Maui WOWEE! Our guide to Maui with Kids.

We started to come to Maui three years ago and haven’t hesitated since. We are certainly not experts on the island but are happy to share some of our favourite things and stuff we have found useful or helpful!

I should first say the recommendations I make are based on the fact that we are traveling with three little kids (Ages 1,3 and 4). There are so many things we wish we could do just the two of us, or that we have on a bucket list for next year when the kids are a little older. That being said our recommendations are for families with little kids!

I have so much more to share about Maui but will start with where we stay and why, some activities we like (or wouldn’t rush back to do) and of course where to eat.

LOCATION

I have only ever stayed in Kihei and Kapalua but I definitely prefer Kihei for weather, beaches and overall proximity to attractions. That being said I have yet to find an area of Maui I don’t love and wouldn’t want to try and stay.


Reasons we love KIHEI

  • Central for us to be able to do fun driving day trips all around the island
  • Close proximity to kid friendly beaches and a great park
  • See whales and turtles regularly just at the beach in front of our condo
  • Walkability to restaurants and shops
  • Price, as Kihei tends to be cheaper than most other areas on the island

WISHLIST

I do have a little wish list of places I would like to stay though and it includes a couple of nights in Hana. They have a few hotel/condos and then lots of VRBO’s and I think staying there allows you to explore a bit better than a one day adventure.

I also LOVE the mountains of Maui and would love to rent a house in one of the mountain towns (Kula or Makawao are two I would love). I can only imagine the views from some of these places but would do it for only part of our holidays knowing it is a bit of the ways from the beach.

Pa’ia has my heart and I think a night or two over there would give time to try out some of the great restaurants and get in some good shopping. It is small and not much to offer for family friendly beach or resort type accommodations but I love the vibe.

ACCOMMODATIONS

We stay at Kamaole Sands in Kihei and we love it. It has sentimental value to me because my Aunt and Uncle came her for many years and so it always makes me think of them. Although it is an older complex (1983) I find the exterior and amenities very well cared for. We love the fact that the pool area has a Keiki Pool that is 2 feet deep. Fraser loves the Weber BBQ’s and how well maintained they are. We also find the courtyard and gardens really pretty and love the large layout of the two bedroom units. Our first year we stayed in a one bedroom and it was also well laid out.

We do not have much to compare to as we haven’t tried staying anywhere else in Kihei, I do think there are pros and cons to all the different complex’s and once you are in Hawaii you cannot go wrong with any of them, you are in Hawaii and regardless of where you stay the beach is the beach and thats what you come for!

Like many complexes the condos are all different inside and some have major renovations and come with lots of extras (coolers, strollers, cribs, sand toys, beach chairs, boogie boards, etc). It is nice to find a condo with “extras” because it saves you from renting or buying these items.

***BUDGETING Recommendation Try to avoid booking through Airbnb or VRBO and find an owner direct rental. It saves the owner money and fees and means they can offer you a better rate. They often offer discounts if you stay a month or longer. Book as far in advance as you can (minimum a year) to save, the longer you leave it the higher the rates.

KID STUFF

If you are travelling with kids you may want car seats, a wagon, stroller, toys, high chair… the list is endless and so are the rental possibilities. I do recommend renting for a short trip as it is convenient and makes for a more enjoyable airport experience when you do not have to pack so much stuff.

For pricing and more info check out Maui Baby Rentals. We have used them and were very happy.

Homepage

However, for us when we come for a month the cost of the rentals adds up quickly. So, we bring all of our car seats. The kids actually sit on them inside the airplane and this is something we have found makes for a much better flight. Once they are buckled in they stay in and it is just easier. Car seats should be mentioned at check in and they must have a special sticker on them. We have also found they will let you load first on the plane so you can install and set up easily.

***Check with your airline to make sure your make and brand can fit (we travel with Diono and they are slim and fit well).

Strollers are easy as well, you can take them all the way to the gate. When you arrive they are often already unloaded when you get off the plane (especially if you are loading up car seats and getting organized inside the plane), we are often the last to get out. Sometimes it takes a bit to wait for strollers but just don’t go all the way to the baggage without the strollers or you will have to do a bit of work to locate them! We know because we have done it.

ACTIVITIES

Ho’okipa Beach

Family Favourite spot to go. This could be a day trip or just a stop on your way home from somewhere else. We never miss an opportunity to stop here. There are always so many turtles to see which is super cool, on a good day lots of surfers which is fun to watch, plus the fruit stand is great here (bananas, fresh coconut and locally grown tropical fruit). Plus often there are little trinket shops set up and smoothie truck (Very good!!!).

