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Kamp Kanakuk – An Experience Like No Other

As kids  both Jen and I attended church camps.  For both of us they made a significant impact.  As Max and Mara got older they had attended Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps but had never been to church camp.  We had heard really great things about Kamp Kanakuk down by Table Rock and they went down for a week together in August.  They attended the K-Seven camp which is a sports and activities camp that is unlike any camp I have ever seen in my life.  You name an event from massive water slide to tree top walking to wakeboarding and they had it.  I would encourage anyone to check it out. 

Above is a picture of Max with his camp mates.  He came back a changed kid.

Above is one of the camp directors.  It is pretty cool to see someone with the combination of fun loving, spirited, soulful, and passion to share her faith lead a group of young people. 

Director Chancey closed out the session.  A guy with a lot of passion that inspires all of us to the live of our dreams, to lift others, and to walk with God.

Ten years from now I think all four of us will look back at Kanakuk as a life changing moment in our lives. 

Annual Tradition – Golf in St. James, floating the Huzzah!

Each year for the last… hmmm… I don’t how many years a group of us makes a trek down to Southern Missouri for the annual float trip.  The trip starts out with a friendly golf game at the infamous St. James golf club in… you guessed it St. James, Missouri.  In a recent change of events, the golf course now actually sells adult beverages which is a strong contrast to year past where they would simply provide you with a cooler and ice.  9 holes: $ 15.  Seriously.  How do you beat that?  Pictured here is Brian (pink hat), Mike, Jory, and myself.  No last names to protect the innocent.
This is post golf game in downtown Steelville, Missouri.  Who would have known that Steelville had such a large number of people who fought in the Korean war and unfortunately did not return alive.  Was pretty cool to see the town pay tribute to these brave women and men.

This is the last picture from this trip.  We have a rule that says that no cameras are actually allowed on the river.  For anyone who has floated the Huzzah in Southern Missouri you understand.  I took this primarily in reference to what is likely one of the last working pay phones in N. America.  In the background you can see the workhorse – the Bounder which as always served us well throughout the trip. 


Wow.  I started this blog in June of 2009.  My last blog post was in June of 2010.  This raises a lot of thoughts.  The first is an incredible amount of thanks to Jen for keeping our family adventures chronicled (is that a word?).  Second is a significant kick in the rear for me.  This all started as a way to share the adventures of our family’s life and a long the way occasionally I think I have gotten distracted by things that are not nearly as important as these daily experiences.  Inspired by a friend I have never personally met but who chose to make his own path ( Jim Jaillet – ), I am challenging myself to update this blog at least once a week if not daily.

Table Rock…love the water

We are serious water people.  Sure, not as serious as some – but hey, we just spent 2 months on an island and came back to spend a week at a lake.  We are least rank in the middle of the scale…

Before you even ask, I am the boat driver and the photojournalist.  That’s why I am not in pictures.  I can only do so much, people.  Mike boarded and surfed (yes, surfed behind the boat).  Mara skiied and got outside the wake – woo hoo!  Max practiced being pulled behind the boat…and I did the pulling.  No pics though…I was too busy pulling (literally with my hands as fast as I could to give the impression of the boat moving).  Mike soooo wished we had it on film.  Darn the luck.


Mara “surfing”

Max “surfing”

Mike surfing…really (he’s like 3 feet behind the boat using its wake)

Great days…no rain…


Ummm…we got busy…

So, here I am looking at the blog…realizing that it has been, oh, 3 months since our last post.  Good grief, Gladys.  What the heck?!

Well…rest assured it was just life.  A return to normal life and you know what that means.  Yep.  Fell off the blog wagon.  Got moderately crazy busy with school, soccer, starting a new business, managing Mike’s globe-hopping and the like.   And, WHOOSH! 3 months is gone, baby, gone. 

Still I know you cannot hardly stand to not know the nitty gritty of what we’ve been doing…and what we’ve got planned.  So, buckle in (grab a beer or margarita if you choose)…it’s time for a whirlwind update….


Couple of additions from Mike

Jen has been doing an awesome job of updating the blog but I had to weigh in with a couple of additional pictures. It’s not everyday that you get to spend the 4th of July looking out over the Hawaiian sunset watching the fireworks. Was very, very cool!

Not much more to say here… Breathtaking.

Whaler’s Village…and a Sunset

Ahhh…Sunday, June 27th. a drive to the airport. Ok, so that wasn’t the most exciting part of the day. I will say, though, that any drive to the airport (or the other side of the island) that doesn’t involve a wildfire is almost relaxing. Mike is off to Vegas, so Max is outnumber 4:1 in the estrogen department. I think he’s looking forward to even more being spoiled than before!

While I was out cruisin’ the island, the kids and Gs took the Sugarcane Train. No pics and no comments – other than if seniors and kids don’t like it, that’s probably a bad sign for everyone else. Sensing the need for some action – not too much though – we took a 5 minute drive to Whaler’s Village. It’s pretty much an upscale outdoor mall (think Plaza or Town Center for our friends in KC) near the beach between the Westin and Sheraton (coincidence? I think not!). In addition to Coach, Brighton, Tommy Bahama, Louis Vuitton – and our favorite – Red Dirt Shirt Company!, there are a couple of restaurants overlooking the ocean as well as a museum.

