Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making Plans

I'm back in Boston! Miss me? Haha obviously not, since I was still blogging every day (ish). I have now been awake for over 24 hours and clearly I'm ready for a nap but I'm trying my hardest to stay awake because I want to get back on East Coast time asap. I just want to reiterate 1 more time my overall hatred of red eye flights. Apparently my stomach agrees because when we landed in Boston today I was fighting hard not to use my air sick bag...a bag I have not had to use since I think I was 5.

I do have some fun airport/plane shots for you guys. Here we are in the Maui airport. We are still pretty happy with life at this point...


Then we got on the plane to Chicago (1st stop).


We are still happy with life at this point because...


We had 2 empty seats next to us. Whoa hoo!!!

Sadly, even the extra space did not help me get to sleep on this flight, but I watched some movies and did a little work so 7 1/2 hours wasn't so terrible.

We start to look a little more ridiculous around the Chicago airport...



Like my new dress? Just kidding- that's Eric sweatshirt that I had to steal because it was cold.

Enough about miserable airplanes and airports.

Today I've been in major productivity mode aka do not fall asleep mode. I tackled my e-mail inbox and some organization. I got a new planner which I tend to do every 6 months (yes, I have a problem, I know this is not normal) and i went grocery shopping. I have also outlined my big projects for the next couple of weeks before school starts up again...

1. Thank You Notes- I ordered them, that's the right step right?

2. Name Changing- Dreading this process but might have guilt tripped Eric into joining me for all this fun. I'm hoping I can get a lot done next week when I have a couple of tutoring kids on vacation because waiting in line at SS and the RMV might not be possible when I have kiddos to be working with.

3. Kindergarten Stuff- Gots to get things ready for a new year. I'll send out my first mailing in a week or two. On a positive note, I don't have to change my name on anything, whoa hoo!

4. House Organization- Getting married makes your house disorganized. I'm excited to recycle lots of wedding related papers!

FINALLY, There have been some interesting articles for teachers around lately so I thought I'd post them for those that are curious. The first is my personal favorite since it says that Kindergarten teachers are worth $320,000 a year, umm YEA we are! The other is called "The Case Against Summer Vacation," which we can all assume I HATE haha, but seriously- it has some good points for children who may not be involved in social, creative activities in the summer. I personally would hate to see my kids lose summer vacation though. I think the break is necessary and it's important for kids to actually spend time with their parents and siblings. During the school year I think I see kids more than they see their parents!

This weekend Eric and I are pretending we are not jet lagged and heading up to NH to hang out with his family. No internet up there, but I'll be back on Sunday night or Monday with a recap and an exciting announcement :)

What is everyone up to this weekend?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Real Leis

Want to hear the best excuse EVER for my not blogging earlier? The internet in the ENTIRE state of Hawaii was out. That's right. Entire state. Only in Hawaii, right?

On Monday night, Eric and I had tickets to attend the Old Lahaina Luau from Katie and Adam! It's supposed to be the best luau in Maui, so we were really excited. It definitely lived up to our expectations. Within 2 minutes of being there it was obvious it was going to be a great night, as we got REAL leis, free drinks and a beautiful sun setting over the ocean to enjoy :)


While the pig roasted under the sand (literally)...


...we roamed around and checked out the place and some fun Hawaiian things for sale. Eric got a fish hook necklace and I got a wooden turtle with our names and wedding date carved in them. The guy carved it on the spot which was cool to watch...


Dinner was a buffet which I like especially since I had no idea if I was going to be able to eat any "local" style food. I tried a little bit of a ton of things...


Most of my meal was tofu/vegetable fried rice. But I also tried some Hawaiian local foods like the purple sweet potatoes (all the way to the left- DELICIOUS), salmon salad (next to sweet potatoes- not my favorite) and poi, which I don't care to ever have again haha. I have also decided that Hawaiian pineapples might be my favorite fruit in the world, and I like pineapples at home just fine but I wouldn't go out of my way to have them (though honestly I wouldn't know where to start cutting a pineapple anyways). The banana bread was delicious too. It was nice to get to try some local flavors without making them my entire meal.


