Poipu Beach at Marriot's Waiohai - May 29, 2016

Poipu Beach at Marriot’s Waiohai – May 29, 2016

KAUAI VACATION 2016
FRIDAY, MAY 27 – SATURDAY, JUNE 4

Aloha!  Did you know that in the Hawaiian language that word means affection, peace, compassion and mercy?  (I didn’t know that until writing this post!)  Sounds a lot like what we strive for by going vegan!

This was my 4th trip to Kauai.  Eric and I vacationed there– with my parents at their timeshare condo– in 2005, 2008 and 2011.  In those (pre-baby) years, we packed a lot of activity on top of spending time in the ocean and doing “general” sightseeing (i.e Spouting Horn, Kilauea Lighthouse, checking out various beaches on the island, etc).

For example–

In 2005, we hiked the Awa’Awapuhi Trail and the Sleeping Giant Trail.  We toured the McBryde National Tropical Botanical Garden.  We did the zip line tour, and we took surfing lessons.

In 2008, we hiked the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Beach/Falls and the Kukui Trail to the Waimea River.  We toured the Allerton National Tropical Botanical Garden.  We took a catamaran boat tour of the Na Pali Coast.

In 2011, we hiked the Pihea/Alaka’i Swamp Trail to Kilohana Lookout, the Canyon Trail, and along the Makewehi Lithified Cliffs (and we walked other places).  We toured the Limahuli National Tropical Botanical Garden.  We snorkeled at Tunnels.

In contrast–

Elisa & Todd - May 30, 2016

Elisa & Todd – May 30, 2016

This year we didn’t even want to leave Poipu.  This year we simply wanted to hang out at the beach and pool.  This year the relaxed pace was really nice!  And it’s exactly what we needed.

DAY 1 – FRIDAY, MAY 27

We scheduled a 5:00 AM pick-up with Affordable Car Services to make our 8:45 AM Alaska airlines flight (#879) from Seattle, WA to Lihue, HI.  We woke up Todd just before the car arrived, and he was immediately wide awake and excited (we’d been prepping him for the trip for days!).

At the airport, we somehow managed to get all our carry-on bags to the gate, but unfortunately I was stopped for a pat-down search from the TSA due to an “anomaly” that showed up on my walk-through scan. (??)

Once settled, Eric and I took turns roaming the airport with Todd.  He enjoyed looking out the window at the planes and waving to all the new people.  He loved going up and down this one ramp repeatedly.  He was excited!

At the airport - May 27, 2016

At the airport – May 27, 2016

On board the plane, Todd initially appeared to “settle” into his car seat (he had his own seat).  We were in row 22.  He smiled during take-off…

He appeared a bit drowsy as we reached cruising altitude.  I thought he’d fall right to sleep for sure, but THEN…

Eric hopped out of his seat after the seat belt sign was turned off.  Then, Todd realized that we were allowed to get out of our seats!  As a result, he wanted up, too.

For the next ~2 hours he walked up and down the aisle.  Fortunately, the flight had many empty seats that we could duck in and out of to help other passengers navigate around us.  Everyone was supportive and Todd was awfully cute wearing his Honu Hawaiian outfit.  He was a happy boy, and he was actually really good about not trying to grab things off others’ tray tables.

Another passenger holding Todd - May 27, 2016

Another passenger holding Todd – May 27, 2016

Eventually, Todd succumbed to fatigue and he let us strap him in his seat for a nap.  That lasted 1.5 hours (a little short, but okay).

Nap time - May 27, 2016

Nap time – May 27, 2016

Once he woke up, it was back to roaming the aisle.  Todd spent quite a bit of time next to this one boy (whose family turned out to be from Bend, OR, where my family lives).  The boy had an airplane wings pin that really interested Todd.

Complimentary Mai Tai drinks were served prior to landing 🙂 , and refills were offered since the flight wasn’t full –> score!  Our arrival was at ~ noon (Kauai time, a 3-hour time difference).  We were the very last ones off the plane!

