Oli Boy

Last night we drove to Hilo for the 17th Annual KWXX Ho'olaule'a in Downtown Hilo.  When Mr A and I were first dating we spent a lot of time driving around.  He played the same 2 CDs over and over again: 3 Plus and Sudden Rush.  I memorized both before the first month was over.
Sudden Rush is from Hilo and they are always performing at free events.  I'm surprised we've never seen them before, but there has to be a first time for everything.  Totally worth it.  Sudden Rush is so awesome.  I hope to see them again in the future.

Ikaika was in the zone last night.  When I ran into Starbucks, Mr A says Ikaika was chanting in the backseat and a lady actually stopped her car and asked him "your boy oli (chanting)?!"  After about 30 minutes, I figured I should capture this for posterity.
Just so you know, I can't do this chant.  I can't even do it when I have the words right in front of me on a piece of paper.  I love how he gets lost in the middle and is somehow able to pick it back up again.  And how he lets me know when he's done ("pau!") so I can stop filming him.  I also love how Koa is in the background "chanting", too.  Enjoy.


To-Do List #87: Wear My Wedding Dress Again

#87 on my To-Do List - CHECK!  One would think that because I did this intentionally, fully planning to blog about it the next day, I would have taken a moment to snap a picture.  Not so.

But, even without photographic evidence, I did wear my wedding dress to an adult-only party last night (ie. a real date).  I dressed it down with flats, brushed hair and a navy blue cotton jacket.  I also tucked the ribbons in so it was strapless.

It still felt a bit formal.  I'm debating possibly taking the hem up a few inches to knee-length.  I also want to dye it some shade of blue but I'm afraid to do it myself and ruin the material.  RIT dye seems too simple, there must be a more sophisticated method for dying silk.

Either way, considering it is by far the most expensive piece of clothing I have ever bought, I'm super stoked about extending the mileage!


Crochet Football Beanie

I know this hat will make my sister gag (she's not a fan of "girlie" sports stuff), but it was a special request from a coworker.  My morning was spent finishing up that little clutter-cleaning project from yesterday, then I felt inspired to plow through some yarn.

I originally intended to put a flower on the hat (even worse, Beth, I know!), but I ran out of yarn so settled for a bow instead.  Isn't this little triple crochet bow cute?  Seriously, its so easy to make, its stupid.

If I had to do this again I would make the white lines only one row of double crochet (or 1 row DC, 1 row SC).  I think they are too thick.  I'm also unsure about the placement of the bow.  It didn't look right down near the brim (the way a flower would) so I stuck it on the top, but without seeing it on an actual head I have no way to gauge the soundness my judgement.


Hoarding UFOs

In the craft world UFO stands for "unfinished object".  My house is Area 51.

Last night I jotted, almost as an after thought, on the bottom of my to-do list: go through craft stuff.  In an effort to simplify and pare down, I've been systematically sorting and evaluating my possessions, donating and selling what I no longer truly need.  I am delighted to report that I spiffed up my residence before drop-off - a cool 5 minutes and the house was neat and tidy (enough).  So this must be what progress feels like.

The seemingly benign task of sorting through my craft stuff has turned out to be a major undertaking.  My plan of attack was to go through the major hubs and write down exactly what project I am saving such and such item for.  If an item isn't attached to a specific project and I'm keeping it "just in case", then it gets the boot.  Sounds easy, right?  Hows that working out for me?

I just finished the smallest basket of fabric, which I consider my 'to-do immediately pile' (for instance, where I put clothes that need small repairs).  Totally overwhelmed.  Needed to take a break and blog about it.  I have filled AN ENTIRE SHEET OF PAPER with proposed projects and I still have like 5 more (much larger) storage areas to go!

It has dawned on me that there is no way on God's green earth that I am going to ever be able to finish all the crafts I have in mind.  I need to start letting some of this go AND I need to stop taking on new ideas before all these old ones are finished.  Until I knock some of these out, I should put a stop on any new project ideas.  This is why some of these UFOs have been sitting around for years.

Furthermore, the overwhelming amount of UFOs makes me feel overwhelmed and stressed out by my crafts.  What is supposed to be my hobby, my source of relaxation, is something of a thorn in my side.  It clutters my space and my mind.  I get totally grumpy just thinking about those quilt pieces stored under Ikaika's bed.  Just sew the damn thing already!

I don't know if I'm at a point yet that I can haul a huge load to the thrift store and be done with it.  The "I might need it one day" mentality is deeply ingrained.  However, I can chip away at this slowly.  I can let go of the things that seriously have no purpose (Mr A's old shirt that has neither sentimental value nor buttons?) and the things that I know aren't worth the effort (seafoam green baby acrylic fingering yarn?)


Kajukenbo Training

learning about the history of kaju and our family tree
 Last night Mr A and I did something we haven't done together for a long time (4-5 years at least) - Kajukenbo!  We moved the couch and table to make an impromptu dojo in our living room. I have great memories of training with him in Oregon and now we are (almost) able to do this as a family.  So fun.

