Happy Halloween!

This year I chose to work on Halloween.  I figured we aren't quite at the age for serious trick-or-treating yet and I get to wear a costume to work, so why not?!  But then I started to feel sad and guilty because everyone else was having fun and I was handing out candy and hot chocolates to happy familes.

Mr A saved the day and took the boys trick-or-treating around the shopping center.  They even dropped into Starbucks during my break.  I didn't recognize my own child.  Granted, his costume has a full mask, but seriously - shouldn't I have some kind of mom-radar?  He trick-or-treated from me and I said "oh, happy halloween,  kid..." and had no idea he was mine!  Mr A told me later that Ikaika even said "trick or treat, mommy" and I still didn't pick up on it!  Oh well, must be the bewitching hour...


Fun With Chores - Mopping Floors

This cool idea came from my coworker.  I am awful about mopping the floors.  I hardly ever do it.  If I do get around to it, I think it's miserable work.  Enter, solution.

  1. When you have a big load of towels to wash, lay them all out on the floor (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). 
  2. Set out large bowls of water and toys (bonus for adding soap - I wasn't that brave)  
  3. Undress children. 
  4. Let the splashing begin. 
What I like best about this, besides my clean floors, is that I - the adult - control the amount of water so the fun doesn't reach epic flood preportions.  The kids love the feeling of the wet, squooshy towels.  Their wiggling little feet work like power buffers to lift dirt and grime.  After they were finished, I threw the kids in the bathtub and the towels in the washing machine, stepped back and admired my newly mopped bathroom floor.


Time For A Change

I'm trying something new.  I keep this weblog mainly so my family and friends can follow what is going on with the boys.  One of the big thumbs down about living in Hawaii is being far away from my family - so technology will have to bring us together for now.

But, I also like to chronical my own life (I was blogging long before I became "mom"), so this is me trying to reclaim some of that.  I'm in the process of doing this - Rome wasn't built in a day, people!  I want to give myself more of a creative outlet by highlighting my recipes and crafts. 

This is still going to be about my kids so if you are here for some kind of fix, fear not.  They will still be the feature, I'm just trying something new with how it's all organized. 


Mahalo for the Birthday Love!

Just a little shot of Ikaika enjoying some of his birthday gifts from my family (next time we are in Kona he will be spending his money from Mr As family).  Shirt = Granny, Optimus Prime (who needed to be in the picture, too) = Oma, and NFL pennants = Aunty Beth!  He even helped me hang them by deciding what order to put them in. 

L<3VE IT!!! 


Kohala Mountain Pumpkin Patch

Today, we went up Kohala Mountain Road to search for the perfect pumpkin for our Autobots jack-o-lantern.  This little patch (Kohala Mountain Farm) had a great selection and the pumpkins were only 75 cents a pound!  The boys had a great time hunting - we ended up with one large J-o-L and one small sugar pumpkin.

Last year we went to the HPA patch but it's more like a carnival - with games, treats, climbing walls, bounce houses, etc.  In fact, by the time I got there - there was very little in the way of pumpkins.  Perhaps it's my Midwestern upbringing, but I'm more of the "get there, pick your pumpkin, go home" kind of lady. 

Although, it is nice to sample fresh farm produce and if they are offering warm, tasty spiced beverages, I'm game.  Sadly, since it was about 85 degrees, there was no need for hot apple cider.  

This made me wonder why it's so common to harvest Halloween pumpkins directly from a farm, but almost unheard of to visit farms otherwise.  Farmers markets are a happy medium.  I wish that farms would just open on weekends and we could mosey in there and start reaping.  I never got into the summer berry picking when I lived in Oregon.  Now that it's unavailable to be, I desperately want a roadside pick-by-the-pound berry field!   

Koa liked these rabbits.  I had to let my children know that their dad is allergic (I learned this the hard way) and if we got a rabbit it would live outside and we would eventually eat it.  Ikaika said, "Noo-hohoho! Mommy!  ...you silly..."

101 Things to Do

1. reverse Oregon Trail road trip

2. finish a marathon

3. go back to Japan during sakura season

4. tour Germany

5. attend Mass at the Vatican

6. write a book

7. get masters degree

8. learn some basic Latin

9. hike the grand canyon

10. see Niagra Falls

11. take a photo walk

12. paddle in a real regatta

13. take the family to Wash DC

14. pay off all debts

15. own a house outright

16. knit an adult sized sweater

17. donate money to Knox for 10 consecutive years

18. visit Knox for Homecoming

19. speak to a large group of strangers (maybe at a convention?)

20. wake up at 6am regularly/become a “morning person”

21. keep a minimal wardrobe/house

22. fill an entire notebook with sketches

23. read Pride & Prejudice

24. read Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit

25. rewrite my senior thesis

26. learn how to make really good laulau

27. do a complete candida cleanse

28. fast on Sundays for an entire year

29. re-cover my couch

30. finish scrapbook from Japan

31. take each of the boys on a “date”

32. snorkel at night

33. tour the telescope on Mauna Kea

34. hike in Waipio Valley

35. visit 6 main Hawaiian islands

36. have a conversation completely in Hawaiian

37. take a trip with just me and Mr A's daughter(s)

38. complete Confirmation

39. have my children attend CCD

40. green belt in Kajukenbo

41. see the Great Wall of China

42. take boys to Bruce Lee's grave

43. place (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in age division for a 5K race

44. move all my stuff out of my parents' house

45. attend a reunion

46. take the entire family snowboarding

47. volunteer at Ironman

48. spend a romantic weekend with Mr A

49. brew my own beer

50. go to Oktoberfest

51. pick berries at an all-you-can-pick farm

52. join a CSA

53. get really good at one video game

54. join a protest (hold a sign)

55. go to Cebu, Philipines

56. complete a family tree - 4 generations

57. speak conversational German

58. camp on a beach in Lana'i

59. get a Brazilian bikini wax

60. own a Louis Vuitton bag

61. have a garden that produces edible vegetables

62. have a chicken coup that produces eggs

63. fill up my Passport before it expires

64. design an awesome, spot-on Halloween costume

65. attend ComicCon (also in costume)

66. compete in a beauty pagent/body-building contest

67. submit an entry to a writing contest

68. attend a “couples retreat”

69. drink cafe au lait in Paris

70. take a ballroom dancing class

71. do the splits

72. change the oil by myself

73. make a painting/drawing/picture of Holy Family Church

74. renew vows at church over Waimea Bay

75. experience a real Midwest winter with Mr A

76. visit Grandpa's farm in Wasaukee

77. do The Rocky Horror Picture Show

78. swim with sharks (in a cage!)

79. skydive

80. play poker in a casino

81. ziplining

82. attend an NFL game

83. see lava flow at night

84. fly in a helicopter

85. go on a church mission trip

86. go on a cruise

87. wear my wedding dress again

88. see The Nutcracker ballet

89. go crabbing (“crab fishing”???)

90. summit a mountain – bonus points for Mr Kilamanjaro

91. go on an African safari

92. hear a US president speak in person

93. wear a sari to a wedding

94. have something published in a national publication

95. see a tornado - storm chasing

96. see a legit drumline perform live at halftime

97. take a family picture wearing matching Hawaiian shirts

98. get a picture of all Mr A's kids together

99. half sleeve flower tattoo

100. attend the live taping of a game show or talk show

101. make quilt out of the boys' baby clothes


Ikaika's 3rd Birthday

Ikaika's 3rd birthday came and went without too much fanfare.  Earlier this year, I came to terms with the fact that I'm not a "child's birthday party" kind of person.  Because of this, I won't be doing any birthday parties until my kids are old enough to beg for them. 

I did make legit cupcakes for his little friends at Tutu & Me.  I got a box of cake mix and added in some canned pumpkin to ease my guilt.  I let him pick out a tube of "frosting" and he chose hot pink.  I hope I don't totally give up by the time Koa turns 3 (giant Betty Crocker devil's food cake topped with a tub of buttercream).  Mostly, because my kids wouldn't really be eating these (Ikaika had one, Koa didn't have any), I didn't want to waste the time/money on making "good" cupcakes.  Is that rude?  I feel bad admitting that!

Here is everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to him - once in English, once in Hawaiian.  There were some cards and gifts at home from friends and family.  Despite the lack of a formal celebration, he had such a good time that he wanted the next day to be his birthday, too!

He's already trained to answer the question "how old are you?" with three fingers and a resounding "THREE!"  



Starbucks for Kids

Now that I am working part time at Starbucks, Ikaika has been wild about the whole coffee shop thing (which is so awesome because on my days off there is nothing I would rather do more than hang out at work...). 
I'm not about to set my 3 year old loose on whole bean coffee, so I'm thankful that Starbucks has many wonderful options for the discerning toddler pallette.  Here are Ikaika's favorites:

  • Tall (12oz) strawberries and cream frappuchino with no base and no sweetener (strawberry puree blended with some milk and ice)
  • Any of the Vivano smoothies - although they only come in 16oz size so I split those with him
  • Short (8oz) apple juice (half juice/half water) with ice
  • PASSION TEA - he's totally obsessed with it.  I water it down at home and add stevia to sweeten.
HOT (all drinks are steamed to "kids temp" which is about 120deg)
  • Short steamed apple juice (again, watered down) with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Alternately, the barista can add cinnamon to the steaming pitcher so it blends into the juice.
  • Short steamed milk with ONE PUMP of flavored syrup.  I figure he can either have a pump of syrup OR whipped cream, but not both.  Carmel steamed milk is awesome.
  • Short hot chocolate with ONE PUMP mocha and a HALF PUMP of vanilla.  
  • Short hot chocolate with ONE PUMP of mocha and soy milk - because the soy is already sweet/vanilla flavored (bonus: it's organic) 
  • I should also add toasted multi-grain bagels with reduced fat cream cheese because he loves em!

