I got a haircut, too!


Mr A Cut Koa's Hair Last Night

...and in other news, these muffins are delicious!


Saturdays in Paradise

Lately, life has been getting in the way.  The boys are busier with playgroups and preschool; Mr A is busy with work, coaching and school; and I'm busy with work and shuffling the chaos.  I keep having to remind myself that this, like every other phase of our life as a family, is temporary. 

But it's also important to acknowledge that we are busy so we can make a point to not be too busy for eachother.  Today was the first weekend in awhile where we had nothing planned.  No games, no work, nothing.  Although there are some chores and homework that need to get done - today is the perfect opportunity to come together and reconnect as a family.

Koa has been under the weather lately (mucusy cough, poor disposition, etc) so this morning I stayed home with him and watched football while Mr A and Ikaika went to the beach.  When they came home we took a family bike ride up to the liquor store so I could treat myself to a bottle of sulfite-free organic wine.  And on the way home, since it was such a nice day and since we could - we stopped a Big Island Brewhaus for lite bite of lunch. 

The evening was spent BBQing chicken and playing cards.  Just another Saturday in paradise. :)


Bumblebee Transformer Costume

Yesterday we took Ikaika to the "real" (not "thrift") store to look at Transformer action figures.  I was thinking about possibly getting him an Optimus Prime for his birthday.

WRONG!  I can not believe how expensive kid's toys are.  It's outrageous.  I'm still talking about it today.

I almost never buy toys, so it's not even an issue of money.  $50-100/year for toys seems like a reasonable amount.  But, I can not in good conscience indulge my 3-year-old son's ephemeral desires by expending that entire budget on mass-produced plastic junk in a cool looking box.  What was most tragic is that the only toys that looked fun were $50 and up (and on the bottom shelf where he could easily spot them - "thanks" WalMart) and everything else was 'cheap'(er) but it was useless - didn't transform, obscure characters, etc.

My mom got him a few action figures from Goodwill and he loves them, which means he doesn't treat them as if they cost the same as my breadmaker.  So, now I'm on the craiglist/ebay hunt in hopes of finding a 5 dollar Autobot before Oct 18.

In the meantime, we found this Bumblebee costume for 50 cents at the thrift store today.  Now that's more like it!

Mommy, where's the shooting thing?

He was a little disturbed about the lack of head (helmet) and cannons.  His Bumblebee action figure is also missing his head so I rationalized that now they match (maybe Bumblebee doesn't need a head?)
 No, sweetheart, rocks can not be used as a substitute for the cannon.

I think this is "car mode".  I'm not sure.  Here's a video of him "transforming".


Potty Time for Kekoa

Today I had a mom-pants reality check as my son pooped and the first thing I thought to do was update my  Facebook status about it.

Kekoa is now walking for real (to the point that I have to remember shoes if we go anywhere - barefoot is a very hard state-of-mind to change) and with that is coming some other developments.  There is more talking (mom and dad are very definitive words now) and this afternoon I got a very clear signal for using the toilet, which was confirmed by a huge doo-doo/shi-shi combo.

Hey, mom, I need a haircut, too.

Perhaps the reason I get so excited about it and want to talk about it with the world wide web is that I cloth diaper.  Every success on the potty is one less diaper I have to rinse out and wash.  It's one step closer to being free from loads of diaper laundry.  Or maybe I'm just excited because I've spent considerably less time on EC with Koa than I ever did with his brother but he still seems to be picking up on it...or I'm getting better at my part...or a little of both.
We have put very minimal effort into Koa and the potty.  I put him on there about once or twice a day - even if nothing happens at least he's used to it and knows that is what a potty is for.  Occasionally, I let him go diaper free in the yard or on the beach.  I change his diaper often so he's not used to sitting around wet/dirty (although it's hardly a choice with cloth).  I like this pace and it seems to be "working" (more or less).


The Kids Are Alright

It's been super busy lately with 2 preschool/playgroups, MOPS, grad school for Mr A, coaching football, new job, etc.  I've fallen behind on my blogging, but I am here now!

There are certain things I wish I had blogged/documented.  Ikaika breastfeeding his stuffed bears stands out in my mind.  So here are some videos that document what is going on in our lives at this moment.

In this first video you can see Koa full-on walking.  Just in the last week he has switched to walking as his primary mode of transportation.  I love the hands up/"don't arrest me" pose that little babies use for balance!  This also highlights Ikaika's newest obsession: Transformers.  We watched both the movies with him (no nightmares...I was amazed) and my mom sent him some action figures and a coloring book.  Now everything is an Autobot, including his tow truck (which transformers into a standing tow truck).
The comment at the end is from his nap today.  He took a very long nap and subsequently wet the bed.  When asked why he wet the bed he said "it's not my fault, mommy."  Who's fault is it?  "It's Jay Cutler's fault."  Yep, Jay Cutler, as in Chicago Bears (via Broncos).  WTF?!  My kids are nuts.

We (I) started trying to work with Ikaika on reading.  We've been watching the Your Baby Can Read videos (when I remember and whatever is available at the library), but in lieu of that, I made some flashcards and have just been showing him those everyday.  He likes doing it and so far seems to be at least getting something out of it.  Who knows if he will actually learn to read this way, but as long as he likes doing it, I think we'll (I'll) continue to offer it.


Lucky You Live In Hawaii

Today the boys' preschool took a field trip to Lapakahi State Historical Park.  It's about half way between Kawaihae Harbor and Kohala.  The kids really enjoyed the hike and I enjoyed that one of the Grandpas was on the original excavation team of the site.  So many awesome stories over snack!

I also found out today, sadly, that one of my good friends is moving back to Portland.  I've mostly accepted that friends here will come and go, but I was sure she was a keeper (her husband's family is from Hilo and they met at Mauna Lani).  Of course, it all comes down to what is most practical.  They've been struggling to make it work here and they both got amazing job offers (almost simultaneously!) in Oregon.  I'll be sad to see her go, but I totally understand why she wants to.

That being said, I reflected today on my own life in Hawaii.  It's been almost 3 years since we moved out here and, let me assure you, it has not always been smooth sailing.  Jobs are few and far between (10% unemployment on this island!), cost of living is through the roof (don't even get me started on the price of gas), and being away from family is sometimes the hardest struggle of all. 

BUT...I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I absolutely love where I live.  Personally, I feel being here has given my life a new level of clarity.  I know my children are being raised in a place that is culturally and spiritually significant to our family.  I'm discovering new things about myself (I like rural living!) everyday.  And it doesn't hurt that every holiday and every free afternoon are basically spent "on vacation" (snorkeling at a 5 star resort on any-given-Wednesday?  not a bad life.) 

Mr A and I are both very committed to raising our family in Hawaii and are willing to endure the hardships to stay.  I know that if we lived in the Northwest I could enlist the help of my parents more often and send my kids to a better school.  I could eat cheaper, take public transportation, and maybe even (realistically) buy a house sometime in the near future.  But, none of those things could be worth the value of loving where you live.  I love Hawaii and I'm willing to work harder and come up with more creative solutions if that means I get to stay.  There's no traffic, little stress, lots of aloha.  I'm willing to Skype with my family and pay more for my milk if it means I get to enjoy every sunset and appreciate every lu'au. 

I don't think island living is for everyone - but it's definitely for me.