Travel to Maui

EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-9I spent the past week in Maui, Hawaii with the family and it was a dream vacation!  We started planning this trip almost a year ago, so the excitement and anticipation for it was high.   Maui delivered in a big way and left us with many happy memories.   The number one reason I would consider going back to Maui is for the crazy number of beautiful beaches.  We started each morning on a different beach and each one was great for swimming and completely gorgeous.

If you ever plan a trip to Maui I highly recommend the Maui Revealed Book.   We used it so many times and it never let us down.
Believe it or not, this was one of our cheaper vacations!  We used airline miles for plane tickets and booked a condo off Airbnb.  (Use that link and we will both get Airbnb credits)  We opted to save money by staying across the street from the ocean rather than right on it.   We tend to explore and drive a lot on our vacations so this worked out just fine for us.  We didn’t do any excursions or extras on this trip since there is so much to see and do on your own.  Our one splurge was spending the last night at a resort on Ka’anapali beach (which I wouldn’t recommend).   Matt and I preferred the quiet condo but the kids had fun.

We stayed in Kehei which we found to be a great choice because it was so central.  We thought nothing of driving any direction on the island from there.

I almost considered not bringing my camera along (seriously!!) because it is so heavy.  But in the end that was just crazy talk so I did bring my secondary camera body (Nikon D700) with just the Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens.   That ended up being a great choice because I never felt like I was lacking a focal length.   An alternative for a lighter carry might be a 35mm and a 50mm or 85mm.   That’s my recommendations.  I’m suggesting this because I seriously struggled with what equipment to bring.

The first day in Maui was a chill day to try to adjust to the new time zone.   I think we all woke up around 4:30am!  We hit Makena Beach the first day.   The waves were so fun to swim in and boogie board in. 🙂


This massive lava rock was so cool!


Ho’okipa Beach is one of the few places I remember from my visit to Maui 15 years ago.   It’s a good place to catch surfers.   It was extremely windy and quite cloudy the day we were there.  I don’t think the surf was particularly high either.


We spent an afternoon in Lahaina and ate dinner (lunch?) on the water.   It was a nice break from all of the swimming and really pretty there.   There were a lot of people but not half as many as I was expecting from everything I had read about Lahaina before going.
This Banyan tree was pretty amazing!


Not a bad lunch view 🙂


Of course we would get a kick out of this school sign.


We took a day to do the road to Hana.   I vaguely remembered it from my prior trip and wasn’t overly excited about it because of the long winding narrow road.   It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, at least until Hana.   Past that point, it’s crazy narrow.   We got a little bit of a late start around 8:30am.   We didn’t stop really at all for the first hour.   I highly recommend the gypsy app for the road to Hana!   It was very informative and told you when and where to stop.


My kids loved all of the wild cats and chickens on the island.


I gotta be honest and say I’m not really into waterfalls.  If I see one, I’m happy.   I don’t need to see 30.  And I’m certainly not willing to deal with crowds of people to see them.   We didn’t go out of our way to see too many.


We also got a kick out of these ferrets.. (mongooses?).


My very favorite part of the road to Hana is the Wai’anapanapa State Park just before Hana.   This place is like something out of a fairy tale.  The colors were so incredible and didn’t even seem real.   My only complaint was the crowded beach ;).   But the waves were big so we didn’t swim much anyways.


We stayed and swam in Hana for a few hours after eating lunch.

EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-68EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-67We continued past Hana to the 7 sacred pools.   That drive was a bit sketch with a narrow almost one lane road most of the way.   The pools were pretty though and Matt and kids took a swim.  EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-70EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-72EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-73EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-71We opted to not continue around the island and instead went back the way we came.   We started back kind of late and hit sunset along the way but the roads were empty at this point which we much preferred.   EMILY_DENNIS_PHOTOGRAPHY-75

Haleakala Crater

One of my favorite things we did was the drive to the Haleakala Crater.  Instead of doing sunrise (and waking up in the middle of the night) we just went during the day.   We loved this drive during the day.   It was so pretty and way less busy and a whole lot warmer.


At one point you actually drive through the clouds.   so cool!


This part of the island certainly didn’t look or feel like Maui.   I think that’s what makes it so unique and cool!


So many rainbows on the way back down the mountain.


