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Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hawaii! - longest post EVER

For years Jeremiah & I have wanted to take a vacation but when it came down to it we didn't want to part with the money. Then came the AmEx card! We had lots of reward points to use but the economy was bad & Jeremiah is seriously the best man b/c he didn't want to take a vacation when he couldn't give his employees raises at the time (even though it wasn't costing us money but it's not like all his employees would understand that). He's so noble. I love him so much! Then a few months ago our great friends Brit & Summer told us they were going to Hawaii & wanted us to go with them! That was the push we needed to make our years of planning a reality! Summer & I had a great time planning our days in Hawaii. The boys made tons of fun of us for all the planning & even joked if they were allowed bathroom breaks or not since it wasn't written down (we really weren't THAT crazy in our planning). By the way, Summer has done an EXCELLENT job of documenting our trip in much greater detail than I'm going to, so if you're interested in more deets, check her out!

6/1: Jeremiah & I flew in a day before Brit & Summer did because we wanted to be sure to spend our anniversary together which was the day after we flew in (oh, we met each other in Hawaii). A few days before we met in Hawaii I flew the kids up to WA so that Jer's mom & sister could take care of our kids. My flight got into Oahu a couple hours before Jeremiah's. It was enough time for me to get our rental car & accidentally visit Punch Bowl Cemetary! Just after Jeremiah texted me to say he'd landed my phone died & I'd forgotten my car charger, so it was pretty lucky that I was able to find him at the airport on the curb. He didn't even know what I was driving!

After finding Jeremiah at the airport we headed towards the North Shore where our hotel was. On our way we stopped at famous Ted's Bakery to get a snack. They were out of their popular chocolate haupia pie so we decided we'd just have to go back again in the morning! We checked into our hotel, walked along the beach & checked out lava rock, and ate dinner at Lei Lei's - on the golf course. The whole time we just kept saying that we couldn't believe we were actually there & on a real vacation without kids! :) This was the view from our balcony at the Turtle Bay Resort.

6/2: Happy 9th Anniversary to us! We ate breakfast overlooking the ocean at the Palm Terrace restaurant in the hotel. On our way to the airport to pick up Brit & Summer we stopped at Ted's to get some of the chocolate haupia pie. I have to say at first I wasn't sure what all the hype was about. But as I kept eating I liked it more & more. We ended up going back for it another time! :) Anyway, we picked up B/S & then headed another way back up to the North Shore so we could go to the Polynesian Cultural Center for some culture & a luau. On our way we stopped & had lunch at the Shrimp Shack.

The Poly Center was interesting & there were tons of exhibits to look at & some things to make or try. One of the first things we did was watch a floating show on the river where all the different island cultures were represented by dancers & music.

This was one of the things you could make. You can't hardly tell from this picture, but we made little grass fish on a fishing line. It was actually really cool & by far my favorite thing from the Poly Center because I knew my kids would LOVE it! You could push the fish up on the long stick & then "cast" your line & the fish would slide to the end like you'd caught it. I took great care to get ours safely home (and yes, the kids loved them).

During the luau/dinner show they had every couple with a June anniversary come up on stage & introduce ourselves & say how many years we were celebrating. Then much to Jeremiah's complete horror we had to dance on stage! LOL We took off after the Luau - the guys (esp Jeremiah) couldn't handle staying for the night show. We stopped at the temple & walked around the visitor's center then headed home to our hotel.

6/3: We checked out of Turtle Bay & went to Ted's for breakfast. There's really not a lot on the North Shore as far as tourism goes so it's a good thing we liked Ted's Bakery! :) Next we drove down to Waikiki, dropped off our luggage at the Marriott (boo), and then went on an AWESOME hike!

We did the Maunawili Falls hike and it had gorgeous scenery! At the end of the hike (or at least the end before you have to turn around & go back the way you came), we were rewarded with a cool waterfall that we got to jump into! So fun!

After our hiking adventure we cleaned up & went to Duke's for dinner. Funny thing about that was that there was a Duke's right across the street from Jeremiah's store on the beach in Huntington & we never once ate there the 3 years we lived there! We should have - it was delicious!

