New Blog Time!

Yay new blog!  Almost the same, but more geared toward immersion school education, since thats where my brain is at anyhow. 

Heres the link:
Hawaiian Immersion School

Same fun updates about the kids and some more general info/interesting links, too. I'm going to try and post at least once a week (Tuesdays?) Hope you enjoy the new format - update those bookmarks! ;)


The Never Ending Slipper Issue

What happens when my children (mainly one child) constantly comes home with broken slippers?!

can you guess which rascal beat through shoes?
This kid tears through flip flops! When the question of sustainability originally came up, I thought I was being clever by finding natural rubber shoes which I bought directly from the distributor in Kona. $10 a pair (not too expensive), ethnically made in Thailand (a place I love), and made from materials that are fully biodegradable. How slick am I?
I was totally miffed when the toe-strap broke just 6 months later. And, unfortunately, not 100% sure what to do with my "natural rubber" shoe in lieu of sending it to the landfill. 6 months is not exactly a short life-span for kids slippers, but they broke long before his feet grew out of them, which was annoying enough for me. I should mention here that the other child still has his pair.

So, solution #2 was a pair of used slippers, hand-me-downs from my cousins. They say that the most sustainable product is the one that already exists (no raw material being used). Unfortunately, used flip flops in decent condition are rather hard to find so I was pretty stoked to score these. Now he had a pair of Nike flip flops that he wore all. the. time. Sure, they were starting to get smelly and the straps were peeling, but they worked. Until last week, when that stinkin' toe-strap broke - AGAIN!  It's always the same strap!

I've tried to execute this repair with a nail through the bottom but it scratches the floor and isn't safe for the kids (they pick at the nail) - plus it made the strap too tight for his chubby feet. Sewing it hasn't worked out either. Then I went online to figure out if there was a way to recycle the slippers rather than just throwing them in the garbage. Unfortunately, Nike only takes back athletic shoes (which is cool, but doesn't solve my problem).

Now we are on solution #3. Okabashi slippers. Made in the USA, two-year guarantee (theoretically, my kids will grow out of them before they break), and a closed-loop production system, which means I can send the shoes back to be recycled if and when they ever do break. Sure, they aren't made of 100% recycled material (the content is based on what the factory has available/what has been recycled) and with shipping they came out to about $20 a pair (ie. crazy expensive). But I'm hoping that this will be a more sustainable solution.  The only issue is that I've never seen these shoes in person so what if my kids hate the way they feel on their feet?  Or what if they are too slippery when they get wet? I'm hoping...praying! that these work out.
Other options were Chacos - they offer repairs but only on the super strappy sandals, which aren't the kind my kids like to wear.
Rainbows - lifetime guarantee, but that doesn't cover the toe strap breaking, which seems to be our biggest concern.
Piper Sandals - again, too strappy for my kids, they like the simple flip flop that they can get on and off easily. Also, these are beyond ridiculously expensive (though I'm sure they are worth it)

Sure, I could just run down to KTA and grab a pair of "Locals" (generic plastic flip flops made in China that everyone wears) but what do I do when they break or I lose one?
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would spend this much time thinking about the lifespan and sustainability/recycleability of my kids shoes. Anyone have any other ideas for kids footwear that doesn't go straight to the dump at the first sign of damage?     


Should I Continue Blogging?

Its been challenging to keep up with blogging lately, especially since both of my main cameras are broken (and lets be real - its not as fun to post if there are no pictures). With my current thoughts being focused on how to simplify my life, I keep coming back to whether or not I want to continue writing this blog.

I have thought about starting a blog that is focused entirely on the boys immersion education experience, not only to give my family better insight into what we are doing, but also to spread awareness about a relatively small program. Wouldn't I rather focus my energies on that pursuit rather than come up with content here (I can only write so much about recipes and doctors appointments).  The point is, if this is no longer fun, should I continue to do it?  I find that I'm usually just stressing out about updating it so my mom doesn't think I've dropped off the face of the Earth.

Looking back, I'm actually really happy that I blogged when my children were small.  Being able to reference those videos and memories has been such a gift. I've spent more evenings than I care to admit just watching videos of 2 year old Ikaika talking. However, moving forward and looking at what is the best way for me to manage my hobbies, I'm not certain that this one makes the cut. Most of my family already has access to these photos via some other social media (and the one who doesn't, I wouldn't mind personally contacting more often anyway).

Ah well, all things to consider moving into the new year.  Until then, enjoy one of the boys favorite holiday songs:


Seriously?  How cute is this child?!


