Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hawaii-Day 1...

I don't count our first day in Hawaii as the day we landed.  Why?  We landed at 7:15 PM on Friday, June 6.  That meant it was 12:15 AM, Saturday, June 7 back in Illinois.  After we got our luggage, made it to the Ohana East Hotel, and checked in, it was after 8 PM.  We were exhausted and had been up for over 18 hours, so we literally crashed as soon as we got into the room (well, I had to find my night guard first- I've gotten so used to sleeping with it, I can't fall asleep if I don't have it).

We woke up at 4:30 AM (9:30 AM back home), so I called home while Ryan "washed the airplanes off of himself" and then he talked to the kids while I did the same.  There is something about taking a shower that makes you feel so much better.  Once we were clean again, we set out to see Hawaii and find some breakfast- Ryan gets extremely HANGRY, so I know the importance of keeping him fed.  I had noticed on the drive to the hotel that on Saturday they were having their Pride parade, and it explained all the interesting costumes that we saw as we walked back to the hotel after we had breakfast and had wandered around for an hour.
Isn't that tree cool?!?
Since we had spent most of the day before on an airplane, we hadn't really planned to do much on this day, so we changed into our swimsuits and walked down to the beach.  The first thing we learned was that the ocean was chilly!  It is not like when you go to Florida in the summer and are on the Gulf side.  You have to sit out on the beach and work up a good sweat in the sun and then you can go in the water.  We spent most of the day at the beach, leaving to eat lunch and go to one of the gazillion ABC Stores to buy big bottles of water to drink (the hotel water is gross), but you can get a big old bottle of water for $1, so we kept a couple in the fridge in our room after the first day.
Can you believe how BLUE the water is?!?

He may have been sleeping here, and yes, his swim trunks are Amazing Spiderman
 Then, we cleaned up for dinner, & ate at this Japanese Noodle Buffet place called Marukame Udon (really good) where I learned how to use chopsticks (Ryan is already proficient in this- of course, what isn't he good at?).  Everyone had told us how expensive everything in Hawaii was, and Ryan and I are fairly frugal people anyway, so Ryan used the Yelp search engine to find us fairly cheap places with good reviews to eat at (and he got some recommendations from his boss whose brother lives there as well). Then we walked around some more and crashed at 7:30 PM- I know, party animals.
The pictures just don't do Hawaii justice.  Everywhere we walked it was beautiful!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How We Wound Up In Hawaii...

In August, Ryan and I will be married for 15 years.  In the grand scheme of things, it isn't that long really, but when I look back, we had just graduated college, just turned 22, it's a little crazy to think that we got married that young.  We were blessed for our honeymoon, my amazing aunt and uncle gave us the use of one of their condos on South Padre Island, Texas for free, all we had to do was buy plane tickets.  We had a condo, right on the beach for our honeymoon, it doesn't get any better than that!  Then, 2 days into our honeymoon, Ryan got really sick with the flu- high fever, chills, he barely moved, it scared me to death.  He bounced back with a few days left and we were able to go parasailing.  The next day, the phone rang and when I answered it, my mom was on  the other end.  "Do you guys know that The Weather Channel is right outside on the beach?" she asked.  We turned on the TV, and sure enough, there they were, broadcasting about how Hurricane Brett was scheduled to hit and the island was being evacuated.  I hung up with my mom and Ryan got on the phone with the airline.  He got our tickets switched to that day and to a different airport where we had to drive 100 miles into Texas, driving through some pretty crazy rain and wind as we fled.  We wound up on the last flight out of Texas before everything was shut down thanks to Hurricane Brett.  It gave us a fun story to tell, that's for sure.

Ryan travels for his job, and honestly, the only perk I have found in that, is that he accumulated frequent flier miles.  We have been able to use those miles to stay in hotels with the kids when we have traveled to Arizona to visit Ryan's parents, and that has been a blessing.  Last year, Ryan said to me, "I have enough miles for the 2 of us to fly to Hawaii, and if we book the tickets soon, we should be able to get seats in First Class."  My jaw kind of fell open.  We have wanted to go to Hawaii for a long time.  My sister used to work for United Airlines, and she was able to take her husband and my parents to Hawaii twice and their pictures and stories are what put Hawaii on our bucket list of places to go.  My mom and dad said they would watch Noah and Juli for us, and so Ryan booked our tickets to Hawaii in June of 2013 (to use miles to Hawaii, you have book your tickets almost a year in advance).

I didn't really think about Hawaii much after he booked the tickets.  It didn't seem real yet.  Then, we had the Polar Vortex come, and we used 4 emergency days, pushing the end of school to the end of May.  That's when Hawaii "got real" for me.  Once school got out, there was not a lot of time to get things ready, and then Juli got sick- high fever, cough, runny nose.  I honestly didn't want to leave her, and I felt like the world's worst mom leaving her, but Grandma assured me that everything would be fine (and of course it was- she and Grandpa took wonderful care of our kiddos).

Traveling to Hawaii in First Class was cool, I'm not going to lie.  I have now been spoiled.  You get a drink before take off- whatever you want.  They bring you a warm washcloth to clean your hands and then they feed you a meal on real plates with real silverware, and you get a warm cookie later on!  On the way there, we had to make 2 connections, and we barely made our first connection due to bad weather, since we literally had to go from one end of the airport in Dallas to the other, but we made it for final boarding call.  The flight from LA to Hawaii was the longest one and we got an ice cream sundae on that flight after our meal.  By the time we landed in Hawaii we had been up for 18 hours.  It was only 7:15 PM in Hawaii, but 12:15 AM in Illinois, so once we got to our hotel at 8, we just went to bed.  I will post pictures and other stories about Hawaii later, but wanted to explain how we wound up in Hawaii.  If it wasn't for Ryan's traveling, it would still be on our bucket list, because those plane tickets are ridiculously expensive.