Hawaii Day 5: Meeting Friends at Aulani

FullSizeRender-2On our 4th morning Makai slept until 6am, which was a lot closer to normal than 3 am! We ate breakfast and packed up one of our suitcases. We were off to Oahu for a week!

FullSizeRender-3We took Hawaiian Air and everyone knows the best part of a Hawaiian Air flight is the POG. Makai does not even drink juice and he drank the POG! Luckily the interisland flights are only about 20-30 minutes. Makai’s kind of flight! Once we landed we went to get our rental car. All the car rentals are now in the airport, which is sooooo convenient. You used to have to take a shuttle so far.

img_3650.jpgWe drove to Aulani, the Disney Hawaii Resort. We met our friends from California, Josh and his daughters Juney and Mae. Long story, but Tweeny and their youngest daughter Daisy could not make it and were still at home in California. Josh’s friend Angus was also hanging out for the day. Angus was a friend of Josh and Billy and Ging from Boston and then they were all in California and we have met him and hung out with him over the years. When we checked into the resort, we were greeted with leis. Mine was fresh flowers, Dallas’s was kukui nut and Makai got this menehune necklace.

img_3644.jpgThe villa we split with our friends ended up to be amazing. It was 2 bedroom, 3 baths, with a living room, kitchen, breakfast booth in a dining area, and patios off the living room and each bedroom. The best part about it was that it was on the ground floor and just steps from the pool. We just went out our patio doors to get to everything and never even had to go into the hotel part of the resort, with it’s endless hallways and doors and inevitable crazy hotel carpeting.

FullSizeRender-4Josh (and Mae) showed us around the resort, since he’d been there for a couple days already and had visited a few times in the past as well. Almost immediately we saw Chip and Dale and got our photo taken with them.

img_3614.jpgAnd shortly right after that we saw Donald Duck! Makai was so shy by all of them!

After our tour we went back to the suite to change into our swim suits. We were swimming with Josh, Juney, Mae and Angus. There was this big slide that we only saw the end of, it came out into one side of the pool. Dallas asked Makai if he wanted to go on the slide, and of course he did. I went to the bottom of the slide to wait for them to come out and Dallas went to the top with Makai. We thought that Makai would be able to ride down with Dallas. While standing at the bottom I found out that everyone has to go down by themselves. I heard a lot of little kids screaming their heads off as they came down the slide and I knew that Makai would be too afraid. So the whole time I’m watching the stairs off to my right to watch for them walking back down. I was waiting and waiting and waiting. I was looking at the steps when all of a sudden Makai came flying out of the chute soundlessly! OMG!!! I ran over to him as fast as I could to pull him to the shore! Next Dallas came flying out. Turns out that the slide is completely enclosed and pitch black with many curves and dips! We asked Makai “Did you have fun on the slide?” He said “YUP!” and we asked “Do you want to do it again?”. Before we could even get the whole question out he said “NOPE!” A few days later I went down the slide and it was so dark and scary! Even for adults!

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Our friends from Oahu joined us – Billy, Ging, Damien, Hoku, and Ka’eo, who was only 8 months old and we met for the first time. Josh’s sister also lives on Oahu and joined us with her family. In all we were 8 adults and 8 kids. We asked Damien if he wanted to go down the slide but he was too scared. So we were like “this little 2-year-old went down the slide!” and then he was all psyched and he and Hoku both went down!

