Monday, August 29, 2016

HAWAII! {part final}

Our final day in Hawaii! We booked as close to a redeye flight as we could get because we didn't need to be in Portland until early afternoon, but wanted as much time in Hawaii as possible. So while we had to be out of our place by 11, we had the whole day to explore the island.

After cleaning up and packing up, we attempted another hike across the lava fields at King's Highway. It was a hot morning, but it sure was beautiful! We were hoping to see some dolphins in the bay, as apparently they often spend time there, but the lava rock (and remnants of ancient Hawaiian homes), white coral beaches and beautiful blue sea were enough for us!

We went from there to our "secret beach" for lunch, an ocean swim and some time in the sun. We stayed there as long as we could before stealing "showers" at Wailea Beach, grabbing some dinner and watching the sunset as we walked along Sugar Beach - back to where our trip started!

We left for the airport once the sun was down and made it on the plane with only one small glitch - someone left their wallet in our rental car. ...And that someone was me. Oops! It was hard to leave Hawaii, but knowing we were heading toward a fun weekend with friends, and then our babies (!!!) it made it bearable.

I will never forget our time in Hawaii. It was long overdue and the first real trip we've ever taken just the two of us - five years later! I feel like I could go on and on about Stephen, the man I married five years ago and the man that walks through our door every night - our adventures over the last five years, the lessons we've learned and the things we've conquered - the time we spent growing together in Hawaii... I could, but I won't. I'll bottle it up and tuck it safely away to keep to myself and share with Stephen when we need to hear something good. Because it is really, really good.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

one of our best days, ever {Hawaii, part five}

When I think about our trip to Hawaii (HAWAII!), Wednesday immediately comes to mind and a huge smiles makes it's way to my face immediately afterward. Wednesday, was a good day.

It was on our list of things to do to hike through a bamboo forest and Stephen had done his research in our guide book and read about this hike that lead through a bamboo forest to four different waterfalls - Na'ili'ili-haele - around mile 6.5 on the road to Hana. We weren't going to attempt the entire road because of time and I didn't think I could make it much past mile 7 with getting car sick, anyway.

We made it to mile 6.5 without an ounce of dizziness coming from the passenger seat. I think when Stephen cured me of my vertigo, he cured me of all my motion sickness! The drive was beautiful - jaw droopingly so. We parked along the road with just a few other vehicles and set off through the bamboo. That alone was incredibly beautiful and so fun! I'd never seen bamboo before and I couldn't get over how tall and strong it was. And how green! The further into the forest you went, the thicker and sturdier the stalks got. Not too long down the path you pass a waterfall, but it's not a natural waterfall and not considered one of the four you could see on the hike. It was pretty, but knowing bigger and better ones lay ahead, we didn't stop for too long.

We found the first true waterfall not too far from the conversion. We thought the trail continued past it to get to the third, so we continued to hike through the bamboo until we realized we were no longer on an official trail and crawling over and under bamboo wasn't in the hike description. We backtracked down to the first waterfall and decided the trail might continue across the stream. Which it did! Rock hopping across the stream in front of the waterfall lead to a mud path that went uphill and lead to the top of the waterfall. Part of that path was just a sheer rock wall you had to walk across (am I even explaining this right?!) so ropes had been tied to a tree to give you something to hold on to. You weren't that high off the ground, but it was a little questionable and if you misstepped or lost the rope, you'd be sliding down the rocks and mud into the base of the waterfall, so I was a little nervous and a lot careful! The view from the top of the waterfall was so pretty, and we were officially alone, as the other hikers we had been on the trail with didn't want to traverse the rock wall.

The path continued to the second waterfall, this one larger than the first with a larger and calmer pool at its base to swim in. We spent some time at this one, wading in the water and relaxing in the sun, and Stephen found a rope swing to jump off of. From there, to get to the third waterfall, you had to traverse another sheer rock wall, but instead of going across this one, you had to go up. I've mentioned before that I'm afraid of just about everything, and heights is one of them. So is falling off a rock wall to my death serious injury. I could tell Stephen was really excited about this hike and about getting to the third and fourth waterfall, but he was being so sweet and supportive, saying that we would just go as far as I wanted and that we didn't have to do the rock wall...

I had gotten sick and ruined our Monday, ruined our paddle boarding experience, and I wasn't going to hold him back from another adventure. So, up we went! There was a rickety ladder leaning against the wall and a few feet up from that was a two step rope ladder, which makes it sound less dangerous and scary but it was still very much dangerous and scary to me! It took some time and maneuvering, and I couldn't dare to think about how I was going to get down (!!), but we made it to the top! A few people had started to trickle into the second waterfall area, so we were heading off at just the right time.

