Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hawaii 2017.

Well, we went to Hawaii again this year. I'm not sure how we keep getting so lucky, but I'm not complaining. We really debated if it was a good decision to go this year with all the things we had going on and other obstacles. We knew I'd have to fly there out of and back into Seattle by myself with the kids, and that we'd all have to get there on different days, but in the end we felt that we couldn't pass up the opportunity and decided to go. We mostly did the same things we do every year because we love it so much, and it is always a new experience when your kids are growing up and learning to do new things. I feel grateful to have made so many wonderful memories with my family on this island. 

Here we are taking off from Seattle not knowing what is in store for us. The kids were great, and Elijah even slept for a couple hours! Love these little travelers. 

One of our old neighbors moved to Hawaii last year and so I thought it would be fun to spend my first evening with her, especially since no one else was there yet and I knew she and her 5 kids would be so fun. We went to a fun beach area on the north shore close by the house where we were staying. The kids played, chased crabs, explored an old bunker, and felt the sun on their faces and sand on their toes like you only can in Hawaii. 

The next day I needed to head back to Honolulu to get my father in law at the airport so we thought it would fun to spend another afternoon with my friend and her kids since they lived in that area. They took us to the lighthouse hike, but we went down to the beach instead of up, which is a place I had never been. The kids played in a rocky reef area which kept them out of big waves. My father in law was really tired from getting off a flight from Australia, and had I realized how tired he was I would not have gone to the beach, but he was good sport about it and the kids love it when he is around, especially Elijah, he loves grandpa so very much. I love the picture of those two together in the water. When I took it I thought, this will be one of those pictures that you always look back at and show your children. Just a little boy and his Grandpa on the beach. My friend showed me a little rock out a bit from where we were playing that was a good jumping point. There were lots of youth jumping there. My friend's son brought me over so I could take a leap. The water was really warm and salty, extra salty, and it was so so fun. On our way back we got some Shave Ice at Uncle Clay's because you don't come to Hawaii and not have shave ice. I would definitely recommend this place over anywhere else if you are near because he uses natural ingredients and it's so so good.

The next morning Scott went to the airport to get Mary. While they were gone we ran across the street to play at the beach. We weren't in the water long when it started to rain so we sought cover in the trees. Climbing trees is always a good idea, rain or not, and so we stayed up there long after the rain had passed. This particular tree had a natural little treehouse in it, a big area carved out right before the tree started to branch off in all directions. I broke my tree climbing rule oh "not letting the kids climb higher than they can climb themselves" and hoisted them into this little nook. They loved it so much and stayed there for a good 45 minutes or more while we threw things back and forth and had lots of make pretends. It was a fun morning with my two kiddos. 

After Scott came back with Mary we headed to Pupakea which is by far my favorite place to take little kids. They can spend hours and hours there. There is a shallow tidal area that is big and fun to explore with lots of little fish and crabs and all kinds of things to see. Olive had been practicing using her snorkel over the summer and had gotten really good at it, which made it even more fun. I decided I would take her out the deep end because it is just a different kind of experience. We put on her floaties and held hands and headed out. Right as we passed the big rocky area that separated the shallow end from the deep we swam right through a big school of fish, and it is a memory engraved in my mind, like magic. It's sad that sometimes it takes seeing things through the eyes of child to realize how amazing it is, but that's how I felt that day, as if I was seeing everything for the first time with her.  

After our snorkel adventure we grabbed dinner at the Elephant Thai truck. That place is delicious. While we all ate Elijah sat by, talked to, and chased after the chickens. He never tired of them and when we were done eating we had to drag him from the place.

One of the things I love most about traveling is that everyone gets so tired from doing fun things all day that they sleep so well when they make it to their beds at night. I also love that we all just sleep together and make it work. It would be hard if it was long term, but for me it is doable when we are traveling and actually can be a really fun, bonding, and memorable experience. We took Elijah right out of a crib at home and then put him in beds everywhere we went. He did awesome and we never looked back. Olive has always slept anytime, anywhere, but it's taken Elijah a bit of time to adjust to our somewhat nomadic lifestyle and now he sleeps like a champ. Love these kids. 

