Mahalo, Hawaii

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Water v-ed into a satisfying whoosh with each strike of the paddle. We followed the turtles up the river until rocks hitting rudder in the shallowed water below the bridge forced us to turn around and head back to the mouth of the ocean. Out of this salty, silty river. Back to the clear gradated turquoise of the North Shore. We paddled past mongoose playing in the grass along the river’s edge and waved aloha to locals drinking their morning coffee beneath massive mango trees. The clouds puffed and expanded into a soft crown around the distant mountain while the sea turtles announced their breach for air with an ancient croak.

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There was paddling over a large reef rock area only to realize it was a sting ray the width of a car, and snorkeling much too close to a terrifyingly creepy-beautiful eel, and actually surfing the warm waters with a face covered in salt and triumph. There was hiking the heat of a tropical canyon to swim the cold infinite depths beneath the pool of waterfall at it’s end.

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There were lips shiny with butter-garlic shrimp from the food truck with the green picnic tables covered in plumeria flowers that had fallen lazily and plentiful from branches above. There were siestas in the starched whiteness of taut hotel sheets and biking woven patterns in sandy trails between the banyan tree.

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I’m needy in a way that is understandable to some but not universal to all. I crave new experiences to help awaken my senses. For the spark of free-spiritness to activate, the one that feels most me but goes into unconscious self-imposed lockdown at times. A week on Oahu’s North Shore with sleep and adventure and playfulness and good food and beauty was the perfect way to spend our ten year anniversary and regroup after our recent weird year of swirlingness. We did everything and nothing all at once and it was all soul rest.

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Mahalo, Hawaii. 20150630_184518

Leboffe, Party of Seven

It’s a fresh year. While the rest of you were Instagramming vignettes of your 2015 planners and glitter pens and mini desktop succulents the past few weeks, I was actively avoiding even looking at the calendar app on my phone homepage, lest it told me the actual date signifying the end of free and carefree schedules. Two weeks! Of vacation. Of not normal life. Of jammies and board games on the floor. Of chasing sea and sky and mountain. Forget NYResolutions. Here’s the new goal. Become independently wealthy so we can just go on endless adventures with our kids. And without our kids. We’re still throwing ourselves a pity party over here about our re-entry to routine.

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I don’t have an inspirational word to sum up last year or to project forward. While more unscheduled time seems unattainable and unrealistic, we are hoping for moments. Little blitzes of time together that are unmistakably holy in their goodness. 2015 promises to be a big year for us. Nate and I will be putting a flag in our tenth year of marriage, and we are excited to share we’ll be expanding our family! No, I’m not pregnant so please don’t congratulate me on the baby bump you’ve secretly been tracking. (That’s just my post-babies-pillow). Our family is in the process of becoming certified for foster-to-adopt with the intention of adopting a child or sibling set. Leboffe, party of 7!IMG_8257Still pining for vacation days past and wishing and watching for those flash moments ahead for you and for me.

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What IS the magic of Disney?

The magic is about their eyes. The way their eyes widen and sparkle in response to the wonders of Disney. Let’s face it, there’s nothing extraordinary about the rides and waiting in line for three hours in triple digit weather to meet Elsa and Anna could be described as insanity.

Each time is a new trip for our family as our children and their interests grow. This time we had a six year old wanting to explore big kid adventures like Thunder Mountain’s roller coaster-ness under daddy’s protection and Disney dollars burning a hole in her pocket for shopping Main St. There was our curious and loving four year old who’s heart and thrill for adventure is bigger than his below 40″ frame where he measured below the cut-off each time he tried for a big-kid ride like Cars Racers, who we then distracted from this disheartening short-kid news with shopping and meeting Super Heroes. And then there is the tiniest child of all. A one year old whose spirit for life is her fuel. She thought it was all for her. The rides. The shows. The characters (at a safe distance).The parades. The joy. And the spinning. What a discovery to  watch her happy-laugh on the tea cups.

So enjoy the pics. Forgive the fumblings of out-of-focus, in-motion selfies and doublies on rides. And for an absence of pictures. At some point, I just have to set the camera down and live it because 1) I am not adept enough to fully focus on enjoying it with my family and fully focus the photos 2) my daughter asks me to put the phone away and I think that’s reason enough.

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We enjoyed our SoCal resident discounts and spent two days; one park per day. Two full days turns out to be not enough time to experience it all but also too much time. Teagan was SO excited about it all she didn’t go to sleep until almost 11pm each night. Josiah spent his whole time talking/processing to us that “Mickey is ALIVE!” and “Captain America is ALIVE! I wonder if Captain America has to brush his teeth. I will ask him next time. I will see him and ask him if he goes on a mission to save the day and comes home and” …..(lots more processing Captain America) and crashed mid sentence on the way to the parking lot. And Selah now has Scarlet Fever. No joke. I’m thankful to live in the day and age of penicillin so this Oregon Trail of life won’t be cut short by bacteria. We are home. We are resting and rehydrating since we somehow chose the only over 100 degree weather southern california has seen in years to go for our trip. The expense and the heat and the arranging work and school and yes, even the feverish rash afterward was all worth it for Nate and I to nudge one another on the arm as we redirected eachothers’ attention back to the faces of our children.
Any way you approach it, taking three mini humans to Disney without backup is hard. But their eyes make it all worth it. We can’t wait to do it again!