our trip to maui!

three weeks ago, we packed up our bags, boarded a plane, & landed in Maui! it was so, so fun to be there & my mama came along which was so tremendously helpful with Eloise & helped it feel like we were (at times) on an actual vacation! {because, let’s be honest, when you travel with kids, it is a family trip, NOT a vacation}!

this was Aaron’s first trip to Maui, & my mama & I haven’t been since I was 5 or 6, so it was basically new to all of us. we had heard that West Maui as a good location & decided to stay just north of Lahaina town. this was an excellent choice! while we didn’t visit much outside of West Maui, it was perfect for this trip & gave us a really good taste of what Maui had to offer.

before the trip, I did some due diligence & checked out the guidebook Maui Revealed. I am usually not one for guidebooks, but this one came highly recommended by more than one person, so we gave it a shot. it was really comprehensive & helpful with tons of tips. I took a lot of notes & we ended up using quite a few of the tips, so I would recommend it for anyone who is thinking about traveling to Maui. we also got lots of tips from our friends & family about things to do or places to see/eat/visit – thanks everyone!

we have really quickly learned that it is SO much easier to be away from home with Eloise if we have a house, meaning a separate bedroom for her & a kitchen. so we found this pretty great condo on Airbnb which had amazing ocean views, a great lanai, was super quiet, & was within a short driving distance to town.

okay, enough words. here are some lots of pictures from the trip, & then below I have some of our favorite spots!

{we took the light rail to the airport from Husky Stadium & that is Aaron with the car seat on his back!* // WA is insanely beautiful from the air // Eloise had a backpack full of new travel toys & we even got lucky enough to have the middle seat empty so she had her own seat! // but bedtime did not go as planned as Eloise did not want to sleep… two hours later Aaron finally got her to sleep}

*we rented all of the “baby gear” except for the car seat & I would highly recommend that if you are traveling with little ones. we used the Ergo for the airport which allowed us more hands to pull/carry our luggage, & then rented a Pack N Play, an umbrella stroller, a booster seat, & a beach tent. see below for more info on the rentals!

{the biggest banyan tree in the US is in Lahaina & it is awesome! // the ocean views from our condo were breathtaking // there were nice amenities on-site at our condo including a shuffleboard court. Eloise loved it!}

{our condo was just up the hill from Kaanapali Beach so we ventured down there one afternoon // Eloise mostly loved all of the fresh (& expensive!) fruit // ahh, those sunsets!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach which was just north of our condo a few minutes & it was perfect! it was a pretty small beach, but we were able to set up our little tent & enjoy the beach in the shade. my mama & aaron went snorkeling, & saw some fish & a turtle, though it was a great snorkeling beach. Eloise had only ever been to the beach on the Oregon coast & was obsessed with it! she loved the sand & the waves & kept saying “more more” whenever a wave went out.}

{we had lots of food recommendations, but tried to eat out either just lunch or dinner each day. Local Boys Shave Ice in Lahaina (down by the banyan tree) was super good the first time we had it, & okay the second time. it’s actual shave ice (the ice, not the flavoring) was my favorite! // we also tried Ululani’s Shave Ice which was amazing. the syrups are all handmade from scratch & the mocha add-on on top was terrific! there are a few locations around the island, but the one in Lahaina was super convenient for us, though super packed! // and finally, Star Noodle came highly recommended & it did not disappoint! we went for lunch & ordered family style & everything was delish! we even got our malasada fix (which is a Portuguese donut) with caramel & chocolate dipping sauces.}

{Aaron & I were able to get out early one morning & go on a surfing date. it was SO fun! it was Aaron’s first time, & I hadn’t been surfing in years, so we took a lesson. the breaks were perfect on the south end of Lahaina town (Break Wall, I believe) for us rookies. we were SUPER sore for the next few days though!}

{one day we took a day trip east // we visited Baldwin Beach, had lunch in Paia, & drove thru Makawao (it was super cute, but Eloise had fallen asleep!)}

{Eloise & I got to wear our matching dresses & Salt Water sandals! // we had lots of shave ice on the trip. I had this genius idea on the trip: we still don’t let Eloise have any sugar, sweets, or juice, so whenever we ordered shave ice, we would also order the smallest size for Eloise with just the ice (no flavoring) & a spoon & she LOVED it! it was nice to feel like she was still a part of it without feeling like we were breaking our own rule. // there was this super low chair out on the lanai that Eloise liked to read in & play on. she loves being outside!}

{we did one short hike to the Nakalele Blowhole & it was pretty cool. the terrain down to the ocean was this crazy lava rock that looked like it was hit with acid. and the ocean was so beautiful!}

{we hit up Kapalua Beach for a second time & even though it was raining, we couldn’t complain! there was a gorgeous rainbow that appeared when we first got there, & it was warm rain that came in very short showers. plus, our awesome rental beach tent kept us dry & was the envy of the other beachgoers!}