In the evening around 9 or 10 I went to Honolulu to pick up KC. I got some Malasadas for us on the way over and it was fun to see him and drive home together. It had only been 4 or 5 days, but I missed him. I don't like to be without him much anymore. The following day we rented paddle boards and kayaks and paddled down a calm little outlet. It was really fun and the kids kept jumping into the water and paddling around the boats in their little floaties. So cute. Last time we were here I had seen this rope swing  hanging from this awesome tree and really wanted to jump from it but didn't really have the chance so I was determined to jump from it this time. Then I talked everyone else into jumping. No regrets.

Friends outside our door every night.

We had decided a fun thing to do the next day would be to walk across the coral at low tide to Goat Island. Kc loves doing that. It always causes me a fair amount of anexity to wade through the water with both my kids to get to there, but I never regret it. It is so beautiful and luscious and the kids love to play in the water and pick up shells. We explored the other half where the waves come crashing against the rocks and crabs can be seen crawling every which way near the waters edge. Then we headed back and got some yummy food at some food trucks and spent the rest of the evening together (and I think we may have made a run out for some Chocolate Haupia pie, but I ate so much delicious food it is all a blur at this point.)

Catching crabs at night. 

On Saturday afternoon, our last full day together, our friends came into Laie to visit. We were trying to decide between a few options of what to do and landed on doing the PCC hike which is something that they had never tried before. We knew the hike could get a bit long because you have to hike back and forth across a stream, climb over lots of rocks and stumps, and maneuver in between branches, but we still thought it would be fun. You realize how hard things are when you force someone else to do them with you because then you feel a sense of guilt for anything that goes wrong. I had a lot of fun, our kids hiked very well and a little over halfway through I put Elijah in the ergo carrier and he fell asleep, but I can't say the same for my friend's family. Her oldest son was not very happy about it and complained most the way, and her youngest son had to be carried by only her or he would cry the entire time. They have 5 children, so I think it just made it a lot harder on them, but their other three kids did great and happily hiked along. We did have to hurry a bit to make it up and down before we lost the sun, but we made it up there had some time to jump from the little waterfall (Olive even jumped with me) and played around for a bit before we headed down. I still loved it, but am thinking we should have done something more relaxed with them. Lesson learned. 

The following day was Sunday and we went to church, cleaned up a bit, and spent some time together. Later that evening we took KC back to the airport to head home to Utah. Olive, Elijah, and I were headed to Seattle the following morning to spend another week there before driving home.

I had promised the kids all week that we would stop at a fruit stand and get some fruit and since that hadn't happened yet I hurried over there in the morning before we left. I have to say that this fruit stand has really gone downhill and it was not as good as it has been in the past, but it is still fun to look at all the exotic fruit and pick some out to munch on the way home.

WE DID IT! Til next time! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Big Road Trip of Summer 2017. 
(Week 2.)

We spent the second week of our trip in Sunriver Oregon for a family reunion (and a couple days in Portland afterwards.) It was nice to be able to unload all our stuff out of the car and stay put for a week. My dad had planned this trip and booked it a long time ago and a week or so before the trip his retina detached from his eye and he had to get surgery. They told him that he could not change elevation for a month or it could cause damage to his eye, so he was not able to come on this big trip he had planned. I was so sad when he told me, I cried on the phone. My dad is just so fun, he is the life of the party really, and I couldn't imagine having the reunion without him. We still had a ton of fun, but I know it would have been more fun if he had been there with us. 


There was a big volcano eruption in this area about 100,000 years ago and it has left some cool landmarks on the landscape, one of which is this big hill full of beautiful black obsidian rocks.

