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Old 11-22-2012, 12:36 AM   #871
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Just got caught up....wow!

The bike trip and beach time look like a lot of fun! A walk along the beach sounds like heaven right now!

I will keep your family and friends in my prayers. Some very tough situations....that is for sure.

Aulani is very exciting! And, yes, Alska does serve a complimentary Mai Tai about an hour before landing in Hawaii. I don't think they do it on the return, though.

Also, very interested to hear about your trip to Australia. I am in the very, very beginning stages of also planning a trip to Australia. And to be honest, I am a MAJOR trip planner/researcher ......but I don't hold a candle to you!. You are amazingly gifted when it comes to trip planning! Australia is tough to plan because it is so huge and we are limiting the trip to about 2 weeks. So far, I have it narrowed down to Sydney, Uluru and Port Douglas. Still thinking on Kangaroo island.....
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:37 AM   #872
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Hi! I haven't read your whole report yet, but I remember you from when I was more active on the boards, so I thought I'd stop in! I am so so jealous of you getting to go to Aulani!! One day, I will make it there lol Looking forward to reading the rest of your report
Hi and I am VERY excited about Aulani, I think it will be wonderful. It is very fun to start doing research on it too!

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Finally caught back up. Cool turtle experience!
It was incredible!

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Dis ing while I'm testing out potential cocktails to serve at dinner tomorrow...
Testing is very important! What won? I'm too cheap to offer cocktails, I make everyone bring a bottle of wine. Saves a fortune.

I am enjoying a lovely "light" eggnog with a little bourbon and nutmeg and DISing by the fire now that the morning's pumpkin roll is made and the pie dough is chilling and the kitchen is clean.

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Congrats on your Aulani deal/trip... Awesome deal to an awesome place.... Nice getaway to SF also... (I'm drooling at both...)
Well you know that you enabled the SF trip! I was actually looking back at your PM just last night making notes on dining options, I really need to figure out some of our plans. I am so excited for Aulani, it is really lovely to have it to look forward to.

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I hope that you and your family have a fabulous Thanksgiving...gooble...gooble...
Thank you Patricia! You too! Are you cooking? I'm assuming so by the cocktail test....

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Cynthia, just wanted to stop by and wish you, Jeff, the E's, Kendall and the rest of the family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you Kathy! You too!!!!!!!!! Are you cooking and having everyone over? I'm behind on your thread (and most, sigh) so I'm not sure what you and Mark are up to but I hope it's wonderful.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:01 AM   #873
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Originally Posted by Misskitty3 View Post
Just got caught up....wow!

The bike trip and beach time look like a lot of fun! A walk along the beach sounds like heaven right now!
Doesn't it? We need an Ark! It was so soggy 2 days ago I got out my fancy rain boots and wore them to work. It has to be pretty bad for me to wear those into the office, cute as they may be.

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I will keep your family and friends in my prayers. Some very tough situations....that is for sure.
Thank you

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Aulani is very exciting! And, yes, Alska does serve a complimentary Mai Tai about an hour before landing in Hawaii. I don't think they do it on the return, though.
Well it's good I have Alaska on the outbound then! We have Delta on the return. I am SO happy we are not on United. Have done that the last 2 HI trips, not direct for at least part of it and none of it was very pleasant for a variety of reasons. I am very excited about Aulani.

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Also, very interested to hear about your trip to Australia. I am in the very, very beginning stages of also planning a trip to Australia. And to be honest, I am a MAJOR trip planner/researcher ......but I don't hold a candle to you!. You are amazingly gifted when it comes to trip planning! Australia is tough to plan because it is so huge and we are limiting the trip to about 2 weeks. So far, I have it narrowed down to Sydney, Uluru and Port Douglas. Still thinking on Kangaroo island.....
Jeff has been before and is rather adamant that it's Port Douglas the entire time. We will see about that but we will be at 2 weeks or less as well. I will definitely keep you posted and would love to hear your planning details as well!
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:53 AM   #874
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Wow, all your trip plans sound exciting! I would love to go to Australia one day, however for exotic far away places, Japan is at the moment at the top of my list and I very much hope to finally get there within the next two years.

I think it very much makes sense that people fly to Hawaii from the West Coast for a warm beach vacation. From everything I have heard so far it sounds like the climate is nicer there than in Florida (i.e. less humid).

Are flights to Europe really that expensive for you? Or is it because if you take the family you would be looking at doing it during the summer?
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:25 AM   #875
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SO jealous of all your plans! San Fran in Dec, I love San Fran (not as much as Disney of course), then Aulani in May that'll be amazing, then NYE at WDW, I so want to go back at that time of year.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:32 AM   #876
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To you and your family, Cynthia, and your online family, too!

