Carmen’s Graduation

My little sister graduated from high school in May and I was lucky enough to be there for the event. It was so fun to be with family and celebrate the great accomplishments Carmen has done.

Carmen worked hard in school and graduated number 11 in her class. She was a member of Honor Society and received other awards and scholarships too. Our aunt and uncle, Ellen and Johnny, and our cousin Emily made it to the graduation too.

We were all so proud of her.

While I was in town for Carmen’s graduation, we did some fun things like going to the St. Louis Zoo, going to Kansas City and seeing some old friends from high school. It was such a fun vacation and I’m so glad I got to be there for Carmen.

Makerfaire 2011

Brett and I went to Makerfaire this year for the 3rd time in a row! Can’t believe we’ve been in California almost 3 years already. Makerfaire is a huge fair that celebrates things people have made and inspires creativity. I think that’s why Brett and I like to go so much. This year, the hottest item was 3D printing. You can send your design to a printer that looks like this:

and it will print your design in 3D so you can make cute things like this:

little bunnies printed in various materials

Brett and I also participated in a workshop to learn how to solder. It was really fun! We made little robot pins that have an led light that blinks different colors.

looking handsome!

We also saw this cute little dancing android guy that I loved. You could send him dance commands and he would do them. Some were a little complicated too. It was so cute!

I also loved him because he reminded me of Brett with his glasses and argyle sweater. And I love this shot because he is mid-dance move but also looks like he stopped to say an enthusiastic “hi!” to us.

We’re looking forward to next year’s Makerfaire where we’re bound to see weird, fun, inspiring, creative and always interesting new ideas.

Giant bubble wand

 

Hawaii-Part 3

Our last full day in Hawaii was Monday, May 16th. We decided to spend the day in Laie touring the Hawaii Temple and visiting the Polynesian Culture Center. It was a great day! The temple was really beautiful.

We had the sister missionaries show us around the visitor’s center and take our picture by the Christus.

We look a tiny bit tan! Or sunburned...

We walked around the temple grounds and saw this awesome bas-relief. I had to take a picture by it. It was so appropriate!

The bas-relief behind me says "Maternity" at the top! I was 25 weeks pregnant at the time.

From the temple, we went to BYU-Hawaii and walked around their campus for a little bit. It was a small school with only 2400 students, but there were over 70 countries represented by that student population. It was very neat to see students from all over the world taking classes there.

We went to the Polynesian Culture Center after that. I wasn’t sure what to expect since there was so much hype about how wonderful it was, but I agree with all that hype! I had such a great time there! I can’t wait to take our family someday. They have these little villages representing Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, and Fiji.  You can go visit each one, see a presentation about the culture of their village and there are even activities for kids to do. If you went slowly and learned everything you could from each village, you could easily spend 2 days there. Brett and I wished we had more time to spend learning. We toured each village except for Fiji and loved what we saw. Next time, we’ll have to see Fiji too. There was so much culture there and we just tried to soak it all in. You could tell that the workers, who are almost all students at BYU-Hawaii or former students, really loved sharing their culture. We watched a boat parade where each country was represented and did a traditional dance on the boat.

Hawaii

 

Aotearoa (New Zealand). They performed a haka, which was especially cool.

Fiji

Samoa

Tahiti

Tonga

After all the countries went by on the boats, the Hawaiian Royalty came around.

 

My favorite outfits and dance was from Tahiti. I loved the giant headpieces the women wore and that they could shake their hips faster than anything I’ve ever seen! It was amazing! Brett and I went to the Lu’au after we toured all the villages.

At the Lu'au

I had a giant pina colada and it was the best one I had on the trip (and this was my third…). The food was really good too with the Kalua Pork that had been cooking underground all day, sweet rolls made from taro leaves and other delicious side items. Brett and I ate until we were stuffed! After dinner was the evening show called Ha, Breath of Life. It was fantastic! It was about a young couple expecting their first baby who had to flee their island because a volcano erupted and was destroying everything. They landed in Samoa and traveled through the islands, each one sharing their culture with them. They have a son who grows up, gets married and at the end of the show, has a baby girl. It was just beautiful! I might have teared up at the end since everything was building to that moment. After the show, Brett got his picture with Te’o Tafiti, the Samoan Warrior. We had seen him earlier telling a story of how he was climbing coconut trees, breaking the coconuts and preparing food every day all day until he decided to move to Hawaii and go to school to do something different with his life. And now he’s doing exactly what he was doing in Samoa everyday: breaking open coconuts and preparing food. He let some younger students climb the coconut tree for our amusement. He was really funny and had an amazing fire dancing portion of the show.

Brett with Te'o Tafiti, the Samoan Warrior

We drove home after the show, exhausted but so happy. It had been a great day. The next day, we were both sad in the morning as we packed everything up. We had had a wonderful Babymoon in Hawaii and we felt very blessed that we could go on such a great trip, but we were sad to leave. Hopefully we can go back again soon! Shave ice…kalua pork…the beach…they’re calling me!