These little guys were EVERYWHERE all over this golf course. We took the family photos below one morning and it was impossible to wrangle the children as they were running around trying to catch frogs, each child having about 5 in their little cupped hands. It was quite hilarious.  

I think this is my only picture at the pool, but we spent a lot of time there with cousins. Olive practiced snorkeling a lot. She swam all over that pool with her gear. It was pretty cute, and definitely got her ready for our trip to Hawaii the following week. 

Watching and waiting for a little chipmunk to come out after we threw him some seeds. I love Olive wagging her finger in that first picture telling everyone to be quiet so he'll come back out. 

We went down into some lava tubes that were created by flows of lava that cooled on the outside, forming a crust, but stayed hot on the inside and continued to flow forming a hollow tube along its path. It was totally dark in there and the temperature dropped to about 42 degrees F once you were inside the cave. It was a unique and cool experience and fun to try to take lots of pictures as the light made the camera play lots of tricks on itself.  

My sister's boys are so cute with Elijah. 
He is so lucky to have them.

We took a steep drive up to overlook the whole valley. It was beautiful. You could see trees, lakes, the remainder of some lava flow, and all landscape that surrounded it. 

This waterfall was so fun. The first picture is the view from behind the waterfall. There is something so fun and magical about being behind a waterfall. Olive begged me to help her climb up there. It was a lot of work and made me so tired, but I was glad I did it because she loved it. 

Oregon is a great place for looking into the night sky. They had an awesome observatory and one night we attended an event where you could walk around and look through different powerful telescopes pointed at planets and groups of stars. We brought Olive with us because she loves space so much, and she did enjoy it, but it was late and she got really tired especially after playing with cousins all day and so on our way home she was out in 30 seconds or less, but I was glad I brought her because it was a unique opportunity. A couple days after that we went during the day because they had a telescope pointed at the sun. Looking at the sun through a filter and viewing its sun spots and sun flares was awe inspiring. The universe is such a crazy place. 

We loved our time in Sun River being with my family. I was so happy that we had taught Olive how to ride her bike before the trip, and that we had brought all our bikes along with us for the long drive. We spent a lot of time on them because they had awesome bike trails all around the area. Olive love love loved it, and wanted to spend most her time on the bike. One of both of our favorite times was when Elijah was asleep and KC watched him and I told Olive I would follow her anywhere she wanted to go, just me and her on our bikes. It made her so happy and always reminds me that these type of simple moments are the ones that bring us the most joy in life. The rest of the time we spent playing in hot tubs with cousins, swimming in the pool, paddle boarding around the lake, hiking and exploring the valley, and staying up late with siblings laughing and talking and playing games. Having 8 kids in your family means there is always something crazy going on, for better or worse, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 


After our family reunion our little family headed up to Portland. I had been wanting to visit here for a long time because we never stop since it's not a city we pass through on our way back and forth from Utah, and even though it's only three hours from Seattle we never really went here growing up. I got an airbnb to stay in a yurt in someone's backyard. I got it because it was not too expensive and had a trampoline and little area for the kids to play and I thought it would be fun to stay in a yurt. It was a really good experience. We loved the man that owned the house. He was so sweet and kind and let us pick some of his delicious blueberries. He had a sweet dog that my kids loved and he brought out a little basket of wooden toys that the kids spent a lot of the time playing with, the only drawback was that the kids didn't want to leave the house haha. I really love love love this part of the Northwest and would move there in a heartbeat. I love the houses, I love the people, I love the gloomy weather that makes you want to wear a sweater most the year and yet have the most delicious summers. I just love the overall feel of the place. I hope I get to move out there someday. 

We tried to go to a Japanese tea garden on the night we arrived but when we got there they said there wasn't enough time for us to tour before it closed so instead we went across the street to the Rose gardens. It was really beautiful, but the kids were tired from traveling so we didn't spend too much time there. 

