Tsunami in Hawaii

There was an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on the coast of Chile on Friday night. This led to tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin, Hawaii included. I woke up to the sound of the TV yesterday (Saturday) morning and it was still dark out. Mr A had gotten a text from family on the mainland and turned the news on at 5:35am. And so began my day.

Even though the waves weren't expected in Hilo until 11am, the tsunami sirens began their hourly toll at 6am, waking up the baby. We all lounged on the futon in the living room, transfixed by the news despite the fact there was nothing new to report for five hours. At one point in the morning, we decided that we didn't have a proper disaster kit (meaning we didn't have enough food or water to last the mandatory 5-7 days). Even though we live in elevation and it would take a 2,200 foot wave to affect us, any damage to the ship yards would put a stop to all shipments coming into the island. And I don't think Foodland had enough stock to last us all a week!

So Mr A went out into the pandemonium at 8am. Although he left with instructions to only get emergency rations (ie. canned soup), he came back with four loaves of bread, a bunch of bananas, three bags of potato chips and taro bread pudding from the bakery. Oh yeah, and a gallon of water. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LIVE ON THAT FOR 5-7 DAYS?!?!? He officially lost his grocery shopping privileges.

Luckily, the tsunami was a total bust. I was happy it didn't cause widespread inconvenience and that the county took such effective precautionary measures, but I was annoyed that I wasted my whole morning on a false alarm.

I heard later that evening from a tourist who informed me that the ocean was perfect all day and he even took his family swimming during the evacuation. It was hard to not call him an idiot straight to his face. It's truly amazing how little respect people have for nature. FYI: the ocean is not a swimming pool.


Book Review: How to Save Your Teeth by David Kennedy DDS

I've been reading the book How to Save Your Teeth by David Kennedy D.D.S. This book is all about toxic-free preventative dentistry and, in this house at least, its wisdom is desperately needed!

This book takes a head-on look at the cause of dental disease and illustrates a proactive approach that any one can take to prevent or treat common dental problems. The book features in depth chapters on proper cleaning techniques, different options on how to treat existing problems (including what types of fillings are best for your health), and the potential dangers of fluoride.

In light of the fact that we have no dental insurance and, even if we did, the coverage is not exactly comprehensive, I have a vested interest in keeping the teeth in this house as healthy as possible! Luckily, this book is telling me that "...for the last 20 years it has been theoretically possible to raise a child free from tooth decay." Whew!

Dr. Kennedy recommends a 3-step approach when considering a child's dental health.
  1. Nutrition. Everyone knows by now to avoid sugar and brush after meals, etc. The importance of calcium is common knowledge. But this book goes one step further and points out that inadequate nutrition during the developmental years can adversely affect the jaw, leading to overcrowded teeth and narrow dental arches. There are some truly shocking photos of indigenous peoples in and out of contact with white civilization. The teeth of societies untouched by modern, processed foods are beautiful!
  2. Proper brushing/antibacterial. Dr. Kennedy recommends that germs are removed using baking soda (or a similar antibacterial agent). He points out that until the age of 8 children are not likely to have the dexterity required to properly brush their teeth and require adult assistance using an electronic toothbrush. He goes into detail about what types of toothpastes are most beneficial and the results may surprise you!
  3. Lastly, he illustrates the importance of applying a sealant to the permanent molars, which erupt at ages 6, 12, and 18. Sealing these teeth can prevent a majority of decay in the molars and keep kids from having to get drillings and fillings. Dr. Kennedy considers this the most crucial step in long term dental health in children.
    "By age 17, eighty-four percent of youth have at least one cavity. However, it is no surprise to learn that only 20% of the children have 60% of the problems. Once the tooth is filled it will need to be refilled over and over throughout adult life. Prevention is priceless. If you can raise your children past the age of 20 without significant decay they will spend far less money on their teeth over their lifetime."
There are so many options concerning dental care and what I like about this book is that it puts the power of choice back into the patient's hands. By teaching about a variety of modern practices, it enables the consumer to make an informed choice about what kind of dental care is right for them. And, best of all, it empowers parents to truly save their kids' teeth.


(I am the) Bread Maker

I am considering a bread making machine.

I usually make 100% whole wheat (or any non-white flour) bread so I am trying to figure out which machine works best for that. Is it the machine or the recipe that makes the most difference?

So far I've looked at Breadman or Sunbeam machines. My budget is under $100.

Thanks for any and all advice!


