Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back to Hawaiian Vacation

After a couple of days in Honolulu, Michael and I took a short plane ride to Maui. We wanted to experience more than one island, while in Hawaii. I wish we could have spent a month exploring all the islands but we could not. We arrived on September 1st and got checked into our hotel room which had a beautiful view of the ocean. We spent most of the day relaxing on the beach and driving around the island looking for good food. We had a gorgeous sunset on the beach the first evening, but we had to go to bed very early. The plan was to rise at 2:00AM to drive to a bike shop at the bottom of Haleakala National Park.
The Hotel beach
The Sunset
Morning came very quickly. Surprisingly Michael and I were both up and ready to go. The excitement of watching the sunrise from the top of a volcano was too much. We arrived at the bike shop by 3:00AM and they were getting everyone ready to come back down the volcano. The drive to the top was winding and long, it took about 45 minutes to get to the top. We got out of the van to freezing cold weather. We were dressed for the part, but it was still very cold. The sun came up right on time and it was the most amazing experience ever.
Here comes the sun...
There it is!!! Bad photo but only one of us on top Silversword in bloom (only happens ever 50 years)
After the sun came up, we jumped back in the van and drove from 10,000ft to 6500ft to begin our 28 mile bike ride down the volcano.
View from the top
I expected the ride down the volcano to be a little more on the warmer side, but we did not start removing layers until we were almost to the car. The views were awesome. We stopped about halfway down at this little breakfast place. It reminded me of a home cooked breakfast, but with the views of the Hawaiian mountains.
Biking down
Cool trees
Safety first!
After we were all done, we decided to drive back to the hotel for a little nap. If I was to do the entire over, I would skip the nap and do the drive to Hana.
Drive back to hotel
After our naps, we decided to go to dinner in the town of Lahaina. We ate the best seafood and did some fun shopping in Lahaina. Good food, good scenery, and great company.
Us at dinner
Sunset from restaurant

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Being in Arkansas

I have had the pleasure of spending several weekends lately in Arkansas. It has been a long time since I wrote on here and I will eventually finish writing about my trip to Hawaii, which I am still missing a great deal.

Things have been very exciting in the Mallard Sperry home over the last few months. Lots of wedding planning! I feel like it is just around the corner.

At the end of September I finally got to go home and see my parents new house and their new boat. It was an added bonus that I got to see my cousin's little ones as well. I will start with my parent's new house...it is not my home but it is very nice and much bigger than the last house. They are still located in Fort Smith, but are now living in Riley Farms. The neighborhood is super nice and they even knew some of the neighbors prior to moving in. (Our preacher is only a few houses down)
The beginning of the summer was fun for my parents. They moved into their new house in June and also bought a new boat. While I was home in September I went out on the boat at Lake Ouachita. They got a pontoon boat, but I think it looks more like a deck boat. Arkansas has had a lot of rain and right before my trip they had a week of rain which caused the lake to be up. Where my parents keep their boat is located right by the River and it had some fun obstacles for us when I was home, but it made for some interesting pictures.
Boating through this was fun
No Pirate Flag for my Dad
Captain Ronnie
Me and Dad
My Mom is enjoying the day

The weekend I spent in Arkansas was filled with lots to do and lots of people to see. I really wanted to find time to see my little buddy, Aden, and his little sister, Ava. I haven't seen either of them since Ava was about a week old. They both have grown so much. Someone taught Aden that I am Cousin Jennifer, that's what he calls me now, I wonder who...James. Ava is the happiest smiley-est baby ever. I believe she must be on drugs. I had a lot of fun playing with Aden. I brought him a bunch of stuff to play with from the tradeshows I had been to lately, and he threw them all over the place.
Aden is cheesing and Ava is a deer in the headlights
Aden showing off
Happy Baby
My only disappoint while home was that Arkansas played away the weekend I was there and so I didn't get to go to the game. Two games left in Fayetteville, so maybe I will make it to one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

08/31/2009 Hawaiian Vacation

The day after we went to Pearl Harbor, we decided it was time to relax and enjoy the sun. So, we went to the beach.

Before we made it to the beach, Veronica gave a tour of Oahu. The tour was really unintentional,we were not lost. She wanted to take us to a nice beach on the West side of the island called Waimanalo. From Honolulu to the west side of the island requires a short drive through the beautiful lush mountains of Oahu. Trust me when I say they were big mountains. As we drove through the mountain it began to rain on us, but only for a short time. When you come out the other side of the mountain you see fantastic beaches and sunny skies. During our drive we took a few pictures of the scenery.
When we got to the beach on the west side of the island, we noticed the warning flag was purple. We asked the lifeguard, who told us that there were Man o' War jellyfish in the water. That's all he had to say to me, and I knew I was not swimming here. He then told us we might get stung but that the jellyfish were on the surface of the water, so we would be able to see them. I think he thought by telling us that we could see them, we would stay and swim. From the beach we could see the jellyfish, and therefore we asked where he thought would be a better place to swim. He sent us to the calm waters of the North Shore. He added that they were having sick swells that day. I was excited...surfers!!

