Kilohana Plantation Railway

Wednesday, February 26

It's funny when you start traveling with children, because all of a sudden you are looking for very kid friendly things to do (something you never even glanced at in your previous life, haha). When we decided to go to Hawaii, we did a quick search of kid friendly places...and Kilohana Plantation Railway was at the top of the list.

Then...I ran into a local Kuaian gal who told me her son loves to come, we had to add it to our itinerary!

It did not disappoint. The train ride is so much fun, and surprisingly interesting for adults. The guy narrating the whole ride was both informative and hilarious. Kevin and I both separately admitted to how much we loved it. The train ride is 40 minutes long, and winds all around the old plantation. You see the huge manor house built in the 1930's, and then go through all sorts of rows of crops. There are orchards of all sorts of citrus fruits, rows of vegetables, and then pastures with different animals.

Avonlea's favorite part of the ride was actually the part where we got out and fed the wild pigs. (not sure if they are wild anymore, as they live at this plantation, haha). The conductor gave us some bread that she was able to throw over the fence. She laughed non-stop for about 15 minutes, it was a blast.

The train ride is definitely the main attraction. You can walk around part of the property, where the main house is, but there isn't a whole lot to do there for kiddos. Kids under 3 are free, and adults are $20 a ticket. However, they do have a luau at this plantation that I've heard is good!

Overall, we are so glad we did this! If you are in Kauai with kiddos, this is definitely a highlight! 

Self consciousness a sin?

Tuesday, February 18

Self consciousness a sin?
Why yes, yes it is.

Let me explain with a rather embarrassing tale from my own life...

Last night, I walked into my son's room to put him down, nursing him in the pitch dark. As I sat down, rocking back and forth, my heart quaked with anxiety, a fast beating drum of fear.

rock...panic, rock...fear...{on repeat}

Why was I beating out fear's cadence? Well, that's a good question. Last year I started a small private IG mostly for family, AND to test the waters and see if I wanted to be back in this sphere. When I started blogging again this January, I thought I might want to have a separate IG for my blog stuff (which would leave me with two IG accounts). Well, it's only been a month and I've quickly realized having two accounts not only stresses me out, but results in more time on my phone which is not ideal to my values.

So a few days ago, I decided to transition everything over from the blog account back to the old one.

And at the click of the button, I became self conscious.
Would people make the switch and come follow my old account?
If they didn't, why not?
Had I done something to offend them?
...and on and on it went.

The anxiety so thick you could have plastered a house with it.

Here was the remedy...
1) Pinpoint my emotion...self consciousness
2) Label self consciousness for what it is...a sin
3) Repent of focusing on self
4) Draw inward to focus on Christ, the center of our life
5) Be transformed by HIS LOVE

Ever heard self consciousness called a sin? I hadn't, and was rather accosted by the notion when I read a small footnote in one of my favorite books "The Calvary Road" by Roy Hession.

Roy writes, " Some may be inclined to question whether it is right to call such things as self-consciousness, reserve and fear, sins....If these things are not sins, then we must put up with them for the rest of our lives; there is no deliverance. But if these and other things like them are indeed sins, then there is a fountain for sin, and we may experience cleansing and deliverance from them, if we put them immediately under His precious blood, the moment we are conscious of them."

You see, anything that beckons us to focus on self becomes a hinderance to the freedom God has for us.

Self is a liar...Romans says no good thing comes from self.
Too often, self has told me stories that are untrue...narratives that keep me focused on self, in a perpetual circle of lies and shame.

I was SO focused on ME.
So lasered in on the nuances of myself and how people responded to ME
that it took me so far away from my far away from Jesus

So...I took a breath in,
repented of my self consciousness,
and invited Christ to center me.

I pictured myself leaving all the external things of self and traveling inward to sit with Christ, the center of my life. I just sat there, envisioning being enveloped by his presence.
Just basking in his goodness and glory.

And when I abandoned myself and any importance I felt I had,
I became free.
Releasing self is counter intuitive to our culture,
but it is where we find the state our soul was created for.

I sat in the dark, holding my Ever babe, and ladies...

The anxiety vanished.
Peace was restored.

My reputation didn't matter
and my expectations diminished.

Friends, self consciousness is a sin.
But thanks be to God that we can leave self at the door, and walk into a room filled with his glory. 

Smith's Luau vs. Luau Makaiwa

Tuesday, February 11

What's more quintessential "tourist Hawaiian" than a Luau? 
Are they cheesy and a little kitsch?
But they are also a ton of fun and highlight the cultural dancing and food of Hawaii:) 

There are multiple Luau's on Kuai, and we have been to two of them.  I wanted to give an honest review of both so you can make a good decision! 

