Sunday, August 12, 2018

San Juan Island Camping

After doing much research and staying up til midnight exactly 90 days in advance, I was able to secure a reservation for a campsite at the small and in-demand campground right on the beach on San Juan Island.  Although we had only been home from Hawaii for three days, we packed up and headed out early on Thursday morning to catch our 11:45 ferry from Anancortes to Friday Harbor.  We were able to get up there in time with rush hour traffic and hopeon our ferry for the beautiful 1 hour and 20 minute ride to Friday Harbor.  We then spent the most wonderful two nights and three days at one of the most amazing campgrounds that Ron and I have ever seen.  By luck, I chose the best campsite of the 18 which was had an unobscured view of the water and was right next to a large field that the children loved playing in while Ron and I were working, cooking, or relaxing in the campground.  We enjoyed playing in the beautiful bay next to the campground, soaking in the stunning views of the Puget Sound, and watching Orca wales swim by for over an hour on our first evening there.  It truly was a magical place to camp and spend time with our family.  We will definitely be visiting this campground again in the future!

Lia, Ella, and Logan on the ferry ride to Friday Harbor on the morning of  Thursday, August 9th.

The kids exploring the bay adjacent to our campground on our first afternoon there.  The weather was in the 80s on Thursday, so it was the perfect day to spend at the beach.

The kids and me on the beach.

The kids enjoyed climbing on this big rock on the edge of the shore over and over again.

The children sitting by the fire on Thursday evening while dinner was being made.

This is the field right next to us that the children loved playing in whenever Ron and I were in the campsite.  They played tag, made up dances to perform, and practiced gymnastics.  It was the cutest thing.  Here is Ella getting ready to do a cartwheel for me.

Ella and Lia putting on one of the many dances they choreographed and performed over the weekend.

We enjoyed cooking and eating s'mores after dinner on Thursday night.  As always, Logan made a mess of his face and hands.  Here he is showing off his handy work.

Ella and I relaxing by the first as the sun set.

After watching the Orca wales during and after dinner, we enjoyed a stunning sunset before putting the kids to bed.

On Friday morning, August 10th, we drove into the quaint town of Roach Harbor for a walk around the hotel, marina, and shops.  With the exception of Logan kicking one of his flip flops off onto some rocks on the beach below (and me falling while trying to scale down a rock wall to get it and getting all bruised and scratched up), we had a lovely morning exploring this town.

The marina at Roach Harbor.

We then came back to the campground for lunch and to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Here are Logan, Lia, and Ella performing one of their dance/singing numbers for us.  It was so cute to see them do this as they have never really done this kind of thing together.

All three kids in their final pose.  Look at how cute Ella looks!

We went back down to the beach for the rest of Friday afternoon.  The kids wore their swimsuits and spend quite a bit of time playing and even swimming in the freezing water!

Lia really swimming in the frigid water with her new friend, Cameron, who she met on the beach.

Logan turned a piece of drift wood into a paddle board and enjoyed paddling around the bay on it.

Logan sitting down on his 'paddle board.'

The Hartland Fam.

This is the hilarious pose I found Logan sleeping in on Friday night.  Although I usually find his head covered in blankets every night before I go to bed, I have never found him with his "comfy warmy" blanket piled on top of his head like a turban.  Oh this boy, he just keeps me laughing every day.

We woke up to a slightly cooler and windier morning on Saturday, but we still enjoyed it never the less.  After breakfast, we walked back down to the water's edge to enjoy the view one last time.  Here are the kids posing on the giant, dead tree next to the edge of the cliff.

A family picture with the Puget Sound in the background.

Lia hugging little Ella.

An adorable, close-up shot Lia took of Logan and his missing tooth while playing with my camera.

Cute Logan enjoying the view of the water from a bench.

