I left off in the last blog edition somewhere in the middle ish of our trip, so here's the rest of the pictures and stories and moments and quotes and all of that!
Mom and I walked down to Whaler's Village one morning by ourselves to get coffee. Every other morning we had all come down together and had our Bible time on the beach, but that morning it was super windy and once Mom and I got down there we recommended the others read their Bibles in the room.
Meanwhile we found some super comfy chairs and curled up with our coffee. It was lovely to visit for an hour or so before we read our Bibles and fought the wind and hill back to the room.
We spent most of that day either at the pool or in the room doing school (for those of us who had to bring some with us). The condo complex had spent the previous 2-3 years redoing the pool and we really enjoyed
The next morning Dad and the boys left super early to trade out cars with our local friends who shared vehicles with us while we were there. They got breakfast out at Leoda's, which is one of our favorite places to get bread and pies, but also has amazing breakfast and lunch food.
Mom and I repeated our morning from the day before and brought back cinnamon rolls to share with the other girls who were happy to not have gotten up quite as early as the rest of us for once.
Once everyone was back we went to the beach as usual.
Last time we were in Maui Mom and Dad recreated a couples yoga pose, this year they wanted to do some new ones.
Gabe wanted to get in on it too.
So of course Mia tried.
This one was really hard to get into.
It's called Smush Jamie.
Then Gabe kinda just blew us away,
because what else would a gymnast do?
We usually bring a couple of games with us whenever we go to Maui. Poker and Scrabble were the big favorites this year.
In past years Mr David (one of the Canadian adopted grandparents/friends) has always smoked Christian and definitely persistent Mia who kept challenging him over and over even though she had no chance at winning.
This year the tables were turned. Christian gave him a run for his money in every game (as best I could tell) and even beat him once or twice. But Mia just plain beat him. It became the cabana challenge to see who could beat her and even though people doubled up against her and she never had any help, she still would win almost every time.
So one night when Dad suggested we play, Mia of course volunteered to join. The whole game Ava, Dad, and I tried so hard to get scores like hers, but the best we could do was to keep up with each other and let Mia blow us all out of the water. The oldies music we played at least helped with the mood. *wink* At the end of the game she was well over 70 points ahead of us.
(These next pictures came off of Dad's phone so I'm not totally sure when they were taken.)
Huge starfish, a first for us!
The daily turtle sighting.
No idea where this was, but it's pretty!
Gabe being Gabe.
As evening approaches...
We see stunning rainbows all the time there!
Saturday evening the Hodges' daughter had her birthday party so Mom, Dad, and the littles went. They had a wonderful time visiting, playing at the beach park, skating, and eating interesting dessert.
Splits everywhere. All the time.
I think this is the sunset they saw
from the other side of the island where they were.
Christian and I stayed longer at the beach, he finishing a Scrabble game and me doing a bunch of bullet journal planning and such. We joined Chloe after a bit and went to the pool. After showers and dinner, we walked to Whaler's Village for frozen stuff.
Sunday we went to church by the beach one last time. It was so special, especially getting to hear testimony of God's incredible power to heal. Worshipping God outside in His beautiful creation where anyone can see is something so amazing it's hard to put into words.
My island latte had special art that morning.
Ready for church. Yes, please to that view!
Back in the room we packed lunches and eventually all made it down to the beach. It had gotten kind of cloudy, but the waves were HUGE! It was perfect timing! The water had been so consistently calm that we were really excited for variety and enormous waves are so fun to all of us.
(Don't worry! We are all super familiar with this beach and the currents and wave patterns, we are strong swimmers that know our limits and know when it's too much to be safe, and most of us don't stay in the impact zone where it's easy to get tumbled and pounded too hard. So, all that being said, we were all just fine and had a fabulous time.)
We aren't expert wave-size-estimators, but from what we could see we think they were maybe about 8-15 foot swells. Standing in the water with the wave towering over you they probably look bigger than they really are, but at the same time, it's pretty easy to tell when something is twice as tall as you are...so...
Building to highest point
Beginning to curl
Fizzling out and pulling back
Highest point with splash
There is a definite wrong way to play in waves that would make it really easy to get scared and stuck and probably hurt. At most, though, I think one or two of us maybe got tumbled two times and even then, we all know how to recover pretty quickly.
The wave sets came in groups of two all the way up to groups of five so we just had to keep watching to see when they ended. You can either go over the wave or dive under. If they are so big that they start curling before they hit you, if you don't dive under, you will get caught in the curl and dragged down which is bad. So there was a lot of yelling of "under!" and "over!"as we analyzed each wave that came. If you get tumbled in the first wave you're pretty much stuck for the rest of the set and that's when it's scary.
