Hawaii 2016

4 Months later and I’m finally blogging about our family vacation to Maui! Andy and I can’t stop talking about how amazing this trip was- hands down favorite trip we’ve taken together so far! I visited Hawaii when I was in highschool and loved every second of it but Andy (and Sailor) had never been. We decided to go over our anniversary as our gift to one another but also because we had decided it would make much more sense to go on this trip before Sailor turned 2 (and we would have to pay for a third plane ticket).

Traveling with babies, toddlers, kids i’m sure is never “easy” but flying 10+ hours with an 18 month old may take the cake. Sailor is a “go go go” kid- she just can’t sit still. She loves to run, climb, and like most toddlers doesn’t have a long attention span. We were pretty nervous for the flight… especially because we didn’t purchase her a seat and because she’s never really been the type to fall asleep on either of us. There was lots of planning involved including the time of the flights, how long our layovers were and what to bring. We wanted to spend a week in Hawaii but because of how long it took to get there we decided to leave a day early and spend our first night in a hotel by the airport. We woke Sailor up bright and early and I sat in the backseat of the car to keep her awake on the way to the airport. When we got there we tried to let her walk (and run) as much as possible. We were told that if there were open seats “lap infants” (aka Sailor) got first dibs on a free seat so we asked right away if there was anything open and sure enough there was! We felt so much relief to know we had a whole row to ourselves and Sailor could wiggle around in her seat as much as she wanted! Some of the things we packed were an ipad (filled with her favorite show Bubble Guppies among some new shows and the movie Finding Nemo), magic marker coloring books (whoever came up with these by the way is a genius), a few new toys, snacks, bottles, and quite possibly Sailor’s favorite: STICKY NOTES. These kept her entertained throughout the flights but at one point she was sticking them on the window, lining them up, tearing them off, reapplying for 2 hours straight! I’m telling ya… there is no child who loves organizing like this one. Our pediatrician recommended we give her some Benadryl if she’s not sleeping at all on the flight so after hours of entertaining her we decided to give it a go. To our surprise she actually fell asleep (and it actually freaked me out… because she NEVER sleeps on us) – although it didnt last more than an hour or two. Although we were exhausted by the time we landed, Sailor did amazing and we somehow kept her happy and entertained for 10+ hours. We are so glad we arrived a day early because that first day was honestly such a blur… The car rental took way too long and we were half wanting to go to bed and half wanting to go explore. We ended up heading to Target to get a handful of things (most importantly… DIAPERS) and headed to Lahaina Pizza Company for dinner. The drive to Lahaina was breathtaking and terrifying all at the same time. We felt so high up and some of the turns were pretty sharp but the view was amazing and so worth the lack of sleep to get out and have a fun first dinner! Sailor fell asleep on the way there (which makes sense considering it was midnight MN time) and she woke up at dinner and immediately got up, walked over to the little stage and started dancing to the music! Andy loved the food so much he wanted to go back there again (the Shrimp pizza was our favorite but the sweet pig was pretty memorable too!) however I had a list of places to check out so we only ate their once! The drive home was actually pretty scary- we didn’t really consider on the way there that a “scary” drive in the daylight was going to be 100x worse late at night (and sleep deprived). We passed out the second we got back to the hotel but for the first time since Sailor was about 4-5 months old we had a screaming baby in the middle of the night. I’m not sure if she was overly tired, freaked out where she was, uncomfortable in this new crib or what but it was a rough night.

The following morning we went to Paia and walked around a little. We stopped by cafe de Amis for the most amazing breakfast! We got a ham/egg/tomato/spinach crepe and a honey almond crepe and the 3 of us devoured them! Sailor discovered sugar packets and we opened one for some entertainment (thinking she would just play with it) but she spent the rest of breakfast eating sugar off the table (we should’ve known…)
While we were in Paia it would randomly start raining and then would just immediately stop. We learned throughout the rest of the trip this was pretty normal- a little mist here and there and then pure sunshine.

We weren’t able to check into our hotel until the afternoon so we decided we would go to the beach for a few hours! I had heard about Baby Beach in Lahaina and found out that it was one of the best beaches for babies (go figure) because of the offshore reef and it was extremely shallow. Sailor looked albino by the time we finished putting sunscreen on her haha but we were pretty excited to see her run around and play in the water! She LOVED the water and would go back and fourth between wanting to swim and play in the sand. We decided it made the most sense that one of us sat in the sand with her and the other wait in the water for when she would get up and sprint right in. She had a few wipeouts in the water which were kind of scary just because she couldn’t get up fast enough on her own but thankfully one of us was always a foot away and would scoop her right up. You would think after some of these water wipeouts she would want to just stay on shore but she kept coming back for more! She constantly would sit in the sand and not use her hands and would just scoot forward she also would pick up handfuls of sand and just dump it on her head and rub it in her hair…. in other words 4 months later I think i’m still finding sand. Sailor’s favorite thing to do at the beach would probably have to be collecting rocks and shells – it was like playing fetch with a dog haha we would find a rock and throw it away from her and she would chase after it, pick it up and add it to her pile or line.