Double Standard

I would like to rant for a moment about how unfair it is that two parents of the exact same kid get treated totally different. Yes, I realize that I deserve this considering I did the same thing to my own parents, but it still irritates me!

Mr A is always suggesting tricks that make his life so much easier when he is watching the baby but they never work for me! It's not that he's smug about it, it's just that I don't understand why our child responds to the XY chromosome carrier, but not the lady who carried and delivered him!

Case in point: nap/sleep time. Ikaika is a willful sleeper and typically screams for at least 5 minutes when he is put down. The other day, Mr A told me about this great idea of his where he lays down on the futon next to the playpen until the baby falls asleep. According to my husband, this has led to many a peaceful slumbers with minimal trauma and a few catnaps for the adult.

Well, I tried it this morning and...NOT HAPPENING! I think my presence just made the baby more pissed. It was a screaming and crying and trying to climb out of the playpen disaster. After 10 minutes I said, "forget this!", walked out of the room and just left him to settle himself like normal. No one was getting any sleep as long as I was in that room - especially not me!

Why isn't parenting strategy interchangeable?!


Things to Munch On

Yesterday I found a box of organic winter squash that's been burning a hole in my freezer for almost 2 months. I tried this recipe for Squashed Macaroni from Mothering Magazine's website and it was a hit!

For those who don't know, Mr A will only eat cheese on the rare occasion and we never have it in the house (I still haven't figured out the exact reason, something about it's structural similarity to wax...) So this dish turned out to be great alternative to macaroni and cheese. The creamy consistency and yellow hue were so similar to Kraft that several people at the basketball game asked the baby if he was enjoying his mac n cheese! I thought the taste was somewhat similar and the crunch of the walnuts was very satisfying. It's also a great way to sneak in another serving of veggies. I will be making this again.

Now something for your brain to munch on. Amy, over at Super Healthy Kids, posted a report from her friend's dentist showing what drinks rot teeth the fastest. So shocking. It sure made me think twice about giving the baby Gatorade!


Fleece Pants for Cold Feet

Oma got me some cozy UH fleece a month ago and I've been eager to use it. One thing about the Stranskys, we love us some collegiate gear!

Ikaika has tons of pajamas. Almost too many (IMO). The issue has been that his feet are freezing in the mornings. All the footed jams are one piece jumpsuits, which are a nightmare when it comes to using the potty. Because of this, I prefer to use long sleeve, two piece PJs but it's almost impossible to find them with feet.

I started this project by using an existing pair of pants for the pattern. I turned them inside out and stuffed one leg inside the other then traced them onto my fleece, taking into account seam allowances and elastic squishing.

Because my son wears a massive cloth diaper at night, I added a panel in the back to provide extra room in the tush.

I basically assembled them like regular pants except I added a "shoe" to the bottom. I think the trick here is two-fold: 1) make sure to cut out an arch on the front of the pant legs before you attach the top of the shoe - that way there is room for the volume of the foot and 2) I attached elastic to the back of the leg at about ankle length in order to help keep the foot somewhat snug. This seemed to improve both the fit and mobility.

I might try to use puffy paint on the bottom of the feet to make them somewhat less slippy. Even though he will theoretically only be using these to sleep, there's always the possibility of splitting one's face open on the hardwood floor.

The bummer about pants like these is that there isn't the same growth forgiveness there is with other clothes. You can't roll them up if he's too short, and once he's too long, there's no way to modify them. Looking at them on his body, I think I made them too short (ie. the length is exactly right at the moment) so I hope he - and I - enjoy these while they fit!


UW lacrosse T-shirt Reconstruction

If you followed Terms of Indifference when I was living in Thailand, you may remember my Wisconsin lacrosse shirt, a gift courtesy my sister. I had to retire it because the cotton started to crust over with the salt from my sweat. But, considering I had worn it at least every other day, I was sure it had lived a good life.

For the past 2 years, even though I never wore it, I kept rescuing my UW LaX T-shirt from the "give away" pile. Lately, I've been drooling over Vegbee's raglan sleeve shirts and this seemed like the perfect project for my most treasured garment.

I used another old shirt from Cambodia for the sleeves (you can vaguely see the pattern on the shoulder) and scraps from a Philly's shirt (circa last year's World Series) for the back. The pattern was 100% eyeballed. I consider this to be acceptable for (my) children's clothes since fit isn't exactly of dire consequence. I also used Vegbees tute for transplanting a polo shirt collar onto a regualar t-shirt. I've never done this before but I like the results!

Clearly, this is closer to a size 3/4 shirt. Ikaika doesn't fit into it now, but he will sooner or later and my Wisconsin Lacrosse shirt will live on!



He's just about 16 months now. At the last check up he was 32.5" and 25.5 lbs. He sprouted 3 new teeth this last month so that's 11 total. He's still into swimming, animals, reading books, and throwing balls. Sleeping continues to be a challenge, eating continues to be a piece of cake.


Truly Madly Deeply

Have I mentioned lately how much I love being a mom? I LOVE IT!

I am madly in love with my son. There are certain things he does; a look, an expression, a sound, that just make my heart melt. He is so precious! Even the tough times are fun because I know that I am learning from every decision I make. Every choice is important and that is exciting. When my mom used to declare that her children were her greatest accomplishment I would roll my eyes and think 'geez mom, how sad'
...but now I think ' AMEN SISTER!'

Of course no amount of self serving fulfillment could possibly rival the satisfaction I feel just looking at his face - his adorable little face! His happy, content little face just fills me to the brim with joy. I love being a mom.



Mr A's brother made this amazing pencil drawing of Ikaika! I love it! Thanks, Uncle Danny!


Sunshine & Diapers & a New Haircut

I love Hawaii because I can hang my diapers (and all my laundry for that matter) in the sunshine year-round! It gets them whiter than white and is a non-chemical way to sanitize. They always smell fresh and clean, too! Best part is that this is an entire weeks worth of dipes - Yay for the potty!

I don't love Hawaii because the same sunshine that is sanitizing my son's diapers is turning my skin into a piebald mess! No amount of SPF is able to keep my epidermis white. Endless frustration. But check out my new haircut - Bangs! I still can't decide if my hair is any grayer than normal (Ive always had ashy hair) but coloring my hair here would be a waste of time - between the sun and the surf, the color would only last for a week or two tops. So my big change for now is the bangs. I think I'm going to grow the rest out long - easier to cut myself :)


16 & Pregnant Season 2

I have a few guilty pleasures of the audio-visual variety. Mtv's 16 & Pregnant and the follow-up series, Teen Mom definitely make the cut. I just watched the trailer for the new season of 16 & Pregnant (starts Feb 16th) and I CRIED!

I'm not sure why I cried, but I think that means it's going to be a good season of reality TV watching! Quick Beth, program your Tivo - 16&Preggo is back!


Today We...

Today we slept in past 8am, even though we were all in the same bed after 7am.

Today we went to the beach. Ikaika is becoming interested in swimming and he took a nap on the sand. Mr A boogie-boarded until his skin came off and I reviewed vocab in the shade.

Today we started our taxes, took the drivers test, and were reminded that I still need to get my name changed!

Today we got haircuts.

Today we are going to eat some chicken long rice and watch Project Runway.

Today we celebrated no school!!!


Ikaika Talks Story

Here we have Ikaika sharing his vocabulary (more or less)

For those who can't watch this but would sure like to - Granny - I'll summarize by letting you know that on the video he says (more or less) "please", "mama", "dada", "beach" (thanks Beth), and "elephant".

FYI: he is capable of saying about a dozen other words that either Mr A or myself understands.


Finding Inner Peace at Starbucks

  I made the decision to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and have a 3 month window of time to prepare, which means I need every second available to me.  Yesterday I was able to spend an hour and a half studying while the boys hit balls at the driving range.  For a change of scenery I hit the local Starbucks with my laptop in tow.

Although Starbucks is noisy, crowded, and overpriced, I found some kind of inner solace while there and hit another gear as far as productivity goes.  Maybe I am like the dog who hears the bell and drools, except when I hear the whir of an espresso machine I learn.  During college, I spent a considerable amount of time in coffee shops.  How many countless hours were spent reading or doing homework in the Gizmo (Knox College coffee shop) - on the patio in the spring and fall or snuggled next to the fireplace when the snow was falling?   

No place was my coffee shop predilection more apparent than Tokyo, where cafes are all the rage.  It was nearly impossible to walk half a block without running into some kind of caffine peddling establishment.  Even when I was with company, we would be reading in tandem or discussing that day's assignment.  It was a place where ideas ran free, a place of quiet reflection, a place for thoughts to flourish.

Now it seems that the din of the crowd and the smell of the roast are exactly what I need to prepare my brain for storing mass amounts of information.  That, and a babysitter.