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Friday, March 24, 2017

FINALLY!!! An Update

[Funny! It only took me TEN DAYS to finish this Blog post. How ridiculous!]
OK, super quick overview: Christmas was good. January was good-ish.  Sadly, the day after Mike’s birthday I came down with the stomach flu – or some sort of nasty stomach nastiness – that lasted over a week. Then Zachary had it the following week.  Thankfully – oh so VERY thankfully – our flu bugs ‘n colds were gone by February 21st which was when we left for six days in Hawaii!
We went to the Big Island – staying at a beautiful Hilton timeshare place in Waikoloa (Kona/Westside of the island). We had a two bed, 2 bath ‘villa’ on the top floor with a private balcony overlooking the pool, the golf course and then off in the not too far off distance we had a peek-a-boo view of the bright blue ocean.  All of this for the price of – well, I’m not actually going to tell you – but part of the payment was our required attendance at a please-join-our-timeshare-vacation-club shpiel.  (To which we said, “Thanks for the amazing, vacation, but NO, thank you!”)
The weather was perfect. And it was probably our first ever family vacation that was nearly 100% about relaxing and not camping or the go-go-go-see-see-see-do-do-do kind of trip that we’ve taken in the past.
The HI-LIGHTS (get it ‘HI’ as in Hawaii?! VERY clever if I do say so myself).
*We had a couple of days of snorkeling which we did in the lagoon at the main Hilton resort. This worked out super well since we didn’t have to worry about big waves/open water, but we still had the benefit of seeing all sorts of fish and sea turtles! 
*We had a day at the beach – Kayliana, especially loved body surfing on the waves.  When we rounded the corner and saw the beach below, she gasped and said, “It’s the beach of my dreams – with the blue, the sand, the palm trees, the people!” We stopped to get a picture of the ‘beach of her dreams.’ 
*Mike and I enjoyed an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime - happy 15th Anniversary/Valentine’s Day/Mike’s birthday to us – couples’ seaside massage.  While we laid there peeking out beyond the canvas cabana walls at the turquoise blue sea, I could see occasional whale spouts and flashes of black fin off in the distance.  MAG.I.CAL. to say the least. I felt so blessed and so spoiled. 
*We enjoyed many afternoons just relaxing and swimming at our hotel’s pool and hot tub with poolside bar and (on one evening) – live music at sunset.
 *One of my favorite parts of the trip was having my coffee on the deck in the morning. It was the perfect temperature and just so peaceful. Even the memories are bliss-filled (and smell like delicious Hawaiian coffee accompanied by a piece of dark chocolate).
*We all enjoyed the dinner luau we attended – especially the fire dancers and tropical cocktails! Even the boys have reminisced about their [virgin] Lava Flows.
*We spent a day driving across the island. We saw Rainbow Falls, ate at a local hole-in-the-wall, popular Hawaiian diner for lunch, and then drove out to see the active volcano!  VERY cool (or actually hot. Not that we got close enough to feel it, mind you).
*Our last day was spent lounging by the pool and having one last delicious poolside beverage and shopping at the waterfront market in Kona.
* Our final Hawaiian dinner was spent with my sweet friend Jessica – a fellow musician and music teacher – who lives on the big island with her hubby and adorable 4 year old son. Jessica and I became friends in middle school and attended symphony camp together way back when. SO amazing to see how our lives have changed and so fun to get together!
We took a red-eye home. Landed Monday morning at 5:30am. It was snowing. We had two hours to get Zach home, showered, changed, packed-gear collected and ready to depart for three days of fifth grade camp. (Yes, in February. In the Pacific Northwest. In the snow).  We’d all gotten about 3 hours of sleep.  Mike and Matthew both had bad stomachaches. Kayliana got into bed with her coat and bedroom light on and fell immediately asleep. So, I got Zachary off (he was the only one of us alert and chipper). I returned home and napped for a couple of hours before I drove out to teach two Montessori music classes. 
The weather had been weird all day – off and on snowing but not sticking – and occasionally hailing. The sky was super dark and cranky. One of the teachers said the weather had “PMS” and just couldn’t make up her mind, but she was pissed.  So true.
It was hailing as I came out of class at 4pm. I called Mike and said I was going to attempt a quick Costco run since we’d depleted most groceries before our trip. Costco was just at the bottom of the hill from my Montessori campuses (and 25 minutes from home). I made it through the store – grabbing the necessities – and was at check-out within 40 minutes (pretty good for a huge Costco run). The store was pretty quiet though…because other people were smart and got the heck home before things got crazy.  I glanced outside and saw that things had gotten crazy. REALLY crazy. There were two inches of snow and it was still coming down like CRAZY. Real crazy.
I pushed the fully loaded cart through the snow – a challenge! I got the groceries loaded and noticed the lady next to me had started her car to warm it up. Smart. I put my purse on the passenger seat, turned on the car, hit the unlock button and then closed the door to go return my empty car.  That’s when my sleep-deprived foggy brain replayed what had just happened and I realized I’d hit “Lock” and not “Unlock.” SUCKY!!!!! (And maybe some other choice words were mumbled).
THANKFULLY I had my cell phone in my pocket. I was remaining calm – even asked the Costco greeters at the front door if anyone wanted to be a ‘hero’ and help me out – no takers; other than making the suggestion to call AAA.
I called Mike…and that’s when my ability to ‘handle’ it and remain calm fell apart. I sobbed, “I turned the car on and locked the door! I’m locked out of the car with the car ON and it’s snowing and I locked the car and…it’s snowing and no one’s going to help me…and it’s snowing and I locked the car and the engine is on...”  He got the point. But there wasn’t anything he could do for me. He was home with the extra key, but also with a stomach bug and a minivan that spins out in a puddle! He gave me the number for AAA.
I called them and was thanked for my 14 years of paid membership but was told, “Um, it’s Monday at 5:30pm. In Seattle. And it’s snowing. No one can come help you for…hours.  Don’t you have someone else that can bring you the key?”
Just then, Mike called back to say our neighbor Erik had stopped by to see if Kayli wanted to play in the snow with his daughter. Mike told him what was going on with me and Erik stuck out his hand and said that he’d bring me our extra key.  In, his 4-wheel drive, suv, it took Erik over an hour to make the 20ish minute drive.  We got the car opened, drove to the gas station just to refill my tank and then Erik had me follow him home since he knew the best/least steep/congested/abandoned-car filled streets.
Like a good neighbor, Erik was there. 
And THAT was how we spent our first day back after a week in paradise!

My favorite morning coffee spot.

Super windy on our first day - but warm and sunny, so who the heck cared?!

At the resort

The snorkle-friendly lagoon

 The beach of Kayliana's dreams!

This also happened to be the view from the massage cabana. Not too shabby, eh?
 Luau ready!

 Ahh, happy times.

Rainbow Falls - our last full day was overcast but still comfortable


How we felt about having to leave!

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