Tuesday: Driving/Hiking Day

On Tuesday, a group of us spent the day exploring and hiking on Oahu.

3.5 Hiking (15)
Carl’s brother, Jim; Jim’s wife, Linda; me (& Carl); Kelly; my niece, Kate; Kate’s boyfriend, Robert

Jim and Linda had told us about the Shaka Guide app for their cell phone that they had used the day before. The Shaka app uses GPS navigation to guide you on narrated self-driving tours, telling you interesting facts along the way (much like our All Day Bus Tour did). So Carl, Kelly and I drove with them (Kate and Robert followed in their own car…listening to the tour on speaker phone) and did part of a tour on our way to our first hike, making a few interesting stops along the way.

3.5 Hiking (2)

We finally arrived at the Koko Crater Hike, a grueling 1,000-plus railroad tie hike up to the top of the 1,200 foot volcanic cone. It’s hard to fathom the height and steepness of this trail, but we walked all the way to the very top.

3.5 Hiking (18).jpg

Here’s another view, looking down towards the bottom.

3.5 Hiking (16).jpg

We rewarded ourselves with Leonard’s Malasadas (donuts) afterwards.

3.5 Hiking (20)

Although I could have been done after that, Jim and Linda were not to be deterred and continued on the Shaka Tour, stopping at the (From Here to) Eternity Beach for a photo…

3.5 Hiking (25).jpg

and smooch (since I couldn’t get my husband to lay down in the sand with me like in the movie).

3.5 Hiking (23)

Our next stop was another, much easier hike, which was luckily more like a casual (although steady) 2-mile walk up a paved inclined road. We were rewarded with some awesome views at the top.

3.5 Hiking (30).jpg

Carl also had fun exploring a WWII bunker.

3.5 Hiking (31).jpg

We saw some beautiful beaches as we continued along on our Shaka tour….

3.5 Hiking (38)

and took this fun panoramic photo.

3.5 Hiking (37)

Did you notice the twin Kellys on both ends? Ha! I posted that photo on Facebook and nobody seemed to notice.

3.5 Hiking (46)

It was a really fun day spent with Jim, Linda, Kelly, Kate and Robert.

3.5 Hiking (47)

Makes us want to jump for joy!




Monday: Pearl Harbor

On the Monday after the wedding, a group of us went to Pearl Harbor for the afternoon. That proved to be a little challenging for those that drank a little too much the evening before (coughcoughCarlandZack).

Pearl Harbor (2)

Unfortunately, the Arizona Memorial is currently closed for repairs so we were not able to dock on the memorial but could only take the boat out near the memorial for a glimpse from the water.

Pearl Harbor (14)

We also checked out the USS Bowfin Submarine, which proved challenging with our two mobility impaired relatives (Carl’s dad and my aunt Sandy) but they made it through all of the little portals and no one was left behind.

Pearl Harbor (6)

We ran out of time to do more at Pearl Harbor so Carl and I look forward to returning on another trip to see the Battleship and Aviation Museum and to actually land on the Arizona Memorial.

Pearl Harbor (9)

It was at Pearl Harbor that we met the Scooter rental company to obtain scooters for Carl’s dad and my Aunt Sandy to use for the week for all of our fun activities.

Pearl Harbor (10)

Being a newby scooter driver, my father-in-law promptly bashed his foot into a pole while navigating the scooter onto the shuttle boat and spent the rest of the week nursing a bruised and swollen foot, thinking that it was broken (a visit to the doctor on his return home proved otherwise). Such a bummer-of-a-way to spend the rest his week but at least it happened AFTER the wedding.3.5 Dinner Crew (1).jpg

And it helped that our rental house was large and open and allowed him to scoot about the house with ease! The kids (young and older) enjoyed having scooter races around the house during down times.

Hale Halai (12)

More fun activities to follow the rest of the week.