After the pool we were in the lazy river and then we relaxed in the hot tub. There are several around the property and they’re pretty big, so a lot of people can squeeze in. Makai started calling the hot tubs “bubble bath pools” because they were warm and had bubbles.

img_3620.jpgAt about 6 pm we went back to our room to get ready for dinner. That was a mad rush with 16 people taking showers and getting changed! I had Makai in the bathtub quietly taking a bath and Damien and Hoku rushed in, stripped and jumped in the tub before Makai even knew what happened! He was a little freaked out to share his space, but whatever! We had to be quick!

img_3625.jpgimg_3627.jpgWe had dinner at Mokahiki, on the Aulani property. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet with super premium choices – prime rib, scallops, mussels, sushi, oysters, snow crab, sashimi, stone crab, jumbo shrimp… It was amazing! Dallas ate SO many stone crab claws! It was an amazing dinner.

img_3631.jpgBack at the villa, the kids all played in the room. Billy, Ging, Damien, Hoku and Ka’eo headed home. Mae and Makai headed to bed. Josh took his sister and her family home. Juney wasn’t tired so Dallas and I stayed up with her until Josh got back.

img_3642.jpgMostly Juney and I played iPad games together. There was a funny one where we loaded photos of Josh and Dallas and then did all kinds of crazy things with their hair.

That night, Dallas, Makai and I all slept in a king-sized bed together, Makai in the middle. He was SO all over the place. At one point Dallas had to sleep across the bottom of the bed by my feet and I got kicked in the face three times. Feels great when you’re laying there defenseless and sleeping!

Hawaii Day 3: Swimming at Salt Pond and Walking Around Waimea

img_3423-1.jpgOn our second morning, Makai woke up at 4:30 a.m., which was one hour later than the previous morning. Ahhhhh.. but we’re getting somewhere, if we can add an hour each morning! Dallas made macademia nut French toast for breakfast for everyone. If you look close you can see the grilled SPAM too.

Dallas’s dad, who has been renovating their house for years, was currently working on a project to replace all of the bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Dallas helped him move all of the heavy cabinetry from the driveway where the delivery drivers dumped it off to the front porch.

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After that, Dallas, Makai and I headed to Salt Pond Beach Park. We decided on Salt Pond 1) because it’s close, 2) it’s calmer than Kekaha, which is also close, 3) it’s not crowded and is more of a locals beach. We went early in the morning and no one was there! Makai LOVED the sand and the water and running around like crazy and chasing chickens and digging holes. He was up in the sand playing next to me at one point and goes “Mom! I burped in Hawaii!” I didn’t realize this was going to be a theme on vacation. Him telling me every time he burped somewhere new- Mom! I burped in the swimming pool! Mom! I burped at the restaurant! etc etc.

There’s a sheltered area of Salt Pond, but we were not in that spot. I was trying to hold on to Makai at one point and got knocked down and my knees totally skinned. Dallas laughed. Makai was pretty good in the water. He’d go under and come up and want to get out of the water and then immediately want to go back in. At one point, I was on the beach and Dallas had him in the water. Makai was crying to get out of the water and Dallas called him a baby. Makai got out and stood on the beach and yelled to Dallas and anyone within a half mile earshot that he IS NOT a baby, he is A BIG BOY!

img_3447.jpgWe went home for lunch and had manapua! YUM!

img_3450.jpgMakai took a nap and Kathy and I took a walk down the driveway to Waimea town.

img_3460-2.jpg img_3454.jpgimg_3451.jpg img_3453.jpg img_3481.jpgOur first stop was Kauai Granola. Kathy had never been there, even though she goes past it on her daily walks. I was interested, so we went in. It’s a very small building and in the front are a few tables with granola and cookies for sale. There are also samples available of everything they sell. We tried a few things and decided to get two packs of cookies. We talked for a minute with one of the employees. In the back is where they make everything, right in the building there. Kathy said she’d seen their products in the stores on Kauai, and sure enough. After that I saw the cookies everywhere!

img_3461-1.jpg Next we crossed the street to go to the West Kauai Craft Fair, which is held from 9am – 4pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on the grounds of the old sugar mill. It’s small and I think the stands vary by day. I saw food trucks parked there too, so you could go and eat and browse the wares. Kathy told me this is where she got Makai’s honu quilt that she gave him for his first birthday. Grace’s first birthday is coming up so she custom ordered a quilt for her too, with a plumeria pattern.