The trail to the third waterfall was a longer stretch, and not really a trail at all, but rock hopping, as we were now above the second waterfall hiking up the stream. We took our time, stopping once along the way, still in a little bit of shock that I had even agreed to do this...! Stephen kept adding that we still didn't have to make it all the way, as a swim and another rock wall were still ahead of us, but I was determined to make it to the end!

You could hear the third waterfall before you could see it and in order to reach it, you had to swim 100 yards through murky water between two hills with trees creating a canopy above you. Let me repeat that - swim 1 0 0  y a r d s through murky water. You couldn't see through the water even a few inches. I've always claimed that I could swim enough to save my life so it seemed ironic that I was about to willingly demonstrate that. Apparently, though, its safe to swim through murky water in Hawaii, or at least that's what Stephen told me to get me to the other side ;)

I was a little shocked and terrified to reach the third waterfall only to discover you have to climb right up it. It wasn't too tall, under 10 feet I would guess, but it is a waterfall - water is pouring down on you and you have to climb your way up the slippery rocks. I think I would have done just about anything to get out of that water, though! And I did! And while I've described it all as life threatening and terrifying, I was actually having a blast! We were in the jungle, with each other, doing something new and exciting and maybe a little bit crazy... I honestly think I could see Stephen falling in love with me all over again. (Note: not because he had fallen out of love with me, though Monday sure did test his patience ;) but because I was 100% speaking his love language and he knew it wasn't coming naturally for me!)

And we had made it! The fourth and final waterfall! The only people there were leaving as we arrived, so we had the place to ourselves. I think I would have enjoyed my time more, maybe even gotten in the pool to swim, had I not been so panicked thinking about how I was going to get down that third waterfall. I sat there and listened to five separate splashes from the family that had left, counting them all hoping hearing only four would prove there was a way to climb down instead of jump. Stephen let out a nervous laugh as we heard the scream and fifth splash. "Oh shit..." Stephen was able to swim around some and found a rock to jump off of before others started to arrive and we started our trek back.

For the record, I didn't jump. Stephen did, several times in fact, while waiting for me to get the nerve to either jump or slide down the slippery rock wall, which seemed more appealing except that it wasn't as safe an idea. l made it down without a problem and only a slight delay and we swam back to our clothes and bags and continued on to the second waterfall where we had to climb back down the rock wall with the rickety ladders. Going down was definitely harder than going up, but we managed to get back to our car with zero scrapes and bruises. Oh except Stephen's toe. Stephen did stub and infect his toe, but he did that walking across the rocks so it doesn't make for a very cool story ;)

We ate lunch by the road and drove back to our place for showers and card games before we got all dolled up for dinner in Wailea at Monkeypod Kitchen. I could have made a meal out of their pumpkin patch ravioli appetizer - my mouth is watering just thinking about it! We found our way to Wailea Beach in time for sunset (and crab hunting!) and declared it one of our best days, ever.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

HAWAII! {part four}

Hawaii, part I don't even know anymore. So. Many. Hawaii posts! I love dragging it out, though. I love being back home with our babies and starting our new fall routine, but a little piece of me will always long for such treasured time alone with Stephen. The fact that it was in HAWAII is just a major bonus!

So, Tuesday. I was finally cured of my vertigo (thank you, Stephen!) but I was still exhausted and decided that a tiny amount of dizziness was just something I'd have to live with forever. We planned a low key day and drove up north to Napili Bay where we explored the tide pools while waiting for our breakfast to-go from The Gazebo - banana macadamia nut pancakes! We took our breakfast to Ka'anapali Beach and enjoyed some time relaxing in the sun, walking the beach and sipping coffee. We eventually got in the ocean for a swim and dried out playing card games in the sand.

After our time there, we drove down to Lahaina where we walked around Front St. for the afternoon, stopping for shave ice at Local Boy's, wandering through their stores and ending with drinks and appetizers at Kimo's on the water.

We drove back to Kihei in time to watch the sunset from Kamaole Beach Park. We then walked down to Moose McGillycuddy's for Taco Tuesday - yum!

Somewhere along the way, my energy came back and the dizziness completely faded. I feel like so much of our vacation was robbed from my sickness, but we still got to experience everything on our list and it truly did feel like God had multiplied our minutes (the days feel so long when you're not keeping track of your kiddos and stuck to their schedules!) It was an easy, somewhat slow day, but a great (and beautiful!) one nonetheless!

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!