Archive for March, 2005

Family

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Joe and I spent the day on Saturday babysitting Julie’s second-cousin Katelyn. Katelyn is the daughter of Joe’s cousin Sarah and her husband Chad. She is a super-sweet child, and very easy going. Watching her is a treat. Watching Katelyn and Julie play together was a lot of fun as well. Julie is only about 6 weeks older than Katelyn, but she is much bigger and, well, more agressive than Katelyn.

The two played together remarkably well, and there were no major fights or even skirmishes. But Julie didn’t hesitate to take something out of Katelyn’s hands if she wanted it, and when it came time to share snacks Julie made it clear that she was in charge…


She shared her cereal with Katelyn, but gave it to her one piece at a time. It was kind of cute how sometimes she’d try to stick it directly in Katelyn’s mouth…except that she didn’t pay much attention to whether Katelyn was ready for another bite yet or not.

Joe’s parents came over for a while to play with the girls, too. It was a milestone in that it was the first time I can think of where Julie willingly played with them. I think it really helped that they stuck around for a while and just hung out, allowing Julie to get over her initial apprehension. She has always been nervous around them, and I think they’ve finally figured out that if they want her to be comfortable with them, they have to show up and play with her often enough for her to remember them. I almost cried with joy watching them interact so well.

I also love how hilariously silly Joe’s parents can be at times:

Hawaii – Day 6

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

Monday, March 7

Our last day on the island…and a long one at that. We started off with one last visit to the beach. Julie had really gained confidence in playing in the waves, and she and Joe had a blast splashing around.


We took our time and spent almost two hours out there taking turns swimming and playing with Julie. I put on my goggles and tried to swim out and look at the bottom a bit, but I was nervous about swimming very far from the shore (I’m not sure why since I used to be such a strong swimmer – I think it’s mostly because I was by myself and didn’t have someone to keep me company. That and I’m way out of shape). Where I was, the bottom was pretty boring where you could see it and the water was murky with wave-stirred sand most of the time anyway. If we ever go back, I’d like to go on a snorkeling tour.

Our hotel had a required check-out time of noon, but our plane wasn’t scheduled to take off till 9:30 that night. We took our time packing up and eating some sandwiches, and checked out at noon on the dot. We left our baggage with the bellman (is that term politically correct these days) and headed off to the zoo with 7 hours to kill till our airport transport would pick us up. Julie fell asleep in her stroller as we walked towards the zoo, so Joe and I parked her under a banyan tree and sat on a bench reading magazines and chatting for over an hour till she woke up. I even got a little knitting in on my sock. One frustrating part of this day was that the data network for my Sidekick was down and stayed down till after we got home. It sure would have been nice to kill some time surfing the web and checking the weather back home.

Julie woke up after a while and we headed into the zoo. I had slathered us with sunscreen and it was a good thing since the afternoon sun was beating down on the concrete and reflecting back on us. It turns out the Honolulu Zoo is kind of a miserable place, or at least it was for us on that day. There was very little shade, and the poor animals were in depressing cages that didn’t seem to mimic their natural environments very well. I took a picture of Joe and Julie in front of the peacock’s cage, and you can see from their expressions that they are hot and uncomfortable:

After a while, we were all hot and thirsty and I started to worry about Julie getting overheated. We ended up at the snack bar, which was at least shaded. I had to argue with the woman there to give me a cup full of shaved ice without the syrup so that I could pour some orange juice over it for Julie. I ended up paying for a soda (for the empty cup) a snow cone (for the ice) and the bottle of OJ. I didn’t care. I wanted to give her a cool treat without the high fructose corn syrup and the dyes. Bleah. She perked up well after cooling off a bit, and even tried to chase the pigeons around for a few minutes.

The best part of the zoo was a little playground they had – thankfully also well shaded. There was another family using it while we were there, and I think it was a grandmother letting the three kids run wild on the equipment, including a toddler not all that much older than Julie who was for some reason running around in a swim diaper. (For the uninitiated, swim diapers are not meant to be worn while running around for very long. They hold in the poo pretty well, but if the child pees, it’s going to drip all over the place) In any case, Julie enjoyed climbing on the jungle gym and sliding down the slide. Joe got a couple of cute pictures:


The hot, tired, glazed-over look in her eyes is apparent to me, but even so she was having fun and saying “Weeeee” as she slid down, then coming around immediately for another turn.

