Hawaii Trip – Day 14

Our last day in Hawaii. So sad! We had to pack up & move out of our rental house by 11:00 in the morning, but our flight home wasn’t until 9 at night! We had a lot of time for further exploring! And we made use of it!



Beautiful Bird of Paradise flower outside our vacation home!

First up was a Kona coffee farm!


The trees with flowers on them


Coffee Cherries!


A whole basket of coffee cherries! (The coffee is like the seed inside of the fruit)


The kids liked getting to meet the chickens!


The kids’ favorite part of the coffee farm was the dogs!!

Afterwards, we went to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park, also known as Place of refuge. Back in the day, when Hawaiians were killed for breaking the law, a person could come to this place where they would be kept safe!


Looking over the bay & towards some of the buildings


A replica of what the buildings would have been like


It’s hard to tell, but we got to see a Sea Turtle swimming around!


Two cuties! (Audrey had already gotten her Jr. Ranger badge, Ezra got his before we left!)

Next up, Micah wanted to visit Kealakekua Bay. It has historical significance because it is the place that the first Westerner, Captain James Cook, first landed in 1778.


The beautiful bay


An obelisk as a memorial to Captain Cook – we didn’t actually go out there, because you had to hike & it was about lunch time!

After a delicious barbecue lunch, we headed to the old airport, which has been turned into a park. It sounds funny, but it’s right along the ocean & has a great walking garden on the other side of the runway! It’s kind of fun! We let the kids run around & play and get out their wiggles since we had a long flight home!


We loved Hawaii & already hope to return at some point in the future! Thanks to my mom & dad for such a great experience!!!


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Hawaii Trip – Days 12 & 13

Tuesday was a big excursion day! My parents got us tickets with a tour group to go to the top of Mauna Kea, the tallest point in Hawaii! (If measured from it’s base underwater, then it would technically be the tallest mountain in the world!) It’s strange to see a snow-capped peak in the middle of Hawaii, but it’s there! People will fill the back of their pickup with snow & take it down to the beach & have a snowball fight!



This pictures doesn’t do justice to the mountain (in terms of the snow), but it is really impressive!


Part way through our trip up the mountain, we stopped at an old sheep farm to have dinner! It was very rustic!


They did have a tent & tables set up for our delicious picnic dinner!


Just starting up the road past the visitor’s center! We stopped at about 10,000 feet to take pictures! The view was incredible!


You could see these cool little hill things in the distance.

And this is where the tour ended. It was supposed to take us up to the summit of the volcano, but the driver/tour guide noticed that one of the tires on our van was leaking air & he couldn’t risk having us get stuck at the summit! It was so sad to watch the other group pile into their van & head off to the top, while we got back in ours & returned to the visitor’s center.


The driver suggested a hike we could do so that we could get up to the point where we could see the sunset!


We made it! Not quite the summit that we were imagining, but…


…the sunset was still AMAZING!!!


After the sunset, the tour guide/driver took us a bit away from the visitor center so that we could do some star gazing (this picture is taken from the tour company’s website as my camera would not have been able to do justice to the night!). He had that cool green laser that allowed him to point out stars – it went like 5 miles up into the sky & if you were standing behind him you could see just what constellation he was talking about. The guy was super knowledgable & showed us how to find all sorts of things! It was cool to see so many stars! And especially through the telescope – this was my first experience doing that & I think this was a great place to start! We also got to eat amazing brownies! Any night that has chocolate in it, is a good night in my books!

The next day was a fairly quiet day. Our goal was to find a place to try to snorkel as that was one thing I had really wanted to do while in Hawaii. We ended up at Ho’okena beach, which ended up being just perfect! I was able to snorkel & see beautiful fish!!!


Lots & lots of these pretty yellow tang (picture taken from internet, because we don’t have a waterproof camera)

Micah also did some snorkeling & found a shelf just a ways off shore where he could carry the kids & then they could stand & put their face (& face mask) into the water & see the fish! It was a highlight for everyone!

The only downside for me is that it made me seasick! Who knew?!?!  But it was worth it to get to see all those beautiful fish!



