Monday, April 30, 2012

KoOlina Lagoons

As a rule, the east side of the island doesn't have the best beaches. However, in the spirit of tourism, the state made some lagoons right outside Kapolei. It is a bit hard to find where to park because they are hidden by the 4 huge resorts that moved in. (One of these resorts is the brand new Disney resort. They just started a big ad campaign; you'll probably see their ads all over the internet and TV soon.) 
Anyways, after talking to a few friends and doing some online research we chose Lagoon 4. It has the most parking and is the furthest from the resorts. Here is a map:

Here is an aerial photo. Lagoon 4 is in the front:

Here is the actual lagoon:

As you can see they are beautiful! They are calm and clean. There are showers, nice bathrooms and a beautiful paved 1.5 mile walkway that connects all the manicured parks and lagoons. We are going to go back with the long boards. I'll take the camera and fill you in then. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach. Because of the good parking and location, it's kind of a locals beach. There were several families and lots of little keiki playing in the warm calm water. It made me really want a baby!

Though the beach is sandy, up by the barricade where the water is refreshed, it gets rocky and is chocked full of sea life!

We brought along the snorkels on a whim and ended spending most of the time in that little section circled in blue.  It's no Hanauma Bay but because its a lagoon there are no waves so it makes it really great place for beginners. There were hundreds of urchins. I got a spine stuck in my thumb! OUCH! We saw at over 10 different species of fish including angels, humuhumunukunukuapua'as (no I still can't pronounce it), triggers, some trumpet fish.. and a flounder! We hadn't seen one of those in the wild yet! We also found some beautiful shells. 
This was the biggest Cowrie shell either of us had ever seen. It looked empty so we brought it home:

I set it down  on the other side of that line then went to go clean up. When I got out of the shower it had moved to where it is in the picture. We stared at it for a few moments and ...

POP! out come his body and antenna! 

 We safely returned him to his home :)

These lagoons are our closest beach, only about 10 mins away, so we'll definately be spending more time at them :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Attack of the BUGS!

I'm not sure if it is because it's getting warmer, or dryer, or what, but it has been a bad week for bugs. 

First off I was out watering my lemon tree when I realized there were tons of nasty little aphids trying to suck the life out of it!


 I cleaned them off the best I could.  Sadly they were back in full force the next day. Now I'm trying a soap solution.

Next it was The Cockroach.

I was relaxing on the futon reading a nice book, minding my own business when the biggest, grossest, ugliest cockroach came flying through the living room! I haven't seen them fly yet so I was extra upset by it. It flew into the kitchen. I grabbed a dish towel to try and knock it out of the air. I managed to, but it landed on the stove and crawled UNDER THE BURNERS! Ewww! I turned on the broiler and all of the burners and stood and waited...Flip flop at the ready. The burners are glowing the oven roaring.. The heat from them burning my face. 3 agonizing minutes go by.. It's gotta be dead now..Right? I lean in to turn off the burners but, before I can even get to them, out from the crack of the oven door wiggles out the very alive COCKROACH! AGGHAHGAHA!!
Pandemonium resumes as it once more takes flight!
AGH! I knock it out of the air again with the towel then start wailing on it with my flip flop. Nothing is happening!!! WHY WON'T YOU DIE! It takes flight again. My flip flop beating has only made it fly crooked. I run out to get something heavier. Richard's Flip Flop? It'll have to do. It had now landed on the floor and was trying to escape under the dishwasher. WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP! DIE DIE DIE!!!! I pause... it seems dead .. it is oozing slightly. Then like a zombie it reanimates itself and...
5 more hits with Richard's sandal.. It's not dead.. but it's only kind-of moving. I rush to the bathroom grab a tissue scoop up its nasty oozing wriggling body and 
Triumphantly Flush It Down the Toilet!

And Finally
I've only seen a centipede once in real life before this. It was when we lived in Utah and we had the geckos. We fed the geckos live crickets so it wasn't uncommon to find an escapee here and there around the house. Well late one night I woke up to use the restroom. I didn't have my contacts in and suddenly a little something comes slinking out from behind the toilet. Richard was woken up by the sound of me shrieking 
In the nature shows and books that I had previously seen them in they had always seemed  like cool, complex little bugs. In real life, they make my skin crawl. I'm getting all squirmy just typing about them. Anyways, that one was only about the size of a cricket and it was still pretty unnerving.  Last night was a totally different story.
Richard  had gotten off work early and we were watching Netflix. Suddenly he feels something brush up against both of his feet at the same time.
He glanced down to see a GIANT CENTIPEDE thrashing from side to side between his feet.I have never moved so fast in my life! Before I knew it, I  had gone from being sprawled out on the futon next to Richard, to in the kitchen crying Kill IT! KILL IT! KILL IT! watching in horror as he battled to the death with the evil foe. I am happy to report he was victorious! These pictures make it look small but believe me it was HUMUNGO! 

