Sunday, January 11, 2009

All we want for Christmas....

... Is a real good tan....
We had a fabulous trip for our Christmas holiday! Last year, when we got to talk to Kyle for Christmas, we asked him if he would like Mark and I to come and pick him up from his mission...or we would take the whole family to Hawaii for Christmas in 2008. He thought about it for a week or two, shoveled piles of snow in Bulgaria, and then decided that a trip to Hawaii sounded like a lot of fun! And a lot warmer!!! So, we began making plans.
We warned all 4 kids that they would be receiving no gifts, but would get a trip instead. They were all very happy to comply with that and started to get excited, too.
One of the best things that happened, was that when I invited my sister, Dee Ann, and her family along for the fun, they accepted! So, they made their way as well and we met on Oahu on Dec. 22nd. We spent a couple of days on the Big island, then made our way to Maui, where we spent about 5 days.
The last day we spent on Oahu at Pearl Harbor, and BYU Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center. We came home on Dec 30.
We had the time of our lives! it was just incredible! It didn't feel too much like Christmas, though! the best part was hanging out with the Prince's and seeing the sights together.
Following are some posts about all the adventures we had together.


Here is the beautiful Kona Hawaii temple. It is quite small, yet has the same beautiful temple feeling we are all familiar with. We were there in the evening, and there were some odd street lights on, so it gave it an interesting glow.
We wished the kids had brought along their recommends so that they could do some baptisms. Kind of a dark picture, but here we are at the temple.
Dev and a crazy captain bench he found.

Steffi, outside of a fun restaurant called "Bubba-Gumps". There she is, on the bench in Forrest Gump's shoes. "life is like a box of chocolates...."

Gomer....a picture is worth a thousand words.....

The Big Island

We had a lot of fun on the Big Island. My dear high school friends, Sandy and Bruce, allowed us to stay in their beautiful home. Mahalo!!! Thanks so much for your generosity! I think it is my favorite island. Here Ky, Steff and Al are at the mouth of a beautiful hike to a waterfall. This beautiful view is less than a mile from Bruce and Sandy's house. Imagine seeing that every day!!!! Lucky, lucky lucky!

That is a black sand beach below. Most everyone ran down and then back up one morning. It was straight down a cliff! Black sand is really cool! It is kind of powdery and fine.

Here we are at Akaka Falls.

Kyle slept outside for a couple of nights on this hammock! He thinks it was the best bed in the house. Until he got woken up by an insane rooster!

Road to Hana

Al, "the Rooster" has finally found a a place where he fits in.... We found a little park that had tons of wild roosters roaming around! We tried to set Al free, (We even sang 'Born Free' to him...) but he kept coming back to the car, so we had to bring him home with us.... We got caught in a rainstorm like I have NEVER seen before. One minute we were dry and the next minute, we were soaking wet! It was the craziest thing ever! Funny, funny funny!
More drowned rats.

Look, at what??? The Lookout we were trying to hike to. Now, what were we supposed to see? We just saw rain!

Whale Watching

We took a Whale Watching Tour while we were on Maui with "Captain Steve". We saw a lot of Humpback whales and even some friendly dolphins showed up for a bit. The whales were enormous!!! It was so incredible to see them in the wild. They are there this time of year to have their babies. The dolphins were very fast and close to us. Me and "Ol' Graybeard" on the boat. I only got a little bit seasick. Not enough to feel miserable, just a little queasy.

Dev, on the lookout for Moby Dick.

Mark and Al enjoying the deep blue sea.

The whole crowd getting ready to leave dry land.

Christmas Day!

Imagine this! A beach and sunburns on Christmas Day! It was so much fun! We spent a lot of the day on the beach just playing and laughing. Here is Dev, totally buried in the sand. Now, how does a 'Boogie Board" work?
Gomer, taking a little Siesta in the sun.

Here is our "Snowman"! hahaha

Now they are getting the hang of it.

Christmas Morning

Kyle, happy that Santa filled his stocking. Al, happy that Santa brought him a Slinky.
Steffi and Cousin 'Squid' having fun together on a bright and shiny Christmas day.

Look! Christmas Jammers!

Laie Hawaii Temple

The beautiful Laie temple was the background for this photo. It seemed so funny to have palm trees by a temple, instead of piles of snow! Here, in the Visitor's Center, was a globe with Books of Mormon under it in many different languages. Kyle was happy to find one in Bulgarian. He read a little to us out of it.

Here is a statue of Jesus in the Visitor's Center, surrounded by Christmas trees.

A view of the temple as we were driving up to it.

Here is their Hawaiian version of the Christmas story. I love the Hawaiian touch to the "hut" stable.


We spent our last day on Oahu. Here are a few pictures. What fun we had on our last day! This is the Arizona Memorial from across the bay. Here are Steff and I at the front of the Museum at Pearl Harbor. It was a an interesting, quite sobering place. It was pretty amazing to see what I have pictured all these years.

We had fun zipping around Oahu in a couple of cute PT Cruisers!

Here are Craig and DeeAnn at the bush where they say they "fell in love". AAhhh isn't that sweet???

Here is an amazing Samoan man that we watched climb that tree in about 10 seconds! It was awesome!!!