For the first time ever, this year J.O and I did not make the venture home to Minnesota for the holidays. It was a very hard decision that we had to make early on (with living in Hawaii, we obviously couldn’t just hop in the car and drive back at the last minuet), and although we did miss our families greatly on the actual holidays, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy all of our quality time together on the islands.
We were able to explore new areas, spend time with new friends, create hopefully some new traditions and yet we still kept to some old ones as well. One night we went Christmas caroling with a wonderful group of people along a beach front residential street on the North Shore. There were roughly 30 of us, with ages ranging from 18 months to 55 years. People were dressed up, beers were shared, and yes, we actually sang from door to door; sining “We wish you a Merry Christmas” in between each house. It was awesome. Even J.O (who honestly admitted to me later that he was not thrilled on the initial idea, said that if possible we should find a group to do this with every year).
For Christmas Eve and Day, we were able to keep some old traditions alive. I made J.Os grandmother’s salmon log and our Chubby Sweet Bread for Christmas morning. We were even able to keep the feeling of being with family back in Minnesota alive through FaceTime. Christmas Eve, we “attended” J.Os family gathering and Christmas morning we were able to sit in our usual spot at the parents home, watching and participating in the gift opening. We honestly felt like we were right there with them. We also kept our simple traditions of exchanging an ornament and card with each other.
Another new thing we did for Christmas this year (and I hope it becomes a tradition) is something I saw on good ‘ol Pinterest. (If you have not discovered this website, you need to go and take a gander now). On Christmas Eve, I had J.O open a bag that I had prepared over the past few weeks. Items included: a new pair of Christmas pajamas for us both, a Christmas DVD, hot cocoa mix, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, cheesy popcorn, and other movie watching snacks. We were able to watch the movie and lounge in our new p.js while sipping on our adult hot cocoa! It was fun
The week before New Years we spent time lounging on our beach, taking in the sun when it would come out (it unfortunately rained a bit), meeting up with friends from the mainland that were here on vacation as well as our extended line ohana (family) that also stayed on the islands for the break.
J.O also bought us tickets for Christmas to go and see the broadway production Wicked. We had a great date night for that! We ate near the theater at a small pub called Real. It was a great meal of multiple small plates. We dined on duck corn dogs and candied bacon (hey, it’s vacation….bring on the grease!). They also had live jazz music which would have been fun to stay for, but we had a show to attend! Which, was also wonderful. Great talent all around and it was fun to go the theater with my love again.
A trip to Sea Life Park happened one Friday with some of our line ohana. If you like sea animals (like I do) then I recommend going to this! It’s like a really small Sea World. They have a ton of dolphin shows, we can feed the seals, have a hands on experience with star fish and even swim with the dolphins if you choose (obviously this costs extra). It was a fun place to spend the day and hang out with the animals.
For New Years Eve we started off our day with a hike. J.O had still not hiked Koko Head and since it seemed to be on his bucket list for the year, we tackled it. The later part of our New Years Eve was even more memorable. A good friend had sent me a link of and image that showed a couple sitting at a table made completely out of sand. It looked quite doable, so with another couple (J & M) we made a plan. We took to the near by beach late that afternoon three shovels, a grill, a table cloth, napkins, candles, flowers, plates, silverware, steaks, veggies, my freshly made french silk pie, pillows, a blanket, a cooler of beer and champagne and of course the long dog and got to work. Luckily, the sand here is so wet, that the form came together quickly. The entire table was created and set with in 45 minuets. We grilled, ate, laughed and enjoyed the stars at the beach together. Luckily, we were able to pack everything up and make it back to our condo before a major rain front moved in! It was very memorable way to ring in the new year.
J.O and I the next day relaxed (as most do on New Years Day) and went and saw the new Les Miserables at the movie theater. We are both kind of obsessed with the musical, so we really enjoyed it.
We then got a bug up our butts to leave, so we hopped a plane with J & M over to the Big Island for the night. We stayed at the Kona Beach Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Kona and would highly recommend it (especially if your local, because the discount is great). We had a great night living it up with our friends and showing them around our “home away from home”. J.O and I were very happy to get back to Kona, as we have so many memories there. My family has been vacationing there yearly since 1997 and it’s also where J.O proposed to me in 2007. You can read more about our favorite places to go on the Big Island, here. We drove to the very active volcano on Saturday and caught the 7pm flight back to Oahu, bringing us home by 8:30.
J.O went back to work on Monday and I am getting back into my daily routine. Let me just say, that my decision to not work out the last week, was not a wise one and my body is yelling at me now! All in all, we had a wonderful, relaxing time together over the long break (which is usually filled with so much hustle and bustle, we end up needing a vacation from our vacation!). The next few months will be just as exciting with so many friends and family coming to visit!