Holidays 2016: Christmas in Hawaii & NYE in Tahoe

Looking back on 2016, we were really fortunate to spend so much time with family!  After a lot of work including overtime in the fall, we were ready to high-tail it to Hawaii for a much needed two weeks of vacation.  We stayed with my parents that live on Oahu. 

The first days started out slow, as there was little wind/waves.  My Dad & David worked on my Dad’s wooden surf board while my mom and I did some shopping (my second time to a mall that year?! I don’t love shopping, generally, but it was much needed).  We also tried to hit up Pipeline Master’s competition but it was called of so we visited Turtle Bay resort on the north shore and ate at the Beet Box Cafe instead.

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We did the Lanai Pillbox hike (short but steep sections), which I’ve since heard is best to do at sunrise.  We also did the Kuliouou ridge trail, which was great except Nathan had a breakdown and we didn’t make it to the top.  I’d love to try it again sometime though!


This time to Hawaii was extra special since it was our 5-year anniversary since we got married in my parent’s backyard.  David set up a surprise wine & chocolate tasting at Madre Chocolates in our fave city, Kailua.  We had so much fun learning about the chocolates, sampling, and even eating the chocolate bean fruit.

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With the lack of wind and waves we also took a couple trips on the O.C.s – Outrigger Canoes – the newest addition to my parent’s water toy collection.  They were fun and I only flipped it over once!  We also took the stand up paddleboards out to Hickam Air Force Base and Nathan got his first ride, but was being lulled to sleep by the gentle waves.  Nathan was DEATHLY afraid of the waves and water for about the first week.  David decided we couldn’t have that, so we kept subjecting Nathan to the beach, and eventually Nathan realized the other kids like the water, and it wasn’t so bad.  He quickly learned the words “beach” “boat” and “kite”.  By the end of the trip we couldn’t keep him out of the water and he would wake up each morning saying “beach beach beach”.   We bought him a water wing floaty with a Neoprene top.  David also made him a Neoprene hat to keep him warm.


A couple other random places we took Nathan were the Honolulu aquarium and the Moanaloa gardens.  Neither of which were spectacular, but they were cheap entertainment for a morning or afternoon with a toddler. 


The highlight of the trip for me was that I learned to kiteboard!  My husband and dad have both been skilled kiters for many years now.  I finally decided “if you can’t beat them, join them”.  We practiced and reviewed the equipment and science behind it at home, then spent several mini-sessions learning at Kailua, with my Dad coaching me (a better option than my hubby – David is great, but I find it best not to take lessons from your spouse).  We flew the kite on the beach, learned to body drag without and with the board, then I finally went solo and got up!  It was a rush.  At first the kite seemed scary and powerful, but after I learned to [somewhat] control it, it wasn’t so scary.  It lifted me out of the water and it was like flying over glassy water.  I definitely felt proud that I conquered one of my fears.  Kailua is wavy and deep so I was pretty psyched that I could handle those conditions.  Now I just have to learn how to keep the stoke alive between now and the next chance I get to kite! 


We stayed through Christmas and had a nice, non-traditional Christmas dinner with Minimalist Baker’s green chili veggie burgers and kale salad, plus the last bottle of rose champagne from our wedding.  It was perfect!  We’re just counting down the days until we can go back. 


If you go: spend all your time in Kailua!  Just kidding, sort of, but we do all of our water sports out of Kailua Beach park, and we like to stop at Whole Foods to grab a beer or some food after.  If in downtown Honolulu, we like to stop by Peace Cafe (veg).  We also checked out but didn’t make a stop at the Kaneohe botanical gardens and want to visit next time. A tame, kid-friendly beach for toddlers is the Ko’olina coves (4 of them).  Parking is free but first come, first served. 

Lastly, we did a quick turnaround after we got home to the Bay Area and headed to Tahoe for NYE weekend to see my sisters, cousin and their hubbies.  My sister does a better job of recapping the weekend on her blog.  David and I opted not to ski/snowboard since we had Nathan (we could have but it would have just been one day each or half days for almost the same price as a full day!).  We did get in a snowy hike and some great family time though. 

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It’s hard to get back to work after all these fun adventures!

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