6/4: We woke up way too early for vacation & went to get our free tickets to see the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. We had to wait a while for our ferry to the memorial site so we got breakfast at Denny's. You should definitely look at
Summer's blog for this part b/c even though she is a little liar & acted like she was just as unimpressed with the tour as the rest of us, her description is very nice! LOL Not to make light of Pearl Harbor, it was just not what we expected. You could pay a lot of money to go on a tour & maybe that would have made a difference, but they ferried us out to the site, dropped us off, & came back a while later to get us. Nobody official talked about it to the group or gave us any sort of reason to feel connected. I'm sure it would have made a difference if we'd seen the little video you can watch (we thought we'd see it out there so I still don't know if that's just something to see with a paid tour or not). Or if one of the uniformed servicemen or women would have talked about it. It was just not what we expected is all.

After our early morning at Pearl Harbor we picked up fast food & rented some kayaks & were off to Kane'ohe Bay. It was a pretty awesome kayak trip! We kayaked a couple of miles out to this little island, Kapanapa, and on the way there we kayaked over a sunken "island" (sand bar - huge one!) where we were able to get out of the kayaks & stand in the middle of the bay with the sand a foot in some spots & more in others beneath us. Pretty awesome! Oh, & we even saw a big seaturtle swimming over the sunken island! Someday I'll develop the pictures from our underwater camera & maybe add them to this so you can all see how cool it was! It was a lot of work though. Definitely not an adventure for wimps! :) After our kayaking adventure we went back to Waikiki & had dinner at PF Changs, saw a fireworks show on the beach, & finished the night with a stop at Cold Stone.

6/5: Happy Birthday Summer! We flew to Kauai, had lunch at Subway, then checked into our resort. This resort was part of Brit & Summer's time share sampler they'd purchased & it was awesome! We got to stay in a 2-bedroom condo (did I mention we shared a hotel room for 3 nights!) that was nicely furnished. We got all settled in since we'd be there for 4 nights then we went down to the beach since Brit was dying to body surf! We played in the water & laid out & had a relaxing afternoon, followed by dinner at a yummy hamburger place, Bubba's, and then went grocery shopping. I don't know how the locals afford to live there - the prices were insane. We'd been warned that we'd pay $5 for a gallon of milk. Everything was double the price! It was almost $8 for a little bag of salad. Even the produce of all things was outrageous! It was like that in CA too when we lived there. I don't get it - the stuff is being grown locally so why is it that the stuff in the grocery store looks like the crap that didn't get shipped out & is overpriced? No pineapple was bought at the grocery stores of Kauai! To end our relaxing day we drove to Lihue to see Prince of Persia! Great day (then again they all were - it's vacation! In Hawaii!)!

6/6: We went to a 9am Sacrament Meeting in a town about 20 mins away. We'd been sitting in the meeting for a little while when a woman turned her head for a moment & I swore she looked like a woman in my ward. I leaned over to Jeremiah & said is that Carol Turney? He said noooo! But sure enough it was the entire Turney family sitting several rows in front of us! How insane is it that of all the places we could be and all of the Sacrament Meetings we could have gone to we ended up in the same one as the Turney family? Pretty nuts if you ask me!

After we visited with the Turneys we went home for a frozen pizza lunch & then headed out to hike to Ho'opi'i Falls. The hike had a first set of falls that we stopped at to check out, then we continued on to the bigger falls. Along the way we stopped & swung on a vine across the river (SO FUN!), and picked wild bananas. Jeremiah was on a mission to pick as many different types of native fruits/nuts as possible.

So the larger falls was a little bit of a disappointment since the hike ended at the top of the falls & there was no way to get down to the bottom! It was still pretty to look at and the hike had been nice.

On our way back the boys wanted to check out the first set of falls again & couldn't resist jumping in! The thing that was nice about this hike was that it wasn't well known so there were only a couple other tourists we saw along the way & then a handful of locals who were hanging out at the first falls.

6/7: We started the day early again going to Outfitters Kauai for an all-day excursion. We kayaked, hiked, jumped off a rope swing into a water hole (which by the way is said to be the same rope swing that Jonny Depp has swung off of & where a scene from the next Pirates of the Caribbean is being filmed), we hiked some more, ziplined, had sack lunches, ziplined some more, and then went to a private water hole. It was a pretty awesome place! There was a high & low platform to jump off of, a little waterfall coming into the place on one side, and a little zipline to jump into the water from. It was really cool! We didn't finish our excursion till late in the afternoon. We had just enough time to get cleaned up before we met up with Summer's cousin, Aleiah, & her family for dinner at a little place called Brenecke's. I had the most delicious ahi ever there! The whole time I was eating it I kept thinking omigosh, I can't believe I'm eating practically raw fish (it was seared on both sides but raw in the middle), but it was amazing!!! I LOVED it!

