Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fun with Friends

















On Monday we had an art party for the friends in our moms group. The kids worked on their projects and then we let them free in our backyard to play. Nine kids showed up and I'm pretty sure they all had a good time. I know Maggie did.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Flash Forward

In about 14 years you'll see Maggie and me in this same position, but instead of a smile on my face you'll see a serious look of fear.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Backyard Blooms

Look what arrived this past week. Really, these were taken over a week ago, but I already had my Hawaii posts scheduled so this one was pushed back a bit. Click on the images for a better look at the foliage. Oh, and these photos are all straight out of the camera. No computer editing with the exception of the labels. Pretty, right?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coconut Stop

On my photo tour of Kauai we made a pit stop. There was a small honor-system market on a dusty dirt road we happened upon and another person in my group wanted to stop. We did and our guide showed off his coconut-cutting skills. We each drank the fresh milk and ate the gelatinous flesh of the fruit. I never thought I'd like it but, in fact, I did! It's the dried shaved stuff I don't like. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Swimming

We didn't swim in Hawaii as much as we'd hoped, but we did find time for a little swimming every day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Photo Tour

As I mentioned earlier and probably most of you already know, Chad gave me a photo class/tour of Kauai for Christmas. It was a full day tour with five other people and we had a blast! We stopped at 10 beaches and/or waterfalls and our guide gave us photography tips while we shot away at each stop. I highly recommend this tour not only to see many secret locations in the island but also for the photo tips. Great stuff!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dining in Kauai

I don't know why we only took photos of the non-beautiful places we ate in on Kauai. Really, I don't. You'll forgive us, right?


Pau Hana Bar and Grill
On our first night Chad and I ate at the Pau Hana Bar and Grill. Really, more of a bar than a grill. Yelp reviewers raved about the fish and chips and fish tacos so that's what we ordered. The food was tasty, but the atmosphere was a bit seedy. Maybe Marti Gras had something to do with it? I don't know.

Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.
The next day we split for the day because I went on my photo tour class from 10-4. The family ate at Grinds and I ate at Hanalei Taro and Juice Co. I had a plate of kalua pork, white rice and taro (ie purple) macaroni salad. Yum. I would have never stopped at this place on my own so I'm grateful that our guide recommended it. Local and delicious.

Verde
After another Yelp search, Chad and I ended up at Verde that evening for dinner. The restaurant served Mexican food, had great reviews, and was fairly close to our condo but oddly enough we were the only non-locals in the place. I know because everyone else in the small place seemed to know each other. Lots of community college students and families. It was great food and wonderful salsa, but man they put so much meat on their tacos. I think I left nearly half of the meat because I just couldn't finish it. Dang.  


Shrimp Station
The next day, Thursday, along our day trip to Wailea Canyon we stopped at the Shrimp Shack. Once again a Yelp find. Guess what we all ordered? Hmmmm...shrimp! Each order gave 10 huge fried shrimp and they were good. I think every one of us would have split the orders with another if we'd known how much food it was going to be for lunch. Oh well, eating is part of what vacations are for, right?


Oasis
That evening Chad and I had a delicious dinner at the Oasis on the Beach based on a recommendation from my mom and Yelp. Located in our resort and ocean-front, the focus of the restaurant is gourmet dining using fresh ingredients from local resources. Nearly 90% of their food comes directly from the islands! Chad had blue marlin, I had the tenderloin with bleu cheese fondue, and we split the corn fritters. Seriously, yum.

The Hanalei Dolphin
The final night in Kauai we ate as a family at The Dolphin in Hanalei. Gorgeous location, beautiful lush grounds, a strong rainstorm during dinner and delicious food--a great way to end our vacation. Chad had the ahi, I had sushi, others had chicken, steak, red snapper or shrimp and everyone enjoyed their meal.

So there you have it. Our culinary diary of Hawaii. If you live near us you'll probably see me walking outside a little more frequently for awhile. Obviously I enjoyed myself and have my dietary work cut out for me. Yikes!     

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dining in Waikiki

There was no shortage of food in our bellies while we were on vacation. Chad had a ball on Yelp trying to discover the best of the best restaurants wherever we were. We were especially spoiled because my parents watched Maggie most nights so we could relax and enjoy our meals. For those two people who care, here is a rundown of where and what we ate in Waikiki:


Tanaka of Tokyo
Our first night on Oahu we thought we were going to have our favorite Thai in Hawaii, but instead decided to try something new. Yelp reviews convinced us to give Tanaka of Tokyo a try and we're so glad we did. No ocean view, no island fare, just delicious Japanese steakhouse cooking. We had the steak and teriyaki chicken as our main selections and with that came NINE other courses. Maybe this is obvious, but we didn't leave hungry.  We sat with a gentleman and his pre-teen daughter from Japan. This meal was before the earthquake and I've thought about them periodically since then hoping they are OK.


