Family Time

Sunday Funday

Up bright and early, I have been trying to make a habit of waking up and 5 AM everyday not just the days that I work.  Got some reading done and everyone showered way early for the 10 AM service.  It is so nice not to be rushed!  The message on righteousness was encouraging and of course we enjoyed the fellowship.  Our planned picnic turned into lunch at Lucy’s Taqueria then hanging out at the beach.   






 Hannah and Isabel explored all the islands at the Onekahakaha park while Eve and I checked out the more northern pool.  The main pool is way better I’m guessing that is why most of the time that is where all of the people are at.  The boys dried some spear fishing but there really wasn’t many fish at all.  It was windy and kind of cold so we changed and headed early to Walmart to pick up snacks for the couples game night.  We were responsible for bringing “Ore” (York peppermint patties).  Jesse and Isabel had lumber and wheat (broccoli and wheat thins). We punched in the address and headed out, I love GPS!  I mostly like to support Chad in his love of Settlers of Catan, but game night with a bunch of young couples is an opportunity I could not pass up. 

       The full on Cities and Knights ended up being a long but good game, we got home at 10:30pm good thing it is a holiday weekend.  I tuned off my 5:00 AM alarm…the ambitious getting up at 5 every morning was going to have to take a day off.   


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Mauna Loa & Mauna Kea

It felt like an awefully late start this morning but in truth we just got up way too early!  After, laundry, breakfast, dishes, coffee, reading, and waiting for Caleb to get his school work done it was still only 9:30 AM when we left the house this morning.  We threw in the towels and boogie boards because we just never know what the day will entail and we have to leave room for some spontaneity (the suits and snorkles are always kept in the car besides for washing).  There was a few things on the to do list so really we just went eeny meeny (is that even how you spell that). It was raining pretty good in Hilo so we opted out of the activities in Hilo and headed for the mountains.  We had been asked if we had seen the Mauna Kea observatory yet and we hadn’t so we decided to do that.  One wrong turn and a 13 mile long one lane road took is to the Mauna Loa Observatory very cool.  I was so green at the gills as it was an amazing road with twists and turns, texture and no shoulders good thing on the way up at least we met no cars.  The altitude at the top was over 11,000 feet which was a huge change from sea level an hour before.  I don’t know what I have ever experienced altitude sickness, but I was a bit off balance and shakey and wasn’t sure if it was car sickness or altitude sickness.  In pulling Eve out of the car (because she has a gift for being the slowest being on the planet sometimes) I stepped off the ledge, a little one but still, and we both tumbled to the ground with only minor injuries.  

      It was a tad chilly and we were sad to be underprepared to hike at least a ways up the trail, but alas, there was no point in making the kids miserable because of my curiosity.  



 We loved the view, and the shiny glittery lava rocks.  Caleb showed us his big guns by picking up big rocks.  There is no density to them so although they are large they are not heavy.  









We hadn’t taken a family picture on an outing in a while so we took an oportunity to take on on top of Mauna Loa.  

  We broke into our lunch on the way down the mountain.   

 They may have all burst of we had gone up any higher! We then drove down to the highway and back up the adjacent road going to the Mauna Kea observatory.  

     There was a 15% grade ahead so needles to say we didn’t make it to the top of Mauna Kea.  The observatory was below this and so we turned around and went in there.  


The summit at 13,976 feet is only the measurement of what is above sea level, it continues below the sea quite a ways making its hight in its entirety the largest mountain in the world.  They do have summit tours on Saturdays and we want to go back sometime and do it.  With it being lunch time we had a long time to wait until the 6:00pm astronomy presentation.  We opted to drive down to Kona and check out the downtown and have dinner then come back.  We got some astronaut ice cream to try on the way.   


Kona was sunny and hot, there was a cruise ship in so there was plenty of oportunities for people watching.  

        Lunch was right on the water with a live band and totally hit the spot. 

     We will have to come back to this part of town and check out the shops.  This was the first ABC store we found. Probably the only one on the big island. 

We got back to Mauna Kea observatory just in time.   

    The presentation started at 6:00pm and by the time it was over at 7:00pm it was dark.  





 Now for looking in the Telescopes!!!!! 

      So totally awesome!!!!!!! We will have to go back again with our parkas on and the kids better rested.  Everyone talked about every detail of the day the whole way home.  


