A Hike At Watershed Park

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A couple of weekends ago it was sunny for the first time in what felt like months, and we spent most of the weekend outside. It was fantastic, especially after the winter we’ve had.  I know, there are a lot of places where it’s WINTER, with lots of snow and all. But the GREY here, ya’ll, is oppressive.  I mean, really, exhausting.  So anyway, it is lovely to see the sunshine, and we have been taking full advantage!

We went over to Watershed Park for a little hike, and had a really fun time.  Jack was thrilled with being able to run wild and free.

The park is really pretty, with rolling hills and a little stream that you can walk down to.

In the middle of the park there is a veeeeery strange area.  It may have been a drainage basin at one point?  But it’s got this crazy peace sign in it.  It’s hard to explain, and is incredibly strange, but somehow fits in that little corner of the world.

We had a really nice hike, and look forward to this summer and all the sunny days to come…

The Aquarium

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When Elaine was here we went to the Aquarium for the afternoon. We hadn’t been in about a year, so it was a very different experience with an almost 2 year-old.  Jack really liked touching the starfish, he thought that was pretty great.

He also really liked the octopus.  And the “big fish”!

He talked about the big fish for at least 3 weeks after we were there.

I think I like the big room where you can just sit and watch the fish swim by.

We could have sat in there for hours.

Jack was totally into it, and we love the aquarium!

Children’s Museum

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Our PEPS outing in March was to the Bellevue Children’s Museum. We have a membership, thanks to my parents, and had been one time before. All the kids had a wonderful time, running around playing in the water, shooting scarves through tubes, and playing with the giant light-bright.  They were so cute, and it was really fun to see everyone.

A Day in the Snow

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On one of the days that Elaine was here, we went up to the pass at Snoqualmie to play in the snow.

Jack had a really good time.  He threw snowballs,

made a snowman,

and ate chili in the lodge.  There were a lot of people out on the mountain on skis and snowboards.  There was also a class of small children taking ski lessons, and Jack was enthralled.  He stood and watched them all sliding around, practicing on skis, and it looked like he wanted to try it so much.  I think that next season we’ll need to sign him up for a couple of days of ski lessons!  We had a great time in the cold and snow.

A Visit From Nana

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On the day after we got back from Hawaii, John had to leave for a week for work.  What timing!  When I took John to the airport, I picked up Elaine at the same time.  She got to stay for two weeks, and just had a blast playing with Jack.

He really took to her, and woke up wanting to “play with Nana”.  They played with Play-doh, and colored pictures, and read Dr. Seuss books over, and over, and over.  They became best buddies, and it was so sad when she had to leave.  Come back and visit soon, Nana!

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – Day 10

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This is the last of a series of posts about our fabulous February escape from Seattle to Hawaii. Click here to read from the beginning…

We woke up on February 20th so sad that our vacation was drawing to an end.  I was excited to be back in my own bed, and to stop living out of a suitcase, sure, but I was not ready to go back to the real world and the rain of the Puget Sound Region.

We did a lot of packing, and getting ready, and getting lunch. But somewhere in there we managed to get over to a very large park to let the kids run wild and free before we squeezed them onto a plane for 6 hours.

We got to the airport with no problem, made it on the plane, and fondly wished Hawaii Aloha.  What an amazing trip!

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – Day 9

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I am finishing up a long series of posts about our fantastic trip to Hawaii.  If you want to start from the beginning, click here…

On the morning of our next to last day, we drove over to the Dole Plantation to eat some pineapple and ride the train. I wasn’t that excited about going, but it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of Oahu!  We arrived just in time for a train tour, which was super fun.

Jack was beside himself, and it was really interesting to see the pineapple fields and the other fruit they grow there, including bananas and mangoes.

They also had a huge pond with coy in it, and food that you could buy to feed them.  They were literally swimming out of the water on top of each other to get the food, and the boys thought they were the greatest thing ever.  They were giggling and having such a good time!

Then we spent some time in the gift and snack shop.  We got a pineapple soft-serve ice cream with pineapple topping. It was soooooo tasty, and Jack L.O.V.E.D. it!

We ate lunch, let the kids run around outside until they were worn out, and did a little shopping at the touristy kiosks on the way out.  It was very relaxing and I think the kids had a fantastic time.

Jack fell asleep about two blocks away from our hotel, so I was able to gently carry him upstairs and lay him down without waking him up. He must have been exhausted, because that never happens…and all of you parents out there know what a total WIN this was.

I slipped out while Jack was sleeping because Yuka and I had found a TravelZoo Voucher for a massage and body scrub at the Mandara Spa at the Hilton Resort. We got there a little early and did the steam room, then just got pampered. It was relaxing and just the perfect afternoon, a great way to spend my final afternoon in Hawaii.  I was only sad to have to leave the next day.

