Early Sunday morning we arrived home from the best and most magical vacation of my life.

We spent a glorious ten days in Hawaii, and we covered three islands.

We started on Oahu in Honolulu seeing Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

We then went to the Big Island where we stayed for six nights. I think we saw approximately 3,200 sights.

We ended at a resort in Kauai, the Garden Island for our final three nights.

I don’t really even know where to start. We got to spend time with my family there, and that was hands down the highlight of the trip.

My Aunt Lynda- she and my mama are almost exactly one year apart in age. She has been in Hawaii for 30+ years.

Aunt Cindy. She is also my mama’s sister, and she lives in a beach house near the active volcano flow. The hostest with the mostest.

And this is my Aunt Adele. She is the baby of my mama’s family. She drove us all over the island… she may have caused us to white-knuckle it from time to time.

Aren’t they the prettiest?

Let me tell ya something. They are fun too.

So much fun.

This is my cousin Pono. He is nearly 14, and he is about as charming as they come. His mama is Lynda, and his dad is my Uncle Steve.

And this is Uncle Steve.

He’s holding perhaps the best dinner I’ve ever had.

Here are all of the Hawaii ladies (including my most gorgeous and delightful cousin Liula) and me.

And here is the whole clan minus my cousin Liula.

My Aunt Del is sitting next to her main man, Tim.

On top of spending extended time with my most amazing family,we ate delectable local food, our accommodations were deliciously deluxe, and the sightseeing and daily excursions put both Brad and I on sensory overload.

We took over 800 pictures if that says anything.

And now, I’ll share all 800 with you. So, sit tight and enjoy the show.

I kid. I kid.

I know how painful sitting through other people’s vacation pictures can be, so I promise to only give the highest of the highlights.

The food.

Oh, the food.

We started our trip with poke (POH-Kay). And my life will never be the same.

Poke literally translates to chopped chunks of fish.

The way that we ate it was in the ahi tuna form. Oh my.

We could order the most gigantic plate of sushi grade ahi tuna served up poke style for $5.

We ate at fabulous local restaurants.

This is Paulo’s in Pahoa on Big Island.

But the best meals came from Uncle Steve’s kitchen.

I took copious notes and tons of pictures, and I cannot wait to share some of his recipes!

We also watched Uncle Steve savor the fish eyeball.

To quote the fine movie Clueless, “Gag me with a spoon.”

And Steve’s mini-me (my cousin Pono) having the same sentiments as me- although he gave the eyeball eating the old college try.

Then, there were the sights.

I plan on sharing my very favortist (yes, I know- not a word) sights with you in more detail, but here are the visual highlights.

Pearl Harbor. I was here once twelve years ago, but it was important to visit again. Last time I was there 9/11 had not yet occurred. After this trip, I could not get over the similarities between Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001.

Sunrise on our private cliff on Big Island.

A hike down to the ocean.

Akaka Falls.

Black sand beach.

I visited The Hobbit.

Or maybe it was Harry Potter.

Either way, this tree made me feel teeny tiny.

Brad went on a search for the smoke monster.

Rainbow falls.

A drive to the sea.

This is the exact spot where my world class surfer uncle taught Brad and I to surf.

We’re pretty  much pros.

Probably going to quit our jobs and join the circuit.

Snorkeling in Champagne Pond.

Snorkeling in the pond outside Steve and Lynda’s friends home.

Waipio Valley.

In Waipio.

On top of the clouds on Mauna Kea.

It was COLD up there!

Um… Hawaii wine tasting.

Am I kidding?

I am not.

Macadamia Nut Honey Wine… seriously, we shipped a bottle of this home. I cannot wait to eat it with blue cheese smeared on some salty crackers.

Can you believe it?

I met the karate kid.

On a tour of Uncle Steve’s game-changing charter school.

Please note my surfing bruise on my shoulder. That thing got big and black and blue.

And I felt tough.

Lighthouse on Kauai.

This is “Puff’s Tail” on Kauai. It is right outside the town of Hanalei, HI.

You know…

“Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee”

My favorite view of the trip:

My man… relaxing and completely unplugged. Our time together- talking, laughing, exploring, and experiencing- was what made this trip what it was. Beautiful and amazing.

I can’t wait to share with you some more of the details of our trip.

For now, I’m feeling the jet lag so I’m signing off.

I have missed you my blog friends.

Happy Monday!