Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fun in the Sun!

I feel like I need to apologize...I have been a really bad blogger lately.  I don't have a real excuse, but I am so accustomed to posting my "photo of the day" on Facebook, I feel like that is enough.  However, I know a few of you who read this aren't actually on Facebook.  So I am going to try and be better for the rest of the year.
It has been BLAZING HOT in Birmingham the past week and change, and it appears it isn't going to change anytime soon, unless Hurricane Debby and her outerbands head this way and give us some much needed rain (which we doubt will occur).  Obviously it hasn't affected me that much since I have been out of town, but now that I am back I am hiding in the air conditioning.  It really is too hot to be outside, even if you are swimming.  However, Pres gets bored on the days he doesn't go to camp so we are always looking for activities.

Today our library put a sprinkler out, a couple of baby pools and this huge water slide for the kids to enjoy.  Of course we had to partake in the fun.  The waterslide had two slides, and one was a little taller and steeper...which was the only one that Preston would go down.  The lines were long, so he went down four times, but he didn't complain.  Seeing friends there made the time go by faster, and it was the perfect way to spend an hour and a half!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Another Night with the Mizeranys

This summer Bennett has been attending day camp through the Homewood Parks and Recreation.  It is such an awesome camp, with a variety of daily activities and one field trip each week.  Though Bennett has plenty to say to those she knows, she can be a little shy around new people so I wasn't sure how she would adapt.  As it turns out, my concerns were not needed as she has really enjoyed camp.  I know she is thriving there too because I have my two nieces and nephew who are counselors and get to spy on her for me.

Everyday she comes home with stories about her day....people she played with, things they did, etc.  Today she came home with a new trick.  Evidently a boy at her camp is quite talented (as everyone in her camp class is only 4-6 years old), and she thought his trick was the coolest thing ever.  So she came home and tried it over and over, and couldn't actually do it, but the whole family got a laugh out of her trying.  Unfortunately, I can't do it either, so I told her to ask her daddy...who I knew could.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ringing in My 40s in Kauai, Hawaii

Several months ago, Brian invited me to join him in Kauai on a leaders trip (AKA - a rewards trip from his company for all of the top producers and guests).  Since they had just had Lucy, Shannon wasn't willing to make the long trip with an infant, and Brian did not want to go alone.  I talked to Steve about it, and accepted the invitation.  Steve's only request was that I find someone to watch the kids during the day so he didn't need to take vacation time to do it.  I guess the stars aligned because my mother volunteered to come down since my father was fishing in Canada.  Her only request was that the kids attend camp some that week, which I was able to put them in too!

So fast forward a couple of months, and here we are!  It was a long trip to Hawaii (especially with delays at both layovers), but we made it!  Since I was not able to sleep on the flight, I was ready to go to bed when we arrived, but we forced ourselves into this time zone.  After a couple of hours of fun, my eyes were crossing so I hit the hay.  Just as everyone predicted, I awoke at 3am, and again at 6am for the day.  Brian had his only mandatory meeting for the week, so I hit the gym and explored the hotel before ending up by the pool bar with my book.  Since it was raining on and off, that was the only place I could find shelter (without being in my room).  So I sipped on an "Aloha Mary" and chilled.

That afternoon I met up with Brian and his boss/friend, Michael Fox and his guest, Sammy for lunch.  It continued to rain, so it didn't leave us with much to do but sit by the bar with others.  That evening we were invited to a cocktail hour on one of the many terraces of the hotel, and then dinner at a local tapas place, BarAcuda.  Once again, I was exhausted by 11pm, so I returned to the room.

Wednesday morning we went kayaking and snorkeling (again in the rain).   Due to the weather, we didn't see anything too terrific while snorkeling, and the kayaking ended up being more work than we thought it would be.  I wish I could have taken a couple of photos along the way, but they suggested we leave all electronics behind.  Again the rain tried to impede our activities, but we decided to sit in the jacuzzi anyway and have a couple cocktails.  That evening we had a terrific dinner at Kauai Grill with two other couples.  We shared a couple of appetizers, and I enjoyed a fabulous steak!  Then we had coffee martinis to toast the evening.  It is ranked the #1 restaurant in Kauai by Zagat, and I could taste why!

Thursday we finally awoke to a sunny day, and wow what a difference a little sun can make!  That morning we went horseback riding, then hiked to a waterfall where we were able to swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and have lunch.  We then hiked back up to our horses and rode them back to the stable.  Since it was finally sunny, we put on our suits and headed to pool.  We swam for several hours, and it was awesome to feel the sun on my shoulders!  That night we were invited to have dinner with a Lincoln board member.  We were expecting it to be a stuffy night, but he ended up being a lot of fun.

Friday I awoke to lots of emails, text messages and facebook postings wishing me a happy birthday (thank you everyone)!  It was a great way to start the day, and my new decade of life!  It is hard to believe I am 40 years old, but I feel healthy, and happy with where I am in life, so how can I complain?  I started the day with breakfast, and then Brian and I took a helicopter tour around the island.  We fortunately got the only two front row seats by the pilot, so we had a great view of everything.  It was a sunny, clear day, but when we traveled to the middle of the island to the second highest place on the island, Mount Waialeale, it began raining.  I wasn't shocked though, since it is the wettest place on earth, raining an average of 450 inches of rain a year!!

Na Pali Coastline
Waimea Canyon
Famed "Fantasy Island" double waterfalls
Ariel of Queen's Bath

Following the tour, we changed clothes and met up with some folks to walk to Queen's Bath.  It is a unique area that forms several pools of water by the way the lava rock has settled.  The waves crash into the rock and the water swirls around.  There are several different ones, and is described by many to be a very dangerous place to take a dip.  In fact, the concierge and hotel staff wouldn't even give us directions there because people have died.  We were unsure if we would swim there when we initially set off to explore it, but after arriving and seeing the more gentle

pool, we couldn't resist.  However, there are signs posted everywhere reminding people to never turn your back on the ocean because its temperament could change in an instant.  Of course, we were the dummies who did for a quick photo, and you can see what happened.  As we decided to head out, some locals were arriving to jump off the cliffs into a more dangerous one.  We couldn't believe what we were watching!  When they first jumped in, the water appeared more calm (I still wouldn't have done it, but I can see how a crazy teenager might be provoked).  However, within a minute, a huge wave crashed over the partial wall, causing the water to swell about 10 feet and then it started swirling around and began pulling the boys out to sea.  They remained calm though and fought it carefully, and eventually swam back in and was able to scale the lava wall before another large wave came roaring into the pool.  It was a crazy thing to watch, and kept us interested for about 45 minutes.  We finally decided to head back because we hadn't had lunch yet, and it was almost 3pm.  Several of us ran back, which was nice to work up a little sweat.
Chilling in Queen's Bath

Turning our back on the ocean...a BIG no no!
Yes, we're stupid enough to do it again, but quickly!

Though I don't have any video, hopefully my words and these photos can help you see the stupidity of these kids, and how dangerous it really is!

hanging on for dear life!
After lunch and a short nap, we attended Lincoln's final party of the week...a traditional Hawaiian Luau. They went all out decorating the lawn of the St. Regis into a beautiful area, with the ocean as the backdrop. Though I was not a fan of the food that night (in fact I only ate fruit and a tart for dessert), I was thoroughly entertained by all of the dancers. They did several different dances, and even the guys danced with fire!
Brian, me, Sammy and Fox

My Birthday Sunset (on our last night)

After the luau, Lincoln treated everyone to more entertainment at the hotel bar, with an open bar and dueling pianos.  They sang all of the popular sing-along tunes.  When they quit treating, I headed back.  Celebrating my 40th was not the same without Steve and my friends. :(

On our last day, I awoke with one mission....I wanted fresh fish tacos!  I had heard about several great places, and needed my fix before departing.  Our only problem was getting there to eat them and back to the hotel by 11:30 when our shuttle for the airport was leaving.  This wouldn't have been a big deal in any other place, but in Kauai, there are NO STINKING TAXIS, especially on the northwest side of the island where we were staying.  However, Brian wasn' t worried, so we headed out.  As we were walking out, Fox called and said he was picking us up in a jeep.  I was like "seriously, could this get any better?"  So, though we didn't have a ride back (he was only driving us into town), we went ahead and ate probably the best fish tacos I have had.  They were fresh, and spicy!  Spicy enough where by upper lip, nose and eyebrows were sweating (Steve always makes fun of how those areas on my face can sweat).  The owner of the place called all 3 cab services on the island, and none of them could return us to our hotel, but she quickly said that she would be more than happy to drive us back to our hotel.  Again, I couldn't believe our luck.  What a NICE woman!!
On top of the ride, she filled us in on little random facts about Kauai, as she is a true native (born and raised).  It was a great way to end our trip, and it left a good impression on me.

However, the first question many people ask me is "would you return?"....and my answer is probably not.  I now feel that I have been there, done that.  That is not to say I wouldn't return to a different island of Hawaii though....maybe sometime in the future with Steve.  But I did have a wonderful time with my brother.  Traveling with just Brian as adults is a rare opportunity, and one that I am sure we won't be able to duplicate.  I thank you Brian for thinking of me, and bringing me along.