Thursday, June 30, 2011

Westfest 5K

Okay, so I signed up for the 5K again. I figure it's only 3.2 miles and I don't have to run the whole thing..My Mom, Tara and I all signed up. Noah even signed up. I did not train for this and had been in Hawaii for the whole first part of June so I just figured I would go and get some exercise if nothing else. Well, I think we did awesome. If you look at my age group, I came in 12th out of 14 which doesn't sound great but I did beat my own personal goal. Last year I came in at 48 mins and this year I got 39:50 so I beat my time by 8 mins so I was happy with that. Noah did really well. He came in 6th place out of about 28 kids. His time was 28 mins. He said he ran the whole thing. I'm glad I did it. I was pretty sore the next day. I hadn't been exercising much since I had been on vacation. I want to do it again next year and hopefully beat my time again.

Manti Pageant

This year we finally made it to the Manti Pageant. Every year, I want to go and take Noah and never plan ahead for it. When I finally realize it, it's usually over. This year, I made a point to go and even booked us a motel room in Gunnison. I really enjoyed the pageant this year (minus all the pesky mosquito's). The spirit was truly there and as we sat and watched, I was hoping that Noah was feeling the spirit too. He said he really liked it and kept asking me questions about what was going on. We got into town a little early and checked into our motel and then Noah wanted to go swimming so we swam for about an hour and then got dressed and went to dinner and then headed to the pageant. We didn't get back to our motel until midnight and then we got up the next morning and headed home. It was a fun quick little trip. The temple looked so beautiful up on the hill all lit up. The pictures definitely don't do it justice.

Hawaii !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For as long as I can remember, my dream vacation has always been to go to Hawaii. I finally booked it and went this year. It's only take me 40 years to get there. I figured it would be a good birthday present to myself. Due to money, work, life situations, etc. I've never made it until now and I'm already wanting to go back. Each day of the trip, I tried to write down a few of the things we did because I knew I would forget things otherwise so this is going to be a very long post detailing our trip complete with pictures. So be forewarned that this post is long and has lots of pics..(:
This is us on the plane getting ready to fly out. We had 2 layovers. One in Denver and one in LA. I was so terrified to fly over the open water that I took a valium before we left LA and that helped SO much. I was able to relax and sleep on the plane better.

We arrived at about 5 p.m. Hawaii time and we were pretty hungry. We thought we were getting food on the plane but didn't so after we checked into our hotel, we went over to Senor Frogs. It's such a fun place and atmosphere. It was within walking distance of our hotel. The food isn't too bad either. I remember going here many years ago when I was in Mexico.

The first day we didn't do much other than get our car rental and try to plan out our trip. The car rental was a bit of a fiasco because I found out my drivers license had expired and almost wasn't going to be able to rent a car but the girl working the desk fudged my expiration to 2012 instead of 2011. Thanks goodness. I couldn't imagine not having a car and trying to walk, take buses and cabs everywhere.
This is Noah standing in front of our hotel. We stayed at Waikiki Gateway. It wasn't the nicest hotel but it wasn't bad. We were right in downtown Waikiki close to lots of restaurants and stores so it was nice.

This is Noah on the balcony of our hotel. Not the greatest view. I was hoping to have a view of the ocean but it didn't work out.

The second day we were there, we got up in the morning and went and hiked Diamond Head. It was a pretty easy hike and so beautiful at the top. You could see the whole city and ocean.
The steep staircase leading up to the top.

The gorgeous view from the top. The view was amazing.

This is the opposite view of Diamond Head. I know there are lots of pics but it was just so pretty, I couldn't stop taking pictures.

Later that day we went to Sea Life Park which is kinda like Sea World.

After Sea Life Park, we went to the Valley of the Temples and saw the Byodo-In Temple. It was really pretty and I totally recognized it from Lost. They filmed a lot of scenes there so it was kinda cool being there since I'm such a huge fan of the show. lol
Noah ringing the bell they had there.

Inside the temple was this Buddha

Noah inside the Banyan trees. If you watch Lost, this is where they always hid from the boars.

I love the beautiful green scenery in the background.

The next day was a more relaxing day. We got up and went to Aloha stadium to the famous Hawaiian swap meet. It was so much fun. There were so many fun things. We bought most of our souvenirs there and they were much cheaper than every where else. After the swap meet, we went to Waikiki beach for the rest of the day. I couldn't believe how warm the water was and of course, so beautiful.

Today, we went to Hanauma Bay and did some snorkeling. I didn't do it much because I couldn't get a good seal on my mask but Noah really enjoyed it and said he saw quite a few fish. They gave us flippers to wear too but they were kinda awkward so we didn't really wear them. We just put them on for the pictures...

Later that evening, we went to a place called Kualoa ranch for a luau. It was really cool. They gave us a bus tour around the ranch of all the different plants and fruits that grow in Hawaii. There were so many fruits that I had never even heard of. They also gave us a boat tour of this little resevoir that had lots of fish. Then they gave us the movie set tour. They have filmed quite a few movies on this property including 50 First Dates, Godzilla and many scenes from Lost were also shot here. It was a very windy day as you can tell from my hair in the pics.

After the tour was over, we had a luau. The dinner was this big buffett of chicken, fish and steak with tons of sides. It was so yummy.
This picture is of two Hawaiian guys doing an arm wrestle.

