October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

Abby and I had a fun Tuesday afternoon at the pumpkin patch last week. It was cold and looked like rain, so that scared off most people giving us the patch to us without the crazy crowds!

Going to the pumpkin patch is one of the things I dreamt of before Abby. It just holds a special place in my heart.

You read see our past times at the patch here, including our very first visit when my heart just overflowed with joy!

I bribed this sweet girl with skittles for smiles and overall, it seemed to work! She had fun running around and looking at the "funky" pumpkins.

This old truck has been in many a pictures and she was scared to get inside, but I am so glad she did. This one if my favorite!

I hope you enjoy the pumpkins, candy and cool fall weather this week!

October 22, 2012

Hawaii: Awards, Luau and Kid Rock

So each night in Hawaii as part of President's club, we have activities. Sunday night was low key- it was arrival night and we had a buffet and reception on the beach. There was lots of lanterns and lights, Hawaiian music and tables set in the sand. The perfect welcome to Hawaii!

Monday night was our most formal night and the "business" part of the trip- Awards Night! Every member of the President's Club was introduced and given a crystal award. We had the best table- table #1 on the front row! Our tables hosts were the supplier that sponsored Marcus. It was nice to meet them and thank them for bringing us!

Comedian John Pinette and a broadway group performing four popular shows were our entertain for the evening. It made for the best awards show. It was well broken up and a super fun evening.

The award winners were greeted onstage by the executive leadership team including Marcus' division boss Kris whom we both really like. It is wonderful to see a boss (three levels up from Marcus) that knows my name and asks about our daughter with sincere interest. Marcus would happily follow Kris anywhere in the company!

The next evening was a luau at the Kilohana plantation.

Before the luau, we rode a train through the plantation to see all of the agriculture that they produce there. Everything from pineapple to avocado- they have the biggest produce compared to Texas!

The luau was pretty cool- a great light and music show included. They presented the pig for our dinner first which is traditional. It cooks all day buried in the ground in a pit and is shown to the crowd before being shredded for dinner.

The buffet was okay- lots of traditional food. I think it was hard to be impressed after such amazing food for so many days. It was also hotter and more humid than normal. So, hot food in a hot room is hard. Marcus' co-worker John didn't care for the poi. It looks like purple wallpaper paste. Yuck!

The luau dancers were beautiful. Their costumes and flat stomachs were impressive! 

Wednesday night was the big Kid Rock and REO Speedwagon concert. To prepare for the evening, they had tattoos for everyone, glamour make-up stations and rock star photo booths. Marcus went for the prison look with a neck tattoo. He was wise to remove it the next morning before we had to fly home!

REO Speedwagon was a two-man acoustic and I failed to capture a good picture of them. I went up to our room during intermission and grabbed my good camera for Kid Rock. I sat in the back (although with only 500 people the back wasn't far!) and snapped pictures all evening. 
Marcus was such a fan that he went to the front and ended up about 3rd row for the concert!

Kid put on a great show- he played new stuff and popular hits everyone knew. He did a duet with one of his backup singers and was beaming with pride as she sang up front for the first time. It made me like him even more!

He even made a joke that he didn't know what the audience sells, but he wants to go to work for them if this is how they celebrate success. So true!

When we got back to our room, they had delivered Kid Rock posters and scotch glasses etched with his new album logo to our room. Top notch!

Luckily, we acclimated to the time change for this evening events! A five hour time change would have normally put me in bed at 6 PM. We had the most fun and sure hope to go to Maui with Avnet one year! 

A few more Hawaii posts to come- our last day on the island and some of the best pictures of the island. 

October 18, 2012

Hawaii: Part Two at the Grand Hyatt

So, on Sunday afternoon we returned our rental car and took the company shuttle to the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Resort and Spa for Marcus' company's 18th annual President's Club trip. It is top notch- they think of everything, provide everything, and make the trip pretty darn amazing!

Let's start with the hotel- here we are in the open air lobby. Behind us is a cut out to a Starbucks with seating on a balcony overlooking waterfalls that lead to the ocean.

This is Tidepools, the restaurant where we had breakfast each morning. It is set on the water and koi fish all around.

This is the view looking up at the balcony you access from the lobby. The reverse of the first picture above. The black lava rocks set against the greenery is just beautiful. Everywhere you look is a postcard!

There are a number of pools- a sandy salt water pool, traditional swimming pool, activities pool, little hot tubs like the one pictured here, a quiet adult pool and a fun lazy river pool with a water slide.

The resort cares for a number of birds on property who live in the lobby area. I loved the color of this one. There was also a traditional multi-colored parrot. He came with his handler to one of our events. 

 One of the amazing parts of this trip is the gifts- they give you lots of goodies upon arrival and then deliver things to your room each night while you are at dinner. 

We got fedora hats for the concert upon arrival. Marcus looked goofy in his and mine didn't fit. Boo! But, lots of people wore them all week and they looked great! Beyond being a cool hat, the black band was embroidered with the company's President's Club logo. 

