Hayden and Layla's Place

We moved – and new blog! August 26, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 8:33 pm
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Big changes in our household – we have moved to Italy!  We’re trying to keep current with a new blog focused on the changes we are experiencing as a family, which can be found at ourbolognalife.wordpress.com.  Hayden and Layla’s Place has been pretty dormant while we prepared for the move and will likely remain so at least until ourbolognalife is no longer relevant. 🙂  We hope you’ll pop over to the new blog and check it out!

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Abbey August 24, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 8:27 pm
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We’ve had a lot going on in our household, which accounts for the lack of attention we’ve given to this blog.  We’ve been preparing for andIMG_2909 executing on a huge international move, and that’s left little time for many things, including writing which I know I will regret when things slow down.  One part of the massive move was determining what we would do with our pets.  Having moved Abbey and Jude 8 years ago, John and I were realistic about how complicated and difficult it is to move a pet.  We remembered the enormous stress put on them when they were put into a cage in the cargo hold of the plane for hours and hours, not capable of understanding what was happening to them and that it was for the greater good.  The move this time is for a set period of time – 2-3 years – and obviously would involve not only one move but another (back) when the assignment was over.

 

After careful consideration (and much, MUCH back-and-forth deliberation) we decided the best thing was to find foster homes for the pets while we were gone.  My dad quickly and kindly offered to take Lucy, as company for his dog Stella.  My neighbors agreed to take Mimi, which was perfect for her because she was very used to being at their house.  They have a lab which we take while they are on vacation and they take our dogs when we are away.  Our dear friends Tom and Tracy agreed to take Abbey.  They used to have a dog and cat, but both had passed of old age in the last couple of years.  Tracy worked from home.  It seemed an ideal match letting Abbey (at 12 years of age) have some peaceful time with kind human companions and no dogs or other pets to keep in line.

We dropped Abbey off 2 days before the movers were due to come, and about 12 days before our flight to Italy.  We thought it best for her to be out of the house so she didn’t have to experience the stress of seeing all the furniture go, strangers in the house, basically her world being turned upside down – in addition to a new home setting right around the corner.  She took a couple of days to settle in to their house, but then she was lounging on their laps, playing, and adapting to her new home.  I was getting sweet picture texts of her settling in.

So, I was shocked to get a call about 5 days into her placement that she had passed away over night.  Well, I say I was shocked.  I WAS shocked at the time, obviously devastated.  I had, however, thought something was wrong with her in the weeks before.  I took her to the vet because she was just not being herself, but we were in the midst of a lot of change and we weren’t sure if it was the stress of that or something more so we thought we’d give it time (we’d had blood work done less than 2 months before that visit and the vet said the numbers wouldn’t have changed much in that time and she should physically be ok), and then she’d seemed to have gotten a bit better.  In speaking with the (other, partner) vet later, he thinks the suddenness of it means it was a blood clot.

Abbey was a prized member of our household.  She slept with Layla nearly every night (shown in the picture above, from March).  She was incredibly patient with the children.  Small for her size, she kept the dogs in our home as well as any who came to play firmly in their place.  Our neighbor’s Lab, Macy, is a good 90 pounds.  If she decides to get on the couch I cannot physically move her off.  So it always made me laugh when she’d stay at our house and I’d notice she was hovering in the kitchen and not coming into the family room with us. I’d call for her and call for her and she wouldn’t come in.  It wouldn’t be until I’d get up to see what was going on that I’d notice Abbey was laying in wait on the path into the family room.  Macy knew the boundary and wouldn’t cross into Abbey’s path.  Once I would pick Abbey up and out of the way she would come into the room no problem.  Abbey was 6 pounds to Macy’s 90.  Just goes to show it’s not the physical size but the attitude and swagger that matters.

