Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hawaii... then and now...

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Aaron and Leslie - Kauai, Hawaii - May 2003
Aaron and I were always competitive. Here, he has an unripe coconut held tightly in his hand and I was supposed to get the best grip I could on it and then when we were both ready, I was supposed to try to pry it out of his hand. I don't think I ever got it out, but I always like to try.

Aaron bought me this CD when we were in Hawai. It had this song on it that is playing on my blog.

Leslie, Aaron, April, Sue, Steve - at church on Sunday

Aaron and Leslie

Aaron being adventurous and then Aaron and Leslie

Leslie and Aaron and then Aaron ready to go scuba diving.

Two and a half weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon, I got a phonecall from my friend Laura. Laura and I used to work together for a photographer. She has since then moved back east and my life, of course, has taken a drastic turn. Anyhow, she called two and a half weeks ago to let me know that her work was sending her to Hawaii on business and that if I could figure out a way to get to Hawaii, I would have a free place to stay. So, I kind of doubted that I would be able to afford to fly Aaron Jr and me over there, but I thought I would try to see if my brother in law had any buddy passes available that would make it at least a little cheaper. So, I asked... and he had some. So then I had to make up my mind whether or not I truly felt like I could handle it mentally. The last time I was in Hawaii was with Aaron and a few of his family members. She was leaving on Saturday, so I didn't have much time to make up my mind. I think that is what got me there. If I had had more time to consider it, I don't know if I would have made the decision to go. I am glad I went though. Aaron Jr. had a BLAST!
Here are some photos from the trip. I took SO many photos, I had the most difficult time deciding which ones to put in my blog, so here is the narrowed down selection. I started with about 570 photos from the trip. :) Aaron Jr was just TOO much fun to take photos of. What can I say?

and NOW...

Aaron Jr and Leslie - Oahu, Hawaii - April 2008

Aaron Jr was timid at first, not wanting to go near the water, but within about 30 minutes, he was running in and out of the waves like nobody's business. I had more fun watching him in the water than I have had in a long time. This is Waikiki Beach.

Aaron Jr and Leslie on the North Shore.

Aaron Jr running from a wave... and Aaron Jr and Laura
The waves were a lot bigger here than they were the day before on the other beach, but Aaron Jr still was brave and had a blast. We had to be more hands on since these waves could have taken him right out to sea... but it was so much fun playing with him in the water.

Aaron Jr and Leslie

Leslie and Aaron Jr.
As you can see, I was being taken down in the bottom right photo. They were powerful.

Aaron Jr spent most of his time throwing sand or throwing rocks. Here he is in stages. Left photo holding handfuls of sand, middle photo throwing sand, right photo walking back with sandy hands and loving every minute of it.

Aaron Jr at the Hawaii Temple. It is SO beautiful there.

These are four different scenery shots I loved.

As we were walking back from dinner, we ran in to none other than ELMO. Who else would we expect to see on the streets of Waikiki? You can't tell from the photo, but after we left there, Aaron Jr just wanted to go back and see Elmo.

Top photo: the view from the first hotel we stayed at.
Bottom photo: the view from the second hotel we stayed at.
Both beautiful places.

Aaron Jr enjoying our third beach experience. This beach, he was able to lay in the water without waves crashing into him. He was able to walk out pretty far before the water was even to his waist. He LOVED this day. This was the first day that Laura had to be in meetings, so it was just Aaron Jr and me most of the day. It was a really great bonding time. Since Aaron passed away, Aaron Jr hasn't had a lot of one on one time with me. I loved spending this time with him, and then when Laura was done for the day, she would come and meet us each day.

That same beach, we started feeding some birds. Aaron Jr was LOVING it. They came and ate right out of our hands. Every time the birds got close, Aaron Jr would start giggling and they would get scared away again, but they finally showed trust and came for the... Teddy Grahams. Does anyone know if those would be bad for birds? Hope not.

I just loved this shot of Aaron Jr.

Leslie and Aaron Jr.

Aaron Jr playing in the sand, Aaron Jr kissing the birds goodbye, Aaron Jr with his baseball cap on and his hair flipping up underneath, Aaron Jr eating a slushie... Mmmmmm...

Here is another sequence of Aaron Jr. First, finding the perfect rock, second, getting ready for his throw, third, throwing the rock. If you look close, you can see the rock BARELY leaving his hand in the third one. He is amazing.

Too cute.

We were feeding the birds again. This time, they weren't as scared... until...

Aaron Jr started chasing them all.

Aaron Jr enjoying himself... then Aaron Jr looking GQ.

What a kid!

A nice lady on the beach gave us this little tube... here is the fun we had with that this last day...

Woo Hoo!

Mom and Son... he must have said something REALLY funny.

Again... love the background.

Leslie, Aaron Jr, Laura

Laura and Leslie - thanks again Laura. It was great to see you.

Aaron Jr and I rode along to the airport with Laura even though we had about 6 hours to wait after she flew out. We shared a taxi. Anyhow, it was a VERY long wait, but Aaron Jr and I found things to do to fill some of our time. Here he is in his stroller laughing at something while I took his photo. :)

It was definitely overwhelmingly difficult a lot of the time to be there in Hawaii. Everything was reminding me of the time Aaron and I were there together. The memories were flooding into my mind as quickly as they could. I am glad I have memories to be reminded of. They do bring some sorrow, but they also bring joy as I think back on when we made those memories. I had anxiety a lot of times, but overall, I am glad I went. It was SO kind of Laura to think of us when she was going. THANK YOU LAURA. WE LOVE YOU. It was good to get away... and especially have some one on one time with Aaron Jr. It was hard watching him play a lot of the time because I could imagine Aaron out there playing with him in those waves... and exploring the water and the beach. Aaron LOVED the ocean. He always had a snorkel with him whenever he was near water so that he could see what neat things and neat creatures were under the water. Aaron would have loved showing Aaron Jr all of the things there are to explore. I feel like he was there with us though. How could he have missed out on Aaron Jr having that much fun in the ocean? He couldn't have.

Here is one last photo of Aaron and me 5 years ago in Hawaii together. I love this one...

We miss you, Aaron... we love you...

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LL said...

AMAZING photos. glad you were able to get away and enjoy time with that gorgeous little boy. Looks like he had the most fun :)
(that picture of him alone with the red sailboat in the background is my favorite-so sweet)

Anonymous said...

So THAT'S where you have been! I'm glad you went, Leslie. What a lovely way and place for you and little Aaron to spend together. I paricularly like the 3 photos of the rock throwing - they would look great framed.

Love to you,


amy said...

My favorite photo is of you and Aaron Jr. between the palm trees. What beautiful pictures and I'm glad you got to get away to such a pretty place

Vicki said...

Wow, what aweseome photos! So glad you got to go and capture more memories with Aaron Jr. in photos! What a beautiful and fun place and I am hoping I get to go there sometime (since I've never been). Love you!

Mindy said...

I'm so glad you got to go, Leslie! I love the pictures. I kept thinking, "This one is my favorite... no, this one!" I finally gave up. No wonder you had a hard time deciding which ones to post!

April said...

It was so fun to go to Hawii with Aaron and you (and the parents) years ago. I was sick when we went... and I remember not sleeping well, because I was so congested. And, while we were there Aaron said something that made me realize that I had kept him up most of the nights there. And I said, "Aaron, I didn't know I was keeping you up at night. I'm so sorry." Then Aaron said something like "Oh, I just felt bad for you."
He was such a great brother. So loving. Miss him so.
Well, I am so glad that you were able to go somewhere so beautiful with a friend. There are some great shots of you and little Aaron. What great memories (of both then and now). Love you.

Crystal said...

I am glad you were able to go. Looks like you had a great time. And your pictures turned out beautifully. :)

Crystal said...

Sorry, is beautifully a word? Anyway, you know what I mean. :)

Laurie said...

We must have been there the same time as you? We just got back over a week ago too. Kauai is an amazing place, your pictures look very familiar from 5 years ago. Awesome shots of Oahu this time. I am happy that you have that experience with little Aaron too. So much to cherish. Amazing memories for amazing people.

Karlyn said...

WOW! It looks like you had a fabulous time. Great pictures. I am so happy that you went.

I LOVE this song. I have a CD that I have been listening to for about 7 years that plays this song over and over. It is in the CD player in my car. It's been there for seven years, I will probably never take it out!

Yes, I've had the same car for over seven years....pathetic I know.

amanda said...

Wow, how fun. I'm sure everything will be a little bitter sweet for a while, but I'm glad you are taking the opportunities that come. You need to have fun. Fun pictures.

Anonymous said...