My parents picked us up and drove us to our destination:  Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club.

We hit the pool that first afternoon and we ate dinner on the lanai.  We dined outside for most of our meals.  Todd enjoyed watching the little chickens and other birds that regularly came to snack on bits of food he dropped.

1st meal on the lanai - Todd, me, my dad & Eric - May 27, 2016

1st meal on the lanai – Todd, me, my dad & Eric – May 27, 2016

DAY 2 – SATURDAY, MAY 28

On this day we walked around before breakfast, we went swimming after breakfast, then Todd napped 2.5 hours.

1st morning in Kauai - Todd & I - May 28, 2016

1st morning in Kauai – Todd & I – May 28, 2016

Toys from Todd's Grandma - May 28, 2016

Toys from Todd’s Grandma – May 28, 2016

View from our room at the Waiohai Beach Club - May 28, 2016

View from our room at the Waiohai Beach Club – May 28, 2016

View from Waiohai Beach Club - May 28, 2016

View from Waiohai Beach Club – May 28, 2016

IMG_7371

Eric & Todd – May 28, 2016

Todd was drawn to all the boards - May 28, 2016

Todd was drawn to all the boards – May 28, 2016

The main pool

The main pool

During nap time, my parents stayed in the room while Eric and I each got a drink at the Honu Bar.  I had a Mai Tai and Eric tried the Ultimate Dark & Stormy, which quickly became a favorite for both of us.  It consists of:  Cock ‘n Bull ginger beer, 92 proof Sailor Jerry spiced rum, Domain Canton ginger liqueur and a float of Bacardi Select.

View from the Honu Bar

View from the Honu Bar

In the afternoon I “Ergo’ed” Todd the short distance to the shallow, protected little area at Poipu Beach Park.  On the way there we were treated to seeing a Honu (i.e. turtle) on the beach!  In the following picture, the mellow beach is shown in the top left…

Turtle at Poipu - May 28, 2016

Turtle at Poipu – May 28, 2016

Todd didn’t want to approach the water at first (preferring to play with a beach ball), but eventually we convinced him that he’d be safe wading into the water with us.

(Background info– on the day we arrived, he walked right toward the ocean without hesitation but then quickly realized that there are waves that can rush toward him and push him off balance…which he didn’t like!  After that he avoided the ocean and acted afraid of it.)

Todd's first "swim" in the ocean - May 28, 2016

Todd’s first “swim” in the ocean – May 28, 2016

Eric & Todd - May 28, 2016

Eric & Todd – May 28, 2016

Surfboard! - May 28, 2016

Surfboard! – May 28, 2016

DAY 3 – SUNDAY, MAY 29

On this day we strolled before breakfast and we checked out the Waiohai’s koi fish pond after breakfast.  Then Eric went in the pool with Todd while I snorkeled in the ocean.

Strolling before breakfast - May 29, 2016

Strolling before breakfast – May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric - May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric – May 29, 2016

Family pic at the koi fish pond - May 29, 2016

Family pic at the koi fish pond – May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric - May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric – May 29, 2016

After a long nap (over 3 hrs), we did some more strolling, followed by more pool time.

After nap stroll - May 29, 2016

After nap stroll – May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric - May 29, 2016

Todd & Eric – May 29, 2016

DAY 4 – MONDAY, MAY 30

On this morning I Ergo’ed Todd as we all (including my parents) walked to the Starbucks located in the Poipu Shopping Village.  Along the way, we enjoyed the beauty of the Kiahuna Plantation Resort.

Todd's grandpa & grandma, Todd & Elisa - May 30, 2016

Todd’s grandpa & grandma, Todd & Elisa – May 30, 2016

Kiahuna Plantation - May 30, 2016

Kiahuna Plantation – May 30, 2016

As we walked along the beach where the Kiahuna Plantation and the Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort meet, we spotted a monk seal on the sand…

Monk seal - May 30, 2016

Monk seal – May 30, 2016

Monk seal - May 30, 2016

Monk seal – May 30, 2016

Monk seal - May 30, 2016

Monk seal – May 30, 2016

Before Todd’s nap (2.5 hours), we swam.