It’s also the first pet death that the kids have dealt with.  On the day of Abbey’s death Layla had a day camp, but Hayden was not scheduled to be anywhere.  I immediately made plans for him to be with my friend for the morning while I got Abbey and took care of getting her to the vet for her remains to be taken care of, but then I asked him if he’d rather go to my friend’s house or come with me to say goodbye.  Death is a part of life, and as much as we want to shield our children from the hardest parts of life it can be good to let them experience it and help them through the emotions.  He did want to come with me, and as busy as John was that week with his work he also asked me to pick him up on the way so he could say goodbye.  Only he knows for sure, but I think it was good for him to get to be a part of that, get to see her a last time and say goodbye, get to see how sad John and I were and that that’s a normal part of grieving.

We really miss her so much.  We talk about her several times a day still, and it’s been four weeks now.  I cried a lot the first couple of days, and Hayden was very curious about whether I would cry all the time from now on, whether I was still sad about it when I wasn’t crying, and why I would start crying again if I hadn’t cried for a little while.  Layla has talked a lot about how Abbey is in the clouds now and how she is with Jude (Jude passed away 3 years before Layla but we still talk about him and have his pictures around so she knows he was part of our family but died), and that we’ll see her again someday.

 

Napali Boat Tour… well, kind of April 22, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 6:36 pm
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On our final day we took a catamaran to see the Napali coast.  IMG_3380On the way to the port, we stopped in a little shopping area to find some souvenirs and got this cute pic of the kids hanging ten. 🙂

We had beautiful weather, hardly a cloud in the sky, but the wind when we got out to IMG_3394sea was outrageous.  After a while the waves were so rough that everyone who wasn’t in the sheltered lower deck was getting drenched.  The captain asked us if we wanted Layla to join him in his little sheltered area of the boat, so she and I did and as such escaped getting soaked, but John and Hayden stayed on the top deck and just got soaked.  Luckily Hayden had a great attitude about it, though.  The captain eventually determined we wouldn’t be able to make it all the way to the Napali coast as he knew the waves would get worse when we turned north, and there were people getting seasick as it was.  So we turned around and focused on finding whales.  We had already spotted one who was strangely motionless with his fin out of the water.  They guessed he was sleeping, but they said it was very IMG_3397unusual.  We saw him again when we turned around, and we got close enough that he “woke up” or whatever happened to make him decide to swim off.  Apparently there were also dolphins who came close to the boat, but just for a split second – most of us didn’t see that.  And we saw a double rainbow which stuck around for a really long time.

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Whale fin sticking out of the water, towards the horizon

The crew was really nice, and they provided plenty of drinks (our kids were pretty liberal with their soft drink consumption) and we had a nice sunset dinner on the boat.  The couple who was on our helicopter flight was also on this boat so it was nice to see them again.

All in all, it was a nice ride on the catamaran.  Shame we didn’t make it to the Napali coast, but we were lucky that we had seen it from the air in the helicopter.

 

Luau and the “Secret” Beach

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 6:16 pm
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We started Friday with breakfast out.  One of the nice things about staying in the condo is that we’ve had food at our fingertips when we’reMad Libs at Kalaheo “home”, so we don’t need to eat out every meal.  Good for saving money of course, but also good that we can eat at 6:30 am (our kids did not totally adjust to the 6 hour time change, but did get a little better as our vacation went on).  We went to Kalaheo and had pancakes, egg sandwiches, pastries, and Hayden even had a smoothie. I got a souvenir mug as well.  We also did a few mad libs while we were there, which has been a huge source of mealtime entertainment on this trip!

IMG_3319After breakfast we went on a little adventure to what we were calling the secret beach.  You have to drive down a completely torn up dirt road to get there, and I think we were just calling it that due to inaccessibility – maybe other people actually do call it that, but I think the proper name is Mahaulepu Beach.  We had an SUV on the trip, so we had a higher clearance than some cars but we still bottomed out a couple of times, even while only going 5 mph.  When we got there we were impressed with the smaller cars we saw parked who had made it – we’d passed a couple on our drive who weren’t sure if they should turn around.IMG_3327

The beach was beautiful, and when we arrived we had it all to ourselves.  The kids decided the first order of business was to dig, and Hayden dug so far he couldn’t IMG_3338reach to the bottom anymore so he recruited Daddy to take over.  We took a little walk after a while and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  I had a friend from high school doing a Hawaiian cruise to all the islands while we were there, and he was on Kauai the day we were at this beach.  When we first got there we noticed some people going by on horseback, and we were paying so much attention to the horses and the two accompanying dogs that we didn’t pay any attention to the people riding.  I was so bummed when I saw a message from him a few minutes later saying his family had ridden by and saw our family but he didn’t want to shout.  So close but so far away!  Another thing to mention that we saw oLayla being Elsa from Frozenn this beach was a couple with a dog that said “adopt me” on its vest.  The Kauai humane society allows you to take a dog out for the day on your vacation.  We loved this idea and considered doing it, but never found the right “dog-friendly” day.