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Hawaii Trip – Day 11

This was Micah & my ‘date’ day for our anniversary! When we found out we were going to Hawaii we were super excited! The only thing we really wanted to see that wasn’t on the Big Island was Pearl Harbor, so we ended up buying tickets & flying to Oahu for just one day! (Thanks to my parents & Uncle Caleb & Aunt Myken for watching the kids!) It was a super full, super crazy day & we certainly didn’t get to see everything, but we got a good taste & felt like we’d gotten a good overview!



But first we had to get there & to get there we had to fly in a prop plane!!! Flying is not my favorite thing under any circumstances, but this made me quite nervous! It ended up being just fine!


Hello, Maui!


As we arrived at Pearl Harbor, there was a rainbow over the water!


U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial – The white pillars represent the 429 men who lost their lives & are reminiscent of the way the naval crew would “man the rails” in their dress whites.


The U.S.S. Bowfin. We opted not to go inside since we didn’t have that much time & we’ve already visited a submarine.


The anchor from the U.S.S. Arizona


The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial


Inside the memorial


The names of 1,102 sailors & marines who lost their lives & are still considered “on duty” inside their ship


This was perhaps the hardest for me: oil is still leaking from the hull of the ship, even after 75 years. It was like a link to the past & made it seem so much more real.


The U.S.S. Battleship Missouri


The seal on the Missouri at the spot where the surrender was signed by Japan. My great-grandfather was onboard another battleship in the same bay on the day the surrender was signed.


A copy of the document

Even though there was more we could have seen at Pearl Harbor, we opted to leave & see a few things in Honolulu before returning to the airport. (Ok, literally drive by & snap a picture)


Statue of King Kamehameha


The Iolani Palace


Kawaiahao Church made of coral


State Capitol Building

We did stop & walk around at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It’s similar to Arlington National Cemetery as it is also a military cemetery. It’s located in a volcanic crater & is known as Punchbowl Cemetery.


The memorial


The view from the top of Honolulu was amazing!

Happy 12th Anniversary to us! I’m so thankful that God gave me a history-loving spouse. Not everyone would want to have a visit to Pearl Harbor be their anniversary trip!

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Hawaii Trip – Day 10

Celebrating Christmas in Hawaii was interesting. In some ways it felt like Christmas & in other ways it just really didn’t!



Audrey asked Santa for a “singing unicorn” without seeing one in an advertisement or anything! Thank goodness “he” was able to come through!


Ezra got some new dinosaurs! Notice his “stocking” on the floor with play-doh in it! When you are half an ocean away from your stockings you make do!!!


Audrey got the boa she’s been asking for!


Ezra got more dinosaurs!


Christmas breakfast on the lanai!

We decided to spend a little of our Christmas day sightseeing & opted for Papakolea Beach, the green sand beach!


Heading out to the south point, the southern most point of the U.S. It was so beautiful & green!


Our family enjoying the Christmas day sunshine!


South Point


Beautiful waves!


We opted not to walk the 3-miles round trip & got a ride instead – it was bumpy – this picture does not do justice to the rough road we drove over!


The green sand beach & Hawaii’s biggest tourist trap! You’re seeing nearly the entire beach! It was tiny, the sand was only sort of green, it was packed with people, the wind was blowing sand sideways, & you either have to walk 3 miles round trip or pay quite a bit of money to get out here! Sure, it was cool to see sand that is a different color, but that’s about where it ends!


Audrey having a blast in the water (this lasted until she was doing this same thing & got bowled over by an incoming wave- thank the Lord both Micah & my mom were right near her & just picked her up, but not before she got a big mouthful of water & earned a healthy respect of the ocean! An important life lesson!)


Ezra & Uncle Caleb playing in the waves!

After a short stay, we rode back over the rough terrain & headed home where we cooked & ate a traditional ham Christmas dinner! On the lanai, of course!


Christmas Day sunset!

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Hawaii Trip – Days 8 & 9

Being on the southern side of the island, made our trip back to Volcanoes National Park a bit shorter!


The sea arch


The kids thought these signs were hilarious! A Nene (pronounced Nay-Nay) is the national bird of Hawaii, but the kids liked to pronounce it Nee-Nee like their grandmother!


