Giving Thanks for PDX International!

(publishing this late because blogger isnt letting me upload photos from this computer...very annoying)

Thanksgiving was very fun (for me at least). Went over to brother-in-laws and had a rockin good time with the Arrayan Ohana. Gonna miss the holiday/birthday party get-togethers with those folks. There is always something to laugh about. Luckily, last night it wasnt me.

Uncle Mike said that Ikaika was "a little lovin". A perfect description!

Then this morning Mr A got on a plane for Hawaii. Sigh. I know he didnt want to go by himself and, even though I know I shouldnt since this is the best for everyone, I feel bad. He was really bummed about leaving. We were hanging out in front of security check after a lovely airport family breakfast and he was just holding Ikaika and staring at him and not wanting to give him back. Eventually he did and got on his flight. I just got a call and he has made it to Kona none the worse for wear. This is the beginning of our great adventure!

I like the airport during the holidays. I like airports in general, but during the holidays especially. The lights are hung up - its festive - and there is just a feeling in the air. The feeling of seeing someone special. The feeling of anticipation, excitement, surprise. Mix that in with the sort of delirious coma-like state most travellers are in and its the recipe for a perfect place to experience some really crazy emotions. Thats what I like about airports - all those emotions in such a small place. Peoples feelings are always intensified in an airport. I have a lot of vivid memories from travelling and I always felt very aware of myself when I was either picking someone up or dropping someone off.

All those years of flying on planes and I just realized today that the one airline I always ignored because it was just a bunch of rich people going on vacation (Hawaiian Air) is now our primary airline! And Im neither rich nor on vacation!


Ikaika: The Uncut Version

We have yet to circumcise the baby. Originally, we agreed to leave it for two weeks and make a decision later. Mr A is consistantly vocal about getting it done but thus far hasnt even given the effort of actually calling the pediatrition about it. Im not going to call because I dont necessarily want someone chopping up what God gave him (although I acknowledge that its more of a "guy thing" and untimately the decision will be left up to Mr A). So here we are a month and a half later with foreskin still intact.

Whats your take on cut vs uncut? What would you do?

Just so you know that I know - there is absolutely no medical basis for Ikaika getting a circumcision so I wont accept any advice that includes such dated information. Interestingly enough, the circumcision rate in Oregon is only about 30%, which means we are in the norm over here.


OMG UR my BFF!!! LOL <3

The other night as I was breastfeeding and staying up with Ikaika (hes not fussy or upset, just awake) I watched a marathon of Paris Hilton is My New BFF "on demand". You knew it was just a matter of time. I mean, there is no way I was going to be able to avoid that show. What a bunch of mindless garbage! Much like The Hills marathon around this time of last year* - I was totally entranced.

*Havent watched The Hills since. Much like BFF, I cant handle crap in small doses.

Which leads to my blog topic - HATERS.

There was a girl on the show who was trying to justify how an acquaintance had accused her of being an enormously vapid sausage wallet in front of Paris. She proceeds to explain that shes always encountering "haters" and people are always "filling their mouth with my name" ...or something like that. She goes on to shed tears and recall with great pain how she used to come home from school and tell her mom that she doesnt want to be pretty anymore because the other kids dont like her. Maybe the other kids didnt like you because those are the thoughts that come out of your mouth. Just a theory.

As I laid in bed that night, my mind numb and mushy from hours staring at the shiny plastic flock of Hilton, I wondered what makes someone a "hater?" What makes a "hater" different from someone that just hates you?

Take Avril Lavigne (is that how you spell it?). I am a bonefide Avril Lavigne "hater". I hate on Avril Lavigne. I dont hate Avril - I hate on her - and here is the difference. I dont like a single thing about Avril. I dont like her music, her image, her voice, her husband, her hair, makeup, teeth, etc. You name it - I hate it. And yet, for some reason, I am uncontrollably drawn to seeking her out. When her videos come on the tv - I look at them...carefully. When her music plays in the store - I listen...intently. If she is in a magazine - I read it. And so on.
The point is that even though I dont like anything about Avril Lavigne, I go out of my way to expose myself to her because it gives me more information to support my own contempt. I want to know everything about her life so I can scrutinize it and judge it and decide it sucks. This, in fact, makes me a "hater".

