I cannot believe that January is almost over! Typically this month is filled with farming book work, getting tax stuff ready, and all the other end of the year stuff that comes with running a business. This year we started out a little differently…
On December 26th, Jonathan’s sister and family came from the Chicagoland area for a few days. We had a fun Christmas celebration with that side of the family on the 27th. I love reconnecting with family, and catching up on their activities.
My side of the family arrived on the 29th. We celebrated Christmas with them on the 30th, and stuffed ourselves silly (again). On New Year’s Day we drove down to Iowa to see relatives that were gathering at my aunt’s house. It was fun to reconnect and catch up on their lives.
Mom and my sister Pam spent the night with us once again, while Sheryl’s family stayed overnight at aunt’s house. On January 2nd, everyone headed for home. That is when Jonathan and I started packing for our trip. 🙂
On January 2nd, Jonathan and I left for Fargo, ND. We had an early morning flight from Fargo to Salt Lake City, UT. From Salt Lake City, we flew to Honolulu, HI! We were going to attend the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, which was held on the 8th and 9th.
We were traveling with cousins Andy and Heather. We have traveled with them to Nascar races and Disney World, and they still like us, so we thought it would be fun to go to Hawaii together. We were right. We had a blast!
Our travel agent arranged for a tour company to meet us at the airport where we received a fresh flower lei, and an invitation to a free breakfast the following morning. We all thought, “Free breakfast? Okay!” It was a sales pitch of sorts, telling us about the various tour packages they have available. Since we had about 4 days before the AFBF stuff started, we gave a look at what we thought would be fun. For once in my life, I really didn’t care what the plan was. I chatted with a tour company employee while Jonathan signed us up for events. It was quite nice to be able to just let go.
(Pic: At the airport after landing in Honolulu…we had been up for about 18 hours at this point, and it is starting to show)
Our first activity was whale watching, while Andy and Heather chose to go snorkeling in an area with sea turtles. I get motion sickness really easy, so I made sure I took meds for that. Good thing! I had never been out on a boat in the open ocean, so I was a little nervous about the waves. This was a lunch cruise with a buffet of great food to eat while cruising out to the whale watching waters. At least that was the plan. The whales had a different idea. Two of them were in the harbor that morning. They think it was a mom and a juvenile calf that had followed a fishing boat for 6 days and over 800 miles! We got up close enough to be sprayed three times with whale snot. I gave my new camera a workout!
(Pic: one of my whale photos. I have others that I am not sharing online…)
That evening, all four of us went to a magic show dinner theater thing. We met some really nice people from Australia and Canada. After that ended, we went to the Lani Misalucha show. The best part was when she did impersonations of different singers. She had some of them spot on! Sadly, no photos were allowed for our evening adventures.
The next highlight was Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, where the weather was beautiful. The museum grounds had been improved since we were there in 2004, making it an even better experience. Three survivors were at a book signing for a few hours.
After Pearl Harbor we went on a city tour and saw the State Capitol building and the Iolani Palace. Friday night we went on a supper cruise where we would see the sunset while at sea, and watch fireworks over Waikiki. There were Polynesian dancers on board, so between the sunset and the fireworks we didn’t get bored. The night was beautiful. The fireworks had to compete with a great full moon over Waikiki for my favorite scene of the cruise.
(I’ll let you decide which you like better…the full moon or the fireworks)
Saturday we had some beach time, and just took it easy most of the day. Sunday brought the start of the AFBF Annual Meeting. The opening ceremony sets the tone for the entire event, with an address by President Bob Stallman. We were really impressed by what he had to say, and it made us proud to be a part of such a great organization. We believe that there is room for all types of agriculture – organic or conventional, crop or livestock, etc. We need to work together, which is what President Stallman mentioned in his speech. The keynote speaker on Monday afternoon was Dave Barry. He was hilarious! It was a great way to end a great meeting.
(Pic: AFBF President Bob Stallman)
We also attended a luau, and went on a Circle Island Tour with a bunch of our Minnesota friends. We started our journey back to Minnesota (and reality) on the 11th, and made it home the afternoon of the 12th. Our flight schedule took us from Honolulu to Los Angeles (no celeb sightings, but it was 5:00 am when we landed). Los Angeles to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Fargo. Then a 4 hour drive home. This didn’t quite work with us. Thursday evening was Parent’s Night for the dance team. Laura is a senior this year, so in my mind this was a big deal. If we were to catch our flight from Minneapolis to Fargo, we would not have made it back in time. I was bummed when we discovered this before we left, but Jonathan made a few phone calls…
Cousin Denise picked us up from the airport in Minneapolis, and brought us home. Andy and Heather flew on to Fargo as planned, picked up our luggage (we checked it in under their names in Honolulu), and drove our van to their house. Jonathan and I made it back home in time to shower and change clothes before heading into the school. It was worth making it back in time!
The following morning, Jonathan and I ran some errands, then packed our bags to head to an organic farming conference a couple of hours away. We picked up our van on the way home from the conference the following day, and kinda crashed once we got home. That was a week ago.
I still have a few loads of laundry to do, and gifts to distribute. I finally caught up on reading all my emails as of this morning. Jonathan and I both feel like we are finally back in our time zone, and that our brains have finally caught up with us. Hopefully, we’ll get caught up on the book work this week as well.
Vacation was great, but catching up is hard to do!