Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to two people who mean a lot to us!

Happy Birthday to Katelyn (a very good friend) and Savannah (our cousin).

Katelyn turns 10 tomorrow, and Savannah turns 5 tomorrow.

We hope you both have a wonderful birthday with lots of fun, and you get to eat some yummy cake!!

We love you both!

The Heffners

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Abby's "Creative Dance" and Alissa's first date!

It's official. Alissa has gone to her first girl/boy dance, with a boy. (Her boyfriend, Alan.) He's a nice boy, and they get along like peas and carrots. He lives one street over, so they are hanging out all the time. This past Friday, she went to the 8th grade banquet (read: dinner and dance) with Alan - his friend Jacob rode along and met his own date there. Here is a picture of my beautiful oldest child - enjoy!
Jacob, Alissa and Alan (l to r)

Abby has just started "creative dance" class. It's the precursor to ballet. Abby has wanted to take dance since around her 4th birthday, but I knew we were moving so I purposely didn't put her in class in Tennessee.

Here, she mentioned in the car once that we should "...check out" (Abby's words) and see if there is a ballet class here for her to take. So, I did - well, I didn't go to, but I found a great class for her. The beginner class is for 4 to 5 year olds, and I was apprehensive about how she would really like it. (Let's face it, all little girls want to be a ballerina or a princess at some point, but how many really know what being a ballerina means?) I guess I assumed that she wouldn't like the structure of a class.

Boy, was I wrong! See the pics:

And, I didn't forget about Alex. She starts a great DoD camp after the 4th of July called D.E.F.Y. It's a 2-week day camp aimed at helping youngsters resist drug and alcohol and gang influences. They also promote physical activity, so the kids will be busy! I will post pictures and info about Alex once her camp starts.

So, we're all doing well and staying busy! Those of you that I don't talk to on a regular basis, EMAIL ME! We miss you all.

One last picture, this is for Grandma Carrol. Abby's new nightgown (for her birthday) fits great. Just wanted you to see how much she enjoys it, since we weren't sure it was big enough:

Polynesian Cultural Center

The last Friday before Carrol and Jim left for home, we took the kids out of school and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. It's on the North Shore of O'ahu, about as far from our house as you can get. (The trip there took over an hour!)

The Polynesian Cultural Center is like a small version of EPCOT, but only Polynesian cultures and Hawaii are represented here. ( There are demonstrations of dance, music, food, ways of life, and arts. You can ride a canoe from one end of the center to the other, and along the way view representations of Polynesian living. There was a beautiful IMAX presentation on the demise of the coral reefs of Fiji, an enjoyable luau with blue bread, and an evening "Horizons" show that is one of the best live shows that I have ever seen. It was breathtaking, truly. All 3 of the kids were engaged in it, even Abby (who can't seem to sit still these days...)

Here are a few pictures to let you see some of the beauty we saw that day. I'm planning to add the slide show later, when I have 5 more seconds free:

It was a neat place. A little pricey, I thought. But, as "residents" we got great deals on annual passes, so we can go back and see more. If you go and don't get to see everything you wanted, you can go back again free within 3 days of your first visit, so it's something I would recommend doing if you make it to O'ahu to visit and have the time. We enjoyed what we saw, and plan to go back later in the summer.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Another cool thing we did was to tour the USS Missouri. For those of you that aren't into history, this may or may not interest you. I have always been interested in history, and I found that since moving here and being surrounded by it, I am even more intrigued. The USS Missouri was the location at which the war officially ended. (We saw the spot where the Japanese signed the official "Instrument of Formal Surrender".

There were staterooms set up to show you how the sailors lived and worked on the ship during WWII. It's amazing how small the quarters were, and the beds were so narrow that you couldn't roll over! We take for granted sleeping in our comfy beds at night. Those sailors lived meagerly while fighting to preserve our great nation and its freedoms.

Even more interesting than many of the cool facts I learned that day, the USS Missouri also saw action during the Korean War and the 1990 Gulf War. She was decommissioned in 1993 and towed to Hawaii in 1998 to stand proudly and tell her tales. It was such an interesting tour, and I really felt the honor and pride that she must have felt, participating in the greatest war of the greatest generation that America has seen.
Near the end of the tour and after, the girls hammed it up (they were tired and starting to get restless...)

And finally, Alissa's signature expression these days:Luckily she got happy once we returned to the car and headed toward the Cheesecake Factory for dinner:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pictures from the last few weeks

So, as I mentioned, Carrol and Jim were here visiting from Ohio. How great it was to see some family. (Sometimes Hawaii can feel as far away from home as it actually is. That part stinks.)

While Jon and I worked at our jobs for the first 2 weeks of their visit, we did manage to squeeze in some fun and adventure, too. One of the things that we did that was so great was to visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Memorial Day for an annual ceremony sponsored by the Honolulu mayor. It was a really touching ceremony, with all 5 branches of service represented. The whole ceremony took an hour. We rode a shuttle bus to and from the ceremony, so we didn't really get to stay after the ceremony ended. But, I got some great pictures that I think sum up American patriotism and the meaning of Memorial Day - honoring those who served and sacrificed for our continuing freedoms.

**A statue of Lady Columbia, also known as Lady Liberty, stands at the top of a long staircase at the top of Punchbowl. Below her likeness is the following poignant quote, taken from a letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to a Mrs. Bixby, a mother who reportedly lost 5 sons during the Civil War.

"The solemn pride that must be yours
to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom"

** an image of many flags flying in that Memorial Day wind.
There is something about seeing all those flags waving proudly:

**And finally, a gravestone that captured my attention,
that I felt compelled to share:

There is something to be said for a country that celebrates all veterans who have protected and continue to protect our freedom, even if we don't know their names. Makes me feel proud to be an American.

So many new adventures!!

I have been so, so bad about posting to the blog. I meant to post a new entry on May 14, when I met my first celebrity, Daniel Dae Kim. (He's Jin from LOST, my absolute favorite TV show on the planet.)

Alissa and I met him at the Honolulu airport while we were picking up Jon's mom and stepdad - they flew in that same day for a visit.

Daniel was so nice. He allowed us each to take a photo with him. (I found out later that he was arriving in Honolulu that night because he had a court date the next day.) So, I am sure that the last thing he wanted to do was meet a normal joe and get his picture taken. I tried to be as polite and quick as possible - I've read that celebrities can get mad if you approach them when they're with their families ( I think he was with his family). But, he was very kind to us and here's our picture for your viewing pleasure!!!