Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surfing USA - Wow am I Old!

Well, we did it. We went surfing. It was awesome. Jason and I tag team parented with the kids. I went for the first 2 hours, then with a totally cool high five... we traded boards/kids.

Please note, that is Jason in the photo... and yes, he is inches from the snorkeling dude... and the snorkeling dude just barely ducks out of your way... secretly hoping you are about to lose your wedding band because just under the surface he is wielding a metal detector that has detected him almost 200 wedding rings in the last 2 years!!

I admit, I felt very old/flabby/boring/uncool when I showed up for my lesson. I was extremely nervous when my lesson partner showed up... a 56 year old balding dude named "Dave" from Oklahoma. Does Oklahoma even have an ocean? I was extremely worried the old guy would be better than me, with his pasty skin and his extremely dense chest hair. Happily, I was able to hold my own for the duration of the class.

My instructor, "Dylan" referred to me as "Brrraoo" (you know, "Bro" or "Brother"). I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or insulted, but eventually I realized he was just unable to retain my name in his mind. Nevertheless, I did enjoy his truly easygoing surfer style. I tried not to correct him when I would return to him after a failed surf attempt and he would say... "Whoa Brraooo, that ride was totally wicked!! Totally better than the one before". Like, Hello, I did not even stand up that time... I just paddled, missed the wave, and came back. Don't get me wrong, I really like my instructor, he was a stereotypical surfer dude and I appreciated his ongoing praise of my skills. A girl likes flattery... ALWAYS.

Needless to say, the area we surfed in was extremely rocky/corally (probably not a word... but you get the picture) and SHALLOW. It was also extremely busy and we were attempting to surf next to about 30 other newbie with instructors. Several times we would literally play bumper boards... at one point, a teenage girl actually had her hands touching down on my board while still standing on hers and I was doing my best not to totally wipe out and take the both of us out (ha ha, I think I am finally using that term in its original form).
Those lessons were a couple days ago, but my carefully aged to perfection body has informed me that throwing myself into a surfing lessons, and reliving my lifeguarding days is no longer a valid option. Don't get me wrong, I still have some muscles in my body, and every one of them has been screaming at me since Monday morning. In fact, my shoulders were aching so much on Tuesday morning, I almost couldn't get Cecilia out of the playpen in the morning.

Since the lesson, we have been taking it easy with fun days on the beach, playing in the condo pool,  and zipping up the coast for some sightseeing. Hoping to rent a board and get out again soon. In the meantime, a pic of Jason proving that Crossfit does keep you nimble enough to throw your 3 year old in the air after surfing lessons,   and a gratuitous shot of the my little Monkey, who learned how to climb onto the pool chair and open the Camera bag while I am photographing to other two...

"Look what I found Mama - is this important or breakable?"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Of Craters and Keychains

One of the premiere activities on Maui, the Haleakala Crater sunrise has been toted to be one of the top things to do on the island.

Jason and I roused the children at 3:30am to pack up and drive the crazy switchback road in the pitch dark to see the 6:09am sunrise. Well, we were only off on our timing by about 9 minutes. No matter how much you try,  between the elevation gain, the crazy drop offs on the side of the road, and the 180 degree turns, you just can't go any faster.

Nevertheless, by inappropriately parking in the No Parking Zone... quickly throwing the extra layers on the kids, we were able to dash to the crater face to view the sun making its first peek through the clouds in a truly biblical fashion. We made it!!

A quick trip to the loo and the car and we were going to head off on a hike with the kids to view the islands and check out all the interesting sights and enjoy the splendour of the volcano.

In the 50 meters between the bathroom and the car, I lost the keys. Really. I did it. It was all me. I had them... and then they were gone.

Common theory is that I flushed them down the toilet, but I want to continue to believe that someone picked them up and did something with them. Anyway, after an hour of searching everywhere (and ignoring the breathtaking vista)... we finally called the Car Rental dude and he offered to bring us a spare key (begrudgingly I am sure... this drive is not one executed by locals that often). And to boot, there was a bike race going on up the highway... which drastically slowed down what could be already deemed a slog up the hill.