Praises, Traveling

Go Oahu Cards

If you are ever traveling to Oahu, I highly recommend purchasing a Go Oahu Card. It’s an even better deal at Costco with four days for the price of three listed on the website. With the Go Oahu card, you can attend one premium attraction and as many regular attractions as you can schedule during 4-days over a 2-week period (they do not have to be 4 consecutive days). Many of us purchased our cards during a $10 off sale so we paid $189 for a 4-day card. For the $189, we were able to do the following activities while in Oahu:



  • All of Oahu in One Day Bus Tour $98 value: Carl and I did this on our first full day in Oahu and it was a great introduction to the island with a fantastic tour bus driver, “Cousin Dorothy.” She explained all sorts of facts and history of the island and stopped at many scenic places throughout the day, including the Dole Plantation.

2.28 Bus Tour (6)

We enjoyed the tour and although it was about 8-1/2 hours on a bus, she made frequent stops to allow us to get off at various sites for anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes for lunch.

So for Carl and I, we participated in $450 worth of activities for $189 (for each of us)…a total savings of $522!! Wow!

Many of these are activities that we wouldn’t have done if we were paying full price but since they were included, we figured why not. The key to getting the most value from your card is to plan ahead and make reservations in advance. It was definitely a deal and I’m glad that we bought these for our group. I’ll tell you about more of these activities over the next few days.

They also offer Go City Cards for other locations so if you are traveling to one of the places listed below, you might want to check it out!


Odds and Ends, Praises, Traveling

Anthony and Kameko’s Wedding Decor

I just wanted to share some more photos of the beautiful wedding decor and setting for the festivities. This gives you an idea of the set up, with the vertical lines on the left where the chairs were set up for the ceremony and the tables for the reception on the larger lawn to the right.


When I ordered the white paper lanterns, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but the tree near where the guests sat was the perfect backdrop for them.

1. Getting Ready (21).jpg

They look so pretty in the photos of people walking down the aisle!

5. Ceremony (6).jpg

After the ceremony, the chairs were moved around the tables that were already set up underneath the icicle lights.

6. Reception (65)

As the wind kept knocking down the table centerpieces, we just ended up laying the greenery in the center of the tables (they are still standing in the photo below).

6. Reception (18).jpg

Under the lanai, we set up the drink station, guest book station, favor table and appetizer/dessert table. (The dinner buffet was set up inside the house.)

6. Reception (2)

6. Reception (1)

Instead of a guest book, there were wooden hearts for the guest to sign and place into a frame. So cute!

6. Reception (33).jpg

Kameko made little pots of succulents from her grandma’s garden for take-home gifts for locals and Hawaiian honey pots for those that were traveling.

1. Getting Ready (12).jpg

This photo from later in the week shows the pretty lights that Carl hung around the lanai. The pool fence and patio tables/chairs had been moved to open it up. I also bought a box of floating candles to place in the pool during the reception.


Everything was really so beautiful and we couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

6. Reception (46)

I have to admit that when Anthony and Kameko were still transplanting succulent pots on the morning of the wedding or when they were shopping for her wedding ring on Saturday morning one-hour before picking the grandparents up from the airport or when they were having her wedding dress altered on the Friday before the wedding, I had my doubts. When Carl and I were driving those 10 and 12-foot cemented posts sticking out of our rental van at 8pm at night down the winding, country road out to the wedding house on Friday night before the wedding, I had my doubts. When we placed the first bucket with the post on the ground and it promptly fell over due to the uneven ground, I had my doubts. When Carl was out there for hours and hours trying to get the lights just right and prevent them from toppling onto the heads of our guests, I had my doubts.

1. Getting Ready (27).jpg

But in the end, everything came together perfectly. It turned out beyond our expectations and was the most beautiful, lovely wedding we could imagine.

Congratulations on a job well done, Anthony and Kameko!

Praises, The Family, Traveling

Sunday, 3/3/19: Anthony and Kameko’s Wedding

We are back from two glorious and amazing weeks in Hawaii. The main attraction, of course, was the wedding so I am going to start my week of blogging recap with that event.

