Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

My intent was to post this with pictures, but I have to sort through and size down before I post them, so I thought I'd get this post out now without waiting any more. Some pictures to come later.

Can I just say, Maui is exquisite? The Hawaiin Islands are an amazing place. At least Maui is. My husband and I are historians, but he never likes to visit museums when we go traveling. Probably because, professionally, we look at museums and think about how we could do it different, better, etc. But it was killing me not to know more about the history of the islands. I did, at last, visit the Sugar Museum, because it was also killing me not knowing how sugar was removed from the cane and my cousin, who lives on Maui, wasn't sure how it worked either. I know now and feel so much better knowing.

We went to a different beach on four different days. I got a rash at one. Not sure how or why, but it cleared up after a couple of days of avoiding the beach. We went to Iao Valley, a gorgeous, lush, green place. We went up Haleakala, 10,000 feet, with the clouds floating below our feet. We made a trip to the west side, to Lahaina. I wore a flower in my hair, but never got a fresh flower lei. $34 and up for it was a bit expensive. We checked out a mini-golf place, which was entertaining for the kids. We did some mall and outlet shopping and that was actually fun too. In the end, it doesn't seem we did a huge amount, but we decided we'd go at the pace our kids could handle and it seemed about right for all of us.

We never made it to Hana. I would have liked to, but seeing how winding the road was and how long it would take, I decided to give my second child a break from motion sickness and boredom in the car for both of them. We stayed in north Maui, not far from Kahului. The view out our backdoor was gorgeous, as was the inside of our rental place. My cousin lives further east from there. Paia is a funny little town, we stopped there a couple of times.

We rented a lovely little Ford Focus. If you're looking for a compact car, this was pretty nice. It could give our Toyota a run for its money. You go Ford, and keep it up. It was a cute green color we all liked, too. I didn't even take a picture of it. I should have. The biggest challenge about driving was trying to properly pronounce the Hawaiin street names to the driver, and then having the driver not sure how that was spelled or what it might look like written because we were totally not used to it. We had a pronunciation guide in one of the guide books, but there were lots of exceptions to the general rules of pronunciation, so we never quite got the hang of it.

None of this would have been possible if it hadn't been for my parents. It was my mom's idea to take all us kids and our significant others and children. They took care of the flight and the place we stayed. Everything else was up to us. We stayed in the big house with my sister, her two year old and 2 month old daughter and her husband. My parents had a cottage and my brother and his girlfriend had their own studio apartment under another building. This was my parents' fortieth anniversary present to all of us. I think what made this trip more special was getting to do it with all the family. We didn't always do things together in the day, but we would often gather in the big house at night and make dinner for everyone, talking about our adventures. My kids got to spend time with their cousins who live in Phoenix. Poor WC#2 got to learn what it was like to try to share with a two year old. They both did reasonably well, but there were conflicts. Despite that, they had quite a blast and loved being with each other. Extra special was that I got to see a cousin of mine from my mom's side, whom I may not have seen in 20 years or more. She has a two year old of her own, so my kids got first and second cousin time. I don't think this trip would have been quite as wonderful if it had been just us.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Thanks for having us in more ways than one!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Panic Before the Calm

Tomorrow is the flight to Hawaii. I have been working hard all week, going in early to work, getting prepared for a big to-do we had at work yesterday for the 4th of July. I am exhausted. I haven't had much time to think on what needed to get put together for our trip.

Today is the day. I have to check all the bags, make sure the kids have everything they need, check on toiletries and make sure we comply with all the FAA guidelines. Pack a big bag to check underneath. Put other toiletries in a plastic bag for the ride in the cargo hold of the plane. Make sure we have sunscreen, cameras, bug sprag or lotion, swimsuits, towels, the works. Pay a few bills before we take off, so they don't get forgotten.

Tonight we drive down to Chicago, stay in a hotel room before the flight. I think this is much better than trying to get kids up early, early, early in the morning to try to make it to our flight. We did a little shopping earlier in the week to try to get things for the trip. I think we're set.

But, I'm just a little panicked. I'm pretty sure we can get this all done, but it's not done yet.

At the very least, I got all the things done I needed done before leaving work last night. I was there until 7:15 pm, but it is done and behind me now. I can relax and not worry about all that.

Lots of things to look forward to: my sister's new baby, ocean views, sand and seas, tropical setting, a week there, time with my family. No internet, no cell phone service (well not for my phone, because it is out of network and I just don't use out of network), so I cannot be reached for anything at work. We're not sure what we'll do while there, but maybe we won't do much except explore Maui and check out all the beaches we can. The kids love water and love swimming at the lake, I figure this is the next step up.