While eating dinner, we chatted with a couple who was celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary :) They were fantastic especially because they told us that the things we have not done in Hawaii (sunrise- 3 am, no thanks and snorkeling at Molikini) were "just okay". Haha.


After dinner, the "show" began...



I am going to try to put a video of this here so you can see the awesomeness. If there is a video that works, go me, if there is no, I claim technical difficulties :)

Yesterday Eric and I were supposed to go scuba diving, but there was a mix up with our reservation so we didn't go, which was okay because I was pretty done with scheduled activities at that point. We are going to try to get certified in scuba diving at the Cape later this summer so we don't have to search for intro classes anymore (especially because I have been scuba diving before and don't want to sit through any more intro sessions haha).

Instead Eric and I spent the day relaxing and pampering ourselves. I got a "polish change" at the Spa. It was the cheapest thing you could do there and frankly I'm not into having my hands massaged :) The spa was awesome.


They had a sweet "relaxation" room where you wait...


They also had nice comfy chairs, but I only sat in them waiting for my nails to dry a little bit and I couldn't really take a picture at that point :)

Eric's pampering was in the form of a new tattoo!


I'll show you guys a picture eventually, but I want him to be able to unveil it to family and friends first :) It's pretty cool. I wonder if you can guess what it is?? (and no, it's not my name, don't get any crazy ideas).

We also had two great meals yesterday. Lunch was at Hula Grill, and I had a delicious fish sandwich...


Since it was our last night for dinner we went back to our hotel steak and seafood place which was our favorite meal in Maui so far. This time I got the vegetarian meal that was tofu, grilled veges and macadamia nut rice pilaf. It was awesome and definitely one of my favorite meals of the trip so far...


In typical Kelly fashion, I was telling Eric how I'm now getting to the point where I like when I get ID'd at the Luau, but then didn't bring my ID to the restaurant last night and had to walk (far!) to my room to get my ID last night at dinner. Obviously.

Anyway, I'm about to go for one last snorkel, eat breakfast and then pack it up. Could someone please explain to me why whenever you are going east bound flights are always at really dumb times? For example, tonight we get on the plane at 4pm. However, when we get to Chicago 8 hours later, it will be 6am, meaning I was supposed to get a full night sleep starting at 4 in the afternoon. WHO DOES THAT?! Why not start the flight at like 10 pm, and then expect me to sleep which is slightly more possible? They do this same stupidity on the way to London and Ireland and of course it always messes me up for several days. Boo.

See you when I get back to Boston!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Windy Roads and Love for Water Sports

Oops, missed another day of blogging and of course now I have 3 million pictures, may take more than one post.

One of the cool things our hotel does (and believe me, there aren't a million, but I did like this idea) is that they encourage people to decline their housekeeping services for a day to "save on natural resources" (aka they don't have to pay the cleaners). A lot of hotels encourage this, but our hotel will actually give you something in return- $25 off your meal at any of their resort restaurants. Now, obviously resort meals are ridiculously overpriced but they are also good so $25 isn't so bad. Eric and I took advantage of this our first full day here and ate at the steak and seafood place downstairs. We started with some delicious rolls...


It was served with this mango butter that was amazing, even if I really can't do butter so I had to only put a tiny amount on :)

For my meal I ordered Mahi Mahi with a mango papaya salsa on top.


The next day (Sunday) we got up ridiculously early yet again (clearly relaxing while on vacation is not our strong suit) to do the Road to Hana. To be honest I have debated a lot about whether or not I wanted to do the Road to Hana. There seems to be a lot of hype but most people I talked to said it was good, but also a very windy long road that would probably make me carsick. To try to prevent getting sick I decided to drive.


There were a lot of one plane bridges (btw Hawaii loves one lane bridges, there is absolutely NO reason for them except they clearly just love them)


and crazy blind turns...



Don't worry I did not take these pictures while driving, Eric drove on the way home and I snapped them :)

We stopped a lot along the way to see beautiful gardens and views (at the Garden of Eden it was called haha)...


and waterfalls...


When we had almost reached Hana, we stopped at Wai'anapanapa, which was the best place to stop by far. We first visited the beautiful black sand beach. I've now seen a few black sand beaches between Santorini and the Big Island, but I can say this was the most gorgeous I've seen so far.