6/8: Last day of vacation! We started off the morning waiting around for Brit & Summer to get back from a timeshare presentation. Man guys, what took you so long? Did they talk you into it? LOL

We took a little walk down to the beach while we were waiting to write a cryptic message in the sand to text to some of our family. Here's a hint - there are 5 people in our family!

When Brit & Summer were done we headed to the North Shore to do the FIRST SNORKELING of our entire trip! Insane, I know! But before we went too far north we stopped at Hilo Hattie's to load up on souvenirs for our kids. We also stopped at a local farmer's market that had the BEST PINEAPPLE I've ever had in my life! So freaking good! We also bought a coconut with a straw to drink (blech), mangos (the champagne mangos were delish), papayas, & bananas (really sweet & yummy). Oh & I also got a frozen banana on a stick because I always think I love them until I eat them & then forget that the next time I get one again. :) The farmer's market was a fun experience. We finally made it to Ke'e beach which was beautiful! Jeremiah & I had some technical difficulties so our snorkeling was cut very short. My brand new mask ended up being broken right out of the package but Jeremiah tried to Jerry-rig it, but I couldn't seem to get it adjusted so I was constantly getting water in my eyes/nose. Jeremiah traded me & then it helped, but my fins kept coming off, no matter how much I tightened them. We snorkeled for about 20 minutes, but Jeremiah wanted to put his booties on under his fins so I went back by the beach & waited in the water for him to get them. He got back & went to put his mask on again & it broke completely. Thus our snorkeling adventure was over. We had to laugh about it! It's unfortunate that we didn't snorkel at any other point on our trip & that it was such a short-lived experience when we finally did! The ocean life we saw in that 20 minutes was really cool though! :) And Ke'e was gorgeous! We ended our afternoon with a stop at Paradise Shave Ice. I got a rainbow shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. Best shave ice I've ever eaten! Mac nut ice cream on the bottom is definitely the way to get it!

6/9: Goodbye Hawaii! Jeremiah & I said goodbye at the airport terminal since his was a long ways away from mine. Lucky for him he was flying home with Brit. Summer was flying to Phoenix on the same airline so they all got to wait together. I flew out & got stuck sitting next to these two (and no they were not aware I was taking their picture):

The girl's leis smelled SO bad I felt nauseous a few times! I've always been a bit sensitive to smells. She seemed really strange to me. The woman next to me had the rest of her family sitting in the row behind us & one of her kids kicked my chair over & over. It was a long flight. I rented the in-flight movie player & watched Alice in Wonderland (creepiest/dumbest movie ever), and Percy Jackson & the Olympians (super stupid as many books to movies are). The woman next to me was very engrossed in my movies & since there were two jacks on the player I told her she could plug in her headphones but she turned down the offer & kept watching without volume. The girl on the end ended up being a little cooler since she was watching Glee! :) And that's how my vacation to Hawaii ended. Jeremiah got to drive home from Vegas with Brit when he got in. I rented a car & drove myself to Colville (nearly 2 hours from the airport). I got there at 2am! What an awesome vacation though! Thanks Brit & Summer for inviting us - you were such fun travelmates!

6 talk to me:

Trina said...

ummmm... feb 6, 2011? !!!!

hillary said...

I added a hint :)

Janelle Day said...

YAY for kiddo number 4. Are you ready? We are getting close to making that jump too! Congrats and um that isn't that far away is it? Are you feeling good? I super excited for you!! Oh wait this post was really about Hawaii. Your trip looked cool... I am jealous :) Honestly it looked so relaxing and exciting and fun. Glad you were finally able to go. Good luck with your pregnancy and you might want to post that again cuz that was somewhat tricky :)

Nichole Christensen said...

Hillary that is so exciting!!! I heard you guys ran into the Turney's while there in Hawaii. Danielle & Gregg are our neighbors. Sounds like you guys had a blast. I'm glad to read the updates. I miss my Kingman friends!

Reed, Liz and the kids said...

congrats! I got the message you guys wrote in the sand. I'm so happy for you

Kayleigh said...

I can't believe ppl don't understand the message in the sand! I got it right away. TT thought it was a scripture reference... WTH? Or was that Chelsea? Oh well...

The pic of you & Jer dancing is actually adorable