The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Budgetting Makes Me Cringe

I am very excited about many transitions occurring in our life right now, the first of which starts tomorrow- my mom becoming our nanny.

In trying to redo our budget to make everything fit and pay off our debt from Hawaii, I decided to really budget every penny, based on our previous spending and annual expenses. We heard this message from Mike Yearly at Rocky Peak a few weeks back and he had talked about financial security, which we have been working very hard to attain, and he pointed out something interesting- you should always have some savings (duh), if not for emergencies, at least for annual expenses. I know that sounds really obvious, but there was something about it that I guess just wasn't clicking for me. He made the point that people sometimes have a bad month that sets them back or knocks them on their feet and they make comments like, "Had some unexpected expenses this month- the car needed new tires" or "my registration was due."  This should not be a surprise to us. Cars do need new brakes and tires regularly. This is not technically an "unexpected" expense. Registration is due annually. It is even less of a surprise. This should have been so "duh," to me, but I guess I am just bad with math or not a good logical thinker, because we have never budget for these things, and our budget is tight. I am going to try to budget for Christmas too. December always sucks so much, and it wouldn't be so hard if we planned all year for it. 

I love that gives me the ability to see averages and spending trends on things like auto, food, etc., so I can plan well for all this and really budget. I hate that plugging it all made me see why we have such a difficult time any time things like auto repairs or stuff comes up. We spend too much. Gas is expensive. We spend an average of $315 a month. Wow... And we spend, way, way too much on food. I am too embarrassed to even say how much. I feel like we try to be budget conscious about it, but we are going to have to cut it down by A LOT. Ugh....  I do not have time to be an extreme couponer. 

Time to cut things down.... It's just gonna take spending less. Sigh. 

What a concept.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Show Business Meets School Business

So today, there was a PSA being filmed at my school. It was about bullying, I think, and I am fairly certain it is going to be nationally televised. It was a professional production crew, with all the bells and whistles. My boss introduced me to the director a little over a week ago, as they wanted to know if some of my students could be in the PSA. I was excited to give them the opportunity, so I of course said yes, and asked how many they wanted. They asked how many I had. I told them that if I just went with second year drama students, who I trust and for sure know what they are doing, then there would be about 15. She said that was fine.

Although I did work as a background actor for one year in college, I guess I have forgotten what the world of show business is like, with vague information, lots of people, and long hours... because we somehow had some communication issues. The director gave me a couple of shooting locations and times, making it seem like she would be using my students for a couple of short scenes, but then she called me before I even left the house this morning to see where my students were. Uh... at home? I told her that school starts at 7:45, but that I would page them all to come to me as soon as possible. Once I got my students together, it turned out she needed more. I ended up very quickly rallying 10 of my new drama kids that I trust to join in. It was chaotic, and I felt really bad for asking their teachers to let them go on such short notice, but ultimately, I am glad I did. 

The students got to be involved for the entire day. They received a ton of compliments. The production crew was impressed with their professionalism and acting abilities. The director apparently liked them so much, she included them in pretty much every scene. In fact, she liked them so much, she begged to keep them all day until 5pm, even though I had asked her to send back my main cast members for our 6th period drama rehearsal at 2:30.  (I ended up asking for my 4 leads to come back, but letting the other students stay). 

Overall, the students really loved the experience. I think they especially enjoyed craft services and getting to eat catering with the cast and crew for lunch. Several of them were featured in scenes. I heard some great comments like, "You should have seen when they told Christian to look at the 'dirty email' sent to him and look shocked. What a face! He's gonna be famous." They take direction well, although I bet they needed a little reeling in, since we have been focusing on children's theater, which is a lot of intentional overacting. The ones who came back for rehearsal tried telling me their underwhelming rehearsal today was a result of being in "film mode."  (Imagine me rolling my eyes). 