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Cleaning and Errands 

I am the deep cleaner usually, so when I’m not home for a lot of days in a row it is desperately needed.  Also, Chad’s contact subscription had expired and we are nowhere near his primary eye physician so he wanted to try his hand at getting in at Walmarts optometry clinic as a walk-in.  Chad headed to town and the kids and I put on some music and pulled up our sleeves with the goal of conquring the whole house in one morning.  We made a lot of progress while Chad was gone knocking out the dining room, most of the lanai (Caleb’s room), and the entire living room (girls’ room).  So the bathroom, our room and the remainder of the kitchen was all that was left.  Chad was unable to get in but was able to schedule a later in the day appointment (12:30).  He cleaned the bathroom for us (which is his usual job-thank you Chad) and I got the kitchen in order.  We rushed around in order to complete those two rooms in time for the whole family to accompany Chaf back to town.  We made it with enough time for me to sneak a quick shower and drive by the Kae’au Transfer Station (dump) to dump our garbage (there are no garbage trucks here you have to buss your own trash) on the way.  After Chad’s appointment we played at the park and I was able to talk to my mom a bit.  We stayed there until dinner time.  

    The kids requested burgers and Chad was able to find Hilo Burger Joint.  It was pretty much a bar with some family tables.  They had games that you could play while you waited for your food so us girls teamed up against the boys in Connect Four. My phone was dying (5%) so I pulled it out for a few quick pictures at the end and didn’t get any of some of the good matches.  The wins were pretty evenly dispersed.  

   The food was good too, so we will for sure be going back there again before we leave.

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Redeeming Sunday

After what I would call “hell week” I didn’t think too mutch could redeem the week and make it an over all good week.  God has a sence of humor!  Even though I couldn’t make the disc golf date that Chad had made with a couple from church it had been good and they were up for joining us for lunch after church.  We found out that it was their routine to go out for lunch while doing their laundry for the week at the laundry mat next door.  A lot of people here live off the grid if not completely at least partially.  The house we are staying in is mostly off the grid.  Most of the appliances are gas and our water is rain water that is caught in a catchment which looks like anything from a large round above ground swimming pool to a shorter metal silo.  It catches the rain water, it goes through two filters one UV and I don’t remember what the other one is.  It is drinkable out of the tap and actually taste pretty good.  It rains so much that we do not really need to be too cautious about how much water we use.  Here is a picture of our catchment.  


All that to say that our new friends live completely off the grid.  They have paid for their lot in cash and paid as they went building their own house with help from friends over the last year and a half.  They have not yet put in a washer and dryer and they have a guaranteed date time each Sunday so no rush.  After lunch they invited us up to see their place and it was SO COOL! We are totally amazed and jealous ­čśÇ.  Thank you Jesse and Isabel you guys are awesome! 

Like our house it was up a dirt road though it had a lot less pot holes it had bumps from  the hard lava rock underneath the gravel.  A lot of the houses here are build up off the ground I’m not sure why that is but I like the look especially on some of the ones that are way high up.  Jesse and Isabel’s place is in between and very cute.  


They have two solar panels and two batteries for electricity with a generator for backup (they have only needed it when running power tools otherwise the solar panels and batteries are sufficient to keep the house all powered up). And for just the two of them they have a much smaller than ours catchment.  

 We also loved the landscaping and Jesse’s hydroponics experiment where he is co-growing taro and tilapia.  

           After a short tour they asked if we would like to stay and roast marshmallows so we all pitched in to get the fire started.  The wood was damp due to humidity so it took a while.  

             The kids started playing in the mud while the adults (guys) took turns blowing on the fire to keep it alive.   

           When the fire came alive the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa while we sipped on tea.  Eve decided she knew something that was even better than roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate separate and that was eating them together.  Before we could intervene she had dipped hers in and stuck the whole thing in her mouth.  Hannah had to try it out too it must have been good because they were pretty pleased with it.  

        Grandma Brown, whose face is this? Eve has to get this from someone.  

   Hannah made “Lava Marshmallows”  

  It started to rain so we moved the shelter from over the hydroponics pond to by the fire pit.  



Isabel made quesadillas for dinner, we hung out in the house and helped her while the boys kept the fire going.  


What a blast!  We came home late but with full hearts.  I have made friends at work and Chad has made friends with neighbors and at church, but this is the first time in the last year that we could just relax and hangout and enjoy the company of new couple friends.    

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Our one year traveling anniversary

As I look at the pictures from one year ago today I can feel all the emotions that I felt that day.  Our car was all loaded up with everything we thought we might need having really no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  Had we just made the biggest mistake of our lives and now be jobless far away from home with three precious little lives dependent on us?  I doubt you guys will believe me when I say it has been a hard year.  It has been totally worth it, but has required so so much more than waking up and showing up.  We have by no means finished a race or completely accomplished a goal, but we have completed our rookie year.  As many other travel nurses as there are out there who travel with their families maybe it isn’t that great of a feat, but I feel like I did when Suzanne and I cross the finish line of our century (100 mile bike ride) together.  Tears well up just thinking about it.  