We left the zoo around 3:30 and tried to figure out how to spend the last three and a half hours of our day. Joe and I were both somewhat hungry, but as we walked around looking for an open restaurant we found that most places were closed in between lunch and dinner. Neither of us wanted another hamburger, but we both thought it would be nice to sit on a patio overlooking the ocean. We settled on the grill at the Hilton hotel’s patio and burgers for both of us. At least we had bought ourselves something to do for another hour, as nobody seemed to mind us sitting there watching the other tourists and the wedding party going on in the hotel lobby. We kept Julie occupied with eating up all our french fries. I cringe at the thought of how many french fries she ate that day, but we had plenty, she was enjoying them, and it kept her happy eating them as Joe and I sat around relaxing and hopefully reserving some of our energy for the long trip home.

We left the patio with a good hour and a half to kill, and took one last spin through the outdoor marketplace filled with booths of junky tourist trinkets – t-shirts, jewelry, knockoff handbags, tiki carvings, weirdly decorated candles and plastic leis. I actually found a silly little t-shirt to buy for Julie for only $4 and by the time we wandered back to the hotel, it was finally about time to claim our bags and board the van back to the airport.

I’ve already bored you with too many details…the rest of our travel home was not much fun at all. Joe and I were both exhausted. We slept fitfully on our flight from Oahu to L.A. and took turns getting a bit of sleep in the airport during our layover there. There was a greasy McDonald’s breakfast involved, and it took everything we had to keep Julie entertained through the flights. By the time we got home at 4:30 p.m. the following day, we were stanky and cranky. But we made it home and Joe’s dad was there at the airport to pick us up. There was a small matter about our checked luggage having been put on another plane and it ended up arriving at our house by courier later that night. But at that point, we were just grateful our luggage had been lost on the way home instead of on the way there.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip. Joe and Julie were at their very best the whole time, and I’d like to believe I was too, although I think – no, I know – Joe was awfully patient with me more than once. Next time, I think we’d choose to stay in a vacation rental away from Waikiki – some place without all the tourist traps and a more natural setting. Some place with a kitchenette where we can make our own meals and a little living room where Joe and I can hang out while the kid(s?) are sleeping. But that’s way down the road.

As I write this, we have been home for three days now and are getting resettled into our normal routine. Julie and I have been going to our little classes each day, although she has been asking for Daddy a lot more than normal. I know she loved having him around all day for a whole week. It’s been snowing on and off today, and I do miss the sun something fierce. I have to admit I wondered many times while we were there what it would take for us to move there and live comfortably. A pipe dream I’m sure most tourists entertain while visiting paradise.

Hawaii – Day 5

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

Sunday, March 6

This was our second-to-last day on the island, and Joe had already expressed his readiness to go home. I think he missed his video games (enough, at least, to play the games on my Sidekick for a bit) and I know he missed our bed.

The mattress at the hotel was quite firm, while ours at home is nice and firm but has a pillow top to soften the blow. While I’m talking about beds, I have to mention that even with the king sized bed in the hotel, Julie was still quite the bed hog. The kid loves to lay sideways and spread out all her limbs. The other cute story relating to the bed is that at home, Julie is able to climb on and off our bed at will since we’ve put the mattress and box springs directly on the floor for her safety. In the hotel, she definitely needed our help to climb up and would try to get down, but would start sliding off and when her feet didn’t reach the floor she would say “thtuck thtuck thtuck” until one of us came over and helped lower her the extra two inches. “thtuck” is one of her favorite words lately as she’s been obsessed with climbing up on chairs and tables but then unable to get down.

In any case, as great as Hawaii was, we were all starting to miss home, albiet just barely in my case. There was one more goal for the trip that we hadn’t fulfilled. Joe hand mentioned before we left that he might like to try surfing. I thought that was great, and although I kept bugging him to get on it, he had put it off. Today was the day. We had breakfast, packed up all the beach paraphrenalia and headed off. There was a surf board rental and instruction kiosk just a couple blocks from our hotel, and there we met Joe’s instructor who introduced himself as Winnie the Pooh. I shit you not. He was a super-nice guy, though, and in a flash had Joe paddling out to the waves while Julie and I staked out a spot to dig more sandcastles in between trips down to the water to splash around.