It is on a full sized Frisbee. Richard's thumb is in the background so you can kind of use it as a reference

We looked them up and fortunately, though they do have venomous bite that will swell up and hurt something fierce, they are considered non-toxic by poison control and their bite won't kill you or make you sick.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another fun kid idea.

Disclaimer: This post doesn't flow well.. I can't make it transition correctly, but I want to get my idea down before I forget it so here it is anyway.

Old properties seem to collect junk. The home I spent the bulk of my childhood in was no exception. My parents had a heck of a time trying to get rid of it all, but they were kind enough to never haul away
'The Jeep'

We spent hours upon hours driving this across the mountains, through deserts, and to the beach. Using it as a time machine to find dinosaurs, then going forward in time to be Paleontologists and dig up the bones. (there were also a significant number of bones on this property... never really thought it odd 'til just now.) 

As you may know I am fascinated by small living space solutions. It's what I used as a focus for my senior project. I'm currently working on a Victorian bungalow design inspired by my mom (hopefully I'll post the design in a few months). I also follow an interesting blog called Relax Shacks. Today they were featuring a book called My Cool Camper Van. They had this picture from the book:

I've always loved VW buses but have never been interested in the work necessary to keep one running. Upon seeing this I finally realized a solution.
When we have a home of our own I'm going to get the body of an old VW micro bus and turn it into a play house/car/fort for my kids!
I'll have a little ladder going up to where the suitcases are (probably install a nice wood guardrail up there, too) Put a small play kitchen, a table, and a big bed in the back. Leave the big beautiful bench seat, steering wheel and blinker/washer/drive knobs all in the front. I'll see about getting some of those soft close hinges to put on the doors to save small hands and fingers from getting smushed.

If it can provide even 1/10th of the enjoyment I got from 'The Jeep' it will be time and money well spent.

As a fun bonus while looking for a picture of 'The Jeep' my mom pulled up some old photo's that may have been the spark of my interest in tiny houses

This was the straw house.. though I think better constructed then that of the fated piggy of the nursery rhyme. (check out how skinny that snowman is!)

The bark huts. A wonderful bi-product of the debarking of firewood.

 My cousin Erin and me in front of the pallet house. ( possibly the WORST childhood picture of me lol)

The next installment of  Junk My Parents Let Us Keep I think will be titled 'The Giant Spool'.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Honolulu Zoo

I LOVE THIS ZOO! Hogal Zoo in SLC was the only real zoo I have been to and we didn't go very often because the enclosures made me sad. But this zoo all the animals seem very happy and healthy!
It is a great zoo for Richard too, There are turtles EVERYWHERE!

This is one from India hanging out in one of the ponds with the monkeys: 

Here are two more with the ring tails:
A big beautiful tortoise coming out of its home: 
Lunch time was all kinds of fun plants A bunch of which grow right there at the zoo!
Here they are before their lunch was delivered:

Here is Richard on a fun turtle bench:
Another of the large tortoises eating lunch
Can you find the MataMata turtle: 
His head is circled in yellow... I NEVER would have found it if Richard hadn't pointed it out.
This is what they look like out of water. They prefer to never come out. I had to find this picture on the internet:
Their name translates to "I kill I kill" apparently they are voracious eaters! This is what their faces look like!

These tortoises were HUGE!!

Ok enough with the turtle tribute on to the other animals.
Ben being a monkey's uncle:
Here is a better shot of the monkeys. They are white handed gibbons.

This was a cute feature in one of the volunteer gardens...It inspired me to design a kid's play garden.. I think I'll collect some more ideas and make a post about that in a few weeks.
Look at those healthy happy giraffes! 

This picture made me laugh. "And here we are on the African savanna and wait... whats that in the back ground...skyscrapers?! Oh ya, we are in Honolulu"
I just love the lush green, natural environments they keep them in.

