Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bliss

Okay, the long-awaited post has arrived. I get giddy just looking at the pictures. Ever since coming back I have tried to surround myself with a bit of Hawaii--homemade shoyu chicken (finally found the perfect recipe), sea shells in glass containers, macadamia nuts, Hawaiian music...but it just isn't the same. Oh, how I love Hawaii!

I went to school at BYU-Hawaii for a year and half. After coming home from Hawaii I had planned on going on a mission for our church but then plans changed. I met Birch. Fast forward thirteen years, six kids, grad school, jobs, etc...I was finally able to share this bit of me with Birch. As you might remember, when we had our house flood I was in the office planning my "fake" trip to Hawaii. All of sudden things did start to come together and ended up making this dream a reality. I don't think we could have done this trip for any cheaper--we had miles that paid for the travel, we shared a car and our townhouse, and I found coupons for meals and our entertainment. I'm so grateful to my mom and my sister Emily for coming to stay with the kiddos; without them we wouldn't have been able to go.

As the plans started coming together we decided that it would be fun to share this trip with our good friends, Brooke and Mark Cox. Our families have been two peas in a pod for several years now (we even lived together for a couple of months while their house was being built); they were wonderful company and we had such a good time together.

(In order for you to get in the mood -- click one of the Hawaiian songs that I added to the side bar, grab at Hawaiian Sun drink, and kick back and enjoy the pictures.)

Saturday, October 31st

The trip starts out Halloween morning with an early flight into Honolulu. The four of us arrived in Hawaii within minutes of each other and we loaded into our gangster rental car, a Dodge Magnum. We drove straight to our one-night hotel in Waikiki, unloaded, and then we were off to the Aloha Swap Meet.
If you want good deals this is the place to go! We shopped on high speed and got all of our little souvenirs for the kids. We were anxious to get to the beach. After getting some dinner we enjoyed walking along Ala Moana State Park. Birch tried his skills at climbing a coconut tree...it was hard. I love this picture because it captures the way I feel about Hawaii! So carefree!! When we flew into Honolulu I had a mouth full of cankers and stress headaches. By the end of the trip I was canker- and headache-free. What a beautiful sunset this was!!! We ended up having quite a bit of rain and stormy weather during the week so this was actually the only really good sunset we saw. This was one of my very favorite nights...Birch and I enjoyed walking hand-in-hand on the beach, listening to live Hawaiian music and dipping our feet in a fancy hotel's outdoor hot tub.
Sunday, Nov. 1st
We started the morning by going to Pearl Harbor. This has always been one of my favorite places in Hawaii. While going to school I didn't get around the island much but I made sure that I went to Pearl Harbor a couple of times a year. Each day a quart of oil leaks from the USS Arizona, serving as a memorial for the 900+ men who are buried in the underwater tomb. I love America! Everyone treated the memorial with much respect. It was a very reverent place. After leaving Pearl Harbor we went back into Waikiki to the Outrigger Hotel and had one of our favorite meals of the trip at their buffet. Could Birch look anymore relaxed as he eats his fresh papaya and drinks his passion-orange-guava juice over-looking Waikiki beach? Waikiki Beach Next we were off to church at the historic Honolulu Tabernacle. It was a memorable church service for sure. At the Pali Lookout. As we drove into Laie I couldn't even concentrate (I was trying to talk to my kids on the cell phone). I was flooded with things I hadn't seen for years and all these memories came rushing back. Here I am at my old house, The Tree House, where I lived in for almost a year. It sits almost directly across from the Laie Temple.

