Woo Hoo!  Costumes!
Super wedgie
an epic battle
Last night I let the boys wear costumes to go pick up Daddy at the Hilo airport (yes, we immediately evacuated to higher ground - thanks tsunami warning).  Lets all take a moment to appreciate that I acquired the Batman get-up at our MOPS costume exchange (free) and Superman came from the church charity thrift shop ($1).  Three cheers for frugal holidays!



Photo Dump - Field Trip & More

I just hooked up my phone to the computer in order to upload the pictures from Ikaika's recent field trip when I noticed a few others that you (mom) might enjoy.  Small kine photo dump!

Moonlight concert in downtown Hilo
I'm super obsessed with knit bows at the moment
My child is super obsessed with eels (drawing of a puhi by Kaika)
Sunrise over Hilo on the way to my Teach for America interview
early AM Starbucks run with Koa Boy
Field Trip - teaching the kids how to buy crackers at Foodland
(love Kaalaleo's face in the bottom right)
Making pizzas at Dominos
Props to Dominos for agreeing to this -
it was (controlled) chaos and they were very generous with all the kids
Choking on his snack
Eating at the Parker Ranch Food Court
The kids obviously had a lot of fun.  I continue to be super impressed with the level to which Koa is included in everything they do.  My younger son isn't a student at Punana Leo, but he is always treated as one.  He has a place in line during Piko (the opening ceremony for our weekly meetings), the teachers always speak to him in Hawaiian, and even during this field trip he was allowed to participate in everything they did - including making and eating an entire personal pizza!  
Punana Leo says "we are all ohana" and they really mean it.  Koa has always been included in everything to the extent that he is willing and able.  I love APL - what a joy!


To Do List #11: take a photo walk

This morning I grabbed my camera and headed out with Koa.  No real plan for where we were going, but with the intention to snap a picture of everything that looked interesting.  It was so much fun.  And, using Picasa to edit the snapshots and assemble them into this cute slideshow (complete with slack key soundtrack), priceless.



Ikaika's 4th Birthday

My baby is four years old!  This is a particularly strange occasion for me because Mr A's youngest daughter was 4 when Ikaika was born.  So, its weird to see him reach the same milestone so quickly.

I should win some Mom-of-the-Year Award for these cupcakes.  I came home after a long night shift and baked these because Ikaika wanted to eat cake at school.  I cheated and used a box mix, but added a can of pumpkin puree, which probably means I broke even on whatever vintage scale is used to measure homemade baked goods.  Do they look familiar?  Pink seems to be a perennial favorite.

On the 18th we woke up early, ate a hearty breakfast of cake-pops, cold pizza and ice cream then spent the rest of the day doing stuff at the preschool.  Saturday we let the birthday pick his own poison.  He chose a trip to the Hilo Zoo and Keikiland bounce house at the Prince Kuhio Plaza.
trying to give a shaka
goofy boys with goofy smiles
shooting hoops at Keikiland
Ikaika was surprisingly good at this game

 Among many generous gifts he received (all of which were met with excited squeals of delight - THANK YOU EVERYONE!), my friend introduced him to Lego.  He's never had a Lego set before and I have to admit that they have come a long way since my days - back when there was usually just a huge bin with hundreds of tiny primary colored pieces.  I might have to start searching for some second hand Lego.

Its impossible to say who enjoyed building this more!


A Day in Honolulu

I have just returned from a day in Honolulu. Even though I went for a job interview, there was still plenty of time for exploring afterward. Here are my thoughts about this bustling metropolis
  • The bus service is incredible. I was able to hop on right outside the terminal at the airport and it basically dropped me off at the doorstep of the building I was going to. So much cheaper and easier than renting a car.
  • The city is navigatable by foot. Big Island is not exactly pedestrian friendly, even in Kona and Hilo. In our town, if we want to venture more than a half mile out, we are slaves to the vehicle. It was refreshing to see sidewalks, bikes and people using both.
  • Traffic is awful, which I was expecting.
  • I am fortunate that all my previous times coming to Oahu I have been there for some other reason than to hang out in Waikiki. In fact, I realized today how very little time I've spent downtown. We usually go up country and I am grateful for that. “Town” can seem like a bubble and I would hate to be under the impression that all of Oahu is like that.
  • Ala Moana sucks. Malls suck in general but this one was just terrible. It was like an endless hall of expensive crap with ridiculous people spending way too much money on things they most likely don't need. And there were no recycling bins for my plastic bottle :(
  • The Goodwill was promising, but I should have eaten first because by the time I got there, I was no longer in the mood to browse.
  • I could see myself living in an apartment in Honolulu, but only if I were higher than 3-4 stories.
  • I checked out St Louis and Chaminade University. Plopping a high school right next to a (dry campus) college is such a clutch idea. Never too early to get those kids thinking about higher education!
  • If I ever do this again, I am totally flying out of Kona and I'm not going to spend the day just “hanging out” in Honolulu. I'm so freaking tired and I still have an hour + drive. Bleh.
  • I took a backpack, which I thought was pretty slick and all minimalist. Turns out that I just carried around my heavy-ass laptop all day for no reason. The only thing I had a chance to write was this post. Mr A was grumpy because he wanted to work on the computer today since he was home with the boys. Poorly planned. In the future, I must think harder about whether or not I will use/need the entire computer.     


My Baby Can Read

Ikaika's teacher asked me today if I was aware that he can read.  She seemed rather incredulous once she had him demonstrate I was like "oh, that...yeah..."

