Hawaiian Vacation Part II: Kauai

Later this summer Tyler and I will be celebrating 5 years of marital bliss! Since we had awesome grandparents to leave Winston with for a couple of days, we took advantage of the moment and hopped over to Kauai for a couple of days, just us. I was a little nervous about leaving Winston since we've never left him overnight, but everything turned out fine and a little sleeping in was nice :)

Tyler prefers to have activities planned for vacations while I prefer simple relaxation and time to chat with my lover, so we compromised by planning one activity for each day, and then leaving the rest of the day open to beach time or whatever. The first day's activity was a helicopter tour of the island, and it was by far the best activity of the trip!

 A view from above shortly after taking off
Everything was soooo green and I can't tell you how many waterfalls we saw
 1. Manawaiopuna Falls, also known as Jurassic Falls because it was used in the movie Jurassic Park, 2. Ty really excited to be in a helicopter, 3. Mt. Waialeale Crater, one of the wettest places on earth

 Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific- one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen :)
Yay for helicopters! Ty was a little worried I'd get sick, but I actually really liked the feeling of flying in a helicopter. I seriously recommend this activity to everyone.
The famous Na Pali coast
 More of the Na Pali coast- such gorgeous water!
 Wailua Falls- we tried to drive to these falls after we landed and ended up at another, less pretty one :(
 Pro-fliers :)

After the helicopter tour we wanted to check out a few things nearby that we had seen from the air so we drove towards Poipu to pass through the tunnel of eucalyptus trees that has grown over a section of the old highway. Then we tried to drive to Wailua Falls and ended up at Opaeka'a Falls.

  At the end of the tunnel of trees
 Opaeka'a Falls

The rest of day we kicked back at the beach/pool & hot tub, found some really amazing garlic shrimp (well, I did), and then headed out for a movie. Sidenote- Tyler admitted post trip that one of his favorite parts was being able to see two movies at the last second without having to worry about a sitter. It's the small things :)

Day two we woke up early because, turns out, it's hard to sleep in very late when you're programmed to wake up at the crack of dawn. So we went out for breakfast and then headed up the North Shore to Princeville for a zip-lining adventure.

 We look cool in helmets :)
 1. Me on the sketchy suspension bridge between two zip-lines, 2. Waiting for our turn, 3. Me and my perfect zip-lining form
 I ended up being a really bad action photographer on this trip, so there is Tyler really far away...
 ... and a slightly blurry Tyler coming in for a landing.
 Standing at the base of the final zip-line tower- it was the highest and longest zip of the day, plus it is a tandem zip-line so we got to race each other, which is never fair when weight comes in to play.

After our zip-lining adventure we drove over to the Kilauea Lighthouse. The little bay and peninsula were covered in nesting seabirds and just below us we saw some fuzzy white chicks :) We also drove up to Hanalei to see the bay and Bali Hai from South Pacific, but it was raining so hard that I didn't bust out the camera. We grabbed lunch at a burger stand made just for Tyler in Hanalei, too- it was all about the meat and chili and had this notice on the bottom of the menu, "Add let and tom 1.00 (not recommended)".

Kilauea Lighthouse

Afterwards we went and hung out at the beach for a little while again and then showered up and went out for a nice dinner at Duke's, where I had the best, melt-in-your-mouth scallions ever! Then we caught another movie and crashed for the night.

The last morning we actually did sleep in a little bit and then lounged around the hotel/beach for a bit with some local bakery goodies for breakfast. We also remembered that living in a hotel for six months is awesome, because it means we are now platinum members at Marriott so they upgraded our room to hugeness with a private deck that went right out to the beach. It was really nice to literally roll out of bed and onto the beach :)

  This photo was taken from our little deck
 This photo was taken from just outside our front door and I'm convinced I need a hammock in my yard someday.

Our activity for the last day was taking a boat tour up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, which the boat company conveniently forgot to mention no longer really has any ferns because of a hurricane a few years ago. Oh, and you can't go into the grotto anymore because of said hurricane. So it was lame and you should not go there. Luckily, it was a pretty short tour (probably because their was nothing to see) so we had a little more time to lounge on the beach before we needed to head to the airport.

 This is as close as you can get to the little cave you see, and although the rock face used to be covered in hanging ferns 15-20 feet long, there is only a smattering of short ferns alive now. 

We got to the airport a little late only to find that our flight time had been bumped up, so we had missed it. No notification... thanks Island Air. So we were bumped to a flight on another airline an hour later, which got delayed another two hours and then cancelled. So they bumped us to another flight on another airline, and eventually we flew home. I was pretty bitter while we were at the airport, but we survived so I've moved on.

 My lover and I right before we left the hotel- try to ignore the craze, frizz hair... it's Hawaii.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I LOVE being able to spend time with just Tyler. We had hours to chat and he is still my favorite person in the whole world!! I love him! Winston woke up to both of us the morning after we came home and he just kept smiling and pointing at us :) I love him the second most!!! Basically, I have the best life ever :)


Hawaiian Vacation Part I: Jenny's Graduation

My youngest sister Jenny graduated from high school this year so Winston and I flew to Hawaii two days before Tyler so we could be there for it. I was really nervous that I would have a major meltdown during this trip to Hawaii, as my parents are moving back to the mainland this June after 16 years in Laie. It was probably the last trip out there for us for a long time, and even if we do visit again, it won't be the same. I managed to get through the entire trip without a meltdown, but getting through graduation was REALLY hard! I teared up watching Jenny graduate, but I kept it to watery eyes with no hysterics, so I'm pretty proud of myself. I never thought I was so sentimental about high school and the Hawaiian culture that is so prevalent in graduations there, but turns out, I am. I guess I'm a Red Raider for life :) It's just something you will never experience anywhere else, ever.

 Jenny & her diploma
The graduate and I
 Jenny & her friend, Cody
Jenny, one of her best friends Tiffany, & another friend who is almost submerged in leis.
 About to leave for the all-night senior party that follows graduation- this year they took a harbor cruise, spent several hours at Dave & Busters, had a dinner and a dance at a fancy restaurant, and spent the following morning at the water park.
Jenny & her other best friend, Jasmine
Jenny and her proud Mama
 Jenny at the end of the night with her awesome sign, thanks to Ben & I :)

Just to explain a little, Hawaii high school graduations are not like most, and I like to think Kahuku graduations are especially rad. It is very informal- no tickets are given, anyone can come, people are blowing air horns throughout, and at least 50% of the grads do a backflip or weird dance or salute or something else ridiculous when they walk up to receive their diploma. The seniors also perform a song and dance and there are always more than two valedictorians, because anyone with a GPA of 4.0 or higher can give a speech. Then, of course, there is the lei giving tradition that follows. Kahuku always sends everyone outside and the grads are supposed to go stand next to the tree with the first letter of their last name tacked to it so people can find them and give them leis in congratulations. Of course, the grads always want to wander and give leis to their friends too, hence the ginormous sign Ben and I made to follow Jenny around. Most grads have someone following them with a sign so others can still find them. It's awesome and I love it!! So proud of you Jay!!


In Memoriam

We spent most of the day unwinding from our Hawaiian vacation (more to come on that soon!), but we did take a moment to go and remember those who have fought for our liberty. Happy Memorial Day everyone!



My Little Grom


On Friday the temperature got up to 92 degrees, so W and I headed to the beach. I took W to the beach a few times last summer, but he was always sleeping in a bassinet or chilling on my lap so I didn't know how things would go. I was kind of bracing for a somewhat stressful outing, but I really wanted to give it a go. We headed out early so we could stop and buy a beach umbrella (worth every penny with my white little babe) and then stopped by Tyler's office to have an early lunch. Afterwards we walked over to beach next to the Santa Monica pier and it only took me about a minute to figure out that it was not a good beach for a baby. So we went home and W took an extra long nap :)

I almost decided not to bother with it, but we really had nothing else to do, so when he woke up we headed down to another beach that was more baby friendly. And I'm soooo glad we did! W loved playing in the sand- throwing it, "shoveling" it, standing & walking in it, etc. He also loved just sitting/standing on the blanket in the shade telling me stories nonstop and waving to everyone who walked by. We even went down to the water for a bit and, though it was cold, he didn't mind the waves washing over his feet. In fact, he wanted to follow the waves back into the ocean a few times.

W seriously loved every minute of it and would have been happy to stay for another hour or so, but I made him come home and take a bath. Which he also loved :) It was a surprisingly relaxing day at the beach and we're super excited for our Hawaii trip next week and for the rest of summer!

Little grom checking out the waves. I think he looks so silly just standing around like that, but he does it all the time. 
I included this last photo because it is the sole photo I have of W doing his excited karate chop thing. Last night at dinner he was telling us a story and started doing his chop and so Tyler started doing it too. Obviously, things got really intense and W would tighten his whole body, do the chop, and then hold it until his face turned red. Then he'd release and start laughing. Tyler and I laughed so hard we cried :)