Beloit Babies

With Aunty Lulu's recent acceptance to Beloit College, it seems that I am now outnumbered.  My older and younger sister will be alumnus of the same college and I will be all by my lonesome in my purple and gold. 

These pictures are for my sisters, especially Beth, who keeps the boys outfitted in BC gear during all phases of their lives (probably in the hopes that they will one day be Buccaneers and I will be totally excluded)

This is Koa's new "smile".  Cute huh?

Looking smart, like Albert Einstein.


Monday at Mauna Kea

Summer is just around the corner - only one week of school left!  We spent this afternoon down at our favorite beach.  When we first got there the beach was closed to swimming because there was a shark sighting in the water.  I guess a lady was paddleboarding with her kid in Kona today when a 14ft tiger shark bit her board.  Scary!


But we weren't going further than 5ft out, and that's not exactly "shark country"!  If a shark was so desperate as to strand itself on the beach in order to get to my scrawny kids, I would have gladly given it one of our sandwiches, too!

Ikaika was super excited about going "surfing" (boogie boarding, really).  Check out the video of him "catching a wave"!


Koa's First Haircut

It's about damn time.  ( to jog your memory, he went from this to THIS).

It was more or less on a whim.  We had loosely agreed to wait until he was a year old before cutting his hair, but I just couldn't deal with picking it out of his eyes and I couldn't clip it back in public due to my husband's deeply ingrained habit of gender stereotyping.
My friend Jill, who is a professional stylist, did the cut - so Koa lucked out (referring here to the slew of bad hair cuts I have given our other son)


DIY Laundry Soap

 My supply of ultra luxurious Shaklee Get Clean laundry concentrate was starting to dwindle.  To make it last, I thinned it out with some good-ole homemade stuff.

First, I gathered up my supplies:
  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • 1 bar castile soap (or olive soap)
  • Oxi-Clean
  • Tea tree oil (or essential oil of choice)
  • Food processor & measuring cup 

Next, I set up in a well-ventilated area (carport) and put on a mask because there are going to be particles flying around.  Safety first!  

I probably could have/should have worn gloves because the washing soda can irritate your skin, but I didn't and I survived.  Just wash up thoroughly afterward.

Using the grating disc, grate the bar of soap.  Then replace the grating disc with the S-blade.  Add in 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax.  Turn it on and let it process until it's a fine powder.

While the processor is doing its business, I like to add some essential oil.  You can add anything that smells good (sometimes I do lavender), but I like tea tree oil because it freshens my laundry machine and it has anti-fungal properties.  Add about 10 drops of oil and let it fully incorporate.

Then I take my finished laundry powder, my box of Shaklee powder, and my oxi-clean.  I add about 1/2 cup of oxi-clean and mix all three together in the box.  Ta-da!  Laundry soap life extended! 

Use about 2 Tablespoons per large load


I used to be an idealist...

...and I would like to enter my thirties the same way!  Fresh out of college, and really my whole life, I have been bursting with idealism.  When I was 8, my aspirations in life were to win Wimbledon and be the first female pope!  Somewhere along the line I became "real".  I became cynical.  I stopped believing that it was possible to change the world.  I stopped thinking that my work could be one more "drop in the bucket" [insert quote from Mother Theresa here]. 

My 29th birthday is right around the corner and after that it's into a new decade, a completely new survey box to check.  The last thing I want is to carry this cynicism over and let it have a full ten years to become malignant before I reevaluate my life at 40.  I live in a simple community, I raise two simple children, I don't have a prestigious job, but I have to believe that I am doing something amazing.  Maybe just by being a good person - a person who believes in the goodness of life and people - I can come to realize some of those ideals.

I got to thinking about this because TIME online did a report on the top 10 college commencement speakers.  I didn't make the list (boo!) but my alumnus, Knox College, did (yay!).  Although I didn't hear Stephen Colbert's speech in its entirety, I was struck by the profundity of this excerpt:

"Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or be disappointed in us," he told the class of 2006. "Cynics always say no ... for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."


MOPS Tea & Treasure

Today was the last MOPS meeting of the year, otherwise known as the annual Tea & Treasure.  We eat delicious food off nice china that is served to us by very gracious volunteers.  It's a blast. 

There are also 3 women who give their "testimony" and talk about their life journey, share their faith story, whatever.  I was one of those women this year.  I was kind of nervous to find the right words (how do you summarize your life in an insightful, funny, meaningful, relate-able way?) but when you have something to say, the words just find their way out.

The teacher/student in me just couldn't resist using visual aids.  Universal learning design is the bomb!

