At the beginning of February, we packed up the Little Red and family and set off for a tropical adventure. As any PNW native knows, wintering here gets a little tough and this trip couldn't have come at a better time. I've been putting off this blog post since a post on an entire trip is a bit overwhelming Not to mention I went totally overboard in the photography department.
So here goes.
We've only flown with Claire once before and that was the pre-walking version of my little gal. So we were a little anxious about how a 6+ hour flight was going to go. Luckily she was a gem and aside from her water bottle exploding from pressurization on the man in front of us, the flight was great. Grandma Pam had to hold her for a record long 3 hour nap, so although her arms were sore the next day, it couldn't have gone better.
Kyle's parents arrived a few hours before us on another flight and having her Grandma Susie and Papa Rick already at the house to greet us caused Claire to believe that our vacation rental was "Grandma Susie's house". Even today, if I show her a picture of our trip to Hawaii and ask her where we stayed, she'll answer "Grandma Susie's house" each time.
As soon as we got settled, I changed Claire into a little sundress. Apparently, her memory doesn't span as far back as last summer because she thought it was hilarious to be bare legged. She kept walking around and putting her hands up in a questioning way saying "I have no pants on!" to whoever would listen. This was followed by "I wear no shoes all the day" after a barefoot day on the beach the next day. The kid was extremely quotable the whole trip (a trend that's stuck with her since returning home...next blog post!).
We spend a week on the beach, in the water, eating treats, and admiring the wildlife (chickens). Now for the good stuff.
The house we stayed at was totally cute. Turquoise is so "in" right now so there were lots of photo ops throughout the property. This pic is a few hours after we arrived. The kiddo was still getting a lay of the land, which is why she was holding still for a moment. I love her little bare feet.
Claire got tons of quality time with her grandparents.
And lots of quality time with the beach :) Are you kidding me with the boy-short swim bottoms? Add to this, the cutest pair of legs in existence and the combo was pretty much to die for.
I'm pretty sure that Claire is the only toddler who has ever kept sunglasses on voluntarily for an extended period of time. By the second day, she was saying "It's too bright. Sunglasses!" as soon as we got outside.
Throwing sand or water, or sandy water, was the highlight of beach time. Specifically, throwing sand at other people was the highlight. She would grab a fistful of sand and say "I frow grandma?". Well of course you can! Grandma's don't have rules!
Then she did a little boogie boarding.
Then this happened. The Little Red generally gets zero sugar. Trust me, she doesn't need it. But coming off of a bummer of a food allergy diagnosis a few weeks earlier, I felt bad her her and took her off restriction and subsequently created a sugar monster. I always wondered if I was being silly for keeping her off sugar but now I know, the monster was there the whole time, waiting to get out! Another day, we got icecream and Claire got her very own scoop. She ate every single bite and hopped down from the benches that we were sitting at and said "It's all gone. I go get more." and ran to the icecream shop door with her empty cup. Seriously, sugar monster.
My fave picture of the trip. Totally worth creating my sugar monster.
A little dance for the ocean gods.
Um...also my favorite picture.
More sugar monster.
We had one overcast sprinkly day, so we went on a river boat tour. There were Hawaiian singers and a few hula dancers entertaining the passengers during the trip. Claire was mesmerized.
Oh man, this one is definitely my favorite.
On one of the days, we visited Glass Beach. It's basically a beach full of little smooth beach glass pebbles. Very cool.
Have I mentioned my child's exuberance for life? She brought it with her on this trip.
That's my husband climbing a rock face. She gets it from him.
Look! I came on the trip too. Photographic evidence!
"I sing the hula!"
We spend our last evening drinking mai tai's and watching the sunset on the teeny tiny military base on the island. We'd been there before when Kyle and I had visited Kauai several years ago, only a few weeks before his 15 month deployment. We had a wonderful trip but there was no doubt a feeling of dread we carried with us the whole time. Going back to one of the places that Kyle and I sat together, not sure how we were going to get through the next year and now having our family and our beautiful child with us, kind of felt full circle. I wish I could go back in time and slip my 24 year old self a copy of this picture and say "Keep hanging in there, this is the life you get at the finish line."