Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hawaii, part 3: Beaches

First, an overall agenda for our week. Mostly for my sake:
Mon: Slaughterhouse beach snorkeling
Tues: Iao Valley
Wed: Maui Ocean Center (aquarium), Luau in Lahaina
Thurs: dying from space plague, Maui Tropical Plantation, Matt to airport
Fri: Molokini
Sat: Brian/Jenn to airport, Haleakala & Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch
Sun: Drive along northern coastline of West Maui, Mom/Dad to airport, Paia, we fly out

Kahana beach, just outside our condo

Gavin's first visit to the ocean

Cael's first visit to the beach. It was windy. He
liked digging his toes in the sand, but then the water came up
and it was a bit shocking to us both! This is the only photo I have of
us on this outing. Keith has the rest.

Keith and Matt took Gavin and Teagan out for a swim
at Kahana Beach.

One nice thing about going to Maui with Brian and Jenn, who lived there for 7 months, was their knowledge of the best beaches to visit. Our first snorkel from the beach was at "Slaughterhouse Beach" and it was gorgeous!

View from the road

I brought the porpoise pouch thinking we'd go in, but Cael mostly slept and Teagan went in for a few minutes, but then came back to the beach, snacked, slept and played in the sand. Teagan declares "I don't like the waves, Mama".

Liz, Keith and Gavin

Teagan *looks* fearless as she heads out to Matt. I think this might have been before she met the waves for the first time

Gavin gets a little mama love

Auntie Liz plays in the sand with Teagan and Gavin

Grammy gives up on the waves herself and holds a sleeping Cael while I go snorkeling.
Thanks Mom!

And last but not least, on our last day we went to Paia, a little town not far from the airport. We stopped at a little park on the way and said hello to the ocean for the last time.

The last of the McMillin clan left on the island

Cael before - Cael after

Tree on the beach (if you know me, you know I LOVE trees)

Hawaii, part 2: lounging

After much discussion in the planning stages, we finally opted for a 3 bedroom condo on the beach just down the road from my aunt Leah's studio timeshare in Kahana located in West Maui. It was an upstairs unit, but had an upstairs loft and really felt like a house. Matt, Teagan, Cael and I had one bedroom downstairs with a queen and twin bed. Keith, Liz and Gavin (with rented crib) had the second bathroom downstairs with doors that closed off the living room and their own entrance to the main bath. My parents had the master loft bed and bath upstairs and Brian/Jenn slept on the sofa bed. There was a galley style kitchen open to the dining room/living room with a large sectional sofa. I think we borrowed some extra folding chairs from my aunt's studio apt so when all 12 of us were there, we could fit around the dining room table. :) Oh and let us not forget the lanai. Also everything was really open with cathedral ceilings, lots of skylights and slatted windows that opened to the sound of the ocean. Just outside the condo was a grassy area the kids could run, a gate to the beach and a swimming pool.

When we weren't running around visiting the sites, we just hung around, played with the kids and caught up. (kinda the point of the vacation)

Our first morning all the kids were up circa 6am so we decided to puppy-pile
Auntie Jenn and Uncle Brian. :) Good morning! Welcome to the world of having kids!

Brian and Cael

Gavin, probably causing mischief, as all 15-month olds do :)

Matt, Cael and Teagan hanging out watching a movie

Uncle Brian and Teagan play with her new wombat puppet
while Cael looks on

Speaking of puppy-piles :)
Left to right: Auntie Jenn, Auntie Liz, Teagan

Brian reads stories to Teagan. She loves her new "Josephine loves to dance" book about a kangaroo that wants to be a ballet dancer.

Hawaii, part 1: travel

As previously mentioned, we had to leave at 3:30am on Sunday, Nov 9 for the airport. The best priced flights were through Akron/Canton and all flights to Hawaii (regardless of airport) leave this area at 6-7am. Just do. So, with little to no sleep, we headed to the airport and got checked in. There were issues with the reservation, but mostly it was sorted out by Keith/Liz before we got there. Omg, it was SO cold on the way in and also, we had a moment of realization when we arrived that there was no way we were getting 2 kids and all our luggage in without a cart. This commences our first travel by air with 2 kids.

Cael's first flight: Akron/Canton, OH to Atlanta, GA.
Then there was a 5 hour flight from Atlanta to San Francisco.

San Francisco, CA to Kahalui, HI (Maui)
We were fortunate enough to have an extra seat in our row and rather than have Matt move back from his single seat, I let Cael stretch out and sleep...which he did for almost the entire 5 hour flight. Yea! Such a good little traveller. Teagan, meanwhile, kept herself occupied with videos for most of the flight.

Also, as luck would have it, the people in front of us were willing to switch with Keith and Liz to allow them to have a whole row to themselves too meaning Gavin got his own seat. Whew!
We'd learn on the way home that really it's even better if they sit behind us :)

I wish I'd had a picture of the lot of us going through the airport security. I know on the way home we were a force to be reckoned with. :) You might imagine the sheer volume of baggage there is when travelling with 3 small children for 14 hours. Somehow we survived. :) More from HI later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flowergirl Teagan

Dear readers (ha ha),
You may remember that we were planning a trip to Hawaii when we heard the great news that our friend Ben had proposed to his girlfriend Jami and a Nov 8 wedding date was set. This was the intended departure date to Hawaii, but fortunately we were able to move that back a day. As a result, Teagan was invited to be their flower girl and here are some photos of the big day!

