Bird of ParadiseMy Mom’s dream for as long as I can remember is to get the family together again in Hawaii… and her 65th birthday seemed like the perfect excuse.

It would be a lie if I didn’t say I was nervous about how it would go… for so many reasons. Mom and I travel well together so that was no concern (except her kicking and talking while sleeping… ya for separate beds) but its been a longtime since I have traveled my baby brother, and have been nowhere with Claudia, let alone with a 5 yr old… gulp!

What an insane joy to discover that my nerves were 100% unfounded. It was all fabulous… phew 🙂

On the plane ride to Honolulu, J sat on my lap a majority of the time while we played the Star Wars version of Angry Pigs, laughed, giggled and had a great ol’ time.

Sheraton Princess WaikikiWe were tickled to be greeted at the gate by the shuttle rep… he actually walked right up to me and said “MacFadden Family”; not sure how he did that?!?!?

So Eric and Claudia went with him and Mom, J and I went to the car rental counter.
(we went separately because I knew we would never all fit in the sedan with all our luggage as well… and I hate to… but of course, I was right)

Got to the hotel late, hot and tired but the air conditioning in the room, stunning view and a strawberry daiquiri made everything all better.


Quiet Hawaii MorningThe 10 days were wonderful and we did just about everything together… including day trips around the island, adventure excursions, shopping, dining and hanging by the pool.

The first morning I got up early, of course and headed to Starbucks up on Kuhio near the Outrigger… one of my most favourite things to do in Hawaii is to get up and out really early Nothing like a bucket and sand before the crowds… on this particular morning after enjoying my Chai on the balcony while reading my book, Claudia and Mom woke up to and we decided to head down to Waikiki Beach to stick our toes in the ocean and watch Claudia marvel at everything that is Waikiki… I forgot what it was like to see it through the eyes of someone else for the first time. Although I don’t need help in seeing the beauty, joy and pleasure in Waikiki  – it has always been a favourite destination and truly feels like coming home to me. It does take on a special kind of magic when seeing it thru someone else’s eyes.

We enjoyed Hanauma Bay of course, it hasn’t changed at all except that we can’t feed the fish frozen peas anymore but I loved watching J notice all the different coloured fish, find joy playing with his new camera, and obsess over the wild cats in the area and Hanauma Bay Fishthen marvel over my brother’s instinct to still venture out on his own up the nearby cliffs and swim well past the break ‘to see better fish’… never been satisfied with status quo that one.

Mom treated us all to a wonderful day at the Polynesian Cultural Center where we rediscovered the joy of an old family tradition … the beautiful colours, the diverse Polynesian culture and relish the top-level entertainment only they can provide. It was a great day!

We also did a few trips out to the private beaches near Disney’s Aulani Resort where we enjoyed some quiet time on a beautiful Wild Hawaiian Sea Turtlebeach, swam with wild sea turtles and J and his turtle friendwatching J collect sea grass to feed them. It was adorable.

GiovannisA trip to the island also would not be complete without a stop at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck with Mom thoroughly enjoyed a huge plate of shrimp and where I had a hotdog… lol… but hey, it was really good too.

Scuba ScooterIn an attempt to prove that my Mom isn’t like many other 65 yr olds I bought her a couple adventure packages that I knew she would enjoy… one where we rode underwater scooters that was super fun as well as diving with sharks (more about that later… sadly we missed the boat here…hhmm, literally).

Naturally a trip around the island wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Dole Plant… and I was super excited to share one of my childhood favs with J… aahh DoleWhip. Corn at Dole PlantClaudia treated us to some yummy corn cobs as well and J and I took some silly photo booth shots. DolePhotoBoothWe were both practicing our funny faces ….

There is obviously so much more to share and perhaps I will do another post to share more pics of this incredible family vacation.

Thank you Mom so much for making it all possible and sharing this dream with me, I loved every minute. (only thing missing was my dad)

Thanks stopping by,