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Cruise Two weeks after returning from Japan we went to Hawaii for 10 days. Seven of the days we would be cruising through the Hawaiian Islands aboard NCL’s Pride of America, the rest of the days would be spent on Kauai with the Gus and Cris. We arrived to Hawaii as scheduled no emergency stops thank goodness. Paul did however, lose a crown while up in the air but thanks to Jaclyn (a cousin) and all her contacts in Honolulu we were able to see a dentist as soon as we landed and take care of the situation. That evening we had dinner with Gus, Chris and Jaclyn then went back to the hotel to rest. The next morning The family picked us up at the hotel and took us on a grand tour of the island of Oahu then in the afternoon to the docks so we could board the cruise ship.

Our first stop was Maui where we spend 2 days. We had an amazing time driving our yellow convertible corvette down the road to Hana then up to Haleakala to watch an amazing sunset. The next day we woke up bright an early to snorkel Molokini Crater where we had an unfortunate accident. The housing on our video camera leaked and was no longer working. Once arriving back on land we went in search of a new video camera. We found one at Sears. With the new camera on hand we drove up the coast to Lahaina then to Iao Valley State Park.

Next stop was The Big Island where we made 2 stops, Hilo and Kona. In Hilo we had an AM tour to Volcanoes National Park then in the afternoon we took a helicopter ride over the active volcano. We spent the evening traveling around the island to the dry side (Kona) and viewing an amazing lava flow into the ocean. The beaches at Kona were beautiful. We rented a car and drove up the coast to Hapuna Beach and Wailea Bay where we found some fabulous snorkeling spots. We then drove down the coast to check out the black sand beaches south of Kona. We were not impressed. The beaches north of Kona are much more beautiful in our opinion.

Our last stop was Kauai where we disembarked and spent a few days visiting the family. We visited the entire beautiful island, from the beaches at Polihale to Ke’e which are at opposite ends of the Na Pali Coast. In other words at the end of the road the circles the island. The road ends at the Na Pali coast because the terrain is to steep and rugged to construct a highway. We also drove to the Waimea Canyon, which is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. A boat trip down the Na Pali coast aboard a zodiac was also part of our adventure.

We spent our last day in Honolulu where we visited Pearl Harbor. We went out to the USS Arizona Memorial, toured the Missouri Battleship, boarded the Bowfin submarine and had a private tour of a Hanger in Pacific Aviation Musuem. We also had a chance to go to a Luau at the hotel. The day after we returned home it was time for me to go back to work. Summer was officially over!
Published Mar 14, 2011 - 05:32 PM

Airplane The day after returning from Sarasota we left for Japan. Paul was going for work and I was tagging along for fun. Alexa and Paul Andrew stayed with my parents for the 2 weeks while we were away. We made 2 unexpected stops on our way to Japan. Our first stop was Shemya, Alaska, home to the Eareckson Air Force base, and one of the last of the Aleutian Islands before Russia. The pilot told us we may have a fire in the cargo hold and were going to be making an emergency landing on the island. We spent about 6 hours on the island, hanging out in an old airplane hanger and the mess hall. Once the plane was cleared for takeoff, we were told we would not be able to continue to Tokyo, and would have to spend a day in Anchorage, Alaska. So we spent a day in Anchorage before finally arriving in Tokyo.

After our arrival in Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Numazu where Paul would be working. While Paul spent his day working, I walked around the town, visited the fish market, shopped and just relaxed. We spent our first weekend in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. We visited some amazing temples in Kyoto and even got to see a festival (Gion Matsuri). Osaka was a major city. While there, we walked along a part of town just filled with lights, throngs of people, restaurants and karaoke bars. It was unlike anything I had seen before. We also visited Osaka castle then headed over to Tokyo to spend a day and a half there. While in Tokyo we visited the shops in Ginza (Apple Store of course), Tokyo Tower and traveled outside the city to a town called Kamakura. While in Kamakura we visited more temples and hiked about 3 miles to Daibutsu, which is a large Buddha. Once the weekend was over, we went back to Numazu till Friday. Friday evening, we hopped back on the Shinkansen and headed back to Tokyo. This time in Tokyo we visited the Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills (large shopping mall), Akihabara (the electronics area) and the Tsukiji Fish market for the daily Tuna auction.

Sunday morning we began or trip home. The flight to LAX was interesting because it was the pilot’s last flight. Once we landed in LAX we were met by 2 fire trucks spraying water on the airplane. Paul had to remain in LAX for the week and I continued home.
Published Nov 21, 2010 - 07:40 PM

Beach This summer was the summer of traveling. Paul spent the end of June in South Africa for work. It was an exciting time to be in South Africa because the World Cup was going on during that time. Unfortunately, Paul was unable to attend a game. He did however go to a lion preserve (Ukutula) where he was able to pet and walk around with the lions.