Simple Holidays

This year I have been trying to simplify my holidays. Which means I've been trying not to try so hard. It is so easy to get swept away in all the chaos and expectation. This is something I've been actively thinking about for at least 3 years, and this year is the first time I've felt the fruits of those labors.  I finally feel like I am making progress and it feels so good. I can tell that I am more relaxed and less stressed out. I am enjoying Christmas again.
  • I decorate the day after Thanksgiving with one tub of decorations. They aren't fancy but they do feel festive. The one thing I need to edit from that?  Elf-on-a-Shelf.  I started doing this when I first became a mom and I felt the responsibility of making (forcing?) holiday traditions. I never remember to move it, I hate thinking about it everyday, and life would be just as good without it.  My kids, however, seem to at least appreciate Elfie's presence so perhaps we will keep him around for another year or two. His days are numbered, mwahahaha!
  • Despite not sending out legit Christmas cards for almost 3 years, it somehow always ends up on my to-do list.  With social media making picture sharing easy, I don't think there is as deep of a need for photo updates each year. Not to mention photo paper isn't recyclable and color printing on cardstock is expensive. I need to let holiday cards go. If I send them (esp to people who don't have computers like my mom-in-law) then great, but they shouldn't be something I obsess over come Nov/Dec.
  • Gifts is an issue that might never get resolved for me. My family absolutely won't participate in a "draw a name" exchange so that pretty much leaves me doing things the old fashioned way unless I want to take a stand against what should be an accepted norm (wouldn't be the first time, but I don't want to always be the squeaky wheel). Besides, I like sending gifts. I like knowing that they can physically hold something and open it and know that we were thinking of them and miss them. So I'm a bit torn about the whole thing. The good news is that our inner-family gift giving strategy has been so successful, I credit that change with single handedly turning around the holiday stress.
I've been captivated by The Center for a New American Dream and their Simply the Holidays series.  Everyday on Facebook there is some new and inspiring pearl of wisdom. Not only does this facilitate new ideas for how to relax and enjoy my friends and family, it also gives the encouragement and validation I need to forge ahead against the grain. 


Christmas Pageant 2013 - Parker Ranch Tree Lighting


Alo Kehau performed at the Parker Ranch Tree Lighting ceremony, held at Richard Smart's house (PR historic homes). I'll liken this to a "Christmas pageant". Ikaika is a very sweet little guy and was clearly very embarrassed about singing in front of a roomful of strangers. He mentioned more than once that he was nervous about laughing in front of everyone. His enthusiasm as an entertainer waxed and waned throughout the show and even throughout the songs. I tried to catch moments where he was actually singing on video.

Interesting factoid about Richard Smart.  He used to give a present to every single child in Waimea.  Obviously, that isn't possible now, but a lot of the old-timers do remember this generosity from when they were children.  Pretty incredible guy.  Plus, his house has the most impressive 360 degree view in town!  Everywhere you turn, awesomeness.

Probably should have had him blow his nose when I took him to pee before the show.  In a way, I'm thankful that I caught this on film.  This video is most definitely coming out again at graduation!


Belated Thanksgiving Update

I should probably stop making lame excuses for the lack of regularity in my blog updates.  I'm working to cut extraneous activities out of my life, but writing/keeping my family in touch with what's going on in our lives isn't one of them!
Our Thanksgiving was fantastic. We went over to Kekoa's godfather's house and had a potluck feast with some of our closest friends on the island. The big joke this year is that all three families made some variation of sweet potatoes. Of course, there was football and cute crockery, like so:

it was full of stuffing, which made it even better in my eyes!

 The boys were playing all day and long into the night. After the football game was finished and the men all went outside to congregate in the garage, we snuggled up on the couch and watched Harry Potter. I feel into a deep but temporary food coma.
Check the current state of Ikaika's hair.  He still refuses to cut it and, to be honest, it looks really cool. But now its starting to get into his eyes and he's been wearing headbands lately to compensate.  Mr A is fine with that (better than barrettes) and his teachers have all started calling him Karate Kid.  I like that he seems to have not only inherited my thick, wavy locks - but also my fearless sense of personal style.


White Road Forest Hike

On Sunday we took a little time to enjoy nature and hike the Kohala Forest Preserve (or whatever its called).  It was cool and dry - amazing conditions that made our walk so much more comfortable.  I always feel a bit of mystery and reverence walking through the Waimea watershed area.  I'm sad that the Waikoloa River no longer reaches the coast and freaked out by the degree to which invasive ginger has taken over the forest.  However, I can't help but fall in love with the fresh air, muddy path, and non-stop creativity that results from playing with broken sticks. 

This is the view that awaited us at the end of the trail, which pops out in the back of Waipio Valley:

the height actually made me a little queasy
waterfalls aren't falling - but are no less spectacular
And who are these good-looking fellas?  The hike took a good three hours round trip and the boys were troopers.  I regret that I didn't bring along a compass and realized too late that our first-aid kit needs to be restocked.  Lots of advil but absolutely nothing to clean a scrape!    

"shaka, boys!" - I get nose picking from one and whatever this is plus evil laugh from the other!
"wish I had a hang glider..."