Sunday, 30 December 2012

Lazy Days Together

The past few days have been such a treat.  Long, lazy days without a thing going on.  It's been heavenly!  We've been spending hours at home together, something that rarely happens with the busyness of our lives!  I've been slowly unpacking from Hawaii, doing laundry, cleaning a bit, organizing a lot and generally just feeling on top of things.  It's a nice way to start the new year!

Here's what we've been up to:

Scrapbooking Time

I printed off a bunch of pictures of Sydney as a baby for her to use in the Hello Kitty scrapbooking kit that she got for Hanukkah.  She's been having a blast cutting the pictures out and gluing them into her scrapbook, creating her own beautiful pages!

A Walk with Baby

Sydney is so into her babies at the moment.  She can be found at almost any moment of the day with a baby either in her arms or within close proximity.  We took advantage of a dry day yesterday and went for a little walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air with her baby in it's very own stroller.  I love how she hooked her diaper bag and purse on the handle of the stroller just like her very own Momma does!

Baking Time

Sydney isn't quite used to spending so much down time at home.  We typically have lots going on in a day, so I think she's a little unsure what to do with herself sometimes and starts climbing the walls a little.  She insisted that we bake something the other day, so we defrosted some overripe bananas and made a batch of her favourite mini banana muffins.  She was so happy!

Gingerbread Playdough

I made a big batch of gingerbread playdough to give as a gift to several of Sydney's friends for Christmas and saved enough for Sydney to play with too.  She unpacked it and had a blast rolling it out and making little gingerbread men!


We have so been diving into all of the baskets and treats that we got for Christmas and literally snacking all day long!  My friend Janice sent us the most delectable hand made toffee with pecans from Heritage House Chocolates in Alberta, it was absolutely delicious!  So nice to indulge in a few treats!


We picked up a parcel in the mail the other day, a lovely gift from my friend Janice filled with some beautiful napkins, special spreader knives, that delicious handmade toffee and a yummy dip mix!  Sydney had so much fun unwrapping everything!

We also got a little gift from Sydney's friend Bea, a box filled with holiday stickers for Sydney to decorate and a shaker to add to her musical instrument collection.

I always feel so blessed at this time of year to be remembered by so many friends.  We have so enjoyed each gift, both big and small, that has made it's way to our home this year!


One of the things that I love the most about long days at home together is breakfast time.  We always linger over breakfast together in the morning in our jammies, it's such special time.  Paul loves to do the crossword in the paper and Sydney has picked up on his passion and likes to try her hand at the New York Times crossword from time to time.  So cute to watch her writing letters in each of the boxes!

Furniture Shopping

We spent a good chunk of our day today visiting with Syd's brother Zach at his apartment.  He is still looking for a few key pieces of furniture for his place, so we went furniture shopping with him today.  Sydney decided to take a little break while we were out and snuggled up in a chair with my iphone, it was very cute!

Pooh Time

I went to crawl into bed the other night, hours after I had put Sydney to sleep, and found her like this:

She was fast asleep, still cuddling her Winnie the Pooh that her Auntie Shery and Uncle Gerry gave her for her birthday this year.  It was so, so sweet. 

Sweet dreams everyone!  Hope the last day of 2012 is a wonderful one for you!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Ten Days in Paradise

Maui - Day 1

We have just arrived on the island of Maui for our annual sun vacation.  I thought that I would compose a short blog entry every day that we're here and post it all together when we get home so that I've kept a day by day account of our vacation together.

We were up with the birds this morning, at 5:30am to get ready to catch our plane.  I let Syd stay up late last night, against my better judgement, so that she could visit with Zach and Mir who came over to have dinner with us.  I had to drag the poor sweetie out of bed this morning to get to the airport on time!

Syd did really well on the flight, managed to keep herself occupied until about the last half hour when she decided that she wanted nothing to do with sitting in her own seat with her seat belt securely fastened!  It was a bumpy landing, both figuratively and literally!

We arrived safe and sound, got our rental car and did a huge Costco run before heading to our condo.  Syd was so happy to finally get here!  She stripped down naked the minute she got in the door and demanded to put on her new owl bathing suit so that we could go to the beach!

So we headed to the beach for a sunset sandcastle time!  It was amazing!

We got back to the condo to quickly realize that I had really not done a great job of packing for myself.  In fact, I managed not to bring one single top or tank top at all!  So after I put Syd to bed, I made a mad dash to the Shops at Wailea and got myself some t-shirts and tank tops to tide me over for our time here.  Then I thought, just to soothe my soul, that I would buy a few fun pieces of jewellery too to wear while I was here!  After all, I am on vacation!  It was fun to do a little frantic shopping!

