During the month of March we celebrated our 40th Anniversary.
Feel free to scroll quickly!
On the 4th, which was the day we were married, we were in Vancouver for the annual Poultry Convention. As much as we always enjoy that getaway, we were practically giddy with excitement knowing that a week later, we would be celebrating with our children and our littles in Hawaii.
Planning a trip for six adults and five children takes time and so we texted them early last July and asked them if they would be free mid-March.
We had been looking online for weeks trying to find accommodation in a house large enough for the whole group.
We found one in the Ko Olina area of Oahu through VRBO and the plans were set in motion.
On March 9th, we met at the Fairmont Hotel at YVR and from that moment, the vacation for #abunchofschellenbergs began.
We had dinner together at Whitespot and then each family tucked into their room to sleep and prepare for an early start.
When everyone arrived at the gate, I completely relaxed.
The six-hour flight was great!
The kids were over the moon to be allowed an extended amount of screen time.
I was happy to have no reason to do anything but read and chat with the revolving seat mates next to me.
We arrived mid-afternoon and after we found the resort and house, we left the kids with the two Dads and went back to town to get groceries.
How much food does it take to feed eleven people for 12 nights?
This was our first trip to the grocery store. =)
The next morning, we slathered ourselves and each other in sunscreen and while chatting on the phone with the owner of the house, followed his directions through the gated community towards the beach.
It was a fifteen-minute walk each way which was so beautiful and made us feel ready to flop down on the beach.
Once we arrived, the kids were off to play.
There are four lagoons in that area all within walking distance. We found one that suited us perfectly and settled into a daily routine that never got old.
Each lagoon is connected by a wide paved sidewalk.
Before you begin to wonder if I was slaving away in the kitchen the whole time, let me set your mind at ease! There was plenty of help. Everyone got involved at different times and meal preparation was fun because we worked together.
Each morning, someone started the coffee. That was me.
I made three 8 cup pots every morning and pulled out the cereal, toaster, Multigrain bread, cheese, peanut butter and jam, yogurt and granola.
Someone was generally on egg frying duty.
Every morning we cut up a fresh pineapple, taking turns doing that.
Everyone served themselves and then ate breakfast out on the lanai overlooking the golf course.
Lunch was snacks at the beach. Backpacks were loaded with drinks and whatever we pulled out of the refrigerator and pantry which included trail mix, fig bars, apples, spinach dip, layered tex-mex dip and chips... lots and lots of chips and crackers.
During the day we would contemplate our dinner options.
Options included flank steak that had been marinating, flank steak fajitas from the extra flank steaks we grilled, hamburgers (twice... we had purchased the massive roll of hamburger meat at our first grocery shop and so we had enough for burgers twice and nachos) pizza (purchased twice) rotisserie chickens that were also used for wraps, prawns and linguini, homemade salsa and guacamole among other things!
I loved the kitchen. My Mom used to smile when I was little, trying on a new dress she had sewn. I always had to sit down at the piano and play a piece.
Maybe that is why when I have access to a beautiful fully loaded kitchen, I love to bake in it.
No one stopped me.
Everyone participated in food service. Some excelled in serving.
One evening, the boys offered to make brownies. I couldn't help but watch the production.
Groceries were not inexpensive, but groceries were less expensive than meals chosen off a menu.
There were a few days that I came back from the beach early just to surprise everyone with a treat!
I am happy to report that my pineapple cutting skills improved and now I feel quite prepared to go back to be a pineapple cutter for anyone who needs one to join them on holiday.
Now to overload you with beach photos.
Even though there was plenty of room to allow plenty of personal space, it was rarely ever used.
The last time we were on a tropical family vacation, in 2014, the little ones were still carefully watched in the water but now they all swim like fish and there was no need to worry in the safe area of the lagoons.
Most little ones wanted to be buried to their neck!
This girl I could identify with.
If the beach and the ocean were not enough, there were crafts to occupy the kids.
They all made bracelets for themselves and each other.
Some were happy with one bracelet and lots of snacks.
Some were happy to do nothing after a few hours of boogie boarding.
I was happy to see everyone happy.
I felt such a sense of joy seeing the family playing, relaxing and chatting together.
He learned the hard way that stepping on one of these will hurt.
They figured out my password and did selfies,
which I didn't mind one bit!
At least they were kind enough to provide him a way to dig himself out!
I heard rumors that if you spend too much time buried in the sand, you start to shrink.
I didn't believe them.
When I went to go investigate, I was shocked to find his legs getting shorter and shorter.
I was following them to the beach one day and loved how they were helping each other to keep the tubes afloat.
They spent many hours creating dance routines.
I loved listening to the worship music and their creativity in choreography.
One afternoon we cleaned up and went down to the beach to take pictures before going for dinner.
We never did see a perfect sunset but there truly was no reason to complain.
I was glad I didn't have to hang out like he did!
Cooperation always made me cheer from my vantage point.
I did spend time in the ocean and got some sand between my toes but most of the time,
I was here watching and reading.
Back at the house, the tv was rarely turned on.
They forgot to ask about it and always found plenty to keep themselves occupied.
This was our back deck and where the adults generally relaxed.
Uno Uno and more Uno.
And more Uno.
He decided that he would make his own game.
Which flames do you like best? 1 2 or 3?
Everyone was asked to participate and he kept a tally.
Travel Spirograph needed an extra trip to go buy more post it notes.
While this seemed like such a fun idea, I can testify that it didn't end well.
So much work ending in a lot of frustration.
But, I loved seeing them work at it until it all went wrong.
He offered to help her with her pedicure.
There were challenges.
It's hard to win when you are laughing so hard!
They are seriously addicted to Uno. When they came over at Easter they played Uno some more!
We climbed Diamond Head one morning.
Why is there always someone who wants to stand on the other side of the fence?
I shudder even now!
At the bottom of the trail, the littles were all treated to Pineapple smoothies.
We took a day to visit Pearl Harbour.
So many lives lost.
It was a time to teach and a time to reflect.
We did visit a beautiful mall but it was so big, that we mostly looked through windows and enjoyed the free entertainment.
Once back at the house, they suggested a game of ......
One evening after the kids went to bed, the felt pens were brought out to conceal natural cracks in the cards which were being utilized to cheat!
When we were invited to visit John and Marg in their beautiful beachfront hotel room, we dashed over and enjoyed a few hours on their deck before going out for dinner together.
We ate out one evening at the Cheesecake Factory.
This photo was not set up. I just smiled at the use of that footstool.
Taking our family to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary was a dream come true!
We are so incredibly thankful for each one of them.
God has been with us during sickness and health, through good days and bad days. He has given us children and grandchildren to love.
He has proven to be faithful in every situation.
I know so many would love to do this. I thought of so many that will never be able to.
How can I be grateful enough?
I want to remember this trip and count my blessings over and over.
I'm thankful for this blog where memories are held dear and I can look back over the years to see what God has done.
I'm so thankful for my beloved.
There will be no other.
all for now...