Monday, March 4, 2013

Because Even Moms Need Breaks Sometimes . . .

. . . to Hawaii!!

Yes, that's right! This year for a little "Girls' Retreat" my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law and I decided to go for the gusto and we all met up in Hawaii for a five-day get-away. I can still hardly believe we made it happen. It's usually hard enough to get away for one night just to go to Park City or something. I had joked this year that we should go for a weekend to Denver, where one of my sisters-in-law lives, and that seemed almost too much to hope for, so to think we pulled off Hawaii is pretty darn amazing. It's all possible because my dear mother-in-law dares to dream, and I love that about her. She isn't afraid to think anything is within reach. She and my father-in-law had already planned a Hawaiian cruise, which led to their daughters meeting them in Hawaii for a few days at the end of the cruise, which led to all of us women meeting my mother-in-law there for five days of fun! I won't share all the details. I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

The first few days of our trip we stayed up north on the island of Oahu, on Turtle Bay.

This is how I felt about being there. I was so excited to wake up to the sun! It just felt so refreshing to see and feel the sun every morning after months of harsh winter in Utah, let me tell you. And I was excited to be going to the beach. It had been a while. 
This was the view out our balcony. I got up early every morning and read scriptures and just basked in the beauty. It was a great way to start the day.

A little closer view. I sent this picture to my husband and he was so jealous we were staying on a golf course.
If you're going to be in Hawaii, you might as well drive in style. I felt so out of my element, but decided to just go with it:). It was fun to just let go of my normal practical self and have fun with the girls for a few days. 

Playing  beach volleyball. To me, it doesn't get much better than this. 

We met this gold medal Olympian (winter Olympics--she's a skiier) from Australia (second from left) and she was so sweet, we had to get a picture with her. I wish I could remember her name, but I am brainless these days. What are the chances, though?
Got up early one morning to go to the temple. It was perfect timing for me because on the way there I  found out my grandfather had passed away. I was so grateful to be in this holy, sacred place for a while and ponder his life and also the reality that because of temples and the sealing ordinances that take place there, families  can be together forever. 

I love the words on the temple: "Holiness to the Lord-The House of the Lord"
Spent a lot of time on different beaches. It felt so good to relax.

There is just something so soothing about the warmth of the sun.

We also tried some boogie boarding, which I always love, although I've gotta say, California waves are best for boogie boarding. Still had a blast, though.
We are some of the best food ever while there! This was from a Thai place call Opal's Thai. It was a food experience, let me tell you! This guy just ordered the food for us and we had no idea what we were going to get. I was pretty nervous about it, but was fantastic food!

My sister-in-law Jen made us this amazing oatmeal for breakfast with fresh fruit in it in the morning. I thought it was fabulous! We were so spoiled.
Did I mention we swam with turtles? I took this picture with the turtle right  in front of me. I was worried it was going to snap at my legs any minute. Hence, it's not a great picture!
I realize these pictures are getting all out of order, but here we are eating at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Honestly, I don't think the food there is great, but visiting the PCC is always an adventure. I wasn't feeling well that day, so I couldn't really soak it all up, but it's definitely a cool place to experience.

The last couple of days of our trip we went to a super nice resort right on the beach called Koa Olina (pretty sure I spelled that wrong). Below are a few pictures of the resort. It was pretty amazing--way nicer than I am used to, that's for sure.

One of the most amazing things about Hawaii are the sunsets. Because we were staying right on the beach, we caught a couple of amazing ones. I just never cease to be in awe at the beauty of all that surrounds me. In Utah, it's the mountains. In Hawaii, it was the foliage and the sunsets.

So, all in all, I was gone from my family for six days. I don't think I've ever done that before, and although I'll admit it was a nice break in a lot of ways, I must say, I was more than ready to come back home. The last couple of days I was antsy as ever to get back. I even called the airline to see how much it would cost to change my ticket and come home early. I know how crazy that sounds, but man alive, I do love home.

Here is a message I wrote in the sand and sent to my husband and children while I was gone.
I also learned something while I was gone. I've always taught my children that our home was a safe place, a place where they could always feel love and security, no matter what else happened in the world around them. I've told them that if they had a rough day out in the world, they could know that they would always come home to two parents who loved them like no one else on the planet and siblings who had their back and were on the same team. I've meant that, of course, and have hoped it would help my children through some rough days when kids at school might bully them or when they might face disappointment--or whatever it might be. I just never considered that I might be the one who would need that "safe place."I had an experience in Hawaii that was really tough, and I was alone and I felt like I would break. I just yearned to be home in that "safe place," where I knew I was loved and accepted, despite all my flaws as a wife and mother and person, but instead, I was a whole ocean away from the people I needed most. And it was so, so hard.

When Dan pulled up by the curb at the airport and my kids jumped up from behind the seats to surprise me, I wrapped my arms around them all at once and cried the biggest tears of joy and deep, deep gratitude that they are mine and that they love me. Oh what a blessing it is to be loved!

And so, although I totally think moms need breaks sometimes--even amazing breaks, like Hawaii vacations--I just have to say, I think I am happiest right here at home, in my "safe place."


Melanie B said...

I'm so glad you had a great time. Great pics you look awesome. We are going for spring break in a few weeks. Remy has a major surgery 2 days after we get home. So here is a Random question..i love the safe place thing, what are your thoughts on how you teach your kids to take the safe place with them?

Lori Conger, said...

Melanie, great question! What comes to my mind is this: In our family, we are working to build a family culture, which means we have a family motto and a family color and "special days" each month where we celebrate each family member. All of these things, along with the regular family prayer, FHE, etc. help our children feel secure (at least that's the goal). This way, when our kids are out in the world and they need to feel safe, they can hopefully rely on these things. Our little song we sing for our family motto will come to mind, or they will remember what we did for their last "special day" or something we prayed about that was specifically for them, and hopefully it will help them. I've been thinking about this lately because I have a little child who is struggling a bit at school, always wanting to call home. I am thinking of having a little special sign she can do when she's having a hard time that reminds her I am thinking of her and that she is safe and everything is ok. Anyway, just some thoughts. Hope they make sense. It's something I"m going to think about more because I think it's a really important thing.Thanks, Melanie--and have fun in Hawaii!!