It seems to have become a tradition for us to go on vacation for Gabe and I's birthday's. Our birthday's are about three weeks apart, so it's kind of nice to combine them into one big birthday celebration. We decided after scrounging up our pennies and getting special discount plane tickets, courtesy of my dad's job, to go to Hawaii. We chose to go to Oahu, because we would only have to take one direct flight from Los Angeles. We didn't want to take Anniston on two separate flights. One five and a half hour plane ride is already too much air time for a very active 18 month old. We chose the North Shore of Oahu, because we didn't want to deal with the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, and the North Shore is laid back and tropical. I have to say, we made an awesome choice! The North Shore is absolutely beautiful! It only takes an hour to drive around the whole island, so we ended up going all over. To make this easier, I'm going to break this post down into different parts of the island.
Those sandy little feet are just too precious!
Turtle Bay is where we stayed. It's pretty much the only resort on the North Shore. It's a beautiful area and has a private beach, which is usually deserted in the mornings and evenings. Anni liked to wake us up before the sun even came up the whole time we were there. The three hour time difference really got her, but it resulted in us having more time to explore, which is a plus.
Please excuse the grainy picture. It was really dark and I didn't want to shine too much light on that poor guy. He was trying to get some sleep.
Haleiwa is a beach town west of the Banzai Pipeline. It has some pretty awesome surf shops, and a lot of places to get your food lover on. Gabe loved this little town. Anniston and I fell under its spell after having their famous shaved ice. Coconut with cinnamon is simple heaven in my mouth. Ever since we decided to go to Hawaii, we had been getting Anniston excited by telling her how we were going to see sea turtles. Everyday, when she woke up, she would say, "Turtles?" But everytime we went to the beaches in Haleiwa to look for sea turtles, we saw nothing. We asked around and people said they hadn't seen any sea turtles in a few days because of the rough weather and big waves. On our last night in Hawaii, Gabe decided to pull over to try one last time to find a sea turtle for Anniston and we found that big guy you see above. I almost walked right on him, because in the dark, he looked just like a rock. Anniston was pretty much in shock the whole time. She loves turtles, and right in front of her, was the biggest turtle I've ever seen. This was an awesome moment for our family. We almost didn't stop to check that night, because I had pretty much given up on seeing one, but I'm so glad Gabe was adamant about stopping and checking for Anniston. They are such amazing animals, and we are so glad they are making a comeback, and very well pretected, in Hawaii.
Starting our day off right, with a fruity sugar high. Strawberry Guava was exquisite.
The city of Laie is where BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center are located. We wanted to go to the PCC, but it costs fifty bucks just to get in, and we were on a budget, so we had to skip. We had a Groupon, but we failed to see the fine print that read, "For Hawaiian Residents Only." We did, however, stop by Laie point, because Gabe had been told that you could sometimes catch a glimpse of whales there during whale season. We are all about the free entertainment! I was skeptical, but Gabe really wanted to see a whale, so I went along. We were there not even 3 minutes and spotted some whales coming up for air. I even saw one breach, which was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and it happened in a split second. Poor Gabe missed it, because he was helping Anni with something. Some day, Gabriel, we will go there again, and you will see one breach, I promise.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens
Oh self timer, even if the the pictures never turn out great, you are very convenient.
I wish pictures could do this place justice. This picture comes pretty close, probably my favorite of the trip.
The Ho'omaluhuia Gardens are a 420 acre botanical garden and so incredibly beautiful. Anniston loved this place, as well as Waimea Falls, which I'll talk more about in a separate post. She wasn't really into the beach thing, but anything jungle related, she was beyond excited about. Not to mention that the botanical garden also had ducks, so to Anni, there is no better place. I know I have mentioned this about a million times on this blog, but Anniston is a little nature girl. She usually stayed very close to Gabriel or I when we were out and about, but here, she would just wander off on her own. Gabe and I kept having to chase her down, especially near the lake. She would get upset, because the ducks kept walking away from her. Poor little thing couldn't understand why they didn't want an Anniston hug.
Forcing our poor child to take a family picture with us. It went real well. Ha.
Anniston in her happy place, with two fries in her mouth.
The day we went to Lanikai beach, Anniston was a new kind of fiesty. She also became a big fan of the word "no." She didn't want to go in the water, and she refused to sit in the sand. She wanted to play in the sand, but she had to be on a towel or she would have a full-on melt down, which was really unfortunate, because it was the nicest day we were there. According to National Geographic, Lanikai Beach is number 5 on a list of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, and it lives up to its name. We wish we could have spent more time there, but our fiesty little baby was not having it.
Even with Anniston having some rough times and the weather not being the greatest (Saturday, it rained the whole day), I'm so glad we were able to experience this goergous place as a family. We are blessed in so many ways and vacations are a great reminder of that. We cannot wait to see you again, Hawaii!