Kauai (Third Installment)

I can’t believe it’s already been a couple of weeks since we returned from Kauai! When we got home, we had to regroup from a red-eye flight and a 4-hour time difference jet lag situation, transferred Oden from the co-sleeper next to me into his own room and crib, and hosted two of my dear friends for a long weekend 3 days after our return from the island. Throw in a dash of sleep training and let’s just say it’s been a bit of a (sleepy) whirlwind week.

I won’t try to hide the fact that I had major anxiety about flying for a total of 8 hours with a baby, especially when teeth #4, #5, and #6 decided to show up in the days before we left. Thankfully, and probably because the flights were at night, Oden slept for the majority of the trip. His parents had Mai Tais.

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This would be my third visit to the Garden Island, but a baby makes it a very different experience! We arrived at night and, after juggling baby gear and luggage and rental car shuttles and wet diapers and a confused infant, made our way to Princeville and the Hanalei Bay Resort where my parents were already settled into our condo. We’ve stayed at this resort once before as a family. The condos are spacious and the grounds are immaculate, and it shares a beach with the St. Regis. The view from the condos is simply gorgeous, a fact we wouldn’t be reminded of until morning. We were up before the rooster started crowing!

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A few days prior to the trip, my mom had discovered a rental shop that provided us a high chair, an exersaucer, and a stroller for the week. So smart (and it saved us from having to lug the stroller during our travels)! Unfortunately, my brother wasn’t able to join us on this trip and John, even though he was there, was neck-deep in work for a lot of the time. It made for some fabulous Grandma and Grandpa time for Oden (and his mama)! This time, there would be no luau (too late for Oden) and no cruise along the Na Pali coast (no babies on the boat). We blissfully had no itinerary for the week, other than to hit a few beaches, do a little shopping, eat tasty food, enjoy the pools…oh, and hit the Mai Tai Monday event. People around the pool probably thought my Dad worked as a resort host or something, the way he moseyed around and chatted with people. I love that my parents make friends wherever they go! We sipped drinks and swam with Oden and soaked in the afternoon of sunshine.

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The weather was pretty rainy at some points during the week, but my parents brought along some old home movies they recently converted to DVD. They provided hours of entertainment, and we played plenty of card games on the lanai and enjoyed multiple rainbows. I adore the various vibrant flowers that are growing everywhere you look. A rainy day in Kauai is still a day in Kauai, you know what I mean? No wonder the grounds are so lush and gorgeous with all of that precipitation!

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During our pockets of sun, we swam in the little pool close to our condo, strolled up the hill to the big tropical pool, walked down to the beach for some sand, surf, and people-watching. We headed into Hanalei a couple of times for food- super-tasty burgers at Bubba’s, a bustling and fun fish taco dinner at Hanalei Gourmet, a lunch and a brunch with cocktails and football at Kalypso. The resort’s bar, which wasn’t open during our last visit, had yummy appetizers and entertainment, too!

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The resort’s own beach is very beautiful and there’s a little “bus stop” at the bottom of the hill from which you can call a golf cart to come pick you up. So convenient with a baby! We also had a picnic at the lovely Haena Beach Park, where we popped our umbrella right before a little rainstorm hit. We ate delicious tacos and burritos from Pat’s Taqueria, a taco truck parked at Hanalei Bay. Pat’s an old friend from Durango and it was great to see him doing so well! The tacos were so good and after lunch, we lounged under some palm trees and swam in the bay.

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Oden did pretty well at the beach, though it’s a whole new ballgame with a baby than it used to be. Gone are my days of sunbathing- it’s all about shade for Oden! The diaper bag is overflowing with swim diapers and beach-safe toys and burp cloths and extra bottles (just in case) and his little rashguard and sun hat and baby-safe sunscreen… just more stuff to bring to be sure the baby bases are covered! He passed out with a bottle to the sound of the waves on multiple occasions and dipped his toes in the Pacific Ocean more than once. He was a little nervous about the sound and motion of the waves at first, but got more comfortable as the week went on. I will cherish these memories.

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We love vacationing in a condo with my family because we can have a kitchen! We can make our own meals and drinks and it sure saves a lot of money not to go out for every meal. The resort has BBQs available by the pool, so we planned a couple of dinners at home. We made marinated chicken skewers one night, and on another, we picked up a beautiful piece of fish at the fish market in Hanalei and had a scrumptious local feast.

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A trip like this always ends before you want it to. When our week was over, we had to check out of the resort by 10am and our flights weren’t until the evening. We had a full day to kill, so after brunch, we headed to Anini Beach. Anini’s water is crystal blue and it’s a shallow beach which makes it kid-friendly. There’s also a reef not far from shore that makes it popular for snorkelers. My smart mom had picked up beach towels at a yard sale for $1 each (since we didn’t have the resort towels to use!) and we set up camp for the day. We took turns napping, eating and drinking whatever leftovers we had in our portable cooler, swimming and snorkeling. John went out far enough to have a peaceful encounter with a sea turtle, and we watched kite-surfers doing their tricks.

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We said goodbye to my parents, whose flight was earlier than ours, knowing we’ll see them in the next few weeks (they can’t stay away from Oden!). John and I took our time leaving Anini, rinsed off the sand as best we could, and did a little shopping in Hanalei before making our way toward the airport. We stopped to check out the Kilauea Lighthouse on the way. The flight home didn’t leave until 9pm, which again seemed to work in our favor- Oden slept for the majority of the trip (though his mama did not).

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We got home to Utah early on a Monday, dazed and weary from the long trip, time difference, and change of scenery. Cholula could hardly contain herself with joy when we walked in (the best “welcome home” ever!). Within the week, the first dusting of snow would land on the fall-hued hillsides across the valley from our home, Oden’s 7th tooth would make its appearance, and my old friends would fill the guest room. The transition to reality is never easy after a vacation, but there’s something about time spent in Kauai that makes it even harder. I’ve said it before and it was proven again on this trip- Kauai is magical!

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Bit by the travel bug? Check out more of our adventures HERE!

Other Kauai trips are HERE and HERE. Don’t forget the Big Island, HERE!

One year ago: Two Autumn hikes.

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