I can’t believe the holidays have come and gone and we’re already a couple weeks into the new year! We were pretty busy over the holidays because my family was in town. Then a few days after the start of the new year, we left for vacation to Hawaii! We just got home a few days ago and we’re already missing it. The weather was perfect and it was nice to escape the cold for a little bit!
Thursday – January 4, 2018
Our flight left at 4:25 PM, so we got to the airport around 2:30. We checked in all our luggage then went through security. I’m so glad I decided to get TSA PreCheck last year because it is so worth it when traveling with two kids! No more having to take every single snack out of my bag and getting my hands swabbed.
The little suitcase Jasmine is riding on is called a BedBox. It’s made by Jet Kids and it was a lifesaver at the airport and on the plane! We were able to pull her around the airport which was great because she tends to walk slow, so this was a great way to get around the airport quickly. Then once on the plane, you’re able to use it to turn her seat into a bed! It was awesome! She was able to sleep around 2 hours on the flight. I also love it because other than the mattress it comes with, you’re able to fit quite a bit of stuff inside. I was able to pack extra diapers for Jaiden, an extra pair of clothes, 2 swaddle blankets, her iPad, headphones, her coloring book and crayons, stickers, and some snacks.
Both Jasmine and Jaiden did really well on the plane. Jaiden only cried once or twice when he got really tired. Other than that, he was his happy little self. We landed in Hawaii at around 10 at night, so once we got our rental car, we drove to our hotel (which was luckily only 5 minutes away).
Friday – January 5, 2018
We started our first full day in Hawaii eating breakfast at Eggs ‘N Things. I love their pancakes here! And they have the most delicious coconut syrup. We bought two bottles to take home, as well as a package of their pancake mix. After breakfast, we went to the Ala Moana mall to walk around and do some shopping. We also stopped by the Target there to buy some diapers for Jaiden and a few other things we needed.
After the mall, we went back to our hotel quickly to change into our swimsuits for the beach! We decided to drive to Lanikai Beach, although I think we really ended up at Kailua Beach. Either way, it was a beautiful beach! It was so windy though. We tried to set up our beach tent, but it was impossible with all the wind.
A little later, this weird “pigeon whisperer” decided to sit next to us and it was the strangest thing. I don’t know what was going on, but he was attracting all the pigeons and they were flocking all over him! Then he started running on the beach and they were following him. It was so weird, so we decided to pack up before he came back. We ended up driving to Bellows Air Force Station, which wasn’t too far from where we were. There was hardly anyone here, maybe only 2 or 3 other families. It was still pretty windy and was starting to get chilly, so we didn’t stay for too long.
After packing up, we left to go eat dinner at CoCo Ichibanya Curry House. This was one of my favorite restaurants my parents took me to when they lived in Okinawa, Japan, so naturally we have to go to one wherever we can. We’ve also eaten at the one in California a few times. I can’t believe how cheap the food was! My meal alone was only $8! We wanted to eat here one more time before we left Hawaii, but unfortunately we didn’t have time.
Saturday – January 6, 2018
The weather on this day was so on and off. It was sprinkling early in the morning and it continued randomly throughout the day. We ate breakfast at McDonald’s before heading to the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium. My main purpose in going was to find a Hawaiian shirt for Jaiden and dresses for Jasmine and I to wear to the luau. The first couple places we stopped at didn’t have any shirts in Jaiden’s size, but luckily we were able to find some further down.
Since the weather didn’t look like it was going to get any better, we decided to forgo the beach for the day. We drove to Schofield Barracks since Danny Ray had to pick up some new PT shirts at the Clothing and Sales. Then we ate a quick lunch at the food court. What I love about growing up in the military is that we can go to any base, anywhere in the world, and you will always feel comfortable. After lunch, we did a little shopping at the Exchange and then left to go get some lemonade at Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade.
I don’t remember how I discovered this place, but I started following them on Instagram a while ago. And I kept telling myself that the next time we went to Hawaii, we would go because their lemonade always looks so good! I also wanted to go for the cute mason jars. I ordered the strawberry pineapple lemonade, Danny Ray got one called the “Lava Flow”, and we ordered a regular lemonade for Jasmine. Mine was okay, but I didn’t feel like it was anything special. Danny Ray’s was really good! I would definitely recommend trying that one if you ever get a chance to go.
Later that evening, we drove to Waikiki and walked around the beach for a little bit. We had no idea where we were going to eat dinner, so we just walked around until we found a place that looked good. We ended up at PF Changs, because who doesn’t love PF Changs? We made it just before the dinner rush started, so we were seated right away. Jasmine and Jaiden were still on Alaska time, so Jaiden started getting really cranky around 6:30, which is 7:30 back home when we start winding down for bed.
Sunday – January 7, 2018
This was a busy day for the Canlas Family! After eating a quick continental breakfast at our hotel, we made our way to Diamond Head. We got there just in time because we were still able to get a parking spot, but the spots quickly filled up.
The hike wasn’t too difficult, but I am out of shape and carrying an almost 20-lb baby didn’t make it any easier. But it definitely made for a good workout! It was interesting to see so many Japanese women doing the hike in flats! Some people even had flip flops on. One couple (the one who took the family photo of us) was surprised that we made it to the top the same time as them carrying both our kids!
After our hike, we went back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out for lunch. We had lunch at Danny Ray’s favorite: Jollibee! Jasmine loved the fried chicken. I ordered the spaghetti which was delicious. We also had some halo halo.
