Saturday, January 31, 2015

On a Thursday......



I woke up the same way each day while in Hawaii......
to the sounds of birds, no alarm, no crying baby.....just peaceful birds calling my name.
I spent much time outside in the early hours of the day, watching the sunrise and breathing in the clean air.

Today was Thursday.....
It was our third day on Parklen's Make-a-wish trip.....

We spent the first part of our day on the beach belonging to our resort......the beach enclosed the ocean fed lagoon which sat just moments away from our room.
The walk to the lagoon winds over bridges, paths and along the waters edge.
There are turtles swimming below as you stop to peer over the walls atop of each bridge.....
People walking hand in hand....children laughing....
many stop along the paths to take pictures.....a chance to capture the moment forever....


Once to the lagoon, we settled nicely in beneath the sunshine.
The kids went to work, splashing and digging.....
all but Phinlynn.....who always takes a while to make friends with sand....she does not like to be dirty....that one....

The lagoon is amazing for kids, it is made up of water from the ocean....which means it is filled with creatures....from, well...the ocean.  It is secluded from waves and shallow enough in most places for kids to enjoy!
 The boys worked on their snorkeling skills, while Phinlynn eased in, up to her ankles.  We played there almost the entire day......





Once back to the room, it was time to get ready for our next adventure.  We loaded up the car and headed off.....to our first luau.

First things first, we were greeted and given a shell necklace....
Because of Parklen's Make-a-wish status, we were treated like VIP's.
We were seated up front, close to the stage.



The evening began with music....and lots and lots of knowledge about the islands.
They held hula lessons and family crafts...
and a young Hawaiian girl came around to give us our tattoos for the evening...




It was such an amazing experience.
We learned about Hawaiian food, culture, traditions, and history.
We were fed,
we were serenaded.....the band even dedicated a song to Parklen....of the hundreds of people there, that made him feel pretty special.




The food was like nothing we had experienced before.....the boys had been talking about eating the pig for quite some time.  We were called to dish our plates and we filled them up, making sure to try it all.....because when in Hawaii....you try Hawaiian food.  The tastes were new and our bellies were full.







After the meal, it was time for the show.
The Polynesian show.
It was dark by this time and the spotlight shined brightly up onto the stage.

They had different performances that represented each of the Polynesian islands.

As each set of dancers took the stage, all of our eyes were glued on their movements.
They told stories with their dance.
To say that we were intrigued, would be an understatement..







As the night began to wind down we watched as a muscular built gentleman walked out before the crowd, carrying with him a stick.  I looked across the table as Paysen sat up tall in his chair....he knew this was what he had been waiting for.  He had been talking about seeing a fire dancer since he found out we were going to Hawaii.  That man lit up the stage with his dancing companion...throwing fire and flames.....igniting his tongue.....spinning in circles.  His portion of the show was over far too soon and the boys wanted more.  The luau came to a close and as everyone began to clear out, I went to ask a member of the band if the fire dancer would be willing to meet the boys.  I knew it was a long shot, but you never know unless you try.


The man quickly came out from behind the stage and spent plenty of time with our boys.  He listened to their story about Paysen's life saving donation of bone marrow and he was moved to tears.  He showed them how to make grass necklaces, he went through the steps of how to become able to dance with fire....and reiterated the importance of practicing what you love everyday to become your best.  He had just danced for hours, he had poured sweat on that stage...it was late and I am sure that he would have loved to be on his way home. Instead, he took the time to make my boys night,


After quite some time, the boys said goodbye to their fire dancing friend.  The five of us walked away....the boys sporting their fresh grass necklaces, and smiles from ear to ear.

It was a quiet ride back to the hotel, it was late and we were beat.
Sleep came easy again for the Henderson's.
And with the final moments of the day we shared our thankfulness for all that we had been given.

Monday, January 26, 2015

On to the next.......

The conversation between the hundreds of birds outside of our hotel room was far to loud to sleep through.... I had never heard something quite like that.  I laid in bed for a moment before I decided to venture out onto the deck sitting on the other side of the sliding glass door in our room.


I sat alone for a moment before retrieving our little pixie....together we watched the sun rise. We also watched as a pair of birds danced back and forth on the palm tree in front of us.  In those quiet moments with my daughter my heart was full.....we giggled and whispered....
I had only my cellphone camera on the deck as we watched these birds dance across the tree....

Before long, the boys joined us and we all marveled at the visions surrounding us.  We could see the ocean, we could see palm trees, birds, a lagoon, people walking.....and sunshine.


