Wanting to know safe kid friendly hikes on Oahu that still have big payoff? You don’t have to fore-go the good stuff when hiking with kids. Read on to find the best waterfalls, views, and mountain trails suitable for all ages!
This family hike is perfect for a sunrise with the kids. It is a stroller-friendly paved road, that switchbacks up the mountain. . You will be climbing uphill the entire time, but it doesn’t take long and the views are worth every step.
There are look outs all along the way and once a the top you get stunning views of the offshore islands and nearby mountain ranges. For more details and pictures of the entire trail see My Post on the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail Here.
Makapu’u Lower trails will lead you to a unique area called Peles Chair. Here you can climb a short distance to the large rock (a favorite lunch spot for our family) or you can hang out in the tide pools below.
This is a short easy trail and great place for swimming, cliff jumping, tide pooling, and exploring with the kids.
Our favorite waterfall and kid friendly hike on Oahu. The trail is maintained by the Board of Water Supply and is a quick, sometimes steep, trek to a powerful 40ft waterfall. There is a swimming hole along the way so make sure to bring your swimming clothes for a quick jump in the pools.
On the west side of the island you will find a multitude of hidden gems. This family hike is a bit more on the popular side and for good reason. It affords some of the greatest ocean and mountain views within a short amount of time. This is the first hike I took my son on to test him limits and it was a day I will always remember.
Though it can be steep and you will be scrambling over rocks at some points I often see children and baby wearing mommas on the hike. Be weary off the drop offs along the top and take your time on this stunning family hike.
You can hike this kid-friendly trail from the west side or the north side. I often hear that the west side offers better views of the ocean, with the stunning cliffs. But I enjoy the North side for all the exploring options. You can walk along the water, or along the dirt road nestled into the bottom of the mountain range, on the North side.
If you make it all the way to the end you will find a bird sanctuary with beautiful large albatross, and monk seals lazily sleeping on the sandy beach. Do not try to touch or get to to close the monk seals though, for they are endangered and that comes with a hefty fine and possible jail time.
One of the most famous sunrise hikes on the island. Though you will often find a multitude of people and tourist here it is beautiful and a short family friendly hike. You will find baby wearing mommas and kids often on this trail. Be aware though, there are some rock climbing areas and it can be a bit slippery so know you and your childs abilities before attempting.
Diamond head is a fun kid-friendly hike for the whole family and affords you amazing views of Waikiki. With its close proximity to the city you will find it very touristy but quite fun. The lookouts are stunning and the family hike is easy for most ages and baby wearing.
Waimea falls is a great family activity that is more of a walk through a forest to a waterfall you can swim at. The only paid trail on the list, the walk is scenic, stroller friendly, and interactive. You can even take the trolley to skip straight to the waterfall or if you don’t want to walk back.
Once at the waterfall, you are able to use the lifejackets available, for no extra charge, and swim in the swimming pool under the waterfall. The whole family had an absolute blast swimming to waterfall and having it push us through the water.
There is even a little snack shack with hot dogs, water, and shave ice near the falls. If you are looking for a better lunch the restaurant at the entrance is a great place to eat where you can even watch peacocks roam freely.
Old Pali Road
Though this hike is closed off by a gate it is still “accessible” and you will find many other adventure seekers on the trail. If you want a gorgeous kid friendly hike, on an old abandoned highway, hanging off the side of mountain, with hidden waterfalls and other gems, then this is your hike.
Manoa Falls is touristy and always muddy and rainy. Part of the charm of the hike. A moderately easy trail you can go on to get all the fun pictures of a big adventure. With trees you can walk through, and near constant views it’s easy to see why the trail to this 50ft waterfall is so famous.
Lyon Arboretum shares the same trail head as Manoa Falls and is much less crowded. Though I am not sure why as I love this little area. If you don’t do the whole trail you can walk the gravel road for a bit to a stunning set of trees before you enter the jungle area or stay close to the entrance for a perfect spot to have a snack or lunch after seeing the Falls.
Turtle Bay Kahana Bay Trails
This is a fun little spot on the North Shore of Oahu. With a wonderful Fruit stand market sitting across the street it makes for an all around perfect spot for the day. Start off at the market and get a bag of assorted ready to eat local fruit like dragonfruit and apple bananas, and get a fresh cold coconut chopped for you on the spot.
When you head across the street you can find A large scenic banyan tree and a multitude of trails. Here you can find magic schoolhouses hiding in the woods, pillboxes, horses on the trails, or stop at the beach for turtle spotting.
I always knew I would never send my children to public school. Schools have a way of making people lazy. And stupid.
Maybe that rubbed you the wrong way or maybe you agree whole heartedly. Let me start off again by saying this.
A child is already a natural learner. The entirety of their days are spent questioning, exploring, and learning how to interact in their environments. They have a self propelled need to understand how to communicate with those around them and figure out what works, and what doesn’t.
The moment you send them off to school that will all fade away.
