Saturday, January 26, 2013

Last Ramblings. . .

Who's sick of me talking about Hawaii?  Does anybody feel like punching me in the face because I'm going on and on and on about what an amazing time we had there?  Actually. . . I only know of two people FOR SURE who read my posts daily (Hi Mom!  Hi Nana!) and their adoration for me runs so deep I'm pretty sure I could write about the dog turd I scooped up this morning on my walk with Corky and they'd have nothing but accolades to say about it.  It's nice to know I have such adoring fans, all two of them.

Anywho, I have one last post about Hawaii.  It's mostly a few pictures of our little apartment that didn't really go with any other topic.  

The kids playing one night before bed.  I didn't want to forgot the moment.  Everything looked so sweet.
The first thing I wanted to write is about our apartment.  The building is both an apartment building and hotel called The Waikiki Grand.  I read mixed reviews about the hotel and was a bit worried before we arrived.  However, the reviews about the "Artist's Pad" were all positive.  After living there for a month, I grew quite fond of our "Hawaii Home" as well.  One entire wall was windows, and you could open several of them to let in a breeze.  The city lights were always fun to see at night.  It was lovely!  The owner's also decorated for Christmas, so it felt rather homey inside.  Again. . . lovely!  

I also read about a gay bar, Hula's, located on the second floor of the building.  I worried about being so close to a bar (any bar gay or straight), but joked with Jim that he wouldn't have to worry about me getting hit on by drunk guys while he was away at work.  I mean, what guy doesn't want to hit on a bedraggled sand-covered mom heading home from a day at the beach with kids in tow?  In all seriousness, apart from watching a few people stumble into taxis outside the building at night (some with colorful language), and hearing many Madonna and Lady Gaga songs playing when we walked by the street below, having Hula's in our building was fine.  Plus, we met some rather fabulous people on our many elevator rides.

Something I'll always remember about our trip was that the first two weeks in the apartment the cable was down.  Not a big deal, as we don't have cable at home and the beach was a block away and kept us entertained for hours on end.  However there's the fact that, we don't have cable at home, so the thought of having more than four channels to choose from when we were in the room was slightly exciting for me.  The TV did have a DVD player.  However, the only DVD it recognized was Elf.  I think we watched Elf about once-a-day the first few weeks.  It got to the point where EVERY elevator ride where someone rode with us, and got off, Tralee shouted, "Wait, I forgot to give you a hug!" as the doors closed.  Quotes and scenes from the movie were also acted out throughout the day.  My favorite was when Tralee was acting like Jovie and said, "You did this?  You know they're kind of pissed about this."  I laughed.

Our Christmas tree for 2012

The last random memory from our trip was when we took Jim out to eat at our favorite udon noodle restaurant.  We ate there so much that one day a worker told us, "See you tomorrow!" as we left.  Anyway, after sharing a meal together Jim asked the kids, "Did you like dinner?"  Tralee's response was, "Yes!  There's a party in my tummy.  Except the party is over, so I have to send everyone out the back door!"  She then made a few impolite noises.  I laughed again.  Potty humor is not a lost cause in our family.  I promise we try to stay proper in the appropriate situations, but in our home many giggles erupt after an impolite noise.

Our little bathroom had a cute small tub, with a small open window above it.

So there you go!  My last Hawaii post!  Aloha!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Last Day -- Bishop Museum

On January 2nd we packed up all our stuff, and said goodbye to our "Hawaii home."  We had a lot of time to kill before we had to be at the airport, so we met up with Diane, Keoni, Danny, and Diane's mom at the Bishop Museum.  The kids had a blast playing together.  

Last breakfast in Hawaii

Beautiful butterflies
The Bishop Museum was really four different museums on one property.  We had the science museum, a planetarium, art museum, History museum, and beautiful grounds with a cool large bug exhibit.  It was all pretty cool.

This picture is too cute.  When we came home Tralee announced that she's going to marry Keoni.

Giant whale inside historical part of museum

Can you spot the wee ones?
Keoni and Tralee pretending to be statues.
One of my favorite paintings at the museum

The science museum had a cool volcano exhibit
Our last rainbow in Hawaii
Our flights home were kind of brutal.  We left Hawaii at 11:00pm, arrived in Las Vegas at 6:00am.  Left Vegas 9:00am.  Arrived in Seattle at 11:00.  Left Seattle at I-can't-remember-what-time and landed at our final destination around 3:00pm.  The airline lost one of our bags, but we made it home. . . with snow on the ground and everything!  We definitely weren't in Hawaii anymore.  Boo.

We stopped and played in the snow for a minute on our way home.  Notice how Tralee is in short sleeved pants and shirts?  Yeah.  We didn't really have any "winter" clothes with us.

Our bag showed up a few hours later.  Phew!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Polynesian Cultural Center

We decided to spend the first day of the new year at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We went back and forth about this idea.  Did we really want to spend our last full day on Oahu at the Cultural center, or did we want to spend it playing at a beach?  We were told by several people that the cultural center was "must do."  So we decided to just bite the bullet and do it.