I LOVE plumerias...pink, yellow, white, light pink ones. I've been growing a plumeria tree in my bathroom for the past five years and it has yet to bloom. The Laie Hawaii Temple is currently being remodeled. It still stood with such beauty and grandeur. Sharing a kiss on the temple grounds.
Monday, November 2nd
Off to Sunset Beach! We were lucky to be there during the Excell Surfing Competition; sure made for some great entertainment. The boys enjoyed body and boogie board surfing at Sunset Beach. Brooke and I enjoyed doing NOTHING! Shaka, Skaka!! What a life!! Sunset Beach. After a morning playing in the water we went to Haleiwa to get some lunch and walk around town. We each got a shave ice in memory of our kids...neither of us care too much for them. Loved this tourist site in Haliewa. We stopped at Laniakea Beach to see the huge sea turtle. It was massive! This is the townhouse that we stayed in at Turtle Bay. The price was great, the location was perfect, and it was just as ideal as can be for us. The site out of our lani (porch) of our condo. Turtle Bay has HUGE and beautifully manicured golf courses.
Tuesday, Nov. 2nd
The morning was started off by going to a small local cafe in Laie called Hukilau Cafe. It became famous in the movie "50 First Dates." Birch snarfed up his delicious banana pancakes. Next we headed to hike Laie Falls. Just after starting the hike we got caught in a torrential downpour so we decided to head back. We couldn't leave without getting a picture of this crazy sign. Off to Laie Point. It was just a gorgeous as I remembered. Birch...always pressing the limits. Again, Birch pressing the limits. I'm not sure if he read the sign or not but really he would do just about anything for a good picture. We saw some AMAZING waves! This shot was taken at the famous Bonzi Pipeline Beach where many surfing competitions are held. Next stop was Waimea Bay. Again, the waves were crazy huge! Birch was able to barrow some fins (which were required because the waves were so huge) so he got to experience some massive waves. He was pretty wiped out of energy when he finished body surfing. Next stop was the Dole Plantation. We both loved our dole whip. I love this man!!!
Wednesday, Nov. 3rd
We started the morning off going down to the beach at Turtle Bay. Birch spent some time snorkling while I enjoyed the fresh morning air. Then we went to go look for sea shells along Turtle Bay. We didn't find too many but we sure enjoyed our time together. I love this shot that Birch got of this crab. On our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center we stopped at the famous Giovanni's Shrimp truck for lunch. It was delicious! Keeping with tradition, we each signed the truck. We had a great day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This guy from Samoa was going to school at BYU-H during the time I was there. He didn't remember me but I sure remembered him. The canoe show in the afternoon was awesome. Birch was chosen to dance the male part at the Tahitian village. He was a good sport and quite entertaining. We got drenched a couple of times during the day but then the sun would come out and dry us quickly. We enjoyed the whole day from the village shows, the amazing IMAX show, canoe show, and the incredible night show. Again it was fun to see where I had had several jobs while attending BYU-H. This shot was for the kids so they could see how bananas really grow. We saw several banana plantations. This banana was not very tasty as it obviously was not ripe. In LOVE!
Thursday, November 4th
We started the day off by going to Sharks Cove. It has great snorkeling for free. Snorkling has never been a favorite activity to me but the boys kept encouraging Brooke and me to give it a try. It took me a bit to get used to the breathing thing (in fact I think I had a little panic attack while trying to breathe) but it turned out to be a really neat experience. Birch decided that he LOVES snorkeling and next time wants to go to Hanauma Bay (we didn't go this time because you have to pay). Back to Waimea Bay...Birch was adamant that he jump off of the Waimea Rock. He did it!! Ah...my years at BYU-Hawaii were all brought back. It was so fun to share this part of my life with Birch. What a beautiful campus!
Friday, November 6th
Chinaman's Hat Island On the top of Diamond Head...wow, was that a lot of stairs! Kailua beach Waimanalo beach My sister, Leah had suggested hiking up to Maunawili Falls. She said that it was easy...she was lying. It was challenging (especially after having hiked Diamond Head that morning) but it was SO amazingly beautiful. The vegetation was incredible. Here is Birch, A.K.A. Adam. Taking a breather on the way to Maunawili Falls. We made it! -- Maunawili Falls Birch jumping off of Maunawili Falls. Even though this hike was hard with crossing rivers, walking through mud, and being surrounded by mosquitoes--I would certainly do it again.
Saturday, Nov. 7th
Two lovers on Sunset Beach. Saying "goodbye" was SO HARD! As much as we love being together with our kids, we also love being together without our kids. It was hard to believe that Saturday morning started out with snorkeling, rainbows, and sunshine and then by that night we were driving over the pass in a snow storm. Oh how I love Hawaii!

We came home to a quiet house with all the kids snoring away. One reason we could enjoy the trip so thoroughly was knowing that the kids were in such good hands. My sister and my mom took exceptional care of them and thankfully nobody got sick. There is no way we would be able to do these yearly trips without the support our family. THANK YOU!!! These getaways fill me up for the rest of the year and bind Birch and me together with such strong binding.