Sewing my first Halloween Costume

I am so excited about this costume!!!

I was poking around Craftster and I came across this awesome Starfleet Commander's uniform. Thinking back to the countless hours I spent with my dad watching Star Trek the Next Generation, nights my sister and I would pretend our trundle bed was the USS Enterprise, and reveling in my general nerdiness, I knew this was the perfect first Halloween costume for my kid!

I LOVE THIS SHIRT! I can already tell that its going to get a life beyond Halloween. Its perfect for HPA basketball games.

I ended up using 2 T shirts from the thrift store ($1 each), cutting and piecing the whole thing back together. Im sure theres an easier way to do it, but all together this project still only ran me about 2 hours of time. The communicator and rank insignia are irridescent gold & silver puff paint. The sleeves are a bit short but I think this will work out well considering we are Trick-or-Treating in Waikoloa, Land of Hot.

Speaking of Trick-or-Treating, Im not sure how this is going to work out. We dont let Ickey eat candy and Mr A doesnt eat candy and I dont need to be eating any candy right now...so why are we even doing this? In all likliness we will knock on 3 doors, take a few pictures, and then head over to whoevers house has the BBQ and beer.


Snuffy - the runny nose lifesaver

It goes by many names: Snuffy, Snuffalufagus, Squeegee, Nose Squishy. But, no matter what we call it, I couldn't survive a runny nose without it.

When I was pregnant and this was on the checklist, I was thinking 'i am ever going to use this thing?'. The answer is YES!!! Because the baby doesn't have the capability to blow his own nose, this thing gets all the boogers and snot out so he can breathe easy (for at least a few minutes). Our child actually sits still and let's us clear his nasal passages, probably because he enjoys the relief so much.

Ickey has had a runny nose for the past week and the one day we misplaced the Snuffy...well, let's just say it was ugly.


Ditching the Diapers - Phase Two: Wee Weka Knickers and Small Potty

All great minds think on the pot...

In case you were wondering - he's reading Little Husky's Big Game, a rhyming board book about The Apple Cup (UW vs WSU). I like the book because it uses terminology like "tight end", "nose guard", "screen", and "that punt's got hang time". Precious and educational. Ickey likes it because it combines his two great loves: dogs and football.

Notice the infant toilet. No baby bjorn but it is two pieces, easy to clean, and whimsical without being annoying.

So here are some training pants I made using the super SIMPLE tute for Wee Weka Knickers over at The Nappy Network.
Id like to thank my mother for sending me two shirts that no grown woman could ever hope to fit into! One shirt, as small as they were, made two pairs of knickers. I lined them with microfiber cloths I had in my diaper stash.

Even thought this material is surprisingly sturdy, I would like to try making trainers with PUL or some other water proofing material on the outside. The baby is far FAR from using the potty consistently so I'm trying to find the perfect compromise between full blown diapers and underwear.

I also want to figure out how to make one of these piddle pad things for the car seat! Although for 8 bucks - I should save myself some sanity and just buy the damn thing for Christmas.

KEIKI ON BOARD: refashioned fashion for kids

After months (ok, years) of thinking about it but not doing anything about it - I finally got some of my creations up online where people can buy them and enjoy them!

Check out my new shop: Keiki on Board

Yay! Feeling so productive!


Raising a Dairy Free Kid - How to Make Almond Milk

Dr Shaklee said if you want to keep your kid healthy, the three things they absolutely must avoid are refined wheat, refined sugar, and dairy.

I buy what Dr Shaklee is selling (literally and figuratively).

It makes sense to me to limit the amount of dairy in my kids diet. I spent my entire childhood and much of my adulthood with chronic ear infections and my husband suffered from severe allergies. Dairy as it is consumed today, cold and homogenized, causes mucus build up. This build up aggravates respiratory symptoms, including problems in the ears, nose, and throat.

I occasionally do give Ikaika yogurt or kefir because I feel like the benefits of the live active cultures outweigh whatever dairy issues may arise (the cultures also help break down the lactose so its not as hard on his system). But, now that we have decided to stop breastfeeding, finding a substitute for milk has become an issue.

One great alternative to whole dairy milk is fresh almond milk. Almonds are not only a great source of absorbable calcium, they also contain essential fats, iron, potassium and magnesium. On top of that, its super easy to make and cheaper than cows milk (at least in Hawaii where milk is $8 a gallon).


Start with 3-4 tablespoons of raw almonds.

Soak them for a 4-6 hours or overnight. Drain the water then peel the skins off by gently squeezing or rubbing them between your fingers.

