Return to Oahu

Isabella invited a couple of friends – Katie and Hannah – to Carmel this weekend. After spending Saturday morning at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and eating shrimp at Bubba Gump they spent the afternoon at Del Monte Mall buying little things for the closets at home. Nothing like resting in the hot tub after a day of shopping. It all got topped off with s’mores at Carmel Valley Ranch.

John and Olivia took off for Hawaii Friday February 20 and enjoyed five nights at the condominium there before they (sadly) had to return. Not too many activities planned – pure relaxation but they did madk it around the island. Lunch at Seven Brothers Burgers – definitely worth a stop if you’re heading that way. Olivia got a massage at the Kalaha Hotel while John made it to the top of Koko Head Crater – only 1,000 steps but still a hard climb.

John got stuck in New York only a few days later. Heavy snow fall made it impossible for planes to take off and he had to spend a vey short night in Times Square before finally making it out Monday morning.

Tough weeks for the school teams in Basketball. Both Burlingame High School and Saint Catherine’s are out after making it to the quarterfinals. So no more cheer this season except for Adriana who’s still going strong with her Premier team.

Happy New Year

As with the previous years Christmas really came around with the Christmas performance at School. Last performance with Pia and Isabella – from hereon onwards Adriana will have to carry the tradition; which she surely is happy to do. Much of the show repeated itself on December 24 when Olivia plus kids were part of the Christmas mass. There are some pictures from the school performance here.

We celebrated Christmas with the rest of the Bellamys on December 23 at Adrian and Penny’s house. There was a total of 20 of us this time and the kids had a blast exchanging Secret Santa gifts. Some family members were off to Hawaii the days after – some to London while the rest decided to weather out the Californian rain storm.

Santa did come around again in 2014 and left quite a mess downstairs drinking milk and eating cookies and lettuce. Apparently for the reindeers. He forgot his glasses (again!) and must have several pairs in the sleigh. Santa filled the stockings and also left three girls a new pair of boots and Adriana an American Girl doll.

New Year came and went again without much notice. The three older girls hung out with their friends while John, Olivia and Adriana relaxed at the house. The three started 2015 with a long walk in Half Moon Bay enjoying glorious weather.

Finishing this post off with a note we came across earlier today:

Welcome to 2015.

With resolutions or without, with ups and downs, joy and sorrow, successes and mistakes, friends founds, friends lost, with passion or without, it will be the year that you make, the year that you decide, the year that you want.

Much of the above will happen but only you can turn them into positive experiences.

Happy New Year : )

Five days in October

John and Olivia left the San Francisco Giants in good hands and left for Hawaii on October 24. Hardly out of the plane the spotted an Akamai taxi proving that the company name of Akamai really is Hawaiian (intelligence, wit).

Café Kaila was open for breakfast the next morning. Surprisingly empty without the usual Japanese crowd, but it turned out that the busses were just late, and once John and Olivia left, the place was buzzing like it’s usual self. The drive back included a stop at the Pali lookout although the morning mist made the sights a little less visible than usual. Still, it’s a great place to stop as it gives a good feel for just how compact the island is.

The walking shoes got a good workout throughout the time there. The “Pill Boxes” in Lanikai turned out to be a great little trip up to a couple of fantastic lookouts. Very steep in the beginning but once the vegetation opened a bit, the hills were easier to conquer. Good conversations with other families on top, and some got help with a family photo for this year’s Christmas card.

The lunch was famous coconut shrimp at the Crouching Lion Inn on the North Shore. Very yummy and the fresh + chilled coconut milk was perfect for pairing. Final stop was that the Japanese temple at the Valley of the Temples. Stunning location and building that it’s a bit of a mystery we’ve driven by so many times without visiting.

The following morning a hike around Diamond Head keep the food/exercise balance in check and it was great to head the shore just as the sun made its first appearance.

During the time there John and Olivia also found time to visit the original tiki bar in Honolulu and Mitch’s – a wonderful sushi bar/fish market. We are so lucky to have access to the condo in Diamond Head and given that it’s a fairly short plane ride there, it’s easy to spend a weekend there. There was something to celebrate though: It was 24 month ago the wedding took place in Carmel Valley…

The plane ride back coincided with game seven in the world series, and as it happened the game ended just as the shores of California showed up. Well done Giants!

