So Annabelle. Our prim and proper, rule-abiding, paragraph spouting child. She hates to be dirty, she still often requests that I feed her for fear of the food getting on her, and she routinely organizes her toys into colors, stacks, shapes, etc. She's the perfect picture of OCD.
But put her in a swimming suit and set her free in Hawaii? Totally different child. It's very ironic the way our girls trade personalities near sand and surf. Annabelle spent HOURS upon HOURS basking, playing, swimming in the "bubble pool," getting buried in the sand, and building sand castles (thanks to her very patient and very sweet aunts and uncle without whom this trip would've been an entirely different ball game).
She was still cautious about the ocean, due to our warnings, and until the last day, wouldn't go near it unless she was holding a hand. But the last few hours we were there? She jumped and laughed and splashed. She let that ocean beat against her legs. I'll never forget the happiness on her face in the hours before we left.
Annabelle also seemed to grow up in bounds this trip. She was so patient and responsible. She had only a couple exhaustion-induced tantrums, and instead was as obedient as I could've ever expected her to be. She made sure she had her sunblock on and often demanded she do it herself. She made sure her sister had her sunblock on. She sat patiently through meals. When we flew home, despite the red eye exhaustion that had depleted her legs of any willpower, she walked every step of those connecting flights because she literally had to. We walked her pace and took a few breaks, and she took on the role of big sister so marvelously.
When we told people we were taking our babies to Hawaii (again), so many of them looked at us like we were crazy. And perhaps it is a little nuts. But for us, so much of the joy of Hawaii and our yearly road trips is our babies. We've learned that although they are still very young, these trips change them. They see the world. They recognize our respect for God's beautiful creations and adopt it themselves. They know that a national park means a stamp in their National Park Passport Book. They are changed as they stretch and expand and wrap themselves around new places and worlds and ideas.
Yes, vacationing or roadtripping with kids is fairly exhausting for the parents. But the reward at the end far outweighs the sleep deprivation and advanced planning that a vacation requires.
And lest you were concerned, there are more photos. Jess took some amazing AMAZING shots this trip. So stay tuned. :)