We met up with the guys, the kids, and Allison and found a place for a sushi dinner.  Jack loved it – he got to eat as much rice as he wanted! We sat in a U-shaped booth, and Jack and Ronin spent a lot of time during our dinner under the table, which was hilarious.  We had a really nice dinner and just enjoyed hanging out with each other. Then we went home and packed and fell into bed.

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – Day 8

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I am trying to catch up on my blogging and finish up the story of our incredible trip to Hawaii – here’s one more installation…

We decided to spend the morning at Pearl Harbor, seeing what we could of the memorial. We knew that with a toddler it would be a shortened version of all that we could see.  Even though we were on the shortened plan, it was still incredibly powerful to be there. We got tickets to go out to the memorial later in the morning, which you get to via a boat. And since we were waiting for our time slot we bought tickets to go over to the Battleship Missouri.  We took a bus to get over to it, which might have been the highlight of Jack’s trip. For the remainder of the trip, every single time we saw a bus he would say “bus. On!” We had to explain to him that we didn’t have a ticket, over and over and over. It was really cute.

Anyway, we toured around the Missouri on our own. We saw the place where a Japanese kamikaze pilot ran into the Battleship, and we saw the location where the Japanese surrendered.

Walking around on the deck, looking over Pearl Harbor, and feeling the weight of history that lives on in that water was quite a sobering moment.

We took the bus back to the other side of the harbor to board the boat for the tour of the Pearl Harbor Memorial. I didn’t really know much about the memorial itself until we got there, but it turns out that it is floating in the water over the location of where the USS Arizona went down after being bombed. The memorial itself is a very striking, austere but elegant white structure. It looks beautiful and somber floating on the far side of the harbor.  Before you board the boat, you get to watch a brief film that tells the background and story of Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, we never got to board the boat, as the wind had picked up, and they stopped running boats out to the memorial.  I was disappointed, but as John says, it gives us a good reason to go back.

After a nap, John, Jack, and I headed over to Diamond Head to get some exercise and see some views. It was absolutely beautiful! John carried Jack up, and I carried him down, and we both got some really good exercise!  The view of Honolulu from the top was gorgeous, but even more beautiful was the view to the north and the ocean.

When we got home we shipped Jack off with Auntie Allie and headed out for date night.  We had gotten a reservation at Nobu, and I am here to tell you that if you have the chance to eat at one of these restaurants, GO!  It was incredible. Possibly some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! We let the server suggest his favorites, and he steered us in the perfect direction. WOW.  Then, we weren’t ready to go home, so we asked him where we could go sing karaoke – and he told us how to get to a place a couple of blocks away.  Turns out it was one of those places where you rent your own little room, not a bar where you sing with everyone. We had never done karaoke at one of those before, and it was actually SUPER FUN!  You don’t have to wait for anyone else to sing, you don’t have to be embarrassed of singing in front of other people, and you can try and song because you can just skip it ahead if you don’t like it.  Totally great, and a very fun way to end our second day in Honolulu.

Traveling From Kauai to Honolulu – Day 7

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We woke up so sad to leave Kauai. The house was such a dream, and the island was so perfect.  It was incredibly hard to pack and close up the place. We all left thinking “until next time…not goodbye”.

With 10 million bags, 3 children, 3 car seats, and a lot of beautiful memories we all went to the airport. And we waited, we waited, we waited…Jack took a nap in the airport, and we all looked out the window at the gorgeous sunshine. Our flight was four hours delayed!  Yikes!  Luckily, the kids all just played together and didn’t seem to mind being in the airport.  They didn’t know any differently.

When we got into Honolulu it was just in time for rush hour. Can you see a trend here about our day of travel? We had a place booked in Waikiki, which is about 10 miles from the airport. It took us an HOUR.  Wow, that’s some pretty terrible traffic!  We got settled into our place, the Aqua Waikiki Pearl, and Tristan and Yuka headed out for their date night.  Not a very exciting day, but we were certainly happy to be in Hawaii still!

Lighthouse, Hike, Park, and Tidepools – Days 5 and 6

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We woke up on Wednesday and decided to go up to the Kilauea Lighthouse, up near Hanalei.  Like most lighthouses, it’s on a point, and has a fantastic view.  We walked around and looked at the gorgeous ocean, and just had a good time.

Then we split up, and John and Tristan went on a hike along the Na’ Pali coast.  Their pictures look beautiful.  We took the kids home for lunch and a nap, and just spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach.

On Thursday Allison and I went out in the morning to go shopping for a few items, and everyone else took the kids back to the awesome park. We had a good time shopping, and the kids had a good old time hanging out at the playground.

In the afternoon we went down the street and played with the kids in the tidepools. They really enjoyed looking at the little fish, and just splashing around in the water. It was fun because there were no waves to freak out the kids.  On the way home it started raining, for the first time since we had been in Hawaii!  The rain was really pretty, and passed on pretty quickly, although it did rain on and off all night.