Friday, June 11, 2010

Hawaii 5.1

So week one in Hawaii was spent on the big island, and then it was over to Oahu for a few more days. Before taking off we got to attend Hawaiian church, complete with big alohas from the pulpit and a farewell song and about a hundred leis for a family who was moving away. The traveling was a bit hectic as always, but we did finally manage to get into our hotel rooms and get some pizza for dinner and make arrangements for the appropriate number of cribs to be delivered to our rooms. It was about this time that the graduating class from a local high school began passing by on their party bus, honking the horn, playing music and screaming at the top of their lungs as they drove by. They eventually stopped, allowing everyone to fall asleep. Then the fire alarm went off. Jarom, as you might have guessed, would rather die in a blazing inferno than get up in the middle of his sleep, so he told Alixa not to worry about it and just go back to bed. He was apparently not persuasive enough, because he was about 3 flights down the stairs with Jenna in his arms when the alarm stopped and a voice announced that it was just a mistake. So Jarom gave some disparaging I-told-you-so looks to Lixi and they all tromped back up to the rooms and went back to sleep.

Learning the Hula
Enjoying some ice cream on a very hot day

Monday began with a bus trip to the north side of the island, where it rains daily and does not suffer from the ridiculous overcommercialization that plagues Waikiki. That is the side where BYU, the temple, and the Polynesian Culture Center are all located. The ride is about one hour, and that time was filled by Jermaine, a native Kiwi who sounded exactly like the lead singer from the Winn’s favorite New Zealand musical group, Flight of the Conchords. He was very entertaining, and was actually the tour guide for the group throughout the entire day. The day was spent visiting an epcot-like park with areas where you could learn about 6 different islands: Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, and Tahiti. It is almost entirely staffed by BYU students who perform native dances, shimmy up trees to get coconuts, start fires, cook foods, make jokes, and generally wear very little clothing. According to Alixa, it was “the best day of my life.” Jarom once watched 36 straight episodes of Saved By The Bell so he won’t go quite that far, but it was pretty cool. The day also included a tasty lunch and a luau dinner, complete with a big, gross pig that had been cooking in a pit all day. They also took a short bus tour over to the temple with Bruce and Nancy. I’m sure all the temples in the world are pretty, but it is probably best to never compare them directly to the Hawaiian temple, lest they feel bad. The whole north side is just an amazing visual treat. The day ended with a show- Ha, the breath of life. The whole thing was great, but the finale of fire dancers was really beyond description. If any of you are ever visiting Hawaii, you need to make sure your trip includes a stop at the PCC.

On the world-famous Waikiki beach. If you look closely, you can see what looks like a phantom hand about to remove some girls bikini bottom.

The very long day ended at about midnight back at the hotel for a few hours of sleep before an early start on the tour of Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. They went to the Arizona Memorial, the Aviation Museum, and the Punchbowl, which is the national cemetery in Honolulu that is allegedly shaped like a…that’s right. The day was interesting, but poor little Jenna was completely spent from all of the recent travel and the very long, napless day at the PCC. So it was quite nice to get back and just lay down for a nap and not have anywhere to be or anything to do. That evening’s dinner was at PF Changs where Jenna learned how to use chopsticks, a skill she mastered immediately. Then Jarom took her home to put her to bed at a reasonable hour while Alixa and Nancy wandered off to do some good, old-fashioned bartering. That’s right, Alixa and Nancy, negotiating to get the best prices possible from some Hawaiian street vendors. Alixa saw something she wanted and bought it from the first vendor she spoke to. She offered to pay “20 or 25 dollars.” Remarkably, she ended up paying $25. Nancy, however, was the queen, and managed to craftily dupe the seller into discounting the sales tax from her price on some blankets. Later that evening we learned that nobody pays sales tax, but she was still excited about it.

Learning to walk with the USS Missouri nearby

The last day in the Pacific began with a walk down to Waikiki where Jenna and Jarom and Lix splashed around in the waves for the last time, and then it was back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the long flight back to the continent. Time to say goodbye to the mongeese and the pretty birds and the beautiful flowers everywhere. Time to say goodbye to everyone saying “ALOOOO-HA!” all the time (Jarom won’t miss that.) The flight back was overnight, which was actually perfect. It allowed Jenna to sleep almost the entire way, even though Jarom and Lix didn’t really fall asleep. Unfortunately, the flight was delayed a little bit upon departure, which meant that the family only had about 15 minutes to get off the plane in Atlanta and get to the far opposite end (of course) of the airport to catch their connecting flight. This meant that Lix ran with Jenna and Jarom ran with 3 bags and a stroller. They did manage to squeeze on before they closed the doors, but the luggage had to catch the next flight to Philly.

At least they occasionally thought of Jarom while he was at work in another state

Much like a scuba diver has to slowly depressurize as they climb to the surface, Alixa is physically unable to end a vacation “cold-turkey.” So she decided that she would stay in Delaware for another week while Jarom came back to Richmond to work. As you have seen from the video, during this time Jenna practiced her walking. She has become quite good at it and now gets into far more trouble than she used to. A great deal of time was also spent lounging by Grandma’s pool. Apparently, Jenna is quite a fish. There was also a day trip up to Pennsylvania where Lix was able to visit with a long-lost childhood friend named Jenna and very pregnant college friend who just had her second kidlet. The fact that there is a Carter’s outlet near these people is just a lucky coincidence. Back home in Richmond Jarom had to mow the lawn, which had grown dangerously out of control, and ferry Nate and Kenz to the airport so they could travel to Utah for a family wedding. This was a much more difficult task than you might imagine, as their outbound flight was initially delayed, then cancelled, then rescheduled for 5:50 the next morning, which required a 3:45 am alarm. But he was back in Delaware soon enough, where he could participate in the pool lounging and general merriment, including some golf and some baby shower and some wonderful meals that Lix cooked up for the entire family. Sunday night was a farewell devotional for Jarom’s parents, who leave in a few days to go west and begin their three year stint as mission president. It was both uplifting and sad, and we will definitely miss living so close to them. Alixa misses them so much that she has already planned a trip out west to visit them and see her Utah friends and meet her new niece and see her parents and siblings. She’ll be gone for two weeks, during which time I guess Jarom and I will just hang out by ourselves and miss the girls.

Splashing Around
This is a set of photos from a trip the girls took to Longwood Gardens

But for now vacation is over, and it is back to work for both Jarom and Lix. Jenna gets more and more stable every day as she walks around, although she has had a few nasty falls, whose subsequent bruises have led to some questioning looks at the YMCA nursery. She has also begun to play peek-a-boo, which she thinks is hilarious. Lix is back to her routine of going to the gym and recently took a boxing class, just in case the bruises on Jenna weren’t convincing enough. And Jarom is enjoying his job and trying not to go insane each week as he helps out with a group of 11 8-year old cub scouts. Happy Flag Day Weekend everybody!

Jenna's new hairdo - piggytails!
Rearranging furniture with her favorite primo, Lucas-magucas
She isn't super pleased with this new addition to the house, as her disgruntled look tells you


PJ Hegewald said...

The "jail" pic is particularly cute! And that hat!

Mama Winn said...

I LOVE the pictures from Longwood. And I think that Jenna looks cuter in pigtails than any other baby on the whole earth! Thank goodness you are coming to visit us soon! I would need a decompression chamber! And thank you very much for the harassment about my bargaining skills....