Inappropriate Fashion Choices for the Whiter Among Us

Long have I desired to travel in India. Its not even the spectacular Buddhist architecture, the mysterious Hindu artifacts, the tantalizing food or the colorful and awe inspiring festivals.
I have ALWAYS wanted to wear a sari or whatever the name for this get-up is. Its so freakin comfortable. Like wearing pajamas. Its cool and breathable, modest yet sensual, its the best of the best! The scarf is both functional and stylish. The pants can adjust through even the most heinous of "fat days". The detailing is beautiful without being fussy. If I could, I would have seven of these for every day of the week.
Being that I am clearly not Indian, part Indian, living in India, British raised in India, etc. I have no conceiveable excuse to wear this and, even though I see people wearing these all the time in the US, I regretfully admit that I would feel silly and self conscious wearing it in public.
Living in Hawaii only offers me the opportunity to wear mu'umu'us. But this type of outfit is so ideally suited to the weather conditions in Hawaii. Beyond the cool and comfortable argument, it covers skin from the sun. I would like to find a way to design an outfit that draws on this for inspiration but isnt so "Indian" that I would look like that-weirdo-white-person-wearing-ethnic-clothes when I wore it.


Sophie - that two-timing hussy!

Someone look familiar here? Sophie the giraffe is Baby Ickeys BFF!
Does this make me a cool, hip mom?
(probably not since Sophie was a gift)


Professional Baby Portraits

Im considering having Ikaikas picture taken in a studio. I havent had professional photos taken since senior year of high school so Im really wrestling with this decision.

Digital technology has made it possible for me to take hundreds of photos of the baby, crop, edit, whatever, so Ive never thought that I needed a professional and have often wondered if it would be worth the money. Ive often fantasized about getting a "family picture", but when I thought about what we would all wear I got so overwhelmed that I just gave up.

Ultimately, Ive decided to spent the 5 bucks and get some pictures taken. Just to see what the experience would be like. If nothing else, grandparents will appreciate it. I still dont know what the baby should wear but after talking with Mo we have decided the simpler the better and to just not put that much thought into it. There is the option of the "naked baby" photo, but it would require him to lay on his stomach and at 9 months, thats just not as natural for him.

Here are some things I like and dislike about baby pictures. This girl seems really uncomfortable. It seems "age inappropriate".

This baby looks cuter but still somewhat cheezy. She (?) seems more relaxed.

I like this. I think that what keeps driving me to a pro is the desire for diffused lighting. I would want the picture to really highlight Ikaikas eyes without making him looks like creepy ghost baby/zyborg.

This is my favorite. It has a vintage feel and the baby seems both happy and relaxed without actually smiling.
Obviously, this is not what Im going to get at JC Penny, but still...I wish I lived in St Louis!!!


Midwest to Northwest - a Family BBQ

Ikaika and I spent the entire day in transit on Friday and have finally made it to Oregon. He was awesome on the flights. Mostly flirted with whoever was closest then fussed for a couple minutes before falling asleep.

This trip, although it sounded great in theory, is turning out to be totally exhausting! I have a whole new appreciation for my friends who have jobs that force them to travel constantly. By the time Ickey and I had reached Denver I couldnt stop wishing I actually lived in Colorado. Tonight we have to load up onto a train for Seattle. ARRG!

Yesterday was long anticipated and much needed time with Mr As family. Like most every Hawaiian family gathering, we had a BBQ in Uncles backyard! Everyone came over except those who couldnt due to work schedules (or geographic complications). The best part of the day, in my opinion, was a toss up between seeing Mr As daughters play with Ikaika (I know he wont remember it but I always hear horror stories about situations like this so it was a huge bonus that they were so sweet and accepting) and seeing Mr A sweat it out as he navigated through his first "meeting the boyfriend" experience. My husband has an almost unnatural amount of self-confidence, so it was refreshing to see him nervous for once!


16 and Pregnant

Theres a show on Mtv about preggo teenagers. My sister generously DVRed all of them and we are having a 16&P-Fest tonight.

We all like the show but cant quite decide whats the moral of the story. Is it glorifying teen pregnancy or is it supposed to be deterring kids from sex? It almost seems like it would promote babies as much as discourage them. I want to see the year-later follow-up show when the baby is older, rowdier, awake longer, demanding, and everyone has more opinions.

