OAHU ADVENTURE WEEKEND . DAY 3
The last time we were in Oahu together we kayaked to Lanikai beach in a double kayak and had the best time. This time we decided to do single kayaks and I soon realized that was a bad idea. This was the kayak trip that tested my strength and endurance. The headwind was so strong it seemed like I wasn’t moving at all. With my little T-Rex arms it was very hard to steer the single kayak. Mike got to the beach first and eventually I made it there also. Getting there was hard, but the reward was sitting at the most beautiful beach for the rest of the day. It was well worth it. The breeze was a little too strong and chilly for me to want to go snorkeling, so Mike went ahead and did some snorkeling on his own while I sat on the warm sand and enjoyed the warm sun. We relaxed for quite some time and snacked on crackers, cheese, and grapes. It was the perfect beach snack! The kayak trip on the way back was much easier since we were moving with the current and the wind was at our back. Once back at the car we put on some normal clothes and headed to the mall for some shopping. We found the older girls some clothes at Uni Qlo and some treats at the Aloha sugar shop. We aren’t big candy eaters, but it was still fun to browse around this ridiculous store filled with more candy than you think is possible. Since we were getting hungry, we headed back to Waikiki and ate dinner at the Udon restaurant. We waited in line outside for about 30 min before getting our fill of the most wonderful Udon outside of Japan. This famous Udon restaurant is always packed with a line of people anytime of the day. It is that good!
OAHU ADVENTURE WEEKEND . DAY 2
For today’s adventure we decided to head to Kokohead first to do the Hawaiian version of the Incline. It was just like hiking the Incline in Colorado except the views were more spectacular and there was so much oxygen. I kept thinking that it was amazing that I didn’t need to stop. Halfway up to the top there is a little side trail called Murphy's Bypass. We took that instead of continuing on the railroad ties since that little section is sketchy with no ground underneath the ties and there were too many people who didn't know what they were doing. After passing that we got right back onto the main trek. After we made it to the top, we ventured over to the crater rim and hiked along the ridge line. Up at the highest point of the ridge the wind was so strong that my visor blew away. It was so sad, and I felt so dumb for not holding onto it because it was actually Mike’s visor that he let me borrow since I forgot to bring a hat on this trip. We headed down into the brush to try and find it but it was long gone. We headed back along the crater rim and made our way down the railroad ties to the bottom of Kokohead. We were still up for some adventuring, so we drove to the Makapu’u Trail and decided to run/hike the paved trail to see the views and the lighthouse. Our legs were a bit tired from Kokohead hike and it was a bit hotter than earlier in the morning. The views at the top were amazing and well worth the run to get there. We stopped on the way back to Waikiki to get Leonard’s donuts which are some of the best donuts ever. We ate our donuts on the way back to the hotel where we showered and relaxed for a few hours before heading back out to Secret Beach to enjoy the ocean before eating dinner. Mike went snorkeling while I sat on the sand and had fun watching the seals that were sleeping in the cove. We eventually made our way on foot to eat dinner at Monkeypod at the request of some of our friends. The food was pretty good but the dessert not so much. We ate it anyways and then headed back to Secret beach to watch the sunset. It was a pretty perfect day!
kokohead and crateR rim
secret beach and dinner at monkeypod
Oahu adventure Weekend . day 1
I wasn’t sure Mike’s reserve duty was going to happen this year in Hawaii. With all the holds on funding in the government, his approval kept getting pushed. So, we planned a Hawaii trip with the kids for spring break and had a marvelous time. Then the approval finally came through and I found myself preparing to go back to Hawaii for just a few days during my birthday weekend. I couldn’t have made this happen without the loving kindness of one of my best friends. Myisha didn’t hesitate when I asked her to come and stay with the kids. She always jumps at any chance to be with my kids.
To my surprise, when I checked into my flight, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mike had upgraded my ticket to First Class. I was on a smaller plane, so we didn’t have separate pods, but the service and extra space was so incredibly nice. It was like flying on what used to be business class. I felt so spoiled and special and blessed all at the same time. When I got to Hawaii, I took an Uber to the hotel and headed up to our room. There was a fun bag full of Japanese candies and a note from Mike. He had booked me a massage at the adjoining hotel. So, I got on my comfortable clothes and headed out on a walk before indulging myself in an hour of bliss. I love a good massage and this one didn’t disappoint. My massage therapist was a native Hawaiian with the most incredible spirit about him. He started out with a prayer and placed his hands on my head. It was a spiritual experience and I immediately relaxed. I have never experienced anything like it before and I will never forget the feeling of gratitude I had for this stranger who I knew had a good soul. If every adventure could start out this way, then watch out world because that is pretty freaking awesome!
Vail/Beaver Creek Weekend . Day 1
With all the crazy end of year festivities and spring sports season being pushed into June, Mike and I desperately needed some alone time away. In typical Mike fashion, he booked an amazing trip to Beaver Creek and Vail. We drove up early on Friday morning and parked our car in Frisco and got on our bikes to ride up Vail pass. The trail leading to Vail was incredible with amazing views of the mountains and the river. We were pleasantly surprised at how much easier Vail pass was to bike than we had originally thought. After turning around at the top, we coasted down the path and loved every minute of it. We headed back towards Frisco and then decided to bike around Dillon Lake. On the opposite side of the lake, we found a farmers’ market. We walked our bikes through the market and found some great street tacos for lunch. Then we headed back on the trail to make the full loop back to our car. We ended up riding around 46 miles. Then we got in the car and drove to Beaver Creek where we stayed at Ritz Carlton. We normally stay at the Park Hyatt, but this was a wonderful change. Everything about the Ritz was amazing. We spent the first night ordering room service for dinner and watching the Olympic trials.
Beaver Creek Weekend - Hiking
Being Epic Pass Holders, we were able to take the ski lift to the top of the mountain which was so much easier than hiking or biking up! We took the Royal Elk trail over to the lake and sat on the far side of the shore. It was so pleasant. We then hiked back down to the hotel. Why do trips like this have to end? It seems like it would be better if we could work 2 days a week and take 5 days off. I think life would be better if we didn’t have to work so much.
Beaver Creek Weekend - Biking
On Friday, we got up and road our mountain bikes uphill and took the village connector trail all the way through Beaver Creek. It was a bit of a beast to start climbing right away up the mountain, but once on the main trail, it was pretty spectacular. The views, the flower, and the flowy single track were pretty great. The downhill was fun as well. We had lunch down by the Westin in Avon, and then took the bus back up to the hotel. It was a beautiful day with great weather. The best part of the day, of course, was getting massages at the spa. The Spa at the Park Hyatt is one of the best we have ever been to. It’s just great and never disappoints.
Beaver Creek Weekend - Arrival
There are just some places that are great to go with your spouse. Beaver Creek is one of them. It’s such a beautiful place. We took the weekend to spend without the kids at the Park Hyatt, which is one of our favorite places. The hotel is great, but there are lots of fun things to do there. Soon after we arrived, we headed over to eat dinner at Splendido. The food was wonderful, but the best part were the souffle’s for dessert. They were ridiculously good. Our dinner was a great way to start our awesome weekend trip.
Beaver Creek Birthday Weekend
For Mike's birthday this year I booked a weekend away to Beaver Creek at the Park Hyatt for some relaxation and outdoor adventure. Since the weather was a bit colder than we had anticipated, we left our mountain bikes at home and planned on doing some hiking instead. We left on Thursday evening and got to the resort a little after 9pm. The hotel was exactly like I had remembered it a year ago with some slight updates to the lobby. We headed up to our room, which we got upgraded to a suite, and turned on a movie and ordered room service while Mike finished up some work from the day. It was nice to just sit and watch TV together before drifting off to sleep.