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Old 11-22-2012, 07:40 AM   #877
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Wow, lots to talk about since I was here last!!!

First off, WTG Kendall!!! She must be thrilled and I'm sure you are all super-proud!

Aulani!!! Got to love the "Well, we had no choice, it was go to Hawaii, or lose our points"

Really "settling" on that one, aren't you! Great deal on the airfare too. So.Very.Jealous of the location and the couples trip in general.

Back to Vero. I love the beach. Beaches are truly the most magical places on earth (sorry Disney). The water, the sand, the smells, the sounds, the views.

Looks like you all had a wonderful afternoon, from the free loungers to the yummy beach drink in a super cool (see what I did there) cup to the transformation of one of your children into a beautiful sea creature.

LOVE IT ALL!!!
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:28 AM   #878
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Yep, the current plan/wish list is...

Dec '12 SFran (not Disney I know but we might go to the family museum!)
May '13 Aulani, just Jeff and I
Dec'13/Jan'14 Large family trip WDW for NYE
Feb or April '15 Aulani with the E's.
Summer 14 or 15 maybe a cruise?
Late Winter Australia trip just Jeff and I '14 or '15?
One world - WOW!
And Australia - Nice! I've been to New Zealand - its fabulous. Highly recommend it.

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F&G 2014 is a definite possibility. I will have my AP and would love to get one more trip out of it so it'd either be F&G 2014 or F&W 2014. I will probably know by the 11 month mark. But I definitely will not have any points. That's still my 2013 UY so I'll be totally broke! The potential complication with F&G is that we are hoping to get a big couples trip to Australia in there somewhere. If that happens in 2014 it is unlikely I'd be able to do both. It is more likely to happen in 2015 in my opinion though. It is all dependent on Taylor graduating lol and timed with Jeff's annual bonus and I just don't see it all coming together in time to plan for 2014. If it's 2015 it puts a wrinkle in the Aulani plans. So, it's a definite maybe. Then again we may just tweak the time of year on Australia so it's not an issue. Weather and cost wise we'd love to do Feb/March but summer would be easier with the kids in some ways. We will see. It's all pie in the sky now.
I like that "Definite Maybe". Well, here's the think - my points replenish in March so I will be all good for F&G 2014 and I am flexible re: travel dates. Anytime between March and May!

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And frankly, between you, me and the wall, K will have expenses for college then and I don't think Jeff is factoring it in as much as it probably will be. She is visiting UCSD today.
That must be a really cool visit. Yeah! But boo to the money! I'm there - so I know!
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:32 AM   #879
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Wow, all your trip plans sound exciting! I would love to go to Australia one day, however for exotic far away places, Japan is at the moment at the top of my list and I very much hope to finally get there within the next two years.
I have to confess, Japan isn't even on our list but that has a lot to do with the fact that Europe is right after Australian and New Zealand on our list. And there are so many places in Europe we want to go, it's a long list! I was tantalized looking at the RCI exchanges and seeing all the lovely places in Madiera. For some reason that place fascinates me. Largely I'm sure as it's featured in so much British chick lit!

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I think it very much makes sense that people fly to Hawaii from the West Coast for a warm beach vacation. From everything I have heard so far it sounds like the climate is nicer there than in Florida (i.e. less humid).
The climate is consistent year round, pretty much, which is not at all true in FL. It is humid, most definitely, but it's also a lower temp compared to high summer in FL so is much much nicer and you've got the lovely breeze off the ocean.

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Are flights to Europe really that expensive for you? Or is it because if you take the family you would be looking at doing it during the summer?
It used to be you could get to Europe for maybe $750. Now it's hard to find anything under 1K. Which for a family of 4-6 makes it very cost prohibitive. I've priced other times of the year and it's been about the same. It would have to be summer though as we'd want at least 2 weeks. I am hoping to pull it off summer of 14 or 15 though. The boys will be there in the spring of '16 but that will just be to Ireland, for school. All that said, getting to Cabo would be much easier and cheaper all around and that may well bump Europe as a family trip. We will see, the boys are absolutely dying to go to Germany. They live in those shirts, it's a riot. Good purchase though.

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SO jealous of all your plans! San Fran in Dec, I love San Fran (not as much as Disney of course), then Aulani in May that'll be amazing, then NYE at WDW, I so want to go back at that time of year.
SF is a great town and truly a great couples town. Very much looking forward to our date weekend there!