We ended up visiting the PCC on a perfect day!  It was a little bit overcast and breezy, so we didn't get too hot standing around waiting for activities   Plus it wasn't very busy, and we were able to see and do most things we wanted to without a wait.  The kids had a blast!  Tralee loved seeing all the "hula" girls and trying out each culture's activity.  I read in a guide book that there was no way to see and do everything in one day.  The guide book was right, but I think we saw and did enough to get a good taste of various cultures.  Oh. . . and you may notice from the pictures below that we were the cheesy family dressed in identical Hawaiian outfits.  We didn't stand out AT ALL (insert sarcasm .  It was still fun, and I don't regret it!  

When we arrived the canoe show was taking place.  Each island came through on a canoe and did a special song/dance native to their island.  Tralee was mesmerized.  Hunter danced right along with some of them!

Watching the canoe show

Tralee did the "hang-loose" sign as some of the canoes floated past her.  She was so excited when someone would made it back to her.

More watching
After the canoe show we made our way over to Tonga and watched them make coconut milk, start a fire with sticks, climb a coconut tree, and do some other cool things.  The guy presenting was pretty funny. 
Climbing a tree

The man above is the one who demonstrated most of the Tongan chores men do.  He said men in Tonga do all the hunting, building, cooking, and cleaning.  He said the women's job is to tell the men what to do.  I whispered to Jim, "Let's move to Tonga."  He thought I was SO hilarious!

Tralee's attempt at starting a fire

A Tongan dude teaching us how to use. . . I forgot what they're called.

Hunter giving it a go

Tralee climbing a coconut tree

My blond Mogli climbing a tree
After all the tree fire building and tree climbing, we went on a relaxing canoe ride as a family.  Tralee was thrilled that she was able to help paddle.

Family canoe ride
Right by the canoe drop-off point there was a container of fish food for purchase.  We got Tralee some to feed the fish, but along came this duck and harpooned Tralee's fish snacks.  She thought it was hilarious, and liked feeding the duck more than the fish.

Later on at a different island, I can't remember which, Tralee and Jim tried to catch a fish the old-school islander way.

The fishing place was inside a little hut overlooking the water.  While Jim and Tralee tried to catch a fish Hunter and I had a little chat.  He looked at me and said, "This is my house mom.  It's a nice house.  Do you like my house?  You can sleep in my house if you want.  I'll let ya!"  He then proceeded to run his hands along the benches inside the hut and told me again, "This is my house.  It's a nice house."  He made me smile.

After fishing we gave spear-throwing a try.  We each picked our spears and Jim told the kids to look tough for mommy.  Almost everyone got the memo.  Hunty might not have.

Hunter was REALLY into learning how to throw a spear.  He even got his to stick in the ground!  I was so proud!

After Tralee and Hunter threw their spears a few times, it was Jim and my turn.  Tralee wanted to take pictures of us.  So I let her.

Later on we decided we should get a family picture taken since we were all matchy-matchy in our touristy outfits.  A nice guy came along and took these pictures for us.  Check out Hunter's "smile" face.  Cracks me up.  Oh. . . also, I'm not wearing any make-up this day and have blistery lips.  Pictures kind of reflect that.

I made the kids stop and let me get some pics of them.  They cooperated for the most part, and some of the pics below might make their way onto our walls.

I like this one.

I kinda love this one -- even with Hunty's undies peeking through.

Tralee took this one.  Again, I'm not wearing make-up and my lips were sore.  Not my best moment.  All that aside, Tralee's a pretty good little photographer!

Hiding.  Just try and find us!

After walking around the cultural center, we made our way to the dining hall to eat a buffet.  We bought a package deal that included a buffet with a special food item from each island.  The buffet was only okay.  There was another buffet that cost more, but looked a little tastier.  My honest opinion is they could have done a little better with the quality of the food for what we paid.  But, it wasn't awful, just not super tasty.  The dining hall had a gorgeous mural with each island represented.  It was fun to look at while eating the only-okay food.

After dinner we browsed the overpriced shops while waiting for the show to start.  Our package deal included tickets to watch Ha: Breath of Life.  The show started at 7:00, which is a normal time for a show like this to start.  The only problem was, our kids were still a little bit on Idaho time which made it 10:00 for them, and after walking around exploring the PCC all day, they didn't make it that far into the show before they got VERY tired and grumpy.  Hunter eventually conked out, but Tralee kept trying to find a comfortable way to lay down on me (Hunter was in Jim's arms).  The show was beautiful and well choreographed.  The music, chanting, dancing, and singing sucked you right in.  The first half ended with the Maori men and women doing their war chants.  They banged on their knees and chests and made crazy faces into the crowd.  I LOVED it!  And even though the show was wonderful, during intermission Jim and I made the executive decision to leave and get the kids to bed.  We knew this meant we would miss the most exciting part of the show:  The fire dancing/throwing.  We also knew we were flying home the next day and needed the kids to get a good nights rest.  So, we missed the last half.  Hopefully we can someday make it back to finish. 

Our day at the Polynesian Cultural Center was fun.  It was a great way to spend the day as a family experiencing new cultures.  I'm so glad we were able to visit.