Monthly Archives: July 2018

Maui

Maui, Maui, my oh my. Basically, here’s a moment that sums up the trip: walking laps around and around the stunning resort, surrounded by sparkly water, with a screaming-sobbing Diego, strapped in the Ergo, during what felt like Hour 10 of a futile nap attempt. At one point, I caught a glimpse of myself in a hallway mirror, and was, frankly, horrified by the image staring back at me. An exhausted, frustrated mother, glaring down at her baby.

I passed Diego off to David. In minutes, the two fell asleep on a pool chair.  I pulled my forgotten Oprah magazine out of the diaper bag, admired the sight of my dozing baby, ordered a pina colada, and (momentarily) relaxed.

Until naptime ended.

In a nutshell, that was Maui. I remember, at the time, thinking, this frustrated exhaustion, with moments of blissful euphoria reminds me of something…I haven’t felt this way since…ah yes, those newborn weeks.

As I mentioned, Maui didn’t exactly bolster my confidence in family travel, and I feel a bit silly documenting it here, but I do want to remember it, so here it goes:

Our original plan was a week in Kona, at the Westin Hapuna Beach. However, a week before our departure, I re-checked the hotel reviews on Tripadvisor. It was full of comments about a massive remodel next door, and constant jackhammer blasts.

Oh no, I thought, we can’t bring a baby to a jackhammer symphony, he’ll never sleep! Little did I know….

Anyway, between that and the ongoing volcano eruption, we changed plans. I managed to re-book everything, with an itinerary to spend the week in Maui.

After an incredible Memorial Day weekend in Kona, we boarded the tiniest plane to Maui.

We were the only ones on board! It was awesome. We even saw our hotel from the airplane!

 

We stayed at the Sheraton at Kaanapali, and the resort far exceeded my expectations. The room was beautiful, recently remodeled, with a stunning ocean view. We started saving our SPG points when I was pregnant, and the room was totally worth all those points.

 

At this point, Diego started getting pretty fussy and feverish. We opted for a quiet evening, and walked to Whalers Village for dinner, admiring the sunset on the way back.

And then…the Garcia boys fell apart. Diego and David both got fevers, and we (and likely our neighbors) were  up much of the night, trying to sooth a screaming teething, cold-y, feverish Diego.

After spending a small fortune on medicine at the hotel gift shop, we spent most of Tuesday in the room. Thank goodness for that ocean view!

Tuesday was the worst of it, and for the rest of the week, we had moments of rallying at the pool and beach. Unfortunately, all the nights were rough, and the teething/cold/heat rash really did a number on Diego. He is generally a pretty chill baby, and I was so looking forward to a week of total Diego time–and he was just totally not himself.

This photo makes me laugh because I swear Diego hardly smiled the whole trip. And then, just at this moment, the most adorable, darling smile! As if he actually loved Maui-ha!

 

Another hotel benefit: it happened to be built around Black Rock, an incredible snorkeling cove. David and I were able to sneak in some stunning snorkeling in the morning, and it was so nice to just go downstairs, walk out to the beach, and not deal with any logistics.

Despite much of the week being totally out of my control, two plans worked out well: 1) Instead of hauling even MORE stuff, we rented baby equipment (stroller, high chair, beach umbrella, toys). The high chair was super useful, as we had most meals on the hotel balcony, and we were all able to sit together.

2) During our last trip to Hawaii, I loved mixing up a batch of pina coladas and watching the sunset. Knowing the hotel wouldn’t have a blender, I Amazon-ed an immersion blender to Shaiya’s house in Hilo and she kindly brought it to Kona. I felt kind of ridiculous, but the drinks were delicious!

Even before all the travel bugs, we planned on staying close to the hotel. If we go back, I would definitely rent a car. The restaurants in Whaler’s Village were totally fine for a night or two, but we ended up uber-ing for takeout from Star Noodle, and were pretty limited in our dinner exploration. The drinks were all delicious!

The sunsets were an absolute highlight. I mean, it was just jaw dropping every evening, and absolutely incredible to watch from our balcony.

The last night, I tried to pull us together for some family photos…

Diego was far more interested in a stray cat :)

Nice try!