Luau Makaiwa
The first Luau is called Luau Makaiwa. It is located in Kapaa at the Sherton right on the ocean. It is in an open air tent on a grassy area adjacent to the hotel. 

The Pro's: This luau is incredibly kid friendly. They had about 45 minutes where they had activities that kids could join in on…from drumming to hula dancing, etc. The best part about this luau was the show! The emcee was hilarious and the dancing superb. You could also sit very close to all the dancers, Avonlea loved seeing them up close and personal. After the luau you could go and take pictures with all the dancers, which was really special for her. 

The Con's: While the setting is pretty, it is not spectacular. The hotel is pretty average, and the tent was pretty basic. The food was average as well, nothing to write home about, but still good and local Hawaiian fare. 

Smith's Luau
The second Luau is located in Wailua River State Park, right along a gorgeous river in a lush landscape, only 10 minutes from downtown Kapaa. 

The Pro's: The scenery here is absolutely stunning. You feel like you are on a movie set, everything is immaculate. Walking through the arches you are whisked away into another world. I couldn't stop gasping at the beauty. The food was delicious, and there were plenty of options to accommodate my allergies to gluten and dairy. All of the staff were incredibly kind as well:) 

The Con's: While I loved almost everything about this Luau, I can honestly say I was a tad disappointed in the show. The dancing was fun and it was a great presentation on a beautiful stage. However, the stage is a little further away from the seating, so it was harder to see everything up close and personal. Avonlea kept asking me if we could go and see the dancers, so afterward we went to find them and they don't come out for pictures. She was pretty sad, haha! 

So…what's my vote? 

Here's the thing…I actually really loved them both, but for difference reasons. 

I'd say, if you want a very manicured and beautiful experience that feels quintessential Hawaiian, go to Smith's Luau. Everything is sooo beautiful and well done. The food is better and the scenery divine. 

If dancing is your thing, go to Luau Makaiwa. It was really cool to be able to see the dancers up close and personal, and then to be able to mingle with the cast after the luau. The fire dancing was also better here. This would probably also be my vote if you have small kids as they had a lot of interactive things kids could participate in. 

Have you been to a luau? What was the most important aspect for you?? 
ps- The pictures in this post are only from Smith's Luau. I didn't take any pictures last year when we went to Luau Makaiwa. 

Poipu Beach, Kauai

Thursday, February 6

While our home base in Kauai was in Kapaa, we took a day trip down to the famous Poipu beach on the south side of the island. Poipu is almost always including on the top 10 beaches in Hawaii, so we knew we needed to visit:)

The drive from Kapaa was around 35-40 minutes, so totally feasible with small ones in the car:) Everett took his morning nap on the way there, for which we silently celebrated, ha! Small victories in parenthood, right??

Upon our arrival in Poipu, we decided to go walk around the Grand Hyatt Hotel. A friend had tipped me off that it is a pretty spectacular hotel, and she wasn't lying…it was gorgeous. Everything about it was perfect except the price tag to stay there (which is why we only walked the grounds, haha!). It is luxurious. They have the most gorgeous gardens and pools and even a faux "ocean" with sand and palm trees surrounding it. If you didn't have children, it would be a great place to stop in and get a coffee as their coffee shop overlooks the grounds and the ocean. I couldn't get over how lovely the view was!

Avonlea kept asking to get in the water, so we decided that was our cue to head to the real beach where she could get in the water! We drove just a couple minutes and parked at Poipu. It was pretty crowded, but we managed to find a spot close to the water. It really was pretty, however the crowning jewel of this beach is the reef which provides for some pretty epic snorkeling.

The kids and I played in the sand for a bit, and then Avonlea was itching to get into the water. Lately, Avie and I have loved matching mommy and me clothes, so of course I had to look for swimsuits and scooped these cute ones up on amazon..gotta love 2 day free shipping…arrived just before we left! (Also, as a side note to these suits…the adult ones run true to size but the children's size for Avie ran really small. She normally wears a 2-3T and I had to get her the 5T, just FYI!)

I would absolutely recommend coming to Poipu, but I will say that it's definitely not the most kid-friendly beach. The reef starts pretty soon after you get into the water, and there's not much sand to walk around on. But that didn't stop us from scooping up the kids and swimming around with them in an area that was a little less choppy from the waves. We also got to see a seal on the sand bar at Poipu, so that was really neat.

Overall, I am so grateful we had a day in Poipu. It was a real treat!