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Gwen has been in love with Hawaii for a couple years now. She has never been there but it is on her bucket list of places to visit, along with Paris, France. Surprisingly, she was not too jealous when we announced we would be going. She was actually very happy for us.

I love how sweet my kids are. When we tell them we are going on a date or something they get really cute. They want us to have romantic moments and to continue to love each other. I guess that’s why they didn’t complain that they weren’t invited.

Heath and I bought a travel guide book on Oahu a while ago. The kids have watched us read it out loud to each other as we prepared for our trip. We came up with activities we wanted to do. Gwen had her own list of things she hoped we would do.

Grandma said that while we were gone Gwen was sad that we had taken the Oahu travel guide with us. She was planning her own trip to Hawaii and needed the book as a reference. I love that girl!

We did ask the kids what kind of souvenirs they were hoping for. Gwen wanted a hula dancing girl of some kind and a lei. We bought her a silk floral lei that she can play with and a matching flower clip for her hair. And of course we got her the Barbie dress. Ariel has become the hula doll. I love that she picks Ariel. It’s her favorite princess for sure but she also said that Ariel is the princess of the sea so she should wear the Hawaiian dress.

Parker wanted a stuffed animal, of course. I didn’t want to get him one at first because he has so many. But I saw the monkey at the Dole Plantation and I knew he had to have it. Gavin didn’t really know what he wanted. He doesn’t need things like his brother and sister do. It makes him harder to shop for but I think we did well with the t-shirt. He loves new shirts. And the bracelet with his Hawaiian name is really cool.

Gwen has been really into sea turtles lately. I think it’s mostly because of our trip to Hawaii. I’m not sure. She goes through animal phases. She liked horses and unicorns as a preschooler, then it was peacocks after my dad died because he had so many as decorations. One time Heath was going on a business trip and she insisted he buy a sea horse so she could name it Seaweed. I don’t know where that idea came from! So we bought Seaweed from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

At any rate, she liked sea turtles before we decided to stay at Turtle Bay. That piece of information put her over the happiness edge into unrestrained bliss. She wanted us to take pictures of sea turtles for her. The kids all wanted us to buy a family pet (stuffed animal) like a sea turtle.

Somehow we got it into our heads that the resort leaves stuffed animals on the beds. I think we saw some YouTube video where a girl said she got something with her room. We got a mother and baby sea otter from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium that way one time we stayed at a nearby hotel.

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There was no toy on in our room. I was a little disappointed but shrugged it off. What are you going to do? We didn’t really see any stuffed animals I felt like we needed to get to add to our growing collection of family pets. I saw some dust collector turtles that were pretty but I didn’t really know where to put one in my house. We already have two stuffed turtles so we didn’t need another. We would definitely like to take our kids to Hawaii. At that point we would certainly search earnestly for the perfect Hawaiian family pet.

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I saw these turtles outside Lei Lei’s Bar and Grill on the resort’s golf course. It was Wednesday, we had just finished our helicopter tour, and hadn’t had a chance to see any turtles yet.

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So I had to get pictures of these turtles for Gwen. The first turtles we saw at Turtle Bay! The pictures served a double purpose with the waterfall in the background. Waterfall pictures were another request of Gwen’s.

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I loved all the waterfalls we were able to see. I just love waterfalls! I don’t regret not swimming in the waterfall in Waimea Valley, but swimming in a waterfall was on my bucket list. I think Waimea Falls is the only waterfall anyone can swim in on Oahu. Too many waterfalls have been determined to be too dangerous to hike to. Something about hikers dying.

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I can’t believe anyone ever tried to hike to Paradise Falls. They are beautiful for sure but not worth risking life over. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them from the helicopter. There are at least a dozen waterfalls as part of Paradise Falls. Maybe more like twenty. I can’t remember what the pilot said. So pretty but I don’t see how you could hike up on top of the mountain to get to them.

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There were lots of gorgeous waterfalls at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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I just kept telling Heath to take pictures of waterfalls for Gwen. Some of them are so pretty that we may frame them.

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Finally we saw some real sea turtles not far from our hotel at Laniakea Beach. Because sea turtles are endangered you can’t get too close and you certainly can’t touch them. These two turtles were separated from the crowd by a rope.

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They are much larger than I imagined. You can see how they compare to an adult man and a young boy. Beautiful gentle giants.

As we played on the beach that day we directed several people to the turtles. This is one of many beaches that is right off the road. You park on the side of the road and walk down. We heard people wondering aloud if there were any turtles. So we told them to walk toward the large mass of people because that’s where the turtles were.

I would have loved to see turtles in the water. Unfortunately we waited too long to book a clear bottomed kayaking tour. There were no available times before we had to leave. Next time. I was iffy on wanting to snorkel. I know, sacrilege. If we take our kids to Hawaii I would snorkel with them if they wanted to do that over kayaking.

I was excited about the kayaking tours. Seeing all the underwater magic through a clear Plexiglas bottom? Awesome! Supposedly there are lots and lots of turtles on the North Shore of Oahu. I can only imagine how amazing that would be to see them in their natural habitat swimming around a kayak I’m sitting in.

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Too many overcast and windy days like this kept me from sunbathing like I wanted to. Other than that, I did check off most of my bucket list items. It sure is a beautiful place. Gwen would love it.

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