Put the peeled almonds with 2 cups of purified water in a blender. Start on low and increase the speed until the almonds have been liquified. You can also add a tsp or two of brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup for added sweetness.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Yum yum! Mix with cereal or enjoy in a cup!


Infant Toilet Training - Phase Two

Lately, I feel like Ikaika and I have hit a plateau with the potty.

For those who don't follow my life religiously - I cloth diaper my now one year old and have been using the basic principles of Elimination Communication with varying degrees of commitment since 2 weeks old. He began sitting on the toilet using a little seat insert when he was about 3 months.

Since he started eating solid foods and (more or less) sleeping through the night, his digestive system has become increasingly predictable. Therefore, I feel like now is the time to take this whole potty thing to the next level.

But where is the next level?

My number one frustration is that I dont feel like Ikaika is communicating with ME about the potty. Ideally, I want him to be able to let me know if he wants to go. Go into the bathroom, point at the potty, grap at his crotch, anything that would give me a clue as to what hes thinking. Usually, catching anything in the toilet feels like sheer luck. Also, now that his communication skills are improving I want him to be able to spend at least part of his day in cotton underwear and/or training pants.

He already cooperates with sitting on the toilet, he has peed and pooed in the potty (as long as I get him there), doesnt seem to be scared of flushing, etc. Can I really expect any more from a 12 month old?

According to this book I read yesterday, the answer is yes. Diaper Free Before 3 by Dr Jill Lekovic presents a theory that is somewhere between "diehard EC" and "wait till they are ready". I think this book is very in sync with my own thoughts about potty training.

The new ideas I took away from this book are as follows:

1) now that Ikaika is older and more regular, its time to start treating the potty as part of our daily routine. Just like feeding, dressing and bathing, I need to incorporate trips to the toilet into other activities for the day. After he wakes up, after he eats, before bath, before bed. I need to be more consistent about offering the toilet to him instead of just doing it whenever I think about it.

2) Its time for an infant potty. Sure, he can sit on the seat insert and use it without much problem. But a toilet that is his size will enable him to sit on it or go to it without my assistance. It will make the toilet more accessible to him. He can also mimic - go to the potty at the same time as Mr A or myself - a technique thats worked like a dream for teeth brushing.

3) I have to be able to take the plunge and put him in training pants. Ive been doing it all morning today with surprisingly uneventful results! Because he already uses cloth diapers, training pants are more about training ME to be aware of what hes doing and not rely so much on diapers.


How to Predict Your Child's Height

Most doctors use a child's height at 2 years to determine their adult height. In theory, they will grow to be exactly double their height at 2 year old.

Even though our kid is only a year old, we asked the doctor to give us her scientifically unsubstantiated projection. You know...just for fun. She told us that, based on his development thus far and Mr A & my height, she would guess Ickey is going to end up somewhere between 5'11" and 6'3". She was putting her money on 6'2".

Other reports from the docs office today - 23lbs 10oz, 31 inches tall. I finally caved and got him a round of vaccinations. More on that topic later this week (its been a long day of non stop volleyball and Im ready to sleep - like right now).


Getting Older Makes Me Sick!

Spirit Week 2009

Shorewood High School - my alma mater in Shoreline, WA where my younger sister continues the tradition of academic excellence - is celebrating Homecoming this week, which means...SPIRIT WEEK!

Homecoming at SWHS is the highlight of the year. The Thunderbirds go all out with themes, skits, activities, etc. Everyone, from the primest princess to the lonliest loser, gets involved in Homecoming. This years theme is "Lights, Camera, Shorewood!" - a hollywood movie theme!

Although my personal favorite is "Costume Party with Grandma Thursday" (no sexy secretary costumes please, 15 year old girls!), my sister requested a tutu for Friday - "Class Color Day". Mo is a junior and her color is blue.

This tutu was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be (in fact, my sister probably could have made it herself). I used this tute from Feels Like Home. I got 1 yard of blue tulle (1.99/yd) and 2 yards of blue netting (.99/yd). Netting is the stuff shower puffies are made of - not as soft and luxurious as tulle but it was the right color (royal blue) and cheaper so I made it work.

I cut the strips to be 20 inches long, which means the skirt is super short. But she assured me that shes wearing both spandex and tights. If I had more fabric I probably would have made it longer.

Hope this works for you, Mo. Happy Homecoming!


