Monday, February 25, 2013

The LONG Return Home

We got everything packed up, everyone cleaned up and tummies filled up before we headed out the door (on time!) for the airport. 

Checked-in, secuity-ized, last minute bathroom stops and finally, finally on board!

A family of four was seated behind us...well, half of them. The father and his 2.5 year old son had seats behind us...along with some random man. The mother and a three month old infant, were stuck in the back. The family politely asked the man to switch seats so they could sit together. The man curtly said no.

I couldn't believe it. What kind of heartless person makes a family with such young children sit apart?? On a 5.5 hour flight?
The flight attendants even got involved. Asking him at least three separate times to move because it would make it more pleasant for the family, as well as the passengers, blah, blah, blah. Finally, FINALLY he agreed, when they bumped him up to a seat with more leg room.

These negotiations took quite some time and the rest of us passengers were getting restless because if it weren't for all this commotion, we'd be up in the air starting our in-flight drink service.

So we thought.

The family and heartless man settled into their seats yet we continued to sit and sit and sit and sit at the gate. Finally, the pilot comes over the speaker and announces a malfunctioning seat belt in the cock pit. They are working on it and once it is repaired, we'll be on out way.

We continue to wait and wait. Over an hour and then another announcement.
The seat belt could not be repaired so the flight is cancelled! Please disembark the airplane!


So we file off the plane. Back into the gate area, where an immediate line forms to reschedule flights. They announce that the flight *might* take off later that evening if they can find and fly in the part from another location but no guarantees. Court gets in line - he's at the end - because we were one of the last off the plane. Our flight originally was to fly Kauai to San Francisco and then to Seattle. We would certainly miss our connecting flight - as well as many other passengers - so just about every single passenger had to have their flights rescheduled. You can't imagine how long this took!

The part was finally flown in and installed. The flight started reboarding 5.5 hours after the flight was originally supposed to depart. As they started reboarding, Court FINALLY made it to the front of the line. Just in time!! I couldn't believe it took that long!!

While Court was in line, I managed the children.
I used all my tricks and surprises there in the gate. Stickers, movies, computer games. I used it all!

I was exhausted and our travels hadn't even started yet. 
Plus, we wasted a nap!
Charlotte fell asleep in my arms and it made me so mad because now I knew she wouldn't sleep on the plane!

We eventually boarded our flight and arrived at SFO at two in the morning. The girls did surprisingly well on the flight. Both eventually fell asleep but it was a LONG flight. 
We crashed for a few hours in a nearby hotel as we had to be back at the airport at 7 am for our flight to  Seattle. 

The girls both received pilot wing pins from the flight attendants on our last leg. 
Their toys, movies and games had lost their magic yet they were able to find some magic in stacking creamer cups. I was SO proud of them! 

A quick bite to eat and then the three hour drive home. 
Boy oh boy was it good to be home!
There is nothing like Home Sweet Home Place!

Even though an absolutely empty refrigerator, a week of doctor appointments, Court traveling for work for days on end and piles of laundry as far as the eye could see kicked me in the gut - making me expunge the last few breaths of vacation and choke on the harsh breaths of reality, it was good to be home. 
In my little house. With my little family. Living our little life. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Last Few Days of Vacay and Valentine's Day {2013}

A few downsides to a vacation on Kauai.

It can be windy

and rainy.

The weather moves fast so it's usually just a quick little storm...but you can see how a hurricane is possible. They've had two in last 20 or 30 years that have devastated the island. 

The good news about rain on vacation?...There is only one thing to do!


Ok, ok! Two things to do! Nap and drink wine!
It's a perfect combination if you ask me!...Kids nap and parents drink!

Our favorite restaurant was Tide Pools. It was an open air restaurant surrounded by a Koi fish pond. The girls loved the fish and we loved the food!

We went twice!! The girls were even allowed to feed the fish...note the feeding frenzy!!

As we were leaving the restaurant, they gave the girls each a lei!

Charlotte LOVED hers and would have worn it to bed if we had let her!
The moment she woke, back on it went, for the remainder of the vacation!

Another favorite spot was Joe's on the Green.
The club house at a nearby golf course. A locals hot spot. Nothing fancy but great food!

This cracked me up! Charlotte started painting her nails with a french fry and ketchup!
Miraculously, she didn't get a drop on her blanket or dress!

Uncle Bruce came over again to watch the sunset!

And then, it was the last day of vacation!
Why do vacations always fly by??

