Jan 2008

Maui Day 4 (Snorkeling)

And here we resume the Hawaii recaps! I know you are all relieved annoyed.

Day 4 was our big snorkeling trip. But no snorkeling trip is complete without a concert first, especially starring a nekked little kid playing a blue ukulele.

Have I mentioned I forgot one important thing while packing for Hawaii? My contacts. The things that would allow me to snorkel in the place I flew halfway around the world to go snorkeling in? Luckily I have most excellent coworkers. Erika broke into my house (with a key) and grabbed some of my contacts and then Jill overnighted them to me. The photos below are made possible by them. Thanks, ladies!

We took a catamaran ride out to the south side of the island. It was a seriously nice boat. And nice friends to hang with, of course.

Bryan likes to see how deep he can go. Boom chika wow. I, on the other hand, was fairly waterlogged by the harsh waves. It was completely calm the whole boat ride, and when we go to our snorkel spot, the sea erupted all over us. Declan refused to get in. Err, more like screamed and wailed not to get in. So we took turns hanging out with him in the boat.

Somehow I managed to take a picture of the ladder on my way out. What the??? I told you it was choppy.

And Bryan likes to go deep.

OK, so, no disrespect to Japanese tourists, but WHAT is the deal with the peace signs in all their photos? Jeff and Danielle have also seen them doing it all over the globe. Personally I think they will look back at those photos and cringe, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of them NOW, does it?

We had really clear water, even with the choppy waves. We saw a bunch of fish, several sea turtles and Bryan even saw an octopus!

I cannot believe the nice photos I got from the cheapie underwater camera.

The boat was the Kapalua Kai, and I highly recommend them if you go to Lahaina! Great crew, nice food… and we had lovely POG + vodka drinks after the snorkeling! No photo with the drinks for once, though. I have been told by my mother-in-law that all the photos of me have alcoholic beverages in my hands. Doh!

I got really far away from the boat. And nearly pooped my pants when I looked back and realized how far I was going to have to swim.

Declan made a little friend on board. Well, not “little” precisely, since he was 8 years old – but the two of them hit it off like peas and carrots… meaning they talked each others ears off.

And look, they let Declan drive the boat!

Declan took control of one of the underwater cameras. I’ll spare you the photos of the floor and the walls.

Ahh, my boys.

Here is one of my fave pics from the trip. I just love it! And look! At our second stop, we got Declan in the water! He even put his face in with his snorkel mask and saw a puffer fish. He has yet to stop talking about it!

And here we are, back on dry land, walking down to Whaler’s Village for dinner. I was using the remote and auto-timer but apparently didn’t actually look through the view finder when setting the camera down.

While we were walking down to dinner, SANTA appeared offshore on an outrigger, being rowed by his elves! Declan was BESIDE himself. He followed us all the way down the beach.

Then Santa pulled up exactly at the restaurant we were going to. How’s that for timing? Santa asked Declan what he wanted for Christmas. Declan said, “I already told you.” Ha! Shows that impertinence is inherited! Santa said, “You will have to remind me, I have so much on my mind right now!” And then they hung loose.

When we went out to see the boat, Mama didn’t quite get “hang loose” right. Ah well, I tried.

We had dinner at The Hula Grill, which we were surprised to learn were the same people that owned Kimo’s. No wonder, we loved this place too.

I had the ubiquitous macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, but it was pure bliss here.

After dinner, I tried to get more shots of the full moon. Oh well, goofy light paintings are fun too.

The boys relaxed in the hammocks while I played.

And here is the view from our hotel window. Across the way it says Mele Kalikimaka and also Hau’oli Makahikihou (Happy New Year!)

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Tomorrow: Christmas Eve.

Dec 2007

Maui Day 3 (Lazy)

So, our third day was pretty lazy. We spent most of it by the pool. And I put my camera away and played along. Because I have been criticized in the past for shooting all the action and not partaking. So no pool shots today, sorry. And we did take a crazy long-ass nap later in the day too – but no photos of that either, because that would be boring.

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So, our main goal for breakfast every day was to hunt down some papaya. Because not only is papaya in the tropics beyond awesome – did you know it really helps with your plumbing? That’s my little tip of the day, from me to you.

There were birds all over the resort. ALL OVER. Penguins even. But Declan especially loved talking to the parrots. I think this one was named R2-D2. He liked to sing La Cucharacha.

We did go to the kids playground and play for a bit in the morning, while Bryan and Jeff played tennis. The funniest part? They had to rent shoes because theirs were not good enough for the courts.

[Insert pool and nap here]

For dinner, we went into the quaint town of Lahaina and hit Kimo’s for some grub. The place was excellent, as was the view and sunset. However, I must admit it was a bit deja vu – very similar to the Chart House, where I worked in college. Someone stole someone’s marketing ideas, but I am not sure who. Not that I really care, because it was awesome.