Todd & Elisa - May 30, 2016

Todd & Elisa – May 30, 2016

Afterward, we shared onion rings at the Honu Bar.  Here’s a picture of that Ultimate Dark & Stormy!  Todd barely reacted when he dumped a full cup of ice water on himself moments later, haha!

The Ultimate Dark & Stormy at the Honu Bar - May 30, 2016

The Ultimate Dark & Stormy at the Honu Bar – May 30, 2016

Mmm...lime! - May 30, 2016

Mmm…lime! – May 30, 2016

DAY 5 – TUESDAY, MAY 31

This day we really hit the jackpot:  four monk seals on the beach!

This morning, Todd had fun cruising around on the boogie board.

Todd & Elisa - May 31, 2016

Todd & Elisa – May 31, 2016

The boys & the boards - May 31, 2016

The boys & the boards – May 31, 2016

While Todd napped (2.5 hours), Eric walked to the Poipu Shopping Village to get us each a (vegan) Puka Dog.  Post-nap, I saw a turtle underwater while snorkeling.  Eric did some boogie boarding.  We took turns watching Todd.

During this trip, Todd generally went to bed between 9 and 9:30 PM.  He slept well!  And– he was generous with giving out kisses to his Grandpa and Grandma!

Before bed snuggles with my parents - May 31, 2016

Before bed snuggles with my parents – May 31, 2016

DAY 6 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1

On this day, Todd let Eric take him into the ocean for some real boogie boarding!  Unfortunately, after a few successful runs up the beach, Todd got splashed in the face with a small wave, which meant–> pool time instead!

In the pool, I noticed that Todd was getting comfortable with having his nose and mouth go under the water.  As a result, I worked with him for a while on this:

Every time he’d start to walk off steps toward sections of pool where he couldn’t touch the bottom, I let him briefly go underwater, then bring him back up.  It was clear that he enjoyed the repeated practice, and he hardly ever choked.  Yay!

Todd going underwater - June 1, 2016

Todd going underwater – June 1, 2016

Eric caught my parents kissing in the pool after Troy’s Aquafit class.  Love birds!

My parents - June 1, 2016

My parents – June 1, 2016

After all that morning activity, Todd was clearly tuckered out, because he took a 3.75 hour nap.  During that time, Eric and I split a (take-out) taro burger from the Honu Bar.

In the afternoon, I snorkeled.  This trip I also particularly enjoyed just swimming in the ocean.  Once Todd (finally) woke up, he enjoyed playing with the water faucets and hoses that you use to rinse sand off your feet.  He also swam again, this time in the shallow pool.

Fun with a hose - June 1, 2016

Fun with a hose – June 1, 2016

Kauai sunset - June 1, 2016

Kauai sunset – June 1, 2016

DAY 7 – THURSDAY, JUNE 2

On this day we took a morning walk in the Kiahuna Plantation.  Todd found a large puddle so his shoes quickly became wet!  Before his nap, we did some more swimming.

Todd at the Kiahuna Plantation - June 2, 2016

Todd at the Kiahuna Plantation – June 2, 2016

While Todd slept for 3.25 hours, Eric walked once again to the Poipu Shopping Village to get us a take-out lunch.  We split an order of Seasoned Tofu Chimichangas from Island Taco.

After Todd woke up, I Ergo’ed him over to the protected beach.  Instead of going in the water, we followed Todd on his quest to get his own surfboard from Nukumoi Surf Co.

Todd at Nukumoi Surf Co - June 2, 2016

Todd at Nukumoi Surf Co – June 2, 2016

Then we watched the waves and saw turtles in the water at Brennecke’s Beach.  Todd wanted to practice walking up and down a set of steps.