img_3473.jpg img_3462.jpg This guy was carving wood by hand. Amazing work.

img_3455.jpg Kathy bought me a necklace from this woman, she signed “Designs by Lea”. It’s a silver honu hung in front of blue sea glass.

img_3468.jpg img_3466.jpg img_3469.jpgThe most impressive booth was the one run by a 12-year-old artist named Pua, which means “flower” in Hawaiian. Interesting since all of her artwork is made with flower petals and leaves and whatever natural material she comes across in nature or even in the supermarket! Kathy and I talked to her for a long time. (The girl on the left in the photo was the daughter of another crafter from a different booth.) Pua told us about how she makes everything by hand. She even makes the paper by hand. It takes six hours to press the leaves and flowers. Kathy asked her how she got the idea to do these and she said she learned about it from a Chinese history book! Really talented girl, very well spoken, very humble. I bought the fish notecard she is holding in the bottom photo. I plan to matte and frame it. I also threw in a few extra bucks, since she told us she hadn’t had any customers all day!

img_3477.jpgimg_3482.jpgOur last stop was Coconut Corner. I got a fresh coconut there and they chopped off the top so you could drink the coconut water. There was a price set for a regular coconut and a price for a large. We asked for the smaller size and Kathy yelled for them to make sure they picked a good one. She was talking to them and they knew she lived up the street, so I think they upgraded us. Our coconut was pretty large! It was a hot day, sunny, in the middle of the afternoon and we had an uphill walk ahead of us. The coconut was chilled and it was SO refreshing. I had to make myself stop drinking it so there would be some left for Makai when he woke from his nap! (Pay no attention to the mosquito bites on his poor face!)

Maybe I never paid attention before, or maybe there are some new things in town, but Waimea has quite a few shops now that it’s worth it to get out and walk around. In the past it was just a town you drove through to go to Polihale or the canyon. Maybe a shop here or there to stop. But now, you could totally get out at the strip by Big Save and walk up and down stopping here and there.

At this point, when we got home, I think I took a nap too. We had plans that evening!

img_3483.jpg Left side: Mr. Hee, George, Mr. Ragasa, Eleanor, Janet, Makai, Kathy. Right side: Uncle George, Owen, Uncle Bob, Xavier, Linko, Aunty Nancy, Aunty Linda. 

For dinner we went to Aunty Nancy and Uncle Bob’s house. They live just over in Waimea. Kathy and George drove the car there and Dallas, Makai and I walked, taking an overgrown path that they used to use when they were kids. Makai was freaked out when we turned the corner and there were like 20 people sitting there. He mostly hung out in the house where they have a ton of toys because Nancy and Bob babysit for their grandkids, Safina and Swede, every day. Too bad the kids were sick and couldn’t make the party! Dallas and I were inside with Marissa a lot. Marissa gave Makai a cool Monsters University toy and some Japanese candy. And some coffee for us.

img_3484.jpg We ate so much that night! The one thing I remember is Janet seeing me take seconds on the fish balls and asking “oh, you like those?” I told her I’d eaten about six of them and to my surprise she told me she had made them the night before with fish that Xavier had caught! They were so good. I thought someone brought them from a restaurant or something.

img_3485.jpgI was just thinking recently how not many of our friends or family have cats and how I couldn’t even remember Makai petting a cat. Well, he pet Aunty Nancy’s old cat, and that was just the first of several on the trip!