Maui! So unbelievable beautiful. And I feel incredibly grateful for the incredible privilege of traveling as a family. I hope we’re able to return some day!

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Reunion in Kona

I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to Hawaii, and so, nearly two months later, here’s the first half of the trip!

On the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, we woke up SUPER early to make our 7 am flight to Kona. Despite every effort to pack light, we were quite a sight in the airport parking lot: arms full with a baby, two suitcases, a Pack-n-Play, car seat, and more. I was beyond excited for this trip and barely slept the night before. I was also super anxious about Diego’s first long haul flight.

Thankfully, we bought him a seat, and between that and all of Shaiya’s brilliant baby distraction ideas (gel clings! washi tape! Cheerios!), the flight was pretty uneventful. We arrived before 10 am Hawaii time and headed straight to the vacation house. (Our return flight was…a different story).

Oh my goodness, the vacation house. Shaiya and Sachin generously hosted everyone for the weekend at an absolutely incredible rental house. It was massive, modern and perfect for our group of 12 adults and 6 kids. Shaiya even set up an Montessori corner, with books and games for the children. Everyone felt comfortable and relaxed, and I’m still floored by their kindness in planning and organizing the weekend. We would have been perfectly happy just hanging out at the house, but soon after we arrived, we piled into minivans and headed to the beach.

It was a short drive to Kaloko-Honokohau beach and national park.  The water was calm and shallow, perfect for babies. Diego crawled to the water and happily splashed around with Georgia. Despite barely napping on the flight, he was surprisingly energetic all day. We saw a few sea turtles, and soon it was time for lunch: poke bowls at Umeke.

Shaiya was beyond organized and created incredible spreadsheets detailing all of the meals, destinations, and weekend plans. It was a real treat to take a break from making decisions and plans for a weekend.

Later, after a long snooze cruise, (Diego’s nap schedule was completely out of whack all week), we hunkered down at the house with pizza, salad and wine. I never took a photo of our nightly patio hangs, yet it was probably my favorite part of the trip. It is so hard to find time to actually pause, reflect, and talk, but when it happens, these conversations restore me. We talked about how hard it is to make “mom friends” (a phrase that used to make me cringe), and I realized how much I wish these late-night wine catch-ups were not limited vacations, but something that happened spontaneously and with greater frequency. I suppose I could make an effort to meet parents in our neighborhood–that is kind of the obvious solution–but for now, I’ll just treasure these deep conversations with old friends.

The next morning we were up early. Shaiya prepared a sandwich assembly line (my faaaavorite treat ever, sandwiches at the beach)   and we geared up for Hapuna Beach.

The vog in Kona was pretty intense, so it was nice to head a bit up north and see the pretty blue-green water. I’m amazed we managed to get everyone in one place for this photo, and I love imagining what Diego and Mira are trying to say.

Unfortunately, the heat got to Diego, and we decided to leave after he got a bad heat rash. Thankfully, once he was out of his suit and in the shade, it got much better.

We stopped at Anuenue Ice Cream for GIANT coconut shave ice on the way back :)

Later that afternoon, we all caravaned back up the hill to check out an incredible Kona coffee farm. The coffee was delicious, and the greenery was stunning.

That night, at dinner, Diego was pretty fussy. The combination of the heat rash and bad nap made both of us anxious. Somehow we started talking about how we like to sing Baby Beluga, subbing Diego’s name into the chorus. Georgia broke out in song, and soon everyone was singing along, “Baby Diego in the deep blue sea…” I felt myself instantly relax. Looking around the table, seeing these once goofy college friends, holding their babies, fully embracing this cheesy moment, just filled my heart.

The next morning, up early again, the dads  and babies hung out at home, while we drove to Holuakoa Gardens for brunch. I think we got there at 9 am, but it felt like midday-perfect for mimosas and long conversation. It’s been…a while…since I had a long, leisurely brunch with girlfriends and the lush garden patio was a perfect backdrop for some really good conversation.

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon back at the house, playing and swimming in the hot tub. Diego had a BLAST in the Montessori corner, crawling through the tunnel, zooming around in the wagon and playing with his friends.

That night, Shaiya’s parents came over to celebrate Mira’s birthday. Her father spent all day making a phenomenal feast for the group. David and I still talk about that meal, approximately 2-3 times a week. It was so delicious and incredibly thoughtful.