After packing up our entire campsite, we headed back into Friday Harbor for a delicious lunch of fish and chips and some walking around town before catching our 3:45 ferry back home.  Here are Lia and Logan enjoying their lunch on the restaurant's rooftop terrace that has a wonderful view of the water below.  During lunch, it started raining and rained for over an hour before stopping in time for our ferry ride back to Anancortes.  We were so grateful that the rain held off until after we were done camping packing up all of our stuff.  It was a wonderful end to a wonderful weekend!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Celebrating 50 Years in Hawaii!

We just returned last night from a wonderful week in Kauai with my entire family celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents.  Although their actual anniversary was last October, we decided to wait until this summer to celebrate so that my nephew, Spencer, who was serving a mission in Taiwan, could join us.  Since my entire family has gone to Maui together twice in the past few years, we decided to try a new island and went to Kauai.  Everyone stayed in their own condo in a beautiful hotel with an amazing pool right on the ocean.  We had such a great time the entire week spending both quality time with my entire family and some private time with just our own family.  We loved exploring a new beach every day, playing in the hotel pool, and eating delicious, Hawaiian food.  It was so good to be back in paradise with the roosters and chickens roaming everywhere and can't wait for another opportunity to go back!

We left Seattle at 10:15 a.m. Sunday morning, July 29th, for a nonstop flight to Lihue.  Luckily, it was an on-time flight and the kids did great the entire six hours we were flying there.  After picking up our luggage and rental car and checking into the hotel, we spent the afternoon in the pool before exploring our town of Kapa'a to find some local food to eat for dinner.  Ron found a great noodle and Hawaiian restaurant for us to eat at and it was the perfect way to start our eating adventures for the week.  Here are Ella, Lia, and a not-so-happy Logan eating their chicken and rice for dinner.

After a good night's sleep on Sunday night, we headed out to spend the morning and afternoon of July 30th on the south of the island in Poipu.  Since the rest of my family had flown to Oahu for three days, they were not joining us until this evening.  As a result, just the five of us spent the day at this popular beach which is perfect for little kids since most of the water on this beach is pretty calm.  We were so surprised to find two, giant seat turtles sleeping on the sand when we first arrived there.  We had to stop and take a picture with them.

The kids getting ready to get their feet wet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time this week.

After an hour or so of playing in the "baby pool" of the beach, we wandered over to the other side of the beach where you can snorkel and body surf and were so surprised to find an Hawaiian monk seal napping right on the sand.  These are endangered species and quite a rare find to see!  Lia and I were especially excited to see one in real life since we learned all about monk seals when reading the stories of one of her favorite American Girl Dolls, Kanani, whose story takes place in Hawaii!  Lia even has the stuffed, monk seal that goes with Kanani's collection.

Since the monk seal is an endangered species, there is a special protocol set in place when one is found out of the water.  The entire area was roped off with an information sign posted about the seal.  In addition, two volunteers showed up to spend the entire day supervising the seal and answering questions that people might have.  It was really impressive to see.

The kids and Ron testing out the water before we went snorkeling.  I bought Lia her own snorkeling set this summer and I was impressed to see her use it several times throughout the week.  She was brave to go out with Ron while I snorkeled with Ella holding onto my arm the entire time.  It was so cute and I was amazed how long she stayed out there with me.

We took a break for lunch on the beach and Ella was fascinated by a rooster that was hiding and crowing in the bushes.  It was so funny as she kept on trying to find it.

The kids and I after lunch.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the small waves that were perfect for the kids to roll around in without getting too scared.  It was a great introduction to the ocean for the week and I was so impressed with how brave Logan and Ella were.

Ella giving me a smile.

All three kids posing with the waves.

Logan rolling around in the water.

Ella running up to the beach.

All three kids enjoying the water together.

And laughing together.  I just love the look on Lia's face!

After coming home for an afternoon swim in the pool and dinner in the condo, the kids and I went for a walk around the hotel grounds and to check out the beach.  On our way there, we found the largest snail that any of us had ever seen.  It was amazing!  Here is Logan putting his hand next to it to show how large the snail really was!

Logan and Lia posing with the snail.