I have so many good memories of time spent in coffee houses.  Great conversations with friends, productive nights of studying or finishing homework, relaxing by myself and reading a good book with a hot cup of joe.  I love coffee shops and maybe the simple act of sharing this with my kids will mean that they, too, one day will be totally addicted to the sound of an espresso machine.  Maybe they will even do their homework!  Dare to dream... 

Aww!  Koa is sad because his brother drank it all!


A Day Off

I woke up with a horrible sore throat.  Not only do I have to work tonight, but my kids aren't even nice enough to take tandem naps.  When do moms get days off?

Mr A and I were brainstorming last night about ideas for something fun to do/reward ourselves with once we "survive" this semester.  I'm thinking SPA DAY!


Some Unexpected Benefits of Grad School

Mr A is taking a class right now on Applied Behavior Analysis/Behavior Modification (I can't remember the name of the course).  Lo' and behold, I'm finding myself immersed in his textbook, seeking answers to my own parenting queries. 

Parenting and discipline books have their place, but I am totally jazzed about the scientific/nerdy academic approach presented in this course.  Have I thought about collecting baseline data before I decide whether or not to enforce "time-outs" with Ikaika?  OF COURSE NOT.  ...but I should have!

Really, collecting data and determining behavior function will only increase the chances of my chosen method of discipline's success.  So why I am I just frustrating myself by randomly dishing out "no!"s and "don't do that!"s? 

What I found most interesting was the "Arranging Consequences That Decrease Behavior" chapter that basically said "presentation of aversive stimuli" (or "punishments" as we know them) are the absolute last resort and truly aren't even appropriate or effective in a professional setting.  I sat and contemplated this for a moment.  I am quick to overcorrect, yell at, spank, isolate and chastise ("naughty!" "pilau!") my child - but I would be HORRIFIED, livid, appalled if I heard that a school professional were using these methods to modify his undesirable behavior.  Why would I expect more from them than myself?

So, as a little experiment, I am going to use the DRI method (differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior) and see how that works.  I want Ikaika to pay attention and sit down next to me during circle time at Tutu & Me instead of running around.  I am going to take baseline data on Tuesday then use food as reinforcement.  My goal is to get him sitting in the circle for the full 30 minutes before the end of the year.  Can it be done?  According to the research - yes!

I find that even with this example, I am describing his behavior as "not listening" or "rowdy" or "not sitting still" instead of using any kind of concrete observations (stands up and walks around every X minutes).  I don't even really know how often he does it!  I just know it bugs me.  Oh behavior modification - you give me chicken skin with excitement!   


Too Many Changes

Lately, I've been trying to tackle waaay too many changes. 

My husband is in grad school, I took on a new part-time job, and I accepted a volunteer leadership position with my women's group.  I decided to run a marathon next year, which means lots of training/running in my free time.  We chose not to put Ikaika in preschool this year because it wasn't financially realistic, but I feel like he needs more stimulation that I can give him - so I joined not one, but two playgroups.  On top of all this, I harbored the not-so-secret fantasy of overhauling my lifestyle (go zero waste), my diet (go vegetarian), and my house (go minimalist).

This week my husband is home since the schools are on fall break.  I've had a chance to step back, sleep in, and spend some time reflecting.  My conclusion is that I am stressing myself out, wearing myself thin and giving less than my full 100 to these projects because there are just too many of them.  Sure, in a perfect world I would love to be able to accomplish and achieve all these things simultaneously.  And I probably could...but I'd be a bitchy mess.

The other day, Mr A went shopping for some stuff to make chili and I nearly started WWIII when he came home with celery wrapped in plastic and a $5 can of organic chili (why I need canned chili if I'm making chili -I'll never know.  Why is he buying canned anything for more than $2?  Why isn't he just sticking to the list I made?).

No matter how badly he screwed up my incredibly neurotic and detailed idea of what "grocery shopping" means, the argument that ensued made me realize I've been imposing my ideals onto other people in my family, which is essentially violating their freedom.  My husband has been mostly supportive of my whims, but he's not going to stop eating frozen chicken wrapped in plastic anytime soon (...ever).  I need to respect that.

It's hard to step back from overachiever-syndrome and take things one small step at a time.  For now, I'm letting go of my lofty homemaking goals (and blogging about it - hello?!  time?!).  Mr A has agreed to let me pursue my dietary choices without conflict, but he's allowed to make his own food if he doesn't like what I'm cooking.  We will go back to shopping regularly for groceries but I at least want to be conscientious of buying bulk and/or recyclables.  I'm going to continue to minimize our possessions, shop at thrift stores, and encourage experiences over stuff.  Although, I'm still hot for a Kindle.

I'm going to cut myself some slack with the playgroups.  On one hand, it helps my minimizing by keeping the toys out of my house (someone else can store them, clean them, etc), but on the other hand, I don't want to be go-go-go all the time.  So for the M/F group, we will only go if we are all ready and willing.  The biggest change is me accepting that these things will not happen overnight.  I need to focus on making one or two choices a day that move me closer towards my goals.  Then, one day in the future I will wake up and realize I have the lifestyle I've been dreaming about.