Escape to Kauai

**I wanted to write this yesterday, but my oldest wasn’t feeling well. He had a low grade fever and complained of a headache and tummy ache, but mostly he was his usual overly inquisitive self. He did let me take a nap at one point and helped me clean. I will give him props for that.**

What happens when one of your besties wants to island hop for a day? You start the encroachment process and tag-a-long, convince others to do the same and you are rewarded with a Four Deep Mommy’s Day Off on Kauai!!


As per our usual adventures, centered mostly around running, there was little sleep the night before and an early 4:30am departure to the airport.

There were several failed attempts at getting a day to ourselves on our home island, yet somehow, the four of us managed to escape our lives as Stay At Home Moms and spend the day in my favorite of all the Hawaiian islands, Kauai. Oh Kauai. Why can’t I stay there forever?!

Let’s meet the getaway gang:

Payge bridge

Payge “Where’s my bacon?” Brandt – Mother of two girls, full time student and SAHM Airforce Spouse. I’m hoping to snag one of these girls in an arranged marriage to my boys. Great genetics, fabulous in-laws, what could be better? In her “spare time” she’s also a photographer. Many of these photos are to her credit.

Silly SandraSandra “If you only knew” Riggs – Behind Sandra’s All American exterior, she’s got a past you would never expect. She’s a SAHM to two small boys (smallest of the bunch), full time student, and prior Navy enlistee gone Navy spouse. The ringleader of our vacation! Thank you Sandra for letting us share your day.

Selfie with ground crewKate “We’re almost there” Laing – Our fearless leader for the past two years of Stroller Warriors will be the first of the four to leave the island. SAHM to two school aged boys, also a prior Navy enlistee gone Navy spouse. Known for her fear of heights, she served as ground crew for our Zipline adventure.

Eyes of fear

Do you see the fear in my eyes? And the laughter in Payge’s?

Toni “prone to giggle fits“ McNulty. Me! SAHM of two young boys and Architect turned Army spouse with official retirement orders in hand. Leaving the island in 3 short months, employment out of the house is still debatable and conquering my fear of heights on this adventure. My official saying for the day, “And I wonder where Brendon gets it?”


Two of Four bridges. We had a discussion about falling. Do you think those Norfolk Pine would save us/break our fall? They can’t even hold ornaments of any weight at Christmas time. The plan was to “Relax!!”, go limp and grab our cotton ball of Peace and Calming. Thankfully, it just provided mental comfort. No application needed.

As you might have noticed from the photos, Sandra’s original plan was to Zipline. Payge jumped right on it. While very tentative, I signed up as well. I knew I’d regret not doing it. It wasn’t even the zipping part that frightened me most, it was the height of the platforms and the swaying partial view bridges we had to climb (80+ feet) in the air. Heavy on the self talk and sass to the guides and poor Tammy, I made it through.

in the zip van

With this particular company, you meet at the storefront in town and they drive you in a van to the zip lines. What you can’t tell from this photo is the smell in that van. It smelled of Fear. Or was it Farts? No, it was definitely Farts of Fear.

Almost done

This couple was with us for the morning. Poor Tammy, she was such a trooper. Hated it until the end, but hey she did it. She must love that (bleep) as she said after 27 years of marriage. “Get it together, Tammy!” This photo was taken at the last line. Look how relaxed I am!

High above the chimeny tops

We’re at Rockstar status with my boys. They can’t believe we went zip lining like the Wild Kratts! Brendon wants to do this for his 9th birthday (the age requirement), but he’ll also have to be 70lbs. We’ll see…

the last lineAt operation zippy, they have a permission to push policy. If you ask, they will push. I did and they followed through, a couple times. A real rush, I can definitely see zip lining again in my future.


The guide that sent us zipping each time, let us know he would need to tighten the straps at our thighs every couple runs. Stating “It’s only weird if you make it weird”. We all currently have kids under three feet tall with non existent boundaries. The touching our thighs didn’t even register.

treetopsAnd if you would like to see us in action, Payge put together a video from her Go Pro combined with the Just Live! Go Pro footage, set to one of my favorite songs. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.

Post zip, we headed to another must do for this trip: Rum Tasting at Koloa Rum Factory. The three veteran visitors in our group were unable to do the tasting previously, since they don’t allow children in the room. Game on for these unfettered Moms!