That was day #1.  Looking forward to our first full day in paradise tomorrow!

Maui - Day #2

Today was a perfect day in paradise.  Paul and I have been going to Maui for years, long before Sydney ever arrived, and we have a pace to our day that we love to recreate.  Today was exactly that.  We were up at 5:30am, waited for the first crack of sunlight and headed out for our early morning walk to Wailea.  We stopped for a coffee and snack at the Honolulu Coffee Company before heading home for breakfast on the lanai, arguably our favourite time of the day!

After breakfast we headed to the beach, Sydney had such a blast digging in the sand, making sand castles with Mommy and jumping with wild abandon into the ocean!  She is such a beach girl, I love it!

The afternoon was slow and easy, had some lunch, went to the park, took Syd to the swings, did a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items we needed and just chilled.  It was awesome.  Sydney is fast asleep right now at 5:30pm after all the fresh air and exercise!  Love it!

We got a lovely surprise tonight, a beautiful basket arrived at our door from the condo owner welcoming us to Maui!  It was filled with lovely fresh fruit and special Hawaiian treats, we loved it!

Maui - Days 3 & 4

The past two days have been filled with long morning walks, hours at the beach, lazy afternoons relaxing and in the pool with Syd, taking in the sunsets every night at the park across the street, and enjoying a glass of wine by candlelight on the lanai after Syd's gone to bed for the night.

We are all feeling good and relaxed and have managed to find ourselves swept up in "Island Time" as they call it here.  Everything happens slowly, there's no rush for anything.  It's nice!

Sydney is sleeping so well here, all that fresh air really seems to be agreeing with her!  She is full of beans throughout the day and I am doing my best to keep up with her but I have to admit, by the end of the day, I'm exhausted!

Maui - Day 5

We have hit the midway point of our ten day vacation.  I love when we get to this point, we have nicely found our groove and are fully in vacation mode.  Slow and easy sums up our days.

Sydney spent the better portion of her time at the beach today making sand figurines of all of her favourite Sesame Street characters.  I love how she moves down to the "wet sand" as she calls it, closest to the water, because it sticks together the best for building things.  She also loves drawing letters in the sand and takes great pleasure out of spelling people's names on the shore.

We spent almost an hour in the kiddie pool this afternoon while Sydney dove off the edge into the pool and swam to either Paul or I who was waiting for her midway into the pool.  It is amazing how comfortable and confident she is getting in the water, seems all those swimming lessons have paid off!

She was exhausted after all the fresh air and exercise today, so we put her off to bed early and I managed to pull off a turkey dinner for the second year in a row for Paul and I.  We sat on the lanai, drinking wine by candlelight and eating our turkey, all the while chatting and sharing stories.  What a lovely memory!

The highlight of our day happened while we were sitting at the park watching the sun set tonight.  We saw a pod of four Humpback whales swimming in the ocean!  We could see their backs as they arched out of the water and saw them spraying water out of their blow holes.  It was amazing and a little bit magical!  I kept trying to get a picture, but never seemed to snap at the right time!  This wispy bit of one of them spraying was the best that I could do!

Sydney made a new friend at the park today, this young guy who played "soccer" with her for quite some time while we were watching the sun set.  It was very sweet!

And so concludes day #5, let's hope the last half of the trip is as wonderful as the first half has been!

Maui - Day 6

Today was definitely a fuller day than we've had up until this point.  We woke up this morning and decided for our morning walk that we would head well into Wailea to check out some of my favourite resort hotels there.  This time of year the hotels are always decked out with the most amazing Christmas decorations and displays and I love the real Pointsettia plants which are growing right in the gardens!

We hit up my all time favourite, The Grand Wailea as well as the Four Seasons and the Kea Lani.  Syd loved looking around at all of the amazing Christmas trees and interesting things in the lobbies and around their pools!

Late this afternoon we took Syd to the Maui Ocean Centre, the local aquarium here.  We visited this aquarium last year so it was so neat to see how much more Sydney enjoyed it this year!  She ran from tank to tank exclaiming, "Nemo! Nemo!" even if the fish inside looked nothing like a clownfish!  It was pretty funny!

They have the coolest tunnel that is glass all around that you can walk through and see the sharks, eels and other interesting tropical fish.

They even dropped a diver in with the sharks today!

What a fun afternoon it was!  Sydney spent a great deal of time in the gift shop trying to decide what she was going to get for her souvenir and eventually settled on this cute fish necklace.

We came home to catch another amazing sunset and then went out for dinner at Cheeseburgers in Paradise in Wailea before calling it a day.

