Back in October of 2012, we took a family trip to Kauai. We had been talking about taking the family on a big trip for quite some time now. Family is so important to my husband and I, that we are constantly talking about and finding ways to nurture our family.
We realize that in three short years our oldest son will be gone serving a 2 year mission for our church. And three years goes so fast. We feel like we are running out of time when all of our kids are still under the same roof. So after much talk, praying and consideration we decided to surprise our kids with a trip to Hawaii.
We had a super early flight out, woke up the kids at 4 am and drove to the airport. Since it was dark outside, the kids didn’t really realize we were not headed in the right direction. As we neared the Airport, we told the kids where we were really headed. They were so shocked that they all kind of just sat there in disbelief! Haha! Only a couple of them had ever been an airplane but were too young to remember it.
Our trip to Kauai was so amazing and we had such a great time together. The kids were so great and we surprisingly had very few quarrels! We also were blessed with great weather! We had decided to stay at a rental house rather than in a hotel so we could have access to all the gear (from surfboards, boogie boards, snorkeling equipment and paddleboards) rather than having to rent it for everyone.
On our first full day in Kauai, we got up early and headed to Queen’s Bath. It is a unique tide pool on the North Shore surrounded by volcanic rock right on the edge of tall cliffs and the ocean. When we got to the tide pool, we were told there was a white tip shark trapped in the pool. The week before we arrived, Kauai had some really high surf and we suspected that the shark had accidently been swept into the pool and then was trapped when the surf level dropped.
He was about three feet in length. The kids crouched on this ledge on the edge of the pool and put on their snorkel masks to they could watch the shark. It was so amazing, but this mama was a bit nervous. There were a few other people in the tide pool who were swimming very respectfully while also keeping a distance from the shark.
Then after over an hour of watching him we all took a little swim in the tide pool cautiously so we could say we had swam with a shark. It was such an awesome start to our vacation. And a once in a lifetime experience for sure. And the tide pool water was crystal clear that day due to the higher surf the week before.
The rest of the trip was basically spent relaxing on the beach and playing in the water together. We all learned how to surf, except for the youngest. She wanted nothing to do with that. She was happy to just float around and swim in the calm water for hours on end. We were able to do some awesome snorkeling at Tunnels and Ke’e beach.
But we ended up spending most of our time at Hanalei Beach where we had a blast body boarding and surfing. We were so glad that everything worked out as well as it did. It can be difficult to travel with such a large family, but it was so worth it. The kids have not stopped talking about it and asking when we can go back…haha! (Probably not going to happen unfortunately)!
We also spent quite a bit of time at Anini Beach. The water here was so calm that the kids just played in it for hours. We all learned how to Paddle Board here. The youngest was too little for the board herself but she loved sitting on the back of the paddle board and being paddled around by the rest of us.
As you might imagine, we were one of the few tourists there with a larger family. We definitely got some stares and some comments from curious people. This is not unusual for us as a family of seven. And I do realize that most people take this kind of a trip without their children.
But we felt strongly about taking our children with us. The one thing that did surprise me is that some people seemed to be so surprised that we willingly and knowingly had all of these children on purpose. Haha! One the flight we had several comments from the flight attendants who seemed almost sympathetic to our large family. I also got a lot of “bless you’s,” which always makes me smile.
I really do get the curiousity, but have to tell you that I feel so blessed to have the children that we do! They have been a blessing for us. And I am not going to lie, five children can be very difficult at times as well. Motherhood is not always a pretty job, and is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done and will do, but the rewards are so worth those bad days.
We feel so grateful for them everyday and were so happy to be able to take them all with us. We made some great memories and are so grateful we were able to experience it together. And in today’s world, there are so many things pulling our kids away from the family. Even when we are home together, there are so many distractions with electronics, extracurricular activities, friends. etc. that can interrupt quality family time.
And as a big believer in the importance of families, I think it is so important to carve out quality time with them. Not that you have to take a large trip to get quality time, because you definitely don’t. But we want to give our children experiences that let them know how important they are to us.
And this once in a lifetime trip was something we felt very strongly about.
Friends and associates will come and go in our lives, but our family is always going to be there. It is so important to remember that. We are trying to build strong relationships with our kids and help them build strong relationships with one another so that they will always have each other to enjoy and depend upon.
My parents were also big believers in family. We went on a few trips together when I was growing up which are now some of my fondest memories. A trip to NY that was one of the craziest trips ever filled with some hilarious memories which we laugh about often now, and a trip to Oahu.
Now my siblings and I are not just close, but good friends too. We know that we can always depend on each other for anything we may need. And I am so grateful for my parents for teaching me about the importance of being a family. Everyone’s family is not going to look the same. And a family may not even consist of “flesh and blood” relatives, but a group of people who love and care for one another.
I hope and pray that my children will grow up with a strong sense of family. That they will long for families of their own to enjoy.
What about you…What do you think? What have you done as a family that has brought you closer together to create memories? I would love to hear about it!
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