The next day it was so incredibly cold and snowing and so we decided to sleep in. We ate a very yummy breakfast in the hotel restaurant before walking over to the Allegria Spa to check out their services. We booked a massage for the following day and then grabbed our coats from our room so we could head to the village to do some shopping. We went into the various shops and didn't buy much except for a cute pair of ski socks for Madeline. We stopped at Rimini's for a warm ham and cheese sandwich and a Nutella and banana crepe. It all tasted so good. After a few more shops, and talking with some pretty great locals, we headed back in the hotel to grab our suits so we could spend some time in the outside jacuzzi. We love sitting outside in the jacuzzi when its cold and snowy outside. There is just something so magical about it all. The rest of the day was spent napping and relaxing before heading to dinner at Hooked which is a seafood restaurant. We ate the most delicious Japanese rolls. They were like no other rolls we had ever eaten. Then we headed out to find some yummy dessert. We decided to drive down to Vail to grab some dessert at a local Ale House. It wasn't quite up to par but that was ok because the fries we had were delicious. Then we headed back to the hotel and grabbed our free s'mores kit and headed up to the room to eat the chocolate and go to bed. It was much too cold to actually go outside to the fire pit and roast s'mores.
The next morning, we woke up to cold temperatures but sunny skies. We ate another fabulous breakfast and then headed out on our hike up to Bear Lake. We took the Bear Lake trail which followed the creek. It was awesome to be able to hear the creek alongside the trail almost all the way up to the lake. Most of the trail was snow covered with the snow that had fallen the day before. It was actually really great to hike in the snow. The hike up to the lake was relatively easy and we enjoyed being together. It was super peaceful up at the lake and we enjoyed playing with two little birds who enjoyed our crumbs. We decided to head back a different way and took the Overlook trail which had us venture across the various slopes. It was pretty spectacular hiking through dense forests before popping out on the open slopes only to cross and then hike once again through another set of trees. This went on for quite some time and eventually we lost count of how many sections we went through. As we looked at our watches it became clear that we needed to pick up the pace if we were going to make it back in time for our 3:00pm massages. At one point we actually started running on the trail when we could. With only 15 min before 3:00pm, we were getting desperate to find a short cut back. So, like idiots, we decided to get off the wooded trail, and just walk/run/slide down the last sloped mountain straight back to the hotel. It was kind of crazy going straight down the mountain. Mike used his hiking poles and glissaded down some of the snowier sections. We just laughed and laughed all the way down. We made it back to our room with only a few minutes to spare. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting pampered and then relaxing in the 5-Step Aqua Sanitas Water Sanctuary. It was the perfect way to unwind after our 8-mile hike. After showering and getting ready for the evening, we headed down to the bar in the lobby area and ordered the most amazing appetizer while we killed time waiting for our dinner reservation at Mirabelle's. We ordered the Cheese and Charcuterie Platter and it was DELICIOUS!!! Then it was off to Mirabelle's to eat some tasty French cuisine. It was the perfect way to end a pretty perfect day and a pretty fantastic getaway to Beaver Creek! Of course, it snowed throughout the night and when we woke up to go home it was all snow covered. That was pretty magical!
GIRLS WEEKEND IN DENVER
After Abby’s graduation, Emma, Abby and I headed up to Denver for a very special girls’ weekend to see Wicked and to relax and eat good food at the Four Season Hotel in Denver. We ate dinner at the hotel and there was a special Wicked Theatre Menu with food named after the musical. The girls thought that was pretty neat. We all enjoyed sharing the chocolate ganache cake. After dinner we headed straight to see Wicked, which was just a short 2 block walk from our hotel. The girls had a blast seeing this amazing musical and spending time together. Afterwards we walked back to our hotel, got on our pjs, and snuggled in bed together while watching movies. It was great to sleep in and order room service for breakfast in the morning. We all ate the most amazing french toast and then headed to the heated outdoor pool for some late morning fun. The girls played in the pool and we all sat in the hot tub. We ordered sliders for lunch and relaxed by the pool for a few hours. After relaxing, we went back to the room and showered. Before heading home we decided to go to the chalk festival a few blocks away. We saw one row before it started to rain. Luckily, we grabbed one of the hotel umbrellas. We didn’t stay out for too long but saw some really great chalk drawings in our short walk from the hotel. It was fun to finally spend some one on one time with both girls. We all needed this girls weekend!