Sunday, August 21, 2016

HAWAII! {part three}

I wrote in my last post that our Monday in Hawaii (HAWAII!) didn't necessarily deserve a post all it's own, and here's why: it was awful.

We decided to go paddle boarding Monday morning. It was my idea, and though I am terrified of being out in the ocean, I was genuinely excited and looking forward to it. I had been paddle boarding a handful of times before and didn't plan to venture too far from shore, so I thought it'd be ok.

We had the paddle boards delivered to our place, and after a cozy morning of sipping coffee on our deck listening to the birds and watching the geckos, set off for Makena Landing Park. It was perfect paddle boarding weather and sea - we couldn't have asked for anything better! We took off on our boards and as soon as we paddled past the cove, I knew I wouldn't last. I get sea sick, along with every other kind of sick, but the thought of getting sea sick on a paddle board simply never even occurred to me. It makes sense, yeah, even though the ocean was as calm as it would ever be, but the thought had never crossed my mind. I quickly paddled my way back to shore and sat there with my head down for quite some time, trying to wait out the dizziness. I could tell Stephen was disappointed, and I didn't blame him, though there was nothing I could do to make the situation better for either of us. Eventually, and reluctantly, he ventured back out on his own and got to explore more of the coast, while I sat on the beach trying to convince myself I could go back out and maybe not make it worse (at this point I didn't expect it to get any better!)

After awhile, I decided maybe I could swim and be ok - that hadn't affected me the previous days - so I swam out in the surf and requested Stephen carry me on his back once we were out far enough that I could no longer reach ;) (This part of the story is worth writing down!) That's when we came across sea turtles! There were at least four of them swimming around the rocks by the shore where Stephen and I had begun to adventure - one, the largest Stephen has ever seen. The waves were coming in pretty hard in that area, so we found a rock to perch ourselves on and the turtles kept swimming past in search of food. One pretty strong wave came in, pushing us forward and almost off the rock, and then created an equally strong pull back out to the ocean that brought the turtle with it. We were precariously placed on this rock and this incredibly large sea turtle was being pulled toward us by the waves, right at my chest level. I love sea turtles and was giddy like a school girl to be swimming near them, but when that one came toward me with the force of the wave and was inches from knocking me off my rock into tall surf where I couldn't touch, I freaked out! I lunged in the opposite direction (stinging my foot on a sea urchin as I pushed off the rock) dunking an unsuspecting Stephen under the waves just in time to make a path for the turtle. I might have screamed, too. Stephen couldn't stop laughing, despite having been mauled by his wife, and I couldn't get my heart rate to slow down!

We swam around the rocks for quite a bit longer, keeping a larger gap between us and the turtles (for fear of what, I don't know. I know they're gentle animals but I was so terrified to get too close!). Eventually I joined Stephen on his paddle board and lied the entire time that I was feeling ok, but I knew it meant a lot to him to be able to go out together like we'd planned.

I thought I was feeling alright (at least not any worse than I had been) so we took a walk down the road where we discovered a beautiful church and cemetery and then drove as far south as the road would take us to the lava fields of Kings Highway. I don't know if it was the drive south, the lingering dizziness from paddle boarding, or maybe even a combination of both, plus Sunday's drive to and from Haleakala and the plane ride there - I just couldn't shake it. We wandered a little way down the path and I was so slow, constantly tripping. It was taking so much effort just to keep my eyes open and the dizziness was made worse by my constant need to look down to make sure I didn't trip over the lava. I felt awful having to call our second activity of the day quits. "We are only here for a few days and I have to go and get sick, ruining our trip."

We went home where I took a cold shower, filled my stomach and took a nap. When I awoke, I didn't feel any better. If anything, I felt worse. It was actually painful, how dizzy I was. Standing up, laying down, eyes open or shut, it didn't matter. I was spinning, the room was stationary and there was nothing I could do about it. Stephen went to the store for drugs and decided after they hadn't kicked in that he could do a vertigo test on me to see if that's what it was. Sure enough, I had vertigo. So we spent the rest of the night lying the on the bed performing all these crazy maneuvers to rid me of my vertigo. (I don't know what I would have done had Stephen not been a doctor!) I was in so much pain, so uncomfortable, uncontrollably crying, being rolled around on the bed by Stephen who was so hot in that damn house, hungry and holding back his hangry as well as holding back my hair as I sat hunched over the toilet. It was thee most unromantic setting you could imagine. Comical, now. But awful, during.

