Shawn and I met at Southwestern College more than 18 years ago, while running on the college cross country team. We got married between our junior and senior years, on August 8, 1998. I can hardly believe that 15 years will have gone by this August.
Since then, we graduated a semester early, moved to Missouri for more schooling, I was hired as a middle school language arts teacher, got a dog, bought our first house, had Kolsen, both graduated with Masters degrees from Missouri, moved to Wisconsin for Shawn's first job, had our three girls (Karolyn, Kaylee and Kassidy), started homeschooling, and finally moved to Minnesota where we are both involved in our dream jobs, Shawn as a wildlife biologist and I'm a homeschooling mom.
While I was teaching language arts in Missouri, Shawn was working on a wildlife masters degree and travelled to Hawaii for a two week "field trip." Ever since then, Shawn has wanted to go back to Kauai. We've been saving a little bit of money each month and adding it to our Hawaii account for years. Adding that to the award money Shawn gets from work for all his hard work and some tax refund money allowed us to save up enough to go this year. YEAH!
In 15 years of marriage we have done LOTS of traveling and vacations to fun locations, but this is only the third time Shawn and I have been on vacation without the kids. Usually most of our vacation money goes towards gas money to go to Kansas to visit our families. After this trip, I would still say that I love travelling and vacationing with our whole family best, even though Shawn and I really enjoyed this time alone.
After making sure Nana Kristi and Papa Tom could babysit for us, we scheduled our 9 night vacation! We left Nana and Papa with a list of school things to accomplish and a list of fun activities the kids wanted to do. We are so THANKFUL to have wonderful parents we are willing to watch all four of our kids for more than a week! I'm sure we'll be hitting up Shawn's parents for a future trip.
I would like to preface all the following pictures saying that I'm getting older and most of these were taken after hiking and snorkeling so my hair looks extra lovely.
When we arrived we checked into our hotel and then went down to the beach to check out the sand.
I can't believe how beautiful the water was, turquoise is now my favorite color.
The lobby of our hotel.
There are lots of waterfalls on the island and Shawn wanted to see all of them! There were a few that you can view right from the road which was nice.
Some crazy people were walking right to the edge and looking over this waterfall.
Of course Shawn brought his binoculars with him and this was a familiar sight while wondering along the hiking trails. He did share them with me so I could watch whales along the coast.
We hiked quite a few mountainous trails on our trip and the views were spectacular.
Another beautiful waterfall.
At the top of another trail overlooking Mt. Wai'ale'ale, one of the rainiest spots on earth. They average 400-600 inches of rain each year.
We saw lots of whales spouting in the water from this point and even saw six whales breach (jump from the water) in one group.
Shawn loved looking at all the nesting red-footed boobies on the hillside.
The best snorkeling was at the Poipou beach and it was also the busiest beach. We saw tons of fish, eel, an octopus and a giant green sea turtle while we were snorkeling.
Shawn's list of must do things included a dinner boat cruise to see the Nepali Coast. When the guide said the trip was going to be extra exciting because of the weather we knew it was going to be a wild ride. We saw whales all over and one breached a few hundred yards from the boat. The Nepali Coast was some of the most beautiful scenery that God has ever created! Shawn enjoyed the dinner and I managed to eat the celery and one roll. The waves on our way back were higher that our boat and it was pretty rough going. Hopefully the next time we go it won't be quite so exciting.
The Nepali Coast from the boat. WOW!
I'm standing in the cave at Tunnels Beach.
It's hard to see, but behind the cars on the left side of the photo is the cave I was standing in, under a large amount of rock!