Today, we said goodbye to our ocean-view suite on the 15th floor at the Aulani Disney resort in Hawaii. We took our last dip in the pool, ate our last fresh pineapple and greeted Disney characters one last time.
|Gracer and I shared fresh pineapple for breakfast!|
Even though it was our last day, we still wanted to make the very most of our time together. We ate breakfast in our room, enjoying pastries and fresh pineapple. Grace ate an entire slice of fresh pineapple, and really seemed to like it.
|Swimming in paradise one last time!|
After breakfast, we donned our swimming suits for the last time in paradise. We decided to check out the Aulani pools one last time, and started in an infinity pool, which looks like it has no edge. As soon as we set Grace in the water, she started smiling and splashing her hands in the pool. That's been the best part of the trip, just seeing her smile. Kyle and I enjoyed the ocean view and just sharing some special family time together.
|Gracelets (and Grace) in paradise!|
While we were still in our swimming suits, we decided to try the lazy river for a few more laps. This time, Grace and I tried out a single inner tube together, and Kyle found another along the route and we just floated along peacefully. That is, until Kyle pushed us under the waterfalls. I'm not a huge fan of having water in my face, but Grace just loves it, so I didn't mind too much. She just giggled and giggled every time we went under the water.
|One last family photo from the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.|
Since we spent most of the morning in the pool, we came upstairs to dry off and get cleaned up. Then it was back downstairs for lunch. It just so happened that our lunch time break coincided with a character meet and greet, and Grace had the chance to meet Stitch. He looked cute in his Hawaiian bucket hat.
|Grace got to meet Stitch!|
After meeting Stitch, we headed to one of the outdoor cafes for lunch, and Grace got a Mickey Mouse shaped cookie. But she could barely keep her eyes open at lunch, so we headed back to the room for an afternoon nap before some last minute souvenir shopping. We just had to get Grace a Minnie Mouse shirt (or two) for school this fall.
|One last Mickey Mouse shaped cookie for dessert!|
All too soon, it seemed like it was time to say our fond farewells to our island paradise. All our bags were packed, and even though we weren't ready to go, we boarded our taxi for the airport for our overnight flight home.
There was a bit of a delay, and we ended up arriving in Phoenix an hour after our scheduled time, just missing our connecting flight to St. Louis. We were tired and a little irritated, but ended up finding a fun surprise. With three hours to kill, we made our way to a new gate and were trying to decide if we should get some breakfast, when we heard someone call our names. My cousin Lesley's husband, Travis, was headed to Washington on business, and we had the chance to catch up with him for about an hour, making our layover time much more fun.
|We took the newspaper, and this is the view from our balcony.|
After Travis boarded his flight, we got ourselves some lunch, and before we knew it, it was time to board the plane for home. Since our flight got switched, we didn't get to sit together, but Grace sat on my lap and Kyle was just a row behind. Grace was asleep before we even reached cruising altitude, and slept the entire way. She's such a good traveler!
Thanks to Make-A-Wish, our driver was waiting for us by baggage claim to take us home. It was so nice not to have to worry about any travel at all on the way home. Kyle even got a chance to talk soccer with the driver nearly the entire way.
|A sunset kiss in paradise!|
He pulled into our driveway, and though we were ready to be home, it was a bit bittersweet. It was hard to believe our week in paradise had come to an end. You see, for us, it wasn't just a week of sunshine, swimming, Minnie Mouse and relaxation. It was a week of escape, escape from doctor's appointments, therapy visits, AFOs and even INAD. For that week, we were just Kyle, Mary and Grace, a family on an island adventure. And for that, we will always be truly grateful.