Joe and Winnie getting ready to head out. Too bad the sun was rising behind them – you can’t see their faces very well.


Joe looks like a pro here. Once they were out in the waves, I couldn’t see them well enough from the shore to tell who was who. Luckily, there was a photo service taking pictures with a deeper lens than mine and they caught some good ones.


Oops! Joe said later that he ended up getting quite a bit of water up his nose. Ouch. Although he had paid for an hour, they were back after only 30 minutes or so…Joe’s arm muscles were super-tired from all the paddling. I guess playing video games doesn’t work out the same muscles as surfing. Winnie offered to finish out the lesson later if Joe’s arms felt better, but by the next day they were super-sore and stayed that way for several days even after we got home.

Here’s what Julie and I were busy doing while Joe was out surfing:

That afternoon, we took care of our souvenir obligations by heading over to Ala Moana Mall, where we heard there was a drug store with the cheapest prices on macadamia nuts in their various incarnations. We found the store and I stocked up on chocolate-covered, honey-roasted chocolate-covered, dry-roasted, and wasabi-flavored varieties. I have to admit that some of them were for me. Joe is allergic to macadamias, so I can’t even claim that they were somewhat for him…but we did bring back some for family and friends as well. I wanted to get the higher quality ones, as I’d had some with crummy chocolate and tiny pieces of nuts, and one of the locals pointed me to the right brands – Mauna Loa and Hawaiian Host. Both did have very tasty chocolate indeed.

We spent most of the afternoon wandering around the mall, and I felt like an idiot tourist wasting my vacation shopping. The thing was, we had already fulfilled our beach quota for the day and I was leery of exceeding my sunburn threshold. We just didn’t know what else to do with ourselves off the top of our heads. I suppose we could have figured something better out, but we followed the easy path instead. After all, they had a trolley that transported people from the hotels to the malls every 10 minutes all day and evening. It couldn’t have been much easier.

That evening, Joe helped me satisfy my craving for another Mai Tai by taking me back to Cheeseburger in Paradise for dinner. This time I regretted it a bit – it’s that whole thing where once you’ve had one of a good thing, the memory of it is better than any future experiences of it can measure up to. On the way back to the hotel, we took our time watching the street performers – guys dressed up to look like statues, standing still for minutes straight and then moving to a different pose; there was a poor dog dressed up in hawaiian gear; some people playing instruments; a group of Hari Krishnas, which made me laugh and also entranced me with their annoyingly repetative music at the same time. There was also a guy selling handmade palm-leaf baskets for only $5 apiece. I bought two – one for Joe’s mom and one for me. I had been looking for something to take back to her all week, this was the best thing I had seen so far and the price was definitely right.

Once Julie was asleep, I did my best to start packing all our stuff back in the bags and then we called it a night.

Hawaii – Day 4

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

So I had this post almost entirely typed out last night, then Julie woke up and I left it without saving. This morning I hit the “save” button in blogger and it magically disappeared. Argh! Here goes version #2…

Saturday, March 5

This was probably the most exciting day of our trip. Doug had offered to take us all sailing on Kaneohe Bay on his friend Pete’s boat. To us, this seemed like a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity and we jumped at it. Since Doug’s normal mode of transportation is a scooter, he volunteered to rent a car for the day, including a car seat for Julie. He even borrowed a toddler-sized life jacket for her. His generous hospitality was over the top.

Doug picked us up at 9:30 or so and drove us to the other side of the island. On the way, we stopped at the Halona Blowhole lookout and watched whales playing about a mile away in the ocean. The lookout is also the spot where a blowhole sometimes spouts, but that day it was inactive. On our own, I don’t think Joe and I would have gone out of our way to look for whales, but we were both glad Doug showed them to us. We were too far away to get good pictures, but there were at least two families of whales out there jumping, splashing and blowing water in the air. It was really fun to watch them, and I could have spent much longer there if we’d had the time. Watching the whales was almost like watching a meteor shower since often you’d see one surface out of the corner of your eye and by the time you focused on the spot where they’d been, they were gone. The difference was that if you saw one splash, you could be fairly sure there would be more activity in the general area in the next few minutes.

