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Old 09-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #1
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Aloha and Mahalo Mom and Dad! - Completed 11/18!

I've decided to go ahead and start a pre-trip report for our upcoming trip to Hawaii. So, I'll start with the players and some history:

Who:
Me (37)
DH (36)
DD (8)
DS (4)
DM (62)
DF (66)

Why:
My parents own a timeshare and go every October. We are the last of my siblings to travel down with them, but the first to bring grandkids along, so it's unchartered territory. We travel all the time with my in-laws (to Disney), but this is our first opportunity to take a trip with my side. Actually, now that I think about it, even my in-laws have gone with my parents - they went 2 years ago with them (which is pretty cool when you think about it).

When:
October 18-25 (4 weeks from tomorrow!!!)

Where:
Kona Coast, Hawaii (Big Island)

We are flying Delta, and having purchased tickets 2 days before luggage fees started, we can even take 2 bags each, if we want. Probably won't, but it's nice to know we have the option! We discovered, when pricing airfares, that it would save us $150/ticket ($600 for our family) to drive from Vegas to LA and fly out of LAX. Even with gas and parking fees, we'll save at least $400 over what it would've cost out of Vegas.

In a twist of fate, my aunt and uncle (who live in McHenry, IL) called my parents shortly after we set our dates for the trip, because they were planning a trip and remembered that Mom and Dad usually go in October. Turns out that we will overlap the beginning of our trip and the end of theirs. This is poignant, because their son (my cousin) died of a drug overdose this Spring and I was the only one who was able to go to the funeral (the day before Easter). So it'll be the first time Mom will have seen her sister since then.

Now, while DH and the kids have never been to HI, I have. Mom and Dad used to own a timeshare on Maui, when I was a teenager. So when I was 13, we visited Pearl Harbor and Hale'akela and Hanna and the 7 Sacred Pools, etc. We went to a luau and got sunburned and flirted with boys (OK, only my sis and I did that last thing). It is important to note my age. Remember that Royal Caribbean (or Carnival?) commercial about the parents questing for their teenager's smile? Yeah, when a 13 year old gets into a "mood" there ain't nothin' gettin' her out of it anytime soon! I spent the final 3 days of our trip pouting. And I couldn't tell you why (of course, it was over 20 years ago).

So, we are really looking forward to this trip and seeing what the kids think. I want to see a sea turtle and go to a plantation (can be bananas, macadamias, whatever). We plan on doing a luau. MIL insists that we have to do "Flume in a Ditch" which is a pretty cool flume ride, but it was damaged in a storm this spring, so we're not sure if it will be up and running by then. I also think that whale/dolphin watching would be cool, but that AND a luau (which run about $80/adult) might be a little too much on the pocketbook. And I want to see the volcano, which I believe is still got a large flow going (note to self: check on recent volcano eruptions).

This weekend, we're going to try to pinpoint some of our plans, so I may be able to update a bit more before we go. However, this might be it until we return. But I'll make sure I keep track of what we did for a great TR! Now if only I could figure out how to imbed pictures into the post....
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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Sounds like you're going to have a great time!! Can't wait to hear all about it
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:30 PM   #3
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How exciting!!
Your trip sounds great!
Take plenty of pictures!!!
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Old 09-19-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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Take plenty of pictures!!!
I plan to! Even if I can't embed them into my posts, I can at least post a link to my Facebook album.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:26 AM   #5
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What a wonderful trip you've got planned.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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Less than 3 weeks to go! DS has his first field trip on Wednesday and DD has an overnight trip to SD Wild Animal Park Thurs/Fri, so this week is going to fly by! Wheee!

Mom and Dad came over for dinner Saturday night so we could discuss the trip. We normally go places where we're staying in hotels, so we don't normally plan out cooking meals and such. We eat out! But, this is my parents, who aren't as "Go! Go! Go!" as us. So for this trip, we each have to plan one special meal to cook at the condo (and we'll plan 1 or 2 more when we get there). Now, get this. The reason we have to plan our "special meal" ahead of time? So that we can gather up the necessary spices/seasonings to take with! (Buying whole jars of spices for one meal doesn't make good economic sense.)