Whalers Village

Fun place to shop, variety of stores! Love that this shopping centre is on the beach and is a nice place to see Ka’anapali if you aren’t staying there. Probably not something we need to do every year. Great kids shop, has toys but also really nice kids clothes (carries some brands like Splendid kids that aren’t found everywhere). Cinnamon Girl is also a great shop for little girl dresses (and you can even get Mom a matching one). There are a couple of restaurants along the beach here too, we haven’t eaten at them before but they are chain style and look to be a good spot to eat.

North Loop Coastline

We drove from Kahului around to Lahaina and it was beautiful. Definitely windy and lots of single lane or tiny roads, so you need a good driver that day. We loved it! Stopped and got Julia’s Banana Bread and Guava lemonade. Best banana bread we have had on island and yet to find anything that compares to it. Definitely take time to stop and explore a little on the drive. Kids loved climbing on rocks and looking over at the blowhole. Plus when you make the turn towards Kapalua side of the island it is really neat to see Molokini so close to Maui. Great drive and lots to see, plus it isn’t nearly as long of a commitment as the Road to Hana. So, you can still make it back to the beach in the afternoon.

Friday Block Parties

Every Friday Maui has rotating block parties in different towns. We did the Kihei party last year and loved it. SO many food trucks, food smelt so good, lots of fun and cheap activities for the kids including bouncy castles and water activities, plus local vendors to shop at. This year Fraser took the girls down expecting the same thing but rain had vendors shut down and closing up so they didn’t get to do much. We attempted the following Friday in Wailuku and I am sad to say we got there only to find out it had been canceled that Friday. It is really too bad because Wailuku looked like such a great party! I definitely want to check out Wailuku towns Main Street as they seemed to have some great shops along there. We might go to tomorrows Chinese New Year inspired Friday Block Party in Lahaina, I think its gonna be great.

Iao Valley & the Needle

Highly recommend checking out the mystical Iao Valley, it may be rainier here but it just adds to the beauty. I love how Maui has so many microclimates. When you drive up to the needle it is $5 to park and then you can take the 133 steps to the lookout and it is beautiful. Definitely an easy trail, all of our kids could do the stairs and it was a fun adventure without much effort.

Flea Market

I would probably suggest skipping the Flea Market, in my opinion it is extremely hot and not a lot of shelter for stuff you can find at many stands through out the island. Plus depending on where you stay in Maui it is a bit of a drive into Kahului and it is only on the weekend so you are missing out on possibly another fun weekend activity. Not something I would rush back to do.

Pa’ia

LOVE LOVE LOVE Pa’ia town. This hippie hipster surfer town is everything I want and love. The shops here are my favourite the vibe is so laid back and great and tons of options for yummy food. Leave the hubs and kids at home and bring the cash and cards…

Captain Woody’s Charter Tours

Highly recommend having Captain Woody talk you and the family out. This tour maxes out at 6 guest and comes with your own Captain who felt more like a friend and one crew member. What we loved is this was completely tailored to what we wanted to do and see. You let him know what you want. We were able to shorten the day (which was only because we didn’t know how the kids would do out on the boat). 2.5 hours was perfect for our kids but defiantly not long enough. We saw pods of whales so close it I was so cool but he is also able to take you fishing, snorkelling, to swim with turtles or really whatever you desire. Loved Woody and loved the boat and loved the tour. Would definitely do again.

Spa at The Grande

LOVE. So again the Grand Wailea is one of my favourite spots. I just love it an the spa is no exception. The amenities are so nice and relaxing you could stay all day. The baths are included with any service and I do recommend a scrub, Vichy shower and massage. My whole treatment was incredible and smelt so good. Plus vacationing is tough and so is laying on beaches and sleeping in hotel beds, everyone NEEDS a massage on vacation. This truly is a must. The spa itself isn’t modern or much to look at in terms of appearance but the treatments leave you feeling like a queen. This is a MUST do! Don’t look at the bill, just go for it and while you are at it treat yourself to something from their spa gift shop:)

Haleakala (Crater)

So we have done the crater twice now and thank goodness Fraser told me to try it a second time. The first time we went up it was very cold and dreary day and you couldn’t see a thing! The next time we went up temperature wasn’t nearly as cool (plus we dressed warm, think top of a mountain) and it was clear all the way to the big Island. No kidding you could look out and see the Big Island, a local pointed Kona out to us. The view and trail from Leleiwi Lookout was as cool as the summit so make sure you stop! This was a great trail for our kids to get out and stretch their legs plus you literally felt like you were walking on and above the clouds. Our next time we do the crater we want to try it at night and see the stars! Fraser did this on a motorcycle and loved the ride. Just make sure you dress warm and bring gloves.

