We had the best time visiting the White family in Hawaii. They moved to Oah'u about a month and a half ago, so we helped them explore the island. We packed so much into our week there that we all need a rest. Hopefully I can remember everything we did, and it will be long so if you just want to look at the pictures feel free.
We flew in on Wednesday afternoon. I received an email that morning from Hawaiian airlines letting us know that our flight was moved from 9:50 to 11:40am. I appreciated the email, but we had already woken up at 6am to get ready and weren't able to go back to sleep. The flight was long, but went really well. The kids did great and we had a couple people tell us how impressed they were by the boys.
Chrissy and the kids picked us up and took us to their house. My brother in law is in the Army, so they live on base at Schofield Barracks. We made dinner and relaxed that evening. I was really tired because I am requiring a lot more sleep than normal these days, so we went to bed pretty early.
The next morning we got up and headed out to hike this cool trail that takes you past a lighthouse. We were also able to do some whale watching (from afar) along the trail. It was a beautiful day and the trail was paved and not too steep. The kids all did it (although there was a bit of complaining along the way).
After the hike we drove home the long way, stopping along the way when we saw something that interested us. We stopped at Bellows, I think it was an Air Force base. There they have a private military beach. It was awesome. We played for a while then hit the road. We planned on getting back to that beach, but it didn't happen.
Ollie LOVED the beach. He was so happy running around on the sand and in the water.
We also stopped along the way and got shaved ice in Kahuku. It was so amazing. We found the Kahuku grill which looked amazing. We tried it later in the week and it was amazing. We got back to Chrissy's that night and made dinner and put our tired children to bed.
Jason adopted this Miller Lite cup as his for the week. We had sparkling cider one night and we thought it was funny how it looked.
Friday morning we got up with the hope of going to Pearl Harbor. We got there and quickly realized it was not a place for children. It felt very reverent and our kids were running around chasing birds etc. We decided that Jason and I would come back Sunday and Chrissy would watch our kids.
After that we headed to the West side of the island to Ko Olina where there are a few resorts and a man made lagoon. It was perfect for the kids because there were no waves. They had the best time playing in the sand and swimming, and it was nice for the adults to just sit back and relax.
We came back to Chrissy's that afternoon and showered and got ready, then headed to the Dole Plantation. We ate the pineapple whip that was so delicious, rode the train, learned about how they grow pineapples and other fruits and fed the fish in the Koi pond. We went at the end of the day so it wasn't too busy, which was nice since we thought it was fun, but definitely not worth fighting crowds.
Saturday morning we hit up the swap meet at Aloha stadium and picked up all our souvenirs. It was fun, but the kids were tired and hot after a while so we headed out. We had tickets for the Polynesian Cultural Center, which didn't open until noon. We waited for Dave to get off work and then headed for Laie. The traffic was really bad and about half way there we realized that by the time we got there we wouldn't have much time to explore. I called and had our reservations moved to Monday and we stopped at Turtle Beach and checked out the turtles. The kids loved it. They have the beach roped off so you can't touch or get near the turtles, and volunteers there all day long. When we visited Kauai in 2007 we would see turtles all over the beaches and they weren't roped off at all. Oah'u is quite a bit bigger with way more people so I see why they do that there.
Jason asking the volunteers all of our questions. For those of you who know Jason, you know this is classic Jason. Lots of questions, and willing to ask around until he gets answers.
Sunday Jason and I headed out early since Pearl Harbor opens at 7am and we were going to try to make it back for church at 1:30. We got there right at 7 and decided to get the package that allowed us to see everything. We spent the next 7 hours touring everything there is to offer at Pearl Harbor. It was all so interesting. We toured the Bowfin submarine and the submarine museum, the USS Arizona memorial, the Pearl Harbor museum, the USS Missouri battleship, and the Pacific Aviation museum. It was all so fascinating. We had a great day, and we were so grateful to Chrissy for keeping our kids. They had a nice, much needed relaxing day.
Inside the Bowfin. This little volunteer Japanese lady took my camera and told us where to go and what position to assume, then she took pictures of a bunch of other stuff inside the sub, it was really funny.
Jason looks awfully happy to be at such a sad place :)
We met this guy, Dick, who was there at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7. It was cool to get to chat with him. He retired to Oah'u and volunteers there twice a week.
When we got back to Chrissy's that night my cousin Chad and his new wife Malia came over and ate with us. It was fun to visit with them.
Monday we headed to the PCC. We left early so we could stop at a burger place that a friend from home recommended in Haliewa on the North shore. It was delicious.
We had the best time at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We had talked to a lot of people and decided to skip the luau. I think most people plan an entire day and then the evening luau and it is just too much. We just spent about 3 hours and it was awesome. We could have even spent another hour or so, but things were closing up. The weather was awesome, a little overcast so the sun wasn't beating down on us. The kids got little passports that they got stamped at each village. The grounds were so beautiful and everyone that worked there was just so nice. It was a really great day. I feel like it was more fun with the kids (I don't find myself saying that very often). It was a bummer because Dave had to work and so he wasn't able to come with us that day :(
Oh man, it was so hilarious to watch Jason try to climb a coconut tree.
After his attempt, this Samoan guy showed him how it was done.
On the way home we stopped and took some pictures at the temple
Tuesday morning we took it easy in the morning and did some grocery shopping at Costco and the commissary. Then we headed out to hike Waimea falls. It is a botanical garden with a waterfall at the end where you can swim. There is even a lifeguard there. It was a little pricy, but I think it was worth it. The kids had a blast running around.
We swam in the water and while it was a little frigid, it felt really good and refreshing. Ollie was not a fan, he has never liked cold water. I climbed up and sat right under the waterfall, it was really cool.
After our hike/walk we stopped for lunch at the Kahuku grill that we had seen the week before. It was SO good. We ate lunch in the car as we headed to Kualoa Ranch. My cousin Chad works there and his wife use to work there. He was kind enough to take us on his day off. We went on the Jungle tour. It was so fun, and the kids loved it. We rode in these old World War II jeeps.
Ollie was one happy kid. I swear multiple times on this whole trip I would look at him and he was just grinning ear to ear. There is just nothing better as a parent than to see that.
The views along the way were so beautiful. This is a picture of Chinaman's hat.
This is what a week of little-to-no naps looks like. Poor baby was OUT.
There was a petting zoo. Ollie was very fond of this bunny.
After we left the ranch Chrissy drove me and Jason to the Hawaii Prince Hotel in Waikiki. It was nice to have some alone time with Jason and to sleep in. We got there and showered and then went to dinner at a Thai place that was VERY mediocre and overpriced. The next morning we got up went out to breakfast and then walked around Waikiki. It was fun, although we both agreed that we prefer the less city like parts of the island and would way rather stay on the North shore, but we wanted to check it out once.
We took a shuttle to the swap meet again to pick up a few things I forgot. Chrissy picked us up there and we headed to the Lagoon again. It was a wonderful and relaxing afternoon (of which I took zero pictures of).
Our flight home was Thursday afternoon. Jason and I really wanted to go through the temple, so we got up early Thursday morning and did the 7am session. It was a perfect end to our trip. Everything went smoothly on the way home, although we didn't get home until really late.
We had THE BEST TIME!! Thank you so much Chrissy, Dave, Alyssa and Nathan for showing us their new home. Chrissy drove us all around the island, fed us, and was generally an awesome hostess. I hope we can visit again soon!!