Hayden and Layla's Place

Northern Exposure April 11, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:32 am
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We spent Wednesday on the North Shore.  We’d heard all along in our planning that the north was traditionally rainier/cloudier and the south was more predictably dry.  Well, I’ll start by saying we had a beautiful, dry, sunny day in the north.  I presume the same happened inIMG_3128 the south but it was cloudy when we left in the morning.

We had a 9:30 kids’ tour at Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens.  It was a lovely, hour drive up the island.  Unfortunately, Layla fell out of the car when we got there and skinned up her knee, so we started our time there trying to get that cleaned up and her calmed down (poor thing – there was a good amount of blood 😦 ).  Luckily John had thrown someIMG_3125 Hello Kitty band aids in his backpack before we came on this trip, so it definitely softened the blow when she needed THREE of them!  The staff were so helpful when they saw her, bringing me antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide, and bandages.  Layla loves being carried, and we knew with her fresh injury we were going to be carrying her throughout the tour.  The guide asked if we wanted a stroller for her, and that did help being able to push her along.

IMG_3112I can’t say enough great things about the botanical gardens.  They gave the kids little paper bags to collect anything on the ground that interested them.  Our tour guide was so nice and informative, the grounds were stunning, there was a big pond with koi fish that could be hand fed (Hayden got a big kick out of that), there were beautiful statues throughout, and once the proper tour was over we could play in the kids area (which was immaculate, even the restrooms) which had a splash area as well as lots of other unique and well maintained equipment for kids.

After the gardens we went to Kilauea for lunch at the Bakery.  Another fantastic meal!  We all got a little treat for dessert (Hayden got a slice of cherry pie that he seemed delighted with) – just wonderful.  We hit the Kilauea Lighthouse from there.  Before we got there we saw in the distance a seal sunbathing on the shore – first seal of the trip!  The IMG_3146lighthouse itself was pretty simple and you couldn’t go in it, but it was out on a point that was really beautiful and apparently there are many whale sightings although the volunteer we talked with hadn’t seen any that day.  We did see an albatross and frigate which were beautiful birds, and we had a nice chat with the volunteer who was from England so we had lots to talk about in addition to the local knowledge she provided.

We kept driving west on the north coast, and got to the end of the road on Ke’e IMG_0105beach.  We went for a .5 mile hike up a trail and caught some beautiful views.  I hadn’t realized we were going to be hiking at that particular stop so I hadn’t changed my or Layla’s shoes, so we were both in flip flops.  She also wouldn’t walk on the way up because of her boo boo, so I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot hiking in flip flops while carrying a 3 year old who was also in inappropriate footwear.  Hayden was SUPER into the hiking, though.  He has really loved exploring.  John made a great point earlier in the week that he will be a prime candidate for the Cub Scouts next year, when he’ll be old enough to join.  Layla IMG_3167finally did want to walk herself on the way down – thank God!  She had a lot of fun hopping from rock to rock to get down.  When we reached the 1/2 mile point Hayden was desperate to keep going, so the boys went on a few more minutes and passed us a little ways from the bottom.

Before we left we checked out a wet cave and a dry cave, which were both cool.  Layla and I tried to split a coconut drink, but she didn’t like it.  Then I tried to split it with John.  It’s not bad but is a taste I have not acquired.  We got through most of it. 🙂

IMG_3176On the way to dinner we went out to the pier in Hanalei, which is where they filmed The Descendants (love that movie).  Then off to dinner back in Kilauea, at a restaurant called Bistro.  Good food, and another good Mai Tai (I still consider the best to be from Merriman’s but John thought this was better).  A beagle-sized dog wormed his way through the little patio fencing in the restaurant while we were eating to make himself at home.  Everyone wanted to take him home and I think John had the kids thinking that was a possibility, luckily Hayden wasn’t too deflated when we broke it to him that we couldn’t.  He just wanted reassurance that the doggie wasn’t going to die when we left, bless.  He seemed like he had a steady diet so hopefully just a dog from a surrounding neighborhood off scavenging.