Beyond the sweetness of being together, was the reminder of how thoughtful these friends are. Jon designed family reunion shirts for everyone (babies, too!) and Narges made a photo book for every family to read before the trip. It has pictures of every child and family, and it helped get the kids get ready for the weekend together. We still read it to Diego all the time.

After months of anticipation and planning, the weekend came to an end on Monday afternoon, as we loaded up our rental cars and headed to the airport.

We were the only passengers on our tiny plane to Maui. There wasn’t even a gate for waiting! We just hung out on a lawn, next to the flight crew, having a Memorial Day barbecue (seriously), and waited to depart. Hope to write about the beautiful but exhausting week in Maui soon :)

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4 years!

This time four years ago….we were cutting the cake at our reception at UCLA :)

Tonight, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, looking at a post-dinner high chair, covered in edamame, and already anticipating my Friday morning coffee.

So, basically, living the real, beautiful life that is four years of marriage.

Diego has a cold and last night was rough. He was up most of the night, wailing to be held. David walked with him for hours, until Diego finally…..dozed…off…

Four years ago, when we gathered in the evening sun at Dickson Plaza, and stepped into marriage, felt quite different from tonight. As David and I blearily trudged through the morning today, and traded off half-work days and baby care, doled out Tylenol and rolled on the Oilogic, I had a moment where I thought….”hmmph…some anniversary.”

But really, this was the dream on that warm July evening. This was the exact simple life we hoped for, as we exchanged rings, to wear in love and joy. And, over the last few years, this is what we kept hoping for, in beautiful, happy days, and in very difficult ones, as well. As my favorite, Kelly Corrigan says, in the closing line of Glitter and Glue, THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE GREAT ADVENTURE.

I mean, my goodness, how freaking lucky are we to ring in four years with a whiny baby? To go through these beautiful and exhausting motions and battles of dinner-bath-bottle-bed, together, every night? To fret over the mundane, like did he get enough to eat tonight? Why won’t he just fall asleep in his crib, like every other baby? Must he open the cabinet and take apart the rice cooker every.single.time I make dinner?

Since I started typing this, we watched our wedding video, and I’m energized by those memories. Four years is not that long; hardly a blip on the screen in many marriages. Yet looking at the people in the video, it feels simultaneously like long ago and a recent memory.

When I picked out David’s card, the TJs card selection was pretty slim, so I opted to re-work at wedding card. The cover is a print of wedding shoes and cake, with big words: BEST DAY EVER! It made me smile because, as Mindy Kaling says, our wedding was “a great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of a friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.”

It was a beautiful day. But the best part is that it started the next chapter, the new adventure of life in marriage. In our wedding video, my mom commented that I told her how much I look forward to coming home from work, because I can’t wait to see David, and talk at the end of the day. We don’t talk about gardening, but four plus years later, the sentiment still stands. I love the end of the day, when everything is finally quiet, and we talk.

So, I guess yes, some anniversary! Grateful for that beautiful day four years ago, and all the best days ever and hard days, and everything in between, past, present and future.

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Lunch with a view

Meg was in town this weekend and it was SO FUN! It was also hilarious. We tried to keep our Bay Area adventure expectations super low, and each day’s itinerary was fairly simple and spontaneous.

Still, even with the most basic plans, travel with two babies includes out of whack nap-and-eating days. Which is how we discovered this perfect spot for a car nap/picnic:

Ha! Sweet sleeping babies in Marin :)

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4th of July

Listening to fireworks, thinking about our imperfect union, hoping that it will improve, feeling grateful for this country and this relaxing day with family.

The weather was perfect, and we spent the day in Stockton, with a beautiful afternoon at the pool. Silvia made a delicious lunch and it was pretty special floating around in the pool, under the sun, on a Wednesday afternoon.

But for Diego? The highlight of this holiday? Hanging with his BFF, Charlie.

He’s just smitten with this dog.

And loooooooves sharing his Cheerios.

Unfortunately, with his tiny apartment and his mom’s low tolerance for Additional Logistical Responsibilities, it looks like Diego won’t have a dog of his own for a while. Thank goodness visits with his grandma!

Happy 4th of July :)

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