Hawaii Day 2: Hanging Out in Poipu

img_3328.jpg On our first morning on Kauai, Makai woke up at 3:30 a.m., which was 8:30 a.m. Chicago time, so we couldn’t really be mad. He would not go back to sleep, though. We made him read books by the light of the nightlight but after a while he got bored and we let him watch TV.

img_3323.jpgimg_3326.jpgI was texting with Becky and sending her photos of the tree in the backyard and other parts of the property. Makai was outside with Dallas and grandpa when Kathy started calling me to the front.

img_3320.jpg As the plane was landing on Kauai the day before, Makai looked out the window and said “it looks like Old McDonald had a farm!” We laughed and called him City Kid. This first morning over breakfast we listened to all the roosters crow, gazed at the ocean in the front and the canyon in the back, and got full of red dirt before 9 am. Maybe the City Kid was right.

img_3329.jpgDallas and his parents had plans to golf at Puakea. Makai and I had the day to hang out together. We all left at 10 a.m. Dallas and his parents took their car and Makai and I got the pickup truck. I was a little wary about the carseat in the front bench seat, but it turned out ok. We drove for two minutes to Big Save and Makai was already asleep! I put him in the cart and thought he’d wake up but he didn’t! I had to hold him up as I pushed the cart down the aisles! I got more pull ups for Makai, some hair conditioner and some snacks for the drive. Makai seemed to like the arare, but did not like the iso peanuts. He spit them down in my hand as we were driving down the highway!

Makai argued when we were in Waimea that we weren’t in Hawaii. When we got down to Poipu, then he finally said we were in Hawaii. The west side of Kauai is different. The landscape and vegetation aren’t always what you think of stereotypical Hawaii. But Poipu is! I think that’s why he finally agreed. He finally saw what he had in his head of what Hawaii should be.

img_3345.jpgOur first stop was The Shops at Kukui’ula. This shopping center is really beautiful and has gorgeous flowers. Makai loved to look at them. The hibiscus are huge, bigger than his hand, some were almost as big as his head!

img_3347.jpgWe walked around a lot of shops and I got this cowry shell bracelet at Tommy Bahama.

img_3349.jpgFunny sign at Kukui’ula.

img_3367.jpgimg_3370.jpgimg_3358.jpg img_3377.jpg img_3354.jpgimg_3387.jpgThere are a  ton of restaurants at Kukui’ula, but at lunch time I drove over to the Poipu Shopping Village. I knew exactly where I wanted to take Makai: Puka Dog! Makai loved it. He devoured the whole sausage, but didn’t eat any of the bun! He also loved the Maui chips. And the roosters. He probably liked the chickens the best! At lunch there was a rooster right by our table and he kept saying “Hi, rooster!” and “Come here, rooster!” and “Mommy, rooster so loud!”. After lunch he chased the roosters and chickens all over the lawn.

I enjoyed going back to Puka Dog. I went with Makai last time we visited Hawaii, but he was too small to eat. I feel like every time I eat a Puka Dog, I’m toasting our friend John somewhere, because he was obsessed with them and was the one who made us go for the first time, so many years ago.

We stopped at the Sand Kids store and Makai played with all the toys. At Whaler’s, Makai was drawn to a stuffed rooster. I let him pick which one he wanted and he actually chose a really small one. We also picked out a glass ball Christmas ornament that was filled with sand and little beachy things. I broke it the second we got home!

By this time Makai was REALLY tired, so I decided it was time to go. On the way out of the shopping village I drove by Joe’s on the Green and the Kiahuna Golf Club where we got married. This area is SO built up now! There are SO many houses on the golf course. It’s crazy.

I had the urge to go to Lappert’s or Spouting Horn, but Makai fell asleep right away. It was only the first day. We’d have plenty of time! On the way through Ele’ele, I stopped at McDonald’s and got a haupia pie. It was good when I ate it but gave me a horrible stomach ache later!
img_3416.jpgimg_3410.jpgIn Waimea, this Captain Cook statue caught my eye. I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen it in books before and I never knew where it was. Here it was tucked away in plain site, on a road I’ve driven on a million times and right outside the supermarket and post office and other places I frequented in Waimea!

At home Makai took a nap. And so did I! We’d both been up since 3:30 a.m.! When Dallas and his parents came home they brought steaks, which we grilled for dinner. That night we went to bed early. There was a party down in Waimea Valley with a band and we listened to some beautiful Hawaiian music as we fell asleep.