We spent last week in Kauai doing pretty much the exact same things we did last year, except this time I insisted we visit the puka dog stand, and my GOD. Have you had one of these things? Think gooey, soft, sweet and spicy wad of greasy, sausagey heaven — only even better than that.

Vacation highlights:

The helicopter tour we took around the island. Taking off was so overwhelmingly thrilling and beautiful I got weepy when my senses went into a sort of TILT state, and the entire hourlong flight was gorgeous. My favorite part was when Riley (somewhat nervously) pointed out another helicopter that was flying nearby, and the pilot, without missing a beat, said, “Yup, too close for missiles … we’ll have to switch to guns.” I mean, come on. I could try my whole life and never say anything that cool, ever.

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riley copter

as if the view wasn't awesome enough, BAM: rainbow

Swimming with turtles. I call this a highlight only because it was so memorable but truth be told every time I found myself inches from a turtle in the water I about had a heart attack. It’s not that I was scared they were going to go rogue and flipper-slap me to death, it’s that surprise-touching a massive living underwater thing is the actual worst.

I know I'm technically invading your living room but let's just keep a two-foot personal space rule mmmkay

Boogie boarding. There’s a little beach close to where we stay that’s perfect for boogie boarding, and this year we spent a lot of time there. The kids had a lot of fun (after some initial freaking out when they got REKT BRO by an ill-timed wave) and I really enjoyed sitting on the sidelines watching the action.

later they delighted in all the sand they found in their butt cracks

I did try the board myself a few times but quickly learned that I brought either the wrong kind of swimsuit or the wrong kind of breasts for that particular activity.

Food, delicious food. Poke. Puka. Shave ice. Pineapple. Macadamia nut everything. Bubba Burgers where John accidentally asked for the “cowie burger” and the rest of us were like BAHAHAHAAAAA YOU MEAN KAUAI BURGER and we haven’t let it go since and probably never will. (John, 20 years from now: “Please pass the salt.” Me, snickering: “Sure you don’t want a COWIE BURGER?”)

that cowie joint

ice cream literally every night? yes please

this was the SMALL size

he ordered the mac and cheese, natch

Family time. Let’s be real, a week of solid family togetherness is going to have its ups and downs, but overall it was just such a great vacation. I’m super grateful for another chance to visit this beautiful island and spend time with my three favorite people.

holy crap we got so sunburnt

"ANOTHER PHOTO? UGGGGH"

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Tara
Tara
5 years ago

Amazing pics and descriptions! Can’t wait to go!

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

I’ve been reading you for a long time – your boys look so “big” in these photos! (Looks like a great trip.)

Kristi
Kristi
5 years ago

Great pictures! Nothing like a vacation to jumpstart a good mood for awhile! Looks like a great time. I would much rather go there than Disney…now to brainwash the kiddos…….muah ha ha ha!

Tina
Tina
5 years ago

I miss your writing!

Jenny
Jenny
5 years ago

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was uncomfortable snorkling with turtles. My friends couldn’t figure out why I kept swimming away whenever we’d see them underwater. I feel like I’m invading their house or something.

Fiona
Fiona
5 years ago

You all look so happy. YAY. And OMG – the boys are grown. I started reading when Riley was a baby. He’s a year younger than my son and it was totally memory lane.

Alison
Alison
5 years ago

The boys are so big! And how beautiful you are! It looks like a really lovely time. And I want shaved ice now.

Julia
Julia
5 years ago

wow your kids are SO GROWN. How did that happen???

harmony
5 years ago

Oh my gosh, does your heart just practically explode looking at those pictures of your guys? They are just gorgeous.

Shawna
Shawna
5 years ago

We’ve been to Maui and the Big Island pre-kids, but we’ve been contemplating a return as a family. Kauai looks great, but the volcanoes would be super-fun to show the kids. Oh decisions, decisions!

Also yes, your children are now huge! It shouldn’t be a surprise I suppose, since mine are about the same age…

Pat
Pat
5 years ago

I felt SO happy for you reading this post. You are like an ‘old friend’ that I worry about – it looks like you are all in a pretty good place right now – I hope that’s true. Your boys are so big and so handsome! (ps I’d also freak out if a turtle came near me; just like if i touch a weed when swimming)

Donna Brubach
Donna Brubach
5 years ago

I could just cry they’re so big. And omg the pic of the two of them with their arms on each other’s shoulders? Frame THAT! You and John look amazing too!
I’ve missed you.

Kate McD
Kate McD
5 years ago

I think of you often, but comment rarely (seriously, maybe once or twice before). Two thought while reading this post:

1. OMG, the boys are so grown! I remember way, way back in the day, before Dylan joined us in this crazy world. How are they growing up so fast? Time is a crazy thing! They, as always, look like amazing, happy children. Yay for them & the parents that are raising them!

2. I was thrilled to see you looking so healthy & happy! Linda, I have enjoyed your writing & followed your journey since 2002. I’ve been pulling for you while reading the most recent posts and, when I didn’t see you in the initial pictures, as a photo-phobic person who struggles with her weight, I was hoping you weren’t putting yourself behind the camera due to unhappiness/discomfort. Seeing your smiling face that followed, however, was a true delight! You’ve expressed qualms about your weight, but I think you look fantastic. I don’t know how you are feeling about yourself these days & I realize how much work recovery requires, but, from an outsider’s perspective, you are doing amazing and that is clearly visible in the healthy, sun-kissed smile in these pics. I hope the joyful, family-filled moments like these provide much strength, love, hope, & support in the days ahead.

Best of luck! I may not comment often, but I think of you and send good thoughts your way regularly.

Sally
Sally
5 years ago

Well, yes – ditto to what everyone else has said!

Family holidays are categorically the best, even when they’re not!

Cindy
Cindy
5 years ago

Terrific photos. Looks like a fantastic way to spend a week!

Debi
Debi
5 years ago

My favorite place on earth. Finally got up the nerve to do the helicopter last time we were there and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Hands down. Where do you stay? We usually stay in Kapaa for the ease of it, but I’m always open to new suggestions! Mahalo!

Jen O
Jen O
5 years ago

We stayed in Poipu a few years ago – I recognized some of the backdrops in your photos and this brought back great memories. Thinking of you, old friend.

Willa
Willa
5 years ago

Hey, heads up, this and the other post on the front page are displaying like 30 jviagra-type spam links at the bottom of the post…hoping I’m not the only one seeing this and its not some weird malware on my end?