Hula Grill
The next night we ate as a big family at the Hula Grill. It was beach front, ocean view, sunset dining that can't be beat. Maggie ate two entire pieces of fish, along with a handful of fries, leaving me with just a salad. It was a delicious salad, but I was hoping for some of Maggie's meal. Oh well, who am I to deny her of her food? Plus, we all know I'm not starving so...anyway! I had the Crunchy Beet, Feta and Asian Pear Salad. It was fresh and light and really quite good.



Keo's
On our last night on Oahu we ate at Keo's. We were kind of thinking we might skip it, but darn it, we really like the Thai restaurant and decided to go anyway. I'm so glad we did. We didn't see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or anyone else famous that night, but the food was spot on, which is why we went there for anyway, and it did not disappoint. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Staying in Hawaii

On Oahu we stayed in Waikiki at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. We hadn't stayed in this hotel before and we were pleasantly surprised. We forgot to take a good photo so here's what we ended up with:













In Kauai we stayed in Kapa'a at the Waipouli Beach Resort and were pleasantly surprised again with the hotel. We rented three condos and each had one bedroom, living room, two bathrooms, washer/dryers and a full nice kitchen. Oh, and this POOL!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dancing Queen

Untitled from Lyndsay Lou on Vimeo.


Our first night in Hawaii we listened to the band near the pool for awhile. We knew Maggie would love the music and immediately she got her groove on. I wish we had videoed her earlier in the evening because she was dancing so hard the entire crowd watched and laughed and smiled. There were even some onlookers taking photos of her. It was adorable. After each song she put her arms up and looked around making sure everyone clapped (for her) for the band and then took her turn to clap. Chad and I were laughing so hard I was crying. That 45 minutes was a highlight of my life for sure. I wish this video did that evening justice, but it doesn't come close. We had too much fun to think about taping her. I'm putting it up here more to remind me of how awesome that night was.

First Plane Trip

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about flying with Maggie. She's a good girl and I knew she'd be on her best behavior, but was does that really mean with a one year old? This flight from Sacramento was not a quick jump to Portland or Utah, it was a SIX HOUR FLIGHT to Oahu. Ouch. So anyway, I was a bit nervous. Turns out Maggie is a fine flyer. She got a bit antsy on the way out, as we all did, but there were other tots on the plane that she enjoyed meeting and we had new shows for her to watch on the iPad too. After surviving the flight out to Oahu the rest of the flights were somewhat easy. Thank goodness.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tsunami

Last Thursday night was interesting for us. Chad and I had a wonderful dinner (which I'll talk more about later) and then the family met in our room for an evening of fun and games. My dad, an avid cable network news watcher, was watching TV and immediately told us about the earthquake in Japan. We all watched in real-time as the tsunami took over a bridge, pushing cars and boats around like they were toys. We stared knowing it was a tragic event but had no idea how devastating it would turn out to be. A couple hours after the quake we were notified by hotel staff that we needed to evacuate our ocean-level resort and head to the local high school. The school was located on a hill and safe from a possible tsunami that may or may not be headed our way. Kauai would be the first Hawaiian island hit so it was important that we follow orders. We packed up the car with necessities and eventually found the evacuation spot where we were supposed to be. Initially the wave was going to hit our island at 2ish. Then 3ish. At 6:30am we were still waiting and shortly after that they said we were safe to head back to our rooms. We slept off and on in the car and hung out with the crowd in the school cafeteria watching the news for updates. It wasn't a fun experience but it was a neat experience. As uncomfortable and tired as we were, we were lucky compared to those in Japan and we couldn't complain (even though we did).

Chad found his 15 minutes and captured photos and videos at the shelter for TV news stations on the mainland. He did nine phone interviews for news programs all over the US. I was proud.

Here I am in the middle of the night looking all kinds of cool:


And here's a snap of us hanging out in our van:



Years from now I will still remember where I was when that devastating quake hit Japan.

I'd like to thank those super rad friends of ours who contacted us to make sure we were safe that night. It meant a lot so thank you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waimea Canyon

Last Thursday we took a side trip to Waimea Canyon. It's on the east side of Kauai and really beautiful. There's a waterfall if you look closely on the left side of the group photos, but it looks tiny because the canyon is so big.












(Our Hawaii photos are going to be out of chronological order but I'm not going to worry about it.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

We're still here

Sorry for the month-long absence from the blog. We were busy, had colds, and then went on vacation. I'll let Maggie tell you where we went. Hopefully this week I'll be back in business and ready to blog again with lots of posts from our fun vacation.