I can't wait to see my kids on tv.  :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I am tired. I have been a single mom of sorts this week, since Marc is at a conference for work. I haven't gotten any of the errands I needed to run done since he has been gone, because I just haven't had the energy to do more than be here with the kids, but it has been good.

There has been great bonding between Vinny and I.  Tiana went to bed early both last night and tonight. Tonight, Vinny stayed up after she went to bed and we did homework. He has just discovered the wonder that is hot cocoa, so he sipped hot cocoa while he played his "alphabet game" that the teacher assigned him. We shopped online for presents for the birthday parties Vinny has been invited to over the next two weeks (oh my... this could get expensive, hence the online shopping). It was funny, when I opened the invite today and I asked Vinny who the kid was that sent the invitation to this birthday party next week, he told me, "He eats sandwiches at lunch and chews with his mouth open and talks and its disgusting and I throw up- not really, but I want to- but he is nice." Oh my. I nearly died laughing. He is so incredibly obssessive-compulsive for a 5-year-old. Well, he always has been. He hated having sandy hands when he was a baby, so he never left the towel at the beach until he was more than two-years-old. If his hands are dirty, he kind of panics. He eats sloppy joes with a spoon because he hates the the "sloppy" part. Yup... that's my kid alright.

Last night, Vinny went to bed early and my friend Barb came over for a paper grading party. I love paper grading parties with Barb. They are not incredibly effective for quantity of papers graded, but they are amazingly effective for quality of thought. As we think aloud, muse aloud, complain aloud, problem-solve aloud, I think I learn more as a teacher than I do in some other very expensive professional development experiences. :-)

The BEST news of this week is that my mom quit her job!!! Hip hip hooray!  Why is this such good news?  Well... for several reasons. My mom is one of my best friends. I talk to her every day. She is the first person I want to tell when I get exciting news or when my kids do something cute. She is my shoulder to cry on, and in many ways I am hers. We talk every day on our way home from work. And pretty much every day for about the last two years (maybe three or four even), I have listened to my mom lament her hatred for her job. She loves her co-workers, but she works in print advertising which has been on the decline every year since the invent of the internet, so it is tough business and she hates it. She has worked very hard without more than 10 days off in a row for more than 17 years, and she is just done. She was such a dedicated employee too. When I worked with her in 2006, she won "Employee of the Year" at the annual department banquet, and she totally deserved it. It was so exciting to applaud her and watch her get terribly embarrassed as she took the award. But the poor thing is just burnt out. She has had a really tough life, and she deserves a break. I have been begging her to quit for a long time because it is just so sad to see her unhappy, but an ideal job has just not come up and she hasn't financially been ready to just quit.

Until now. A variety of circumstances have made it financially possible for her to quit now, and she decided that she wants to quit her job... to BE OUR NANNY!!!!  Yea!!!!  This is like my dream come true.

Like a week ago, as I was returning from vacation, I was thinking to myself, "My everyday life is so hard. I wish I had a nanny." Now, to be fair, my life in general is a cycle of work hard, play hard, work harder, play harder. And when I do have time to play, I get to play really hard. As my best friend Mo pointed out, I have a lot of fun. It is true.

But the trade-off is a really hard life on a day-to-day basis. Getting up early enough to do everything I have to do is really hard. Packing perfect meals for picky Tiana for day care and making sure she has fresh linens and diapers and supplies for school, putting out the diapers for the service weekly, keeping the house tidy, doing Vinny's homework, cooking meals, getting all of my work for work done (which is really like a 12-hour-a-day job), getting all of my work for school done, and just taking care of all the little errands and tasks for soccer practices and birthday parties, etc. It wears me out.

I am so excited to have my mom. It is hard for anyone who has not been through it to really understand the difference between having my kids in day care and having them at home with my mom, but there is a huge difference. It takes such a weight off my shoulders. Sigh..

Now, to bed. Hopefully I have heated the house up tonight that Tiana won't wake up freezing 3 or 4 times again tonight.  :-/

Friday, October 21, 2011

So, I pretty much came home to a nervous breakdown...