And I had more Mai Tai(s). Notice which way the glass is facing.

We never got a full “sunset” because of Molakai, but we didn’t complain too loudly.

Pretty Danielle.

Declan saw the coolest black crabs crawling all over the rocks below.

And then Declan made us put our drink accoutrements in our hair.

After dinner, we walked about Lahaina a bit. It is such a cute little town! And we enjoyed a full moon.

My camera didn’t do it justice.

Then we played at the largest Banyon Tree in Hawaii. The thing is an literally entire city block. And is perfect place for hippies to sit under and smoke pot in the evening. So, we kept shifting Declan upwind.

And then we were ready for bed. Tomorrow is our snorkeling adventure.



I must admit, New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday. Lots of buildup and cash for much ado about nothing. So, we are staying in and having a casual dinner with Jeff and Danielle and maybe some cards. (And, like we really need to spend any more money after Hawaii???)

I do like New Year’s resolutions, though… I will post about mine tomorrow – but what are yours for 2008?

Hope you have a fun and safe evening tonight!

Dec 2007

Maui Day 2 (Hana)

Day 2 finds us trekking the Road to Hana. Jeff and Danielle warned us it would be long and curvy. But no warning is enough. Usually I am the only one who gets carsick, but by halfway through the day every single one of us was popping Dramamine like candy.

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So, here is the first exciting thing: A WHALE! OK, it’s really just a splash of a whale, but he’s there, I promise.

Here’s the next exciting thing: Declan learning to HANG LOOSE.

OK. Seriously. Hawaii is heaven on earth.

One of our very favorite parts of the day, of the whole trip really, was seeing the black sand beaches. Many people don’t think there are any on Maui, but there is one. And it was freaking awesome.

I know I posted a similar photo from Hawaii, but I couldn’t resist another. How cute is he???

OK, how cute are WE?

And how cute are THEY?

We played on the black sand beach for a LONG time. And I was singing Madonna’s “Cherish” the whole damn time.

There was a cool cave nearby too.

Below was just before we asked a man to take our photo with Danielle’s camera. And the fucker promptly dropped it. In the surf.

Dropped. her. camera. in. the. ocean.

And the best part? He was more upset that his shoes got wet than he was over her camera.

There were waterfalls along the way too. But that water was too chilly to swim in. But not too chilly to be amazing.

Declan seriously loved every minute.

This is on the walk out to the Seven Sacred Pools.

Here are the pools… they each represent some special trait that you will get if you swim in them. Of course, I cannot remember any of them right now, and the water was too fierce for us to swim in this day. Danielle has made it to Pool #3 before, though.

Seriously gorgeous.

Jeff was watching us try to get wet with the waves, and noticed a huge sea turtle.

He looks small here, but I promise you, he was enormous.

And we never actually got wet, but it came close.

Bryan and Danielle were more brave and went way out. Crazy lunatics.

We stayed back and played on the hills. This is one of my favorite pics from the whole trip.

And here is the top of the Seven Pools.

And the Bottom. I still feel pretty lucky to have seen them, even if we didn’t get to swim in them.

And finally, here is an animated gif, showing Jeff and Declan goofing around while I sang the theme song from the Sound of Music.

After all that driving, we needed FOOD. We stopped at Buzz’s Wharf on the way back to Lahaina, and while the place itself was fairly unassuming – the food wasn’t. Or at least the Tahitian Shrimp wasn’t. Holy Mother of GOD – that was LITERALLY the best shrimp I have ever had in my life.

And I’ve had a LOT of shrimp.

Ahh yes. Day 2 was a success. Especially since there was no yelling or puking on the Hana Highway. Not everyone can say that.

Dec 2007

Maui Day 1 (Beach)

OK, so here starts the recaps from our trip! I am starting from December 20th, because December 19th was mainly spent in the airport. We were supposed to arrive in Maui by mid-afternoon but there were problems with the plane and we arrived over 5 hours late (so much for saving time with that that direct flight), it was 11pm by the time we got to our room, ordered room service and passed out.

But I have to give the hotel credit, they still had leis waiting for us at 11pm.
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And then we were up bright and early given the jet lag – so we headed down to let Declan feed the koi. The HUGE koi. The koi that ate more than I do.

Speaking of the resort (the Hyatt Regency), it was awesome. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Gorgeous! Great location. Great rooms. Great service. Great amenities. Great food (although expensive – but that’s Hawaii). Great pool. The beach was a little small, but you just had to walk a little way to the right and it was all good. Over all, big thumbs up.

So, we spent the morning on that beach. Declan loved it.

That is the island of Molokai in the background.

Yup, he is dancing on the beach. It doesn’t get much cuter than that.

I have to say, Jeff and Danielle are most excellent to go on vacation with. And they are cute as hell, too.

That boy did *NOT* want to leave the beach for a nap.