NYE will be magical, I have never been during the holidays. My sister and her boys will be at DL next weekend and see those decorations but we've never done it.

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To you and your family, Cynthia, and your online family, too!

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Thanks Dee! You too

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Wow, lots to talk about since I was here last!!!

First off, WTG Kendall!!! She must be thrilled and I'm sure you are all super-proud!
We are! She was nominated for all area but we don't know about that one yet. She has a big college showcase tournament starting tomorrow in San Diego and is visiting UCSD while there. Exciting times for her to be sure.

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Aulani!!! Got to love the "Well, we had no choice, it was go to Hawaii, or lose our points"

Really "settling" on that one, aren't you! Great deal on the airfare too. So.Very.Jealous of the location and the couples trip in general.
Yeah, brutal I know. You know, we really debated this one, mostly about cost. But at the end of the day we firmly believe the family is only as strong as the couple behind it and that couple needs nurturing as well. Not at the expense of the family but it does need to be a priority. Logistically if we didn't do one this spring or summer, it would be at least another year before we could even consider it and 18 months from now is just too long to not have that kind of time together. I am glad we were able to pull it off.

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Back to Vero. I love the beach. Beaches are truly the most magical places on earth (sorry Disney). The water, the sand, the smells, the sounds, the views.

Looks like you all had a wonderful afternoon, from the free loungers to the yummy beach drink in a super cool (see what I did there) cup to the transformation of one of your children into a beautiful sea creature.

LOVE IT ALL!!!
I love the beach too. I really could do that as a vacation every year. It is magic, just magic. And boats and ballads and boat drinks! I mean beach drinks. I'm actually going to have beach drink cups made for the aulani trip, very excited about it. I put in our room requests yesterday so hope we have some lovely ocean sounds from our verandah at Aulani as well!

It's the little things.

Eric was a fabulous mermaid wasn't he?
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:10 PM   #880
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING CYNTHIA. Hope dinner with family went fabulous!!!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #882
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Doesn't it? We need an Ark! It was so soggy 2 days ago I got out my fancy rain boots and wore them to work. It has to be pretty bad for me to wear those into the office, cute as they may be.



Thank you



Well it's good I have Alaska on the outbound then! We have Delta on the return. I am SO happy we are not on United. Have done that the last 2 HI trips, not direct for at least part of it and none of it was very pleasant for a variety of reasons. I am very excited about Aulani.



Jeff has been before and is rather adamant that it's Port Douglas the entire time. We will see about that but we will be at 2 weeks or less as well. I will definitely keep you posted and would love to hear your planning details as well!
Finally, the rain has stopped!!! I think the Christmas lights may go up today!

Port Douglas for the whole time, huh??? It must really be amazing!! I haven't planned much yet other than trying to narrow down the itinerary (which is so hard as there is so much to see). I will keep you posted!

Funny that Japan was mentioned. I was an exchange student in Japan and it was AMAZING!!!! Go if you get the chance!! DS is very interested in Japan and it would be so much easier to visit there! A lot less ground to cover than Australia, easy transportation (trains) and a shorter flight! But I have always wanted to visit Australia and haven't been yet!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:21 PM   #883
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Aulani is going to be amazing!

I love your photos. Vero looks so relaxing.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:40 PM   #884
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It was 5pm on our last night and we were getting kicked off of the beach. Or at least out of our loungers.

Since we hadn't made it to the water until late afternoon, we weren’t quite ready to be done but decided we’d move up to the pool. Where we could have loungers! Jeff and I decided to spurlge and order a drink from Bleachers. Either that or we were too lazy to walk to the villa to make a new pool drink. I’'m glad we didn't BEST margarita of the trip.





Very very good!

It's funny, I can see him holding his pedometer. They had a contest thing at work and you had to track your steps for the month of July. It was the last day so he was tracking and recording. It was worth it, he got a $100 gift certificate to Sports Authority out of the deal which meant some much needed new running shoes.

We were going to maximize our pool time, that was for sure. While we'd be heading to the Dream the next day and then still had a surprise in store for the kids, I wasn't sure we'd have this kind of pool time again.









Jeff even went down the slide



As we lounged, cooled off, lounged some more over a good couple of hours, we discussed our options for the evening. The original plan had been to hit the store and pick up something for dinner. What, we didn't know. The kids, in their meal planning efforts, had wanted burgers. We knew the grill was relatively far from our villa and having been at Margaritaville just a few days prior, weren't all that excited about the idea.

But didn't have a better one.