Coming home from vacation sucks. Really sucks.  I basically came home and completely lost my mind because my life really does not allow for me to take vacations without totally paying for it (pun intended).

 Sunday, I tried to get done far more than was realistic. I wrote a lesson plan for Monday and tried to get mentally prepared for a week at school, but I also felt I could not be mentally ready unless we unpacked and did some laundry and went to the store to get groceries for the week, which took some planning, since I knew I pretty much would not have time to cook dinner all week and needed to get easy things. The house did not end up getting as in order as I would have liked it, which might explain why I could not find my school keys on Monday morning, despite tearing the house apart for like half an hour.

And then there were all the papers. Grades were due Monday night. I had planned to grade papers on vacation, but with homeschooling Vinny and doing my college homework, I never got to it. I got as many papers as I could done Sunday, but I still was frantically grading papers until minutes before the deadline on Monday. Talk about stressful. I have never been that close to that deadline before. I was literally trembling with anxiety and nearly broke down in tears and just completely lost it at around 8pm.

Tuesday, I tried to catch up with work for this week and my college homework. I feel like I barely made a dent in it, and I was up until like 1a.m. Why then, did I go to class last night looking like a totally irresponsible jackass? Because I lost the book I was supposed to read. I realized I did not have it when I went to bring it on the trip to read. I assumed I would find it at school when I got home. Well, I looked all over my classroom on Monday and Tuesday and couldn't find it. I tried emailing a friend from class, but she lives too far away for me to get it from her in time. What the heck could have happened to it?  I gave up, admitted to my professor that I had lost it and so had not done the reading, which meant I basically could not participate in discussions in class yesterday. Whatever, I was too tired anyway. We had conferences until 6pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and these completely wore me out. By the time I got out of school last night, I was completely spent and just went to bed.

Today, I felt terrible that Vinny had to miss his soccer practice because my inlaws are out of town and they normally take him, and I had drama afterschool and Marc was working a carnival. He didn't go to practice last week either because of our trip, and the week before it was cancelled, so it really sucks that he missed. Oh well, there is only so much we can do.

While the drama kids were painting the sets today, I cleaned out my desk. I genuinely need to become more organized. I am making progress this year, but I need to somehow get it together and stick with it. It is just not in my personality, and it is really hard for me. I did, however, find my book, which I realized I had put in a "safe" spot on my bookshelf. Darn it. I just ordered a new one last night too. I guess I'll just return it.

Sadly, I STILL haven't found my keys.

At least I don't have a lot planned this weekend, so I can hopefully try to pull my life back together.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 6: A Pristine Beach and an Active Volcano (and a little about the trip home)

Wow.      Wow.        Wow.
T is for turtle. I like unschooling (as long as it isn't all the time!
In the center, that is a mountain goat.

Makalawena Beach (a.k.a Paradise)

Wow.... Those were Tiana's words upon our arrival at Makalawena Beach. I swear she said "Wow" a good 17 times. It was not a surprising reaction, since I actually gasped upon reaching the top of the sand dunes to view this piece of paradise. I could hardly believe it was real... but it was.

A shout out to Colleen for telling us about this amazing beach. It was truly our personal piece of paradise. While there were a few other people there, they were so spread out it really felt like our personal paradise. The sand was so soft that Tiana didn't think it was sand (and she had been playing with sand all week), since it felt more like oatmeal, and she tried to eat it. Had the wind not kicked up after a while, I could have stayed here all day.

We made it through the lava field to the most beautiful beach ever.
You know how they say "it's not about the destination, it is about the journey?"  Well, in this case... that is only half true. The journey was out of this world, but it was certainly about the destination. To reach this tiny piece of paradise, you have to hike through about a mile or so of lava fields. It is like lava rock as far as the eye can see, and it totally feels like you are on Mars or something, except for the fact that there are herds for, ready for this, mountain goats, trotting along beside you. I wish I had been smart enough to wear the hiking shoes for this. The flips flops made for some sore feet, but we made it anyway.

