This was our third time to Maui, but the first time with Fin. Let me tell you, it was a totally different vacation than we have had in the past. There were not many leisurly dinners out, no late nights, and not very much drinking, but it was still a really, really great time. I always swore before I had kids that I wouldn't travel with them until they were old enough to actually appreciate it. I still sort of stand by that policy (i.e. no Disneyland until she can actually go on the rides), but this vacation did change my mind a bit. Even though we were very busy chasing Fin most of the time, we still managed to relax, and it was nice to just get away from the norm for a while. I also loved seeing Fin expereince new things for the first time and have so much fun doing really simple activities like playing at the park and digging in the sand.
My Mom spends quite a bit of time in Maui, so when it's our turn to spend Christmas with her, we like to spend it there. We stayed in the same place we have in the past, so it's actually starting to feel quite familiar. Also, because she is there so much, she knows many of the non-touristy spots for us to hang out.
I have to admit that before we left I was having a bit of anxiety about such a long flight with Fin. She is busy with a capital B - she has the attention span of a nat. Add that to the fact that she isn't a great sleeper and I could just sense disaster looming. I spent weeks before our trip gathering supplies to keep her busy on the plane - all new stuff so that it would be shiny and exciting. We had sticker books, little people, crayons, finger puppets, the ipad, headphones, pipe cleaners, soothers, blankets, and enough snacks to feed the whole plane.
One of the smartest decisions that we did make, and a bit of a splurge, was buying a set of wheels for our car seat. We didn't bring our stroller, and instead just wheeled our car seat through the airports. Once we arrived we then rented a jogging stroller. If you ever have to fly with a toddler, and need to bring you car seat, buy the wheels!
Our flight there was ok. We had an overnight stop over in San Francisco, which actually gave us a nice break. Fin slept the majority of the flight from San Francisco to Maui, which made me a very happy mama.
Even with the nap on the plane, we were very happy to arrive!
We stayed just outside of Lahaina, which is on the west side of Maui. It's really is a beautiful spot. Lahaina is a little town right on the water and has tons of restaurants and little shops. They are famous for the Banyan Tree - a GINOURMOUS tree in the middle of town. Fin loved exploring it.
It looks like it's 2 trees in the picture above, bit it's all one tree, it just has multiple trunks. A sight to see for sure.
At Christmas they string lights across the whole thing. So pretty.
We also hit up the Maui Ocean Centre one day. Fin really did love it and kept yelling glub, glub, glub the whole time (the sound we make for fish...obviously...) . She loved it so much that she raced through it 90 miles an hour....a big blur....
It is a really cool place though. They have a huge tunnel tank that you can walk through, so there are sharks and rays swimming all around you - pretty neat.
We also got a chance to check out the Lahaina Jodo Mission.
I've been wanting to see the giant buddha for years, but we hadn't made it there until this trip. I have a thing for buddhas, so I was totally in love. It's actually the biggest buddha of it's kind outside of Japan - it's 12 feet tall.
It's such a calm and peaceful place, and is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Lahaina.
Other than those 3 activities we pretty much just hung out at the beach and pool. Mr. Swell is a water guy, and Fin inherited the same gene, so they were just in their glory. Me...I am not into cold water, but I did get right into building some very sloppy sand castles.
We ate at Roy's, which is so, so, delicious. If you are in Maui I highly recommend checking it out. We had a small brush with celebrity too as Carlos Santana was sitting just a few tables away from us. We 'argued' back and forth the whole night if it was actually him or not, and finally the waiter confirmed for us that it was.
We spent Christmas day on the beach, and even caught a glimpse of Santa.
The guys also got to do some diving....
I am not into scuba diving, but Mr. Swell loves it. He always sees tons of turtles in Hawaii.
Because we had a full kitchen we did cook Christmas dinner. We had roast chicken instead of turkey, but did have all the other fixings, including the stuffing my Mom makes - which would be my last meal of choice, if I ever had to choose. Yes, I consider stuffing a full meal, because I could totally eat the entire pan.
After 10 fun filled (and sand laden) days, it was time to say goodbye and get ready for the LONG flight home.
I won't go into too much detail and be Debbie Downer, except to say that it was NOT a good trip home (I already complained about the car seat incident here - and am still in disagreement with the airline). Fin refused to sleep and we were all at our wits end by the time we arrived home. It was an overnight flight with a connection in Calgary, and after not sleeping for almost 24 hours I was pretty much ready to collapse on the airport floor. Once we strapped Fin back into her car seat on wheels, she did finally fall asleep in the middle of the Edmonton airport at baggage claim - how convenient!
It might be a while before we are ready to fly with her again....
On a side note, we drove a minivan for the 2 weeks we were there and totally fell in love with it. It was so easy to shove all of our stuff in and to get Fin in and out. I always said that I would never drive a minivan (we already own an SUV), but I may have been converted. We still look semi cool driving it, don't we?
Any minivan drivers out there? What do you have? Please spill all the good and the bad so that we are ready to go when it's time for a new car.
So there you have it. That's why all was silent around here for a couple of weeks. I am back and feel so refreshed and renewed and ready to go. I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I can already tell that this year is going to be a productive one!