Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 1:56 PM | 1 comment

Kauai Day 4 (September)

Well, looks like I am not even remotely going to reach my goal to have the blog up to date before Thanksgiving. Oh well. I'll have to set a new goal of being caught up by Christmas. Of course, that goal already has a bunch of hurdles as the next two months are typically the busiest out of the year. 

For now, here are the photos from our 3rd day in Kauai.

We drove up to this waterfall, which is right by the road. You just hop out of the car, snap a photo and you are back on your way.

Our next adventure was to hike the Kuilau Ridge Trail. We started at the trailhead, not realizing that there was a much nicer road you could start out on a few feet away. The path we took was very muddy, but it quickly joined the road you see in the photo below. The rest of the hike was a little climb to the ridge for fantastic views.

This was on the way back down. Logan got super grumpy as he had to be on Kyle's back rather than in the front to help Kyle keep his balance. We pretty much raced down the mountain with Logan crying. There were more couples and families hiking this trail than the previous hike we did, but it was still pretty isolated.
Yes, that is a bruise on his head. Sadly he bumped it on the table leg at the condo while he was trying to stand.

 Arboretum at the bottom of the hill was a nice place to relax after the hike before heading back to the condo for the afternoon.
 The trees had such neat bark colors.

Here is our condo. It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath. I loved how the whole front of the condo was sliding glass doors that opened up all the way. There were only 9 units in the condo! Even better, it normally goes for about $230 a night and we got it for $170 (including the 13% taxes!). I found it on flipkey and rented directly from the owner. Some of the condos were for sale at $1.5 million. So, we felt lucky to have such a private place. It was the end unit too.

Another thing that made our trip with Logan so easy was that we were able to rent the stroller and the booster seat from a local baby item rental company, Kauai Baby Gear. So worth not taking those things on the plane.

After lunch we went down to the baby pool in the ocean, which was very close to our condo. We met a great local family there. They had 3 boys. The youngest was 4 months old and didn't have a name yet. Apparently in Hawaii it is customary to get to know your child a little before giving them a name.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:44 PM | No comments

Kauai Day 3 (Septmeber)

On our third day we opted to spend some time on the south shore. We did indeed spend time there, but pretty much every part of the day that we planned ended up different than expected.

To start with, we drove to an area known as the Maha'ilepu Beaches. Our desired destination was the secluded Ha'ula Beach, which required a decent walk from where the road ended. However, we didn't take our guidebook with us on the walk since we already had a ton to carry. That was a mistake. It would have been helpful to realize that where we decided to turn around was actually the start of the trail. As the book notes: "The trail starts where a fence ends at the cliff's edge." They were not kidding. We got to a fence that went right up to the edge of a cliff, and we just were not willing to try to climb over the fence. So, we started walking back towards the car along the coast. The image below is looking towards where Ha'ula is located.

 Pointing my camera in the other direction, we saw this:
Just a little bit farther along the shore we found a little inlet that was perfect for us. We got to dip our toes in the water and watch the wind surfers in the distance. None of these beaches are really swimming beaches so we didn't miss out on that.

We had to be out of the area by 6pm because the road that takes you to these beaches is private property, and they lock the gates at 6. So, I was in a panic wanting to make sure we wouldn't get locked in. We were the last car out of the park so you can imagine how worried I was getting. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when I saw that the gate was open.

After our adventure we had planned to go to the Sheraton, which is supposed to be the best place to have drinks while watching the sun set. Well, we made it to the Sheraton, but while I was in the restroom, Kyle met a family (with a little boy slightly older than Logan and using the same stroller we own) spending time on the beach in front of the Sheraton. We spent some time talking to them about the island. They visit Kauai often, and they couldn't believe we would spend time driving from one end of the island to the other in one trip. Guess you have to be from NM to not be bothered by a little driving. In any case, we were enjoying our conversation and missed the sunset. Oh well. This is the best image I got.

Even though nothing went as planned, it was still a wonderful day in paradise. 

This image is a morning view from the beach in front of our condo. The palm trees up on the right are next to our pool.

Sadly I had Kyle post this after reviewing it and I forgot to mention where we ate for the day. We ate at the Brick Oven Pizza next to our condo for lunch. Food was fine, but Kyle had the best piƱa colada for the whole trip there. After a late night walking by the Sheraton, we ate at Burger King, which was crazy expensive. We also did a side trip to Costco earlier in the day to buy the local rum. It was cheaper there by about $6 a bottle than a the grocery stores or the rum plantation. The rum is awesome though. Highly recommend you go for the free tasting, which we did on day 2. Kyle also picked up some Hawaiian shirts there that were significantly cheaper than elsewhere.


Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 10:31 PM | 1 comment

Kauai Day 2 (September)

This was our first vacation with Logan, and I think it may be the first vacation during which we were up before sunrise every day. At least there was something beautiful to see every morning.

Kaua'i is a diverse island in terms of landscape. The north side of the island is very mountainous and lush (think Jurassic Park, which was filmed here). The east is green and a bit flatter. The south is a bit drier,  while the west is almost arid.  The trade winds from the east basically hit the mountains and dump the rain on the north/northeast slopes.  In fact, Mt. Wai'ale'ale in the center of the island is one of wettest (perhaps *the* wettest) spot on earth.  Yet the west side of Kaua'i is usually in a rain shadow, so it's pretty dry.  So, yeah.  Pretty diverse island.  It's about 553 square miles and has 50 miles of beaches. There is a main road that goes around most of the island, but there are sections of island you can only get to by hiking (or helicopter, or jetpack, or ... you get the idea). Kyle and I absolutely loved it. (Can you tell that Kyle wrote part of this paragraph?)

