A Hawaiian Farewell.

So even though I am finally home to dreary and grey Seattle, will you guys indulge me and let me write one more vacation post?  I need to look at pictures of fresh fruit and blue water just a little bit longer…

It was so nice to have the full kitchen in our suite, and we stocked up on fresh Hawaiian fruit for snacking in between meals – papaya and pineapple every afternoon.  So incredible!

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Our last few days there, we typically spent about half the day at the pool/beach, and the other half out exploring the island.  With each day, Cullen adjusted a bit more to the water.

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We have a lake trip planned with Casey’s family this coming summer, and it will be interesting to see how different he is in the water then.  Hopefully he’ll like it even more when the water is warmer! 

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He certainly had no trouble transitioning to the warmer air temperature in Hawaii.  He looked so strange in short sleeves and shorts at first, since I’m only used to ever really seeing him in sweatpants and long sleeves.  He spent a lot of time just hanging out in his diapers.  It is vacation after all.

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While it was nice to have the kitchen to make ourselves dinners and save a bit of money, we took advantage of Cullen’s schedule and went out for breakfast and lunch quite a few times.  I love healthy food as much as the rest of you, but vacation is also not the time to pass on macadamia nut banana pancakes (at Duke’s Beach House). 

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And I am sad that we didn’t discover our absolute favorite lunch spot in Maui until almost the end of our trip!  Choice Health Bar is the type of place I imagine myself opening if I ever get the opportunity.  A lot of their menu was smoothie based – both drinks and smoothie bowls.  But they also had delicious grains, soups, and fresh vegetable salads. 

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Here is just a small sampling of the many delicious things we ate at Choice.  A “Healthy Lunch Plate” – a salad, grain, and soup, combo – with two little dessert bites to finish.

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Chocolate chip cookie and mint chocolate chip cookie dough balls.  Love how they are served in a shell!

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This kale salad was incredible, and I’m feeling very inspired to start making a lot more things like this at home.  You can’t go wrong with giant avocado hunks. 

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Perfectly cooked garlic quinoa

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A Hawaiian Passion smoothie, made with all fresh, local fruits. 

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And one of several Acai Bowls we had during our stay.  This one was a very thickly blended smoothie topped with granola, bananas, mango, honey, and bee pollen.  I could eat this every single day.

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When we weren’t eating the special of the day at Choice, we were off exploring the island and relishing all the amazing views.  I have honestly never seen anything quite as awesome as the RAINBOWS in Hawaii.  I had no idea they could be so bright and vibrant!

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On one of our afternoon retreats, we headed to Lahaina to walk around the shopping area take a boat ride.  Before we departed, we checked out the giant Banyan tree with branches growing sideways. 

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And then we boarded our ship for two hours of whale watching!  Coming on this trip, we knew we would be limited in what we could do with a baby in tow.  We have always said we aren’t going to be people who’s lives stop when kids arrive, and I think so far we’ve done a pretty good job of still doing fun things, but also being realistic about what is possible at certain ages.

I called ahead to ask about taking a baby on the whale watching trip, and they suggested we do the large catamaran ship with both indoor and outdoor areas.  Casey strapped Cullen on in the Ergo, and we set sail.

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I am so SO glad we didn’t skip this trip.  It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  At one point a mama and baby whale came right up next to our boat (which apparently rarely happens), and I couldn’t believe just how BIG these animals really are in person.

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I guess the whales that come to Maui this time of year are here for breeding and birthing, so there are a lot of mom and baby pairs.  Would you believe that a baby humpback drinks around 100 gallons of mama’s milk per DAY?  I can’t even imagine…

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Cullen thought the whales were boring and slept through the entire boat ride.

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Two whales jumping at once, with a third splashing nearby.  Can you imagine being on that little boat on the left?  Too cool!

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This is definitely an experience to cross of my bucket list.  Visit Hawaii and go whale watching were both on there, so I’m making progress.  Now I want to go again…

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The trip lasted two hours, but I could have stayed out there all day. 

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Traveling with a little one may have stopped us from doing more of the adventure-type of Hawaiian activities, but we still found plenty of ways to relax and explore the island. 

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And what is a visit to Hawaii without Hawaiian shaved ice?  This was root beer, coconut, and wedding cake.  So icy and refreshing!

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I would like another one (or three) of these right now.

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But eventually vacations have to end.  Unfortunately, we can’t just nap by the pool forever. 

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The first day we were in Hawaii, we had a few “what were we thinking?” moments when we realized just how much different (and more difficult!) it is to travel with a small baby.  But after a day or two we got into a groove, and we adjusted and adapted just as we do here with each new change.

Since Cullen’s arrival back in October, Casey and I have sort of been going going going all the time just to keep our heads afloat.  Without family in town, we have to really rely on each other just to get the basic small things done.  Bigger things are usually out of the question. 

This trip was a perfect way for us to recharge and reconnect.  A chance to sit and talk about what we’ve done, where we’re heading, and what we hope for as a family.  One of those hopes is to make it back to Maui someday!  For now, it’s back to Seattle…