It's been 8 years since I've left my beloved home state. My husband and I were talking and basically we figured if we didn't go somewhere now, it would be quite a while before we went anywhere with baby coming soon. Last year we had talked about the Oregon Coast (one of my favorite trips as a young adult). However, you have to book at least 6+ months in advance and since we decided to go on vacation only 2 months ago that was not going to happen. I wanted the kids to see a beach and the ocean. Living in a landlocked state it is something they had never experienced. I also needed easy. I would be 7+ months pregnant at vacation time.
I did some research and all my life I have wanted to go to Hawaii. Talk about a beach and ocean. However, 8 hours on an airplane with 3 small children, that might be asking a lot. But we decided we'd put the new carpet for our home on hold and do a big family vacation anyway. The kids have never been on an airplane so more new experiences for them!
I had been planning to have my life long best friend come up for a summer visit but when we decided on where we were going for vacation we decided she should go on vacation with us instead of a quick 2 day trip during the summer. Plus, it would be nice to have a 1:1 kid/adult ratio at the beach to help with the kids. She was thrilled to go along. (My kid adore her and consider her a surrogate aunt.)
We did not really do much on vacation other than go to the beach and snorkel. We didn't do the Road to Hana or see the volcano. We just wanted to be at the beach. We went every day. We snorkeled every day. We had shave ice as often as possible. We stayed in a 2 bedroom condo on the beach and cooked our own meals to save on costs (we even shopped at Costco while there - our Costco has better hot dogs - just saying). It was all heavenly. There always seemed to be a rainbow in Maui. Even the rain was warm like the ocean water. We saw fish every day. What an epic family vacation! Well worth the 8 years of waiting to get out of the state.
Funny story - T just started Cub Scouts. He was excited for the major service project of going to the local food bank and serving there. It happened to fall on the week we would be gone for vacation. Not knowing where our vacation was he asked us to reschedule our vacation because "we can go to north Idaho any time we want but I cannot serve at the food bank any time." I insisted we could not reschedule and he was pretty bummed with me. Finally we told him we were going to Maui and he really was speechless - mouth open, no words. I wish I had a video of that moment.
All the kids had an amazing time. They LOVED swimming, body surfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling, diving, building sand castles. EVERYTHING. They were just so happy there. The water was warmer than our neighborhood pool and the salty taste did shock the kids, too. I also never got tired of watching them play on the beach. My 6:00 am wake up call every morning was little BB asking, "Can we go to the beach?!?" Then she would head into the bathroom and change into her swim clothes. The sunsets were lovely but I have to say ours are prettier in Idaho. It was like being on an alien planet with different plants and animals and all that humidity. It was refreshing and recharging but it is also wonderful to be back at home!
And we were not without travel adventures. BB developed a viral GI bug on the way home. Six clothing changes in 24 hours in airports. We flew the red eye home and by the 4th change I was done! 7 months pregnant, tired sick toddler, no sleep for me - I was SO done. Not an apex mothering moment but I've never claimed to be perfect. Traveling with kids is not for the weak, that's for sure. Aside from that and one really amazing screaming moment on the flight from Phoenix to Maui where BB decided she wanted off the plane and the flight attendant felt she needed to calm my child for me and I had to ask politely 5 times to be left alone, BB was actually pretty amazing on the plane. The older kids were amazing. S is born to be a world traveler. She carried all her own luggage and backpack the entire time - no complaints and no questions. She was a machine.
Another fun aspect of our trip - the youngest of hubby's older sisters happen to be on Maui at the same time as us. She and Uncle Doc stopped by our beach, played with the kids, boogie boarded, snorkeled and just had a fun morning with us. That was special for all of us. The kids were so surprised when they showed up and had such a great time.
Here are lots of photos. But these are less than 10% of them. We took SO many. So I narrowed it down to the top 40 or so.
Lots of photos of kids on the beach playing. Little BB LOVED shopping so she often was found in a shop with a hat and trying to match a hat with it. T was almost always in the water. S went to a lei making class with her daddy (very charming). I did a bit of snorkeling myself and there's a photo of me at 30 weeks pregnant. Several photos of the Maui Ocean Center, too. Some photos of my best friend who join us - Ms. M. It was such a delight to have her along.
I will say it one last time - such a great time! Epic Family Vacation!!!