Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, this particular post was started at least two months ago...but, well, it's just been impossible to come up with a way to adequately do justice to our brief but blissful Maui vacation.

Our friends Darcy and Bryan did us the favor of choosing Maui as the site of their late September wedding. So we (and by "we" I mean Mike and I) had no choice but to pack up and head to Hawaii. While it was hard to leave Walt behind, going through security without a toddler, stroller and diaper bag was enough to show us we made the right decision.

If we still had doubts, they disappeared when we saw the view from our room at the Royal Lahaina.

And if not then, definitely when we saw our first Maui sunset.

Here is the 5am version of that view...a sight I became quite familiar with since I never quite adjusted to Hawaii-time. This meant I had to sit on the balcony with a cup of tea, reading by moonlight and listening to the crashing waves...boy, I hated that.

Many of our SF friends made the journey as well, and it was such fun to sip mai tais in summer clothes without a chill in the air or a wisp of fog in sight!

The highlight of the trip was, of course, the lovely wedding. Held at Olawalu Plantation House, right on the water, the location was simply stunning.

And here's a shot of the happy couple (with their adorable son, Luke) taken by our talented friend, Jen, who did the photography for the wedding.

At this point, you may be wondering what Walt was doing while we were living it up in Hawaii. Well, he was entertaining his Nana and Grandad who came all the way from Decatur just to keep an eye on him.

(From these pictures, it looks like he was just roaming Golden Gate Park on his own, but I'm assuming the grandparents were close at hand.)

In the course of the long weekend, aside from wedding-related festivities, Mike did some surfing (I did some reading) and we did lots of beach-walking and beach-relaxing, peppered with bits of pool-side lounging. It was rough.

Mike and I also managed to slip away for some much needed alone time...including a delicious dinner at Mama's Fish House.

As we wanted our trip to be as relaxing as possible, we didn't do much advance planning...which is how we ended up with a 4:45pm reservation on a Saturday night. Luckily, having a toddler, this does not seem like an unreasonable time to dine and we were able to score the best table in the house with this lovely view:

One nice thing about dining at 4:45pm in Hawaii--plenty of daylight after dinner to relax and watch the windsurfers at Paia.

On Sunday we joined our friends for a snorkeling trip to Molokini. I had only been snorkeling once before, in the Bahamas when I was fifteen--I HATED it. It awakened a profound fear of the ocean that has haunted me ever since. However...since I'm more than twice as old now and I didn't want to be a spoil-sport, I gave it a try and stayed in long-enough to get this great shot:

I look like I'm enjoying myself, right? This one was actually closer to the truth:

Mike was not afraid at all:

Once we got the snorkeling out the way (phew!) it was time for food and fellowship.

It was such a great trip, a much-needed getaway. Needless to say, though, we were super-excited to see our little boy when we got home!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Proper Summer

Around Labor Day we were able to escape to a proper summer that involved swimming and sandals--not a scarf in sight. Walt and I were in Decatur for a week and a half, and Mike was able to join us for a long weekend. Our flight to Chicago was nearly a nightmare, Walt was so antsy--luckily someone seated next to an empty seat offered to switch with us after takeoff. Without that, I don't know what we would have done...may have to start getting him his own seat soon...or maybe just no more traveling without Mike.

Walt started every day eager to explore his new surroundings.

Two swims a day yielded lusciously long naps--who knew? (Actually, people who live in climates with normal summer weather probably do know this.)

We had lots of visitors during the first weekend of our trip...Grandma and Grandpa Will, Uncle Chuck, Grandad and Cindy, and Uncle Gary and Denise all made the trip up (or over) to see us, which was great. Below is a photo of Walt with Grandma and Grandpa Will.

And one with Uncle Chuck:

And one with Grandad and Cindy:

The highlight of the trip for Walt? Hmm, maybe brushing his teeth on the stool Grandad built for him?

Mom's spaghetti?

Or maybe just showing off his pot-belly in summer clothes.

I ended up having to work a lot more than I had planned to, so I didn't end up getting as much of this (see below) as I would have liked. Oh well.

But we did have the chance to go to the retirement party Dad's work had for him--delayed for a week so we were able to attend. It was so nice to meet Dad's co-workers and I'm glad we were able to celebrate with him.

While I was working, Nana and Grandad had their hands full keeping up with Walt and showing him all Decatur has to offer--a cute zoo, a really great playground and, of course, awesome humidity.

One really super consequence of the humidity? Walt had to take lots more cuddle-breaks, which was a pleasant change of pace.

Near the end of our first week, Mike to flew into O'hare, and we all made the trip to pick him up. Of course, we had to spend the day in the city...lunch at Julius Meinl, a visit with the Butlers, a walk around Bucktown (with shoe shopping at City Soles) and pizza at Piece. It was fun pretending to be Chicagoans again. Walt liked it, too...here's a shot of him playing the role of fun-loving Chicago kid at a Wrigleyville park!

And Mike wouldn't let us leave without getting some pictures at Wrigley.

Now, the real reason for this whole trip was to be immortalized in the 2010 family picture (my side) taken every five years. It was Mike's first!

We headed down to the St. Louis area (where my grandparents live) the day before the picture. That night we hit a Cardinals game, and the nearby casinos, with my uncle/cousins.

We didn't have fun at all.

It was so great to spend the weekend with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Walt got to meet his cousins Madeline and Kennedy, who are just his size, and had a blast running around with all the big kids. He was, to my surprise, an absolute angel during the pictures. Below are a few shots.


Our little family:


Someone made the brilliant decision to make a collage of candids of the great-grandchildren rather than trying to wrangle all twelve (including three toddlers) for a formal picture--so smart.

Following our St. Louis adventure, Walt and I spent a few more days in Decatur before heading home. One day I took him over to my friend Laura's house where Walt and her son, Luke, had a great time tearing around the backyard. (Also, forgot to mention that we were also able to meet up with my dear friend Kristy and her daughter, Evie, while we were in St. Louis--we had so much fun I forgot to take any pictures!)

Really, there was no shortage of new friends.

Thanks to all for making it such a memorable trip, we enjoyed every minute...see you in December!