As a family, we spent a week in Siesta Key. Paul, Tina, Gene, Daniel, Cristy, Katie and Eddy just spent the first weekend with us. Arturo, Yoyi, the kids and myself were there all week. Abu and Aba joined us on Tuesday. The kids had a great time watching the fireworks, playing in the sand, swimming in the ocean and even going on a pirate treasure hunt.
Published Nov 21, 2010 - 07:36 PM

Disney On Friday, March 5, we drove up to Disney for the Royal Family 5K run which is part of the Princess Marathon weekend. Dan, Dave, Paul and I woke up early Saturday morning for the jog/run. It was a beautiful day for a run through EPCOT. On Sunday, morning Cristy ran the Princess half marathon. The whole family came over to cheer us on: Yoyi, Arturo, Gene, Tina, Lori and the kids.

The weekend wasn't all about the races we also visited 3 parks and stayed at the Treehouse Villas which are part of Saratoga Springs. Friday, we went to Animal Kingdom where we took Pictures with the characters at Camp Minnie Mickey, rode the flying dinosaurs, watched the parade and The Finding Nemo Musical.

Saturday, after the race we visited the Magic Kingdom. We did the usual, rode the carousel, Its a Small World, the teacups, the kiddie roller coaster,visited Minnie and Mickeys house and took pictures with the characters. We also had a wonderful lunch with the princesses in Cinderella's Castle.

Sunday, after Christina's race we went to EPCOT. Alexa, of course had to visit the Character Spot for her pictures. We also rode on Nemo, Imagination, Mexico and Norway. Alexa also had her first ride on Soarin. She was a bit nervous at times holding on to mine and Arturo's hand but she also screamed out WOW and loved flying over Disneyland. We had a quiet ride home with Alexa fast asleep in the back and Paul Andrew watching movies.
Published Mar 11, 2010 - 11:21 PM

Birthday Paul Andrew turned 2 years old on February 11. We celebrated his birthday on Saturday, February 6 at Gymboree. He had a great time climbing up the ramps, sliding down the slides, popping bubbles, jumping on the air log and playing under the parachute. He ate plenty of popcorn chicken, pizza, and some of his Paul Frank monkey cake. We all had a blast!
Published Feb 27, 2010 - 09:47 PM

Disney We once again visited Disney in January. This time it was for my birthday, Paul's last class in Orlando and Cristy was running a half marathon. We celebrated my birthday on Friday with dinner at the Italian pavillion in Epcot. The food was delicious. Despite the rain and freezing temperatures, Alexa insisted we watch the fireworks over the lagoon.

Saturday morning we were greeted by more rain and freezing temperatures. Cristy was raining that morning and saw snow, sleet and rain. We cheered her on at the Epcot finish line then went to Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort for a character breakfast. Thankfully the weather cleared up and we had a great time at the Magic Kingdom.

Sunday was a beautiful day eventhough it was still very cold. We spent the morning at Hollywood Studios. We did the usual rides and shows: playhouse disney, the little mermaid, toy story mania and pictures with the characters. We had a great time.
Published Feb 27, 2010 - 09:40 PM

Airplane In November we tagged along on one of Paul's work trips to California. We of course visited Disneyland and had breakfast with Minnie and friends and had lunch with the Princess' at Ariel's grotto. This time we visited plenty of parks, Craig Park in Brea, William Mason Park in Irvine and Irvine Regional Park. Alexa and Paul Andrew love playing in the park. Irvine Regional Park was real nice because we got to ride a train, ride ponies, play in the park and visit the zoo. We also saw a one ring circus in downtown Brea the day we arrived. On our last day we visited Ana Maria in Huntington Beach and took the kids for a walk down by the beach. We took a red eye home and thank goodness the kids slept most of the way home.

Now in December we did our annual trip to Disneyworld for Very Mickey Christmas. Unfortunately this year s Very Mickey Christmas was very wet. We stayed in the Magic Kingdom a few hours, had dinner with Winnie and friends at Crystal Palace, rode a few rides, took pictures with some characters, had hot chocolate and cookies then called it a night around 9. Saturday, the weather was much better. Christina and my mom went to the outlets, Paul went to class and my dad the kids and I went to EPCOT. Alexa wanted to go so she could take her picture at the Character Spot. After lunch in England of fish chips and of course beer for the adults, we met up with everyone at Hollywood Studios. We rode Toy Story Mania, saw the playhouse disney show, Ariel show, and the Osborne Family lights. Sunday we had breakfast with the characters at Chef Mickeys. However, before breakfast we saw the Jonas Brothers in concert for the filming of the Christmas Day parade at Disneyworld. Look for us in the audience on December 25. We are waving yellow pieces of cloth.
Published Dec 13, 2009 - 02:00 PM

