Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Well after years of waiting and planning it finally happened, and on September 27th we left for Kauai.  Eric's parents have been wanting us to go with them for years, and we finally made it happen. Annie and Beckham came too, and we had such a wonderful time.  I've been meaning to post about this for a while now but our computer hasn't been working.  Yay for working computers.
Pete and Ami (I call them Mom and Dad so those are the names I'll use from here on out) have been to Kauai several times and knew just how to make it the perfect vacation for all of us!  Mom made these adorable travel activity bags for the kids and a great bucket list poster we took with us to make sure we didn't miss a thing there was to do and see on the island.
The kids traveled really well and Mom and Dad were on our flight to make the day especially fun for the kids (Annie met us in Lihue).  When we got to the airport in Lihue a beautiful array of flowers and plants were everywhere, and of course the smell of humid air and sandy beaches ;)
 
The door to our condo.   We stayed in a place all together in Poipu.  We unloaded our suitcases and then headed for Poipu beach, Mom and Dad's favorite place to relax and take in the sun when they're staying in Kauai.
The kids had a great time exploring and playing




We stayed until the sun set; so pretty



These are a little out of order...but it was great.  The kids (and I) had their first taste of Hawaiian sand, got to play in the water, and Mom and Dad were beside themselves because their dream of being in Kauai with their grandkids was finally coming true.  Not bad for a first night ;)


The next morning we walked from the condo down to the beach.  It was pretty early with our hours being off; around 6:30 when we left.  The walk down was along a beautiful paved path between some pretty properties and some amazing plumeria and palm trees.  I have some better pictures of the path later in the post.

At Poipu beach we saw some sea turtles and further down some monk seals.  That was very exciting.

This monk seal wasn't going anywhere


exploring the beach



we got in some great snorkeling; the kids loved that!  B didn't get into it until the last day.

We had a few days where we played at the beach and then bbqed at the pool for dinner.  Can you say swim all day?  These kids sure can!  We lived off sunscreen, and thankfully no one got burned.



exploring an archaeological site nearby....
love this girl with a flower behind her ear
The flowers just blew me away.  I truly felt like we must have been in the Garden of Eden.  I was looking up flowers, taking pictures of flowers, my eyes were soaking them all up.  Kauai, share your flowers with the rest of the world!
My favorite though was the plumeria; so pretty and smelled so amazing.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was Hanapepe.  We went there one evening for their art festival and before getting a bite to eat and listening to local music we walked along their swinging bridge.  The swinging was a bit scary but the view was gorgeous; we were there right at sundown.





We had listened to Lilo and Stitch's "Rollercoaster Ride" frequently before coming on the trip so it was fun to see that Hanapepe was home to Lilo and Stitch.
Hahaha I snapped a photo of this book I saw there in a bookshop because I thought it would be a perfect momento of our trip after all the stray chickens we saw in Kauai.  They were everywhere (see below).


Cute photo of the boys from our condo
Something the boys loved, especially Oaks, was the amount of geckos on the island.  He was hunting and catching them left and right.  When we got home he really missed catching those geckos.


 
This was the largest and most colorful one we saw.
We saw a few stray cats as well.  Beckham liked this one.
A few more photos of the path to the beach.






Sea turtles on Poipu beach in the morning.




We went to a farmer's market in Lihue and grabbed some coconut, dragonfruit (not our favorite), mango (delish), starfruit and small bananas (so sweet and delicious).  We also tried a smoothie there made purely of white pineapple.  It was really good.
We went and got Puka Dogs a few times.  They were sooo good and oh sooo messy!  Should have had the kids worn smocks.  But so very worth it.


Next to Puka Dogs was a bunch of butterflies on a large bush.  The kids spent some time there standing so still so the butterflies would land on them. They did a few times.
Making sandcastles and burying the kids in the sand.




As much fun as Poipu beach was, it wasn't the kind of beach I imagined to see that first morning.  So Mom and Dad took us to Shipwreck beach nearby, which was just beautiful!  It had palm trees, a long, wide sandy beach, and a scenic view.  We took lots of pictures.






Later on Oakley, Annie, Eric and I walked up to a little cliff above the beach and took some photos at sunset.  What a view!






Boys being silly; B and his daddy were twins; O photo bombing.
Waimea Canyon
 
 






So beautiful!
Love these kids; they were so much fun!  And they had such a great time.



Can't get over the majesty of Waimea! It really is amazing.

We stopped at a park for lunch and played some tag before getting rained on.