On one of the last days, we hit up Ka’anapali beach in west Maui.   While it was pretty crowded, it sure was a beautiful beach!   The last few days had high surf warnings pretty much everywhere so swimming was a bit risky.   The waves were scary big this day so we did very little swimming.


A little more Hawaii to warm you all up today

I know a lot of people complain about all the “selfies” these days, but
I think it’s pretty amazing that we have the ability to record ourselves so easily.  The most
unfortunate part of our honeymoon photos is the fact that there are so few of US in them.   It was difficult
to take “selfies” with a film camera.   You had to hope a willing bystander would offer
to take a photo for you if you both want to be in it.

I dream of the day I can take my kids to Hawaii with us.  I’m not
sure if that day will ever come but I’ll keep dreaming about it 🙂
My dad had the same dream many years back and
was able to bring two of my sisters and I to Maui back when
I was in high school.  I actually stumbled across those photos the
other day.  Maybe I’ll share them sometime..


Film Flashback of Hawaii // Part 2

I came across our Hawaiian honeymoon pics today as I was looking for some things
on old hard drives.  Matt and I were there for our honeymoon back in 2002.  That was over 11 years ago!!
Before digital took off….   So we brought a handful of rolls of film to shoot.
You had to be much more selective of what you took photos of and unfortunately I wish
we had more photos with US in them 🙁
These photos have all been scanned.  I’ve shared a few of them in the past.

We flew in to the main island and from their hopped
on a plane to Kauai.   But before we did, we went to Pearl Harbor.   We actually showed
up without a hotel reservation the first night and found one when we landed.   It wasn’t the nicest
place but it worked out.

These photos make me anxious to go back!   I really
thought we would have made it back there by now but
it’s hard to think about leaving the kids for a week and quite expensive
to bring them with.   So for now, I’ll just keep dreaming of returning…

I’ll share a few more posts next week…


First day of school randomness

Can’t believe the kids (and the dad) went back
to school today!   It crept up on us so fast this year!

Look how excited they are 🙂

Thought I would add some more randomness
to this blog post.   I haven’t posted my family much lately.
Enjoying the sunset in this beautiful place we live in 🙂My favorite guy and my favorite puppy 😉Good thing he’s cute!   Cuz he is trouble…Showing me her gymnastics moves.  (and helping me scout for new locations)

Catching frogs in the backyard.Making faces for mom 🙂Taking care of his pupster.oh my baby boy…  he is the cutest 🙂

Meet our fur baby Felix

Last week we did something I said we would never do.   We got a puppy!
A cute one at that 🙂

Felix is a Bichon / Shih Tzu mix.   A zuchon… a Shichon, a Teddy Bear dog…   Apparently they go
by many different names.
The kids are thrilled and Matt and I
are overwhelmed 😉   I forgot how much time and attention goes
into a puppy!   But it wont last forever and so far he really has
been a nice little guy.

We drove to Wausau last week to get him.  He is just 9 weeks old.  He seemed
to adjust to our family so quickly!

Bath time!   Not his favorite but he’s getting use to it.
Someone is smitten 😉Head tilts are my favorite!!   How cute is that!!??

Tuesday Randomness

Because I’m a procrastinator (and strongly dislike exercise) I’ve started a somewhat intense
work out program to get ready for Dominican Republic.
It has went from finding a 10 week program to an 8 week program to now almost 6 weeks 😉   So, I’m doing an
8 week program but have only 7 or less weeks to get it done 😉    It is kicking my butt!
And leaving me extremely sore.. which I hope is a good thing 😉  I’m thinking I don’t want to be in shape badly enough….

I made an inspiration board for my office
and when I walked into the new furniture store in Houghton, the first
thing I saw was a grey couch!   Almost identical to the one on my board.   Meant.  to.  be.
Don’t mind my fuzzy iphone photo.

My little lady has a gymnastics meet coming up and this time I WILL REMEMBER MY CAMERA!
The sad thing is, the last time it didn’t even cross my mind to bring it
with me 🙁   Photographers definitely sacrifice photos of their
own families when they provide them for others.

My kids all made their own board games a few weeks ago.
Not sure where they got the idea from but it kept them busy for hours!
And of course, we all sat down to play each of them.

And because this is random..   I’m a including a few recent photos of
my two little dudes.   🙂