Here's a small excerpt from my speech:

"I've gone to church my whole life – this part of my life [the "backstory"] being no exception. Not regularly, but it always helped. It was nice to think that no matter where I was in life or in the world, I was always “Catholic”. I was aware that God provided that security for me, but it wasn't until after college, marriage, children, therapy, etc. that I was able to look at my life and myself and say: this would be so much better if God were involved. Not as a life-raft. Not just in a crisis. Not as a convenient definition. But really involved. If I got to know God, and let Him teach me about myself. And not just about who I am now- but who I have the potential to be. Now that would be cool...
I didn't turn to God overnight. I didn't stop what I was doing one day and have an epiphany. It was a slow process. It was the Bible my teammates family got me as a graduation present, marriage prep with Father Bob, working at Catholic summer camp, sitting at MOPS meetings. All these things have made faith a real, relevant part of how I define my life. The Lord isn't some spying policeman, He is someone, probably the only one, that truly understands me. He can appreciate the complexity and the conflict because He created me this way. He is the only one who can fulfill my deepest need [,the need to be understood].


Koa 9 month check up

27" (ish), 10th percentile
18lbs 6oz, 20th percentile

The doctor listened to his heart and asked me if anyone had ever said anything to me about the murmur. 


The doctor said that he heard what he suspects might be a VSD or tiny hole between the heart valves.  He's sending us to a cardiologist in Hilo to get an EKG, echo thing, or whatever it is cardiologists do.  He said this shouldn't freak us out and, from the look on Mr As face, I would say "mission unaccomplished." 

It's probably no big deal, the doctor said most kids grow out of it and the murmur is gone by the time they get to school.  Mr A had a heart murmur when he was a kid, too.  Koa doesn't show any signs of having circulation issues so I'm going to go with "not a big deal" until someone gives me information that proves otherwise. 


A Poem

The other day, as I poured through my old journals looking for inspiration to write my Tea & Treasure testimony, Mr A asked me why I don't write anymore.  Which seems funny to say - as I am writing this on my blog.

I suppose it's because at the height of my creative output I was also in the depth of my mental breakdown.  Maybe that has left me with the subconscious impression that anything I write now wouldn't be as "real" or as "insightful".  The fear of that has kept me from trying.  It's been almost 5 years and, not to sound cliche, but I think I've lost touch with my creativity.  So the last night, I wrote a poem.  And here it is...

 A drop, a dot
a speck of sand
on a vast, curving shore.
A broken shell's
smooth pink edge
a small piece, nothing more.
Enduring the tide
a true purpose
waiting to be unearthed,
the discarded peice
of something large
is larger than its worth.


Log Cabins for Japan - Finished Product

holy cow.  look at this amazing quilt from Mini Mushroom.  She took my log cabin squares and made them into this incredible blanket for who-knows-who in Japan!  I am so glad I participated in this project.  *squeal!*


MOPS Quilts for North Hawaii Community Hospital NHCH

The year is quickly coming to an end (for those of us who live by the academic calendar) and it's time to finish up all those UFOs!
For a community outreach project this year, the women in MOPS cut and collect quilt squares from our kid's clothes.  The blanket is going to be donated to the family unit at our local hospital in Waimea (where most all of us have given birth at least once).  After deliberating with the MOPS Craft Master (Jill), we decided to go with two small baby blankets.  There is no batting, just a super soft flannel backing. 

The "girl" quilt got fussy in the middle.  I think when I do this project again (with my own baby clothes), I am going to use interfacing on the back of the super stretchy squares.  It just kept pulling and moving around! Arrg! 

The "boy" blanket quilted smoother, but I put one of the rows on backwards.  By the time I figured it out, I was too far along to rip everything out and fix it.  The funniest part is, I bet you can't even tell what I'm talking about!


Aloha Oe Hawaiian Quilt

Today is officially Kanani's last day as a resident of the Big Island.  :(  I am deeply saddened to see her go (it was fun to drop by with the boys, watch movies, drink tea, go to the beach, have crafty parties, eat...really, just getting to know her was such a gift) but I know it's for the best.  Sigh...

As a farewell gift, I made her this quilt.  It's done in a sort of modified Hawaiian style (a real Hawaiian quilt might take years to finish so I went with a machine version that doesn't have as much detail in the quilting or applique work).  The motif is a taro plant, which symbolizes family.  I quilted hearts in the large corner leaves.

(I'm a little embarassed to show this detail because you can see how poor my quilting skills actually are!  The "A" was supposed to be subtle and it turned out more like "HI!  I'M A GIANT 'A' IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLANKET!!!")

The binding was made from the same fabric I used for Ikaika's nursery/baby blanket.  I thought that was a nice way to incorporate a little piece of our life that she can take with her when she leaves.

Sigh...I'm gonna miss that girl...