Maui, Day 11 and 12

Thanks for waiting y’all. Finishing out our vacation and coming home and all of that kept us really busy and then we came home to jet lag and a typhoon. So it’s been a couple of days since I could really sit down and write.

On Day 11 we did a whole bunch of things! Unfortunately I don’t have all that many pictures, but I can happily paint you a word picture.

Our first stop was the Yellow Submarine, Reef Dancer boat. It’s a glass bottomed boat that takes you out over the reef and divers bring some animals up to see you. It was a really windy day so there wasn’t a ton of sea life to be seen, and what we could see was hard to photograph, but the experience was REALLY fun!

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After we had Vietnamese food for lunch we went to the Maui Brewing Company tour! This was amazingly fun. It’s a fairly new facility that does a lot for the environment and makes TASTY TASTY beer and root beer!

The kids really enjoyed it too! At the end we got to have a tasting (for the adults) and then we had a free drink each. Root beer for the kidlets.

I got to spend some time out with just my friend Angie that night. We went to a lovely little Italian place for a happy hour, just the two of us. It was good to get away from my adorable children and hang out with someone else! We had a blast catching up. Then we went to their house and had dinner.

The next day was spent mostly running errands and re packing. It wasn’t so much fun, but it was still in paradise and we saw some beautiful sights. . .

The most exciting part of these two days was seeing SEA TURTLES but all of those pictures are on Nathaniel’s computer. So I’ll do a little photo dump tomorrow for y’all!

Being home is ok. . . Ish. . . So I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow!

Maui, Day 8, 9 and 10

Whoa. Sorry. I got all sorts of sucked into Maui and forgot to tell y’all what was going on. In fact, today I got a magnet that says “Aloha Y’all!” So that’s how I am, which is to say, awesome. And NEVER going home.

Ok, when we last spoke, Nathaniel had gone to the big island and the kids and I were just hanging.

We went to one beach, which I we now all call the “rocky beach” because it was. . . Well. . .Rocky.

So basically Isaac boogie boarded and Rosie and I got knocked around by the waves, I lost a chunk out of one my feet, which I imagine a shark got a teeny, tiny, delightful appetizer. I also got a scrape on my knee. Rosie says she has a scratch on her foot, although no one has actually seen any EVIDENCE of that. She’s. . . Something else.

That night, the kids and I went to Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina.

Which has the islands best burgers.

People, they do not mess around. AND they had chili cheese fries.

Sunday morning, I slept in and then we went to the pool. We ate our leftover buggers for lunch. Again, people. NO ONE NEEDS TO EAT THIS MUCH. Seriously.

AND THEN. BOOM. We went to a new beach, right down the road. And it was LOVELY. We boogie boarded, we snorkeled, we watched little crabs run around. We even saw someone find a coconut and machete it apart!

Then we showered. Like inside, actual showers, with soap. Cause I’m a mean mom. And then we ran some errands before dinner. I’ve been meaning to show y’all Maui’s squirrels.

There are chickens EVERYWHERE. And I love them.

Last night we ate a funky bar called Moose Mcgillicudy’s or something silly like that. The google reviews were good and it was close and a straight shot down one road. NO ONE MENTIONED IT WAS A BAR. And it’s a bar. Like, the bariest bar that ever existed. But it was AWESOME! Isaac and I had fish and I had 2 $5 cocktails. . . .and so life was good! Unfortunately, I somehow managed to not take pictures, but it was delightful and fun was had by all.

However, between the cuts, bumps and scrapes plus being battered by the ocean EVERY DAY this vacation, I was in so much pain. So I took some Japanese pain killers and slathered myself in tiger balm.

Today we picked Nathaniel up and we had IHOP! So that was amazing too!! The kids were so happy. And then we took off on another fun car tour. We used our Gypsy app again and our guide told us some fun stories and took us to a few places we would have otherwise missed. We even hit up the outlet mall and got clothing and shoes in our American sizes.