{we hit up the swimming pool at the condo one afternoon & Eloise is pretty much a fan of the pool. she likes to sit on the steps & splash, & also spin around in the water & play “motor boat, motor boat” which she learned in swim lessons last year // Eloise had a great time with lots of the non-toys at the condo, including this wine box! // we had a few rough nights of sleeping where Eloise would just not go back to sleep & while we don’t ever bring her into our bed during the night at home, we make an exception on vacation. she spent a lot of time tossing & turning around, but finally would go to sleep with us, usually laying right on me!}

{on one of our last days we ventured to the Maui Ocean Center which is the local aquarium & it also did not disappoint! the exhibits were pretty good, especially the big shark tank & tube. we were able to catch the information show with the local diver in the tank with the sharks & the fish which was really, really cool!}

we had the absolute BEST time & it was so lovely to be on Maui. we tried not to be too “scheduled” & found a good balance between relaxing & hanging out, & playing tourist. Eloise really loved the time we were there & was a super good little traveler, despite the difficult plane ride over. she was up super early (4:30 AM) the first morning, but considering the three hour time change, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. the rest of the time she was up slightly earlier than her normal wake-up time, but she napped really well & slept decently at night. the biggest headache about being in a warm, tropical, & sunny place was making sure she was covered in enough sunscreen (yep, first world problems!) but she is pretty good about letting me smear white sunscreen all over her every two hours!

if you are planning on visiting Maui, this is what we LOVED (slash would recommend):

  • Lahaina town
  • Goofy Foot Surf School: even though it was just the two of us surfing, we opted not to do a private lesson. it was cheaper that way, plus we ended up being the only two in the lesson anyways!
  • Nakalele Blowhole hike: do the hike in from mile marker 38 and wear good shoes!
  • shave ice (yep, SHAVE ice – no “d”!): Local Boys Shave Ice (better ice) & Ululani’s Shave Ice (better flavorings)
  • Star Noodle: super good food, order family style, make a reservation, try the malasadas (hot!)!
  • baby rental gear: there are lots of rental companies on the island, but we used Nokaoi Baby Rentals and were really pleased. I would highly recommend getting the big family beach tent!
  • Kapalua Beach: a pretty small, family friendly beach. go early to get parking & avoid the crowd, or plan on parking on the side of the road & walking in.
  • Coconuts Fish Café in Kihei: we lunched here after the Aquarium and it was super delish!
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • drive to Paia and Makawao
  • Baldwin Beach
  • if you need a good pair of rubber flip-flops (called slippahs in Hawaii), go to Long’s Drugs (or Walgreen’s) and get a pair of Locals for less than $5
  • food is incredibly expensive on Maui (even in comparison to the other islands). eating in can sometimes cost as much as eating out, so keep that in mind, and we had trouble finding much organic produce. there is a Costco near the airport, but it’s still expensive and a lot of food! I would recommend packing snacks from home for the kids, & plan on spending $10 for a half gallon of organic whole milk!

Aloha Maui & a hui hou!

M

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highlights of 2013.

2013 2014

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happy 2014!

i’ve said it before, & i’ll say it again!, yearly recaps are always my favorite kinds of blog posts. its a small way to sum up your year & to see how much the last 365 days have brought. as i look forward to the New Year, i am humbled & grateful by all of the wondrous events of 2013. here’s the rundown of ours:

january: I started out the new year with a bout of the flu. we hosted our first blog giveaway! we installed the west elm hanging capiz chandelier over our dining room table. I framed my diy polaroids for our bedroom walls. amanda & I met john & sherry from young house love during their book signing tour! I diy-ed campaign dressers for our bedroom.

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february: I did lots of diy-ing for valentine’s day {here, here, & here} I celebrated my birthday! we bought a kitchen island. I tried to be better about getting in front of the camera!

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march: I tried my hand at painting an antler {& was so impressed with the results!}. we took my 91-year-old grandmother to target for the first time! amanda & I diy-ed framed house keys on maps. we sold jez the jetta & bought a new car.

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april: we updated our bathroom vanity with a converted antique sideboard. we updated the closet doors by stripping off the old paint in a crock pot. we celebrated our one year anniversary in our house & I reviewed all of the house diys!

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may: we finally got some good weather in seattle! I painted the ceiling & hallway walls. we celebrated aaron’s thirtieth birthday with a beer tasting party! we had a fun-filled memorial day weekend. we were featured in west elm’s blog front & main.

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june: aaron replaced our toilet. sadie was featured in the seattle dog spot blog. my parents visited for a long weekend en route to the olympic peninsula. my diy his & hers maps were featured. we finally got some summer weather!

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seattle dog blog thank you

july: we celebrated the long Fourth of July weekend with a holiday parade, fireworks, & time with friends. I made a nine layer ombre cake! we replaced our kitchen track lights with globe pendants from west elm. we road-tripped to idaho for my ten-year high school reunion. we started growing our first eggplant.