Just after sunset I started to feel like maybe the procedures were working. Apparently, the more you do them the better you start to feel, so we had been at it for a while in hopes of eventually solving the problem. We were able to walk down to grab a late dinner from the grocery store and eat on the cool porch of our place before watching a movie snuggled in bed.

It was far from the ideal day. So very far. But looking back, I'm able to see that while I would never wish to redo that day, it did serve its purpose. It's easy to love someone when it's all sunshine and butterflies while childless in Hawaii. That's what I was hoping for and expecting and God threw us a curve ball to keep us on our toes. It's not always easy - life or marriage - and it's not always fun. We had been fighting all day - upset, hurt, disappointed, self-conscious, angry, selfish, in pain - but God used that to fuel our conversations during our remaining days and to better understand and love each other as an outcome. It's easy to love when things are going "right". It's much harder to love when you're dealing with vertigo on vacation. But we did love.

^^ A lot of the pictures we took in Hawaii were for Uriah - our rental car, a pretty flower, a heart shaped rock, a crab, the turtles and ^^ this tree! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

HAWAII! {part two}

It might seem a little unnecessary that each day in Hawaii (HAWAII!) gets a post all its own, but I wanted to remember every detail and not leave anything out simply because it made for too long a post. I appreciate everyone who's interested enough in our lives to read along, but I'm not writing these out for your sake ;) Monday, as you will soon find out, does not deserve a post all it's own. But Sunday... Sunday was definitely a day to remember!

It started early, like 3 am early. We decided just before bed the following day that we should do the sunrise at Haleakala Sunday morning since we hadn't fully adjusted to the time change yet. We read numerous accounts (with the pictures to prove it!) that seeing the sunrise on top of Haleakala was nothing short of an encounter with God, so not only was it appropriately a Sunday, it seemed well worth the early alarm clock. (Though despite the time change, it did not feel like 6 am when our phones starting buzzing) We downed a cup of coffee and set off in the dark.

I get car sick. (I also get boat sick and plane sick and spinning in too many circles with my kids sick) We knew it was a windy road up the mountain, but I was so tired (and still maybe a little 'off' from the plane ride the previous day) that I felt like I could sleep and be just fine - wake me at the top! I didn't sleep, but Stephen has learned to drive extra slow when I'm in the passenger seat so all was well when we reached the top of Haleakala - along with hundreds of other people!

I had read that it was cold, and at 10,000 feet it's not hard to believe!, and that it's hard to enjoy the incredible view if you're shivering the entire time, so we had packed hats and gloves and brought bundles of blankets from the house. We had also read that you want the morning to be cloudy - if you drive up the mountain through the clouds, you'll come out the clouds on the very top and then watch the sun rise above them creating a beautiful light show. Theoretically.

We found our spot along the wall and snuggled up to each other in the cold - a nice welcome after our night in our house with no air conditioning! It was freezing! But so. much. FUN! Maybe it's something I won't ever be able to explain to someone else, maybe it's just something Stephen and I will forever share, like our own little secret, but that morning we were not married, we were not parents - we were back in college, in lust and in love, surrounded by people but the only two people in the world.

The sunrise? We never saw it! It rose sometime while we were there, but the clouds never parted for us to see it and it didn't start getting light until long after everyone else had given up and gone back down the mountain. We spent a while up there goofing off, exploring and snuggling back up under the blankets. Life altering sunrise or not, it was one of the best parts of our trip.

What we were expecting to see on the top of Haleakala...

And what we did see on the top of Haleakala...

Eventually, we drove back down the mountain and stopped for breakfast at Kula Lodge. The food was amazing and the view of the island was pretty spectacular. It made up for the sunrise mishap ;)

After a nap at our place, we set off to explore south. We stopped at Five Caves thinking we'd just get some great views (which we did!) but we also found turtles! Maybe this isn't a big deal to anyone else, seeing a sea turtle in the ocean, but I 'bout cried! I had told Uriah before we left that I was hoping to see one and he got so excited about the possibility! I felt like Marlin in Finding Nemo and I wanted to ask the turtle how old he was so I could tell Uriah! Apparently, the picture we sent had him jumping up and down! I'm not a huge fan of snorkeling, because I'm afraid of just about everything, but this is apparently a great spot to do so and I wish Stephen had been able to get in with some gear! 

(I hate that these pictures make it look so gray and overcast! It was so hot and sunny with just the perfect amount of breeze and shade! I guess I could edit them... But 'ain't no body got time for that!')

