The Holidays are upon us! Last weekend was supposed to be full of parties- literally every day- but mother nature had different plans and blanketed our state with ice and snow. Everything was canceled and I was so disappointed! However the Friday night party was rescheduled for Wednesday night and it ended up being a great time. Tricia is the best host and decorator ever and this time was also the photographer! She didn’t get many pics of her home but it was sparkling from top to bottom with ribbons and sparkling Christmas cheer. The food was also quite impressive! Here are a few pics of the night…

me and Nicole

and Tricia- we needed another Ho- just couldn't get it turned right :)

me and my honey

all the girls!

take 2

way to ruin a pic Richard!

Broc and his fake smile.... you can tell he loves pictures

with the fabulous host

and Jessica

Overall a great start to many more parties to come. I can’t wait to get my Christmas decor up- it’s not Christmas without it! (Thanks Tricia for sharing the pics!)

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Saturday was my best friend Misty’s “retro circus themed” baby shower at Chrissy’s pool. She’s having our first boy- baby Vol- who is due to arrive late next month; which means she’s pretty much about to pop. Boy showers are a bit harder to plan because they aren’t supposed to be cutesy, right? So we chose the circus theme with primary colors and everything turned out just precious. I for one am a huge fan of the all day drinking/pool/baby showers, especially with PNS, and that’s exactly what we did. I finally left Chrissy’s to let my dogs out around 8 and the party was apparently still going on strong. My friends may have kids now but will never forget how to party! (fingers crossed)

I love you dear old friend- you’re going to make an amazing mother! Can’t wait to meet little Vol Edward.

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This first weekend of summer was filled with cute kiddos and lots of fun in the sun. (Of course we did dinner and drinks both Friday and Sat night but I never have my camera on me and there’s nothing cute about a bunch of grownups only acting like kids…)

First, Saturday morning was baby Emmett’s second birthday party at Burns Park. Man has this kid grown up fast!

he knows he's cute!

was out of his clothes in less than an hour!

And his sister Isabelle (my first true love!) is going to be in the SIXTH grade next year. Yes, the sixth- which makes her pretty much a pre-teen which is not gonna be fun for her mom and dad!

i love this child!

Amy of course did a great job decorating the pavilion in a super cute choo-choo train theme and made the cake and party favors herself. This is one talented momma!

conductor hats

he was pretty excited about his birthday!

i bet all the mommas loved those whistle gifts!

Emmett was a total ham as usual and all the kids had a blast playing at the fun-park down the street. Man my friends have some cute kids!

Violet

Cute little Archer

Matilda's eyes!

getting them in one pic was not easy!

Emmett and Mommy

belly laughs are the best

I snapped a few pics, sang happy birthday, watched him open some presents and was on my way to the pool!

Speaking of summer, I am so fortunate for friends with pools! We spent Sat and Sunday at Chrissy and Jonathan’s with Sarah and Stella just laying out and having a good ol’ time. Stella just loves the water (which is quite an improvement over last year when she would rather just watch from the steps) and is a always a fun time.

silly girl

water feet!

She also loves her aunt Megan the most b/c i bribe her with makeup and candy… :) I love getting them all jacked and then leaving them to their mommas when its time for bed…

pre-makeup face

makeover time

she's pretty happy

toddler's and tiaras bound!

Stella and Momma Sarah

i love how she's sitting here...

my 3 best girls

doughnuts and m&m's anyone?

of course i'm the favorite!

Summer rain storms

All in all, a great weekend with some really cute and awesome kiddos. Love them!!!

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Day six was unplanned until the last minute but I coudln’t have been happier about how it turned out. We headed back to the Fair Winds at 8:30 and out to sea for some of the most amazing snorkeling I’d ever done! The boat was huge, crew were great, and there’s just something about being in the middle of the tranquil Pacific Ocean that makes everyone impossibly happy!
Kara was brave enough to take on a 30 feet scuba dive,
while i preferred to view everything from above.
Of course my crappy disposable underwater camera did it absolutely zero justice… I saw FIVE sea turtles and all kinds of colorful fish. You’ll just have to take my word for it- the pictures are pretty bad…
see the turtle!?!?!
The breakfast and lunch was delicious and the ocean simply spectacular. I also learned that I loved stand-up paddle boarding! So fun!
grilled burgers on the boat!
even tried a little (rocky) yoga!
Our captain even snapped a selfie while we were out floating… isn’t he a cutie! Overall just a fabulous cruise and I would highly recommend to anyone. The perfect ending to our weekend in Kona.
Around 3 we had to head back to Hilo to pack and get to the airport. I was a little sad; but the road home via Saddle Back road lifted my spirits for sure.
Another look at the Big Island’s amazingly unique landscape and beauty… I felt like I was driving through Ireland- everything was so green and lush!
It only took an hour or so and it wasn’t enough time- is it ever?
After a delicious Thai dinner Kara dropped me off at the Hilo airport and I settled in for a very long flight home. I left at 9:30 and arrived back in Little Rock at 4 pm the next day. Overall, one of the absolute best trips of my life. I loved loved loved everything about that island and can’t wait to go back!

See all my days on The Big Island here: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5.

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Day five was much like day four- lots of crystal blue beaches and perfect 80 degree sunshine in Kohala. We were also very excited about our excursion that evening to swim with the manta rays so we tried to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the island. I can’t remember the name of the beaches but they were all, again, just gorgeous.
Can you stand one more posed beach pic? Okay, just one more…
For lunch we headed up to a cute little port town for a bite and a drink at Cafe Pesto. Delicious.
We headed back to Kona around 3 for some shopping and more sightseeing. The Place of Refuge was really nice and the story quite crazy!
This was a place warriors and (sacred) law breakers could run to to avoid punishment by death! Basically like “safe base”. Lots of beautiful statues and scenery here for sure.

of course framed with another beautiful ocean view!

North of A Place of Refuge was the famous Painted Church, which was exactly as its name says… a brightly painted church! It still holds service so we signed in and said a few quick prayers.
Finally it was time to head towards Fair Wind cruises for our night dive with the manta rays! We were starving though and first stopped at Rays on the Bay in the Sheraton Resort in Kona for a quick bite.
The decor and ambiance of this place was awesome and i wish we’d had more time to chill there but time was ticking so we arrived at our boat around 6:30, extremely excited for the nights adventure.
We suited up and took off to where the Manta Rays like to feed- the middle of the ocean. The sunset view was perfect!
Much like our trip to Mauna Kea in the rain, however, mother nature decided to frown us on… No manta rays appeared! We basically bobbed up and down in the chilly ocean for 45 minutes looking at lights shining down on only a few random fish.

you can barely see us, but we're out there

SOOOO disappointing but everyone understood. The crew were all very nice (and seemed a little embarrassed) and offered everyone a free cruise. Since tomorrow was my last day, we had no other option but to stay another night in Kona and go on the all day breakfast/lunch snorkel cruise the next day. Somewhat bummed and exhausted, we rented a shitty room at the Kona Seaside (far stretch from our Japanese B&B) and fell asleep early. Overall i have to say it was another fabulous day- minus the missing rays.
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