I can tell Mr A misses training.  I know its his dream to have a large successful class and I wish there was something I could do to help him move toward that goal.  Maybe once I go back to work and he doesn't have so much pressure to provide for all of us, he can focus more time on his martial arts.  I want him to realize his dreams, I want him to be happy.

father and son
And I want him to wear that gi everydamnday!  Holy smokes!  I don't know what it is, but last night I was like...phew.  I'll spare you the details of my running inner dialogue but the words "panty dropping" did come up more than once. There's something about a man who is so in control of his body.  It's another, slightly more self-serving reason I want to help him get back into this.

Koa doesn't have a gi - so he got to be Venom instead
this picture makes it look like Kaika is blade kicking him in the back!


Relax and Take Time for Yourself

sit back, relax, have a cup of joe

Today at MOPS the topic was separation anxiety.  At the start of her presentation, our speaker asked how many of us regularly make time for ourselves.  I raised my hand.  I was one of few.

I am neither a zen junkie nor do I lead an ultra-cushy life.  In the beginning, when Ikaika was small, I struggled with this.  I felt guilty taking time for myself and therefore, I not only didn't get any personal time I also began to deeply resent Mr A for his personal time.  (How dare he go golfing!  I never get out of this house!)  It seems like anything short of nun-in-a-slum selflessness is viewed as selfishness when you're a mom.

Besides guilt, the other obstacle was my belief that "time for myself" needed to be some large, orchestrated event.  Now I know the truth.  Relaxing and taking time for myself is as easy as letting the TV watch my kids while I take a bath.  Or read a book.  Or blog - like I'm doing now.  In fact, I was surprised more women didn't raise their hand because some of my me-time is at various parties they host!

Just to clarify - I let my dishes pile up all day and sift through mountains of unfolded laundry when I dress my kids in the morning (usually in mismatched garb).  I feel fleeting moments of sadness for that book that isn't finished or that fulfilling career I haven't found yet.  I might be able to relax, but I certainly pay for it in other ways.  No one can do it all.

I realized today that its all about perspective.  For example, my husband and I play cards almost every night after dinner.  I was all sad because we used to play in organized card games 3-4 nights a week and now we just play a few games by ourselves.  And we probably only do it because we don't have TV.  But that is quality time, me-time, us-time.  It requires almost no planning and only takes a half hour.  Its something we can do even when I work late on weekdays.  Most importantly, I like doing it and it makes me happy.

Taking a relaxing moment for yourself as a mom isn't as impossible or mysterious as it seems.  You just have to 1) be willing to take it (not ask for it - take it!) and 2) appreciate it for what it is. 


How To Get An Easy Free Massage

I sometimes imagine this is what they do all night when I'm at work...

One of my favorite stories about Mr A's dad is about the time when he was forced to massage his father's feet.  Papa used to fall asleep and Mr A would try to tip-toe away before he woke back up and demanded more.  Mr A claims he hated rubbing his dad's large, leathery toes, but he also credits this with his ability to palm a basketball and open even the most stubborn mayo jar.

Seems only fitting that this is how I find them spending quality time on a Sunday afternoon, huh?

it became a game of how far they could get/how many steps they could take before falling off
"On your tip toes, Koa" - Ikaika offering some direction


Aloha Festival Parade 2012

Today was the Aloha Paikau (parade) and for the first year, we were part of the procession!

The preparation was cumbersome - memorizing songs & chants, foraging all the greenery, assembling the float, etc - but it was totally worth it!  The float looked AMAZING, the kids had a blast, and we WON first place!

This is a side view of the float.  Its a 30 ft trailer decorated with a bamboo structure that the dads built.  All the greenery was foraged from our area.  For my part, I put those red ti leaves in place and wove a few of those palm leaf guard rails.  We are all better off without a close up of my handiwork.

I feel like a lot of the detail probably went unnoticed from the street.  The larger flower arrangements were gorgeous, but I was completely in love with the braided lei that were snaking up the posts.  Just look at those red and yellow lehua blossoms!

The kids sat in chairs and the adults sat on lauhala mats on the floor.  I was prepared to walk so that was a most welcome surprise.

Ikaika and his friends
Ikaika and his teacher
Ikaika and his 'spot'
I enjoyed the parade - singing, waving, all of that.  Mr A played the ukulele.  Koa sat in my lap.  Ikaika was in his little chair.  He occasionally sang and was happy to see some aunties and uncles along the parade route, but I don't know how into the whole thing he was.  He seemed bored/annoyed when I told him to wave and I had to remind him more than once to keep his feet off the rail.  Oh well.

He really enjoyed wrestling with the other boys before the parade started!

Ohana Arrayan

We spent 2 hours cruising around the ho'olaulei'a at the park then it was back to the school so we could tear down the float.  I was impressed by how much of the float was repurposed.  It was a pretty sustainable project with only a few zip ties going into the trash.  Most of the foliage was either put toward upcoming cultural events, taken to family graves or found a new home above my front door (like the brown and green lei pictured below)


Project 333 Challenge Update (+ new pic of boys)

Even the boys are maximizing their wardrobe options.  Kaika gets the shirt, Koa gets the shorts!
I am now half way through the Project 333 Challenge.  To briefly recap, I am wearing only 33 things for 3 months (including shoes and jewelry).  Here's how its been going.

Overall, I think this little experiment has been very helpful.  I'm amazed at how little clothing I actually need/use and knowing that my white cardigan is waiting for me in the back of my closet certainly helps any fleeting feelings of deprivation.  Amazingly, I haven't worn all 33 items yet.  That wedding dress is still waiting for a date night.  I did wear sweatpants to drop off Kaika one morning even though I had no intention of working out.  A raincoat not from the original list found its way into my closet somehow.

I feel like I'm just now approaching the hardest part of this challenge.  Even though I have gotten more comments/compliments in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past 6 months, I am starting to feel like I'm wearing the same things over and over again...because I am.  Recently, I've been wasting hours in the evening scouring Ebay for clothes, shoes, and purses I don't need.  I feel more put-together on a daily basis than I have in a long long time.  But, it's hard to let go of the "newer = better" concept.
I'm unsure if I want to live with a wardrobe this small indefinitely.  Even though I'm not using all 33 items, the fact that I'm taking so much comfort in the box of clothes waiting for me in my closet tells me that I need a little more variety.  If I were going to regularly keep a wardrobe this size, I would need to go on a Goodwill blitz at least three times a year.  Right now, since I go nuts about once a year (whenever I travel to the mainland with all the amazing thrift shop options), I think I should keep a wardrobe about twice this size.

Next time do 66 items for 6 months?



modelling a shirt from Aunty Dana

The old adage is true: they really do grow up so fast!  I can't believe how big Ikaika seems in this picture and Koa is already entering a phase of life that I feel like Ikaika just emerged from (super independent 2-year-old phase).

What that phrase doesn't tell you is that sometimes its really REALLY hard to appreciate the present because kids can be so damn annoying!  Even though I know these precious years will fly by all too fast - it doesn't seem to change the fact that their incessant not-listening or Ikaika's snotty little mouth truly aggravate me to the point of no return.

This weekend, Mr A was on O'ahu for school and the boys and I were hanging out for two days, just the 3 of us. CHAOS!  Both of the kids are selectively deaf, nap time was a nightmare, crying and whining abound.  Saturday especially, I feel like I spent the entire day screaming, nagging and threatening.  Not only was I a wound-up mess, they were totally fried.

My fear, because all this stems from fear, is that I will be judged as someone who lets their kids get away with everything.  If I don't crack that whip, my kids will grow up into delinquents or entitled brats.  I worry about my kids manipulating me.  On some level, I'm afraid of my children, their independence and what that means.  I'm afraid of their behavior, not because its so particularly terrible, but because of how it reflects on me as a person.

Well, Saturday night I was snuggling in bed with my laptop, weeding through the pictures on the hard-drive.  and I came across a few videos (THIS ONE in particular) which ignited parental remorse to the most extreme degree.  How precious are my children?  How cute are they?  They are sweet and loving!  I love them!  I should be enjoying these times with them instead of losing my you-know-what over every small transgression.  Isn't it in the nature of a 2-4 year old to not listen, or talk back, or cry over not getting to wear shoes to bed?

The irony is that I'm not even getting the results I want by being such a dictating harpy.  Mr A can snap those kids in line with a raised voice and a stern look but I just get passive eyes and the occasional smile.  I need to keep my eye on the larger goal (raising well adjusted human beings) and stop letting fear dictate how I discipline my kids.


Reading & Potty - Quick Update

Ikaika's getting ready to take reading to the next level.  Last month we began reading our first no-picture chapter book (Alice in Wonderland).  We got off to a strong start and I was amazed at how long the story held his attention.  We haven't finished the book yet because I find it easier to read things that both kids like at bedtime and Ikaika is gone during the day with school.
BTW - that book makes absolutely no sense and I think that's why a 4 year old likes it.  It's probably what his running inner dialogue sounds like.
He's almost showing more interest in independent reading.  The other day we were reading and every other word he was pointing to the first letter and going "/b/, /b/, brown..../b/, /b/, bear, /r/, /r/..."  HOLY CRAP!  It took like twenty minutes to read a board book!  But I'm proud he's trying.

Koa is almost there with potty training.  I've had him in underwear for the past two weeks without much incident and he's been staying dry during naps.  Debating whether this means I should purge our supply of cloth diapers.  He still wears a diaper at bedtime so maybe I should keep just enough for a week of night diapers?  I'm nervous that the second I get rid of the diapers he will start peeing his pants every hour on the hour.


The Hawaiian Color Song

Ula'ula, melemele, poni, polu, 'ele'ele, akala, alani, ke'oke'o, ahinahina, oma'oma'o, maku'e

I didn't notice it at the time, but Ikaika is lip-syncing all the words.  Don't be fooled.  He knows these songs better than I do!