In the lava tube.

Ah... it was worth it. Maybe my favorite part of the trip, but hard to say at this point.

After this adventure, we set out for the 100 mile drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This was amazing. The park has 11 of the 13 climate zones found on earth. Yup. We must have driven through like 10 of them. I don't know if it was the volcanic gas or the plants or just the multiple climates, but my sinuses still have not forgiven me. Oh well. It was worth it. We saw rain forests and giant lava craters and hiked through a lava tube. We even saw the active eruption of Mt. Kilauea. Oh my gosh. Amazing. Breathtaking.

Yes, that is lava. 

The day was so exhausting, I didn't blog that night. I slept.

Our family, outside the lava tube.
The next morning we packed, got breakfast on the beach, visited a real Kona coffee farm, and then set off on a terribly long day of travel. And now... we are home. Sigh.

I can't believe I have to teach tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 5: Planes and Pig

As I write this blog from our 300 (or so) square foot hotel room, I realize how terribly spoiled we were with the beautiful two-bedroom condo this week. We spent a lazy morning at the condo today before boarding a plane to Kona on the Big Island (caps? no caps?) for the final leg of our vacation journey at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Frankly, vacationing in general may never be the same; I think once you go condo-rental, you can never go back to plain old hotel rooms.

Truth be told, it is a decent hotel, but I know that tomorrow morning I am going to miss lounging in the living room, sipping coffee, while Tiana drinks a bottle on the sofa, and Vinny watches tv in his bedroom.
It was a nice calm morning, even as we packed to leave. Oh condo. I miss you.

However... we booked this hotel mainly because it has a little beach, which Vinny did enjoy this afternoon, and because hotels do have their benefits- like resort-style pools open late at night, which Vinny and Marc are currently enjoying. We also booked this hotel because the most highly recommended luau in Kona is here, and it was an awesome luau. After several mai tais, it was nice to just take an elevator back to the room, and it was very nice that sleeping Tiana did not need to be transferred to the car, and is still happily asleep as I write this. At some point, I will probably transfer her to the pack-n-play... probably.
The Luau included a "Royal Court" ceremony. 

I liked the luau- the dancing was awesome- but Vinny loved the luau. He was very excited about it to begin with. Last week, when the new neighbors across the street were moving in at night, Vinny shouted out the window to them, "I get to see guys take pig out of the ground next week!"  Hahahaha. And boy did he ever. We sort of accidentally got a super close view of the pig removal ceremony. (Natalie, I apologize for the following pictures- look away).

Several times during the luau, Vinny jumped out of his seat to dance. I think we should enroll this kid in Polynesian dance lessons. It was a hoot. He is definitely Marc's son when it comes to food; he excitedly tries all the exotic meats like alligator at the Cajun festival and Kalua pork at the luau. He is such a nut. He refused to eat his pasta last night because it was whole grain (not white), but today he begged for "pig" (and pretty much ate a whole plate full). Whatever. I am glad he enjoyed it. 
 Tiana was a bit difficult (until she fell asleep). With the flight this afternoon, I guess she didn't get enough time or space to just run around and enjoy herself. She was sick of being strapped into places and didn't want to stay in her high chair. So I gave up and let her sit and play with the lava rocks. 

I don't really have too much else to say today. The luau was fun. I am tired. Tomorrow we set out on an adventure around Hawaii. First, we are going to try to get to the remote Makalawena Beach, and then we will head out to the volcano park. I was really bummed that we couldn't afford the boat tour... 'til I realized that there is no lava flowing into the ocean right now. In fact, the only real "view" of lava that we will get to have is a glow from the crater that is best viewed at night, so we are going to head out there a bit later in the day with hopes of staying until nightfall to see the lava. At least Vinny is more excited about hiking the lava tube than about the lava. I am certain we can do that. Well, if I can recover. My legs still hurt from Tuesday. I gotta hike more often.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 4: South Maui Beaches

Today was a day of beaches. Vinny and I have opposite raccoon tans- since I wear my sunglasses constantly I have the rings of white around my eyes, while Vinny has rings of red, since he will never let me get the sunscreen close enough to his eyes to keep that part from getting burned. I blame my mom. She got sunscreen in his eyes once when he was little, and ever since he's been paranoid of having sunscreen near his eyes. Haha. 

