Check off the Bucket List!

There are some activities that I’ve always wanted to do – and they were important to me to get to in my lifetime.  Growing up in AZ, I spent quite a bit of time in San Diego and boogie boarding in the ocean.  I always wanted to try to surf but the Zonies (people from AZ) usually just stuck to boogie boards.  In my college years, I talked a lot about


My husband and son stand-up paddle boarding.

organizing a girls’ surfing trip and, more recently, taking surfing lessons on a family vacation.  But, after marriage, kiddos, and as my weight got higher and I was less likely to put myself out there like that, the idea was sort of buried.  Furthermore, I find the water in soCal to be way too cold for me now.  So, when thinking about activities that we could do in Hawaii, I realized that this might be my opportunity to finally give surfing a try.  The water is quite a bit warmer, the beaches and ocean are beautiful, surfing lessons are plentiful up and down Kaanapali beach – and my girls were willing participants and actually wanted to do it with me.  My husband and son weren’t interested but did want to take stand-up paddle board (SUP) lessons at the same time.  My husband registered (or so I thought) for all of us to do the lessons the next day; however, when we all got ready to head out Thursday morning I found out that I misunderstood him and he had only booked the SUP lessons, thinking I was handling the surfing lessons.  It all worked out OK though, it gave us (the girls) the opportunity to sit on the beach and watch the boys.  The water sports shack guy was able to book us the next morning for our surfing lessons – and with the same instructor that had been out with the boys.

I should mention, I was highly considering backing out at this point.  Since gaining some weight back and losing much of my fitness, I have really been struggling with leg strength and some pain.  I mangled my knee about a month ago and just seem to be having lots of issues.  I was sort of depressed about trying this big event when not at my ideal weight and fitness level.  I really don’t love how I currently look in a swim suit.  I had 1000 reasons in my head why this was a bad idea.  The surfing guys were super friendly though and I chatted with him about my concerns about not being able to get up on the surf board.  They seemed to think I would be just fine and alleviated my concern about not being strong enough.  They told me arm strength was important (I felt OK on that front) and that the steps to get up shouldn’t be too difficult on my legs.  I was doubtful still but a bit less nervous.

We had booked an early 7:30AM lesson since the surf guys said that would be the best time for waves to learn on.  We walked down the beach and got the provided rash guards and water shoes to protect our feet on the reef.  We were joined by just one other girl, she was a bit like me (but younger) but doing this because she always wanted to.  First we practiced on the beach.  Andy, the instructor went over safety stuff, tips while we were out in the water, and then the steps to get up on the surf board.  The steps are to lie on the board towards the back, paddle then, when instructed, arch up with your arms, slide the right knee forward but keeping your shin/leg on the board, pull the left leg forward – plant the foot, then push up to a standing position – keeping both feet pointed to the side in the middle of the board and, most importantly, looking nowhere but straight ahead towards the beach.  I was able to do the maneuvers on dry land – not very smoothly – but I alleviated my fears about not being able to push my body up from a lying down position.

We then headed down to the water.  I was also a bit nervous about how cold it would be but quickly realized that it was going to also be OK.  I do not like cold water any more but it only took a few seconds to acclimate to it.  We paddled out together against the waves, which was quite a workout!  I did OK with that and wasn’t the last one to our spot.  One by one Andy took us with him, holding on to the nose of our surfboards and coaching us individually.  We waited patiently for the perfect wave then he turned us into it and yelled the steps as he pushed us on our way.  My youngest went first and, of course, she popped right up on her surfboard and made it most of the way to the beach.  Easy peasy.  She also weighs nothing and works out at gymnastics 15 hours a week.

Finally it was my turn and off I went.  Unfortunately, there was a lesson about 10 feet from us and their instructor decided that was the perfect first wave for his student – so before I was even able to push up and get my steps going, the kid next to me was (barely) surfing right towards me.  I didn’t want to mess him up since I knew it was his first time up – but I didn’t know how to pull out of it.  I finally managed to pull off to the right and then tried to push up and still surf.  I was so flustered though after that incident that I moved my wrong leg first and then couldn’t really get corrected.  With the shore approaching quickly, I pushed up to my knees then crashed into the wave.  The surf school had a staff member waiting for us at the beach to help us and he was right there helping me out of the water and making sure I didn’t get hit in the head by my surfboard. I popped up and felt like I was ready for another shot at it – paddling all the way back out there again.

