Friday, December 29, 2006

Maui - Hawaiian Suppa Man...and Wife...and Mother-in-Law...

I'm in the airport after three very filled days in Maui. I still have some of my dad in me, so I went and saw everything on the island. But unlike my dad, I ate, slept and enjoyed myself. Heck, I even stopped long enough to go to the bathroom once in a while.

It would take a long time to tell all of the trip. I will say that Maui is fun if you can find a place to sleep and you have tons of money. Having my mother-in-law with me on my honeymoon really did cramp the style of the honeymoon, but if you were to look at this as just a vacation, it was pretty good. Rather than try to recount it all, I'll just show pictures and video. That's easier...

Enjoying the night life under Lahaina's Famous banyan tree.

As usual, it was rainy and foggy and you didn't see much at Iao Valley

All the gappers. We left our Lahaina hotel at 5:05am. We actually made it to the top of Haleakela before the sun rise at 6:40am. If you know Maui, you know that is likely a record.

The sun about to peak out from behind the clouds atop Haleakela

Shorts and Slippahs


Most guys give a flower for their girl to put above her ear. I gave her the sun.

Yeah, there's a little captain in her

Elevation marker at Haleakela

Every time I got near an edge at Haleakela Anna was worried she'd lose her brand new husband.

Ain't she cute?

Anna Hula's

Maui Hawaiian Superman and his wife (Mother-in-law taking the picture)

The rare Silversword plant only grows here

Road to Hana

Anna at a black sand beach on the road to Hana

You would think I touched this up to look this way. It just sort of came out like this on it's own. Love it.

I have no idea why this one came out monochrome. I took it in color. Still, I'm glad it came out how it did.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Grandest Canyon of them All...

The big day came and went. Anna and I had our first night together as husband and wife and it will be the last time for a while that we get to sleep together.

So, because we had to fly out of Las Vegas to get back to Hawaii, we decided to try to see some more sights while we were at it. And what is there to see besides desert? First, Anna and her mom have never ever seen snow. Funny how we take things like that for granted. So, we needed to go to Flagstaff to play in the snow.

Yup, it’s just frozen water...

We cheated. Someone else made the snowman.

Afterwards, I realized that my work cell phone was missing. I must have lost it somewhere in that field of snow. I have never heard from my phone since. Well, phone, you were cheap and broken anyway. What man would have you now? Yet, I don’t think you earned your fate. I will offer a moment of silence for you now.


Ok, that’s enough of that. Back to our trip. What else is there to do in a big ‘ole desert besides play in snow? Well, how about a hole? But this is the grand daddy of holes, the Grand Canyon.

Don’t get too impressed. We only walked about 5 minutes into the canyon to say that we did it.

I always felt that just pictures don’t quite capture the moment like being there. So the next best step is video. For your viewing pleasure, feel free to download some short video clips.

Download: Anna’s first step into snow.

Download: Anna’s mom gets scared of the cliff.

We made it to the airport with plenty of free time. So much in fact, that I had time to blog. So, next step we are on our honeymoon with my mother-in-law. And there will likely be more pictures than you can shake a stick at! Maui, here we come!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Big Day...

With much anticipation, the big day had finally arrived!

Naturally, I was excited, so I didn’t sleep easily the night before. It’s like the day before Christmas, only, it was actually the day before the day before Christmas. And this year, I didn’t care at all about Christmas. (Nothing personal, Christ.)

Rather than sleep in, I got up early and started to get ready. One of the first things I did was go to my sister’s chapel where the wedding was to take place while the girls gathered around the kitchen to prepare the food.

To my dismay, I was not able to shake the powers-that-be of Mormon weddings. Translation: a working basketball hoop overhead to grace the reception. Centuries from now, archeologists will study the history of Mormon weddings and think that we must have worshiped these hoops as powerful deity of marriage. They presided over every wedding and were central to all ceremonial celebrations. Some incarnations would be lifted up higher towards the ceiling as if to ascend the vows higher towards the heavens. Others would hang low and be lavishly adorned with plants and lace on the day of the event. No one is quite sure how this God came to be, but one thing is sure, he was Lord of matrimony.

And on the side of that pic you can see my mom working on the punch fountain. That was a problem as well. After about an hour of just trying to set it up, it was determined that the motor was faulty. Various people were sent on missions to get it replaced or find an alternate at K-mart. My brother-in-law Rob was unfortunate enough to be buying a new one and setting it up while I was getting married. By the end of the night we had 4 of those fountains lying around. We kept one, took the broken one back and took another new one back for a refund. I think someone must have decided to keep the 4th one they bought.