Ella and Logan were fascinated with the hibiscus blossoms that were all over the hotel grounds and insisted on picking some to wear behind their ears.  Here are all three kids posing with these flowers tucked behind their ears.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 31st, our entire group of 23 people headed out to the north shore to explore Anini Beach.  Although it was very remote and set in a beautiful location, the snorkeling was not good due to very murky water, so we only ended up staying there for an hour or so.  Here are all 13 grandkids lined up on the beach ranging in age from 21 to 4 years old.  What a sight!

And, of course, they wanted to do a silly pose.  I just love how Lia spontaneously jumped onto Riley's back.

In keeping with a family tradition that my brothers have been doing for decades, Eric managed to dig up a large crab after finding its hole in the beach.  All 13 kids and some of the parents (including me) had a fun time chasing the crab around the beach until we got yelled at by a local.

The Hartland fam on Anini Beach.

And a close-up.  Oh, how I just loved being in this special place with Ron and our children.

Two, best buds:  Logan and Trenton playing on the sand.

I asked a few of the grandchildren to do a pyramid on the beach with Lia on top...

and then, suddenly, it evolved into all 13 grandchildren with Lia, Ella, Trenton, and Logan on top.  So fun!

Before we left Anini Beach, I found Ella alone drawing "pumpkins" on the sand and just thought it was the cutest thing.  Here she is posing with one of her pumpkins.

Ella up close.

The local on the beach who yelled at us for playing with the crab ended up having a long chat with Ron and recommended an amazing beach called "Secret Beach" a few miles down the coast from Anini.  So, after packing up our stuff and heading back to the cars, we drove the few miles to a dirt road where we found the very hidden entrance to this mainly locals' only beach.  We had to hike down a windy trail through the jungle for several minutes before popping out on this amazing and secluded beach.  Here are Ella, Logan, Ron, and the rest of my family making their way down the trail.

And this is what we found!  Just stunning!  Here is one side of the beach.

And the other side of the beach.

After eating lunch, Ron took Lia out into the water to introduce her to the world of swimming in large, crashing waves in the ocean.  She was so brave and went out there with him and the rest of the cousins for over an hour.  She had a great time and I was so proud of her as she never would have done this kind of thing a year or two ago!

Since the waves were too big for the little ones to play in, they spent quite a bit of time exploring the lava rocks on the beach.  Here is Ella jumping off the rocks into the soft sand below.

Ella and Trenton posing for me.

Ella and Trenton jumping at the same time!

Ella walking along the edge of the rocks.

After awhile, Logan, Ella, and Trenton got brave and started playing in the surf without going too far out in the water.  They eventually warmed up to it and had a great time--especially Logan!  Here is my cute boy flashing me a smile after washing up in the surf.

Spencer was kind enough to leave the group playing in the large waves to come and join the little ones for awhile.  Here they are having a great time together.   Oh, how Logan loves any attention from Spencer!

The majority of the "big kids" and some adults playing in the waves.

Ella running away from a crashing wave on the beach.

The kids with Spence again.

Ella getting ready to run.

After several hours on Secret Beach, we headed back up the steep trail to our cars.  Here are the kids and me climbing through the jungle.

Lia and a beautiful tree above her.

Another pic of the kids and me making our way up the trail.  We were so hot and sweaty by the end!

After leaving Secret Beach, we headed back into the quaint town of Hanalei for some dinner and shave ice.  Here is a beautiful scenic point we stopped at on our way into town.

Ron and I were so thrilled to find our beloved, L&L Hawaiian BBQ restaurant in Hanalei.  I first discovered this restaurant while living in Huntington Beach and absolutely loved it.  Ron and I then enjoyed picking up dinner from the one in Long Beach many a times after we got married.  We have so missed this restaurant during the 11 years we have lived in Washington!  Here are the kids and I waiting for our dinner outside the restaurant.

Enjoying our spam musubi and chicken katsu with the kids!

We walked right next door to get some shave ices from JoJo's for dessert.  This shave ice stand is highly recommended on the island due to the fact that they make all of their own syrups.  It did not disappoint and we enjoyed eating macadamia nut ice cream inside our shave ice.

