Where to even start with this post?! HAWAII HONEYMOON! I think it kind of says it all. Time of my life times two. A wonderful week with my wonderful husband in this wonderful world (say that five times fast J)! I couldn’t have asked for more.
Before I dive into this picture fest, I have a few quick thank you’s. Thank you to Parker for spending hours (more like days, weeks, and months) researching, saving, planning, pricing, and patiently revisiting square one each time all that work led to a vacation that didn’t quite match his vision for us. I hope and pray it was everything you thought it would be and more baby. I loved every second!
Thank you to our wonderful parents for helping us take to the skies and live footloose and fancy free for a few days before reality set in. We so appreciate all you do and have done for us. You are too good to us!
Thanks to Parker’s fun-loving family for all your stories, suggestions, and support. I cannot even begin to imagine finding our way to this decision without all you Ko ‘Olina advocates. Not to mention the fact that we’d have turned out to be red little lobsters short of a night of fine dining on the beach and the best shaved ice on all Oahu.
And last but certainly not least, thank you thank you to the aunts, uncles, and clever cousins who gave us a little taste of paradise both before and after we said ‘Aloha!’ to the Hawaiian Islands. We couldn’t have done it without you!
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE! WE LOVE YOU ALL!
Enough of my Oscar moment--now onto the fun!
After a MARATHON wedding day and close to ZERO sleep in an attempt to make our 7 A.M. flight, Parker and I said ‘Aloha!’ to the sun and beautiful Ko ‘Olina resort. It’s like a picture on a postcard...no, better than a picture on a postcard. Absolutely stunning!
On our way out from La Caille we discovered...bum, bum, bum...GPS = MISSING. Parker and I contemplated setting an Amber alert but soon decided we'd make the best of the situation. We ended up navigating the island Flintstone style with the Langston’s hand-me-down Ko’Olina map. And you know what? Parker and Chelsey—navigation experts. J
Our little GPS has led us astray so often that it was refreshing and rewarding to do so well on our own. Granted, it’s not really all the GPS’s fault. Half the time I make a wrong turn it’s because Parker's decided to mute the little guy without my knowledge. Either way, we fared better without that technology than either of us could have hoped. We made maybe two U-turns the entire trip and had the best time being co-pilots and mapping our routes across Oahu. We even grew to love our little Nissan hatchback. I never thought the day would come…
Our ventures took us to the famous North Shore first for a fun-filled day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We were a little hesitant to make the investment when we first saw the ticket price, but I am so glad we did! Everyone there is so full of life. I understand it’s their job to smile and make us laugh, but I honestly think they are genuinely happy people. If not then they are amazing actors!
We laughed our little heads off at the Tonga drum show and Samoa’s coconut how-tos and spent a ton of time throwing spears (a.k.a. island horseshoes). We probably could’ve left sooner had Parker just let me win…when will the boy learn? J
We made the rounds around the island for a few quick pics with our tiki friends, squeaked in one last spear contest (we love to compete…almost too much), and snagged a few leis before the big show. Turned out we chose the right night—finals for the Fire Knife WORLD Championships. SO amazing! It’s like a pyro-baton twirler’s dream come true. Parker and I were on the edge of our seats and even though we still insist the Tahitian should have taken gold, we loved every second.
Can I just say—the variety of landscape in Hawaii is amazing! You go from red rock desert to vast green pineapple fields to towering tree-lined mountains in a matter of minutes. It’s the neatest thing. On our way up the PCC that day I felt like we’d seen it all. We started out past the luscious green fields of the Dole Plantation. So beautiful! I couldn’t keep quiet about it…until I experienced the Aloha General Store’s shaved ice.
Oh my goodness!!! Have you heard the phrase ‘melt in your mouth good?’ Of course you have! K…well these aren’t just good, they are great. AND they melt in your mouth. If there’s snow in heaven I think this is what it will be like. Thank you thank you Lara for the recommendation!
Next stop: Turtle Bay. We would’ve had a much better turtle experience if the beach hadn’t had so many hovercrafts with cameras. We did see the turtles swimming though—I had no idea they were so GIANT! Seriously. I think I might have had a little accident had I run into one of those granddaddy’s while snorkeling.