Road to Hana

It took us three years to decide to do the Road with the kids and it was perfect. We packed the night before and left early (7:30am). We also had been watching the weather, and waited for a day when it had been nice the day before as well, we picked perfectly.

We had just past Jaws beach (which is the very beginning of the road, not even at the first waterfall yet) and Grace got car sick. We were prepared with lots of wipes, garbage bags and changes of clothes. Good thing Grace is a puke and rally kinda girl because our first stop was just a pullout on the side of the road that lead us into the bamboo forest.

It was so muddy and we think it lead to a waterfall but got too tough to take all the kids down and we turned back. It was very dark in the bamboo forest and for us best done barefoot but so cool! The pathways were narrow, slippery and some were a bit of an incline.

We had done a lot of reading and used our Maui Revealed Book for ideas. I would suggest marking out some of the stops ahead of time where you want to go, I am really glad we did that as the road doesn’t have tons of places to pull over or turn around it. We still left room to be spontaneous and stop at stuff that came up but it also meant we didn’t miss things we wanted to see.

We stopped at The Garden of Eden and it was beautiful with lots of good lookouts and views and was easy for the kids. I would definitely say we altered our stops and what we did because of the kids. They weren’t great for a long or difficult walk but they loved getting in and out of the car and really wanted to swim at a lot of the stops which was unexpected and great. They even all attempted to swim at the waterfall which was awesome.

We did the full circle for driving around Hana and I am so glad we did. The unpaved Road was narrow and bumpy but nothing our old “07 Hyundai mini van couldn’t handle. Only once did we find a stop we couldn’t make because it required 4X4 and just for fun I would love to rent a Jeep and do the road again. I would also suggest spending the night or a couple of nights in Hana to be able to enjoy and explore a bit more.

I loved the road home from Hana as much as the road to Hana and like all Maui this area did not disappoint. It was so diverse and so beautiful. It made for a long day (home around 6pm) but so worth it! I think everyone liked our Trip to Hana.

Our own “Baby Beach”

So we have a little beach we call Baby Beach but it is just north of the official Baby Beach near Pa’ia.

Friends of ours took us here last year and we have recommended it to others who love it as much as we do. You can often see turtles on the beach or swimming but don’t expect to see many tourists and don’t go on a weekend because it is full of locals.

The beach itself is more coarse than the beaches in Kihei but it has a reef protecting the little pool from all the big waves and is the perfect spot to snorkel or let the kids play and swim. We love it.

Turn left on Stable just after the airport, you may see a sign saying “Farm Market” keep going and stay to the left. You will drive along a dirt road that has the airport directly on the left side. Turn right down one of the dirt roads (pick one), there are a few with yellow gates that get locked and may have a sign posting park hours. It is not fancy or well marked but it is private and perfect.

RESTAURANTS


This is an area I don’t have much to say because we don’t take the kids out much. That being said we do do take out and this year we have attempted a few more restaurant visits than normal and they have gone pretty good. Here are some of our spots:)

Breakfast:

BEACH STREET MAUI SHAVE ICE. It’s a walk up spot in Rainbow Mall just offering hot and cold breakfasts, açai bowls and some breakfast sandwiches as well as shaved ice. I love the Paniolo Açai Bowl and the kids love the Hawaii Rainbow Shave Ice and not just because it is so colourful but because when you get to the bottom there are gummy bears!

CINNAMON ROLL PLACE. These guys are open early and are always serving up warm and gooey cinnamon buns. They had me sold when I found out they make them all without raisins which I hate in cinnamon buns and I love all the “extra” toppings. You put on your own icing and I always add Mac Nuts.

KIHEI CAFE. This place is really good and extremely busy. We love that one of us can go and order while the other one takes the kids to the park across the street to play. Then we eat at the park! Everything from the fresh squeezed juice to the delicious Banana Mac Nut Pancakes are amazing. Great family friendly meal out!

