Holly S.


We crammed one last activity into the trip today. Ty and Aunt Sarah got up super early, traveled to the North Shore’s Dillingham field and hopped in ultralight gliders for an “epic” ride (to use Ty’s lingo).

The company we flew with is Paradise Air, and they were phenomenal! Denise and Tom made us feel so comfortable and not at all scared. We were lucky to get on their schedule – the day before they did skydive jumps with the crew and stunt people from Hawaii 5-0! Tom is an aerial cinemaphotographer (relocated to Hawaii from LA) and he filmed the scene that will be in the 3rd episode of the upcoming season. Can’t wait to watch!

We flew to about 7,000 feet, way above the clouds and didn’t experience too many bumps.

Here’s Ty waving to Aunt Sarah in the distance. He asked his pilot to radio over to Aunt Sarah’s plane to see how she was doing. What a sweet kid!

We had great weather and even flew up over the clouds and over the mountain ridge at Ka’ena point.

We even got to drive! Here’s Ty steering his glider.

I think Ty was pretty happy with his morning!


Posted from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Everybody’s Gone Surfin’

Well, at least Alli, Jake, and Uncle Jason. On their last full day in Hawaii, Alli and Jake wanted to take another turn on the surfboards. They both did great, with a little help from Uncle Jason.

At one point, Jake paddled out to the biggest waves all on his own. When we started looking for him, we found him… standing up, riding into shore (look closely, he’s the little kid out there by himself)!

Alli did a great job and got up several times, too.

Jake was the least interested in surfing when he got here, but ended up catching more waves than the rest of them combined. I think he was pretty happy with his performance.

Well, except for the foot injury. But I think it was worth the pain!

Here are a few quick video of Alli and Jake tearing up the waves!

Posted from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Ever seen a Hawaiian Hidden Mickey? Aulani!!

Today Sarah and I had a tour of Disney’s newest resort, Aulani. It’s set to open in just under four weeks, on August 29th, and is still under construction. But there was plenty to see, and plenty to assure us that it is going to be an amazing place. Our guide was great and answered tons of questions and even encouraged us to take pictures.

So, we did! Here’s the porte-cochere and entrance to the lobby. The building is designed by the same architect that did Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, and the similarities were obvious. Those two Lodges are favorites of mine at WDW, but they don’t have the view that Aulani has. :)



You can see there’s still plenty of work going on around us. Stepping into the lobby, you’re overwhelmed by the view outside.


The lobby is still very much under construction, but the work so far is beautiful.


It looked like a story was about to be stenciled onto the walls above us.

According to our guide, a “Kim Possible” style game starts here in the lobby, with a genuine 3-D hologram bird emerging from the lobby floor and flying out the window! It sounds so cool, it’s all about Hawaiian native culture and should allow kids to learn without realizing it.


The landscaping outside looks beautiful, as it should in Hawaii. Can you spot the lazy river going around (and under) the volcano? There will be two slides in the volcano as well.


Also, there’s a snorkeling area here with glass walls so you can watch your kids snorkeling!


The Hawaiian style graphics in the windows keep the feel very local. Our guide said that Disney has relaxed many of their rules to fit the Hawaiian lifestyle. For example, tattoos are fine, and cast members can wear slippers (flip-flops). He said his trainer came to work one day shirtless even! Now that’s Hawaii!

Here’s a Hawaiian Hidden Mickey in the hall carpeting (a surefire place to find a hidden mickey).


This wallpaper is amazing, the detail up close is beautiful. More hidden mickeys here, too, if you’re looking.


Looking out a pool view room on the main floor to the kids’ water playground.


From the same balcony, looking towards the lagoon behind the resort. The little red shack is where you will be able to get Hawaiian Shave Ice, and it’s also the meeting spot for Teen get-togethers. The green waters in front of the shack are for the snorkeling pool, I believe. The thatched room at the far end of the opposite side of the hotel is the fancy table service restaurant. there’s also a more casual table service restaurant below the lobby.


In the 1-bedroom villa, the entertainment center has a fold-out Murphy bed below the TV! When the bed is folded up, the panel is carved wood with angel fish, gorgeous.


Another hidden mickey in the upholstered kitchen bench. This kitchen reminds me of other DVC Villas, very nice.


Pull-out couch in the 1-BR Villa and balcony.


I’ve been really into learning about Hawaiian quilting while I’m here, this just tickled me pink!! A Hawaiian Quilt hidden mickey!


And one last hidden mickey in the bathroom artwork for you:


All in all, it was a great tour. The Ko Olina area will thrive with the new business Disney is bringing, and it sounds like Disney is really trying to do it right, and do right by Hawaii at the same time. I was disappointed we weren’t able to see the spa at all, but it is still under heavy construction according to our guide. They are expecting it to be fully ready for opening day, but no photos have been released yet, our guide hadn’t even seen it. Typical for Disney, it’s elegant and luxurious enough for the savviest adults, but also completely welcoming for families and children.

Posted from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States.