1. Getting Ready (43)
Kameko’s gift to the bridesmaids were these cute matching “getting ready” pj sets.

About 10 days before the wedding, one of Kameko’s original bridesmaids was starting to flake so in a bold move, she fired her and invited Kelly to be a bridesmaid instead. We were thrilled to have both of Anthony’s siblings participate in the wedding.

1. Getting Ready (47).jpg
Kameko’s sister, Geraldine (or Lani) served as Maid of Honor; Kelly; a friend from Camp Homelani, Meghan.

Since the bridesmaids were free to choose any dress in a wine color, Kelly was able to go online, find the perfect dress and have it sent to her with expedited shipping with no problem. Kelly was a beautiful addition to the wedding party and looked fantastic in her dress.

1. Getting Ready (34).jpg

My boy looked so handsome in the new suit that he bought from Macy’s.

1. Getting Ready (66).jpg

He asked his brother, Zack to be his best man and two Hawaiian friends from college to be his groomsmen.

3. Wedding Party (5).jpg

All 16 family members that rented the house together, the wedding party and a few assorted friends of Anthony and Kameko were a tremendous help in getting set up for the wedding.

4. Family Portraits (26)

From spending hours setting up the icicle lights, hanging paper lanterns in the trees, steaming wrinkles out of table cloths, setting up tables and chairs and helping clean up, it was a true family effort with everyone pitching in to help. We couldn’t have done it without all of them!

4. Family Portraits (14).jpg

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful, with a back drop of the mountains behind the bride and groom.

5. Ceremony (59)

It was a tear-jerker from the moment Carl and I walked down the aisle to 10,000 Reasons (a significant song for us as we sang this song on the day that Anthony was baptized while attending MN Teen Challenge) until Anthony and Kameko were pronounced husband and wife. One of the sweetest moments was to see Zack pat his weeping brother on the back while Kameko came walking down the aisle.

5. Ceremony (21)

We provided soft drinks, beer, wine and the two signature cocktails for refreshments. Anthony’s friends all claimed that I was the boss cocktail master as they all thoroughly enjoyed the cocktails!

6. Reception (24)

We had an authentic Hawaiian buffet meal and ate under the beautiful lights.

6. Reception (35).jpg

It was even more beautiful as night fell and the tables were moved aside for dancing.

Wedding (30)

It really was a picture-perfect day and things could not have gone more smoothly or more beautifully. I asked Anthony and Kameko what they would have done differently and they said “not a thing…it was absolutely perfect” and they loved every minute. So did all of those in attendance as well!

It was such a joy to celebrate their love and marriage in such a beautiful place. We are excited to see how the Lord will use them and their marriage to honor and glorify God. To Him be the glory for the great thing He has done in both of their lives and in bringing them together.

Praises, The Family, Traveling

One More Month!

According to the widget on my cell phone, we are at the one month mark until the big day!


Anthony and Kameko are in the midst of finalizing the details of the wedding…meeting with the Pastor, selecting the caterer, renting tables and chairs, hiring a DJ, securing a photographer and so many other details for the WEDDING!

On my end, I am making travel plans, shopping for new clothes, selecting wedding cocktails* and coordinating a week of lodging, travel and activities for 18 people! We ended up with that many from Anthony’s side who are traveling to Oahu for the big day: Carl and I, Zack, Kelly and Avram, Sue and Karl, my mom, my aunt Gale, my aunt Sandra, John and Laurie (my brother and wife), Jim and Linda (Carl’s brother and wife), and Scott and Kim (Anthony’s godfather). My niece, Kate, and her boyfriend are also coming but are staying in their own Airbnb nearby.



I have an insane number of detailed spreadsheets to keep track of everything and everybody. Who gets in when. Who is renting their own vehicle. Who needs a ride from the airport. Who is doing what activity with us. Who is sharing in dinner each night (we are taking turns cooking for the group). It’s crazy!