Unfortunately, I'm not so great with indoor photos with not-so-great lighting so I don't have much worth showing from the rehearsal. It went smoothly. The kids were fairly cooperative, everyone seemed to have a good idea of the plan and what few little kinks were worked out. Note, Jami's son Jon has become quite a dear friend to Teagan and was the ringbearer. At the tender age of 5, he's already stated he plans to marry Teagan. :) Teagan's not so sure. :)

On with the photos!

Flower girl Teagan and ringbearer Jon practicing their walk down the aisle

Matt and Cael hanging out in the back

The Boys
My brother Keith and his long-time friends Luke, Ben and Edmund
(left to right)

Also, most of my wedding pictures were teh suck as's what I could salvage...

Teagan and Cael at the hotel suite. Yes, he's wearing a dress shirt and pants. He wasn't too thrilled about it either. This is the only photo you'll see too as he slept through the wedding (thank goodness), made early rounds at the reception, nursed and then was back to sleep again.

I do wish I'd gotten a video of Teagan trying to get everyone to do the "coolie dance" at the hotel suite. She was quite enthusiastic :)

Teagan and Jon all dolled up :)

They had both practiced dancing at home before the wedding, not that you could tell.
We kept reminding Jon he had to be gentle on Teagan. They did have a good time though!

Grammy, Teagan and Auntie Liz dancing on the sidelines during the wedding party dances which included a first family dance with Ben, Jami and Jon. So sweet!

The happy couple

A true mama! When Jon decided to lay down on the floor
during the reception, Jami joined him without hesitation.
Ben was being attentive, as always, and Teagan was in her usual
state of curiosity and need for being involved. :)

All in all, things went very smoothly for the wedding as well. We are very happy for them and hope their lives resume a more normal state soon. :)
We didn't stay too late as we had to get Teagan to bed before leaving the house at 3:30am to get to the airport for the trip to Hawaii. That post will be up soon! Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Random Photos

Above: Cael and his chameleon :) and yep, he just fell asleep while I was cleaning
Below: Hydrocephalus Association walk Sept 26 at Mayfield Heights Park...SO GREAT!

Teagan had such a wonderful time. Here she is schmoozing with the high school gals that were doing face painting and temporary tattoos. See Teagan's collection. I think she ended up with 4 paintings and 3 temporary tattoos :)

I made a pair of recycled wool longies! :)

Teagan on picture day. What a ham!

Cael's monster booty longies arrived!! OH and his weeKilty!

Just pulling some favorites as of late. Just because I don't post, doesn't mean I haven't been keeping track via photos :)

Birthday wishes

Listening to The Backyardigans.. "into the thick of it..." Feels a little like that here. School is well underway and there is much going on. I don't know if I have it in me to go into all the details, but I'm going to at least post about Teagan's birthday party. Teagan says it was "awesome-cool". :)

Nana (Matt's mom) really outdid herself. She planned a Dora the Explorer Extravaganza! Everyone Teagan invited came! I believe there were 9 kids including my friend Robyn's kids Alyssa (4) & Aiden (2), nephew Gavin (1), "boyfriend" Jon (5), a boy I treat Kyle (4), and 3 friends from school: Carter (3), Angelina (3), and Cami (3) and Cael (4 mo). I suppose I should mention that Teagan dressed like Dora :) She really embraced playing the part.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, they snacked on cheese and grapes and colored and played with Dora playdoh playscapes. Matt & Cael stop for a picture. :)

Then they went on an adventure to find the candles that Swiper swiped (complete with a swiper that says "You're too late. You'll never find it now" :) and backpacks with binoculars, compasses, and of course maps). They all wore their explorer hats and really got into the adventure. They used their maps to see that they had to go over the river (a long blue shower curtain with construction paper rocks), through the tunnel and to the pond (a swimming pool filled with stuffed animals, some of which had candles taped to them & Swiper). Teagan had Boots to help. :)

After they found the candles they had a star scavenger hunt. Each kid had a color star that they had to find on the bags of their treats. They all needed adult help and everyone had a great time trekking around the small wooded area behind Nana's house. Each kid had about 10 things to find ranging from sunglasses and small chalkboards to bendy robots and whistles. "Trinkety stuff" as Nana would say.

Then it was time for lunch. All natural hot dogs, bratwursts, sauerkraut, mac'n'cheese, baked beans, Dora Jell-o jigglers, applesauce... Then gift bags for the kids. Score! More playtime. An awesome cupcake cake that had the adventure landscaped across it and homemade ice cream. More playtime and then once everyone left, we let Teagan open the pile of gifts while Gavin played with the paper! :)

It really was awesome-cool. Everyone was very impressed and had such a great time!
Teagan turns 4-years old on Tuesday. I'll wait til then to make the birthday reflection post.