Friday, April 10, 2015

September: Adventures in Kauai land

The first trimester has yet to treat me well.  Persistent nausea, fatigue, food aversions, "cookie tossing," I cannot overstate how miserable and consuming those weeks are!  For me, it lasts well in to the second trimester.  Anyway, this is how I spent much of that time (when I wasn't tending to a toddler, or teaching my classes--how I managed that is a whole 'nother topic).  Kitty boy didn't seem to mind one bit, though!

But we had this big trip planned to Kauai for the end of September.  Who plans a trip during weeks 9-10 of pregnancy?  Well, we planned it before I was pregnant and the reason we were going was for my brother's wedding. is a nice "little" travelogue of our epic family vacation to a tropical paradise we had never before visited.  This is really for my own amusement, so bear with me.

First of all, although it may seem like we did a lot and had tons of nonstop fun, honestly, I was sick the whole trip.  I had Zofran handy, but tried not to take more than one dose a day because I don't like drug-dependency and worry that there is more harm than benefit.  It provided a little relief for a few hours, but not much.

Also, somehow we ended up going during the hottest time (like really, they were having record high temperatures) because of no trade-winds.  Although we stayed in two beautiful places, neither of which had air conditioning, so we were a bit miserable (except for when driving in the car, or stopping at places like McDonald's--yes, just for the air conditioning!).

We also traveled with a toddler.  Enough said.

So, before I make this trip sound super dreamy, let's just say, it wasn't quite the relaxing getaway we had pictured, but it was a good time and very memorable.  And I took naps frequently, probably more than Naomi.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We left Utah in the afternoon, flying to LA first, where we met up with my parents and brother Mitch who flew in from PA (they really had a long day of travel).  The flight from LA to Kauai was long, but grandma sat close by, I had Hylan, and was well stocked on stickers, coloring books, etc. so we survived with our "lap baby" on the 5-6 hour flight.

When we arrived in Lihu'e, we proceeded to rent our cars and drive to Koloa.  I think we got to our place around 10 pm (everything was closed by then which was a problem since our baby needed milk.)  Grandma and Grandpa found an ice cream shop that graciously gave them some free milk for Naomi.

We stayed in this gorgeous house on a golf course that accommodated all of the family that was coming.

Sunday, September 21, 2015

We used this day to stock up on supplies.  Hylan and I went to the grocery store early and then we all went to Costco later in the afternoon.  We may have also watched football (yeah, we're like that, but that was when I was still hopeful for a great Eagles season).  Mitch, Hylan, Naomi and I also went to see the Spouting Horn.  It was quite a peaceful place.

Spouting Horn (not my picture)

Monday, September 22, 2015

This was a take a drive, visit state parks, admire the beauty of the island, chase the chickens kind of day.  

I can't remember exactly where we were, but I know we drove west on 50.

 This is probably Waimea as we started to drive north on 550

 We were so happy in this moment! Ha.

I think this is Waimea Canyon

 Can't remember which park/forest reserve this was but it was in the canyon somewhere.

 The roosters are everywhere on this island 
(and they made sure to wake us up every morning)

 Too cute

Tuesday, September 23, 2015

Beach day!  We were staying only about 2 minutes from Poipu beach, a delightful spot, so we went there with my brother Mitch.  It was refreshing.  We really should have spent more time at the beach! Naomi loved it.  Hylan loved it. And I liked it when I wasn't feeling too nauseated.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2015

This day we scheduled a pleasant train ride and nature walk (with lunch) at the Kiahuna Plantation.  It turned out to be a short rainy train ride, a hike through a muddy forest, Costco lunch, and a hot walk through the fruit trees (but with samples!), not quite what we expected, but certainly memorable.  

I'm not sure how we survived, to be honest.  Especially me.  Especially my parents.  Especially Naomi who was carried the whole time (wish we would have had one of those backpack carriers!). Especially Hylan. Oh well.  Lesson learned.    

 Pineapple Hair!

 Sitting on the train
 (we thought this would last much longer...)

Climbing the Banyan trees
(before it rained)

 (still before we were muddy and annoyed by our tour)

After our "hike" through the "forest," we had lunch.  The best part was the fresh pineapple.  We thought we were going to get a gourmet lunch from their renowned restaurant on site, but instead it was Costco turkey roll ups, chips, cookies, and locally flavored sodas.  What we didn't eat, we tossed to the chickens (apparently they'll eat ANYTHING!).

We were soggy and muddy at this point, so I'm not sure we were in the best of spirits.  The next part of the tour was a walk through the fruit trees.  I was actually excited for this part, but this is when the sun came out and cooked us until we melted!  But, the fun part was sampling the ripe fruit.

 The faces say it all!

 I'm melting!

