Well maybe I should start out by saying that the vacation made the plane ride worth it. I'll begin by apologizing to all my fellow passengers particularly on the flight home though in reality I don't really care because this was one of the best vacations that we have ever been on. Perfect company, perfect weather, perfect condo, perfect, perfect, perfect. Okay maybe the plane ride wasn't quite perfect but we made it there didn't we? On the way over the boys did alright and it wasn't a full flight so we did get extra seats. The flight home was a bit rougher. I think it was the 3.5 hour lay overs in Maui and the messed up nap schedules due to the tsunami evacuation the day before that did us in. As I mentioned before every minute on the plane was worth it because we had an absolutely superb vacation.
Things we learned kids play with on a plane:
- Arm rests
- Flight attendant help buttons
- Emergency evacuation brochures (this was a favorite)
- Food/snacks were our biggest life saver
- DVD players
- Books, trucks, or any sort of toys.
We had a two story third floor condo that we shared with the Hamilton family (Doug, Jen, Carson and Peyton) The complex had a great pool for the kiddos to play in. One whole end of the pool was only a foot deep and it had outdoor carpet all around it. It kept them from getting too banged up although Brock still managed to bash his head on the rim of the pool (the only area of concrete in sight) and got a rather large colorful lump on his forehead. There were also tennis courts, volleyball nets and an outdoor BBQ area which we put to use grilling up tri-tip one evening. The weather was in the 80's the entire time and it cooled off just enough in the evenings that I went on several early morning jogs along Alii drive. We also spent lots of time relaxing on the patio in the evenings and watching the Olympics.
The first few days we stayed closer to home and really just spent time relaxing around the pool and hitting the tourist shops along Alii drive. We bought the boys new floaties to play with and they got to try out their life jackets for the first time. They didn't really care for either and were a little gun shy at first so James had to bribe them by letting them hold on to his chap stick. (I know it sounds dumb but this is really special to them.) They also got to try out their towel ponchos that my Aunt and Uncle in Australia sent them. They looked totally ridiculous and we loved them.
One of the days we headed up north to Hapuna beach. It is one of the nicest sandy beaches on the Big Island. The little boys got to get their feet wet in the surf for the first time and the big boys got some time in on the boogie boards. You can imagine that us girls had a blast too being out numbered two to one by small children. It was everything we could do to keep the boys from checking out everyone else's belongings on the beach. So again this is where snacks come into play. I think the boys ate their weight in sand covered Cheerios that day. Their colons are probably very clean.
We just happened to have one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island practically right next door to our condo so of course we also had to spend a day at Kahalu'u beach. Jen, Doug, and James all took turns snorkeling. Jen was very excited to see her first sea turtle. She went out first but came back empty handed. After the guys came back saying that they got to see a turtle Jen went back out and vowed to stay out until she saw one. Her perseverance paid off.
We also went for several long drives around the island. We stopped at the "Painted Church" and at several really great playgrounds that the boys loved. It's amazing how much they've changed in just the last few months. They are so much more independent now. They can crawl and climb up just about everything now at the playground and they love the slides. The boys even spent some time strolling through the farmers market. You can imagine how exciting this was for them.
We also spent a lot of time eating on this vacation. You'd think we'd do a little better this time since we weren't on a cruise ship with all you can eat buffets but oh no we packed the pounds away regardless. We drug the kids into most of the establishments along Alii drive. Brock's favorite restaurant was Bubba Gumps because they play loud music. If you know Brock then you know that he loves to dance. Rhythm or not he loves to shake his groove thing which he did all while sitting in his high chair. Yes this did cramp his style a might. This is also where James took his famous "sunset photo" you may think that it is a photo of the back of some bald head but James insists that it's the sunset he was going for. The Hamilton's are big Roy's fans so for Jen's 30th birthday we went up to the resort area and made reservations for dinner at Roy's. I'll bet we are the only people to brave that restaurant with 4 kids under the age of 3. This is not a cheap establishment even the kids meals are four courses. In the end none of the kids did anything too embarrassing so I guess all is well that ends well....right?
On our last full day on the Big island we woke up to tsunami sirens. My first thought was "you've got to be kidding me". This is so up our alley you have no idea. My mom had tried to call and tell us that it was all over the news but we didn't get up until we heard the sirens. When we turned on the T.V. we found out the it was the real thing. All they kept saying on the news was to "just follow your family's evacuation plan"....hello tourist, we don't have a freaking evacuation plan. We were in the process of debating what to do when the grounds staff knocked on our door and told us that everyone had to be evacuated by 8:00am. Okay decision made I guess we'll evacuate. There was a really eerie sense of excitement in the air. Almost like an electrical current. You knew that everyone would be safe because all you had to do was go a half mile up hill and you were plenty high enough but you just didn't know what exactly was going to happen and what damage would be done. Like most of the people with small children we headed up hill to spend yet another day playing at the park. No we were not those people waiting in line at the grocery store or gas station. It was almost like a giant picnic. Here were all of these people sharing snacks, playing in the park just waiting out a natural disaster. At 11:05 it was expected to hit the Hilo side of the island and at 10:50 the park went completely empty as everyone went to their cars to listen to their radios and watch the ocean. In the end as you all know that it was a false alarm. No big waves so I guess we were safe risking it without filling up on gas, spam or toilet paper. Things we learned about Tsunami evacuations: