Hawaii Day 15: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo, Boys’ Day and 12 Years Together

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender-2Cinco de Mayo and Boys Day! We had breakfast and then Aunty Jane came over. She had a fun gift for Makai for Boys Day: Let’s Fish fishing game! Makai played with Aunty Jane and Grandma C. Grandma C was a ringer, taking a lot of joy from beating Makai Boy at the game!

FullSizeRender-1Dallas found some old photo albums and we had a look.

img_4845.jpgimg_5029.jpgI took Makai to the Post Office and Big Save. Look how big the local avocados were! I couldn’t believe it. When we tasted them they were so rich and buttery. The best avocados I’ve had!

img_4869.jpgI also got some local guava jam and local honey.

img_4871.jpgOh, and the local paper. We were at Salt Pond the day before this genius decided to punch out an endangered and pregnant seal. It was the talk of the island.

img_4854.jpgimg_4858.jpgimg_4860.jpgimg_4862.jpgimg_4856.jpgimg_4866.jpgWe also went to JoJo’s Shave Ice. Makai was super interested in how the shave ice was made and how it looked, but he wouldn’t even take one bite of it! I took it back to the house and all the rest of us shared it! It was huge!

IMG_4898Dallas and I met on Kauai 12 years ago that week, so we made plans to go out and celebrate.

img_4929.jpgMeanwhile, George and Kathy took Makai to Aunty Nancy and Uncle Bob’s house so he could play with Swede and Safina and their dog.

img_4907.jpgimg_4903.jpgimg_4900.jpgimg_4905.jpgFirst we went to Seaview Terrance for some cocktails. The view was so beautiful and relaxing. There was a Hawaiian musician. I had a Li Hing Mui Margarita (Cinco de Mayo!) and a Mai Tai and Dallas had a few local beers. I could have sat outside there all night, it was so nice!

img_4934.jpgFor dinner we went to Stevenson’s Library. We’d been there before to celebrate Liz and Jordan’s wedding, but had never eaten. The sushi was sooooo good. And we had so much! Kanpachi sushimi, sake and ika and tako and anago nigiri and two types of maki rolls. Also, hamachi kama. Yumyumyum.

After dinner we had some drinks at the bar. We tried to play pool, but we couldn’t get in the queue. It was Kauai, so the bar closed at 10 p.m. We tried to shut the bar down, but we couldn’t even make it that late! Nice, relaxing, early night!


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.


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 5: Makai’s First Aloha Shirt


When we woke up Dallas and his dad worked on the deck some more. This is getting repetitive, right? But the morning and evenings are the best times to work because it’s not so hot. You can see who the supervisors were. 🙂


When Makai took his morning nap, I ran to Hanapepe. My main reason to go was to stop at Talk Story, a bookstore I visited on our last trip that had some books on Kauai and written by Kauai authors that are not available on the Mainland. BUT FIRST…

I stopped at Little Fish Coffee. This is a cute little cafe that I would have liked to hang out at, if I had more time. They seemed to specialize in breakfast and lunch, but I think they are open until 5 p.m. daily. I got an iced coffee, which was especially delicious in the heat. And also because I’d been feeling SO coffee deprived with no coffee maker in the house and not being able to spot a coffee shop in Waimea (I found one later though!).

Across the street I browsed through the Banana Patch Studio, which is always fun. I got Makai a honu puzzle. A quick run through Aloha Spice Company.


At Jacqueline on Kauai I bought Makai his first aloha shirt. Jacqueline owns the shop and has her work station right there in the back. She specializes in custom men’s aloha shirts (made to order or free alterations) and uses her remnants to make boys shirts. We talked a bit and she knows Aunty Kathy. I couldn’t decide between the red, blue or orange print, but ended up with the blue in a size 12 months. I was a little nervous, but it fit perfect and Makai wore it to a party later that day. So glad Makai’s first aloha shirt was a special one hand-made on Kauai.

Finally, at the Talk Story bookstore I picked up a collection of short stories called Kauai Stories. These are stories written by the people of Kauai. I was talking to the owner for a while and he and his wife even had a story in the book! There was not too much of interest otherwise, not much I couldn’t get at home. I realized I’ve read a lot of the Hawaii/Kauai books and others just didn’t look good.


I had to stop again at Big Save to get some things for Makai. Then I went to Jo Jo’s for some shave ice. It’s totally nice inside now. Plain, but not like the shack it used to be. I talked with the woman working the shop and she said that they remodeled in November 2013. I asked her about the Jo Jo’s that popped up next to Big Save and she said that the original owner sold Jo Jo’s (the one we always go to and the original location) and opened a new one. It used to be on a side street (I’d been to that location once) and now it’s next to Big Save in Waimea. I got a #2 with mac nut ice cream and haupia cream on top. I brought the shave ice home and held it in front of Makai. He took a face dive in and grabbed it with his hands!

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For dinner we went to Aunty Nancy and Uncle Bob’s house where Makai got to meet a lot of aunties and uncles and cousins. Dallas’s mom loves to show him off and all the aunties say how good he is. He eats some more poi.


At around 8 p.m. Dallas and I left for a little bit to go to Wrangler’s Steakhouse, where we met up with some of his old childhood Waimea friends, Trixie and Nick, and their friend Kaela. Nick travels the country and the world singing traditional Hawaiian songs and had performed at Wrangler’s earlier that night. We actually wanted him to sing at our wedding ceremony, but he was performing in Japan. You can find him on Spotify or iTunes (Nick Castillo). It was nice to finally meet him and Trixie after hearing so much about them through the years!

