All of Us
This has been a crazy year for us! I look back and think of all of the things that Linz and I have been able to do and see and I am humbled to know how blessed we really are!
Linz was able to go back to the states and visit for a week. She saw family, friends was able to go to the temple and enjoy some good American food.
She was also able to go to Korea with some of her friends to attend the LDS temple there. This was one of her favorite memories from the past year. She made some friendships there that will last a long time.
One of our favorite places that we were able to visit was Hawaii. We met Linz's side of the family and were able to spend a total of 10 days there!!! I kept telling the kids the whole time that this trip is a once in a lifetime. We just won't be going back for this long.
We visited multiple waterfalls, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Laie Temple, Waikiki Beach and an amazing valley where all of the movies are filmed at. We were able to go on a few hikes, swim at the beach, try and surf the waves and snorkel with some fish!
We spent a good amount of time with the cousins which, I think, was our kids favorite part. Kennedy to this day still asks if she can go and play with her cousins.
I traveled back to the states for a continuing education course in San Diego. I spent every free moment exploring and seeing what fun things I could find. As Part of my trip I tok some time off to visit my family. So I flew from San Diego to Portland Oregon and saw my younger brother and his new baby. Then I flew to Salt Lake and spent time with my younger sister and her family. Then I drove 5 hours to see my older sister and her family and both my grandparents. Along the way I stopped at so many amazing places in Utah to take photos.
It was great because I got to spend a lot of time with my parents. I feel like that by living so far away they have wanted to one on one time with their son. So as we drove all over and spent our wandering in the dessert we had our chances to talk and catch up.
We took a local staycation to some neighboring islands. The Karama Islands are well known throughout the world for it world class diving. They have local sea turtles that are seen quite often by local divers. We had one goal when we left and that was to get a glimpse of a sea turtle! The beaches there were pristine and the water and so warm. We swam right above the sea turtles and watched them just graze alone the ocean floor for hours! It was a wonderful experience.
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Another Island we have visited several times is Ikei Island. We stayed at a resort there and swam at the pool for hours on end. They had a slide that the kids slid down on hundreds of times and then it became a game as to who could do the craziest thing down the slide. We had a great time!
I took a trip with my dad to climb Mt. Fuji! I wrote and entire blog post here. It was an amazing experience. A once in a lifetime and something I will never forget. Here are a few photos from the trip.
On the way out we stopped by Shibuya Street in Downtown Tokyo which is the busiest intersection in the world! Crazy town!
Crossing Shibuya Street
Linz and I always had dreams of going to Europe on our 10 year anniversary. But it was not to be. We were able to go out to Hiroshima and Miya-Jima because my mom came out and visited us for a few weeks. It was a great vacation for Linz and I to reconnect and remember that after 10 years we still have each other.
This has been on Linz's list of places to visit for a long time. She loves WWII and so we spent a couple of hours at the museums and epicenter for the atomic bomb dropping. It was a somber place to be. We didn't plan it this way but we were there during the anniversary of the bombing. Below are some photos from that trip. The building is the same building that existing at the time of the bombing. They haven't done anything to restore the building but it stands as a memorial of the destruction that can happen because of nuclear power.
When we went to Miya-Jima Island I had one photo that i wanted to capture. It was one of the grand torri gate. It is massive! In the end the night was cloudy and moody and there wasn't much of a sunset. But in the end I got a photo that I think I'm happy with.
Our final adventure came when we went on a 10 day excursion to Kyoto and Osaka Japan. We had so much fun! It is impossible to tell everything we did and saw. There are just so many cool things to see and do there.
Our Kyoto list consisted of a few things that we could not miss:
1. Fushimi-inari Shrine
2. The Golden Pavillion
3. Bamboo Forest
4. Gion District
5. Yasaka District and Pagoda
We definitely hit all of this places and many more. I know I have been posting a lot of these pictures. So I won't over do it here.
Osaka was a different experience than Kyoto. We made a trip to Osaka to go to Universal Studios and see Harry Potter world. The kids and I were very excited about it. I'm sure we spent way too much money on the first day at Universal Studios. We bought so many things and ate so much food.
Here are a few photos from Universal.
The last thing we did on this place was to go to Osaka Castle. This was place easily the most beautiful castle I've seen in all of Japan. It was simply stunning. The colors, the grounds and placement within the city was just stunning. We were able to go during the fall colors and so the leaves were perfect as the castle rose above.
2017 has been a tremendous year! We have been able to grow and become better people in ways I could never before have thought. It is funny to post all of the cool places and things we have been able to see. But that isn't our day to day. Our normal routine is what changes us. We have days of basketball and homework and school projects. We have friends and games and church. I am so grateful my God has blessed me so much. Because I have been given much, I too must give. I want to spend my life serving others, helping others, inspiring others. I want to spend 2018 sharing the goodness I've been given to others.
I pray at night and say to God "I have a wife and children that deserve all the good that life has to offer." God has given me an answer to that prayer.
Below are some more pictures of our "normal" life.