Teddy Takes a Vacation | Part Three

We seriously had the time of our lives on this vacation. It was such a joy to see Teddy take in all the beauty around him and enjoy each beach we went to. He’s such a good boy.

Bali Hai was where we stayed for the first two days, on the Princeville side of the island. It’s just about an hour from the airport and I truly believe it’s the nicest part of the island. The accommodations are great! There is a pool, a fitness center, DVD rental, full kitchen in the units as well as a washer dryer. Eating out during vacation can be fun, but also expensive, so we opted to do some grocery shopping once we moved to Ka ‘Eo Kai, second residence for the week.

Ka ‘Eo Kai is great too. We stayed there a lot while I was growing up so it holds fond memories. The layout is nicer than Bali Hai and there was more room for Teddy to run around, safely. The washer and dryer in the unit made it so much easier on this mama, who has a baby who gets dirty ALL THE TIME. The views here are gorgeous and it’s walking distance to a park and Foodland, where we grocery shopped.

Kauai is easily drive-able in a day, so there are plenty of sights. What’s great about island life though, is there isn’t anything you absolutely MUST do except go to the beach every day.

The Wailua Falls are absolutely beautiful and an easy drive to the top where we looked over and took a few pictures. We did find out that there is a hike down to the falls that we might try out next time.

Kapaa has an 8 mile Bike Path all along the beach which is beautiful and fun. We rented bikes at a shop just at the end of the trail and did the whole thing! There are plenty of places to stop along the way and Teddy even fell asleep at the end of the trail.

On our date day Alex and I rented kayaks from Kayak Kauai and paddled up the Wailua River. If you take the river to the left is a swimming hole with a rock to jump off of and a rope swing. I was too chicken to do it, but we continued on past the swimming hole until we reached a tinny tiny waterfall and turned around. There was a spot that was absolutely still and gorgeous, we even saw cow grazing near the river. We should have worn tons of bug spray though, because we were eaten alive!

The river to the right goes to the falls. We docked our kayak and hiked what was supposed to be a 1/2 mile trail and felt like 2 miles. There was mud everywhere, up to our shins. But it was fun. At the end of the hike is the secret falls. It’s really not so secret because tours go in and out of there every 2 hours or so. We packed a lunch and enjoyed it after a cooling swim in the lake below the huge waterfall. Then, we had to hike back. I fell about 5 times and I’m pretty sure I bruised my tailbone — I was just getting so tired. Then we kayaked back! We had a blast but we were totally sore the day after. PS. Kayaks are actually kind of heavy!

We actually planned our trip home really well. We did all our laundry before so all we had to do was repack our bags and the thought of just having to put our clothes away when we go home instead of having to do piles of laundry was such a relief. We left in time to grab a nice dinner at Duke in Lihue and return our cars. We boarded at 8:30 and asked the stewardess for milk for Teddy. We flew out at 9:30 pm, which is usually right when Teddy crashes. He stayed awake until just after take off and then passed out and he slept the whole way home sprawled out across my mom, Alex and I. We however did not sleep as well as Teddy.

The flight is 5-6 hours and then on the way back we added three hours so we arrived at 6:00 am. We had arranged for Alex’s parents to pick us up from the airport. We grabbed coffee and breakfast at the Starbucks next to baggage claim and they picked us up and took us home. Chris and Amber were here too and their entire family took Teddy to the beach for the day so we could catch up on sleep. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS. Alex and I unpacked, showered and took the longest naps in the history of naps. When we woke up the first thing we did was eat In-N-Out. Such a great welcome home!

Teddy Takes A Vacation | Part Two

We landed! My parents had already been on the island for the week so they met us at the airport and while Alex got the car, my mom and I hung out with Teddy. My parents had told us we could do any excursion we wanted to and they would pay for it, but then they surprised us by getting us a convertible for the week instead! The perfect excursion that keeps on giving. Needles to say, Alex was stoked. When we were planning our trip we had to decide if we were going to bring Teddy’s carseat or not — originally I had decided not to and we found out that Enterprise actually provides carseats as a courtesy.

