Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dream Vacation!!

I have said since we have gotten married that I wanted to go to Hawaii for our 10th wedding anniversary.  We will celebrate 10 years of marriage on August 7th and we just returned from an 8 day trip to Hawaii!  I am one spoiled girl and I cannot wait to share our trip with you!!  God is so good to me...far beyond what I deserve.



View from my balcony

We left for Honolulu around 11am on Monday, July 21st.  The plane ride was longer than any I have ever taken before - right at 8 hours.  It was a direct flight so we were in the same place the entire time.  The flight, surprisingly, did not seem as long as it sounds!  I read a great deal of the newest book by Francine Rivers - Bridge to Haven, watched TV, listened to music, and actually was able to sleep a little.  We arrived in Honolulu around 2:00 Hawaii time which would have been 7pm Texas time.  By the time we got to the hotel and settled, we were quite hungry so we ate at the little restaurant downstairs in our hotel.  The view from our hotel balcony lanai was amazing!!!  We had a partial ocean/Diamond Head view.  It was spectacular.  
Diamond Head

After dinner, I went down to the beach and stuck my feet in.  The water was so warm and I couldn't wait to get in!!

Day 2 - This day started ridiculously early!  We got up at 4am in order to catch our tour bus at 6:15.  We had to walk to Starbucks for breakfast and then walk to where our bus picked us up.  First stop was Pearl Harbor.  

It was a great tribute and I learned so much that I did not know.  I am not a huge history person and I didn't think I would be real interested in this part of the trip but it was really neat and moving to think about it as it happened. 

the naval air base

On the boat going to the USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

We could have actually spent a little more time there, we both agreed.  


Me and my man

Then the bus was off to the Dole Plantation. 

Dole pineapple whip!  The best stuff!!!

 We were only there for 20 minutes.  It was long enough to eat some pineapple whip with fresh pineapple, Brice tried some tea sweetened with pineapple juice, we took some pictures and it was time to go. 
Outside the maze
 
Really, I would have liked to ride the train and maybe try the maze but it was okay too.  Then it was off to the Polynesian Cultural Center where we would spend the rest of our day.  

At the Polynesian Cultural Center


Beautiful views at the PCC




The Samoan demonstration...it was AWESOME!

We ate lunch first and then had the rest of the time - about 3 hours to explore the center.  It was a lot of fun and we got to see a lot of neat shows.  Then the bus went around the North Shore.  We saw lots of beaches and it rained most of the day.  We got back home around 6:30 and went to eat a burger for dinner.  We were exhausted and I think I fell asleep sitting straight up.

Day 3 - We were able to sleep a little later this day.  We headed out for Starbucks and our bus at about 6:30.  Today we went to Kualoa Ranch.  



We went on a 1-hour horseback ride and a 1-hour bus tour of movie sites.  The horseback ride was a lot of fun and the bus tour was okay.  

My horse - Frodo

The ranch was beautiful!  We had a lot of fun just walking around and looking at everything.  We ate lunch there and left around 1:00. 


When we got home, we showered and made reservations for a really nice restaurant not far from the hotel.  We were somewhat limited on what we could do because we did not rent a car in Oahu.  We had the best dinner.  It was romantic and the food was delicious!  I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Day 4 - Submarine tour and travel to Kauai.  We got to leave a little later this morning and we ate breakfast at the other restaurant in our hotel.  It was a neat atmosphere...outside overlooking the ocean.  After breakfast, we headed to the bus stop and headed to the submarine port. 


It was behind a Hilton hotel and we both decided that when we go back, that is the hotel we will stay in!  It was secluded but nice with a private beach and marina and was within closer walking distance to things.  Anyway, we had to take a boat waaaaaaaayyyyy out into the middle of the ocean to board the submarine.  I got a little queasy in the whole process but felt okay once we were actually under the water.  It was neat.  

Fish from inside the submarine


We saw lots of fish, large fish and some SEA TURTLES!!!!  I LOVE sea turtles!!!!  But none of them told me how long they live! ;)  After the submarine ride, we headed back to our hotel to take the ride to the airport.  Took the 30 minute airplane trip to Kauai.....BEAUTIFUL Kauai!!  We ate dinner at Kalapaki Joe's and it was so good.  I just had fish tacos but they were yummy!  We walked on the beach for a little while and saw a monk seal sleeping on a sand bar!!!  SO COOL!!!

