our escape from the arctic

My original plan was something along the lines of ‘”Our Tropical Vacation” but I wanted to add a little more drama to it; catch your attention. Did it work? 🙂

It has taken me longer than I expected to get this post done, but it’s been nice to have time to unwind and get back in my groove. Looking back at pictures now that it’s been a few weeks, makes me appreciate the time we had away from home even more.

The idea behind this trip started after we returned home from our last escape from Alaska. Having just gotten back from the northwest, we were still eager to get a break from winter. Andy was working nights, and in his spare moments texting me throughout the evening. A couple days shy of New Years and we both agreed we still had an itch for a warm vacation. On a whim, I searched Airbnbs in Hawaii and stumbled upon on what was a pretty incredible deal. I forwarded it to Andy to have a look. Never having been the one to really question an adventure, he told me to book it. The rest luckily, fell into place smoothly. By New Year’s Day, flights and rental car were booked, we even got my sister in law to join us, and we were headed to Oahu the very next month. WOO. HOO.

I think what I was most excited about, apart from the obvious (warm weather, ocean air, relaxation) was seeing the kids experience the ocean and all of its wonder.

As you can probably imagine, traveling with three small children in tow, has it’s challenges. We hit gold with our Airbnb though. It was a (private) attached guesthouse with our own lanai looking out over the water. Our host was an incredibly sweet 74 year old retired couple (Alvin and Pat), who had their 7 year old granddaughter (Averie) living with them. The kids instantly hit it off with her, and in no time at all Hayden referred to her as her Hawaiian sister. It felt like home away from home. With a full kitchen, we rarely ate out, and instead cooked majority of our meals at home. Each morning, everyone was up with the chickens in time to watch the sun rise up over the horizon. The kids would race out in their pajamas and swing, while the rest of us soaked in the warm morning sun and drank coffee. If I could bottle up a mood, it would be those very mornings. A fresh cup of coffee in my hand, the air humid from the early morning rain, the sounds of water lightly crashing up over the stairs leading from the yard, and the giggles of the kids racing to see who can swing the highest.

Alvin and Pat had paddle boards, kayaks, and an assortment of floaties available for us to use. We purchased sand toys for the kids to build sand castles, but ended up only having a couple beach days away from home. The rest of the time, we used the gear at the house to swim or paddle all around the bay. Arm lengths away from the kids running around the backyard. Steps away from our beds where little people could lay down and nap when they needed. We kept the fridge stocked with snacks and all our favorite sandwich fixings. Each night, we barbecued for dinner and eventually our new found friends started joining us, and it became something we looked forward to at the end of each day. We swapped stories and learned about each other’s home life. The kids got to see where Averie’s elementary school was, and Alvin brought over bowls of rice each night and even treated us to some incredible teriyaki beef he prepared. He had already lived such a full life and he and Andy had hours worth of stories they indulged in. He even unveiled his vintage cars and took Andy for a few rides during our visit.

The winters in Alaska are long. Often we get snow by October and this year it most likely won’t be completely melted for another month. If we are lucky. We needed a change. Sunshine and days spent in a single layer of clothing. There were a few days that we had wanted to take the kids to places like the Sea Life center or different parks, and we ended up bagging those plans and just staying at the house. Those days turned out to be my favorites times during the trip. The kids ran all over the yard and played. We made drinks and laid out in the sun. No agenda, no where to be. No one was worried about home work, laundry that needed to be done or dishes that sat in the sink. Our only priority was reapplying sunscreen.

Often we packed lunches and would head out for the afternoons, with no real plans. Usually finding a new beach was on the agenda, and we made sure to stop at the local fruit stands. Our fridge stayed stocked with fresh fruit and juice for each day. There were a couple days we did touristy stuff, but I’ll save those details for their own post. Each evening we returned home before the sun set, and prepped for dinner. Getting back in time to watch as the tide slowly crept out and we were able to go down below the yard and walk the small stretch of beach that appeared. The kids would scream and run from the small black crabs that would start to gather on the rocks, and each day I found a new piece of coral to add to my collection to take home.

Since coming home, there is rarely a day that the kids don’t ask about us returning to Hawaii. Especially as the snow continues to fall around us and spring is taking it’s sweet ol time arriving. It’s not hard to day dream about being back in paradise, so until then I’ll continue to look back at posts like this and revisit all the incredible memories we made.

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