The Kuraoka Family Weekly Journal

The Kuraoka family in Hawaii, 03 July 2007
Us, July 3 2007: John, Ondine, Leo (nearly 5, in flaming volcano cap), Roy (7)

Monday, 09 July 2007

Goodbye to Hawai’i! The week went by so fast! Friday afternoon, we returned to Waimea Bay Beach for a little more body surfing, Boogie Boarding, swimming, and sand-castle-building. Here’s Leo, getting pushed and swooshed by the waves. He slowly got into body surfing, and by the end was really enjoying it!

This is what the trip was all about. The whole clan, spending time together. Here we all are, all 13 of us! From left to right, in front, you see Roy, Leo and Daryl. Then Eric, Ondine (holding Roy), John, Elaine, Mom (holding Leo), Amanda, Breanna, Patty (holding Daryl), Rod, Andrew.

Grammy with all her grandkids. From left to right: Andrew, Amanda holding Leo, Mom holding Roy, Breanna, Daryl, and Eric holding a camera.

Photo ops! Oh, we have such the photo op as the sun goes down. Grammy with Amanda, then Grammy with Breanna.

Ondine, John, and both of us. Aloha! Yes, we bought the shirt and dress here during the week. From Food Land! Actually, they are very nice, soft and drapey, and Food Land has good prices on them too. We bought the kids some sunscreen shirts from there as well.

Patty and Daryl. Hey, Daryl’s smiling!

A preview of our Christmas card. The Kuraoka family, on the beach, Friday evening. We took the Barnhart family photo too.

Goodbye to our Hawai’i home! The date is 07/07/07, perhaps a propitious day for travel? John got up at his regular time but for once the boys slept in a bit, so instead of scrambling around with breakfast stuff he got to watch the sun rise over the tide coming in for the first time. He enjoyed watching the sand change from blue/gray, to mango pink, to papaya orange, to pineapple gold as the sun cleared the trees on the horizon. This time was a real gift from Roy and Leo!

Check out the first and final sunrise on the beach from the balcony (MPEG format, 4.40 MB): sunrise surf.

And, here is one last shot of the house looking from the street entrance, as we get the wagons packed. You can see Grammy there by the luggage (no that’s not all hers!). The farthest vehicle is our Kia Sedona minivan, then the Ford Freestar minivan, then a Toyota Corolla.

We stopped at Costco for gas, to top off all three rental cars, then dropped everyone and the baggage off near the ticketing area, and returned the cars. For some reason, Mom had been put with our family tickets, and Ondine’s seat assignment had been put with Patty and Daryl, so when we checked in we had a momentary surprise when Ondine’s name didn’t come up! But, a few kiosks over, Patty had gone ahead and checked her in with the Machkowsky party so all was well.

The flight home was easy. Again, John sat with the boys (Row 29 D, E, and F) while Ondine sat up in Row 1 with Patty and Daryl. Like our flight to Hawai’i, the family was scattered all over the airplane like a baker’s dozen Easter eggs. Andrew actually held the same ticket for the same seat as another man traveling with his wife! So we got further separated. Elaine ended up sitting next to two unaccompanied minors, Rod was singled out in a row at the window, and Grammy was in Row 29 C, so right across the aisle from John and the boys. Amanda, Andrew, Eric, and Breanna were behind us. Roy dozed a bit, but Leo was awake and busy the whole five-hour flight back to the mainland.

Arrival at LAX. We arrived about ten minutes early. Here we are waiting for our luggage. Roy is zonked out; Leo looks determined behind his baggage fort. It took a long time for all our bags to come down because we had so many. Then we sat waiting patiently for the car seats, and we might still be there today if Andrew hadn’t thought to go check the ATA baggage service counter. Lo and behold, there were the car seats, which had been offloaded with other bulky stuff like wheelchairs, strollers, and some (but not all) oversized bags.

Once we had the car seats in hand, Elaine called for the limousine. It was a stretched Ford Expedition this time, with a lot more luggage space than the stretched Hummer we’d arrived in. By the way, if you have a large party, a limousine may be a much more-economical way to go than shuttle buses. Our group of 13 people plus their luggage (including a wheelchair) probably saved around $150 going this route. Plus, as Ondine pointed out, it was fun sitting in a circle on the way home, especially since we’d all been separated in the plane. This isn’t the most flattering photo, but no one looks their best after a five-hour flight and it captures our tired, festive mood.

Surprises about Hawaii included the delight of going barefoot all the time, and the warmth of the sand and the water. There was a balmy softness to the air, even when the temperature was cool. Allergies were not a problem for anyone, which was a surprise. The rarity of low tide surprised us; we had only one sort-of low-ish tide that the kids could get to all week. That made it even more special, and the treasures we found even more precious.

We didn’t know what to we’d find when we came to Hawai’i, but whatever our expectations might have been this trip exceeded them in every important way.

Home Sweet Home. No matter where we go, San Diego is always so nice to come home to!

Mega-mahalos go out to Mom, for making it all happen. To Elaine, for making it all work. To the Barnhart kids, for tirelessly entertaining Roy and Leo, and for showing us their favorite spots, and for shopping tips. And to Andrew and Eric and Amanda for some fabulous meals!

This was a truly relaxing vacation! And now we’re back to the grind. We drove home from Grammy’s Sunday, in order to retrieve Buddy from Barbara and Bill’s house. They’d been dog-sitting for us – a big thank-you to them, too! Buddy was very happy to see us, and looked fat and sleek as butter. He gained five pounds! That’s a lot for an 18-pound dog! It’s pretty funny, seeing him with a slight pudge to him.

Speaking of pudge, John ran Sunday evening for the first time in over a week, huffing around the track at Pershing for not quite his usual full run.

Monday Buddy’s diet started - we had to cut his food in about half until we can feel his ribs again. And Leo returned to pre-school for summer session. John picked up our mail, a lot of stuff! Ondine is starting to plan Leo’s birthday party in earnest. And Roy is unpacking and sorting through all his Hawai’i stuff.

Neighborhood gas prices on the North Shore were about $3.35 per gallon, although they dropped about a dime to $3.25 per gallon in Honolulu. We paid just $3.07/gallon at Costco near Honolulu. On the drive back to San Diego we topped off the Mazda for $2.97 per gallon near Temecula, while here in our neck of the woods, prices have dipped to around $3.15 per gallon.

Back to the previous journal!
Back to the beginning of our trip

Our Hawaii Photo and Video page

What are we up to now? Check out our Weekly Family Journal!
Back to the Kuraoka Family main page, with lots more stuff, including photos!