Monday, December 17, 2012

No words.

Friday's tragedy has me at a loss. I cannot shake the images of those poor children out of my head. My imagination runs wild, thinking of their last few moments on earth. I can only pray they didn't experience any pain, suffering and most of all, fear. I, like many of you, think of my own babies-- and it literally breaks my heart. I picture Ava there, scared and wanting her parents to save her,  help her. So many kids didn't get the chance to be saved.

I do not know how these parents can move on after something like this. I honestly don't. Personally, I don't know that I could. I like to think I would find the strength to live on for the rest of my family, but I don't know that I could ever overcome the grief of losing a child-- especially in this horrific way.

For two days, I sat glued to the TV, waiting for updates on this tragedy-- trying to find answers, most of all a motive. I mean, how could someone do something so awful? I cannot comprehend it. What would compel anyone to do something like this?

The images of that small community literally hurt my heart. How do you explain to your child that their friends were killed? How do you look the parents of the deceased children in the face and not feel guilty that your own child is alive? How do people plan to reenter that scene where this awful massacre took place?

I don't blame the guns, however I would like to know why a rifle, that could do that amount of damage, is available for purchase to any "Regular Joe" walking down the street.

Nope, I don't blame the gun. I blame him-- and to me, a "history of mental illness", does not make what he did okay. How does a thought of such horrific acts even enter one's mind?? How are you that sick to even devise such a plan? I just don't get it. I can't wrap my head around it.

I can only imagine what the parents of Sandy Hook are going through. Looking at the Christmas presents under the tree that will never be opened. Plans crushed. Hearts ripped out.

Dropping Ava off at school this morning was a somber one.  As I sat there in the drop-off line, I imagined her little classroom and all of her beloved friends and teachers; there wouldn't even be time to hide if something like that happened in her class. If some crazy wanted to wreak havoc, he could. Sure, they have security but so did the school in CT. If someone is that determined, they will always find a way. It's so sad. What is the world coming to?

I guess that is what saddens me most-- that such evil exists in the minds of people. I pray those sweet babies are in a better place where things like this will never again touch them. And I pray for those left here on earth to find a way to make the world we live in, a better place for our children. This has to stop.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


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My dear friend Kate invited us to join her family on the lovely island of Maui in November 2012. The decision to join her was a no-brainer, having been to Maui in 2008 (before the kids were born) and remembering it as my most favorite vacation to date. This island is HEAVEN.

Fortunately, Kate's parents own a few properties here on the island; we decided to "take shelter" at Honua Kai-- in the King Kamehameha Suite with (yes, this is true) the LARGEST lanai on the island, a sprawling 3200 sqft! Don't believe me? They even wrote an article about it! Read it here.

The 270 degree view (yes, 270!) is like nothing you've ever seen-- and we got to admire rainbows (like the one pictured) DAILY. Each room opens-- wide open-- onto the lanai, allowing the warm island air to fill all of the rooms of the condo. It's simply impossible to describe the beauty of this place. Here are a few pics of the "joint", just to make you ooooooooze with jealousy!

And did I mention that actual condo is a whopping 2650 sqft, 3-bedroom-penthouse with King-size beds, and showers big enough to throw parties in? Yep! If you weren't jealous before, I have a feeling you might be a little "green" now-- especially when I tell you we spent 19 days there.

There are 3 different pools on the resort, which makes it hard to rope the kids in for nap-time, which was probably the worst of our problems, while on Maui.

Each day we jogged about 2.5 miles, along the gorgeous coastline to the Hyatt, where the kids were able to enjoy feeding penguins, koi fish and parrots. We would then treat ourselves to smoothies (we-- the adults-- get a little rum in ours!).

From there we slowly made our way back to Honua Kai, stopping for lunch at Whalers Village and detouring to the Ka'anapali Alii for a quick dip in the pool (her parents have another home here).

The kids got along gloriously-- Ryder who is 5, Ava and Graham who are 3 and Jack and Spencer who are 1. Here are some of the views we got to see during our daily jog:
Hibiscus-- they're EVERYWHERE
Playing in the lobby at the Hyatt

Their feet aren't even touching the ground! 
Each day brought new adventures. Lucky for us, there was a grocery about a mile away-- close enough to load the kids in the BOB stroller and head over to pick up some supplies (milk, eggs, wine, beer).

We even ventured out to take the bigger kids to a Luau, while Jordan (Kate's nanny) stayed behind with the babies. They loved it! Especially when they were asked to come onstage to learn the hula!

Pulling out the pig!

We even had some adult friendly adventures-- dinners in Lahaina, an overnight stay at the Four Seasons on the island of Lanai, as well as a local masseuse that came to the condo to give the most amazing massages. Let's be honest, all the kid-friendly activities had us in serious need of some relaxation!

Four Seasons at Menele Bay 

So why am I telling you this? I'm telling you because this entire experience is up for grabs! Yep, Kate's family has generously offered up a week long stay at this property, in the upcoming Benefit auction for Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club.  If I could magically replenish the funds we spent while in Maui, you can bet your keester that I would be the #1 bidder on this package! Sadly, we don't have a money tree in our backyard... and we likely spent our children's college fund while there. Poor kids. Better hope for scholarships!

So here's YOUR chance! The accommodations will be packaged with dinners, golf, manicures, massages and more-- just to make the package even more mouthwatering. The benefit, called The Gatsby Gala will take place on February 9, 2013 at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook. Visit the HJWC page to purchase tickets!

Mahalo Kate-- and to the Ryder family for memories that will last us a lifetime!

Jack even learned to walk while there!
On top of the world!!