Welcome to my blog

Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here Today, Gone to Maui

        As I sat in the hot tub of the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Maui, I struck up a conversation with the older gentleman who was hogging the best jet.  When he asked where I was from, I fumbled.  As I started to say Phoenix, I ended up saying "Phoahu".  I had to explain my fumble - that we are from Phoenix, but living in Oahu for 4 months and have come to Maui for a vacation.  He said I should be embarrassed to tell people that.  I am, but I'm also so excited about our good fortune, that I cannot contain myself.  I told him he should be happy for me and he assured me that he was.  So, here I was, in Maui for vacation, from Oahu, and it was great!

        There is something for everyone on Maui and I mean everyone.  My family, including my parents, spent last week in Maui, on its western shore.  Here we experienced all the variety Maui has to offer, in scenery, in weather, in activities.   Maui is called the valley isle and once you fly in, it is easy to see why. If you've been to any other Hawaiian islands,  you will appreciate how unique it really is.   There is a vast valley between two volcanic mountains.  To the east is Haleakala, a 10,023 ft peak, on the north slope of which is the famed Road to Hana.  To the west is Pu'u Kukui, the 5,787 ft peak, on the west shore of which is Lahaina, Kaanapali and some of the best snorkeling in the world.

Steve at the top of Haleakala overlooking the valley and Pu'u Kukui (under distant clouds)
      We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa, our first experience with real  luxury (thanks to a great Costco promotion) on our Hawaii trip.  Upon arrival at this Kaanapali resort, one of many along Kaanapali beach just north of Lahaina, we were indulged by the the scenery, the staff, and the accommodations.  The lobby entrance was gorgeous with a large atrium filled with flowers, trees, ponds and wildlife, including penguins and colorful birds.

African Crowned Crane
The pool was a massive oasis which included a tunnel through a pool bar to the kids' side which had fountains, floating animals, a sand bottom and slides.  All of this, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a tremendous view of

Saturday, October 23, 2010


        My parents are visiting from Phoenix this week and it is so nice to be reminded of home in such a personal way, a visit from your family.   On their visit we are trying to do things that bring us together as a family; sightseeing, playing and dining together.

They arrived just in time for Joseph's birthday, but Jospeh and Alex had previously arranged plans for the day, so the family celebration would have to wait.   The boys participated in the Lacey Veach day of Exploration at the Punahou School, in celebration of Hawaii's own astronaut who flew in the Space Shuttle.  He died of cancer in 1995, but his family continues his great work bringing science to the children of the islands by providing this activity each year.  It was apparent that the whole community missed him terribly and sought to honor him by spreading his passion for science to the next generation.  Joseph and Alex had a great time learning about the ocean and electricity while participatingin fun hands-on events  (ANLCers, sound familiar?).  Our family was able to come together for dinner for Joseph's birthday when we dined at the Oceanarium, which has a two-story aquarium inside.  As a special treat, we had a diver dive into the aquarium and hold a sign wishing Joseph a happy birthday.

      A visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is a must-see here in Oahu, not only to pay respect to those that died on December 7, 1941, but also to experience the history of this place and the history of the United States of America.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flying By

        We went flying, quite literally, this week. We all went parasailing off the coast of Honolulu, even the little ones.  We went in threes.  First, Steve, Nicki and I were harnessed and attached to a parachute at the back of a speed boat.  Once we were secure, they let 'er rip and we were suddenly lifted up into the sky on a 700ft line, an exhilarating and fun feeling.    It felt like I was a kite taking off and then coasting through the air.  We were at the mercy of the gentle trade winds, pushing us around in a most pleasant way.  With the magnificent view and noticeable quiet, I did not want this 10 minute ride to end.  As they retracted our line for the return, we were dunked in the ocean.  This was a pleasant surprise right before we landed safely on the boat.   As Joseph, Alex and Steve (yes, Steve again) lifted off, I could see in their faces, what I felt on my turn......pure joy and surprise mixed with a little uneasiness, but so much anticipation for the rest of the ride.

Just taking off!
        Our whole trip so far has been a lot like my parasailing experience.   It all took off with a flurry of activity as I planned many activities each week.  Even the thought of homeschooling motivated and excited me back then.   Now, in the middle of our journey, we coast.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just the Two of Us

Yes, we've been working out
        It really hit me while Steve and I were driving back to our apartment.  I was singing along to More Than a Woman by the Bee Gees when I realized we were actually alone.  The combination of the lack of bickering, the sound of actual music (which replaced our typical children's audio book on the stereo) and the view of Diamond Head  triggered a most welcome relaxed, vacationy feel. We were returning from a great snorkeling trip to Kahe Point Beach Park (nicknamed Electric Beach) while the kids were in camp.  

        This week marked the first time since we have arrived in Hawaii that Steve and I got to spend time alone.  It was fall intersession here, a break from school which allows families to spend quality time together.  Luckily there's another option, with a number of camps offered during these breaks.  It was the perfect opportunity for our family to spend just a little time apart.  I signed the kids up for 3 days of camp: a science camp at the Bishop museum, a "Hawaiiana" camp at the YWCA, and a magic camp at a local elementary school.   While they were having fun and maybe even learning something, Steve and I got to have a little "vacation" for ourselves.

        As our children made poi and learned some more Hawaiian words, Steve and I went snorkeling at Electric Beach, which is across the street from an electrical power plant.  Aside from the obvious aesthetic value of having a beach near an electrical facility, this is a great place to snorkel.  As in most electrical plants, water is used to cool down the generating equipment.  This clean water becomes

Saturday, October 2, 2010

La Hanau Season

        This week marked the beginning of what I call Birthday Season.  It's the time of year in which we celebrate all three kids' birthdays.  Alex's and Nicki's were this week and Joseph's is coming up.  We didn't exactly plan to have all three kids at the start of fall three years apart like clockwork, but I love the way it worked out.   After the excitement of summer and start of school, it's great to kick off the national holiday season with our very own Birthday Season, just as the weather in Phoenix starts to cool down.  For me, Birthday Season is better than Mother's Day, because each birthday represents the anniversary of the days I became a mother for the first, second and third times.  Each of those days was special and beautiful.  Looking back, I want to relive every aspect of having my children.   I wish I could go back and hold their tiny (well, not so tiny at 9, 9.3 and 10lbs) little bodies in my arms.   I wish I could take back all the times I'd wished they'd hurry up and grow out of a certain unpleasant phase of their life.  Now, I sometimes wish they would just stop growing.  I really didn't like the newborn phase with all the crying and lack of sleep, but I sometimes envy the clarity I had when my children were infants.  It's a time when everything is put into perspective by the fact that your sole purpose is to take care of this little creature for a while.  Almost nothing else matters at this stage and outside pressures and influences often get their proper due, and are ignored.  Birthday Season is a time for me to reflect and celebrate my children's, and my own, growth.

        This year, our birthday celebrations will have to do without some of the normal trappings of a birthday at home.  There is no big birthday sign which is usually left on the wall for months.   I won't be making any elaborately decorated cakes or cupcakes.  While I really do enjoy the baking, I'm relieved that  there's no need to triple bake for each birthday, once for the birthday itself on the actual date, once for the school celebration and once for the party which is often held on the weekend after.   Alex didn't even want cake this year.  We went out for Shave Ice instead and sang "Happy Birthday"  in the Waiola General store while it poured outside.  And for Nicki's birthday, we made a simple cake and orange Jell-O.


        This year, there weren't any nicely wrapped presents meant to surprise the kids, either.  We've