I'll have to say, this trip was a good learning experience and one that was necessary for planning or I should say NOT planning, all future trips.
First of all, I didn't like vacationing without the other half of our family. It felt awkward and empty without them. I missed my littler boys like crazy and wanted them to be there with us. I ached for my toddler and couldn't believe I thought I'd be okay for an entire week without him. I realize that every parent is different in this regards. I have friends who are constantly planning trips without their kids and can't wait for the next one so they can get a much needed break. But for me, I can't stand being away from my kids and my heart ached the entire week I was gone. In fact, I had terrible anxiety about leaving him months before I left but hoped I would be distracted enough to have fun once I got there. It sorta kinda worked, except for every time I thought about him, which was like every hour.
I did have lots of fun, however, with my two older boys. It wasn't a bad trip, but I learned that ideally we should all stick together even if that means we will be vacationing at Snow Canyon instead of the North Shore of Oahu.
Second, I learned that when you rent a car you should never, ever, ever go cheap on the full coverage insurance. Get the insurance, no matter the cost! I haven't been in a car accident ever in my life, so I figured 6 days without rental car insurance would be fine. Boy was I wrong, especially on our third day there when I was backing out of a hotel in Waikiki and hit a cement pillar. The entire left side of my 2017 Nissan Versa got scraped up and the fascia came unhinged from the car.
I thought for sure I would pay thousands in car damages, which kinda put a dent in enjoying the rest of our vacation. As I made phone calls to my insurance agency I found out that I actually did have some collision damage, with a $200 deductible. I'm still waiting to hear the final results of my claim. I'm hoping that I don't have to pay out-of-pocket for loss of use fees, which is the fees associated with the rental car company not being able to rent the car out while it was being fixed.
I could've avoided this entire fiasco if I'd have gotten the full coverage rental car insurance.
Third, I realized that having a grand adventure with my two older boys also required some flexibility. Just because they are the older of the two, doesn't mean they don't have regular kid needs.
When I was imagining this trip last year it was filled with non-stop fun and excitement and outdoor adventures! We'd be surfing and hiking and swimming and snorkeling NON-STOP!! But in reality we had to stop a lot to eat. My kids got hungry a lot (imagine that!) and I had to feed them on a reasonable food budget in a place that has unreasonable food prices. We had to stop and cook breakfasts, cook lunches, find snacks that weren't too astronomically priced, and find healthy foods, too.
If It was just me I would've grabbed a manapua at 7-11 and gone and surfed for five hours, but my kids are pickier eaters, eat way more than I do, get tired easier, and require me to help them find foods that will satiate and satisfy.
I remember this one day we stopped at the roadside fruit stand and I let my boys pick out fruits they liked. One got a $5 tiny ziploc bag of sliced watermelon and the other got a $5 tiny ziploc bag of Mango slices and I just about died. Holy expensive, Batman.
I also had to be flexible when one of them got bad chaffing from swimming in the sea and salt water. We drove all the way to my favorite beach to swim and collect shells one morning and he sat on the beach the entire time because he was too sore to walk. Needless to say we didn't stay very long and spent the rest of the day reading, shopping, sightseeing, and trying to figure out ways to prevent chaffing so we could go back to the beach. (lots of Vaseline!!)
The greatest test of my flexibility came when we had an unexpected visitor in our bedroom. We were staying at my friend's house on the beach in Haleiwa. It was beautiful, quiet, and lovely, but as old North Shore houses go, it was also old, dilapidated, and not the Turtle Bay Condos that my boys were used to from previous visits to Oahu. They were overall fine with it, and it was so nice of her to let us stay there, but I could tell that Odin wished we were staying somewhere a little "fancier."
On our third morning there, my little Odin was laying on his air mattress when suddenly the biggest, creepiest spider came crawling up the curtain next to him.
Now, I grew up in Hawaii my whole life and I NEVER saw a spider of this creepiness or magnitude before. It's body was the size of a small fruit and it's big, hairy legs extended out past the size of my hand.
I would've screamed except for the fact that Odin was already screaming and I needed to stay calm for him. I have never seen Odin so frightened before in his life. He was trembling, crying, blubbering, and needing answers. I immediately told him to go sit in the rental car and stay there while I killed it. Meanwhile Zadok was getting out of the bathroom and asking what was wrong. I told him about the spider and he ran to the rental car as fast as he could without looking back (he's a true arachnophobic).
I made a quick decision to leave the spider alone because, honestly, I didn't want to go near the thing. I also knew that my kids would never satep foot in that house again so I quickly packed up all our bags and left my friend's house on the North Shore.
It was pouring rain out, the waves were twenty feet, my boys were both trembling with fear in our rental car, and I never felt more homesick in my life. I wished right then and there I could've transported back to our house in Southern Utah in a heartbeat to be with my husband and two little kids.
From there we drove into Waikiki to find a hotel room, preferably on a really high up floor away from creepy crawly things, and that's when I scraped up my rental car.
But, I don't like to dwell on the negative things. These stories were just to illustrate that sometimes in life we learn things we need to know. I learned a lot about myself that week and especially my needs and desires regarding visiting Hawaii.
I learned that I don't need to go back to Hawaii as often as I thought. I learned that I don't want to go on vacations without ALL my kids and my husband. I learned that I am flexible and patient when my kids are having a crisis. I learned that paradise comes with a price--if you don't have money to spend in Hawaii or family to take care of you, you don't get very far. I learned that being a tourist in Hawaii isn't as fun as living there. I learned that the safety and welfare of my kids surpasses any and all grand adventures I have planned. I learned that I LOVE living here in Southern Utah and was so happy to come home to my simple, country life.
We did have lots of fun on Oahu, too! Despite all the hard lessons I learned, we also had a blast doing fun things you can only do in Hawaii!
We had a spectacular day at the Polynesian Cultural Center with my Dad. The Samoan and Tongan shows are always so entertaining. The night show was amazing--my boys were very impressed with the fire knife dancing. I love doing all the fun stuff there like canoe rides, weaving fish from coconut fronds, and riding the tram around Laie, just like we used to do all the time when we were little kids living in laie.
And hanging out with my Dad is always fun no matter what. We also went to the Jon Hirokawa magic show with my Dad in downtown Waikiki, which was phenomenal! We are still laughing at all the funny jokes and mind-blowing magic tricks.
We had fun picking seashells off of Keiki beach and crashing in the surf at Three Tables. We got shave ice at Matsumotos and connected with some old friends. We had fun swimming at the little beach in front of my friend's house in Haleiwa. I ran on the beach every morning we were there, just like old times. We snorkeled at Hanauma Bay (Sharks Cove is way better but the waves were too big), I got to surf in Waikiki and caught some really fun waves on a ten foot longboard, I ordered my favorite Saimin at Zippys, got a manapua from 7-11 and got Kalua pig at our PCC dinner. (My boy's favorite food memories are the pancakes at Ihop with Grandpa and the shaved ice.)
Overall, it was a grand adventure and a wonderful time spent with my two oldest boys. They are really fun to hang out with and I'm glad I spent an entire week with them!
PLANE RIDE TO OAHU:
ZIPPYS DINNER STRAIGHT OFF THE PLANE
OUR FIRST MORNING IN HALEIWA
MATSUMOTOS SHAVE ICE
HANGING AT OUR CASA
COOKING AT KELLY'S
BANYANS AT KAWELA BAY
ME AND MY PA
Fixing Odin's headache with ti leaves and massage
Ala Moana Beach
Jonah's stuffed bear in Waikiki
MY TEMPORARY HONU TATTOO
HEADING BACK TO UTAH