Nov 25, 2013

Hawaii Trip 2013 - Love4mia

This post is going to be ridiculously long.  
No collages this time... just picture after picture of our week in Hawaii.  

We flew into Seattle to board a plane to Hawaii.  On our first leg of the trip we saw all of the mounts.  Mt. Rainier is the landmarking telling me I will soon be with so many that I love. 

While in Seattle we ran into a basket tower of these delicious foodies. 
Space noodles!!!  If you are new here... this is my Aunts company. 

Aloha! So excited to be on the plane... and to be sitting together.  
It is uncommon to get to sit together when flying standby (or so I've been told).
We lucked out.

Speaking of lucking out- thank you so much for the buddy passes Jeff & Leisha!!
Thank you for your generosity... and thanks to Rebecca (who I was supposed to be with) for allowing JB to go instead.  We'll have to rain check it until baby is older. 

The pictures are in order and this one just happens to be first. 
John wanted to take a picture of these cool trees. 
Since I am a "people in pictures" type of gal I told him to stand by the tree...
this is what he gave me. :-)

Happy to be somewhere warm and tropical and together.
I need to scour my blog but I really can't remember going anywhere with just John and I... alone.
Now that I've said that I'm sure I'll have a few emails proving me wrong. 
no... I think the honey moon was the last time. 

On Waikiki beach there are signs posted along the pier with NO JUMPING warning signs. 
These boys weren't having it.  I decided to catch their rebellion in action.

John boy jumped up and retrieved a little flower for moi.  
It feels awkward posting so many posey posey pictures... but this is what we did. 
We posed for pictures. 

When we arrived, our friends Chris and Tammy greeted us with purple lei's just like these ones.  I don't have another picture of it, but it was so thoughtful of them.  I felt lucky to be greeted at the airport with a  ring of flowers placed over my head.  Thanks you two! So sweet (more on them coming up)

I took along a little clip-on lens to my phone and experimented a little on the beach.  
I texted the eye ball one to my sister.  It's a little creepy.

There we are!  This is to counter all of our stand and smile moments. 

Stand and smile at the international market-

Stand and smile at an overlook somewhere I don't remember the name of

We drove up to the center of the Black Diamond crater.

Our first hike was to a majestic waterfall. It was beauty! and it had extremely large trees!

It was green as far as we could see... this pictures doesn't really capture the vast greenness!

It was muddy. Quite muddy. 
I felt awful for a gal that was hiking in high hi-heels. 
I thought she would have just committed to the mud and taken them off, but we passed her twice both times her heels were still on... muddy... but still on. 

We made it!! I remember doing this hike as newlyweds.  Everything is blocked off now, but back then we went over to the falls. 

More standing and smiling- 

This is JB's high school face.  He pretty much made this face in ALL pictures I have seen of him as a teenager.  He wanted to climb up as far as he could off the trail. 
He is always wanting to make his own path!

The Bamboo forrest. 
This made me think of my Uncle Bryan... who grows all species of bamboo.  

John's idea-  The lady who took this picture was the sweetest lady ever and got a kick out of John.

We hiked down with another couple and took pictures for each other... I should have taken a picture of them. The view from this clearing is just amazing.  

"pool pool" flowers.  Was happy to find "Mia flowers" on the trial. 
It's true... all things purple are Mia to me.  All lovely things, that is. 

This leaf had broken off it's stem at it was almost as tall as me. 

Hawaii is the very best place to take pano's. 

We went to Hanama Bay twice.  It is so pretty and the water is warm

If you look close you can see the water coming up from the rock... 

Once again, can't remember the name of this, but it is beautiful!!

This was taken right when John and I got kicked off the beach. 
We were boogie boarding and the waves were too big.  The Lifeguard could tell we weren't locals and kindly sent us down the beach to some more gentle waves. 

The Bankston's (Tammy and Chris) took us paddle boarding on the air-force base. It was really fun until we got pretty far out there and Tammy mentioned feeling vulnerable to sharks... then I started to believe that a shark was after me.  No sharks, but I did paddle closer to the shore just to calm my nerves.  Tammy was one of my first Washington friends so I was ecstatic when we got to stay with her.  Chris is in the air force and it was neat to stay with them on base.  Tammy could not have been a more accommodating hostess.  She fed us and packed us food for the day... I was a little embarrassed about receiving such a royal treatment.  I will forever love her for everything she did for us that week. Both her and Chris did a lot of us... including frequent trips to the gate to get us permits to be on base.  I think that was my first recollection of being on a military base... and it was interesting.  It is just like it's own private city... I enjoyed being a guest for a week.  I wasn't allowed to go into the grocery store with Tammy, and that was unique, but I enjoyed exploring all of the other military stores.
Thank you so so much for everything you did for us.  

John was hilarious on the paddle board. He was determined to stand up and paddle, but almost immediately after he stood up he was right back in the water.  Tammy and I were entertained watching him fall right back in over and over. 

All you can see is the splash in this one- he was determined though.... 


Our photographer from the shore.  He was recovering from knee surgery so he couldn't get in the water. Thanks Chris for getting all of John's wipeouts documented. :-)

Yummy burger place... so tastey!

Tammy and I made it through our huge hamburgers.

We had some good friends send us on an adventure. We really are blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives.  Thank you for the nice surprise!  We chose parasailing. I have always wanted to try and it and Hawaii was the perfect place. 

We were so far out there, and so high.  He gave us instructions on what to do if the line breaks.  I'll admit I was a little preoccupied thinking about that line breaking.  Again, the thought of sharks wouldn't leave me.  I'm so glad the line didn't break!

Part of the experience is a little dip in the water...