Eric went snorkeling...


I read on the beach in my anti-skin cancer hat...


When it started to get crazy crowded with tour buses, we headed over the caves that you can swim in. While I should say, Eric can swim in because I have my giant battle scar from climbing in flip flops so I can't swim in freshwater in Hawaii. Apparently there is a bacteria in the water called Leptospirosis that enters the body through open cuts. It's not all that unlikely to get it and let's be serious- it's me, either I would get it or I would think I have it, so better to just let Eric go in.



Eric loved it and said the water was freezing, which of course only made him love it more.

We stopped for lunch in Hana and then headed back on the Hana Highway. Some people take the full circle beyond Hana and go on the south side of the island, but our buddy at Barnes and Noble the other day told us that he and his wife had just done that and there was some damage to his car and weeping involved. We were sort of having fun driving and hanging out so we didn't want to ruin it with any car damage or weeping.

On the way home we stopped at a roadside stand and I got real coconut ice cream (made of coconut milk) and ate it out of a coconut shell with a small piece broken off for my spoon.


Then we just enjoyed the views on the way home (well actually I enjoyed the views, now Eric was driving so he had to focus on the road, there are no breaks for the driver).


We finished the day with some Italian food...


Overall I am glad we did the Road to Hana. We had fun doing it and I think both of us wanted to be able to say we had. However, I would not do it again (though when else am I going to be back in Maui? haha) and I wouldn't tell someone else coming here that they absolutely have to do it. It's beautiful, but it's a long road and there are only so many waterfalls you need to see :)

On the cash register at our dinner place was this sign...


That about sums it up :)

Today Eric and I woke up bright and early again (not as early as yesterday but still!) for surfing lessons! Our friends Matt and Christina bought us surfing lessons for our wedding:


Can you tell Christina is a teacher? Even though she teaches older kids who are learning English I think there is just a thing where teachers love scrap booking supplies.

For some odd reason (and by some odd reason I mean our hotel is a pain in my butt) we had a lot of trouble redeeming these lessons but we showed up today and they let us into a group lesson. We were supposed to have semi-private but the beach we were surfing on was SO crowded with people learning to surf it probably didn't matter that much haha.

I am not going to lie to you, I was a little nervous about surfing. I studied abroad in Australia without making a single attempt and I probably would've avoided it on this trip except Eric wanted to go. However, I'm so glad he made me go because it was SO fun. We started with a little land lesson. You can tell I'm paying so much attention (I'm third from the right staring at my nails haha)


Eric aka "Mr. Water Sports Are Not My Thing" got RIGHT up...


I, on the other hand...




and bumped into people...


In my defense, people sucked at staying out of the way and I haven't really mastered steering yet.

But after a few attempts, I was surfing...



Eric was even able to steer around people, look at this skill...


Since it was our first lesson, the instructor just pushed us into the waves so we didn't have to exactly "catch" them. However, Eric figured out how to catch them on his own and had one particularly epic run (which may be the one pictured above, I'm not sure) where he caught the wave himself, got up and went until he couldn't go anymore :) Obviously, surfing is, in fact, his thing.

I seriously love water sports. Who needs soccer when you can glide across the water on a wakeboard, paddleboard, surfboard or even in a kayak? Not this girl :)

This afternoon we are relaxing a bit. My throat hurts and both of us are exhausted so we need a bit of relaxation. Tonight we are going to a Luau that Katie and Adam got us for our engagement present (it's supposed to be the best one in Maui!) and tomorrow we are going scuba diving. Other than that we are trying to not plan anything else (we are also leaving Wednesday haha) so we can relax a bit more before we go home and get back to the grind. I can tell it's almost August because I had my first school related nightmare last night- I dreamed that my principal turned my classroom (that I LOVE) into offices (she would never really do this lol) and gave me a TERRIBLE classroom instead. I blame this dream on the fact that I started reading It's Not All Flowers and Sausages last night. I love her blog and I was excited to start the book, but I think I'll wait til I'm a bit closer to the August Breakdown before I start prompting kindergarten nightmares.

Today tell me...

