Friday at Mauʻumae

What do you think of Koa's hair?  Usually I just buzz their hair off - this is my first attempt at "style".  Those clippers have proven to be a great investment!

 It doesn't get better than this.

Friday morning we head down to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  After finding an area that is completely secluded - our own private beach with not another soul in sight - we spend the next three hours boogie boarding, splashing in the waves and soaking up the sun.  There is no ecstasy that can compare to a two year old rolling around in the soft sand and surf buck naked.  He was in heaven.

I am completely relaxed and totally rejuvenated.  We all left in a great mood and headed home to pick up brother from school and BBQ in the garage.  Its a perfect beginning to what will certainly be an outstanding weekend.


The Hawaiian Alphabet

Mr A did this with Ikaika as a tech project for one of his classes.  Ikaika picked out all the words, took the pictures, helped put them in alphabetical order, and chose the song.  In the intro he says "My name is Ikaika.  These are Hawaiian letters (alphabet?)"  Uploading this to blogger messed up the captions so I apologize for the speed at which they disappear.

I'm surprised at how much autonomy he wanted over this project.  He dictated everything - how each picture should be cropped, what font to use, where the caption should go, etc.  When all was said and done, Ikaika was super proud of the result and wanted to watch and read it over and over again.  Then he wanted me to show it to Oma.

Here you go, Oma.

I almost didn't post this because I am so grumpy about the typo/error right at the beginning.  Mr A pointed out that only about .01% of the Earth's population would notice, but it still bugs me.  Because I noticed it.


Fear Based Creative Paralysis

I am afraid of being creative.

When I was younger, I was all about being creative.  Sure, I was also neurotic, destructive, volatile, and loathsomely irritating at times - but I was free.  I expressed all my feelings without a second thought to whether or not they were true and/or offensive.  I did whatever tickled my fancy, within a certain amount of reason.  Through the rose colored spectacles of hindsight, it was an okay deal.

Now I am older, wiser, more "mature".  I am a mother.  I am a wife.  I am a grown up and there are expectations about what I should do and how I should think.  I am no longer free the way I once was.  I pride myself in being so self controlled, so educated.  I look - twice - before I leap and I shake my head and cluck my tongue at those irresponsible "kids" who don't.

Unfortunately, this attitude of severe self regulation is not exactly conducive to a lifestyle based in creativity.  Especially when working on this novel, when trying to write a story that is both creative and not technically shitty, I am getting hung up on all the little details that didn't used to bother me.  This insecurity is starting to prevent me from moving forward with this project.  Its preventing me from ever finishing.

The other day I was thinking about all the fears I have about writing this book.  I am afraid that I will be judged as a terrible writer.  After all, I've had zero formal training in the craft.  Being that the story is based on actual events, I am worried about offending the people who lived that part of my life with me.  I'm already convinced that explaining its fiction will not resolve this issue. I am scared of never finishing - that I will blog and talk about it for the rest of my life and never come up with a product that is "done".  It concerns me that I should do something more "productive" with my time.  After all, I can't make a life for my children from writing novels!  I don't want to pump out content just for the sake of making a living. 

These fears in particular bother me because they are things I never would have considered 10 years ago.  

Digging deeper, I know that my biggest fear (I'll just say it here for posterity) is that I will finish the book.  I will finish it and love it.  I will be so proud of it.  ...and it will go nowhere.  It won't receive any criticism because no one will even bother to read it.  I am afraid of my work being relegated to obscurity.  

I want to be creative for the sake of contributing something to the conversation of life.  The book is important to me because it make a statement about the way I see the world.  I know that at this point in my life I have to be an adult.  I have small people (and big ones, too) depending on me.  I can't be as free as I used to.  But I don't have to be so self conscious either.  So what if in 10 years I don't agree with my own point of view?  At least I said something - anything!  I have to tap into that courage if I ever want to see this project through to publication.


Modify Elf on a Shelf Book to be Slightly More Christian Religious

I recently came across THIS SITE on pinterest.  This mom modified her Elf on a Shelf to be more in touch with the religiousness of Christmas.  Her elf now came with a letter from Santa that talks about Jesus but still gives a nod to Santa-christmas-magic.  I thought it was a cool idea.

I agree with her thoughts about how Jesus' love and forgiveness should be emphasized over some arbitrary naughty/nice list.  I don't like the idea of my kids behaving for the sole purpose of possibly receiving an Xbox from heaven.  Jesus is certainly the reason for the season, but, I'm not exactly ready to shun off the secular world.

