A WEEK IN HEAVEN: O'AHU, HAWAI'I!

Saturday, December 22, 2018
Dreams came true last month: we went to Hawaii.

Ryan has been working for just over one year, and we feel so lucky that we got take his first vacation and spend it on Oahu. I told Ryan when he started working in October 2017 that "I just want to go to Hawaii next fall. When we hit one year here, I want to go to Hawaii." Not sure why I decided we needed to go in Fall 2018, but the idea just seemed reaaallll nice, and when times got rough during that first year of work, I'd fall back on the idea of going to Hawaii so of course it had to really happen. ;) Thanks to my sweet man being an amazing adventurer and deal-finder, Hawaii really happened. It was everything I imagined and so much more! 

I'm de-briefing our trip here with little text and lots of pics, so scroll on through! In a very small way, welcome to Hawaii... πŸŒžπŸŒ΄πŸ πŸŒΊπŸ’š

THE NORTH SHORE. Drove 3 minutes from our hotel to Hukilau Beach. Seven Brother's Bakery. Waimea Valley. Ted's Bakery. We clocked 6 miles that day. We were whiiiiiped out by the end!
 Daddy + Emmy love.
 Mommy's turn!
WAIMEA VALLEY. This place was amazing. We hiked through the entire valley to the Waimea Waterfall, which we then all swam in as a fam. We didn't plan on swimming when we started hiking, but the water was calling and we plunged. :) We barely dried off and then walked back down the through valley, still speechless the whole way.
LAINKI. We drove from the North Shore south to this south-east corner of the island, passing through some of the most gorgeous scenery (think giant lava mountains running straight into the water covered in bright green vines and trees, with misty, capping clouds). Laniki Beach was stunning. The photos below of my girls there are some of my favorite I've ever taken. The Pillbox Hike overlooked Laniki Beach was one of our favorite things of the whole trip. 
The Pillbox Hike treks up that mountain ridge behind Emmy!
 Bluest water. Those shades!
 Clearest water!
 
 We hiked straight from the beach -- made it to the Pillbox!
POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER. Not enough pictures for such a big, big day. The PCC is beautiful and enlightening. An absolute must-do!
 Our tattoos meant "family."
 And "princess!" And "queen!"
 Ken's Fresh Fish: a joint that catches its tuna in the AM and prepares it right before your eyes a couple hours later. Mmmm. :)
SHARKS COVE. Snorkeling!! It was mine and the girls' first time and we were sold. Swimming through those chunk lava rocks with hundreds of fish was surreal.
Hi, snorkeling Daddy! 
 Sharks Cove on Saturday...
 Sharks Cove on MONDAY. Checccck out those waves...
 My photos can't do them justice. They were magnificent. Totally explosive, they boomed, crashed, and turned Shark's Cove lava rocks into cascading waterfalls. Winter is the time to hit the North Shore thanks to these beauties!
LAEI TEMPLE. Ryan and I got to worship and serve inside on our last day, but on Sunday we visited the grounds as a family, and between the grounds and that tiny little temple's interior, it's made its way to our list of favorite temples. Loved the spirit here. LOVE those darling little girls!!
 WALAWEIA. Shaved Ice. Walking through the town. Sushi. Walking back through the town. Acai bowls. More walking through the town. We went to Walaweia to eat! :)
 EHUKAI HIKE PILLBOX HIKE. Across from Sunset Beach on the North Shore -- we spontaneously hit up this trail on our way back from Walaweia. Called it the "Tarzan Hike" because it felt like we traipsed through the real jungle. The sunset from the top was stunning.

 KAHUKU FARMS. But first, a snap of our hotel pool. :) Our girls LOVED this pool. I didn't get a picture of the other end, but it extended for a while and gave the girls such a perfect way to run and play. We swam almost every night, and on our last day, we swam in the morning!
Stopped at Eden on Earth/Kahuku Farms on our way to the airport. Good thing we came here on our last day...between the literal serenity and stellar food, I would've begged us all to come here on the daily. :)
 Emmy was an Island Child by the end of the trip, slippers (flip flops) and all...
Sometimes Life gives you a little break -- "time off" from hard stuff and stressful stuff and not-fun stuff. This getaway for our little family was just that. Our reserves were filled up, which we still feel so, so grateful for (since we all know that Life also turns and becomes relentless)! I also appreciate so much what Hawaii taught me in the 8 days we were there -- it was that "spirit of Aloha." I wrote about it in my journal when we get home...

"I keep channeling 'Aloha' by thinking, 'My effort here and the result is good enough. No worries. It's all good enough! Remember that palpable, 'good enough' feeling on Oahu? I think it's rooted in the paradisiacal nature of the whole place. What I keep thinking is -- how can life in ways x, y, or z be that bad when real life -- those mountains, that water, the air, the sand -- is all naturally so, so good? 'Aloha' is 'good enough.' It literally is 'no, no worries.' Just look up and around and breathe in and breathe out. Everything is okay."

 ALOHA, Hawai'i! Thank you for it all. πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’› Till next time!!

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