1. Do you believe in "having" a good day or "making it" a good day?

2. What's your favorite water sport?

3. Do you need a vacation after a vacation every time? cuz I do... we might be doing this vacation thing all wrong :)


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Battle Scars

24 hours of Maui and it's definitely growing on us. Our hotel is still not as impressive as the one on Big Island, but I'm beginning to think most of the issues center around the front desk and I'm hoping not to deal with them again until check out.

Actually my other hotel complaint is that they charge $10 a day to sit on a beach chair. THEN, they have signs posted everywhere saying not to leave things unattended or you will give up your seat. Sorry, what?! I paid $10 for that seat. I should be able to place my towel on it and peace out for the rest of the day if I want to! Okay enough complaints.

Before I even tell you about Maui, I have to tell you about our last dinner in Volcano. We ate at this place called Thai Thai...they had Chinese food... j/k :) I ordered Pad Thai and it was yummy...


Even more noteworthy was dessert. Eric ordered the sweet rice dish and I got coconut ice cream. We both shared them and we found that the combination of mango, sweet rice and ice cream was actually perfect.



The only downer on this delicious meal was this guy at the table next to us giving a massively hard time to our very sweet waitress (and he was clearly in the wrong by the way). Even his own kid was annoyed by him. I did enjoy when the guy said he hoped his (now) free meal wouldn't come out of her check and she was like "oh its okay if it does, I believe in karma" She said it in such a sweet way but it was an awesome comeback.

Yesterday we took the short flight over to Maui. They actually gave us exit rows without us asking, how come that never happens on long flights? We arrived in Maui early in the morning and we upgraded to a convertible for our new rental car. Our travel agent's company gave us it for 50% off the normal upgrade...whoa hoo, you know me I love a deal :) (this is clearly a case of, I paid more but I FEEL like I got a deal haha).


When we left the airport we ran a few errands before heading to the hotel. We've been spoiled on this trip so far with early, easy check in and unfortunately that did not continue yesterday. While we waited to check in, I did discover a self serve frozen yogurt place only a few hotels down called Yogurtland. Yay!


That's coconut yogurt (and a tiny bit of chocolate cuz it was Ghiradelli, yum) with butterfinger and gummy bears. I'll obviously be back.

Even though our hotel is only so-so, it does have a sweet view of Kaanapali Beach...



It also has a cool torch lighting ceremony which the torch lighter jumps off the famous Black Rock into the water...



Downtown Lahaina was also pretty and right on the water...


This morning we finally had a chance to sleep late after our whirlwind of a few mornings. Of course for me that meant still waking up at 7:30 (over an hour later then I've been able to sleep though) and then chatting with my mom until Eric woke up. We got to eat our first free breakfast of the trip at the hotel and it was awesome. I forgot my camera but don't worry I will be having my amazing coconut pineapple oatmeal again.

After breakfast Eric and I jumped in the car to explore the northern tip of Maui.

We started at an awesome blow hole. Check this thing out!



I did have a small fear of the GIANT waves that came over the area we were standing occasionally...


The reason for my fear can be traced back to this day in Aruba 2004.

Digital Camera Pics 053.jpg

Those waves behind us look okay...but only seconds after this picture was taken I was completely attacked by a giant wave. No I am not exaggerating the word attacked, it totally threw me into those rocks and let's just say I have some battle scars. I honestly think that if someone did not understand the meaning of the word panic and I REALLY wanted them to understand I would have them attacked by a wave. There is really no panic quite like a wave pushing you down when you are trying to push up and totally losing the battle against the wave.

This is what I looked like after...

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Haha. Don't worry, I got some battle scars today as well. It started like this...


Just a trip to the Olivine Pools...


It turns out hiking down the side of a mountain in flip flops isn't the best idea ever and I went sliding down a bit, scraping up my ankle pretty well. Nothing a little dip in some salt water can't fix of course...



It was a gorgeous place and fun to look at all the little fish in the pool. It was a pretty hike back up as well. Everything in Hawaii seems to be gorgeous, what's up with that?


Coming Up Next: Kelly, Eric, and their rental car take on the Road to Hana.

Have you ever been attacked by a wave? How about the side of a mountain? Tell me about your battle scars.