Still to try… BELLE SURF CAFE, SIP ME

Lunch:

808 DELI. Great selection of made to order hot and cold sandwiches as well as salads! So close to the beach its easy to grab and take down with you or pick up on your way back to your room. Don’t have a favourite because I always want to try something new.

FORK & SALAD. This is a favourite spot of mine, they now have two locations one in Aztec Mall in Kihei and one right by Target and Starbucks in Kahului. Everything is sourced as local as they can, they have a large selection of salad suggestions but you can also make your own and their salad bar options are limitless! Bonus you always feel good after eating here. We do this one for our first meal in Maui because we always know it will be good and is fast and easy!

PA’IA FLATBREAD COMPANY AMAZING! When we were here they mentioned they have a location and Whistler and we would go just to eat there. The unusual topping combinations sound odd but taste incredible. Crust is not too thick and is great! Plus if you cant make up your mind you can do half and half. Family friendly too! A must do when in Pa’ia.

MONKEY POD Food is amazing, Happy Hour is extremely Happy! Kid friendly (ours loved their Lava Flow drinks and of course hand cut truffle fries!) and lots of seating, first come first serve for the patio and you will definitely want to make reso’s or be prepared to wait a while! The pizza here was so good, but I am guessing there wasn’t a bad option on the menu. Super cheap especially for Hawaii if you hit them up during Happy Hour.

FOOD TRUCKS at Kihei Station. If you want someplace easy and fast with a variety of options try the Food Trucks at Kihei Station behind Aztec Mall. We had fish and chips and fish tacos. Kids liked the fish and chips (a little on the greasy side), and we loved the fish tacos. We also tried the Thai place and it was good and fresh. This may not be the best of what Maui has to offer but is convenient and easy. Lots of seating and really fast for dining with cranky or busy kids.

BAILEYS CAFE- local Gourmet Food Truck in Haiku. INCREDIBLE. We had a mixed plate with locally grass fed steak, lemon butter prawns, green salad and of course Mac salad. Plus the kids got their fried rice. I am still dreaming of this amazing food, I think my favourite food truck in Maui! So fresh and so delicious.

Dinner:

OUTRIGGER PIZZA I guess we got a thing for pizza. This one is really good plus super cool how they run it out of a parking lot in a tiny food truck pizza oven. Even better if you want delivery you can use Hopper and have it brought to you. I personally think this pizza is best eaten fresh.

BRICK OVEN PIZZA Entirely Gluten Free restaurant which is pretty unique. Was good, but since we don’t have to eat GF and there are so many GREAT pizza places we might try somewhere else first. Kids loved the bread sticks and I loved the chocolate lava cake.

MERRIMANS Hands down best restaurant. Location and setting is incredible and the food is just as good! Love it here wish it wasn’t so far from Kihei. IF you are staying in the Ka’anapali/ Napili/ Kapalua area you must go here.

FLEETWOODS Well they had us sold with the name and suggestion that we could see Mick the owner possibly playing. The night we went we had reso’s for rooftop dining and sunset ceremony but it was raining. Didn’t matter a spot beside the stage meant wonderful live music, a really beautiful sunset ceremony with traditional Hawaiian traditions and a bagpiper and delicious food. Beautiful restaurant. Something for everyone. Maybe next year we can find a sitter and go hear Mick play!

HUMUHUMU Amazing. Like everything Grand it was just that. I love being at the Grand Wailea and HumuHumu restaurant is no exception. The setting is stunning, we were there after sunset so you couldn’t see around but it is a Polynesian inspired thatched roof series of huts with cool larger party dining areas. The seats were so comfy Rowen fell asleep in them and they cater to families. Dining out is expensive in Maui, this restaurant was considered on the pricer end, we would disagree. First, you get what you pay for but second kids eat for free and the kids meals were delicious. The steak, veggies and rice would have been a great adult meal and the chicken strips and fries pleased everyone. Our service was top notch and she was incredible at making sure the kids were happy, fast food, stuffed animals for each kid and ice cream too! I had the catch of the day and it was great, Fraser had the Wagyu Beef and it was good, portions were huge neither one of us could finish and we didn’t even have room to order dessert.

Sweet Sweet Summertime

Hi everyone, I have been MIA for a few quick months because I was busy having too much fun this summer. I had every intention of taking some time to write and blog but when given the chance to be outside and have fun I will always pick that! Hence, this post.

