Hawaii Part 1

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Oh you guys, this really was the most fabulous vacation.  Ben had never been to Hawaii and I hadn’t been since I was 15 years old and my best friend at the time invited me to go with her family to Maui.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I have always been so grateful to her parents for giving me that incredible opportunity.

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15 year old Lacey and Ashley in Hawaii

Flash forward 15 years, and you want to know the coolest part?  That BF of mine from over a decade ago…yeah, well now she’s my neighbor–and we’re right back where we left off.  Except now we’re both moms, raising kiddos along side one another. And every now and then I get a little choked up when I think about how far we’ve come, how much we’ve grown and how lucky we are to be moms together.  But I’m getting off topic.  Because I haven’t even gotten to the cool part yet–Lacey and her family came to Hawaii with us!

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15 years later…30 year old Ashley and Lacey in Hawaii

Normally I would spare you guys all the details and just share a round up of photos from our trip, but many of you have been asking about our experience at the Disney Aulani Resort so I thought I would share just a bit more about our vacation.  Click here to read about our travel experience to Hawaii.

We arrived just before sunset on Sunday evening and after a long day of travel the kids were pretty tired so we took a quick walk around the hotel grounds and then put the kids to bed.  Because we had two families and we would be in Hawaii for over a week, we decided to stay in one of their 2 bedroom Villa rooms.  It had 2 master bedrooms (one for each family), a full kitchen, washer and dryer and a family room.  Food in Hawaii is insanely expensive.  So we ended up going to Costco, loading up on their yummy pre-made meals, and cooking a lot from our hotel room. I would highly recommend making a Costco and/or Target trip like this–saved so so so much money. Because of the washer and dryer we were also able to pack much lighter and saved $$ because we didn’t have to pay for extra baggage on the flight.

For those expecting the Disney Aulani to look like Disneyland, you’ll be disappointed.  The resort and decor are not heavily Disney themed at all. In fact, really the only “Disney” would be the characters who are always walking around the resort (Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Goofy, Chip & Dale).  We were told Donald was there too, but we didn’t see him in the 8 days we were there so it was highly suspect. So while there weren’t Disneyland-ish amusements around every corner, the grandeur and majestic beauty left no doubt that the resort was yet another Disney masterpiece.

Because of the time difference, both boys were wide awake at exactly 4am.  They are early risers as it is, but this was a new record.  And even though I would have been happy with another 3 hours of sleep, their early rise turned out to be one of the most magical moments of our vacation.


Stock Family Vacation Day One at 4am

We spent the early hours walking the grounds of the resort in our pajamas. We were literally the only guests of the hotel who were out and about. The concierge took this photo of us–look how dark it still is outside.  Then, while it was still dark, we made our way down to the beach.  It was perfectly warm out as the boys danced in the water in their little undies and we watched our first Hawaiian sunrise.  Yes, I may have shed a subtle tear or two.  It was in that moment that I realized just how much our little family needed this escape, together, with no distractions from the busy world we live in.  It was perfect. hawaii 11hawaii 10This photo is hilarious to me. I can’t look at it without laughing.  Just look how Wesley is positioned exactly like Big Foot! And yes, I believe in Big Foot.  Another story for another day. I hope we can still be friends. hawaii 9hawaii 1

Out of 8 days, 3 were rainy–not a big surprise for a February trip. But even in the rain we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves.  We rented movies, colored, played hide and go seek, swam in the rain, ate pizza and cuddled.  And then, on the other days when it wasn’t raining we spent our time at the beach and the pool.   photoThe Aulani has built a private lagoon for its guests.  This was fantastic for our family because it meant there were no waves and therefor no reason for this anxious mom to worry about her boys getting swept away by the ocean.  I was able to put floaties on them and then not stress out.  The hotel is also known for their incredible water slides, lagoon, splash pad and children’s pirate ship water play area.