Rum is the McNulty drink base of choice. While the dark rum was neither bad nor my favorite and the spiced version pretty tasty, the real star of the show was the coconut rum. Mix it with the Rum punch they make. WINNER!!! We may or may not be drinking this at the next Warriors Night Out.

The tastes

She sets them up. We put them down.

Rum girls

We only received one recommendation for lunch places before we set out: Gaylords (right next to above mentioned Rum place). Perfect. So we thought. Despite the food not being overpriced, I could NOT recommend Gaylords in the least. The food was fine, nothing special. The drinks were watery and the waitress, despite the upscale feel of the place, was rude and snappy. I almost can’t believe we wasted our time with a wardrobe change for the place.

Bottoms up

Duke’s near the Marriott, where we had yet ANOTHER meal, on the other hand provided a friendly wait staff, tasty lava flows, good food, a happy hour and live music. I was feeling like the Very Hungry Caterpillar at this point, after all I had ingested (off my usual diet) during the day.

We’d planned to snorkel on our trip, but the weather was not cooperative. Instead we frolicked in the ocean like college girls on Spring Break.

water girls2

I love how you can see the rainbow forming behind us.

Water Girls

Fear of waves? Or is that a shark back there?? One of my favorite photos of the day (right).


Last group shot on Kauai.

As all good things must end, so did our day on Kauai. Directly following our rental car return, Sandra pipes up: “Oh good. Time for a cigarette.” She doesn’t smoke. Now. See what I mean?!


I’m going to miss this island life and these ladies so much.

P.S. But you know, a day of relaxation is not complete for me without one of my laughing fits. I didn’t even see it coming. The boarding time for our return flight had come and gone, no plane in sight. The prospective passengers were getting anxious. Dreading having to sit near us me possibly. Somehow we started talking about mustaches. I was so introspective on our ziplining, I didn’t even notice one of our guides had a mustache. (If you watch the video you WILL see it) I could try and explain, but you know, it never sounds funny…Also, is silver ombre really a new hair trend?

P.P.S. As I was retelling the story to Vance, what does he say? “And you wonder where Brendon gets it.” Not really. Anymore.

**I do apologize if you read the unedited version of this post. I didn’t realize it accidentally posted yesterday before I had a chance to edit it and add the photos.**

Morning of Firsts

Around Brendon’s fifth birthday he learned how to swim. We then spent this past year trying to teach/talk him into snorkeling. We got him a new kid snorkel, practiced in the bath and at the pool, but no. He just wouldn’t agree to snorkeling in the ocean. Much less actually wearing the snorkel for more than 5 minutes.

checking the weather

John checking for weather perfection.

This morning, despite the usual heavy opposition from the boys, we took to the beach. We haven’t been lately because it’s been cold here, low 70s in the morning Brrrr, and they need perfection for a day to be beach worthy. Hawaii problems. There were many complaints about the itchy sand, the sunscreen, needing to use the bathroom. They are a challenge. But, something magical happened.

Brendon decided to snorkel. Not sure what prompted the decision, other than Vance was currently snorkeling and Brendon wanted to swim to him. He did it. Ended up asking Vance if he could just tag along behind him, so he’d know he was safe. He loved seeing all the amazing fish and even saw the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. They learn about this fish in school as many still believe it is the state fish. It is not; see this link for clarification (and a pronunciation guide).


After I went out to check out the fish and noted a turtle swimming, Vance had to chase down Brendon who practically dove into the water to snorkel next to the turtle. He’s hooked and it’s about time!

B with dad

Vance and Brendon with the lagoon to themselves.

B swimming in

John was so captivated by Brendon’s new found interest in snorkeling, he gave it a shot. It was short-lived and I don’t see many snorkeling days in his near future. That’s okay. He’s only three and besides that he surprised us with a first this morning too. Sang the ABC’s from A to “will you sing with me”, several times on the walk to the car. Music to my ears.

John snorkel

John giving it a try.


Every good beach day is finished by pizza. Boston’s baby!! This is where Brendon informed us he wants to play the tuba, the trumpet and the trombone when he is older. Interesting.

As a side note, I told John he could be a chef when he grows up. His response: “NO! I’m going to be a superhero!!” Seinfeld was right.