Friday, April 1, 2016

Our Staycay/ Vacay Spring Break

Hey there! Hope everyone had a happy Easter and great spring break!  Ours was great... And crazy... And tiring... And great.

So as it turns out, one of the issues when you have a family our size with such a variety of ages is that planning vacations becomes really hard.  Somebody alway has something going on.  We weren't sure Matt would get the time off, and then Jayna needed to get people to cover for her job, too, plus she didn't want to miss too many of her online classes she does lest she fall behind... Plus, I had to schedule make-ups for the activities the other kids do.  So our "spring break" was totally thrown together at the last minute.  Are we the only ones who have to do this?  (Please say no.)

We briefly tossed around the idea of trying to "space A" back to California as we did last fall, but decided five days was way too short a time for a family our size to do that successfully with our sanity intact.  Which is a questionable status anyway since we were considering it.  So instead, we called our favorite beach to see if they had any cabin rentals, and lucky for us, one had just opened!

We packed the car with sort of "campy" food and games, and headed to the beach.  We hiked
and did the "pedal carriage"
which certain members of the family have ALWAYS wanted to do. 

There is a phenomenon here that I call "Hawaii degrees", which is to say any degree under 80 Fahrenheit is at least worth five degrees.  So the high temp might have said 73, but we were FREEZING and didn't spend much time in the water.

The cabins are decent -- basic but nice -- and the biggest drawback, in my opinion, is that there is only a full-size bed for the parents.  (Two twins and a pull-out sofa, too, but you know what I mean.)  After we had Wyatt, we got a king-size bed, which might have been the best money ever spent, so sleeping on anything smaller leaves us going, Wait, how are we supposed to do this?!

We fell asleep our first night listening to waves crash just outside and feeling the cool breeze blow through the cabin, and it was lovely... Until all of a sudden, a certain four-year-old came into our room screaming.  We got him calmed down and snuggled between us and tried to sleep as we teetered on the edges of the bed because that boy is big and he kicks! And then he kept waking up scared because it was so much darker than our house is, even with its blinds and black-out curtains.  And then the electricity went out... At that point my dear, half-awake son tried climbing out the window above our heads!

All the next day, Matt and I were debating whether we should stay there another night.  He even volunteered to stay while I went home, since it had been his idea, but I felt bad for him, so I stayed anyway...and to our happy surprise, the second night was perfect!  We all slept soundly and woke up feeling like happy people on vacation!  Who'd of thunk?

We went home that day to do laundry and get to bed early because the following day we were headed to the Big Island.  Turned out, I brought an unexpected guest home with us!  As I was transferring the clothes I'd washed to the dryer, I saw something at the bottom of the washing machine tub... A centipede!

Now.  I've killed several centipedes around our house.  I hate them, but when they are headed toward my babies, my inner mama bear has no qualms about dispatching them.  They are super creepy, and their sting is supposed to be horribly painful.  But I think the worst part is that they move in separate directions if you cut them in half.  I mean... That's just wrong.  Not only that, it takes a LOT for them to actually die.   

Case in point: the guy(girl?) in my washing machine.
 I'd just done a huge load of wash, and when I saw him, he at least appeared to be dead.  I asked my brave husband to kindly remove it... And he, well, let's just say he made me look calm.  Okay, that's not entirely fair.  He entire to pull it out of the tub with pliers (because they can still sting even when dead), and IT WASN'T DEAD!  It started moving and squirming.  So Matt started suggesting all kinds of ways to kill it, but I didn't want an 8-inch centipede in pieces in there, nor did I want gallons of poison, or a blow torch.  I like my washing machine a lot, and I wanted to be able to use it still.  

So finally, I took the pliers into my own (thick garden-gloved) hand, and extracted it myself, stuck it in an old peanut butter jar.  Its hurting days were over.

Ahem.  Anyway.  This reminded too much of our first house on the island!

The next day we headed -- bright and obscenely early -- to the Big Island.  It was my third time going, second time as a mom.  We went there just after Wyatt's second birthday, about six months after we moved to Hawaii.  I didn't know if I wanted to go again, but when we were looking at places to stay on the other islands we couldn't find anything so last minute.  

It ended up being great!  It was still a completely different experience than we had the other time.  First off, we flew into Kona rather than Hilo.  It meant a longer drive to our destination, Volcanoes National Park, but I liked the vibe on that side of the island a little more.  Also, the airport has a museum dedicated to Ellis Onizuka, a Kona native and one of the astronauts who died in the Challenger explosion.  It's got lots of space activities that we enjoyed.

We stayed here, and though Matt had reserved a 3-bedroom cabin, we ended up with one that had 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms!  It was almost as big as the house we lived at in Kailua our first year here!  We each had a bed -- well, except Matt and I.  We had our king-size bed (praise hands!), but if we'd used the pull-out sofa, we'd have our own. 

We were kind of nervous a about dengue fever because  of the recent outbreaks, but our neighbor is an entomologist (which must be one of the top five professions you want a neighbor to have!) (*though we didn't call him about the centipede because it was late and we didn't want him to know how freaked out we were...), and he gave us some spray and said we would be fine.  We did use that spray in the parking lot of Target right after we landed... Tourist alert!

Last time, we really didn't do many hikes.  We didn't have a baby backpack, plus Wyatt has always been big for his age.  So we took the stroller, thus seriously limiting the hikes we could take.  This time, though, we didn't take a stroller, just the Beco, and hoped for the best.  Wyatt was a CHAMP!

He even hiked the 4-mile Kilauea Iki trail without a single word of complaint!  The weather was kind of rainy pretty much the entire time, but it made things cozier in the cabin, and felt very different from "normal" -- which you want on vacation, right?  We had a fire in the fireplace and drank hot cocoa.

I think one of my favorite things about the Big Island, you know, besides all the amazing scenery, is just the feeling of the wide open spaces.

Our last night there, we went to the visitors' center to look at the crater.  It just looks especially cool at night with the glow of the lava.  But this time, there was actually lava coming up above the edge!   I don't think you can actually see it here, unfortunately, so you'll have to take my word.
I have so many pictures, this is just a tiny portion.  Anyway, after lots of hiking and looking at volcanoes and feeling all cozy in our cabin for a few days, we headed home.
 And we had the sweetest notes on our front door
from the sweetest friends who missed my kids.  I can't think of a better way to come home once the fun is over.

What did you do for your spring break?