The cake was graciously made by my sister, LaDawn. I never knew that she could bake cakes like this. Seeing as how this is a new hobby of hers, I assume she didn’t know either until recently. She said that the cake would normally take as much as 15 hours, but mine was special. In her words,
“I doubled the recipe for the chocolate cake, but forgot to double the sugar...very gross. That was the big bottom layer and the top layer. Good thing I tasted part of it before the wedding. So had to completely re-bake that. Then I didn't use a "crusting" cream cheese frosting as I knew I should, so the middle layer kept bulging, melting dropping and sliding. After several hours of trying to "fake it" I gave up, took it apart, scraped all the filling from between the layers, and all the frosting off the outside, remade that frosting and filled and frosted it. Then...when putting the dots on the outside, I used a lemon extract with the luster dust to make them shine like pearls, but they made the dots slightly yellow, so I scraped off all the dots and repainted them with clear vanilla extract...right color, but didn't like the look of the dots...too big and not smooth looking, so I scraped all of them off again, switched frosting types and tip and repainted again. Finished 3:30am night before. Total about 30 hours. Many valuable lessons learned on that one.”

I guess one lesson was to never offer to bake a wedding cake for free.

A lot of work, but what a cake!

By the time that I got back from setting up the chapel, Anna was already in the preparation states of her wedding garb. I tried to sneak a peak at Anna before the wedding, but Sammie and Lizzie (my nieces) would not have it. I still tried.

Behind the closed door my wife-to-be was busy taking pictures of herself.

She's even hot in just pajamas!

Finally, we arrived at the chapel, in our nice clothes where it looked nice, but people were still all hurrying around with something to do. Poor Anna just sat in the bathroom until the wedding. She had people come in and help her primp herself some, so I guess it was ok.

Then after we decided the Hawaiian caterers were not going to show up, and the singers were a no-show, and the leis wouldn’t make it, we just went ahead with the wedding.

It was simple but wonderful. My nephews walked up as the ring bearers. My nieces were flower girls. And my lovely wife was escorted up by my dad since hers was not there. Her mom stood by her side and my best friend since childhood, John, stood behind me as my best man.

Bishop Toone had some nice words to say and then came the part where I agree. Internally: "What do I say? 'I Do' or 'Yes'? I can’t decide. Well, I guess I’ll What happens if she says 'No'? No, she won't do that. But what if she accidentally says 'no'? That's not very likely. So, what if it isn't an accident? Oh, he just asked me..." Externally: “Yes!”.

Now for Anna. Internally: "Don’t think to not say 'no', or else I will say 'no'. Just say whatever Jared says. What if he says 'No'? No, don’t even think of the word 'no' or you accidentally say it. Ok, Jared said 'Yes'. Now me. Don't say 'I do' or 'no'. Shoot, now I'm going to say one of those! Oh, here's my turn..." Externally: “Yes!”

Then we kissed (and I held it out some…). After that it was time to take pictures like there was no tomorrow. Although that phrase doesn’t make sense. Why would you bother to take pictures if there was no tomorrow? That’s like filling up our tank the day before you take your old car to the junk yard. Anyway, back to the wedding.

We took pics while everybody waited to eat the food that the caterers just delivered.

I warned John not to ACTUALLY kiss her

Don't know why, but I love this shot

Then we took pics outside.

With her bouquet

She is so light, I could carry her all day

On the full size pic, you can zoom in and see my face, Anna's and the camera man's reflection in my ring

My current fav pic of us at the wedding so far

We came back in for the cake cutting.

No, we didn't mash it into each other's faces. But I was tempted...

After that people came up to us and we talked and talked. I didn’t really get to eat much of the food, but it smelled good.

When the crowd cleared some, we realized that we totally forgot to do the garter belt and bouquet. So, we did it with the few people left, immediate family.

Lizzie, the taller one in back, caught it

Yeah, it's as fun as it looks!

He was so busy trying to get that off his head that we barely got the pic in

We all hope that Lizzie and Connor are not the next to get married.

Much of the time I found myself worried about Anna’s mom. She was a stranger in a strange land. At one point, she ran to the bathroom crying. I hoped and assumed it was just how moms always cry at daughter’s weddings. Apparently, she was fine. She mostly either followed Anna or sat at the table poking at her food. But regardless of language barriers, there was one person who transcended all differences and keep close to my new mother-in-law: Brooklyn.

She had her coming...

...and going!

Despite the issues and whatnot, it was a wonderful wedding. Those pics are just the ones that I took with my digital camera that day. The other pics and the real film pics will come later, I hope. I am grateful for everybody who put so much into making this wedding seem like it had been planned for, um, at least a month.

After the wedding, we relaxed at my parent’s house some, but not too long. I was ready and eager to get going to the honeymoon room my parents booked for us at a local resort. And, just for posterity, I decided to document the whole night. Parents: before you view this pic, I suggest you have a talk with your young ones.

No, that's not a chicken up there, that's just the way she's holding the grapefruit

Well, perhaps total transparency is not always ideal. Did you really think I'd post a pic like that? Hey, you can’t live vicariously through me in every aspect of life...

Needless to say, I'm a very happy and lucky man. Next we are off to see the Grand Canyon and play in snow. After that, we are off to Maui for or real honeymoon (with my mother-in-law). Then we have more time in Oahu before I go back to Guam. Whew, I'm so tired, I hope I'll be able to enjoy my honeymoon and not just sleep through it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Like Dinosaurs...

We arrived safely in Arizona. It was pretty uneventful. The ride has lots and lots of…nothing to look at. Anna’s mom wondered what kind of country this is to have so much empty land and nothing to do on it. Well, she may be on to something.