As lunch approached we decided to take a little hike.  Layla was wearing her towel as though it was an Elsa or Anna cape from Frozen. 🙂  For lunch we went to Sueoka’s Snack Shop in Old Koloa.  Food was good and cheap!

In the evening we went to the Smith Family Garden for a luau!  We all enjoyed that. The grounds are beautiful, and they have you arrive early so you can take a tram IMG_3368through the grounds for a guided tour, then you can walk around for a while.  We got some great pics of the kids, and they liked running around and climbing on various rocks that were around.  Dinner was a buffet with the roasted pig, poi, and all that stuff.  The food was ok –  being vegetarian I wasn’t too excited about the pig but they had stuff for me to eat and none of us went hungry.  At the end of dinner they IMG_3371invited some people up to learn the hula, Layla being one of them!  She was so darn cute up there.  And then came the luau itself, which was really well done.  I was surprised the kids stayed awake the whole time as it was getting late and had been a long day, but they were engrossed the whole time!  They did both crash as soon as we got in the car, though. 🙂

 

Helicopter Ride April 12, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:24 pm
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IMG_3262Thursday we went on a helicopter ride!  It was very, very cool.  Luckily the winds had calmed right down – I don’t think I would have been very comfortable in strong winds.  The kids didIMG_3228 great – Layla wanted me to have my hand on her leg but that was all the reassurance she required.  She was very quiet though so I think she was apprehensive but being very brave.  She got so comfortable in the end though that she ended up falling asleep!!  Oh dear.  Hayden was in the front row with John so I wasn’t able to see him, but John said he was really excited.

It was a clear, gorgeous day so we had spectacular views.  We saw each area of the islandIMG_3251 (i.e. north, south, etc), and the pilot told us some stories and facts about the island and pointed out areas of interest – many of them relating to the many films shot around the island.   For instance, the waterfall from Jurassic Park (pictured) and the beach from The Descendants.

We were a couple of minutes late for the helicopter check in because we spotted some whales when we were on our balcony before we left.  We tried to get a good pic but it’s really hard to capture them from shore without a fancy camera.  It is just so exciting to see the water spraying into the air and the occasional fin splashing out of the IMG_3278water.  We could see there were about 3 or 4 traveling together (from what we hear, likely mom and calves).   So after the helicopter ride we came back to the condo, made some lunch and parked back out on the balcony to see if we could see more whales.  They weren’t around any longer, so we took the kids to the pool for a while.  John and I each took turns watching the kids while the other went to a spot nearby to watch the waves and turtles.  We’ve gotten good at spotting the huge turtles swimming around.  They really seem to do well in the rough areas that you would think would just bash them right into the rocks.

We had our rescheduled photo session in the afternoon.  It was fine, but it is just so breezy on the shore as well as so bright looking into IMG_3300the sun that I am a bit weary about how they will turn out.  I’ll have to just try to suspend my judgement until I see the photos. 🙂

After photos we took a little hike around shipwreck beach.  We could see again some whales playing in the water – proper splashing around and seeming to have a “whale” of a time out there, so much fun to watch!  We also saw some more turtles showing off in the rough waves in a different part of the shore.  Hayden was loving IMG_3305the hike as usual, but it was a sandy path and Layla just can’t deal with sand in her shoes.  So there was a lot of carrying her around and eventually I just told the boys to go on as far as they wanted and I took her back down to the beach.  While we were waiting we found this cute heart made out of stones.  I love the pic of Layla standing on it. 🙂

We had reservations at Keoki’s Paradise for dinner.  We had some more yummy Mai Tais (still not beating Merriman’s, though), calamari, fantastic bread, and John and I split our fish and seafood risotto meals.  The food was good – I think I ate too much appetizer and bread because it was hard to finish the meals, but it was good.  The couple at the table next to us had a drink that came in a pineapple, so we had fun watching that and eventually he gave the pineapple top to Hayden which was fun.