We all got ready for the day.  Dressed in our summer clothes and smiles, we headed out the door.  Our resort was something to be admired. Most of the lobbies and restaurants were outdoors, the rooms were indoors of course but little else was.  Transportation anywhere throughout the grounds required a train.....or a very long walk.  We loaded the train and headed to the main lobby.....

Our first stop was a restaurant that a friend had told us about for breakfast....we sat in the quaint cafe and ate..... reading the newspaper and filling up with conversation.

It was less than an hour to our next destination.  There were no electronics needed to distract the children...the sights were enough.  Portions of the Big Island of Hawaii look as though you have landed on the moon....there is miles and miles worth of old volcanic lava covering the ground in many areas....in fact, the island grows in size to this day because of this.....

When someone talks to you about "island time" you should know, it is a real thing.  No one is in a hurry to get anywhere.....it is a laid back atmosphere....driving speeds reflect this, as well as everything else you do!



























 Our first official Make-a-wish activity was scheduled for this day....Parklen had chosen to take his family on a glass bottom boat.  We found the pier and took our time walking up and down...peering into the water, catching glimpses of fish and sea turtles....every glance successfully gave way to a new discovery.  As we waited on the boat, we enjoyed the warmth and sun.  The kids walked around looking at everything with in their sight.









Once aboard, Parklen chose our seats and the five of use arranged ourselves around the rectangular box that housed a thick sheet of glass at the bottom......  The woman acting as our tour guide was filled with laughter, knowledge and spunk.















We were off to sea......out to a coral reef.  We watched below us as many different species swam by.  We saw fish we had never seen before, we saw some that looked more familiar.  The boys enjoyed the visions under the water, as well as what was above.  We were given knowledge on the creatures we saw and all shared our favorites as they passed beneath us.  Most of us enjoyed the Parrot fish....not only does this fish look amazing, with its bright blue color.  It also serves a pretty big purpose......
It makes sand....  "How?" One might ask.....let me tell you.  This beautiful fish swims around and bites off pieces of coral.....it eats the coral...  Then....when its time, it "passes" (see there? that is a much nicer word that poop) the coral that it has eaten, and the result is white sand.  It makes me chuckle because I can recall having seen many advertisements for luxurious white sand beaches in my life.....and to think, people are just laying around in fish poop...makes me laugh!

The boat ride was quick and mostly painless.......a little bit of sea sickness managed by a quick walk on the deck!  We walked off the boat and headed in search of more adventure!

An afternoon meal was in order.....
On our way up the stairs leading to our restaurant of choice, Paysen let out an alarming scream!  It scared me as I was right behind him.... I searched quickly for his source of pain or fright...
That's when I discovered a giant praying mantis on his arm! He successfully escaped the mantis' grip of death, and I barely escaped the fate of death by laughter....










As with most places we went to.......the restaurant had a roof, but no exterior walls!!!


We walked down streets filled with shops and restaurants and shaved ice.....we stopped frequently to watch things we were unused to seeing.  After hours and hours of walking and exploring, we loaded up in the rental car and headed back toward our resort.

Instead of turning into the winding drive that led back to our temporary home....we continued on and found ourselves on a different pier.... We spent the last moments of sunlight walking along the coast....and breathing in the island air.
























Meet island girl number one.......She was playing on the beach when we arrived and quickly ran over to us.....She followed closely behind our family as we walked and eventually made contact, begging the boys to play with her.....There was no one else on the beach so we(Devan) gave the OK and the boys ran after her in search of great waves to crash onto their feet...
When we left, this little girl said, in her saddest little girl voice, "I will miss you!"  and with that, the boys had had their first experience with a Hawaiian Girl.....of course, there were more.




The air is so clean there that each breath feels like the best one your lungs have ever experienced.....until the next one.  Each one, outdoing the last.

We found a restaurant and camouflaged our soaking wet children with sweatshirts around their waste.....we partook in some island food and headed back to the room.


Our day had been full of new experiences and we were beat....
It didn't take long for the kids to drift into slumber land....almost as soon as their tired heads hit their pillows.  We followed shortly after.  Sleep in Hawaii, is better than sleep I have had anywhere else.
Maybe its because of the way we ran ourselves tired.....maybe its because, in Hawaii...my headaches were on vacation too....or maybe it was because everything there was just right....and we were all there to enjoy it together.....

The second day ended in sweet dreams.