Monday, February 3, 2014

2013 - The Highlight Reel, Part 1

Well, it's been over a year since I posted to this blog. I'm not sure if I really want to keep it up. It's a lot of work and I find that posting photos with little blurbs of information on Instagram is a lot easier than writing a blog post, resizing photos and uploading them, etc. But I realize that a few of the very important people who we specifically started this blog for in the first place either don't know how (or just refuse - I'm looking at you Grandpa CR) to use Instagram, or don't have a device that's capable of it. So, I'll give it another try. But I make no promises. So, let this post be the first of a few that will serve as a brief update on the highlights of 2013...


January was full of Home Improvement Projects. It started with a Room Update for Dean - he got new Solar System bedding that he picked out himself (from Land of Nod), 2 new bookcases (one short and one tall) and a new dresser from Pottery Barn Kids, the new furniture all matches the PB Kids desk we bought him just before he started Kindergarten. We also gave his room a fresh coat of blue paint. I wasn't too sure about the color at first, but it looks pretty good. And it is just paint!

Then we started in our living space. We were about to rip out the very stained carpet from the living area and hallway, but first we wanted to install a faux board and batten in the entryway (and by "we", I mean Joel. I just supervised. And by "supervised", I mean stood over him and said "I don't know if that's the way you're supposed to do that..." when really I had no idea either. I'm an expert at supervising, which is why Joel and I learned a long time ago it's best if we don't work together on these types of projects). But we also painted the entire living area, entry and hallway as well - and that's something we are capable of doing together without too many stink eyes, loud sighs or even yelling!

After that was complete, it was time to install the new flooring. Joel did all of this himself. We picked out a beautiful solid bamboo (not laminate) and Joel did a fantastic job, even without my supervision! ha! (for the sake of our marriage, Dean and I stayed at my Mom's until the job was done). It looks great!

With all of these home improvement projects, we didn't have a lot of extra time for fun in January, but Joel and I did manage to squeeze in a hike on the Lahaina Pali Trail the last weekend of the month.


Things slowed down quite a bit in February and we took some time to enjoy several beautiful beach days...

Dean even showed off his Yoga Skills...

I love kids' artwork. This is a drawing Dean made one afternoon of our family. I especially love how much hair he gave Joel and his short shorts!


March was quite a bit more busy. We enjoyed the You-Pick Strawberry Patch at Kula Country Farms.

And Dean of course was my favorite little Leprechaun!

My Mom and I took Dean to Hana one Saturday so he could do his favorite hike through the bamboo forest up to Waimoku Falls (The Pipiwai Trail in the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park).

In late March, we dyed Easter Eggs. We decided to try a few different techniques this year and had a lot of fun with our experiments. The beautiful eggs below Dean created by painting on the "watercolor" dye mixture. They were the most beautiful Easter Eggs I've ever seen!!

And we also created our own "All Natural" dyes out of various foods - vegetables, fruits, berries, and spices - and learned about how throughout history, people have used items found in nature to create dyes for food, clothing, etc. Below are some of the examples of eggs dyed with Turmeric, Beets, Blueberries and Paprika.

And finally, Dean and I posed for our traditional Mother-Son Easter Photo:


In April, Uncle Jeremy (my brother) came to visit from Montana.

And Joel received the long-awaited good news that he had been accepted into Grad School to get his Master's in Social Work at the University of Hawaii. Yay Joel!

And that brings us to what was probably the highlight of 2013 - a super fun trip to San Diego with Grandma Jo and Grandpa CR! 


