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).

 

Advertisements

Back to School!

(Please ignore Omar’s pained expression, he’s going through that I-can’t-smile-like-a-normal-person phase)

School starts early here, ridiculously early in my opinion. Mckenna went back to school on July 30th, Omar had an orientation on Friday and started for realz this Monday. So this week I officially have two school age kids.

 

(This is Mckenna’s for real first day pic, but it was when we were still in the hotel room of doom…)

 

Since we are done (really I mean it, DONE!) having more babies, I feel like a chapter in our lives is over. I’ve had a kid in tow for the last 10 years, and now they are both in school!  Now I am child-less for 6 hours a day and it feels SO bizarre.

Part of it was a realization at just how quickly time has flown. When Mckenna started kindergarten 5 years ago, I was hugely pregnant with Omar and ended up having him 3 weeks later. Now that baby is going into school, too. I wish I had my hard drive so I could pull up some photos of Mckenna’s first day.

Oh here is one I dug up from my facebook page of the month Mckenna started kindergarten and Omar was born:

 

Look at her! She is a baby! (and Omar REALLY is a baby) It still stuns me just how quickly the past 5 years have flown by. We moved to Spain, then to Hawaii. It’s just crazy how much your life can change in a few years.

One thing that is great about having two kids in school is the fact that my husband is on leave right now! While we are still running around like crazy with all of the errands we are still having to get done, we are also hanging out together. Just us! It’s been really nice, even though he has been dragging me to the gym most days after we drop off the kids. Today we actually went and saw a movie while the kids were at school. (The Watch, stupid funny, but then again I love all the cast members).

So bittersweet. There is my adjective for school starting. Both my kids love it so far. I miss my babies but am also enjoying these free hours I have.

Eating Our Way Through the North Shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend we headed back up to the North Shore. I am falling in love with this view as we crest over the hill and head down to the shore… When you actually see it in person you can hardly tell where the sky ends and the water begins. Also if you go earlyish in the morning you won’t sit in hideous traffic like we had to last time!

 

We made a quick detour to Turtle Beach since we had such good luck last time we were there.  Gorgeous water, beautiful coastline. I can’t wait to do more exploring up here. It’s just so, so different than Honolulu.

 

 

No luck this time. I don’t know if we were just too early or what. Not a turtle in sight. Insert sad trombone… Mckenna was really bummed, so was I. We had actually brought our snorkeling gear with us so we could snorkel with the turtles.  Omar on the other hand was thrilled because he was NOT in the mood to be at the beach. Weirdo.

 

Onward! We made our way over to Hale’iwa to poke around town and find something to eat. Please note Mckenna doing her best to look like my little Hawaiian girl by throwing a shaka! I may have made my poor husband pull over at both signs on the road (actually I made him pull over for the first one, he pulled over for me before I even had a chance to ask for the second!)

 

First stop on the agenda: Masumoto’s Shave Ice.  A Hawaiian must do. Everyone and there mother will tell you that you have to go to this place so there is usually a huge line.  I grabbed this shot as we were leaving. When we got there we only had a few people in front of us, almost zero wait. Also it gave us time to look at the CRAZY menu!

 

 

 

 

Below is the menu. It was VERY hard to narrow it down to 3 flavors! You can also get ice cream on the bottom of your snow cone sorry, shave ice, and/or condensed milk drizzled over the top. So far I have been a purist and haven’t tried it but I am going to have to start experimenting! Oh and they have a specific way they want you to order… how many, size, cup or bowl, etc…

 

 

This machine is an ice shaving beast. And the girl was crazy fast scooping and making the perfect scoop shape (and also clearly thrilled I am taking her picture.)

 

Yummy shave ice! What is not shown is that Omar dropped his shave ice about 30 seconds after sitting on a bench outside. There were tears. But he then got to share with all of us, and pose with my cherry/watermelon shave ice.

 

 

Verdict: All shave ice pretty much tastes the same to me. Stop by if you are there, otherwise go to one of the other million stands on the island.

 

 

 

After our shave ice we decided to get dessert. What? This day had no rhyme or reason to our eating schedule!

 

Just ended up grabbing a photo op and some cookies. We were a little disappointed by the baked goods selection for a bakery, but they do also bake their own bread and have a nice little lunch menu. Service, hmmm. Our order taker was friendly but literally stopped us 3-4 times in the middle of our order to deliver food/talk to other people. Super cute little place though. $1 cookies!

 

 

 

 

$1 cookie display. My walnut chocolate chip was really good. And Omar didn’t drop his!

Right across the parking lot is this trailer with dozens of chickens on it. You cannot miss the smell, it is divine.  We had other plans for lunch so we decided to pick up a chicken for dinner. $9 for a chicken ($9.50 if you want it cut up). We also picked up some pineapple cole slaw. Yes I know, I was dubious too. But it is really good.

 

 

Grab a 1/2 or whole chicken and sit at a table and eat it. When we ate it for dinner there was only a backbone left in the serving dish, my kids picked the chicken clean. Great sauce or rub or whatever it is that they put on it.  And when you are done you can wash your hands in the cutest sink ever. I love beach towns.

 

 

Next stop: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck another must do according to every guide book, friend and tv show.

 

 

 

Super simple menu makes it easy to order.

 

 

While you wait grab a Sharpie and sign your name. Good luck finding a spot!

 

 

 

 

Omar got the spicy shrimp which weren’t that spicy to him because he has a ridiculous scale of spiciness from eating habaneros every single day. They were wicked spicy, I couldn’t handle them.