I think its weird how they dont talk about the realities of how expensive babies are. The show doesnt really talk about the expenses in any concrete way (do they have insurance, if they are bottle feeding do they get formula from a state assistance program, are they getting their shwag new or used, etc). I would think that most of these kids are probably broke and a few have said so much during their show, but they all formula feed and have gads and gads of junk for their baby.

When it comes right down to it, the only things you really NEED for a newborn are a carseat, a stack of cloth diapers, 5 changes of clothes (sleepers are multi purpose), and maybe a blanket. Absolutely everything else is optional. These kids should save themselves some money and breastfeed.


How or When to Begin the Dicipline

Ikaika is in a weird stage of life right now. Hes too small to understand discipline but big enough to throw a tantrum. I find myself wondering when to move on to phase #2.

When he was a tiny little infant and all he needed was to sleep/poop/eat it was easy to decide what to do when he cried. I simply had to meet his needs and snuggle him copiously and all was right with the world. There was very little guess work.

Around the time we came out here Ikaika started throwing fits. When I take something away (usually something dirty or dangerous) he will flap his arms and scream in a way that can only mean "Im totally pissed off".

The other day we were shopping (a store is a place where the self awareness of mothers tends to sky rocket) and my normally normal son pitched a fit after I pried a product out of his tiny hands. I looked at him curiously and weighed my options (it was just me, Ickey and two sales associates), then picked him up and tried to distract him by whispering "look at that" while pointing at stuff I was browsing through anyway. He finished being upset and I finished looking at stuff.

During this whole ordeal, I felt very aware of the expectations (real or imagined) of the other people in the store. Did they expect me to dicipline him? Did they want me to scold him and did they want him to be quiet because he respected me/was a "good boy"? Was I too lenient? I basically ignored it and just continued what I was doing - am I that person who is letting their kids walk all over them? Or am I the zen goddess mom type?

I know for sure that I dont want to be that woman who is screaming at her kids because they are screaming. So I succeeded on that level. But did I end up being that woman whose kids are running wild and theyre doing nothing?

If you asked me to guess based on my life so far, I would say that my general parenting style will fall somewhere between over-protective and hard-ass. But I dont think Ikaika is old enough for all that yet. I dont think 9 months is really old enough for much of anything beyond "no" or distraction.

So the real question is "when does the parenting begin and how will I know?"


Is Divorce "bad" and Marriage "good"? Sources say No.

A rethinking of my original post...

Its not the divorce, in and of itself, that is selfish. Its the attitude of not wanting to deal with the underlying issues that lead to the corruption of a relationship. And that can be present whether people split up or not. So its just as hard to stay together and work it out as it is to split up and work it out - but putting in the effort is super important either way.

So when it comes right down to it, the circumstances of the relationship (raising kids together or raising them separately) isnt as critical as the parents having a cooperative attitude. Dismissing the commitment of a couple simply because they are divorced is as inaccurate as revering a couple simply for not being divorced. Neither gives an accurate indication of the nature of the couples relationship.

Long live the middle ground!


Brewers vs Cardinals

Heres a few pictures from Thursday afternoons game.

My sister and her now-husband are dedicated members of "The Brew Crew", a league of devoted Milwaukee Brewers fans. They dont go to all the games, but they try to make a few every season. They do DVR every game.

So they took all of us to Miller Park and we tailgated before the game. We grilled brats, drank beers, played bean bag toss, and sat in folding chairs.

During the game we were sitting out in left field and then sun was BEATING down on us. Soooo hot! My mom took the baby to the upper deck and stood with him inside the stadium where it was actually quite cool.

Mr A debated taking his shirt off but we were sitting in front of this guy (see picture and look behind us) ...so with the help of the visual, he decided it probably wasnt a good idea.

We were really excited to see the "racing sausages". Between the top and bottom of the 6th inning (I think), these guys in sausage suits (theres chirizo, hot dog, bratwurst, etc.) run around the bases. Beth and Ethan started getting Ickey a little stuffed racing sausage every year when they go to watch Brewers training camp, so I was pumped to see the real deal in action!

Obviously not the real sausages. These guys are from the kids park area.


Ikaikas First Steps and Beths First Marriage

Today we went to my brand new brother-in-laws baseball game. Hes going to play on the AllStar team soon. Yay! Heres a pic of the two boys who have foolishly signed on for a lifetime of Stransky family shananagins!

The "bride" and "maid of honor" (although shes not old enough so I was technically the witness)

This is what Sunday afternoons are all about. Brats with kraut and all the fixins along with cold beer in a coozie. Yum yum!

