Travel Crafting for a Toddler

In 48 short hours we will be boarding an airplane and headed for some much needed QT with family!

How do I spend my days in preparation?  Cleaning some, baking lots (can't starve on the flight!), packing intermittently, and crafting - of course!  Here's what happened today.

After making granola bars, I revisited Ikaika's carry-on bag.  I picked this bag up from the thrift store, washed it and repaired a few tears in the lining.  I like the fact that the lining is plastic, but that didn't seem enough.

I sewed in this elastic strap to hold up sippy cups so there wouldn't be any unexpected spills.  I don't trust the little gerber no-leak things.

Action shot.

Then I made a travel case for some of his toiletries.  I like these little square pouches.  They look small but are very roomy and can fit all kinds of stuff.  The bag is lined in the same material (which used to be a curtain but said curtain doesn't fit any of our current windows).

Then I used the same material and made a "diaper clutch".  Mr A got a real kick out of the fact that a "diaper clutch" and a "diaper bag" are different baby accessories.  I think this is just perfect for a kid Ikaika's age because he's beyond the point of needing the full bag when we go out but it's always necessary to have a diaper on hand!  And this keeps everything cute and organized! 

Unfortunately, I didn't measure very carefully so it was a little too narrow.  I used some grosgrain ribbon to widen the sides - problem solved.


A Baby Girl Shower

Last weekend, one of my dear friends from MOPS had a baby shower!  Tiffiny is due in the first week of July and we are all very, very excited to meet little Chole Kealoha!

Gatherings of women are always fun, and I particularly like baby showers because there is both food and games involved.  I didn't win any of the games (one was eat baby food and guess the flavor - you can only imagine how poorly I did at that).  I was a little more than bummed about it and surprised at how competitive I was being. It appears my husband is starting to rub off on me...

This little 7lb sweetie is almost 7 weeks old!  I NEVER had a baby this small! I fed her a bottle and actually had to ask another mom if I was burping her correctly.  How quickly I have forgotten everything!  Holding this baby made me excited and nervous all at the same time.  I like Ikaika's durability - a newborn's helplessness frightens me just a little.

What a beautiful pregnant mommy, simply glowing with folic acid and virgin daiquiris!  I got her some links she had registered for (I thought they were so cute, I put them on my registry, too!) and made them into an open lei.  Although fresh flower leis can't be beat, I really like functional leis that have a "purpose" beyond the actual event.


Keeping the Quality Time Fresh

Mr A and I have been in a quality time rut.  Either one or both of us is super tired in the evening and lately it's been easier to just veg out in front of the tube rather than thinking of anything to "do" together.  But, spending quality time with a spouse is important.  Not only to connect and touch base on the day, but also to relieve stress and have fun.  The best part about being married, in my opinion, is having someone to do stuff with - talk to, play cards, cook, etc.

Last night we shook things up and did a puzzle.  Just a 300 piece (thanks Mom), but it was so much fun!  I can't wait until our kids are old enough that we can all do puzzles together (as if they are going to want to sit around and do puzzles with their nerdy parents).

We ran into a slight problem.  There are 5 pieces left and we can not figure out how they fit!  Some other pieces must be wrong - but which ones?!


A Delightful Wednesday Afternoon at Mauna Kea Beach

Wednesdays are special because public schools get out an hour early.  In this house, that means Mr A is home early and it's a perfect day for relaxing in the Hawaiian sunshine!

We try to make it a habit to hit the beach midweek, since God and the DOE made time available for such things.

Yesterday was simply delightful.  The sky was clear, the water was warm, and we even brought a snack to munch on.  Mr A and I peppered with the volleyball, Ikaika dug in the sand, and all 3 of us took a dip in the ocean.

It was one of those moments where I look around and am reminded of why we chose to live here.  For how difficult the move was and how much we have struggled to make it work, days like yesterday remind me that living in a place you love and having a way to let go of stress is worth it's weight in gold.


Eating a Healthy Diet with a Variety of Grains

I came across this information yesterday and it was so darn thought provoking, I just had to share!
"Currently, there are about 150 different types of agricultural crops worldwide (out of a total of about 250,000 plant species).  In contrast, the pre-Columbian Aztec empire had 229 different types of cultivated crop plants.  Today, 12 crops provide for the diets of over 75% of the world population, with 4 crops providing over half of the food eaten worldwide (wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans).  There is much scientific evidence that this restricted diet plays an important role in the most prevalent ailments found in developed nations, such as cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, and cancer.  These diseases are not as common in undeveloped nations where diets include as many as 200 different species of plants."
When I read this I immediately thought "that's me!" - I would say that wheat, corn, rice and soy make up a large majority of the food I eat.  And it's not like I never have anything else in the kitchen!  Ikaika eats porridge almost everyday for breakfast and I feed him a wide variety of grains such as oats, amaranth, millet, quinoa, etc. to keep him from getting bored.  But for myself, its wheat every morning and brown rice every night.  I could argue that I "don't know how to prepare it properly" (lies! I can easily google it!) or "Mr A wouldn't eat it/like it" (which may be true, but shouldn't stop me from trying).  I need to cut the excuses and finally break free from the chicken-brown-rice-rut!  