It's funny though, most of us agreed that when we were in the water it didn't even occur to us that what we were doing could look scary or be dangerous, we just took the waves as they came and enjoyed every second.
For some of the biggest ones it was a little hard to time diving under because we knew we'd need to hold our breath for a long time in order to get under it, it's so fun, though, to wait until the last minute to go under though because you get to see it right on top of you almost!
We spent the whole afternoon in and out of the water, but mostly in. When we weren't in, it was almost just as much fun watching the people in the water who didn't quite have it figured out yet. There were plenty of people happy to go
attempt to help the few people that got in trouble, though so that was good.
Needless to say, that was probably everyone's favorite day of the whole trip.
The sunset that night was stunning.
We all slept really good that night
after we stopped feeling the imaginary water hitting us in our beds and woke up a bit sore in the next morning from working so hard so long to not drown.
Who wants to climb the 4 story tall
palm tree to trim the branches?
The rest of the trip the water was super calm and clear again, which was still lovely. The kids found lots of shells and sea glass.
Bibles on the beach every morning.
The walk down to the beach.
Two days we rented a paddle board and everyone really enjoyed using it. The calm water was perfect for it!
Of course I had to at least try to do yoga on it...so...um...that's HARD! I can stand up and paddle all over the place no problem, even when it's choppy, but trying to stay balanced while shifting your weight and getting into an already difficult position is ridiculous! I pretty much just fell off over and over which I'm sure was really funny for everyone watching me. I decided a long time ago, though, that if you don't learn to laugh at yourself you will do a lot more crying so I laugh a lot.
Then of course there is Gabe who just shows us all up when it comes to flexibility and balance....
Yup, he is doing the splits.
The second day we had the board all us girls tried to go on it at the same time. When we were a lot smaller, Chloe, Christian, Ava, and I could all take a board out and stand on it at the same time
for a split second. Now that Chloe and I are taller and Ava is almost as big as we were when we would do it years ago, it is pretty much impossible, but fun to watch!
We were barely able to all even sit on it without falling off!
We gave up fairly quickly because once one of us fell off it was impossible to get back on without knocking everyone else off. In the midst of us all being in the water again, I got stung by a jellyfish and then we all were hanging onto the board with our legs pulled up, but unable to get on without wiggling and possibly touching them again, so that was interesting. Thankfully everyone else was fine.
Honestly, I get stung about once a year and it's never that bad. Obviously the bigger the sting the more painful it is and certainly getting stung on the arm or something is more annoying and in your face than a sting on the foot. Really though, it only hurts for a maximum of an hour and the mark goes away by the next day for sure.
You can barely even see it,
but it's the red marks on and above my big toe.
So there you go! You don't have to be worried about jellyfish anymore, it's not that bad and you will survive!
*not applicable to deadly jellyfish, but those are more rare
Dad took some fun pictures of all us "kids".
Then Dad and Gabe had some fun.
Clouds on the mountain.
Our last full day on Maui began on the beach with coffee and our Bibles as usual.
A couple staying in a resort behind where we sit took this picture of us on the beach from their balcony and rushed down to find us so they could give Dad the picture. They had been watching us and realized this was our routine, so captured it for us!
Some of the kids think it was creepy.
We spent the day at the beach soaking it all up. Some of the kids were really feeling ready to go home, the rest of us wish we could never leave, but at the same time, we really do enjoy living in Texas and missed our routine at home and all the people we know and love.
Every year we try to take a sand picture of each of us. Somehow Chloe didn't get her's taken this year.
That night we went out to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise as is our long standing tradition.
The sunset was gorgeous as we waited to be seated.
So in love!
For 25 years Brooks McGuire has performed at Cheeseburger in Paradise and we have gone to see him there for 18 of them! Without knowing it, he sang to each one of us girls when we were babies. Over the years we've become friends and we had so much fun getting to see him and catch up a little.
(we all ate burgers) we went next door to Ono Gelato and sat on the deck eating and listening to the waves while we grieved our impending departure.
Our truly last day we didn't fly out until 10:00 pm so we had basically a whole other day at the beach.
We walked down for Bible time on the beach for the last time then went back to the room to eat whatever food we had left for breakfast.
For some people that was just plain meatballs.
We had to check out of our room by 11:00 am so Mr David and Mrs Pat said we could take all our stuff to their room and take showers there at the end of the day. Our plan had been to just go to the beach all day and not shower at all before going to the airport because we weren't going to pass up a day at the beach and we could deal with smelling like salt for 24 hours, but we liked their offer a lot better.
So we packed up all our stuff and got out of our room, then went to the beach.
