Saturday, October 31, 2015

How to Survive Hotel Life one room with two small kids for two months...

"Mom, does this match?"

London snapped this one of Juliet having a snack.

"Do you like the baby in my tummy?"

Alright, really, I can't complain too much because even though the quarters DEFINITELY felt cramped at times, we also had all this goodness mere steps away...

But you can't spend all day every day at the here are some tips for keeping it together when you're stuck inside.

1. Be organized about it.  I have a rule that if I am staying somewhere for more than a few days, then I unpack my suitcase and put my clothes away.  We put all our clothes in the closet and dresser.  Since it was two months worth of clothes for four people, it was a tight fit, but we made it work! And it allowed me to stow away the suitcases and not worry about people tripping all over them.

2. Without a kitchen, you are going to be eating out A LOT, so I would recommend stocking up on breakfast and lunch items (and snacks too, if you are a pregnant lady or a toddler. ;)).  We had our little mini fridge stuffed to the gills and then stowed our non-perishables wherever we could.  Behind the TV or in the nightstand, etc. We also made sure to have plenty of paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware.

We kept all our plates and things in this bag.
3. Go ahead and skip the travel size toiletry items.  Bring your normal-size shampoo and whatever else you use.  This is real life, not vacation.  It also allowed me to save the hotel's complimentary toiletry items, and now I can use them for guests that come to visit us, or take them with me on a trip.  Or you can just let the hotel keep them, if you feel weird about it. 

4. Laundry is an inevitable part of life, so to make it easier on yourself, bring a collapsible laundry basket and invest in some detergent and whatever else you like to wash your laundry wish.  I also had a mesh laundry bag to help with sorting/lugging everything to the laundry room down the hall.  And don't forget the quarters!

5. If you have small children who still use bottles or sippy cups, make sure you have the means to wash them.  We brought a bottle brush and bought a small container of dish soap to keep things clean. 

6. Make sure to get out at least once a day if you can.  It was so hard to do that sometimes with two kids and no car, but even if we just went for a walk around the resort in the stroller, it made life so much better.

These stairs were one of London's favorite things about the hotel.  And one of Juliet's biggest struggles.

They had to go through this tree at least once a day.

I am so jealous of her curls.

London calls this her "house."

And, here is a quick tour of the set up we had going.

I tried to keep everyone's bathroom stuff organized in their bags.  We also bought our own liquid hand soap. Those bars get gross fast!   

Please note the large amount of stuff hiding behind the TV.

Our room would remain like this for all of two minutes (tops) after the cleaning lady came.

Closet full of clothes/ bags/my shoes.  We kept the diapers and wipes up out of reach because our girls love to play with them.
All our clothes were in that dresser.  Shoes are under the desk, paper and books on top of the desk.  The chair full of stuff has all the girls books and toys concealed under that blanket.  Normally they were strewn threw the room.  But I spared you that chaos.
We kept our gargantuan stroller and all the beach gear out on our balcony, out of the way.

Rainbow view from our room.
The best view from our room.

Especially at this time of day.

Hopefully that wasn't too terribly boring for you! I'm so glad that we are out of the hotel and in our very own home.  We moved in two weeks ago and finally finished all the unpacking.  Still getting settled and organized, but there are no more boxes in my house, so that's a step in the right direction! 

When we were still in the hotel Dan turned to me one night and said, "You know, I'm going to miss this place, it's starting to feel like home."  I don't know that I share those sentiments exactly, but I do really miss having someone coming in and cleaning for me every day!! ;)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Playing the Tourist

Honestly, I can't really say that we're "playing" tourists, since we're basically still tourists ourselves.  But here are some of our favorite things we've gone to see and do while we've been staying in Waikiki.

The US Army Museum is located right here on Fort DeRussy, so the girls and I have stopped in a couple times while we're out on walks.  It's not very big; it's housed in an old battery (Battery Randolph), but it's free and air conditioned, and the girls love pointing out different things in the exhibits.  Here are some of London's favorite things:

London loooved the "red feather face" was a symbol of the Hawaiian War God.

Can't miss the helicopter on the roof!


We've also enjoyed visiting a few different beaches.  One of our favorites has been Lanikai Beach, located on the windward side of the island.  It's been rated as one of the top beaches in the world, and it did not disappoint.  Unfortunately, London decided to be in one of the worst moods of her life on our trip down there, so despite the perfection of the beach, we weren't able to stay long.  No biggie, we'll just go back another time. ;)

On our way over, we stopped at a lookout point.

We also went to Bellows Beach, which was nice, but the day we went was windy and the waves were CRRRRAAAAZZZZYYYY, so we couldn't really take our little girls in.  But they still had fun playing in the sand.

 One of my personal favorite things is stopping at Pali Lookout.  The views are pretty fantastic.  Fun story, when I took the girls up here one afternoon, there was another family that had brought their own conch shell and they were all taking turns blowing it.  After everyone in the family had a turn, the father looked around proudly and proclaimed, "Now we are true Hawaiians."  I had to stop myself from laughing out loud.  The day we went was cloudy and there were some pretty forceful winds up there.  The girls were not too enthusiastic about being buffeted by the winds at first, but after a few minutes they decided they loved it. I have to resist pulling off to the Pali Lookout every time we drive by it, so I'm sure we'll be back.

Another favorite was the Honolulu Zoo!  It's not very big, and part of it was closed when we went, but it is super affordable (military discount, holla!).  You do have to pay for parking; it's right across the street from Waikiki Beach, so that's not too surprising.  The girls had a lot of fun running around and finding all their favorite animals.  It was an awesome way to kill a few hours (and burn off some excess energy).

Do your children insist on taking a picture with every statue they see?  Because mine do. ;)
We are in love with Banyan trees!
 No tourist experience is complete without food! Since we don't currently have a kitchen, we have been eating out basically every meal (we do have cereal, snacks, and sandwich supplies.)  We have sampled many of Waikiki's restaurants...but since we have two small children, it's mostly been fast food and take out.  However, two of my favorite places we have tried are local.  The Wailana Coffeehouse and Steak Shack.  If you find yourself in the area, I cannot recommend them enough! 

Macadamia Nut Pancakes with Coconut Syrup.  I have literally dreamed about these since eating them.

We have this for lunch or dinner at least once a week.  SO. GOOD.

Finally, our most recent adventure was to hike to the top of Diamond Head.  Although I wasn't sure if we would finish it (I thought either the girls or I would poop out before we got too far), our whole family finished the round trip in just over two hours.  We took lots of breaks for snacks and water, or just to catch our breath.  Diamond Head isn't a very long hike, and one of the easier ones on the island.  It begins in the crater and climbs up the interior slope until you reach the summit.  It is very steep--mostly switchbacks, and the very end of the hike is a seemingly never-ending series stairs.  I thought I might go into labor towards the end, but thankfully that didn't happen.  Maybe I will try again closer to my due date! ;)  London was honestly inspirational.  She was so excited to reach the top, and except at the very beginning and the very end, she did the whole thing herself.  She already wants to "climb another mountain."  I'm so glad she enjoys the outdoors. Now we just have to get Juliet on board. She was not the biggest fan of this activity and rode Daddy's shoulders to the top...and all the way back down.


The Stairs of Death

Looking out through an old bunker.

Made it to the top!

Back in the crater.
And that's all I got folks.  Moving into our house on FRIDAY!!!  Woot woot!!  Next blog will be typed from the comfort of my own home.  Hallelujah!