Want to start from the beginning of the "Aloha Oahu" series? Make sure you've read:
Waikiki & Luau
Manoa Falls, Pali Lookout, Kailua Beach, & Diamond Head
A Waikiki Wedding
Ash Wednesday & Polynesian Cultural Center
Wai'anae & Chinese New Year
When Friday rolled around, I could hardly believe it. Our time in Hawaii had flown by! If it weren't for the fact that we had an 18-month-old to come home to, we would have loved to stay at least another week. Coming home to Gabriel was probably the one thing that kept me from dragging my feet or turning into a total Debbie Downer about returning to this crazy Boston winter.
Initially we planned to spend our final morning on Oahu snorkeling at the infamous Hanauma Bay, but the weather forecast and timing of shuttles caused us to forego this excursion. We had enjoyed brilliant sunshine all week long, but that morning was overcast and rainy (and still in the 80s, so you won't hear me complaining!). Additionally, catching our airport shuttle would have been stressful had we gone to the bay, so we opted instead to just relax and leisurely experience our last morning in Waikiki.
We were able to enjoy one more beach visit before the rain came down and we finally took a picture in front of the huge banyan tree we'd seen every day that week.
|Our "final Waikiki Beach visit" photo - 25 weeks baby bump and all|
|Since we knew we wouldn't be taking these flowers with us, we decided to leave them for|
other beach-goers to enjoy. This actually gave me a great sense of closure as I bid the beach farewell....
After saying goodbye to the beach, we spent the rest of the day packing, window-shopping up and down Kalakaua Avenue for the last time, eating our final Hawaiian meal, and being whisked away for our flight back to the mainland.
The next morning we arrived back in Boston - where we would spend the remainder of our weekend catching up with family (before my mom flew back to the Midwest), washing ALL the laundry, and doing our best to readjust to Eastern Standard Time and our everyday lives as parents.
Michael's family didn't need souvenirs since they were also in Hawaii, but we got my family some postcards and had fun sharing our pictures and stories with everyone. Usually we bring home an ornament from each place we go, but this time we got ourselves a mug and a magnet (which may or may not double as an ornament come Christmas time).
As much as I adore that mug and little turtle magnet, they just can't compare to the souvenirs we picked up for Gabriel and the new baby:
Obviously it's still too cold for Gabriel to wear his little Hawaiian shirt and shorts, but that didn't stop us from at least trying the shirt on when we gave it to him...and my, oh my, that boy was thrilled! He danced happily around the living room showing off his new threads, so I can only hope that he'll be just as enthused when he gets to wear it again this summer.
Readjusting to our normal lives wasn't always the smoothest transition (especially as we worked to re-establish some rules with Gabriel - who suddenly thought he could work us over with all sorts of toddler whining), but the trip made everything worth it. I'm so grateful we could be there to witness my sister-in-law's wedding, that Michael and I could experience a fun vacation before baby boy #2 arrives, and that Michael and I were given an entire week of long-overdue one-on-one time without the beautiful noise and distractions of parenthood.
It will probably be awhile before we experience another vacation remotely like this one, so please forgive me if I happen to blabber on nostalgically about Oahu until then. ;) And just for fun: where did your favorite and/or most recent vacation take place? I'm all ears!
"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."