Brennecke's Beach - June 2, 2016

Brennecke’s Beach – June 2, 2016

Todd climbing the steps at Brennecke's Beach - June 2, 2016

Todd climbing the steps at Brennecke’s Beach – June 2, 2016

After dinner, we all headed over (by car this time) to the Poipu Shopping Village to get some dessert from Papalani Gelato.  They have a whole case devoted to non-dairy gelato flavors.

DAY 8 – FRIDAY, JUNE 3

On our last full day of our trip, we soaked in the scenery as much as we could while swimming, snorkeling (me, twice), and walking around the Waiohai grounds.

During Todd’s 3 hour nap, I sipped sucked down a soy latte from Starbucks while picking up a few items from the Poipu Shopping Village.  (Psst…I didn’t tell anyone that I had a Papalani Gelato while I was out, too!)

Since I was done with the rental snorkeling fins, Eric exchanged mine for the smallest pair they had.  As expected, once Todd got ahold of them he was happy as could be.  He immediately walked around in them just like he walks around our house in boots, skis and skates.

After dinner, we took one last trip to Papalani Gelato, and Todd had a blast playing on a set of steps with a bunch of other kids.  Once we got back to the room, he entertained us before bed with his fins and and his small boogie board.  Bedtime was late that night (10:30 PM).

OTHER NOTES

During our ~week long stay at the Waiohai, we met several other families with children around Todd’s age.  Todd had a lot of fun playing with the other kids (and trying to steal their pool footballs).  Here’s Todd with one such new friend.  She’s just half a month older than him!  And her older brother is the sweetest boy.  The day before we left for home he said, “I’m really going to miss Todd.”

New friends

New friends

DAY 9 – SATURDAY, JUNE 4

All good things come to an end, as the saying goes.  My parents drove us to the airport to catch our 1:00 PM Alaska airlines flight (#832) back to Seattle, WA.

My mom with Todd at the airport - June 4, 2016

My mom with Todd at the airport – June 4, 2016

Before going through TSA at Lihue - June 4, 2016

Before going through TSA at Lihue – June 4, 2016

The process of getting all our stuff through the TSA and to the gate was a minor pain in the ass, but we managed thanks to a helpful fellow passenger, the Ergo carrier and Eric and I working together to move bags while keeping everything accounted for.

NOTE–  that both to and from Kauai we opted to only check 1 bag, because they charge you $25 per bag.  That meant that we had 3 large carry-on bags and 3 personal items for the 3 of us, plus Todd’s immense Diono car seat to haul through security, plus the fact that Todd himself was essentially an added piece of luggage throughout the process.  Add to that— we were carrying 6 sippy cups of Todd’s “formula milk,” along with the ice packs to keep them cold.  Infant beverages are allowed, but the TSA inspects the liquids…which further adds to the whole tedious process.

The reward for hauling way too much crap to the gate is that during pre-boarding they suddenly offer to check– for FREE– any bags that you don’t need during flight.  Me:  “YES, please check more bags!”

[For crying out loud, why can’t they just check them for free at the beginning?!]

Rant over.  And so we made it onto the back of the plane (row 30).  Todd was surprisingly content to stay in either his seat or in our 3-seat section for much of the flight.  He did nap for 1.5 hours.  He only got a little restless in the aisle toward the end of the ride.  It wasn’t too bad.  Our arrival was scheduled for 9:49 PM Seattle time, but we were still on Kauai time (6:49 PM).

Todd & Eric on the flight home - June 4, 2016

Todd & Eric on the flight home – June 4, 2016

The Washington coastline at Ocean Shores was pretty so I snapped a picture for Todd’s other grandparents (since they have a home there.)

Washington State coastline at Ocean Shores from the plane - June 4, 2016

Washington State coastline at Ocean Shores from the plane – June 4, 2016

We got home late.  We got to bed really late.  The end!