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Reflections on our first year

No, it hasn’t been exactly a year because Easter changes days each year, but last year Easter (4/20) was our last day at home.  We soaked up every second of our family time.  At church we tried to catch people that we had not yet said goodbye to for that last hug.  So many unknowns and fear of failure.  So much excitement for the adventure and eagerness to be obedient to the call. 

Our first assignment brought us to New Mexico and the Navajo Indian reservation.  This assignment was our favorite for the number of national parks, variety of landscapes, and loads of cool history.  The work was good too, I enjoyed working with the midwives and what I could glean about Navajo Nation history and tradition.  

Our second assignment was Neenah/Appleton Wisconsin.  It was our favorite for the rich green color in every direction, the beautiful Great Lakes, so many new clinical experiences, two hospitals, GYN surgeries, having a NICU, high risk antepartum, and the time spent with family we would have otherwise never seen. 

Thanksgiving brought us home to a family reunion and turkey dinner with our third assignment just south of our home in Southern California where the nurses had big hearts and amazing team work.  We saw a few awesome national parks, and a few theme parks (Lego land and Disney!!!!) but mostly this was our favorite assignment because we were able to take advantage of every spare minute to spend time with our California family.  

Knowing that we wanted to be close to home come summer and didn’t want to go way out east for only three months we decided to go with the kids pick of Hawaii.  Initially hesitant because of rumors of inadequate pay to cover bills and the cost of living for one person let alone a family.  I am sure that travel companies has a lot to do with it that and this is my recruiters home town.  God has provided every step of the way where there was an open door.  We are now one month into our assignment in Hilo Hawaii.  The first month is the hardest as the learning curve is straight up.  It has been a cultural experience, geographical (way out here in the middle of the pacific), geological (hey we live on a volcano), climate, food, plants, animals, ok so much is new and we are learning as much as we can. This has been our favorite assignment because of the awesome beaches, coconuts, and our little vacation home in the jungle.  Frogs and geckos chirp us to sleep each night with the pounding of the rain and the chirping birds wake us up each morning. 

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Easter 2015

The kids were excited to wear their Easter clothes we bought from the market.  I forgot my phone at home so I missed getting pictures of the play they were in this morning.  Caleb was a disciple, Hannah was with Mary Magdaline when she discovers the empty tomb and Eve was an angel.  They were cute and I love to see them involved.  Hannah then was walked up to the microphone by her sundayschool teacher where she sang “Up From The Grave He Arose” She did well and was not in the least bit nervous.  I didn’t know that was coming so we have no pictures and I guess she asked if she could do it.  More power to you girl.  I’m pretty sure I would have wet my pants singing in front of the church at that age.  After church was a potluck that went long and gave us lots of time for fellowship.  We met several young couples from the first service it was very fun.  We were pretty drained by the time we got home though.  Hannah says it was the best Easter ever.  We have been blessed with lots of good Easters as I remember back to so many fond memories made on this day in the past.


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Hapuna Beach

´╗┐This calm child friendly beach was our pick to try out for Saturday.  Actually we were going to go to the last National park on the island but for got our pass, so that will just have to wait.  This beach is shallow a long ways out we kept an eye on the kids but didn’t have to stay at arms length.  We played for several hours until a little guy got stung by a Portugese Man of War (like a jelly fish but not) they came in with the tide.  Chad got stung on the back of his leg too so we called it a day and headed home.  It was calm and restful.  We stopped at the Waimea park on the way home.  It reminded us of the Gilbert House.


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Onekahakaha AKA Hermit Crab Central

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐We found a washed up coconut and Chad managed to break into it with his knife.  It was perfect, the agua de coco was clear and refreshing, the meat was soft and disappeared quickly as everyone dug in and devoured it.

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐ The kids descovered a handful of hermit crabs that ´╗┐kept their attention until it was time to go.

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐There was at least one humpback whale breaching and blowing half the distance from the rock barrior to the penensula beyond we loved just sitting there watching him as the kids played.  Had it not been getting dark we could have stayed a few more hours just watching.  It was dark when we got home so we had to catch some frogs before heading to bed.


Hannah hasn’t decided if kissing one of these guys would be worth finding Prince Charming.

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Rain Rain Go Away

We really headed to the Sunny side of the island to whale watch but we got too distracted by the awesome sun and waves that we forgot to whale watch.

´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐We got there at 1:30pm and left just after 5:00pm and pretty much spent the entire time playing in the waves!!! The kids are getting quite brave with the waves and the two older ones are trying their hand at body surfing.  The consensus is that boogie boards are the only thing that could have possibly made today better.  I just hope the kids remember all these fun days.  Being together is what makes these memories so great.

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