The ladies at the shoe store recommended another local coffee shop which happened to be near a little memorial to the Maui Sugar Cane Plantation.

It was super cool!!!!

Onward we went and saw some beautiful sights. We stopped and snorkeled again.

Then we saw another blow hole. You guys, saying “blow hole” never gets old.

We sat on the edge of a fun cliff and saw all the sights.

And tonight we had Maui Tacos for dinner. And it was so tasty and filling. It was probably the best Al Pastor I’ve ever eaten.

I cannot believe we only have 2 more days here. I’m so not ready to face real life at this point.

Maui, Day 6 and 7

Seriously people, where is the time going? How can the days go so quickly in Paradise?

Nathaniel is off on the big island for the weekend so he can hike some lava tubes, so this is my view while I write this post.

Hard to be me.

Ok. Day 6. We spent the morning shopping around Paia which is a lovely little town that has a great hippie at the beach feel. So basically, it’s me in a town. We ate at Flatbread which offers amazing wood fired pizzas with local toppings and great service! One thing I want to point out, because it was so awesome was one of the hostesses was a lovely young girl with Down Syndrome. I love seeing inclusion.

Here are is the lunch.

The Pesto pizza was surprisingly amazing, but the shining star (not for Nathaniel, duh) was the Kula Pork which was the recommendation from my friend Angie. It was so amazing, I could go back again and again!

After shopping we did a little bit more snorkeling, but I don’t really have any more pictures. Sorry. That night I made brownies and Nathaniel grilled Turkey Hot Dogs and we watched an amazing sunset from our apartment. Nathaniel got a new camera lens for your enjoyment.

Also I spent part of the evening cleaning the apartment, Nathaniel came upstairs and this is what I found.

So some things are still obnoxious, even in paradise.

Yesterday, we drove the road to Hana which is spectacular. Isaac said “how many times today do you think we’ll say ‘It’s so beautiful, it looks fake!’?” Like, it’s that gorgeous. We downloaded an app that tells you history and stories and guides you through the drive which was neat too. Our first stop was a lava tube on the side of the road. You know, A LAVA TUBE.

Rosie had said she wasn’t EVER going in a Lava tube, but once she saw how neat it was, and that there wasn’t any lava, she was happy to explore!

Our next stop was an arboretum which was full of neat trees and flowers, but most spectacularly, the Rainbow Eucalyptus.

The whole drive was sort of like that. You’re driving up a mountain which is in a rainforest. It’s just so amazing. AND PEOPLE LIVE HERE.

We stopped at a black sand beach and blow hole. So many blow hole jokes.

There are also lava tubes there, but they were closed due to dangerous water conditions. Apparently people occasionally get sucked off this cliff into the blow hole and die. Death by blow hole.

We had lunch at a place called the Surfin’ Burro so that was awesome and we stopped at a funny general store and saw some horses.

We had hoped to swim in the 7 sacred pools just past Hana, but the water levels were dangerously high. However, the park was still amazing. This is a place where freshwater flows into the salt water but they can’t mix, so you can see the two separate bodies of water. STUNNiNG.

For your viewing pleasure, Nathaniel took one of his 18 minute long photos.

We took the back way around the mountain to come home, which was previously very dangerous and is now only mildly dangerous. It offered some amazing views and we found this super cool church.

Going down to the church there was a sign that said “4 wheel drive only” which Nathaniel promptly ignored of course. As we were bouncing our way up Isaac said “Is that why we needed 4 wheels?” To which, I replied “we have 4 wheels. It would be much harder on a unicycle”. BA DUM CHING

Also they weren’t joking about cattle in the road.

The strangest thing happened though. We were driving and saw a van pulled over while they were taking photos. The lady was standing next to a garden gnome. And I swear to you she was taking off her clothes. So she brought her own garden gnome (BYOGG) and was shooting mountain side garden gnome porn. IT WAS SO WEIRD. No one else says they saw it, but I think they were just all scarred for life and have blocked it out.

