Although they were staying at Aulani Resort on the leeward side, they were willing to make the long drive to lush, green Laie. Oahu may be a small island, but it’s diverse. Windward versus leeward, south shore versus north shore – each side has such a different feel and look. Laie Beach Park is a favorite for those who seek solitude and greenery.

We made the long, winding drive bright and early on a weekday morning to arrive at an empty beach. Crabs skittered along the shore and waves pounded the cliffs when we took our first steps onto the cool sand. At home, they have family photos taken each year and the girls have mastered the fake smile. I tried to break them out of the photo mind set and encourage them to have fun. Slowly and surely, they began to relax. However, it wasn’t until they changed into swimsuits that their true personalities came through.

Maggie is a confident swimmer and water lover, she made a bee line to take on the big waves. Ali is typically more timid in the water, but didn’t want her big sister to have all the fun. She slowly inched her way further and further out into the surf. The two sisters laughed with delight as they jumped wave after wave. They made plans to come back the next day.

Want some beautiful portraits of your family in Hawaii?

Let’s plan a fun morning at a quiet beach so you can take home memories of the salt spray and warm sun on your shoulders. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

 

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Having family close by is the best. Especially when you have three young children and another on the way. But being a military family makes that very difficult. This family was stationed in Hawaii during the past year, which is kind of a mixed bag. You get to soak in all things Hawaii – living by the beach, enjoying warm weather, and taking in breathtaking scenery year round. However, the trade off is leaving family behind. In this case, they left behind grandparents and a beloved aunt. Their auntie missed them so much that she gifted them a mini family photo session. That way she was guaranteed to have some photos of her favorite people in the world.

We met at Kalama Beach Park, which was essentially their new backyard. The kids bubbled with energy and raced up and down the beach turning cartwheels and dancing along the shore. I think it’s safe to say that they quickly embraced the beach life. Fortunately, grandma was visiting over the holidays and joined in for some intense hugs.

We ended the session dripping, coated in sand, and mouths aching from all the smiling and laughing. Too sandy for the car, they decided to walk home. All the best with growing family!

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Five girls. One family. Each of them so different in personality.  Although they’re all close, special bonds have formed within the group. Each of the older girls has a connection to the younger two. They would keep an extra eye on the little ones, help them if they fell or got too close to the water’s edge. It was endearing. And the middle child, well she was a jut a firecracker; full of dramatic twirls, mischievous grins, and silly dances.

They normally have photos taken each year at home. This year, however, they decided to trade their fall background for a tropical one. The group made their way over from Aulani to spend a beautiful morning exploring Paradise Cove.

Dad was certainly outnumbered. He walked around with a pink hairbrush in his back pocket drying tears and making the girls laugh. He threw the youngest two high in the air; something they normally love. Only this time, not so much. Tears flowed again and they scowled for a full fifteen minutes before all was forgiven. Being the only male in the house can’t be easy.

As the sun rose and began to light up the cove, the water began to look very inviting. The older girls were excited to dive in and escape babysitting duties for a bit. We spent a bit of time swimming with sea turtles and perfecting hand stands before the little ones needed a nap.

 

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Infections laughter rang throughout the cove. The youngest generation was having a great time exploring their new environment. The sand, water, tiny seashells – it was all delightful. And as a baby, you need to taste everything to fully experience it. Little fists packed with sand were stuffed into gaping mouths. Sometimes repeatedly :) Parents swooped in to dust them off, tickle them, and throw them high in the air.

If I had to come up with a description of a model family, this would be them. Everything flowed effortlessly. They were patient and quick to laugh. Aunts and uncles seamlessly helped with the babies. I have to say, a  helping hand is invaluable when you have babies and toddlers in your life. A much needed break every now and again can help you maintain your sanity. And here, they had dozens of hands.

The young grandparents planned a reunion trip at Aulani for their seven children along with extended families and grandchildren. We were fortunate to have the cove all to ourselves that morning. We happily played and explored until little ones began yawning and stomachs began to rumble. A beautiful morning for a beautiful family.

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Dad of the year award? By the power vested in me, i’m awarding it to Huy. Okay, I have no power, but if I did … Why is he amazing you ask? Well his wife had mentioned a desire for family photos on a few occasions, but never got around to booking something. When they planned their Hawaiian vacation, he thought it would be the perfect opportunity for family photos. Fun places to explore? Check. Beautiful backdrop? Check. Everyone happy and relaxed? Check. Yeah, it seemed like a great idea, so he decided to surprise her with a vacation photo session.

There were so many great options, but we decided on Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. That big expanse of empty beach under the mountains is so inviting. Plus, there was lots of space for two energetic little girls to run and play. These two sisters were so kind to each other – always lending a helping hand or pointing out new discoveries. We spent the morning laughing and searching for crabs and ended with a quick dip in the water. It was a beautiful morning and a definite dad win.

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