We just survived our first family trip that involved a FLIGHT! Our awesome friends, Chan & Joe, have a cool Vacation Bicycling company that takes 20-30 people on tours around the US, with a stop every year in Maui. This year they invited us to join them there the week before their trip – lucky us!
We were determined NOT to be “those people” who had 17 bags of stuff for a weeklong trip, just because we have 2 kids. In fact, we had ONE suitcase, a backpack each, and Zoe insisted on bringing her ladybug roller bag, of course. We rented carseats from the car rental company and a pack-n-play, stroller and hook-on high chair from a local baby stuff rental place that dropped off AND picked up.
One surprise? Ella’s carseat faced forward… She’s been facing backward at home (guidelines are 1 year or 20 lbs and she’s both, but they still say 2 years is best to wait). Guess who didn’t even notice that her seat was facing forward? (me) Guess how I figured it out? On our ride to the condo, I noticed Ella was super quiet and honestly looked mesmerized, to which Bart pointed out that she’s NEVER seen the windshield! And what a first sight: HAWAII!
Our first big adventure was a luau at the Grand Wailea. Our friends do NOT have kids and have known me for a LONG time – in fact, they took me to Maui for the first time years ago, so I warned them ahead of time that “this trip would be different”. However, I was determined to prove that having kids doesn’t mean everything’s super complicated. HA!
We coordinated timing to get to the luau to get great seats, and I assured them that being on time would be no problem. To get to the luau, we parked at the Grand Wailea and were given “directions” of sorts. Let’s just say we had 2 kids, a stroller and a diaper bag and someone (me) got us “lost”, and we had to carry that stroller and one of those kids down EIGHT flights of stairs… Oops?
We showed up to meet our incredible friends who had piña coladas waiting! Now that’s what I call FRIENDSHIP. At the luau we had front-row seats, and Zoe volunteered to go up on stage for hula lessons to represent our table. She was AWESOME (yes, I’m biased):
Afterwards she told me, “Mommy. At first I was nervous up there, but then it was fun!” May she remember that lesson for the rest of her life.
We did a lot of other fun things on our trip, including:
- Dinner by the beach at sunset at the Hula Grill in Ka’anapali.
- One afternoon at the beach where we forgot Ella’s hat and had to put up a beach umbrella and “bring the ocean” to her. Zoe buried herself in the sand, then complained later about all the sand in her suit, insisting she “didn’t like the beach” – and I stepped on a bee (don’t tell Zoe or she’ll NEVER go to the beach).
- Plenty of “pool time” with goggles and floaties and new friends. Zoe gave the blue “jewel” on her crocs to a little girl who fell in love with it (so sweet), and the next day the little girl had made her a thank you card :)
- A day trip to Paia to eat lunch at Milagros (re: Lava Flow), shop and watch the windsurfers (amazing).
- We also visited the Maui Ocean Center, the best aquarium ever. I’ve never seen such vibrant, colorful marine life (I mean, it IS Hawaii) or walked through a clear tube with thousands of pounds of water all around, watching manta rays and sharks swim above. Zoe took over my audio tour and schooled us on all the fish (get it? schooled?).
All in all, it was a success, though I must say, it was NOT the relaxing “Beautiful Hawaii” trip one might expect… Getting out of the condo each time was an adventure: Snacks? Hats? Sunscreen? Water? Diapers? Stroller? Entertainment? And THAT was just to make sure the kids were taken care of. Yes, if you’re a mom right now (or have traveled with kids), you’re thinking “What did you expect, Susie?” I can honestly say I don’t know, but this past year has been pretty NONSTOP without much travel, so I should have given it a little more thought ;)
Regardless, I’m glad we went, and I’m thankful for my incredible friends who gave us the opportunity to go (and tolerated us on THEIR Hawaiian vacation)!
Oh, and Ella’s first flight was pretty awesome – especially since it was 5.5 hours long. She napped for a couple of hours, played with the toys + apps + books we had brought, and walked the aisles saying “HI” to everyone for a while. On the way home, not so much. The flight took off late and disrupted nap time… so after about an hour of a squirmy, disgruntled kid, we brought out the meds. Thank you, Benadryl, for the 3-hour nap ;)
Or should I say, Mahalo?
If you want to see some more cool sights from the aquarium, check out these super short videos: