Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back to Reality

After being on Kaua'i for nearly two weeks, Spokane was beginning to become a distant memory. It felt as though we had always been frolicking on golden shores, splashing in crystal clear water, and sitting in the soft, fragrant Hawai'ian breeze. In reality, we are meant to be trudging through snow, sloshing around in puddles, and straining against the harsh Spokane wind storms. Coming home from Kaua'i was one of the saddest feelings I have had in my entire life. Being a mom was easy there. Being a family all day, every day was even easier. I loved having all of us together with not a care in the world. Owen loved it , too. He didn't fuss at all the whole trip and he laughed and played the whole time. Sleeping was a challenge, but his first night back in a crib and he slept through the night again--a whole 9 hours (back to normal--thanks, buddy)! I think he was so happy in Hawai'i that he wanted to be awake and when he got back to the depressing Washington weather, he just decided it wasn't worth his time to get up.

Anyway, our trip was an amazing time for us and we feel really fortunate to have had this experience. We were reflecting on our time there and I wondered what the best part of our vacation had been for us. We talked about all the things we did: swimming in pristine waters, snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles, hiking the Kalalau Trail, taking long drives along the Coconut Coast, exploring sweet little towns, and gazing at Hawai'ian sunsets. However, we both said that the best part of our vacation was being a family; getting to know Owen, getting to know each other as his parents, and remembering why we fell in love with each other in the first place. We are family and we love each other no matter where we are. It is for this very reason that I am smiling and happy on this freezing, damp, November night. I am at home and at peace with my family. We have paradise right here in soggy Spokane because we are together. So, with much aloha in our hearts, we bid goodbye (aloha, I guess) to Kaua'i, and said hello (er, aloha) to Spokane, happy to be a family.

Here are some highlights from our trip:

One happy baby!

Checking out the sunset at Pu'u Po'a Beach

JJ checking out the winter waves in the distance that finally started coming in and they were huge

A view from our condo to Hideaways Beach where we watched turtles play each morning and night. Loving Owen in those Little Swimmers!

So proud that he survived the Kalalau Trail! He kept assuring me it was no big deal, but I happened upon these signs at the trail head (below).

A view of Hanalei Bay

Adding two new feet to the sand

His head looks gigantic, but whatever--it is. He's naked and super cute. I am still finding sand in all the chubby skin folds. It is never going to wash out of the ones on his legs.

JJ, looking down on where he performed the ceremony for his cousin's wedding. Only accessible by an 11 mile hike, you can view it from a lookout. We watched Nene birds flying through the valley.

JJ, showing Owen where he spent a couple of days with some free spirited people:)

Wiamea Canyon, what Mark Twain called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific."

Happy beach bums.

Looking out over Hanalei Valley to the sugar cane and taro fields.

The beach at Kapa'a.

More of Hanalei Bay. This was what the weather was like our entire trip, excpet of course, when JJ really needed it to be sunny at 5 AM on one of the most dangerous trails in America.

Beautiful water everywhere!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Since Owen is still on Spokane time, our schedule here is a little messed up, so I have some time to update the blog. It actually works just fine because it makes the days really long and lovely and we can go to bed when the sun sets since there isn't much we can do (or see) here after dark.

JJ is on a three day hiking trip on the Kalalau Trail where at the end, he will perform the wedding ceremony for his cousin. Owen and I are just exploring the island while he hikes and yesterday, we drove down to Kapa'a. We stopped by a lighthouse on the way and watched tropical birds fly in this craggy cove. THen we continued on to Kap'a. It is a cute little beach town (what isn't here, right?) with farmer's markets and little shops. I went past the main market a couple of times and finally decided that it was worth it to take my sleeping baby out and look around. Owen liked looking at all the colorful dresses and Hawaiian shirts (I didn't buy him an outfit, but I will be). We were walking around a little shop when I heard a voice behind me,"Is that Katy Vancil?" I turned around to see friends who got married last weekend and were on their honeymoon. Crazy. I am sure that your former youth pastor's wife is on the top of the list of People You Don't Want to Run Into During Your Honeymoon along with your parents and ex-boyfriends. But they were kind enough to talk to me before they jetted off to a kayaking trip. Then, as I was making the rounds again, I recognized someone else. I couldn't place her, so I just asked. It took us a minute, but we figured out that she is the grandmother of the wife of our friend whose wedding JJ was in an we performed a song during. I was eight and a half months pregnant then, so she got to meet Owen. Really crazy. How random is that? God seems to do these things to me often and I love how these little events are unifying and confidence building. Unifying in that it's just too strange to be a mere coincidence and it feels like God's way of showing us we are all connected to him. Confidence building in that I have never been on vacation in the United States, so I am still acting quite timid when it comes to exploring on my own. When I recognized these people, it made me realize that I am not in fact in Mexico, I speak the language, know the rules of the road, have the currency in my pocket, and I can still just dial 911 to get help. I know that all seems crazy, but until then, I felt like I was stranded in a foreign country. Now I feel excited about today's adventures. Who knows? Maybe I will see some more friends from home today!

After our trip to the market, Owen and I drove home, grabbed some lunch and took off for a walk in the hot sun. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and there were surfers dotting the coastline so we watched them take wave after wave. Looking along the coastline, I just had to cry knowing that JJ was in those trees hiking without us. I could only make it through those moments with prayer. I try not to think about JJ too much because it actually hurts my heart and I want to be happy for Owen. DOn't get me wrong, I am happy because I am in Hawaii with Owen and JJ, but when we aren't together, nothing seems to really matter all that much. We aren't WE without all of US and I see everything like it's missing a little piece of the puzzle; like it's not a complete picture.

So Owen and I will check out a few things today depending on the weather up here, but we'll wait to see the really fun stuff when dad hikes home on Monday. Until then: Aloha!

Owen's makeshift play mat Why didn't I think of this before?

Dad and Crocodile Dundee at Ke'e Beach

Ke'e Beach

Owen lounging in the sand

A few pictures of the view from our amazing condo