John hates cold water... but looks happy 

The anniversary of Mia returning to Heaven is October 8th.  We had plans to do service in her memory and woke up that morning and got to work.  I tried to stay busy and knew if I could just keep busy I wouldn't lose my mind.  The one year anniversary is something I never wanted to reach.  We were able to think about others and not ourselves on this otherwise impossible day.

We saw a lot of homeless people during our initial visit to Waikiki. We decided to pass out gift cards and Tammy purchased clean shirts and towels for us to hand out as well.  This man with John was really sweet.  When we handed him the card and told him about Mia he was really touched.  Such a kind person and made my heart happy to help someone who was so full of gratitude and also caring about my little girl.

As we made out way down the beach we got to visit with them.  One man was super friendly and wanted us to pray with him... which we did.  He told us about how he used to be the head of security at the Tacoma mall (right by where we used to live) and that after a few poor decisions he was now living on the streets. He was full of faith and very kind to us.  I just wanted to give him his old job back.  He melted my heart.  After he said a prayer he held both our of hands and just gave us the most genuine pep talk about how we'll see her again.  Talking to him was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
He had so little but gave me so much!

My favorite part of our love4mia day was handing out toys to the children on the beach. I felt silly taking pictures but we did grab a couple.  We handed out Minnie toys and coloring books and puzzles and these water squirters.  I basically bought up all the things she loved and gave them to kiddos. I of course approached the parents first, but it was cute to see how excited they were to be given something.

We also had a lot of candy lei's and Mia's favorite candies.
Oh how I miss her.  I just wish this day didn't exists.  Why does it exist?
I want to go back to my life with her here.... it is filled with so much Joy.

We went through a drive through and paid for the cars behind us
I love the look on this lady's face.  Despite appearing over it, she was really sweet and touched we were doing that. 

We loaded up some vending machines for unsuspecting children.  

Someone got tired and needed a little nap-

The last of the water squirters. 

That night were were physically and emotionally exhausted and luckily we were able to stay at a hotel right in Waikiki.  It was beautiful there!  

They had lights dangling from a larger tree and it was beautiful. The picture doesn't do it justice at all.

View from our room

Again a huge thank you to the Bankstons and the Pierces for orchestrating all of this and making us feel so loved. We survived the day and felt very much loved! Thank you thank you thank you!!

East side of the island was amazing! We drove over there twice... it was enjoyable just to stand and stare... or take pictures from the car. 

The very best shaved ice on the planet.  It was so so so so good.  It really is like eating snow to begin with... and then they put sweet and condensed milk on the top?  Yum!! We need this over here!

The best beach ever!

This was the beach of all beaches.  The sand was perfection... the water was warm and it was perfect us to relax and play in the water.  We paddled out on the boogie boards and had fun.  After the previous day, our time at this beach was light hearted and fun.  I'm glad I was there with the one who makes me laugh the very most!

Driving across the island reminded me of Jurassic Park.  

North shore!!  We had a few things on our agenda that we never got to o the North shore, but we tried to cram in as much as we could. 

We ate lunch at Ted's bakery per the recommendation of a handful of friends. 
This cup of chocolate macadamia nut cookies was really all I needed that day. 

This man is a crack up.  I could feel my scalp burning, but enjoyed his wit. 

A few more of these.  

Waiting for the tahiti dancers...

Chris and Tammy met us at the PCC to go to the Luau and the show.  
It is so nice to have friends who live in Hawaii!

Our last day on the island we dropped off the rest of the #love4mia gifts to the women and children's center.  We had a lot of coloring books, crayons, and lots of little mermaid items left over.  Mia love loved the little mermaid.  You may remember THIS.  The women at the center were very sweet and grateful for the donation. 

put here. 

My favorite hike in Hawaii by far is the Pillbox.  It was just beautiful... at all angles... at every moment of the hike.  Here are all the pics from our hike.

Little shout out to the "dance-oh's" 

Definitely my #1 favorite hike.  I want to go back!

A few friends told us to find these little pink boxes of wonder... very tasty!!

John boy headed down the beach to snorkel solo... my fear took over by this day. 
I think I have a lot of trust issues now.  

I attribute my sudden fear of things that didn't phase me before to feeling like something horrible happened to me, and what's to stop something else that is horrible from happening.  I discovered fears I didn't know existed, but I could not get in the water on the last day...

Instead I wrote my family members names in the sand.  We sent a little video of Jensen's name being covered by the water... he thought that was pretty neat.

Last, here are some photos from our Water Camera-

The best way to paddle board for sure.  It was so relaxing to be rocked by the waves staring up at the sky.  I had a distinct feeling of happiness being out there at sunset.

Thought it was a good idea to practice some yoga moves on the paddle board... this is me resting in between... and no I will not be posting my attempts.  :-/

Trying to board again after getting the boot at the other beach.

Hello handsome.

We asked a random guy to take a photo of us under the water... so here it is. Turned out great.

Snorkels are so flattering.  I really enjoyed Hanama bay, but once again my fear took over and John swam for about one hour more than me.  

Hawaii was the perfect place to be on the anniversary of Mia returning to Heaven.  
When the sadness of that day one year ago crept into my heart it was soon chased away by the distraction of such a beautiful place and so many wonderful people remembering her by serving others. 

I would like to post some of the service that was done for love4mia.  I want to try and do this every year and so many of you had such wonderful ideas.  If you participated in love4mia and didn't send a photo, I would love to hear what you did.  You can email it to me at 
Also, many of those posted on instagram i cannot see. If you posted in instagram can you tag me @mimimcdonald and I will follow you to view the post?  

Thank you so much!  

I will be posting #love4mia hopefully by thanksgiving.