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The Traveling Ohana

Iao valley

Nestled at the bottom of the magestic West Maui mountains is a hidden gem. Well known to the locals, Iao valley is a treasure. Ice cold spring water flows through the rocks and numbs the toes. The water, on a calm day is cleansing and relaxing. On a rainy day it can become a powerful and dangerous force. But for those of us who love water play of any kind, it’s a treat. We love the sandy saltiness of the beach but some days you just need the peaceful calm spring waters. There is plenty to do and explore in the park as visitors make this a destination to see while visiting. Be mindful of the stairs and rocks with the children as they can be steep and slippery. Always bring sunscreen and a towel. Shoes are helpful too. I’ve stubbed many a pinkie toe here. The kids enjoy jumping from the rocks into the shallow waters and swimming in the small pools. Please be aware that this is not a place to dive as rocks are constantly shifting and moving and most pools are shallow. The water can be powerful after a rain shower so be mindful of the flow. Do your due diligence before a visit and discover the cultural significance of the mountains which will make the visit so much more meaningful. As always enjoy your stay and don’t leave any trash behind!

A Mother’s fear

As if moms don’t have enough to worry over. Choking, falling, bullying, molestation, kidnapping, missing. The list goes on and on. The constant rotation of paranoias is like a movie reel in our heads. But today, the fear was different. Today, because of the Government shutdown, we did not get paid. I knew this was coming. I thought I was prepared. This happens to millions of people everyday. The loss of income. But not to me. You see I’m a bit of a paranoid planner. I always have a source of income. And my husband is a federal employee. A great guy. I call him a Boy Scout, he’s always been someone who helps. He works in search and rescue for the The department of Homeland Security. We found out Mid December that we were part of the shutdown service they said that would miss pay. No big deal…. we had a small savings and the January first paycheck. We would be ok. But we have three children, a mortgage, two vehicle payments etc. life happens. Today was supposed to be payday. It didn’t happen. The panic set in. Deep, visceral fear took over. How am I going to feed my children? How long can a small savings see us through? The Government says there’s no end in sight. My husband still has to report to work, along with thousands of others. I know there are resources, food banks, discounts etc. But this shouldn’t be happening. We’ve always been so good. Worked so hard. And yet here we are. And I’m scared. Not about the bills. Bills will always be there. Always waiting for a payment. I’m scared the resources will run out. The generosity will disappear and the facts will set in. We are screwed. Our Government is holding us hostage for their own selfish reasons. And we, the people who support them, protect them, keep the watch. We are the ones who will pay for it.

a Scared momma, Active duty wife, military Veteran.

I Finally Discovered Air B&B!

My husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip with the kids to Oregon. During the mad scramble to put the trip together ( air, car, hotel) we realized that no hotels in the area we liked had availability for three children. My husbands brain lightbulb dinged and he suggested an AirB&B. I started the tirade of negatives that I’d heared about and the uncertainty of using someone’s home, by the time I was done listing the many reasons why this was a no go, he had already booked it. So on faith and a prayer we hauled our butts to the airport and enjoyed a five hour flight on Hawaiian airlines (my favorite). We landed in Portland at seven pm, got the car and made the drive into Camas Wa. As we were pulling into the driveway I was beset with doubt. What if this is a scam? What if we open the door and there was a family living there? What if a serial killer decided to use this particular home to squat between murders?? After making the adult decision to send my husband in to scope it out (safety first) he came out assuring me it was fine. And fine it was. It was adorable!!! In a tiny country neighborhood next to the woods, it was cozy, clean and rustic in its simplicity. It had everything we could hope for. Sheets, blankets, towels, food. The kids had an actual room just for kids, complete with toys and books, and you know, kid stuff. What a dream. The master bedroom had a bed as big as a boat and comfy as hell. We ended up sleeping in every day. Throughout the trip we often found reasons to come back to the house to rest or change and nap. It was a great first experience and I gladly support those who use their homes for this service (legally). We thank you! I’ll write more about the Oregon/Washington trip next time.

Bring the Kids to Maui!