While we were there, it was great, except that I had to put Teddy front facing because the back of my seat was touching his if we rear-faced him. He LOVED it. I made sure to read up on the laws in Hawaii and read the manual on the specific carseat they provided. He met all the requirements. After arriving home though, I read an insightful blogpost by Alicia regarding carseat safety and we ultimately decided to keep Teddy rear-facing until he’s reached the height and weight limitations of his current seat.

Vacationing with grandparents is AWESOME. The first two days we were there, Teddy slept in my parent’s room so Alex and I could feel free to sleep in. It was so nice to catch up on some sleep, even with the three hour time difference. My parents took Teddy for a whole day so Alex and I could kayak and hike without the little one. Another night they took him for the evening so Alex and I could have a nice dinner! What a treat.

We did our best to help Teddy transition by keeping him up in the morning until his “normal nap time” (10 am) and he adjusted fairly quickly. Teddy is such an easy baby. While we were out, if he was tired he would just fall asleep in the car. However, it only takes about an hour to drive around the entire island so his naps were pretty short. For the most part, he wanted no part of any naps because there was just too much exciting stuff to see!

We went to several beaches on our trip and we also ate at a few great places too!

Kee Beach has a fresh water lagoon that goes right into the ocean. There is a rope swing and fish in the lagoon. The surf was great for body boarding, but the tide was a little rough for Teddy so we stayed mostly in the lagoon and playing in the sand.

Poipu Beach Park has lifeguards, showers, bathrooms, large shady palm trees, covered picnic areas and generally mild surf. It was perfect for Teddy. He spent the day picking up coconuts of the ground and digging in the sand. It was especially nice to be able to hose him off and change him before getting back in the car.

St. Regis Resort Beach is a private beach, but they have free valet and the dining is great. As long as you act like you own the place and are honest with the clerks they are usually pretty cool with people who aren’t staying at the hotel. You can partake of the bar, spa, and rentals if you would like. This is our favorite beach. The beach very gradually goes down into the ocean, with little to no surf, which was perfection for Teddy to feel confident in walking around. There are small patched of reef too where you can snorkel or even walk along to see TONS of fish. The beach has large shady trees and hammocks. It’s very easy to spend the majority of the day here.

Makana Terrace is perfect for a night out. Alex and I enjoy an amazingly slow and beautiful sunset dinner here on our date. Everything is grown locally and nothing is prepared until you order so we just enjoyed the fresh bread with herbed butter while sipping our wine, watching the sunset over Hanalei Bay. The sushi was fantastic! I would have come just for that.

You can also return for brunch the next day! It’s $38 per person, but absolutely fabulous. Teddy just picked off of everyone’s plate and drinks were included. They have a fresh omelet station, fresh local veggies, eggs benedict, parfaits, waffles, pancakes, and gluten free options as well. 

Puka Dog is a MUST on the island. We went to the Hanalei location (this town is one of my favorites). I got a polish dog stuffed in a pretzel bun with garlic sauce and a fruit topping. Sounds bizzare, right? It’s NOT. It will blow your mind.

Al Pastor Tacos is so good. Especially after a long day of kayaking and hiking. We were totally craving some good Mexican food and this place did not disappoint.

Hanalei Coffee Roasters is one of our favorite breakfast spots. The coffee is great and we usually hang out on their porch to escape the occasional rain or walk around shopping.

Lappert’s is some of the best ice cream ever. There is one in walking distance from our resort and that’s usually how we justify getting it — because we walked there.

Dukes is usually our last stop before boarding the plane back to the main land. The views during dinner are unbelievable and the food is so good. They also have a really great salad bar that comes with your meal.

Let’s just be real, you go on vacation to lay on the beach and eat so this was pretty much the best vacation ever.

