So, as many of you know, we took a family trip to Oahu this past month. My parents have a timeshare on Waikiki, and they were able to get 2 condos in a tower about 2 blocks away from Waikiki beach. Weirdly enough, it was the same hotel we stayed in when we went as a family in December of 1999. I wasn't super excited about going to Oahu again as I'd been there twice before as a teenager (I know, I know, I sound like a spoiled brat). I thought I'd seen and done it all, so while I was excited to go to Hawaii, I wasn't super excited to go back to Oahu.
To my surprise, I loved being so close to Waikiki as a mom. It was close enough to the beach, the hotel, restaurants, shopping, etc, and not that far of a car ride to anything else we wanted to see. It was kind of strange going to Waikiki as I felt like I was going back in time. I went in December 1999 with my family (and my high school boyfriend) and June 2001 for my high school graduation senior trip (that really makes me feel old). I felt kind of like a teenager again, and I distinctly remember strolling down the Waikiki strip with friends and walking down Waikiki Beach with my boyfriend. So, it was definitely weird to be with my husband and son walking down the same beach.
Anyways, we absolutely had the BEST time. Carter kept saying on our last day, "But I just don't want to leave Hawaii!" We know, Carter, we know... I'll just give you some brief descriptions of what we did (because I normally don't do this kind of thing--let's face it.. my life is boring and my vacations are usually to visit my family in California or Utah). I'll add some vacation pictures in here when I have better access (also posted on my Facebook and Instagram accounts).
Saturday: We arrived at the airport and my sweet mom arranged for us to get fresh leis by baggage claim. If you've ever been to the Honolulu airport, you'd know it is partly open air, so we loved that. The heat was quite shocking, though, when exiting the plane and walking through the jetway tunnel. We managed to find our family and made our way in the rental minivan to the hotel on Waikiki. We got to check in a little early, changed into our bathing suits, and walked over to the beach. The water was freaking bath-tub warm and felt amazing. We literally hung out in the water for over an hour, which isn't normally our thing. We hung out at the beach for a couple of hours and the kids had a blast. My brother Jacob's family went as well, and Carter was just in LOVE with his cousins, including Gabe, who's 17 and 3 feet taller than Carter. I don't remember what/where we ate for dinner, but I remember we did stop at Jack in the Box for lunch.. :/
Sunday: After taking an early walk on the Waikiki strip (I never really did get used to Hawaii time), we went to church at the Honolulu LDS Tabernacle. It seriously was an amazing building and grounds. Wow. It almost looked like a temple. It was their ward's primary program, which was good because we were missing our primary's program. Carter sang all the songs with the little kids. Totally adorable, except he started talking loudly about Godzilla in the middle of a prayer. We then went on a family train ride on Hawaiian Railway. We got an awesome, and very sunny, view of the West Oahu shoreline. It wasn't super exciting, but I know Carter had a blast. We then celebrated all of our family's birthdays in October and November (five birthdays!) with spaghetti and chocolate cake.
Monday: This was Pearl Harbor day. I'd already done this before, but this was on Graham's must-do list. Again, it was a touching and humbling experience and I teared up a bit during the video. Carter was actually pretty respectful as well and talks about the "ships being destroyed". My brother really wanted to get a Dole Whip (which was super amazing by the way), so we stopped by the plantation on the way to Haleiwa Beach. The beach was nice, but this was a particularly bad spot for coral. Ouch. All of our feet got torn up pretty good. We decided to avoid the traffic by taking the long way home and making a long drive around the island and the North Shore. We stopped by the Laie LDS temple to take some pictures, and we ate at this amazing taco place called North Shore Tacos.
Tuesday: This was the most chill day of them all. I worked out with my mom, us ladies got pampered by getting facials and massages, and I got my makeup done at Sephora on the Waikiki strip before my date with Graham. I chose Duke's, which is a totally touristy restaurant on the beach (as most places are on Waikiki), that I'd heard great things about. It was delicious and we had the most amazing sunset view from our table. Graham and I walked around the shops and hotels and had a great time without children.
Wednesday: This day was eventful and we planned to hike Diamond Head and snorkel at Hanauma Bay. The hike was really nice, and of course, provided an amazing view of the island. I was surprised at the ease of the hike, as I remembered it being difficult from high school. Anyways, we next went to snorkel and swim at Hanauma Bay. I am not a huge fan of snorkeling, as it makes me kind of claustrophobic and getting too close to fish and other creatures makes me panicky (I'm totally not an animal person, including fish). The bay was gorgeous, but it was freaking hot. We used a spray sunscreen that didn't work very well, and my sun allergy broke out really bad on my arms. Graham had a zig zag sunburn on his back from my crappy attempt at protecting his back with sunscreen. Also, Graham went snorkeling with the rental minivan car key fob in the pocket of his swimsuit. Miraculously, it still worked! Graham was lucky, or he may not have made it back home alive. Anyways, we did some Vietnamese takeout that night for dinner.
Thursday: Today was our zip-lining day. Not many of us had been before, so it was an awesome experience. It was practically a brand new course on the North Shore called Climb Works. They drove us up to the top on an ATV, and we took 7+ zip lines on the way down, including rappelling, climbing up a rope, and walking/running across a wood bridge. We had so much fun, especially since we died laughing at my mom trying to climb up the rope (you definitely had to be there). We headed back to the hotel, where Graham hurt his wrist playing basketball with our teenage nephew playing on a wet court outside. We all went out to Cheesecake Factory that night to celebrate my niece's 14th birthday.
Friday: Beach day. All beach. All day. I read the Green Mile that day and ended up with tears streaming down my face while on the beach. Totally normal beach behavior. Because it was Halloween, it was looking to be really busy on the Waikiki strip. We ended up ordering Round Table Pizza and eating in the hotel. We then dressed the kiddos up (Carter was Spiderman) and walked over to Honolulu Zoo. For $5, you could trick or treat there and visit their own Haunted House, Carter actually went in and wasn't very scared. He kept in character and kept trying to shoot spider webs at "bad guys" in the haunted house. A mad scientist character was holding fake brains on a platter and asked Carter if he wanted to see his brains. Carter replied, "No thank you!". We died laughing. Carter is even polite to haunted house people! Anyways, Graham and I took one last walk on the beach that night after briefly checking out the crazy dressed up people on Waikiki. Definitely not our scene.
Saturday: We went out for breakfast at LuLu's Waikiki, which is an open-air restaurant right across the street from the beach. We sat at the bar so we could all just stare out at the ocean (I know, it's the same Pacific Ocean that I have access to here in Seattle) and enjoy the delicious food. I ate Spam in honor of my last day in Hawaii (it's really good--I would eat it here more if it weren't so bad for you). We drove to the airport, all depressed and sad. We soaked up all of the sun and warm breezes that we could get before heading home.
I don't know when we'll be back to Oahu (let alone Hawaii), so it was definitely sad leaving. I will remember this trip fondly and will miss those warm nights and beautiful sunsets. Sigh...
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