The road to Hana and around the back took us all day and then we ate Thai food.

And the kids took a night swim. So now it’s just me and the kiddos, with no cell phone for the weekend!

Maui, Days 4 and 5

So. Someone consumed a LOT of wine yesterday evening and therefore didn’t get a blog post written. But you guys, I seriously had the best day.

We got up late and just hung around the house for the morning. I go to clean and nag, so I felt like I was right at home, except outside the window was the ocean, so it was amazing.

At noon, we met my friend Angie for a hike. Angie and I grew up together, and went through school from Kindergarten all the way through graduation together. We were never super duper close, but Angie was (and is) funny, smart and nice. I was always glad to know her. 8 years ago, she and her husband Anthony (who graduated a few years ahead of us) moved to Maui for Anthony’s work, and ever since then, they’ve lived here in paradise. I’ve followed Angie’s life through Facebook, and got to see her ups and downs from a distance, but it was amazing to catch up IN PERSON. Angie and Anthony recently welcomed a little girl too, so we got to meet her and her Nana (Anthony’s Mom!)

Anyway, back to the story at hand. Since Angie is a local, she knew exactly where to take us. First we hiked to a “forbidden” waterfall, which is only forbidden by the crazy people who think they own the water. They don’t. Maui water is all public. Anyway, we got experience real crazy people in Maui, so it’s NOT all sunshine and rainbows. . . Just mostly.

After the crazy people chased us away, we headed to a different, less forbidden waterfall. This walk took us through a tiny bamboo forest. The bamboo here is beautiful, but it’s so skinny compared to our bamboo in Japan! It gave us a good laugh.

Also, here is Rosie’s amazing hiking outfit.

Afterwards we went back to Angie’s house to meet the rest of her family and enjoy some amazing dinner. I will definitely be copying her green beans!!!! We played with the baby and her dog and enjoyed some (a lot) of wine and tons of great conversation. It was a truly amazing day. The kids talked about it all day today!

And today, we adventured out to run a few errands, eat some Mexican food (which I forgot to take pictures of) and SNORKEL.

So without further ado:

It turns out, Isaac is a ROCKSTAR snorkeler. He often has the grandiose ideas of activities and then finds that they’re not exactly what he thought it would be. Or that it’s harder than he thought and doesn’t want to continue. But today, he snorkeled like a champ. And basically he did it all day. ALL DAY. And he took pictures and some videos for your viewing pleasure.

Also, it turns out, I’m a lot like Isaac, except that time and experience has taught me that inevitably I am actually really terrible at MOST activities. But, lucky for me, it turns out that Snorkeling is MY JAM YOU GUYS. It is so relaxing, and just. . . Amazing. It’s so stunning and awe inspiring. It feels like you’re in a totally different world. I just LOVED it. I want to go again and again and again. Like, right now.

And we all had a blast.

A really good time

And then, for good measure, I had a BEER float.

So yeah. Still love it here.

Maui, Day 3

I have sand, where no person should ever have sand. Let me just start with that. So if I seem a little crabby over the next couple of days, remember that I’m being exfoliated from the inside out.

We started our day with a pumpkin patch!! It’s a little bit different than a pumpkin patch in Michigan, which is you know, more Autumn like, but it was still a fun little bonus to being in the US!

This place had the BEST signs.

After that we took a drive around a lavender farm, which was gorgeous but unfortunately we didn’t take any pictures. It smelled amazing!

We headed to Makawoa, a historic town. Our first stop was lunch at a super tasty deli. The people here are so friendly, AND they speak our language!

They make all their own focaccia in house and it was so tasty!

