-sho (sacred bell), cast in Osaka, Japan from a mixture of bronze and tin, by permission of the government of Japan...It is revered for its distinctive shape, and the tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace, cleansing the mind of evil and temptation..."
-An excerpt from the brochure given out to visitors before they cross the bridge to the temple.

Byodo-In Temple
Anyone who wanted to could ring the sacred bell.  Naturally Dan and I both did.
Byodo-In Temple 2
Byodo-In Temple 3
The grounds were stunning with koi ponds, tall trees and cliffs that were more mystical with the low clouds from the storm that was moving in.
Byodo-In Temple 4
Byodo-In Temple 5
Byodo-In Temple 6
My first ever life size zen garden.  I didn't even know that was what I was looking at until Dan pointed it out.  Kind of sad, huh?
Byodo-In Temple 7
Byodo-In Temple 8
Byodo-In Temple 9
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