I'm making Baked Ziti, by the way, which requires no spices - it's all fresh herbs and such. Although, if we make the garlic bread along with it, I'll have to take garlic powder, Italian seasoning...shoot! I didn't think of that. Glad it occurred to me now!

Anyway, I haven't bought my tickets for the luau yet. We plan on going on our final night, Friday. Most of the luaus charge around $70-90 per adult, $35-40 per child and free for under 5. So, I went with the King Kamehameha Luau, which got good reviews in a book (the author is really witty and obviously "local" though I think he's white, not native Hawaiian). Most of the time, the luaus shouldn't be sold out, so I keep going back and forth on whether to pay online for tickets or keep our options slightly open and book when we get there?

Dad and DH plan on going golfing, I believe at the golf course our resort is on. Dad's making the calls today to see about that. And the resort also offers classes for kids and a place called "Splash". So DD will be (hopefully ) taking a lei making class and perhaps a bead/jewelry making class. DS is too young, so we'll have to figure out what to do with him.

We will visit a botanical garden while we're there. The kids might get a little bored, but they really enjoyed looking at the flower/plant books Mom brought over, so I think they'll get a kick out of it as long as we don't go too slowly. And my MIL (remember, she went with my parents 2 years ago) still wants us to do "Flume in the Ditch", which is a slow flume ride down a hill, in, well, a ditch. It was damaged and the website still says "reopening October 2008". So we don't know if will be open the week we are there.

Some good news, we discovered! Ironman Triathlon will be the weekend before we get there, so we won't have to deal with traffic and reroutes, like my parents did one year! Yeah, it'd be cool to "see" it, but that's not why we're going, so I'm relieved we don't have to deal with it.

Travel plans:
We are driving to LA, early! In fact, we may have the kids spend the night at my parents, so they can sleep a little later, since we'll drive to my parents house and go from there. We think, even though we have to get up earlier, we'll get better sleep in our own bed, so we'll stay home. Originally, we figured we'd have to take 2 cars. Even though our Pacifica fits 7, it leaves little storage room. But, apparently my parents take, like, 2 outfits. Because they have 2 itty bitty suitcases and that's it. They think they can even just put them under their feet in the car. So, we're going to try it and see if we can get all of us in one car. It'll be nice because then Grandma and Boppa will keep the kids entertained! (Though we had planned on putting them in Mom and Dad's car anyway....)

I plan on taking a few things to keep the kids occupied. DS doesn't read, so he needs more active stuff and DD reads like the wind, so hers needs to be challenging, yet interesting, so that I don't have to take 10 fairy books that she'll finish before we get to LA! Of course, DD will have some homework, but I may try to leave that for the 2 car rides, so we don't have to take it (and potentially lose it) to HI. So, for DD's reading , I'll be starting her on Harry Potter (she's 8, but her reading skill is off the charts). She's ready for at least Sorcerer's Stone, if not Chamber of Secrets. It depends on if she takes The Mysterious Benedict Society, which she's currently reading for a reading group she's in. I bought a few sticker/coloring books for DS, so he has something new to hopefully occupy him. And we'll be taking DS' Leapster, DD's Nintendo DS and a DVD player. My concern is keeping them entertained, not only for the travelling, but while we're there as well.

I've also set aside some flashcards for DS (only if he's in the mood, so those may not make the final packing list), and put aside a travel Scrabble (folds up, tiles click in place) and Uno. My parents are into board games - we always played them as kids - so I can see us all playing games. And since DS knows his colors and numbers, he shouldn't have any problems with Uno. We'll also take a deck of regular cards....a staple when travelling with DH!

My only problem right now is that I can't find a book to take! Well, I guess I'll tackle that on a special trip to Borders or something. I'll figure it out.