Our next stop was pretty special. A long time ago (before Nathaniel and I were together), Nathaniel’s cousin Miles lived here in Maui and did glass blowing at a shop called “Hot Island Glass”. Nathaniel came out here to visit him during that time. Some time after that, Polly moved out to Maui too, and the two eventually moved back to North Carolina and got married and had a beautiful little girl. Unfortunately, a few years ago Miles died suddenly leaving a big hole in hearts all over the world. It was important for us to stop in and see this place that Miles loved and the people who loved Miles.

Nathaniel even bought me a glass chicken!

Our day got even more interesting after that. We headed to a beach with waves for Isaac who complained that our beach wasn’t wavy enough. BOY HOWDY, we got what we asked for. The waves were not GIANT but they were bigger than any waves we’d ever experienced and they knocked us all around. It was a blast, but seriously, I have never had so much sand in my bathing suit. When Rosie took off her suit, she was still basically fully clothes in a sand suit. I tried to pretend that it was a fancy exfoliation treatment. Washing my hair tonight was pretty interesting too.

You can see that I spent a lot of time rolling around in the sand because the waves would knock me down and then I wouldn’t be able to get back up before another one came. It was so hilarious.

NOT Hilarious (Ok, actually REALLY hilarious) was Nathaniel’s glasses being swept out to sea. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAH

So naturally our next stop was a mall with LensCrafters for glasses in an hour.

Rosie convinced Nathaniel to buy a bunch of random, weird and hilarious crap at Claire’s.

And he got new glasses

And I got a pedicure.

Then we had dinner at Da Kitchen which has been featured on a few of the food shows that I don’t watch. The shows I do watch are usually about crime, so we try to avoid visiting places that are featured in my shows.

Anyway, it was tasty. We even (except Nathaniel who is allergic) tried SPAM! It was. . .odd.

And we ate at a table next to this little guy!

When we came home, we stopped and chatted with the new neighbors, Stan Li!

He’s pretty cool!

We’ve all showered as much of the sand off as we can, and now I’m pretty much ready to crash out!

Maui, Day 2

Today we slept in! The kids slept in until almost 9, which is a miracle. I think we need to move here if that keeps happening.

We went around the island to Lahaina which is an adorable little town right on the coast. In the middle of the town square is a big tree that is one tree that grows like crazy and shades an entire one acre area. It’s called a Banyan Tree and it’s really cool.

There was also a hilarious Bad Ass Coffee cafe.

We had lunch outside at the Pioneer Inn which is a historic site. And it was so tasty. However, I literally ate so much I felt awful afterwards.

But they had a hilarious bird names Alex. Sorry the video is sideways, I can’t fix it.

After that we went to Barnes and Noble because the kids need English books. I’ve never seen kids so excited for books. It makes my heart swell.

On our way home we stopped by a mall so Nathaniel could go to the first of many Magic the Gathering stores. Lucky us.

But there were hula dancers, including adorable little hula dancers!

But seriously. I have so many questions bout those coconut bras. For instance: Do they hurt? How do they size them? How do they stay on? Do you tuck and scoop? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

After nap time, we went to our ocean, right outside our apartment. It’s pretty rocky right there, but it was amazing anyway.

I’m pretty sure the last picture is how Rosie would size me for a coconut bra.

We stayed to watch the sunset which was spectacular!!!!

And then the view from our apartment.

AH. MAZ. ING. I cannot believe how amazing this place is.

We went to a local taco joint called Las Pinatas. It was so good. Again, HUGE portions. They were short staffed according the adorable and sweet woman running the cash register (who called Nathaniel “sugar” I die) but the food was really good and came out super fast. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Then it was back to Target because we can.

So life is so good here. We’re really enjoying how laid back things are, and how we can relax and take our time. We’re having adventures and downtime. It’s spectacular.

Maui, Day 1

Aloha and Mahalo for reading!! I’m feeling so multi lingual these days.

Speaking of days, we started our’s at 4am. Yes people, I got up at 4am. Because Nathaniel made reservations to see the sunrise.

