Sunday, February 21, 2016

Best Christmas Present Ever

As every month passes by I seem to get further and further behind on updating our blog! My intentions are always good, each month I get started on a new post, but just can't seem to sit down and finish it!The good news is that we are busy doing normal kid things and normal family things, not spending lots of time in the hospital (which in years past always gave me lots of time to blog)! That having been said, I've got some fun pictures to share in this post of our surprise Christmas trip to Hawaii.  I will say I was crazy busy getting everything done for Christmas 9 days early this year while packing for our trip, but it was so worth it! Once we got to the Norths Shore we were able to enjoy 8 straight days of quality family time without stressing about all the normal last minute Christmas errands and to-do lists.... it was absolutely perfect!! It was at the best Christmas present ever for our family that Mason was finally healthy enough to go on trip so far away from home. It was like a dream come true!

Mason and Ammon were most excited about the plane ride!

The airlines had messed up our seat assignments,
so we were spread out all over the plane. On the other
side of Ammon sat a young Mac make-up artist going to
Oahu for work, and oh that poor girl... Ammon was so
excited that he talked her ear off for 5 hours straight!
Good Times!

Our first day on the North Shore we went to
the Billabong Masters surf contest at Pipeline!

There were some huge waves and amazing surfers!

One of our favorite things we did was going to the
Polyenisian Cultural Center.

(Polyenisian Cultural Center's famous surfing santa)

This was our canoe ride that took us through a live nativity.
We loved being there at Christmas time!

And of course we couldn't miss a ride 
on the Hawaiian Polar Express.

Mason got to try out the Tahitian drums!

(Ammon was a bit camera shy that day and 
wouldn't get in the pictures, the stinker!)

The boys learned how to make fire from the Samoans.

And Mason made a new buddy from Samoa!
In fact, his new friend asked if he could take a picture
with Mason and wanted me to tag him in it on Facebook.
(The islanders at the PCC were all so attracted Mason,
and they didn't know anything about his special heart!)

These boys got all cleaned up on Sunday to go
 to church and to visit the Laie temple grounds.

Such a beautiful place to visit on the Sunday before Christmas!

I love my family! Families are Forever!

Mason is such a little ham, always posing for pictures!

Ammon found this beautiful nativity statue at the temple

(Mark, Ammon, Mason)

Snorkeling was a big hit! We snorkeled at 
 Shark's cove, Lanikai Beach and Hanauma Bay...

(Kaitlin and Preston)

We spent a couple days at Waimea Bay jumping off the big rock,
rope swinging, playing on the beach, relaxing and catching some waves...






(Mason, playing catch of course!)

Ammon still is not a big fan of getting sandy,
so this was the only day the whole week that
he actually played in the sand! Silly boy! 

Kaitlin and I doing a little relaxing in the sun!

(Preston and Braiden)

Kaitlin found a turtle at a little beach near Haleiwa.

We had a yummy visit to the Dole Plantation.

We went on a beautiful hike up to Waimea Falls...



Kaitlin and I went in to the water fall and it was freezing!
(It was cold from the recent rain)

Mark, Kaitlin, Preston, and Braiden went 'free diving' (meaning they were not in a cage) with a professional diver out of the Haleiwa boat harbor. They said it was a very cool experience! (Mason and Ammon were my excuse though... I was a little too scared!)


And look who we found on the North Shore... Santa!



Thank you Santa for a wonderful Christmas trip to Hawaii!
It was definitely a wonderful dream come true!

Mason and Ammon made a couple of cute little hawaiian friends!
Their mom works at the hotel and became Ammon's buddy while
we were there. In fact Ammon knew all the employees very well
before we left! They even made him his own employee name tag!

Good bye Hawaii!! Thanks for having us!!
We hope to visit you again soon!!

Ammon was invited to sit up by the pilot for a few minutes.
And in those few minutes he probably asked 100 questions!
He loved it! It was awesome!

We had so much fun in Hawaii, and the kids were 
all exhausted to prove it! The flight home was great!



We made it home just in time on Christmas Eve to put on our 
new pajamas and hop into bed, so good 'ol St Nick could come!

 And that big guy in the red suit came through for us!
We woke up Christmas morning to find out he somehow 
knew we were back home from the North Shore!

(Ammon and Mason)

(Mason and Preston)

(Ammon, Braiden, Kaitlin, Preston)

These two boys sure make Christmas feel Magical!
Their excitement for life is contagious!

Christmas time usually means lots of extended family time too...

(Mason and baby cousin Finn)

(Kaitlin with cousins Nellie and Rachel)

 And of course there's always the annual
Strickland roller hockey at Classic Skating...

(Mason and cousin James)



Then there was Grandma Marilyn's New Year's Eve party
with lots of cousin fun, games, a piñata, treats, dancing,
and the annual send off of the Chinese lanterns...

Mason and cousin Thompson showed up  to the 
New Year's Eve partying in matching shirts!

Ammon is the family baby whisperer!
Oh how he loves all babies!

~piñata fun~

~game time~

~dancing the night away~

The sending off of the Chinese lanterns means
 lots of wishes for a healthy and fun new year!

We are so grateful for wonderful family and friends 
to spend our holidays with every year!

"Dreams that you dare to dream
really do come true!"
~The Wizard of Oz

***Mason has a routine cath/biopsy and a CT scan (to look at his coronary arteries) on Monday March 29, 2016. Please remember him in your prayers! We would love a 'good news' report! Thanks!