For by putting someone else in charge of their learning you are telling them they are incapable of learning on their own. You are instilling a reverse effect of a great characteristic we all seek in others. To be self starters, to think for yourself.
What is the first thing children learn from school?
First, that learning is separate from living. “You come to school to learn,” we tell him, as if the child hadn’t been learning before, as if living were out there and learning were in here, and there were no connection between the two. Secondly, that he cannot be trusted to learn and is no good at it. Everything we teach about reading, a task far simpler than many that the child has already mastered, says to him, “If we don’t make you read, you won’t, and if you don’t do it exactly the way we tell you, you can’t”. In short, he comes to feel that learning is a passive process, something that someone else does to you, instead of something you do for yourself.
This is not what I intend for my children. I believe in them and I want them to believe in themselves.
Why Homeschooling Didn’t Work
I spent hours a day for months at a time figuring out curriculums. Researching all the websites, I was filled with passion and hope for our families learning endeavors.
But there was a big problem.
My kids weren’t interested in what I was teaching them. After a few minutes they were bored. And I was frustrated. There were growing conflicts in the family after just a few weeks of our miserable homeschooling experience.
The big flaw in this, I started to realize, was that I was just bringing school into my home. Didn’t I want better for my children? Didn’t I trust in their learning capability?
I wanted to validate their interest, not force my ingrained ways on them.
Hadn’t I myself, spent years unlearning self sabotaging habits from my childhood and early adulthood?
So why was I replacing their natural curiosity with a curriculum, their own beautiful creativity with an art lesson plan, and their own wired instinct to learn with memorization?!
So back to researching. And I found Unschooling. Instantly I was hooked. Enthralled, I couldn’t stop reading accounts of children who were in different stages and parents who had gone through it and were living in it. After, I felt a great pressure release from my chest.
I also found through my research that there were so many former teachers who were going down this path. It was amazing to hear their input and reasoning. I was especially inspired by Nicole from Unschoolers.org and her story.
So What Is Unschooling?
For us it is simple. It is interest-based learning. Child led interest with parental guidance on how to go about it in the most fun and successful way possible. I have found my children are already interested in most of the things other children “have” to learn.
By finding activities that activate this “learning mode” we spend most of our days playing, exploring, and learning their newfound interest together. On any given day I will encounter a storm of Why’s, How’s, What’s and Can I’s. How I approach and answer these questions leads us down amazing paths of discovery.
Let me make this clear. Unschooling is not Unparenting.
In fact, I would say it is more along the lines of hardcore parenting. Starting Unschooling is TOUGH. You don’t get to rely on courses to tell you what to do (though I do get guidance from quite a few), and it takes an immense amount of patience, trust, and dedication.
Now every single part of our day is a learning experience. I find teaching moments in every part of our day. And our days have become full of adventure and exploration.
Through this Unschooling Life, I have found hard rules now seem very limiting and encumbering. Especially when it comes to how we naturally learn. So instead, we are living by a new rule: Principles over Discipline.I love how Pam at LivingJoyfully describes it.
This was and still can be very challenging. At first it was a maze and quite uncomfortable. But that is all for a different blog post.
One thing I will say now is, it is a constant learning experience for everyone involved.
This way of Unschooling is teaching me to live intentionally and purposefully. To think about Why I am asking something of them, or for them to act a certain way. And most of the time when I take the time to answer all these Whys, I find that it is not something I need to be worried about or try to control at all.
And I love every time my children impose these “why moments”. For they force me to expand my mind and teach me something.
That’s right my children are teaching me.
Teaching me to live with wild abandon again.
To live without societies judgements holding me back from doing things that bring me joy. And thus enabling me to set out on a path of A Life I Believe In.
These children of mine are full of life and wonder. And all day they set out to share that light with others, and are learning how to make it fit in with the ways of the world.
My biggest hope for them is to stay this alive. Not to live as someone else (even me) has told them to. To live boldly, freely, with full hearts and minds.
Welcome to Our Unschooling Journey
Want to Follow along? Make sure to subscribe to watch our story unfold and get helpful Unschooling Tips and Real Life Experiences.
Oahu Hawaii has a multitude of fun stuff for families. When we moved here for military PCS orders I knew our family was in for a treat. I have gathered my favorite family activities in one giant list to come back to for inspiration and to share our favorite island adventure spots.
We spent 60 days in 5 different Hotels in Waikiki and were smitten with the diverse city. Beyond the infamous Waikiki Beach you will find high rise hotels, designer fashion stores, high-end and hole-in-the-wall eats side by side. There is so much to explore and do here and is a great place for families to sight see and adventure.
Beware you will find a large dose of homeless wandering EVERYWHERE. Just keep track of each other and your belongings as in any large city area.
Always a fun place for the kids is the zoo. The Waikiki zoo is small but offers a beautiful place for the kids to let out some energy with a large field, park, a fun interactive koi pond, and is home to a large Komodo dragon. We didn’t stay long either times we came and a good number of habitats were empty. The Waikiki Aquarium is across the street and we enjoyed it after the zoo both times.
