I am so glad you can be a part of our Hawaiian adventure.
Enjoy! --Kristine

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day

Our nine steps for having a memorable Memorial Day:

Step 1: Start the day with a fantastic brunch with the Jensen-Burian family at their lovely home in the mountains near Kailua. Tag's friend Brenda is an Associate Dean at Hawaii Pacific University and a big reason why we were able to make our trip here possible. We sat on the patio for several hours, soaking up some sun and gobbling up everything from scrambled eggs to waffles, Portuguese sausage and fruit salad.

Side note: Our brunch contribution was a coffee cake creation from, courtesy of Paula Dean. It involved five ingredients and was warm, gooey, nutty goodness. Check it out: Ultimate Coffee Cake (with a name like that and 300+ positive reviews, how can you go wrong?). Tag and I were amused by the process and contents the whole time we assembled it (a rigorous five minutes).

Step 2: Nap, of course. The kids slept while Tag and I chilled out and then figured out our plans for the rest of the day. At this point the leftovers of the coffee cake went missing. I can't say anything more about that, but it makes you wonder doesn't it?

Step 3: Pack up the kids, some animal crackers, and catch a bus from Kailua to Honolulu. Bus rides are great adventures with Benjamin. He was thrilled to be in the tallest passenger vehicle on the road, climbing the mountains, traversing the tunnels, and navigating busy downtown streets.

Step 4: Depart bus at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. Ala Moana is a four-story outdoor shopping extravaganza. I think this place rivals the scale of Mall of America in Minnesota, with a more international clientele and the added bonus of warm, fresh air. Our main goal was to hit the Apple store and replace Tag's defunct iPhone (phone in pocket + turtle trapping on a wet day = no ringing). We also bought each of the kids a new pair of summer shoes.

This is the very first picture Tag took with his new iPhone 4. The kids and I were watching and feeding the koi in the middle of the mall while we waited for him. The koi loved the animal crackers! Benji is modeling his new sandals.

Step 5: Eat a quick dinner in the "Food Court of Too Many Options," and then head across the street to the Ala Moana Beach Park. Our primary goal for coming to Honolulu on Memorial Day was to attend the Lantern Floating Ceremony that evening. Forty-thousand other people thought this would be a good way to spend the holiday, too. The ceremony was led by Her Holiness Keishu Shinso, the spiritual head of the Buddhist path called Shinnyo-en. The lighted lanterns floating in the ocean remember those who gave their lives in conflict, allow for reflection on the memories of loved ones and dedicate prayers for a peaceful and harmonious future. 
The crowd gathered for the event. We were pretty close to the stage compared to others along the far sides of the beach.

Watching Japanese-style musicians and hula performances before sunset. 

Tag and Alice take a self portrait with the new phone, and Brenda is captured in the background, too.

Thousands of lanterns floating in the sea.
Step 6: Return to the Ala Moana Center and give kids their first Bubble Teas (watermelon and coconut) to quench their thirst. Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan, but quickly spread to other Asian countries and Chinatowns around the globe. I'm a fan and thought it was time to share the fun of munching on chewy tapioca pearls while drinking a sweet blended beverage. 

Alice sucking up a tapioca "bubble" through her extra wide straw. She LOVED this.      
Step 7: Pass time waiting for the last bus by visiting the Lego Store. Yes, a whole store dedicated to legos, and it was full-on awesome. This made the end of the night way cool for the little ones because we bought a couple of special lego kits for our well-behaved ceremony attendees. 

Step 8: Hang out with a hippy Hawaiian surfer dude at the bus stop and "talk story," as the locals would say.  Benjamin's unending questions kept the young guy amused for the whole 30-minute ride back to Kailua. He had friends in Chico (really not all that surprising considering his demographic: college-aged outdoorsy hippy), and he made it seem like we had an instant karmic connection (very flattering). He was a nice UH dropout to spend a bus ride with. Alice rode with Tag, surveying the scene inside and beyond the number 57.

Standing on the seat is not advised. We know this because Alice introduced her nose to the handle in front of her after losing her balance. A parenting tip: reduce the face-planting-into-seat-handle problem by making your child assume the proper sitting position and avoiding mass transit after 9:30 pm. Just a thought. 
Step 9: Get home, brush teeth and go to bed. Really, that's all we did and it felt great. 

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