The first week we were there most of the people in the cabana were American and we knew most of them because they were our friends like Dr Mike, Mrs Karen, their niece, nephew, and their two friends, Mrs Lee, Mr Rick, etc. They all had to leave not too long after we got there though.
The second week the cabana was kind of empty and we really didn't know anyone except for Mr David and Mrs Pat from Canada who were there our whole trip and then Mr Chris and Mrs Katie from Ohio who were there a few days each.
The third week it seemed like the entire cabana had been taken over by Canadians! We were definitely in the minority and we didn't really know many of them, which was fine, just not our norm.
So of course we waited until the day we had to leave to actually make new friends with them. *palm face*
They were there a whole week and we didn't interact much more than yelling advice in the huge waves like "You're going to lose your sunglasses!". (I'm telling you this because it is very unusual for the littles to not make new friends very quickly with new people.)
At any rate we finally started talking and they were flying out that night as well. The main Canadians we spent time with were Mr Greg, his wife Mrs Irene, their teenage daughter Nicole, and her grown older brother Sean.
After visiting for a while in the cabana and then in the water, Mia really wanted to challenge Sean to Scrabble. He had never played it before though so Nicole, Christian, Ava, and I joined the game or stood by to explain and keep score.
By that time the Hodges had arrived to spend the afternoon with us and then help get us to the airport.
People were in and out of the game table area offering advice and suggestions between playing in the sand and water and eating and visiting. The only person who did not get any help was Mia, and Sean had about four people at any given time telling him what he should do. Meanwhile Nicole, who had played before, got help only from Christian who was also playing with his own letters.
I kept score and could barely keep up with all the numbers that kept getting called out and people changing their minds or changing Sean's mind for him as to what words to lay down. There was a lot of googling words and definitions too because some people like to make up words...or use words that aren't English.
In the end I think Christian won and Mia and Sean tied. Nicole is a very good sport. Then a group of us walked or swam around Black Rock to watch people jumping off the cliff.
We spent as much time as we possibly could out in the water trying to ignore the fact that we all had to leave in a few hours.
The Canadians got paddle boards and watching them figure it out was really fun.
Not that we necessarily tried this exactly, but it's really hard to catch up to a moving paddle board just by swimming.
Eventually we started going up to Mr David and Mrs Pat's room in shifts to start showers. Normally everyone wants the first shower, but that day everyone wanted to go last so they could stay at the beach as long as possible.
We weren't sure if we were actually going to get to fly out because our layover was in San Francisco where lots of flights have been delayed or canceled because of the smoke, but at that point we were still on track to leave so we had to be at the airport, obviously.
I almost cried the whole walk up to the room.
Our bags kind of took over their room.
While we were all cycling through the shower Auntie Aly (Mrs Hodges) found out there had been a wreck and the only highway to the other side of the island was closed. Thankfully by the time we were ready to go about 7:00 pm everything was clear again. Meanwhile our new friends had lost their car keys and came to see if we had seen them, which we had not...
The lights in the garage were cool.
We got all loaded up, said goodbye to Mr David and Mrs Pat, and headed in two trucks to the airport, praying it wouldn't rain because all our luggage was in the truck beds.
At the airport we got the dry bags unloaded and cars taken to the right parking lots and finally got to wait for security where we saw the Canadians again who had found their car keys and were only a few minutes behind us. We sort of officially told them all goodbye across security lines and headed to our gate.
For some reason Mia got flagged for a random search in security, Christian's bag got searched, and Dad had to get patted down or searched or something because they decided not to search Mia, but eventually we all got through and grabbed food from Burger King which we ate as quickly as we could before boarding our plane and taking off a few minutes before 10:30 pm.
We were all exhausted, but we are also all really bad at sleeping on airplanes. Most of us gave it a good shot, but ended up watching a movie or
laying sitting awake the whole flight.
Our plane landed about 4.5 hours later in San Francisco at 5:00 something in the morning local time. Everyone except Chloe curled up in a chair, or lay on the floor, or squeezed underneath the arm rests on the benches that are supposed to prevent people from laying across four chairs at once
(perks of being slender), and slept for a couple of hours.
Around 9:00 am most of us got up, got breakfast, had our Bible time, read and talked until time to board our on time (praise the Lord!!!) noon flight to Texas.
On the plane to Texas!
All the haze from the smoke covering everything.
Our second flight was only about 3 hours long and we all watched movies until we landed in Dallas about 6:00 pm Texas time. Once we were off the plane Dad was able to go straight to get our truck and the rest of us grabbed our couple of checked bags and met him at the curb.
Uncle Phil met us for dinner at Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Dallas and we had a great time telling him all the stories we could fit into an hour and half.
When we finally pulled into our driveway it was almost 9:00 pm. Just 24 hours before then we had been on the beach soaking in the water and sand for the last time.
