On Monday we headed up to the North Shore. We had spent almost zero time up there our past 2 times going so I was so excited to finally explore it! Our first stop was Ted's Bakery. Anyone who has been to Oahu has been to Ted's...except for us! We got a pulled pork plate with 3 pieces of the most amazing garlicky, buttery, shrimp I have ever tasted. It had no shell, and it was to die for. I could have eaten that for rest of the trip. Jeremy finally got a piece of their haupia pie and I talked him into getting one with chocolate in it because, well, chocolate. It did not disappoint. If we didn't have a whole days worth of things to do and an hour drive home, we probably would have bought a whole pie. Fitz and Ellie spent the entire time there chasing the birds. There were birds everywhere and chasing them was easily one of their most favorite things to do there. Weirdos.
Our next stop was to Turtle Beach. We stopped here on our first visit, but didn't have any luck spotting any turtles. We lucked out this time and got to hang out with this big guy for a few minutes right when we got there. Ellie and her animal loving heart couldn't get enough and Fitz couldn't take his eyes off of him. He kept pointing, pulling Jeremy's beard, and grunting. If only you'd talk baby boy! Side note: how touristy does Fitzy look? Bucket hat, back pack, and all. Ahhhh! I love him. We were all sad to see the turtle swim back to the ocean, but it was kinda fun to watch him go. Ellie said it was ok, because she was worried he would get a sunburn if he sat out on the sand too long. Have I brain-washed her or what?
Our last major stop of the day was Waimea beach. I loved this beach, but I word of warning. If you're going with kids take flotation devices and swim with them. Half of the bay has super huge waves and they get more and more gradual as you walk to the other end. We spent most of our time at the calmer end, but we also had to make sure Ellie was in her puddle jumper because there was a drop off that took me up to my neck and knocked me off my feet the first time. Lucky for us, 50% of our children don't go near the water and sit under an umbrella in the sand the whole time. Ellie had a blast with her dad. They caught all the waves and collected about 1000 sea shells. Tori kept me busy on the beach with Fitz, bless her. Fitz loved hanging out with her every time we went to the beach. She's so patient with all of them and will actually play with them. It's safe to say she's the favorite. The sand on this beach was way more coarse, which I preferred, because it wipes off so much easier. The kids loved it because they said it tasted good. Both of them. I don't even know.
On the way home we hit up Main Street in Haleiwa, strongly considered Matsumotos shave ice and then looked at the line and changed our mind. I feel okay about that decision. It was fun people watching and looking at all the shops. Then we made our hour long drive home. Of course the kids slept the whole way and were ready to party when we got home. No rest for the weary (parents).
We loved the North Shore so much that we headed up the next day to do the Waimea Falls hike with our whole family. I'm talking aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, grandparents, the whole shabang. It was fun to be all together. That hike had been on our list since the first time we came, but it's closed in the "winter" and we've only been in November and January. We were so excited to finally go! Before we got to the hike we stopped to get shave ice cream, another Tori suggestion. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of it! It was like shave ice, but made out of ice cream. It had a crazy texture but was pretty dang good. After we fueled up we hiked. It was so beautiful and Ellie loved pointing all of the flowers and possible fairy hideouts to her very patient Nana. The hike was super easy and paved and at the top was a beautiful waterfall and pond? watering hole? I don't know, but it was fun. We got our life jackets on and hopped in. As you can imagine, Fitz was not happy or willing to get in. Of course we made him and his blood curdling screams reverberated off the walls of the waterfall. He is ridiculous. The only way we could get him to calm down was to put him on the boogie board. He was ok as long as he had a death grip on our hands and we didn't jiggle him. At all.
After the hike we visited Waimea Bay one more time. Jeremy jumped off the huge rock with Tori and his cousin Phteven and I got to swim with Ellie while it rained. Why can't all rain be glorious and warm? Of course while I was in the water, Fitz managed to cover everything in sand. Everything. He was so pleased with himself. He also pooped that grainy sand for the next 48 hours. Yes he did.
On Wednesday we went to the Kaneohe botanical gardens. It was beautiful and Jeremy even picked up a bird guide and the kids were in heaven. We also spotted some wild boars, two fairy houses, and several mongoose. We made a trek up a little hill and thoroughly enjoyed the view. Hawaii is so breathtaking. I would never get tired of the scenery.
After the gardens we got lunch at Maui Mikes (no pictures, dang it) which makes the best rotisserie chicken sandwiches ever! Go! Go! Go! Then we had shave ice round 2 at Island Snow. Not our favorite, but still shave ice, so delicious.
That evening we finally made it to Bellows Beach, which is Jeremy's favorite. Going to the beach was so nice because it wore the kids right out and I didn't have to stress as much about sunblock. We were able to convince Jeremy's grandparents to come with us and it was fun to hang out with them. Some of Jermey's aunts and uncles were staying on the beach so they came over and met us as well and we had ourselves a little evening beach party. Fitz spent most of his time playing in the sand (shocking) and chasing the birds. Ellie got one on one Aunt Marie time and then hit the waves with her daddy on the boogie board. She is an adventure chaser.
Everytime Fitz would throw a tantrum he would collapse face down in the sand and cry. This would happen anytime I would take him anywhere near the water, anytime I wouldn't let him run a mile away to chase the birds, and anytime I would make him leave the beach. And I thought his sister was dramatic. Thus #sandyfacefitz was born.