Now lets look at someone like, oh say, John Mayher (is that how you spell it?). I read an article in Rolling Stone or some other magazine a long time ago where John Mayher was talking about being fluent enough in Japanese to be able to tell people off/eavesdrop of conversations after taking only high school courses (yeah right!) and fingering his girlfriend on the school bus. Puke. So I dont like John Mayher. If his video is on - I turn it off. If I hear his song - I tune it out. If I see him on a magazine cover - I leave that garbage on the shelf.
The point again is that because I truly hate John Mayher I completely ignore his existence. I dont acknowledge him as far as I can avoid it and only recently have I been able to enjoy the cover of Your Body is a Wonderland that our friends band sings. (Its always bothered me that Kaloku sings John Mayher material - but their voices are well matched and I guess the song is nice if its not sung by JM himself).

When you actually hate/dislike someone or something, you ignore them and couldnt possibly care less about what they think or do because its so darn unimportant and uninteresting. When you are being a "hater" or "hating on" someone or something, you seek out the details in hopes of finding raw material you can use to further your own mission of hating them more.

So when we examine the acrimonious relationships we inevidably have in our lives, are we just "hating" or are we "haters"?

Ill let you gnaw on that for awhile. TTYL.


Aloha Oe!

In case you havent heard the news - we are moving to Hawaii!

And I mean RIGHT NOW.

Yes, its true. After 20+ years, Mr A is finally returning to his island home. Im really excited about it for multiple reasons (I get to put my 30K japanese degree to use afterall!) and the baby doesnt seem to have an opinion one way or the other. Orchestrating a trans-pacific move is quite the endeavor. Its like ripping a band-aid off, you just have to do it and not think about it too much otherwise its totally overwhelming (how many of us have been completely overwhelmed by sticky old bandages?). But at least weve already started boxing and selling, unlike how I normally do it which is to throw everything in a suitcase the night before and trash whatever is left!

We are moving to The Big Island, the one that is actually named Hawaii. For those who have never been there - its a little less white sand beach and a lot more lava field. I dont think theres a building on the island over 3 stories tall. Lots of cattle ranches and nut/coffee farms. Other highlights include the international space observatory (clearest night skies in the world) and Kiluea the active volcano. We are planning on living around Kohala, birthplace of King Kamehameha I. Thats at the northeastern tip of the island.

As for the details: Mr A is going over early so he can take care of job/place to live without the added burden of being transients with baby in tow. Hes flying out the day after Thanksgiving (insistent about spending the holidays with family), which is consequently the day before his birthday. But I dont feel bad because he will probably play sand volleyball all day on his birthday, a much better gift than anything I could dream up for him! Im going to be spending the month of December in Seattle, working odd jobs and finalizing moving details. My family will be doting over Ikaika and most likely ignoring me. Then Mr A is flying back on December 23rd and we will do the Christmas thing - Eve in Seattle, Day in Portland. Ikaika is getting baptized as a Catholic on the 28th and then on the 30th the three of us board a flight to Kona. It will be my first Hawaiian New Years. I hear its going to be both thrilling and blog worthy.

Peace out, Portland! Aloha oe!