Since we didn't have a ton of time in Portland I was trying to cram in as much as possible, so I decided to go out somewhere after the Rose Garden. Portland is known for it's food and there were a few places I had really wanted to try out, one of them being Voodoo doughnut. I wanted to drop off the kids and go myself, but Olive was not having any of it, even though she was tired she couldn't believe I would go to a donut shop without her. In the end I was so happy she came, she is such a fun little partner in crime and we both really enjoyed the whole experience, but I have to say that the doughnuts really were not that great. In my opinion totally not worth the hype, but still a fun adventure with my little girl in downtown Portland. The above picture is her waiting in line with me outside the shop. Annnnnnddd then I sent Kc back to get takeout from an authentic Chinese barbecue restaurant. It was fun to sit outside and eat it while our kids were asleep in the yurt, savoring every moment of this trip together. 

Olive loves to pet each and every dog she sees. She is very good about it, makes sure to always ask the owner and is ok with it when she is told no, which she has been told a few times. I decided I better start taking some pictures so I could remember it. It is a fun experience for all of us because it gets us talking with strangers and people are so friendly and happy. Olive tells them all about her dog Maybe who is a golden retriever, and Elijah has started to get excited to pet them and talk about it too. Sometimes it is a bit hard when we are in a crowded area and she wants to drag me half way across the street to ask to pet a dog, or when we have been riding bikes and she stops dead in her tracks and tosses her bike to the side, but that also makes me smile and laugh because I know it won't last long and these are the kinds of moments we always want to remember. 

On our second day in Portland I wanted to drive up to Cannon Beach and spend the day there because I had heard it was an amazing place. I wasn't really sure what we should do so we stopped at a little building for local information. The lady told us there were puffins on this big rock! PUFFINS! I was so excited. We bee lined right on over to Haystack rock, which took us a bit since we had to make our way down the beach. Elijah was loving his life on the way down there, running through the sand and stopping to jump into every little puddle or stream of water. When we got there we didn't see any puffins. I was informed that if you wanted to see them you pretty much had to be there at around 8 am because after that they go to burrow and rest on the other side of the rock for the rest of the day. Boo. I have never been so disappointed to not see something I didn't even know I had the chance of seeing! Oh well. We did make it over right as it was low tide and saw so many cool creatures, lots of sea anemones and star fish. Really fun. After we had a good time playing by the rock we headed back in the direction of our car to get some lunch. I headed down to the beach for a bit afterwards and sent KC to the car to get a diaper. When he came back he told me he had run into his cousin who had just moved here. So crazy! She said that her brother had just moved there too but had already gone back to Portland area. What are the chances we would just bump into them at the same place at the same time on this big beach an hour away from where we were both staying! Meant to be. We spent the rest of the afternoon with them before we headed off to get ice cream and go home. I wish I had gotten a picture with them. 

 On our last day in Portland we thought we would visit a Chinese tea garden and get some ice cream from Salt and Straw (another must on my food list.) After we had gotten back from the beach the night before Kc had gone over and spent some time with his cousins, but I went to bed with kiddos because it was late and we were tired, but I still wanted to spend some time with Garrett who we had just missed the day before so we asked him to come spend the day with us. His wife and daughters were in Utah visiting family and we missed not seeing them, but we loved our time with Garrett. We had the most wonderful day together and had some amazing conversations. I really did feel like we were meant to spend this day together. Salt and Straw was perfection beyond perfection. Best ice cream I've ever had, like I think maybe this guy sold his soul to the devil or something to make the perfect ice cream. I had the Portland's creamery goat cheese Marion-berry habanero ice cream and it was divine. That place alone is reason enough to move to Portland, not that I need any more reasons, and now that we have so many good reasons we definitely will be back! After our ice cream we said our goodbyes and took KC to the Portland airport because he had already spent two weeks away from work and had to go back. It was such a wonderful two weeks that I will always remember. The kids and I headed onward and upwards to Washington to the much anticipated destination of Grandma's house. I see many more trips up and down the highway 101 in our future.