Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hawaii, Day Three, Part two

That's J above, pictured with one of the hula dancers we saw at the Royal Lahaina Luau last night.  After the snorkel trip, we dashed back to the house to shower and change for the luau.  We'd all been looking frward tothis.  After all, what's a Hawaiin vacation without a luau?  This luau didn't disappoint.  We arrived for check in about 5, and waited for the gates to open.  Once the gates opened, our picture was taken and we were shown to our table.  A waiter came with drinks, which were included.  Except for blended drinks, which were $15 and came in a souvenir cocnut with free refills all night.  I ordered a pina colada, minus the rum so the kids could enjoy, too.  The pre show started,and featured music and a hula lesson given by the mistress of ceremonies.  A was eager to participate in that and now considers herself a trained hula girl.  After the pre show, the buffet was opened.  It consisted of salad, fruit, rolls,kalua pig, kalua turkey, chicken, hawaiin steak, sweet potatoes, fried rice, noodles, macaroni salad, and dessert.  There was a kid's buffet as well with kid favorites like hot dogs and mac and cheese.  Everything was very tasty and during dinner the hour long show began.  There were male and female hula dancers and a fire show at the end.  The kids really enjoyed the show and afterwards the dancers were available for pictures.  You can see some of our luau experience in the photos below.


Hawaii,Day Three, Part One

Sorry this blog post is a bit late.  Yesterday was jam packed from morning til night.  The day started out with a snorkeling trip on a 65 ft boat.  We checked in our group of 16 at the Lahaina Harbor at 7:30 and boarded the boat about 8.  There were several other people on board for the half day snorkeling adventure.  The day was clear and sunny with a wonderful breeze as we set out.  The crew set out a continental breakfast for our enjyment as we cruised out of the harbor.  Fresh fruit, muffins, and juice were enjoyed as we moved at a nice clip towards our destination.  After about an hour we reached our first stop, the Molikani crater.  Those who wished could get off the boat to snorkel.  The kids loved this, even A.  Wearing a life jacket and her own tiny fins, snorkel, and mask, she swam with her daddy and saw all kinds of Nemo fishies.  Her words, not mine. 

I did not get off the boat, but stayed aboard to take photos from the deck.  I should tell you that I did not bring my dslr camera on the snrokel trip.  Not being sure what to expect, I was worried it could get damaged so had to be content with the rest of the group'soint and shoot cameras.  I will tell you the scenery was beautiful and I wished I had brought it along and taken the risk.  We did have some underwater cameras but those photos will have to get developed and scanned in back home.

After about an hour, everyone reboarded the boat and we set off ofr our second stop.  While we were cruising, a dei style lunch was provided and was again delicious.  We reached our second stop, which the crew simply referrred to as turtle town, in about an hour.  Unfortunately, the wind was a bit high, so the captain made the decision to move onto another turtle town, so called because of the large number of sea turtles in the area.  At the second stop, I even got off the boat.  I love sea turtles and the chs nce to see them in their natural environment was too tempting to resist.  I used a boogie board with a "mask"  viewer nd was able to enjoy all the beautiful sea life and corla.  I didn't see any turtles while I was in the water, but saw several from the boat deck.  Guess they all hid with eveyone splashing around!

I must include a description of the surroundings in this post.  The mountains and beaches we passed were beautiful of course.  But it was the Pacific Ocean that was the star of the day.  The water alternated between a deep sapphire blue and emerald green, depending on where we were.  Colorful schools of fish were visible even from the surface.  And below the surface was a whole world of magical creatures and colors.  And let me tell you that water was cold!   Living in Florida, I've been in the Atlantic plenty.  The Pacific is definitely colder!

We returned to the harbor about 1:30.  The first part of our day was over and it was time to head back to thenhouse to get ready for the evening.  A traditional Hawaiin Luau.  See the next post for details on that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hawaii, Day Two

Our adventure today was a scenic ride on the Sugar Cane Train.  Contrary to the name, there was no sugar cane lesson or anything remotely relating to sugar cane.  The ride was a scenic one through the old whaling town of Lahaina.  After the ride, we visited the Cannery Mall for a little lunch and shopping.  N and A both opted for a ukulele as a souvenir.  Yikes!  What was I thinking?  A also got a grass skirt and a tiny coconut bra to wear and dance the hula.  Like a typical teenager, J opted to buy sunglasses and t-shirts. 

After the shopping, part of the group headed back to the house while the remainder stayed in Lahaina to visit the whaling museum.  They are still not back so I have no idea how it was.  On the way home,we stopped at a little farmer's market and got a coconut for A so she could drink the milk.  She'd been saying she wanted to drink milk from a coconut for weeks prior to the trip.  Coconut milk is now her favorite drink she says.  At least it was until she drank some after eating potato chips.  Then she decided it was nasty.  I guess salty chips just don't mix well with fresh cocunt milk.

Tomorrow's adventure is an all day snorkeling trip, followed by the Royal Lahaina Luau.  The boat will take us out at 8am and we will stay out til mid afternoon.  Breakfast and lunch are included.  Then we have a few hours to relax and get ready for the traditional Hawaiin Luau.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hawaii, Day One

Aloha!  We made it to Maui yesterday at 11:30am local time, after a long day of traveling.  The trip itself went without a hitch.  Connections were made, flights were uneventful, the kids behaved, and out of fourteen travelers, only one suitcase was lost.  The house we rented in Kihei is wonderful.  With such a large group we needed lots of space and the Hale Lelani fits the bill with six bedrooms and four baths. 

Yesterday was spent settling in, shopping for groceries, and crashing in a jet lagged fog around 9:00pm.  Today everyone was up for a bit more adventure.  We scouted out a beach and spent a good portion of the day enjoying the sun, sand, and water.  The temperature is in the upper eighties, but with the cool ocean breezes, it feels more like the mid seventies. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why no, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, thanks for asking

I know, I know.  The whole point of keeping a blog is to keep it updated and current.  It's just that life tends to get in the way.  The past five months have been jam packed to the point that I was lucky to remember my own name.  There have been some wonderful times, along with some terrible times.  A brief recap since my last post:

February saw J turning 14, the start of his 2010 LIttle League season, and all the rest of the many school and extracurriculars that make up our life. 

March brought unspeakable heartbreak when a dear friend lost her 21 month old daughter after an unexpected and brief illness.  I was able to travel along with a couple of other dear friends to offer her support and comfort.  Out of this tragedy came many lessons for me, as a friend and as a mother. 

April saw the pace of the school year start to pick up as J moved into his final weeks as an 8th grader at the school he'd been a student at since pre-k.  A was preparing for her dance recital and N for his gymnastics exhibition.  Baseball continued, along with school events, a field trip to St. Augustine, and graduation plans started to roll.

May is still a blur of school events, mostly for J's class as we preprared to send them off in style.  They had a dance, an etiqutte luncheon, a retreat, a trip to Disney, and graduation pictures.  The emotions were threatening to swamp me at this point as I watched my not so little boy close the book on several precious chapters of his childhood. 

June brought J's graduation, along with a couple of parties to celebrate.  It brought the end of the school year and finally, a chance to relax and just breathe.  For a few days anyway.  We're currently preparing for a trip to Hawaii.  We'll be traveling with my extended family for a thirteen day trip.  This trip has been in the planning stages for a year and it's hard to believe we leave on Saturday.  That's right.  This Saturday we will be winging our way to a dream vacation.  I plan to try and blog about the trip while we are gone.  Hopefully I can accomplish that goal!  If all goes well, my next post will be from the beautiful island of Maui.  Aloha!