The gifts are also presented so nicely and wrapped! We also get letters and a newsletter with the events of the next day each night. The gifts range from company gifts like a clock/pen holder to a set of scotch glasses with Kid Rock's new album logo etched on them and bottle of Kaua'i made rum. It is all well thought out and  fun to receive! Plus, they have a shipping station and pack it and mail it all back for you.

The first night was a reception to welcome everyone with a Hawaiian band, dinner and drinks. Outside our window, you can see them setting up our lunch the following day which was a yummy buffet with burgers, Maui onion rings and ice cream bars.

We spent a lot of time lounging pool side alternating between sun and shade. It was fun to sleep in, have a nice breakfast and be pool side before 9 AM. We often lounged until mid afternoon and would be back in our room by 3 to tell Abby goodnight on Skype and then Marcus would nap and I'd read in the cool dark room.

More on our evenings coming next!

October 16, 2012

Hawaii: Breakfast Beer, Pie and Hiking

 Saturday morning we awoke to kick off! I love that football starts so early in Hawaii- like 6:00 early on Saturday! We ventured out to a local restaurant in Hanalei we had seen earlier in the week. We knew they served breakfast and had a handful of TVs at the bar.

Don't my bananas foster pancakes look amazing? They went well with Marcus' Passion Fruit beer. They call it a breakfast beer which made us laugh numerous times.

After breakfast we ventured to Hideaways Beach. This is a semi-private beach in Princeville that is used mainly by locals. The 10 minute hike to get there deters most tourists.

We decided to give it a try and took these on the steps that started the journey. It was very deceiving and ended up being much harder than I had imagined.

The steps disintegrated into this path- ropes tied loosely between trees and roots along a steep decline toward the beach. I was so afraid of sliding and falling down that I gripped with my toes and planted my legs firmly. That didn't bode well as my thighs were on FIRE by the time we made it down.

It was beautiful and worth the trip! This was most of the way down at a great little lookout point where we stopped to sit, ponder, and reflect on the beauty.

There were only 3 people down here at this point- they were surfing the big waves all afternoon.

Marcus made it all the way down and waved up to me. At this point, I was too scared to go any further and I didn't want to hike back up with wet sandy feet!

 Saturday afternoon we hung out poolside before having a lovely dinner with Marcus' coworkers at Kilohana Plantation. Sunday morning we enjoyed early football, a little pool time, and then checked out of the condo to head south for the Avnet portion of our trip.

We enjoyed lunch at Olympic Cafe, a place we had eaten the day we arrived. It had football on and was in Kapa'a which was between the condo and new hotel. Marcus loved his tuna wrap which was like a giant sushi roll with seaweed, ahi tuna, cucumbers, wasabi cream sauce and rice.

We shared Hula Pie for dessert and it was by far the largest dessert I've ever seen. Everyone wanted to discuss it with us. All the more embarrassing that as soon as it came Marcus took a phone call in the hall. I looked like quite the pig! It is frozen swirls of coffee, chocolate, and macadamia nut ice cream.

Friday night we had Hula Pie at Duke's Canoe Club in Lihue and thought it was big!

Sunday afternoon we returned our rental car and rode the shuttle to the Grand Hyatt for the official President's Club portion of the trip! More on that soon!

October 15, 2012

Hawaii: St. Regis and Fern Grotto

Located next door to the Westin where we stayed was the St. Regis Princeville. It was one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen- we luckily had full access to the hotel. Free valet, 10% off all food, and we could charge anything there to our room, so we spent a little time each day at the St. Regis.

This is the view of the water and mountains from one of the balconies off their lobby. We sat on this covered balcony for a few hours reading one day. It was the prettiest place I've ever read :)

The lobby is an octagonal shape with windows and views all around. You enter on the 9th floor, so you are just elevated enough to take it all in!

We had their famous brunch on Thursday morning- the view from our table!

Marcus confirmed that he still doesn't like taro and then moved onto multiple plates of fruit, omelettes, baked goods, bread pudding, sausage and bacon and more!

This was my favorite part of brunch- mini waffles with coconut, pineapples, macadamia nuts, caramel sauce and cool whip. 

Beyond just brunch, we also loved their beach area- clear water, green grass, blue skies, and big mountains. What more could you ask for? 

If you have a little more money to spend, you could always rent an awesome cabana. I would love to lounge in this all day.

Oh, and comfy chairs and a little flag to raise when you needed a drink. There, I think that covers all you could ask for!

While I read (post coming soon on that... 5 books in 9 days!) one afternoon, Marcus rented snorkeling equipment. He had fun looking at fish and coral in 4 feet deep water.

Friday morning, we decided to be tourists and visit the famous Fern Grotto.

We took a large party barge out to the grotto on the Wailea River. They entertained us with music and hula dancing on the way. I will forever remember the sweet elderly Japanese couples learning to hula. It was funny!

Here is the grotto covered in ferns growing upside down. Gorgeous, huh? I love ferns and this place is just magical. It is a popular wedding spot in Hawaii as well. 

Up next, the hike that almost killed me and exploring around the island!


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