We got to do so many fun things, including a trip to Sea World where Dean really, really wanted to see the penguins (seeing penguins was the only thing he really cared about seeing at Sea World when we were planning our trip, although once we were there he enjoyed just about everything - especially a really wet water ride roller coaster thing that he rode over and over again) - so we paid extra for the Up Close Penguin Encounter where you get to go behind the scenes of the penguin exhibit and actually inside the exhibit, learn about how they care for the penguins and actually touch them, etc. It was pretty interesting. When it was time to actually go INSIDE the exhibit, it was COLD in there - they keep it at about 27 degrees and there is real snow in there (Dean's first time seeing snow!). Dean touched a King Penguin and then asked the penguin guy if he could touch some snow. The guy was nice enough to find some clean snow for him to touch. When we were leaving the exhibit Dean said "It's freezing! It must be like 60 degrees in here!". Everyone thought the little boy from Hawaii was pretty hilarious. 

 We also got to go to Legoland, which was pretty cool. Grandma Jo and I took Dean there when he was about 16 months old and we met up in San Diego and we had always thought it would be fun to go back when he was older (and thought Joel would enjoy it too). We were right! It was a lot of fun! 

We visited the San Diego Zoo as well as a few really cool museums in Balboa Park, we rode a double decker train, ate a ton of really good food, did a lot of awesome shopping, Dean got to go bowling (something he had specifically requested to do) and just had a great time! Dean will remember that trip forever!

Dean also got to spend a day with his Sarah. I'm sure most of you remember Sarah, Dean's babysitter who used to live down the street from us. She moved to San Diego a few years ago and Dean misses her so much! Even though they don't get to see each other very often, they still have such a special bond. He was SO excited to see her! When we picked him up from her place and it was time to say goodbye, he cried and cried for almost an hour - and I mean big, heartbroken crying. It was so sad. We all love Sarah! But I really believe these two will be friends for life.

And I think that'll do it for now. I'll try to be back soon with more from 2013. And once I'm caught up, my goal for 2014 is to just do a quick post once a month to keep everyone up to date with what we're doing.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas 2012

Hi there! Were you wondering if we were still alive?? Well, we are. And I know it's been forever. No excuses. Just I'm here. With a few photos from our super fun and crazy Christmas.

Grandma Jo and Grandpa CR got to come spend Christmas with us again this year - it has become a really wonderful tradition to have them here! And this year, we got to do something none of us have ever done. The Saturday before Christmas, we headed down the Hana Highway to the Garden of Eden where good friends Mike and Bessie are the property managers / caretakers / people in charge. We've driven past this place countless times on our way to Hana and never stopped, thinking it was just another tourist trap charging an exorbitant fee to see a few pretty flowers with a nice view. But man, were we in for a surprise! That place is HUGE! I had no idea. 30 acres of trails and tons of stuff to see. Mike and Bessie walked us around for awhile and we didn't even see 1/3 of it. Definitely a must-see if you come to Maui...but don't plan on doing it on your "Road to Hana" day because you won't have time. Plan it for another day and plan on spending several hours there. Pack a lunch and explore.  Here's a picture from just one of the overlooks:

Sunday we dipped pretzels (my personal favorite Christmas treat) and then baked cookies for Santa. Dean did the cookie decorating himself.

Christmas Eve day we went to the beach. It wasn't a very good beach day - cloudy and cool and a little windy. But it's our tradition. And if you know me, you know that you don't mess with tradition.


In the evening on Christmas Eve, we headed over to Tutu's for dinner and presents. Jayci was there, which of course Dean was happy about. Before dinner, we walked down to the beach for sunset (which wasn't very good) and to watch for whales.

Santa came while we were sleeping and Dean woke up to way to many presents Christmas morning! He got everything he wanted and then some!

After a yummy lunch of smoked ham, we headed out to Kealia pond and went for a little walk on the beach. We came home and Dean went on a bike ride. Then Grandpa spent the next 5 hours putting together a Playmobil School while Dean made giant messes playing with new toys and games.

It was a pretty perfect Christmas!

