Monday, May 31, 2010


While on the Big Island we attended a luau. It was called Journeys of the South Pacific. It told stories about how some of the different tribes of Hawaii came to the islands. We were greeted with shell leis and our picture was taken on the way in. Before we were seated we hit the open bar and loaded up on Mai Tais.

We decided to sit off to the right side of the stage across from an older couple (Earl and Sherry, from Chicago). They were really nice people to share a table with. After everybody was finally brought in the men came out and blew conch shells and ran around lighting the torches. That signaled the begining of dinner. They asked everybody to come over and watch them dig up the pig from the imu. Chris tried to get pictures, but it was a madhouse around the pit. Then the rest of the food was brought out and we were called by tables to go get in line.

I tried as many different foods as I could fit on my plate. The pork was amazing. I also really liked the purple Maui sweet potatoes and they had these amazing coconut rolls. Pretty much everything I stuffed on my plate I liked, even the poi. Chris wasn't too much of a fan though. I wish I could have remembered the names of more of what we ate.
After dinner they started the show. There was a live band that played all of the music, a narrator/master of ceremoies (who I called Wayne Newton), and then 8 dancers, 4 men and 4 women. It was a really good show consisting of about six or seven different dances with stories, some cheesy lounge act type singing from "Wayne", and ended with a fire dancer.

It was very touristy and everything, but I'm really glad that we went. The food was great, the show was entertaining, the company was nice, and there were free drinks! It was fun night.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Dole Pineapple Plantation

Our first day on Oahu was jam packed with as many tourist traps as we could fit in. We finished off our day with a trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. It was on and off raining, so we didn't spend too much time there. Plus we were in a hurry to make our way up to the Northshore to settle into our room at Turtle Bay.

We started out with the maze. I took the lead and led us through the first half of it. When they say it's the world's largest maze, they aren't kidding. After finding the first 4 posts we decided to not spend time looking for the other ones. We wanted to see some of the other attractions and they were closing soon, so we found openings in the hedges and cheated our way back out.

After exiting the maze we made our way into the cafeteria for some Dole Whips. Our trips to Disneyland are never complete without one of these treats outside of the Tiki Room so we were not going to miss the chance to devour one at the birthplace of the Dole Whip. We went for the floats that came in fun pineapple cups. They were of course totally delicious.
While waiting for the Pineapple Express (a train tour of the plantation fields) we wandered some of the grounds and checked out the variations of pineapples they were growing. I had no idea how many varieties there really were. Some are red, some are tiny, and some are even both.

While on the train we learned a lot of interesting facts about growing pineapple and the history of The Dole Company. Along with pineapple fields, they also grow bananas, sugar cane, macadamia nuts, and a countless number of different fruit trees on the plantation. It was a nice little ride.

The plantation was a bit smaller than I imagined since they don't actually use that land for their main crops anymore. But it was a good place to visit. We learned a lot, the grounds are really pretty, and it was a fun little stop.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hawaiian sunset

We stayed BUSY while we were in Hawaii. We did a lot of sightseeing and running around. We wanted to do as much as we could fit into every day. So we didn't get to see a sunset until our 7th night there. It was the only one that we got to sit down and enjoy. It was worth the wait.

Diamond Head

One of the things that was on my "must do" list while we were in Hawaii was hiking Diamond Head on the island of Oahu. For a couple of months my mantra at the gym has been "Diamond Head, Diamond Head". Every time I start to feel like I can't continue or give it that few extra minutes on the elliptical, I just repeat that in my head over and over again. I knew that it was a tough hike and that it wasn't going to be all that fun, but I was determined to do it.

Well, when we got there, I was in for a surprise. It was a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be. I had expected the straight uphill climb, the rocky uneven pathways, the heat, and the switchbacks. What I didn't anticipate.........was the stairs. I don't like stairs. Although my knees have gotten better as I've been working hard to get into better shape, they still take a beating on stairs. So I was a little disheartened when we got to the top of the climbing slopes, to see our first set of 74 steep concrete steps. I powered up them the best I could, got to the top and saw that we needed to continue through a long dark inclined narrow tunnel. Once we got through that, with my heart pounding through my chest, my breathing out of control, and my vision blurring, I saw the next set of stairs. That's when I had serious doubts that I was going to finish.