Hawaii-Part 2

Saturday, May 14th, we started off the morning with malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery. Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts with a filling. Leonard’s Bakery had custard, chocolate, banana or coconut options. We loved them!

Malasadas!

From there, we hiked Diamond Head, an inactive volcano cone.

The hike up was long and it was a really hot day, but the view from the top made it worth it.

Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head

After our morning hike, we stopped at Waiola Shave Ice for our third shave ice of the trip. From there, we toured Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on US soil.

Iolani Palace

It was a very fun and interesting palace. It had artifacts from the royal family of Hawaii before they became a state. They are still searching for and gathering items. The rooms were beautiful, especially the room where all the balls were held. We really enjoyed learning more about the royalty of Hawaii. After our tour of the palace, we went to Hilo Hattie to pick up some souvenirs.

Brett at Hilo Hattie

We got free lei’s and tried their delicious pog juice (papaya, orange and guava). From there, we shopped our way back to the hotel and ended our evening with a late dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It was my first time going to a Hard Rock Cafe and I really enjoyed it.

Sunday, we got up early and got ready for church. We ate our papaya and sweet bread in the hotel before we left to find the church building.

We got there right at 9am, thinking we were running late. When we walked in, we were greeted by about 8 missionaries and other greeters at the door. We thought “wow, they have a lot of friendly people and missionaries in this ward!” We sat down and the choir was practicing. Then we looked at our program. Stake Conference. And it didn’t start until 10am! We decided before we went to church that day, that we would stay one hour and then head out to the beaches. So we enjoyed the choir music for a while and then left. The church building was really neat and had a mosaic of Christ in the front.

 

From church, we drove to Hanauma Bay to do some snorkeling.

Before we could walk down the hill to the Bay, we had to watch an instructional video that nearly scared me to death. The video talked about how you shouldn’t touch the coral reef because you were killing ecosystems every time you touched anything. The video also said to beware of crevices because that’s where the octopus and eel like to hide. After the video, the worker talked about how people drown every single day in Hanauma Bay, and how just the day before a young child died because his family wasn’t watching him for a few minutes. Then they sent you off to snorkel. Yeah.

25 weeks pregnant

Of course, it takes quite an effort to get all the snorkel gear on with the waves pushing you over all the time. Me being off-balance normally with my pregnant body found it especially challenging to get ready. Brett was so patient. Finally, we went out to snorkel. We saw some really cool fish, even though the water was pretty cloudy. Of course as soon as I saw a fish, all I could think about was “where is the eel? where is the octopus or shark that is going to eat my baby??” On top of that, the lifeguards kept shouting over the speakers every 10 minutes about how the tide was especially high and rough that day so only experienced swimmers should go further than they could reach. It made me quite nervous. Now, I’ve snorkeled before and really enjoyed it so I’m not sure why this time it was so difficult for me. I stayed out there for a while before I decided I was done. Brett swam out further to spy on other fish while I watched and prayed for him where I could reach. But overall, we both had a lot of fun seeing the brightly colored fish. Brett is an especially good swimmer and had a great time exploring the deeper reefs and seeing all the fish he could. Here is a picture of the coolest fish we saw:

try pronouncing its Hawaiian name!

After our snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, we drove further up to the North Shore, where all the big surfing is done. We saw Chinaman’s Hat along the way.

cute little island

We stopped at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck for lunch.

delicious shrimp!

The drive up to the north shore was absolutely gorgeous. There were tall, lush green mountains on one side and the blue, blue ocean on the other. It was breathtaking. When we got to where the big waves were supposed to be, we were disappointed to see that they were more calm than the waves at Waikiki. I guess we should have expected that since the waves are much bigger there in the winter and it was already May when we went. We drove to Turtle Beach and spent the evening talking, resting and watching the sunset. It was such a lovely day.

One more Hawaii post to come: Polynesian Culture Center!

Hawaii

When Brett and I found out we were expecting, we decided it would be fun to go on a trip before our little one came. We went back and forth between a cruise and Hawaii, but finally settled on going to Hawaii. We had such a great time! We flew to Oahu on Thursday, May 12th and stayed until Tuesday, May 17th. We got to our hotel too early to check in so we dropped off our bags, grabbed some lunch and started walking to a shave ice place. The book we had about Oahu said that Waiola Shave Ice was their favorite place, and it was only about a mile away from our hotel. So we set off in the right direction. When we got to the address, it was a taco shop and not shave ice. The owners told us Waiola Shave Ice moved down the road a little further. We walked a few more blocks before we found it. It was my first time having shave ice and I was excited. They put ice cream in the bottom of the cup, which I thought was going to be weird with the shave ice on top, but boy was I wrong! It was amazing!

 

yum! worth the super long walk!