 Probably feeding Daddy rambutan or something.

The starfruit was amazing!  You haven't tasted starfruit until you pluck it fresh off the tree.  They had tons of trees overloaded with fruit.  We were allowed to pick as many as we wanted (but really they are best eaten straight off the tree, even the next day they aren't as good).

We also ate some oranges and a few other native fruits that were in season.

Look at this cute little baby pineapple.  It takes them 2 years to mature (if they aren't gassed like they do on the big plantations).  I love pineapple.  I usually eat so much it gives me canker sores, but it's so worth it!

Hylan asked Kai (our guide) if he could get some coconuts too.  Check out those coconuts!

It was quite fun to watch Hylan bash the coconuts on the side of the railroad tracks and then let all the tour members sample the sweet water from within.  I totally get the coconut water thing.  It was so refreshing on that hot day near the end of our tour.  

 The rest of us let it drip into our mouths.  Nomie got a little cup.

Time to sample the coconut "meat"

Like I said, this wasn't really the tour we expected (it was pricey too) and we probably wouldn't recommend it, though just the train ride would have been worth it, but it sure did make for great memories.  I still have a few mud stains on the shoes I wore that day, even after washing them, to remind me of this day.

Thursday, September 25, 2015

We went to Poipu beach again this day!  Yay!  

But this was also wedding day!  And by this time, my sister and her husband had also arrived.

The wedding took place outside at "The Beach House" restaurant.
Before we melted

It rained just before the ceremony and then it was hot and we melted yet again! I wasn't feeling all that great (but was anyone really?) until later in the evening when the sun went down.

The ceremony was right by the ocean so it was hard to hear.  Then we had hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and yummy sorbet during picture time.  Hylan and I snuck in to the restaurant for a bit to cool off (while my parents went home to change).  

Of course I have no picture of the beautiful wedding or food, but look at my cute little Nomie!

 So sweet!

 Dad, brother, brother-in-law

 You can't tell, but this was sunset and it was gorgeous!

 Nomie and Uncle Mitch

 How we kept her occupied during the wedding dinner!

Smart phones save the day!

That was quite the day.  Luckily, we were only staying just a few minutes away. I think we all slept well that night.

Friday, September 26, 2015

Now this day we went on the Wailua River Boat tour to see the Fern Grotto in Kapaa.  The boat ride was relaxing but Naomi was not.  

It's kind of hard to see, but it was really quite neat.  Here is a stock photo:

(not my pic)

The family running this business did some entertainment here and on the boat. This is Hylan trying to appease Naomi while I rested on a bench and my Mom and Dad stayed in the shade.

These kinds of things are really just so spectacular in person.  I would definitely recommend this boat tour (without an ornery-needs-to-nap toddler).

After this, we went to some lookout points to see Wailua Falls up close and personal.

Again,  it was just gorgeous.  You can sort of see the prism rainbow in the next picture.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Moving Day!  This day we had to check out of the golf house and move up to a condo in Princeville. In between that fun, we snuck in a helicopter ride!  This was hands down my absolute favorite part of the trip.  If you ever get the opportunity to ride in a helicopter, particularly in Kauai, please take advantage of it (unless it's overcast, then you will be disappointed).  It is worth every penny!

 Our Pilot (he was fabulous and informative)

We had to put on black t-shirts so our reflections wouldn't glare off the glass.  I got to sit front middle.  My brother and father sat in the back with two ladies (they like to fill up the helicopters or they won't book the flight).  My mom stayed in the (air conditioned) car and played with Naomi during our trip.

I made a video of pics that Hylan took with my phone.  To anyone else, they will just be boring unremarkable pics, but in person, it was breathtaking.  I didn't want to close my eyes the entire time. 

If you can't view it, here is one of my favorite pics from the day.

So ugly, right?  Haha!

Later that night after we checked in to the Wyndham, we had dinner in Hanalei, but why am I even mentioning that since I don't have any pics?!  

This was a good day!  It was also the day my brother Mitch had to fly home to PA.  

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband had been spending every day on some new adventurous hike (they were smart not to come with their four kids).  I was only jealous that my body would not allow me to have such fun, but if I ever go back, I will not be sick or pregnant and will go on hikes (and do some snorkeling in the Napali coast--that was one thing that I didn't think I could handle but wish I could have done).

Sunday, September 27, 2015

We decided to go to church in Hanalei this day and do some resting.  This was a shot of some falls after a rain storm on the way from Princeville to Hanalei.

My mom and sister made a spaghetti dinner after church.  Hylan and I decided to do a bit of swimming in the resort pool with Naomi.  And then our entire resort blacked out due to a storm. Wait, what?  Yup, we found some facilities people handing out glow sticks.  And yes, it was still hot, but now our fans weren't working!  I think the blackout lasted at least two hours and of course it happened just as darkness set in.  

