Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Christmas & New Year's

Well, I had better wrap up our family scrap"blog" for 2009 since 2010 has officially begun! And I finally took the time to sit still and download the software for my new camera so that I could include some pics from our recent holidays. (Let me go ahead and apologize for the lengthy post & pics, but I have to get this in!) I don't want to bore you with all the pics from our trip to Hawaii on Dec. 17th-23rd, but I have included some shots that I want to remember the most.

Last night, I had the TV on CNN and the reporter was commenting on the recent Hawaiian vaca of our President. I looked longingly at the ocean in the background and then the reporter said something that I could totally identify with..."I don't know what it is about Hawaii, but once you've got it in your blood, it just keeps calling you back!" Yeah, I think I might have it in my blood! :-) Our plan for the future is to go back and visit the 2 or 3 islands we haven't been to yet. (Maybe on our 15th or 20th anniversary.) Anyhow, here's how I'll remember our 2009 Christmas and New Year's...

As I said in an earlier post, I had to complete my Christmas "tasks" well ahead of time since we were sceduled to leave for Kona on Dec. 17th. I used 1 1/2 personal days to miss the last bit of school before Christmas break. And after a few tears shed as I left my children that Thursday morning, and a whole day of traveling westward & across the Pacific Ocean, my eyes beheld this glorious sight...

This was the view from our balcony. I could have thrown a stone and hit the water, and all we had to do was slide open the door to hear the relaxing ocean sounds! We spent alot of time on that balcony!

This is Wai'pio Valley! The journey to get there was almost as memorable as the beautiful things we saw when we reached this destination point. Breathtaking! (Yeah, and that last word also describes what WE will remember most of all from this valley...the HIKE BACK UP!!) :-)

O.K. We found it! Our favorite place to eat in Kona, The Fish Hopper on All'i Drive. The crab & shrimp fritatta was unbelievably good! I took this picture from the entryway showing the sign and the lamppost decorated for Christmas. This was my second time to spend Christmas in Hawaii, and I love the decorations amidst the tropical atmosphere.

We toured one of the many coffee plantations, Hula Daddy Coffee, while in Kona. I didn't buy this shirt, but I thought it was funny!

Normally, I wouldn't post a picture of myself in a wetsuit, but this is one of the only shots I have to remember our night snorkel with the manta rays. That's right, I said NIGHT SNORKEL WITH MANTA RAYS! If there's one thing I'll take with me from this trip, it would be that I put aside my fear of the ocean deep (due to too many viewings of JAWS as a child), and I spent 45 mins. in the Pacific Ocean (which is pretty COLD) at night! I was so tense, I couldn't tell if my muscles were tense from the fear or from the cold. Whatever it was, I finally relaxed enough to enjoy it. We saw a baby manta ray that had a 6 foot wingspan! She swam under me and it nearly took my breath away! I repeatedly kept telling myself..."No Teeth, No Stingers!" It was an awesome experience!

Coming back up from the Atlantis submarine trip! Seeing the shipwrecks and coral was very cool!
It wouldn't be a Hawaiian experience without a beautiful waterfall, right?

This would be the view from the southernmost point in the USA! I don't know if the picture can truly represent how BLUE the water there is! Guess that's why they call it "Blue Hawaii".

My boys' favorite picture...Daddy shaking hands with a sea turtle! (I told them we didn't get a chance to ask him how old he was. :-) All you "Nemo" fans know what I mean!)

No, that's not a handful of dirt. That's black sand from the black sand beach we went to on the east side of the island. That's where we saw the sea turtles, too! Black sand is not like the soft, white sand that so many of us have walked on at the Gulf of Mexico beaches. It's very gritty, but amazing to see.

And what better way to see the blue waters of Hawaii than parasailing 1000 ft. into the air? We loved this! It was great!

Happy 10 year anniversary!

We watched a beautiful sunset and ate until we couldn't eat any more before boarding our plane and heading home. We flew out at night from Kona, so we pretty much tried to sleep until we reached LAX. (At 5:00 a.m.) Then boarded another plane at 7:00 a.m. headed for Memphis. I couldn't sleep on that second flight, and I believe it was mostly due to the fact that I knew I was but a few hours from seeing my children! I'll spare you all of the details of the greeting from them at the airport, but it was a moment I'll never forget.

From that point forward, it was a non-stop trip to Christmas! Here's some shots of our Christmas with family over the course of the last week or so.

Have you all been good this year?

Sweet Mary Claire!

A visit from my friend, Natalie, her husband, Adam, and daughter, Emma Kate on Christmas Eve!
(Please disregard my horrible appearance...less than 24 hrs. after getting off the airplane!) Good thing that good friends love you no matter your looks! :-)

Heading out in the rain on Christmas Eve to put out reindeer food for Santa's reindeer!

Mary Claire and the highchair she got for her dolls. She pushed the highchair to sit right beside her own highchair. Smart girl!

John Owen opens a dinosaur egg from Uncle Christopher and Natalie!

Jonah "sizing up" his new shirt from Mimi & Daddy Nick

The Hensley granddaughters with Granddaddy Hensley at our house on the day after Christmas.
(l to r) Mary Claire, Alexandria, Ashton, Bella, Kelley, Granddaddy, and Jade

Mary Claire gets a piano from Aunt Michele, Owen T. and Alex! Cool!

Last but not least, some pictures from the Caudle family Christmas on the 27th.
Jan teases me that this side of my family always has some sort of "production" worked in the celebration. Well, it's always been like that for me, so I'm used to it. He's still adapting, I think. It used to be all of us grandchildren standing in front of everyone singing or reciting whatever we'd been learning in school or church. Then there was the year we acted out the Christmas story at Dinah's with Jan and myself playing the parts of Mary and Joseph. We even had costumes! This year it was all about my Grandmother Caudle (Jenny) as we took the "12 Days of Christmas" song and changed the words to represent the gifts we surprised her with! All the great-grandchildren lined up with their cue cards and we commenced to "fumble" our way through the words of the song. It was pretty funny! And the best part was Grandmother was so surprised with lots of things she will enjoy.

After our small "production" the great-grandchildren circled around Jenny to listen to her stories. She's the best story-teller! Every one of them sat still and quietly listened to her. It made me proud to see these children, these descendants of hers, hanging on every word she said, interacting with her when she posed a question and answering with such young intelligence. See, these "productions" are not so bad!
Everyone lined up and waiting on their cue!

Jonah listening to Jenny's story

The Caudle great-granddaughters sitting with Mimi on the couch.              
(l to r) Mary Shields, Olivia, Mary Claire, and Mimi

Well, I think "that's a wrap"! Whew!
We spent New Year's Eve afternoon with friends at the U of M basketball game and then stuffed ourselves at Texas de Brazil afterwards. I hate to admit it, but I think I was asleep when the New Year rang in here! So, a new year has begun. A new year of scrap"blogging"! A new year with hope for good times with family and friends. I hope your 2010 is nothing short of a grand "production"! :-)


Christi said...

Love the pics of Hawaii!!!

3 "A's" and a "B" said...

looks like ya'll had a blast.

Elizabeth said...

Looks like you all had a great time in Hawaii! You must be exhausted! Happy Holidays!