Sunday, March 6, 2011

Livin' off ALOHA!

The hubby and I are only getting through the past 2 weeks of cold, wet weather, sick kids, and a disastrously (is that a word?) busy schedule because we are still living off the memory of our recent trip to paradise. We pulled off the near-impossible! We actually cleared 10 days from our calendar, convinced my mom to stay with our 5 crazies, dug out some shorts and swim-suits from the drawers and hopped on a plane to Hawaii. We literally felt guilty traveling - just the two of us. We kept feeling like we were "sneaking away" and going to get caught at any minute and returned to reality. But we escaped successfully and arrived in the warm, sweet smelling Big Island and enjoyed 9 kid-free days - pure heaven!

My parents have an amazing condo on the Kohala Coast - it's pretty hard not to enjoy yourself. Our first day there included a long walk around A-bay - it was beautiful and private, except for a lot of sea turtles on the shore along the way.

I'm not sure what this pose is, but is was amazing standing on the rocks while the waves crashed in. We even thought of our boys at home (just for a minute) and sent them a little picture message...

Our hike ended at a lone palm tree out in the middle of a bed of lava - literally nothing but lava rock as far as the eye can see. And not a sole in sight. At the base of the lone palm tree was this treasure! A natural fresh water pool. Yep, fresh, cool, crystal clear spring water coming up out of the middle of a lava field! Hawaii amazes me. We might have swam in it.

We enjoyed an afternoon whale watching cruise. We were just lying in the beach, and looked up as they were boarding for the cruise and said to each other, "Hey - that sounds fun! Let's go grab tickets and get on!" One of the millions of things that are possible when you're not toting little ones along.

Humpback whales galore - no zoom!

We rented long boards one afternoon and gave ourselves lessons. Just a note - its harder than it looks. We like to say that the bay was especially choppy that day :) And I like to remind Bart that I did better than he did staying upright!

Our good friends from home joined us on day 4 and together, we booked an afternoon helicopter ride around the island. Definitely the BEST and ONLY way to see everything. It was beyond incredible. We flew from the dry side of the island to the rainforest, around the rim of the volcano, and through the Kohala Coast valleys and waterfalls. Breathtaking!
A still shot of the fire red lava literally flowing from a vent.
I didn't get many other pictures with my camera, because I was busy getting sick - yeah, embarassing, I know. Especially since I was in the cockpit next to the pilot. Next time I'll remember the dramamine . It was still worth every minute!
My favorite though - had to be the Zip Line tour. We took a military 6 wheeler through the wilderness, which was probably the scariest part of the tour, stopping a time or two to let wild cattle move out of our way. Then, 8 zip lines through the rainforest canopy - past waterfalls, and over valleys with ocean views. It was beyond cool!

We spent a TON of time getting R&R at the beach or by the pool. We enjoyed a couples oceanside massage, daily morning smoothies, yummy restaraunts in the evenings, and warm nights playing bananagrams with our friends on the lanai. I read 2 1/2 books. Exercising even felt relaxing.
My mom did AMAZING with my kids (I had no doubts - just worries that she would make me looks bad!) and we found all well when we returned home. A testament to the whole idea of couples needing to just get away once and a while. Reality hits like a cold bucket of water - I think we were home all of 20 minutes before Coley threw up all over the bathroom floor and someone's homework got spilled on. But it all felt fun again in some un-normal way - it's what a good vacation does to you.

So until next time, this image will be engraved in my memory. The tan is already fading away - but the experiences and memories won't if I can help it. I'll stay livin' off ALOHA as long as possible.