 

 

I got the scampi which were good. Both of our shrimp may have been a smidge overcooked. Good but we are also lazy and don’t like peeling our shrimp. (first world problems I know…)

 

 

 

So great day eating and trying lots of must try things. If you haven’t gotten up there yet, DO IT!

We have a house!

So we moved into our house this week, it has been WONDERFUL to get out of a hotel room. Everyone needed a door to close to get away from everyone else. I love my children but I am really, really glad that I can send them upstairs to play, or to the park right behind our house.

We have some hideous awesome temporary furniture that we get to use until our stuff gets delivered. But really, it’s nice to have beds, a couch and a table and chairs. The same day we moved in we had our temp furniture delivered, our express shipment delivered and had satellite tv hooked up.  So we at least have enough stuff to cook and get through the next month. It’s been great to be able to cook dinner again. It’s going to be a long time until we eat fast food!

There is a LOT that I want to do to this house. I really want to paint some walls but we have to get approval first… Also our (tiny) yard is pretty much just red dirt. So I am really looking forward to getting some grass seed in there and doing some gardening. I have a little papaya tree in my front yard and I am hoping I can actually get it to produce some big ol’ papaya.

Oh, and one of the perks of living in Hawaii? I found a roach today in my kitchen. Since we have hardly any food it must have already been here. Needless to say I was throwing up in my mouth, I have NEVER had to deal with roaches before! First thing tomorrow I am calling maintenance to have them come spray the crap outta my house. I can deal with ants and spiders but roaches are a deal breaker.

Need to take some pictures to show, but we’ve been so crazy running around getting errands done. Really looking forward to relaxing and settling in!

Summer is almost over!

Well for my kids anyways… Believe it or not, school starts July 30th here in Hawaii.

I really can’t believe my baby is starting kindergarten, I just hope he does okay because he can be super shy when meeting new people.

We did our meet and greet at the school yesterday. Mckenna is doing another split this year! When she was in third grade she did a 3rd/4th split and ended up being with the same teacher for 4th. She did great and we LOVED that she had the same teacher for two years. This year she is in a 5th/6th split and the teacher normally teaches 6th so Mckenna may have her for two years. She seems very nice so I’m excited for this year. The school is smaller which many people may not like but since we are coming from a small school I am happy. There are 4 K’s, 3 1st, 3 2nd 2 3rd, 2 4th, 1 5th, 1 5th/6th and 1 6th.  Fingers crossed Mckenna makes friends quickly!

Omar still isn’t assigned a teacher, he had to do some testing along with the rest of the kindergartners next week and his first official day won’t be until August 6th.

I’m hoping that I will make good use of all this free time I’ll suddenly have and get everything unpacked and organized in our new house (assuming we ever move in and get our stuff).

North Shore Trip aka Best. Day. Ever.

We decided to actually do something Hawaiian and touristy and take a trip up to the North Shore. On the way up we took a quick stop by the Dole Plantation. We weren’t trying to stay all day so we didn’t do the maze or train.

Not even a minute after walking in did Omar spy a pineapple! They have groups of different varieties growing all over the place and it’s amazing to see the many different colors and sizes. Who knew?!

The koi pond was also pretty cool. The koi were outta control, trying to swim on top of each other to get food. Unfortunately for us, the food was all gone out of the dispensers. Go before noon if you want to try to get some!

They had some really pretty plants as well. I am constantly taking pictures of all of the plants and flowers I see (I really need to buy that macro lens I want!) I love how well landscaped everything on this island is! Just beautiful!

My little pineapples… There was a group ahead of us who were doing this as well but they had way more people and a million cameras and were taking FOREVER. It was super annoying and they refused to get out of the way so my kids could take a picture.

Everyone raves about the Dole Whip, and I admit it was good. But really, it’s pineapple soft serve. For $5. But now I can say I ate it.

Guess what? MORE pineapple pictures! They were SO cool, and the baby ones were adorable. (Yes, I realize I just described a fruit as adorable.)

I don’t know what kind of tree this is, but Mckenna and I are now calling it a rainbow tree.

Continuing on to the North Shore, we passed this horse farm. Nothing happened, I just love how this shot turned out. (As we were creeping along in traffic because our bright idea was the same one that half the island had!)

Quick pull off right after the horse farm. Turtle Beach! I was hoping to see at least one sea turtle, or honu as they are known here. Instead, we saw DOZENS!

I just love those sweet faces! But not enough to touch them as they are protected and will cost $250K!  The volunteers were actually really great and I would love to join them! hang with turtles all day? Sign me up!

While we were having a religious experience with sea turtles, Omar was happy to watch from the shore.

Next time I am bringing a snorkel!

One of the turtles up close. This is why they are here, to munch on all this yummy algae.

Onward! This time to find something to eat! We ended up purely on accident at Ted’s Bakery. Ended up having a GREAT lunch wishing we had room for dessert. They are apparently quite famous for their cream pies (which looked outstanding!)  I did end up having my very first Hawaiian plate lunch. Fantastic!

After lunch we tried to make our way to Waimea Bay, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. Parking was INSANE. No where to park for miles, so back up the coast we go, finally stopping at Shark’s Cove. I had read that they had great snorkeling and even though we hadn’t brought any with us, we were hot and ready to cool off!

Omar and Mckenna went in first and I couldn’t tell whether they were enjoying it or not. Once they came back they said they saw tons of fish. We all ended up going out (with just goggles) and ended up seeing hundreds of convict tangs, parrot fish, wrasses, puffer fish, a moorish idol, and a humahuma trigger. I can NOT wait to go back here with a snorkel!

Still can’t believe this is my life. I’m kinda digging it so far.