To try to give the most authentic feel of AZ that we could, my parents took the whole gang out to the desert. There we saw more of the nothing that we saw on the road from Vegas. But this time, we had to pay to see it.

We did however see a real ghost town. It’s become some sort of phony tourist trap, but it’s still neat to see. Anna and I saw a sign for the justice of the peace. We were tempted to get married then and there to put all of the hassle and frustration of the wedding behind us. Here is a pic of what that wedding would have looked like:

We also picked up some genuine cactus candy. It’s funny how we only get that kind of stuff when we have people from out of town. For those of you living in AZ, when is the last time you bought cactus candy? That’s what I thought.

We also went to the Mesa Museum. There we saw more nothing, but in a heated place. While looking at the dinosaur fossils Anna learned something: that dinosaurs were real. This whole time she thought they were made up. My fiancĂ©e has now graduated Suma Cum Laude and she didn’t know that dinosaurs were real! I think that maybe my GPA was slightly lower, but I win the contest of wits after this! Since I had her in a venerable position, I began to explain how the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot were also real. We all know that unicorns were once wild in the parries. And who would deny the existence of Leprechauns?

After that, Anna and her mom didn’t know what to believe. So when we saw petrified wood, they were unsure what to think. I have always taken it for granted. But to them, the idea that wood could be turned into stone was unheard of.

No trip to Mesa during Christmas is complete without a visit to the Mesa Temple for the lights. Since Anna is a recent convert, we can’t get married in the temple yet. So, we went to see it anyway. It was not the best year as far as lights go. But it was nice as it always is.

Despite all of the tourism, we have been trying to get ready for the wedding as well. The rings have been purchased, the cake has been made, (contraceptives have been acquired), and my dad even made sure the dress was ready.

There are a number of explanations for this picture. None of which truly satisfy the curious mind.

One story is that Lacey (in the background) walked in on dad in the whole dress singing along with the classic song from A West Side Story, “I Feel Pretty.”

Rob’s theory is that since Dad is normally seen wearing dresses on Friday nights, it’s no surprise.

Aaron thinks that he must have been bitten by a snake in the rear and he is removing his dress so that Lacey can suck the poison out. She looks eager to help if that theory is true.

My recollection is that dad is seen there showing me how and giving me pointers on proper dress removal - post-wedding.

Dad claims he was just checking to see the quality of material.

Either way, Anna claims that he stretched it out some. Go figure. Anna is a size 0. Dad…not so much.

Scandals aside, we are all ready to get married. It’s the night before! Yikes! Can you believe that in less than 24 hours I’ll be a married man? Me neither. It’s like some sort of dream or fantasy…like dinosaurs.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Viva Las Vegas...

Due to our late decision to go to Arizona for the wedding, finding a ticket was difficult. So, We (Anna, her mom, and I) had to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada. Anna had been there once before, I’ve been there a number of times, but her mom had never been in the U.S. let alone Vegas. So, we decided to make the most of the event.

Thanks to my parents time share, we were hooked up with a nice two bedroom suite in Vegas. Unfortunately, since Anna and I are not married yet, we had to sleep in separate rooms. And we will be at my parent’s house or in other situations where we will not get to share a bed until we are back in Guam well into 2007! :-(

Nonetheless, I wanted to get the most out of Vegas. Due to the fun of plane delays that one can expect, we got to bed late. We left Hawaii late. When we got in, there was still a plane at our gate that was broken down. Rather than let us out at another gate, they made us wait behind it. Then they announced that we would have to wait almost an hour for the plane to get fixed. Why not just tow the other plane out? Who knows? That’s they way airports like to make your life as close to hell as they can. Somebody accidentally moved the plane, to the chagrin of his superior, I’m sure, so we got to get off the plane.

We got the rental car and Anna and her mom had their first taste of real winter air. They were freezing. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. They made me wear a scarf because they assumed that since they were so cold, I had to be cold too.

It's much colder than it looks in the pic

We finally check into the suite at about 2:30am. We woke up early the next day to get as much of Vegas in as we could.

My Mother-in-laws first and last gambling experience. There goes a dollar we'll never see again.

There's not much to do at the Coke factory, so we took pics with the bear.


...and the King!

Et Tu,, Ceaser?

As far as they knew, this was the real Statue Of Liberty. I should have said it was to make it more cool for them.

At the end of the evening, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful, but it was so cold that even I was cold!

We walked almost the entire strip. We walked from our hotel, a bit off the strip, to Excalibur and down to Circus Circus and back. Poor Anna was so tired I had to carry her some of the way back to the hotel. Her mom on the other hand, she was ready to keep marching. She could walk all day and never tire. I guess the American lifestyle that Anna became accustomed to also made her weaker... (nothing personal honey, I still love you).

We retired again in the suite (again in separate rooms *sigh*) and woke early this morning to see the Luxor before we drive to Arizona. We have a long day drive ahead of us and we have a lot to do before we get married next week. Next week already? Yikes! I really need to stop blogging and get going.