Ethans team won. It made up for the Brewers blowing it on Thursday.

A nice family picture. From left to right we have mom, Uncle Ken (dads brother), cousin Amber, dad, Mo, Granny, Grandpa (moms parents), Beth, Ethan, Ickey, myself, and Mr A.

Its interesting how the extended family was soooo small when I was young (11 of us total) and now it seems like we are growing every year! (I think there are 20 of us total now)

Beth and Ethans "blink and youll miss it" ceremony went down Friday morning. The big BBQ celebration was last night and it was fun fun fun! A true midwest marriage - there were brats and Miller Lite, 2 tvs with the Brewers game set up around the yard, tailgating games and a music playlist ranging from Elvis to Lynard Skynard.


Last night (7/11) Ikaika took his first steps! 5 distinct steps that I witnessed in their entirety. A friends daughter, Molly, was playing with something Ickey clearly found appealing so he toddled after her and stayed on balance. It was awesome! Both Mr A and I had discussed this beforehand and were in agreement that the baby would walk at some point during this trip. Unfortunately he hasnt felt like reliving this momentous achievement so I havent been able to get any hard evidence to post here.

Not only did this happen on the day of Beths wedding, it was also the same day (54 years ago) that my Uncle Bruce took his first steps. Granny remembered this only because July 11th is her stepdads birthday. Lucky day!


Fastest Nuptials EVER!!!

My sister and Ethan got married this morning. Literally 90 seconds long. It was the quickest 150 bucks that judge ever made. Then we went on a boat cruise around Lake Mendota where the bar was open. I ordered at least 15 different drinks, took one sip, then threw the rest overboard - JUST BECAUSE I COULD! Sisters orders.

Is She Really Going Out With Him (Mtv) is now my favorite show.


Pictures from Roadtrip 09

Casinos everywhere and I do mean EVERYwhere.

My dad wanted to buy this shirt.

Deadwood South Dakota - home of the "dead man's hand", aces over eights.

All sorts of crazy things at Wall Drug.

Why its called Big Sky Country.


The Squished Penny

We made it all the way to Billings, Montana on day #1, so today we did less driving and more stopping. Good thing since the constant carseat action is starting to give Ikaika some radical heat rash!

We are currently camped in a motel across the street from Wall Drug in South Dakota.

We went to the battlefield at Little Big Horn (more on that later), Deadwood, and Mount Rushmore - a very appropriate Independance Day. During the driving parts we had lively discussions on everything from private vs. public schools to American Indian relocation issues. Mo and I sang all the summer camp and/or patriotic songs we could remember. Dad delighted us with educational factoids about the places we were passing (without narraration a large majority of the drive just looks like land...lots and lots of land).

Its amazing how little this drive has changed since we did it as a family 20 years ago. Even the entertainment in the car is the same - hour after hour of A Prairie Home Companion!!! I have to admit that I wish I had refreshed my memory with relevant movie viewing before leaving Hawaii (Thunderheart, Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, etc). Luckily, between Dad, Mom, Mo, and the visitors center du jour there is plenty of information to go around.

I've started collecting squished pennies. Its 51 cents to make a little metal stamping of whatever place you are visiting. I thought it would be nice to start collecting something from the places Ikaika goes and when hes older he can either continue to collect it or at least he will have something that shows the places hes been. Even if he thinks its "lame" when hes older, its something for him to look forward to, something to hunt for when we travel, and in my experience the "lamest" things are the ones you remember most fondly. The squished pennies are available in a lot of locations (including the Waikoloa shoping center!), they are small, and they dont require any kind of knick knack shelf. Perfection. Im now a big fan.

Mo and I had a blast today tracking down the penny squishing machine everywhere we went and I cant wait to find one in Wall Drug tomorrow. That, and get a picture of the baby riding a jackalope. I think after that, my life will truly be complete.

I heart the Big Sky Country.


The Great American Road Trip

Myself, Baby Ickey, my little sister, mom and dad are all piling in Grandpas volvo today and heading out east on I-90. Off to Wisconsin to witness the marriage of yet another Stransky girl. Ive got a travel mug of coffee, a diaper bag and some Mp3s downloaded onto my phone so I guess Im all ready to go.

See you in 3 or 4 days!!!


Unusual Hawaiian Food Items

I found this in a Hawaiian language picture book from the library. These pages came from the "food/mea'ai" category. Anyone else find this strange?

2 Years and Counting!