RDA of Cute

We went over to friends house last night and stayed up late playing games, singing karaoke, watching UFC, etc. Ikaika held up amazingly well. Slept well, stayed on schedule for the most part. This is what he looks like after a long night of mom & dad partying.
Today I experienced the downside of being a parent. Its one of the nicest days weve had here in Portland recently. Its probably the last nice weekend day before winter rolls around for good. Since we are moving soon to a place where golf is too expensive, Mr A and I wanted to go out and hit the links together one last time. Alas, I couldnt find anyone to babysit! And, unlike friends house party, its impossible to take a baby along on the golf course (although Im looking into some type of cage design that would sit atop that bucket/car seat thing and keep him safe from rouge balls - it will be featured in Sky Mall magazine and I will surely make millions). So here I am writing this blog post instead of teeing off at Glendevere. Waahhhh!
By the way, I put him in a little winter type suit today that says "6M" on the tag...it fit. Hes only 4 weeks. What a monster!


Good Morning Blog Readers!

Im going to start calling this The Poop Baby Blog.

So back to the topic of my sons bowel movements...

I realized last night that I havent changed a really poopful diaper for quite awhile. Thank you EC. But on that same line of thought - Ikaika has developed a little diaper rash thing. Not like full blown toddler diaper rash (those are gnarly) more like just redness and callousness between the cheeks. Problem is that Im not sure where the redness is coming from. Hes not sitting in poo, as I explained earlier. We use cloth during the day but Mr A insists that he will sleep better if hes in 'sposies. So which is causing the sore-butt syndrome?

In regards to treating the symptoms: This morning I sat him in a little tub full of sitz herbs and baking soda. It seemed to help the irritation and he smelled good afterwards. Ive used Balmex and it didnt do much except get all over my hands. Gross. Lano-something was of a nicer consistency and seemed to make his skin soft but I only had a sample packet and its gone now. Mr A has been putting A&D on him (you know those old men and their A&D) even though I keep telling him that stuff has fish oil in it and its going to make the diapers stink. No one listens to me...

Good Lord, Mom, leave me alone!

You cant exactly tell in these pics but hes getting big, as babies do. Our neighbors granddaughter is a little over 3 months and shes still smaller than he is (then again, in this neighborhood, the mothers lifestyle choices may be called into question). I hope he slows down a little or Im going to need a weight belt just to get him in and out of his bassinet! Ohhh my back!

cock-eyed baby love


Gas Powered

Last night was a winner. Not.
I dont know if it was the chicken enchilada casserole or what but last night/this morning was like sobby screaming babyfest. It was so unnerving. He was just inconsolable. I changed his diaper 10 times. I nursed him and he only bit me and pulled my boob off. He wouldnt even go in his sling! I rocked him. I cursed him. I almost cried.
My conclusion is that Ikaika is gassy. I sort of already knew this because 1) his kukae has been bubbly (one of the benefits of EC - I can see these things) and 2) my midwife told me as much. I got some Gripe Water at Target the other day and gave him some last night/this afternoon. It seemed to help somewhat. Its just terrible to listen to him scream and thrash around. Breaks my heart. Gets on my nerves too.
Not to be vulgar but he hasnt had very many big poos here today, maybe 2 in the last 24 hrs. Although the last two times I have offered him the bucket Ive been startled by some pretty earth shattering noises coming from his lower half. His diapers have been poo-free but weve had multiple productive farts. I think its safe to say that "hes got some stuck shit" (quoted husband).
So what do you make of all this? What should I be eating? Is there anything you can do for a gassy baby who has "stuck shit"? Would sucking on a pacifier help? Should he be on his back or his tummy when hes awake? Does it make a difference? Should I nurse him if hes gassy or just wait until he feels better? Is he gassy because Im nursing him too often? If it was something I ate should I pump & dump my milk or just let it be?
Any contributions to solving this problem would be appreciated.


Elimination Communication aka Bucket Training

Elimination Communication (EC for short) isnt really potty training. Because lets face it, its totally ridiculous to think you could potty train a newborn babe. EC is a way of teaching the baby to be aware of his shishi and doodoo. Because lets face it, its totally ridiculous to spend 2-3 years teaching a kid to crap his pants and then expecting him to do otherwise.