Summertime fun. So our family loves heat, beach, no shoes, swimming and pretty much all things summer. I would guess it is our families favourite season (Fraser would say he loves winter but I think he is just trying to be different). I cannot pin point exactly what makes summer so great but I think for the majority of my family it is the lack of clothing (I live with nudists), ease of peeing outside and ability to be outside without worry of weather (we don’t like being cold)! Sunshine makes us happy:)

I was planning on doing a summer wishlist/ bucket list at the beginning of the season but it will have to be a recap of what we got up to and recommendations for families. I think a lot of these suggestions can be taken into other seasons! So hopefully they give you some ideas for a Family Fall Bucket List.

This summer was all about LOCAL fun for us. We do a pretty big trip in the winter (a month in maui!). So, we try to limit time off work for Fraser and expensive holidays in the summer when there is so much locally for free or cheap!

Some of our regular GO-To’s include:

  • PARKS: this is a big one for us. My kiddos love parks and they are free (or mostly, it sometimes involves us stopping to grab some take out, maybe picking up a starbucks on the way, or ice cream afterwards… so close to free). Some of our favourite from this summer included
  • GARDEN CITY PARK

    STEVESTON COMMUNITY PARK

    TSAWWASSEN FIRST NATIONS SPORTS FIELD COMPLEX

  • FARMS: The only thing my kids love more than a park is the farm, they aren’t super picky but they LOVE Emma Lea Farms.
  • If we are away they are so excited when we stop at farms along the way, however if we are just hanging out at home they get so excited to go grab an ice cream, walk the fields (eat more than they pick… I promise we pay for it all!), say hi to the donkeys and play in the play area. This was a weekly activity for sure for us. We often hit up the farm during long weekends and holidays as they had “extras” like BBQ’d hot dogs, face painting and music. One of the best things about the farm is you can grocery shop your fruit and veg while you are there, plus you can bring in your own food and eat so we would often bring White Spot and eat a meal then play. The other thing is it was a great meeting spot for inviting friends, we would all meet up and paly for the day while enjoying berry picking, sundaes and just farm life!
  • In addition to Emma Lea, Nan (my mom) lives on a small hobby farm with a HUGE garden she spent her whole summer tending (in preparation of my sisters wedding). Plus they also have some horses on the property, so another extremly popular spot for our kids is Nans house (specifically the dirt pile), but also the garden and horses!
  • BEACHES: We are so fortunate to have so many good beaches only minutes away from our house so we could often be found out at the ferry causeway, Tsawwassen Beach (family members cabin… we are pretty lucky!) and Centennial Beach.
  • However this year we took a quick island trip and discovered a love for Parksville and Rathtrevor Beach Provinvial Park. I think for next year we have Tigh-Na-Mara Spa & Resort down on our list of places to visit. After spending an afternoon at the provincial park we didnt want to leave plus the resort has so much to offer families and we had friends stay and recommend it for families so I can’t wait to go back and try it out.
  • FAMILY & FRIENDS: Gotta be one of the best things about summer time is the more flexible and open schedules when school is out and often families take holidays so they are home a bit more through out the summer. We had two friends have new babies and my sister got married. So, that meant many showers and festivities plus baby visits and just fun family time spent celebrating! These are memories and moments to treasure.
  • This year we also decided to end the summer off with a camping holiday in Lake Country with 8 other families, 18 kids total! It was phenomenal. I am not a camper, and although I am assured the trailer we rented didn’t classify as camping, I hesitate to consider it “Glamping”. However our kids cried leaving their new “home” and all their friends. They LOVED it and it was definitely a reminder of trying to do what we can to make holidays and traditions with others work.
  • OUR BACKYARD: We decided to build a new deck this year and purchased a small above ground pool, this was a game changer and for the first month of having the pool I think the kids swam everyday. It will definitely be a work in progress as we imagine we will need to upgrade the size and also make it a little nicer in our backyard, but it sure made staying in and having kids over a ton of fun!
  • After looking through just some of our many pictures and fun from the summer I realize the common thread amongst all of it is taking time to have fun, enjoy outside and spend it with the people we love. I feel so fortunate that most of our family and friends live super close to us and we are able to see often. I think we are lucky to be able to have me at home with our kids but also have Fraser work such a flexible job that he is always around and we are able to do so much as a family. However at the end of the day it is just remembering life is short, kids will grow up and they might not want to do all of this fun stuff with us forever so take advantage fo the time you have.
  • The kids might not remember the two weeks I drove them to South Surrey for their private swim lessons, or the first time we let their cousin sleep over and the 30 times I had to go in to tell them to go to sleep, the week I spent packing for camping or the four days it took to unpack and finish all the laundry after the trip, renting sea doos, going to the Kanagroo Farm but they will remember who they spent their time with and all the traditions we created (I hope!). I hope they will also take some of their favourite childhood memories and traditions and carry them on to their own families like we have. It is so cool when we get to take them to some of the same holiday spots I used to enjoy (like a family members vacation spot on Lake Whatcom, or blackberry picking like we used to do with our Aunt every summer).
  • I am trying to embrace all that Fall brings with it as the changing of season is good (I guess) and Summer can’t last forever. I know that routine is good for my house as hard as it is for us to stick to it. I am so proud of all the learning and growing the kids have done through the summer and the amazing start the oldest two have had at preschool! I am also excited for the cozy fall clothes although I know it will mean many arguments with the kids to put shoes on!
  • Goodbye Summer, thanks for all the sunshine, fun and memories. Until next year.
  • “You must learn to master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. “ – Marianne Williamson

    This quote is kinda exactly how I feel today. It’s funny because I was always searching for a way to relax a little, let go of stuff that isn’t really important, appreciate what I have instead of striving for more or better and to try and live more in the now instead of dwelling on the past and stressing about the future. Insert having kids, did I mention 3 kids in 3 years… and this is truly what has happened.

    Kids change everything, at least they did for me, even the way I think. Instead of having time to overthink and worry and pick apart everything I am learning to master a new way of thinking which includes:

    Breathing. When I am feeling tense or stressed take a few deep breathes

    Living in the chaos. It’s okay if the floor is dirty, laundry doesn’t get done today, my mouldings aren’t wiped down, etc… Embrace it, life with small kids is chaotic so if they ended up “helping” with cleaning the floors and now they look even worse, it’s okay! This has been a hard change for me, but we are working on finding compromise in this area. Over Christmas we had a cleaner come in twice, knowing I would be distracted by mess but Christmas is busy and we were hosting a few events. It is harder to let go of organization when we are entertaining so it was a good plan. This simple thing helped me to be able to enjoy the moments and just sit back and entertain instead of worry about the mess! Sometimes living in the chaos also means accepting when I need help and hiring or asking for it. Easier said then done but I am trying.

    Humble & Grateful. I am really trying to remember that we are fortunate and to be aware and conscious of that. I do believe we work hard and make choices but I also know to be grateful that we live in the country we live in, have the family and friends we have, the list is really endless and I just want to always remember to be grateful for all that we have that has helped us to be able to live the life and lifestyle we do, not just our hard work and choices (although they do play a role in it).

    Live in the moment. This is a huge one for me. I am not sure if it has been aging and seeing friends or peers suffer (either loosing parents, becoming ill, or even loosing peers and friends), some are even strangers that you hear about in the news but that resemble us a little to closely and leave me feeling that could have been us. Or if it has been having kids and realizing you want to be there for them forever (or at least a really long time). But I am really trying to live in the moment with and for my kids. I want them to have amazing memories of us and all the things we did together or the way we listened and were there for them. I would hate to look back 20 years from now and regret not living in those moments. So, it is maybe one of my hardest changes of thinking but I am making an effort to do it! It is also amazing to me how much our kids admire and love us right now, I don’t want to miss this time where Fraser and I are their everything’s because one day, probably sooner than I can imagine, that will change.

    It’s so funny because every since I changed my way of looking and thinking about things I am different. My whole body is different. I am physically less tense, my body feels better, my mind is less stressed, I don’t have headaches, it is amazing the things that can change. I feel like I am open and people can feel it. I am attracting just a bunch of good things! Friends, money, even with my kids and in all my relationships. It is amazing how powerful the mind is, and to think it was there all along.

    For me a lot of my new way of thinking is around asking myself “Why Not?”, or “What’s the worst that could happen?”

    I have always been a bit of a dreamer and have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations. Here is the thing I am learning, still dream but come up with ways to make them my reality. SO “why not” or “what’s the worst that could happen” help determine if I should try something.

