Natasha's Pick of the Week. MAUI!

Last year at this time we were just returning from a week of fun, sun, and sandy beaches. It was our second trip to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. And I miss it sooo much! It really is the perfect holiday location for just about everyone. Honeymooning couples, families with small children, families with teenagers and also big extended families too!

Here is a list of my favourite spots to stay, eat, play and just chill while on Maui.

Where to stay.

I love Wailea. It is on the south-west side of the island and is home to some of the best beaches, shopping and resort hotels on Maui. Both times we stayed in Wailea we rented our accommodations from private owners through www.VRBO.com. You can find some great deals if you shop around and I would also recommend getting some referrals or recommendations from people who have been before. Year one, my parents came with us and we stayed in a private home (complete with our own pool) and I would totally recommend it for a larger family. Last year we rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at Wailea Ekolu Village and it was perfect for the four of us.

Where to eat.

Maui is full of fabulous restaurants, but there are definitely a few clear stand outs. Mama's Fish House is by far my favourite restaurant in THE WHOLE WORLD. No trip to Maui is complete unless you eat there at least once. Make a reservation though, it's a popular place! If you are in Wailea, another great family place to eat is Matteo's Pizzeria. The food is awesome, the atmosphere friendly and relaxed and it really feels like you are going to a friend's house to eat! Another repeat fave of ours is LuLu's in Kihei. It is an open air restaurant that is on the 2nd floor of Kihei Kalama Village Market. Hit the market for some shopping in the morning and then LuLu's for lunch. I recommend the fish tacos!!

Where to play.

There is so much to do on Maui and to be honest we still have a lot to discover ourselves. We love the Maui Ocean Centre and if you have kids of any age you really have to check it out. The 750,000 salt water aquarium is pretty amazing, especially when you see giant sting rays and tiger sharks swim right past you! I also recommend a whale watching tour with the Pacific Whale Foudation. These guys really know what they are doing and are very accommodating for families with little kids. If you are into hiking, then a trip to the Iao Valley State Park is in order. There are lots of different hikes and trails that you can do, depending on your ability and of course how many little ones you have with you! For shopping, I have four words for you...The Shops at Wailea. From casual to luxury, gift buying to art galleries and everything in between, you will find it at the Shops. Make sure you check out Lapperts Ice Cream and Coffee for some after dinner treats and sneak out before everyone else wakes up and get your morning fix at the Honolulu Coffee Co..

Where to chill.

The beaches on Maui are incredible. And we have a few favourites. Keawakapu Beach at the southern end of South Kihei Road is great, as are Ulua and Mokapu in Wailea. These two are right next to each other and if you have babies and get to either beach early you will be able to get a spot in a shaded area. There is also some great lava outcroppings between these two beaches and you can get in some nice snorkelling there too! We also spent a lot of time on Wailea Beach. It is centrally located and fronts the very swank Grand Wailea Resort. It can get busy, so get there early for prime spots on the beach.

Whatever you do on Maui, trust me you won't be disappointed with this vacation. You can even shop at the local Safeway and use your Canadian Safeway card to get the discounts! And big bonus--they sell wine at the Maui Safeways!!

Just remember that if you are traveling with babies and toddlers, make sure you check out my babywearing tips before you go (the WaterBaby Sling is a must for a trip to Maui!) and above all, relax, leave all your worries and all your schedules behind and have fun!

Aloha!

Natasha~

30 Days of Truth. Day 11: Something people compliment me on all the time.

These posts where I have to talk about myself are hard for me. I don't want to come across like I am bragging or like I am totally awesome, but this time I totally AM. People CONSTANTLY compliment me on my children.

Yup, I have perfect kids!

In all seriousness, it is true, complete strangers come up to me all the time in restaurants, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop etc... and tell me either that my children are gorgeous (why, yes, yes they are!) and/or that they are so well-behaved.

I think the reason my kids are so well-behaved all the time (okay, let's just be realistic and say it is about 92.7% of the time) is because they have always come with us everywhere. We went our for dinner when C was about 5 weeks old and since then we have simply always taken our kids with us wherever we went.

I don't think it was a conscious decision that we made, it just was how it had to be. We did not want to leave our kids with anyone else or we could not leave them because someone was always nursing. So, they came with us everywhere.

I also think this is important for kids. They need to go to the grocery store, to restaurants, to weddings, on planes and anywhere else you go. They learn from each and every one of these experiences. They learn proper behaviour and these daily life experiences can provide you with incredible teaching moments as well.

I am sure people must think I am a crazy woman when I go grocery shopping with the kids. Even when they were babies I would talk to them the whole time, going through the store and our list and rattling off all the names of every fruit and vegetable and box we passed.

At restaurants it is the same thing. We bring the kids some activities, we let them choose their meals and we show them by example how to behave in public. And invariably, wherever we are, someone will always come up to us as we are leaving and tell us how well-behaved and beautiful our kids are.

The best compliment we got was in Maui last year. We were eating dinner at the fabulous Mama's Fish House in Paia and little did we know, but the Mama herself, the matriarch of the founding Christenson family was sitting just a table away from us.  She stopped by our table after she had finished her meal and told us that in the 30 years that she has been in the restaurant business she has never seen two more well-behaved young children!! It was the highlight of an already amazing night and meal! (You really have to eat there if you ever get to Maui!)

Babywearing has been a big part of how easy it is to take my kids with me everywhere we go. That and breastfeeding. And babywearing and breastfeeding at the same time. I can't count how many times I have been walking around the mall with a baby in a carrier and on the boob at the same time and no one was the wiser!

Don't be afraid to get out with your babies. Teach them about their world, expose them to different situations and provide them with the example they need to know how to behave. And having a good baby carrier while you are doing all of this is not a bad idea either!!

So yeah, I am bragging a bit. I have me some good kids. And I know this because everyone keeps telling me so!!

Thank you!

Natasha~