So we have been ECing part time. I havent gotten up the gusto to commit to a full day of no diaper. I think when we live someplace a bit warmer Ill give that a go. For now we offer Ika the opportunity to shishi/doodoo at the most convenient times for us. During a diaper change or right after he wakes up are the best times to catch something.

Heres how it works: we "offer the bucket" by holding him under this thighs in a modified squat and then we cue him by making a "psst" sound. The cue is supposed to help him know its time to relax his bowels or bladder. And we just hold him there over the sink/bucket/toilet and talk to him or cue him until he goes or until we give up.

I would say that 4 out of 5 times we will get something for our efforts. Sometimes we get both #1 and #2, which is rad. Other times I get one or the other and then I put a diaper on him and whichever one I didnt get in the bucket is now in the diaper (so frustrating!). Yet another option is nothing happening, but thats less likely since we only EC at the most opportune times.

If you could only see how excited Mr A gets when we catch something - something BIG - in the sink...you would think we are insane. Tonight we went to a volleyball game at Clackamas CC and I was changing his diaper in the restroom. Well, since it was right there I offered him the potty and he went! In a public bathroom! Its a portable skill! Very exciting stuff.

So why are we doing this? Well, for starters its fun/cool to think that your kid can pee on command (which, by the way, isnt exactly what he is doing - but its fun to think it is).
The main reason I wanted to try the way of the bucket was OF COURSE to save money. Because Im a miser. Im frugal. Im German. If you could figure out how to do this full time imagine what you would save from never using diapers! Unreal. For the time being, Ive been using a system that is like part cloth, part disposable and part bucket. He still soils a ton of diapers but think how many more I would be changing if every shishi I caught in the toilet went into a dipe instead! The proof is in the pudding and weve gone through almost 2 packs of disposable dipes since he was born. Thats about 80 diapers in 3 weeks. I think thats below average.

Oh and by the way... Cloth diapers, in my opinion, are NOT as hard as people want to make them seem. The technology of cloth nowadays means that if I had the money I would be using the tricked out cloth dipes and they would be stupid easy. Ive been using mostly recycled tshirt diapers and regular ole prefolds and I would still consider it to be very easy. And when you use cloth diapers theres no reason to not use cloth wipes, too. Throw it in a bucket and when the bucket gets full throw that in the washer.

Mr A, who did the cloth thing 15+ years ago, is in love with Snappis and commented several times on how great they are. Of course, they only work with prefolds or something of similarly woven fabric (NOT tshirt dipes) but I would recommend Snappis to people who want to do cloth.


Decision '08

snoozing through a defining moment in American history...ahh, innocence


"a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

Of all the names in the world, why did we name our child Ikaika?

Mr As dad told him (before he passed away 5 years ago) that if he ever had a son to name him Ikaika. He had told Mr A that he wanted to name Mr A Ikaika (but instead he named Mr A after himself, rendering Mr A his lifelong "junior"). It was his favorite name, it meant a lot to him, and he used to scribble it on everything. He made this walking stick from a piece of drift wood he collected at the beach the last time he was in Oregon. We hung it above the closet in Ikas room.

Ikaika, for those of you who dont know, means "strong" in Hawaiian - or "strength within" depending on who you ask and how poetic you want to be. Although I normally gravitate towards names that are a bit more complex, I have to admit that this name is really special and appropriate for this particular kid.

Considering that this name came directly from Papa As instruction, the fact that Ikaika was born on Papa As birthday makes this name choice exponentially more special.

What the name lacks in complexity it certainly makes up for in difficulty of pronunciation! I think its because I studied Japanese in college, but I dont find reading Hawaiian words to be all that complicated (albeit that the length of a word can sometimes cause trip ups). But English phonetics and the way we pronounce vowels makes Ikaika a really hard name for some to say. The first "I" is the source of most of the confusion. For the record, its pronounced EE-kai-kah.

And no...we will NOT be calling him Ike in this lifetime.