The last full day of vacation was Valentine's Day and I just can't let a holiday go by without doing a little something special. 

Using the pattern here, I made two little mail boxes and some love letters to go in them!

I discovered photographic fabric and was able to draw some love notes on the ipad and print them off on the fabric to make special little letters...some that even included artwork created by Grace and Charlotte! It took me to the last minute to get these done. Every bit of spare time in the last month was poured into these mailboxes because most of the sewing was done by hand. I think I was finishing some of the stamps about 10 minutes before Charlotte woke up!

They each got a few treats - things they'd been eyeing in the stores!

Not sure she's grasped the idea of "acting like a princess!"

For our big, romantic, last-night-in-paradise, Valentine's Day Dinner extravaganza, we went to a Luau.

Neither of us knew what to expect as we'd never been to a Luau but what could be wrong with all you can eat and all you can drink, right?

The girls LOVED LOVED LOVED it and danced their little hearts out!

It was the perfect way to wrap up the evening and the vacation!

Sleep Wanted and More Vacay Pics

On my Costco run this morning I noticed that the 'Burban is just about to hit a major milestone.

Dreading what kind of service is required at a 100,000 miles.

In other news, sleep, bedtime and nap time, have become an epic battle around here.
Not sure if the girls haven't readjusted to our time zone or what but I am pretty sure I am going to lose my mind if I don't get this nipped in the bud ASAP!

Both girls have suddenly developed a fear of the dark and a hatred of bedtime. Charlotte used to run to her room when I said it was bedtime. Now she'll go up to her room only if I promise to "rock her." So we read stories, we rock and she gets tucked in. Then the waterworks start. Hysterical tears because she wants me to stay with her until she falls asleep. The first few times this happened, I obliged, and she fell asleep in two minutes. It has evolved into a two hour ordeal. 
If I leave, she cries or sneaks out of her room while I am getting Grace ready for bed. If I leave after she's asleep she has some sixth sense and wakes up as I am stealthily creeping out of her room.
Then the process starts all over again. 

Meanwhile, Grace wants me to stay with her until she falls asleep (which to her benefit takes about 30 seconds). So you can see how this is not only time consuming and exhausting, but it is really cutting into the time Court and I have to talk, catch-up on each others days or to discuss anything important.

In the last few days, I've tried skipping Charlotte's nap thinking that way she'll be REALLY ready to sleep at bedtime. The first day it worked perfectly and I was so happy with myself that I'd finally figured this out. Grace went to bed just minutes later and Court and I had an entire evening to ourselves. The first in AGES!
The next night, it was back to the same mess and yesterday, while I was making dinner, she fell asleep on the couch.

 Of course, the late nap threw bed time off even more. It took her so long to fall asleep that I fell asleep in her room while waiting for her to fall asleep!!

I humbly beg for any thoughts or advice to make this situation better.
Probably gonna have to have a few cry it out nights, huh?
UGH! I hate those!

Anyway, let's try to end this with a few happy, warm thoughts especially since a horrible wind advisory in effect at the moment. I know wind isn't nearly as bad as the amount of snow that has been dumped on the east coast this winter, but it is horrible in it's own way. Regardless, we are trapped in doors. So on with the pics!

We spent an entire day exploring the north side of the island. It was beautiful, green and definitely made us want to watch Blue Hawaii and Jurassic Park! ha!

Pretty sure that Halele'a is the place they speak of in the song Puff the Magic Dragon.

Do you see the kayaker in the picture above?

Do you recognize this cottage?

Or this one?

I'll give you a hint. Both were in a recent movie with an actor that rhymes with Schmorge Schooney.

They are located around this little bay - apparently THE surf spot for locals!

We got out and watched the surfers! As I like looking at the ocean much more than being in it, I was surprised that I had the sudden urge to learn to surf. 

We took our lunch break at the St. Regis where we were treated to some amazing views...

and a pretty sensational brunch!

It was a beautiful old hotel that really capitalized on its views!

The main chandelier in the lobby caught my eye. I thought it looked like a school of jellyfish.
(Do jellyfish swim in schools?!?!)

Grace was in a fantastic mood and being so silly.

Charlotte was an absolute angel!

It truly was a vacation day well spent!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Doing Something New...and Old

Normally, I like to do one post per topic. For example, Christmas. I try to put all the happenings of the day in one post. I think that is one reason it takes me sooooo long to get a post together. Pick out photos. Upload photos. Write something witty about said I just write something. You can be the judge of my wittiness.