 

Northern Exposure April 11, 2014

Filed under: Mommy — karagoodwin @ 7:32 am
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We spent Wednesday on the North Shore.  We’d heard all along in our planning that the north was traditionally rainier/cloudier and the south was more predictably dry.  Well, I’ll start by saying we had a beautiful, dry, sunny day in the north.  I presume the same happened inIMG_3128 the south but it was cloudy when we left in the morning.

We had a 9:30 kids’ tour at Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens.  It was a lovely, hour drive up the island.  Unfortunately, Layla fell out of the car when we got there and skinned up her knee, so we started our time there trying to get that cleaned up and her calmed down (poor thing – there was a good amount of blood 😦 ).  Luckily John had thrown someIMG_3125 Hello Kitty band aids in his backpack before we came on this trip, so it definitely softened the blow when she needed THREE of them!  The staff were so helpful when they saw her, bringing me antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide, and bandages.  Layla loves being carried, and we knew with her fresh injury we were going to be carrying her throughout the tour.  The guide asked if we wanted a stroller for her, and that did help being able to push her along.

IMG_3112I can’t say enough great things about the botanical gardens.  They gave the kids little paper bags to collect anything on the ground that interested them.  Our tour guide was so nice and informative, the grounds were stunning, there was a big pond with koi fish that could be hand fed (Hayden got a big kick out of that), there were beautiful statues throughout, and once the proper tour was over we could play in the kids area (which was immaculate, even the restrooms) which had a splash area as well as lots of other unique and well maintained equipment for kids.

After the gardens we went to Kilauea for lunch at the Bakery.  Another fantastic meal!  We all got a little treat for dessert (Hayden got a slice of cherry pie that he seemed delighted with) – just wonderful.  We hit the Kilauea Lighthouse from there.  Before we got there we saw in the distance a seal sunbathing on the shore – first seal of the trip!  The IMG_3146lighthouse itself was pretty simple and you couldn’t go in it, but it was out on a point that was really beautiful and apparently there are many whale sightings although the volunteer we talked with hadn’t seen any that day.  We did see an albatross and frigate which were beautiful birds, and we had a nice chat with the volunteer who was from England so we had lots to talk about in addition to the local knowledge she provided.

We kept driving west on the north coast, and got to the end of the road on Ke’e IMG_0105beach.  We went for a .5 mile hike up a trail and caught some beautiful views.  I hadn’t realized we were going to be hiking at that particular stop so I hadn’t changed my or Layla’s shoes, so we were both in flip flops.  She also wouldn’t walk on the way up because of her boo boo, so I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot hiking in flip flops while carrying a 3 year old who was also in inappropriate footwear.  Hayden was SUPER into the hiking, though.  He has really loved exploring.  John made a great point earlier in the week that he will be a prime candidate for the Cub Scouts next year, when he’ll be old enough to join.  Layla IMG_3167finally did want to walk herself on the way down – thank God!  She had a lot of fun hopping from rock to rock to get down.  When we reached the 1/2 mile point Hayden was desperate to keep going, so the boys went on a few more minutes and passed us a little ways from the bottom.

Before we left we checked out a wet cave and a dry cave, which were both cool.  Layla and I tried to split a coconut drink, but she didn’t like it.  Then I tried to split it with John.  It’s not bad but is a taste I have not acquired.  We got through most of it. 🙂

IMG_3176On the way to dinner we went out to the pier in Hanalei, which is where they filmed The Descendants (love that movie).  Then off to dinner back in Kilauea, at a restaurant called Bistro.  Good food, and another good Mai Tai (I still consider the best to be from Merriman’s but John thought this was better).  A beagle-sized dog wormed his way through the little patio fencing in the restaurant while we were eating to make himself at home.  Everyone wanted to take him home and I think John had the kids thinking that was a possibility, luckily Hayden wasn’t too deflated when we broke it to him that we couldn’t.  He just wanted reassurance that the doggie wasn’t going to die when we left, bless.  He seemed like he had a steady diet so hopefully just a dog from a surrounding neighborhood off scavenging.