Needless to say, we enjoyed the views of the Haleakala Crater for a total of 7 hours... with two kids and two adults and 4 croissants and a baggy full of macadamia nuts. Oh, and they don't sell food at the top of the mountain.

Well, with my tail between my legs, I have professed to have flushed the keys. Not sure how I did it, but I am still hoping the keys will turn up at some point just to prove that I am not as clumsy as that.

Happily, we acquired many photos of one of the most beautiful places on earth... Enjoy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Parents to Sherpas to Beach Bums

Let me speak frankly.

Traveling with children leaves a little something to be desired.

Gone are the days of hopping on an airplane and enjoying the opportunity to doze ad hoc... to comfortably sip a beverage of my choosing... to watch mindless television on a tiny screen.

Instead, all efforts to get myself, my husband and my baggage... no wait, I mean... CHILDREN (and then baggage) onto the plane, feels hasty, nerve wracking, and cumbersome. There is nothing smooth or awe inspiring about it; just my husband and I loaded up like poorly trained sherpas who have clearly brought too much stuff, and allowed novices (aka the kids) to attempt the proverbial climb.

Either way, traveling with a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old is a lot like traveling with... well, a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old. I can't complain. However, please note that Gravol does not work on all children... and babies who don't get their own seats only want to sleep when their "person"al pillow is in the most cramped and uncomfortable position of all time.

Fast forward to the good parts (where I shall skip the chaos of acquiring our condo key... and the first night where we only had 4 hours of sleep)... we are taking every advantage of the most beautiful heat and sunshine on earth.

Our Sherpa powers have been further put to the test with our daily trips to the beach (when in Maui right?) Laden to the nostrils with beach gear and blankets, towels and toys, sunblock and sunhats, we elegantly trudge our way across beautiful sandy beaches to the location of choice to sunbathe, sandcastle (that's right, just turned a noun into a verb), snorkel and soak in the rays.
Interesting point of note, although we almost arrive with 2 bags of stuff, our departure from our day at the beach results in having nothing in the bags... and every little item being somehow carried in our hands. The bags are meanwhile just as heavy as when we started... simply because they are entirely filled with sand. I wonder if that happens to real sherpas?

Well, all joking aside, this time with our family has been nothing but fun and joy. My kids are still adorable and my husband looks like a superhero in a swimsuit!!

Bring on the sunshine.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maternity Leave... It's a Vacation Right?

I started 2009 with a bang. I gave birth to my first daughter, Calla at 2:30 in the afternoon on New Year's Day. The ongoing joke for me as a new mom was that Maternity Leave was going to be like a year long vacation.


Well... the body forgets pain and the mind forgets crying babies... needless to say, our second beautiful girl came into the family picture in October 2011. The somewhat traumatic arrival of Cecilia Grace marked the beginning of yet another year long vacation in the throes of parenting a newborn.

Well, 9 months has passed since she has "graced" our home, and I decided it was high time to put this one year vacation theory to good use. It has taken a little while to get the whole thing rolling, but needless to say, the vacation has arrived. In less than one week, we will be boarding a plane, children and all, and heading to Hawaii to finish off my Maternity/Parental Leave in style...

For 7+ weeks.

49 days if you prefer.

I admit, I couldn't do it without my husband, Jason. Or Cecilia for that matter, without her, parenting leave this time around wouldn't have happened.

Anyway, just thought I would bring you all up to speed on how this is all coming to fruition. Careful spending, careful saving, and an abundance of unused Vacation time on my part has facilitated this adventure. Not to mention the generous support of the Canadian government for funding Jason's parental leave.

So, without further ado, we shall be packing up our buckets and swimsuits; sunblock and rashguards and hitting the Hawaiin beaches... endeavouring to reach that mythical state of Aloha.

If you care to join us on our adventure, I will try to keep the blog updated with our photos and tales of adventure as often as I can.

If it is any consolation to all of you back home in Canada... you will mostly all still be experiencing the awesomeness of Indian Summer... (except Calgary, who knows when the snow might show up on your doorstep... literally).