September 28, 2013
Today was the only day we actually checked something off my two-years-in-the-making carefully crafted itinerary (which I actually forgot to print out and bring with me). On the last Saturday of each month, Na Aina Kai botanical garden has a keiki day with discounted access to their "Under the Rainbow" children's garden.
I didn't know what to expect but I have really enjoyed the other Kauai botanic gardens we've toured. All I really knew was this garden has a big splash pool, which is something Ryan and Jack love in any context.
We walked under the rainbow and into the garden and the boys made a beeline for the train - not any kind of real, moving vehicle, just a wooden engine, passenger car and caboose. I think they would have stayed there all day if we hadn't forced them to have fun in another part of the garden (we are TERRIBLE parents).
There was a puppet show, which Ryan was most interested in watching from above (my little stage manager); a giant tree house with a swinging bridge, which Jack ran back and forth across for what felt like an hour; a couple different kinds of playhouses with slides, and an airplane made out of a giant barrel.
It was such a fun time - there was a good mix of visitors and local families (who brought picnics and blankets) with most of the kids age 6 and under. The boys would have stayed for hours if we had only brought more snacks. There was plenty of shade and room for everyone to spread out on the grass in front of the puppet show.
Tummies growling, we drove up to Kilauea Fish Market to pick up their famed ahi tuna wraps - but I decided to get ono and Sam ordered the Andy Irons burrito. The boys split a kids' burrito which was the perfect size (for two). $34 was a little steep for lunch, but we ate them at Anini Beach which helped lessen the pain in my wallet.
Oh, Anini Beach - my sandy piece of heaven. Sam bought me a necklace for Christmas last year with the GPS coordinates of Anini Beach engraved on it, so I can keep it close to my heart all the time.
Once again we loaded the kids up with towels, noodles and kickboards and hit the beach. As it was Saturday, there were a lot of tents from locals camping out under the ironwood trees. There was also a festival going on at the pavilion, but we never figured out exactly what it was.
Building sand castles, riding "canoes," cruising around with the kickboards - our beach agenda didn't vary from previous days. While Sam played with the boys I decided to walk as far along the beach as I could, which was a really good workout!
After a few hours of fun we loaded everything back into the car and drove back to Hanalei. Jack fell asleep and transferred to his bed for a good long nap, but Ryan resisted mightily and ended up watching Dinosaur Train episodes on the LeapPad in a giant nest of pillows in our room.
Earlier in the day, Chelsea and Lance had offered to make dinner for us, so they went to the Hanalei Farmer's Market and Big Save while we were out having fun; when we arrived the charcoal grill was heating and the steaks were marinating. It was a delicious meal, made even better because I didn't have to cook it!
We had finally adjusted to the time change and everyone was still bright-eyed at 7:00, so I suggested we walk down to the bay in the dark. We grabbed two flashlights and a headlamp I found in the pantry and we went for a stroll. I got a little nervous when we walked past the semi-permanent residents of the Hanalei Pavilion, but as Sam pointed out, they were probably far too inebriated to do anything ill-intentioned.
It was a partly cloudy night so the only illumination came from a really bright (double?) star, the Milky Way and our flashlights, though there was a giant tent erected on the lawn of a house halfway between the pavilion and the pier - it was either a wedding reception or a prom because there was a lot of late-90s dance music playing.
We walked towards the pier, where we could see a bonfire and tiki torches on the beach. The boys were thrilled to discover ghost crabs flitting around the sand. Actually, I thought they were a little terrifying as you only saw them out of the corner of your eye, scuttling out of the circle of light. It felt very Blair Witch Project, but we enjoyed it and it kept the boys away from the surf line, which help me not have so many mini heart attacks. You'd think four adults could keep track of two little boys easily, but those dudes are fast and fearless!
Finally we realized that if we gave the flashlights to Ryan and Jack then we could always tell where THEY were, which made so much more sense. We walked all the way down to the pier and then out onto the pier, which was a neat view (as it were). The locals enjoying the start of the weekend on the beach paid us no mind; we decided to walk back through the neighborhood along Weke Rd.
By that time the boys' legs were tired so Lance and Sam earned their keep toting them back to the house, and we all turned in. It was our last night in the house and we had to be out by 10 a.m., so I was mentally trying to organize and pack up everything while simultaneously digging in my heels against leaving. The house is on the market, so let me just dig $1.9M out of my couch cushions!
View all photos from today.