We also visited with my newly married brother his wife that night.  I remember not feeling great and not wanting to do much that evening.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I think the trip was catching up to me because I also rested on this day, but we did have a family dinner at CJ's in Princeville.  Seems like I ate crab and other yummy stuff, but it wasn't like the best ever, just average.

Here's a funny pic from one of the shopping places in Hanalei.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We visited Kilauea Point Lighthouse on this day.  I didn't take many pictures, but did snap these gorgeous pics from the lookout.

Here's an image I found on google of the lighthouse.  I don't remember what I learned about the lighthouse, but it was yet another beautiful spot on the island.

(not my pic)

That night we ate dinner at a place called The Blue Dolphin (I can't remember anything remarkable about it but I think it was just Hylan, Naomi, and I) and then spent the rest of the evening poolside again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I must have been feeling really sick, because I stopped taking pictures at this point.  My sister and her husband bid us farewell on this day as well.

We took a nice long drive as far west as we could from Hanalei  and also visited Hanalei Bay Beach Park for a bit.  It was a great spot, but we weren't in our swimming attire.

We also found a local ice cream shop.  It was so hot that I probably didn't have time to take a picture of the ice cream but I ordered fresh coconut (because we were on a tropical island for heaven's sake--I can eat any other yummy chocolate flavored, etc. ice cream anywhere else any time).  And it was divine. So simple.  So not artificial tasting.  I really loved it.

That night my parents also watched Naomi for a bit so we could go see what the St. Regis was like. It was gorgeous (and air conditioned!)  We ate some appetizers, people watched, and dreamed of the next time when we could come back and spend like $500 a night on that resort ;).  The sunset that night was beautiful too.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Our last day!  We checked out of the Wyndham and drove around all day since our flight was a red-eye.  We went to the ABC and bought trinkets.  We went to Walmart just because it was less hot inside.  We found the mall in Lihu'e and wandered inside Macey's trying to stay cool.

We also found this incredible local spot called Mark's Place that had the best food we ate on the island. We ate there twice it was so yummy, just good old-fashioned Hawaiian-inspired home-cooking.  It was a little hole-in-the wall take-out restaurant (no indoor seating) in an industrial part of town.  I think it was recommended to us by one of the nursery leaders at church.  Gosh, we wished we would have found that place sooner though, instead of those other over-priced, less-than-stellar restaurants we ate at, because we would have eaten there every night.  I remember the beef stew!  I remember the chicken katsu and the teriyaki beef also. The rice. The macaroni salad.  It was all delicious.  

I also made a point to find a nice shave ice stand, so I could feel like I was having an authentic Hawaiian experience.  

I got whatever was recommended to me by the guy working the stand.  It was a combo of tropical flavors (can't remember which kinds) with Li Hing Mui powder on top and ice cream in the middle. Again, so worth it.  I snapped a selfie to remember that experience.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach at the Kauai Marriott Resort. And it was the most awesome beach. All the beaches have public access, so this is why we ended up there.  I knew about it because it was where my new sister-in-law had her hair/nails/make-up done.  I had gone with her to have a pedicure the night before the wedding.  

I actually think this is where we would stay if we ever return to Kauai.  Naomi had the best time at this beach.  As you can see, we weren't all that prepared, since all of our stuff was packed away in our suit cases, but at least we had swim diapers!  Hylan and Naomi played while I watched, most of the time.  

It was another unexpected highlight of our trip.  

After that, we hosed off in the outdoor showers and Hylan managed to change in the back of our rental car.  We then met back up with my parents and just hung out at McDonald's (because where else could we go at that time of night?) until heading off to the airport.

Our travel home is another story of craziness, but it sure was fun to spend two hours on the tarmac in the airplane from 10pm-midnight in Kauai because of mechanical difficulties (the jet bridge wouldn't pull away from the plane and the mechanic had to be called in from home).  And did I mention we had a lap baby? And it was a red eye?  And of course we then missed our connecting flight from LA to Salt Lake.  Naomi did manage to sleep most of the way and only had one melt-down.  Hylan and I slept very little.  I've always hated red-eyes.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

We were exhausted by the time we finally rolled up to our home late Friday afternoon (we were supposed to get in and be home in the morning hours.  We had even thought we would watch the BYU/Utah State football game with my sister's family, but we were so exhausted we couldn't keep our eyes open.  So then we slept and recovered!

The end.  Our epic trip came to a close. What a time!  Definitely some highs and lows, but lots of memories.  I can't believe how many places Naomi has been in her lifetime--so many places that have been firsts for me, she has already experienced (though I'm sure she'll want to experience them again when she is older and can remember!).

Next post: October, Fall, Halloween!

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