Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Doug's parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in December, so to mark this golden year, they wanted to take the family to Hawaii. This trip has been years in the making and since Doug and I were the only ones who have been before, we got to do a majority of the planning. We've been to Kauai two other times and are in love with the island, so we didn't even question going somewhere else. I was in charge of finding a house on the beach that would be big enough for 12 of us to live comfortably for a week and while it may not have been the most modern of houses (think lots of wicker furniture), the location was awesome and the space was just what we needed.

Our beach rental
Because of the 6 hour time change, we were all up super early on the first morning, so I recruited my 2 nieces and their dad Derek to go for a walk down the beach. We found all sorts of treasures - shells, coral, sea glass and coconuts.

"I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, deedileedee"

As we got to the bend where we said we would turn around, Derek, who was walking ahead of us meandering girls, came back and said "listen girls, I just want to warn you that up ahead is a sea animal that is not doing so well. Prepare yourself because it's pretty sad." So, we walked up and saw some sort of seal who had beached itself.  

Ms. Monk Seal
Anna, our little nature girl, knew right away that it was a monk seal because of it's whiskers, it's wrinkled neck and it's split tail...duh. But both of the girls (and me, just a little quieter) were telling Derek we had to do something to help get this seal back in the water if it had a chance of survival. Derek was trying to be so brave, but really had no idea what to do, so he and I decided we were going to shovel a path in the sand and then somehow roll it back into the water. Just before we started digging our trench, we saw a guy on his porch just behind us. Derek motioned to this guy to see if he could help us (meanwhile, it's only 6:30am and this guy is just enjoying the sunrise and his morning coffee on his deck). The nice guy walked down and we told him our plan and he just laughed. He told us that it was in fact a monk seal and that they are an endangered species. After eating, they find a nice quiet beach to hang out on for 12-18 hours while they digest their food before heading back out into the ocean. He also told us that if you get too close, or heaven forbid touch them it screws up their metabolisms and digestion and can be very harmful to them. Whoops...close call. We hung out and watched the seal do nothing for a few minutes and then headed back home with our story to tell the rest of the gang. During breakfast that morning I saw that there was a sheet of rules on the fridge and there was a bold rule at the bottom saying "Stay away from Monk Seals. If you are caught getting closer than 50 feet to a monk seal, it can be up to a $25,000 fine and manhandling the animal (ie, rolling it back to the ocean) could result in jail time." Now that would have been a good way to start the family vacation. 

This post is going to get ridiculous, so I'm going to move to a picture heavy 2nd half.
Full rainbow behind our house
We were non-stop all week - paddleboarding, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, surfing - you name it, we did it. Well, I obviously didn't surf because I couldn't figure out how to paddle the board out on my back and then get up on a wave, but the kids all did and had a blast. I was amazed at how much I was able to might not have been graceful or pretty (hello bikini at 33 weeks!) but I did it. Every night I was so tired and so sore, that I would watch the Olympics and fall asleep on the couch by 8:30. 

One day, most of our group hiked the Kalalau Trail, 2 miles into an awesome beach and then 2 miles out. These mountains are pretty steep, so it was more like 1 mile up and then one mile down, swim in the ocean and then 1 mile up, 1 mile down. On our first trip to Kauai, Doug and I got a permit and hiked the whole trail, which is 11 miles into a secluded beach and then we camped for a few days before hiking back out. It was so great to go back and be on the trail, the views are amazing all along the way. 

Hiking the Kalalau Trail
Another day, we drove to the west side of the island to check out the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, both unbelievable vistas on Kauai.
Napali Coast
Waimea Canyon
Doug "surfing" in a wave on the paddleboard
Since Doug's parents were so generous with this trip, we figured we would suprise them by having a fully catered anniversary dinner at our place. Through a work contact, I found a local caterer who worked with me for months putting this dinner together. It all went off without a hitch (well, besides the kitchen sink and dishwasher breaking right before they started cooking) and was a very welcome surprise for Doug's parents.

Family picture - pre surprise dinner

Doug the belly sherpa
After 10 days of living the Hawaiian dream, it was actually nice to get home, see the dogs and start hunkering down to get ready for our new little buddy. I was kind of nervous about the flight home because I was sure I had jiggled something loose while body surfing and hiking and that the baby was going to come on the plane, but we made it home all in tact and the family is still speaking to each other...I'd call that success!


  1. Ahhhh so beautiful! What a perfect getaway for a tired pregnant mama. That seal story...glad you stayed away. hahahahaha just in time huh.

    My dad grew up in Laie; I've always wanted to visit Hawaii. Until then, I'll live through you. As usual. :)

  2. Holly, you have to go to Hawaii, you would love it. Seeing where your dad grew up would be awesome!