I guess I was waiting for some major level of comprehension before I went around saying my kid can read.  I admit (somewhat reluctantly) that my English mindset had me thinking Hawaiian is too easy because its syllabic.  I wasn't about to be impressed until he read irregular vowels or consonant combos like 'ch' or 'thr'. 

Well, that is a dumb way to think.  Reading is reading is reading.  He can see symbols on a page and is able to decipher some sort of meaning from them.  He's obviously comprehending what he is saying because for "leo" he says "leo nahenahe" (speak softly) and after "kupuna" he says "keia o kupuna" (this is the grandparent) while pointing to the old lady.  I can't believe I've never noticed this before.  Awesome. 

I now realize how cool he truly is.  He's not even four yet (he's been doing this for a few months now) and he's reading books.  I mean, this is pretty legit, right?!  I am dazzled.

I'm sad about this video because I made a copy with subtitles in my video editing software and even though I saved it as an .avi file, it wouldn't upload to blogger.  Boo!  He mis-reads 'voice' (leo) as 'booger' (na'o) - so you can now laugh at that joke. 


Making (and changing) Plans

boy with dirty face
I had all these great plans.  I spent hours thinking about them.  I wrote countless lists.  I was banking (in some ways literally) on these great plans.

God certainly has a hilarious way of putting all that into perspective.  No matter how much I plan, there will always exist factors that are out of my control.  And those factors don't give a hoot about what I wrote on the list.

Last night I heard myself saying
Sometimes things happen - or don't happen - for a reasonWe can't see the bigger pictureA door might have to close in order for another to open
and I tried to touch on some of the sincerity in these words.  I want these to not be cliches.  I want to believe that there is a bigger purpose and my "plans" are just creative exercises, not necessarily means to an end.

I take comfort in making plans because the promise is so alluring.  If I just stick to it, things will turn out in a good way, because that's how the process is designed.  But, if X, Y, or Z doesn't happen, disaster is imminent because the plan fell apart.  I should learn to let go and be more flexible with my expectations.

Moments like these are moments for faith.  I know that there is more than one way to accomplish any goal.  So I will chose to believe that the results are still attainable even if the plan didn't work out.  I will chose to believe that what might seem like a setback is merely another opportunity for growth.  I will chose to believe that success is possible, even without that plan.


What Is Success?

I am on the brink of a new life.  Next year I will reenter the working world, or at least that's the plan.  I love staying at home and find a surprising amount of fulfillment in my ability to efficiently run a household.  However, it makes sense for me to go back to work full-time, especially if there are no children here from 8am-4pm, necessitating my being here as well.

So, what do I want to do with my life?  I've somehow been able to avoid answering this question for almost 10 years, but it continuously nags at the back of my mind.  And, does answering this questions necessarily mean that I will find a career I love?

Over a year ago, I wrote a list in my journal titled "What is Success?"  Here is it:

  • paying off all debt
  • owning a house
  • publish a book
  • earn an advanced degree
  • stay married
  • go to church regularly

The first two are pretty obvious, I want a certain level of financial security.  Debt = giant insecurity.  I'm on the fence with how I feel about home ownership, especially considering we aren't 100% sure where we want to be living 10 years from now (in Hawaii for sure, but maybe not on this island).  I think for me a house signifies a level of responsibility, investment and permanence.  But are those things I even want?
The next two fall under the category of recognition.  I want to be recognized for my efforts and achievements - something most homemakers are severely lacking.  I laughed about this because publishing a book probably wouldn't make me feel super successful unless either 1) the book itself was a best-seller or 2) I was completely satisfied with the material I produced.  Both of these speculations are a long-shot.  Earning an advanced degree is all fine and good since I like being in school, but choosing what to go to school for is a real challenge.  Will I feel like this is less of an accomplishment if I get my masters in a subject I'm not particularly keen on?

The last two are emotional security.  If in 15 years I have achieved a deeper level of commitment and intimacy with both my husband and the Lord, then I'm stoked.  However, if I'm just going through the motions, that's not very successful.

OK, back to my impending employment.  If I'm going to take into account financial security, recognition, and emotional security, I might end up doing something that I'm lukewarm about, at least temporarily.  But, if I do this with the long-term goal of pursuing my dreams as the driving force behind it, couldn't I consider that lukewarm job as one step on the road to achieving my dreams?  I've been living in Mommy-LaLa-Land and am nervous about my dreams being dashed on the harsh face on reality.



The Compact

Recently a friend contacted me (or rather FB posted the general public) about The Compact.  For those who are unfamiliar, The Compact is a 12 month agreement:
1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
One of most famous Compact-ers on the web is The Non-Consumer Advocate (love her blog, BTW)

Anyhow, so although this was already on my radar, a friend reintroduced it to my life and piqued my interest.  Shall we start with something manageable?  Say, 6 months?  We haven't officially shaken hands on it, but I know she's with me.

I'm at the point now where I don't buy too many things new anyway.  Living 45 minutes from the nearest major shopping hub certainly helps.  We went to Kona on Tuesday and the only violation was a pair of new reading glasses, but they were for Mr A.
Even though I didn't technically cheat, the temptations were outrageous!   Buying crap is a high, a rush.  Walking through the stores, its easy to fantasize about taking such and such thing home, wearing it, displaying it, etc.  "this would be so perfect..."  The only thing that saved me was a consignment store near Costco, which had the most unbelievable selection of yarn.  USED yarn (which is really no different than new yarn).  I went a little bananas in Sandra's Consignment.

So what about you?  You want in on the fun, too?  Here's to 6 months of nothing new!