I still need to Google it, but I’m almost certain they bite…or nibble at least. I can’t imagine anything with a mouth that big not chasing me down and chewing my toes off. K I’m kidding…it actually would’ve been really cool to see one up close and personal. I guess they’re pretty hard to catch though—Parker chased one a few years back and it left him in the dust once he hit his water pressure capacity. Maybe next visit baby… J
We had a chance to cruise through the little town of La’ie before our PCC adventure too. I never realized BYU Hawaii was so far away from the Honolulu hub. I always envisioned beaches and streets like Waikiki surrounding campus. Not even close. It is just a teeny tiny little college town. I still think I would’ve loved to have done a semester there. Parker and I think it’d be so fun to work at the PCC and play on the beach each week. Blasted BYU and its changed transfer policy. Are there any dental schools on Hawaii??? Let me know…
La’ie houses the Hawaii Temple too. It is BEAUTIFUL! Oh my! I always see it in that retro picture of the married couple in the Gospel Art Picture Kit they use for Sunday School—you know the one. I never dreamed it’d be so much more stunning in person. I love the Salt Lake Temple to pieces, but I have this new fascination with Hawaii—destination wedding anyone? JJJ
Fun fact: Did you know the Hawaii Temple has now been closed 17 months for renovations? It blew my mind to think that no one on the islands has been able to go through the temple in over a year and a half without traveling to the Mainland. It made me appreciate our arrangement in Utah so much more. It’s so easy to take the temple for granted when you have so many so close. I pray I never forget how lucky we are!
On Sunday we woke up early and found a ward in Kapolei. One of the counselors from the stake presidency and his wife spoke in one of the best Sacrament Meetings I’ve ever been to. I leaned over to Parker at least twice to tell him that I thought the sister sounded like the perfect Conference speaker. She and her husband were just so real and personable as they shared their inspired messages—best Sunday I could’ve asked for for our first Sunday together. And let me give my testimony to the one shared by every traveling family and missionary—the Gospel is the same no matter where we go. We felt right at home in our little Hawaiian ward! We came away with the same peaceful spirit we feel at home. I think the only difference was our renewed determination to get a tan. Oh so funny…
I decided to play reporter and find out if the hammerheads would grow to full size or stay small like some odd mini-breed. Turns out they do get big—really big. Not to worry though—the hotel ships them off to a marine life habitat before they qualify for a Jaws role. They have a retaining wall in place for anyone who has a few too many and decides to attempt a swim with the sharks too. Not sure who would ever want to get up-close and personal with one of those. They are ugly little things! If I were a shark out on the playground I would blacklist them from my friend circle guaranteed. Creepers…
In keeping with our postcard-esque picture theme—check out the view from Kolohe’s Bar & Grille—another Ko’Olina hotspot we visited later that week compliments of Chris and Mikell. Did I mention our family spoils us? They do! Kolohe’s is this delicious little restaurant right on the beach with amazing food and spectacular sunsets all to the tune of LIVE entertainment. I wonder sometimes how these big stars get record labels when cute little Hawaii locals have better voices than I’ve heard on the radio in ages. It was such a romantic setting. We ate our little hearts out that night and topped it off with a chocolate lava cake with enough sugar to keep Parker and Chris in business for another 50 years. So yummy! Thanks again you two!
We showed up to a 45 minute wait—yikes! Our family had given us such great reviews of the place we knew we couldn’t pass it up. By the time they seated us we had our orders memorized—passion orange guava juice, banana pancakes with macadamia nut sauce, and strawberry stuffed crepes—yum! We planned our kayak adventure and played with Park’s camera as we waited to ease our anticipation. I'm still not 100% sure why I do half the things I do...or how Parker manages to capture those moments. Not so cute Chels...
We cruised our little bellies over to the kayak rental store for part II of our Kailua adventure. I’d been looking forward to this the entire week and again, did not disappoint. I was speechless as we reached Kailua beach. Miles of crystal-clear, still, blue water. Oh my! Took my breath away. We hurried, launched our little vessel, and set out to sea.
I'd nominated Parker to watch the safety video as I bought us waters…not sure how much that did for us. We’re a little ambitious at times. Instead of calling it quits at the little lookout island in the middle of the bay we decided we had to paddle out the pyramid-shaped islands in the distance.
We cleaned up a bit and putted off to Honolulu and Waikiki in search of souvenirs. We searched high and low for quality Hawaii towels to take home—apparently the best Hawaii towels are made in China and sold on the Mainland. Who knew?
But of course we made one last stop before the airport (Chelsey get somewhere early--LOL! Almost had ya). The cherry to top off our Hawaii honeymoon—Cold Stone! Feels like home already…
It was hard to say goodbye to the Hawaiian Islands. Parker and I always have fun and love our adventures together, but I have to say—there is something special about Hawaiian life and honeymoons that made these memories so much sweeter. I feel so lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful husband and family who always work to give me more than I could ever hope for. I love my Parker to pieces and look forward to all of life’s adventures to come.
'Aloha' for now Hawaii…hope to see you again soon.
P.S. I'm not sticking to my simple, sweet, and to the point posts so well am I? I will get there. Promise.