Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hawaii III, IV and V

What a blur, and tomorrow we all get on a plane and head for colder climates, so before we go, I thought I'd try to catch up a bit. Because even trying to think back three weeks ago is a bit of a stretch, and as soon as I get home, I'm sure it will all be that much more difficult.

We had a breather between batches of relatives, and enjoyed letting the cousins get to know each other better. Kirra was squiggling by week three of our trip - a sort of a military crawl technique. Now, she is pretty excited to see Thea and is almost crawling and for sure capable of covering some distance fast. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Week three was punctuated by illness. I dragged Liam to the beach one morning when it was a little windy and chided him for insisting on having his sweatshirt hood up, and being so grouchy. By afternoon, it was obvious that he was more than grouchy - he was sick. By evening, his fever was 102 and he fell asleep on the couch by 5 p.m. and didn't wake until 10 p.m. That night, he was sick once - I won't go into the details, but I do think it is amazing that one child can wipe out an entire room in a single shot. He was sick the next day, and his fever went up to 104, at which point I knocked it back down with meds. The next day was the same thing, although he started to improve by evening. And I believe that was the day that Grandma Jan and Grandpa Tim arrived, so Matt and Thea and Aunt Jenny went off to the airport to greet them, and Liam and I stayed home and watched Madagascar for the zillionth time.

But later, the grandparents party bravely entered the zone of sick to be properly welcomed to Hawaii by us all. And so began a series of dinners and beach days that lasted two weeks. Liam recovered, except for a cough that lingered for about a week, and amazingly, none of the rest of us got it. Also extraordinary - Grandma Jan didn't get a super-bad sunburn this year. Not surprisingly, Thea took to Grandpa Tim like a twinkly-eyed kid who had just met her match. And Liam spent time with them being properly doted on one-on-one. There was also quite a bit of pool-going as Jan and Tim's condo had a nice kiddy pool.

On week 4, Liam met a friend- Skyler. Skyler was playing down by the tidepools where all the good stuff happens, and he and Liam struck up a fast friendship for several days before Sky had to leave. His parents are from California, and we enjoyed their company quite a lot as well. It was such a relief for all of us to have the kids playing together so well and using up all that energy that is inflicted on the first available adult if not drained by kids.

Most of the remainder of the trip was absorbed by beaching - Thea truly loves the water, and did wonderfully in the waves. She was adored by so many passers-by - some even stopped and took her picture. I don't know what it is about that kid, but she's got something special. What Liam does with words, Thea does with a certain demeanor. But then again, I'm biased.

We did a few road trips - up to the volcano - which Liam LOVED and was mighty impressed by, and over to a waterfall. We also went to the aquarium, which both kids enjoyed quite a lot this time around - last time Liam was wee and didn't really get it, but this time it was good stuff.

Matt got some good waves mid-way through the trip before it all pooped out, and the last week has been punctuated by cloudy, cool weather, winds that blow pool chairs into the pool and that sort of thing. It's almost as if the island is helping us prepare for returning to the land of brr.

While Liam is looking forward to getting back to his school, pets, toys, room and routine, Thea has some tough days ahead of her. She is only a few feet from my bed right now, and has taken to waking up and demanding food four times a night. That, my friends, is going to stop the SECOND we are home. Extended breast feeding is bad enough, without extended nighttime crap. NOT OK. But when you are all crammed into one room, the only alternative would be to go crash on the couch while she cried it out, and that always seems like too much work.

We got some sad news today about this condo we've rented for three years now - the owners are moving into it because of tough economic times. So we assume it will not be available next year. We have looked at a couple other units in the building - including a three bedroom, and hopefully something will come together. I'd thought about even doing xmas here next year. But since I can't even figure out next week let alone next year, I'm thinking it's a little crazy to go trying to nail everything down. Still, as we leave this wonderful, warm place each year, it's almost as if we need that assurance that there will be a next time to make returning to the land of brr OK.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Maui weeks 1-2

I know, I know, we've now been in Maui for over two weeks and have I made a single attempt to record these beautiful days into memory (this is as close as I come to having a memory, it would seem.) No. Not a single attempt. But in my defense, I have intentionally let the blog lapse a bit. I'm still working during my time here, and I like to use my non-vacationing kid-free time for that rather than blogging. But, today is Sunday and I'm feeling a little anti-work, so blog it is.

So we got to Maui in one piece, despite a few calamities - Liam was running a 103 temperature for the whole trip up to Anchorage, and the weather was not great - think glare ice much of the 5-hour trip. But we made it. Got to the airport no problem. Got on the plane no problem. Had a pretty mellow flight, despite being crammed into three seats. It was good. We landed in Kahalui, Matt's boards (yes that is plural!!?) arrived undinged and so did our bags. The only glitch was that we still didn't have the combo to the condo key box when we touched down, but a little email searching and I found our landlady's phone number and got the combo. Fade to black on day 1.

The next week was mostly acclimation. Thea enjoyed her first shoe-free walking experiences outdoors, quickly deduced that eating sand was overrated (only took two days of cement diapers to determine that) and Liam was in the water on day 2, instead of the last day like last year.

Dan and Amanda and their littles Gracie and Maddie arrived the day after us, so we had a few co-dinners and enjoyed a beach day or two together before Dan's relatives arrived. It was great having someone from home around - Matt and Dan especially enjoyed a cold beverage on the deck several nights after kids had gone to sleep. And Amanda and I ran a 5K race together one morning. Very nice.

We also had a great time getting to know Kirra, Matt's sister's baby, who is now 6 months old and wanting very much to crawl and keep up with her bigger cousins. Thea really seems to enjoy her company, too. Liam has had a bit of challenge adjusting to his new role sharing the limelight, but he's managing fairly well.

On week two, Matt's dad David arrived. He and Liam immediately disappeared to build elaborate sand castles on the beach across the street from the condo, and it was a relief to have another adult around to share the kid energy. We had several more gatherings of zillions of people, several more beach days where Thea got braver and braver in the water, and then it was time for Grandpa Dave to leave and Dan and Amanda took off, too.

Now, we are starting week three and our friends from Alaska Mistee and her kids Bjorn and Leaf have just arrived, so hopefully Liam will have a chance to do some playing with someone his own age, which he desperately needs. Sometimes it works at the park next door, but not always, and adults just don't play pirates like the kids do.

We've gotten Thea's allergies pretty well under control since we've been here, but she's only eating a very few things - chicken, turkey, rice, corn, wheat, carrots, peas, beans, grapes and pears, essentially. It worries me to feed her such a limited diet, but then again, Liam eats about the same number of items, really, so I guess I shouldn't stress too hard.

Thea has turned over a new leaf or two when it comes to acting up. I have had to do the drop and leave technique on her a couple times in the past week for grabbing my hair and even head-butting me when she isn't pleased with the outcome of things. I am trying to keep my cool about it all, but it does worry me a bit. What do the next few years have in store for me, I wonder?

It usually takes us about two weeks to settle into life in this climate, and it does seem to be getting easier to get to the beach, apply sunscreen, etc. I'm not getting as much work done as I would like, and I need to get a little writing in on my book, but other than that, it's pretty easy living, and the kids sure do love the beach and being able to play outside every day. I'm trying to work up the nerve to enter a half-marathon next weekend, despite the fact that I can't run more than 5 miles at a shot. And we no longer glow when we go out in the sun. So that's a step in the right direction, eh?