Hayden and Layla's Place

Salt Pond Beach, Waimea Canyon, and Spouting Horn April 10, 2014

Monday we wanted to spread our wings a little more around the island and venture to west.  First, though, we had to have breakfast at Starbucks to appease Hayden who had been grouchy several times upon arrival knowing there was a Starbucks around and we hadn’t gone to it (why, I don’t know – there is one not far from our house we sometimes walk to but that’s maybe half a dozen times a year).  Once that was checked off, we headed to Salt Pond Beach, which was

When the waves were strong enough the rocks had a waterfall effect

When the waves were strong enough the rocks had a waterfall effect

great because it had these big rocks which created a little lagoon where the kids could “boogie board” in the gentle water (read: lay on the boogie boards while the water bobs them around a bit) and John could snorkel.  There was another side of the rocks which also seemed pretty cool but a bit more active on the wave front which we didn’t make it to, and then the rocks itself had really small pools in some where little marine life could be found.  The rocks also had a little waterfall effect when the waves were strong enough.

IMG_3072There was a food truck at the beach, so we tried that out for lunch.  Hayden had a couple of shrimp tacos which were great, John and I shared the fish tacos, also good, and Layla had a couple of bites of a cheese quesadilla.  The kids had had a lot of sun and had been really active by then so we thought it was a good time to move on.  I saw there was a geocache nearby so I tried to find that before we left the beach, which took us out to the (hot, slippery) salt ponds area (which was a red clay that left a stain on my feet that was very hard to get off).  I was so bummed I didn’t find the cache!  I’m sure I could have with more time but the kids were so tired and hot that I was under some pressure to get moving – plus it was the first one I tried so maybe I’ll get better with more tries.

There was a bit of travel time involved with our adventures for the day, so we tried to make the most of the overlooks we past.  On the way to the beach in the morning we took in Hanapepe Canyon – just breathtaking.  After the beach (while Layla had a well-earned nap on IMG_3060the go) we drove up to look down on Waimea Canyon – also spectacular.

As we approached Poipu we checked out Spouting Horn.  It was a very interesting natural phenomenon where the water has worn away the lava rock and when the waves get big enough they shoot water up from underneath the rock and spray it into the sky, along with a horn noise.  It’s pretty cool.  Luckily it’s free – although it’s neat to see I wouldn’t pay to see it.  It’s one of those where you go, stand behind the fence for a short time, see it, get the idea, and then leave.  It’s a quick, cool thing, but the kids were pretty over the nature observing by that point.

We decided to go back to Poipu beach for a quick visit in the late afternoon (very near Spouting Horn so why not).  The kids played on the playground for a while, while I went to get them shaved ice from BrennecIMG_3088ke’s (a hit).  John and Hayden found an eel/sea snake (depending on which on looker you talked to) – one woman said it has 2 sets of jaws but I don’t know if she knew what she was talking about.  Then another giant sea turtle came up on shore.  John thinks it was a different one from the other day but I don’t know he knows what he’s talking about – lol!  Oh yeah, high five!  It was cute though because it moved it’s head so it was looking right at Layla while we were watching it which we made a big deal about and she was excited about.

Finally, we wrapped up the day with dinner at Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza & Burgers.  Definitely recommend that one!  I had my first Mai Tai of the trip which was amazing.  I also had a shrimp salad with goat cheese which I loved.  The kids enjoyed their meals (but not so much the fancy lemonade), and John had a great and unusual turkey burger.  Our waitress was really nice, the atmosphere was nice but relaxed.  Oh, and we had these really great truffle fries.  Yum!



Having a Whale of a Time!

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:06 am
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Our first full day in Kauai did not disappoint!  It started by watching the sunrise from our lanai, when I spotted a whale’s fin just out of the IMG_2988water.  We watched amazed as the whale worked his way through the water, eventually out of sight.  The kids were being kids – requesting breakfast and anything else they could think of to (unintentionally) distract us from this amazing site (from our rental, no less!), but we still managed to keep track of it until it was out of sight.  Now that I IMG_3011saw a whale so early on in the trip, I am addicted to looking out onto the water to try to spot one – it was so easy the first time! 😉

John went out for an early run and scoped out the local nature scene, so we went on a little family excursion in the morning.  Hayden in particular LOVED the little hike IMG_3016through the nearby volcanic rocks.  Poipu is just incredibly picturesque.

Next we went to the pool in our little resort.  It’s an OK pool but really nothing special, with a little hot tub.  Of course, it’s been a highlight for the kids.  Kids and pools – I’m sure I’m not the first parent who has realized the kids could be just as satisfied going to a hotel nearby with a tiny, crappy indoor pool as going on a proper vacation!  But, whatever, they like what they like.  Luckily John is such a trooper about water that’s not just the right level of warm so they had a grown up to play with in the pool – I was not keen to go in!

