Zach and I look forward to our Aflac trips! It’s GREAT to get to go on a free vacation just the two of us 🙂 This year we were especially excited because we had a Mediterranean Cruise (to Spain and Italy) and then would turn around less than two weeks later and get to go to Hawaii! Sadly, I turned out to be too far along pregnant to go on the cruise. We literally had to throw away that opportunity 🙁 I was VERY bummed about it (and we are saving every spare dime we possible can so we can go to Italy on our own in May for our five year anniversary!) but once we went to Hawaii I’m THANKFUL we weren’t allowed to go on the cruise. It was BY FAR the best thing and I know God totally played a hand in how that worked out.
A flight to Hawaii is about 13 hours total with a 6 hour time change. Yikes. The flight to Italy is the SAME time and the SAME time change but in the opposite direction (we’d go 6 hours ahead for Italy, 6 hours behind for Hawaii). I cannot fathom being 30 weeks pregnant doing that trip then 32 weeks pregnant and doing it again. NO WAY.
We left Valdosta on Friday Oct 14th at 5:45 am. It’s tough to get up that early but I’m thankful the Valdosta airport is so small and close by and that we can roll in there an hour prior and be fine. We did have an issue that almost started the trip off on a mega bad foot. Since Zach BALLED OUT this year with Aflac he qualified for a Level 2 upgrade for Hawaii. It means that we got to go a day earlier than everyone else, $200 towards massages, private transportation to and from the airport, a guaranteed ocean view room, $200 for luggage fees, and $600 spending money! Can you believe that?!?! It was AWESOME!
Since we got to go a day early and had the luggage money I bought Zach and his Dad (Mr. Rusty has done so amazing that they got a level 3 upgrade which was TWO extra nights and FIRST CLASS flight tickets plus everything we got! Lucky!) a round of golf as Zach’s birthday present from me. Getting to golf in Hawaii is pretty special and, with the luggage money, he’d be able to bring his own clubs! I did all the research on Delta.com to make sure we followed the rules on the golf clubs but when we got to the airport they wouldn’t let him bring them on the flight. I haven’t seen Zach that mad in a LONG time. It was bad. He ended up running home to get a suitcase that they’d fit in and brought it back. I forgot to get a picture of it – but it was pretty ghetto looking! I’m just thankful they let him bring them or he probably wouldn’t have been able to golf (he’s too tall for rental clubs!)
Being that Valdosta is a small town we always run into people…this time we ran into the VSU boys basketball coach and Barry (who is married to Zach’s Aunt Karen). I was glad Barry was there because he kept me company when Zach had to run and get the golf bag! Once we got to Atlanta we got some breakfast and ran into more people we know. I ALWAYS look for familiar faces in Atlanta but never see anyone (well…other than Aflac people). This time though we scored and totally got to see Michelle Mallory and her parents!!!! We grew up next door to each other and were best friends throughout childhood. I loved her parents like my own and it was AWESOME to see them and get to give them all a big hug 🙂 I don’t think I’ve seen them since our wedding!
We flew from Valdosta to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Salt Lake City, then Salt Lake City to Hawaii. Can you believe that they no longer offer any food on the flight from Atlanta to Hawaii?!?! We got super lucky as it turned out our “direct” flight had to make a stop in Salt Lake to refuel and switch out some passengers. We had an hour or so to get some dinner. It worked out perfect and we enjoyed some pizza. While we were eating I saw this girl who looked mega familiar and I thought she was from a reality show. Zach didn’t recognize her so I thought maybe from Project Runway or a show he doesn’t watch. We both assumed though that she was with Aflac and didn’t think much of it but then when we were waiting to board the flight it hit Zach and he realized it was Ally – they first female winner of The Biggest Loser! Pretty cool!
I have been to Hawaii two times prior to this trip (both times with my dad in high school) and I don’t remember the flight being that bad. However, I was 10 years younger and a lot less pregnant back then. Thankfully we had bulkhead seats but I still could not sleep for the life of me. And I’m the type of person who can practically fall asleep standing! It was horrible. I got up often to walk and stayed hydrated and wore my compression stockings…but I was miserable because I couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t sleep. Not a good situation and I knew it’d be worse on the way back b/c we’d be flying through the night 🙁
I have NEVER been so happy for a plane to land and we got greeted with pretty leis!
We were staying at The Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. It’s actually a hotel and a timeshare place and I was totally tempted to do the tour of the property to get hooked up with even more spending money haha. What can I say…I’m addicted 😉 The property was HUGE. Which was awesome…but it was honestly tough on me. Lots and LOTS of walking just to get to the Aflac desks and meals and such. Our transportation dropped us off at the total opposite end of where we needed to be and we had SIX bags that Zach couldn’t possibly handle himself so it worked out great that Mr. Rusty met us to help carry everything! We got all checked in and changed clothes. We both were so exhausted that we could have gone to sleep right then (our bodies were saying it was 9 when the time in Hawaii was only 3). We went with Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte to dinner at a little place on property and it was super good. It was nice to relax and catch up with them on the fun things they’d been doing since they got there the day before! Plus they did go on the cruise so they were able to fill us in on all of that too (it was a TON of walking! Again, thankful!!!)