First stop is the museum. It’s fairly small – which is really how I prefer my museums – but nicely done. Great history of whaling in general and then also how it relates to Hawaiian history (and Ma’alaea Harbor specifically).

By then we were starving…only to have it be 6 p.m. and facing an hour wait at our first choice. But you know what they say about necessity (and me being hungry!)…as we were leaving, I popped into a newer, very nice restaurant at Whaler’s called Cane & Taro. We got seated immediately…and had an awesome meal. I had my first sushi of the trip (I do NOT count that turntable stuff at Genko Sushi), and it was awesome. Ahi and salmon with avocado…mmmmmm!

The kids then did their turn at the sunset photo op from the beach and got some great pics with the sailboats. Ahhhh….I can feel the evening breeze now. Where’s my mai tai to go along with it?


The Gazebo for Breakfast

There are times when guidebooks seem to overstate – and, of course, they are filled with the opinions of the writers’ so sometimes you just gotta wonder. Still…when there are consistent recommendations for food, ya gotta listen – or taste.

That led us to to try breakfast on Saturday at a little place called The Gazebo in Napili Shores. And, I do mean little – 15 tables max. Not sure how many people this equates to since some tables seat 2 and some seat 4 (5 if its kids where you can squeeze 2 on one side). They open at 7:30…and here was the part we were a little skeptical about: the wait. You just line up and stand there (or least someone in the group does). No taking names, no fancy pagers.

What do you get for your time? Well…the first thing you get is an amazing view and all kinds of time to explore the shore line just below the hill that the Gazebo (which really is a big gazebo). It’s a shoreline full of lava rocks and pools that are left by the falling tide. In those pools are loads of sea urchins, small fish, teeny little crabs and a fish that looks like a sand-covered stuffed tube sock.

After that, you can eat (our wait was about an hour – we got there at 8:10). It was great food – amazing pancakes and omelets. And an amazing view – we scored two tables right next to each other and the VIEW (yes, this was the view from our table)! Every breakfast should be like this…


Man o war 1, Max 0 – The trip to ‘poko’ park

It was Friday and the work day started a little before 4A and by 4P it was time to head to the beach at ‘Poko‘ park. Jen’s grandma and great grandma were here so we loaded up the chairs, boogey board, my surf board, made a quick stop by Safeway for some turkey and potato salad and headed to the park just south of Lahaina. I had been there the night before and caught a couple of good waves. When we arrived, the day was perfect. Sun, slight breeze, beautiful. As we headed to the water, a nice lady approached and said the man o’ wars were terrible and all three of her kids had gotten stung. Feeling kind of dumb, I started asking around what man o’ wars were and learned that indeed they were indeed to be respected.

After hanging out for a bit, I said the heck with and that I was going surfing. As I started to paddle out one of the locals I had made friends with told me that there was a 10′ sand shark hanging out about 20 feet past the point and had came up next to him and raised his fin. So… more time to chill. Still a beautiful day and we had good food, beverages, and good family.

Finally I could not wait any longer and decided man o’ war or no man o’ war, shark or no shark, I was going surfing.

I grabbed my board, strapped on and was walking through this little pool area headed out to the deeps when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Should have known… it was Max on his boogie board right behind me. My first thought is ‘what is he doing?’ I am heading out to deep water with big swells. Of course, he has no fear (or sense sometimes). About that time, his eyes get real big and he starts freaking out and sure enough, the tail of a man o’ war (see bottom picture) wraps over his arm and stings him pretty good (see picture # 3). He peels it off and leaves his board with me scrambling up the rock levee.

I grab the boards and head back to shore where I find Max ‘writhing’ in pain. If there is one thing Max knows, it’s drama! I was chuckling a bit when he informed me that it ‘Hurt like hell’ and then realized what he said. Shortly later he was rolling on the ground (see picture 2). Someone walking buy would have thought he had been bitten by the sand shark. He told the G’s that his arm would likely be paralyzed and he would likely not be able to write term papers later in life. I kindly reminded him that he wrote with his left hand still chuckling a bit.

All in all, just another Peek Family Adventure. As you can see from the top picture, an hour later Max was back out on the rock levee and his ‘paralysis’ had subsided and he was back out being Max. I figured three strikes was enough and loaded the board and simply enjoyed hanging out soaking up the sun, surf, and watching others catch a wave. Was bummed not get out for a few runs but in hindsight spending a couple of hours on the beach on a beautiful Friday night with family and cold beverage or two was nothing to complain about.

Quick side note: I did not what a man o’ war was. The picture above is a good one. The ‘tail’ that you see behind is what stings you. The body is about the size of a golf ball but the tails can be 2-4 feet long, If you rub up against any part of those, they will automatically penetrate the skin like a bunch of very small bee stings.



The Gs are here!

And I don’t mean those G-forces you pull flying in a fighter jet…although how cool would that be?!

I mean my mom and Grandma arrived safely this afternoon for a weeklong visit. Mara has nicknamed them “the Gs” because it’s a nice shorter way to say Grandma (my mom and their Grandma) and Grandma (mine – and their great Grandma).

It’s great, regardless, but particularly cool because there are four of us first-born daughters together. It’s also nice because their arrival reminded us all of how awesome it is to be in a paradise. I hate to say that you can get used to driving along the coast and not remember how awesome the ocean is…but sometimes you can.

First real stop was dinner at AMP (of course!) and photo ops by the water…ahhhh…