We just got back from a vacation with family in Hawaii. This was a trip that came about rather quickly through a series of extraordinary circumstances. Kris and I went with the knowledge that we probably would not soon be taking our kids back to the beautiful but expensive island of Maui. Much as I loved being there, the cost of getting there, staying near the beach and feeding ourselves was much more than we typically spend on a family vacation. So with that in mind, we did as much as we could, trying to squeeze as many great experiences and memories out of our time there as possible. Here are just a few of my trip highlights:
-laying in the sun, being warm 🙂
– watching the cousins play together in the surf
-snorkeling with Kris, one of my very most favorite marine activities
-going out on a boat with our kids and Papa
-getting up at 3:30 a.m. to drive to the top of Mt. Haleakala in order to watch the sunrise, only to arrive at the top and be completely surrounded by clouds and rain. It may not have turned out like we planned, but everybody was still smiling as we drove back down. What a memory!
-seeing more whales than I could count
-watching the kids gather around Oma for stories
-seeing Jennika snorkel for the first time. Seeing the internal fight with the fear of something new and choosing to trust that Mommy and Daddy have something good in store for her.
-her exclamation at how close to her the fish were once she put her face in the water
-eating fish
-a car and room upgrade for free!
-The most beautiful sunny last day on the beach before flying home at 11 at night, complete with a sea turtle that we could wade out to watch. What a perfect way to end the trip.

Here’s some of my other observations and thoughts about our vacation:
-The beach would be absolutely perfect without sand. 🙂
– If possible I will ALWAYS attempt to travel without checking luggage.
-In that same line of thought, purchasing little suitcases for each of the kids to pull on their own through the airport was well worth the money.
-There are few things that feel as sweet as exhaustion after a full day of activity.
-For as much as I despise the sand, there are few things I find more irresistible than a sun-tanned toddler, covered with sand.
-We are not the type of family that expects or fully appreciates extravagance. I think it is wasted on us. Example: $10,000 fish swimming in the pool outside the hotel mean nothing to me. All I think is, hmm, that money could have fed/dewormed/educated a lot of kids.
-Despite what many may think, none of us deserve vacations. They are a treat, not a right.
-Hard as the restorts may try to hide it, there is poverty mixed among the luxury and extravagance. Poverty is everywhere and we should not ignore it…not even on vacation.

Sorry if those last three are too intense. I do struggle with finding the balance between spending our resources responsibly and taking advantage of the amazing places all around us and the opportunities we have to explore them. Please don’t misunderstand. I LOVED our vacation, it was wonderful and I’m glad we went.



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