We drove to Ko Olina after lunch. We didn’t realize that this is where Aulani was, so we were able to get a glimpse of it early! This just made us even more excited to check in the next day! We honestly had no idea where we were going. Danny Ray just kept driving, found a parking lot to park the car, and then we just walked to the beach not even knowing what to expect. We stayed here for a couple hours and Jasmine had a great time playing in the sand and splashing in the water.
For dinner, we went to Agu Ramen Bistro. I ordered the spicy beef ramen which reminded me of a combination of pho and ramen. It was good, but I still love my spicy kimchi ramen from Naruto here in Anchorage!
We drove to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) after dinner to check out their NEX. Once we got there, I remembered coming here with Danny Ray on our honeymoon. They have a big selection of Hawaiian candy, chocolate, souvenirs, etc. so we bought a few things. The kids started to get really cranky, so we paid and then headed back to the hotel. It was a loooong day!
Monday – January 8, 2018
Today was Aulani check in day! We were so excited! Since check in wasn’t until 4, we weren’t in a huge rush. We checked out of our other hotel then made a quick stop at the HE>i store to buy some shirts. Then we made our way back to JBPHH. There was so much sand in our rental car from the beach, so we stopped by a car wash to vacuum all the sand out. We had lunch at the NEX food court before heading out to Aulani. Yay!
When we pulled up to the entrance, we were greeted by several people. There were two guys who gathered all our luggage, one who valeted our car, and then a woman who greeted us with leis and menehune necklaces for the kids. Danny Ray checked us in and to our surprise, our room was already ready. So we head upstairs to check it out before exploring the rest of the resort.
We called the Toon Finder to find out which characters were out today. They said Moana was going to be out at 12:45 and it was around 12:50 when we called, so we tried to hurry down but we just missed her. We went back to our room instead to change into our swimsuits. Danny Ray and Jasmine played in the pool for a little bit, and then we all floated in the Lazy River before making our way down to check out the beach.
For dinner, we ate at the Mexican restaurant Just Tacos across the street. Their food was pretty good. And it happened to be “Military Monday” so we got a really good discount on our food. We also stopped by the ABC store to pick up some drinks and snacks.
Tuesday – January 9, 2018
For whatever reason, Jasmine and Jaiden both decided to wake up at 5:00 in the morning today. Danny Ray went to the gym while we hung out in the room for a couple hours. I was just about to leave the room to take them to the gift shop when Danny Ray came back, so we all went together. I got each of them their own hat and had their name embroidered on the back. While we waited for the hats to get embroidered, we walked around the resort and got some food for breakfast, including some malasadas. Jaiden was loving it! After we finished eating, we stopped by to pick up the hats and then left to go to Target.
When we got back from Target, we all ended up taking a nap since we were up so early. I made sure to wake everyone up in time to meet Moana. I thought Jasmine was going to be so excited, but instead she was so quiet and shy. She was the same way when we went to Sesame Place over the summer and she met all the characters there. I think she gets really nervous! You would never tell from the pictures though because she still does her cheesy little smile. After we met Moana, we found a spot to sit by the pool and hung out there for a while. I went down the slide with Jasmine, but she didn’t like it very much. While we were standing in line, she kept wanting to turn around and go back to daddy, and then when we finally went down the slide, she was crying hysterically.
At around 4, we headed back up to the room to start getting ready for the luau. We stood in line for about 15 minutes before they started to let everyone in. We stopped to take pictures with some of the dancers before they escorted us to our table. Everyone got a complimentary drink, and that was the first time I’ve had alcohol in 2 years. I’ve never been much of a drinker, but it was yummy!
I loved that they had several different stations for kids where they could make stamps, get a tattoo, make flower bracelets, etc. I think Jasmine really enjoyed that. At 6, they opened up the buffet to everyone by tables. I thought the food was good, especially the kalua pig! I was in the middle of enjoying my food when Jaiden decided to have a huge blowout. And when I say huge, I mean it was coming out the top of his diaper and dripping all over his shorts. And I didn’t bring my diaper bag since I left it in the room, so he had to go short-less for the rest of the evening. Luckily we were sitting at our own table, so I just ended up changing him on the ground. He started to get really fussy since it was close to his bed time, so he pretty much cried until he fell asleep. Thankfully the music was loud and drowned out his crying. Eventually, Jasmine started to get cranky too and then she fell asleep. Oh, the joys of having kids. Overall, we really enjoyed the luau! Danny Ray and I went to the one at PCC on our honeymoon. The Aulani one is definitely more family friendly, which is what we wanted.
Wednesday – January 10, 2018
We started off the day at the Character Breakfast. I think Jasmine was a little scared of some of the characters. While we were eating, I think it was Goofy who came up to us and she didn’t even want him to go near her. She was too busy eating the chocolate and sprinkles off her donut. The buffet had so much food! And it was all so good!
Once we finished eating, we got dressed and made our way to the pool. We never had any problems finding a spot to sit. I don’t know how we missed it before, but we didn’t discover the Keiki Cove Splash Zone until today. We found some chairs in that area and Jasmine had a blast splashing around! I think she played there for almost an hour. Then we all went around the lazy river a few times.
We wanted to catch the sunset before dinner, so we went back to the room to freshen up before walking down to the beach. We let Jasmine play for a little bit before we left. We just ate at the pizza place across the street, and the owner was so nice because he was giving away free garlic knots and cinnamon rolls. After we got back to our room and put the kids to bed, we started packing our stuff since we were checking out the next day.
Thursday – January 11, 2018
Our flight wasn’t until 10:55 PM, so even though we checked out of our room, we (or rather, Jasmine) still got some pool and beach time in before leaving the resort. It was sad to leave, but I’m sure we will be back someday! We really enjoyed our time in Hawaii and it was so nice to soak up some sun before going back home to the cold.