Saturday, May 22, 2010

Best Vacation Ever

Well, if there is one thing we've learned this year, it's that life can be short. So, last Saturday we said, the heck with it, let's USE all those frequent flier miles and hotel points that Jay has been racking up for the past several years and take the family to Hawaii. So, with one week's notice, we went, and, I'm so glad we did.

The thing that lit our fire was that Jay won some money last month in a programming competition that his company sponsored (great job, honey, we're so proud of you!). The contest required that he be gone over a weekend, which piggybacked with some client calls, so we endured nine long days without him. When he placed second, securing a cash prize, he decided that we should use it to do something together to make up for the time we were apart. With the hotel and flights handled with miles and points, this money covered the remaining trip expenses so it was truly one of those perfect storms that had to be taken advantage of.

For the first time we went to the island of Kauai. I've been to Maui twice and Oahu twice and, while I certainly enjoyed them, I never really understood why Hawaii is considered such a BIG DEAL. In general, I prefer the Mexican Carribean, but since the kids don't have current passports, that was not an option for us. However, after this trip I now GET Hawaii. I can't imagine that there is a more beautiful place on earth than Kauai. We stayed on the sunny southern part at Poipu Beach, but my favorite place was at the north. It was "stop the car and let the jaw hang open" beautiful. Here is a picture of our whole family at Haena Beach. Note the rainbow behind is the perfect representation of how blessed our time there was.

We spent six days at the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club, a collection of time-share condos. These were perfect accomodations for us as they were equipped with full kitchens and laundry in the rooms. When we arrived, we went to Costco and stocked the kitchen, and we ate every meal right there in our little condo. Restaurants with all the kids are miserable in addition to being expensive, so this was great! Here is the view of part of the enormous pool, with some of the kids in the hot tub.

Here is Lindsey next to one of the many monk seals we saw on the island. They climbed right up on the beach to snooze, seemingly unfazed by people.

Joey's birthday was on Thursday, so for his present he and Jay went on a series of zip lines. We have some great videos of Joey zipping along with a gargantuan smile.

Tony and Bella spent some quality time together while the older kids were out snorkeling...

Here is our family at the "Grand Canyon" of Kauai. Pretty impressive. (I'm referring to the canyon, but the family isn't bad either!)

The kids had so much fun just rolling around in the surf.

Natalie wasn't too sure about the ocean, but she loved the sand.

The snorkeling was amazing right outside our hotel. I went every day we were there, swimming from reef to reef looking at all kinds of tropical fish, including Nemo. The kids saw a sea turtle while snorkeling, but I didn't see one until the day we went to Haena Beach and I spotted one swimming just offshore.

The best part wasn't even where we were, (although we couldn't have been anywhere better) was just that we were all together, away from everything that pulls us in nine different directions during our everyday life. It was really seeing and hearing the kids and eachother, saying "OK" instead of "not now". I will never, ever forget this time we had.


antonia said...

so beautiful and wonderful. I am so so happy for you!

I have updated my Carmelite nun friend on your health, and she, and her entire convent are continuing to pray for you.

Would it be okay if I printed off the photo of your whole family to send to her?

God bless

Anonymous said...

Love these pictures. We stayed in the exact same complex 2.5 years ago for Thanksgiving. We loved it. We're heading for the Big Island in July. So happy for you and you look so great. :) Love, Maura

Anonymous said...


Glad you guys had fun! What a gorgeous family, thank you for the frequest updates. Love you!

Jen (Terry-Johnson)

Anonymous said...


Glad you guys had fun! What a gorgeous family, thank you for the frequest updates. Love you!

Jen (Terry-Johnson)

Anonymous said...

Great pictures - I am so happy all went well, (ie:no traveling with Bella - uh, I mean seven children nightmares) - It would have been wonderful no matter where you were or what you did as long as you were all together, but to be somewhere so beautiful - EVEN BETTER !! Way to go Jay ! ....When's the next contest??

Suzanne Di Silvestri said...

Antonia, of course it's OK! Please tell her thanks so much for the prayers. I truly appreciate them, more than I can say.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip! Your pictures are beautiful, especially of the whole family at the "Grand Canyon." Welcome back, and see you at rehearsal! -AO

anna lisa said...

ahhhhhhhhhh.....carpe diem!!!!

KatieGirl said...

That is so Awesome, I dont' know how but I am just seeing these now. Hey a family photo you didn't have to hang Bella upside down for. Blow it up. woo hoo