We drove the hour back with the kids passed out in back.  Another packed, glorious day!  Mahalo, Kauai!

 

Lydgate Park, Plantation Gardens

Tuesday was incredibly windy!  The gusts were so loud it sounded like the roof was going to blow off the house a few times, and it was IMG_3093hissing through the kids’ bedroom window tot he point that they were getting a little put off.  Apparently these were abnormal winds (trade winds, maybe?), but they lasted 2 full days.  We didn’t even sit outside in the evenings after the kids were asleep as it was so windy and chilly (the good news was the bugs were kept away with the wind).

We started the day on  the east coast.  We first stopped at the Wailua Falls, one of the many gorgeous waterfalls on Kauai.  Like so many beautiful attractions on Kauai, it was just a quick (free!) stop off destination.  Most of us appreciated the view, but Hayden was upset because we’d originally thought we were going to go Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and told him there was a fun kids area, but we couldn’t get IMG_3094reservations for the kids’ tour in the morning so had to push that to the next day.  So the falls seemed a bit boring to him in comparison, but luckily for him there is not too much to do when viewing a waterfall – however beautiful – to keep you there too long.

We headed on to Lydgate Park and Beach.  This is a MUST for any family with kids visiting Kauai.  Hayden still says this is his favorite part of vacation, and as we were leaving the park he asked when we could come again.  They have a fantastic, huge playground that the kids had a blast exploring.  Unfortunately, we got our timing a bit off as it happened, and did the playground while it was lovely and sunny and tried the beach after it clouded over and eventually rained for a while.  I mentioned in my last post how crazy windy it was for a couple of days – add those enormous gusts to clouds and a bit of rain and it was downright cold while we were on the beach!  Apparently the water was cold too (it was nearing lunch and with the weather as it was I didn’t even bother changing into a swimsuit).  The kids and John spent a bit of time in the water – thereIMG_3096 was a nice little lagoon made by rocks to keep the water calm, similar to the day before.  The kids were over it after a few minutes, but John stayed in to do a little snorkeling.  He didn’t realize it had started raining, so we took cover under a tree while we waited for him – he got a new backpack with 700 compartments and it was easier to wait for his return than trying to figure out where the keys were.

We headed back south for lunch.  John and I went to the Koloa Fish Market to get some delicious fish for lunch, which we took back to the condo to eat while the kids had some sandwiches.  Layla helped herself to some of the edamame we had gotten (she approved).  I had their lunch special which was 3 generous pieces of 2 kinds of fish (ono and ahi) with various sauces I selected, some wonderful macaroni salad, and sushi rice.  It was excellent – but so big that I had to save the rest for another time, but it was just as great a couple of days later!  John got a seaweed salad and a scallop salad which he said were awesome.

We thought we were having pictures in the late afternoon so we didn’t want to venture too far after lunch.  We hit the pool and hot tub IMG_3102for a little while.  After we were all cleaned up and ready for the photos the photographer came by to check if we wanted to try in a couple of days when the winds wound down and it wasn’t so dreary.  So since we had a bit of time given to us we went to Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center.  I had failed to bring anything warm and wanted to get a long sleeved shirt/souvenir.  We all ended up getting Kauai/Poipu shirts, and I love mine so much I want to go back to get another different but similar one.

For dinner we went to Plantation Gardens Restaurant.  It took a while to figure out where to park – it’s part of a resort and it’s not obvious where the restaurant part is.  But to get to the restaurant you have to walk through their gorgeous gardens.  They had huge koi fish the kids enjoyed seeing and talking to.  The food was superb and the restaurant was very pretty.  And again by the time we left the kids were nearly ready to crash out!  I was not far behind them – I didn’t even make it to 9 before I was asleep watching tv.  We are filling our days to the brim and combining that with whatever is left of jet lag makes for hearty sleeping!