The Elf on a Shelf book is cute and didn't want to completely give it up as my 4 year old enjoys reading it.  Plus, I don't want to be forced to stage elaborate scenes of Epi the Elf "sinning" so we can all forgive him.  I can barely remember to move him before I go to bed!

The solution?  I wrote a few new verses to the story and taped them into the book.  I am still shocked by how good it looks.  Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to paste a link to my word file, so here are the words I used and which pages I glued them onto.  I used "traditional arabic" font 20pt and it matched very closely to the original text.

Happy Holidays!

(page 1)
If you are naughty or nice it goes on a list
do you think this is true, or has something been missed?
Santa told me a story, and I promise it's true
about our Lord Jesus Christ, I will share it with you

(page 3)

Holidays are a time 
to celebrate His birth
Jesus loves everyone
here on the Earth.
He wants us to be happy
and He knows we try.
Even when we make mistakes
he forgives us -
do you know why?

(page 5)

Jesus wants us with him in Heaven, full of peace, love and joy
He knows that inside we are all good girls and boys

Santa sent me to your house to learn about these things
about faith and forgiveness and the love that it brings.
Santa wants me to report back on all that I learn
I can tell him your Christmas wishes as my gift in return

(page 5 - no changes)

(page 7)

You can teach me all about God,
I'll share it with the North Pole crowd
They believe in Christ, too.
Your love and kindness will make them so proud

(page 8)

In the car, at the park,
or even at school
you must be nice to others
as one simple rule.

(page 9-10 - no changes)
(pages 11-12 - no changes)
(pages 12-13 - no changes)

(page 15)
[I won't get to tell him...off the stairs - no changes, but change the last two lines]
How will Santa know how much I've been taught
about the King of Kings and the salvation He brought?


How to Score on Black Friday

...stay home.  The end.

I am so sick of Black Friday.  Its gotten to the point that companies don't even feel the need to be subversive.  The advertising is so transparently manipulative, preying on our desire for something more meaningful, but urging us to participate in a frenzy that is undeniably materialistic.

Case in point: Xbox commercial.  Girls gets Black Ops, finds out its multi player (implying that it is an activity that will allow her to spend time with her loved one).  Cut to later and she is now having a snowball fight ala Black Ops and she is having a great time.  The end result is that she is spending quality time with her loved ones having a snowball fight outside.  We are left with this great, heartwarming feeling that perfectly marries tradition and modernity. But, wait.  Wasn't this about a video game?  Why can't we just cut out the products and go straight to the good stuff?

The dark shadow of "Black Friday" has descended over the entire holiday.  Thanksgiving should be a day where we are given reprieve from the daily grind and nothing more is expected of us than to stuff our face with food and watch some football.  This years, stores are open on Thanksgiving, not even having the decency to wait until its actually Friday.  Thanksgiving meals are starting earlier and being cut short so people can be the first to hit the sales.

I, for one, will not be participating in Black Friday.  It's not that I'm opposed to a good sale (I'm not) or even that I'm opposed to consumption (I'm not, strictly speaking).  I am opposed to companies taking away what few and precious good moments we have left in life.  I am opposed to the idea that quality time being thankful with family can somehow be replaced by stressful mad-rushes to the store where we step on our fellow man in order to get to that flat screen TV first.

My family probably thinks this is hilarious because 10 years ago I was raging a war against Thanksgiving (exploitation of the Native Americans...why are we celebrating this?).  But, if we look at this day simply as a holiday from our jobs, a time to slow down and have a great home cooked meal (maybe one of only a handful we share throughout the year), it doesn't seem all that evil.  In fact, I want that quiet time with loved ones so desperately that I am willing to shed convention and protest the institution of Black Friday.  I hope you will join me, if for no other reason than to send a message that 50% off "doorbusters" are awesome, but need to get in line behind quality time (...and football).


To-Do List #31: Check! Take Child on a Date

Ikaika and I went on a date last night.  We dressed up nice (enough) and left little brother with a babysitter (aka Dad).  I love the outfit he picked out - green plaid button up and blue mesh basketball shorts, topped off with a sweater vest and a too small rasta beanie.  I'm going to go ahead and plan on helping him dress for dates in high school.

First, we caught a play at HPA.  They were doing a performance of The Sound of Music, which I would consider "kid-friendly" because of the heavy emphasis on song and dance.  I was nervous that this might be too much for my 4 year old to handle.  I talked it up and explained exactly what a play is and how we should behave in a theater.  I told him the rules about talking quietly but let him know that if he wanted to take a break we could go walk around in the lobby and try again.  I was fully prepared to not stay for the entire show.