When I got back to Andy he was telling me how proud he was that I kept fighting to save the ride and try to make the most out of it.  He said most people give up and don’t try when something back-fires.  He was confident I would get it the next time.  My oldest daughter was not able to get up but she got through the steps and was close.

So, 2nd ride … I had the wave to myself and … I surfed!  I couldn’t believe it!  I didn’t make it all the way to shore but I got pretty close.  The parents of the boys that were in lessons next to us, the instructor on the beach, and my husband and son were all cheering for me.  I was so damn proud of myself!  I repeated this whole thing 2 more times and got up another 2 times.  After my last ride I was pretty wiped out from all of the paddling and, with only about 10 minutes left, I decided to stay on the beach and watch my girls finish up.  I’m so glad all 3 of us were actually able to surf!

I had the biggest grin on my face the rest of the day.  A few times while we were back at the condo I spontaneously looked at my husband and said “I surfed today!”  I am really proud of myself, not for actually getting up on the surf board but from not backing down from following through on this dream of mine.  I knew if I didn’t do this in Hawaii, I might not find another opportunity to try.  My weight and fitness are not where I want them to be but I am still in a good place and need to remember that.



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Aloha!  I have returned from our wonderful family vacation to Maui.  The week prior to that I was in Milwaukee with my baby girl for her Trampoline & Tumbling Nationals.  She did not have a very good meet, but I wasn’t really expecting her to so it wasn’t disappointing.  She has been struggling lately and was just lucky to have qualified to be there competing.  So, for that, I was proud of her.  It was fun hanging out with her teammates and their parents.  I did have some meal replacements every day – but I also had more beer, cheese, and soft pretzels than I should have  Here are some photos of her competing:

Since she didn’t move on to Finals (only the top 8 out of 45 do), we were able to come home on Thursday night.  This was nice since we were leaving for Hawaii on Saturday morning.  I was also able to have a really nice visit with one of my dearest friends after she drove up from Chicago for dinner.  We got caught in a torrential downpour when we were walking back to the hotel – so bad that I had to desperately get an Uber for us after our umbrellas blew inside out and we could barely see in front of us from the rain.  So, because of that, we have no pictures together – we looked like hell.

Anyway, back to the Hawaii trip … we flew directly to Maui from Phoenix and, after a frustrating 2.5 hour wait for a rental car at the airport, we were on our way to paradise on Kaanapali Beach.  We stayed at the img_1842Marriott Maui Ocean Beach Club in an ocean front timeshare I was able to get on VRBO.  We were really happy with our room.  We had 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a family room and kitchen (with washer/dryer).  We had 2 nice balconies that we could sit out on and watch the waves.  The first couple of days we spent a lot of time just decompressing on the beach.  img_1840It was really nice to not have a packed schedule or itinerary.  We had dinner reservations a few nights and went to a luau (hello, bottomless drinks!).  On the 4th of July we went out on a snorkel boat that sat in the water in the Lahaina harbor area so we cold watch the fireworks from Front St.  That was pretty fun except some lady on our cruise was really disappointed in just about everything and would not quit complaining.  It was super awkward because it was a small boat and we could all hear her.  The kids were mortified and I finally said something to her.


We (my husband) did drive the road to Hana and that was absolutely amazing.  We didn’t plan on going much more than 1/4 to 1/2 of the way there but, once we got going, we did go all the way to Hana and beyond.  We stopped at several areas to hike to waterfalls and the different beaches.  Those were nice little workouts after being in the car for so long.  I loved that I had the energy and stamina to do any and all of that.

When our week in paradise was over, we hopped on a plane for Oahu for a little over 24 hours.  Our main objective was to tour the Pearl Harbor memorial, which we did on img_2441Sunday afternoon.  It was a very moving and img_2426beautiful place.  It was a hassle to add that to our trip but I’m glad that we did.  We also had a bit of time to check out the Waikiki beach area of Honolulu but it was pretty busy and reminded me too much of being in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.  It was neat, but after the laid back days in Maui, it was a shock to our system.

So, I won’t bore you with any more details of our vacation, BUT I do want to share something BIG that I did in my next post!


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