Thursday, February 20, 2014

Special Birthday!

Last year, I had a really great birthday--I got to go back to Ohio (a month later) to celebrate my school's 50th anniversary for a whole weekend ALL BY MYSELF.  I thought it could never be topped.  But THIS year, I got to spend my birthday in Hawaii!!
When I woke up, there was a rainbow to greet me off the C's porch, over the water!
Then we headed for a local beach, where a friend of the C' had volunteered to give the boys a surfing lesson.
It was overcast, but that obviously didn't stop anyone from playing in the water!
Bob and the 3 older boys started out.  Eventually Bob came back in, and Caleb took his place.  The boys did great!  Bob was able to take Drew for a nice, long walk.  At this point, Drew decided he was done with beaches forever.  He hated the sand, the water, everything.  All he did was fuss and fuss!

Anna LOVED boogie-boarding!  Grace and Faith did it as well, but Anna really picked it up.  Next time, I'm sure she'll be surfing!

When the surfing was over, we headed back to the C's house for lunch.  Then we went to downtown Honolulu for a tour of Iolani Palace.  When I was in 3rd grade, I did a book report (and diorama!) about Queen Liliuokolani, the last queen of Hawaii.  I remember the book very clearly, so I was very interested in seeing the palace.  Everything I read said that children under 5 could not be admitted, so Bob kept Micah and Drew out while I took everyone else for the tour.  When I went to buy the tickets, the lady asked me about everyone's ages.  After I listed them off, she said she wanting to know if I had any kids under 5 because they had just changed the rules last week, and now those kids could go--but Micah would have to ride in their special stroller, and Drew would have to be carried.  At that point, the boys were napping in the car, and I didn't think they would have a very good time anyway, so I passed.  (Faith turned 5 the very next day, so we felt okay bringing her on her own 2 feet, LOL.)
The palace was so very interesting.  Nathan and Luke were studying this sad period in US history right that week, so it was very fitting.  The price of the tour includes a little ipod-like audio tour, with several different little segments about each room.  There were sound effects too, like musical pieces the queen composed, or the sound of different royals and dignitaries being introduced for a reception.  It was verr well-done!
This is the throne room, where they had receptions and other formal events.  It was beautiful!  (We all had to wear those lovely bootie-shoe-cover-things to protect the carpet--very stylish!)  Honestly, hearing again about how the U.S. just took over this completely independent kingdom is just so mind-boggling.  No wonder native Hawaiians are always thinking about how to regain their sovereignty!
I love seeing all the banyan trees!  We had a really big one across from our base house on Okinawa when I was a little girl, and all us neighborhood kids loved playing in and on it!  This one was across from the entrance to the palace.

After we were done at Ioloani Palace, we drove over to the Hale Koa, which is a resort for military families right on the beach.  It's really nice, and it sells out a year in advance.  It has 72 beachfront acres, so it is a really nice place to walk around!  We wanted to eat dinner somewhere, but first we got distracted by a little BX right there on the property, and we bought a ton of souvenir t-shirts for almost everyone (couldn't find one for Anna in her size), a refrigerator magnet to add to our collection, and a Christmas tree ornament, as well as some beach toys, in hopes that a bucket and some shovels would change Drew's opinion of sand.  While we were checking out, we ran into a lady who had also been at Dover the first time we tried to get out (when they changed the seat release at the last minute), and she was tickled to see that we had actually made it!

Then we wandered around the paths, eventually stopping to buy some "plate dinners" at the snack shop near the beach.  This is a Hawaiian thing, where you get a portion of some meat (teriyaki chicken and some kind of pork were the ones on sale, so that's what we got--2 dinners of each), plus 2 starchy sides (rice, fries, macaroni salad, etc.).  So, not real healthy, but it was yummy!  We brought our dinners over to a park right behind the beach, and we ate off 2 big flat rocks, which Micah and Drew ran around.  We were waiting for 8:00, when the Hilton, which is next door to the Hale Koa, shoots off fireworks on Friday nights--what a perfect way to celebrate my birthday!  I don't think this birthday will ever be topped!!

No comments: