The Calvin-gacks take on Hawaii!

Aloha!  Here are some of my favorite pics from our crazy trip!
Ah, Blue Hawaii.  So magical and amazing.  I have been trying to think of funny things to write about from the trip, just to make this post amusing, but honestly, the amazingness of Hawaii sort of washed over all of the personality "quirks" of my traveling companions, leaving me with nothing but glowing feelings from the trip.  

We spent our whole week in Maui, and since I've never been to Hawaii before, it's hard to imagine that the other islands could be better.  We snorkeled, played on beautiful beaches, explored the island in the car, took a surfing lesson (and actually made it up on a surfboard) went on a sunset cruise, drove to Hana (a 9 hour round trip drive on a harrowing but incredibly beautiful road), went to a luau, drove to the top of a defunct volcano, went zip lining, ate great food, and mostly enjoyed each other's company.  I've posted a few of my favorite pictures from the trip, although they don't do a great job of conveying the actual beauty of Hawaii, so if you're interested in seeing more about it, you could probably find better pictures online somewhere.  Just guessing.  So actually, the only people who may be interested in these pictures are my family, since they are almost all of my children, so feel free to ignore this post and I'll get back to DOTP posts asap!

Ruby and her cousin Jack on our snorkel trip - her pose here makes me very nervous for the teenaged years!

My Mom & Dad with all the grandkids.  My parents were very agressive about sun protection.

Finn and Gus on the snorkel boat, trying to give the "hang loose" sign of Hawaii, but instead giving the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign of Texas - nice!

Cute picture of the boys, until you notice that Finn has Gus in some sort of wrestling hold.

One of the picturesque waterfalls of Maui (I was asleep in the car & missed it!).

My Mom & I enjoying a pre-Luau Mai Tai (but the real point of this picture is to note that the size of my sunglasses has eclipsed that of my mom's for the first time in our history, and I'm not sure what that means for me).

Matt & Ruby ready for the Luau.

My Mom & Dad on our Sunset Cruise.

I thought this was a cool picture that my sister in law took of my brother & Matt relaxing for a brief minute in between negotiating kids and parents and wives!

Almost all of us on the sunset cruise (we left Ruby and baby Abbey at home for fear they would head overboard).

Ruby & Matt on the beach at sunset.

I'm not sure what Gus was doing here - maybe watching his shadow? - but I love this picture!

Greeting the surf, and getting sand in every possible crevice of their bodies.

There were rainbows every day we were in Hawaii - so pretty!

Ruby and the Life Aquatic, no suit needed.

It's hard to tell in this picture, but my mom's white pants were completely soaking wet from her attempt to board the sailboat we were going on, due to an ill-timed race against the tide on her part.  We overheard some kid say "well, at least you didn't get as wet as that lady," in reference to my mom.

Ruby investigating fish by the shore while in the distance the boys return from snorkeling.  I could do this everyday.

On the way home, we spent four days in Seattle to attend a family wedding.  We did lots of sightseeing, and I highly recommend Seattle as a vacation destination for anyone, but especially anyone with young kids.  There is tons to do - an amazing glass museum that our kids loved (, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market (see food pics below), museums, parks, beaches, great day trips, and amazing food.  (One low point for the children was that were were never able to locate ICarly anywhere.)

I had been to Seattle a few times before this trip, but always visiting friends or just for short trips, so I had never fully engaged in tourist-y stuff.  One of our favorite things was seeing the locks and watching them lower and raise the water to let boats in.  They also have a viewing area at the locks where you can see the salmon ladders - when the built the locks, they created a series of steps so that the salmon would still be able to swim upstream to lay their eggs.  You can watch the adults swimming up the ladder underwater, and then you can see the new little fishies (called Smolts) heading out the other way on the "smolt slide" - basically they come shooting out of a huge water tube and fly out into the open water below - it was so fun to watch!  Overall, Seattle was awesome and a great tail end to our family adventure.  Most of my pictures involve food that looked amazing, so apologies in advance if you get hungry!

Just a little sample of the offerings at the Pike Place Market - we tried the oysters, salmon and shrimp & they were all fresh and delish!
Watching the boats at the locks (and the back of Finn's head, after three days without a shower or a comb - we're pretty lax on vacation, and here's the evidence).

Fruit at the Market - we were too full of seafood to eat any.

One of the rooms at the Chihuly Glass Museum - there were hundreds of pieces of glass suspended in the ceiling.  So cool.

A whole restaurant dedicated to hand-held pies - they were tasty, and I'm thinking there is a future for Porch Pies!

The infamous Naked Bike Race - this picture was taken by my 6 year old, and it's the most tame of all the ones he took.  The riders are all totally naked, covered in creative body paint, and just letting it all hang out for the world to see.  It was really pretty inspiring, although I was frankly disturbed by how many close-up pictures Gus managed to take of ladies' boobs.

The boys, post-bike race.  Finn was embarrassed by the whole thing, while Gus just looks pretty happy.