He did great during Act One.  During each round of applause he would clap his hands wildly and look at me with a huge grin on his face.  Clearly, he was enjoying himself.  
We took a bathroom break during Sixteen Going on Seventeen and he told me that when he asked himself if he could do something like that (act in a school play) the voice in his head said "Yes, Ikaika.  You can do that." 

During intermission he ran around outside and got all the crazies out by rolling down the hills.  Sorry the video is sideways, I keep forgetting that the camera on my phone is oriented the other way.  He told me later that he really wanted to shoot webs (like spiderman) inside the theater, but its against the rules.

Two songs into Act Two, he leans over and tells me "mommy, I want to go now." so we left right after Maria and Captain VonTrapp get married.  For a 4 year old, its the perfect ending!  Then we went to Starbucks (his choice, not mine) and got a bite to eat.  
I truly enjoyed just sitting with him and talking about whatever he wanted to talk about.  He is so sweet, funny, loving, thoughtful, and joyful.  Bursting with a real intense exuberance for life.  Our date was so much fun.  I can't wait for Kekoa to be a little older and do the same thing with him.  This is definitely something I want to continue to do with both of them in the future.     


DIY Burts Bees Basic Lip Balm Recipe

My husband inhales lip balm.  At $3+ per tube, its a perfect place to flex my DIY muscles.  Also, when we moved to Hawaii, we lost access to his favorite brand - Trader Joe's.  Over the years he had come to rely on the consistency of a specific brand.  Using a copycat recipe and making it in bulk batches, I am now able to provide him with a similar balm, without having to beg family to ship it over every couple months ;)

Based on the crisp, minty flavor of Burtʻs Bees (although more closely resembling TJs in texture) this is a super basic recipe that can be easily customized to what is available in your kitchen.  If you are starting from zero, the ingredients might seem pricey - but I have made over a hundred tubes and barely put a dent in the cocoa butter.  No need to buy any fancy containers either.  Mr A started saving tubes as he ran out and I've been refilling the same 5 containers for over a year.


1 1/2 teaspoons hard wax (beeswax)
1 3/4 + 1/8 teaspoons (just under 2 tsp) hard oil (coconut oil, shea butter, etc)     
1 1/8 teaspoon brittle oil (cocoa butter)
3 teaspoons liquid oil (almond oil, olive oil, sesame oil, etc)
2-3 drops Vitamin E oil (optional)
3-4 drops essential oil (peppermint, spearmint, etc.)

In a double boiler - I use a small glass dish set in a small pot of boiling water - combine the wax and oils (first 4 ingredients).  Heat until fully melted and no visible pieces remain.

Remove from heat, cool slightly, add Vitamin E and essential oils, stir to incorporate
Carefully pour into tubes - I use a small teaspoon.  Work quickly.  You want to pour it while it is still liquid and let it solidify in the tubes.  Pouring when it is even slightly chunky is just short of impossible.

Slap it on and pucker up!

Feeling adventurous?  Try experimenting with color (beet juice or small sliver of lipstick) or SPF (little shake of zinc oxide).  


Simplifying and Selling Your Stuff Online

Simplifying my life is an on-going project that has been going on for over a year.  I have systematically downsized my belongings, being thoughtful about what I truly need/use/love.  I can honestly say that at this point, I couldn't be happier with my decision.  Though I have let go of hundreds of things, I have yet to regret even one.  Truth me told, I can't even tell you what has all left my house!

In the beginning, it was a huge, overwhelming project.  There was just so much stuff that needed to be relocated.  I cracked under the pressure and my ingenious "yard sale" quickly turned into a free-for-all, followed by several carloads of leftovers to the local thrift shop.  Sure, I could have reaped more financial reward for my belongings (some of them were quite valuable), but I was sick of dealing with them.  I was sick of being responsible for them.  I just wanted them GONE!

Now, over a year into this move toward minimalism, I have a more reasonable number of things to deal with, which means I now have the time, energy and desire to put forth the effort it takes to connect these objects to buyers.  In fact, even with far fewer things I have made much, much more money that I ever did when my house was full to the brim with "valuables".

