Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family time - Part two

Aboard the Molokai Princess.

We spent the last 4 days of Mom and Dad's trip on Maui. Dad flew over earlier in the day to get a rental van and the rest of us loaded up on the ferry and made the rough trip across the channel. As someone who has spent MANY hours on BC Ferries, I thought... "It's a ferry ride. How bad can it be?" Let me tell you, this crossing was different than anything I've experienced before! One by one, people left the top deck to seek shelter underneath as the waves splashed up and soaked anyone above. John and Zara stayed up there the entire time and loved it! But almost everyone else was down below just holding on for dear life! The roughest part only lasted about 30 minutes, and then we came into calmer water near Lahaina. But when it was rough, it was ROUGH!

Good-bye Molokai...

Hello Maui!

A gorgeous sunset as we pulled into Lahaina. (Mom even caught a whale blow in the photo!)

We all stayed in a gorgeous 3 bedroom condo in Kihei right between Kamiole 1 and 2. The kids had so much fun at the beach (which was just a stones through from our lanai) and we all enjoyed the calm, shallow water.

Fun in the sun!

Thor sporting Zara's new shades!

I got to spend some precious time with my dear friend Caroline from Vancouver Island. They left to fly home the day after we got there.

We enjoyed seeing the Iao Needle - very beautiful. But so many tourists! Wow! We've become so used to sleepy Molokai that we were almost overwhelmed by the number of people and cars on Maui.

A vist to the Maui Ocean Center. We all love that place!
 Scuba Santa even made an appearance.

It was wonderful to have my folks on Molokai and we loved showing them around and giving them a glimpse into our life here. But Maui was a vacation for all of us and it truly was blissful! Swimming, amazing snorkeling, great food (after 2 months on Molokai, just eating out is a treat!!), exploring, shopping, thrifting, relaxing.... we didn't want to leave!

And we really didn't want to say good-bye. It was sad and tearful dropping Mom and Dad off at the airport. I have such a hard time saying good-bye when I don't know when I'll see that person again. Anyways, we said our sad good-byes... then went for some retail therapy at Savers (like Value Village)!! All of us girls found some cute sundresses and Thor even picked out some new t-shirts. Even shopping at a good thrift store is extra special after life on a sleepy island.

We stayed one more night in Maui after Mom and Dad left and enjoyed one more blissful day at the beach before heading back to Molokai. That ferry ride was even worse than on the way over and we all felt green. I experienced sea sickness for the first time in my life and now have a lot more compassion for those who are prone to it. We were so happy to step off that ferry and be back "home". It feels like we've had to settle back in all over again though. We got pretty used to being with extended family and it's been a bit tough embracing the miles between us and loved ones. There have been tears and some extra sensitivity, but I know we'll get through it. We have each other and we've been enjoying some quality family time lately. And we have lovely memories of our time together.

Aloha to you all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Family time - Part One

We had such a wonderful time with my folks here. We just enjoyed every minute of our time together. Rather than write much, I'm going to make this post a photo recap of our (almost) 2 weeks with them.

Their plane was late coming in, and we'd arrived at the airport early, so it was a long wait! We were all so happy to see them when they finally got here! We greeted them with plumeria lei that we had made at the flower farm earlier that afternoon.

Papohaku beach

Mom and Dad brought 2 extra suitcases full of stuff for us - mostly things that I had requested that we can't get here and then some gifts. Thor loved this special gift from Grandpa.

At the library after Zara was finished "working".

We spent one morning caroling with my ukulele class - 2 preschools, Coffee's of Hawaii, then to Kumu farms where we sang, played and had lunch. I borrowed an ukulele for Dad and he had fun playing too!

We spent a day exploring the east side of Molokai.

All the way to the Halawa Valley - the end of the road.

We walked into a tropical flower farm and had a look around.

Flowers being washed for the street market the next day.

These old vehicles, completely overgrown, are a fairly common sight.

The beach in Halawa is beautiful!

Everything on the east end is so green and lush!

Visited a macadamia nut farm. Thor enjoyed cracked those nuts with a hammer! What a treat to eat the mac nuts right out of the shell!

My first hula performance!

Getting ready for our mule ride down to Kalaupapa (former leper colony, now a National Park)

First glimpse of the peninsula below. We decended 1600 feet in 3 miles - 26 switch backs down the side of a steep cliff! We were hanging on and just had to trust that the mules would get us there safely! I have a whole new respect for these steady, amazing animals!

Mom was happy to get off her mule at the bottom. (We all were!)

We took a 4 hour tour of Kalaupapa, through the town, some of the churches and the scenic areas. It was very beautiful and peaceful there, but also very melancholy. This place has such a tragic history.... the sadness was deep and you could feel the spirits of the 8000 people that had been sent there to die. In this photo above, you can see some of the marked graves of the priests and church people sent there to help and attend the victims, but that big green field on the other side of the wall is the site of thousands of unmarked graves.

If you look closely at the photo above you can see some trees sticking up at the top of the cliff just right of center. If you follow the top of the cliff over about an inch to the left you can make out a cut line that starts to drop down to the left. That was the start of the mule trail up top and we just zigzagged our way down the cliff. As we were getting on our mules after the tour to go back up, we were sure hoping the return trip would be easier! And it was! I really enjoyed it. I found the trip back up really peaceful and I soaked up every moment of being alone (sans kids!). They stayed home with John as a person has to be over 16 yrs old to make this trip.

This was an experience that will stay vivid in my mind for the rest of my life. Amazing.

A sweet moment at the beach.

John at the woodfire oven. We've become a great pizza making team... I make them, he bakes 'em!

That's a lot of photos in one post! I'm going to do a "part 2" for the second half of the trip!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finding peace in the midst of chaos

This past week has been so busy! Virgil (owner of this house) shipped down a big container full of stuff from Alaska for the house and property, so we've been unpacking, sorting and reorganizing. The house has been turned upside down as renos were done and furniture moved around. When things get crazy busy or hectic, my intention is always to find peace in the midst of chaos. Sometime's it happens, other times it doesn't! Rainbows help!

The kids decided to paint coconuts. They are a work in progress as layers of paint need to dry before adding the next details. A fun project!

We've been having fun experimenting with the wood fire oven. We went to two Thanksgiving potlucks last week and we took this yummy spelt foccacia to one of them.

Cinnamon buns!

Sunsets are glorious here. No matter what we're doing, we always stop to admire the beauty.

A few days ago Zara told me she needed some one on one time with me, so today we went on a little adventure. We rode our bikes on a trail south of here for about 30 minutes to an old abandoned tent camp. It was so peaceful and beautiful. Gorgeous beach and amazing shells - two of our favorite things!

I love the spirals found in nature!

Zara just about tripped over this Monk Seal! It blended in with the sand just perfectly! These seals are found only in Hawaii and are an endangered species. Zara has been wanting to see one ever since we arrived so she was thrilled today to get a good look at this one.

We could have stayed here all day! We'll definitely be going back. Only next time we'll just hike in! We both ended up with flat tires on our bikes from the Kiewe trees (pronouced kee-a-vay) - a super spikey, thorny tree that grows all over here and is treacherous for bike tires but even more so for barefeet!

My folks arrive for a visit tomorrow - the kids have been counting the days! We can't wait to show them our new home and take them on some adventures. Fun days ahead!