Every time I sit down to blog I see myself typing out that I feel so guilty about not having sat down to blog. Between a packed summer schedule chaufferring kids to camp, swim lessons, libraries, and play dates, and then working twenty hours or more each week, I find myself just dropping into bed at the end of the day eager to relax with my husband to watch yesterday’s Daily Show on the tivo. Summer is tiring. And yet, summer is an open expanse of time that lets us go after all those outings and things we’d like to do during the year that seem impossible around work, school, and cooler weather.
To add to this summer’s excitement, we A) traveled 9 hours by plane to the Island of Oahu, and B) planned our big move to our new home in Ashburn. I have to say that while moving to our new home is up there in life with welcoming a new baby into our lives, our trip to Hawaii was an adventure that let us see beautiful new places, eat delicious food and learn about the 50th state that is rich in so many different cultures. We hadn’t originally planned to visit Hawaii this year but my husband was invited to attend a conference in Honolulu so we thought his trip coincided nicely with a place that he and I had always wanted to go to.
The funny thing about traveling to somewhere like Hawaii with two small children is that people tend to ask about trip with the following: “How did the kids do on the flight?” Well, they did better than we expected. Between coloring books, toys, the ipad and kids’ movies that the plane offered, our kids stayed pretty entertained on the flight out there. On our way home we caught a red eye so both kids slept quite a bit though we did wake up our entire section of the plane with one very loud tantrum thrown by a confused two year old. Not that I’m naming names . . . Levi, :-)
Once we arrived in Hawaii we managed to push through our jet leg with the excitement of seeing a gorgeous tropical island. That said, as we left the airport and drove along the ocean view roads into Waikiki, we were surprised to see all of the homeless people snuggling up together under large comforters on the beach. It is sad to see homeless people wherever you go but I guess I hadn’t thought that tropical paradise also struggles with real problems too.
On our first night in Hawaii we ordered room service at a price that rivaled our best meal in Hawaii — for chicken nuggets, a cup of fruit and two cheese sticks, we paid the cost of a full sushi dinner for four people. And that included saki. So, resist room service. Unless you like paying $70 for chicken tenders and fruit.
Anyway, after our first meal in Hawaii, we woke up and ate breakfast off of our resort at a cute little Hawaiian diner. We decided to head out to the Dole Plantation to see and taste a real Hawaiian pine apple. And what they say is true: Hawaii’s pineapple is somehow sweeter, juicier and just tastes better than pineapple on the mainland. Knowing that I would someday miss the taste of this pineapple, I made sure I ate a bowl of pineapple everyday on this trip.
Before we left for our outing, Levi asked to get a ride in the ergo, which we haven’t used in over a year or longer. In fact, I’d given the ergo away to our neighbors because I really thought that the babywearing chapter of our lives was at its end. Hawaii proved otherwise.
Aside from the delicious taste of pineapple, I think my favorite part about the Dole Plantation was seeing the pineapple fields. I took so many photos and if you are a friend on Facebook you can see many many more landscape shots of the Hawaiian countryside.
The following day we drove out to the North Shore of Oahu and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center which is owned by the Mormon Church. At each event, the students who attend the Hawaii branch of Brighman Young University informed us that BYU gave them a full scholarship because they worked at the cultural center. I have to say that while the PCC seemed like the Disney World of Hawaii (and I wondered at its authenticity), the students put on the best hula and polynesian dances of any of the venues we visited while on vacation in Oahu.
Watching my husband and little boy do the hula . . .
A big draw for the kids were the various game and tattoo stations throughout the PCC.
And like I said, seeing the BYU students perform was my favorite part about visiting the PCC.
The day and the visit to Hawaii wouldn’t have been complete, however, without a little bit of discord. We saw this face and posture pretty often in Hawaii. Being two years old isn’t easy, especially when your parents are whisking you off to new places and keeping your day packed with all sorts of stuff that you didn’t sign up to do. After our day at the PCC we made sure to include lots of down time at the Waikiki Beach park and easy mornings at the pool.
But before the day at the PCC was over, Matt participated in a spear throwing contest. At this stop on our trip, we got to see the filming of a youth reality t.v. show which I am pretty sure was for the U.K. but I have no idea . . . Let’s just say that as soon as I saw the kids on the show walk over and start talking and taking places, I knew it was reality t.v. I just knew.
And the kids weren’t the only ones getting tattoos at the PCC. Matt dove head first, literally, into getting a tattoo.
On our next adventure we took the kids to Pearl Harbor. While it was cool to tour a battleship and see a submarine, I have to say this was the most somber of days. It was definitely a place that parents may want to consider traveling to by themselves. Not only did the kids not understand the magnitude and seriousness of the events of Pearl Harbor, but it didn’t interest them either.
Of course, it wasn’t all without fun. Levi still rocked his groove thing.
In the middle of our vacation, Matt went to his conference and the kids and I took some much needed r&r at the beach, pool and the resort’s lagoon. One night after the conference, Matt, the kids and I headed out to Jermaine’s Luau with a couple of his co-workers and their wives. What an awesome night. Our kids loved getting lots of attention from their dad’s friends and I enjoyed getting to take in the dancing of the night and have two yummy mama drinks from the luau’s bar.
After the conference ended, we decided to brave a vertical hike up Diamond Head, an inactive volcano. On the hike up, Matt carried Levi in the ergo and Annabelle had to make the trek on foot. And she complained the whole way up. At the top though, she took in the sites and thanked us for making her walk the mile up to the top. On the other hand, Levi had a 2′s moment at the top that lasted 35 minutes, with lots of staring, until we reached our car at the bottom of Diamond Head. I will never forget that hike.
Towards the end of our vacation, we decided to gear up and go on a helicopter ride. This was my first time ever in a helicopter and I admit that I was scared to do it, but oh my goodness, it was amazing. We saw so much of Oahu and learned even more about Hawaii. I am so glad we did that.
On our very last day in Oahu, we drove around the island and stopped at various beaches. This one was probably my favorite. The water and the sand were just magnificent. It is no wonder to me that this is the place where many of the native Hawaiians choose to live.
And there were natural lagoons where folks paddled, swam and fished. This was paradise.
Annabelle didn’t really think so, though. Since we had a flight to catch, we couldn’t do a day at the beach, so even though the weather was hot, we could only take in the sites and enjoy our last hours in Oahu. She didn’t seem too thrilled about having to do another 9 hour flight.
And oh, I wanted to included these photos too. Remember that playground in Waikiki that I mentioned? We went there just about everyday for Levi. One night I brought my camera along and just got picture happy. I took some of my favorite photos of our trip that evening, and really it was just those random moments that you capture when kids are being kids and they’re not paying attention to the camera. Annabelle makes the funniest faces sometimes.
And she can be so silly with her dad. He is smitten, can’t you tell?
And so am I.
Well, that’s it for now. I really do need to put my blog away for a bit so I can finish packing up our basement. It is hard work to pack and yet it needs to get done. I hope to return again with another post once we move into our new house in another two weeks.
Until then, stay cool. And as they say in Hawaii, ALOHA!