Very small but well kept aquarium. They are home to the only public view tank of the rare peppermint angle fish. You will also find monk seals, jellyfish, coral, and other Hawaiian reef fish. Our favorite part was the outdoor hands-on exhibit where you get to hold sea slugs, starfish, and more.
Waikiki Wall / Queens Beach / Sans Souci State Recreational Park / War Memorial Natatorium
Across the street from the Waikiki zoo and next to the Waikiki Aquarium you find a multitude of great spots. All directly next to each other, these locations make for perfect morning or evening stroll. You will find a little beach cafe for yummy eats, large banyan trees on the sand for the kids to play in, and a great beach walk for a casual stroll.
Kapi’olani Regional Park
This is a lovely park with an awesome view of Diamond Head. We would walk over here for morning picnics and were always finding fun scenes taking place. Brides getting pictures taken, newbie surfers practicing on boards, and intense workouts on the fitness equipment.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon and Beach Walk
We spent a good portion of out time in this wonderful lagoon during our 60 days stay in Waikiki. The lagoon is perfect for small children and they offer tons of fun activities. Rent paddle boards, water bikes, paddle boats and more. The Beach walk is perfect for a sunset stroll and you will find lots of good eats, parks and drink shacks. Plus every Friday night there is a free firework show above the lagoon!
Atlantis Underwater Adventure Submarine
Dive 100 ft into the deep blue in premium submarines. Witness how remnants of hurricane-swept airliners, pyramid structures, and other objects have combined with Mother Nature to attract green sea turtles, sharks, yellow tangs, eels, and other underwater marine life. Children must be 36″ in height.
Once you cross over the little bridge past the marina you are technically outside of Waikiki and what the locals call simply. Town.
Across the water from the Hilton Hawaiian Village and marina, you will find Magic Island. With its own lagoon and a beach on both sides it offers a perfect place to picnic, sight see, or take a sunset walk. Sunsets are very busy and you better come early for parking if you want to see an epic sunset from this popular vantage. This is also a popular spot to watch the Friday night free fireworks show.
Ala Moana Beach Park
This is a beautiful large beach park full of large trees, canals, cute bridges, and homeless. Seriously they are everywhere out here. The park is also across the street from Ala Moana shopping center full of high-end shopping, movie theaters and more. We would often grab a burrito bowl from one of our favorite Waikiki hole in the walls, Surf n Turf Tacos, and bring it here to eat and let the kids roam.
At the trailhead to Manoa Falls you will find Lyon Arboretum. A 200-acre arboretum and botanical garden. I personally like it better than the falls with small children. There is plenty of well marked paths, amazing foliage, trees, and historical structures. Be sure to grab a map at the visitiors center because it is large and there is so much beauty to see. It is free but a donations are greatly appreciated.
Manoa falls hike is one of the most well known hikes on Oahu. To get to the famous 150 ft waterfall only takes about 30 minutes. The walk is through a lush trail that will make you feel like your in Jurassic Park or a Lost Episode. Partly because you kinda will be. Both were filmed on this beautiful trail. It does get slippery and there is a 90% chance you will come out muddy. Manoa falls gets the most rain fall on the island of Oahu but thats what keeps it so gorgeous!
Bishop Museum is an awesome place to take the family. There is plenty of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and the grounds and buildings are stunning. There is a science center, art shows, and lots of hands on activities for the kids. Our favorite part is the science center that showcases a large volcano and had lots of bugs and odd stuff that completely fascinated my kids. Read My Full Post on Bishop Museum Here.
Pearl Harbor Memorial
The emotional history at the Pearl Harbor Memorial is intense. I am not one for history but being as my husband is in the navy, and his father before him was also military, we visited as a family during one of his visits. You will watch a short video that will most likely make you cry, I sure did, (both times) and then, while you are filled with emotion, you will take a short boat ride to the memorial. It is a stunning site to behold and will make for an enriching, educational day.
A perfect stop after the Pearl Harbor Memorial is the USS Missouri. An old naval war ship turned museum makes for an impressive showcase of ship life. The battle ship is adorned with massive turret guns, and you have the opportunity to see all parts of the ship, from the engine rooms, surrender deck, and sleeping quarters. Find more information and tours here.
Naval Air Museum
A day of naval history wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop at the naval air museum at barbers point. The kids loved they can get hands on with the aircraft. In the showroom you can see the old aircraft they have reclaimed and are working on, along with the bullet holes adorning the windows from the Pearl Harbor attack.
Childrens Discovery Center
Our favorite rainy day activity on Oahu. It is pricey but there is so much to do and offers a complete interactive, educational day for the whole family. My husband even loves coming just to play with the massive bubbles. There are multiple rooms throughout that offer dress up for real world scenarios. Your kids can be pilots, cooks, store clerks, firemen, mechanics, clim bridges, pick pineapples, and interact with so many different cultural set ups. It is pretty amazing.
At the bottom of the paved trail leading up to Maka’puu Lighthouse you will see another gravel trail that leads out towards the beach. You will just be able to make out a large rock that goes by Peles Chair. The beach at the end of this trail offers great tide pools for the kids to play, snorkeling in pools of fish, amazing views, and a perfect place for lunch.
A perfect spot to take the kids for their first snorkel experience. It is one of the most famous snorkel spots for good reason and advanced snorkelers and beginners alike will swim here. There is a hike along the rim and the beach is a serene and scenic spot for laying in the sun or building sand castles. They only let in so many visitors a day though so be sure to come early. Read More about Hanauma Bay and our kids first time Snorkeling Here!
Sea Life Park
Right across from Maka’puu Lighthouse is Sea Life Park. We scored annual passes here during Black Friday for less than the price of normal tickets and go often. Swim with the dolphins, watch shows, feed sea turtles, watch performing monk seals and more. Sea Life Park is home to only rescued marine animals and birds and they go through a high rotation of animals as they are rescued and released. A highly educational, and entertaining experience you can feel good about.
A famous sunrise hiking spot, Lanikai Pillboxes is one of the most picturesque trails on Oahu. An intermediate hike that takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on how far you go. This is a great hike to get you out of your comfort zone and see why Oahu is known for its hikes.
Waimanalo Sunflower Farms
Waimanalo Sunflower fields are a great spot to take the kids for a fun summer day. Hitch a ride on the back of a trailer out to pick sunflowers and learn about Waimanlo Country Farms. When you get back in enjoy a mason jar full of ‘nalo made pineapple, mango, or li hing mui lemonade! The fields are only in bloom a few times a year, so check their FB events page for good dates.
Close to Makapuʻu Beach and Sea Life Park, Waimanalo Beach offers some the prettiest, turquoise water on the island. Backed by ironwoods for shade, this 3 mile stretch of white sand is the longest on the island. Perfect for a casual stroll or letting the kids run wild.
You will need a military i.d. to get base access to part of this beach but on the weekends their is plenty of beautiful spots on Bellows open to the public. One of my favorite beaches on the island due to the amazing mountain views, forests of ironwoods, and azure water. This is also a great camping spot and we spend 2 weeks a year camping in their cabins, and ocean front tent spots.
Drive The Scenic East Coast
If you are overwhelmed with choices or can’t think of a specific spot you want to experience I suggest a drive along the coast. Taking the scenic route from Waikiki to North Shore lets you really enjoy the island on a different level. This is an absolute Must Do and something I recommend to every one who comes to the island.
Kahana Bay is a beautiful beach and great for the family. The water is almost always calm, there are rope swings in the trees, and a grove of ironwood trees for shade and play. This is the bay that one of my favorite hikes looks out over. I wouldn’t recommend Crouching Lion Hike for children, though I have seen some wild baby wearing mommas on this dangerous hike.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
Ho’omahulia Botanical Gardens offer the greatest views of any of the gardens. You can easily spend an entire day here if you wanted. They even offer little wooden fishing sticks to the kids for the large pond on Saturdays. The pond is great for littles to feed ducks and the fish, and you can explore endlessly on all the trails the lush park has to offer.
Kualoa Ranch Tours
Discover Jurassic Valley in the scenic 4000 acre park. They offer everything from jungle tours on mountain bikes, jeeps, horseback, and even offer private atv tours. You can also go on ocean adventures and ziplines. This park offers a world of possibilities for your family to explore. Not to mention your kids get to take pictures with a life size T Rex and you can tell them you are in Jurassic Park. I mean, C’mon.
Kualoa Regional Beach Park
If your not into the tours there is still plenty of reason to go by the ranch. Across the street is an amazing park with stunning views of the mountains and the is closest you can get to china mans hat island. If you walk the beach from here you will find all kinds of hidden gems. I’m very tempted to tell you all the good stuff, but that would spoil the fun. If you are lucky then along the road when you drive by the ranch you may see the horses grazing at the fence. People often stop here to feed the horses and it makes for a great spur of the moment experience.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is a Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum located in Laie. Set on 42 acres along Oahu’s Scenic Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center has a lagoon that hosts daily canoe tours and an exciting cultural Canoe Pageant. Learn about Hawaii’s royalty while enjoying traditional Polynesian food and entertainment.
A favorite spot to spend the day is Kawela Bay, by Turtle Bay Resort. At the entrance, there is a fantastic fruit stand with cold cut local fruit and fresh cold coconut. There is a gorgeous banyan tree and a multitude of hiking trails. You can horse back ride on the beach trails, or spot turtles lazing in the sand. We can spend any where from an hour to a full day here.
Pipeline and Sunset Beach
The legendary bonzai pipeline, at Ehukai Beach, is a perfect place to see barreling waves and world famous surfers. A stretch of surf reef break causes some of the biggest waves around the island, and brings surfers from all over the world. On any given day you can see a multitude of surfers, and photographers catching and capturing waves.
Across the street from the entrance to Waimea Falls is Waimea Beach. This little stretch of sand offers great fun for the day. Known best for Waimea rock, people flock here to jump into the clear waters. There is even a hole under the rock you can swim through, if your brave enough. The beach gets crowded quickly and the parking can be tough so plan on coming early during a weekday.
Sharks Cove is known for 2 things. Snorkeling and food trucks. Enjoy famous shave ice, or fish tacos after a day of adventuring the cove. While a good portion is shallow, and for the most part it is a fun safe place for families, it can be dangerous, especially in the winter months. Bring snorkel gear and water shoes!
Haleiwa Beach Park
This was one of the first stops when we got to Oahu and we go back All. The. Time. It is my go-to for an easy, relaxing day with lots of choices for fun, in a beautiful setting. The beach, mountains, playgrounds, tide pools, palm tree groves, sea turtles, food trucks, surfing. Our whole family loves this little spot for good reason.
Macadamia Nut Farm
Across from Haleiwa Beach Park is Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet. A cute little gift shop on a farm that offers the yummiest of treats and souvenirs, in a beautifully landscaped setting. From chocolate covered nuts to coffee, gift baskets, and handmade keepsakes. This is a great place to stop for an authentic Hawaiian experience.
Ka’ena Point North Shore
At the very tip of the island, away from all the maddening hustle of Waikiki you will find Kaena Point. You can get to this point from either the West side or the North side, but it is only accessible by trail. There is no driving around this part of the Oahu. The 5 mile trail is perfect for families and offers, beaches and paths galore. See my family Hike K Point and lots of beautiful pictures and Info Here.
For being such a tourist spot, Dole Plantation is actually pretty cool. The pineapple whip is worth the trip if you like sweet eats. There is a nice educational train ride that tells the history of Dole and Hawaii and cute little picture worthy spots all over the plantation.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden
A hidden little gem and favorite spot of ours is Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. This little garden has bamboo stalks, foliage galore, and plenty of running room for the littles. With an upper and lower level to explore, the surprisingly small area has so much to see.
West Side Oahu
Waianae gets a bad rep from locals and tourist alike. The crime here is very high but this side of the island is where you will find an Authentic, Raw Hawaii Vibe. We never had any trouble over here, and as long as you respect the people and the island, you will probably be just fine.
As with anywhere on the island, don’t leave valuables in your car, and lock your doors.
Ko’ Olina Lagoons
Ko’olina lagoons offer a perfect spot for families to enjoy the water. A lot of the beaches on Oahu have large surf break and can be scary for little ones. Each of the four lagoons offer unique qualities, such as snorkeling at lagoon 4 and paddle boarding at lagoon 1. If you follow lagoon 1 around you will also find a pathway that leads to a secret lagoon. This spot is abundant in sea life, turtles, and away from the crowds.
Pu’u O Hulu
Pu’u O Hulu, or the pink pillboxes, is a great hike in Maili on the west side of the island. We lived in the community under this mountain for 2 years and hiked it often. It was my first hike on the island, and later my 3 year old sons first hike. This is probably the best bang for your buck mountain hike when it comes to views. It doesn’t take long to get to the top and the abundant views start almost instantly.
Pokai Beach Park
My family frequented this spot often. It comes off a little rough at first glance, and there are homeless camped along some of the best spots. The bay has a stone wall local kids jump from and fishers take over, along with an absolutely beautiful vantage point at the end beyond the playground.
Our favorite family beach on the whole of Oahu. Often called pray for sex beach (supposed to be pray for sets from the surfers name for it) this spot has it all. Tide pools, caves, hikes, hidden gems, ever changing landscape, and always stunning views.
When you’ve gone as far as you can and the road runs out, you will find yourself at Yokes. Yokahama Bay is another picturesque bay where you can stay away from the tourist and take in the raw beauty of Hawaii. This was the first beach that I saw waves that took my breath away. It holds a special spot in my heart and I highly recommend it to anyone who stays on Oahu and is up for a little adventure.
Ka’ Ena Point West Side
A long, hot trail, full of non-stop views that leads you to the tip of the island. Here you can bask in the sun with monk seals and observe large sea birds. There are lots of instagram famous spots on the trail and is well worth the hike.
I hope you found some inspiration for your trip or a new place to explore for your time on Oahu. Let me know your favorite place or which spot seems like a must for your family!
For me all it took was a water bottle. And though it took me a while to realize that.. there’s one thing I can tell you now. It is real. And if the simple word “change” resonates with you then, Yes, you are ready.
I knew I needed a change. A big one. I had just had my 2nd baby in 2 years and moved into a new home In West Coast Cali. And I was miserable. I was miserable that I was miserable. I had the luxury car, hard-working husband, my two Beautiful children, a boy and girl, complete with all the pretty clothes and accessories. I even had my dream dog. I knew I had it to good to cry.
