Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mom and Dad go to Hawaii!

On Thursday, March 10, Andrew and I (tearfully/joyfully) kissed our young children "Goodbye." We were off to the airport! By some serendipitous coincidence, our next door neighbors were also leaving for the airport that morning. Being the kind people that they are, they graciously allowed Andrew and I to tag along. Walking over to their garage, I watched as Andrew and Guy played tetris with our luggage. Thankfully, it all fit. Thirty seconds after buckling my seat belt, I realized that I didn't have my cell phone. Whoops! I rushed back to my house, opened the front door, grabbed my phone off the entry way table, shouted the words, "I LOVE YOU ALL" one last time, and then ran (which is more like an awkward gallop) back to their car. Finally, for reals this time, we were off. 

When you consider the craziness that transpired in the weeks leading up to our departure, we had a pretty smooth morning the day we left. You may recall that the Fleglets had each been pummeled with a flu like virus in early March. Adding to the concern that their illness might coincide with our trip, was the preparation of Henry's baptism. It was scheduled to happen two days after our return home. I had to print off his invitations twice due to a typo that was caught too late, among other small tasks. The idea of doing homework in Hawaii was depressing, so I did as much of that as possible before we left. I realized how odd I am as I meticulously printed off daily schedules, emergency info and other 'tips and tricks.' Lovingly, I organized and placed each document into a binder. I may sound like a control freak, but it really came from a place of wanting to make the children's caretakers life easier. I arranged rides to school for my kids, had the meals prepared or at least had the ingredients on hand, etc. Also, we'd be gone over Henry's birthday so I shopped ahead of time, wrote him a long, sappy love letter and wrapped his birthday gifts. I put Eliza in charge of decorating for his birthday the evening before his birthday; once he was asleep. I packed our church bag ahead of time, hung their Sunday clothes in Eliza's closet so they'd be easy to get to etc. In addition to these things, I was trying to soak in quality time with my kids. We have never left them before to go on a vacation together. You can imagine our excitement, but I was definitely emotional when I thought about leaving them; especially Forrest who wouldn't understand my absence as well as the others. 
And in case you're wondering what Andrew's to-do list looked like, here's a summary:
- pack swimsuit
- underwear might be a good idea
- snorkel gear
- the end.

I'm joking. I am not criticizing him at all. After all, he generously sponsored this trip and had a lot to think and worry about as he stepped away from work, as best he could, for a week. 

Having arrived at the airport with time to spare, we had lunch at Cafe Rio before heading to our gate. This was such a treat. I soon felt like I was on a trip!
We shared this salad.
He was so nice to let me choose. 

We made it to our gate where we met up with our traveling companions, Scott and Maren Barrett. Maren and I owe this trip, in my opinion, to our husband's blossoming friendship {I am intentionally trying to make this sound cheesy}. Maren and I have been supportive of the times Andrew and Scott, our introverted, awesome, outdoorsy husbands, have wanted to go fishing or tie flies together. When talk arose that we all had sky miles and share a mutual love of Hawaii, our husbands threw out the idea that we should plan a trip. Meanwhile, Maren and I kind of sat back in happy disbelief as said plans began to form!(!!!!!!!!!!!)
The Crew

And it came to pass. After successfully troubleshooting through some unexpected challenges that had threatened the viability of our plans, we were actually our way. I must be the most boring person alive. Who takes the time to document that much "pre-vacation" back story? Sheeesh! No wonder Andrew quit my blog. ;)

 Day one. Friday, March 11 (Happy 8th birthday Henry!)
Our first activity might have been my favorite of the entire trip. Per Maren's suggestion, we went on a segway tour at Turtle Bay Resort. The four of us, along with our handsome tour guide Jackson, spent 90 minutes cruising down paths that weaved us through a lovely wooded forest and then over to the stunning coast of the north shore. It was the perfect way to become reacquainted with the incredible beauty of Hawaii. We didn't cross paths with other tourists which I appreciated. We felt quite alone; it's as if we were LOST (that reference is for you Rachel!). The weather was lovely. Andrew had a few self caused "incidents" as his curiosity motivated him to really understand how the segway functioned. His antics were both humorous and annoying. Oh man, I really tried to soak it in. It was such a memorable and unique experience.
Our next stop was to the Kahuku Grill for lunch. It was probably my favorite meal of the trip, along with the food over at the Polynesian Cultural Center. After lunch, we went snorkeling at Turtle Bay. I was able to talk with Henry and watch via face time while he opened his birthday gifts. It made my heart sad to not be there in person but it was clear that Bubba and Nanna Teresa were making him feel super special. I am so grateful for all that they did for him!
That afternoon we explored Waimea Valley.