We drove out of the rain and headed for some Hawaiian shaved ice.  Eric and I got ours with sweet and condensed milk which is called an ice cap.  Now I'm a chocolate girl so I thought, "how good can this really be?"  Oh. It was good!  It was really good.



Wailua Falls





Stopping for ice cream and the ABC store for souvenirs



Our condo had access to a pool nearby; I never made it there but it looked pretty sweet.



On Monday night of our trip we went to a Luau.  It was at a place called Smith's Tropical Paradise, a botanical garden.  Unfortunately it was raining when we got there so we didn't get to explore beforehand, so we decided we'd return again a different day when we had more time.
It was amazing!  One of the prettiest places I've seen.


random chicken ;)


entertainment beforehand...it was Dad's birthday so he got to go onstage; and the kids got to join him.
Dancing; they did a great job!
After we ate we watched the show; it was a fun night.

We went back the next day (or two?) to explore the garden.  We only planned on being there for 30 minutes (Annie stayed in the car with Beckham who was sleeping), but we got lost in a botanical wonderland and before we knew it an hour and gone by!





Japanese garden

 

Tiki head



These are cucumbers.  But they taste like pickles.  I want these.



This is a calabash tree; its fruit grows right off the branch of the tree.
Filipino Village
Bamboo forest


 








After the garden we rented bikes to ride along the coast.










Dinner for Dad's birthday
 

Kalua Pie
One day Mom and Dad took the kids so Eric, Annie and I could drive up north and hike the Hanakapa ai trail.  Our friends had told us about this trail and how amazing it was.  Four miles in and to a beautiful waterfall.  We knew it was supposed to rain the whole time (and it did), but you're only in Kauai once right?


It was wet and muddy, but it was warm, and the views of the Napali coast were unbeatable.






We hiked along the coast for a while to a beach.  So pretty so we grabbed a snack.

We walked through a bamboo forest, then cut across the river back and forth, guava and limes all around the ground.  We tried a lime (strong but good) and saved some guava to take home.

Then we saw this!  Even now, when I see this picture of the falls, I can't believe I was really there.  We hiked a bit further and then reached the base.

It was exactly how I'd pictured a Hawaiian waterfall, cascading into a pool of water.  I went to find some rocks to change behind and Annie jumped in and swam to the falls.


When she returned Eric and I jumped in and she took our picture for us.
When I was swimming back to the rocks on my back and looking at the falls (see above), I was in no hurry.  I just wanted to stay in that moment for a long time.  I couldn't believe where I was, doing what I was doing.  With my ears underwater, all was quiet and it was just me and the falls. 
Somehow I turned onto my stomach and decided to get out of the water.  On our way back we  managed to stay upright despite all the mud!

old stone walls

As soon as I reached my flip flops I threw my shoes in the garbage ;)  Amazing hike!!!  The other highlight of the trip for me.
Driving home



Swimming with the grandparents while we were gone.  We had a lot of rain during our trip.

Spouting horn
We decided to take the kids up to Princeville a day or two later (up north again).  Maybe the weather would be better??



The beach from the movie South Pacific.  It rained a lot when we were there so we made it a quick stop.

 

 


There was a cute swing there the kids wanted to try


Got rained on some more at Kilauea Lighthouse at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.  But very pretty there.
 


playing/lunching at the park




this little guy was on our car for miles; hanging on for dear life
made it!


Mom and Dad took us to a turtle sanctuary.  There were turtles roaming everywhere and you could pet them; the kids loved it.  There was also an enclosed area for baby turtles; they were so tiny.  I wish I had snapped a photo; they were the cutest things...three inches long...anyway I want one.  Heck I want a lot of them.  But Eric says no :(  






Eric decided he wanted to try surfing again; he'd done it years ago when his family had come to Hawaii before.  The waves at the beach the day he rented a board were really rough; at Poipu beach there was no place to surf, and further down the beach the waves were really intense.  We'd tried boogie boarding with the kids there before and finally given up because it was too dangerous.  But Eric took out his board and I sat on the beach to watch and cheer him on.
You can see him there top middle; he gave it a shot several times and got up once or twice.  After an hour or so he was pretty wiped out (haha).

B finally realized he could look at fish without using the snorkel.  He doesn't like the snorkel and could see the fish just fine without it.  We wished we had figured this out before the last day!  But he saw lots of fish even on that final day we were there.





Aspen and the hibiscus
At the end we did everything on the list except eat fresh coconut.  One thing to do next time!
Eating a rambutan...we liked it ;)


Final photos of the beach.....

 

Eating shaved ice one last time before getting on the plane for our red eye.

Goodbye Kauai we'll miss you!!