Jul 3, 2016 by Krysta
This year, my birthday was one of those milestone ones that it feels necessary to celebrate. I thought of having a party with friends, but the thought of cleaning my house, staying up late, and buying food and beverages for other people just didn't appeal to me. I'm willing to put the effort into elaborate, thought out parties for my kids... but for myself? I just wanted to enjoy the day with my family and good food, ideally at a beach. Because I live in a city smack dab in the middle of the prairies, this would require a vacation, and thankfully my husband was onboard with this idea.
After much contemplation, we settled on Maui. Perfect weather, great for kids, and all of the shaved ice and fish tacos I could dream of. We booked our flights and a condo, and we even brought a babysitter... AKA my mom!
We departed the morning after Briley's birthday party, leaving behind our sticky floors and party decor. I braced myself for the worst in terms of traveling with a very mobile, very independent one year old, and thank goodness for my mental preparation. There is always one bad baby on the flight... the screaming, crying, inconsolable, sleep boycotting type. On our 5 1/2 hour journey from Vancouver to Maui, that baby was Briley. By the time that we finally arrived we were all exhausted. We wearily picked up our rental cars and grabbed a few groceries and then proceeded to our condo where we promptly headed to bed. It was a rough start, but the next day we woke up to a fantastic view, and we were officially on vacation!
We kept busy all week by exploring the island, lazing around the pool, and consuming mass amounts of fish tacos. Have I mentioned just how delicious the fish tacos in Maui are?!
The shave ice was pretty wonderful too. I could bore you all with a detailed play by play of our vacation, but instead I'll focus on the highlights. There were plenty.
1. Date nights in paradise. The last time that Ryan and I enjoyed a meal alone while on vacation was back in December 2012, right before we found out that I was pregnant with Aaralee. With the girls in the trusted hands of Grandma, we managed to enjoy a few solo outings. Our personal favourite? Mama's Fish House in Paia. Situated on a beautiful beach, this busy restaurant changes their menu daily depending on the catch of the day. We had sashimi to start, and then we each tried the ahi in different preparations. We finished with cookies and coconut ice cream, and everything was delicious. Oh, and the drinks... I tried a mango colada and a banana colada, and they were some of the best drinks that I've ever had.
2. The Road to Hana. A day in the car with 2 toddlers might not sound enjoyable, but the scenery made up for it. Ryan drove us along the windy roads as my mom and I reminisced about the last time we visited. We drove past waterfalls and through rainforests, making stops for banana bread and shave ice. Ryan took a swim at the Waianapanapa black sand beach, and the kids wanted absolutely nothing to do with the sand nor the waves. It was a long day, but the Road to Hana is always worth the drive.
3. My birthday. We woke up and went to Kihei Cafe for a breakfast of pancakes drowning in coconut syrup, followed by a day at the beach. My girls must have known that it was Mommy's birthday, because they suddenly got over their fear of the beach and could not have been happier to play in the waves and dig in the sand. Sure, we had a torrential downpour of rain for awhile, but we waited it out and the sun eventually graced us with its presence. Later in the day we went on a helicopter tour (see next point) and finished off with a giant chocolate cake garnished with macarons beside the ocean. It was a perfect day.
4. Helicopter tour. Yes, this also falls under my birthday, but it deserved a point to itself. Because taking me to Maui wasn't amazing enough, Ryan booked a helicopter tour for the 2 of us in the afternoon. It was amazing. We flew through spectacular valleys and along the coastline, over to the island of Molokai to fly past the world's highest sea cliffs. We saw manta rays, turquoise reefs, and a full circle rainbow. It was all so stunning that I nearly cried, because I'm a sap like that and because riding in a helicopter was a bucket list item.
5. Our luau. Okay, so this one was a slight disappointment compared to our prior experience, but fun nonetheless. We got discount tickets at Costco, but we should have probably splurged on the nicer luau. Regardless, the location was beautiful, the food was good, and my tiny girls looked so adorable dancing around in their pretty little dresses.
6. Krispy Kreme. Yes. It was a highlight of my trip. If I lived in the States I'd likely join the obesity epidemic thanks alone to Krispy Kreme donuts. We could rarely drive by without stopping when the "Hot now" sign was on. I'm not typically a donut loving person, but I LOVE those donuts.
7. Haleakala Crater at sunset. We spent all week talking about driving up the mountain to see the crater, but we waited until the last possible minute to do so. (I'm not exaggerating, a few minutes later and we would have missed our flight home.) We ascended to the summit, at 10,000 feet. We were high above the clouds, freezing cold, and it was pretty incredible. We took a few photos and then had to drive back down the mountain and straight to the airport.
We were all sad to return home, but I'm so thankful that I could spend my 30th birthday somewhere as beautiful as Maui. I'm even more thankful that I got to spend it with my favourite people, and that they all had just as great of a vacation as I did... well, for the most part.
I am also very happy to report that Briley was much better behaved on the return flight, and Aaralee slept the entire way, as per usual.
Hawaii, Mahalo for your hospitality and I promise you that I will be back! (P.S... looking back I can not believe that I used to get paid to fly to Maui. They paid me money, to come here!)