Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dear Dan

Dear Dan,

A few months ago I thought, "I need to write Dan a letter to thank him for loving my mom and coming into our lives". I am sorry I did not write that letter and send it to you months ago. I thought we would have more time together, more adventures to share. Losing you has been hard on us all, it still feels unreal, but it brings me comfort knowing you are no longer sick or in pain.

I remember the first night I met you, it was summer 2008 and I was in Utah staying with my mom for Andrea's wedding, when I drove back to Bountiful one night you were there with my mom. For some reason, I brought out my big U.S.A map and we looked at it together. I liked you from the moment I met you.

Before you, my mom was alone for a long time. She put all of her energy into Amie and I. I use to worry about her being alone and I wanted nothing more for her than to find someone she could share her life with. Moving to Utah and meeting you was the best thing for my mom, she become the woman she was truly meant to be.

A few weeks after I first met you, you and my mom took your first trip together. You traveled to Catalina Island, California where Zach and I were working at the Boy Scout camp. The two of you camped there a couple nights and then went on to camp in Malibu. I remember thinking how neat of you to travel to California with my mom just to camp.

In 2009 I moved back to Utah to live with my mom and you took us exploring all over Utah.
In 2010 you threw me a going away party at your house before I left for Guyana. Shortly after I left, my mom moved in with you, I loved Skyping with you both! For Thanksgiving 2010 you traveled all the way to Guyana with my mom and Papa to spend a week exploring in the jungle. In 2011 you took my mom with you on your's and Nicole's father-daughter trip hiking Machu Picchu, which was a once in a lifetime exploration and I am so happy you all had that time together.
In 2012 I returned  home from the Peace Corps and you opened your home up to me, letting me live with you and mom before I moved to Hawaii. That summer you and I enjoyed watching American Idol together, we would rush home after mom's yoga class because we didn't want to miss it. That was the first and only season either of us watched American Idol.

I love that you and mom came to visit me and Zach in Hawaii three times. Our trips to Kauai and the Big Island will always be special to us. In March, while we were sitting in the jeep at the top of Maunakea Zach and I asked you both if we could move into your basement once we move back next year and you said, with no hesitation, "we were hoping you would ask us, we'd love to have you." After that Zach and I talked a lot about when we moved in with you and mom and how excited we were for more adventures together and barbecuing in your backyard.

Dan, thank you so much for being so good to my mom and to us. I cherish the time and amazing adventures we shared. You showed me my first wild moose. You took me on my first motorcycle ride. You took my mom and I snowmobiling and snowshoeing, which neither of us had done before. When our bus broke down in the middle of the night in the middle of the Guyanese jungle you helped the local men try to get the bus unstuck. You shared so many wonderful stories and made us all laugh. You were so patient and kind to my mom. You treated me and Amie like your own kids, always so thoughtful.  It really sucks that you had to leave us so soon. I hope you know how grateful I am that you were a part of our lives and for everything you did for each of us.

I will always love and miss you.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mt Kaala

Over the weekend our hiking enthusiast friend, Gen lead us on the trail of the tallest peak on Oahu. It was the first time we hiked around the west side of the island and we enjoyed every step of it. The morning was cloudy, the trail was muddy, there was a steady incline, and we used ropes to climb over boulders.  We hiked underneath canopies of tress and then when we got to a clearing near the top we were in the clouds so we could not see the views that surrounded us. Once we made it to the top of the mountain it flattened out and we walked another 15-20 minutes along a boarded pathway through native Hawaiian plants (which are being preserved). Then the moment we came to an overlook the clouds parted, the sun shined and we could see the North Shore, it was an incredible view. After we spent a few minutes looking down on Haleiwa Town we walked over to another lookout and we could see the south side of the island, it was so neat to be able to see both the north and south sides of the island. After some time and taking in the awesome views from the top we made our climb back down the mountain. On the way down the sun was shining and we were in awe of the beauty that surrounded us as we were exploring the tallest peak, Mt Kaala.

Doesn't Zach look like he was made to climb mountains?

Hiking in the clouds

Contemplating how to climb this boulder

We made it to the top! 4,026 feet above sea level

Gen, the mountain goat that she is
The south shores off in the distance

Looking down on the North Shore

It's always an adventure with Gen!

It was such a different feeling being on the mountain with the sun out

We could hear this waterfall on our way up and saw it on our way down

We hiked about 7 miles in 7 hours. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Our Adventures Lately

WOW, I have not blogged at all in 2016 and it's almost June!!! We have had a busy but very fun 5 months! Zach's parents came out to spend New Years with us. We got to see some big, 40+ feet tall waves. Zach's sister Emily came out for a visit. We went to the Big Island with my mom and Dan. We got to hangout with my uncle Greg and aunt Tori during their Hawaiian vacation. I flew to Arizona for my cousin's wedding and enjoyed spending time with my Sosebee family. Last week we flew to the island of Molokai to celebrate my 30th birthday. And that's just what happened in the first half of the year...we have much more planned for our remaining 6 months in Hawaii.

 David & Mary enjoying the North Shore

 Big waves off Waimea Bay

 Aloha Emily!

 Mom and Dan enjoying the black sand beach 

 Waipio Valley was one of our favorite spots on the Big Island

Getting attacked by dinosaurs 

I love being with my beautiful sissy

Molokai is a unique island. There's not one stop light on the island, the "downtown" consists of 2 whole blocks, there are no chain stores or fast-food restaurants, and everywhere we went there were hardly any people. Our favorite spot on the island was Halawa Valley, similar to Waipio Valley on the Big Island, it's full of beauty. From Molokai you can see the islands Maui and Lanai very clearly, which adds a different feeling. 

 In awe of the trees 

 Old sugarcane mill

  Halwa Valley 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015

Zach and I had a wonderful Christmas!
We were a little sad to think this was our last Christmas in Hawaii and could possibly be our last Christmas just the two of us.
We wanted to keep it simple; eat good food, enjoy opening presents together, and go to the beach.
On Christmas Eve we made ham, mashed potatoes, and stuffing and made enough so we would not have to cook again on Christmas {we love leftovers}.
We've tried to make watching Elf our Christmas Eve tradition {so far it's only happened our first two years here} we forgot the movie last year when we went to Utah and this year I only made it through the credits before I started to fall asleep.
On Christmas morning we woke up excited that Santa had come, of course! Popped a french toast bake in the oven, opened presents, and called our families to wish them a Merry Christmas.
Zach had the best idea to take our little tree with us to the beach so we took the ornaments off and packed our beach bag.
It was a beautiful Christmas beach day. We planted our tree in the sand and took some photos.
Other people walked over and ask us if they could use our tree to take a photo with.
'Tis the season!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Big Waves

I think one of the coolest things about living in Hawaii is being able to see big waves and what's more impressive than seeing the waves is hearing them.

One of the new things Zach and I have been doing is volunteering as Honu Guardians with Malama na Honu on the north shore. Basically we educate visitors about sea turtles. 
The turtles come ashore to bask on the sand and Honu Guardians are responsible for roping off the turtles so visitors do not disturb them. 
We have enjoyed learning about sea turtles and spending more time at the north shore. 
Yesterday we were scheduled to watch the beach but due to the high surf that rolled in earlier this week the beach was closed. 
So we drove down the road to Pipeline to watch the big waves. 
We sat there for over 2 hours watching the waves and the brave surfers. 
The water was so powerful yesterday like nothing we have seen before, at one point there were 4 sets of waves rolling in at the same time. 
Seeing waves over 20 feet high is truly an amazing experience. 

The Honu