When is Baby "Ready" for a Big Bed?

Ikaika seems to be the kind of kid that, if given the freedom to do so, will let us know loud and clear when he's ready for something new.  This has been the case with eating, weaning, using the potty, and moving out of the nursery at MOPS.

Previously, I said that we were still a month or so away from trying the twin bed at night.  Last week, after going through the bedtime routine of jammies, teeth brushing and diaper change, I said to my son, "OK, time for bed".  This usually means marching into his bedroom and waiting next to the playpen.  This time however, he jumped up from the floor, trotted into his room and climbed into the twin bed.  Mr A and I stared at him, dumbfounded, as he snuggled into his pillow and waited patiently for one of us to come say prayers. 

I was honestly stunned.  For a minute I didn't know what to do.  Should I put him back in the playpen?  He's not "ready" for this, right?  Shouldn't I be the one who always knows what's best for him? It's always a little jarring when Ikaika's development is out of sync with my schedule. But, it's hard to argue with the logic involved here.  If he's getting into the bed without complaint that must mean that on some level he is ready to move on from the playpen.  At this point, arguing with him or forcing him to regress (when my goal is for him to get into the big bed eventually) would be counterproductive. 

So he's sleeping in his twin bed now.  Yesterday I packed up the playpen and stashed in under the sewing table where it waits for the new baby.


One Crack Medevac!

Ikaika's godfather is also Mr A's assistant instructor in Kajukenbo.  Recently, he started training a class in Oregon and made these sweet t-shirts with Mr A's emblem on them.  He sent us a box and, true to form (being that he is an amazingly thoughtful and generous person), he included a shirt for the boy!  Studly.  Thanks Sibak!

In Kajukenbo, the gi's are black.  Black belts wear black shirts under their gi and lower ranking belts wear red.  When Ikaika is ready to start training he can use this shirt under his gi.  Until then, it identifies him as someone to do grunt work, such as fetching cold beer!

Groucho Marx Baby

Today for breakfast Ikaika had a Shaklee Cocoa Soy Protein, dark cherry, banana, spinach, flax smoothie.  The results were tremendously funny!


Belly Bump Update!

The answer to your prayers - a belly bump update!  Can't tell you the exact week but I am due in August and my friend Karen here is due...today?  tomorrow?  Very very soon.
Yes, compared to me she is extremely tall but, her husband is 6'9" so she can hold her own!


May Day and Ho'olaulei'a at Waimea Middle School

 Today was the annual May Day program and festival (ho'olaulei'a) at Waimea Middle School.  Technically, May Day is May 1st, but they don't want the kids mentally checking out too soon before the end of the year, so they usually delay the festivities until later in the month!

Mr A's class performed a rousing rendition of Pearly Shells and Surf (songs).  It's the first time in 15 years that the special ed class has done a May Day performance.  The kids seemed to really enjoy it and I think the audience appreciated it, too.  I couldn't get close enough to the stage for any good pictures though.  Bummer.

I did get a shot of the court.  Every island (there are 8 total) is represented by a different color.  The king and queen are in the middle - the queen wears a crown and lei made from jasmine flowers.  The ferns in the princesses hair have some kind of significance to this area of the island but I was zoning out during that part of the presentation so I forget what it is exactly!

You wouldn't even believe how spectacular the gym looked!  The floral decorations were breathtaking.

And this beautiful quilt was hanging behind the court on the stage along with these kahili (feather pole things) that over 100 students helped make.  One of the kupuna (elders) came and taught them how to make authentic kahili and it was a big project.  I think the results speak for themselves.  Wow!

Mr A was such a good sport about getting on stage, singing and playing ukulele in front of the entire school.  That attitude carried over into the afternoon as he braved the chilly waters of the dunk tank.  Kids were lining up around the block to get a crack at him!

My baby's trying to give a shaka, too. It's not really working out but at least he's having fun!


Ten Ways to Good Health

Thrift store find of the year!!!

I saw this teacup in a sushi/karaoke bar at Waikoloa Queens Market (Sansei's) last year.  I thought it was so cute and simple yet insightful.  I wanted it SO bad!  But, as with most things at Queens Market, it was grossly overpriced and way out of  my teacup budget.
Last week I was browsing through my favorite thrift store (St James Thrift Shop on Kawaihae Road) and there was my teacup!  Just sitting there on the table with a humble 50 cent price sticker!

I love how I can now pump my brain with positive reminders first thing in the morning over a cup of hot tea.