We walked back to our hotel and checked in, then headed straight for the beach. It was a lovely afternoon and we had fun playing in the water. Brett wanted to go on the other side of the barrier to play in the bigger waves, but all I could think about was sharks and I didn’t want to go. He was nice and stayed with me. After the beach, we drove to dinner at Ono Hawaiian Food for some delicious local favorites.

We got a few things at the grocery store like apple-bananas which were still gross in my opinion, a papaya and some water bottles. That pretty much ended our first day in Hawaii.

Friday, we started the morning off with some more local food:

spam and eggs!

It was fine, but I didn’t need to order it again. From there, we drove to Pearl Harbor. What an interesting historical site. Brett and I walked around the museum, reading everything they had about the tensions rising before WWII and how it lead to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Finally, it was our turn to ride the boat out to the U.S.S. Arizona’s burial site. It was eerily silent there, like it was sacred ground. I always feel that way in cemeteries too. We were glad we got to visit Pearl Harbor and learn more about the history of WWII.

at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial site-Pearl Harbor

names and rank of those who died

After Pearl Harbor, we drove to the Dole Plantation. We could not wait to try their pineapples and dole whip. They did a pineapple cutting demonstration and let us all try a bite. It was delicious! We ate lunch there and made sure to split something so we could save room for the dole whip.

vanilla/pineapple ice cream swirl. yummy!

After that, we walked through their pineapple garden that showed the many varieties of pineapple in their various stages of growth. I LOVED the tiny “baby” pineapples!

look at that little fatty! I love it!

look at those cute little pineapples behind me!

We had a lot of fun at the Dole Plantation. When we left there, we stopped at a local music store and bought Brett a ukulele. Here is a picture I took of him later:

what a cutie! I love to hear him play

After the ukulele purchase, we drove to the Bishop Museum (I know! Long day!).

The Bishop Museum was really cool. It explained a lot of the history of the native Hawaiians like how they got there, what they used to live and survive, how they worshiped their gods, how royalty behaved and how they entertained themselves. It was fascinating. Brett and I really enjoyed our time there.

Brett with the Duke's surfboard

On the way home, we stopped and got some shave ice (we got it almost every day!). We spent the evening strolling through a farmer’s market and looking at all the souvenir shops. It was a lovely, but exhausting day. I’ll post more about our trip later because there is just too much good stuff for one post. :)

Gold-digger

Before we flew to Hawaii for our babymoon, Brett and I spent a lovely weekend in Carmichael with Grandma and Grandpa Rosenlof. They always have the funnest things to do when we visit and this time was no different. They took us to a small town that was having a fair and people were dressed up in old clothing from the 1800s. Horse-drawn carriages took you from the parking lot to where the action was. Here we are waiting for our ride:

A Blacksmith showed us how to heat up, twist and bend iron.

The Mormon Battalion was even represented.

I sifted for gold and was successful! I found a few tiny specs of gold.

We also saw old houses and cars like this one:

It was such a fun weekend! We can’t wait to go back and visit again soon.

 

Yosemite!

And now it is time to tell you about our camping trip in Yosemite, which happened on April 30-May1 (Oh my goodness, how can I be so far behind??). Brett and I always wanted to go camping in Yosemite and finally we did! We packed up what we needed for our short, one night visit and make the trek out to Yosemite.

We made it!

The weather was interesting because it was cold enough at night to keep snow on the ground in some areas, but warm enough to melt ice for the waterfalls during the day.

snow on the drive into the park

We set up camp and then headed down to the valley.

bear-proof box for all our food and drinks

We  got to the valley just in time for most of the stores, museums and visitor’s centers to be closed so we spent the evening looking at the Ansel Adams gallery and shopping around their huge grocery store and souvenir shop. As it was starting to get dark, we headed back to camp to make dinner. It was a cold night that night with temperatures dropping down to about 35 degrees. We slept on an air mattress, which helped keep us warm. We put a down blanket on top of that, followed by our sleeping bags and another down blanket. I think I was wearing about 15 layers of clothing by the time we went to bed. I just kept adding another layer as it got colder.

The next morning, Brett made pancakes for us and had to use a paper plate as a make-shift spatula since I forgot one.

 

Brett cooking breakfast on a huge stump

I kept warm by the stove:

 

I just started my 23rd week of pregnancy

We had so much fun that day walking to a beautiful waterfall and taking lovely pictures.

nice view

 

still had some ice in the river

 

climbing around

trying to take a timed picture of us...Brett almost fell in the water!

Brett next to the beautiful waterfall

Brett climbing around on some rocks

huge waterfall through the tall, tall redwoods

El Capitan

Brett and I and half dome behind us

one of the best parts of the trip: seeing a bear in the wild from the safety of our car!! So awesome!

We had such a fun trip to Yosemite! We loved going at the end of April/beginning of May because the weather was warm during the day, the waterfalls were gorgeous and the park wasn’t too full of people. Can’t wait to go with our family someday.