Tiana is slowly adjusting to Hawaiian time. Today she let us sleep until 5:45a.m. Actually, I was too tired to wake up at all, so Marc got up with her (isn't that sweet), but because he is addicted to swimming, he made me get up at 6:15a.m. so he could go practice (not so sweet). Oh well. I enjoyed my coffee, did some homework, did more schoolwork with Vinny, and caught up on everyone else's lives on Facebook.

Once Marc got back, we set out for a day of exploring South Maui's beaches, since we had already seen West Maui. Well, Marc swam in South Maui on Sunday morning, but we hadn't really done the beach yet. First, we spent several hours at Kamaole I. Beautiful beach. Since I had heard a lot about how popular this beach is, and since it seemed to be right in the middle of town, I expected it to be crowded, but this must be the beauty of coming in October, because there were very few people on the beach. Vinny pretty much never left the water. He does his own version of body surfing that pretty much involves intentionally letting the wave knock him over and then letting it wash him on to the shore. He ends up soaking wet and with enough sand in his pants to build a sandcastle, but he loves it. 
Vinny took this picture.  <3 my baby boy.

Next, we hit 808 Deli for some yummy sandwiches, which we ate at Big Beach, which ended up being Marc's favorite beach of all. The water at this beach is jewel-like, very much like Southern Florida. I was not as in love with it as I expected to be, but only because it was a little bit crowded and the surf was kind of strong today. I went in and pretty much got my a$$ handed to me by the first wave I jumped into, so I was super nervous about watching Vinny at that beach. Hence... I was more concerned with him not drowning than with taking pictures.  :/

Finally, after a brief McDonald's run to get Tiana the "meh" (her word for milk) she had been begging for and a shopping break, we headed back out to the beach.

This time, Wailea Beach. I fell instantly in love with this beach and wished so, so badly that we had found this beach on Day 1. I wish we could have spent more time here. It is a smaller stretch of beach in front of the fancy Grand Wailea, which is a Waldorf Astoria hotel. I can hardly imagine paying the $350-$600 a night to stay in a basic room here, but man... you should have seen this place. Here is a picture from their website of their "activity pool," which we could see, because it is RIGHT on the beach.

Anyhow, while the resort pools and stuff are obviously just for the guests, the beach is public (as are all Maui beaches)... and amazing. The water is crystal blue and probably the warmest I have experienced so far on the island. We were there in the late afternoon, so the breezes were starting to come in, and it was honestly warmest in the water. The sand is perfectly soft as far into the ocean as I could walk, and sloped at the perfect angle. There were constant waves, enough to play in, but they were the gentlest waves ever. Even Tiana wasn't afraid of them and spent a lot of time joyfully playing in the water. 

After that, she tried to escape. Either the Outrigger canoes or the pool must have looked inviting, but boy does she make good time. We've taken to calling her our little sand crab because she is perpetually covered in sand, no matter what we do. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 3 - The Road to Hana

Today definitely ranks up there with the best days of my life. I cannot believe all of the amazing things I saw today. I really have to give a huge thank you to the writers of Maui Revealed. With this guidebook in hand, we adventured around the island of Maui and saw all of the best stuff. It was amazing.  And, best of all, Tiana was a total trooper! We packed well and she had a great time. Perhaps the best time of all of us.

We started out early to try to beat the crowds, and it was very effective. We were the first people at almost every place we stopped. Well, either we were just earliest, or it was the lemming effect- people stopped where we stopped because they saw us stopped there.

