Christmas is almost here and shortly after our calendars will all read, “January 2024.” I spent much of 2023 experiencing morning sickness and extreme fatigue from pregnancy, but that didn’t stop me from making some of the best memories of my life. 2023 marked some huge milestones for me – welcoming our first son into the world and reaching my one year anniversary of working with Pet Jets!
This year we had several family members and friends visit us here in Hawaii. We got to experience waterfall hikes, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and an island hop to Maui. Some of my other favorite memories were just moments spent sitting on the beach listening to the waves here on Oahu, or visiting one of my many favorite coffee shops. From big milestones to small, but amazing moments – 2023 was a year full of blessings. Here is a glimpse into some of my favorite times from 2023:
- Walker Kane Newton made his appearance on October 29th, 2023 – We instantly fell in love, and it is by far my favorite memory of all time. I snapped this photo of him sleeping peacefully in the hospital with a beautiful Hawaiian sunset and the Koʻolau mountains in the background.
2. October 2023 – Marked one year of working alongside Honey at Pet Jets. This photo was taken just before I welcomed our first client onto Oahu back in January 2023! I was able to welcome many more families and their pets to Oahu throughout 2023.
3. Exploring Oahu with Walker – we have visited the beach, coffee shops, restaurants, and much more. This was his first ever beach visit at the North Shore here on Oahu.
4. One of the best parts about living here in Hawaii is when our family and friends come from Ohio to enjoy it with us. A must see restaurant here on Oahu and where we take all of our visitors is Halewia Joe’s in Kaneohe. Could you really ask for a more beautiful view to enjoy with Mai Tai’s and rolls covered in guava butter?
5. Pizza just tastes better with an ocean view and the sound of the ocean around you. We found an almost empty beach along the North Shore and just sat in our Tommy Bahama chairs while eating our pizza. Some of the best memories are just simple moments like this.
6. In 2023 I saw an abundance of rainbows. The frequent rainbows remind me what a blessing it is to live somewhere so beautiful. This was one of my favorites I captured on camera – a double rainbow above the dog park where Gizmo and Stormy were enjoying running around in the rain.
7. Our island hop over to Maui included driving the Road to Hana which ended in a short walk to a gorgeous red sand beach. The coastline on the east end of Maui was full of lush greens, bright blues, and the unique red sand.
8. My favorite beach I have ever been to is Lanikai Beach on the east side of Oahu. I couldn’t think of a more picturesque place to announce that we were having our first baby! We went straight from the ultrasound to the beach on a Tuesday morning – the beach was empty and looked amazing. The announcement photos turned out picture perfect!
9. Does it sound too cliché to say my favorite mixed drink is a Mai Tai? Even while I lived in Ohio it was my favorite drink to order out, but here in Hawaii they are even more delicious. I am always up for a Mai Tai with a oceanfront view.! The Beach House by 604 over on the west side of Oahu is one of the best places to enjoy a drink with an excellent view – try the frozen Mai Tai! This spot is even better at sunset.
10. Last year we went back to Ohio for the holidays, but this year my family is coming here! Which means we needed a Hawaiian Christmas Tree – we picked one out at Helemano Farms. Every memory I have of picking out a Christmas tree featured snow and cold until now. It was a sunny day when we cut down our island pine.
11. I miss Chipotle desperately! When I lived in Ohio I would eat in multiple times a week for dinner, but here there are none! Luckily, I found Surf N’ Salsa which I enjoyed several times throughout 2023. Their bowls are fantastic and remind me of my love for Chipotle back on the mainland.
12. The thing about Hawaii is every season is enjoyable. The winter brings the rainy season which means the waterfalls on the islands flow so much fuller than during the summer. We hiked to Manoa Falls in January in the pouring rain and it was the most beautiful I have ever seen the falls.
13. Some days of 2023 were full of adventure, but most of my days were filled with working for Pet Jets and hanging out with the best two Corgis – Gizmo and Stormy. As amazing as hiking, beaching, and exploring is – some of the best times were just chilling at home with my two fur babies. Simple times are enjoyable times!
14. In August – with my mom and many of our friends we visited the Kaneohe Sandbar on a pontoon boat that we rented at the USMC base. The water was so clear that it looked like crystal, or glass. It was calm enough I could just sit on the ocean floor in the sand. I will return in 2024!
15. I am a huge coffee fan – well, specifically iced or frozen coffee drinks that are full of sugar and flavorings. I visit various shops here on Oahu as often as possible, but I found a new favorite spot down in Kailua this year: Rise & Grind Coffee Bar – a cute, small business with awesome coffee.
16. Being from rural Ohio, my husband and I like wide opens spaces and the less touristy parts of Hawaii. Oahu is the busiest and most crowded Hawaiian island, but there are a few places that you can escape the busy vibes. This photo was taken while we were exploring Kaʻena Point on the western tip of Oahu. There was no one in sight and the only sound we heard was a very strong ocean breeze.
17. I feel like nothing is more welcoming when you fly into Hawaii than leis. I greeted all of our Oahu clients (and their pets!) with leis to make them feel the aloha vibes from day one!
18. Nothing brings Gizmo and Stormy more joy than walks around our neighborhood to the parks. I caught this sweet picture of Elliott and Stormy during one of evening park hangouts. As simple as a walk is, I always felt better on the days I prioritized at least one if not 2 or 3 walks for the dogs and I.
19. While living in Hawaii I have been lucky enough to see peacocks, sea turtles, whales, seals, etc. Someday I will show Walker his first time meeting the sea turtles here Oahu!
20. I was lucky enough to see Lahaina and west Maui before the devastating fires destroyed so much of the area. Our Airbnb was as close to the water as you could possibly be. I could see Lanai and Moloka‘i from our balcony.
21. My favorite days here in Hawaii are beach days! Give me an Aloha Maid or a Hawaiian Sun to enjoy from my beach chair at Bellows Beach and it is a perfect day.
22. Even while sitting in the frustrating traffic here on Oahu it’s hard to complain because these are the views. I love taking in the amazing views whether it be the ocean, mountains, waterfalls, gardens – it is all so beautiful it almost doesn’t look real.
23. The sunrises and sunsets – why? Almost every sunrise I experienced in 2023 was on a hike with my family or friends. Every sunset was enjoyed while sitting on the beach with my husband, or enjoying a dinner out with those who came to see us from Ohio. The views were gorgeous, but the company was the best part.
I have a million photos and memories from the past year so it was hard to narrow it down. Between the huge milestone events like the birth of my first son and the small moments like just sitting on the beach – 2023 was a year full of blessings and moments that I will never forget. There were some hard times for my family this past year – but that is why it is so essential that I remember the blessings and enjoy even the simple days at life where I am just working or hanging out at home. Writing this blog and looking through all the photos I have from the past year really just reminded me how thankful I should be for the experiences I had. I am looking forward to 2024!