That was a long vacation. After 11 days off they are now back in school and it is just Fiona and I again in our normal Tuesday.
I actually spent quite a bit of time with just Fiona at the waterpark since Niamh and Zoe have passed the height mark that lets them do nearly everything and Lars is the parent that prefers the crazy slides, so Fiona and I kept to the tame things. Niamh also was at the great personal level of being allowed to be solo in the park as long as we had a good idea of where she was. Mental note for next time – buy inexpensive waterproof watches for all, meeting at certain times is very hard when there are no clocks. Since only the inside was open, and, it was very not crowded we could usually find everyone easily enough but the outdoor section is 2x the inside so if we do this again in the summer electric leashes are needed.
After the first day, Fiona tried a big raft ride (3 stories high) and LOVED it. Even after the 50th time she was still a giant grin. I risked my phone to take pictures on the way down. There were 2 other similar ones she also loved as well as well as an entire ‘island’ of slides and play things intended just for people 100lb and less. I made her go there a few times so I could have a little rest sitting on the side. Since I thought I would be doing nothing but sitting and watching her paddle, this was a big surprise.
The resort itself was mostly well done. I appreciated their efforts to make inside seem like outside because it is a long winter inside. The hotel itself has plenty of open walkways that make you feel like you are walking ‘outside’.
The downside is that in the winter, there isn’t quite enough for more than 2 days and since we were there for 3 we ended up paying for the attached (but not included) amusement park. Here is where Fiona got the worst end, she was too short for most of the fun stuff so we left her sisters and went on long pokiwalks and disrupted (not really) a conference of farmers learning about seeds and stuff (I assume, we didn’t actually attend). We also had coffee and donuts by the fountain – the kalahari had very good sweet shops all over the lobby.
We got back in town just in time for our friends to have their baby. Since we were not part of the production, we just got to be around for the fun after part where you get to snuggle a teeeeeeny tiny baby and reassure the new parents that they are the best parents for this baby, and, they have the most experience with him because they have been with him for 9 months already. I also got to run them down a nice dinner the next day and be on hand for the first at home diaper change – the thrills in my life never end 😉
I’m glossing over the annoying bits of the break like the fact that even if we are on vacation, I get woken up by 7am and often 1 or 2 times a night. Travel went well overall but I always get home more tired than if I had just stayed home. Time change weekend did not help at all because my normal 5 hours of sleep got shrunk to 4 and by the end of that day I was sick of it all and needed a break from it all. The super power of motherhood is the ability to find a way through the day because I did make it all the way through that final day and today, there is semi-normal life.
ps. In case you are new to my vacations – I go with a fellow mom and her son and sometimes we take Lars. Two moms are better than one
pps. Possibly the best thing was the huge number of pokimon, I could even get a pokistop from bed!
ppss. Happy pi day, I’m making some pie later I think but can’t not mark the date.
…. and second day in Hawaii!
The jetlag has worn off everyone finally. Poor Fiona had it worst, the other girls and I did fine and Lars just went to bed early. Speaking of poor Fiona, a bird pooped on her but she didn’t really care. She also got super dirty feet so when we got back from todays outing we washed her from head to toe.
In a not unexpected situation, we were in a house full of Star Wars people who highly desired to see the new movie today. Lars is right there with them. I’m not so much… but! I did really want to see Moana, the movie about Hawaii that is staring one of my favorite actors. Moana did not disappoint, I loved it all and laughed all the way through. I particularly like that Moana was a very fit girl, a real sized active muscled female. Nothing against the waif look, but, the un natural princess proportions do get annoying after a while. For this movie trip, the girls went one way, the boys another, and then we met up for Mexican and a ramble around a park/beach. The park had the coolest trees and was full of the flora and fauna of the tropics. Trees just grow differently when they don’t have to worry about snow or ice.
I also got to experience a Hawaii Target, about the same as ours, to fill in the Santa duties for next weekend. This morning Dan and I ran 4mi in my last run for my year and it was great scenery from palm trees and mountains to f15s and Airforce1. Next up a game night and tomorrow the plan is to go to the beach. This will be a first in my life experience to go swimming on my birthday.