Julie slept in the car just a few feet away from where we were standing while we watched the whales, and Doug got a good laugh at how guilty I felt about leaving her in the car even for a few minutes. I kept alternating between staring hard out to sea and running over to the car to stare at Julie. Most of the time as I’d turn around to check her, Joe would say “I just checked”, which made me feel less self-conscious about my paranoia of her waking up disoriented in a strange car and wondering where we were.

We stopped at a grocery store and picked up sandwiches and chips for lunch, then another quick stop at Doug’s apartment to pick up his sailing gear and Julie’s life jacket, and so that he could let his little dog Holly out. She is a cute little old Chihuahua, and Julie loved her, but was afraid to pet her. Next stop was the yacht club where Pete keeps his boat, the Mugquomp. Pete wasn’t there yet, so Doug suggested that Julie might like to play in the kiddie swimming pool until Pete arrived. Luckily, I had brought her suit and a swim diaper with us and she could have stayed in that pool all day. It was one foot deep, which was perfect for her to wade around and splash in, and super clean.

Pete arrived after about half an hour and we all trooped out to the boat. Apparently the wind was blowing in the opposite direction from normal, which made getting out of the slip a little tricky, but Doug and Pete made it look easy and we were out on the bay in no time. The day was gorgeous and it felt great to be out on the water.

Doug and Pete pointed out some of the sights, including Coconut Island where the opening scenes of Gilligan’s Island were filmed. The plan was to stay out for most of the afternoon, have lunch on the water, and sail around the whole bay. About 20 minutes into the trip, Julie flipped out. I’m not sure what the problem was, maybe it was too sunny or hot, maybe she was tired of sitting on the boat or wearing the life jacket. Maybe she was hungry or tired or getting a little seasick. Whatever it was, she was throwing a full-on back-arching screaming crying tantrum. I did my best to calm her down, and ended up taking her down into the hold in search of some shade and trying to give her a snack. Nothing helped, and after about 15 minutes I got her in the sling and brought her back up to the deck. By then, the guys had decided to turn around and head back to the dock. On the way back, Julie tired herself out and fell asleep, but we decided to go on back anyway in case she woke up screaming. Doug and Pete were extremely good sports about the whole thing, and I was really grateful.

They dropped us off at the dock and she woke up a few minutes later as I laid all our stuff down in the picnic shelter. She was her happy little self again, and she and I ate some lunch while we waited for the guys to dock the boat. I ended up following her around the lawn while the guys ate their lunch and chatted.

After lunch, Pete excused himself and the rest of us trooped back to the rental car to head back to Honolulu. Doug took us to one more tourist spot, the Pali Lookout, which is apparently one of the windiest parts of the island. He said that on really windy days, it is impossible even to walk to the top of the hill where the overlook is. It was a beautiful view of the island.

And maybe not so bad even with the three of us in the way:

After that, we had all had about enough excitement for the day, and Doug dropped us off at the hotel. I made sure to get his shoe size so I can knit him a pair of socks. Not many people own Shelly Kang original socks, but he definitely deserves a pair.

That night, we ate dinner at a ramen restaurant. Joe had noticed one on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel, and we soon realized that they are all over the place. So much of Waikiki caters at the Japanese tourists, it’s not surprising that it was easy to find Japanese fast food. Anyway, we both agreed that ramen would be a fun dinner one night of our trip, and Monika had recommended a restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. It was good food, and the service was excellent. The servers just doted on Julie and even accomodated my request for a plate of chicken pieces and a bowl of rice for Julie’s dinner even though they weren’t on the menu. I took a picture of Joe and Julie because they just looked so perfectly cute and happy together in the moment.

Hawaii – Day 3

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

Friday, March 4

We spent another morning at the beach:

The sand castle was mostly my doing. Julie liked scooping and digging with the little seive tool, but didn’t quite catch on to the building part. But I’ve always wanted to build a sand castle, so playing with her was a good excuse.

