Home family Hawaii part 1 — the Swap Meet, Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and Pillbox Hike

Hawaii part 1 — the Swap Meet, Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and Pillbox Hike

by Shawni
When you turn in mission papers not only can you get called anywhere in the whole wide world to serve for those two years (or 18 months if you’re a girl), you never know when you’ll be called to leave either.  
Max put December 18th as his “availability date” for when he could leave but we had no idea whether it would be months or weeks after that date.  He put it that early because that’s right when his semester at BYU ended and he was anxious to just get out there and serve.  Most of his friends are already gone and he’s ready to join them and also he wants/needs to be home in two years in time enough to begin winter semester at college the beginning of January 2018.  We have no idea how that will all pan out now that his date is not until January 27th, but something tells me it will all work out just fine.
Once again I digress.  The point of all that rambling is to say that the night Max opened his mission call (back HERE) and found out he wouldn’t be leaving until the end of January, Dave and I decided right then and there to give our kids “togetherness” for Christmas by seizing the opportunity to steal them away for one last trip together over the break.  
We went to Oahu and soaked up every single second of family time we got there.
Even the ones when one of us got huffy:) 
Because we were together.  And like I said in the last post, there’s nothing to make you soak in your family more than the knowledge that the very fiber of it will be morphing into something different very soon.
And I like the “fiber” right now gosh darn it!
(More about the Hawaii temple later but I like that goofy picture of those people I adore so much.)
Mission or no mission, kids grow up.  I am so happy for Max and this adventure he’s heading out on, couldn’t ask for a better thing for him to be doing, but it sure makes me extra grateful for the chances we’ve had to be together before he leaves.

 There was a rainbow to welcome us.

 Let’s get a closer look.

There sure is a reason Hawaii is referred to as the “rainbow state” because man alive we sure saw a lot of those beauties.

The first day we hung around a little bit to get our bearings straight.

We also went to check out the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet which was kinda fun.

Of course we had to pick up things like shell necklaces and some coconut salt water taffy.

Ever since we first went to Hawaii years ago, Dave has been in love with Waikiki Beach.

It strikes me as kind of funny because he abhors touristy things.  But it’s all about the surfing for him.  He loves it and the waves there are pretty great (we took surfing lessons back then and it was pretty dreamy).  So he naturally wanted to take the kids and show him that beach and all it’s touristy, great-wave glory.

It didn’t take long to get them hooked.

It was sprinkling on and off which felt great…until some very large black clouds rolled in and it started pouring:

(excuse the blurry pictures…they are from a video)

Dave also slashed his foot open (pretty deep) on the rocks out there somehow.  We hailed a lifeguard who gave us some medical necessities to take care of it at least a little bit in the rain.

Maybe that might have changed Dave’s view of Waikiki, but somehow I think not 🙂

We hustled ourselves over to Cheeseburger in Paradise in what felt like a torrential downpour.

I love how in Hawaii you can go to a restaurant soaking wet in swimsuits and all is well in the world.

Especially when they have little paper umbrellas that go in cups.  Is there anything better?

Of course it was all cleared up with rainbows by the time we left.

On Sunday we found the nearest church and loved the meeting there.

There was a returned missionary speaking and I loved watching Max’s whole self concentrate on what he was saying.  
I love that in Hawaii they say “Aloha!” before they begin their talks, and then the audience says it back.  I also love that in this specific ward (congregation) they had a tradition of singing “Aloha’Oe” at the end of the meeting when someone is moving away.  (Maybe they do that everywhere in Hawaii but this was new to me.)
The words were pasted in the back of the hymn book and everyone stood to sing to the man who was moving away.  Through the song everyone came up and gave him big hugs and leis.  I don’t know how to explain the sweetness of that scene.

We also ran into a couple families we had several connections with there.  It’s such a small world!

We loved taking the kids to Pearl Harbor and learning so much history there.

That is a fascinating, sad, and such a well-done memorial.

Lucy went from being mesmerized to being bored out of her mind, but I loved watching her read several of the little information vignettes.

I think the memorial built over the USS Arizona is so beautifully done.

I’m sad we couldn’t get tickets to ride over to it, but we sure learned a lot from the museums and videos we got to see.

Another rainbow waved goodbye to us as we were leaving.

We headed over to the East side of the island through gorgeous tunnels like this:

…to a gorgeous hike in Lanikai up some grassy ridges to two old pillboxes (army guard posts).  It’s called Pillbox Hike and it was extra glorious with kids in tow.

For reals.

We loved it.

It was a little tough on Lucy but I adored watching everyone take turns helping her and loving her up the hill so much.  And also the look of sheer accomplishment that stretched across her face when she was done.

See that cute trio in the front?

…and the equally cute one in the back?

