Thursday, May 31, 2012

On the scuttle bug

James is always so sweet with Gemma. She doesn't deserve it! All the kids have been helping me out during these last weeks of pregnancy, distracting Gemma and playing with her. I am a very lucky mama.

Gemma was in rare form today. Some words to describe her are: constant, loud, emotional, irrational, high-energy, spunky, defiant, hilarious, and animated. Luckily she took a good nap, and then after dinner Marcus took charge of her so I could garden. Planted 6 tomatoes, sunflower and patty pan seeds, 2 peppers, and 3 eggplants. Doesn't sound like much but I had to spend some time amending the soil (meaning I dug out the old clay/dirt, hauled it away, and added a mix of purchased garden soil and compost) since the sunflowers are along the edge of the garden where the tiller can't get to. I also had to pull weeds in those areas. But it is good work, it is good to be tired and sore at the end of an emotionally hard day. I'll post more garden pictures soon.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Family dinner last Sunday

Cousins in grammae's tubbie:

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day gardening

Pumpkin plants finally getting in the ground:

My finished 2nd strawberry bed (we had to replant one petunia and 2 marigolds that didn't make it):

Marcus tilled the garden today! I didn't get around to order our normal load of cow compost, so Marcus used our pony poop this year. The soil is already pretty good after 2 years of heavy amendments, so we just had to give a pony boost to certain areas where the soil was not quite as rich. I was out there right away doing my favorite thing: planning!

I was able to fit in all my tomato cages, 21 in all I think. I'll buy the plants later this week. I used scrap lumber to sketch out my "beds" and you can probably see the old pieces of mini-fence too. Gemma liked those; she asked, "Is that where the cows go?". I told her yes dear. Then she asked, "Can we ride the cows?". Sure, dear. Then she proceeded to talk about when and how we would get said cows, something about fitting them in the big van. :o)

This year we'll probably plant zucchini, basil, eggplant, a few peppers even though we never eat them, wax beans, annual flowers, pumpkins, and sunflowers in addition to our main crop, tomatoes. I'm hoping to be done this week so I can switch gears to getting ready for the baby coming in less than a month....

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Our last evening with grandma

On Saturday evening we went to Mass at St. Pius in Portland since St. Matthew was having confirmation (what a wonderful sacrament, but 2+ hours of church with the kids did not seem like a good idea....). Then a stop at REI and then New Seasons for dinner. The kids tried their hand at chess:

They were so serious! But really they had no idea what they were doing. :o). Then at home, grandma finally tried the ukelele:

Thank you, mom, for coming out and making our vacation possible, and for loving the kids and taking such good care of them!

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Home again

We enjoyed having grandma here 2 full days after arriving home Thursday night. A normal day on Friday, except for an evening trip to the pool. We had a blast swimming together! The kids are crazy in the water; Marcus spent most of his time taking kids down the waterslide (including Gemma who LOVED it!). Saturday morning we went to the market:

Eating mini-doughnuts:

Singing for a free cookie at the candy store:

Our new ukelele:

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Last day at Hualalai

Thursday was our last day in paradise. We woke up early to pack then enjoyed our normal breakfast by the beach:

Good-bye, soaking tub and outdoor shower....

Lava-flow landscape on the way to the airport:

Obviously we made it home ok. :o). We didn't have first class on the way home but at least Marcus arranged for an exit row. He had some movies and tv shows on his iPad so that helped pass the I had just started the Twilight #4 book, so it was a nice flight. We got home around 10:30pm, kissed the sleeping kids, and went to bed. It was such a nice vacation! But it sure is nice to be home.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Farewell reception luau

Our last event of the trip was the farewell dinner.

The food was delicious of course. I love buffets! I wasn't very very hungry so I just got a little of this and a little of that: salad, a roll, grilled veggies, a small piece of BBQ ribs, and a little bit of a steak dish. But that meant I saved room for dessert, which like the other buffets was an assortment of small little desserts. I liked the little banana whoopee pies but also the macadamia nut brownie pop and the lemon cupcake. Marcus also got a coconut cupcake and a piece of coffee cheesecake.

The entertainment was fire dancers which was very cool. Although Aunty Elaine did point out earlier in the day that fire dancers aren't Hawaiian, they're Polynesian. Oh well, they were still cool (hot?).

And that concluded our wonderful "once in a lifetime" (for the 3rd time) trip. We fly back tomorrow and are looking forward to seeing the kids. With the sale of Taleo to Oracle, we knew that this would be the last trip like this for us. But we did hear that for last year's Oracle club trip, they had a private concert with Sting, cycling with Lance, and tennis lessons with Andre. Hmmmm....Marcus, go for it! Get selling some more software! :o)

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Wednesday activities

After breakfast yesterday we walked to the resort's cultural center for a ukulele lesson! "Aunty Elaine" was a hoot--a real task master but a lot of fun. She had no problem sternly correcting us when we got our chords wrong. But she was also very happy with us when we got it right, and by the end of the lesson we were playing real songs!

Notice how the ukulele is sitting on my belly. ;o). After the lesson we tried out our 3rd pool of the trip, this time the kid-friendly pool. It was very nice but made us sad thinking of how the kids would love it here. We started dreaming of a way to bring them some day, maybe after we win the lottery.... We stayed here all afternoon and even had lunch in our cabana (shared a hamburger and fries). Here's the view:

We took a little break mid-afternoon to check out our 4th pool which was the fish pond. So much fun!

It was nice to be able to do an "adventure" that didn't require an all-day commitment or a boat ride. The manta ray was cool as were the schools of little silver fish and the bright yellow ones. We only stayed about a half-hour before going back to our base pool, then walking back to our room at about 4pm to get ready for our last function of the trip.

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Native wildlife

Some wildlife from our various Wednesday walks:

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I didn't do it

On our way back to the room, I noticed some workers fixing a broken tile at the pool we were at yesterday. Marcus said to me, "Hey, isn't that right where you sat down to get in the pool?". I'm sure it was just a coincidence.

Although I did hear one of them say, "There she is! There's the lady!" as I hurried by. We just kept going to our room and locked the door behind us.


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Wednesday morning in Hawaii

Today (Wednesday) was our official free day. We woke up and made our way to the Taleo breakfast buffet:

I had my normal half-bagel and sausage and added some fresh fruit, my new favorite juice, and a waffle. Nice view while we ate:

We wanted to try to make this day a Marcus-and-Becky-only day since we were either apart or with company the previous 2 days. Marcus is a popular guy so he had to turn down a few invitations :o) but he was very good about sticking to our plan. After breakfast we took a walk to start our day.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Awards dinner

Last night was the awards dinner, starting with an outdoor reception from 6-7pm. Wine and drinks were flowing but I just had more juice. :o). Then a guy came out blowing a conch shell to let us know that the dinner was starting inside. We sat at a great table with Marcus' work friends and their spouses. The first award, even before dinner was the golf award. Guess who won this year??

No cash prize but he did get a nice trophy that the kids will like:

They had big screens set up with scrolling photos. Here is what the course looked like:

Some of the golfers:

Then they served dinner and handed out all the Achiever's Club awards. This year they had a ton of people who made their sales quota, I think there were 90. Some were salespersons like Marcus is now, and others were sales support like Marcus was in his previous role. Here is a close-up of his awards:

Some friends: From left to right: Jim (top sales guy this year), Mark (Marcus' boss), MY top salesman of the year, our good friend Monette, and Scott (his wife wrote the soup cookbook that we've been using this winter):

Mingling afterward:

Marcus and his awards:

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