Labor Day Weekend – Monday

The Hunters left early Monday morning, leaving the house to us. It was lonely and quiet without them there.

house

While John and G lazed in the living room watching a movie, I took advantage of the cool weather and took a nice long walk outdoors.

walk
I did some laundry when I got back to the house…because who doesn’t like coming home with suitcases full of clean clothes? After tidying up the house and eating breakfast, we were ready for an Uber to take us to the airport.

uber
Our airport experience was painless – we breezed through security, enjoyed some down time in the United Club, and boarded and departed the airport without delay.

As luck should have it, George and I slept the majority of the flight home.

napWe were fortunate to spend some family time in San Diego over the Labor Day weekend, and I am so thankful for this crew.

us

After many hectic work and life weeks, it was nice to spend an entire weekend enjoying casual family time.

Labor Day Weekend – Sunday

Everyone slept well on Saturday night, but was up early on Sunday.  Nelda and I made a run to the local grocer store for a few items, and picked up doughnuts for everyone while we were out.

Donuts

We purposely planned for a lazy Sunday, which included spending time on the beach on Coronado Island.

beach

We rented two bed cabanas with umbrellas, and four beach chairs with umbrellas.  For us, this was the perfect set up.

beach setup
It was cooler than we would have liked, but that didn’t stop the kids from getting into, and playing near, the water.

kids
As luck would have it, our sweet local friends were able to meet us at the beach for playtime and lunch.

landon
We took advantage of the beach service and ordered lunch for everyone from our day beds.  I also took advantage of Sunday Funday and had this fabulous drink.

drink-1
After a few more hours of beach time, we were all sunned out.

beach2

We changed into less sandy clothes, and hit the ice cream shoppe for one last bite of summer.

IC

We had a pretty casual evening at home — leftovers for dinner, packing, and playing.  Fortunately, our beach bum kids were sleepy and were sound asleep at an early hour.

Labor Day Weekend – Saturday

Overnight, there were fewer musical bed exchanges and more sleeping hours for everyone. Amen!

Once everyone was up and ready to go, we drove over to Little Italy to visit the infamous Saturday Farmer’s Market for breakfast.

FM
There were 150 vendors to peruse, and it was almost overwhelming.

flower

There were a lot of classic Market offerings, including fresh produce, flowers, and local protein vendors. There were also less traditional vendors and a few food trucks. I picked up some lavender items and a few fresh spices to bring home.

berries-1
For breakfast, John had a breakfast burrito from a food truck, George and I had pastries from a bakery tent, along with fresh fruit. The kids also fresh fruit juice courtesy of a fruit vendor.  I also picked up a few fresh pretzels that were too good for words. Truly.

pretzel

After our bellies were full, we made the short drive to the Zoo.

g sign

Since all of us had been to the Zoo before, we had a very relaxed visit.

zoo hippo

Essentially, we visited half of the Zoo, then broke for lunch. After lunch, the kids were fading, so we went back to the house for a hand while. The Hunter kids and I slept and George and everyone else rested.

Once everyone was up, we went back to the Zoo for round two.

Arnold Zoo

We did a lot more exploring before driving to Little Italy for dinner.

G koala

We eyed Napizza while were in Little Italy earlier that day, and it made for a great al fresco dinner location and end to our evening.

Napizza

Labor Day Weekend – Friday

I’m not sure if it was because all of the of kids (except Emma) were sleeping in the same room, or if it was due to the fact that they were in an unfamiliar environment, but every child in our house played musical beds all night long. G wound up in our bed, then I woke up with him in his bed. Blerg. Even still, I was able to get a good night of sleep.

sunrise

We had breakfast in the house before getting ready for the day. Before long, we were on our way to LEGOLAND. George had been asking to go for a year, so he was very excited to finally be on his way.

We arrived right when the park opened and it was pretty empty (which was a dream come true).

sign
We made our way to our first ride – the Safari Trek.

trek

We had fun and immediately made our way to the next ride – the Coaster Saurus. This was a more traditional roller coaster and I’m not sure who had more fun – the kids or the adults.

Afterwards, we went to Skipper School, then boarded the Captain Cranky ride. Both were great experiences for the kids. The next stop was a Lego playground, then a whirl on the
Copter ride.

All of this activity made us hungry, so we decided to eat some lunch. I had a great Caprese sandwich with farm-fresh tomatoes that were super delicious. Who knew park food could be so good?

my lunch

The kid’s meals offered at the park were surprisingly filling and tasty. George had ham and cheese roll ups with crackers, fruit, gummy treats, and an Honest juice.

g lunch
After lunch, we went on our favorite ride – the Deep Sea Adventure.

sub
We also had fun seeing all of the Lego installations around the Park.

spider

We also made a point to try the park’s infamous apple fries.

applefries

They. Were. So. Good.

After some time playing in one of the Lego play areas, we made a stop at the Park’s Big Shop. We picked up some new Legos for George and even managed to pick up a Halloween costume for him. We also had an opportunity to meet “Benny” from the Lego movie.

Benny
Because our tickets included entrance into the Sea Life Aquarium, we made a quick pass through the exhibit. George loves sea-life, so he really enjoyed the experience. Once of his favorite parts of the visit was touching a Starfish.

starfish
We left the Park late in the afternoon and George snoozed in the car (while clutching his loot).

nap
We stopped at Ralph’s (grocery store) where I picked up some groceries for the house. Once we made it back to the house it was Lego assembly time.

lego build

Zach and John built the kid’s Legos and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

lego
Later, Nelda and I walked to the Point Loma Fish Shop and picked up dinner. Everyone enjoyed seafood and fried deliciousness back at the house. Thanks to the time change and day’s activities, it was an early bedtime for everyone.

Labor Day Weekend – Thursday

We were very fortunate to spend Labor Day weekend in San Diego, California, with the Hunters.

On Thursday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, John, George, and I flew to San Diego from Houston. We spent some time in the United Club before our afternoon flight and George made himself at home while John and I handled a few work calls.

club

George helped himself to the cookies.

g chair

We spent a little time at the gate before we departed and John and George spent that time watching planes.

planes

When we boarded, George was invited to sit in the cockpit, and for once, he accepted.

cockpit

George is very interested in aviation, so he spent a few minutes asking the pilots lots and lots of questions. They seemed amused.

Our journey to San Diego was easy and flight that left on time and without issue.

With G on the plane

We were served a late lunch on the plane and despite the looks of my food, the salad and jambalaya entrée were quite good.

m lunch
John and I had the same meal and George had a combination of a kid’s food box, fresh fruit, and a Lunchables that we picked up at the airport.

G lunch

George only gets a Lunchables when we are flying somewhere, so this is definitely a special treat for him.

Once we landed, we picked up a rental car (and car seat) and made the short drive over to the house that we rented with the Hunters. It was such a happy reunion when we arrived and saw the Hunter family.

kids outside

The house was more than we had hoped for, and we enjoyed time to unpack and get settled for the weekend. Afterwards, we kept it low-key (the theme of the weekend!), and had a very casual dinner at the house.

dinner

After dinner the kids ran around like maniacs.  Let’s just say that we were happy when they all went to bed.  Thanks to the two-hour time change, I was glad to get to bed too.

Four Seasons Hualalai – Hotel Review

During our summer vacation to the Big Island last month, we stayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai.