But he finally relented and while Bryan and Declan napped, the rest of us went to the grocery store to stock up on supplies to offset those expensive Hawaiian meals. And couldn’t resist getting a snack while we were out. A snack that included a drink or two. I discovered a local favorite – a Li Hing Mui Margarita… made with an Asian plum spice. It was sweet and salty at the same time – it rocked. I bought 4 bags of the stuff to bring home.

Then we went back to the beach for a little bit before dinner.

And made Jeff climb a palm tree.

To top off the evening – my first Mai Tai in Hawaii! The glass was a riot, happy face one side – sad face on the other. Our waitress said she took which way it was facing as a sign if you needed another or not. I did not – those things are STRONG!

Yup. An all around great first day in Hawaii.

Tomorrow: The Road to Hana.

Dec 2005

San Diego

Well, of course we had a blast. Every single photo of the nearly 250 will be up on my photo site soon.

But here are the highlights our trip.

Arrived in at our hotel in Oceanside at around 11pm. Which was 12am Denver time. An all-time record for Declan (who is usually in bed strictly by 8pm!). But he was a trooper.

Went to go get groceries. Car would not start. Coincidentally, the mileage on the Trailblazer they gave us was “666” when we picked it up Thursday. I was stupid enough to make a comment about it, which of course, doomed the car.

But the great part of the day was Sea World. Declan was a bit terrified of the whales at first, somehow he got it into his head that “whales bite.” (We then, um, glossed over the part about Shamu being a ferocious predator in the wild.) We walked, played, ate a bunch of unhealthy stuff. All the things you do when you go to a major “attraction.”

Jeff & Danielle dropped us off at Legoland while they went and toured the Temecula Wine Country. Legoland rules! Perfect place for the 3-5 year old set. Declan was just big enough for most of the rides and only a few were overwhelming for him. One that was particularly overwhelming was where he piloted his own car (the smiley, happy photo below is before he had to actually drive the thing). He kept running other little kids down, which upset him to no end – and his feelings were hurt further by asshole dads who kept yelling at their kids to go faster, go around him, run him down, etc. I am NOT looking forward to any team sports with idiots like that on the sidelines. What is interesting to me is how Declan is becoming a little perfectionist just like me… Even when I try so hard not to put that kind of pressure on him.

One of the areas we really liked at Legoland was Miniland USA… Where they have reproductions of many major US cities. We particluarly liked their sense of humor, like when they included a call girl in the New York milieu (she’s the sassy one on the phone).

Of course, any Dora that is larger than life, is a good thing.

That evening, we had the most spectacular sunset. Jeff & Danielle were kind enough to hang out and listen for a sleeping Dex to wake up from his nap – and allowed Bryan and I to stroll down to the beach and watch the sunset. It was amazing. One of those evenings that make you believe in a higher power.

Sunsets on the ocean are totally foreign to us, having grown up on the east coast. All I can say is they are fucking cool.

Bryan played photographer for a while and he got some incredible colors in the shots – not to mention – hey, who is that cute chick???

The lack of sleep was wearing on all of us, especially Declan. Three hard core days is about all he could stand and his nose started phlegming. Of course, a little thing like a cold would not keep him from the Pacific Ocean. So what started as a lazy day turned into Endless Summer – 3 Year Old Style. We gave up trying to keep him dry and stripped him down to his Spider-Man underwear. He just went NUTS. Which was a bit startling, since last year he was very afraid of the waves in Mexico. All 4 adults just looked at each other with glee as we realized we were in for an awesome time when we go back to Mexico next May!

So, since Declan was so into it, and the hotel pool was pleasantly warm (as opposed to the frigid ocean), we kept the water theme going for the rest of the day.

Sunday night, we decided to drive down the coast to La Jolla and had the most expensive dinner, ever. But as Danielle and I said many times yesterday – it was so worth it. That was the best meal I have had in a long time. And with lots of fish – since the seafood here in Denver is crap.

And the crazy thing is, we picked the restaurant from a magazine… and as we entered I realized I had been to that exact restaurant before on my business trip to San Diego a few years ago. Major deja vu. Of course, had I remembered it, we would have saved a bunch of time hemming and hawing about where we were going to eat. C’est la vie, I guess. 🙂

We packed up and checked out of the hotel. Drove down to San Diego, over the bridge to Coronado and then back to the Gaslamp Quarter for lunch. Walked around a bit and headed to the airport.

Surprisingly, there were no lines and we were at the gate nearly 2 hours before our flight. Crudballs. But then, the most amazing thing happened. I laid Danielle’s coat on the ground, asked Declan to lay down on it and he actually fell asleep. WHEN DOES THAT HAPPEN, EVER? When everyone is to the breaking point of exhaustion, that’s when. So we chilled for a while, hopped the plane and got home close to 10pm.

Another late night for Declan. But so worth it.