We stopped at one more scenic outlook on our way home from the north shore.  Here are the kids with the stunning background behind them.

A view of the mountains, taro fields, and jungle below.

Since my entire family wanted to spend the day at the beach in Poipu on Wednesday, August 1st, we opted to do our own thing since we had just been there two days earlier.  We started out the morning by hitting up the Ono Family Restaurant for an authentic, Hawaiian breakfast.  Ron had also found this restaurant online and we were so pleased with our morning spent at this homey, family-run, cafe.  The kids all enjoyed pancakes with coconut syrup (which was delicious) and Ron and I ordered our favorite fried rice with eggs on top.  It was all so good!

My breakfast of fried rice, eggs, and spam on the side.  I wish that I could eat this every day!

After breakfast, we headed out to find our beach of the day and chose Lydgate Beach Park in Wailua just south of Kapa'a.  This beach has two, man-made lagoons that are safely protected by a large, rock wall around the exterior.  So, although the majority of the beach had crazy, wild waves, er enjoyed calm waters all morning and early afternoon.  Here are the kids and me making a sandcastle on the shore.

Working on our sand castle.

We all enjoyed swimming and even snorkeling in this protected lagoon for several hours.  There were some wonderful fish to see if you could find them while snorkeling.  Here are the kids and me in the shallow, calm water.

Trying to strike a pose for Ron and the camera.  Poor Ella didn't quite get the memo. :-)

The wavy and wild beach outside the lagoon.

The protected lagoon inside the rock enclosure.

Logan discovered the game of pulling me around the lagoon by my feet.  It was so cute and funny to have him do this.  Here is a picture that Ron managed to snap of us.

Lia flashing Ron her best, "Hang Loose!"

Logie and me.

Ella on the shore.

While looking for items on the beach to decorate the sandcastle with, Logan found half of a coconut shell and immediately started filling it with pretty rocks and Kukui nuts.  He then turned it into a little boat and enjoyed motoring it around the lagoon.  I just thought it was the cutest thing.

Logan with his boat.

A great shot I saw as we were leaving the parking lot of Lydgate Beach.  There were actually two leis just hanging from this tree, blowing in the wind.

After leaving Wailua, we drove back through Kapa'a to the small town of Anahola to finally try our first acai bowls which are all the rage in Hawaii right now.  Ron had read that the best place to eat this delicious, fruit bowl was at the Kalalea Juice Hale stand.  It was right at the base of some stunning mountains and was so quaint and cute.

Logan and Lia holding our fruit bowls before sitting down to eat.

A hilarious sign posted about the "bad chickens" that live around the juice stand.

The kids and Ron enjoying their acai bowls.

Logan's mouth covered in the fruit smoothie that makes up the majority of the bowl.

The rugged mountains above the juice stand.

Wednesday evening was the night we had set aside to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary.  We had planned it out a few weeks in advance and divided up the responsibilities amongst the children and their spouses.  We started off the evening by leaving all 13 children behind at the hotel so that the adults could treat my parents to a nice dinner out.  Susie and Brent were in charge of finding a restaurant for us to eat at and they did not disappoint.  We ended up having dinner at the Lava Lava Beach Club which is literally right on the beach!

I ordered and picked up leis for my parents that they were able to wear the entire evening.  Here they are on the beach before getting seated at our table.

My parents, their children, and spouses before dinner.

After being seated at our table right on the sand, we noticed this strange, Hawaiian man roaming the beach and climbing trees.  He did this for most of the evening and it was very entertaining.  Here is a picture Ron managed to take on the sly of this man communing with nature in the tree directly in front of us.

All 10 of us enjoying our dinner.

My parents were treated to a complimentary dessert at the end of dinner.

We then drove back to the hotel where we managed to squeeze all of us into Eric's condo for the rest of the evening.  We presented some gifts to my parents:  a large, group card, a book of memories that everyone had written in, and a painting from Kelsey of my parents sitting on the deck at Priest Lake.  After the gifts, Eric played a slide show that he had put together with pictures we had sent him along with ones he had taken from my parent's photo albums.  After the slide show, we finished off the evening eating a cake that Natalee had ordered and picked up from a local bakery.