Ok, did you just make a “WTF” or guffaw a little bit? Because I’m not gonna lie, the idea of making a reservation to see the sun rise in the sky seems a bit silly to me. But it turns out, it’s a thing, and it’s worth it.

We drove for an hour an a half to go 12 miles as the crow flies. Apparently you can’t just drive straight UP a volcano. They take reservations for about 50 cars each day so that while you’re enjoying the sunset, you’re not “enjoying” eleventy billion other people. It makes the experience a lot nicer and more intimate.

However, people, should you chose to do this, keep in mind that it’s in the dark at 10000 feet. . . So it’s cold. Nathaniel wasn’t specific about the coldness and just told m to pack pants and a sweat shirt for each of us. We needed actual coats, hats and maybe gloves. WE WERE FRICKEN FREEZING BATMAN. But I convinced the kids to not whine to Nathaniel because this was important to him. So I didn’t take any photos because I was snuggling two frozen babies while seeing an amazing sunrise. Complete with a Hawaiian song as the sun made it’s amazing appearance. It was beautiful and if my tear ducts hadn’t been frozen, it would have brought tears to my eyes.

Anyway, Nathaniel (the dingo who wore SHORTS) got some amazing photos for you.

It was an amazing experience, and even though Nathaniel had climbed even higher to get the photos, I was so happy to be with my kiddos when I saw it for the first time.

After we drove down the mountain, we took a road along the coast and stopped at a popular surf area. Again, you guys, it was so beautiful. It is literally like no place I have ever seen. I cannot believe people live here and see these sights every day.

(I took that last picture!! GO ME!)

After that we stoped at a place for breakfast called Mambo Cafe that had local food and excellent coffee. It was so tasty!!!!!! But you guys, the portions in the US are HUGE. I seriously could only eat 1/2 of my meal. It was insane. There were a lot of noticeable differences at our first American dining experience in 10 months, but I’ll save all that for another post!

After that, it was nap time. People, this was all done before 11am. Seriously. Including 3 hours of driving.

This afternoon we hit up the pool which was lovely.

And finally we had a lazy night in. I cooked dinner and we watched the new Pirates movie. The best part of a tropical vacation is that EVERYTHING is better when you can hear the ocean. SO even tortellini and jarred pasta sauce tastes even better in Maui. Also, did you know that in the US there is an ENTIRE aisle for soda? And like, a million flavors. And the carts are HUGE.

Ok. More wine.

Aloha Maui

People. I am on my first ever, Hawaiian experience, and let me tell you, it is AMAZING.

We left Nagoya at 10PM on Friday night

We had a 7 hour, overnight flight which was. . . Ok ish. There were a LOT of babies on our plane and one in particular was having none of it. I felt so sorry for the baby and the parents, but at 3am when someone else’s baby is crying, it’s hard to sleep. So we’re a little rough around the edges.

After a brief layover in Honolulu (spent mostly waiting in line at TSA!) we hopped a hilariously 70s plane to Maui.

Oh wait! But first I had my PSL

And then, next thing you know. BOOM. Maui.

And it’s. . . Amazing. We’re staying in an apartment that has a pool, but most importantly, has an amazing view.

Before our first outing, we went to my happy place. The kids had originally wanted to get in the pool but Nathaniel convinced us that we should visit the ocean first, and I’m SO GLAD he did. Now, my first real memory of Maui (except for Nathaniel getting us on the WRONG bus and driving on the WRONG side of the road, A LOT) is the OCEAN.

On out way to get groceries, there wears a massive, and sudden rain storm. It was beautiful.

And then, we found our second happy place of the trip.

And then, I’m not gonna lie, we spent hours there and a lot of money before we had dinner at Taco Bell. Do you know how awesome it is to READ the things you’re buying!?!?!?!?

Now, I’m sitting on the lanai in the dark writing this blog with a glass of Pinot noir from Target. There is a soft breeze blowing, and a hint of rain. It smells even better than Target smelled. It’s not Michigan, but man does it feel good to know we have two weeks of this.