Disney In September we visited Disney twice and began October with a trip down to Miami Beach. Our first trip to Disney was a weekend that Paul had class. Tia Cristy came along to help me out with the kids while Paul was in class. We visited Hollywood studies where we had lunch at Hollywood and Vine with Leo, June, Jojo and Goliath. Dan joined us for dinner in Downtown Disney at the T-Rex restaurant. The kids really enjoyed see all the dinosaurs, meteor showers and ice cave come alive every 20 minutes. Sunday as usual we visited the Magic Kingdom while Paul was in class.

Two weeks later we returned to Disney to cheer Tia as she ran the Expedition Everest 5K and scavenger hunt. The race was at night so we spent the day at EPCOT enjoying the Food and Wine festival. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time and the kids loved it. They loved the bunk beds and watching the animals from the rooms balcony. Not so Scary was also going on so the kids got all dressed up in their Peebles and Bam Bam outfits and trick or treated around the Magic Kingdom. Alexa and Paul Andrew also loved dancing with all Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and friends. Sunday morning began with a delicious breakfast at The Polynesian with Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey. After a ride on the monorail we headed back home.

The following weekend Gene and Tina invited us to spend the weekend at their timeshare, Solara Surfise, in Miami Beach. The kids love playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean. It has been a very busy couple of months
Published Dec 13, 2009 - 01:39 PM

House Summer is over, and its back to work for Gloria, back to school for Alexa, and first day of school for Paul Andrew. Gloria is back at her school from last year, with few changes to her schedule. Alexa is now doing mornings at Gateway, and then going to Coral Park Elementary for classes in the afternoon, a busy young girl.

Paul Andrew started Gateway this year, being the youngest, and cutest in his class. He was not apprehensive on his first day, he ran around the classroom a few times, until he got settled at his favorite new station, the magnetic letters painter’s easel. There, he likes to play with the letters and numbers, placing them on the board, and then taking them down. On the third day of class that week, the kids figured out what school was about, and they were all crying when we arrived. Of course he cried until we distracted him with the letters. He’s learning quickly, and by Friday had tricked the teachers that he was sick, so he could20get out early!

Like last year, Paul has to drop off the kids at Gateway, because Gloria has to be at work before the school opens. This year, Paul takes both kids in the MDX, and then swaps cars at Gloria’s school, before finishing his commute to Beckman Coulter.
Published Sep 05, 2009 - 03:17 AM

Airplane Taking advantage of a work trip for Paul, we headed to Australia for 2 weeks last month. Paul headed out first, for work, and Gloria followed a few days later. The time difference was difficult to manage at first, but got better eventually. We spent the first week In Sydney, where Paul was working. The hotel was located in the “Rocks”, which is the oldest part of Sydney. The location was wonderful, with many shops and restaurants nearby, and only a few minutes walk from the downtown and the Opera House. On the first weekend, we did the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, an amazing trek up a 40 story bridge! We also took a wine tour in the Hunter Valley, a couple hours outside of the city. While Paul was at work Gloria had a great time walking around the city. She visited the Botanical Gardens, the Victoria Building(a shopping mall), the Australia Museum, walked up and down St George and Elizabeth Street (more shopping) and enjoyed the cafes in The Rocks. Gloria also took the bus out to Bondi Beach and enjoyed the walk along the cliffs from Bondi to Bronte Beach so much she made it a point to make sure we went back before leaving Sydney.

After Paul finished up work, we took a flight up north to the tropical city of Cairns. We took a dive boat out to the Great Barrier Reef. Paul scuba dived for the first time, and Gloria did some snorkeling. The coral was amazing, but not as much fish as the Florida Keys… I am sure it depends on the dive spot. The next day, we took a scenic railroad to the rainforest city of Kuranda, and got our pictures taken with Koalas, and fed some Kangaroos.

Then we were off to Brisbane. In Brisbane, we caught our breath, and just chilled out for a day. We went to the Australia Zoo, better known as the Crocodile Hunter’s zoo. Later, we stopped to visit Gloria’s friend, Susana and Tim, and Aaron and their new son Alec. The next day, we rented a car, got up early in the morning, and drove up to Hervey Bay to see Humpback whales. It was worth it, as the whales really put on a show. Driving on the opposite side of the road was also interesting. Finally, it was time to go home, and we were missing the kids very much at that point.
Published Sep 05, 2009 - 03:16 AM


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