Moving Into a Big Bed

We moved to Hawaii without a crib and, despite the fact that we are having another baby, I still can't work up the justification for investing in one.  I soften the bottom of the playpen with blankets and Ikaika seems fine with it so why mess with a good thing?

But, now that the new baby's arrival is imminent, it's time for Ikaika to get the hell out of Dodge.  I need that playpen for the baby!  So, I have officially started the process of transitioning my big boy into a Big Boy Bed.

I decided to start with naps.  For the last week I have been putting him down in the bed and then using Supernanny's separation technique to encourage him to stay in it.  I sit next to him in the darkness and gradually move away.  After 5-10 minutes he is asleep (hopefully).  The real trick is not looking at, talking to, or engaging him.  That, and keeping the room sufficiently dark.  Today I left the room before he fell asleep completely and he still stayed in bed and took a good nap.  We are about a month away from attempting to go all night in the twin bed, but I consider this good progress.

I crept into the room towards the end of his nap and tried to capture him in all his sleeping glory, but the beeping of the camera's shutter woke him up.

He seems groggy.

And now he's up!  Yay Big Boy Bed!!!


Mr A's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My wonderful, talented husband can bake!!!

If you've been tracking me on twitter you already know that I've been baking like crazy lately (and I only tweet a small percentage of the madness...it's frightening).  Awhile ago, Mr A insisted to me that he bakes.  The man can cook a mean pot of chicken, but in the last 5 years I have never once seen him produce a single cookie, muffin, or bread!

So, I used bribery to deliver the goods.  I promised him a 15 minute back massage if he could bake me something that is both delicious and relatively good-for-you (no boxed mixes here, buddy!).  He came up with a whole wheat pineapple upside down cake!  Delightful!  Perfect with a cool glass of vanilla soy milk!  I don't know if this picture does it justice...trust me - it's awesome!

Guess it's time to stretch the fingers and bust out the kukui oil...

26 Week/6 Month Check Up: Gestational Diabetes Test

I had my 6 month check up yesterday.  Heartbeat and growth appear normal.  All's good in the womb.

The big thing yesterday was the gestational diabetes test.  I know it sounds irresponsible, but I just don't want to get it.  The fact of the matter is, I didn't do it the first time and I don't want to do it now.  Apparently there are no symptoms, so if I have it I won't know until it's "too late!".  Of course, the doctor listed off a laundry list of seriously scary complications that could arise from untreated gestational diabetes in an attempt to cajole me into the lab. 

If it turns out I am afflicted, how would I go about treating this horrible metabolic disorder?


My diet is far from perfect, but it's about as close to good as I will ever hope to get.  I doubt that a scary diagnosis will make me any more or less likely to pound down some Rice Dream Mud Slide (my favorite treat!).  So, even if I did take this test, the outcome would hardly have an effect on my daily food selection.

I have two more weeks to decide whether or not to take the test.


A Mother's Day Gift - Kid's Craft Surprise!

I've seen these on other people's refrigerators - exact words verbatim - and I've always thought to myself "what is the big deal?  the preschool teacher cut and paste stuff onto a card!"

But today, after a relaxing MOPS spa day, my sweet little boy handed me this and my heart melted into a puddle of butter!  This is the first craft project I've received as a mother and it's so precious to me I want to frame it and put it on the front door so everyone can look at how adorable my son's hand is.

Or I could run home and post it on my blog...either way, I suddenly understand why I'm always seeing these displayed in other peoples' houses!


Quality Time wit da Titas

Someone to play with...

Someone to make fun of dad with...

Someone to get you in touch with your feminine side...

Someone to carry you through the tough terrain...

Someone to love you just the way you are!

Lucky is the boy who has older sisters in his life.  Thank you, thank you, for an amazing week!

Mister Manoa - a spouse in grad school

Mister A has been accepted into the Special Education program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa!!!

This is very exciting news. But, I'm not all smiles and sunshine just yet.

How will we get this all organized in such a short amount of time?  I think summer session starts in June!  Will he pass the PRAXIS before the deadline?  What does this mean for his position in the middle school next year?  And, most importantly, how am I going to balance a toddler, a newborn and a grad student all in the same house without completely losing myself in the shuffle?!

Even though this is something that was discussed and agreed upon as a family, I'm still nervous about holding up my end of the bargain.  Mr A is now going to be a full time employee and a full time student, making me the full time parent.  The truth of the matter is that being a mom is only rewarding in it's own special way.  There is no certificate or paycheck or anything to justify the hours you clock.  Falling into the trap of feeling unappreciated (and in turn being very bitter and resentful) is surprisingly easy.  I need to start now - reminding myself that help is welcome but not to be expected, that Mr A is doing this for the betterment of our family, and that I can contribute to said betterment by not overextending him.  I need to uphold my commitment to this program.

I can only hope that prices on plane tickets plummet next year and my family visits at least once a month...