After some swimming we went to Kilohana plantation.  What beautiful grounds they have!  They have train rides every hour, and when we got there the 2:00 had just left so we had an hour to scope things out.  We went toIMG_3045 the sweet shop first, and they kids were really excited to get a bag of bulk candy, while I got some vanilla ice cream (flavored with vanilla they grow on the plantation), as well as some locally made soaps that smell delicious.  When the time came for the train, we were in the middle of a large tour group.  We had hoped to get in the second car which was open air, but they filled it before we got our turn so we were directed to the first car, where the kids decided to go to the very front.  Fantastic idea, as the engineer asked them if they’d like to help drive the train!  So John went with them both to stand up with the driver for the duration of the ride, and they got to blow the whistle several times and Hayden was able to drive it for a while!

The tour was really good, the tour guide was really knowledgeable with a fun IMG_3038personality.  We stopped halfway through to feed the goats, pigs, and chickens (they provided bread).  That was really fun and sweet.  I definitely recommend doing Kilohana for kids (I think I would have liked it even if they weren’t there, but particularly with kids it was fun).  I had read positive reviews before we got here but it was even better than I expected.  Only downside was we missed the last rum tasting!  There is rum tasting throughout the day but it finished right when our train ride finished – that would have been an amazing end to our visit there! 🙂

It was soon time for dinner so we headed to Pizzeta in Old Koloa.  We really enjoyed our food and the atmosphere, but the kids were just completely wiped out so we tried to wrap it up quicker than we would have liked.  Hayden was nearly falling asleep on our laps as we waited for our bill, bless him (very unusual for him – he hardly ever falls asleep in the car even anymore).




First Day in Hawai’i April 9, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 2:47 am
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By the time we got our rental car, dropped our stuff off in our condo, changed into some warm weather clothes, etc, it was well past IMG_2949lunch time but we hadn’t had a proper meal since breakfast LA time which would have been around 5 am local time.  So our first mission was to find some grub.  Since we’re staying in Poipu we went to a nearby shopping center and ate at Poipu Tropical Burgers.  Hayden was in a bad mood because he’d seen a Starbucks and wanted to eat there, so we tried desperately to sympathize with his empty belly/tired eyes and not let him spoil our first outing.  The food was ok – lots to IMG_2956choose from and tasted fine.  They had an aquarium which was fun for Layla, and we were just happy to be eating outside after the bitterly cold, long winter we’ve endured.

After lunch we back to the condo to get ready for our first beach trip of the holiday.  We were thrilled to find lots of beach paraphernalia in a closet so we didn’t have to worry about buying sand toys and boogie boards.  We went to Poipu beach and were so excited to find a giant turtle resting on shore!  They had him roped off with signs asking not to disturb him which I was glad about (equally glad everyone was respecting the signs).  After we were there a while and they tide started coming in he headed back out to sea.  IMG_2959

The kids had a great time swimming (mostly with Daddy – he’s much less of a chicken about being in water that’s not the exact right temperature than me!) and playing in the sand.  The water was just gorgeous, and there was a rock barrier which kept it pretty calm where we were.

After the beach we hit the grocery store (Big Save, in Old Koloa) to stock up on breakfast and lunch stuff.  We’d heard everything is so expensive in Hawai’i, so we were prepared that prices would be higher and maybe that’s why I didn’t find them totally outrageous compared to what I was afraid of.  We came back to the hotel for a quick dinner which Hayden didn’t really even finish due to his exhaustion.


Kauai – Travel Day April 8, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:05 am
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IMG_2944 We have been soooo looking forward to going on Spring Break to Kauai!  We knew it was going to be a long journey – 3 flights – but we were ready with movies packed on the iPads, snacks, and activities for the kids.  So, in short, we were really disappointed when the first leg of our flight was delayed 3 hours, then another 2 hours, and then another 2.  John was on it with the customer service number for United, who did their best to help us but eventually had us going to Newark (the complete wrong side of the country) to stay overnight and then take a God-knows-how-long flight to Kauai.  Fortunately, we went to a ticketing agent in the airport who helped soften that blow a little by routing us through LA via a different airline where we could stay overnight and get a 9 am flight to Kauai the next day.  After how long those 2 flights took I cannot imagine having gone the Newark route – I think we might still be in the air now.

