Chase’s 1st Birthday – My First Real Attempt at Becoming Crafty

I seriously cannot believe how fast the past year has gone by. Chase used to be my little 5 pound 2 oz peanut. Now he is 20+ pounds and almost walking! He is such an amazing little guy and he is so blessed to have incredible family and friends who love him to pieces! Since his birthday party in Hawaii didn’t quite go as planned I figured it would be fun to give him a beach themed party. I had no idea that I was undertaking such an enormous project when I set out to plan his first birthday party. I made a zillion trips to Michaels, Target, and even ventured to Hobby Lobby for the first time. Amazon also was delivering items to our house on a daily basis. I fully admit that I got so caught up in the planning that I went completely overboard. Oh well, your baby only turns one once. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before, but Pinterest can be extremely dangerous. When I set out to plan the party I didn’t know much, but the one thing I did know was that I didn’t want to buy a few balloons and streamers to decorate. I wanted to push myself to see if I really could be crafty! Overall, I enjoyed planning this party and think it turned out better than I had expected! I would like to thank my family for all of their help in making this party a reality. I think everyone had a great time and Chase really enjoyed his special day!

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My mom made an adorable tropical fish cake!

My mom made an adorable tropical fish cake!

Everyone wrote a message to Chase in his birthday book.

Everyone wrote a special message to Chase in his birthday book.

This highlighted Chase's first year! I highly recommend taking pictures monthly pictures of your baby for the first year. There are a wide variety of month stickers on Etsy.

This highlighted Chase’s first year! I highly recommend taking monthly pictures of your baby for the first year. There are a wide variety of month stickers on Etsy.

Grandma Becky made sailboat deviled eggs. Super cute!

Grandma Becky made sailboat deviled eggs. Super cute!

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This was a really fun project and I loved the final product!

This was a really fun project!

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Fun fruit skewers!

Fun fruit skewers!

Frozen water balloons are a fun alternative to ice.

Frozen water balloons are a fun alternative to ice.

Personalized Mason jars!

Personalized Mason jars!

First birthday poem that I personalized for Chase.

First birthday poem that I personalized for Chase.

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Waikiki and the North Shore

I always enjoy visiting Waikiki and am glad that we had the opportunity to spend some time there prior to departing for the main land. We are big fans of Hyatt and have stayed at both the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach (http://www.hyattplacewaikikibeach.com/) and Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa (http://www.waikiki.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html). For this trip we returned to the Hyatt Place. Thankfully they were able to give us two rooms that were across the hall from one another. Our room had a great view of Diamond Head and my parent’s room had an awesome view of the ocean. (Last time we visited the Hyatt Place we walked from the hotel to the top of Diamond Head and back. It’s a pretty long walk, but totally worth doing!) This property has an outstanding breakfast, which is outside, and the rooms are modern and clean.

Diamond Head - View from Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

Diamond Head – View from Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

We always enjoy walking around Waikiki and there are a couple of places that we always seem to gravitate to while there. First, we are big fans of Cheeseburger in Paradise (http://www.cheeseburgerinparadise.com/). It’s located right across the street from the beach and the service is usually pretty quick. The burgers and fries are good and it’s just a fun place to visit while in Waikiki. I also recommend checking out Lappert’s Hawaii, located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. They have tons of different flavors of ice cream and other delicious treats (http://www.lappertshawaii.com/).

Cheeseburger in Paradise - Waikiki Beach

Cheeseburger in Paradise – Waikiki Beach

During this visit we decided to do some exploring away from Waikiki. Josh rented a car so that we could explore the North Shore. Overall, the entire drive, including a few stops, took approximately 3.5 hours. The actual distance is approximately 90 miles, though it does take some time since a majority of the drive is on a two-lane road. We stopped at Kualoa Regional Park so that we could take some pictures. This park has a great view of Mokoliʻi, formerly known as Chinaman’s Hat.

Selfie time with Mom  with Mokoliʻi in the background.

Selfie time with Mom with Mokoliʻi in the background.

Mokoliʻi - Oahu, Hawaii

Mokoliʻi – Oahu, Hawaii

View from Kualoa Regional Park

View from Kualoa Regional Park

The drive along the North Shore is worth doing. The ocean is beautiful and there are some huge waves to see. We passed the famous Turtle Bay Resort, though it was pretty difficult to see from the road. I was particularly excited to visit one of my favorite Hawaiian eateries, Hula Dog (http://huladoghawaii.com/). There is a Waikiki location, which Josh and I have been to in the past, but we thought it would be fun to check out their North Shore food truck. This Hula Dog is located in Haleiwa next to the North Shore Marketplace. Chase enjoyed being able to get out of his carseat and move around!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60647-d4920309-Reviews-HULA_DOG_Hale_iwa-Haleiwa_Oahu_Hawaii.html

Chase & Gramma - North Shore

Chase & Gramma – North Shore

Hula Dog - North Shore

Hula Dog – North Shore

We finished off the day by walking down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. There are tons of shops, luxury stores, and restaurants. Along Waikiki there are great views of the beach and the sunsets are fantastic!

Strolling along Waikiki with my cute little guy!

Strolling along Waikiki with my cute little guy!

Review Part 2 – The Bay Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort

There are a number of things that made The Bay Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort (http://bayclub.hgvc.com/) stand out to me. The pools and grounds are very well kept. For those interested in grilling, there are gas grills located in numerous areas. The closest grills to our unit were located by the pool. The resort offers free ice cream cones by the main pool with the waterslide on Monday afternoons. These cones are huge and each person can have up to two gigantic scoops. Seriously good stuff. Make sure to take advantage of this free perk! Chase was able to have his first bite of ice cream. He especially liked the chocolate ice cream!

Chase likes chocolate ice cream!

Chase and his chocolate ice cream mustache!

The walking paths leading to other resorts and shopping areas are easily accessible from The Bay Club. One evening we took Chase out in the stroller and walked to the beach near the Hilton Waikoloa Beach to watch the sunset. This walk was not that far and is definitely something I’d recommend. The view was outstanding and we were able to capture some amazing photos.

Out for an early evening stroll

Out for an early evening stroll

Waikoloa Sunset

Waikoloa Sunset

The resort is located near the Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace. The Kings’ Shops has a number of higher end stores, such as Tiffany and Co. These shops are just over a mile away from the Bay Club, so we chose to walk to check them out. We did try Island Fish & Chips, which is located in the Kings’ Shops. This restaurant is a walk-up style place with no designated seating. I’m not a fan of seafood, but my family is. I’m sad to say that this was probably the worst restaurant we visited while in Waikoloa. The seafood and chicken dishes were not that tasty and even more disappointing when you consider the price they charged. I’m not sure if we just hit a bad day, but I wouldn’t recommend this place. We also walked to the Queens’ MarketPlace a couple of times. There is a Starbucks that we visited, as well as some other restaurants and shops. One evening we ate at the Macaroni Grill. I know that’s not a super adventurous place to go, but the other food options, which included Subway and Dairy Queen, didn’t seem much better.

The best restaurant that we visited in Waikoloa was the Lava Lava Beach Club (http://lavalavabeachclub.com/). This place is located right on the beach and has great views of the ocean. I’d recommend making a reservation around 5:30 PM in order to view the sunset. The portions were large and the service was good.

Lava Lava Beach Club - Pineapple Fried Rice Bowl with Chicken

Lava Lava Beach Club – Pineapple Fried Rice Bowl with Chicken

Sunset - Lava Lava Beach Club

Sunset – Lava Lava Beach Club

One afternoon we walked to the Hilton Waikoloa Village (http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/) to check out their lagoon and pools. We preferred to walk, but for those who are interested, there is a shuttle that goes between the two resorts. The parking at the Hilton Waikoloa Village is not free, so walking or taking the shuttle is the way to go. While you must be a registered guest (or pay a large fee) to use the numerous pools, you do not need to be a guest to swim in the large lagoon. The lagoon contained numerous fish and even some sea turtles! Just adjacent to the lagoon is a dolphin pool. The dolphins were fun to watch and I’ve heard you can pay big bucks to swim with them.

I can’t comment on the golf courses, as we did not play while on this trip. There were lots of people golfing and from what I saw, the courses looked pretty nice. Maybe next time we will bring our clubs so that we can check out the courses.

The resort offers numerous activities that are listed on a weekly guide. While we did not partake in any of the activities, it looked like there were some fun options available.

One last thing I should mention is that the resort has a free DVD rental kiosk. This is convenient for anyone who is interested in renting a movie while on vacation. There were a number of relatively new movies to choose from.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay and I’d highly recommend The Bay Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort. The resort was clean, newly renovated, and close to shopping and the beach. I hope to visit again someday!

Travel from Kona to Honolulu

Earlier today we packed up our bags and flew from Kona back to Honolulu. The Kona airport was very easy to navigate and there were many airline workers who offered to help us with our bags. Once we got all of our bags checked in we were able to make our way through security. The airport has an open air concept, so it was a bit hot. Thankfully our wait wasn’t too long! Chase did well on the flight and fell asleep just as we were landing.

King of the luggage!

King of the luggage!

Sound asleep after the flight from Kona to Honolulu!

Sound asleep after the flight from Kona to Honolulu!

After gathering all of our luggage we made our way outside to our ground transportation. Josh and I have been happy with GO808EXPRESS in the past, and once again they did not disappoint. They had a large passenger van waiting for us and our huge amount of luggage. The van was clean and the driver was very personable. Unlike SuperShuttle, we were the only people in the van and we did not have to make a zillion stops to pick-up other passengers. This is the way to go when looking for reliable and affordable transportation from HNL to Waikiki. Be sure to check out GO808EXPRESS.com for further information.