 After that, we went and watched the sunset at Waimea Bay. Andrew and Scott were very brave as they played in the waves that night. It looked as though they were being tossed around like clothes in a laundry machine. Despite the "violence" of the waves, we saw some pretty big smiles on their faces. I said this to Maren throughout the trip, and I'll say it again here: knowing that Andrew is more adventurous than I am, it provided me with a measure of comfort knowing that he had a "buddy" with him in moments like the one I just described. I will advocate the buddy system my whole life!
And sometimes it's fun to flex muscles with your buddy too! Ha ha!

(Babe alert!)
You can never take too many sunset pictures, in my opinion.

Day two. Saturday, March 12:

Saturday morning, we parted ways with the Barretts. They have been to the Polynesian Cultural Center before. I had never been and really wanted to go; so we made separate plans. Our first stop was to the Laie Temple. Andrew and I did a session together which was great. I can't predict when I'm going to have a really uplifting experience in the temple. Usually, the benefit comes as I see how the blessings seem to trickle into my daily life when I make temple attendance a priority. However, on this particular day, the Spirit was very strong. We lingered for a long time in the celestial room. Not wanting to leave, the tears just came as we quietly talked with each other. Likewise, we took our time as we walked around the temple grounds.

Before heading to the PCC, we went to lunch. Andrew had it in his mind that we needed to have lunch at the BYU-Hawaii cafeteria. He was convinced it would be an economical option (read: CHEAP). Ha ha ha! It wasn't. It was $9.00 per person which is a comparable to some of our favorite food spots on Oahu. He was so embarrassed when he heard the total was $18.00. The food was mediocre, but I would never tell him that. He feels bad enough as it is. :)

Finally, we made it to the cultural center. Wow!! I had high expectations; all of which were quickly met and then some.

The whole day was neat. The luau was a feast for the eyes and face! The food was delicious. I wrote about the production, "Ha! Breath of Life" for my theater class as it fulfilled one of my big assignments for the semester. I'm going to copy and paste some of what I wrote here.

"Each performer was committed to their role and contributed to the success of the production. I marveled when these performers danced with, walked across or sat on fire! They displayed confidence as they twirled their fire knives. It was thrilling to see both men and women accomplish such a task. As an example of their commitment, I have to include a personal highlight from my experience. You may recall that my husband and I were on the first row. As Mana’s people come under attack, there is a dance number that is dedicated to war and conflict. One of the fierce warriors, dancing a few feet away from where I sat, suddenly made eye contact with me. His intense, hate filled gaze, made me freeze. His expression was one of anger and intimidation. Knowing that I was aware that he was watching me, he lifts his finger toward his throat and makes a slashing motion and then sticks his tongue out at me! My husband starts laughing as he too is amazed by his directness. As for me, I didn’t know if I should laugh like him or cry! I didn’t know if we’d see that particular performer again, but sure enough, during the next number, he channeled his angry chants in my direction!

After the show ended, before the lights had fully turned back on, this actor raced back to my seat. He reached out his hand and offered me an “apology.” He said, “I was looking around and you were the only one who looked scared, so I picked you!” We had a good laugh! I appreciated him taking the time to seek me out. Whether or not I was ever truly distressed, it sure made for a great memory." 

Day three. Sunday, March 13:

Sunday, again, we were on the move early. I have a friend from my "original" BYU-Idaho days that lives in Laie. We met her for Sacrament meeting. I don't know what my deal was, but I totally cried when I hugged her.
That was a very special time in my life and seeing her brought back so many feelings! Sacrament meeting was wonderful. After that, we decided to spend our day communing with our Creator while hiking Diamond Head and Manoa Valley Falls.
Diamond Head was a definite adventure; full ups and downs (well, mostly ups... like seriously, it had incredibly steep moments). The view from up top was pretty amazing though.

