Monday, April 28, 2008

We All Made It!

The last time we were in Hawaii, we didn’t make it to hike Diamond Head. I have wanted to do it ever since. The rest of the family wasn’t too sure, but I convinced them to all do it. :) We had heard that it was a very steep, hot, exposed hike, but that the view at the top was well worth it. That was all correct. We all hiked it on Saturday. It was about 85 degrees when we started the hike, and it was pretty much straight up. There are no trees and no shade, and some of the hike was a little bit of scrambling over lava flow. Some of the hike is also through old bunkers, so steps had been built to get through some of the steepest portions of the hike. At the very end, there is even a spiral staircase through a bunker, and then a ladder that you have to climb, ducking your head and kind of sliding through a gap in one of the bunkers.
One particular set of stairs close to the top has 99 steps. That may not sound like much, but after already climbing up the mountain, those 99 steps feel like an eternity! But the view from the top was definitely amazing. We could look out and see all of Waikiki.
Apparently on normal days, you can see several other islands from the top of Diamond Head. However, with the eruptions of Mauna Kea on the Big Island, there is a lot of ash in the air. It makes for gorgeous sunsets, but not great views from the top of Diamond Head. That’s ok, what we saw was pretty awesome.

This view is looking back into the crater at the parking lot where we started the hike.

After we hiked Diamond Head and were all hot and sweaty, we flew to Maui. I’m sure all of the people around us on the plane appreciated that we had gone directly from our hike to the airport. We got to Maui, got our rental cars, went shopping at Costco and Star Market, and checked into our condo. This is the view from our lanai (balcony).
Today (Sunday), we attended the Kihei First Ward at 9:00 am. It was one of the neatest meetings I’ve ever attended. It was the homecoming for one missionary, and the farewell for another one. After the closing prayer, the whole congregation stood and sang "Aloha Oe" to the departing missionary while members of his family and other ward members put leis on him. It was a very touching thing to be a part of. Ryan was kept watching as the leis got higher and higher on the missionary, and he had to keep pushing them down to see. We talked with him after the meeting, and walked out with him. Ryan wanted a picture with him. I think the departing elder thought it was cool that he had a little fan.We went for a drive to the end of the road on South Maui. We went all the way to La Perouse Bay, where the road ends at an enormous lava flow (from the last eruption on Maui in 1790). It was so cool! There is a path on the lava flow called The Hoapili (King’s) Trail. We walked on it for a little while. It was also an area where a lot of coral had washed up on shore. It was interesting to see the contrast between the black lava rock and the white coral all over wherever we walked.
Sunday evening we had a private family screening of “Forever Strong.” Marc had brought a copy of it, so we all watched it together. My parents went to the premiere a couple of months ago, but since it was on a school night, Ryan and I didn’t go. So it was fun for us to see it. Ryan got up and did the haka every time the players did in the movie.

We kept Sunday a fairly mellow day. We’re excited to do more exploring, snorkeling, swimming, and shopping tomorrow.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ryan’s Birthday and Baptism

Today was the most amazing day! We met my friend Kevin (Bishop Schlag) at 7:30 am at Temple Beach Park, just down the street from the Laie, Hawaii Temple. We were lucky to have some other friends from here in Laie join us for Ryan’s baptism! For those of you who know the Marsh family, Kim’s husband grew up here in the Laie 4th Ward, and some of his family still live here. They were able to come to Ryan’s baptism, too!
The day was beautiful, sunny, and calm. We had the program in the park area first, and then walked down to the beach for Ryan’s baptism. Uncle Marc Inman baptized Ryan, with Papa and Kevin as the witnesses. It was a beautiful setting with a beautiful feeling.
After Ryan was baptized, we walked back up to the park area where Papa confirmed Ryan and we finished the program. We all had leis to give to Ryan. The whole thing was amazing. It was one of the neatest things that I’ve ever experienced, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Ryan’s mom. It was beautiful, happy, and peaceful…exactly what we were hoping it would be. A very special thanks to Kevin for all of his work in helping us put it together.
After Ryan’s baptism, we changed our clothes, and then headed to our favorite breakfast spot in Laie – the Hukilau CafĂ© – for macadamia nut pancakes. Nearby is Hukilau beach, where we spent a couple of hours swimming and playing.
We got cleaned up from the beach and took Ryan to the Schlags’ house to play with Kevin and Nan’s kids while Mom, Dad, Marc, Frances and I went to a session at the Laie Temple together. That was a great experience, too. We hadn’t been together in the temple since Marc and Frances were sealed. It was a very small session of only about 18 people, so it was also quiet and peaceful.
I had heard that from one part of the temple, you could look all the way down the hill to Temple Beach Park. I explained to one of the workers that we had just baptized Ryan there this morning, and asked if we could see that view. The temple worker escorted us to that area, and we were able to see where Ryan was baptized from the temple. That was also a very special experience to be able to do that.
We picked up Ryan from the Schlags’, and he said good-bye to his new friends. Another special thanks to Nan and the kids for helping make Ryan’s birthday a lot of fun. We changed our clothes yet again, and drove to the North Shore. We saw Waimea, where all of the famous surfing competitions are held. There were some pretty amazing waves going, and hundreds of surfers waiting to catch the perfect wave. We drove as far as Haleiwa, where we had a wonderful seafood dinner at Jameson’s Restaurant.

