Haleakala ~ House of the Sun

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One of the things I was really looking forward to was driving to the top of Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui.  While this isn’t an active volcano like what you can find on the Big Island, it is still … Continue reading

Waikiki Staycation

Catch up time!

Even though we LIVE in paradise, it’s still fun to VACATION in paradise! We had wanted to do some island hopping when Omar came home and had leave but with his mom and sister coming to visit we were a little tight on time. Thankfully Waikiki is just down the road!

We ended up staying at the Outrigger which has an awesome kama’aina (local) rate. It’s also close to the action of all the restaurants and beaches.

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We ate tons of food…  Yardhouse is right around the corner, I love it, the rest of my family isn’t impressed. Cheeseburger in Waikiki is good for burgers.

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Throwing a shaka at Cheeseburger Waikiki

It’s also just fun to walk around… Well until the teeming masses of tourists drive you absolutely crazy.

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We are standing on a slope, she isn’t that tall YET!

 

The best thing was just being able to hang out and play together as a family. We are terrible when it comes to that at home. We all have our electronics to entertain us. So it was good to put that all away for a few days.

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Plenty of beach time….

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Diamondhead in the background!

And for something EXTRA entertaining rent a kayak. This was a hilarious disaster. I don’t know what they were thinking letting all four of us into one kayak. We are NOT responsible enough for that!

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DSCF4107(FYI I can’t stand putting on a wet life jacket. It oogs me out for some reason.)

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While it looks like he is hanging on for dear life he was having fun… Being dragged by a kayak is a blast.

We also spotted a couple of sea turtles. Which necessitated me jumping OUT of the kayak to try and get some pictures of. And I lost the turtle as soon as I jumped in. Second turtle I got a pic but it was murky so I had to use this crazy filter to show him clearly. It really is kind of crazy that these guys are everywhere.

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And the BEST part of a vacation? Boozing it up with your husband!
DSCF4098aGot a Waikiki question? Let me know! I am happy to steer you toward the best hotels, eats and hang out spots!

 

Bellows Beach

Oh my… how has it taken me three months to get to this beach? It. Is. Gorgeous!

Like the beach you picture in your mind when you think of hawaii? The perfect curl of white sand with lush green mountains in the back and gorgeous blue water?

 

 

Yeah. This is it. Beautiful, soft white sand… clear blue water… just lovely.

 

 

 

So we set up camp right at the edge of the woods (great campgrounds right next to the beach for all you campers!) and hit the waves.

 

 

We went with a friend of mine and her two kids and we all had a great time. The water was the perfect temperature and the waves were perfect for boogie boarding. Mckenna hadn’t done in years but picked it right up again.

 

 

I could sit here with this view forever.

 

Or this one!

 

Omar was a little miffed at me after we wiped out one time when I took him out on the boogie board. Nothing bad, I think it just surprised him. Time to rinse off and eat some more snacks!

 

 

Little Surfer Girls (boogie board girls?) They had a great time riding the waves and digging a giant hot tub in the sand.

 

Sandy, happy children. Really, who couldn’t be happy with this practically in our back yard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaneohe Bay – Pyramid Rock Beach

 

One of the first things you learn when you move to Oahu is how the island is divided. Down the center of the island runs a mountain range (gotta love all that volcanic activity!). The north eastern side of the divide is the windward side, it gets all of the winds and moisture. The southwestern side (where we live) is the leeward side, not as cool and much drier. This becomes very apparent when you go from one side to another. I LOVE the windward side! It is so lush and green and every time I see it I feel like I am in Jurassic Park (because it was filmed here!)

 

 

 

This is the tunnel that cuts through the mountains, it is fairly new and is much easier than having to drive all the way around or over! And when you pop out of the tunnel this is what greets you:

 

The hills all have those distinct ridges due to erosion, all of the rain has carved the rock.

 

 

 

We were looking for someplace to snorkel over on the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay but there wasn’t really anything suitable so we headed to Pyramid Rock Beach. It was a beautiful breezy day but the surf was really rough and we were advised by the lifeguard to stay shallow and keep our kids close.

 

 

Yes, I know it is all beach and ocean pictures all the time but seriously, this has been my life! We have spent a disgusting amount of time at the beach, but isn’t that what you are supposed to do when you live in Hawaii?

 

 

My gorgeous girl. This was the only picture I have where she isn’t posing like she’s trying out for America’s Next Top Model.