But cry I did. My husband was lost in his own life and those babies were wearing me down hard and fast. The dog wasn’t getting walked or groomed enough, and neither was I. And the Clothes.. Oh the clothes. They were in never ending piles of major purchase regret. The car was Amazing though. Thank you Ernie from Witt Lincoln San Diego I still miss that MKX.
Like I said though, All of that changed from a single water bottle.And it wasa Glorious water bottle. It had to be. I sucked at drinking water. And this was something that I really wanted to change. So I figured, find a bad ass water bottle, and guzzlin’ would ensue.
I was drinking 100+ oz a day. That was insane for me.
That kick-started a cascade of little changes over the next few months. I was starting to eat more fruits and veggies, while cutting out fast food, and I even started lite stretching at night. One of those nights I happened to be admiring my water bottle when a simple realization hit me That Changed Everything.
I was still drinking all that water and it wasn’t even something I had to think about anymore, it just was. I had dropped most of my baby weight / all I ate while I was pregnant was cheeseburgers weight, my Husband and I had started taking long walks with the kids And we found a new way of connecting through biking. The dog was getting groomed, I was getting groomed, the kids were still a screaming hurricane with food faces and sticky hands but I was keeping patience with them, and actually guiding them instead of screaming at them. This mental connection reached out and physically hit me.
And it was then that I realized | Every choice was mine
And every choice has a consequence.
I know it sounds simple but this was Not an easy thing for me to realize. And realize I did… Now I was responsible for my life.. and the things happening in it; down to the way I was feeling in every given moment.
This required a great deal of mental stretching and breaking out of my own head. I was so stuck in myself Scared to go out and face my own dreams and aspirations; to just plain get out in the world, simply because I was scared of societal judgments. I had to unlearn a lot of sabotaging programming from my youth and young adult hood.
Now all of a sudden my unsatisfactory marriage, was me being a cold, resentful wife. I didn’t see his faults as an excuse for me anymore, and that left me with a long, hard look at myself. This wasn’t just in my marriage, it was my Life. From my kids, to my estranged relationship with my family.. the way it was so hard for me to build healthy relationships, and friendships, and full circle.. back to me, and the way I have always treated and thought of myself. Insert nights of hidden tears and days of ever-present overwhelm.
Now I told you this realization was not easy, but to loosely quote Tim Ferris, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. In fact, it had broken my mind, and like a butterfly shattering a chrysalis, I emerged with new capabilities.
I knew I had made an important mental shift and I had no idea what to do with it. I decided to do what was already working for me. Make Goals. Then Make better Goals.
Momentum Is Key
Never underestimate the power of mental momentum
Being without momentum is rough. It is how I had been living most of my life. For me, It was the difference between hitting the snooze button a few times in the morning, and then getting up vs just turning the damn thing off. It was persevering with a stoic face when all 3 of my children are having emotions bigger than themselves. It is wearing my keyboard out, while burning holes in my eyes as my family sleeps to pursue mypassions… that way I am better apt to focus on them, and our goals together during the day.
Once I realized what momentum was for me
What it felt like for me
I was able to recognize the ebb and flow of it
Because I am very much of an up and down kind of person….
I have Huge Bursts of Energy and Insight, and I want to explode all of my feelings and understandings unto everyone around me.
These times for me are a whirlwind of making things happen, overestimating myself, surprising myself, connecting, and learning. So Much Learning that it is vital to get some down time.
Rest and Recovery is Essential
Everyone needs time for themselves. There are no exceptions. Especially for me. I would find myself craving to be alone after the constant touching and talking that comes with toddlers and at first thought I must be a horrible mother. Please. Excuses.
But with 2 littles under 2 running around I had to get a little creative for my much needed R&R. Most of my rest was not actually sleeping but if the babes are busy mommies brain was resting. Here were some of my go to strategies.
Crucial. Wear them out in the morning then stuff their bellies and send them to their rooms. Or to your bed with you if you must. Make nap time a priority for your family and make sure your taking part. No “getting stuff done” or needless cleaning. Promise, it can wait. Even a 20 minute rest with your eyes shut improves focus and mental function.
Take a Walk
When it’s no where near nap time and your feeling frazzled throw those babies in the stroller. Won’t stay quiet long enough.. bring snacks! The outside air and steady pace will keep them quite and entertained for a bit so you can make a phone call to family or just zone out in your thoughts for a few minutes. Ah bliss.
Find a park with a fence
Why aren’t these everywhere. The first time I saw one I thought well this is nice. No it is much better. It is ingenious. Yes, you still have to watch your kids moms. But the stress will be exponentially better and you can maybe lay in the grass with a book or take the time to watch the kids from afar peacefully and think of all the ways they make your life better. Regular playgrounds can work also.
Cuddle up with a book. This is a great way to unwind with your children. Even the littlest ones can get involved with the right books. I would give my smallest an indestructible book while my eldest and I went through another. This will give you all the good feels and get you unplugged while bonding with your most important.
