Hayden and Layla's Place

Helicopter Ride April 12, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:24 pm
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IMG_3262Thursday we went on a helicopter ride!  It was very, very cool.  Luckily the winds had calmed right down – I don’t think I would have been very comfortable in strong winds.  The kids didIMG_3228 great – Layla wanted me to have my hand on her leg but that was all the reassurance she required.  She was very quiet though so I think she was apprehensive but being very brave.  She got so comfortable in the end though that she ended up falling asleep!!  Oh dear.  Hayden was in the front row with John so I wasn’t able to see him, but John said he was really excited.

It was a clear, gorgeous day so we had spectacular views.  We saw each area of the islandIMG_3251 (i.e. north, south, etc), and the pilot told us some stories and facts about the island and pointed out areas of interest – many of them relating to the many films shot around the island.   For instance, the waterfall from Jurassic Park (pictured) and the beach from The Descendants.

We were a couple of minutes late for the helicopter check in because we spotted some whales when we were on our balcony before we left.  We tried to get a good pic but it’s really hard to capture them from shore without a fancy camera.  It is just so exciting to see the water spraying into the air and the occasional fin splashing out of the IMG_3278water.  We could see there were about 3 or 4 traveling together (from what we hear, likely mom and calves).   So after the helicopter ride we came back to the condo, made some lunch and parked back out on the balcony to see if we could see more whales.  They weren’t around any longer, so we took the kids to the pool for a while.  John and I each took turns watching the kids while the other went to a spot nearby to watch the waves and turtles.  We’ve gotten good at spotting the huge turtles swimming around.  They really seem to do well in the rough areas that you would think would just bash them right into the rocks.

We had our rescheduled photo session in the afternoon.  It was fine, but it is just so breezy on the shore as well as so bright looking into IMG_3300the sun that I am a bit weary about how they will turn out.  I’ll have to just try to suspend my judgement until I see the photos. 🙂

After photos we took a little hike around shipwreck beach.  We could see again some whales playing in the water – proper splashing around and seeming to have a “whale” of a time out there, so much fun to watch!  We also saw some more turtles showing off in the rough waves in a different part of the shore.  Hayden was loving IMG_3305the hike as usual, but it was a sandy path and Layla just can’t deal with sand in her shoes.  So there was a lot of carrying her around and eventually I just told the boys to go on as far as they wanted and I took her back down to the beach.  While we were waiting we found this cute heart made out of stones.  I love the pic of Layla standing on it. 🙂

We had reservations at Keoki’s Paradise for dinner.  We had some more yummy Mai Tais (still not beating Merriman’s, though), calamari, fantastic bread, and John and I split our fish and seafood risotto meals.  The food was good – I think I ate too much appetizer and bread because it was hard to finish the meals, but it was good.  The couple at the table next to us had a drink that came in a pineapple, so we had fun watching that and eventually he gave the pineapple top to Hayden which was fun.

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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).