Since we rented an AWD vehicle, our first stop of the day was down a tiny dusty road to a little bay where we saw a black sand beach that we were pretty sure we could get to. Turns out we could. So cool.

Next, we passed by all the things that guidebook said were either not that cool or too much of a hike. We were trying to be realistic about what we could do with the kids in tow. Tiana loves the backpack (shout out to Carmen for the gift, thanks a million), but Vinny is a total baby about anything he deems scary.

We stopped at the sight I was most looking forward to, Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls. As I got out to change my shoes, I realized that Marc was wearing flip flops. "Where are your hiking shoes?" I asked. "What do you mean?" he replied, "I didn't think I needed them today." Sigh. After a small discussion in which we argued over whether or not it is my responsibility to grab everything we will need for the day, we decided to brave the hike anyway. We followed the path suggested by the guidebook, or so we thought, down a rocky creek bed. Possibly the toughest thing ever, but really only because Vinny was being incredibly melodramatic and unadventurous. He cried about half the way there, yelling, "I want Grandma!" and "I don't want to die!" If you saw this hike, you would laugh hysterically, because it was not scary at all, he was just acting like a ninny. 
Fortunately, we eventually got there and I crossed off #34 from my buried list... swim in a tropical waterfall. Oh wow. Amazing.  Breathtaking. My heart was beating so fast. 

I totally have a thing for waterfalls. I climbed into my first waterfall when I was 17 years old in the mountains of Colorado on an off-roading trip with my uncle. Since then I have been hooked. Last July, while 7 months pregnant, I swam in a waterfall in Tahoe. Also amazing, but I desperately wanted to try it in a tropical one where the water was not ice cold. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Fortunately, Vinny was excited once he got there. He thought the name of "three bears falls" was perfect and loved calling them by name "Mama Bear" "Papa Bear" and "Baby Bear." (The video above is me in between Papa Bear and Mama Bear).

On the way back up, we figured out a much easier way, which was probably the "easy path" the guidebook referred to. We found some people about to start the path down and saved them the trouble. We ran into them again a few more times throughout the day and they thanked us for it. 
Next, we stopped for lunch at Pua'a Ka'a State Park. Well developed area with tables and stuff, but really, nothing that exciting to look at. We saw lots of people staring at the falls and probably thinking about going in, but the pools at the bottom were kind of gross and had lots of tadpoles. (There's another "T" word Vinny learned. Unschooling this week has been pretty awesome). 

Our next stop was a detour from the main highway to the tiny village of Nahiku. Oh my gosh. Craziest little place. Maui Revealed said it must be "where plants go when they die," and he must be right. Anyone see that movie Ferngully in the 90s?  It was one of my favorites, and this place reminded me of it SO much. Vines hanging down from the trees everywhere on the tiniest little road through the most old school "Hawaiian" village you could possibly imagine. And it dead ends at the ocean at a spot with the most breathtaking view. The waves break into colors of blue I have seen nowhere else in nature. We almost didn't want to leave. I honestly think that when I meet Jesus, I am pretty sure he will be standing somewhere that looks just like this. The photos just don't do it justice, but hopefully you can get just a hint of what I am talking about. 


Finally, we continued to Hana. Not that much is really in Hana, although honestly, I could retire here. I would fit right in with this lady.  

We did stop at the black sand beach, It was different from the first one in that there was greenery growing out of the lava fields and ancient burial grounds all over the place. Vinny loved the little caves; Tiana loved the sand.

Tiana could have played in the black sand all day. She thought it was way cool.