FS

The Four Seasons Hualalai is a luxury hotel with 294 guest rooms and suites. This hotel is widely regarded as one of the “best” hotels located on the Big Island and from our experience it lived up to the hype. This was our first visit to the hotel, and I hope it won’t be the last.

grounds

Location – The hotel is centrally located about 20-25 minutes  from the airport (KONA). The hotel is located on the beachfront of the Kona-Kohala Coast – where the sunset views are fabulous.

beach

Customer Service – The service at the hotel is beyond exceptional. This hotel offers high-end hospitality – more than you can imagine, and more than we could take advantage of during our stay.  The hotel gets high-marks from us for communicating with us before our arrival and throughout our stay.  The hotel is incredibly family friendly and went above and beyond to make sure that George felt welcome.  The hotel offers little things that make life easier – beach toys, sunscreen stations, complimentary laundry centers, and beach bags to use during your stay. To boot, every restaurant on property has a kid’s menu for every meal service, and children under 5 years of age eat for free.

cos

Accommodations – We stayed in an Ocean View Prime room at the hotel.

room

Our large room had a very comfortable king bed, an oversized sleeper couch,  a desk and chairs, bar area, and a large lanai. The over-sized master bathroom had an over-sized shower, a generous bathtub, water closet, and double vanities. There was also ample closet space for our luggage and carry-on bags.  As the room-type name suggests, we also had gorgeous ocean views from the room.

view

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we used during our stay. The hotel features many lounging areas, shops for souvenirs and high-end luxury items, both casual and high-end restaurants, multiple pools, multiple bars, a fitness center, a spa, and lots, lots more. The hotel also has a really gorgeous courtyard and lobby.

lobby

Member Recognition – There is no loyalty program to speak of, but repeat guests are remembered.

Again, while this was our first visit to the hotel, we hope it won’t be the last. Additionally, we would highly recommend this hotel to others.

St. Regis Princeville – Hotel Review (Updated)

While in Kauai, John, George and I were guests at The St Regis Princeville. We visited this property in 2013 on our baby-moon, and we were thrilled to be back to enjoy the property as a family of 3.

lobby

Location – The hotel is about 30 miles from the LIH airport — depending on the traffic, the commute can be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The hotel is located in Princeville and is situated in a little community with condos, house rentals and a few hotels (including the Westin Princeville Villas). The hotel is 2 miles from a small collection of shops and restaurants.

hotel view

Customer Service – Sadly, the service at the hotel is still hit or miss. While some staff consistently asked how they could help or if they could be of assistance, others couldn’t be bothered to perform their jobs. Fortunately, the bad customer service was limited to a few members of the beach and breakfast server staff. In advance of our trip, I was contacted by concierge staff and they helped us to plan meals and activities. This service was very helpful and most appreciated. Concierge also helped us on site and we found them to be extremely gracious and informative.

wildlife 3

Accommodations – We stayed three nights at the hotel and were able to redeem Starpoints for our entire stay. We stayed in a premium room and it was perfect for us.  George slept on the pull-out bed and was as happy as a clam.

Amenities – The hotel offers far more amenities than we could use during our stay. In addition to two restaurants, a coffee shop and a large bar, the hotel offers many lounging areas and rooms. The hotel also has two fitness centers, a spa and many in-hotel shops for souvenirs, food/drink, books, jewelry, art and the like. The hotel also hosts a weekly luau and local bands/hula dancers in the bar as forms of guest entertainment. The hotel also has a very nice pool, whirlpool and premier seating on the beach. A beach/water activities desk also schedules and hosts a variety of activities. This hotel is very family friendly.

hotel Collage

Member Recognition – As a Platinum Starwood member, we were mostly treated like VIPs. During our stay, we were treated to complimentary continental breakfasts. Our choices were very extensive and made for a comprehensive and filling breakfast. Considering the cost of things in Kauai, it was great to have one of the day’s meals taken care of by someone else! Additionally, hotel staff kept our room well-stocked with complimentary water that we kept in the fridge in our room. We were also given free wireless internet, beautiful leis upon arrival and offered a 4PM late check-out.

beach

We are very likely to return to the St. Regis Princeville, most likely on another family vacation. Despite some of the customer service shortcoming, we would happily recommend this property to friends and family.