Chase’s First Birthday…Take One

So the plan had been for my parents to celebrate Chase’s first birthday in Hawaii since they were not planning on traveling to Minnesota two weeks later for his actual birthday. My mom worked hard to plan his party and was excited about the fun things she was going to do. Unfortunately, Chase came down with a nasty cold and ear infection a few days before the planned celebration and things didn’t quite go as planned. It also didn’t help that he was teething. The poor little guy felt awful and was in no shape to celebrate. He didn’t really pay much attention to his smash cake or ice cream cone. Normally he is all smiles and very happy. We all knew he was not feeling well and that he was not acting like himself. I think we were all disappointed with how things turned out because by the end of the day my parents had airline tickets for Minneapolis booked for his birthday. On the bright side, Chase loved his gifts, which included a new buddy to play with and some fun books. Here are a few pictures from the party.

Chase and his smash cake

Chase and his smash cake

Chase and his ice cream cone

Chase and his ice cream cone

Chase and his new pal

Chase and his new pal

Chase with Gramma and Gramps

Chase with Gramma and Gramps

Helicopter Flight Over a Volcano

Unfortunately we were unable to make the trip to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. We decided that it would be too difficult to take an active 11-month-old on an all day trip that would involve lots of time in the car. That didn’t, however, stop us from seeing an active volcano. Josh was able to find a helicopter tour on Blue Hawaiian Helicopters that would take us over the volcano. This tour left out of Hilo, so we did have a bit of a drive in the car. With this being said, there is a very nice new road that made this trip a lot quicker than it used to be. At the summit of the drive we were able to see some mountain peaks off in the distance that were covered with snow. The tour left out of the Hilo Airport, and for those interested, is called Circle of Fire plus Waterfalls. There are two options for the type of helicopter available: the Eco-Star and A-Star. We chose the A-Star, as this was the cheaper of the two options. Apparently the A-Star has less viewing glass and personal space. The A-Star gave us plenty of viewing space and we each had ample personal space. I’m not really sure it’s worth paying more for the extra perks of the Eco-Star.

Helicopter Tour

Helicopter Tour

Our pilot was very knowledgeable and we were able to see smoke and a few areas of red, glowing lava. The entire tour lasted approximately one hour. After seeing the volcano we flew back over some waterfalls that could only be seen from the air. We also had a nice view of Mauna Kea. The pilot was on his was back to the airport when he spotted some whales out in the ocean. He took us over the ocean and we were able to see the whales from above. This was my favorite part of the entire tour! Seeing the entire body of a whale is just incredible!

Active Volcan - Hawaii

Active Volcano – Hawaii

Above Active Volcano - Hawaii

Above Active Volcano – Hawaii

Waterfalls - Hawaii

Waterfalls – Hawaii

Mauna Kea - Hawaii

Mauna Kea – Hawaii

We enjoyed our helicopter tour

We enjoyed our helicopter tour

After we finished our tour we made a quick stop at the Mauna Loa nut factory. I highly recommend stopping here while in Hilo. They have amazing ice cream! They also have some nut products that cannot be found at other stores. My dad was able to find a pretty nice hat for $7.99. This was a nice way to end our day trip to Hilo.

Mauna Loa - Hilo, Hawaii

Mauna Loa – Hilo, Hawaii

Chase’s First Trip to the Beach

Waikoloa Beach - Hawaii

Waikoloa Beach – Hawaii

Chase loves swimming in the pool and we thought it would be fun to take him to the beach to swim in the ocean. As I mentioned earlier, the Bay Club at Waikoloa does not have direct beach access. This really wasn’t a big deal for us, as the beach is nearby. We gathered our gear and hopped into the car for the short drive to Waikoloa Beach, which is about 1.5 miles from the resort. There is a parking lot for the beach that is located just in front of the entrance for the Lava Lava Beach Club. The walk to the beach is pretty easy and we were able to find a nice spot in the sand for our towels. I’m not sure if it was the time of day, but the ocean was quite tranquil and the waves were very small. Had Chase wanted to boogie board or surf he may have been disappointed! Thankfully he was content with just swimming. Chase immediately wanted to put his face in the water and seemed to absolutely love the ocean. It didn’t even bother him if a wave splashed him. He did a great job and we really enjoyed seeing him in a new environment. At this point he doesn’t seem to have much fear. I’m not quite sure where he got that trait!

Josh and Chase - Waikoloa Beach

Josh and Chase – Waikoloa Beach

Stacy and Chase - Waikoloa Beach

Stacy and Chase – Waikoloa Beach

Gramma and Chase- Waikoloa Beach

Gramma and Chase- Waikoloa Beach

Gramps and Chase - Waikoloa Beach

Gramps and Chase – Waikoloa Beach

As you can see, we all had a wonderful time with Chase at the beach!