Our First Family Vacation

We finally had our first little family vacation over the Labor Day weekend.  Earlier last month we found out that Alex didn’t have class on Saturday or Friday (a very rare occasion), so we decided to turn a three day weekend into a 4 day adventure!

We packed up the car on Wednesday and headed out right after Alex got out of work on Thursday.

We visited my parents and stayed the night there to break up all the driving. Then Friday morning we had breakfast with Grandpa and met Grandma for lunch at her school.  All the fourth graders were “oohing” and “ahhhing” over Teddy.  One girl even said (as Teddy was yawning), “Man, it’s hard to be so adorable. He needs a nap!” And he did.  He fell asleep right there in the midst of all the craziness.

After that we began the trek to San Diego for a fun filled weekend.  We stopped at Seaport Village to walk around and eat ice cream. YUM! It was a million degrees out though so we decided to check into our hotel and make a plan.

The Cotsenmoyer Clan joined us later that evening and we planned out the weekend.  Sea World on Saturday, then Hotel del Coronado on Sunday and the beach!

We woke up early on Saturday because Teddy boy doesn’t sleep past 6:30 am. Amy thought there was a cat outside their hotel room and Trav said, “No, that’s just Teddy.”  Mr. Smiley needs to learn that not EVERYONE loves to be all “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” at the booty-crack of dawn. Anywho, Tenley and Camden came over to our room (meaning they busted in through the door between our rooms and hung out with us while we all got ready for the day. Tenley is so sweet with Teddy. She loves to hold and hug him — I seriously die every time.  If they do end up getting married we have some seriously awesome wedding slideshow material.

Sea World with a three month old is a total blast and one he’ll obviously remember for his whole life. Juuuuust kidding.

The trip was really more us adults remembering our childhood trips to Sea World and watching Tenley freak out over all the cool animals. Still, it was fun!

Teddy was a champ. He napped whenever he was tired and practically lived in the carrier. Go me and Daddy for caring him around everywhere.  Amy and I even ducked into a few dark exhibits to nurse our kids and get them to sleep — because we’re pros like that.

We caught almost every show and hit every exhibit. Then we went back to our hotel ate pizza, jumped on the beds with Tenley and went to sleep.

Sunday was more relaxed. We slept in a bit (Teddy slept the entire night, which Auntie Am credits to herself for her awesome skills at putting children to bed). We grabbed a buffet breakfast at our hotel and then packed up the car for the beach. We drove over to Hotel del Coronado and grabbed parking spots a million miles away and apart from each other. Then we enjoyed some chips and a half a glass of moscato (ahhh, crisp and refreshing).

Then we took our rag-tag group and all our ish down to the beach. Amy pushed her crazy mess allll the way down to the shore with her double bob. She’s a beast! We parked it and set up the umbrella. Tenley ran into the waves with Trav while Teddy and Camden slept. Then once he was awake we took the Bubs out into the water. It was freezing and he wasn’t a huge fan, but as always he’s up for anything and he was a trooper. I honestly can’t imagine how my Mom would just let us drift out into the water and play in the waves. It’s totally scary. I may just keep Teddy chained to me until he graduates high school so he can’t ever get hurt. Okay, fine… I won’t. I’ll only do it until junior high.

Anywho, we all parted ways and then drove back to Riverside to spend the rest of our weekend with the Lopez family. But first, I got to have a little break with my best. Amy called me up on Monday morning and told me to meet her at the nail place. We grabbed Starbucks and had a wonderful pedicure — kid free. I miss that girl like CRAZY!

Then, it was off to Nana and Papa’s. It’s always such a sweet time when we can get the grandkids together. I really do cherish it. We always have a blast. It breaks my heart and makes it full every time we see them. Julian LOVES his little Tito and always wants to hold him. Emmy is just the sweetest little thing and I want to squish her all day.

I can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to grow our family on both the Lopez and Thomazin sides and who knows… maybe one day the Cotsenmoyers and Lopezes will join forces?