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Family Vacation in Hawaii

For years we have been looking forward to taking our family to Hawaii, it has a special place in mine and David’s hearts. I’m glad we waited until the kids were this age because it was a lot of fun at this stage (other than the flights… flying with a one year old is something special haha). I mean, vacation with kids is so different from what it used to be when it was just the two of us. A lot more chasing and a lot less tanning but I think we figured out a great balance on how to vacation with kids! Don’t worry, we haven’t been put off future travel with the kids either. In fact, we are already looking at Costa Rica as our next destination. I think you might have the same urge if you visit the Buena Vista website.

We stayed at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort and it really was an ideal set up with the kids. They have a large pool area in the center of the resort and it’s just a few steps away from the beachfront. So we could go back and forth from playing in the sand to the pool (and when I say pool I meant the hot tub, because there was no getting Poppy out of there). I found the beach area in front of our hotel to be a lot quieter than others, which is good when you have a one year old constantly crawling away like a baby turtle trying to escape to the sea.

The beach is of course beautiful as ever, lots of water activities right there, catamarans and the Outrigger’s Reef Bar & Market Grill restaurant overlooking the water. Our kids are a bit too young to partake in water sports, but when they’re older we can refer to these exciting adventures you can get up to on vacation for a more active time. That’s what I’m looking forward to most, I think. Being able to do different activities with them, and spending some quality time with each other on this beautiful island is something that I really am excited about. Watersports, along with taking them fishing in Hawaii on its picturesque water is definitely on our bucket list and I can’t wait for this special time. But for now, we are looking to enjoy the different things that this island can offer us.

We’ve been learning a thing or two about travelling with young kids and for us we need to book a room that has a seperate bedroom so that we can still enjoy our evenings. Our kids crash pretty early but if we try to be in the same room as them while they go to sleep it’s a total gong show. Those evenings in the hotel room ended up being some of our favourite times on vacation, sitting on the balcony hearing the live music happening around the pool and eating our take out dinners. So relaxing.

Another highlight was the Voyager 47 Club. There are certain rooms that include the Voyager 47 Club lounge access (or you can purchase to have access) and this was seriously that best addition to our days. Every morning there is a breakfast buffet and coffee bar overlooking the ocean. If you have little kids you know that vacation doesn’t mean sleeping in. So in the morning Poppy and I would come downstairs early to watch the sunrise and eat breakfast. When the boys woke up they would come meet us. I really enjoyed this because restaurants with kids first thing in the morning is hard, waiting for everyone to be awake and then by the time your food actually comes you’re a couple meltdowns in.

Same thing in the evening, there are yummy appetizers and cocktails during sunset. This was the time of day when our children would eat way too much gouda while we drank an Ocean Breeze in a bit of peace. If you stay at the Outrigger I highly recommend including this Voyager 47 perk in your stay.

We had a bunch of good breakfast & dinner restaurants on our list and we didn’t end up going to them because how can you give up breakfast overlooking the ocean. Also the pool side nachos at the outrigger were amazing! Would you judge me if I told you we ate those everyday….?

I think other than Poppy’s disappointment of not meeting Moana it was a great vacation and one that we really hope we can make a tradition with our family. After a recommendation from a family friend, we are looking at potentially going with a rental villa through someone like Exceptional Villas for our next vacation.

Christmas Dinner Squash Recipe

Only a couple days until Christmas! Most years we have Christmas dinner my my parents house my mom roasts the Turkey and we all bring appies & side dishes. There are a lot of dietary needs in my family so it can be tricky to find something that is safe for everyone to eat.

This is a Vegan & Gluten free side dish that is loaded with foods that are also good for your eyes. As an ambassador for IRIS I have shared a handful of recipes over the past few seasons with foods that are good for your eye health and vision. Something you might not necessarily think about often, but taking care of your eyes now and eating properly can prevent you from ever having to think or worry about it.

The main beneficial foods this dish is full of is orange veggies, almost all orange foods are good for your eyes. This is a combo of Butternut squash, Yams, and carrots. It also includes Kale & Sunflower seeds which are included in the “food for your eyes” list.

I adapted this recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

 

1 Butternut Squash

1 Yam

1 Carrot

2 Cloves Garlic

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 tsp Dried Parsley

Salt

 

½ Cup Roasted Salted Sunflower Seeds

2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast

2 tsp Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly oil a casserole dish. Peel, seed & cut the squash into 1 inch cubes. Peel and cut the yam into 1 inch cubes. Peel and chop the carrot. Toss in a bowl with oil, parsley, garlic, and salt. Transfer to casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. While the casserole is in the oven, mix together remaining ingredients. After timer, remove foil sprinkle with seed mixture and place back in oven uncovered for 15 minutes.

Mexico || Almost Home.

We are less than two weeks away from heading home, it’s bittersweet. I think we are both equally as much excited to head as home as much as we will miss it here. Our first few weeks here in Mexico we felt pretty eager to get involved with all of the ministries in the area that were helping the families living in the dump, the orphanage, the prison, etc. We kind of felt the pressure of getting our hands dirty really quickly so that we weren’t ‘wasting our time’ out here after making, what was for us, a big decision to come here. But there was an overwhelming feeling of needing to be patient, ministries not getting back to us, or plans falling through it was kind of discouraging and we were wondering why it felt like God was keeping us from doing stuff here.