They also barricade the a lot of the herbivores cleverly so it doesn't feel like they are 'caged'

These are Dik Diks they are tiny (only getting about 15 pounds max) and I want a little herd running around my yard when I grow up.
A cool lizard doing his best camo near one of the exhibits.
Sadly the picture didn't turn out, but these fat chicken birds cracked me up! 
Here is a better shot of the ring tails:
Some apes:
here is video of a cool type of crocodile:
A beautiful pelican:
Javelinas!..actually I think it was a different type of wild pig. The one in the picture was hand raised. One day she figured out how to get out of the enclosure, she spent her time wandering around with the other patrons checking out the other exhibits and was very surprised at the people who were concerned about here being out. lol
This was my first time ever seeing flamingo's live! I LOVE THEM :)
There were so many other animals as well.
We ended up getting a year's membership (only a few dollars more than a day trip!) AND if we bring guests they get discount tickets! So come with us!! We'll go back soon so I can fill in the blanks of the other animals plus all the names of these cool creatures. Also the guy who wrote Richard's new reptile book is the curator for the reptile house so we are hoping for a chance to meet him :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gecko Baby

Remember the gecko eggs in our screen?
This is flipped sideways, Blue: Full Eggs, Red: Old Hatched Shells, Yellow: Pregnant Mama Gecko

Well on Sunday they hatched!

and here is the tiny little baby just after hatching! Sadly we didn't get to watch it hatch but we are happy we found it before it got smashed!
Isn't he so cute! I want to shrink so I can give it a little kiss! Welcome to the world little baby!

Look at those precious little feet! We loved the coloring on him.

The other egg must have hatched later that night because the next morning there was only part of the shell left.
I'm glad humans get to hang out with their babies for a few years before they grow up and go away. I would not make a very good gecko mama. 


Just a few hours ago I dropped Ben off at the airport. Here are some highlights of our trip:

Day one:
Go shopping for real board shorts, regular shorts, new t-shirts and his first pair of flip flops... You cant live in Hawaii without flip flops :D

Day two:
Head up to North Shore! 
We went to my favorite beach: Chuns Reef.

I taught him how to cut through the waves so that he didn't swallow too much salt water. 
We saw several sea turtles and ended up with wicked sunburns! Ow!

This is Sharks Cove (I think):

(see the blow hole in the back ground?)
We checked out the tide pools at sharks cove and had some AMAZING plate lunches from the 3Plate food truck. I had the mystery fish and Ben had the shrimp. They both were mind blowingly delicious!
We saw another sea turtle there.
Our last stop was a fruit stand where Ben bought a perfectly ripe pineapple and a yellow mango.

Day three:
Went on an awesome kayak tour of the windward side of the island and paddled out to the Mokulua Islands right off the coast.
We got to see some awesome reef and the entire small island was a nature preserve and nesting ground for Shearwaters (mini Hawaiian albatross) You had to be careful because their nests were everywhere! We also got to take a dip in the 'Queen's Bath'. It is a large refreshing tide pool. Ben brought his camera so I'll have to update this section with pictures after he gets back to California and can send them to me.

Day four:
Richard got to hang out with us today!!! Armed with a stack of 'Daily Deals' did the Honolulu tour.
Honolulu Zoo in the morning (I'm making a separate post about this)
Then LuLu's for lunch. Richard got an amazing Mahi Mahi sandwich, I got the Angry Hog (a bbq/kalua pork sandwich) and Ben had their fish tacos. Its an open air restaurant and we could watch the surfers out on Waikiki. 
We tried the Hamster Balls, they were EXHAUSTING! 
On the way back to the beach we did the window shop walk. We spent the last few hours of daylight swimming at Waikiki Beach. After getting cleaned up we ate some very authentic Japanese food. We all enjoyed it but I can't remember what any of it was called :)
And ended the day with Menchies! 

Day five:
The boys did some go-kart racing and then we spent the rest of the day relaxing in the park

Day six:
Hanauma Bay! It was Ben's first time snorkeling and he got really lucky. The water was PERFECT! Plus the Best fish variety and some of the biggest I've ever seen. We saw a few that almost out-weighed me! I saw this one that was so sparkly and so rainbowy that if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe it. I wish I had a way to show you.

Day seven:
We were going to go to the Bishop Museum but turns out they were closed :( But we had a relaxing day instead and finally got to see the crabs that make these holes:

Aren't they funny!! 

flip flops and palms
a fresh puffer

Then we caught the last sunset of the trip :)

Thanks for coming to visit Ben!