So living in paradise definitely has its perks. The biggest one is the obvious, great weather everyday. But the best perk of all is the amazing things to see and do with your Keiki (kids). So many kid friendly and calm beaches. Several surrounded by and protected by a reef, so you don’t have to worry about rough water or pesky sharks making a meal out of your precious little guppies. Parks, local farms and botanical gardens, easy hikes through the bamboo forest. Site seeing and food. Oh the food! Expect to gain a few pounds while youre here. A lot of families prefer to stay in Lahaina at the resorts and do resort-ish things like the underwater submarine, baby beach , the Maui train, local Luau options and hula dance lessons. This is a good idea if that’s what your after, but if you’re anything like me you may crave a little adventure. Go farther into town. Make the scenic drive around the island and take the kids to the Sugar museum. If they have ants in their pants and need to do the shi shi dance stop at any of the amazing beaches along the way. See Kihei and Wailea. Into the Hippy scene? Visit Paia.

The road to Hana can be gorgeous, weather permitting. But take snacks and be prepared to make several stops. Get yourself a map for this excursion and possibly a barf bag. Those roads are winding and long. If you’ve got creative kids that need to be indoors take them to Monkeypod art studio in Wailuku. It’s affordable and the little ones can create to their hearts content.

Nothing beats Maui for visiting with kids.

And as always when visiting please respect the people and culture.

Mahalo

Hawaii

So you want to visit Hawaii…..well I applaud your decision! Oh and you’re going to bring the kiddos? Well even better..

Perhaps a little research is in order. What can I tell you that you don’t already know? Traveling with kids is hectic and stressful, so knowing your destination can add a little peace of mind.

Hawaii’s main visitable Islands are Hawaii (big Island) Lana’i (the Pineapple isle) Oahu ( the gathering place) Maui (the Valley isle) Kaua’i ( the Garden isle) and Molokai (the Friendly isle).

Lets start with Oahu. Flying into Oahu can be a little intimidating as its a large airport and a bit overwhelming with the amount of travelers coming in, but easy to navigate and get your baggage then be on your way. Planning ahead is essential here as the traffic and construction are in many ways similar to Los Angeles. However the scenery is gorgeous and easily distracting, so keep your eyes on the road! My favorite places to see and visit are Ko’olina resort on the west side. Its a bit of a drive but once you get there the hotels and resorts offer a respite from the gridlock stress. There are small lagoon pools for the kids to enjoy and the parents to take a breather.You can literally feel the stress melt away. Headed to the north shore? I suggest driving up Kamehameha hwy and stopping at my favorite coffee shop the Green World Coffee Farm in Wahiawa. This little gem has it all, plus they have coffee trees on site and teach about the coffee making process. Learning and enjoyment at the same time! A mothers dream come true.

The North shore offers a an amazing array of country charm, beach boy vibes, and a kaleidoscope of imagery. There are great eateries, quaint shops, and gorgeous beaches. Don’t skip the world famous Shave Ice, no matter how long the line. I promise you wont regret stopping. If your in the market for souvenirs, I always say shop local. And when in doubt or lost, ask a local. The people from Hawaii are the true embodiment of the Aloha spirit, you’ll never find anything like it anywhere else. Watch the giant waves roll in while the local surfers masterfully navigate them with ease on Waimea Bay. Snorkeling in Sharks Cove is nice but the parking can be a nightmare. The bay also boast a giant rock that true adventurist love to jump from. The hike to Waimea falls is pleasant and easy for kids too. Lots of flora and fauna to enjoy but it can get slippery when raining. The drive will eventually lead you around to Waimanalo Beach and Sea Life Park, an aquarium and exhibit where you can swim with dolphins and see the worlds only Wolphin. Its like a miniature Sea World but don’t discount it, it actually has an amazing array of animals and interactive programs. My kids go nuts over this place and to be honest I geek out a little too. Looking for a memorable snorkeling adventure? Hanauma Bay cant be beat and its kid friendly! But get there early as they close in the afternoons and it can become busy in the late morning. Oahu also has a great zoo if you really need to keep the kiddos busy or your just an animal lover in general and it just so happens to be in Waikiki. Which is perfect really, because you can do everything in one place. Ala Moana beach park is a great beach for swimming, stand up paddle boarding, surfing and some small scale snorkeling. Across the street is the giant Ala Moana mall which can offer pretty much anything you can imagine in terms of shopping. If site seeing and finding amazing eateries is on your list, Then Waikiki is a must.

Oahu is a truly gorgeous place with many things to see and do but I couldn’t list them all. This list is just a few of my favorites and the drive is my form of therapy. Just keep in mind that the drive can be long so if your children aren’t fans of sitting too long, make sure you stop at all the cool places listed above. And when visiting any of the Hawaiian islands please remember to respect the people and the culture. Enjoy!

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