If you go, make sure you get "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook - Kauai Revealed". Every morning I would go through the enormous task of getting Logan ready for the day, leaving Kyle with time to plan our adventures using this book. I had downloaded digital books on Hawaii from our local library, but this book was far more valuable.

We stayed on the east side of the island in Kapa'a.   Our thinking was that Kapa'a was centrally located along the road that goes around the island, allowing us to easily drive to both ends in a reasonable amount of time. I lucked out finding the condo we stayed in. I will write more on that later when I have some pictures to post. 

On this second full day we drove west to Waimea Canyon. It was definitely worth the drive. Our final destination was Pihea Trail at the end of the road.
Waimea Canyon lookout

After driving further north into a more mountainous region and leaving the desert behind, we found ourselves in a place that could easily be mistaken for Colorado mountains. We decided to eat before we began our hike. We ate here at the Koke'e Lodge where I had probably the worst burger I have ever had. Next time I will pack a lunch. 
Thanks to cousin Cynthia, Logan looked adorable in this little monkey shirt.
Now for the hike: When we started, there was so much fog/clouds, you couldn't see any shoreline, but we waited long enough for it to dissipate. Most people seemed to just drive up, go to the lookout, snap a photo, turn around, and leave. We saw only a few people on the trail. Just another reason we liked Kauai.
We would have loved to hike longer than we did, but the trail became very difficult and not something we felt comfortable doing with Logan. Logan sure did well on the hike though. In fact, he did well on the whole trip, except for the time spent in the car. He really doesn't like being in his car seat and would often scream most of the way. Funny enough, one of the few times he didn't scream in the car was at the end of this hike on our way back to our condo. The hike must have put him in a good mood.
On our way out, the fog was completely gone. Kyle is pretty sure this was the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. I think that says a lot considering the places we have been.
I must add a note here about the car we had for the trip. There are two funny stories associated with the car. The first is the car itself. When we arrived at the rental place, the manager saw that we had an infant with us.  She offered us a larger car at the same economy rate, suggesting that we'd be more comfortable.  Not really trusting her, Kyle opted to stick with the booked economy car. Well, let me tell you that if the rental car folks look at you and think you need a bigger car, then offer you the upgrade for free, just take it. The car seat barely fit in the back seat. There was nothing "power" about the car, including no power locks or windows or a powerful engine. I guess we were lucky the economy car had windshield wipers.  So, lesson learned. Take the free hand out. The 2nd story about the car comes at the end of our trip, and since that story has to do with my mistake, I'm sure Kyle won't let me forget to add it to our blog when we get there. For now I'll finish this post with a video of our hike. The last part of the video isn't good, but I love how happy Logan is in the car.


Posted by Julie Wiens Posted on 9:40 PM | 1 comment

First Trip (September)

What does his look say to you?
Before I get into our trip, here are a few photos from the very beginning of September:

Grandma bought this costume for Logan. Sadly it wasn't going to fit by Halloween. However, that didn't stop us from putting it on him.

In preparation for the long flight to Hawaii, I made this toy that fits over the airplane tray-table.  Our hope was that it would make Logan a happy little traveler. I saw similar ideas online and figured I could make my own. On the left is a pocket that holds the kitty puppet and little ball. The three materials making up the pocket varied in texture. The three felt animals at the top were on velcro for him to pull on and off. This part of the toy was available when the tray was in the down position.

This is the opposite side of the toy that was available when the tray was in the up position. It had a pocket for a book, a peek-a-boo mirror, rings and multiple toys filled with varying material for texture and noise.

Here it is on the tray. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, and it definitely helped distract Logan during the long flight.

Now onto the trip!

Our little family visited Kauai, HI for 7 days to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We had a wonderful time.  I will try not to post too many pictures.
Logan's first plane ride.
We were lucky to have three seats together on the 6 hour flight to Kauai. Since that extra seat was empty, we were allowed to bring his car seat on board.
Doesn't sleep at home, but slept great on the plane.
 Logan was a real trooper. He hardly fussed at all. Not even during take off or landing.

Kyle out enjoying the sunrise on our first day.
Logan was exploring our condo.
 Then he decided to venture outside.
 However, he wasn't too keen on the prickly grass.

Logan's first day at the beach, first sand, first dip in the ocean... what a day!

While Logan enjoyed the sand, he did not enjoy the ocean.  Once some salt water get into his mouth and nose, he was pretty much done with the ocean experience for the rest of the trip.

Sadly, I must get off to bed now, but I will try to post highlights of the rest of the trip soon.

Addition to original post:

I thought I would just paste my notes that I typed while in Hawaii here without editing them or anything. Just wanted to keep them somewhere.

Spent morning with Logan crawling around the condo and on the very dense grass outside, continually lifting his right leg. Kyle watched sun rise. Kyle went to the deep sand beach in front of condo. Drove to fruit stand and got smoothie, bananas, orange. Went to light house and saw baby birds, got our autographed turtle book by local artist/park ranger. Drove north by secret beach, by the Amani beach where we saw a turtle in the water. We stopped at beach across from dry cave. Logan discovered sand and got a mouthful of salt water. Julie took photos and looked for shells. Kyle played in the ocean. Then we headed to Kee beach where Julie got a coconut from man out of the back of his truck for $5. Drove to Hanalea for dinner at Hanalea Gourmet. Kyle had local fish and Julie had sea scallops. Dinner was fantastic.
Drove home. Geckos on patio light were neat as you could really make out all of their suction cups on their limbs. Flash lights in ocean 9:30-10ish. Not sure what they were looking for, but it was weird. Made me wonder if someone was poaching turtles. No boat lights or anything. Can't imagine normal people would snorkel at night.
Milk $4.50 bagels $7 gas $4.61