Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Long Trip with a Surprise Ending

And we're back. Having closed on our house the day before we left, and not yet having settled on the new house, we left for Hawaii homeless. With the earthquake and hurricane that came while we were gone, I don't think we could have picked a better time to be homeless.

The first day was a long day of flights. Because Matt, and I, have flown so much for business this year, we were bumped up to first class from DC to LA and then from LA to Kauai. It was great, but made better by Amelia smiling and flirting with Newt Gingrich, who was in coach and waiting for the restroom. Amelia did well on the plane rides with minimal fuss. The headphones and iPad with Elmo helped considerably. As did breaking out some new toys, including a small Elmo doll.

By the time we got to Kauai, it was only 7:30 there, but felt like 1:30am to us. The three of us rallied for awhile due to naps on the flight, but once we hit the pillows we were out.

Amelia managed to stay in bed until 6, which is way better than we had hoped for. She clearly had no idea where she was or what time it was.

After breakfast, we went for a walk on the beach with my mom and step-father Kent. This was Amelia's first true beach experience and she LOVED it. The waves were strong, and there was a very quick drop from 18 inches of water to 4 feet. We had thought Amelia might just want to put her toes in the water as it came up the beach.

Of course she didn't. Our little daredevil kept wanting to go farther out, and loved the waves going in and out.

This left both of us slightly wet.

She had to be dragged out of the ocean after about 10 minutes because I was done walking around in public with my now soaking wet white shorts on.

After changing into more appropriate beach clothing, aka swimsuits, we went to a nearby beach with Nana and Poppy. Amelia was able to float around more and again had to be pulled out once she started shivering. Later we met up with my brother Will and his girlfriend Courtney, and all 7 of us went out to lunch. Amelia was a big fan of her Uncle Will.

That night Amelia started having trouble sleeping again, and she and I ended up sleeping together on a twin bed in her room. I finally was able to slip out about 3:30, and she had not created a huge mess when Matt went in with her. We ended up on the bed about half the nights, and she did great in bed for all of them. She liked to have breakfast outside on the lanai and look at the view.

We spent a little more time at the beach, and this time we were dressed for it. For the record, Amelia was vigilant about wearing her hat and putting on sunscreen. She would even ask for sunscreen when we went out to dinner. This time Matt and I took turns holding her in the waves.

We spent one morning at an old sugar plantation. We got to ride a train, feed some wild animals, and see some gorgeous views of the island.

Amelia was slow to warm up to the animals, but I don't blame her. Between the feral pigs bigger than her and the crazy looking sheep I would have been a little freaked too.

The whole family spent one day going to Wiamea Canyon. It's basically a green version of the Grand Canyon, but in the middle of a small island. It was spectacular and Amelia spent the whole time strapped in her stroller because we weren't taking any chances. After, we had a picnic lunch and Amelia ran off some of her energy with Courtney. We somehow managed to not get any pictures of her during the whole trip, but she was a big hit with Amelia.

On the way back from Wiamea, we had seen a beach that was calmer than the one by us, so Matt and I took Amelia there. While it was definitely calmer, it also had more rocks than sand. While Amelia didn't mind, there was only so much of it that Matt and I could take.
Please can we go back in?
We also had a great view of Spouting Horn, and Matt got this great shot of the water shooting into the air.

Nana and Poppy were kind enough to take Amelia for a day, and they explored the pool, which included a sandy bottom and rocks to climb on. Matt and I went snorkeling and it was totally like this. Amelia has now started to ask for "My Nana" (as opposed to banana) or Poppy whenever she wants to appeal something Matt and I tell her she has to do.

For our last beach excursion, we went even farther out and headed to a place called Salt Pond beach. Right next to it are actual Hawaiian Sea Salt farms, which were kind of cool. There was a sand bar in the middle of the beach, with rocks at the end of it, so it worked out really well for Amelia to play in the small waves.
She really wanted to bodysurf, but she has to learn to swim, or at least hold her breath, before we let her do that.

On the way home, we flew to San Francisco to spend a day with my Dad's side of the family. When we planned it six months ago it was going to be dinner at home, then it turned into an engagement party for my sister Bunny, complete with Giants game after a reception at the bar across the street. While we still had the party, I'm not sure you could call it an engagement party. Why? BECAUSE BUNNY AND PETE GOT MARRIED THAT DAY! Bunny called me earlier that week to let me know about the change in plans, and at that exact moment was the east coast earthquake. So the earthquake is totally Bunny and Pete's fault.

For full disclosure, Pete is English (in case you couldn't tell by the teeth) and has just graduated from University of Texas with his MBA, and hasn't found a job that will sponsor a new visa, so he has to go home for awhile. Bunny can get a work visa in England in about 2 weeks, but Pete's US work visa will take almost a year. Since Bunny is going to move to England, they wanted to be married when they moved. In a case of good timing, Pete's parents were in town, so they got to attend, along with part of our family. They got married at San Francisco City Hall, and the ceremony was very sweet. We then taught Amelia to say Peter with a bad British accent, so she calls him "Pet-ah."

Dad, Pete, Bunny, and my step-mother Mary before the ceremony.
Mary's mother, Mary, Bunny, Anne, Amelia, and I. Anne and I were the only siblings who made it to the service, but Will and Courtney were able to make the lunch afterward. I would like it noted that I got my dress and shoes at the Macy's in Kauai in 15 minutes on the way to the airport otherwise I would have been wearing shorts and flip-flops.
Exchanging vows in the Rotunda at the top of the City Hall stairs.
This being San Francisco, they were pronounced "Partner and Partner" before the judge said "Husband and Wife."
In case you were wondering who the bust in the background was, it's Harvey Milk. Welcome to San Francisco.
Congratulations Bunny and Pete!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Packing, Pinkeye, Planes

There will be radio silence from here for the next few weeks. I will try and post if I can, but between packing (the truck comes to take our stuff in exactly a week), Amelia coming down with Pinkeye thus requiring massive amounts of laundry, and we're packing for a long plane ride followed by an even longer vacation. We will be moving out and settling on our current house, spend the night at hotel, and then getting on a plane for vacation. We are very excited about the trip, but the plane ride will be interesting. We've taught Amelia to say "Hawaii" and we're working on "Aloha." And we have about three hours of Elmo videos downloaded to the iPad. There are also stickers, a small Elmo doll, and other toys she hasn't seen before to keep her entertained. Also, Benadryl in case of emergency, defined as reaching parental maximum levels of crying/whining/screaming.

On the way home we're stopping in San Francisco for about 36 hours. We will fit in a trip to my mom's renovated house, a work meeting for me, bridal dress shopping for my sister, and an engagement party for my sister and fiance including going to a Giants game. When we land back in DC we will be homeless. Thankfully, after one night in a hotel we'll be in a short term apartment, that allows pets, for about 3 weeks before we're in the new house. So please don't send us any mail because who knows when that's going to be figured out. Unless it's booze, because we packed that last night.

The packing is going pretty well. We've got 95% of the basement, all of the living room and coat closet, about 50% of the kitchen, and 50% of our bedrooms packed. And that's just the stuff currently in the house. We already packed up all the stuff in the storage unit. And to answer the question Matt asked, we own approximately 7 dozen pieces of glassware (wine glasses, champagne flutes, margarita glasses, etc). I don't think he really wanted to hear the answer.

We keep telling Amelia and Teddy that we're moving but I don't think either of them understands. Teddy is getting suspicious of all the boxes and Amelia is trying to climb them.