Nor were we motivated to drive anywhere. It wasn't even so much the thought of cooking, it was the not having any ideas of what to make (which seems to happen to me on a regular basis at home...meal planning is the bane of my existence) as much as anything.

There was one other complication that was forcing a grocery run. The next morning was Kendall's birthday. Sweet Sixteen! The birthday girl had requested pancakes. We did not have pancake mix, the request had come in after the first grocery run. Going to the store, just for that, seemed like a lot of work so we decided I'd visit the resort store and see what they had, pancake mix seemed likely. If they had mix, we would just order pizza. Seemed like a perfect plan, nice and easy and no one going anywhere. It wasn't in my budget plan but at that point, I didn't really care. Let's have another margarita! Despite the amazing day, suddenly lightening was happening in the distance and they were closing the pool. So off to the store I went while Jeff rounded up the troops to head to the villa.

But it wasn't that simple. Never is, is it. NO pancake mix. Frozen waffles, syrup, butter, eggs but no pancake mix. Sigh. I swung by the front desk to settle up our bill and chatted with a CM about my dilemma. She had a suggestion. Why not just get room service for the pancakes? DOH! Shutters makes GREAT pancakes (or so she said). We had almost a full loaf of sourdough bread, I could get eggs and syrup and the rest of us would be set for a French toast breakfast and the birthday girl could still have her pancakes. That settled, I headed back to the villa to discuss the options with Jeff, as I was walking the skies opened up. Arriving a bit drenched we discussed what kind of pizza to order while I tossed on a dry sarong. It made no sense to change since I'd be headed right back out to get the pizza. We called and ordered and I got some laundry going and settled in to do the rest of the dishes so we'd be all set to make breakfast and hopefully leave on time.

Except we didn't have any dish soap, the liquid kind and were out of the powdered as well. I headed back to pick up the French toast groceries, a box of cookies and grab some dish soap deciding it would be too much to juggle all that and the pizzas. With my luck I'd drop the eggs. And got more soaked. My feet especially, it really was bouncing back up at me! Rather large puddles pooling quite quickly. Of course, right as I got back...the pizza had arrived. So 3 trips back and forth to the lobby and store during all of this, in the rain. But it was warm and actually in an odd way kind of pleasant and fun at the same time. I've always enjoyed a little puddle splashing and it just seemed so lucky that it was happening when it did, when we were already settled in our cozy villa with a nice evening plan. I still had my suit on, and flip flops and my hat with my sarong so getting wet really didn't matter anyway.

We settled in with our pizza, I changed into dry clothes, and as we listened to the rain were even more glad we'd not gone out even if it was just to the grocery store. We enjoyed the pizza but I have to admit it didn't have the wow reaction with us that it has had with others. It was good mind you, no complaints but the best part was not going anywhere and just being able to stay in and enjoy the villa.

The kids fought over the cookies and then as is typical, didn't even eat them all. I'd have been better off getting them 3 of a good candy bar than the box of lame chocolate chip cookies. Lesson learned.

Jeff however….experienced something new. A first.

Something he’d never done before.



His first Mickey Bar! Ever.

At least HE was convinced it was his first. It wasn't and I had photographic proof. He had one on the Wonder the summer before, one that he'd decorated with marshmallows, sauce and sprinkles and had turned quite creepy!

He's losing it





The kids settled in, Eric crashing pretty quickly and the other two watching Jane by Design (of all things) and of course…



Yeah, the grainy pictures were really from the evening, not the morning. And the weather may well have had something to do with the lousy reception. I’ had picked up a movie from the store on one of my trips but we never did watch it. Which was fine. I puttered a bit starting to pack up and organize but mostly just chilled out. Except…as the night wore on I realized something.

The no see ums seemed to really like the rain.

Really like the big puddles that I’ had sloshed through 6 times back and forth between groceries and pizza pick up.

Really like my feet.

Which were now covered in teeny tiny bites.

That really really itched. And burned.

I really really did not like it.

At all.

Sorry, Room Service is closed
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:57 PM   #885
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Just catching up on your past editions and got a bonus update! Score!! Wow, the beach looks so beautiful and relaxing. I am a bit bummed to hear they kick you off the loungers on the beach at 5pm. I get it... needing to clean up before the tide comes in etc. but I find sunset to be the best time on the beach.

Glad you were able to work out the pancake request. Sounds like you guys chose wisely and had a nice night despite the rain!

Oh, congrats on Aulani!! I am uber excited to hear all about the planning (ahem... hoping for a PTR???) and of course the trip itself. A visit there is definitely on my wish list... but I'm gonna need some more points.

Hope you and your family had a terrific Thanksgiving!!!
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