 Manoa Falls was probably my favorite of the two, even though the falls weren't actually running. It was so green. I loved the rain forest like atmosphere. Not to mention, Andrew and Scott shared a moment where they acted like 12 year old boys as they used Andrew's "pooter" (google it) while hikers passed by.
Here I am, unable to control my laughter because Andrew has just "let one rip" 
as a pair of innocent hikers passed by. 

We enjoyed lunch at a local sandwich shop.
After our hikes, we caught a glimpse of Kailua Beach but decided to stay out of the water.
We did some souvenir shopping at Target, of all places, and watched the sunset in Haleiwa. 

Day 4. Monday, March 14:

Hanauma Bay was Andrew's favorite excursion. I loved it too! We went snorkeling and saw some incredible fish. I really enjoyed experiencing this with him. 

Day 5. Tuesday, March 15

While I got caught up on a little school work, Andrew spent the early morning hours of our final day at the beach. He was so kind to pick up breakfast from Ted's Bakery, one of our favorites, and bring it back to the house where we stayed.
Up high on a mountain, along the north shore, we were away from heavy tourist action; which we appreciated. The home was so lovely; although we found ourselves splitting the time with the Barretts in the two different rooms of the house. The master bedroom was much nicer than the basement bedroom, or the "steerage" area, as I liked to call it. Our favorite feature was the lanai where we enjoyed breakfast most mornings. On that last morning there, we were able to see whales thanks to Andrew's sharp eyes and then with the assistance of binoculars.

Andrew was so kind. 
At breakfast, he surprised me with some crabs he found on the beach. 

Our morning was spent picking up souvenirs for the kids and making a return stop to Mastumoto's Shaved Ice Stand. 
We bumped into the Barrett's while we were there as we had taken off in different directions that morning. Remembering how much we like each other, we all went to the beach on Haleiwa for one final dip! I actually didn't swim but the others did and had a great time doing it. I snapped this photo of Scott and Maren in their hammock. It's one of my favorites from the trip.
Final thoughts:

Traveling with Scott and Maren was the best. We shared a lot of laughs and had great conversation. I feel super lucky that I get to spend time with Maren often. She is probably the coolest person I know. I sound nerdy typing that, but it's true. Along with her mad style is a generous, thoughtful personality full of wit and charm. Scott is definitely her perfect match and I could not be happier that he and Andrew click. 

I'm so thankful for the village that was involved in watching our kids while we were gone. Bubba and Nanna Teresa were on duty the first few days. When Nanna flew back to New York to be with Liz (read her story here), cousin Shipley came to help out. Aunt Sara and Aunt Katie took the kids to a fundraiser benefitting our cousin Savannah's son, baby Hayes that weekend. Katie also took the kids to Church on Sunday. My Mom arrived Monday morning and was there until we returned on Wednesday. Also, I had three friends who helped carpool my kids to school. I'm so, so, so thankful for all these kind and generous people who helped us out!

Hawaii is beautiful, no doubt! Traveling with friends is the best. The food was great and the excursions were exciting. However, the best thing about this was having quality time with Andrew. I've been on trips away from my kids before and rested easy knowing he was with them. However, on those trips, I would have sudden moments of intense homesickness. I realized on day one in Hawaii, that even though I missed my kids, the sting wasn't the same because I had him with me. I hope that makes sense. I loved that we were able to give one another uninterrupted attention. He treated me so well and was kind to let me call the shots the majority of the time. I likewise tried to be courteous and thoughtful. We have fun together, an important reminder! People often remark on our differences, but I think that's a great asset in our relationship (most days!). He is my rock. He is a great example of righteous living and makes me want to be a better wife and mother to our children. I love you, Andrew. I don't know when another opportunity like this will roll along, but I'm so thankful for the new memories that our now mine to enjoy. Thank you for making this happen. DIMTILY?  

A few videos:


Andrew Flegal said...

Well documented.

Maren T. said...

I'm dying at Andrews comment. I really love you too- I need a blog so I can tribute you. Been looking forward to your recap!

rachel garber said...

I'm so glad I got a shout out :) and Kahuku Grill is the best. I know the family that owns it and they rock. Maybe our boys will have to be introverts and fly fish sometime and we can chat about all the things.

*Jess* said...

what a wonderful trip and experience :)