Friday, February 22, 2013

A Hilton Sort of Day

Today we resort poached (OK, not really, but we felt like it!).  We played at the Hilton today, checked out their dolphins, the lagoon, swam (froze) in their pool, took a boat ride (from Disneyland!) and rode the tram.  We laughed at Grammie - we never managed to get her on a Japanese train...  But we finally coerced her onto a "shinkansen" (it is the faux-monorail within the resort itself).

It is really beautiful (duh, 5 star resort), but I am hard pressed to think they can not heat their pools, even a teensy bit, when an Ito En Oi Ocha (bottled green tea) costs $3.75 (¥120/$1.30 in standard vending machine).

However, the slides were a huge hit.  Stefan rode it until he turned blue then would jump in the hot tub to pink up again. Ride, rinse, repeat.  Dougie had joined the fun after Stefan thawed out and was done with the arctic pond.  After 6-8 rides, I asked Dougie to come over so I could look at his lips.  I could not tell if they were blue he was chattering so badly.  

One more ride before the hot tub!

Dougie shut the slide down, Eric and Stefan took a tour of the resort, played giant checkers (Dad lost) and Ian played chase with Pop across the suspension bridge after digging up all the sand in the Keiki pond.  

Regardless of pool temperatures (kept the adults out!), the boys all had a great time.  The rest of us decided (already knew) that, although it is a lot of fun to drop in on a place like this, it was just not our kind of place.  You are hard pressed to want to leave the resort, yet you are in one of the most beautiful, scenic and fascinating places on earth!  Eric and I are more likely to "rough it" in a bungalow kind of place (and love it!), whereas my folks are more interested in the creature comforts.  However, they like a place where the gold they wear can be from the mustard spilled down your shirt...  We DEFINITELY feel the same way!

The upside for us?  It was not our kid peeing in the Keiki pond - it was a hotel guest's kid ;)

After dinner and a stroll home, the boys were washed, teeth brushed, prayed over and put to bed.  Eric and I packed...  Tomorrow we head to Honolulu and then back home :(

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Keiki Valentine's Day

The Waiohai had a Keiki (children's) Valentine's Day Activity.  The kids participated and made boxes and frames, yarn leis and sun catchers, PB&Js and cupcakes.  They played BINGO.  Ian won the first round.  Stefan and Dougie won the second.  Dougie was the only honorable one (a shock, quite frankly) and turned in his card after he won.  Eric made the other two put theirs down.

Even Stefan, who had been insisting he would not have a good time, enjoyed himself.  Didn't hurt that a boy he had befriended was there.  Oh, and he won the "guess the number of hearts in the jar" contest.  He was within five...  Sheesh!  He got quite a bag of goodies for that!

I had said we needed to get more ice-cream while we were here.  Stefan's favorite shop is Papalani Gelato, just across the street.  He and Dougie got the Mud Pie (my fave! Coffee, Oreos, coconut, fudge).  Ian picked out the Lava Flow (Pineapple, Coconut with Strawberry sauce).  Notice who is looking really impish about his ice-cream (that looks NOTHING like the above description)?!?

Ian did what he does best.  Got.  His.  Way...

The Ever-Sweet-Stefan let Ian keep the Mud Pie and happily ate the Pina Colada Lava Flow.

Happy Valentine's Day

We went to Brennecke's for Valentine's Day dinner.

Enjoyed the sunset on the way there and even had someone take our picture on the way back!  (Melissa - I did this for YOU!). 

Thanks to a timer, I  managed to get the greater clan photo with us in our very loud, clashing shirts.  We look hula-riffic!

My family, both nuclear and extended, are not overly sentimental when it comes to the Hallmark holidays.  We bawl our eyes out when saying goodbye squeal with delight.  Valentine's Day?  Meh.  A couple of us made off handed remarks about it at dinner - mostly because we just made the realization!

Having said all this, I shall wax sentimental for a moment:  I have a great family.  We have our ups and downs.  We argue over the truth - often forgetting the main point and being ugly in the process.  We can argue over arguing - or NOT arguing, as the case may be.  We laugh.  At ourselves, mainly.  Because we are funny.  Not funny "ha ha", but "funny" like "weird" and "ridiculous".  We are curious about most things and we argue the facts.  We also look them up, kiss, make-up and dole out the nickel.  We are passionate about many things (sometimes the argument...).

This is much the way I was raised.  It is much the way my kids are.  Which makes me think that it is less the way we are raised and more the way we are wired... Well, my folks have been wonderful, fun, generous loving, crazy parents.  They are more-so as grandparents (stress CRAZY - ha ha!).  They love Eric and myself without fail.  They are CRAZY about our kids.

We have been so fortunate to be able to come on holiday with Grammie and Pop.  We are even more fortunate that our boys look forward to this - not because it is Hawaii (although that is certainly attractive!).  They are ecstatic because of WHOM they get to see.   You see, these boys are crazy about their grandparents!  And we are all crazy about them :)

A Very Useful Skill

Tonight, Stefan asked Pop to teach him how to play Cribbage.

A VERY useful skill indeed!

They are holed up in the corner, using the couch end-table...  Not the eating table - with chairs.  Not the coffee table - with space.


The end-table...

And they are perfectly happy.

Dougie is hovering and listening in.  I expect that he will be game ready by tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2013

On Assignment

The "Free-Range" chickens of Kauai roost in the trees - a funny sight (makes them harder to get...)
Stefan's school assignment is to document details about Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.  This morning we attempted to be more proactive about that...

