Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kauai: Part One

We LOVE Kauai. It might be my favorite place on earth. By God's grace, we've been able to visit many times. We look forward to going and save our pennies for a long time so we can get there every other year or so. If you'd like to see previous visits, go here, here and here. This year, we got a surprise trip to Hawaii! We had been saving our money for a sabbatical trip, maybe to the Holy Lands, but then plans changed. We made plans to step down from our previous church and plant a new one, and life got very busy. Then Ben's Aunt and Uncle (Hi, Jim & Sherry!) gifted us frequent flyer miles!! We were able to use our sabbatical savings toward our condo, and there you have it!

We flew out of SFO on a Thursday morning into Lihue, arriving around noon. After picking up our rental car we headed straight to the beach Costco, where we picked up approximately twelve days' worth of breakfast foods, snacks, drinks, and incidentals (such as a boogie board and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts). 

Then we went to the beach condo, unloaded all our junk, and I got to work loading the fridge and unpacking suitcases while the rest of my family changed into their suits. (I like to set up my little home. What can I say?) I met them there shortly after, and everyone was already in the waves.

The Kiahuna Plantation has a huge, beautiful beach perfect for playing in the little waves. We splashed and got covered in sand before having an early dinner of grilled sausages and veggies on the lawn. Everyone headed to bed early after adding three extra hours to our day!

We headed to Poipu Beach Park on our first morning in Kauai. I sat and read on the beach for a really long time while Ben and the kiddos explored the lagoon, tombolo (sand bar) and tide pools. Maddie was on an opihi hunt, looking for the little creatures we mainlanders call Chinese hat shells. She also picked up a sea slug. She's awesome that way.

Sam's goal most days was to get as sandy as possible. We're talking sand in the scalp, ears, nose, booty, toes, pockets, crevices, every. which. way. He's pretty funny that way.

After long naps back at the condo, Maddie got dressed up for our dinner on the green. We had picked up fresh fish which we grilled, along with some more veggies. Yum. A nice dad from Oakland snapped our first family photo:

All in all, a relaxing second day in paradise!

The third morning we headed out to snorkel in front of the beach house. Ben started us off and found lots of beautiful fish. The kiddos and I hung out in the sand and played pirates.

 An antiqued finish just seemed right for this little bathing beauty:

This picture looks pretty promising. Daddy's back from snorkeling and the kiddos are ready to go check it out. Except it turned into a big gigantic struggle with crying and screaming and refusing and sassing and so we spent the rest of the morning just trying to get the kids to be nice to each other.

Eventually, the kids sought refuge in this tree for about an hour. They played pirates and mermaids, monkeys, all kinds of adventures. By lunchtime we were more than ready to head back for naps.

After a little recharge, we headed back to the Kiahuna Beach for playtime and an early dinner. 
Sam resumed his sandy play while Ben and Maddie frolicked in the waves. I tried to hold Sam in the waves for a while but got tired out rather quickly. Coming out of two weeks in the hospital and a week of recovery, I was still pretty weak and puny when we started vacation. But every day I got stronger and felt more like myself. I just had to do a lot of laying down and reading for the first few days. (So sad! But not really. I read like 8 books while we were gone. Heaven!)

Exhibit 2,196: Sam likes the Sand!

Saturday night means keiki (kid) hula at the Poipu Grand Hyatt. Picture cascading pools, palm trees, a gorgeous beach, lovely music, hula, and overpriced drinks. Maddie made a few little friends and the three of them entertained the crowd while we waited for the other hula dancers to begin.

That night, her Daddy bought her a beautiful lei and placed it around her shoulders with the traditional kiss. It was very sweet.

In Kauai, we have a handful of must-dos: snorkel, boogie board, eat plate lunch, and go for shave ice. Sunday was a perfect day for enjoying a refreshing cup of lilikoi shave ice beneath the enormous shade tree.

Even though I wasn't enjoying the shave ice myself this time, I must say I thoroughly delighted in snapping photos of my little family as they scarfed theirs down. We have a new generation of shave ice lovers. Daddy says, "Amen."

That evening, you guessed it: back to the lawn for grilled fish! Koloa Fish Market carries fresh Hawaiian catch each day and it is a total treat to find something delicious to try. Here Sam helps Daddy man the grill:

Sam being his usual silly self while we get ready to eat:

And then, something exciting!!! A pod of whales went through, right in front of us!!! We've never been in Kauai for whale watching season, though occasionally they'll migrate through as late as April. I was too busy watching to snap any decent photos, but I did get this big splash after one breached. So fun, so magical, such a treat.

You know I'm a total foodie so my blog posts wouldn't be complete without showing you a sample of what we were eating the past few weeks. This particular night we had seared ahi, grilled local veggies in coconut aminos, and Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes. (Well, technically, I didn't eat the potato but it was too pretty to leave off the plate.) The kids especially loved eating these!

Palm trees!

Proof that I was on vacation with my family:

More monkey tree climbing:

More Sam sand shenanigans:

Maddie playing on the great lawn:

 Thanks for sticking through part one! Further installments coming later this week. Then, a few yummy recipes from our trip, grain free and absolutely delicious! Mahalo!


Unknown said...

Fantastic pics! Looks like a wonderful time of relaxing, bonding and pure fun.
Teresa M.

jennie said...

I love seeing the fam relaxing & playing! So happy for you guys. The perfect place for you to work on healing your body & soul. Xoxo

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Love all these beautiful photos from Kauai!!! SO glad you had an awesome vacation....you guys deserve it, that's for sure!!!! Can't wait to read more about your trip & live vicariously through you!