A close-up of my parent's cake.

Most of the gang enjoying their cake.

The three "littles" eating away.

Since the brothers and most of the teenagers decided to go on an all-day hike on Thursday, August 2nd, the rest of us decided to head back up to the north shore and spend the day at Hanalei Bay Beach.  This turned out to be a wonderful beach secluded in a large bay with mellow waves that were perfect for bobbing around in and body surfing.  Both Lia AND Logan learned how to body surf with Ron's help and both caught wave after wave after wave.  It was so great watching the two of them learning this fun, water sport.  Here we are after first arriving at the beach.

Ella getting used to the water.

My baby and the bay.

Lia starting off on one of the many waves she caught with the help of Ron.

And, there she goes!

Riding the wave into the shore.

Ron pushing Logan off on another wave.

Here he goes!

Cruising towards the beach.

Slowing down on the shore.

Logan heading back out after catching the wave.

Lia riding another wave to the beach.

Flashing me a smile before heading back out for more!

Ella and I had fun jumping over the waves as they came crashing onto the shore.

Lifting Ella over a wave.

Meeting Logan after he rode a wave all the way to the beach.

Laughing and jumping over another wave.

More fun in the waves.  I just love this picture of Ella and me laughing so hard together.

While Ron and I were still in the water, Ella wandered back to the beach near where my mom and sister-in-laws were sitting and began making her own "sand castle" out of pieces of drift wood that she picked up all over the beach.  I couldn't believe that she made most of this herself.

Lia making a miniature house in the sand.

Riley, Ella, and Trenton posing next to Ella's beach creation.

Ella eventually became fascinated with Lia's miniature sand house and watched Lia work on it for several minutes.

Since we were in Hanalei again, we figured that we should stop by JoJo's again for some more shave ice.  Here is Natalee with all of the kids enjoying this delicious, local treat.

Although the kids enjoyed a later afternoon swim at the pool EVERY single day we were in Hawaii, this was the only day that I took my camera with me to get some pictures.  Here are Trenton, Logan, and Ella swimming back to the stairs which leads to the two water slides at the pool.

Lia coming down the water slide.

Vivi and Ella together.

Lia and Ella.

Ella and Lia after landing in the water.  I just love the happy look on Lia's face.  This girl would spend her entire life in a pool if she was allowed.

Logan coming down with Trenton in the water in front him.

Logan flashing me one of his canned, camera "smiles."

The Hartland fam enjoying the pool together.

My little mermaid.

Lia, Ella, and Vivi enjoying the hot tub together.

On Friday, August 3rd, the entire fam packed up and headed to Kehaha Beach on the west side to explore the giant waves on that beach.  Here are the kids standing along the big sand shelf that the waves made on the beach right after we first arrived.

Ron and the kids looking on.

Lia jumping over the sand shelf.

Another family shot on the beach.

Ron and the kids testing out the water.

Walking into the water.

Ron, Lia and Ella, and a bunch of the cousins heading into the water.

Spencer and Logan playing in the wild surf.

Spencer pulling in Logan while the surf sucked him out.

Spencer looking on as Logan washed around in the surf.

Cute sisters standing in the surf.

After Lia, Ron, and the rest of the teens and adults played in the wild surf at Kehaha Beach for about an hour (and Ella and I made a castle that was totally destroyed by a wave), we decided to pack up and head to a beach that had calmer water that everyone could enjoy.  We drove a few miles to Salt Pond Beach which was one of the most amazing beaches I have ever visited.  Although there was a beautiful beach with calm water, on the far right was a shallow pool protected by a natural rock/reef barrier that the waves would come crashing over.  It made for some great pictures and for some fun play.  Here is the family, plus Trenton, climbing onto the rock barrier while the waves come crashing over.

The Hartland fam with the waves crashing on the rocks behind us.

Papa and Ella with the white water around them.

Logan playing in the shallow pool.