Admit it... Marc looks great! (Jealous, party of 1)
We ultimately drove on, hoping to make a quick stop at the Seven Pools before heading home, but by the time we got there (11 miles from Hana, almost an hour drive... yeah), Tiana had fallen asleep, and we were not about to wake her up and expect her to hike. Some day, I want to return to Maui without the kids (or when they are much, much older) to do all the coolest snorkeling spots, go ocean kayaking, stay in Hana for a night, and hike to Waimoka Falls at the top of the seven pools.  So... we drove on. We took the more adventurous way back to civilization,  around the dry southeast side of Maui, where the road was often one unpaved lane, and then through the upcountry. We felt like we were on an adventure ride like Indiana Jones or something. 

Once in the upcountry, we stopped at a park for the kids to play in the shadow of the Haleakala Volcano summit. 

Amazingly, we somehow made it home in time to eat an early dinner and pick up Hula Cookies for dessert. What a day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 2 - Parasailing and Hula Cookies

Marc "getting high" with West Maui Parasail today.
Hello Readers! Guest blogger today! Marc wanted to write our vaca-update today. So here goes...

Once again, our second day of Hawaii stated off with a very early morning.  Tiana got me (Marc) up at 4:30am, and by 5am she had both Niki and I awake, ready to enjoy the good life of Hawaii.  Since I was up early anyway, I decided to take advantage of early morning swimming at Kihei Aquatic Center.  In fact, I was so excited, I forgot my towel.  I ended up drying off with paper towels.  The drive was amazing. Great views everywhere in Maui, Hawaii.  Kihei is about 5 miles from our condo, but it takes a good 20-25 minutes to get there, since everyone here is on "Hawaiian Time," and I am not talking about the time zone.

When I arrived home, we quickly packed up lunch for the day and got the kids ready to go to Ka'anapali to go parasailing.  We claimed a shady spot on the beach (which was great, since the sand was way hot today) and I signed in to go parasailing first.  Vinny was planning on watching me parasail from the boat, but as we were loading to go in a small speed raft to the parasailing boat he got scared and backed out. Too bad, since he would have enjoyed the boat ride. 

 Now, I must admit, I was a little scared at first, watching people from the boat being pulled 1,200 feet in the air.  Crazy... but I managed to finally go, and I was pumped.  I brought along the waterproof camcorder/camera and took pictures as I was parasailing.  Maui is a whole lot different from way up in the air.  What a great experience.  

Tiana caking herself in sand.
Meanwhile Niki, Vinny, and Tiana enjoyed the beach while I went parasailing.  Not the best beach ever, but it was convenient. 

After, Niki got to go, and she ended up having to go with an older man (who was planning on flying solo) because she is so light and skinny.  (Okay, I have to jump in here- perhaps the best compliment I have ever received was when the parasailing guy said he didn't think I would meet the minimum weight requirement for solo parasailing. He said I might end up upside down. He was probably wrong, but I was sort of happy for the company since I was a little scared). 

As Niki was enjoying her time parasailing, I loaded the kids up in the car and took them for a drive, since Tiana was done being on the beach. As soon as I pulled out of the beach parking lot, Tiana fell asleep. Vinny and I drove and drove and discovered some neat beaches (and a MickeyDs drive thru). Vinny also discovered Angry Birds. Hahaha. 

Maui from the air. 
We arrived back at the condo around 3, where Vinny did some more school work, and then we went swimming. Niki headed back to the store for a few things (Tiana has eaten her way through an entire bag of grapes), while I took the kids to the beach in front of the condo. 

 Tonight, we cooked dinner. A delicious steak dinner (for about $20 for all three of us- couldn't get that in a restaurant). We cleaned up quickly to rush down the street to Hula Cookies, since they close at 6pm. We got there just in time. They were just closing up, but they let us in anyway. Oh man. Worth the rush. Delicious homemade ice cream sandwiches. The Kona mud pie ice cream was to die for. We may be returning before the trip is over (and she probably should not have told us that they ship the cookies anywhere in the world).

Vinny playing on the beach, waiting for Daddy to finish parasailing. 

The kids fell asleep early again tonight, which means another early morning tomorrow, but that's okay, since we are hitting the road to Hana and have much to discover!