Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Posted by The Ball Babies at 8:32 PM
Monday, July 25, 2011
I knew that going to Hawaii meant coming home from Hawaii.
Sure I missed the kids, my familiar surroundings, and my house, but that was about it. Oh, well, such is the nature of a vacation, so we went to the beach and the pool one last time and called it good. One final dinner in downtown Kona, one futile attempt at a last shave ice (WHO RUNS OUT OF ICE AT A SHAVE ICE STORE???), three stuffed pretzels eaten on the trunk of the rental, a final inhale of fresh ocean air, a 5 hour flight over the dark Pacific Ocean during the middle of the night, a 1 1/2 hour flight from San Francisco, and 3 kids and a mother-in-law who were very glad to see the travelers return.
Bye-bye for now, Kona. Maybe we'll meet again someday...
Posted by The Ball Babies at 11:11 PM
Friday, July 15, 2011
Aw, yes, Thursday in Kona, Hawaii. Definitely not my favorite day. Definitely the day I dreaded. Definitely the day I thought for sure we would die in the open water; easy shark bait. Very easy shark bait.
When making plans for Kona, we decided to go on a snorkeling outing. That was fine. I had snorkeled before in Mexico. I loved it! I was good at it and didn't get seasick in the least. However, this snorkeling outing was nothing like Mexico. No boat with a motor to take us out to our destination. Nope. Just KAYAKS. Yep. We would kayak 1 1/2 miles to the snorkeling sight, anchor the kayaks together, get our snorkeling gear on, snorkel for 45 minutes, climb giant 25 foot cliffs, jump off, eat snacks on the rocks, get back into the kayaks, paddle 1 1/2 miles back.
There were definitely problems in this plan for me.
1. No boat with a motor.
2. Big ocean swells due to a storm system moving through.
3. A husband who gets green around the gills on any kind of boat - literally green. (He was my kayak companion. Ahem.)
4. Paddling out in to the DEEP water, unsure of what hungry sea animal(s) were around us.
**OK, OK, in my defense, I had seen the movie Soul Surfer a couple of months before, and, people, she got her arm bitten off by a SHARK!!!**
5. Fear of the unknown ocean- you see, as much as I L.O.V.E. the ocean, I really, really like it from the shore. Not paddling on it.
I was pretty scared. Not much talking on my part. Tried to stay focused on my paddling. Kept my life jacket on the entire time. Didn't really have the stomach to enjoy the snacks. Could not possibly have jumped off of the 25 foot cliff - even though Bill, John, and Stefanie did it...show offs. Was super grateful to return to where we started. The old arms got a great workout from those 3 miles of paddling. (yes!) Didn't get seasick at.all. Nuff said.
Needless to say, I was very glad to be finished with that "adventure", get my feet on dry ground, and feel less shaken up inside.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring downtown Kona complete with its flea market, quaint restaurants, excellent views of the ocean, shopping for souvenirs for the kids, DELICIOUS shave ice - dreamsicle with ice cream in the middle to be exact, and a lunch of various shrimp dishes at Bubba Gump's.
Delicious Dreamsicle shave ice. "Shave ice" NOT "Shaved ice"--I was reminded to say it right...
Posted by The Ball Babies at 9:19 PM
Since Tuesday's beach activity was limited to public access - including various feral cats trying to be caught by the locals - we decided to venture out onto a four wheeling accessible road to hike through miles of lava fields to (finally) arrive at my slice of paradise! The day started out fine until I realized I hadn't brought my camera.
(how can there possibly be a beach at the end of this road???),
the wild billy goats
(with the females of the group each being chased by 8 or 9 males - sheesh),
the top of a bikini left behind on the trail
(who leaves their top behind?),
the abandoned wooden resort buildings from the 50s
(can you say From Here To Eternity?),
and finally the 3 crescent shaped beaches laid out in all their beautiful salty pale blue glory
(the internet pictures didn't do them justice and I don't think my camera would have either!).
Yes, as I mentioned before, I was like a little child at Christmas! My running/hiking shoes were immediately flung onto the beach, my socks were pulled off inside out and tossed next to the shoes, and Bill and I took.off.running. We were giddy. We were mesmerized. We were like little kids at Christmas! I asked Bill as we were running if he thought I had thrown my shoes far enough away from the surf... He didn't seem to think there was a problem so I believed him and kept running to explore those glorious sandy beaches. Exhileration was the word of the day.
After we decided to return to our friends, who had stayed at the first beach, we were caught up in the beauty and the delicious smell that the ocean provided for us. No cares in the world at this point, only feelings of regret that:
a.) we had no camera,
b.) we had no water or food, and
c.) we had no swimsuits or towels.
Dang blast it.