I’m wearing my Isadora Pearl Bib Necklace
Since we had the $200 credit towards massages I was NOT going to pass up that offer! We decided to book them for the night we arrived as the lady there said it would help us relax from the long flight and rest better that night. We had them at 8 Hawaii time (so yeah..it was 2 our time…we didn’t get to bed until after 3:30 our time which means we were up for an entire 24 hour period!!!!!!!!) and the whole spa was amazing. We got there early and each got to relax in our own areas. I couldn’t use majority of the stuff (sauna, steam room, hot tub) but I did put my feet in the hot tub and read some magazines and sipped on water while I waited. It was nice to relax! I had to have a prenatal massage and Zach had a regular one but they let us be in the same room which was nice. We both agreed that they were some of the BEST massages EVER. It was honestly my favorite thing of the whole trip!!!
We told the girls our baby names and they loved the boys one…said it sounds like a movie star haha. They also, not surprisingly, loved Kye’s name. It’s like the #1 boys name in Hawaii..of course they spell it K-A-I though. It means “ocean” in Hawaiian 🙂
After our massages we could barely make the treck back the room we were so exhausted. The beds were SO comfortable and we went right to sleep. Poor Zach had to get up early to head out for his golf but I got 12 hours of sleep. Much needed! When I woke up I took my time and didn’t rush then Mrs. Charlotte and I met up for some breakfast and hung out by the pool while the guys enjoyed their golf day together at Ko Olina Golf Club. They took one of my cameras with them and these are the pictures from their morning (if you’re like me, then these won’t mean very much to you but I wanted to include them for Zach!).
I love how Zach has his arm around his dad in every picture…they have SUCH an awesome relationship! Best friends!
Mrs. Charlotte and I enjoyed relaxing and they made in back in time for the free Aflac lunch so we all met up there and got filled in on their fun. I was SHOCKED that Zach’s dad beat him! But they said the course was super tough so it makes more sense 🙂
Part of what Mrs. Charlotte and I did that morning involved picking up all our freebies. Aflac gives you free gifts on every trip and Hilton had stuff for us too. One of the things to choose from was a stuffed animal…either a turtle or a penguin. I thought a penguin was super random (but got it b/c it was wearing a lei) but the lady said they DO have penguins in Hawaii…then we actually saw them on property!
That afternoon Zach and I just relaxed in the room before dinner. He was so tired and I enjoyed just taking my time getting ready. The Aflac Welcome Dinner was on property that night and it was a luau! Some local Hawaiian entertainment met us when we got off the elevator. This guy on the right is hilarious!
one of the many pools
stopped for some pics on the beach on our way to dinner
we got lei-ed again 😉
I had a mini-list of things I wanted Zach to get to experience on our first trip to Hawaii and one of them was a luau. I was rather disappointed with the luau experience Aflac gave us (although what can you do for 3,700 people?!?!) but at least they did have a big pig!!! And they had some local dancing…here’s a video!
Back at the room I showed Zach all our Aflac goodies 🙂 I LOVE the beach bag
and we got two great towels
along with two travel packs with sunscreen and such, a charm for my Aflac charm bracelet (they give us one every trip), and these rockin’ shades haha
We were WORN OUT and went to sleep super early again on night two! I’m beyond thankful that Zach earned the extra night b/c I don’t know how all the Aflac people arrived on Saturday then got up early for our Aflac excursions that next morning. I was thankful I had the extra day to REST so I could be ready for Pearl Harbor on Sunday!
All of the pics are beautiful! I have only been to Hawaii once and we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village too! The penguins are what I remember most from there. We are going back in a few years (we want to wait until Madelyn can fly that far without being a nightmare) and are going to stay at the new Disney resort. Y'all are so lucky to get to go on all of these really cool vacations! I can't wait to read about thes rest!
So jealous! Yes, I know, the Bible says, Thou Shalt Not Covet thy Neighbor. But I am, just a little bit! 😉 Hawaii looks and sound incredible!! Maybe we'll get to go there someday. And man I think Justin needs to get a job with Aflac! LOL!!! Love the pics and can't wait for more posts! Oh, and did I mention, I'm jealous?
gahhhhhh I'm so envious of all your travels!! I've never been to Hawaii but I'd love to go!! Oh, and (ahem) the girls are looking bigger in the dress you're wearing! Sexy mama!!
Emily, I just stumbled onto your blog and love it! Crazy tidbit, my husband and I were in HI on the same trip! VACA OF A LIFETIME We also did the PH excursion and missed the bus leaving the MO for the restaurant-woops, too much fun exploring that huge ship! I hope you weren't on that bus… On a side note, I have to say God really pulled things together for us too right at the last minute. Long, funny story that ends with AFLAC flying us in on Friday b/c the flights from our area were overbooked! ***PRAISE*** Anyhoo, next time I hope we get a chance to meet.
Jealous!!! I live in Scotland and well…it is just too dang cold up here!!! Hawaii looks like my kind of weather!
Great pictures Emily! Makes me want to go back to Hawaii SO bad. And PS…your little ones are just adorable! Hope you'll stop by my blog and check out the Easter link hop coming on the 28th! It's a link party to showcase your Easter Baskets!