Hawaii 2017

Back in February, Reed, Ben and I, along with three of my younger siblings took a vacation to Hawaii. It was really a dream come true and it was even more fun to have some family with us. 

We visited two different Islands, Oahu and Kauai. Oahu has a lot of the population of Hawaii, due to it having the capitol, Honolulu located on it. Kauai is called The Garden Island due to how lush and green it is, which you'll see further down.

The first part of the week we stay in Oahu, in Waikiki. The first picture you'll see if from our AirBNB balcony. It had an amazing view of the city, but was located in a quiet little neighborhood. We spent a lot of time on that balcony. We spent every morning and evening there talking and reminiscing about what we did that day. This may have been one of my favorite parts of the trips. Sounds so trivial to say that but it was so relaxing getting up in the morning and sit on that open balcony feeling the warming breeze. 

We arrived in Oahu Saturday night around 11:00 pm. So straight to bed we went. Ben did so good. Slept on both plan rides, and through the night. I call that a win win! 

Day One: We wanted to be a bit slower pace, and the boys wanted to watch the Super Bowl, so we visited a couple beaches close by, and explored, then came back and watched the Super Bowl. Then that evening made the hiked to Moana Water fall, which was about a mile hike through the jungle. This is another favorite -- It was like out of Jurastic Park. 

Day Two: This day was pretty rainy, so we spent the day at Pearl Harbor seeing all the different sites there. Which is incredible. So much history! It was eyeopening to imagine all that happening right where we were standing. After, we drove up the east side of the island all the way up to the North Shore (with many stops between). It was raining off and on, but it made everything so green. The clouds hung low touching the tops of the mountains. We had some great conversations too, which is really what roads trips are made for. 

Day Three: We hiked Diamond Head which gave stunning views of the whole city and surrounding area. And got some famous Hawaiian shaved ice, and Ben approved. After, we made our way to find a beach. Beaches are everywhere in Hawaii, but the guys wanted big waves, so we passed by the little beach with great views, and no one was there. This was another favorite. Ben was asleep in his car seat, so while he snoozed, and the guys found their waves, while Bekah and I laid on the beach soaking up the day. Another trivial moment, but being a mom and getting some down time to just lay there doing absolutely nothing for an hour is very rare. Not the mention the sun was so warm, and the breeze made it just the right temperature. It really was one of those moments I dreamed about in Hawaii. Later on, we made our way to a beach front restaurant downtown called Duke's. Which we ended up going to twice. So good! Go there if you're ever in Oahu. 

Day Four: We hopped on a plan to head over to Kauai, which is what I was most excited about. The plan ride was about about 45 minutes, and there was only about 15 other people on the plan. Kauai took out breath away! It's exactly like they say it is - GREEN AND LUSH AND HEAVENLY. Once we made it to our Condo in Hanalei,  we got settled in, and headed out to whale watch at the Kilauea Lighthouse and made our way to the Hanalei Pier. Hanalei was such a cute town. Everyone surfs and everyone knows each other. 

Day Five: We hiked the Kalalau Trail, which takes you along the Napali coast giving endless views of the Pacific. It was a rough hike. A lot of ups and downs, but worth it. We stopped at Hanakapi Beach, because the rest of the trail was rated a lot more dangerous, and you had to cross a stream that was pretty violent. We saw some experienced hikers fall while trying to cross. It was a risky situation, so we didn't want to chance it with having Ben with us. Something we found surprising was we had several people tell us how cool it was that we hiked and did "crazy" things with our son. The hike was strenuous and some parts were a bit risky, but we didn't really think anything about it. We like being together as a family and see new things. Once we made it back, we went back to the Hanalei pier and beach.  

Day Six: We made the trip to Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific). On our way, we stopped at Wailua Waterfall, which is so lovely. We saw some wild pigs, and drank some Coconut water while there. We made it to Waimea, and the valley was so green and colorful. We couldn't see the rest due to the clouds. At the top, all you could see was dense clouds, which was a big bummer, but we made the best of it. 

Day Seven: Our last day in Hawaii. First thing we did was went and saw Queen's Bath. GO THERE if you're ever in Kauai. It was beyond breathtaking. The black lava rocks against the aqua pacific was a site for sore eyes. There was a pond (enclosed pond made by the rock) that you could swim in, and let the waves crash in on you. Later we made out way to Shipwreck Beach, where I scheduled a photo shoot (it was so cool!), and we swam after. We went straight to the airport from here. 

Needless to say, we had an incredible time, and I'm ready to go back.

Ben's First Birthday

 

I can hardly believe I just wrote that title. Ben is one! We had a family party for Ben back in March, and it was perfect. Ben had gotten some zoo animals from his great grandma, so I used them as inspiration for his party -- zoo animal party. It was pretty simply, and easy, which is great.

I'm not very good at baking, but I decided to try a hand at the cake and cupcakes myself, which is so much cheaper. It turned out waaay better than I could've planned. Thanks to my friend, Markee, for the recipe. 

It was also fun that all of Ben's grandparents could be there at his party (with the exception of one).  You'll see the photo below! We are so thankful, and blessed with our big family who made Ben (and, let's be honest - us) feel so loved.