    Take for example last year when Fraser and I did a renovation and a 10 day holiday to Hawaii with two kids under 2 and while I was pregnant with our third (some might call this crazy). We sat on the beach last year and talked about what it would be like to just come and stay in Hawaii for a month, fast forward a year and we made it happen. It wasn’t luck or even digging ourselves into a ton of debt with no thought to the future. It was making choices through out the year that lead us to being able to make this work, as well as a little prioritizing what mattered to us. We missed a good childhood friend of mines wedding in Mexico in November because we couldn’t do both, and that’s just one example of the compromises we made. Obviously for us the overall goal was to have quality time as a family and also some R&R.

    R&R Rest & Relaxation… this is funny, so we are on vacation with a 3 year old boy who has lots of energy and is in the early stages of getting an Autism diagnosis (meaning we are learning how to help him with certain issues we have been having), a 2 year old daughter who has an attitude of a 16 year old and a temper like no other and of course our 10 month old teething babe who is crawling but not walking yet:) Some might wonder how we would possibly think this could be restful or relaxing. And old me would have agreed, all children are still in diapers and when we left home no child was sleeping through the night. But with a little shift of our thinking you can change your whole outlook on something. Instead of wishing we were going without our kids, or that our kids were older (out of diapers, sleeping through the night) I have been focusing on the positives or looking for wins as they happen, and boy have they been happening.

    First, I was a little concerned about the airport (we were bringing a lot of child related equipment and I never know how my kids will behave). I am happy to say we handled the luggage and equipment so easily and that the kids were amazing. So much so that we had compliments from other passengers! I call this a parenting win and a great way to start off. It also helps to adjust your way of thinking because any doubts you had are pushed aside.

    Now we are just enjoying having no schedule, making sure kids are happy and fed, well rested, etc. This is relaxing because at home we sometimes skipped meals, or were too busy rushing to get to something that we missed a nap or couldn’t sleep in after a bad night because we had to be somewhere. Commitments and schedules can be stressful and have an impact on me for sure which in turn impacts our whole families attitudes and outlook. I’m really going to work on slowing down at home and trying to bring this more relaxed way of dealing with our kids home with me. It is obviously different in a home environment but I think we can take some of it with us when we go home!

    I guess what I have learnt is rest and relaxation doesn’t have to look like massages and days at the spa, relaxing and reading on the beach and sunsets from the lanai with wine in hand. Instead it can be a quick pedicure while the kids are taking a break with dad from the sun, an hour escape down to the beach with my book or even just sitting with Eleanor watching the other two play in the sand, and nothing beats a sunset view with all kids happily playing (plus you can still have wine!). Things evolve and what I am finding out is they are for the better. My biggest fear is to stay the same, so why not embrace change in every aspect and see what comes with it. For now I am going to enjoy the stage of life we are at… busy, chaotic, messy and all!

    Merry Everything A Happy Always!

    So we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of 5, and it was great!

    Unfortunately our whole house was hit with a terrible flu for over a week before Christmas and honestly I think it was a bit of a blessing in disguise. It was terrible… not only was I very sick but I was still mom so it meant up at night with sick kiddos, many loads of laundry, being puked on and lots of disinfecting but also feeling absolutely horrible myself. Thank goodness we seemed to alternate kids being sick and I could try to comfort all my babies at different times! It is very hard to be outnumbered by your littles. The blessing though was it meant last minute me just gave up on a lot of the ideas I had of a perfect Christmas.

    See Fraser and I come from two very different versions of Christmas.

    My childhood Christmases had many traditions, we were raised Catholic so defiantly Christmas had a religious aspect to it including Church on Christmas, nativity sets and the story of Christmas were all part of our traditions! We also were spoilt at Christmas. With 7 biological Aunts & Uncles (plus spouses), many family friends or pseudo “aunts/ uncles”, 4 Grandparents, and almost everyone living locally our Christmas Day was spent unwrapping a lot of gifts. When I look back at it as an adult I don’t know how my single mom managed to pull off such incredible Christmas’s! Plus I also realize we got so much stuff… and it was so unnecessary. Do not get me wrong, I loved our Christmas gifts and traditions, I never complained. But now having kids of our own and struggling with Christmas lists and gift ideas for the kids or space to put all their new stuff I realize that this is not the same Christmas traditions I want to set up for our family (although it is tempting). I feel so lucky that we had the magical and family filled Christmas traditions we did and cannot wait to start making memories of Christmas for our kids.

    Fraser on the other hand was raised without religion and with a much smaller family who was much more practical when it came to gifts. They had lots of their own traditions but religion was not apart of Christmas, gifts played a much smaller role and they had a more intimate group of family at Christmas. One interesting thing about Fraser’s Christmas memories revolve around food, although they had an always changing Christmas menu he has some things that he loves to make for Christmas and I like the idea of that being a tradition we can carry on with our kids.