I feel a bit pooped after a much busier pace today than we've been keeping!  I'm out of practice!

Maui - Day #6

Today had such a nice pace to it.  I have to say that today I felt the most relaxed and at ease that I have since we arrived!  We decided to skip our morning walk today and instead just chilled out at home over a leisurely breakfast before heading to the beach super early in the morning.

This was such a great thing, it was cooler and super quiet at the beach.  We stayed for hours!  Huge waves rolled in for a while and Sydney and I hit pay dirt and collected a huge bucket full of shells and pieces of coral and lava rock.  She is so excited to take them home with us to give to her teachers at preschool so they can use them in the sand and water tables!

The afternoon found us at the kiddie pool once again where Syd was practicing her swimming with a vengeance.  She is expertly diving into the pool now and can kick and swim quite a few feet into our waiting arms, it's great!

After all that time in the water we got dressed and headed up to the Shops at Wailea to do a little shopping.  Every year when we are in Maui, Paul buys me a very special gift from Tiffany & Co.  I usually have a piece in mind that I'm wanting to get, but this year I decided to just wing it and ended up coming away with a beautiful ring from the Somerset collection.  It is so gorgeous on, I love it!  They even wrapped the box in a bright red Christmas ribbon, instead of their signature white one.  Very special indeed!

I let Sydney choose a little souvenir for herself too, we hit up the ABC store and she chose some flowered hair clips, a shell necklace and a Hello Kitty sticky pad.  We also got a half coconut shell filled with shells to take home with us to use for crafts.

The day felt long today, I love a long slow day in paradise!

Maui Day #7 & 8

I love nothing more on a sun holiday than sitting in the sun reading a book for hours on end.  Every year when we come to Maui, I bring a good no-brainer novel with me and my goal is always to finish it before the end of the trip.  This has proved to be a little more of a challenge since bringing a baby along on holidays with us!

Yesterday I woke up and announced to Paul that I was going to finish my book by the end of the day, that was my only goal.  So I managed to sneak in as much time as I could to myself throughout the day and read and read and eventually fell asleep on the couch with the book resting gently on my chest until I woke up shortly after midnight.

I didn't quite make my goal but it sure felt good to actually read a book for a change!

I did manage to finish the book this morning while lying on the beach.  Today was the first overcast day that we've had yet.  The weather has been amazing, perfect really, so we couldn't complain about this wee glitch.  It was still warm and nice enough to lie on the beach in my bikini even though the sun wasn't beating down as it usually is.

We spent a good long time at the beach this morning.  I love how every day Sydney gets more and more comfortable in the water, today she was splashing and playing in it while waves crashed all around her.

We set up a little picnic again for tonight's sunset and then headed out for a yummy Thai dinner together at our favourite Royal Thai Restaurant.

When we got home, we went for a little walk through the gardens at our complex.  There are palm trees decorated for Christmas with lights wrapped around their trunks and giant Christmas ornaments hanging from them and tons of residents and guests have strung Christmas lights on their lanais.  Sydney loved the little night walk to see all the lights, it felt very festive.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Maui before we fly home on Boxing Day.  Am hoping to soak up every last bit of sun and that beautiful Hawaiian air before we head back to the rain!

Maui Day #9

What a perfect last full day in Maui we had today!  The weather looked a lot like it did yesterday, overcast mostly, which felt funny for Christmas Day as it's usually blazing hot!  We stayed extra long at the beach this morning.  Sydney finally decided today that she wanted to try out all of the water toys that we had and proudly floated on top of her boogie board and noodle, it was pretty fun!

We were back at the kid's pool this afternoon so that Syd could have one last swim, she is really going to miss being in the water every day when we get home tomorrow!

There wasn't much of a sunset to be had today, with it being so cloudy and all, so Sydney and I decided to walk across the street to the park and enjoyed some time on the swings and at the beach, taking some amazing shots of her just as daylight was starting to disappear.  It felt almost magical being down at the water's edge at that time of day.  There is something truly captivating about this island, it really is paradise in so many ways.

Maui Day #10

There are so many little things that I have grown to love about Maui over the many years that we've been coming here.  I love the smell of the air, the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore, the way the fine sand feels beneath your feet, the bright flowers blooming everywhere, the tropical birds, the breathtaking sunsets every night, just to name a few.

One of the things I love the most about coming to Maui since Sydney's been born, is how much I have had to slow down and really appreciate the little things here.  I spend time dreaming about all of these things throughout the year at home while looking forward to our annual trip here.  It has been a sensational vacation in so many ways.  I feel happy and rested with a fully recharged battery.  Can't wait to hit the ground running when we get home and make 2013 an amazing year ahead!