Off We Go!

Mike picks his vacation (he gets 4 weeks!) in September of each year.  So in September of 2018 he picked this week to be off, because baby #4 (team green still at that time) was coming at 39 weeks on February 26th (I had already penciled in that c-section date with Dr. Jen) and he figured it'd be the perfect week to take off since our new babe was due and he could spend that week in the hospital with me.

Well, you know that in October things quickly changed...and our little #4 Clark came 4 months early and his arrival was anything what we expected when we first found out he was on his way in June.  When the fog lifted a bit in November, we realized Mike was still off this random last week in February, except we weren't going to have a newborn to necessitate him being off for a week.  The big kids still had school and end of February in STL is blah.  I checked my American Airlines points...I had been hoarding them for a while because we were planning on doing Hawaii with the two of us in the summer of 2020 (8 year anniversary trip!? sure! haha) and I quickly realized that I had enough points NOW to get us to Hawaii whenever we wanted.  We decided that this week of what would have been Clark's birth would be the perfect week to get away...a much needed vacation for us two (thank you grandparents + KiKi for watching the three big kiddos for us!!) for some relaxation, reflection, and hopefully a lot of healing.  Because I realized I didn't want to be home this week... I wanted to be somewhere else.

So with all of that, Hawaii was booked!  And for the past couple of months we had been anticipating this trip (instead of had we stayed home having immense amount of dread for this week to come) which I think was a very good thing.  Keeping busy and having something to look forward to was key for us in this time that we are very much still grieving our little guy.

Bright and early on Sunday, 2/24 we hopped on our first of three flights to take us to the Big Island.  And, before we even boarded I was like RUH RO, we ain't making it.  Our flights were booked semi close together, with only maybe an hour or hour and a half layover in between.  Our first flight out of STL was to Dallas and was suppose to leave at 6am.  Well, after some battery replacement issue that caused some delay, and then after taxiing out some light came on that needed to be fixed so back to the gate we went, we FINALLY left an hour and a half late at 7:30am.  Our next flight to Honolulu was suppose to leave at 9:15am at a different terminal (and do you know how freaking big Dallas' airport is?!?! HUGE.) and now this flight was getting in at 9am.  I was borderline panic attack mode cause what kind of start would this be to our 'relaxing' trip if we missed the Hawaii flight?!??!  Well, just as we were landing at 8:51am and I turned my phone back off of airplane mode I got an alert that our next flight was delayed about 30 minutes and wasn't leaving until 9:50am now.  Someone was smiling down on us from above because YES!!! We were going to make that flight!  Now our bag might not but heck, WE WOULD.  We still hustled to the tram and to the other terminal and walked up to our gate about 9:20am...5 minutes or so before they started boarding.  WE MADE IT!

Our flight to Honolulu was about 9 hours and I bought internet so I could live update my loyal Instagram story watchers all about our riveting in-flight adventures.  Mike killed like 4 movies, I read this book start to finish and then before we knew it, we were landing in Hawaii!

There are no shortage of plane window snaps on my phone FYI.  We had a quick hour layover in Honolulu before hoping on our last plane to the Big Island which was maybe a 40 minute flight.  Mike got punch -- clearly his favorite part about the inter-island flights.

Once we got to the Big Island, miraculously our checked bag had arrived (we literally checked an empty suitcase so we'd have room to bring back the stuff we bought here. So smart, huh??!!?), and we got our rental car.  We splurged and got a Camero convertible and, even just a couple days into our trip, it has proved to be welllllll worth it. 

We then headed over to our Airbnb we got for the first few days we were here (staying on the Hilo side first then the Kona side before returning home) and checked in.  This rental is right on the beach and oh my gosh, it was just heavenly.  We got there just as the sun was starting to set so naturally, even though we were starving, we went out to explore a bit before grabbing dinner.

Just gorgeous.  And that's what I love so much about the Big Island is the scenery -- because this side really isn't these pristine white sand's very much the volcanic soil and very moody setting and I just LOOOOOVE that so much.