Here are a few sites that I have used a couple tips to get you started

  • EBAY - this site is great for small things that are easy to ship and rare objects that might have value to a fringe group of collectors.  I've had very good luck with clothes, especially name brand things.  Make sure to calculate your shipping accurately so you don't end up breaking even (it's happened to me more than once!).  When setting a starting price for your things, I would start with your "ideal" price and see if anyone bites.  If a week goes by and no one bids on it, then lower the price just a smidge, and so on until it sells.
  • CRAIGSLIST - this site is good for big things like furniture or anything else that is impractical to ship.  Electronics are good on craigslist, too because people like to be able to see it before committing to the purchase (I bought my very beloved Kindle off CL).  Be warned, setting up times to meet with people and navigating that whole back-and-forth can be a pain in the butt, so make sure the item/value is worth the trouble.
  • Amazon - I like listing books on sites like Amazon (or half.com, an affiliate of Ebay) because my inventory will just sit there and in the meantime I can work on getting around to reading it.  If I don't read the book before it sells, then it was never meant to be.
  • ETSY - I haven't done a whole lot with Etsy because a) I'm not that organized and b) I'm not that creative.  Etsy requires a certain level of marketing, especially with photographing your crafts.  The plus is that listings can remain up there for several months, so its easy to just throw something up there and forget about it.  I've made a few sales, but it remains my least favorite venue (for selling, not buying). 
  • FREECYCLE - sure you aren't making any moolah with this one but it does connect your unwanted things to someone who will actually use it.  And that's better than said object just sitting around your house being cluttery chaos.    

The moral of this story is that simplifying your "inventory" will make any form of online resale a lot more fun and manageable.  Also, give your things a shelf life.  If that sweater doesn't sell in X weeks/months, then off to charity store it will go.  Have fun and enjoy the extra beer money!


Kaikaʻs 4 year old Stats & a Lil Thankfulness

First things first:

Ikaika had his 4 year old doctor's visit (soon to be followed by the semi-annual dentist appointment this Friday) and all signs point to normal development.  He also continues to excel at growing, remaining in the 90th and above percentile for both weight and height.  41 lbs (90%) and 36.5" (95%).

Second things second:

My day could not be going any better.  Sure, I'm only half way through my to-do list (and I'm already noting excuses for the ones that won't get finished), but the good news just keeps rolling in.  The election last night left me feeling super duper, wanting to get out there and change the world I live in.  Whatever your political beliefs, I'm simply impressed that people care - feels like I encountered far fewer cynics than 4 years ago.
MR A PASSED HIS TEST!  So life can move forward in that respect.  And we can have a huge fete in his honor.  I sold a bunch of stuff on both Ebay and craigslist.  I am making cake out of gifted breadfruit.  I was able to pick up a few extra shifts this month.  Both my NFL picks won.  I finished reading not one but TWO books this week!  The list just goes on and on!

I'll stop now while I'm ahead.  As my mother told me earlier, gloating isn't very becoming.

...although I don't agree.  Sharing joy is ALWAYS becoming.  Feel free to brag about all your blessings in the comments, I would love to hear about it.


ʻAha Pūnana Leo online Hawaiian language classes

shooting spiderman webs AND sliding - a true talent

So how cool is my new ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi keyboard (downloaded from the UH Hilo website)?!  I can do the ʻokina (backward apostrophe looking thing) and kahakō (line over the vowels) on my computer.  This means I'm going to have to pay more attention to spelling things correctly.  No more excuses!
Being that we are approaching the end of the road for Mr A's grad school and I can reclaim some of my free time, I just signed up for the online language classes offered through APL's website.  So far, awesome.  I'm really looking forward to not being totally frightened/lost when speaking to my son's teachers...or, for that matter, my son.


Thoughts on Nothing in Particular

  • watched Katy Perry: Part of Me last night (Mr A's request...weird, I know).  Surprisingly inspiring when coupled with reading The Alchemist earlier this week.  Note to self: must identify my dreams.
  • Installed an ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi keyboard onto my computer.  Can now do both ʻokina and kahakō.  Super cool.
  • Completed my first Project 333 cycle.  Switched out my clothes today with 33 new things for the next 3 months.  
  • Found a bag at the thrift store that is eerily like one I recently pinned on Pinterest.  SCORE!
  • Found a Japanese romper at the thrift store, too.  Not willing to pay more than $3, so if its still there on half-off-Wendesday, I'm gettin' me some overalls (already factored it into my clothes count)
  • Had Mr A watch The Story of Stuff last night.  He was super disturbed and immediately wanted to cancel our next Kona run.  The indoctrination is going according to plan.
  • Almost entirely convinced that I would look great with an undercut.  
  • Koa has entered psycho-tantrum phase.  My sanity is wearing thin.


Time For A Haircut

 As you can see, I've been super bored with my hair lately.  Its time for a hair cut.  I don't want to lose the length this time so I'm strongly considering either bangs or a slight undercut, which I've never done before (which makes it that much more tempting).
I did the suicide roll with a ponytail for Halloween at work last night.  Surprisingly easy.  I might do it again for regular life.  The curls were an overnight set but didn't make it past 10am.  Boo.  I think it failed because my hair was still ever-so-slightly damp.