Looking for the aloha in life

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I thought it would be nice to get in writing a different perspective other than my own about this once-in-a-lifetime-trip and I have been bugging asking the boys if either of them would like to contribute.  Dan has been pretty busy catching up on Netflix and You Tube videos but Mike finally took the bait and decided he had something to say. I am so glad he did.  And I am grateful that all of his hard work the past however-many-years has allowed us to do something this amazing.  

So, here you go…


My family took a big vacation when I was 14 years old.  It started at Philmont Scout Ranch with my Dad and then, after hooking up with the rest of the family, continued as a 2 ½ week road trip through the American West to see extended family in Arizona and California exploring places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Park along the way.  It is a near month-long period of my life I remember well and fondly, not so much for any individual activity, event or outing but for the sheer scale of the thing.  The summer of 1983 is one I will not forget.

As an adult, I always promised myself I would plan a similar adventure with my own family maybe without the boy scout trip but largely seeing the same sites I had seen as child.  The American West is awesome, in every sense of the word, and I wanted my own children – even before I had them – to experience that too.  But each family and time is unique and having a child with Down Syndrome, while in many ways the biggest blessing our family has ever received, is not really conducive to 10 hours days on the road.  Also, we all fell in love with Hawaii over the past decade – especially Angie.

Today is July 27, 2017.  It’s raining outside.  I am looking out over the Kapoho Tide Pools on the far eastern side of the Big Island.  It is the penultimate day of our month long trip and everyone in the house is more-or-less doing their own thing.  Seems like a good time to take stock of a trip that has been germinating in my mind, in one way or another, for probably three decades and in the formal planning stages (with Angie doing most of the work to make it happen) for the better part of five years.

There has been a lot to remember about this trip.  Here are five of my favorite shots out of the more than 4,000 I took over the course of the month.


Getting to spend time with Dan in the water has been the highlight of the trip for me.  He and I both love the ocean and photography and spent many relaxed hours this month swimming around the bays, beaches and tide pools searching for marine life to identify and photograph.



One of my favorite underwater pics.  We did not see as many turtles as we have in the past so it was great to get this shot.  On top of that, it’s rare that I catch one alone on a sandy bottom.  Made for a nice pic.

Casey in Wakkiki

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me to take a photo of Casey that I think really captures who she is and what she means to the family.  It may seem a bit ironic, since I worry too much about work, Dan’s going through all the effort it takes to go from a boy to a man in the space of a few short years and Angie is always busy keeping the train on the tracks, but I think Casey enjoys our vacations the least.  She is a person of routine and more importantly, even on the most relaxing day, simply has to make an extra effort to keep up with the rest of us physically, emotionally and intellectually.  So, capturing her in moments like this where she is really at ease in the world and enjoying herself and her surroundings makes me happy.


I was under no illusion that I would have a bunch of time to myself this month.  It’s not what I wanted and not why we came on this trip.  Still, it was nice to sneak away occasionally for a walk or to do a little photography.  The night I took this, I couldn’t sleep and so spent a good three hours sitting on the beach in the middle of the night taking photos and enjoying the stars.  You don’t get to do that much at forty-eight.  It’s a busy time of life.  I made sure to enjoy it.


Despite all the photography gear I lugged around this past month to all corners of Hawaii, this is my favorite photo and I took it with my iPhone at dinner a few nights ago almost as an afterthought.  We had just finished eating and were about to head back to the house.  Angie’s relaxed, happy and surrounded by her family.  That’s why we came on this trip.  Thanks for everything Angela.  I love you.

Author: Angela

I'm a mom living in Texas trying to find the aloha spirit in everyday life with my husband and 2 teenagers. Until I can retire in Hawaii, I will continue to love good old fashioned walks with my dog, dabble in home decor, and pretend to play the ukulele. I am passionate about my family, music, and supporting other families, like ours, who have kids with Down Syndrome.

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