Here are a few more pictures from our epic vacation:
More of Sora playing in the sand. She did this a lot - dad and I went running 2 mornings and mom and I went walking 1 morning, so while I was gone, she built sandcastles with the remaining grandparent. Mom and I went snorkeling one day and saw a ton of fish! Sora played on the sand with my dad and swam in the very calm water. She also climbed a nearby tree (which ended in her falling off the tree and scraping her face). There was a ton of coral right off the beach and a lot of fish to see which was awesome! I suggested dad take his camera with him, to capture the moment, but I didn't have the foresight to realize that when the wind blew (like it did) that the tiny sand would get into the camera (like it did) and cause it to stop working (like it did). See how hindsight is 20/20? Anyway, this resulted in a lot of iPhone pictures, which didn't really capture the moment in the same way (and no snorkeling photos).
Mom and dad enjoyed a yummy looking drink at Cheeseburger in Paradise overlooking the ocean and watching the sun go down while...
Sora and I took in some live local music. This guy was amazing and did a lot of old Hawaiian songs and a few more contemporary ones too. Sora did a little dancing, but mostly just listened to the music and people watched.
For Christmas, my parents paid for my ticket to a Luau (Sora was free). Dad surprised Sora with a real flower lei!
Sora did a great job trying all of the food, including the poi. The pork was her favorite, but she liked dessert a lot too. You can tell by her eyes that she was crazy tired and that she had been crying a lot. Just before our meal, these guys were running around with torches lighting the tikis. It FREAKED her out and she wanted to leave. I did finally get her to come back and eat dinner.
This is hard to see, but Sora is the little girl on the left (about 1/4 of the way in the photo). Sora and grandma went up on stage with a bunch of other little kids to learn to Hula. She actually followed directions pretty well and was of course super adorable (I'm not biased at all - the old people near her all thought so, and even some other strangers who saw her later commented).
Here is the show. It was a story about many Polynesian Islands.
And, my sweet father reminded Sora that men might come out with fire (which they did) before the show started which triggered another major meltdown and this is where we spent most of the show - in the back snuggling. Sora did like parts of it, but wouldn't be set down for a second! She did like the fire dancer - he came at the very end, so she had gotten used to the idea by then.
Here are Sora and papa in the pool. The pool was much colder than the ocean, so we only really got in once. My parents and I did really enjoy the hot tub though.
We also went to a tiny plantation. We took a little tram and drove around seeing how fruit in Hawaii was grown. I had no idea that pineapple grows in the ground and takes 2 years to mature! As you can see, Sora was obsessed with taking pictures. This lead to a few meltdowns as well when someone wanted to take a decent picture of something instead of a Sora version picture.
Here is our tram driver shucking a coconut for us. Since it was a small group, we all got to drink the coconut water (which Sora loved) and eat some of the coconut meat (which Sora also loved).
One rainy afternoon, we also went to the Ioa Valley State Park. It was totally different than the beaches we had been seeing and it was really pretty. We saw several waterfalls and a raging river. It rains 400" a year there, so there was a lot of water and green plants around.
And, of course, before getting back on the plane, Sora had shaved ice one last time. Our trip to Washington was very smooth and a little shorter than flying all the way back to Wisconsin. My sweet aunt and uncle picked us up at the airport in the middle of the night and drove us into Seattle the next day to take the Bolt bus up to Bellingham (which is the cheapest and fastest transportation between the two cities - it was amazing!). We are staying in Washington until next Sunday, so look for at least one more vacation post!