Dinner at the Matsudas

Erik, Swede, Safina

Safina and Swede playing ball with Dallas and Erik

Racing trophies

Aunty Nancy said the kids have brought these to school for Show & Tell!

Ahi Sashimi

Mountains of ahi sashimi!!

Portuguese Meat, Aunty Nancy’s Specialty

Party People

In the house tonight…

Swede and the family cat.

Safina and Swede putting sprinkles on the cake.

Safina and Swede blowing out candles.

Dallas’s family’s best friends on Kauai are the Matsudas. They live just down the road from where Dallas and his family lived and we try to see them every time we go back to Kauai. Some years it’s just the family and us and some years, like this year, there are a lot of people. I think because Dallas’s parents were with us and a lot of their friends came over.

After the drag races we headed over to the Matsuda’s house. Uncle Bob and Uncle George and the others had to finish up at the race track and put the car back into storage so they met up with us later. Every time we come to Kauai, no matter what, Aunty Nancy makes Dallas his favorite dish that only she makes: Portuguese Meat. At least that’s what they call it (Aunty Nancy is Portuguese). This year she also got this enormous platter of ahi sashimi. Seriously, it was the biggest plate of sashimi I’ve ever seen… and probably the best-tasting too.

It was fun to see everyone again. Safina and Swede are growing up so big! They are such nice and open kids. Right away they fell right in with us. Swede was saying “Uncle, Uncle look at this!” to Dallas and kept bringing things out. We played ball and helped them decorate a cake for everyone (just the sprinkles). We’re not positive if it was someones birthday or if the kids just wanted to blow out candles.

So nice to see everyone and visit! Until next time..!

Dinner at the Matsudas

Primo :: Waimea, Kauai

Dallas’s family’s best friends on Kauai are the Matsudas. They live just down the road from where Dallas and his family lived and we try to see them every time we go back to Kauai. This year Aunty Nancy and Uncle Bob invited us over for dinner. When we arrived they were the only ones home and were watching their grandson, Swede, who was just born this year. Isn’t he adorable!?

Dallas, Swede :: Waimea, Kauai

We sat outside at picnic tables and drank some beer while eating edamame. Aunty Nancy was feeding Swede his dinner, poi with milk. No wonder he’s so big! Well, that and the fact that his dad is something like 6’5″.

Dallas, Uncle George, Mr. Hee, Uncle Bob :: Waimea, Kauai

Not much later, Uncle George (Uncle Bob’s brother) and Aunty Linda arrived. And then Mr. Hee came by.

For dinner we had Portuguese Meat. Maybe there is a more descriptive name for this dish, but Portuguese meat is what we call it. It’s kind of like pot roast, but way more vinegar-y. Aunty Nancy is Portuguese and knows that Dallas loves this dish so she makes it every time he visits. We had some other dinner, too, but the parts I remember are the desserts. This was the first time I ever had haupia cake, manju or homemade guri guri (I’d only ever had guri guri for the first time two days before).

Rachelle, Aunty Linda, Swede, Aunty Nancy :: Waimea, Kauai

And then finally, later on, Marissa and Eric, Swede’s parents, arrived with Swede’s sister, Safina. By that time it was dark and everyone was off in different directions. I wanted to take a photo of Safina because she has grown so much since the last time we saw her, but she was off on her scooter and taking a bath and had her own agenda going on. It was nice to be able to visit with everyone. On of these days we need to visit Tandy, Uncle Bob & Aunty Nancy’s other daughter, who now lives in the DC area. She and her husband Chris just had their first baby a few weeks ago. His name is Kai. We haven’t seen Tandy and Chris since their wedding, which seems like forever ago.

Waimea Barbecue

Dallas, Waimea, Kaua’i

Punk Ass Jordan, Waimea, Kaua’i

Susan & John, Waimea, Kaua’i

Allison & Tammy, Waimea, Kaua’i

Uncle Dee, Waimea, Kaua’i

Pupus, Waimea, Kaua’i

Koa & Caroline & Carrie, Waimea, Kaua’i

Såfina Grinds!, Waimea, Kaua’i

Såfina & Dallas, Waimea, Kaua’i

For dinner we went over to where Dallas’ Uncle Dee and Auntie Kathy live, the house where Dallas grew up in Waimea. It’s always fun for me to go back and see the house and imagine when Dallas’ family lived there. This time his sister and brother, Caroline and Jordan, were with us so we heard a few stories about things that happened there. Going over for dinner is a tradition I always look forward to when visiting Kaua’i.

I was also excited because the last time we saw Marissa was at her sister Tandy’s wedding and she and her husband were expecting their first child. And now it’s been so long since the baby was born. She has a little girl named Såfina who is more than a year old. So cute!

Uncle Dee and Auntie Kathy were great hosts and great cooks. They made dinner for all of us who were visiting and all we had to do was show up with beer. We got Guinness for Uncle Dee and Hinano, a Tahitian beer, for ourselves. These are all the things we had:

  • Barbecue chicken
  • Fried Saimin
  • Sushi with canned tuna (local specialty)
  • Kimchi
  • Poke
  • Lomi lomi salmon
  • Seared Ahi
  • Poi
  • Grilled chicken
  • Grilled steak
  • Lettuce salad
  • Macaroni salad
  • Fruit salad
  • Asparagus
  • Rice