Day 5 - This was luau day!!!!  We spent the morning at the beach and then after that, we went for a car adventure to the Waimea Canyon.  


Waimea Canyon
It was breathtakingly beautiful but again...I got sick from all of the twists and turns on the road around the mountain.  Geez.  I am turning into a weenie!  :)  We went back home and got ready for the luau.  I was most excited about this!!!!  We had a wonderful time at the luau.  The food was good and the story was entertaining.  I just loved the entire evening!

Brice in front of Waimea Canyon

At the luau




Day 6 - Today we had to be at the airport at 11am for our aerial tour of the Na'Pali Coast.  I took some off brand Dramamine that is not supposed to make you drowsy.  The airplane ride was so neat until....I got so sick to my stomach I could barely breathe!  They had ginger chews in an ice chest for us and I ate them like candy.  I took deep breaths and about 3/4 of the way through, I could not wait for it to end!  It was some beautiful sites though.  Amazingly beautiful!  




This is Tunnels Beach.  This is where Bethany Hamilton was attacked by the Tiger Shark and where the movie Soul Surfer was filmed



After the airplane tour, we took a drive around to the north shore to see some waterfalls and a lighthouse. 




I slept almost the entire trip.  Not only did the off-brand NOT work, it made me sleepy!!!!  That evening, I pulled myself together long enough to go to an Italian restaurant that was right next door to our hotel.  It was kind of fancy and was okay.  Not awesome but it was okay.  

Spouting Horn

My favorite picture from the entire trip


Day 7 - This was our last full day on the islands and I was getting a little sad but still wanted to make the best of the time we had left.  The only thing on our agenda today was the sunset catamaran dinner cruise so we went to the beach in the morning.  I love love love the Kauai beaches!  I have never been able to stand shoulder deep in water and see the bottom (except for a swimming pool).  It was just beautiful!  I think that I must have said at least 100 times, "It's just so pretty."  We had to be at Port Allen at 2pm for our dinner cruise.  When we got there, I decided I probably needed Dramamine after the episode from the day before.  I quickly bought some actual Dramamine from the marina store and took two.  I was not nauseated once the entire boat ride!!!  The catamaran was probably my favorite thing aside from the luau and just going to the beach.  It was about 5 hours long and it was beautiful.  We saw dolphins and SEA TURTLES!!!  We saw the entire Na'Pali Coast up close.  It was stunning!  I just loved every minute of it!  

From the catamaran!!

Be-u-tiful!!!!!

The mountains were called Cathedrals and that beach is where Johnny Depp walked in Pirates of the Caribbean

Beautiful sunset!!  

Day 8 - This was going home day!!  I was ready to see my babies but sad to leave such a beautiful place!  We started the day at the beach and all I wanted all week long was to see a sea turtle, up close and personal.  Brice had come back up to the shore and said we needed to go.  I asked if we could stay just another 10 minutes and he said okay.  About 2 minutes later I heard a little boy tell his mom that there was a turtle in the water.  I jumped up with camera and walked out.  It was almost on the shore!!!  I was so excited!!!!!!  It was huge and I loved every second of it!!!!!  Have I mentioned that I love sea turtles!?  It was the perfect ending to our magical vacation!  We went back, finished packing up and headed to the airport to go to Honolulu and then on home.  


We left Honolulu around 4:45pm and then got to DFW around 5:30 CST.  That was around 1230 midnight Hawaii Standard Time.  :)  We got a cab and went home.  We visited with Brice's dad who was up and then I went in and woke my babies up around 7:00.  We visited and loved on them and Brice's mom took them to daycare.  They left back home for Little Rock around 11:30 or so and we crashed...until around 3:30-4:00.  I could have slept longer but it was already throwing my schedule off.  

What an amazing vacation!!!!  I am blessed by a wonderful husband who spoils me and gives me the desires of my heart.  I don't deserve him.  I will never forget this week and I am so thankful that I didn't have to worry about my kiddos while we were gone.  Brice's parents took wonderful care of them.  

2 comments:

Lainey-Paney said...

Looks like fun!
You look so beautiful!
Oh, I just love Kauai. Honolulu? Not so much....

:)
....and now *I* want to go there too!!!!!

Rikki Hester said...

You and I should just take a trip...how about that??? :)



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