As we drove back to our hotel, we all commented that it was a wonderful day for all of us, not just our special birthday boy. We know he had a wonderful day, too, and will do everything we can to help him remember all of the special feelings of the day.

Friday, April 25, 2008


We’re here! Now, before any of you scold me for the time of this post, please remember the time difference.

My Uncle Ted makes fun of me for toting my laptop and BlackBerry on all of our vacations (“Who takes their laptop and BlackBerry to HAWAII?”). Well…me…and Marc. Some of you know that my BlackBerry saved us on our last trip to Hawaii. If it weren’t for my BlackBerry and Mapquest, we would have missed our flight to Kauai! But most importantly, if I didn’t have my laptop, I couldn’t BLOG!

We’ve had a great first couple of days.

Wednesday – We spent most of the day on the plane. Marc and Frances picked us up at about 3:30 Hawaii time. They came in a day earlier to spend some time with Frances’ former foster sister and her husband in Pearl City. We drove to Laie, checked in and got settled, ate, and then visited with Kevin and his family. Ryan has already made some new friends! :)

Thursday – The Polynesian Cultural Center opens at noon, so we spent the morning checking out Temple Beach Park and playing in the pool.

We spent the rest of the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Ryan enjoyed the spear throwing lessons…
getting tattoos…
learning how to dance with poi balls (not to be confused with the poi you eat)…fishing…

the canoe rides…
and meeting the BYU-Hawaii students who work at the PCC… As you know, Friday is a very special day. I will post pictures as soon as I can.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Soccer, Rocks, and Indiana Jones

What do these things have in common? They were all a major part of our weekend.

You all know that Ryan has soccer games on Thursday nights. He is becoming an assertive little player, and LOVES scoring goals! Where are the pictures of said goals, you ask? Proud mom that I am, I was jumping up and down and cheering so much, I completely forgot about the camera around my wrist. But, hey…Ry knew his mom was proud!

When we reminded Ry’s coach that we will miss the next two games, his coach said, “Don’t remind me, I’m already depressed about it.” I’m not sure if he’s depressed that one of his best players will miss two games, or if he’s depressed that he’s not going with us!

Here are some pictures from the past couple of weeks. Just a reminder - Ry's jersey is #1, and he wears red cleats. In the third picture, he is the goalie that has just booted the ball out of the box (he blocked the goal attempt). In the last two pictures, he came close to scoring again...but not quite.

You also know that my mom and I do “Fun Friday” every week for all 100+ second-graders at Ryan’s school. The past couple of weeks we’ve been talking about rocks. Last week we stayed in one large group and talked about the different types of rocks (complete with numerous examples of each). This week we set up four rotating stations. We had each kid bring a rock from home, and we did all kinds of experiments with them to determine what kind of rock they each had. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids start to understand things as they completed the checklist we had for them. It’s always fun to witness those “light bulb” moments. We also had a lot of fun talking about all of the things that we use in our lives that are made of rocks or minerals. It’s Ryan’s treat day next Tuesday (for his birthday). Guess what we got for him to take? Rock candy. :)

Today (Saturday) was Ryan’s birthday party. He is a big Indiana Jones fan, and is counting down the days until “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is in theaters (34). So, obviously, we went with the Indiana Jones theme for his party. For the main activity, we had an obstacle course treasure hunt. Here are the clues/directions with photos of the kids at each spot…

To find the treasure, you’ll have to prove
You’re fit for Indy’s team.
The first test you’ll need to pass
Is walking across a beam.
Crossing scary, rickety bridges
Is a famous Indy feat.
Hungry crocs swim underneath
So pick up your two feet!
Indy doesn’t really care
If you have fortune or fame.
But when his back is to the bad guys,
He wants someone who can aim!
If you ever lose your guns
Indy wants to know
That when you’re escaping headhunters
You can use arrows and a bow!
Watch out!
Rolling boulders ahead!
You’ll need some fancy footwork
Or you can be crushed dead!
A motorcycle relay race
Is last for you to do.
Teamwork is important here
So cheer on your whole crew!
At last, to find the buried treasure
Go north from the basketball pole.
Turn west at the end of the house
Take fifteen steps, and dig a hole!
We buried a treasure chest with gold chocolate coins in it.
Ryan got a lot of fun presents! Since most of his friends know that we’re heading to Hawaii, a lot of them gave him things to take on the trip. He got a super soaker, two other huge squirt guns, rockets, the “20 Q” electronic game, and even a metal detector! Rara & Papa gave him Volume 1 of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” (from the History channel) and I gave him the Indiana Jones “Temple Escape” Lego kit. It has 554 pieces. Hmmm…I wonder what we’ll be doing until we leave?!?!
For party favors, we gave each kid an “Adventure Survival Kit.” I made this sheet and stuck them on the bags in order to identify the contents…
And I LOVED the way the cake turned out…

It was a really fun party. Ryan had a great time, and I think all of the other kids did, too.