Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Vacation Part One

Our first family vacation was a huge success!  Relaxing, family focused and sooooo much fun!  We went to Maui and spent 9 nights at the Four Seasons at Wailea.  Our entire vacation was incredible, there were only a few hiccups and they were extremely minor.  This was our first time flying with Maddie and she had absolutely zero issues (however, I should add that we majorly lucked out and had the entire row to ourselves on our flight there and back, so we basically ended up with a free seat for her each way).  She had a bottle on take off and and fell asleep on me soon after and slept for half of each flight, and another bottle during our descent and waved at everyone as they boarded and debarked the plane.  Seriously, she's such an easy baby!

Sleeping on me during our flight home 

Before we left I tried to pack as much of our house into our two small suitcases as possible, and I wavered on whether or not we should bring our stroller AND carseat.  I knew we'd rent a car because we wanted to go to Lahina and we wanted to take Maddie to the Maui aquarium.  Because I was so indecisive on the issue I asked hubby what he thought and together we decided to not take our carseat but to rent one through the rental car company.  Turns out that was a HUGE mistake.  The carseat that they gave us to rent was disgustingly filthy, beyond the point of just wiping it off, the cloth portion and belts of the carseat needed to be removed and thrown into a washing machine, since this was a carseat that they presented us with I didn't want to test my luck on another carseat from the rental agency.  So our 2nd stop of our vacation was to the local Walmart to buy a carseat that would suffice through our vacation.  Unfortunately, our selection was pretty limited and because I have only researched a few convertible carseats (none of which were an option here) I picked one pretty blindly.  Maddie hated the temporary carseat and so did I.  Key word here is temporary, we both only had to endure the crappy carseat until our vacation was over and we didn't plan on doing a lot of driving anyway.  

Maddie taking a nap in her carseat during our drive back from Hana

Once we finally made our way to our hotel we were very happy with our decision to stay at the Four Seasons.  This was our first time staying in a Four Seasons hotel ever and we felt like we were definitely getting what we paid for as soon as we arrived.  Upon arrival we were very pleasantly greeted (all 3 of us) with either leis or shell necklaces (I got the lei, Mike and Maddie each got a shell necklace, a big masculine one for Mike and a small dainty one for Maddie) while our luggage was whisked away to our room and our car was whisked away by valet.  During our check in Maddie received not one but three toys while they were checking us in from the kind woman at the front desk.  While we were settling into our room we were yet again surprised by a delivery of cookies, chocolate milk and sand toys for Maddie and a pineapple cake for Mike and me to share.  In our room they had already set up a crib complete with bumper and teething guard (no, not a pack n play that most hotels provide but an actual crib), baby proofed the room with outlet blocks and had baby sized toiletries waiting in the bathroom for Maddie including a miniature bathrobe.  It was so cute and such a good feeling to know that our baby was as welcome at the hotel as we were.  

Baby toiletries and sponges that spelled our daughter's name

After settling in we enjoyed a quick lunch at Ferraro's (Mike's favorite restaurant on their property) took a walk to the nearby Shops at Wailea to pick up some diapers and a few other necessities.  On our way to the Shops at Wailea we passed through the Grand Wailea, neighboring the Four Seasons, and got lost three times in the sprawling resort just trying to get from the beach to the valet area of the resort.  It is a HUGE hotel.  On our walk to and from the shops we walked along the Wailea boardwalk and enjoyed the setting sun.  It was a long flight and a bumpy start to our vacation with the carseat fiasco but we were finally starting to relax.

We saw this thing at the Grand Wailea and it was spinning REALLY fast...I still have no idea what it is

The Beautiful Sunset at the Wailea Boardwalk

On our second day we started off by venturing down to the beach area with Maddie and her newly acquired sand toys in tow.  Maddie isn't a newcomer to sandy beaches by any means.  Since we're only a hop, skip and a jump from Santa Cruz she's been hitting the beach all summer and she has become very fond of sand.  Especially very finely grained sand, actually the more fine the sand the more she likes it.  I know this because she likes to eat sand, especially when it's not rocky.  

This is from a day we spent at the beach in Aptos in July...with sand all over her face 

I was hoping that she would outgrow eating sand before we went to Maui but unfortunately she showed me that she liked eating Maui sand even more than California sand so our time spent at the beach was pretty short.  It was a beautiful beach though and we did take her into the ocean a few times (to get all of the sand off of her) which she seemed very uncertain about.  

Maddie and me sitting on a lounge chair on the beach, I'm trying to unsuccessfully distract her from the sand

The beach from the front row of beach chairs at the Four Seasons

Since Maddie was fighting me to continue shoveling sand in her face was neither relaxing nor fun we decided to ditch the beach and do something a little more baby friendly, the Maui Ocean Center.  This was right up our alley.  Lots to see and very kid friendly.  We brought our BOB jogging stroller on our trip with us as well as our Ergo baby carrier, but unfortunately I didn't use the baby carrier as much as I should have and brought the BOB along more than we should have.  We took the stroller to the aquarium but ended up switching Maddie off in our arms between the two of us so she could see all of the different fish and exhibits.  She spent about 5 minutes total in the stroller...the Ergo would have been perfect, oh well.  She loved the aquarium and this was Mike's first time going to an aquarium with Maddie and he loved her excited expressions. 

Maui aquariums are so much more colorful than California aquariums

One of the reasons that we decided to go with the Four Seasons over renting a condo or staying with another hotel is that they offer nannying services.  Mike and I decided to take advantage of the nanny services at the hotel and booked two afternoons and two evenings to have by ourselves.  The second day we had an afternoon nanny shift from noon to 4:00.  Our nanny showed up 5 minutes early and was well trained, informed, very warm, nice and playful.  Maddie liked her instantly and we felt very comfortable leaving our daughter with someone who is not only trusted by the hotel but by other parents just like us who take advantage of the nanny service everyday (Liah, our nanny that was we were assigned for each of our 4 time slots, was amazing, we highly recommend her and will happily request her next time we return).  So Mike and I went to Ferraro's for a lunch by ourselves (this was the first time we've had lunch together alone since Maddie was born!) and then we went and laid out on two vacant lounge chairs overlooking the ocean (we first tried to get a couple chairs at the adults only pool but apparently you need to put your name in way in advance to get chairs out there, at least we now knew that for the future).  It was a simple afternoon but so relaxing and so nice to just enjoy my husband's company without either of us worrying about something.  When we returned to our room (30 minutes early, because although we weren't worrying about her we still felt a little anxious about leaving Maddie with someone new) we found Maddie snoozing peacefully in her crib.  Instant exhale for both of us.  Our daughter was sleeping, we were relaxing.  Vacation success! 

Enjoying our first baby free afternoon

How we found Maddie when we got back to our room :) 

Have you ever vacationed in Hawaii with an infant?  How was your experience?  


  1. I've been waiting for your posts on your vacation!! Can't wait to hear the rest!! I think you've sold us on the Four Seasons already. =)

  2. I can't reccomend it enough! We had such an amazing time, it was truly worth every single penny!