A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I was sitting in a huge tub in my living room waiting for the human torpedo to fire. I was eating grapes and (sort of) laughing with Mr A about how crazy labor really is. I was pushing but nothing was happening. I took a shower, I took a walk. We went to the hospital, I had a break down and an epiphany about how truly expensive childbirth is. The tangled baby was pushed/pulled out, Mr A almost had a panic attack, I demanded a sandwich and told the nurse to get away from me when she tried to take the baby and weight him. It was so thrilling I hardly realized how much time had passed.

How can I even imagine what he will be like another year from now? Bigger, of course. More developed. Talking? Comprehending? Empathizing? Dare I dream - potty trained? Its amazing. Its exciting. I love being a mom.


The Biology of Parenting

Almost a year old. Sigh...

When I was in labor, clutching my belly and moaning into my husband's shirt, I pathetically looked up at my midwife, who has 8 children, and cried, "how could you ever do this again willingly?!" She chuckled, smiled and assured me, "after this is over, you will totally forget how it feels until the moment you go into labor again. Its biology." This same biology seems to be how we get through parenting. Even though I remember the frustrations, in retrospect, all the things that upset me seem so unimportant.

The world of toddlers comes with a whole new set of rules, new challenges and a new relationship for us. I hope that I can keep my eyes wide open and enjoy him for who he is, let the small stuff go and not spend too much time lingering on things I will most likely forget in the near future!


1 Year Lu'au and O'ahu Trip (photo overload)

Home sweet home! We have returned safe, sound and exhausted from our four day destination lu'au for the baby's first birthday.

Mr A insisted that the first year party is the most important and after that we can just wrap a toy in a shoebox and call it good. So we went all out, packed a cooler of fish we caught here, and took the party to Oahu (the island Mr A is from). We had a delicious BBQ at Manu o ke Kai canoe club in Hale'iwa on the North Shore. It was so much fun and here is the photographic evidence.

At the Pali Lookout - looking over Kailua & Kaneohe. This is where the decisive battle between King Kamehameha (a Big Island resident) and the Oahu resistance happened. After that, more or less, the islands were united. Its said that he "pushed" them over the Pali - but I heard they may have jumped. Tres Okinawan!

Hanging out on Sunset Beach, North Shore. The sand is made mostly of shells, which means its downy soft but sticks like a mother. This morning I was still picking it off my scalp!

Friday night we went to the Leilehua High School (family alma mater) football game. Mr As daughter came out from Oregon to join us for the weekend. This was one of those heartwarming moments where I was reminded that Ikaika is really lucky to have an older sister.

LHS has a rifle team. Anyone else think this could be an episode of Cheaters?

Next, we went to Waipio and visited the family grave. Its actually the grave of Mr As grandfather (Papa Arrayan doesnt have a stone - his ashes were scattered at the beach we went to later that day). The baby wanted to eat our offerings. Took us an hour and a map just to find the thing! But, now that Ive seen it once I will be able to find it forever.

Time for the lu'au! Daddy A with his kids. This is quite possibly the best picture I have ever taken of a group - everyone looks great including the toddler! I mean, that is some kind of accomplishment!

I also want to point out that I finished the birthday shirts. They look cute, yes? If only Mr A werent wearing that garish red hat (men!).

Time for paddling! Obviously we didnt let the baby out on the open sea, but I did let him sit in the canoe while we moved it down shore.

View of the famous Rainbow Bridge in Hale'iwa. We paddled up the river for about a mile and all around the harbor. There were beautiful, pristine views but it was tough work getting there!

Paddle boarding. Basically you stand up on a surf board with a long oar and paddle yourself around. There were small waves in the harbor so we actually got to "surf" for real! I screamed like an idiot on the first wave I caught (like "woooohooo", not "ahhhhh!"). I think Im hooked.

We stopped by Aunty Dana and Uncle Pats house on the way to the airport. This is Timo, Ikaikas second cousin (?), hes only one month younger and just as sweet as they come. I cant wait for them to be old enough to play together - I may OD on the cuteness.


As Requested by Oma: NEW VIDEOS!

Drat. This was so stinkin' cute and I only caught 5 seconds of it. We are watching a DVD of my little sister's volleyball match and Ickey was standing in front of the TV for a solid 2 minutes jabbering, clapping and doing...I dont know what. But it was sure cute.

Shooting baskets on his little hoop (birthday present from his parents) and demonstrating that he understands the difference between "football" and "basketball". So akamai! He runs out at the end to check the score of the Husky v Notre Dame game.

Some more football action. His attempt at a catch is somewhat visible.

Now here he is trying to shoot baskets with the football.