More tomorrow…. I plan on
We made it!
In my opinion, the key to travel is to absolutely ignore the things that could go wrong and focus only on the reality you want. I refused to acknowledge the possibility of a snow storm or ice or delays or lost luggage and things worked!
We got a limo (just what you get when you have 5 people but it feels fancy) at 4:30. It was also key to get into a warm car because I made everyone leave coats at home.
I did my best to plan for things and we had a nice pile of food and snacks, I even went for lunchables for the kids because they have been wanting them for ages so that makes them ‘special’, and more importantly to me, they are reasonably crush proof so they were intact after hours of travel. The three planes and the three airports each had things to nitpick, but, overall it was worth it to get here.
Plane #1 was just fine and our layover was just long enough for a walk, a coffee, and a bit of a charge.
Plane #2 was the looooong one but I kept telling the kids it would be 8 hours but it was actually only 6 so that was a nice surprise. We kept decent entertainment levels and constant snacks and things were pretty good. Some of the surrounding people were not my first choice, but hey, that means we looked better in comparison.
Plane #3 was so short that the stewardess practically tossed juice to everyone from the back of the plane and then collected the cups and then we landed.
My sister met us with the super pretty flower and we stumbled to her house and went to bed on a flat, non moving surface.
The fitbit was very confused, I somehow managed to get 10k steps but my day was an extra 4 hours long and I started at 4am. However, Fitbit could not figure out what to do when I synced so I had two Thursdays for a while. I just need it to tell time in general so my steps will sort themselves out some how.
Today was more or less paperwork day. We needed passes for the base, we planned out the big outings for the trip and got advance tickets to secure reservations and prices. We visited a different base on the island for a drink and a view of the island and the harbor from the high ground. The view from the grocery store was pretty good too, almost everywhere is either something pretty or something interesting. I love the variety of things here. My sister lives in a historic home in a historic neighborhood and the base is full of architecture from every era, but, in some ways time stopped here 75 years ago (once they cleaned up the mess that is).
We got out and about a little bit but not a lot. Just the ability for the kids to play and us to eat dinner outside is a novelty.
A friend said once that visiting family isn’t a vacation, it is a trip. People imagine Hawaii like a luxury hotel or on a cruise or even on a massive cram it in sight seeing extravaganza BUT I am living life with my sisters family and it will include doing fun things, and, the best is that we are all in it together for the next 2 weeks.
I just finished a HIIT class and boy, she was not kidding around. I suppose if I only make it to one class a week that one is a good one! Problem is now I can’t really move so all the things I have to do tonight (like eat, shower, parent) might not be at full speed.
I do want to update a few things here because yesterday I was pleasantly surprised by my own consistency when I searched my archives to find out when #1 and #2 started the overnight dry quest. My memory is decent but after enough time the details get fuzzy and thats how you end up with your MiL claiming that your husband was potty trained at 2 years old. Wishful thinking lady… you remember he was little, thats it! Anyway, Fiona has been putting on undies over night herself and surprising me with the fact, sometimes the surprise comes at 3am and sometimes at 7. I was the one holding her back insisting on the pull-up…. So we are now 6-8m behind when her sisters started, but, both of them took a while so I’m hoping that I’ll have fewer months of overnight stresses.
What is it with 3am? I seriously hate that time. I have slept just enough to not be able to go right back to sleep. I hated 3am feedings and I really hate 3am sheet changes. (to be honest, I change the sheets the next day, that night I clean up the kid and put a thick towel down doubled over. )
However, I can report that the Hot Tub is now back to normal. The heater quit due to the switch getting calcified. Stupid hard water… Not the best but not the worst and the repair guy had a replacement in his truck and it was done in an hour.
The dishwasher is still holding its water. I’m so glad I have a little shop vac to suck out the water with relative ease. If you were wondering, my dishwasher if very water efficient because it only uses 2gallons of water. Torn between plumber and appliance guy and given that we have a vague work around and we are going out of town, this might be something that gets put off until after vacation.
