Hawaii Life

Hawaiian Summer

After three months here, I am happy to report that we are loving life and the (almost) daily adventures Oahu provides.


We’ve survived a tropical storm, a centipede in our bed, hiking with toddlers, and countless trips to the beach.

Not what you want to find in your bed at 2am.
Not what you want to find in your bed at 2am.

Though chores still need completing and toddler butts still need wiping, daily life here is vastly more exciting than our lives on the mainland. Some of it has to do with attitude – we try not to waste weekends being lazy, and actively seek out things to do rather than just settling for a walk in the neighborhood – but mostly, we have Hawaii’s lush landscape and fabulous climate to thank.

The weather here is as incredible as you’ve heard it described. Our side of the island (windward side) gets both rain and sunshine every day, and temperatures are in the mid 80s this time of year with an almost constant cool breeze. Winter won’t be much different, as temperature only varies by about 6-10 degrees from summer to winter.

Daily Life

Morning starts at 6am as the roosters literally crow outside our window, and Brett gets up for work. Because of the time difference between here and Boston (where his company’s main office is located), Brett’s morning starts early in order to maximize time zone overlap. Though this may sound inconvenient for Help Scout, Brett’s only one of many employees who work remotely and his company has been happy to accommodate his new schedule. And with such an early start time, there is also the a huge perk — Brett gets off work by 3:30 almost every day.

I get up with the kids at around 6:30, and get everyone fed and ready for the day. Brett originally envisioned a quiet workplace, with me spending every morning and afternoon playing with the kids at the beach. Realistically, we spend most mornings at home. I do chores, work with Carter and Pierce on preschool skills, and take a daily trip to our neighborhood pool or playground. After lunch, the kids nap, I try to prep for dinner, and we all wait for Brett to finish work between 3 and 4.

Our lovely neighborhood pool.
Our neighborhood pool offers a stunning view of the Koolau Mountains.


Neighborhood playground.
Neighborhood playground.


Most evenings, we do one of the following options:

Walk on the beach, usually Lanikai or Kailua (pictured)Kailua Beach


Have a “beach sit,” as Carter calls it, where the adults sit in beach chairs and the kids play in the sand
Kailua beach, Oahu


Complete a short hike (Lanikai Pillbox and Makapuu are two of our favorite easy hikes)

Lanikai pillbox hike
Lanikai pillbox hike
Makapu'u trail
Brett posing alongside Makapu’u’s paved trail

Explore Makpu’u Beach’s tide pools while Brett bodyboards
Makapu'u beach tide pools, Oahu


Or we complete shopping chores, like running to Costco or Target.

As fun as our evenings tend to be, weekends are what make life truly incredible here. Friday nights, after the kids are in bed, we usually plan out the weekend.


Weekend activities:

Wading or kayaking out to Chinaman’s Hat (Mokoliʻi) – my personal favorite

Chinaman’s Hat is an uninhabited island in Kaneohe Bay, which is about a 15 minute drive from our house. During low tide, you can walk/wade a third of a mile through the ocean to reach the island. The kids and I sit in a big inner tube, and Brett graciously pulls us through the water. My brother Kevin (who is living with us, in case you didn’t know) pulls a tube that holds our supplies for the day. When the tide is high, we load up our 3 person kayak and paddle to the island. I hold the boys in the middle, and Brett and Kevin provide manpower.

Chinaman's Hat, Oahu, Hawaii
View from Chinaman Hat’s shore – the stretch of ocean in this photo is shallow, which allows us to wade to shore.

Once on the island, there are tide pools filled with fish and crabs, gorgeous views of the Koolau Mountains across the bay, a small beach, and rocks to climb. You can also hike/climb to the top of the island. We always pack a lunch and stay until we have to head home for naptime.

Chinaman's hat tide pools
Tide pools here are filled with hermit crabs, snails, and small fish.


Chinaman's hat tide pools and rocks
Rocks by tide pools


Chinaman's Hat's hidden beach
Heading to the small beach on the island.


View of the beach from a high cliff.
View of the beach and tide pools from a high cliff. The area to the immediate right of the beach is the tide pool area, and to the right of that are the big rocks I am sitting on (two photos up).


Climbing down to Chinaman's Hat hidden beach
Climbing on rocks above the beach


Chinaman's Hat tide pools
Tide pool view from the opposite side. This is Pierce and Kevin’s favorite spot to explore.


Chinaman's hat tide pools
Kevin exploring a lower tide pool and getting hit with waves.


Chinaman's hat rocks and view


Exploring North Shore

Perhaps the biggest change that seasons bring to Hawaii happens on the North Shore. During summer, the water is calm and perfect for snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Once winter comes, it will be a prime surfing location with enormous waves.

Because it takes almost an hour to get there from our place, we try to spend the entire day on the North Shore. There are awesome food trucks, picturesque surf shops and galleries, a paved hike that ends at a waterfall, and multiple beach options.

Waimea Falls
Pierce enjoying Waimea Falls while Brett and Carter swim.

Summer’s calm water has provided us with hours of entertainment at Turtle Bay, Sharks Cove and Three Tables, where we snorkel and wade in shallow water to see fish, crabs, sea urchins, etc. Carter and I especially love going to Laniakea Beach, where large sea turtles lay in the sand to sun themselves, and there are huge lava rocks to climb. We usually end the day by going to Waimea Bay, where you can cliff jump and enjoy a sunset, or by heading to Sunset Beach (name is self explanatory).

