The plane ride was complete easy & uneventful! Getting our rental car in Hawaii was another story altogether, it took at least an hour (although my Dad might claim it was only 20 minutes) and the kids were getting pretty cranky by the time we left. (or was that me?)
After the kids were in bed, Kyle & I went out for a night on the town...still trying to find me a swimsuit. I finally gave up my dreams of a tank-ini because apparently they only make those for women in their 50's. (nothing wrong with that, but I'm not 50) After much hesitation and some encouragement from Kyle, I bit the "who cares about my post baby flabby tummy" bullet and got a really cute bikini that I ended up loving.
Day Two: Annika joins the shriners.... (photo above)
Ha ha. We went to the beach in the morning, moved all our stuff to our new permanent hotel room and then had to leave for another couple hours so they could clean it. So we took a drive around the island. My main memories from the day are of the kids being really cranky & fussy. Fussy at the beach, then not taking the naps I'd hoped for in the car, then screaming by 7pm because it was 9pm at home and they were exhausted. But we also got to see some body boarders, a gorgeous beach (Lani Kai) and had some fun at the playground just trying to recoup & relax a little bit.
We finally got back to our nice new 3 bedroom condo and got to see this gorgeous view of the ocean:
Kyle & I went out again once the kids were in bed, but this time all we did was get groceries because we were exhausted. We bought $7 boxes of cereal for breakfast and a $7 gallon of milk, plus stuff for Saben's lunches.
Day 3: Aquarium, alone at last & Woodhouses
In the morning we walked to the aquarium with the kids while my parents went to see Pearl Harbor. We had a fun time & a nice walk back and finally started to feel more relaxed.
In the afternoon, my wonderful parents stayed with the napping kids while Kyle & I explored Chinatown and took in Foster Botanical Gardens. We bought a yummy smelling plumeria lei & exotic fruit in china town but passed on the frogs we saw being butchered. The garden was fun, but a letdown - I was hoping for lush tropical flowers everywhere and nothing was blooming. Plus it was mostly trees, which don't excite me much. But we had fun scampering around & reading about everything.
Once home, we headed to the beach and took a refreshing sunset swim with the kids. Wednesday night, the Woodhouses arrived! Funny coincidence, but a dear friend I studied with in Egypt just happened to be vacationing in Honolulu with her husband the exact same time as us. We met up, walked to the Moana Surfrider and caught up over cocktails & the waves crashing just a few feet away. Pure bliss.
Day 4: Hiking & Snorkeling
We drove a lot this day. First up to Hanauma Bay to drop off my parents for snorkeling, then back to Honolulu for a hike up to Moana Falls. I loved being out in the "jungle" and had more fun looking at the plants there than I had in the botanical garden. So many fun things growing everywhere. Then we reached the waterfall which was LAME. It was barely a trickle down a rock face and the government idiots had put this big cable barrier about 10 feet away from the pool with big signs all over the place saying not to cross it. Apparently there had been a rockslide seven years ago. But it made it so ugly, I wish I had known.
Then back out to get my parents, back to the hotel room, then we grabbed Kate & Jon and headed back out to Hanauma Bay, kid free. Aaaaaahhhhh.... Definitely one of the best parts of the trip, I love snorkeling. We stayed out for 1.5 hours and saw plenty of fish and two sea turtles. Kate found a nice beach mat someone had thoughtlessly thrown away.
My parents went out to dinner so Kyle & Jon went to find Thai food while I put the kids to bed. Very nice day. (no pictures from today because my parents took all these pictures. We brought our camera and then got lazy and did not take a single one the entire trip. Thanks Mom & Dad!)
Day 5: North Shore & STEAKS
Headed up north in the morning. Stopped in Haiema & tried our first bite from the famed Shrimp Trucks. Apparently the area is littered with shrimp farms and we got this delicious plate of 12 shrimp fried in tons of garlic for um...$8 I think? It was so delicious and I highly recommend sticking with Giovannis if you ever get up there. We had lunch some place else and it wasn't as good.... although I did get 4 gigantic prawns (4 prawns = 1 lb) that were very yummy even though I had to rip them apart myself.
Anyways, after our shrimp snack, we headed to a beach to watch surfers. We thought it was one of THE famous beaches, but we were wrong. The maps were confusing. But the surfing was still cool.
Saben built a shovel farm while the rest of us gawked at surfers. After lunch we finally found the Pipeline & Bonzai beach and watched even more amazing surfers.
We stopped to see some sea turtles that had crawled out on the beach & then headed to Matsumotos for shave ice. We shared one amongst the 3 of us and I loved it so much I made Kyle go get me another one while I nursed Annika.
(turtle just under my tricep)
The day went amazingly smoothly considering we had two kids getting in & out of the car & driving all day. Then just as we hit Honolulu - disaster. Traffic. Really really bad traffic. We were stuck 10 miles from our condo for an hour.
Finally home, Kyle and I at last got to go out to dinner on our own. We chose the d.k. steakhouse because I had read lots of good things about it. We ordered a prime 30 day dry aged 42 oz. porterhouse to share because Kyle doesn't like the marbling in my favorite cut - a rib eye. It was fantastic and actually wasn't super expensive if judged by Waikiki prices. A very good deal.
Day 6: Beach
We could not believe how fast our vacation went. Only 2 days left!! Off to the beach again with kids and again - much better/smoother than our first day.
Annika actually fell asleep this time, while I DRAGGED Saben out into the water. He had avoided it ever since the first day and it really seemed like he should at least get in a little bit. Luckily he loved playing in the sand, but he's definitely not a water guy.
This time we finally stayed at the condo while the kids napped. We met my parents for a sunset fire show at the Sheraton and then went to put the kids to sleep for the night. Then we went out to another fabulous dinner with the Woodhouses as the Hula Grill. Fun, fun, fun.
Day 7: Last day
We woke up late and decided to go get Malasadas at Leonards. These things are to die for, seriously one of my favorite "fried sweet doughy" things of all time. They are just barely like filled donuts, except warmer, yummier & with better fillings. Then it was off to climb Diamond Head.
It was hot, hot, hot, but amazingly, Saben climbed 95% of the thing, all by himself. We were shocked to say the least. It's .7 miles to the top, which isn't a ton, but its steady uphill all the way with more than 100 stairs at the end.
So the whole time we were in Oahu, this kept happening to us:
Japanese girls were in love with our kids. They would gather, giggle, shriek, point and go "oooooooh!". Then they would want pictures with the kids. It was really really funny. but the strange part is about 50% of the them ignored us completely. 40% noticed and smiled, but the 10% groups of really hip Japanese girls just went wild for our funky son.
In the afternoon we met Jon & Kate at the beach and jumped around in the waves for another 1.5 hour swim without the kids. It was really fun even though I bashed my knee on some coral. The BEST part was this couple who were surfing and doing what sort of looked like ice-skating moves on the surf board. He would have her way up in the air balanced on his hand with her legs pointed at the sky. It was incredible and also made us giggle.
We had a picnic at the beach to watch our last sunset that evening.
And finally, on our last night, right before we said goodbye, we finally got a picture of the elusive woodhouses. Who apparently are midgets. I forgot to mention that.
Day 8: Did some quick shopping, then rushed to the airport only to find out our flight was 3 hours late. Lame. Got home at 4am.