After swimming we went and got groceries, checked into our hotel, unpacked, watched the sunset and headed to dinner. We decided to go to Hula Grill where there was live music, the most gorgeous atmosphere and even though we got there about 10 minutes late we still ended up having one of the best tables at the whole place! This dinner was by far my favorite meal on the entire trip. Sails can be an angel at restaurants or it can be an absolute disaster (because she doesn’t want to sit still) and she was unbelievably well behaved that night. A waitress gave her a straw and a little cup with a lid on it and she just played with that the entire time. We would ask her questions and she would just nod her head back at us. She sat perfectly in her highchair eating endless amounts of pineapple. Andy got a fish combo special which was really good (one of them tasted like filet mignon) and I ate the best fish of my entire life. I had coconut crusted mahi mahi which was topped with crab and macadamia nut- droolworthy. I would pay for a plane ticket just to go back and have that exact dish again. We were blown away by how sweet Sailor was being and how amazing our food was we decided to stay longer, get another drink and enjoy some pineapple upside down cake! Typically we rush through eating and try and get out of there pretty fast before miss S has a meltdown but that may have been the longest meal/time spent at a restaurant since before we had this crazy girl!

We ate breakfast at our hotel every day with the exception of the Gazebo (MUST if you visit Maui!)- it was somewhat frustrating getting there because parking was hard to find, it was raining, we were starving and it was over an hour wait with a line that wrapped around the building. I’m not sure if someone saw us with Sailor and decided to do us a favor or if this is something they typically offer but they “snuck” Andy in the back and let us place our order to go. I would’ve preferred this 1000x over staying there to eat because we ended up sitting in the grass, let Sailor run around and had the most gorgeous view of the ocean! They’re famous for their fried rice (and the half order is enough to feed a family of 10) but we also tried the banana macadamia nut pancakes and those were unbelievable! We actually had enough fried rice to go as a side or a breakfast for multiple meals on the days following! We ate a lunch or two out but also grilled quite often at our hotel and either took a break from the sun and ate on our covered deck or we hung out poolside and enjoyed more swimming.

There was one night we decided to make pork at home but still wanted to get out and walk around Lahaina (so fun at night! loved all the little shops, the music, the ocean, the people…) so we headed to Fleet Woods on Front Street where we got drinks and listened to live music (with a passed out baby haha) we decided to look for dessert and stopped for Gelato which Sailor definitely woke up for! We also tried dole whip a different night we were in the town and that was great too!

Other memorable moments include:

* The Road to Hana (left at 6am so we could beat the rush and because a lot of the mile markers only have a few parking spots) We stopped at MM2 (Twin Falls), MM 4.5 (Huelo Lookout where we got a delicious fresh pineapple smoothie) another MM which we hadn’t planned was the parrots which Sails loved! MM 17 (Keane Peninsula) MM 17.3 (Halfway to Hana) MM 18 (Wailua Overlook), MM 19 (Upper Waikani), MM 27-28 (Nahiku Ti Gallery and Coffee Shop- where we had the best pork tacos and an insane amount of coconut shrimp), MM 32.2 (Wainapanapa State Wayside Park- black sand beach) and the one MM we wanted to do but just didn’t think we could with Sails was MM 42 (Oheo Gulch 7 sacred pools but it was a 4 mile hike and we weren’t sure how to make that work with a toddler) — one of the best days and memories we’ll have for a lifetime but what a scary drive!

*Nakalele Blowhole – somehow this was an even scarier drive than the Road to Hana- lots of one ways including a car flying around a cliff towards us and we were forced to back up the one way… glad we did this drive but I don’t think I ever will again. I didn’t realize the blowhole was such a hike (with so many caution signs) and I read multiple signs that said to not get too close because the blowhole can suck you in and not to mention this entire thing is all on tiny rocks of a cliff high above the ocean. SO with that being said I barely hiked any of it with Sailor and then we found a spot to hang out and collect rocks while Andy got a bit closer- he still was cautious and didn’t go up to it close but he had a much better view than us! They had the BEST coconut candy but we were dumb and forgot cash so I wasn’t able to buy the big bag I wanted to take home with me! We continued on the drive to check out Lorraine’s Shave Ice and Banana Bread in this tiny little village but the drive was only more terrifying and to make matters worse we lost service on our phones and when we got there found out they only took cash (urgh really?!)

*Hookipa Beach Park – the sand is covered in turtles at sunset! so cool! We saw this on our anniversary before heading to dinner at Mama’s Fish House (where they gave Andy a lei to give to me for our anniversary)

*Alii Kula Lavender Farm – BEAUTIFUL. General admission is only $3 and they have the cutest shop where you can get lavender brownies, lavender coffee, lotions, perfumes, you name it!

*Haleakala National Park- I think this was probably our favorite thing we did in Maui! We drove up the mountain and were above the clouds… best views i’ve ever seen. We were absolutely blown away… We were told to go for sunrise or sunset and we knew there was no way we were going to be able to get up for sunrise so we decided to head up an hour before sunset instead. We didn’t dress appropriately however because it was freaking cold up there!!! I felt like we were walking on Mars and had we dressed warmer I think we could’ve stayed up there all night! We watched the sun begin to set and decided to head down the mountain which was breathtaking… we watched the most amazing sunset as we drove through the clouds!

*Luau – a luau is a must! Sailor even danced on stage haha!

*Favorite places to eat:
-Star Noodle (I think this was sailor’s favorite food)
-Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie shop
-The Gazebo
-Hula Grill
-Mama’s Fish House
-Lahaina Pizza Co
-Leilani’s on the beach
-Monkey Pod Kitchen
-Shark Pit Food

*loved the hotel we stayed at- The westin kaanapali ocean resort

I think the only thing we would’ve changed is staying longer. Typicaly after a week we’re ready to get home but we both agreed we could’ve stayed a month… it was just paradise! We’re hoping to visit again someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) and we swore we would go for 2 weeks minimum!

wonderful, wonderful memories…

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