One of the reasons we chose Maui as our second island to visit is the volcano, Haleakala. We planned our trip for a morning, packed some snacks and the portable DVD player and headed out.

We started off in sunny, lovely, 85* weather and started up the windy, twisty drive to 20, 000 feet. The drive up was beautiful for the first half. Then we noticed it was getting a little cloudy and just a bit misty. And then we realized it was also getting cooler. By the time we were at the summit, we knew we were screwed. It was rainy and 40* and we had not brought our jackets.

After an hour and a half in the car, we did not want to head right back, but we could not walk around in t-shirts and shorts. It was way too cold! So, we were good tourists and bought long-sleeved t-shirts in the gift shop.

Not only is this a great picture of horse patoots, it’s also a good indication of the misty rain we had.

It’s cold! Even in our long-sleeved shirts! But the sun is out!

We learned about the Nunu bird, who only lives in the Haleakala crater. Matthew is checking for one here.

20,000 feet is above the clouds. How cool is that?

Checking out the view (such as it was) from inside a ranger station.

The family that huddles together stays together.

Imagine a crater big enough that the island of Manhattan, turned sideways, could fit down inside. No, I can’t either. But that is what we would be seeing if the weather was clear.

David next to a silver sword cactus, which only grows on Haleakala.

Raining again, so Matthew (the tiny white dot on the right) headed back to the car.

One fun thing we got to do (besides run around outside in the bitter, windy, cold and rain) was complete a Junior Naturalist activity. We visited three ranger stations and completed the activities and then we all got a fancy, gold(ish) badge. Matthew wore his home. He was very proud of his badge.

Next time we go for a hike at an elevation of over, say, 10  feet? I’m bringing jackets. Never making that mistake again.

September 10, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Kid’s Pool!

The Marriot at Wailea had a number of pools. The infinity pool, outside our balcony, was just beautiful. But around the corner was the kid’s pool.

Oh, the kid’s pool! We spent many happy hours at the pool. The lower pool was only a few feet deep with a big play structure in the middle. David was delighted.

Hi, Mommy! This rocks!

Then there were the slides. Oh, the slides! Matthew loved them. There was one long, twisty slide, and one short, steep dump into deep water. I went down them both. The twisty slide was a lot of fun. The steep slide shot water up my nose. Matthew, of course, loved the “big dipper.”

Look at those awesome water slides!

Matthew is fearless.

We got one video of Matthew on the twisty slide. He was too fast on the big dipper for a video.

We did a lot of exploring in Maui, but it was so nice to be able to hang out at the pool together and relax.

August 30, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Maui Ocean Center

On our first afternoon in Maui we headed around the island to the Maui Ocean center. It’s fascinating to me that you can go a few miles on an island and see completely different weather. We left the warm, sunny pool-perfect weather of Wailea and went to the windy, overcast Maalaea and the Ocean Center. Because of the way the island bends, we could see one from the other. Crazy.

At any rate, we had a great time at the ocean center. It was one of the best aquariums we have been to. Best of all, we finally got to see the reef trigger fish, or the humahumanukanukaapuaa.

You can’t see how windy it was, but it was.

We love a good aquarium!

The octopus kept trying to get out.

Sea turtles.

Touch tank. Sea cucumbers are super gross. I mean, really. Ick.

Jelly fish. Spooooky!

Shark tank show. Matthew loved it. He even raised his hand to ask a question (about the number of sting rays in the tank. There were 12, I think.)

There was a clear tube walk way next to the shark tank. The sting rays swam over to say hi.

David checked out the open tank outside with puffer fish.

We took a video of the huma huma fish. Matthew learned the name before we left for Hawaii and he asked every Hawaiian he could find if he or she had ever seen it. The reef trigger fish is swimming around the top of the tank.


August 29, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

A Real Hawaiian Luau.

One of the things Steven and I decided we had to do in Hawaii was attend a Luau. Our hotel in Maui sponsored one several nights a week, so we got tickets. We wore floral leis, we saw a guy crack a coconut with a rock, we tasted poi (it was purple, and kind of sour, and not something I need to eat ever again) and we watched hula dancing. It. Was. Awesome.

Our emcee and lead singer.

