Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Best Birthday Ever!

 HAWAII HERE WE COME!!
We spent a whole week in Maui without any children!
Thanks Mom and Dad for watching our kids!
Thank you Val and Joyce for taking us on this amazing trip!
We are so spoiled...and very grateful!
 As soon as we got off the plane, we started out on our first adventure.  We went to the Iao Needle.  The amazing mountains were beautiful.
 Then we headed to the gorgeous botanical gardens.
 Our first whole day in Maui, we got up early and started on the road to Hana.  We stopped and looked at the beautiful grounds of Mama's Fish House.
 I wouldn't mind being stranded on a deserted island with this handsome guy!
 The five Rollins boys looking just like the Tiki.
On one of our stops, the boys found some vines and decided to act like Tarzan.  There goes Spencer swinging through the trees.  I think there were only a couple injuries.
 We loved walking through the amazing plant life.
 There's a steep slope right behind us that you can't see in this picture.  Right after we took this photo, I slipped, screamed, and almost fell down the hillside before Spencer caught me.
 We enjoyed walking through one of the many bamboo forests on Maui.
 The road to Hana took FOREVER, especially when we had to stop and wait for road construction.  So we got out of our cars...had some snacks...
 messed around...
 and took some more photos.
 When we finally got to Hana, we went to the Seven Sacred Pools.  They were gorgeous and extremely fun!  We swam and hiked through the pools.  The crazy boys climbed the waterfalls and did a little cliff jumping.  This photo shows Ben, Nathan, Clint, and Spencer enjoying the falls.
 The pools flow into the beautiful, blue ocean.
 After the pools, we headed to Hamoa Beach.  We took advantage of the perfect waves and did some boogie-boarding.
 We also enjoyed splashing in the fun waves.
 Then we started the long drive back from Hana.  We made a few more stops on the way and enjoyed the sunset.
 Joyce got flowers for all the girls to wear:  Laurie, Anna, Joyce, Melanie, and Niki.
 This is the beginning of my birthday--best ever!  We headed to the kayaking beach before dawn.  We were all set for our exciting time:  Clint, Val, Nate, Ben, Niki, Laurie, John, Melanie and Spencer.
 I think the kayaking was my favorite activity of the whole trip.
 We were so lucky to come across several humpback whales while kayaking.  I was quite scared when we saw a huge baby whale swim right under our kayak, and then surface just a few feet away from us.
 We paddled our kayaks over to a nice snorkeling area.  We enjoyed exploring the lava tube, coral, and colorful fish.
 The evening of my birthday, we went to an awesome luau at the Grand Wailea Hotel.
 We loved watching all the Hawaiian dancers and were shocked at the amazing stunts from the fire dancers.
This is the whole adult Rollins family, except for Tammy and Dan who were home with a new baby:  Nate, Val, Joyce, Anna, Melanie, Spencer, Laurie, John, Niki, Ben and Clint.  No, this is not our wedding photo.
 We enjoyed the food and the show late into the evening.
 Spencer arranged for just the two of us to stay in the fabulous Grand Wailea Hotel for the night of my birthday.  The lobby was amazing!
 We loved exploring the beautiful Wailea grounds, pools, water-slides, and beaches.
 We made a windy voyage on a whale boat.  We saw lots of humpback whales and even witnessed a couple whales breaching.
 The boys stood in the front of the boat to see if the wind would knock them down.
 They enjoyed watching their faces blow in the wind.
 We spent a fun day on the Haleakala Volcano.  The top of the volcano was at about 10,000 feet.  It was very cold and there were no trees and very few plants.
 We had an exciting time biking all the way from the volcano summit, down almost to the beach.
 We stopped part-way down the mountain to look down at the clouds.  We jumped to look like we were falling through the sky.
 Spencer and Melanie flying over the clouds!
 Nathan has a friend who lives in Maui and he let us try paddle-surfing and one-man canoeing.  
 The paddle-boards are wide enough that we could stand on them in open water.  I was surprised that most of us didn't fall.
 I had fun paddling around on the canoe.  Spencer tried following some whales on the canoe, but couldn't catch them.
 We enjoyed shopping and eating "shave ice" in Lahaina.  We also saw the huge banyan tree that covers a whole city block.
 Spencer, Clint, John, Nate, and Ben tried climbing the banyan.
 On the last day of our trip, Nate's friend took some of us on an amazing hike.  We started the journey in a bamboo forest.
We had to swim through extremely cold fresh water to get to our destination.  It was funny hearing, always polite, Niki scream the whole time she was swimming.
We hiked by several small waterfalls:  Ben, Clint, Niki, Nate, Ryan (Nate's friend),
Spencer and Melanie.
 When we arrived at the large waterfall, the boys enjoyed cliff jumping again.
This photo shows Ben and Clint watching Spencer flying toward the water.

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 After our hike, we headed back to the condo to get cleaned up for our 10:30pm flight home that night.  We played so hard this whole trip.  We've been home a week now and I'm still recovering.  
We are so grateful to have enjoyed this amazing trip together!