Stefan and I both missed pics of the Malasadas - so we went on a hunt for some more this morning!  This took us back to the Kauai Coffee Company.  Have I mentioned we like (love) coffee?!?  And with a fresh doughnut?!?  So much better!

Stefan wanted to go on the "Scary Bridge" (aka: a swinging bridge) so he could show his classmates.  And he likes to go on it - because it is scary.  Ha!  So, we meandered down to Hanapepe to go on the "Scary Bridge".

Ahu (stone pile)

We also stopped at the Salt Ponds to see if the salt-makers had any salt pans going.  It turns out the salting season is from approximately May to September.  That explains why the salt ponds looked so derelict.  Each salt plot is passed down from generation to generation and has been done this way since the Menehune.  The salt patch is comprised of 17 family plots - an ancient right the salt-maker inherits.  No one may enter the salt patch unless invited by one of the salt-makers.  And, my understanding is, this salt can not be sold commercially.  It is used by the families and given as gifts.  I have heard that it is a more valued and honored gift than money.

The clay on Kauai is extremely red.  The pond looked like liquid terra cotta - the above picture is NOT retouched.  Due to the sun direction, that picture really looked the way the pond does - as opposed to below, where it just looks dirty.  We always have a supply of the Hawaiian Red Clay Salt on hand.

A seriously derelict shack

We spent the afternoon in the pool, making sand piles on the beach, watching whales do backflips (close, but not literally) and generally being on vacation.  The boys went to a "Kid's Night Out" (a big flop, in Stefan's mind - but actually quite fun: pizza, games, movie...).  Eric and I wandered down to Brennecke's and had a beer and pupus, whale watching along the way.  With the fall-out that happened with the boys when we got home, we sort of wished we had stayed out for a much MUCH longer time...  maybe all night...  Tomorrow is another day - and sleep makes most things better.  That is my prayer :-)

Death grip?  Choke holds?  Restraints?  NOPE!  Just some fun spinning in the grass :)

Just.  Can't.  Quite.  Stand...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crab Hunting

We started Fat Tuesday with a good helping of fresh Malasadas!  The Portuguese sugar-doughnut that is enjoyed here in Hawaii, especially on Mardi Gras, sell out FAST!  We got in line right when they opened and ended up with the last two bags!

I vowed that we needed to have more ice-cream while we were here.  The kids & Pop took that to mean "ice-cream of any variety/caliber".  Drumsticks for brekkies have become commonplace...

My intention was really to get more Lappert's...  coconut macadamia nut ice cream!  We took the boys for a walk up to Lappert's this afternoon while Grammie & Pop went to pick up some fresh Mahi Mahi
for dinner.  They met us at the ice-cream shop and we enjoyed some Kauai Pie, Coconut/Macadamia Nut/Caramel, and Kona Coffee waffle cones!

After saluting the sunset and having an amazing dinner of fresh fish, the boys went on an airplane ride...

Sneek attacked Daddy...

And basically got tickle-tortured!

Then we donned the headlamps and went on a crab hunt - a Klipper-Klan tradition (

The crabs are smaller than the palm of your hand and the holes vary in size - anywhere from finger-sized to full arm-sized (like the one below).  Hole size is much less an indicator of crab size, much the same way the size of our homes are not indicative of our size...

You stick your hand down the hole so you can put your finger on the crab - honestly, it is to keep them from getting hurt.  And to keep from you getting pinched!  You dig under the hole so the crab, in theory, drops into the hole.  Sometimes, you catch something unexpected...

We caught three of the crabs in a cup.  I had visions of them skitting across the beach, and boys toes, when we realized them.  OK, I DREAMED they would scamper across the boys toes...  turned out they needed a little encouragement.

The best way to get the sand off?  A little foot-wash and a spa :)

Fishing for Coffee

Yesterday was a "stock up the pantry" day.  Mom & I ran errands.  The "boys" all played around the pool and paddled in the rain.  Of course, that was after Dougie awoke at 11:30 and Ian just after noon...

Today, Stefan was our sleeper, arising at a mere 10-ish (OK, Ian woke-up about four minutes before...).

The boys played around in the pool with Grammie and Pop while Eric and I took a good walk down the way.  We were on the hunt for some new swim trunks for Dougie.  The two pairs he has now have completely faded seats - one just shows HIS faded seat (a bit of DDD: Droopy Drawer Disorder).

One of the highlights is Pole Fishing.  They LOVE catching the fish!

If you notice the rain-drops on the pond, you will understand why these pics are from the vantage point of the bridge across the way...  Mom and I took refuge of an umbrella!

 I believe "Pure Joy" would describe that look.

Dougie had the same look on his face when I asked him to hold the fish - only it would have been described as "Pure Horror"...

Ian fished and caught an Ian-sized fish

Stefan caught a Stefan sized fish

Daddy caught a Daddy-sized fish?

The real fun happens when they feed their fish to the Night Heron.  Dougie screeches - Horror or Delight?!?  Stefan had a couple bounce off the lawn and back into the pond - much to the Heron's chagrin.  Ian...  well, see for yourself:

When we were done at the pond, Ian kept feeding fish - to the chickens.  He introduced himself to another little boy his age and offered up some goldfish.  They both fed the chickens - and themselves.  The fact that Ian had not washed his fishy hands were (ick) overlooked and, of course, not shared, with the other boys' parents...

I wonder if the fish tasted a little fishy?!?