Daddy is Old, Koa is Funny

 Yesterday my husband moved me one year closer to AARP benefits.  Mr A celebrated the big 4-9 by going to the dentist, the beach, and the sushi bar.  It was a fabulous day.  

We had a chance to thaw out down at Mauna Kea.  It's been about 60 degrees at best in the evenings, pouring rain, howling winds...combine that with no heating whatsoever and it's been a rough couple of days.  By the time we made it to the beach, it was already late afternoon and there was quite a bit of cloud cover, but it was still 80 degrees so I called it a win.

Mr A wore the new hat I got him.  Theres a hawaiian flag under the bill.  I am an incredible gift giver.

I also wanted to document Koa's maniacal laugh.  Sometimes, its a full on evil cackle - so this is a slightly watered down version.  Boy, does that kid love to laugh...and scream...


Home for the Holidays

Because we decided to stay in Hawaii for the holidays, and because Thanksgiving is pau, up went to the tree today.  I swore I would never do the artificial tree thing, but real trees here are ridiculous both from an economic and an environmental standpoint.  Ho ho ho.  Here it is.



I spent the first half of Thanksgiving working while my boys stayed home and watched football.  After pau hana time, I drove down to Waikoloa and met up with the crew, who were already busy deep frying the turkey.  We spent Thanksgiving with our friends under the promise of being fed "hippie food".  It was a far cry from Tofurkey, but I did bring them a Venti dirty chai to split for good measure. 

Why is it so hard to take a good family photo?  Probably because there are 8 pairs of eyes to worry about.  It just impressed me that families, larger-than-mine families, are able to take Christmas card worthy pictures together.  I find it almost impossible.  Like how I find Ikaika's baby shaka impossibly cute!

After the agave-sweetened, mac nut, sweet potato pie, we all started to feel it.  Deeply.  Karen passed around the digestive enzymes, we cracked open some more Pipeline Porters and things slowly began to settle (I already said this was a "hippie food" Thanksgiving soiree) 
Then Ikaika started eyeing that Holy's Bakery Buttered Pear pie...

Apparently, Koa was content until I arrived then he remembered that mom had been gone for 7 hours and started bawling.  It took about 2 hours before he trusted me enough to be out of my lap for longer than 30 seconds.

As the night went on (and we began ignoring the kids so we could battle royale, Chinese Checkers style) Ikaika gave me this frightening glimpse into the future.  It's a 'play phone' so there wasn't even anything on the screen, but he sat there "texting" like a bored, sullen teenager for almost 20 minutes.

The boys and their homegirl Malina played in the yard, snuggled in front of Elmo, and fed eachother leftovers.  We had a blast but by the time 9pm rolled around everyone was zonked.  No matter how badly I wanted that Kindle on sale at Target (bust through the doors at midnight...I promise I won't get anything else...we can sleep for a couple hours in the parking lot...no big deal, right?), I just couldn't do the Black Friday thing.  I only wanted one item, so it would have been a huge time/gas/sanity expense and Karen put it sharply in perspective when she reminded me "a Kindle isn't going to change whether or not you are happy tomorrow."  So here we are, home at 10pm and ready to snuggle up, watch X Files and digest.

FYI: I'm thankful for, among other things, people who actually read my blog.  Thanks!


Wine Class

sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and port

"Swirl your glass, it's time for class"
 When this showed up in my email inbox 3 weeks ago, I was stoked!  My friend from MOPS is a wine sommelier, a viticulturist, a sales rep for a vineyard in California, and an amazing person.  She is so amazingly awesome that she set up an entire wine tasting class for the gals at her beautiful home.

Explaining the ins and outs of wine

This is probably the most fun I've had on a Friday night in years.  She explained the wine making process, answered all our questions, guided us through 6 delicious (locally available and affordable) wines, provided enough cheese and carbs to kill an elephant and did all the dishes afterward.  Did I mention that she is awesome?!

attentive students

One of the main reasons I find all of this so interesting is because I've been embarking on my own journey of coffee appreciation and wine (chocolate and whiskey) tasting is similar in training the brain.  Although during her class we learned that you can identify scents like "petrol" and "cat pee" and it's not a bad thing.  Eww. 
This was 100 times better than going to a winery and now I feel 100 times more confident to stroll into the liquor store, with it's massive catacombs of wine bottles, and pick out something I would enjoy with dinner. 

we are all ridiculously tan but this is Hawaii


Packing Boxes for Operation Christmas Child

Last Friday Mothers of Preschoolers got together and packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I found out today that all boxes from Hawaii are going to Nepal.  So, some Naplese child is going to be really confused when he opens my box and sees that he got rubber slippers.  Oh well, hopefully he can find some use for them!

At our MOPS meeting today, we talked about holiday traditions.  What we remember from our childhood and what we want to continue or begin with our own family.  Nothing can come close to an authentic Stransky Family Christmas (no substitute for the real deal).  But, this year, I am trying out Elf on a Shelf and I'm putting up a tree (although Mr A says he wants the tree in the office so the kids won't mess with it...or see it, for that matter...). 
Posting these pictures, I began thinking that OCC is something I've done with my kids for two years and it's a tradition I would like to keep.  Since it's my responsibility to set the tone, be the memory maker, oversee the implementation of holiday rituals, I would like to make sure that some of these are emphasising the 'giving' over the 'getting'.  Charity is a value I believe in and want to pass on.


Koa: Talking

During a phone conversation with my mom the other day, she pointed out that although I was seriously concerned about Ikaika's speech development when he was the same age, I hadn't mentioned anything about Kekoa's lack of vocabulary.