Teaching Noah a Hawaiian game similiar to horseshoes.

My plate of yummy food..I had to take a picture of it.

A group photo with the dancers.

The next day we decided to just take a drive around the island. It was so beautiful driving right next to the water. We stopped at different look out spots along the way for photos and the scenery was just breathtaking. We made it around to the North Shore and that is definitely the prettier side of the island. We loved it over there with all there cute little shops and restaurants. We stopped at Turtle Bay. Oh how I wish we could have afforded to stay here. They had their own little beach and the resort looked amazing. We also stopped and saw BYU-Hawaii. We had dinner in Hailea at a little Mexican restaurant.
Turtle Bay Resort at sunset

Playing on the beach at Turtle Bay. Their beach was open to the public.

After we got back to our hotel, we decided to go see a movie. We went and saw Kung Fu Panda 2 which was really good. The movie prices were ridiculous though. It was $14.25 for me and $11.00 for Noah. Ouch!
Today we went to the Dole Plantation. We went on a train tour of the plantation and they told us how they plant and harvest the pineapples. For some reason, I've always thought they grew on trees not out of the ground. They also had a maze that we went through too.
Waiting to go on the train ride tour.

After the Dole Plantation, we went to Waimea Falls. (another famous Lost filming location). It was so gorgeous. I know I keep saying how beautiful everything was, but it really was. We hiked up to the falls, which was about a mile and a half and then Noah swam out to the falls. It kept raining off and on that day so I didn't want to get in the water but Noah didn't care.

This was on the walk way up to the falls. It was awesome scenery the whole walk up.

After Waimea Falls, we went to the Laie temple...again, so beautiful. We walked around the visitors center and chatted with the sister missionaries.

Noah always had to do his "hang loose" for the pictures.

By now, we have already been here a week and it's been great. We got up and went on a ride on a catamaran. We saw some dolphins and turtles. They took us out about 2 or 3 miles from shore and so we could see Waikiki and it was such an awesome view. They fed us breakfast too. The only bad thing is that I got a little motion sick towards the end so I just wanted it to be over.
Noah at the wheel pretending to drive the boat.

View of the city from the boat. It's a little crooked but still beautiful. (Noah took the photo:)

The view of the boat from behind. It doesn't look very big but we probably had about 75 people on there.

After the boat ride, we went to Pearl Harbor. This was something I had wanted to see for a long time. It was so neat to learn more about the history and all of the events surrounding that dreadful day. We walked through the museums and took the boat ride out to the monument. It was really neat.
This is a picture of the actual anchor that was recovered from the USS Arizona

Me with the USS Arizona in the background.

Noah with the USS Arizona in the background.

Part of the ship that sticks up above the water.

The Memorial wall of all who lost their lives. This is inside the USS Arizona monument.

On the opposite side of Pearl Harbor is the USS Missouri. It's huge boat that they used to use in wars. Now it's just a tourist site. I couldn't believe how big this boat was. We walked around the whole outside and inside of the boat.

They even had a dental office inside the ship.

After we left Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri, we were pretty worn out from walking around most of the day. We ended up going to a place called Dukes for dinner. It is a restaurant right on the beach. We had a great dinner and then walked along the beach as the sun was setting.

The next day we went to Punchbowl Cemetery. It is a cemetery where people who have died in the various wars are buried. It was pretty big.
The view of the city right outside the cemetery.

This is the memorial wall with the names of those who died in the war whose bodies they never found.

We also went and saw the Pali Lookout. It is this beautiful lookout point right off the Pali highway. It reminded me of a painting.

The next day was the long awaited trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). We were so excited for this. Monique, Loyd's cousin, was able to get us discount tickets at about 1/2 the cost and we were able to go to a luau dinner and to the "HA Breath of Life" night show. We were pretty excited.

Noah at the luau

Ready to eat!

Noah at the Tongan village learning spear throwing. The guy teaching him served his mission in Magna/WVC from 2006-2008 so it was good to talk to him.

Photo with some of the people from the Village of Fiji.

In the Samoan village, they showed us how they climbed trees. It was pretty cool.

Each village did a canoe show with dancers. It was pretty fun to watch.

Noah with Talai. She is Monique's daughter and dances in the dinner luau's. She was so adorable.

Noah got a fake tattoo at the Fiji village.

It was such a neat and fun experience there. I wish we had had more time to spend there. We were only able to go to the Fiji, Samoan and Tongan villages so maybe next time we will have to make it to the others. We went to the night show as well which was amazing. I didn't get any pictures as they wouldn't allow photography but it was awesome.
These are just some other random photos. This is probably the longest blog post in the history of It was such a great trip and I didn't want to leave out any details or forget anything about it. I hope to be able to go again someday. It was every bit as beautiful and awesome as I had imagined it would be.
This is King Iolani's palace where the King and Queen lived before Hawaii became a state. We toured the inside but they wouldn't allow pictures.

This is a great breakfast place we found within walking distance of our hotel. We ate there a couple of times and it was so yummy!

Noah collected tiki's while we were there and every where he saw one he wanted me to take his picture by it. :)

A Buddha statue right by our hotel.

Yay for Hawaii!! I loved it!