Tuesday, April 05, 2016

and February on a rock in the middle of the Pacific

We knew we wanted to take a trip somewhere this winter to break up the inside season, but where to go was up in the air. A complicated tango of schedules and budgets and planning and we ended up flying to Hawaii to see my parents.

We spent the month of February at my dad's farm in Hawaii. I really meant to blog about it, and take more photos, and write more, but I didn't.

I slept. Oh yeah, I remember sleep.

I spent long lazy afternoons on the beach. I wandered around with the kids exploring. I chatted with my step-mom over cocktails long into the evening. I chased geckos and spiders out of our bed. I sat, face to the sun, soaking up the much needed vitamin D.

My dad also doesn't have constant internet. They live off the grid, they live small, and connectivity is not a huge priority. So, here we are a month or so after returning and I am just getting around to thinking back on the time we had there.

Naia is finally at the age where she is easier to travel with, especially if there is a lot of free space for her to run around in and ice cream along the side of the road. Hawaii is a perfect place for little kids. It's safe, easy to navigate, not really hung up on mainland rules and regulations, and a culture that really reveres and cares for little ones. Living in an area (Washington DC) where every rock has a sign saying "no climbing", it was very freeing for her to have every boulder, tree, and wall to scramble around on.

For Zach, he's at the age where he's been there so many times the Big Island is sort of ingrained in him now. He will look back one day when he's an adult and realize what a privilege it is to get to go to Hawaii time and time again, for a minimum of a month or so each time. He knows which beach is good for what reason, what little back road leads to the path that has the turtle place, where the good ice cream is, how to get to the little grocery store, where the awesome Thai food is on the other side of the island, where to snorkel, where to hike, where to swim. He even has local friends there who welcome him with open arms even when it's been years between visits. Lucky kid.

The kids were determined to earn all 4 Junior Ranger badges offered on the Big Island. We managed to hit all four national parks and historic sites, and as always it was so worth the trips. Volcanoes National Park we'd been to many times, always an other worldly treat. We've also been to "place of refuge" many times, one of the prettiest spots on the island to me. Once again in both spots the park rangers were spectacular. I have yet to meet a park ranger anywhere who didn't blow me away with kindness, knowledge, and passion for their job.

Naia took her job and pledge as junior ranger to "protect the honu" very seriously. Once she learned first hand from the ranger that nobody was to touch sea turtles or go any closer than about 20 feet, she declared herself the honu police and firmly and clearly told any and all tourists who dared go near a sleeping turtle exactly why they needed to back off.

Hanging out in my parent's funky little town is always sweet. It's a great place to people watch and catch the true local scene.

Seeing the grandparents and spending time on their farm was the best of all for the kids. They crave that time with family, and love the polar opposite life on the farm, giant spiders and all.

So I don't have a detailed report about visiting the volcano with kids, or long flights with small children, or best places for families on the Big Island, or local hang outs. We just have a lot of happy memories, too many photos, and a wish to return again soon for some more aloha.

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