I started uploading the raw images from my many digital cards and I thought, "did I really go there"? In a way the photos didn't even look familiar. Either I took so many that I forgot about that day, that dress, that part of our trip. Or I was gone so long that I forgot parts. Either way, it is good to look back.
This morning, during my Bible time and prayer time I was thanking God for all of the things He used this trip to teach me, grow me, relax me, clear me. I know it was only 13 days but in some little way I feel like a whole different person. And it feels like it reset our family.
When I look at these pictures they seem like a long time ago. We are really 'just back' but when I first viewed them, I thought there is no way these were THIS summer.
So join me, on a trip to Hawaii. (and it's going to be in small bits and pieces, sorry for that. I have small bits and pieces for photo editing and blogging with my girlies home with me... this is the sweetest part of summer. August. Nothing but just us girls all day... and I don't want to miss any of it)
We went to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary. And we all went because it was really a celebration of God starting our family 20 years ago. We've been talking about our 20th anniversary trip since our honeymoon there 20 years ago and saving points for all of those years to help with the expenses. But with all of those years talking about "going back" it still felt like we were living in a dream when this all happened.
We drove to NYC and stayed at a JFK hotel the night before our early morning flight. We were groggy and tired that first morning waking up in NY but so excited!
I should have taken a quick shot of us going through security with all of our medication. A whole carry on suitcase full of meds for Abigail and all of her elecare (cans of powdered medical drink... kind of looks like baby formula). Along with that we had a thermos filled with premade elecare and doctors notes asking security to allow us to go on board with the food and drinks for her. We were quite the 'hold up the line' family. But our flight was 11 hours and there was no food for her on the flight due to allergies.
But once we got through and to the gate we relaxed and we waited.
And it felt really good to have most of this stuff gone.
We ate breakfast in the terminal
(she doesn't eat bananas due to one getting stuck in her throat when she was a baby because of EoE but that was what we could find her that wasn't allergic so she did and we were all so happy)
A word about Abigail and this trip because traveling to Hawaii from Connecticut is kind of stressful when your daughter has eosinophilic esophagitis. We never eat out home and we'd have to eat out for every meal for 13 days. It's (sort of) easy to manage this disease at home but this trip would force us to be in uncomfortable situations over and over (3 times at least per day) and we HAD to face what we hate. We had lots of talks with Abigail before we left about this trip and she was 'on board' with handling it. Typing this after we got home and reflecting I can say that she did amazing. We are so proud of our girl. She ate the same thing (once we found a food that was safe for her to eat on each island) over and over and over and never complained. She set my mamma's heart at ease and things like, "that's okay, I don't mind eating a plain piece of chicken" (while we were served amazing meals) I think the secret for our family and traveling with food allergies was to not look at the whole trip but to handle each meal at a time. That nine year old of mine rocked this trip with her food allergies. She drank warm elecare (gross!) and smiled to help ME through it. She made friends with the chief on Oahu so much so that he cooked her meals even if we weren't there just in case we came back to the hotel from a day exploring. She NEVER EVER complained about what she had to eat or being hungry. She just enjoyed. That girl is going to be just fine in life. Facing adversity or even just a tough day as an adult will be a breeze for her. I learned so much from her on this trip.
Okay, back to the photos...
Before we knew it we were boarding the plane.
This was my view for the 11 hour flight.
From my diary:
Here we are! We're in the air right now. Scott has his movie and I have a hot cup of H& S organic Roobios and my diary. It's almost like home with the girls in front of me watching Just Add Magic. They were so cute and so polite when they ordered their drinks. "Yes please" Anna said to ice. "just a little" Abigail added. The steward smiled at them. It feels really old fashioned to be writing. Everyone around me has an ipad, a kindle fire, earbuds...
When we walked on the plane it was ice cold with a blanket and pillow on our seats. Perfect for napping. I'll be here for 11 hours. Hoping Abigail finds a way to close her eyes and sleep a bit. She's so tired. She ate a banana at the airport. So happy! Breakfast!
Said goodbye to everyone - Mom is most excited following our flight online "with us all the way". The hardest part is not being 7 and with my parent and brothers. The second hardest part is not being 23 and "just married". But some day I'll sit here again and say the hardest part is not being 43 and holding little girl hands.
Bye- off to read my book (with real pages, ha!)
The flight went by quickly (although I read an entire book cover to cover) and we landed in paradise! We were greeted by family friends the Yogi family. (if you saw the video of us in Hawaii when I was little back here, you saw this same family. Mr Yogi was the elementary school principal when my Dad was a teacher in Hawaii. And my parents have remained friends with them all these years)
It was a short visit and we were off to our hotel. (with a promise to see them soon) We decided to stay at the amazing, elegant, first lady of Waikiki, The Moana Surfrider, where we stayed for a few nights 20 years ago. Pulling up to the Moana is already like stepping back into time with it's elegant, arches, hard wood floors, open to the sea lobby. If you think about it you almost think you're back in 1901 when it was built. And for us it was just like stepping back to 1996. Nothing changed. It was just as elegant and wonderful as it was those 20 years earlier.
Moana Surfrider (first lady of Waikiki)
(first glimpse that we saw as we pulled up... had to capture with my phone)
Scott must have taken this while he was checking in and we were all sipping on watermellon elixer in the lobby.
No matter how tired we were there was nothing like stepping on the sands of Waikiki!
Our room was amazing. There was chilled champagne and glasses, elegant and perfect. Just as I'd remembered it from 20 years earlier!
Suits on right away. We need ocean! Waikiki Beach
And we stayed on the beach until the sun sank low. And it looked pretty as a postcard.
(phone pictures mixed in with the photos... but each picture I love so they're all in here, all mixed together)
Back in our room we settled in for a cozy night of sleep.
From my diary:
Soooo much has happened since we've been here. The most wonderful aloha welcome from the Yogi's. Beautiful leis. And grandfathery warmth from Mr. Yogi. I don't want to forget pulling up to the Moana Surfrider Hotel. It was like a dream! Just the way we left it 20 years ago. Beautiful, upgraded family suite and dinner under the Banyon tree. Lovely beyond!
The girls swam and loved the ocean with Scott and then the pool. We hopped into bed at 9pm which was really 3am to us in CT. Abigail fell fast asleep and we worried about the noise. After thinking it over for not too long we decided to switch rooms - by the time we were in bed it was 11pm (5am CT) I carried my sleeping Abigail with me to the new room. She never woke up. Now our room was cozy, quiet, and has an amazing ocean view! I never thought I was an ocean view kind of girl but when I walked out even so tired from the travel day I gasped!