Thanks for reading what I've got so far! I hope it's not too much info and that you didn't fall asleep halfway through...
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:38 PM   #7
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Great plans!! Keep it coming
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:53 AM   #8
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It sounds like your plans are all coming together.
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:39 PM   #9
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Sounds like you are ready to go...except for that book...might want to get two...
Enjoy! Can't wait to hear about it when you get back!
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:13 AM   #10
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Aloha!
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:58 PM   #11
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I'm so cheap when it comes to books! I love books - can't get enough of them, especially when it's my fave authors. Of course, I've read everything from my fave (Nora Roberts) and her next book doesn't come out until December, which is also when "Tales of Beetle the Bard" comes out (HP fans will know what I'm talking about). So that does me no good for an October trip. But $15 for a book (the larger paperbacks)? Yeah, I don't like spending that when I read them so quickly.

I get lots of "let's try this one" books from the library. But I don't like taking library books on trips. So I spent over an hour wandering around Borders yesterday looking for books that sound interesting enough that I won't feel like I'm wasting my money and that are big enough to get me through more than an hour (I read really fast - finished Gone With the Wind in a single weekend in college and read the 7th Harry Potter book in 6 hours).

I had 2 books that sounded promising, but I was wary: "My Labotomy" (I KNOW!) about a man who looked for answers about why his parents did this to him in 1961. Ultimately, I just decided it wasn't "vacation reading". I also had a promising book (can't remember the title), but it was on the same table, which was "buy one get one 50%" and I didn't like any of the other titles enough to get them.

I ended up getting "bargain" books, but I'm excited about them - I got three books for a total of $15 (all of the others cost $12.95 - 16.95 apiece)! And each book is very different, topic-wise:
Angels Fall, by Nora Roberts (I'm pretty sure I haven't read it and I don't own it, so even if I have read it, it's been awhile and I can add it to the collection.)
Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich (It's the book the movie "21" is based on, about the MIT students who came to Vegas)
The Faerie Path, by Frewin Jones (about a girl from our world who discovers that she's really a faerie and needs to save the faerie world and learn to reconcile being from both worlds.)

I'm starting to set all the "other" stuff aside, like books and games. I'm stopping myself from setting aside the clothing, since it's still warm here so we do have to wear the clothes, but I do plan to go through and get a mental picture of what we are taking. I know we want to pack light, but we've pulled out our suitcases and if there's room, I'll want to pack enough clothes that I have a choice. Yeah, I can do laundry while we're there. But I'd rather be able to chose from more than 2 sundresses and 3 shirts....
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:28 AM   #12
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Glad you were able to find some books to take with you.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:08 AM   #13
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Less than a week to go! And we've had a cold snap here, where the temp has dropped 20 degrees below average and we've been in the low 60s all weekend. I am SO looking forward to this trip!

My parents came up yesterday with their luggage. Now, originally, they kept saying their suitcases are really tiny, blah blah. Well, they're normal sized suitcases, bigger than the average roll-along you might take as a carry-on. Anyway, they brought them up so that we could do a dry-run of packing 6 people and their luggage into a Chrysler Pacifica. And, it looks like we can do it!

My parents climbed into the very back, and will have a suitcase in between them (bright side - it makes a good arm rest! ). The kids will be in their normal seats, with my parents' luggage in front of them (DD will have to place a foot on either side). I will have some carry-ons at my feet, but DH won't be affected at all. Which is good, since he is driving.

The kids are spending the night at my parents' house, so they can get a little extra sleep. We will need to be up and ready to leave our house at 5:00 a.m., picking up Mom and Dad and kids and getting on the road by 5:30. By sleeping at their house, the kids won't have to get up until close to 5:00, so it's something, at least. We plan to park at the airport, for $8/day, so gas (which is costing less each day) and parking will cost no more than $200. Considering we saved $1000 (for all 6 of us) by flying out of LAX, it was worth it to make the trip, even having to get up at "Oh my gosh, do people really get up this early? Really?"

I have a lot to do this week - on top of cleaning, laundry and packing, I have my annual GYN exam, an interview to become a substitute teacher, a manicure one day and a pedicure on another. And I get to meet Giada Di Laurentis on Friday! Let me repeat, I am meeting Giada on Friday and getting her new cookbook signed at Williams Sonoma. What a great way to wrap up the week before leaving!
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:22 PM   #14
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It's almost here!! I hope you have a great time!!
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:07 AM   #15
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Nearly there! Have a great time!
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