Perfect evening for a luau.

David took a picture of Daddy….

… and Mommy….

… and Matthew.

Lovely ladies at the beginning.

The band.

Conch shells make excellent horns.

Lining up by our seats for the next dance. Matthew was very concerned about the lack of pants on the guys.

The final dance was the Fire Sword Dance. It was fantastic. The boys absolutely loved it.

It’s the kind of experience you remember forever.

August 26, 2012. family, trips. 1 comment.

Maui – Early Morning Walk With Daddy

On Friday night, Matthew ran a fever. At least, we assume he did. He was tired, didn’t want to eat, felt warm, seemed sweaty. Steven went out and found a thermometer at the ABC (which is a very different store than back in Virginia), but I had already given Matthew tylenol for his headache. By the morning, he felt fine. He had gone to bed early, so he was up early – even by our 5:30 am standards. Daddy took him for a walk. (God bless that man. He saw more of Hawaii before dawn than any person I know.)

Take THAT you fever! I am a ninja master!

One of our favorite plants – the fan palm.

The infinity pool inspires deep thoughts.

There was, sadly, no drip Kona coffee at the Marriot, but we did enjoy breakfast in the open-air restaurant. And then we went out and had a great morning in the kid’s pool.

August 25, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Last Morning in Waikiki

We left for Maui on Friday afternoon. Daddy had to go to work Friday morning, so we stayed near the hotel and did some laundry and packed up for our flight.

The pool, always a fan favorite.

Like everything else in Hawaii, the laundry room was open-air. The boys hung out with me for a while and then headed back to the room to watch Sponge Bob. (Seriously. Ten days in Hawaii, one kid’s channel, one program on it. Sheesh) After everything was packed up I sent them to the pool for one last splash.

The boys loved the pool. Matthew was able to touch almost everywhere, so he swam around and played with any kid (or adult!) he could find. He also enjoyed the hot tub. David couldn’t touch past the stairs. He was a frustrated swimmer. Unless I got in with him, he was stuck with playing on the stairs or in the hot tub. He really wanted a floaty, but I hadn’t brought one and couldn’t go buy one on Friday morning.

We headed to the airport in the afternoon, where Steven and I managed to lose track of each other. He had Matthew, the big suitcase, and his backpack. I had David, the little suit case, and my back pack. After a trip with David to the bathroom, I went to the wrong terminal. It took awhile to find the right terminal, by which point Steven had figured out we were in the wrong one and went looking for us. Eventually I used my good, cub scout leader training, and stayed put at the Hawaiin Air counter, where I knew Steven had to come. And he did. Steven was truly relieved. Matthew was a little freaked out. David had not realized we were lost.

By the time we reached Maui, we were relaxed and ready for the next part of our adventure!

August 24, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Hawaii Day 4 (part 2) Manoa Falls

After a delayed start, we found our way to the Manoa Falls hike. It was billed as “easy for families” with “vicious mosquitoes.”


We went into the snack bar at the bottom of the hike for some bug repellent and were given a friendly warning from the owner to watch the time. The sun would set at 7:10 and it was around 6 pm. Also, it was a very muddy hike, so we should watch the kids. (People in Hawaii are incredibly friendly).

He was right, on both counts. We found some discarded walking sticks at the base of the hike, which the boys were certain they needed. We grabbed them and started up. We did need those sticks! “Muddy” was a bit of an understatement. There were whole sections were we slipped and slid our way up “stairs” cut out of the ground. Eventually, Steven had to hold on to David to minimize his falls.

Still, the hike up was nice. The trees and birds were very cool, but we did not snap any photos. We waited until the top of the hike.

Check out the mud on our shoes!

The hike down was better, because we knew what to expect. Steven and I traded off and I held David’s hand. We were just as glad to have those hiking sticks on the descent.

Fancy tree, with a walk-way through the middle.

Woo hoo! We made it!

Congratulations, Daddy! You got us down before sundown!

I didn’t know it until later, but Steven was very worried on the hike up. He had taken a look at the clock and knew it was going to be a stretch to make it up and down before sunset. He pushed us along at a good pace to make sure we were safely done before dark. It worked. We stopped back into the snack bar for a celebratory slushy and at 7:15 the sun was down and it was dark.

