|Grandma and Nana enjoy Christmas afternoon on the roof of the vacation house.|
|The view from the roof - see the rainbow in the spray from the waves?|
The first week in Hawaii was pretty rainy. Even the locals we chatted with said that our first week was the end of a particularly rainy period, even for Hilo, which is one of the rainiest places on earth. We spent a lot of time driving around looking for places to explore again when the weather got better. Our visit to the Volcanoes National Park was pretty miserable. We saw steam rising from the caldera, but the weather was miserably windy and wet, so we spent most of the visit skulking around museums and gift shops. All of the hiking trails in the caldera were closed due to hazardous gas levels. We rallied later in the week, though, and we found some great places. Keegan and his family got to go horseback riding in the Waipio Valley, and Mom, Dad, Sophie and I explored Hilo, which is a beautiful city with gorgeous parks and a quaint downtown. We enjoyed the Japanese-style garden and then found a tiny beach on Coconut Island where Sophie could wade in the water.
|Wading at Coconut Island|
|Up close and personal with a green sea turtle|
We also spent a lot of time closer to home. We (or I should say Keegan and his mom and my mom) cooked some great meals. We were able to get some great fresh fish - mahi mahi, tuna steaks, and a whole huge red snapper that we baked for Christmas dinner. I enjoyed letting the others work in the kitchen while I entertained Sophie. We got some great ingredients at the extensive Hilo Farmer's Market. Mom particularly enjoyed the tea booth, while I was happy to buy enormous fresh avocadoes and delicious homemade pineapple salsa and pico de gallo. The crafts available were interesting as well. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of aging hippies and their ilk in Hilo. We even saw a man and woman doing "street yoga" for donations on the sidewalk in downtown. The man was on his back with his feet in the air, while the woman balanced on her belly on top of his feet.
We were lucky to find a small playground in a well-maintained, grassy park only about 1.5 miles from the house. Sophie had a blast playing there with her parents and her grandparents. She particularly liked to swing from a bar and to make Mommy ride down the other side of the double slide with her.
Our Christmas celebration started early, with Mom and I going for our traditional Christmas Eve Eve run. From the time I was a youngster just starting to jog up until now, with only a few years off during our time in Korea, Mom and I have gone running on the evening of December 23 so that we can look at Christmas lights together. We were happy to get a chance to continue the tradition this year. Although a lot of the streets were pretty dark, we did see palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights as well as a few really pretty houses, so we were satisfied.
|Christmas Eve Eve Runners!|
|Must keep one hand on Mama at all times!|
|Investigating the stocking requires a lot of concentration!|
|Sophie amidst piles of presents with her Papa and Babak|
|Opening presents late into the evening. It's hard work being the adored only grandchild of four grandparents.|
More to come on our second week of fun.