On the vacation front, I had a little meeting with the kids tonight and led them down the path of decisions to NOT put up a tree this year. We made a list of what we would do and what we would not and what we might do after we come back. The cuts were deep but necessary, I think they left the meeting feeling good though since they each got something they wanted anyway. Everyday is a count down and we are getting excited!
I think I need to get up and motivate the children to bed. It is Lars’s guys night but he fed them and they were in PJ’s by the time I got back from the workout so I can nearly taste my girlie TV waiting after kids are in bed.
Today Fiona turns 4, unbelievable yet totally believable because I’ve been here for all 4 of those years and I completely appreciate how far she has come! My ‘dear Fiona’ post is in process but not ready but I can’t post ON her birthday and not even mention it.
This past weekend was all the fun. We had friends come from ND so we made extra efforts to hang out with them. Another friend hosted a BBQ and we did indeed bring the Cowboy Caviar mix that Lars made and I had a good time creating a My Little Pony Zombie cake. It was a special request for a 13th birthday and I think I could not have done better and kept it tasty. Fondant looks so nice, but, tastes so yuck. I like to use a really simple chocolate recipe that is 1c heavy cream brought to a boil and then 9oz of chocolate added – stir until smooth and remove. It’s great because you can pour it right on hot for a smooth shell look or wait until the consistency you want to ice with happens due to solidification. You can also wait for it to cool and whip it and that makes it even better for smoothing or piping or even sculpting. I firmly believe that MLP are full of rainbows so I started with a rainbow cake, then a crumb coat, then the icing, then the accessories including swedish fish cut to look like ribs and whopper eyes and my extra ‘puppy chow’ got used as gnarly pony teeth.
The reason I got to do such a fun fancy cake was because our new neighbor is awesome! She is a year older than Niamh but the younger of a boy/girl sibling set so they really don’t play together much and she is girl starved. Their house backs on ours so you don’t even have to cross a street and the moms can both hear what is going on in the yard. She loves coming over and plays with everyone, including Fiona, and they all played with very minimal parental guidance all day Saturday and half the day Monday. I kept an ear on them (bonus to windows open time of year, and, a relatively small house) and around lunch time just piled up a tray with fruit and carrots and leftover pizza and just slid it into the playhouse entry. I also got a good chunk of the routine cleaning done so today I don’t feel behind even though I semi missed my Monday.
Sunday we actually got to go to Valley Fair! The weather cooperated, Vacation Friend was able to go and as always we split nicely where I love the thrill rides and she loves the water stuff and the kids love her so we were set to cover the kids. Our ND friends were the reason we were even going and they also lent a hand on the kid watching since there is nothing better for a 13 year old than the love and adoring company of little kids. I ended up alone on a ride because they all choose other adults and/or teens to be near! It was our first try to stay ‘late’ and it worked pretty well because Fiona just crashed out on me for an hour and a half in the sling and I missed a ride or 2 but no problem, I got the ones I really wanted first thing.
Yesterday was a holiday here so it was like a preview of my summer with 3 kids solo on a nice day. The summer will need some time management instituted but overall it was a nice relaxing day. **I’m really really glad I got that play house done, it is such a perfect place for summer play**
That brings us to today, #3 birthday and I’m at cake capacity. Today I made a bunt just to do something new but it has been a very good cake season. We need to do our 3-girls ‘family’ party soon but thats another schedule issue that I’m going to think about tomorrow.
Location – back in MN in my own home
Nap – I got one, told them all to sleep or not but don’t bother me! Locked the front door and scattered snacks on the floor.
House – doing well for not being touched for a week.
Cat – back from cat vacation and happy (or as happy as a cat shows) to be back
My most recent Instagram is a picture of me at 4am. Our flight was at 6, I woke up at 3, it was a good flight really but nothing is actually ‘good’ at 4am. The kids are getting very adept at travel and I wish they would have slept, calmly playing a game for an hour was good enough even if I had to ‘look!’ every 2-5 minutes. The best thing about a flight that early is that even after getting to the car, getting home, dropping off Lars and going to go get the cat and then getting home to stay I felt like it was 5 pm but it was only 10:30. The kids chilled with TV powered by a remote they know and I kicked them outside to play in our spring sunshine.