We drove the hour back with the kids passed out in back.  Another packed, glorious day!  Mahalo, Kauai!

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Lydgate Park, Plantation Gardens

Tuesday was incredibly windy!  The gusts were so loud it sounded like the roof was going to blow off the house a few times, and it was IMG_3093hissing through the kids’ bedroom window tot he point that they were getting a little put off.  Apparently these were abnormal winds (trade winds, maybe?), but they lasted 2 full days.  We didn’t even sit outside in the evenings after the kids were asleep as it was so windy and chilly (the good news was the bugs were kept away with the wind).

We started the day on  the east coast.  We first stopped at the Wailua Falls, one of the many gorgeous waterfalls on Kauai.  Like so many beautiful attractions on Kauai, it was just a quick (free!) stop off destination.  Most of us appreciated the view, but Hayden was upset because we’d originally thought we were going to go Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and told him there was a fun kids area, but we couldn’t get IMG_3094reservations for the kids’ tour in the morning so had to push that to the next day.  So the falls seemed a bit boring to him in comparison, but luckily for him there is not too much to do when viewing a waterfall – however beautiful – to keep you there too long.

We headed on to Lydgate Park and Beach.  This is a MUST for any family with kids visiting Kauai.  Hayden still says this is his favorite part of vacation, and as we were leaving the park he asked when we could come again.  They have a fantastic, huge playground that the kids had a blast exploring.  Unfortunately, we got our timing a bit off as it happened, and did the playground while it was lovely and sunny and tried the beach after it clouded over and eventually rained for a while.  I mentioned in my last post how crazy windy it was for a couple of days – add those enormous gusts to clouds and a bit of rain and it was downright cold while we were on the beach!  Apparently the water was cold too (it was nearing lunch and with the weather as it was I didn’t even bother changing into a swimsuit).  The kids and John spent a bit of time in the water – thereIMG_3096 was a nice little lagoon made by rocks to keep the water calm, similar to the day before.  The kids were over it after a few minutes, but John stayed in to do a little snorkeling.  He didn’t realize it had started raining, so we took cover under a tree while we waited for him – he got a new backpack with 700 compartments and it was easier to wait for his return than trying to figure out where the keys were.

We headed back south for lunch.  John and I went to the Koloa Fish Market to get some delicious fish for lunch, which we took back to the condo to eat while the kids had some sandwiches.  Layla helped herself to some of the edamame we had gotten (she approved).  I had their lunch special which was 3 generous pieces of 2 kinds of fish (ono and ahi) with various sauces I selected, some wonderful macaroni salad, and sushi rice.  It was excellent – but so big that I had to save the rest for another time, but it was just as great a couple of days later!  John got a seaweed salad and a scallop salad which he said were awesome.

We thought we were having pictures in the late afternoon so we didn’t want to venture too far after lunch.  We hit the pool and hot tub IMG_3102for a little while.  After we were all cleaned up and ready for the photos the photographer came by to check if we wanted to try in a couple of days when the winds wound down and it wasn’t so dreary.  So since we had a bit of time given to us we went to Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center.  I had failed to bring anything warm and wanted to get a long sleeved shirt/souvenir.  We all ended up getting Kauai/Poipu shirts, and I love mine so much I want to go back to get another different but similar one.

For dinner we went to Plantation Gardens Restaurant.  It took a while to figure out where to park – it’s part of a resort and it’s not obvious where the restaurant part is.  But to get to the restaurant you have to walk through their gorgeous gardens.  They had huge koi fish the kids enjoyed seeing and talking to.  The food was superb and the restaurant was very pretty.  And again by the time we left the kids were nearly ready to crash out!  I was not far behind them – I didn’t even make it to 9 before I was asleep watching tv.  We are filling our days to the brim and combining that with whatever is left of jet lag makes for hearty sleeping!

 

 

Having a Whale of a Time! April 10, 2014

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!