    I like to think we will take our two versions of what Christmas looks like and meld them together for a nice fit of what Christmas will look like for our family.

    I definitely want our kids to know the religious background of Christmas and I do know that this is something that Fraser most likely will not want to participate in. Religion is a funny thing, I am learning that it is scary for people who didn’t grow up with it and I would never want to force it on him. So, hopefully this is an area I can manage to teach the kids with the help of my family. I know one day they will make their own decisions but I like the idea of them being informed and knowing about religion and the background of Christmas!

    Our Christmas started on the 22nd and ended on the 25th, so it was just a couple of days and we tried to make each day just have one or two things planned. We are not hugely routine and try to be flexible but kids do require certain things through out the day (mainly meals and we always benefit from a nap). So, we did try to keep that in mind but I do find with the holidays and so many different activities going on routine and structure goes out the window.

    We try to celebrate Christmas with both our families and all the Great Grandparents and extended family which often means many dinners and visits but the benefit to this is more quality visits and gifts for the kids are spread out over a couple of days. I love this because they don’t get “tired” of opening gifts and they get to enjoy and appreciate each gift and we know who gave what! Plus the whole Christmas season is so much money and work I like the idea of extending it over a period of time to at least make all the effort feel more worthwhile.

    I have to say being sick right before Christmas meant I didn’t have as much free time or extra time to run out to the mall and go over the top on presents or even decor. This was a great lesson to teach me that I didn’t miss all the over the top stuff I would normally be all over. The kids stockings had just the right amount of stuff and each kid had a few fun gifts as well as a few things I knew they needed. Fraser and I didn’t exchange gifts this year as we decided instead to make a donation to a fundraiser that was more meaningful to us than any gift we could have bought. Plus our big Christmas gift this year is starting off 2018 with Fraser taking 7 weeks holidays and us spending a month in Maui! Although we may not be able to continue this extended period of time every year I hope we always are able to take time off in January and to start off the New Year spending quality time as a family and rest and relax.

    I think that the way we are starting 2018 is also the way we are ending 2017, the idea is about spending quality time and enjoying the kids early years with our family. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit of over indulging in every way (over eating, over drinking, over scheduling, over spending and over gifting… ) but when we all got sick all the rest kinda stopped and by the time I was feeling good enough to start thinking Christmas it was here and I just made do with what I had prepared and it ended up being more than enough food, decorations, gifts and booze:) Well I did make a last minute liquor store run but… LOL:). I think you get the idea, we have more than enough and Christmas is about more than gifts.

    At the end of December I do not want to have gone into a bunch of debt to buy a bunch of stuff that we don’t need and the reality is we don’t “need” anything as we are so well provided for. But there are people who are less fortunate and do need, and that is a lesson I hope to teach our kids. We used to go shopping with my aunt every year at Christmas and help pick out a bunch of toys for the toy bank, plus my Grandparents always helped with he Christmas Hampers through the legion. These are just a few of the traditions my family had for giving back that I still remember and want to pass on doing similar stuff with our kids. These types of “gifts” are ones that have lasting impressions and teach more than any other gift ever could.

    As 2017 comes to an end I can’t help but feel it was an EPIC year for the Farlow family. We are all healthy and happy, we have more than enough, our year was filled with way more good days than bad and we added to our family with Eleanor completing our little family. Fraser had a phenomenal year at work and continues to enjoy his job which is most important. I started my blog and also found doTerra and have made essential oils a part of our daily life. Plus we have made some healthy lifestyle changes, started to implement exercise and healthy eating into our lives. Overall I have loved 2017, and with that I am excited to start off 2018! This new year brings promise of some new adventures and self discovery. I am starting off January with a one day wellness retreat (including Yoga, mediation and oils!), I have a few oil classes planned and can’t wait to see what personal growth stuff I uncover this coming year. Plus we have some big goals with Rowen for 2018 including completing his Autism Assessment and starting to get some help in place so we can get him prepped for grade school and start him off with as much support in place as possible, Grace will start preschool this year (September) and I am excited for her to have something of her own and our little Eleanor will celebrate her first birthday!

    So Merry Everything and A Happy Always from our family to yours I hope this year was one for the record books and I hope 2018 brings you even more good things. XOXO