After the beach, we went looking for some lunch out. Joe was hungry for a cheeseburger, and we found a place called Cheeseburger in Paradise that looked pretty good. It’s a totally cheeseball tourist place with all the wait staff in Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts, but they did have pretty good burgers and better yet, they serve Mai Tais in scooped-out pineapples. I’ve wanted a drink like that since I was 6 and my parents came back from Alcapulco describing the ones they had there. I ordered one up without hesitation.

The downer was, as soon as we sat down I started reaching into my bag to get Julie’s sippy cup, a bib and a placemat and her snacks out and noticed that the sippy cup had leaked water all over the bottom of my bag. Somehow I had forgotten to put the rubber seal in the lid before screwing it on, and there was a giant puddle inside my bag. I scrambled to pull everything out and dump the water…and luckily the camera was safe, but my Sidekick 2 was fried. For the entire meal, the thing vibrated, buzzed, flashed, shut down and restarted all on its own. I tried turning it off and it turned itself back on and kept at it. Where the camera shutter is, it kept flashing neon green light and Joe called it the “angry green eye”. Now, I love my little electronic toy and felt pretty sad that I had ruined it, but Joe took it even more seriously than I did. By now I was feeling pretty buzzed from the rum drink anyway, but Joe suggested that we find a T-Mobile dealer in town and that I go replace the phone that day. So we called around and found the nearest dealer and while Julie took her nap, I took a cab downtown and picked up my new phone. Sweet!

On the way back, I stopped at the swimsuit store next to our hotel and picked out a new suit. The one I had brought was not very attractive and once wet the bottom sagged pretty badly. The saleslady was really helpful and helped me pick out one that looked better on me. She even honestly said “No” to a couple that I tried on. Of course, she also talked me into buying the cover-up that went with it, but I didn’t take much convincing.

Julie was just waking up as I got back, and we all got dressed to go out for dinner. We had planned to meet Doug and another Utne friend, Monica, for dinner at The Willows restaurant, so we cleaned up and took a cab over there. Monica was there when we arrived and she brought two beautiful leis for Joe and for me. They were much nicer than the ones we received on arrival, with smaller, more delicate flower and more intricate detail. I couldn’t get over how thoughtful that was! It was really fun getting to meet two more Utne friends and we had a good conversation over dinner.

The Willows has a huge buffet, including a couple of sushi salads, luau food, other typical buffet food and a giant dessert bar. Julie ate the most food I think I’ve ever seen her put away in one sitting, including a ton of pineapple, meat, and even some frozen yogurt. It was nice that she was so busy eating, though, because it kept her busy while the grownups talked for almost an hour. In the end, she did start getting antsy so we knew it was time to wrap things up. We all got a group picture:


and said good night. We were sad not to get to spend more time with Monica while we were there, but glad to at least meet her.

By the time we got back to the hotel, Julie was ready for bed, and Joe and I spent a few minutes hanging out on the balcony before we hit the sack too.

Hawaii – Day 2

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Thursday, March 3

Julie woke us up at 4 a.m. YEOW! With the 4-hour time difference, she was actually sleeping an hour later than normal for her, but still. We got up, fed Julie a little something, showered and dressed and it was still only 5:45. We were at the Denny’s two blocks away by the time they opened. We had a decent cheesy-diner breakfast, but including some fruit and oatmeal for Julie we spent about $30 and I started to tally the cost of eating even the cheapest meals for a week and thought we’d better find a grocery store fast. Luckily, there was one right across from the Denny’s. I bought breakfast and lunch supplies for a couple of days and was glad we had a refrigerator in the room to store them in.

I guess this is as good a place as any to remark on Julie’s overall diet during the week. She ate more junk in the last week than she’s had her entire life before. Normally, she eats mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, fresh chicken and meat, oatmeal and rice with a bit of whole grain cereal and crackers thrown in along with a few raisins when we’re out and about. This week, she ate a ton of breakfast cereal; more Gerber Meat, Chicken and Turkey sticks than I can count (and which I swear I will never again buy); lots of cheese and several servings of french fries. Not to mention ice cream and whatever else she could scavenge off our plates. Oh – and potato chips. We made the mistake of buying some to go with our lunch sandwiches, and it took her one meal to learn the word “chip”. She’d wake up in the morning and say “chip” “Chip” “CHIP!”

