Every four years, we have a standing Hawaii trip with the Wilburn family. This year, we weren’t able to do it in the Summer so we planned a trip for after Christmas. We would be spending the whole time in Kauai in a rental house in Princeville. Jake was bringing his girlfriend, Kenzie and Ashton was bringing her boyfriend Bradley. We were all using air miles, so it was challenging to find 10 tickets. We made it work, but would be taking some long routes.

The Newhouses left at 1:30 pm on Christmas morning. We flew together to Seattle on Alaska Airlines. We had about a 3 hours layover in Seattle and hung out in the Centurian Lounge. I was in the championship in Fantasy Football so Trey and I watched football. We got some fish and chips and then boarded our flights to Hawaii. Susan and Natalie were flying directly to Kauai. They landed at 10 p.m. and taxied to an the Hilton Garden Inn, close to the airport. Trey and I flew to Honolulu. We stayed at the Best Western by the airport. We got there at 11pm and set our alarms for 4am to get up and catch our flight to Kauai a little before 6am. Our flight was quick and easy. We got our rental car and went to meet the girls at the Hilton. Susan was tracking us, so she met us outside the hotel. We went to their room and woke Natalie up. We enjoyed breakfast together and then walked to Lydgate park, right outside the hotel. We have lots of memories from being here when the kids were younger. We went back to the room to wait on the Wilburns to arrive, while the kids hung a hammock in the park. The Wilburns landed around 11, so we met them for lunch at a little burger place near Dukes. After lunch, we went to Walmart and then Costco to stock up on groceries. We then drove to the North Shore to our house in Princeville. We had a great house with five bedrooms and a really big open family area. On the way to the house, we saw Bethany Hamilton, the Soul Surfer, in the driveway to the house next to us. We think maybe her parents lived there and she was dropping off her son. We unloaded everything and went on a quick walk to the bluff overlooking Queens Bath. We were disappointed that the bluff lot that we used to enjoy wasn’t open anymore because they were building a house on it. We walked back to the house just in time to watch the Cowboy game. While the game was on, the girls went to the grocery store to buy more food. We had sandwiches for dinner and then went to Lapparts for some ice cream. We were in bed by 9. Jake and Kenzie arrived around 11 or 12 that night.

Our first full day, we got up early and went on a walk to the golf course to look for whales. Then we all went to Hanalei Beach for some boogie boarding. The waves were big and some stretches of beach was closed to swimmers. We had lots of fun before going to eat at Tropical Taco and Shave Ice Paradise, both of our favorites. After a couple of hours of eating and shopping, the Newhouses and Ashton and Bradley drove to the Westin to use their pools and hot tubs. We also all spotted some whale spouts. That night, Mitch grilled burgers for us and we all turned in early.


On Wednesday, we started our day at Annini Beach.  It was raining by the time we got to the beach.  When it cleared, we saw a beautiful rainbow over the water.  I snorkeled and the kids built a sand castle.  We stayed a few hours, then went home to get ready for pictures.  We hired a photographer to take family pictures for us at the St. Regis beach.  After that, we had dinner at Tahiti Nui.  It was a good dinner at a neat place with some Hawaiian lady singers.

Thursday morning at 9, we set off to do the Kalalau Trail hike. We were on the trail by 10. Mitch, Susan and I weren’t sure we would be able to do the 2 miles to the beach and 2 miles back, so we were going to just go as far as we thought we could. The trail was really muddy and treacherous, a lot worse than the previous 2 times that we did it. Even though it was tough, we made it all the way to the beach and back. Six of the nine people in our group slipped in the mud and fell pretty hard. Our shoes and legs, and some bottoms, were covered in mud. It was beautiful, though, and well worth it. After the hike, we had lunch in Hanalei. Tropical Taco for me and Pinks Grilled Cheeses for everyone else. Next, we headed to the beach in Hanalei. It was very wavy. The kids had a blast body surfing the waves. After the beach, we headed back to the house to cook dinner. Susan, the kids and I had to stop at the grocery store in Princeville to get a few things. As we got in line to check out, Susan went to get a few more items. By the time she came back, there was someone in line behind me, so she had to reach past to hand me the groceries. When I looked up, I realized it was Jessica Alba in line behind me. Susan noticed to. I tried to get her to get a picture of us without Jessica noticing, but it didn’t’ work out. We went out to the car and got the kids to come in and ask her for a picture. She obliged and was nice about it, but seemed a little annoyed. As we left the store, Jessica Alba was loading her car and we saw the paparazzi taking a picture of her from inside the car. The next day, we saw those pictures of her in an online tabloid.

