I'm going to skip the details of the time before and after Hawaii for the most part and focus on our glorious vacation!
Tuesday the 31st we drove the girls to St. George and dropped them off with my parents. I seriously have the best parents in the world. Not only did they agree to babysit my kids for a week, they also came to St. George so we could fly out of Las Vegas for cheap. We hung out for a bit in St. George, then said goodbye. I had to get out of the hotel room as fast as possible so I could have a good cry in the hall. It was hard saying goodbye to the girls (for me). They weren't phased.
We got to the Las Vegas airport and waited for the Turney's they were also flying out of Vegas because the tickets were so good. They arrived about midnight and we hung out at the USO eating snacks and getting excited for the trip. We boarded about 1:20AM and tried to sleep as comfortably as possible on an airplane. I think we each got about 4 hours of sleep on the 6 hour flight.
View from our room. Seriously.
We had things to do to get ready for the week but our first stop was the Aloha Stadium Swap meet. I regret not getting more there but we didn't really know what to look for as we'd only been in Hawaii a few hours. It's only open on Wednesdays and Sundays. After that, we headed to Costco and Safeway to get our food for the week. Kris was very organized with a shopping list and weekly menu so it was fast. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing in the ocean, swimming in the many pools at the resort, and just walking around with our toes in the sand!
Thursday was probably my favorite day...I started the day (after ten hours of sleep!) with a morning run on the beach. It was so beautiful! We took a drive up the middle of the island, past pineapple fields and jungle to the temple. The temple was incredibly beautiful. We spent some time at the visitor center, then the 3 couples and Kris went to do sealings while the two youngest and Terry went to do baptisms. It was really special, not only to see the temple but to serve in it as well. At the visitor center we watched a film about the church coming to Hawaii, about the temple, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and BYU Hawaii. It was really impressive.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was a highlight of the trip. I felt the spirit testify of Heavenly Father's love for each of his children, and I gained an appreciation for the amazing culture of the islands. It was done really well, with shows, demonstrations, hands on activities...we even had a tour guide. That night we ate at a traditional Luau and watched the night show Ha. I would do the P.C.C. over and over again!
Dancing at the Luau for our anniversary
Friday was a beach day. Thanks to Terry being in the military, we got to hang out on a private beach (Bellows). We had boogie boards, body surfed, laid in the sand, and burned (note, the only one who DIDN’T get burned was me, the fair skinned Irish girl. All the quarter and half Mexicans burned. Irony)
It was the prettiest beach I’d ever played at. While I took a nap on the beach, Adam swam with a turtle! Lucky guy. We also stopped by the Pali Canyon lookout. It was a beautiful, but windy, view.
Saturday, we started off by going to the Dole Plantation. It was beautiful, and interesting…but I don’t think I’d go there again. We ate yummy pineapple whip, but my favorite part of the Dole plantation, was the oyster we picked out. For our anniversary, Adam had me pick out an oyster which held two pretty, pink pearls (TWO!) I felt extra lucky to get two pearls. We had them set in earrings which I love. What a perfect memory for our anniversary and to remember Hawaii.
The best part of Saturday was a hike I discovered when researching our trip. It was called the Manauwili Falls hike, a 3.2 mile hike (roundtrip) to a waterfall, which we jumped from into a cool pool. The hike was incredibly beautiful. I kept waiting for dinosaurs to pop out and chase us through the jungle! The jump off Manauwili was a little scary, even though I didn’t do the tall jump. I will do this one again when we go back for sure!
Sunday was our 6th anniversary! We found a ward to attend near Pearl Harbor. It was cool going to church in Hawaii and it really set the spirit for Pearl. We did the audio tour, which gave me a lot of knowledge and understanding of December 7th 1941 and the huge significance that was the battle at Pearl Harbor. Adam said he was choking back tears through the audio tour and movie, but I was alright until we took the boat out to the Arizona. As I stepped off, a thickness surrounded me and I couldn’t breathe. It was so obviously sacred ground that I couldn’t speak. I tried to read all the names of the dead, I saw the oil still leaking from the ship (about two gallons a day, estimated to leak another 50 years), I saw the ship containing the bodies of over 900 still trapped inside. It was an incredible experience.
After Pearl, we went back to the resort and Adam and I spent some time alone walking on the beach and enjoying the beauty of Hawaii, talking about the last six years and our daughters, just being together. Later that evening my cousin Dave came over (he is working in Oahu for the summer) and it was so cool to see him in Hawaii and hang out!
Monday was a little random. We didn’t have a solid plan, so the three couples and Terry split from the group and did two more hikes. One was Diamond Head which had the most spectacular view of all the hikes; the other was Mauna Waterfall, which was shorter, muddier, and more beautiful than the first hike. We ate at a really good burger place (I forget the name) and came back to the resort. We hung out in the pools and had these two Hawaiian men bust open a couple of coconuts for us! Again, we spent the evening walking around together and enjoying the sunset.
Tuesday, our last day, we went out with a bang. We started by snorkeling at a private “local” area with a guide, thanks again to the military connection. It wasn’t as commercialized as Hunauma Bay so we got a private little trip. I swam with a sea turtle and even petted it. Adam and Addison went off on their own for a bit and so they saw over SEVEN! They even chased them a bit haha.
We went back to Bellows beach again and rented some Kayaks. It was pretty hilarious watching us try to make it past the waves and actually get out on the ocean but we did it! It was so amazing to be out in open water on a kayak! We all stuck together pretty much and it was so fun! Kris held up her hands so we thought we had 10 minutes left but really we had 30 so we missed out on the last twenty minutes L but it was incredible. We also spent some more time swimming in the water, then we got some famous Hawaiian shaved ice. That night we came home and everyone was pretty exhausted. I didn’t want to miss the last sunset so I went for a walk by myself and listened to IZ sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” on the beach while I tried to capture every moment and lock it in my memory.
It was the greatest trip ever. I can’t wait to go back again someday. It seems almost like a dream at this point.