A plume of steam from lava flowing into the ocean!

We’d made a perfect plan so everyone could hike out to see the lava: Micah would leave early in the morning & hike the 8 miles round trip. The rest of us would leave a bit later & meet Micah at the trailhead as he finished. He would take the kids & I would do the hike with my parents & brother & sister-in-law. Unfortunately, as Micah was coming back the wind shifted & the plume of steam was blowing right over the trail making it dangerous to hike. My parents opted to drive the two hours around to hike in from the east side & then drive the three hours back home. I just couldn’t handle the thought of another 5 hours in the car along with the hour and a half we’d already done, so I opted to explore the park with Micah & the kids! I’m glad I did, because we got to see some fun things I would have missed otherwise!


Pretty flowers with lava rocks behind!


Petroglyphs made by Hawaiians many years ago


AAGH! Run!!!

Actually, as you can tell this lava has been here awhile given the weeds growing up around the edge, but it was still fun to play on this portion of road that is surrounded by lava rocks!


Ezra & Aunt Myken walking on the old lava flow!


Uncle Caleb tried skateboarding on the lava – it didn’t work so well!


A new Junior Ranger!


We went back to the Jaggar Museum & on this day the lava was high enough that you didn’t just see steam rising – you could also see lava bubbling & spurting!


This is zoomed in quite a ways, but what an awesome thing to see!!!

The next day was Christmas Eve! What better way to spend the holiday than by going to the beach? We opted for Punalu’u, the black sand beach!


The famous Nene bird!


The Sea Turtles come here all the time to rest & warm up in the sun!


So fun to see them in the wild! (Thanks to the zoom on our camera I could get a close up picture, while still staying the safe distance from them)


Two cute kids!!!


Playing in the waves!

We had lunch in the southern most restaurant in the United States! We also attended a Christmas Eve service! The church meets in a school building, but for this service they met at their new property, so we were under a covered structure outdoors mostly surrounded by trees, but with a small view of the sun setting over the ocean! Pretty amazing!


New jammies for Christmas Eve!!!

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Hawaii Trip – Days 6 & 7

Wednesday was our last day with our entire family all together so we made a trip down into Waipio Valley. The tour wasn’t until later in the morning, so Micah made use of the time by going to play golf at a local course.


A gorgeous day for golf on a beautiful course!


Looking down at the entrance to Waipio Valley


The lush green valley


Cousins enjoying the first day of winter!


Kakeha Falls


“Wild” horses – only in the sense that they aren’t owned by anyone & aren’t ridden since they were more than happy to come right up to our van!


We drove straight through the streams, because that is where the road goes!


A beautiful rainbow to end the day & finish out our week at the vacation house on the Waipio Valley (northwestern part of the island)

The next day, my brother & his family headed home for Christmas with my sister-in-law’s family & the rest of us headed out for a different vacation home on the southwestern part of the island


Enjoying a traditional dish of Loco moco (rice with a hamburger patty & fried egg with gravy over all of it) at Hawaiian Style Cafe


We took a tour of Anna’s Ranch. Anna was a very successful female rancher from the 1930’s & onwards. Her house has been preserved from that time period & it iss fun to hear stories about life in Hawaii back then.


Enjoying the grounds at the Ranch


Our next house & the view from the deck were very different from our first house as this one was located on an old lava flow!!!

(picture taken from booking website as I never took a picture of the house)

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Hawaii Trip – Day 5

This was a very full, very fun day!!!



Wearing their matching Hawaiian shirts!


A cute little princess & a scary dinosaur!


Playing on the playground…


…while their parents order Thai Food!!!


Kilauea Overlook at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – steam rising from the lava in the caldera!


Learning about different types of lava


Running through steam from the volcano


More steam vents along the edge of the caldera


Playing along the bay in Hilo


Banyan Drive in Hilo – the trees were all planted by famous people in the 1930’s


For instance, this one was planted by Babe Ruth!


Hello, Mongoose!


The beautiful bay in Hilo


A statue of King Kamehameha, the man who unified the islands of Hawaii into one country


Hawaiian rainbow


Beautiful Akaka Falls on our way home!

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