One saving grace of the trip was the abundance of fresh pineapple. The kid couldn’t get enough of it. She ate about two cups of it for breakfast every day, and more at other meals when it was available. Even so, we experienced some of the worst-smelling diapers of her life. Phew!

Anyway, after breakfast we went back to the hotel and dressed for the beach. Even with the time it took to dig out all the beach toys, towels, swim diapers, swimsuits, flip flops, and other accessories, we still managed to slather on sunscreen and hit the beach before 8 a.m. We had our choice of spots on the almost-empty beach. At first it was a little chilly, but the sun came up over the buildings and warmed things up pretty quickly. Julie didn’t know what to think about all that sand and the waves at first, but once I got her down to the water’s edge, she was squealing with delight and excitement as the waves came in.

I can’t describe fully how wonderful it felt to be on the beach with my toddler, watching her experience the ocean for the first time. She loved it. Every time a wave would come in I’d say “Here it comes…Here it comes…weeeeee” and she’d shout “WEEEEE” and giggle as the water splashed her. She loved digging in the sand with the little tools that I brought along. I think she would have stayed there for hours each day just scooping the sand up and flinging it around if we let her.

A major goal of the trip for me was to avoid sunburn for all involved. I’m so white, I can burn to a crisp in about 15 minutes of midday sun without sunscreen. Julie and I both wore SPF 50 almost the whole time we were there, and we kept our beach trips early in the morning when the rays were less intense. Joe ended up getting a little pink on the one day he decided not to wear sunscreen, but none of us really burned. Hopefully, some day Julie will thank me for her wrinkle-free skin. We did get a little color over the course of the week, but I doubt anyone would notice it at a glance.

After our swim, we got cleaned up and hopped on The Bus to the state capitol. Doug, a friend of ours from Utne works for one of the state representatives, Marilyn Lee. He arranged to have us formally introduced in front of the legislature, and we thought that would be a fun way to kill the rest of the morning. I was really surprised when we got there by how laid-back their legislature is. Anyone can walk in right off the street, and the security was quite lax. Ms. Lee came up to the gallery to meet us and we had our picture taken with her:

Doug, Joe and I sat and chatted (with Julie in my lap of course) while we waited for the session to start. Lots of the reps had leis on, apparently from constintuents trying to suck up to them as Doug put it. He explained that some of the leis were a lot nicer than others and pointed out some like the ones we received when we arrived that cost about $4 and others with tiny flowers and more strands that cost $30 or more! We also noticed that someone had left papayas with notes at all the legislator’s places. The day’s session started with the leader pounding on his poi-grinder gavel, and they welcomed several groups of people including us. It was pretty cool. Doug was going to arrange a tour of the capitol building for us as well, but Julie started to get antsy and it was clear that she was ready to head back to the hotel for a nap.

Thursday afternoon after naptime I think we walked around Waikiki aimlessly for a while, then took a cab to dinner at a really good Thai restaurant. Maybe Joe will remember the name, but it was a slightly different style than Sawatdee, which we’re used to at home. The tourist guide where I found the restaurant said they had traditional Thai dancers, which was part of why I wanted to go there…but since we ate early for Julie’s sake, we missed the dancers. Another goal of the trip for me was to indulge in frou-frou drinks as they were available. The waitress offered me something they call a chi-chi that tasted a lot like a pina colada, and it was yummy.

After dinner, we walked around a bit more but ended up going to bed awfully early – I think we were all asleep by 8:30. The time difference, being in the sun a lot, and the fact that there wasn’t much to do in our room with Julie sleeping all contributed to Joe and I getting to bed about 4 hours earlier than normal every night we were there.