Nana and Grandfather helped us unload and welcomed us home, then said goodnight so we could all shower and get to bed as soon as possible.
Saturday morning Mom and I got up and went to Kimzey's for coffee and so I could see some of my
favorite coworkers before we went to Costco and Winco.
I think Texas is ignoring the seasons,
I wore shorts all day out shopping.
People finished unpacking and settling in and catching up on stuff, etc. I ate lunch with my legs dangling in the pool because, again, Texas.
In the afternoon Mom juiced tons of greens and veggies and stuff for me, Dad, and her. After three weeks of vacation foods, the three of us were really excited to get back to our normal health food.
That night we were able to go to bed not too long after 10:00, but the time difference being five hours just takes time to adjust to.
Sunday morning we made our normal brunch meal of pancakes, hashbrowns, veggies, eggs, and sausage.
In the afternoon we went to church. We had been going on Saturday nights, but some things have changed over the past several months and we now meet for service at 4:00 pm on Sundays. I went early to help set up and then sing for worship. It was so good to be back with our church family.
The sunset that night was absolutely breathtaking.
Monday morning we got up almost at a normal time. Dad, Chloe, and Christian worked and Mom and the littles did school. Kate and Blaire came over for me to watch them for several hours and everyone enjoyed playing with them. I only cried for them once while we were gone, but I really missed them! Being their nanny is the best.
Kate turned 3 while we were gone!
She was just a newborn yesterday, right?
Blaire is growing up too!
I got to go babysit in the evening for the same small group I've been helping for several years and that was really fun.
I finished another portrait finally!
This is a wedding gift that is about 4 months over due...
I've been Pondering...
This is a poem I wrote about our last day on Maui several years ago.
Beautiful Even So
The day had been delightfully long, the waves charged with fun,
As they ran on the beach and bathed in the sun.
Swimming from morning till late afternoon,
They observed an underwater world of rocks, coral, and dunes.
The ocean crystal clear with sun-rays shining through,
Vibrant coral there on the submerged rocks grew.
She felt encompassed by a blue-tinted rainbow,
Fish every shade, of white, green, and yellow.
That evening, both dinner and dessert through.
Side by side on the deck, they surveyed the ocean anew.
Under the stars quietly into the shadows they stare.
Overwhelmed by peaceful fatigue, each had not one care.
They leaned contentedly on the railing,
Discussing poetry, but kind of failing.
They could not decide if the trash in the ocean
Stole from its beauty like a sore demotion.
In the dark the water lapped quietly below.
The two considered both sides, but did not know.
The items visible there did not add beauty,
But did they really bring with them a measure of cruelty?
A new angle he began to consider.
Each immersed treasure she figured,
Has a story to tell concerning their labor of love.
During the day those things were missed, unthought of.
Observing now what they had not recognized in the light,
They considered the ocean’s transformative aptitude by night.
Taking broken bottles it formed sea glass. Sunken ships, are now reef locations.
Each gained a fresh perspective, subsequent to considering those relations.
The ocean was beautiful they could not deny.
They had swam in it all that day, and why,
If it were beautiful then would it cease to be now?
Each submerged story simply waits to share its vow.
That moment when...
Your old lady friend who you haven't seen in two years finally sees you again and demands to know why you aren't engaged.
A lizard crawls in between your flip flop and your foot in the dark.
The Virgin America flight safety video song is stuck in your head. (Chloe's analysis of the video, "If Broadway did safety videos.")
The Herd: Quoted
"That was when Gabe was one year old." -Mom
"He was so cute..." -Ava
"Still am!" -Gabe
"These waves are almost as big as the ones in '15!" -Gabe referring to two years ago, 2015... *facefloor*
"Do you need to go in to rest? Are you worn out?" -Mom to Mia as they play in the huge waves.
"No way! I will rest tonight." -Mia
"You only have me for a small amount of time so enjoy it." -Gabe when Mom "dragged" him out to the water so he wouldn’t miss out on the fun.
"This way it’s more challenginger." - Me
"Is that even a word?" -Christian
"I don’t think so." -Me
"F, what was F? Ummm…" -Mia playing a game.
"To and fro, to and fro, to and fro…" -Gabe giving way too much help.
"Frodo!" -Mia getting it.
"What is this, I have been your garbage disposal like this whole trip!" -Christian as I give him more food I can’t finish. (Yes, he really did finish a lot of my food for me.)
"Don't forget, if you have extra coffee, I'm the girl to talk to, mhmm! I know how to devour all the coffee." -Mia
"Ooh we should watch 'The Count of Monte Crisco' --I mean Cristo." -Mia
"Ooh we should watch 'The Count of Monte Crisco' --I mean Cristo." -Mia