On the beach days we built sand castles, kayaked through the lagoon, swam and played on these fun blow up platforms they had out in the water.  We didn’t try snorkeling though–we will next time when the kiddos can swim.  photo79-6-Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.37.00 AMHat and cover up details here. hawaii 60 hawaii 58 hawaii 56 hawaii 54hawaii 53hawaii 77 hawaii 80 hawaii 81 hawaii 51 hawaii 50hawaii 65 hawaii 63 photo 4 copyhawaii 61hawaii 13 hawaii 12

On Monday morning we did the character breakfast…and once again my Momma nerves crept in.  While my boys LOVE watching their favorite characters on television, seeing them in real life has been a bit terrifying for them.  We decided on doing the character breakfast on one of our first days in hopes of warming them up to the idea of having the characters around for the rest of the trip.  Our breakfast was scheduled for 9:30, but because our kiddos were up at the crack of dawn we were able to get in at 8:00.  This ended up being such a blessing!!! At 8:00 am there was hardly anyone there.  We had the character experience practically to ourselves–which was perfect in giving the boys an ample amount of time to warm up.  It started off a bit rocky with shouts of terror and climbing up the side of Mommy’s body…but then, after Wesley met Goofy everything took a turn for awesome! I’m almost certain that Goofy must be some sort of occupational therapist in real life because he had such a special way of getting kids to relax and not be scared.Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 1.00.27 PM This character breakfast was another one of those “magic moments” of our vacation.  hawaii 18 hawaii 17 hawaii 16 The Aulani also has Aunty’s Beach House, a kids club filled with Disney dress up clothes, arts & crafts, movies and an amazing play yard. The characters will even stop by and play with the kids.  Our kids weren’t too keen on being dropped off but we did stop by and take the dress up clothes for a spin.  hawaii 15 hawaii 14Mostly, we could be found at the beach–it was the most self-entertained my kids have ever been.hawaii 6 hawaii 5 hawaii 3 hawaii 2hawaii 75 hawaii 74

We had a few days where we rented a car and explored the island a little bit.  I’ll share our days spent around the North Shore in my next post.
Until next time Aulani, until next time.

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  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Hawai’i is the best! We took Addy Mae when she was 6 months old (last year) and cannot wait till this years trip! Now that she is walking, talking and so independent, it’ll be a whole new experience. Hawai’i seems to bring out the best in all of us – NO KA OI. We definitely want to try Aulani when Addy gets older and into Disney characters. Thanks for the personal experience/review on it 🙂 xox

  • Reply
    Andrea Worley
    February 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    looks like a great trip! how awesome spending a vacation like this with friends!!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    so fun!!!! would love the details on your hats, swimsuits, coverups – everything is perfect!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Looks like an amazing time, an your family is beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Also, where did you get your suit and hats!? All so adorable!!!

  • Reply
    Stephanie Walter
    February 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Looks like a fabulous time! Can I ask you where you get all of your hats? I love them!!


  • Reply
    Lindsay Roberts
    February 26, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Looks like a fab trip ash… You guys are all glowing! xoxo

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Such a great trip! I’m so jealous of the way you and your little boys can tan!!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I love all your pictures! Looks like you all had a wonderful time. The Aululani is on my to-do list!…not to take away from the vacation, but would you share what lense you shoot with!? 🙂 Please and thank you!!

  • Reply
    Cover Ups and Trucker Hats - Little Miss Momma Favs
    February 27, 2014 at 4:35 am

    […] lived in this crochet beach cover up on our Hawaii trip.  Soft, versatile and classic. I got it from Aerie, and you can almost always find a coupon in […]

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Aww! Looks so fun! You and your family are so cute!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Your family is beautiful and Hawaii looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014 at 6:37 am

    As always, I love the pictures of both of you and the boys. It has always been my dream to go to Hawaii but it is less likely that I will get to travel there. My first husband and I always said that we would go there on our 25th Anniversary but he passed away when we were married 20 years of colon cancer. I’ve since remarried but we are both retired so we will never get there on our income but it was always a beautiful dream. At least I am seeing it through your eyes.

    God Bless!

  • Reply
    Kelley Baker
    February 28, 2014 at 2:55 am

    I love your pictures!!! We are stationed here on Oahu but have yet gone to Aulani.. It looks sooo fun 🙂 by the way you are gorgeous!!!!!

  • Reply
    Jenna Garlock
    February 28, 2014 at 7:07 am

    i love everything about this. looks like so much fun and you look HOT! this is my dream trip too! i love love love all your photos! can’t wait to see more!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Please tell me that you noticed that in your 7th picture, your hubs and son are running exactly the same. 🙂 It’s too cute!

  • Reply
    Missy Jenn
    March 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Adorable!!!! Where did you get your sweatpants? Look so comfy!!


  • Reply
    capturing joy with kristen duke
    March 10, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Your best friend moved next door??? How amazing is that? Then vacationing together? One could only dream of such a thing…my best friend and I always said we’d live next door to each other. She’s in Kansas;(

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