Surprise Trip to Hawai'i 2017 {Tacoma Portrait Photographer, Tacoma, WA}

If you have had the opportunity to follow us the last year, you know that 2017 has been one of the most challenging years of my life.  

I unexpectedly got very sick and found myself in a pretty critical situation where I was fighting for my life.   Coming out of that experience I learned that the time is NOW.  It caused me to take a hard look at my life.  I wanted to do more living and less waiting and creating, making memories with people we love.

When there were just two girls, Lyric and Wisdom - we used to do these "mommy-daughter" adventures.  We have traveled all over this country doing these "mommy-daughter, sister-cousin" trips to Texas, Arizona, California, Washington.  The girls started school and somehow we got away from connecting collectively and there was a longing there to bring the crew back together.

After a year like mine, it was so important to get the girls together and to live.   

Of all the things Melinda and I have done together, the thing I am most proud of is the relationship our girls have with one another.  When Wisdom gets around Lyric and Honour-Smile, she is her happiest.   There's a "settling in" that happens - where she feels fully accepted and loved and with "her people."  It is so fun to watch them take to one another and look after each other and can you believe ANOTHER girl was just added to this?   Precious Freedom Song was born in February 2018 and adds to this girl squad so beautifully!  Lyric and Honour-Smile are going to make incredible big sisters for her.

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When we told the girls separately we were going on a trip, we let them know it was going to be a fun mommy-daughter event, but what we didn't tell them is where we were going or who was coming with us.

On the day of departure, we "bumped" into each other at the airport and we were able to share the amazing news together.  You could imagine their faces and reactions as we ran into each other at the airport.   It made my mommy heart swell. 

Lyric was about to have a big birthday, and her only wish was to visit Hawaii - so it was the perfect birthday gift for her - and the two littlest travelers love "Moana," so it took very little convincing to get them fired up. 

We snorkeled Hanauma Bay, visited Sea Life Park, went to luau's, ate shaved ice, guava pancakes and the best ramen I have ever had.  Visited North Shore, swam in lagoons, watch dolphins play - we even got to remember Pearl Harbor.

The trip never lacked in excitement.  Even our down times were loaded with laughter, hugs and kisses, tears and dance parties.

When I reflect on my most fun moments of my adult life, this crew was always present.  Melinda is the perfect adventure partner because she is AS extra as me and totally joins me in going all out on adventures.  We drove all over Waikiki one morning so our girls could drink out of a coconut.

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar. – Robert Brault

This is the type of sister Melinda has been to me and I am forever thankful.

This trip taught me a lot about being spontaneous while also keeping your options open.

Holding on with your hands open, if there is such a thing.   It taught me that I want to adventure through life on a daily, and make every day like Hawaii - because it can be if we want it to be - it's perspective.

It taught me how valuable sisterhood is and just how much I love this crew and how deeply knitted they are into my heart, even the newest Watts babe.

While we were there, we had the opportunity to have our portraits taken by Kayleen T. Photography - it was raining that day - but we pressed anyway and I absolutely love what she created, memories I will cherish and hold onto for the rest of my life. 

LIVE MORE LIFE.  GET OUT AND GO.  BE THE ADVENTURER YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO BE.  

I am forever grateful for the memories we shared on that island and will always hold them so close to my heart - what a way to close out 2017!

You can check out the recap of our trip through Melinda's eyes by visiting her blog post here