I'm sure she was just making about a point about how I was a typical neurotic first-time parent...and she's right.  But that got me thinking about how Koa really doesn't talk yet.  He says "mama" (too often, in my opinion), "dada" and "daida" (Kaika), but other than that, I haven't noticed any sounds that I would ascribe to specific objects or actions.  I know he's communicating because I know what he wants most of the time.  I can usually tell whether he wants to eat or he's sad because his brother took a toy from him, etc.  I'm not sure how I know this - it's probably a combo of events; tone, movements, sounds, facial expressions, mind reading, etc. 

It is funny that I became so uptight about Ikaika's speech development when he was so young simply because a coworker had a son the same age who said "up".  This same child, the source of so much concern, said to my mother on the phone the other day - verbatim - "Thank you, Oma, for the cool Transformers shirt that came in the mail."  No lack of vocabulary in there.

Kekoa will get there eventually.  And part of me wants him to remain my eternal baby, so I'm not in any rush for him to start chatting me up.  Although, I wouldn't be sad if he decided to move forward with potty training sometime soon.     


Kale Smoothie

Oh, Kale Smoothie.  You are, quite possibly, the world's most perfect breakfast.  Full of greens I would never otherwise be able to force down my throat and flaxseeds to keep me regular.  You require only the most minimal of ingredients and you are tasty enough for my children to drink.  You are chock full of healthy, raw goodness.  I love you, Kale Smoothie.  I want to drink you everyday.

1 cup water or orange juice (vitC in OJ helps the body to more easily absorb the iron from the kale)
3-4 kale leaves, spines removed
1 banana
1 Tbs ground flax seeds

Put water and kale in blender and puree until smooth (or smooth enough).  Add banana and flax and blend on high until banana is full incorporated.  Sip and feel virtuous.


More Than Pictures

There are some things about being a mom of young children that pictures can't describe. 

Ok...there are A LOT of things that pictures don't do justice. 

I want to document these moments so that when my boys are all grown up I can lovingly browse this blog (wrapped in a quilt made of their baby clothes,deep into my glass of Merlot as my husband tells me to "just stop crying and come to bed already").  I want to remember these moments.  At least the good/cute ones.

Ikaika melts my heart sometimes.  He is so joyful.  His laugh in infectious and he laughs with his entire being.  Everything, the smallest joke to the biggest trip up, is hilarious to him.  He smiles and laughs and you can tell that he is genuinely happy.

One things I've noticed lately is that he will sometimes - without any context or prompting - just sigh and say softly "I love you, mommy."  It might be on his way to the bathroom or after I buckle him into his carseat.  It always catches me off-guard. I have to stop and reorient myself because the headrush makes me dizzy.  My child loves me.

Koa is the snuggler that Ikaika never has been.  Yesterday, he nuzzled up to me on the couch and absent-mindedly twisted my hair around his fingers.  He pet my face and squirmed a little.  But, as we watched Snowdogs while the smell of Mr A's fried-rice permeated the house, he seemed very content just to be near me.

When its time for bed, I put him into his playpen and he lays there perfectly still.  "Put that blanket over me and kindly turn off the lights on your way out," I can almost hear him thinking.  In the mornings, when I pick him up to take him into the living for a diaper change and breakfast, he doesn't necessarily hug me - but he does flop his body against mine, arms wide open, head in the crook of my neck.  He hangs there, still and lifeless, wanting me to rub his back or say soothing words.  It's not because he's exhausted (he just woke up), it's because he's cuddly.  And I love it!


Being Busy

I feel so overwhelmed.  There is so much to get done and only a few short hours in each day to do it all.  Sitting here, looking at the jumbled scribbly mess that is my calendar, I just want to hole up in my house and never leave.

But, the more I have to do, the more I get done.  Busy people get stuff done.  That's why the PTO president is always a career woman/soccer mom with a clean house.  If I cut back, that just opens up more free time...which I will inevitably spend on Facebook, TV, or something equally mind numbing. 

I want to lead a productive life.  I want to accomplish things each and every day.  Really, I want to be able to look at my calendar and feel invigorated instead of stressed out and overwhelmed.  What I need is to change my attitude.  I have to embrace the chaos and accept that if I crowd my schedule, there will be projects I won't finish and meetings I won't attend and that's just the way it has to be. 

This phase of my life won't last forever.  And getting stuff done is great.  I would rather be busy than bored.  Repeat...repeat...repeat...


Finishing 1st at the Run for the Dry Forest 5K

#43 on my To Do List got checked off a little sooner than I expected!  Last weekend, I ran a 5K at the Run for the Dry Forest at Pu'u Wa'awa'a.  It was a beautiful trail run (and a benefit for preserving endangered species that grow in the dry forest) with an elevation change of 300ft (bleh!), which is more than I am used to since I typically run on nice, flat road.

One of my goals this year (that I shared at the MOPS steering team retreat in July) was to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes.  So, when I hit the first mile marker and my watch said 11 and change...I was pretty disappointed.  When I hit the 3 mile marker and stopped to walk up the hill, I was super bummed.  When I got within 20 yards of the chute, I heard footfalls behind me and started sprinting - so at least I know that I'm not losing my competitive edge ;)

Pu'u Wa'awa'a in all her majesty

I knew I gave the race all I had because I almost puked all over the finish line.  I also knew that I hadn't made my goal of under 30 minutes.  It wasn't until I saw my time card that things started to look up. 

I took 15th overall (out of 74) and took 9th (of 48) females.  I finished 1st (!!!!!) in my age division, which was the real treat of the morning.  I even got a ceramic trivet (they called it a medallion) to commemorate my win!  The plant on it is the 'a'ali'i, which is one of the endangered species they are working to preserve and was featured on our (surprisingly stylish) Tshirts.