Saturday, July 27, 2013

The End.

Well, folks... our little family is home now.  We've traveled to Honduras, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii this summer.  As we sit on top of about 5 loads of laundry, luggage to put away, and a neglected house we can now finally reflect on what it was like to be gone over a month (total) this summer!  I can't say that it was always easy, but Joelle was pretty wonderful overall.  She slept on the majority of the flights and did really well away from home.  Wherever we were, whether it was the mission trip, student camp, or vacation we tried to stick with a schedule and routine as much as we could.  Looking back I am glad that we decided it was necessary for us to travel as a family and not leave anyone on their own.  Joelle would have missed her Papa way too much if he had gone to Honduras or Colorado on his own {because, let's face it... it was never an option for me to not go to Hawaii ;)}  So, I'll take the piles of laundry, empty pantry, homesick puppies, and tons of more packing/unpacking if it means that we can be together as much as possible! With all that being said, I need to finish showcasing our pictures from Hawaii... there's only a few left!

We did end up taking a boat-ride because Joelle was DYING to go on one.  All she could talk about were the stinkin' boats, but not in a whiny/complaining kind of way, so we decided to go for it!  Jared found an awesome speedboat that went all the way around the island of Lanai.  Great views and snorkeling!


 No matter how much we showed Joelle in Hawaii or the amount of beautiful fish and turtles we swam with, her favorite thing to do, by far, was playing on the beach.  This girl LOVES the sand and crashing waves.  At one point we found her with one shoe and a stick in her hand.  Apparently she was a crab catcher... an unsuccessful one at that :)  She's still the cutest crab catcher I've ever seen!
 I always love seeing her Congolese roots shine through!  She can balance things on top of her head with the best of them!
  




And, the sand... oh, the sand.  I'm pretty sure we covered our entire condo with a layer of sand!
 I can't even tell you how impressed I was with Joelle's snorkeling skills.  Did she drive us crazy some of the time, absolutely!  Did she whine because she got cold, YES!  But, to her defense, we snorkeled A LOT!  
 And, we just can't get enough of these turtles.  We found a great little snorkeling spot with at least 30 HUGE turtles.  There's just something relaxing about watching turtles take their afternoon naps in caves!
 And, there you have it.  Our vacation has come to an end, and unfortunately the laundry is calling my name!  I'm going to wrap it up thanking the Lord that Joelle was able to watch others serve and do a little serving of her own in Honduras, saw her BEST friend from the Congo in Utah, experience several of our students come to know Christ in Colorado, and saw the beauty of God's creation in Hawaii.  Can't get much better than that!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sunsets, Turtles, Villages, and more!

I'm a little behind, so I'm going to squeeze the past couple of days into this post!  This is why I blog while on vacation because I have a fear of getting too far behind and not being able to catch-up!  So, while Miss Joelle is sleeping right next to me, I will quickly talk about what we've been up to in Maui!

On Tuesday night we ate at the Hula Grill in Lahaina!  
 And we watched a beautiful sunset...
  

We woke up on Wednesday morning and decided to head towards a little village of about 100 people.  The drive was scary as all get out for me... I may have car anxiety, but Jared always seems to pull through for us :)  Once we got to Old Kahakuloa Village we bought some freshly baked banana bread, yummy pineapple (from a very good salesman I might add... seriously this guy was singing and dancing in the road.  That's worth a lot of money in my book!)  and mango chips!  It was really neat to see a group of people that live a very simple life in the middle of such a gorgeous area.  
  




  

 I love seeing churches in different parts of the country/world and this one was no let-down!  Love the structure!
  

 Heading back towards our condo...
 This is the view that just overlooks their little village.  Can you imagine living somewhere so remote and beautiful?!
 We stopped on the way back to see Honolua Bay from above.  This is where we like to snorkel AND where we saw a shark a few days ago!
After a full morning of fun, we came back to the condo to swim in the pool and watch the turtles, of course!
 And, because I just can't NOT show you...  here are the turtles that we watched over and over again!  We just can't get enough!



After a busy day, we sure were hungry so we headed to Aloha Mixed Plate!


 Joelle loves walking around downtown Lahaina, so that was our next stop after dinner!
 And, I must say she is really getting good at taking pictures of us!
 Who can end such a fun day without shaved ice?!  Not us!
 And, we could watch a Maui sunset everyday for the rest of our lives!

 Now to interrupt the sunset with our very own hula dancer :)
 Such a busy, fun, and beautiful day here in Hawaii!  Do we really have to go home so soon?!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Haleakala

Driving up to Haleakala is one of our favorite things to do in Hawaii.  This year, we just could NOT wait to show Joelle some more of God's beauty on the top of Haleakala.  After about an hour of driving up the mountain, it started to rain and there were tons of cars driving DOWN the mountain, which never happens unless the visibility is poor.  At that point we knew watching the sunset from the top was just not going to be possible, so we stopped a little further down, away from the rain and fog to catch just a glimpse of the sun setting.  Was it what we had hoped for?  No!  BUT, it was still absolutely breathtaking!  It has also jumpstarted a lot of conversations about how BIG our God is and how beautiful HIS creation is!  On the way home, we had a great talk about how God spoke, and all of these things were made :)  Here are the pictures we got... we may not be at the top of the mountain, but this year we have a lovely little addition to our pictures and her name is Joelle!!!










 And, we shall end with a silly one!!!
Here are some pictures from the past 2 years when we were able to watch the sunset from the very top! 

I'd say our God is good!!!