Aloha from Hawaii | Days 7, 8 & 9

Jun 26, 2015

Saturday was our final free day of the trip. We rented a car once again and headed to the Dole Plantation. We toured the gardens which were magnificent. The wee ones really enjoyed them... especially since they came with little head sets that explained all the different plants. They got a kick out of that. We rode the Pineapple Express train which took us through the pineapple fields and we learned lots of cool pineapple facts (like did you know all pineapple still has to be hand picked!? Every single one.) We ate a delicious lunch including the most amazing Dole pineapple whip I've ever had, topped with fresh chunks of pineapple. Man Cub still talks about the pineapple train and pineapple ice cream every chance he gets. That boy is just like his mama. We would live on fresh pineapple if we could.

We also experienced the pineapple maze which at one point was the largest maze in the world... it might still be. All I know is it made me nauseous to go around in circles in that thing. I could do without the maze, but I enjoyed the rest of the Plantation. At the end of our time there, we bought out the gift shop. Just kidding, but we did pick up a few fun pineapple trinkets. Beebs picked out a bag of $10 pineapple gummy bears. She has rationed them out, eating only a few at a time and just barely finished the bag a week or two ago. They were by far the best gummy bears I've ever had. Wish I'd bought a bag for myself! But I know I wouldn't have had Beebs's self control. I would've eaten the whole bag in one sitting! 

After we got back to the hotel and returned the rental car, we headed to our favourite little part of Waikiki beach and the kiddos played in the water. Man Cub invented a game where he would jump off the little ledge that led down to the sand each time a wave came in and when he jumped he would yell "Catta-boon-yah"! Pretty sure he was trying to say "cowabunga"... though I'm not sure where he ever would have heard that, but maybe little boys just come hardwired knowing that phrase? Anyway- it was the funniest thing to watch and he had the time of his life! After swimming, we headed back to the room and conked out for yet another great night's sleep. (Hawaii sleep is almost as good as Disneyland sleep and long day of snowboarding sleep!)

Sunday was Bruce and his dad's big excursion. As our Christmas gift to Tom, Bruce booked them a day of deep sea fishing, which left the kiddos and I to our own devices. I decided I wanted to check out Hilo Hattie's, a gift shop in the Honolulu area. Being that I was vehicle-less, this meant catching a free shuttle bus that would take us to the shop and back. I am still super proud of myself for figuring out all the details and then making it happen with three little ones in tow. We bought some souvenirs at Hilo Hattie's, including a new Hawaiian outfit for each of the kiddos. I keep forgetting to put the girls in theirs, but Man Cub has worn his to church on several occasions and even wore it to my sister's wedding. Buying my 2 year old a white outfit was probably stupid, but he loved the turtles on it and he looks SOOOOOOO cute in it. Totally worth it! 

We also stopped by a local bakery while we were out to try some much raved about donuts. They were tasty but we still love Day's donuts up in Provo best of all. The kiddos and I then had my other favourite meal from our trip... since stopping at the shrimp truck on Wednesday, Beebs had been asking for shrimp, her favourite food. Turns out, shrimp is kind of hard to find! I thought it would be like all the fresh fish- easy to come by. But no. Perhaps shrimp is not found in the oceans surrounding Hawaii? I don't know... but the driver of the shuttle that took us out to Hilo Hattie's told us about this little Japanese noodle shop that got rave reviews. I decided it was worth a shot and before we headed to our hotel, that's where we stopped for lunch. It was probably the cheapest meal we ate the entire trip. The kiddos and I all ate for less than $20 and it was to die for. We had udon noodles in broth, tons of different tempura veggies and Beebs's favourite- tempura shrimp. And I finally tried spam musubi. It was all absolutely divine and we have since taken up eating udon noodles and Costco's tempura shrimp on a regular basis here at home.

Once Tom and Bruce got back from their deep sea fishing, we headed to the beach one last time. The menfolk had a good time deep sea fishing, though Bruce got quite sick at one point, which really stinks. His dad loved it though, and caught a 100 pound blue marlin. Bruce caught a small tuna towards the beginning of the trip and got to help his dad reel in the marlin. Tom would love to go deep sea fishing again. Not sure about Bruce... he's glad he went once but we'll see if it's something he decides to do again.

After the beach, Sunshine hung out with Grandpa and Bruce and I took the two little ones for a walk. We ended up at the shave ice stand so Beebs could get one last shave ice before we headed home.

Monday was a sad day... we had to say goodbye to the island we had come to love. Man Cub was not happy to be leaving. You'd think the boy was a Hawaiian native by the time we left, right down to refusing to wear shoes and walking barefoot everywhere he went. He still looks at the picture I took of the girls looking out at the ocean one last time and says "We go home. I no want go home." 

The trip home was uneventful. The shuttle was a little late picking us up which had us slightly panicked, but we made it to the airport with plenty of time and the flight home went perfectly, though Man Cub was still insistent that we were not leaving Hawaii. When we boarded the plane, Bruce gave me a little gift he had picked up for me in the airport... a green onesie with a sea turtle, for the baby. The entire trip I had been meaning to buy a little souvenir for the baby but never actually grabbed something. It was probably the world's most expensive onesie, but I absolutely love that he realized how important it was to me to have something for the baby and that he made it happen.

Our return flight was just as great as the flight there. They served us a yummy dinner and I drank as much of my favourite tropical juice as I could. We landed late, late Monday night and the next morning sent Sunshine to school! In our defense, she was anxious to go... we did let her sleep in and sent her late, but she was very excited to get back and tell her friends all about her big trip. 

I am so so glad we were able to take this wonderful vacation. We made so many amazing memories and I love hearing the wee ones chatter about the things they did and what they remember. I know they won't remember everything, forever, but hopefully this record of our adventures will help stir those memories as they begin to fade. Especially for Man Cub. He's the one I know won't remember the trip, and he seemed to enjoy it most of all! 

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