Lia and all of her older, girl cousins posing on the beach.  I just can't get over how much these girls have grown up in the past few years!

A bunch of the family exploring the protected pool.

Garrett, Logan, and Trenton playing in the white, bubbly water after another wave came crashing in.

A close-up of the boys.

Logan flashing me the "Hang Loose" sign with Trenton at his side.

The cousins enjoying the water.

Lia perched up on the rock while another wave came crashing in...

covering her in water!

Another cool shot of Lia and the wave breaking all around her.

The kids and I loved playing in the shallow pool for a long time this afternoon.  It was so pleasant and relaxing.

Lining up to pose for Ron.

And, it worked this time!  My cuties and me.

After coming back to the hotel for an afternoon swim, we cleaned up and got dressed and headed out to dinner with Spencer who had asked Ron in advance if we could go out to sushi one night while we were in Hawaii (since he had developed a love for all types of Asian food while serving his mission in Taiwan).  We ended up at a total local's hole in the wall in Lihue and loved it!  The kids dined on rice, teriyaki and katsu chicken, and edamame while Ron, Spencer, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese food that came our way!

We set out on our last full day in Kauai on the morning of August 4th to spend it at Kalapaki Beach which is located right in front of the Marriott Hotel.  Like Hanalei Bay, this beach is enclosed in a very protective bay and has wonderful, mellow waves that are great for boogie boarding and body surfing.

Spencer riding a wave onto the sand.

Riley, Sarah, and Bryce all catching the same wave.

We were naughty and snuck into the Marriott hotel pool which was surprisingly easy to do.  We had a great time swimming around in their fancy pool and enjoying one of their many hot tubs.

Lia posing for me underneath one of the many spraying statures.

Ella playing with the volleyball net hanging over the pool.

Lia and the beautiful pool in the background.

And a family picture, of course.

On our way out, we discovered the kids' pool which had one water slide that the kids went down over and over again.

Logan even went down on his stomach.  Silly kid!

Lia taking a turn.

Landing in the water.

Ella trying it out, too!

After lunch, the rest of the group left Trenton behind with our family to go on an 8-hour adventure sailing on a catamaran along the Napali Coast.  We enjoyed the waves at Kalapaki Beach for a few more hours before heading back to our hotel.

Ella and Logan playing in a wave.

The three "littles" posing for me.

Ella running out of the water.

Logan and Trenton doing the same.

Ron and the bay.

Since the group left behind two boogie boards for us, both Lia and Logan were able to try it again.  Here is Logan catching a wave.

Logan riding all the way up the shore.  This was a total action shot, but since he smiled for me right as he rode onto the sand, it looks so posed.  I just love this picture!

Lia catching her own wave.

Smiling a huge smile as she rode onto the sand.

Ella looking cute as always.

Logan was only able to catch one wave before Trenton hopped on the board with him and demanded that they just hang out on it while bobbing in the waves out on the water.  It was the funniest thing because these boys probably floated along in the water for over an hour talking the entire time about everything under the sun!

I left Logan and Trenton in the water with Ron and went onto the beach to make another sand castle with the girls.  Here is our finished product.

After coming back to the hotel for the daily, afternoon swim and dinner in our room, Ron and I took the kids out for a few hours in the evening to walk the cute shops in Kapa'a.

A local market takes place the first Saturday of the month in Kapa'a, so we also enjoyed walking around while looking at the booths of the local vendors and enjoying some local food from the food trucks.  Unfortunately, we managed to get caught in two downpours, but luckily they only lasted a few minutes each.  Here are Ron and the kids wet from the rain standing next to some of the food trucks.

We got up at a normal hour on Sunday morning, August 5th, which was so nice and finished packing up all of our belongings.  We headed out to the airport to catch our 11:30, direct flight home.  Here are the kids standing outside the rental car agency before catching our shuttle back to the airport.  It was a wonderful week and I am so grateful to my parents for making this memorable and once-in-a-lifetime trip possible.  It was the perfect way to celebrate and honor their 50 years together!  Mahalo, mom and dad!