But over the past few weeks more and more relationships have developed with locals. If you know David at all you know he’s a bit of people magnet, relationships are his strength. One afternoon David & Poppy were walking up the road and one man literally stopped his motorcycle and asked David to hang out with him. So of course without hesitation David made plans for the next day to go to his house and the two of them have developed a really meaningful relationship. Every Sunday night for the past couple months we have gone out for dinner with the young mechanic that serviced our car one day and have also developed a great relationship with him.

More relationships keep developing and David’s ability to communicate in Spanish with these people has been really amazing. Once again, God knew best… Classic God. Because even though in the past few months we have had the chance to visit a woman in prison, see the families living in the dump, and go to the orphanage (which have all been really wonderful & challenging experiences!) We’ve mostly been learning the importance of slowing down and being available to the people and community around us in the everyday situations. All of the connections we’ve made happened while doing ordinary things because we had the free time on our hands.

I’ve been learning here that you don’t have do grand things to make an impact. To think that something has to make a big change in the world for it to be worth giving our time to isn’t true. It can feel daunting how much needs to be done in different parts of the world and if we wait until we can solve those problems we’ll likely never do it.

If making an impact in just one families life doesn’t feel like enough for us to make the shift and uproot our own comfortable lives for it is somewhat of an arrogant position that we take. Something has convinced us that our own happiness, wealth, and comfort is more important than someone else’s. If the most valuable thing to me is to glorify God the best I can and if Jesus said you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart… You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” then my position needs to change and I need to develop a heart of deep compassion for people. I need to learn to love them the way I do myself when the truth is that obviously I care with all my heart that my kids aren’t hungry, that they get treated when they’re sick, and that they don’t have to stand in highway traffic and juggle to make money for our family. 

We have never necessarily felt like we lived far beyond our means, we’ve lived month to month for the majority of our marriage (#artistlife) but after coming down here we quickly realized what wealth we have just by the fact that our basic needs are taken care of, that our kids have multiple pairs of shoes and have never missed a meal. It’s been really cool here to see how easily someone like us has been able to help people with their needs, provide work, and invest in relationships with them that can be very impactful (on both sides).

It’s humbling.

When you decide to move to do missions work you kind of imagine changing a community, solving problems, “making an impact”. But we were reminded that we are a very small part of a very large body and each single cell of that body matters. God may ask us to commit our entire lives to reaching very few people and those people are worth that sacrifice. Whether it’s overseas or at home creating the time to invest in people is possibly the most important. I’m hoping and praying that I can learn to slow down at home and stop being so busy, that I can break my tendency to fill every day with tasks to make room for the interruptions that a life committed to Jesus consists of.

“Loving people the way Jesus did, means living a life of constant interruptions.” – Bob Goff

Hierve el Agua

I kept seeing signs around town pointing down the road to “Hierve El Agua” so I looked it up online and obviously knew we had to visit this place! It’s about an hour drive from Oaxaca City to the narrow dirt road that leads up the mountain to Hierve. The Mountain road isn’t too long but it’s a very slow drive. Because a dirt road here is the dirt road of all dirt roads and the edge of the road the whole way up is a very steep cliff, so it get interesting when a oncoming car needs to pass. But that drive alone is worth the trip because it’s SO beautiful. I just love seeing such different ways of life here, men riding horses in the middle of no where leading donkeys, goats, and dogs up the mountain, and people harvesting squash on the edge of the cliff. It’s pretty cool.

Thankfully for the drive there our kids kept their cool and we were able to enjoy the beauty of the desert. Once we got there though it was HOT, and a lot of direct sun on our pale skinned babes. We started hiking down to the pools not knowing how far it would be and feeling a little hot & bothered David said “Is it worth the walk or should we turn back now?” haha. Good thing we’re weren’t babies about it because obviously it was worth the 5 more minutes of walking.

The water wasn’t warm, contrary to the name, but it wasn’t too cold to swim in especially in the heat. Both the kids loved it. The water has a very high mineral content and is said to be healing water because of that. We all had a white coating of dried minerals on us when we left.

I don’t have a photo of it but from that cliff you can see the “petrified waterfall” which is beautiful but we definitely didn’t have the energy to hike over to that. The rock floor around the pools has openings to the underground canals that bubble up water flowing into the pool, so amazing, especially in the middle of the desert.

Skip wanted me to just let him go and crawl around here, he loves being in the water, it’s pretty cute. My semi-OCD husband was very strict about how close to the cliff edge we were allowed to get 😉

 And then two Vultures landed beside us… buhhhh bye.


The drive home was not quite as beautiful and peaceful, Skipper is good at a lot of things, sleeping in the car is not one of them… He puts up a good fight before he’ll fell asleep in his carseat. Driving in first gear the entire way down a mountain with a crying baby in the backseat isn’t my idea of a good time. But worth the trip, and I still had a bag of Sal y Limon Fritos & the worlds largest coconut in my lap to sip so I can’t complain.

Also, does anybody else’s husband have you spoon feed them while they drive…? David got a cup of very juicy fruit with chile for the car and I spent the last half of the drive putting each bite into his mouth and catching the juice from his mouth with my hand lol… true love right?

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