Saturday, January 18, 2014

Relay For Life 2013

I'm still playing catch up...

Last year, I participated in my second year of Relay For Life.  My sister and I captained a team called "Just Keep Swimming" at the Relay For Life of Pasadena.  It was exhausting, fun, and above all, rewarding.  If you don't know what Relay For Life is, it is a 24 hour walking relay fundraiser to raise funds to fight cancer, to raise awareness, and most importantly to honor survivors and to remember all of those lost to cancer.  For me, I relay in memory of my dad, as well as other family and friends that we've lost.  I also relay to honor those that have made it through their fight. There are Relays all over the world, so chances are there is one near you. I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Anyway, for our team we did some booth decorations, as well as gave away ribbons and sold lap bead lanyards.  Here are some pictures:

Ribbons that we gave away, each ribbon color represents a different type of cancer, or a survivors. The banner was made with a half of a twin bedsheet (from Walmart) and some fabric paint.  And the fishes were made with paper lanterns, googly eyes and cardstock.

One of the most moving and special parts (in my opinion), is the luminaria ceremony.  These are some of the luminaria bags that our team created last year.

This year will be my 2nd year being a team captain, and my 3rd year of Relay.  If you'd like to support me and/or my team, we'd really appreciate it.  If you're in the area and would like to join us in the relay, come and join our team.  Every step and every dollar is just that much closer to a cure.

AJ's Baptism - Decade Rosaries

Last year, I had the pleasure of becoming my nephew's godmother.  For his baptism, my sister wanted to give out decade rosaries as favors, so we went to get some beads, findings, eyepins, and magnetic clasps, and here's what we came up with.  We put them in nice mesh bags, and handed them out with a prayer card for the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

Welcome to the christian world, AJ!

Our trip to Kauai

As mentioned in the previous post... I'm playing a bit of catchup.

In May, we finally took our honeymoon trip to Kauai.  Some people were surprised to hear that we were taking our trip a year after we got married.  We did so for a number or reasons and they all worked out for the best.  1.  neither of us had very much vacation hours available and we wanted to be gone for longer than a week. 2.  After the big expenses of the wedding, it was nice to get a break before we had the big expenses of our trip.  3.  Planning the wedding was enough to do at the time.  This gave us the luxury of planning the trip at our own pace without the wedding planning going on too.  As I said, it worked out great for us.

Our trip was 2 weeks at the island of Kauai.  Let me just say that the island was beautiful and amazing.  We enjoyed the lush-ness of the area as well as watching the chickens roaming around.  We spent our time relaxing on the beach, driving around, hiking, exploring all sorts of places, and geocaching.  We took tours, went ziplining, and did a sunset dinner cruise.  We ate our way thru the island and watched our 2 weeks pass by way too fast.

A wide selection of SPAM. mmm...

Ahi wraps from the Kilauea Fish Market. Delicious.
For cost savings we decided to rent out a condo for the two weeks. This enabled us to eat breakfast at "home" on most mornings, and making sandwiches and such for our beach trips during lunch time.  We mostly went out for dinner.

One of the puzzles we had to figure out for a geocache.
One of the first geocaches we found on our trip.

We explored the island mostly by geocaching.  We found random trails, and awesome viewpoints by using the geocaching app on my phone to look for caches in the area.  I think we've decided to do this for any trip we make. It was so fun -- we found 19 caches during our trip.

One of our big splurges during the trip was a 6 hour ziplinging trip.  That was fun.  After the first step, it was all just amazing.  The last zipline we went to was 1800 feet long.  The views were incredible.  We went to the Outfitters Kauai Kipu tour.  One warning tho, before the ziplining, I had no issues with mosquitos over there.  During the ziplinging trip, I managed to get bit nearly 100 times.  I applied bug spray before the trip, but did not bring it to apply during the trip.  So, my warning... bring bug spray.  Since then, all the bites served as a beacon for the mosquitoes, and the rest of the trip was... well... itchy!

We also did a fun kayak trip.  It was my first time kayaking, and I kept steering us toward the sides, or zig zaging everywhere.  Eric was a good sport in helping us get to our location -- he's kayaked before.  We did some hiking to this really nice waterfall too.  The tour that we did was a bring your own lunch sorta deal, so it was cheaper, but our tour guide, who hiked barefoot to the waterfall, was awesome, telling us about some of the plants, and about the island, and the chickens. She introduced us to these tiny purple flowers that taste like mushrooms.

We also did a sunset dinner cruise that toured the Na Pali coast line.  Incredible views!  I definitely recommend a cruise.  The dinner wasn't wonderful... and in fact I felt a bit queasy every time I stood up, so I didn't eat.  Eric, on the other hand, was walking around everywhere, and said he wanted to see if he can get sea-sick. I just shake my head at him sometimes.

On one of our last nights, we did a luau at the Smith's Tropical Paradise.  Lots of good food, a really awesome show, and the grounds were beautiful.  There were trees from all sorts of areas, and we got to explore a bit before they started the Kalua pig ceremony. They also had very pretty peacocks that would sort of pose with the guests.

We did some beach snorkeling but during the last week we were there, the waters got choppy, and I didn't feel comfortable going in there.  We still got to see a lot of pretty fish.

Before we left, we decided to kill some time and go to the Kilohana Plantation.  That was much more fun than we expected it to be.  We piled on into a train, and saw all sorts of different plants.  We saw fields of pineapples, mango trees, nut trees (I think cashews), rambutan trees, and even something called a rainbow tree (when the bark is peeled off) underneath are beautiful and colorful inside.  It was a fun way to end our trip.  They had free rum tasting there too, but we didn't go to that.

That was our trip.  It was fun and, as most vacations are, way too short.

At the Kauai Coffee Company - This tree was signed by visitors all over the world.

The waterfall from Fantasy Island.  

This is an endangered Hawaiian Monk seal that we saw sunbathing at the beach.