And while I am doing all that, I don't get around to posting about the happenings of that day. The funny thing Grace said or the crazy outfit Charlotte insisted on wearing. So I am going to attempt something new. I am going to do some catch up posting and some current event posting all in one post! Mind blowing, right?!?!

So here it goes:

Not much to report from yesterday...although this is how things looked when I woke up. Court was away on business and somehow these three snuck in with me!

I went over to Seattle and back for another dental appointment. That same ole tooth is still bugging me...a lot. The treatment I had been doing isn't working so onto plan B...which will require more trips to Seattle, a trip to a periodontist and I am foreseeing a large amount of discomfort before any final relief is achieved. Good times. 

Charlotte's outfit of choice....

She says she looks like a tooth fairy. 

Outfit complete with gloves like Cinderella.
Sorry for the blurry pic...and the mess. Stopping by my house unexpectedly wouldn't be a good idea! ha ha ha

One other tidbit about Charlotte. She loves Mandarin oranges. In the past few days, she's eaten at least 5...each day!!

So that brings you somewhat up to speed. Now for a bit of a rewind!

A few vacay pics!

We stayed in Poipu on the south side of the island. We did visit the north side - BEAUTIFUL! - but it can be a bit rainier this time of year.

Highway to heaven!
I absolutely love tree lined I was in love with this jungle lined entrance to Poipu!


We stayed footsteps from Baby Beach which was nearly empty on most of our visits!
It was shallow and calm. 

The girls could easily - and safely - play and us parents could sit back and relax.
About 20 feet out was a legit tide pool - starfish, sea cucumbers, sea was like having our own Hawaii aquarium! We even saw a sea turtle floating not 10 feet off shore one morning!
I HEART sea turtles!

We packed up the girls one day and headed up the rainiest place on least that's what the guide book told us. It didn't rain but it was all fogged in at the very top so we weren't able to see all the way down island to the ocean.

We did stop at the halfway point - just in time for the fog to clear - and were able to catch a few glimpses of this huge, magnificent canyon!

A "grand canyon" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!!
Who would have thunk it?!?!

A couple was nice enough to take our picture. You can't tell it but I am using all my strength to keep Charlotte still. She was super revved up and picture taking is at the top of her dislikes list.
Also, you can't tell but I am terrified of heights and the drop off on the other side of that rickety fence is VERTICAL'd say...20 bizillion feet. 
I didn't realize I was so close to the fence until I saw this picture and I still shudder when I look at it!

(Side note: there are a lot of viewing points along the windy road up to the top of the mountain...almost all of them have a vertical drop like this and almost all of them have foot prints on the other side of the "fence!!" People are freaking crazy!!)

Moving on.
If you've heard of Kauai then you've probably heard about it's chickens...and roosters!

Now I happen to love chickens and roosters. Court not so much.
And it is true. They are everywhere.
We even had our own personal rooster at the house we rented!

I don't think he helped me convince Court that this was the year for a chicken coop!

Long ago, missionaries transcended on the Hawaiian islands. You can still feel their presence - sorta speak - because there are a TON of churches. I mean A TON!
I thought there were a lot of churches where I live...but no, Kauai has more. 

I don't spend a lot of time in churches but I do love me a cute church.
I mean how darling is this? Stained glass and all!
If this was my local church, I WOULD HAVE to go...just so I could sit in the sunlight streaming through the windows!

My uncle lives on Kauai...lucky guy!
He's smart enough to live on Kauai with no cell phone, answering machine, computer...totally disconnected! Court's dream! 
(I know I could go without my gadgets but I really wouldn't want to.)
Anyway, I haven't seen Uncle Bruce in decades so we got to have a reunion and he got to meet Court and the girls. Unfortunately, Grace fell asleep both times we visited which is crazy because Grace never  sleeps! The sand and sun is good for wears her out!

A few pictures that summed up things for everyone...

Longboard - Court's new favorite beer. 

Charlotte - A total water baby and looking mighty grown up I might add!

Grace: ICE CREAM!! She wouldn't touch the stuff for almost a year but the second we landed, it is all she wanted and to my waist line's chagrin, we visited the ice cream shop every. single. day. In fact, we even visited the shop twice in one day!! Unfortunately, I am my father's daughter and can't pass up ice cream!
Grace's favorite flavor was Chocolate Oreo Cookie Crunch. Charlotte's was Triple Berry - the girl loves fruit! And mine was Carmel Cashew Turtle Cluster!!
Mmmm...I think I ate my yearly allowance of ice cream in a week!!