I love them and also this view.

Max stood at the top of one of the peaks and contemplated for a minute.

…not sure if it was about his upcoming mission or how cute girls are at BYU or how much he loves his mother ;).

I think it is so beautiful how the grass blows so sideways, like a giant green carpet softening the curves of the mountain.

At the top:

Dave and Lu got a head start down the mountain while the bigger kids and I raced to the second pillbox.

Serious satisfaction back at the trailhead:

 My fav. pic. of the day:

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Sarah Russo January 6, 2016 - 3:18 pm

I love this post, but not quite as much as I love Hawaii. My now-husband was stationed at Pearl Harbor when we were dating and engaged, so I got to know the island pretty well. I have done the hike to the Pill Boxes a few times and it's not easy! Congrats to Lucy (and the rest of your gang) for finishing it. Next time you're in Hawaii, you should go to the beaches in Kailua. They're on the same side as the Pill Boxes and not filled with tourists. They're usually on the list of top beaches in the world! I can't wait to read about the rest of your Hawaiian vacation!


charity January 6, 2016 - 4:49 pm

oh my goodness I love Lucy to pieces!! miss all of you something fierce!

Jenny (also) January 6, 2016 - 5:07 pm

Dave looks so handsome with his beard!

Kimber January 6, 2016 - 5:35 pm

Love these pictures and all your descriptions!

Mandi January 6, 2016 - 6:57 pm

A few things…
1. Claire's muscular tone is astounding
2. What a wonderful family you appear to be
3. You are inspiring me on my journey in motherhood
4. Lucy is so so so lucky to be born into a family that is helping her so much. I love that your push her to do things that are hard for her and even more that you document her success! Way to go!

Nicole and Justin January 6, 2016 - 7:48 pm

My husband and I went to oahu two years ago and spent the whole time commenting on how much or kids would love it. I'm nie renewing my goal to make that happen.

nellie January 7, 2016 - 1:14 am

Ah, y'all were in my missionary stomping grounds! So great! I can't wait to take my kids there someday, but it's so darn far from out here on the East coast! Happy New Year!

K mills January 7, 2016 - 2:03 am

amazing! I'm stuck in 20 degree weather right now. so jealous of this. you were there the exact same time the shaytards were there. they are mormon vloggers instead of bloggers

K mills January 7, 2016 - 2:06 am

my goodness i can't get over elles and claires little boney legs. what cuties. i might be mistaken but one of your siblings lives there correct?

Lorella Nichols January 7, 2016 - 4:15 am

Love, Love Hawaii, my husband and I went there on our honeymoon, we also knew we wanted to take our kids there someday. We finally made it happen when they were 15 and 17 yrs old, perfect ages. We treasure those memories, our kids are grown and on their own now, but we will always have Hawaii.

MegJill January 7, 2016 - 5:24 am

What am amazing trip! I love reading about your family! By the way, my friends son left on his mission in late January and had the same concerns about returning in time for BYU classes to start in January. His mission president sent him home just a few weeks early, at the end of December, so he had just enough time to say hi to mom and dad and take off again for school. =)

kms January 7, 2016 - 2:07 pm

Guess he will go back spring or summer term 2018. I'm surprised you did not submit the papers in summer, last summer or this summer if ending midterm was an issue? He will have a few months to travel before going back to classes. I am sure thousands put papers in with birthdays in fall hoping to leave and return during summer (18 months) or the break between fall and winter terms (24 months). It can't work out for everyone. At least he is at a school used to these breaks so reregistration should be easy.

Marci January 7, 2016 - 2:34 pm

I don't know what the rule is right now, but I know in the past you could not submit your mission papers more than 90 days before you were available to go out and serve. Max probably turned his in as soon as he could.

dresselfamily.blogspot.com January 7, 2016 - 2:44 pm

I think that still is the case 90 days.. sometimes the way transfers work they get home before school if not it will give him some time to work or whatever.. it will all work out

kms January 7, 2016 - 4:53 pm

His birthday was in summer. But no rule saying you have to go that minute. I'm saying if school semesters are so important, and I doubt they are as important as she made them sound, he could have put in his papers 90 days before winter semester ended and given them months to fit him in so he could start and stop in summer. I'm sure thousands hope to get in and out those weeks of Christmas break between fall and winter semesters. If he does comes home as schedule in January I'm sure he can use to the time to get back to normal, vacation and work until the next semester begins.

Marci January 7, 2016 - 2:33 pm

I love that you got to witness Aloha 'Oe! My sister and her family live in Hawaii and we've been to visit them a few times. It is always special to be there during church for an Aloha 'Oe!

Also, someone else already said this, but I bet Max will be able to just come home one transfer early so he can be back to school on time. Each of my siblings and my two nephews have been able to do this. It's really not that big of a deal, especially if he brings it up to his mission president partway through his mission so they can start planning that.

kms January 7, 2016 - 5:08 pm

Then why don't they just have the assignments starting and stopping for school terms in the first place? These are all college age kids going. Are the mission presidents supposed to send all the missionaries home with January/february release dates?

Whitney January 7, 2016 - 6:21 pm

Why is this such a big deal to you? Mission presidents can do the transfers how they feel best for the mission and the missionary. We get it. You don't like the LDS church. You have an opinion on how they do everything, and how their members live, including how/when Max put his papers in. Never let that axe get dull, KMS!

kms January 7, 2016 - 6:51 pm

I'm not upset about it. I doubt the family would be upset about his coming home a few weeks early or having to wait to start a semester. Whether he does 105 weeks or 100 weeks doesn't bother me. The point of a mission is to knock on nonmembers doors and tell them they aren't right and you don't like they aren't in your church. Opinions all around. Ironic I'm causing you such concern and you feel so defensive. I didn't accuse Joseph Smith of being the antichrist, chill. Why can't missionaries not start or stop Jan through April and August through November? If they were that worried about end time on a break they would have waited until spring. It's a burden of their own making.

Whitney January 7, 2016 - 8:08 pm

I'm actually not defensive, Kris. I simply find it amusing whenever there is a comment from you, it's usually full of derision about her, and yes, my faith. It's almost as though you can't help yourself, and other commenters are more than patient with you judging their faith. I notice no one here makes comments about Catholicism to you, for all you accuse us of telling others we don't like their faith.

I hope you have a lovely day, sincerely. I won't be checking back on this, but I know how much you love the back and forth, so I'll let you have the last, unread words. Peace.

Shawni January 7, 2016 - 9:40 pm

The great thing is that all these mission date issues seem to work their way out. There are thousands of kids going on missions and there's no way to time them all perfectly. People are well-aware of that going in. If kids get called later than they expected and they miss a semester of school they work or figure out independent classes until they can resume school and they learn a lot in the process. If kids absolutely have to be back (for scholarships or sports or other issues) families work around that with availability dates and most missions will work with them to make what they need happen. Max felt strongly about getting a semester of school under his belt before he left (a very personal decision for every perspective missionary) and is so glad he did. In making that decision he knew there would be no certainty as to when he would leave or get home. The risk was worth it to him and he wouldn't exchange that experience for missing a semester of school and working if he has to. Release dates change and some are more flexible than others so who knows what will happen by then. I just know it will all work out and it's going to be a great ride!

Anonymous January 7, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Shawni, why do you have a skirt on for your hike?

Shawni January 7, 2016 - 9:42 pm

It was comfy and I only packed slim pickings 🙂

Natalie January 7, 2016 - 7:16 pm

Aloha Oe at church is one of my most favorite Hawaiian delights. My family visits Maui and Kauai for a week each every year for nearly 20 years now and Kauai is hands-down my favorite of the islands. Church on the island of Kauai is so memorable — the building is very old and doesn't have air conditioning, but lovely fans and plantation blinds along the walls of the chapel that allow island air in. The ward sings Aloha Oe every Sunday at the close of Sacrament Meeting — the ward members rise and stand in front of the pulpit to sing to all the visitors. Every Wednesday at mutual, the youth make yarn leis which then then distribute to all the visitors as they sing. It is so beautiful to be there and feel our Savior's love in such a genuine and Hawaiian way. You must experience both Kauai!

Heather January 7, 2016 - 9:31 pm

Fun post! Would you mind terribly if I asked where you found that darling black skirt? I'm 5'11" and would love something similar.

Shawni January 7, 2016 - 9:43 pm

Old Navy (tall size) quite a long time ago…sorry that probably doesn't help you much!

Tara January 8, 2016 - 4:15 am

What hotel did you guys stay at in Hawaii?

Amanda January 8, 2016 - 9:13 pm

Shawni- You are the coolest!! I love that you love to wear skirts and I especially love that you are wearing one on your hike! I just read a really great book that you should check out called Belonging to Heaven by Gale Sears. It's a historical novel about the first Hawaiian missionaries. It was so great and made me long to be back in Hawaii.

Shannon January 12, 2016 - 12:18 am

Oh this post totally takes me back when my family was moving from Hawaii to Utah. Singing Aloha 'oe to us as we stood in front of the congregation and everyone came up piling leis around our necks, some of us hardly being able to see through the mountain of leis. It is so beautiful and I miss seeing that in church. Thank you for the fond memory.

Ronda Parcells March 13, 2016 - 9:43 pm

Hey I love your daughter Elle's clothes do you mind telling me where she gets most of them.


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