What a great mom you are! Aaron Jr. is going to love those photos when he is older. He is always going too be able to look back and see how much you loved him and how you well you took care of him in spite of your own heart ache. He will love you all the more for it.
I really enjoyed seeing all the pictures of then and now.
You have a true talent for sharing your life with others.
Glad you went and had a change of pace, if only for a short time. I hope it was more good memories than bad.
Take Care.

Karey said...

The trip looks so fun. There are some great pictures. Aaron Jr. looks great! His face tells it all. Glad you were able to relax in such a pleasant place. Hawaii is one of our family's favorite places. I'm glad you could go. Love you.

Matchbox Mom said...

Oh wow! Looks like a GREAT time!!! I'm glad you got to do something so special with Aaron Jr. I think he looks like his Daddy especially in the GQ picture! What a sweet boy he is! You're a good Momma! Glad you got to do this!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a magical time, what amazing pictures.
Love, Kirsten

Tawnie said...

Love you Les. I ached for little Aaron in these pics. But he is going to be okay!!!! I'm glad you have good memories and got to go back to Havaii.

Brenda said...

What a fun time! I'm glad you were able to go. I'm sure Aaron Jr. will remember it and have good memories for a long time.

dani said...

what a blessing that you could take aaron jr. and share something with him that you had shared with aaron.
hawaii is a gorgeous place, and you captured it beautifully. and, iz's rendition of over the rainbow is my all time favorite. this is a lovely post.
lastly, i will pray that your anxiety gets better.
love and hugs,
dani xx

Rebecca_Adams said...

Your trip looked like it was a lot of fun! I've never been to Hawaii, but I hope I can go sometime! Aaron Jr. is getting so big! I love all the pictures from the first time you went with Aaron and from the time you went with Aaron Jr. What good memories to cherish forever!!!

Matt & Shauna said...

You are a darling mom! It looks like you had a great time!! Thinking of you.

Liz said...

Beautiful pictures all of them. You definitely see a little light out of your eyes between the pictures at the first and then the present ones. But as always you are beautiful.

E and T said...

Hi Leslie

What beautiful memories you will always have of Hawaii.

Your photos are stunning and capture the beauty of the time that you and Aaron Jnr spent together.


Valeri said...

Another beautiful post...

I can only imagine how difficult that would be, but so special at the same time. I'm glad you were brave enough to go because look at the fun you had, and the experience you were able to give to your son. Great photos. My favorite was the one of you and Aaron Jr. between the palm trees.

Hope you're doing okay, Leslie.

Joann said...

Okay, I just have to say that the picture of you and Aaron Jr. between the palm trees, the one that everyone loves, is my favirite, too. It totally lookslike a picture on a postcard. Maybe you could make it into one! Anyway, I, too and glad you decided to go. I know it was a difficult decision to make, but I hope you found that it was worth all of the hard parts for the adorable time you had with little Aaron. Love you!

Emma-Kate Castricum said...

Hi Leslie,

I'm so glad you got some one on one time with Aaron jr. Just you and him. I guess the hard thing is that you are at your lowest or weakest and your baby boy needs you more than ever. How hard it can be to be a parent. I have no doubt Aaron was there with you both though.

I really loved your pictures, your smile just lights up the screen and as for little Aaron, I could gobble him up!! There's something so innocent about little boys, I just love them and wish I could have another (or two)!!

I'm glad you 'jumped in head first' and went away. Your life's going to be full of so many '1st times' without Aaron by your side and I'm so glad you have your gorgeous little boy to hold your hand through them with you.

with so much love,


K&K&kids said...

I am so glad you and Aaron Jr. were able to get away and it looks like you had a good time. You took a lot of great pictures. Aaron Jr. gets cuter every time I see him! Love Hawaii. Love you.

Kristi said...

What a fun get away. I am glad that you could go and get some good one-on-one time with Aaron. I love all the pictures. What a beautiful setting and fun, yet haunting memories. We love you guys.

Everyday's a Holiday! said...

Wow Leslie, Beautiful, not only the island but YOU! and of course Aaron jr. he is precious! It makes me miss you so much to see all these cute pictures! I want to reach through the computer and give you a huge hug! i miss your smile, it lit up alot of dull nights in the UK! good to see it again! love ya

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

Just checking in on you, and sending you my love as always.


Seesalou said...

glad you had a nice time. it looks like paradise. some of your pics are breathtaking! love you.

dani said...

hi, leslie...
i was just up late and checking in on you.
i hope you will have a lovely mother's day weekend with aaron jr!!!
may God bless you two,
dani <333