Malasadas for breakfast

Today I went over to Agnes’ bakery and they fried us some fresh malasadas for breakfast. They are so yummy, and going fast!

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Haleiwa and the North Shore

Today we visited Oahu’s North Shore and Haleiwa. It’s a small town full to bursting with adorable shops and art galleries . . . and sea turtles! Sarah took us to a deserted little beach where we enjoyed the afternoon watching the amphibians.



There were three on the beach, and they seemed pretty intent on snoozing.


One kept winking at me, though.

Ty was trying to swim with them.

Jake decided to take a nap with them instead.

Bryan took it easy on the beach, and Alli pretended to have a spa on the shoreline.

And a rainbow to end our day!

Posted from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States.

Bishop Museum

The kids and I spent the afternoon at the Bishop Museum yesterday. It has an amazing collection of Hawaiian artifacts, and a great kids’ science museum about Hawaiian geology and climate. Alli has been searching everywhere for the Monk Seal.


Here are the kids creating enough pressure for a volcanic eruption.


And investigating wind patterns and currents:

And observing a volcano from above:

We had a great time, and since it made sense to get the annual membership, we may even take Dad back with us next time!

Posted from Kailua, Hawaii, United States.

Soarin’ Over Oahu

Yesterday we took a one-hour flight over Oahu in a Cessna Skymaster. It seats six, so it was a perfect fit for us and a pilot. The kids were super excited when they saw the plane.


It didn’t stay that way long, though. During takeoff, Jake suddenly regretted not having taken any medicine for his motion sickness. He made it through the first few minutes, and then enjoyed himself for the rest of the flight.


We circled the island and saw things from a whole new perspective. It was a great flight and a lot of fun.


We made it back to solid ground without a problem, and the kids posed for a picture with our pilot, John.


Posted from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States.

Hawaii Marine Institute

We were lucky to get a personal tour today at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, or HIMB, through some friends of Sarah’s. The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology is a world-renowned marine research institute of the School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Situated on Moku o Lo’e (Coconut Island) in Kane‘ohe Bay, HIMB provides excellent opportunities for tropical marine research located just 15 miles from the main campus and downtown Honolulu.


It was amazing. Utterly amazing. We saw beautiful creatures, learned a bunch of new things, and met some wonderful people. An interesting factoid: this island was the silhouette used in the opening credits of Gilligan’s Island!


We took a boat over to the island and as soon as we stepped onto the dock we saw gorgeous tropical fish swimming all around us.


Our guide showed us the different labs setup around the island. The first lagoon housed several sharks and a cute little pufferfish!



See the orange wormy thing next to the pufferfish? That’s a unique species of sea cucumber that thrives here. They were everywhere!

We visited a touch tank they had available and fed the Mushroom Coral. Watch the orange fish food flakes move from over the entire coral to the coral’s mouth. We never once saw it move, but somehow it managed it!





We saw how acidity affects the sand, and learned how global warming is changing the ocean environment.


Some bluefin tuna being studied made us hungry for sushi!

We brought home some coconuts from Coconut Island and Ty and Bryan enjoyed some fresh coconut water.



Posted from Kaneohe, Hawaii, United States.

Surfing in Waikiki

Yesterday we took the surfboards to Waikiki and the kids took turns hanging ten. Uncle Jason coached tem on catching the waves and they slowly but surely stood up on their own.


Posted from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Kiteboarding in Kailua

Bryan and Ty have spent the past few days taking Kiteboarding lessons. It’s a tricky sport, where you stand with your feet strapped into a small board and harness your body to a kite that propels you over the water.

Here’s Ty learning how to control the kite. This is the hardest part, especially for lighter kids, as he could easily be blown away!


The kite is this massive thing, too. Hard to handle and hard to maneuver, but they’re getting the hang of it.

Meanwhile, Alli and Jake played in the surf. They are absolutely loving the boogie boards!




Posted from Kailua, Hawaii, United States.

Koko Crater Trail

Ty and Bryan hiked to the top of Koko Head crater today. There’s an old railway line there that’s no longer used and you can hike up the old railway ties. There are no railings, and there’s a bridge section with nothing underneath. It’s a difficult hike, so I stayed on Aunt Sarah’s lanai instead and used the binoculars to watch their progress.


The view from the top is incredible!


Here’s a view from the street, you can clearly see the straight trail cutting to the top of the mountain.



Posted from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

My little sun baby

We went out to the beach again today one last time before the sun went down. Isn’t the light beautiful?

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Yummy Breakfast!

Yesterday, Alli, Bryan, and I went into Kailua town for a delicious breakfast. Alli had the Guava Chiffon Pancakes.


I had the crab cake Eggs Benedict, with home fries.


Bryan had oatmeal and insisted on walking home. I think he felt he was absorbing calories just by sitting with us! It was delicious 

Posted from Kailua, Hawaii, United States.

Aloha Tower

Enjoying lunch with Aunt Sarah at Aloha Tower, watching the cargo ships from the mainland maneuver into port.


Posted from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.

Spitting Cave

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