Laniakea Beach Sea Turtles, or Honu
Sea turtles rest on Laniakea’s shores
Carter adores climbing the rocks at Laniakea.


Sunset beach
Sunset beach


Waimea Bay Sunset
Hunting for dinosaur bones at Waimea


Hanauma Bay

Though crowds of tourists are unavoidable here, this bay offers the best snorkeling on the island. The coral attracts schools of tropical fish, and offers hours of water exploration.

Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay – the water is clear, allowing you to see the coral reef below

Hanauma Bay


Much as I adore the ocean, my favorite thing to do here is hike.

Manoa Falls is a wet, sometimes muddy trail, that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It’s not too long, and so long as Carter isn’t whining about mud, he can hike most of it on his own.

Manoa Falls

Lanikai Pillbox is a dry, short hike with stunning views the entire way up.

Lanikai Pillbox hikeLanikai Pillbox hike

Lanikai Pillbox hike

Lanikai Pillbox hike, Mokulua islands
Lanikai pillbox hike provides breathtaking views of the Mokulua Islands


Diamond Head is well known, not super difficult, but packed with tourists. It rewards hikers with a gorgeous view of downtown Honolulu and the coastline.

Diamond Head, Honolulu
Top of Diamond Head

Pu’u Ma’eli’eli is a trail we can literally walk to from our house. We only attempt this one if it hasn’t rained in awhile, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to do with kids because of steep, muddy hills. When it’s dry, it makes for a very fun hike with gorgeous views from the top.

Pu'u Ma'eli'eli pillbox hike, Kaneohe


Makapu’u is a paved trail that offers one of the best views the island has to offer.

Kevin at the top


Makapu'u point
Top of Makapu’u

In the future

There are dozens of other hikes still on our to-hike list, but Brett’s been dealing with a strained hamstring since we arrived and shorter hikes are better during his recovery.

We also plan to kayak out to a few other small islands, and out to a sandbar that’s in our area.

When funds are available, we plan on purchasing a stand up paddle board. We will spend time in calm waters learning how to not fall off of it.

In October, we will be heading to Kauai with Brett’s family for our first interisland hop. We will vacation with them there for a week.

****My next blog post will hopefully be Q and A style, with questions from friends and family. If you have any questions for us, post them and I will do my best to include an answer in my next post!***



  • I loved reading this. Makes me so happy for y’all and miss you terribly at the same time.

    • We miss you, too. I’m so excited for you to come adventure with us!

  • I love your blog. I can out myself in your adventures /life as if I were reading a really good book. You tell a great story and are living a great chapter in your lives. I am so happy for you guys. What do you miss most about living here than there?

    • Thanks, Michelle! I’ll answer your question in my next Hawaii Life blog. Hope things are going well for you and your gorgeous kiddos back in Missouri.

  • Like everyone who reads your writings I love the style. I could read for hours. Whenever you have time you might write a book. Sure you would have followers. Sounds as though you are enjoying Hawaii’s beauty. The weather there is just right. If I could ambulate better I would have already been there saying”Hello” in person. Such a interesting place to grow up in for Pierce and Carter. My question for your Q&A is: 1. What makes Hawaii so awesome to live in besides the weather and the beauty. 2. What are the daily problems such as crimes etc that Hawaii deals with. Same as here? 3. Is there any talk of refugees being accepted in that state? Is there a limit to the number of questions we can ask?

    • Thanks, Chris! There is no limit to number of questions. 🙂 I’ll do my best to answer them in my next post. Hope you’re enjoying the cooler KC temps as summer winds to an end.

  • Love reading this and seeing all of your pictures! Thanks so much for vividly sharing your journey. We were walking in the neighborhood the other evening and Kevin said, “I miss turning this corner and thinking that maybe we’ll be lucky enough to talk to Carter.” I’m sure he meant all of you We sure do miss you guys, but are so happy you are enjoying all the beauty of Hawaii with each other!

    • We miss y’all, too. Carter still talks about going over to Alex’s house and playing outside. Y’all were always great neighbors and friends. We will have to come by and visit in January while we are in KC.

  • Hey, Kim wow these photo looks beautiful and scenic. My family and I used to live in the St Kitts for 2 years. It was one of the greatest experiences ever. My 2 year old Adam was born there and raising him on the island was the best opportunity and adventure ever. The children really learn to enjoy the good outdoors and the simplicity of life. There’s nothing more calming than the sound of the ocean and the beautiful sea creatures. We hope to move back someday in the future after I finnish school. Congratulations on moving out there and following your dreams. It truly is a great experience living in paradise.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Ari. It truly is incredible raising kids in a place where nature is the main source of entertainment. What a beautiful appreciation for the outdoors kids learn here! I hope you’re able to follow your dreams and move back to the Oceanside someday.

  • I really enjoy your blog! I lived on Oahu for a very short time and have been wanting to go back ever since! Has it been easy to meet people? Have you run into any issues?

  • Hey Kimberley! It was so great to meet you and your boys today at playgroup 🙂 Glad you’re here on the island.


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