For record keeping sake, I was 13 & 14 weeks pregnant in Hawaii. I was magically able to get off of my anti-nausea medication the day we got there and only had one sick moment the whole time we were there. A true Hawaiian miracle I tell you. I can't think of a better time to have gone. We announced our pregnancy on the beach (except it wasn't much of a surprise for anyone considering Ellie had been announcing her "teeny tiny baby" to anyone that would listen for months before) and now were anxiously awaiting my next appointment to find out if we'll be adding a brother or a sister.
The whole reason why we went out to Hawaii was for my Father-In-Law's retirement ceremony. He served for 21 years in the Air Force and was an amazing pediatric provider. I know he'll be missed, but we are sure excited to have him home. His ceremony was moving and the kids even mostly behaved. We all got beautiful leis (you should have smelled them -- HEAVEN) and the cake was soooo good! It was fun to spend time all together celebrating Gary's great achievement. We're so proud of him! Love you Papa!
At Gary's ceremony I talked with a few of their local friends and told them about Fitz's crazy fear of the ocean. They recommended Kaiona Beach park and we went the very next day. The beach had a few areas of ocean that were surrounded by a rock wall that calmed the waves before they made it to us. The water was so clear, warm, and perfectly aqua, I was sure Fitz would dive right in. Of course, he didn't, but I did get some delicious snuggles from him that I wouldn't trade for anything. Ellie and I played swimming kitties (?) while he clung for dear life. I would totally recommend this beach with kids. It was so fun.
That afternoon we drove to Laie for a family temple session and stopped at Giovanni's for some more succulent shrimp. Fitz even got in on the action this time and I think he ended up eating half my plate.
The temple is another thing that's been on our list since our first trip out. The first time we weren't able to easily go because I was nursing Ellie and the temple is an hour away from my in-laws and the second time it was closed. Tori's sweet friend Lacy watched all of the kids while we did a session. I love visiting the temple no matter where I am and I'm thankful I was able to add this one to my list.
That night the whole fam dined on Papa Ole's, which was of course delicious and you must go. Are you tired of hearing that? I can't even help myself. My pork had gravy on it. Gravy! Hawaiian gravy heaven.
On Friday we went on another breathtaking hike. It was on Judd trail and we hiked to...wait for it...Jackass Ginger pond. The name itself raises curiosity, yes? The trail was short, shaded, and changed scenery about a million times. Ellie was able to walk everything on her own and Gary carried Fitz on his shoulders the whole time. I took more videos than pictures because pictures don't do it justice. Not one bit. Fun fact, there were gobs of LOST scenes filmed along the trail so I was in nerdy Lostie heaven. We walked across a river, into a bamboo forest, into a tropical forest, and then to the pond. I didn't get into the pond (this fetus stifled my game several times on this trip) but Ellie and Jeremy went down a rock water slide and jumped off of lots of rocks. I sat up by the waterfall and the water felt amazing. Heaven. I could have stayed there all day. It was my favorite adventure we had the whole trip. After, Tori lured me to another Lost filming location (not that it was difficult to convince me) and Jeremy jumped off a huge waterfall. I'm terrified of heights so I held the kids at a safe distance and just have a video to prove he did it.
On the way home we hit up my favorite shave ice place, The Local Hawaiian, and all of my shave ice needs were met, which was a good thing because we went home 2 days later.
That night Gary and Lisa's ward threw them a luau and THE FOOD! I don't even have any pictures because I was too busy inhaling everything in sight. There was even a full roasted pig. Ellie was stunned and kept asking who got to eat that apple out of it's mouth. I said that it just wasn't here. After eating Ellie spent the rest of the night chasing and catching frogs. I'm telling you she's a fearless, free spirited, animal loving gal. Gary and Lisa are sad to leave such an amazing ward. The people are just good. It was fun to visit with the people we had met over the years. Please notice that Ellie's hair goes into perfect ringlets in Hawaii. I didn't use heat on my hair once either. We're much more attractive in the humidity.
On Sunday we went to Aunt Tori's ward to hear her speak and sing. She did such a wonderful job. At the end of sacrament meeting her ward sang her Aloha Oe and everyone lined up to give her leis. I cried. It's such a sweet way to say goodbye! That morning we put the kids in their Easter clothes from Nana and Papa and I attempted a picture. Of course NO ONE cooperated, which ticked me right off. Looking back though, these are way better and show their true sides, little stinks! Thank goodness for patient grandparents that love them so much.
That night we had the girls dye eggs and we started getting ready for our trip home. The 2 weeks flew by and I couldn't even believe it!
On Monday morning Tori took us out to Lanikai Juice for one last acai bowl, or in my case hula bowl, which was heavenly pureed guava. Heaven. I will miss that breakfast. We finished packing up and we did one last beach session with everyone before we had to head to the airport. The day and water were perfection. Ellie cried her eyes out when I told her we were going home that night. We picked up one last Maui Mike's to go order, vacuumed 1000 pounds of sand out of our rental and we made it to the airport with 15 minutes to spare. It was a whirlwind day!
Jeremy and I were dreading the plane ride home but luckily we booked a red eye and the kids slept the whole way from Hawaii to Denver and then Denver to SLC. Hallelujah! We got home around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. Poor Jeremy had to work a half day and the kids and I literally sat on the couch adjusting to the time for the rest of the afternoon. If I'm being totally honest, it was really the next 3 days. A 4 hour time difference is killer. So worth it though.
It was such a fun trip. Like I said, Ellie asks to go back every single day. It does make it better that Nana and Papa will be home for good. She can't quite wrap her brain around it but I'm sure it won't take long.
Aloha Oahu. You've been good to us.