We then headed over to Ken's House of Pancakes for dinner (they serve EVERYTHING there!) because that's our most favorite joint to eat at in Hilo.

We got back to our Airbnb and were SO SPENT.  It was only 8pm but to us felt like midnight (we are 4 hours behind here in Hawaii) and after traveling allllll day we just were done.  So off to bed we went!

The next morning, Monday 2/25, I was wide awake at 4:30am. Mike woke up shortly after me and we were like okayyyyy, now what?!?! It was still pitch black out!  I looked on my phone that the sun would rise at 6:45am so we decided to get up, get dressed, and go catch the sunrise on the beach.  We were not disappointed.  It was STUNNING.

You're getting a mix of iPhone, big camera, and GoPro snaps here people FYI.  So many recording devices were brought!

But the sunrise was amazing and just the perfect start to our day.  We then decided to hit up Target and Walmart (we needed toothpaste) and $250+ later we were headed back to find a place to eat.  We found some clothes and such for the kiddos, our favorite flip flops (Locals) that you can only get here, snorkel gear, beach towels, and a few other things that we'd fill that empty suitcase up with!

Shocker, we went back to Ken's for pancakes about 12 hours after we had just been there!  It's our most favorite spot and clearly we both enjoyed our food enough to hit it up again!  I made Mike buy a Ken's shirt so he can wear his favorite restaurant when we return back in STL.

After breakfast we went and unloaded our stuff and got our snorkel stuff together and went to our favorite beach, Richardson, just down the road a bit from where we are staying.

This is just my most favorite beach: black sands, pretty mountain view, palm trees, and the best little snorkel spot!  I got a new GoPro dome for water and was itching to test it out.  It did not disappoint.  At all.

Mike got the coolest pics of the sea turtle he saw!  Then we got a ton more of fish and obviously a few selfies tossed in there too.

After spending a good amount of time snorkeling, we decided to take a drive down by where the lava flowed just last August and check out some of the new spots that were created by that.

I will say, having the convertible has been SO MUCH FUN.  Riding with the top down seeing all of these awesome sights is just amazing.  Definitely worth that splurge!

Okay so this was one of my most favorite spots we saw on our drive to the lava was just STUNNING.

Just like a postcard!  So freaking gorgeous.  I could have snapped pics there all day long!!

And clearly Mike really loves driving the convertible.  Haha!

We then made it to the end of the road, where there was a beach there that had just been formed with the lava flow back in the summer.  It was wild driving through the lava flows that obviously have been demo-ed to make way for a road to go through.

So wild!

The beach at the end was super neat -- all black sand that once was big lava rocks that had been essentially 'ground down' by the waves.

It was such a cool beach to see and be at!!  Because not even a year ago it looked like this!! WILD.  Just wild!

So we decided to head back and on our way back to Hilo we went down a road where there were steam vents!!  Meaning there's a lava flow (not sure if it's active or not???) running underneath the road.  Gah!  So cool.  I also saw my most favorite road sign ever and I think they need to put these up on every street in the US, not just Hawaii.

Once we got back we decided to go snorkeling in the little bay by our place.  Welp, duh, it was low tide so not much snorkeling happening but it was still neat to walk around in the shallow water and obviously snap some pics!

And friends, that basically wraps up our first full day in paradise.  We then went and grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local 'drive in' (more like walk up!) and then 7pm hit and I felt like I hit a brick wall and fell asleep shortly after that...which meant 4:45am hit this morning and helllllooooo wide awake!

But I decided to take advantage of my early risings and pen this here blog post for you from our patio as I listed to all of the animals chirp away as the sun came up and Mike still snoozing in bed (that guy can SLEEP like no one else can!).  And also do a bit of reflecting, because today, 2/26 is when Clark's c-section was set for and it's hitting me in allllll of the feels this morning.  Hoping for a magically wonderful day today to celebrate our sweet little guy.

Anyways, that's all I've got for you on this early Tuesday morning! Hope everyone has a great one my friends...aloha from paradise!

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