We jumped in the car and proceeded to drive from the Southwest side of the island to the North shore. The lifeguard was nice enough to suggest Waimea Bay, which is a very nice and semi calm beach. To get to the North Shore we drove by the Dole Plantation, tons of fields of pineapples...yum, Coffee bean fields, and rows and rows of cars watching the surfers. Waimea Bay is the perfect spot to relax and the waters were nice and cool. We stayed on the beach for several hours working on a good tan.
The North Shore
More Waves wishing I had my nice camera
Michael and Veronica swimming

After awhile we decided it was time to go get some lunch. We went into the village of Waimea to grab some lunch at a local place. We ate in this little shopping center that also had tons of stores. Once our bellies were full, we walked around to all the little stores. Veronica bought her first baby outfit here and was so excited. While walking around we found the best little coffee shop and Michael ordered a Cappuccino Freeze with two shots of espresso. I loved this place because they had a Mocha Freeze, which was exactly like a Mocha Shake at Sweet Bay in Fort Smith. Needless to say Michael was a little wired for our drive back to Honolulu.
Me and Veronica-meant for little kids

As evening came we decided to go down to Waikiki for some dinner. We ate at this great place on the beach called Duke's. The sunset, the dinner, and the conversation was the best. We definitely did not want our evening to end. Here are some of the sunset pictures from our dinner spot.
Diamond Head behind us
Diamond Head
Tons of people watching the sunset

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 1-2 Hawaii

Michael and I left Saturday afternoon to head for Hawaii. It was a very long day. It began at 2:00 Chicago time and ended at 7:40 Hawaii time. Hawaii is 5 hours ahead of the Central time zone and therefore it was very late in our minds. Once we landed my friend Veronica met us at the airport and provided us with the traditional Hawaiian lei. She then took us to Hickman Air Force base and we got to see their new house. As soon as we arrived I was ready for bed. After the long day of traveling I was exhausted, but Michael wanted to stay up to ensure he got on Hawaii time.

Our first real day of Hawaii life was very long but very fun. We woke up at 6:30AM to the trumpet that plays daily at 6:30AM on the Air Force base. Veronica and I cooked eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. It was a well needed big meal for our big day.

As soon as breakfast was over we all got showered and headed to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. We were a little concerned it might be really busy and that we might not get to see the Arizona Memorial, but lucky for us, it is the end of the tourist season and it was Sunday. We were able to get tickets to the next available Arizona viewing.

I don't know how to describe the Arizona Memorial. The first thing they have you do is watch a short documentary about what lead to that day December 7, 1941. It was a very somber video, it had shots of the actual day and it showed the Arizona actually being bombed. Once the video is over they take you on a short boat ride over to the actual ship that now sits at the bottom of the harbor. We got off the boat and enter into the Arizona Memorial, which first opened on April 4, 1984. The USS Arizona is very visible at the bottom and it still is leaking oil. I thought the oil was very interesting since the ship actually sank over 60 years ago. We then took the same boat back to land decided to go check out the USS Missouri, which is the last battleship ever made.

I recommend to anyone who is planning a trip to Honolulu to take the time and go see the Arizona, which is free, and to spend the money for an extended guided tour of the Missouri. Veronica, Shane, Michael, and I had a guided tour of the Missouri and it was the best $40 tour I have ever been on. Our guide, Jim, is a history teacher who does guided tours two days a week. He took us through parts of the ship that only the extended guided tour can go. I think the most interesting part of the entire tour was how steep the ladders were between floors and how short someone would have to be to get around without getting a concussion. I enjoyed learning all the interesting facts about the ship. It was crazy to know we were in a place that famous people have filmed movies like Pearl Harbor and a President has eaten dinner with sailors. Harry S. Truman was the president who was on the Missouri during his term and they used the ship to film a very short portion of the movie Pearl Harbor.

After the ship, which took all of the morning and part of the afternoon, we decided to head back to the house and go check out one of the beaches on base. Veronica and Shane took us to this beach that we could walk out several hundred yards and the water never came above our knees. It was so cool. We hung out there for a little while until we realized we all needed a nap. We all took a short nap before heading to downtown for dinner. We ate right on the water and watched the cargo ships come into the harbor. After dinner we went back to the beach, took the dogs, and watched the sunset. The dogs had a blast, it is the perfect area for dogs to run through the water and chase birds.

I don't know what tomorrow will hold for us, but I am sure we will be spending some time on the beach and enjoying the sun.
The Traditional Hawaiian lei
USS Arizona Memorial
Michael and I at the Arizona
USS Missouri
The group on Big Mo

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last few weeks

Michael and I have been very busy lately. We have had a ton of fun activities. Friday, August 14th my office had a Day at the Races. The entire office and spouses are invited to attend each year. We had a lot of fun and we even won some money...or I should say I won some money, then Michael lost my money.
The weekend of August 14 was the Chicago Air and Water Show. Michael and I went on Saturday and it was a perfect day to watch the show. We had great sunshine and few clouds.
Michael wanted to setup on the beach near Ohio Street. I have never seen Lake Michigan beaches so busy since I have lived here. We went and sat on some steps right next to the busy beach.
Last weekend Michael and I went to the annual SEC Flag Football tournament. We had more fun this year than I believe we have had in the past two years combined. Arkansas won the first match against Florida. GO HOGS!! Then we had to go play LSU. BOOOO!!! We lost to LSU, but it was a good game. Everyone played hard and had fun.
Action Shot playing LSU
Here's a team photo
Our cheerleader, Karl
Michael and I after the game
Everyone loves the HOGS!!

After football, we had our annual bar after party. This year it was at a small place in Wrigleyville called Houndstooth. That's when the real party got started. They had drink specials, which just got everyone a little looser for flippy cup and dancing. Lucky for me I stayed sober and got tons of great pictures. The pictures below just sum up the evening.

About Us

My photo
Michael and I have been together since 2006. We met in college at the University of Arkansas and began our life together. We bought a house and moved to Fayetteville from the Chicagoland area in November 2009. We were married in 2010 and had our first child, a boy, in 2013. Our favorite thing to do together is travel and we have gotten the opportunity to go to lots of fun places. We are working, breathing, playful parents. Our fur baby and child are the center of our crazy life, but we wouldn't have it any other way.