After climbing around on the rocks at Five Caves we drove further south with the intention of stopping at Big Beach. Just driving past in the car we decided it was too crowded (we just don't like other people much) and sorta half stumbled upon a "secret beach". Except it's not really a secret because there were other people there and it's written about in a very popular Maui guide book, but it's definitely more secret than most of Maui's beaches. Personally, I'd want to keep it a secret, too! It as so small, quiet and beautiful! We spent the rest of the day there and eventually we were the last ones left and had the place to ourselves (really, we only shared it with a couple and their baby for the majority of the time and I didn't mind watching their sweet little six month old splash in the waves, snooze naked in the shade or play in the sand - I had baby fever and envy!) We climbed the rocks (Stephen jumped off them!), swam in the ocean, read, relaxed, ate and played card games. My ideal day!

After showers at our place, we walked down to watch the sunset and then walked around "downtown" Kihei until we came across a yummy looking Three's restaurant where we enjoyed appetizers for dinner and drinks, before watching a movie at home and calling it a day. A very full, loved filled, fun day :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

HAWAII! {part one}

I feel like Hawaii should just always be written in all caps... HAWAII! With an exclamation point, too, of course...!

So, we went to HAWAII! Just Stephen and I for five and a half days. Again, just Stephen and I...! That deserves an exclamation point, too! Stephen and I hadn't been alone together for more than four hours since our trip to California for his Stanford interview almost two years ago! The trip was long over due (especially since we never had a honeymoon!) I had never been away from Ezra and never from Uriah for that long, so I was a little really nervous. Not about their well being - I figured even if they were unhappy they would be well taken care of and loved! - but about my well being! I was worried that the leaving would be so hard and sad that it would carry over into our trip and keep me from enjoying myself. You mommas know how it is - how do you be yourself and enjoy yourself when part of yourself is missing?! Well, I didn't find it very difficult. Which maybe makes me a terrible mom or maybe just means it was about damn time for a break...! but either way, I knew my kiddos were happy and safe and I was just so very excited to be alone with my hunny to miss them to the point of worry or pain. Leaving was hard, yes, and Uriah almost convinced me to stay with his Friday night bedtime routine - "I don't want to go to sweep because then it will be tomorrow and you will leave" I think I cried all the way to the airport - but once we were there and checked in, it all felt real to me and I was able to leave my sadness in San Francisco! And off we went!

We landed in Maui around 11 and made our first stop at a local Hawaiian restaurant for lunch. I couldn't recognize or pronounce anything on our plate and pretty much stuck to the rice (though I did try it all!) but it was a fun first outing all the same.
We went straight to the beach once our tummies were full. Sugar Beach is one of (maybe thee...?) longest stretch of sand on Maui, so it was a great place to stretch our legs after traveling. I have never been to Hawaii (HAWAII!) and was so surprised by the sand...! It's called 'Sugar Beach' for a reason, folks! It was like walking through brown sugar! (I think I pointed that out every time we set foot on a beach during our stay!) The sand was so incredibly soft and the water so incredibly warm. It didn't take long to convince me we should go back someday ;)
After a stop at the grocery store, we were able to check in to our place - a local airbnb place in Kihei. The place was cute and the location was pretty great, but... It didn't have air conditioning! We knew that when we booked the place but figured, well, we live here in California without air conditioning and all the reviews claimed that between fans and windows it wasn't that bad. Well, it was that bad! We checked in around 3 and it was hotter inside than it was outside. Had we been able to afford it, I would have canceled, left and booked something else last minute. Between the hot house and the forecast of rain every day during our stay, my mood started to go down hill pretty quickly after checking in. I felt terrible for having chosen the place, but Stephen was so sweet and optimistic and forced me out of my negative Nancy mood (mostly - I never did grow fond of the place!)
We left the house for cooler weather and found it at the beach just south of our place. Stephen convinced me to go for an ocean swim (I have a large love but great fear of the ocean!) and we spent who knows how long swimming just past the surf making each other laugh - forcing Stephen to hold me, spitting out sea water, somehow always failing to float, jumping over the waves (or trying to!) and stealing kisses in the surf. We filled our tummies with fresh fish tacos afterward before heading back to our places for (cold!) showers.
We watched our first Hawaiian sunset that night as we walked along the coast line of Kihei, stopping in the sand to take a selfie (or five!) and watch it disappear behind the water.