As we approached where our shoes and socks were laying, I noticed that my shoes had gotten closer to the water's edge. Upon further examination, I realized that I only had one sock and that one of my shoes was filled with sand and sea water. Oh.My.Gosh. How lucky was I that my shoe had not been taken out to sea along with its sock?!? I was so thankful that I had both shoes to put back on to hike across those miles of lava and rough road. I'm not sure what we would have done had I lost my shoe and sock. It would have been a nightmare indeed to walk back those 2 miles with one shoe on...Yikes. Bill's back would have been awfully sore from carrying me piggy-back!
Later that day Bill and I ventured on a little field trip to the highest point on the island: Mauna Kea. We filled up a grocery sack with yummy junk food and drove the windy, foggy, narrow road up to the visitors' center. I never thought I would have to wear a sweatshirt in Hawaii, experience freezing toes on the side of a volcano, or feel the sweet relief of hot cocoa in July!
In order to ascend to the top of the mountain, you had to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or pay big bucks to ride in one of the rigged up vans that were stationed at the visitors' center. We opted to stay at the 9,000 feet above sea level visitors' center, certain we would have become ice cubes with our lack of winter woolies. We truly enjoyed all the wind, all the driving on Mario Kart roads, all the clouds that surrounded us below, and the sunset as it went behind this 13,497 foot high sacred mountain. The history, the lore, the sacredness, and the beauty were highlights of our trip!
Posted by The Ball Babies at 4:34 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So when you go to Hawaii, (or at least when I go to Hawaii) I'm all about the beaches, the surf, the ocean, and the sunset. Tuesday was BEACH DAY, Baby. We were determined to find one of the beaches we had read about, the problem was, you had to walk about 2 miles through lava rock and an extremely rough road to get to the slice of paradise I had read and longed about.
Tuesday morning: get in rented Altima. John and Bill in front.
"Just hoping that the tide doesn't hit my chair..."
(The Zack Brown Band totally ROCKS.)
Gorgeous beach with clear, light blue water that was so salty it literally made your nose run like a momma who had injected saline into her baby's stuffy nose to break up the congestion.
(Am I the only momma who ever did that???)
We were full and happy with our Costco spinach salads, yummy baguette, diet Cokes all around, and shrimp cocktails. Probably my most favorite meal of the trip!
Then it came.
That long awaited for-haven't seen it since Mexico 8 years ago-nostalgic feeling of a beach
John and Stefanie enjoyed it too so I took their picture like the creepy stalker that I am when I have a camera!
Some of the locals (or "natives" as I called them...) enjoying the sunset before acting all crazy again by running into the surf from the shore, with their boogey boards, to catch a wave and surf it in or skim the wave in. They were nuts!
Just another day in paradise!
Posted by The Ball Babies at 7:46 PM
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
***We Interrupt This Blog Session About Hawaii To Bring You Breaking News***
After only a year and a half of driver's ed completion, Kourtni Ball now has her DRIVER'S LICENSE. This morning, it is reported, that she took her skills test with a tester who filled up the entire front seat, and a mother who KEPT HER MOUTH SHUT in the back seat the entire time for fear of causing her daughter to fail said skills test if any negative comments spewed forth. Although there were 7 points taken from Miss Ball's score, due to California stops at stop signs, she did indeed pass the test and proceeded to the DMV while narrowly missing a cement barrier. Both daughter and mother are fine, but mother's negative comments spewed forth at that moment - good for Miss Ball because the skill's tester was not in the car, I repeat, the skill's tester was not in the car.
After an hour and a half of sitting at the DMV listening to the female computerized voice designating which window to proceed to, the knowledge test was studied for, taken, and passed. We repeat, it was studied for, taken, and passed. Only 4 points were missed and her picture was snapped, fees were paid, and texts were sent to friends and family proclaiming the glorious news.
Upon arrival at home after a celebratory lunch at Cafe Rio, Miss Ball immediately asked for the keys to the family van and was off with a friend for an afternoon of sun worship. The van is scheduled to arrive at home by 6:00 with no new dents, scratches, or cracked oil pans.
***We Now Return You To Your Regularly (or not so regular) Scheduled Blog Post***
Posted by The Ball Babies at 3:44 PM
The 4th of July was a bit untraditional for us this year.
No parades, no red, white, and blue clothes, no rubber pancake breakfasts, a bbq hosted by Hawaiians, (who definitely DID NOT cook my hamburger all the way through...), and no long, drawn out fireworks at 10:00. In fact, these fireworks were the shortest I've ever seen and at the earliest time as well. In Hawaii the sun goes down at about 7:00, so the fireworks were scheduled for 8:00. By the time we left the restaurant, walked across the parking lot, tried to get out of the way of all those palm trees, the show had ended. At 8:08, our 4th of July was definitely over. Weird. Don't get me wrong, the 4th of July in Hawaii was amazing but not your same old, same old festivities.
Butterfish - aka Alaskan Black Cod. Oh.My.Deliciousness.
Posted by The Ball Babies at 3:03 PM