I heard about a great deal from Costco for a 4-day Go Oahu Discount Cards. For one price, you can schedule as many included activities as you want over a 4-day period (we purchased ours for $189 when they had a sale…the regular price is $199). Carl and I are saving $250 each by using the Go Oahu card. But that took a crazy amount of coordinating to get everyone’s cards ordered, decide on activities, schedule activities, etc.

*As far as cocktails, we are not having an fully open bar at the wedding due to the cost and difficulty in having varying kinds of liquor and all the other fixers then needed. Instead we decided upon wine and beer and a few “signature cocktails.” So for the past few months, I have been sampling recipes to come up with two fun cocktails to make in a large batch…and the winners are Hawaiian Martinis and Hawaiian Mai Tais.

We are very excited to be leaving in less than a month for our two-week Hawaiian vacation!

The Kids

New Year, New Update 2019

Last year at this time, I posted this update on the kids. I’ve added an update to that update to see what has changed in the past year.


(Jan, 2018) Kelly is finishing up her graduate work in Counseling and Psychological Services (Mental Health Counseling). She should have her coursework completed this summer. Next fall she will need to complete an unpaid internship and write her thesis paper. And then, if all goes well, she will get her Master’s degree next December. In the meantime, she’s holding down three jobs: substitute teaching for MSP public schools, nannying for Ollie and working as an AuPair coordinator. Keep up the great work, Kelly! 

(Jan, 2019) This is still pretty much the same although graduation was pushed back a bit…she’s a little more than halfway through her unpaid internship at a Mental Health Clinic (which she is enjoying) and she is going to begin working on her thesis paper. Her new anticipated graduation date is May, 2019. After that, she will begin two-years of supervised (paid) employment as a Mental Health Counselor, after which time she will be fully licensed. She doesn’t have time for substituting in the MSP schools but she still nannys occasionally and works as the AuPair coordinator. Avram bought a duplex house with his parents and brother (Avram’s side is a two-story unit and the other side has separate upstairs and downstairs units) and spent the past 6 months updating it. He and Kelly will be moving into his half of the house in March.


(Jan, 2018) Anthony found out that he only had two classes to take his last semester (Jan to April, 2019). So by taking one extra class each of the next two semesters, he will be able to graduate early, in December, 2018 (with our luck, it will be the same weekend that Kelly graduates).  He is very excited to move-up his relocation to Hawaii by one whole semester. He’s also informed us that upon graduation, he will be proposing to his Hawaiian girlfriend, Kameko. All-righty then! We can’t wait to meet the future Mrs. Miklas.

(Jan, 2019) Anthony did graduate in December. He did propose to his girlfriend, Kameko, albeit earlier than anticipated. And he did move to Hawaii on New Year’s Eve! Anthony is living with Kameko and her grandma Jane in Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii and they will most likely continue to do so after they are married to help care for the aging grandma Jane. He is spending much time now looking for his first “career” job and has a few good possibilities falling into place. More details to come. Kameko is spending much of her time finalizing wedding details. We are all looking forward to the March 3rd wedding!


(Jan, 2018) After dropping out of tech college back in September, Zack had a January 1st deadline to 1) be enrolled in tech school/college 2) be working full-time or 3) enlist in the military. He went with Option 2 and just began a new full-time job at a local lumber yard, pulling orders and stocking lumber racks. We are hoping that the boredom and tedium will eventually lead him to Option 3 but for the time-being he is working Monday through Fridays from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

(Jan, 2019) After working at the lumber yard full-time until September, 2018, Zack decided to give tech college another try and started some classes for a certificate in Computer Programming (while reducing his hours at the lumber yard). That did NOT go well and tech college is now off the board for the foreseeable future. He is back to working at the lumber yard full-time and trying to figure out how to get another/additional job so that he can move out of our house by the time he’s 21 years old on November 11th (a goal that his parents have set for him). Grandma Sandy…get Zack’s room ready!

That’s all the latest news of the kids! Happy New Year!