Leaves as big as your head!


Totally worth it, though. It was a more difficult hike than expected, because “families” is a pretty loose term in the world of guide books, but we have good hikers. The boys enjoyed the hike, and Steven finally got a chance to do something fun with us in Oahu.

August 23, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Hawaii Day 4 (part 1) – Pali Highway Overlook

The boys were desperate for a pool/beach day, so I didn’t plan anything big. Plus, Daddy needed the car to take his turn driving the carpool to work. Win/win, as they say. We headed to the beach in the morning, and the pool in the mid day, but I didn’t take pictures. I was too busy making sure no one drowned.

Daddy came home early in the afternoon, so we decided to head out for a hike. We had read about a hike up to Manoa Falls, which was listed as “easy for families.” We set out with our handy directions and promptly got lost. (See? It’s not just me. Steven gets lost sometimes too.)

But – surprise! We found this really cool overlook off the Pali Highway. Totally unexpected! It was such a vastly different view of the island we couldn’t resist hanging out for a bit taking pictures. It was very windy, and I didn’t have our jackets, so we got a bit chilly.

Seriously free-range chickens in the parking lot.

It’s so pretty! It’s so windy!

From the mountains to the beach. What a view!

On the other side of the mountain range is the north shore, where we were the day before.

Diamond head in the distance.

Checking out the view.

I’m not sure where this path goes, but we hiked up for fun.

Hi mommy! Look at us!

We had been a little frustrated with our directions, but after wandering around this beautiful spot we decided it was serendipity. Or at least very good luck.

August 22, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Hawaii Day 3, part 2 – Dole Plantation

After a morning in the surf at Waimea Bay, we headed to the Dole Plantation. It was conveniently located on our way home.*

Getting ready for a train ride around the plantation.

David was my fresh pineapple partner in crime. Here, we share a pineapple smoothie. Sooooo yummy! Matthew prefers dried pineapple. He was disappointed by my beverage choice.

Train rides are fun and informative!

Pineapples grow on bushes! Who knew?

I think they probably should have switched sides.

Couldn’t resist.

Look! A pineapple on a bush!

No, David. You can’t take it home to show Daddy.

Feeding the koi.

Matthew tried very hard to get the hang of the Hawaiin “hang ten” wave. Note – you do NOT put it up to your ear.

He’s happier than he looks. It was a very long day.

After our train tour, we decided to try our hand at the world’s largest (and possibly only) pineapple maze. We got through about 1/3 of it before we were too hot and tired to do any more. We hopped into the car and headed home, straight into rush hour traffic. The boys were real champs in the car, though. And we made it eventually. And then we celebrated with some pineapple. Yum.

* You know what’s great about driving around on an island? You can only get so lost. Hit the ocean, and you know you’ve gone too far! And yes, I got lost. Every. Single. Day.

August 21, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

Hawaii Day 3, part 1 – Waimea Bay Beach Park

On our third day, we headed north. It was an hour-long drive to Waimea Bay Beach park, up and over the mountain, but what a drive! Did you know there are pine trees in Oahu? Because I did not. The landscape is completely different as you go over the mountain, and then different again on the far side.

We heard Waimea beach was good for kids, and I can see why. There was a lot of shallow water. Unfortunately, it wasn’t shallow enough for us. The boys enjoyed “tummy surfing” as the edge of the water, but I couldn’t go in with both of them myself. Still, we spent a lovely morning splashing in the water, rolling in the sand, and watching a sting ray glide past.

Tummy surfing!

Right after taking this picture, David got pulled out by the tide. I spent the rest of “surfing time” standing behind him in the water to catch him. Good times.

If you look really carefully, in the upper right corner you can see a shadow under the water. It’s the sting ray. He (she?) kept out of the way of swimmers, but there must have been some tasty fish around because he (she?) spent awhile swimming back and forth out there.

Roll in sand, rinse in waves. Repeat.

Burying themselves in the sand.

Mommy, can we just live here forever?

We had a lot of fun, but the wind had picked up considerably. After half an hour of sand spraying into our faces, it was time to head on to something else.

August 20, 2012. family, trips. Leave a comment.

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