Hawaii – Day 1

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Wednesday, March 2
Our flight out was scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Joe’s parents were driving us to the airport, and I had to argue a bit with them to convince them that we really wanted them to pick us up from our house at 7:45. They like to get to the airport at the last minute, I guess. We all scrambled out of bed at 6, and I had just enough time to get Julie fed, eat a bite myself, get us all washed and dressed and finish packing before the in-laws arrived. Thankfully, they were on time and once we got the car seat installed and everyone and everything loaded in the car, we left the house at 8. We had just the right amount of time to check the bags, clear security, pack up our winter coats, make it to the gate and get a tag for the stroller before they started boarding.

The flights went so much better than I had expected! We travelled with Julie as a lap child, which meant that we hadn’t bought a seat for her. Luckily, on every flight we were on except the very last on the way home the person sitting next to us managed to find an empty seat somewhere else, allowing us a row to ourselves. Julie behaved so well I could hardly believe she was my kid. Our first flight was from Minneapolis to Denver, and was delayed for about an hour on the runway because of some electrical problem involving resetting of fuses.

We started to worry that we’d miss our connecting flight from Denver to Honolulu, but made it with enough time to spare for me to change a diaper in the airport. We got both lunch and a late-afternoon snack on the second flight, and those events took up some time along with an hour’s nap plus a bunch more drinks, snacks, songs, books, stickers and saying Hi to our fellow travelers about a million times. When we arrived in Honolulu without a single meltdown in over 12 hours of travel, I couldn’t believe it. I have to give Joe huge credit for doing his share of the work. We really acted as a team so that we each got a little bit of a break when we needed it and Julie got all the attention that she needed. I’m so glad I over-packed the snacks and activities. There were two backpacks worth of stuff just to keep her occupied and it was worth it! I have to give mad props to Brenda our ECFE teacher who recommended flap books like this one. They kept Julie occupied for hours.

When we arrived, there was a greeter with leis ready to lead us to our transport bus. He even took our picture:

Although Julie had had enough sitting still by the time we reached the hotel, I managed to keep her under control with the 101st round of “The Wheels on the Bus”. We got checked in, changed clothes in the room, and went for a sunset walk on the beach. It was a bit shocking to go from 7 degree weather at home to 75 degrees and a beach, but it was wonderful!

We wandered around Waikiki for a bit looking for something to eat, but since we had had a late snack on the plane, neither of us were starving and we didn’t see anything that looked all that great. We ended up going back to the hotel, feeding Julie snacks from our bags and ordering a pizza while I unpacked the bags. By the time we got her to sleep, Joe and I were pretty zonked ourselves and we all went to bed almost at the same time – 9 p.m. local time, 1 a.m. Minneapolis time.

Back from Vacation

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Joe, Julie and I arrived home safely yesterday afternoon from our vacation in Hawaii. I wanted to post about it before we left, but thought better of broadcasting to the world that our house would be empty for a week. We did have someone check on the cats, and we do have an alarm, but Joe has a lot of nice toys and I have a priceless stash of yarn.

So anyway, back in January we decided to go on a vacation before we start planning a second kid. At first, it was going to be on the cheap – we were talking Florida or perhaps Mexico. We just wanted to get away for a few days to somewhere warm with a beach. But then someone mentioned that you really can’t be sure about the weather in March even at the tip of Florida…and we started worrying about taking Julie out of the country…and then we started worrying about running into wild and crazy spring-breakers…and somehow we convinced ourselves that Hawaii was worth the extra cost and travel time. So we booked a vacation to Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (neighborhood, city, island, state).

I spent weeks worrying about packing. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe for Julie, who had outgrown her summer things from last year. Thank goodness I found a whole pile of things at Once Upon a Child. There were about a million other things to shop and plan for. Toys and books for the plane, snacks galore for Julie, disposable diapers, a new suitcase! When it came down to it, we had to take even one more bag than I planned on and even then all our junk barely fit. Joe’s parents drove us to the airport and when his mom saw all of our stuff, she thought maybe we were really going for two weeks instead of one. I thought I had overpacked somehow despite all my calculations. Turns out I did just about right, and in the end after using up food and diapers we had just enough room in our bags for all the souvenirs we brought back.

So, while Julie is napping and the 8 loads of laundry are running, I’m going to ignore the piles of mess around the house long enough to record more details about our trip than anyonew will probably ever want to know…stay tuned.