 

 

Oh this boy, he melts my heart.

 

 

Pyramid Rock, I wanted to go see if we could hike up the stairs but as you can see it’s REALLY far away and I am incredibly lazy. I bet the view from up there is great! 

 

 

 

Super crowded beach, I don’t know how we deal with the masses of people. Seriously though, I love going to beaches on base.

 

 

 

 

 

We also stalked a crab… cutest thing ever.

 

 

And the weirdo dog that was happy as hell to eat the leftover ice from the ice chest. Also please ignore my dirt back yard. My gardening stuff isn’t here yet, give me a couple of months and it will be beautiful!

 

The one where I eat out of a trough

So yesterday we decided to be the most awesome. parents. ever!  and pick our kiddos up from school and go directly to Dave and Buster’s. D&B’s is like a big kid’s Chuck E. Cheese. They have a restaurant and then a huge video game area. We had been before on one of our day date’s we have been indulging in since the kids have been in school, but this time we decided to be nice and take the kid’s too.

We were going for a late lunch but the kids weren’t hungry so they just got milkshakes. And eat the nachos we got as an appetizer (I LOVE their nachos!)

See?! Spoiled happy kids! (pardon the cell phone pics)

So for lunch I decided to get a salad and picked one called The Lawnmower. The picture looked like a cobb type salad with a little bit of everything. My kind of salad. So imagine my surprise when this arrived at our table:

That platter is TWO FEET LONG! You know how when you order fajitas and all the plates and bowls and sizzling platters feel like you are taking up half the table? Well this thing took up half the table!! I think our entire family could have eaten comfortably off of this salad. (Also please ignore Mckenna’s super natural looking surprised face)

Anyways, the salad was good (what I could eat of it) also the stolen sips of Omar’s abandoned chocolate milkshake.

Oh, Also!!! Dave and Buster’s offers a 20% military discount! That is a seriously good discount because they have decent meal prices to start, like mainland prices, not Hawaii prices.

Life size connect four! Mckenna won, she was super excited!

So after eating we hit up the games, which was perfect because Wednesday is half price games, who knew? The kids had a great time, we won a bazillion tickets and ended up not getting home until almost 6pm (love that traffic!)

So I got to skip out on making dinner because we still weren’t really hungry so we did leftovers/scrounge in the fridge night. Perfect!

So, yeah. Don’t order The ginormous salad unless you are starving or prepared to share some of your three heads of romaine lettuce!

 

 

 

Waikiki Aquarium

Okay hawaii. So far I am digging it here but you have GOT to step it up when it comes to the only aquarium on Oahu!  I knew before coming that it was small, but it’s not small it’s tiny! Do NOT come with visions of Monterey Bay Aquarium, Baltimore Aquarium or Shedd Aquarium in your mind (three of the best I’ve been to!)

One thing you can’t fault is the location, right on the water at the east end of Waikiki. Parking is a little crazy, we parked in our favorite cheapo military lot and meandered through Waikiki. It’s about a mile and a half walk and not too bad if you stop for lunch. Which we didn’t do because none of us could agree so we ended up at the aquarium hot and crabby. Fun times!

On with it!

 

 

What is wrong with this boy? Seriously, he can not take a normal picture anymore.

 

And since the posts have been so snorkel heavy I’ll just try to throw some of my favorite fish into a collage so you don’t have to scroll past them. Sorry, I love me some fish!

 

See that wasn’t so bad. So yeah the aquarium is small but they have some of the most beautiful display tanks I’ve ever seen, huge clams, a carpet anemone that was 2 feet wide, a mangrove tank, a tank outside, really beautiful.

 

 

 

The kiddos held some hermit crabs and pet some urchins, touch tanks are always a big hit.
The clam propagation tank outside. Some seriously stunning clams in there. They also have their coral growing tank outside as well. Really cool and makes me want to volunteer so I can play, too!

Walking right out of the aquarium you are right at the seawall along the water, tried again and again to get a good splash but I kept missing it…

 

 

 

 

So out we walked onto the breakwater where Omar (jr.) ended up getting soaked by a wave. Whoops!

 

 

 

 

 

So aquarium, nice but probably an hour tops for most people. There is a discount if you are a local and the tour includes a talking speaker tour dealy to give you details about all of the exhibits.  Make it part of your day in Waikiki and walk around (it’s also right near the zoo so you can make it a twofer).