The next day, we were supposed to take an afternoon boat tour of the Napoli coast. We left the house early and stopped in Poipu first. We saw Spouting Horn and actually spotted lots of whale spouts. Then, we had lunch at Bubbas Burgers and shopped a little bit. After that, we went to the town of Hannapepe and visited the swinging bridge. It was about time for our sunset cruise, so we went to Port Allen. Unfortunate, the waters were too rough to see the Napoli coast, so we decided not to do the cruise. Instead, we went to Waleia Canyon and had dinner and Hula pie at Dukes.

Saturday, Mitch and Trey went in to Hanalei and brought us malasadas. Susan and I walked to the St. Regis to take in the views. Next, we went to the Farmers market. After that, we spent all day at Hanalei beach. We took turns going into town for lunch so we didn’t have to pack all of our stuff up. It was a gorgeous day. We also had more celebrity sightings. Jada Pinkett Smith, and her kids Jaden and Willow, we on the beach near us. Will Smith wasn’t around, or at least we didn’t see him. That night, it was New Years Eve, so we grilled steaks and played games at the house.

Sunday morning we woke up excited to watch the Cowboys last game of the year. It was a noon game at home but an 8am game in Hawaii. We had a big breakfast and watched the game. Mitch, Susan and Natalie went to church at the green church in Hanalei while the rest of us finished the game or went on walks. When they returned, we all walked down to Queens Bath. The entrance is in our neighborhood. It was a very muddy and slippery hike down to the ocean side lava. The ocean around Queens Bath was very wavy and kicked waves into Queens Bath. Not many people were in it. Jake, Kenzi, Ashton, Bradley, Natalie and JIm all go in and swam around a while. The rest of the group watched us from up high and looked for turtles and whales. When we were finished, we hiked back to the house for lunch. After lunch, we went to our spot on Hanalei Bay. It was a beautiful day. Natalie, Trey and I boogie boarded most of the time. After about 3 hours, we packed up at went to Shave Ice Paradise. Some of us went to the Westin to hot tub and swim for a while, then we returned to the house to eat our New Years meal of ham and black eyed peas.

Our last full day started with Susan and I taking a walk around the neighborhood. We then went to Tunnels Beach. The waves were very bid and they had signs warning against getting in. Natalie and I found a calm spot for some snorkeling. It was awesome and we saw lots of different fish. There was also a Monk seal on the beach. Mitch was walking on the beach with his head down, looking at shells and he almost tripped over the seal! As we were leaving, we saw Anthony Kedis, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and his daughter riding a bike on the road. We Googled him and found that he has a house right by Tunnels Beach. We drove back to Hanalei and had lunch, the went to the beach at Hanalei Bay. We found a good spot about 50 feet from Will Smiths family again. Bradley actual stopped to talk to Jaden. It was a gorgeous day and the waves were awesome. All the kids and I stayed out for about 3 hours playing in the surf and had a great time. We came in and sat on the beach when we got beat up pretty good. Susan went to Priceville and got a couple of pizzas from the gas station and brought them back to the beach. We ate pizza and stayed on the beach until the sun was down. It was a beautiful day and night. Dusk is my favorite at Hanalei. We left the beach and the kids got shave ice at Jo Jo’s, Shave Ice Paradise was closed. While we were eating, Jaden Smith walked by and Bradley shouted “Hey Young J!”. Jaden said, “What’s up Brotha.” We thought that was funny because Bradley has a gift of meeting people. After that, we went to the Westin for some more hot tub time. Then we went to the house to play games and pack up.

The next day, we packed up and cleaned the house up a little bit. Some of us walked to toward the St. Regis for one last look at Bali Hai. By the time we got back to the house, it was almost 10 and the cleaners had already arrived. We said our goodbyes with the Wilburns and then drove to Hanalei. We did some shopping and at at Tropical Taco again. While we were eating, I got a message that our flight was changed from 3:30 to 6:30 and this would cause us to miss our connection in LA. So, I called AA and they put us on a flight at 9:40pm, connecting in Phoenix. Since we had more time, we decided to join the Wilburns. They had rented a room at the Sheraton in Poipu. We hung out with them by the pool for the rest of the day. When it was time to leave, we all went to a shopping center in Poipu and ate at Merrimans for burgers and pizza and did some more shopping. Our flights were on time and we landed in Dallas around 11 am.

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