I marked this last day of vacation by eating a cookie with my coffee, to say good-bye to unrestricted eating. I didn’t go crazy eating on vacation but I also didn’t try and count because we were out so often. The food, on the whole, was very good, we went out to a fancy steak place and a well known tex-mex tacarita. We found a phenomenal sandwich shop that I could go back to every day and even the ‘Whataburger’ fast food was solid. Our goal was to avoid any food place that we could eat at here. The weird side of food was the lack of grocery shops, they must be hiding because we had a ton of trouble finding them. The kids ate more pop tarts in the past week than in their entire lives but I think it balanced.
On the exercise front; I got a good run in plus some time at the hotel gym last night and most days we walked 5k steps or more. My exercise log should also reflect that I carried Fiona a quarter of the time too. Spoiled little girl with no baby to take her place on my hip – she was toted around like an infant but in return she slept on me most days, fulfilling her nap requirement and keeping us from abandoning her. Travel with kids is a balance of food and sleep and fun and managing the extremes of schedule changes while still actually doing different things.
I unpacked a bit and I’m glad to have the rest of the day to get to the remainder of that. My camera is not yet out so this won’t get pictures – just average it with the past two posts and we work out square. Just in case, I never actually write another post on this adventure the brief itenery was;
Friday night – travel and arrive at the Dallas hotel
Saturday – hotel shuttle out to the Perot museum – stayed until lunch. Went out to the mexican place and then strolled up the road to the Art Museum. Saw a brief, but good, round of art and then rode the street car up and back. To a public park that was way too crowded and back to the Perot again. That was the night we tucked the kids into bed and left them with Becki and we went to the fancy steak place. The day was very sunny and warm and just right to walk around Dallas.
Sunday – collected our ride for the week, a 10 passanger van that reminded me of the space shuttle. Out to Ft Worth to the stock yard that is a total tourest place to view the cowboy side of Texas. We left there and drove drove drove to Galveston to check in at the Air B&B house. (the house was its own story, in short, I give it 2 stars of 5)
Monday – wake up to waves and sea air! Head into the main part of the island and take the ferry on a trip across and back again. Ate at the fun sandwitch place and drove around a bit taking in the victorian houses and finally finding a grocery store. Back to the house and the rest of the afternoon on the beach where boogie boarding and sand building were the order of the day.
Tuesday – getting mega storm warnings all day but nothing more than a sprinkle actually happened. First I dragged them to the visitor center that is an 1830’s house and along with good info on where to go, we got to peek in on the house and its exibits (it was closed). They directed us to the library across the street for genelogy info and it also had a huge Texas history museum floor as well as a nice and modern kids area. It was an unexpected find and very fun for all. Lunch in town and then we went to quite a few shops along the historic main street including the beef jerkey and choclate shops. I strolled a sleeping Fiona while they went to the pirate museum. Last, we got to the Bishop Palace and begged our way into a tour even thought they were just about closed and finally back to the house for an evening beach walk.
Wednesday – Close up the house and drive drive drive (in the rain) back with a brief stop in Huston for the space center. We had no time to really go in so we just ran around the outside a bit. The rental car had a hard deadline of 5 pm and there are somethings you can’t talk your way out of. The end of the day was a mash of finding food and a not so great hotel but when you select for proximity to airport and 24h shuttle you have to compromise on the actual quality of other things. Hey, it had a pool, so that worked out.
And that, in a thousand words or less, was the vacation. We got lucky all around with weather and got most of what we wanted to do done.
Now on to part 2 of spring break since the kids had zero snow days, we have Monday off too. 4 more days of break! I wish we had more time in Texas but I’m glad to have some days here to enjoy. Lars is just about done tuning up the kids bikes so I’m going to leave this and go enjoy some MN springtime.