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Birthdays at home

For Olivia and the girls 2013 started in Hawaii together with cousin Jillie. John had to stay home and was soon off to Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics show. Odd to have a trade show that early in the year but record numbers again – almost 150,000 people. Busy start to the year.

Back home Bella turned 15 an January 6 and celebrating with good friends. In the meantime Pia and Ella had been had at work finishing their science projects. Pia had studies the effect temperature has on pens, and Ella was run test on her home built windmill. They both passed with flying colors, but were sadly not in the top three and therefore did not get to represent the school.

To compensate for the New Year John & Olivia went to Hawaii on January 18 and spent three nights in pleasant weathers visiting good restaurants and Shangri La – an amazing house in an amazing location.

Bella had her Junior High Dance on January 26. Her group of friends gathered at Penny & Adrian before the limo picked them up. She received the confirmation the week after and will probably not miss the Monday evening preparation meetings.

Which takes us to February 9 and Ella’s birthday. Her and Pia enjoyed a sleepover the night before so we did not actually see her until that afternoon. Ella also celebrated with a small group. She got excellent presents – some of which went straight to her College Account.

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The last few weeks of 2012

Bella and her cheer team was part of the Burlingame Christmas Parade December 7. The grownups took advantage of a kid’s slumber party and took of for Casa Bellamia and sadly missed the parade. It all tuned out alright, Santa showed up and the cheer season was closed down properly.

The Carmel Valley visit was just for a couple of nights. These days we’ll take what we can get. It coincided with a visit from AT&T. They estimated two hours to install U-verse. Three weeks, four visits and countless hours later… It’s woking (yay!) and we feel in touch with the online world again while visiting the valley. We were excited to to hook up with Allison for a “sundowner” – our first chance to see our wonderful wedding coordinator. We ended up talking past our dinner reservation but the AT&T technician made it impossible to leave anyway (visit two of four…)

All the Christmas events at school started on December 14 with the older grades performing “A Christmas story”. It was good entertainment and very well put together. A bit of a somber mood after the Newtown tragedy that had taken place earlier in the day, but the many mentions of the Red Ryder BB gun still got a laugh and a smile.

We celebrated Adrian and Penny on December 16 – one day after the actual anniversary date. Their 50th wedding anniversary was partly why we went to Africa during the summer and David (Olivia’s brother) had put together a beautiful book with lost of photos from the two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania. Browsing through it we were all ready to go back. Our hats off to their commitment!

The four girls were all involved in the Saint Catherine Christmas performance. Even Bella who probably thought she was done reading in front of the congregation. Later on Adriana was rocking while Isabella and Pia this year – and for the next two years – dedicated their time to the nativity play. Baby Jesus enjoyed the spotlight and the whole thing was a great start to the Christmas days of 2012. We went back for the Christmas evening mass on December 24 accompanied by out neighbors. Isabella and Pia were liturgical dancers and Adrian got to speak to the congregation together with a couple of her (very loud) class mates. Following the performance we had a small family dinner at Ecca in Burlingame. Ran into the Liberty’s who’s celebrated their 22nd Christmas dinner at the restaurant. Quite an achievement. We had not seen them since our wedding – good to catch up.

Adriana and Pia arrived Christmas morning and the race to open the most presents in the shortest amount of time was immediately on. All got great gifts and no lumps of coal were spotted. Or expected, we should add. We spent the afternoon making dessert for the family dinner at Hillsborough a little later in the evening. Chris, Kara, Chloe and Colton were “stuck” in Oahu but the rest of us watched the kids exchange secret santa gifts and enjoyed a hearty meal afterwards.

December is not a quiet month for any of us. Year-end, finals, concerts and much more. Oh, and of course the shopping although some of us managed to set foot in only one Christmas shopping store in all of December. Hurrah for online shopping!

Last post of 2012. We wish all of our readers a happy 2013!

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