As our time started to run down we did a little exploring closer to our hotel.
...and find plenty of little beaches to explore.
In other sea life news, a boy pointed out a sea turtle to Lu and I while everyone was surfing a few days before.
Unfortunately poor Lucy couldn't see it (she can't see contrast well so she couldn't pick it out since it was swimming in the water that was a similar color), but I could see it loud and clear so through my explanation to her I hope she could at least feel it's beauty.
We went running one morning too. Oh man, if I could run by the beach on that trail every day maybe I would be more motivated to become a runner.
We headed to Waimea Bay one last time (obviously this was our favorite spot).
The surf was PERFECT this time around so Max and Dave were out practically all afternoon surfing their bodies up to the shore with huge smiles stretched across their faces. Max is a natural at that I tell you!
Claire, Grace and I went in to join them while Elle hung with Lucy. When we came back she was playing some elaborate game in the sand Lucy was mesmerized by.How I love all these Lucy-helpers!
Elle entertained Lu but Lucy also entertained herself (along with Claire) building a big sand castle.
Very faint but it's there.
We reluctantly left that beauty to head for food.
They were delicious but didn't quite live up to the bar I had set by telling the kids how incredibly detectible they were going to be (oh man they sound extra good to me right now since our whole family is off sugar for January...).
I was also really excited about the Thai food truck on the North Shore which we never made it do, darn it, and also "Opal Thai" which four different people had raved about and told me we HAD to try.
Now, being the Thai-food lover I am, I wasn't about to let the opportunity to partake of that deliciousness slide right on by. By now I have recruited the majority of my family to the Thai-love-bandwagon and I couldn't be more happy about that (Max and Lu are the only ones I'm still working on). So Dave was totally onboard seeking out Thai as he drove us around but I guess it wasn't meant to be because it always seemed to be the wrong timing. Elephant Thai was closed the day we could have gone, and Opal Thai was closed when we tried. So on the last day, we made a special effort to stop and enjoy that scrumptious meal we had heard about only to find it closed again. What??
Upon closer examination we saw the reason:
I guess it's good to save something to look forward to next time, right? :)
On our last day we slept in as long as we could and made a big pancake breakfast and got packed up.
We hadn't spent any time at our own beach so we hung out there all afternoon.
Lucy and I swam out to a rocky island and dubbed it "Rocky Mermaid Island" (pronounced with the "I" part very accentuated: EYE-land).
Then she took her big siblings on a separate trip out. The girls built more sand castles and we read our books to our hearts' content.
We played this one card game every single night we were there. We decided to have our culminating game right there on the beach.
Then we reluctantly packed up to get out of there for our red-eye flight home. Boo hoo.
Trust Claire to give a little flair to our exit ;)
number one, but Dave was getting the car) before we headed out.
Claire had been hoping and hoping we would get leis, and as we checked out of the hotel I asked one of the guys if they happened to have any for guests.
What do you know, they whipped out five for us girls and we got to wear them in all their glory to get some dinner:
Some things not pictured that I want to remember:
--how Lucy called Waikiki "why-kay-kay"
--coconut macadamia nut chocolates from the ABC store
--a "future financial" talk over dinner at Bob's Pizzeria
--Lucy singing a song she made up in the back of the mini van, and all of us looking at each other in disbelief because we didn't realize she had that great of a singing voice.
--family selfie with the go-pro under water with the sharks (I need to find that!)
--Claire's wide-eyes huddled under our umbrella at Waikiki when it started pouring rain.
--late night games and baking cookies almost every night (hence the no-sugar-January resolution!)
--being with JUST our family...kids loving each other with such sweet interactions
--getting enough sleep...the best feeling ever
--snuggling late-night talks with Dave, no distractions
We sailed off into the night of New Year's Eve, rested and rejuvenated and ready to take on 2016.