In front of me was a steep climb of 99 steps, around 4 stories, straight up. I sat down for a second on a lookout area at the bottom of the climb, and prayed. With the help of the Lord, and the voice of my sister in the back of head nagging "quit being so dramatic and just do it!!", I powered up the 99 steps, then another 52 steps of a steep spiral staircase, and finished off with a final 54 at the top. Just about the time almost puked, we made it to our destination. It felt great. I was pouring sweat and breathing like a 75 year old emphysema patient. But after taking a look around, I saw that a lot of people were, so I didn't feel so weak then.

The view was of course beautiful, but I'd seen so many pictures of the view before, I pretty much knew what to expect. The great view didn't compare with the feeling of pride that I had. On the way back down I saw people struggling to make it up and I knew what they were thinking to themselves just by the looks on their faces. So I offered up a few "You're almost there"s to some of them.

Once we finally made it near the bottom, it started sprinkling. Chris and I began taunting the weather, "You call this rain?!", and then it started pouring. By the time we got back to the car I was soaked through. This was a bit problematic, because we only had a couple of hours until we needed to meet up with our LOST tour, and the only extra clothes I had brought with me was a dress. It was over a 2 hour round trip drive to go back to our hotel and change. That wasn't going to happen with traffic, so instead we were able to find a Walmart and I ended up buying a whole new outfit.

So I guess the biggest thing I learned from this whole experience was that if you work really hard, stay focused on your goal, and see it to completion, you'll be rewarded with cute new clothes!!

10 years and counting

It doesn't seem like it's already been 10 years since we got married. It feels like it was yesterday. But so much has happened in our lives over the past decade. We've had great times together, but also some tough times. Our love for each other and for our family has kept us going strong though and I'm extremely proud to say that we've made it this far. Words can not express how much I love my husband. I'm so incredibly blessed to have him in my life. I don't know where I'd be without Chris.
We just returned from our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii. Thanks to Grandma Shellie we were able to spend 8 days in paradise without the kids. It was amazing. I loved getting to spend so much time just the two of us. Of course we did miss our boys and were ready to get back home by the time it was over. That only lasted until the afternoon after we got back though. Kidding. Kind of.

We did many fun things on our trip. We saw some really cool sites, visited some gorgeous beaches, went on exciting adventures, and best of all.....relaxed. Hopefully I'll be blogging about some of the things we did, but I'm not making any promises! I'm sure I'll get a couple things posted. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Praying to Always Be a Better Father

I cry every time I watch this video. Literally. Every time.

I love my sons so much, I can't express it. For the rest of my life I'm going to revel in countless joyful memories I have of my kids, and I desparately hope they have fond memories of us together, like those expressed in this song. I think I do okay as a dad, but I make so, SO many mistakes, I honestly wonder how they'll remember me. Please pray for me. I have a lot of growing and improving to do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hard work pays off

I can see the numbers on the scale getting smaller, my old clothes are fitting again, I can feel my body changing. But I can't really see the difference. So when somebody else mentions it I'm always kind of caught off guard. When you're a large person and you are embarrassed by your body, you tend to lie to yourself when you look in the mirror. You start to ignore your weight and you don't see how big you really look. The lie is easy to keep up, because looking into a mirror doesn't give a full picture of how the world really sees you. So to make sure that you can keep on lying to yourself, you avoid having your picture taken at all costs. Photographs don't lie. And when you have to look at one and see your true self, it can be pretty depressing.

I decided to find a picture of what I looked like at my heaviest and compare it to a picture of me now. I had to search my brain to try and remember when I'd dare let a full body shot be taken of me. Usually I hide behind anything I can. Typically whoever is standing next to me. But then I remembered one from last August at Shellie's company picnic. With all of the family being there, we of course had to get one big group photo. And we were put right in front. I was absolutely mortified. When we got home and I uploaded the pictures from my camera, I almost died. I felt so incredibly embarrassed. When I looked at the pictures this afternoon though, all I could do was smile. I could most definitely see the change. So I ran and grabbed my camera, threw on that same shirt, cinched it up and tucked it into the back of my jeans so it was tighter, and had Brandon take a picture of me for a side by side view. I may not be anywhere near where I want to be, and it might not even be THAT big of a difference yet, but it's enough of a difference to make me proud. And more importantly, enough of a difference to show me that I'm heading in the right direction.

Oh yeah, and the jeans I'm wearing in the recent picture..........4 sizes smaller.