We felt badly having had the kids in the airport since about 7 am, knowing our flight wasn’t going to leave until 7:30 pm in the end.  My dad had graciously driven us to the airport, but that meant we didn’t have a car to give us an option to kill time somewhere else.  We decided to take a taxi to the Children’s Museum for 2 1/2 hours instead of trying to figure out how to keep a 6 and 3 year old entertained for 12 hours in one airport.  Unfortunately, we underestimated the time it would take to get to the museum – round trip it cost about the same as a trip to the grocery store (with wine) – and we didn’t think about the fact that it was a Friday which overlapped the spring breakers who were ending and starting their breaks, making it super crowded.  The kids also just wanted to get moving and didn’t seem to understand what we were trying to do but IMG_2947thought we were delaying them from getting on the plane.  Good intentions, but not a great execution in the end.

The flight was fine, but when we got to LA we had to work out the hotel with the airline which took quite a bit of time, and the shuttle to our hotel took a good 40 minutes with 2 very tired kiddos (at that point it was 1 or 2 am according to their body clocks).   The flight the next morning was all good – I saw Tim Allen at the airport which was cool (funnily enough, we had also seen Jeff Saturday (former Indy Colts’ center) at the Indy airport.  The kids were good on the flight, but I was shocked that Hayden had enough of movies all on his own.  Good for controlling screen time, but a little confusing as I tried to think of what might fill that void.  🙂

And, as you can see from the first picture I took in Hawai’i, all that travel plus a 6 hour time difference really took it out of little Layla!


Inside Outside June 27, 2013

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 6:33 pm

I have two children, and neither seems to want to be in the same place at the same time.  Namely, Hayden never wants to go outside, and Layla

always wants to be outside.  Layla will wake up in the morning and ask when she can go outside.  I have to think of ways to bribe Hayden to be outside.  Sometimes something will work – Gatorade, chocolate, a puzzle book – and the next day the same thing might not work.  I think it stems from his allergies.  He takes an oral allergy liquid, and nasal spray, and (when I can convince him to) eye drops to try to control his allergies.  But, even with all that it is still not unusual to see him itching his nose.  So when I ask him why he doesn’t want to go outside, he says it’s because bugs get in his nose – that seems to be from a time when there were a lot of little gnats out that kept flying in front of our faces while he was also having an itchy nose, and I think he thought they were getting in his nose.  Sometimes it helps his mind to put bug spray on him when we’re out.  But really, sometimes there is just no convincing him, and he’d rather stay inside doing Legos or whatever he wants to do that day.



Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 6:25 pm

Summer is in full here, and that means it’s hot and when you’re outside you want to be by a pool.  John and I were both really adamant that Hayden learn to swim this year, so we’ve got both kids in private lessons once a week.  Hayden has been in swimming lessons many times before, but it’s always been in a group setting, and he’s never really made much progress (I think the main reason being he spends 75% of the time sitting waiting for the other kids, amounting to about 7 minutes of actual instruction).

They have a nice young man as an instructor, Michael.  I thought this would be really good for Hayden as he seems more responsive to men sometimes.  I have been blown away by how much progress Hayden has made.  First of all, he is really loving the water.  He’s been taking baths again lately (was really into showers there for a while), and he’ll lay on his back in the bath and “float”.  Sure makes washing his hair a heck of a lot easier, too!  In his last lesson he progressed to actually swimming strokes as well, as opposed to just kicking around the water on a noodle.  It’s been really exciting to watch his progress.  We told him that if he was actually swimming (no life jacket, etc) by the end of the summer we would take him to Great Wolf Lodge as a treat.  I think that has given him a bit of incentive, but he also seems to be enjoying it and taking pride in his achievements.

Layla is also progressing, but she is also crying a lot during her lesson still.  She’s getting more comfortable floating on her back and loves kicking around the pool in a noodle.  I’m happy with any progress she makes because IMO she’s still a bit on the young side to expect her to hold her own in the water without floaties.


Easter April 15, 2013

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:58 pm
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Again, not really sure where to start since we haven’t written in so long.  So Easter it is!  We went to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt, as we like to do each year.  Thought we would miss it this year as we were scheduled to be out of town, but had to cancel that trip at the last minute due to predicted snow.  So had to quickly go get Layla an Easter dress for the occasion to peak out from under her coat (since it has taken FOREVER for spring to get here!).  Layla was scared of the Easter bunny and wouldn’t sit on his lap, so bit of a bummer that we couldn’t get a photo of the kids together with him.

Easter weekend we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s on Saturday.  Normally we have a big Easter brunch with the whole family, but everyone was out of town except us and Grandma and Grandpa, so we had a little get together with Chinese food.  We were able to

throw together a post-Easter brunch with the rest of the gang the following weekend though (by now it might be apparent that the kids had PLENTY of Easter time this year).  They also had an Easter egg hunt at their day care center.  Then Sunday we went to Grandpaman’s and Grandma G’s.  Our friends the Carter’s joined us – they are here from the UK for 3 years, much to our delight.  My dad and Gretchen were kind enough to invite them over, and we had some wonderful food and play time there.