Your Partner, Family, and Friends are all their to help. You just need to say when things are piling up and be specific about what could actually help you. Don’t feel bad about needing an extra hand or an hour to soak in a bubble bath.
Take yourself on a date
Not your husband or family or friends. Just You. My favorite way to get back in sync with myself is to be able to just be myself. i am quiet and reserved. When I am with my family I am the boss on a loud speaker. Spa day, lite lunch and a stroll through town or the beach, a scenic drive, a long hike, or a day hiding in your room with a book are all good ways to reconnect with yourself.
Once I realized I had made it this far by haphazardly implementing just these few vital keys
Responsible for Self / This is your Choice
Mental Momentum / Make Goals and Go After Them
Rest And Recovery / Avoid Burnout and Overwhelm
I was better able to understand the real possibilities for myself, my family, and our lives together that blew my mind and our world right open…
I have grown exponentially since those years, and my world and mind are still wide open. I have since moved with my Husband and 2 small children to Hawaii where we added another so now we are 5. Here we will be prepping for full-time travel starting fall 2019 and will be World Schooling our family.
I am so grateful everyday that I took those first steps that inspired me and re-developed my love of learning. It touches deep into my life and seeing it Now I realize I am going through, and may, very-well always be going through, an Intensive Lifestyle Change.
For most people this feels too hard to achieve and they live their life in a comfortable form of acceptance / denial. It is doable. It is actually just a way of life and all it takes is starting with key changes in the right parts of life.
Diet and Exercise is everything.
If you shed everything about you down to your basics you are left with nothing but a need to eat and you need to be able to move efficiently to do that. Pretty important. It just is. This is the Magic Cure you have been waiting for.
I was a fast food junkie who would’ve said the best date ever was a place with a monster cheeseburger, fries and ranch, topped off with a few choice drinks. Beer.
Simply achieving my first goal of drinking half my body weight a day in water was enough to bring on a cascade of events that led to an extremely different way of living.
Drink water for an instant upgrade in life. It alone will change everything. It has been proven to make you focus better and just be plain Happier. Plus, beyond just improved mental functions.. Literally Every Single Part of Our Bodies Function Better. Our joints move better, exercise isn’t as challenging and more effective, organs function better. And with the skin being the largest organ, it benefits greatly. Who is possibly against supple, glowing skin and feeling super-charged?
Start the day off with a healthy choice
I started with Avocado toast with an egg. I wasn’t far off the mark and still enjoy this quick easy breakfast all the time. There are so many reasons to make sure this meal is the one you choose to be healthy with. It fires up your metabolism, increases energy, boosts brain power, and starts your day with a positive mindset that will flow into all of your choices that day.
Cut out Fast Food
This can be so hard to start but a great momentum boost when you achieve it. Try saying no next time your partner or friend go through a drive-thru. If you are a fast food junkie like I was then this will be no easy feat but will gain you major reward Fast and in all parts of your life. From saving money, to increasing will-power, to saving your guts from the the processed nightmare they call food. This one is a game-changer to add on early!
Eat more Fruits and Veggies
This is something we all know. Or do we. The nutrition knowledge in the world is extremely lacking. It took a lot of self-propelled research for me to understand why I had been dieting and failing all my life. Everything I thought I knew about food was wrong. Food has so many functions in our body and it is so important to have a Balanced Diet.
Fruits and Veggies are so easy to start implementing in your life. Leaving a snack tray of cut veggies and humus in the fridge is a great way to reach for something healthy for a snack or to add to a lite lunch. I never thought my kids would eat raw broccoli or a beet. Experiment with new selections from your produce stand and you will often surprise yourself.
Cut out Processed Foods and Refined Sugar
Imagine walking into a grocery store and only needing to walk down 1 or 2 isles and the produce section. Just the time saved not looking at all those pretty pictures of yummy concoctions on these boxes and cans is worth it. Surprise yourself by making one of these delicious simple 5 ingredient recipes
Diet has taken on a whole new meaning for me since I have implemented these steps. It doesn’t mean losing weight anymore. It is a word that only refers to the way I eat. I now am implementing minimalist meal plans with ingredients from farmers markets and locally sourced meat markets. Life can change rapidly and if you keep pushing yourself you will find yourself living a life you didn’t you could reach.
Find Something you Enjoy
I knew it all along.. “a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest”
– someone a lot smarter than me, and probably you too
Besides my short stint of running around the block in the a.m. that was back too many lifes to count, I can’t say I was much into exercise. A few simple home routines of stretching at night and I was able to enjoy movement again. That led to bike riding which let me find reunite with my love of everything outdoors. Finding even a small routine that is under your comfort level can help build the momentum for a greater challenge. Here are 18 Best Workout Apps For Lazy Girls.
Find Natural Exercise
The world is your playground. Don’t forget to go play in it.
I got so stuck in an inside routine where my kids watched too much t.v. and I stared at computers too long. This was exactly what I said I would avoid as a mother and I fell in the same easy trap as most of society. When we bought a kid carrier and started biking I fell in love. With more than the energy of the ride, with the sun on my skin, and the wind in my hair. This connection to the outdoors did wonders for me mentally and physically. Hiking, mountain climbing, snorkeling, and exploring are all now frequent activities that keep me out of the gym and happy and healthy.
Sticking to Routine
We are all creatures of habit. Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us comfortable and that is why routines are life savers. Don’t think diet and exercise were just a thing I always did or just easily started up one day. I also went from waking up at 5 p.m. to 5 a.m… which is now getting switched to 4 a.m.
What is this sorcery?
It is my wonderful brain.. rewiring itself.. to protect it’s simple emotional human. They say it only takes 30 days of enforcing a habit to make it a habit. I believe it. I have done it ..over and over. I am constantly surprised at how quickly I can change, build, and develop new skills.
Self Love Starts with Self Care
My skin has always given me trouble. Chicken bumps, ingrown hairs, acne, stretch marks were all plagues of my teenage years that led to insecurities and continuing conditions in my adult years. An epilator, exfoliating, and dressing up are my favorite tools for an instant Goddess Feeling. Find what makes You Feel Beautiful.
I had finally jumped on the band wagon and got waxed. My whole damn body. I went back twice because I really liked my waxer but I knew instantly I had to find a better way. This bad boy gets you soft and smooth at home on your own time, in the shower or out, and even has exfoliating heads for your face and body. Game. Changer.
When your skin is that bare you need to maintain it! Store bought body scrub is Expensive and full of chemicals but it is so easy to make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Bonus: you get to pretend your at the spa while your husband deals with the screaming kids and you level up in the shower. Go throw some raw sugar and coconut oil together, scrub away, and see how just that simple concoction makes you glow.
Dress For Who You Want To Be
I was always a tank top and jeans girl. I used to see and even buy cute clothes but never wear them for fear of looking out of place or silly. To possibly hear someone say..”what are you wearing?!” was mortifying. A pair of waist-high sage colored hobo shorts bought in a “I’m A New Women” mode, threw me out there and I realized something extremely freeing.. Most people don’t care what your wearing and really it doesn’t matter all that much if they did. I threw the rest of my clothes out. Seriously.
Organize and Minimalize your Life
One day I started throwing clothes in bags and got them the hell out of my house. I was sick of the piles of clothes I barely even liked or wore being Everywhere! It was freeing and absolutely addicting. I have now spread this concept to all parts of my life. Right down to my thoughts. I am able to actually see what matters in my life and focus on that with all my extra time and energy.
Some of the ways I have cut down on clutter in my life is
When I found out I could own only a handful of clothes, look and feel amazing, save tons of money and time, plus unburden myself from too many choices and mountains of laundry.. I was ALL in. These are a few ladies and their wardrobes that inspired me to make the change.
The cutest video of Kitty Cotten and her awesome capsule wardrobe. This one came right after she had a baby so it is nursing friendly and you still get to look amazing!
I was spending too much time in the kitchen, too much money at the store,and throwing away tons of leftovers and rotten veggies. Enough was enough. I started adapting a minimalist meal plan thought up by Miranda over at Live Free Creative Co. She is another amazing maker mama who is all about Energy Management!
Mindset is Everything
This should be first but it is last for a simple reason. I couldn’t stand to hear it before I understood it and I didn’t want to scare you away. But, hey, your at the end now so there it is.
There was a question I asked myself daily for years and when I answered it for the first time I broke down and cried till I was dry. When I was done feeling sorry myself I knew I could get up and change it or stay the way I was. So I decided I would “fake it till I make it” and got Happy.
You will always be presented with situations that are hard or will disrupt your peace and happiness. How you mentally tackle these situations will forge your path. When you are upset and irrational it is too easy to lead yourself down a destructive path. Mental toughness is built from continued success with staying positive in rough times.
The first time I knew it was working:
When my girl brought me a pen from my desk smiling and told me to “come see” while I was trying to get a moments reprieve in the bathroom; I looked at her with raised eyebrows, calmly finished up and followed her. My new white office chair had the mad but proud scribbles of a little Willow girl all over it.
I stood there for a second upset and when I would have usually snapped I thought… Well damn thats some nice scribblin’. I have no idea who that was in my head but when I bust out laughing and was then able to follow with a calm, connected talk with my girl I decided I was going to be listening to her a Lot More!
Want to know what that anguish filled question I asked myself daily was?
“Why am I Doing This”
If you are asking yourself that question still then I suggest you answer it.
Because it will put you well on your way to a great Lifestyle Change!
Hello! I am Amanda and this was my first Blog Post Ever!!!
Wish me luck, Tell me your story, Let me know how you made a change in your life or want to make a change in your life! I am here to share and connect and would Love to hear from you!