To pick up where we left off from the last blog, we woke up monday morning, and had to pack up and get ready to head to the airport to catch our puddle jumper to get us over to Kauai. We tried out our first Uber ride, and were super impressed. We got to the airport with tons of time to kill, and Izzy had kinda had enough. Flying with kids at nap time can either be awesome because they will pass out and sleep really well for you, or it can be a complete disaster and they will be little sleep deprived terrors. Izzy was the latter. It was a really rough flight, and she and I were both in tears by the end of it. She finally did fall asleep on our way to get our rental car, and once she woke up, all was forgiven and we continued to have a nice time. We headed to our resort, and stopped briefly to stock up on some groceries, since we had a full kitchen! The resort was incredible, and we were greeted with fresh lei's and juice. Once we unloaded our suitcases, we quickly changed into our suits and went out to enjoy the pool for a little while before heading out to get some dinner. Izzy was infatuated with the pool since there was a large section that was only 1 1/2 feet deep and she could float around and stand up and splash to her hearts content. She was also a huge fan of the "big tubby" with all the "bubbles". We had to bribe her with shave ice every time in order for her to even consider leaving the hot tub.
We were pretty beat from our travel day, but wanted to get something unique and quick for dinner, and luckily there were some local food trucks just down the road. We got some amazing garlic shrimp tacos and the best mac n cheese. The area where they had the trucks was buzzing with locals, you could hear friends calling out to one another, reuniting, and having a wonderful time. I love to watch people, especially locals, interact while on vacation. I love the sense for the island that you get, and it's much different on Kauai than it is on Oahu, because the tourists seem so few and far between, so it really makes for a more authentic Hawaiian experience I think. We knew immediately that Kauai would be our favorite island, and we couldn't wait to continue exploring.
We were so excited to get a head start on our day, and we had tons planned. Izzy and I enjoyed breakfast on the lanai, and watched all the birdies bounce around on the grass in front of us. Alex got us a picnic all packed and we loaded up the car with a bunch of stuff for our adventures that day.
We enjoyed our road trip around Oahu so much that I knew that was how I wanted to spend our first full day in Kauai. Alex had been researching some nice trails that we could take Izzy since we wanted to soak up the beautiful scenery outside of the car, but couldn't necessarily go on a super intense hike. There was a stake park not too far from us, so we started off the day there. We saw tons of baby chicks, and Izzy loved it. She kept running after them and saying "OH LOOOK! Baby Chicks!" Her inflection was just the cutest. She was constantly disappointed since they would always run under a bush before she could get close enough to really see them. This park had the coolest built wave breaking wall, so that there weren't huge waves, and there were TONS of fish to see if you went snorkeling. Alex and I just imagined how amazing it must be to live here, and to be able to have your play dates with friends at a park like this! It was so fun, and Izzy was definitely not happy when we made her get back in the car.
We headed up to Kilauea Lighthouse and snapped a few pictures. We would have stayed and whale watched for a while, but it was really windy and didn't have a great place for Izzy to run around without me worrying that she was going to fall down a mountain. So we headed to our next stop, Secret Beach! Again, Alex had been researching some fun and 'off the beaten path' type things for us to do and see, and this was something he didn't want to miss. It was comical trying to find it since, obviously, it's kinda secret. But we were able to hike down this foresty trail and find the most gorgeous beach! It was huge and strewn with coconuts, the waves came in hard and fast, but it was lovely to just sit and watch. There were also some tide pools to explore, and the most wonderful view of some amazing mossy covered lava rock, that when the waves crashed on them, had a water fall like appearance to them. It was breath taking. The waves were quite large however, so we didn't spend too much time up on those rocks since I'm a scaredy cat and didn't wanna mess with Mother Nature.
It was now lunch time and so we headed into the cute town of Princeville and got the most amazing Thai food. Next to the Uahi grill we had in Kailua, this was my favorite meal. So so good. even Izzy liked the "thpicy chicken".
We wandered through a local farmers market, and continued our drive up north. The views were so gorgeous and we kept stopping to take pictures. I loved driving through the small towns and driving on the one lane bridges, seeing all the amazing farms, little neighborhood fruit stands, and private little beaches.
Our trip around the island did not disappoint and we ended the day by picking up my parents!!! we were so happy to have them with us, so help watch Izzy!
We were so looking forward to this part of the trip! Way back when we booked this trip I knew I wanted to plan a zip lining excursion. We were so lucky to be close to the company that was rated #1 for zip lining. Like it was a 3 minute walk from the door of our resort, haha, talk about convenient. We got all checked in, and got ready to start our tour. The guides were amazing, and funnily enough, one of our guides was the same girl who was working at the food truck we ate at on monday night. Talk about a small island.
It was interesting to see all the different types of people that were on this adventure. You had me and Alex, two older woman who seemed to both be divorced and just celebrated being hot and single, haha, an Indian family of four, a dad and daughter from Tennessee, and an older couple from Canada. We were all so different, and that made it so fun.
We started out with some smaller, 'ease you into it' zip lines. And then we worked our way up to the HUGE ones. There were tandem lines, so Alex and I could ride right next to each other which was so awesome. We even got to go upside down on a few lines!! We were in the most beautiful place, on a private mountain, where they filmed the opening scene of Jussaic Park, ya know with the big brontosaurus! It was beyond beautiful, and Alex had to tell me to stop taking so many pictures and just enjoy the moment, but I wanted to try and capture the beauty!
The last line of the the day was over 1800 ft long and and absolute thrill! We went upside down, had the beautiful view of the mountain, and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life! The day was an absolute riot, and I'm so glad we did it. I love being adventurous, and experiencing new things with Alex.
While we were gone Izzy was just getting spoiled by Grandma and Papa. They took her to the beach, got her shave ice, went to the pool and just played the day away. She didn't miss us for one second.
Today was the only full day we actually had to spend with my parents, so I wanted to it be really fun! We had planned to do and see my cousin who lives on a huge farm in Kapaa. It was amazing to see her and her sweet new baby, and she gave us the best tour. There were the most delicious grapefruit trees, a cinnamon tree forest, ginger, yucca root, and tons of other exotic things. Izzy's favorite was either the starfruit, of the chicken coop. She herself ate at least 4 starfruit, and she spend a good 5 minutes squatting down just watching and talking to the chickens. She also picked some flowers, found some bugs, and played with their cat. Needless to say, she is a fan of that farm life.
It was such a fun way to start our day, and the best was that Becca pointed us in the best direction for the rest of the afternoon. We took all her recommendations and we went up to a river near her house to swim and have a picnic. Izzy was already tuckered out and took a nap in the grass, while we just soaked up the incredible weather. We headed back into town and enjoyed the best shave ice we had all trip. Between the 4 of us adults, and Isabel, we had 5 different flavors. We just kept going back for more because it was so good. My fave was the Almond Joy- coconut flavoring, fresh cream, fresh coconut flakes, slivered almonds and a drizzle of nutella. Yes please, I'll take 10 million more.
Then to add to the perfection of the day, we went to the coolest little restaurant, Street Burger. Becca had raved about their french fries, and if you know me, you know that fries are my favorite food, so I HAD to get some! They had a bunch of different options, but I went with the parmesan garlic fries and oh my goodness, it was heavenly. We all shared a few bites, and basically lamented the fact that I couldn't come back and get these fries whenever I wanted.
We ended the day at that same stake park we went to a few days before, and Iz had a blast playing in the shallow waters, building dribble castles with Papa, and snuggling and getting snacks from Grandma. It was quite possibly the most perfect day we had the whole trip.
Since this day was our actual anniversary, Alex and I had planned a fun sunrise cruise. We got up early and headed to the harbor to load up on the boat. We had a yummy breakfast, and I probably ate the equivalent of an entire pineapple by myself. We stopped shortly outside the bay to do some snorkeling, and it was so fun! We saw tons of fish, and even saw a turtle off in the distance. But the best part of the day had to have been the dolphins! We were cruising along, when all of the sudden we were surrounded by a huge pod of spinner dolphins! There were baby dolphins everywhere, and they were jumping and spinning like crazy. It was AMAZING, and I may or may not have cried a little bit out of happiness. We cruised along the Na Pali cost, enjoying the views and listening to some amazing Hawaiian music. The best was when they opened up the sail, and we just sailed slowly for a while. So so so relaxing. On the way back we were also blessed with seeing some whales. We saw two perfect tails silhouetted against the horizon, and it was the most magical ending to an amazing day.
Mom and dad picked us up and we drove up Wiamea canyon to see some waterfalls, and get some shave ice (you're shocked, I know). But this shave ice was extra special because we got macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom, so basically Izzy died and when to heaven when she tried it.
We headed home and stopped at a cute little beach not far from our resort, and we soaked up the last hawaiian sunset we would see this trip.
We were so sad at the idea of coming home, that we actually tried to extend the trip by a few days! But sadly, the flights were all booked, so we had to get everything packed up and get headed to the airport. We kinda had a weird schedule that day, so once we got back to Honolulu, we had a few hours to kill, so we headed into town a little ways, and took Isabel to see Zootopia and do a little souvenir shopping.
All too soon we had to head back to the airport. We grabbed some dinner in the American Airways lounge, and let Izzy get her wiggles out in the kids play room (every airport lounge needs this!!). When we got to the gate to check in, I asked if the flight was full, and luckily it wasn't! So I asked if we could get put in a row with an empty seat in it so Iz could have her own chair. She quickly made the change and we were ecstatic! Izzy watched a little movie and then slept the whole rest of the flight, and Alex and I snoozed off and on. So for a read eye flight, it was wonderful.
I was so proud of my little family. We survived. It was an amazing trip. I don't know hot to sum up in just a few words how incredible and special this trip was for me. There wasn't anything I would have changed, except maybe to have stayed a few days more!
I'm grateful for a wonderful marriage that I'm able to celebrate, and that I have a loving and hardworking husband who made this all possible. I'm thankful to have the most awesome daughter, who is fun and smart and easy going and makes me laugh and makes my heart feel like it will burst with love multiple times a day. And I seriously don't know what I would have done without my parents. I'm so lucky to have parents who love me and who adore my husband and who obviously are obsessed with their granddaughter, and who are willing to fly 7 hours just to come and babysit.
I'm pretty lucky and I feel so loved. <3