Monday, March 24, 2008

The Hapuna Prince Beach Resort

Here is the view from the lobby of our hotel of the pool and beach!
Pretty incredible isn't it?

There is nothing quite like having a vacation on the company dime. When I vacation, I am afraid that I try to go economy in the accommodations and activities. When the event planner at the Hartford plans a vacation there is nothing economy about it!

We stayed at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohola Coast of the Big Island. For a virtual tour of the hotel, with much better pictures than we could have taken, click on the link.
Here is the entrance, and walkway up to the golf course and spa.

Our room was large and beautiful. It had optional shuttered doors on the balcony and front door so that we could enjoy the cross-flow if ocean air in the room too. Here is a picture of Flint and Isaac looking out over the balcony, ready for an afternoon at the beach. I admit that I took others that showed more of the view, but I'm a sucker for a close up of Isaac in his shades.

Isaac loved the pool, and charmed everyone with his giggles and Mr. cool glasses. In fact, after our trip to the pool, he enjoyed the ocean water too!

The beach was crystal blue, beautiful...

and perfect for snorkeling, boogie boarding,
and/or just gazing out on...

One of my favorite spots to watch the sunset was the lounge level just below the lobby. They had a little four man Hawaiian band and a hula dancer there every evening. If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the picture you'll see the dancer.

It was perfect! The music and dancer kept us, and most importantly Isaac, entranced while we looked out at the view of the sun setting over the ocean.

We were spoiled and pampered, and loved every minute of it!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Beautiful Black Sand Beach of Punalu'u

This beautiful beach was one of our favorite spots on the Big Island. It was over on the Volcano National Park side of the island and the black lava rock has become an amazingly beautiful beach. The sand was not super fine (more like the size of coffee grinds) but it somehow felt cleaner that way.

Isaac liked digging his little toes into the sand, but wasn't quite sure what to think of the cold ocean water.

Since he was born in October, and it has been winter for most of his life, he has not spent much time outside; except when he was all bundled up for walks. (Here he is on one of our early Feb. walks.)

We were thinking that he was pretty lucky to be getting his first experience with ocean water in Hawaii. (On a black sand beach, no less.) But he felt differently!

He was not very happy with us at first; and he let us know. (I love his face in this family shot.)

Perhaps because the black sand provides a nice camouflage. This beach is a popular feeding and resting spot for Sea Turtles. We saw 4 or 5 during the hour or two that we spent there. We saw some when we went in with our snorkel gear, some near the shore feeding by the rocks, and this one just crawled up onto the sand to rest in the sun.

Isaac liked watching the turtles from Daddy's arms. Especially if he kept his feet out of the water.

From the lookout point on the rocks just below the beach we could see spray and occasional tails of the migrating whales. Isaac just has eyes for his daddy with the camera.

Hawaii is definitely an amazing and beautiful place. Stay tuned for more pictures and travel-log over the next couple of weeks.

(Since we were in Hawaii for 9 days, and have a digital camera with 2 GB of memory, we were not very selective in our picture taking (taking several shots of the same thing to make sure we at least got one good one). When we got home we realized that we had taken over 950 pictures during our trip! It has been quite a project to sort out/organize and trim down. Don't worry, it takes far too long to upload pictures to blogger for me to post more than just the highlights. ;)

Friday, March 21, 2008


I haven't posted in ages because we just spent 9 days in Hawaii!

I am planning on posting lots of pictures and giving a details of our adventures, but I am afraid that once I am still trying to unpack, catch up on laundry (one more load still in the dryer)
... take care of a baby that is still adjusting to our time-zone and being home, and catch up on my calling/other responsibilities.
I hope to have an update for you soon.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Great in 8!

I love food! I love cooking, baking, barbecuing, crock-potting, steaming, sauteing ... good food. Or just reading through my cookbooks and dreaming about cooking, baking, barbecuing, crock-potting, steaming, sauteing ... good food.
I am slightly obsessed with it in fact. I am usually either thinking about making and eating something delicious, or thinking about how I can resist eating something delicious. Sometimes I even think that I can make something delicious, and then resist eating it. :) Since I seem to have a hard time resisting, I have always struggled with my weight.

Weight Watchers and exercise worked for me a few years ago, and I thougtht I had figured out the balance... (enough exercise and appropriate resisting)... Then I got a full time teaching job and all of the sudden my exerciseing became a little sparatic. Then I got married. Then Flint started working evenings, and it wasn't uncommon for us to eat dinner at 9:00-9:30 at night. By the time I got pregnant I am afraid that my sparatic exercise rutines had dissapeared. Then I had a baby (enough said). Finally, I bacame a ravanous nursing mother at about the same time "the holidays" hit.

Needless to say, by the time January came around, I needed to make some drastic changes. When I found out that the Relief Society was sponsoring a "Feel Great in 8" competition, I was excited to participate. Those of you that know me best, know that I am slightly competitive. It was just what I needed!

We earn points by keeping track of several "good choices", and deduct points for "bad choices". The great thing about it is, it's more than just a weight loss program. It is aimed at improving health (rewarding good foods, exercise, water drinking, and weight loss), spirituality (rewarding daily scripture study, and personal prayer) and service (rewarding the completion of assigned tasks). About 50 sisters in the ward signed up to participate; and teams of 4 are keeping track of points to see who can score the greatest improvements.

Here is what the form looks like.

Since I realize it is too small to read, here are the three sections:

First, the "Good Food List".
We can earn up to 10 points a day by eating food from this list.

Second, the "Activity" points

and "Daily Challenge" points.

(The "Daily Challenges" change each week.)

Notice how high the scripture reading and exercise points are.
Notice the no eating after 8:00 p.m. points!

Finally, the "Bad Food List".

We keep track of our individual points during the week and then report the total to our team captain. (This was extra motivation for me, since I let down my team if I cheat or get lazy.)
The truth is, I could find the loop holes that would let me eat poorly and still get the maximum number of points, but I have to remind myself when I start to rationalize bad food choices that I am trying to loose weight. ("Butter is not on the bad food list!", or "Since portion size doesn't count...")

I am proud to say that after the first 6 weeks, I had lost 16 lbs. and was the highest individual score. (Did I say I was competitive?) It has been a wonderful way for me to break old habits and reintroduce good habits. I make "dinner" at 2:00 or 3:00 now so that we can eat before Flint goes out on appointments. (No more 9:00 meals!) I haven't missed a single day of scripture reading! I even joined a gym and have started exercising again (I'm debating one of those "tracking" page elements to keep me motivated). I even made it through Valentine's Day without eating any Valentine's candy!

I admit, I was weak and had 4 "Bad food" items last week, (I did throw a baby shower with delicious food.) but I really think that I am on the right track, and plan to stay on that track, even after the 8 weeks end.

If I could somehow get rid of this food obsession I would really be in good shape!