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august: we celebrated our three year wedding anniversary. the blog got a Liebster Award Nomination. I diy-ed the tiniest baby hats for our friends’ new baby. we road-tripped to hood river, oregon to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

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september: we went to the husky vs. bronco game to kick-off labor day weekend complete with husky-style tailgating {via boat}. we took advantage of the warm weather & cleaned up the front yard with a fun game called love it or lose it. we celebrated sadie’s ninth birthday! I attended the Alt Summit for Everyone blog conference.

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october: I attempted to start doing fashion posts again. we celebrated our two year blog anniversary at emerald city diaries! I finished up with the #embracethecamera challenge. we went to the pumpkin patch & carved pumpkins with friends.

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november: aaron joined a team for movember 2013. we snuck off to hawaii for thanksgiving.

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december: I reviewed some of my favorite weekend in pictures pics. I participated in A Pinterest Christmas for the third year {see this year’s projects here, here, here, here, & here}! we celebrated Christmas in indiana with aaron’s family.

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reflecting back on this year, i am reminded how blessed we are & also how different this year has been than the year previous. it has been such a wonderful year & ringing in a new one is a bit bittersweet.

how was your 2013 – was it a year to remember, or are you itching to start 2014 already?

M

see past yearly highlights for 2011 & 2012.

aloha! {our trip to hawaii}

{I know I promised photos last week, but I blinked & the week was gone. did that happen to anyone else?}

as I mentioned in weekend in pictures post two weekends ago {here} we spent our thanksgiving {& the week after} in hawaii, just the two of us. while we originally had ambitious plans to visit more than one island on our trip, we ended up sticking just oahu & splitting our time between town {honolulu & waikiki} & the north shore.

we didn’t have much on the agenda to be honest which was a great way to go into a vacation that you want to relax on {there are so many vacations – all of them – that we come home so exhausted that we need another vacation!} so we fit things we wanted to do into our days once we got there & spent the rest of the time being spontaneous! {I am telling you that I had to have been in vacation-mode in order to get thru so much spontaneity!}

here is a random sampling of our trip.  enjoy!

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{at ho’omaluhia botanical garden in kailua // with our friends hannah & russell // start of hike up diamond head // enjoying shave ice after our hike // aaron with the huge banyan tree in waikiki}

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{me with the duke kahanamoku statue – he is known as the father of surfing // out to dinner in waikiki // the climbing of the coconut tree for the shower of flowers at a luau // climbing diamond head // aaron throwing a spear // waikiki // thanksgiving dinner at duke’s in waikiki}

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{at the luau // aaron learning the hulilau hula // the kalua pig coming out of the imu (oven) at the luau // more hula // hula // hukilau hula on the beach // hula // fire dancer at the luau}

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{me throwing a spear // me at mokulua island // honolulu from the air // a kayaking break at lanikai beach // lanikai beach – spectacular! // pearl harbor memorial // inside the uss arizona memorial at pearl harbor}

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{the first draft of roosevelt’s date that will live in infamy speech // kuhio beach park in waikiki // hawaiian-style spam // hawaiian suns – lived on those! // toes in the sand // the pink hotel – the royal hawaiian // waikiki beach from the top of diamond head}

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{dukes for thanksgiving dinner // mai tai happy hour // a plant that looked a lot like a guy with a mohawk // mmm… cheeseburger in paradise // sunset on thanksgiving // aaron shaving after movember // sushi is the best in hawaii // the triple crown of surfing at sunset beach}

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{signs at the luau // on the bus ride to paradise cove for the luau // triple crown at sunset beach // sunset beach // the whole island had a downpour of rain the day we went to the north shore // triple crown at sunset – surfing way off the point in the distance}

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{triple crown at sunset beach // drinking lots of coffee to keep us warm while we watched surfing in the pouring rain // the finals of the second jewel of the triple crown at sunset beach // the best pineapple I’ve ever had // shave ice // matsumoto in haleiwa has the best shave ice in the world // the soap factory in wailua}

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{walking on the beach in wailua // the beautiful flowers everywhere // tiny islands off the coast of oahu near kaneohe // driving by kualoa ranch – where jurassic park was filmed // rubber duck at the soap factory // aaron enjoying his first ever shave ice from matsumoto // the flag flying high at the uss arizona memorial at pearl harbor}

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{kailua beach // landing on mokulua island via kayak – a sacred bird sanctuary // mokulua island // strong current at pipeline // pretty flat waves at pipeline // sunset in haleiwa}

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{pineapple fields near the north shore // the uss arizona’s final resting place // oil leaking from the uss arizona // how the memorial sits over the uss arizona // crossroads of the pacific // iolani palace in honolulu // king kalakaua’s phone from the 1800s // the likelike highway – pronounced leaky-leaky // the court house in honolulu – also the hawaii five-0 headquarters}

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{the original supreme court chairs // the beautiful carpet in iolani palace // the entry of the palace // my old apartment building in honolulu // aaron walking near the ala wai canal // shouldn’t every street in hawaii being named aloha street? // waikiki beach & diamond head // soaking up the vitamin D in waikiki // kuhio beach park // I will take that weather in december anytime}

have you been to oahu or another hawaiian island – what’s your favorite thing to do?

M