Also, if you haven't visited the actual blog in awhile, be sure to stop by - I've given it a little makeover! And I do hope to be better about posting in the New Year!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Park Play

Joel and Dean go on regular "Adventures" together - little Daddy and Dean outings about once a week, sometimes to places that I absolutely refuse to step foot in (Fun Factory), sometimes for the sole purpose of letting me get some much needed house cleaning done without more messes piling up behind me faster than I can clean, and sometimes just for a little Father-Son bonding time. One of their favorite places to go on these "adventures" is to a fun little park up in Wailuku, hidden just above Wailuku Elementary. This park is close to home, has a great new-ish playground, basketball courts, a beautiful view of both the West Maui Mountains on one side and Kahului town and the North Shore on the other, and also a great big field (that's actual purpose is for baseball, but also works well for telling a 5-yr-old "Hey Dean, see how fast you can run to that fence over there on the other side of that field" and then getting him to do it 7 more times to try to beat his previous time all in an attempt to wear him completely out so he'll *maybe* take a nap for once, or at the very least just be tired later and give his parents a little peace and quiet for an hour). So anyway, Joel and Dean took one of their standard Wailuku Park adventures Sunday afternoon - it was a beautiful day and Joel actually snapped a few cute pictures of Dean with his phone that I thought I'd share. Enjoy!


Yeah, maybe we better just stick to gymnastics...

There's also a perfect climbing tree that Dean LOVES to explore and monkey around in!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Amazon Associates

Hi there!'s been awhile, huh? I know, I know. I still haven't even finished our Disneyland Vacation update and then I haven't even posted at all about our summer break! But we thoroughly enjoyed our Summer Break and I did a whole lot of No Pressure stuff - which meant very little (Ok, NO) blogging!! But I did do a lot of picture taking, and I promise to get lots of Dean and summer adventure pictures posted soon. But first things first. I wanted to let our family and close friends know that the Tapler Ohana is now an Amazon Associate. What does that mean? Well, if you're reading this post in an e-mail update, go ahead and click HERE and go to the actual blog. Now, see that fancy Amazon link over there in the right-hand colum under our picture and information about us? (yes, I know, I need to update our family photo. I'll get to that eventually). Well, if you use that link to get to Amazon when you're doing your shopping, a small percentage of your total purchase price (it doesn't change your total - you'll still pay the same price for the stuff you were gonna buy anyway) will go to the Tapler Ohana!! We'll use this money to buy booze and new iPhones and go on all those fancy vacations we take all the time...Just kidding!!! I wish. No really. The money is actually going to go directly into an education account we've set up for Dean. We may be using this money to help pay for private college-prep school once Dean reaches middle school (we are still undecided about this, so it's a good thing we have a few years to make a decision. Unfortunately, it may take us that long to come up with the money). If not, it will go into his college fund. Now I know there are lots of charitable Amazon Associate links out there on the interwebs where the money goes to really amazing organizations that do totally awesome things like feed hungry children and spay and neuter feral cats and such. I really do think that's great and if you already use one of those links I'm not asking you to stop - by all means, please keep feeding hungry children and definitely spay and neuter animals (unless you're Dean's Tutu, then you should totally put your own Grandson ahead of those feral cats. He already thinks you treat your own cats better than him. Don't make him think you treat feral cats better than him). But, if you don't already use a charitable Amazon Associates link and you're planning to shop at Amazon anyway...and you care about Dean's education...well, why not take one extra step and come to the Tapler Ohana blog first and access Amazon from here before you do your shopping (you don't have to do anything else, just use the Amazon link that's posted here on the blog and then shop as you normally would on Amazon, they take care of everything else). And just in case you needed a little incentive, here are a few pics of Dean from his first few days of First Grade, which is going AWESOME!!

First Homework:

Checking out his new classroom:

Box of School Supplies (we order from Akamai School Supplies, which delivers directly to the classroom and donates 10% of the cost to the Pomaika'i PTSA):

Don't worry, I'll continue to remind you periodically about the Amazon Associates link, but I promise not to be too annoying about it! ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Disneyland Vacation, Day 3

Ok, I'm going to try to finish up the posts about our Disney trip this week - I promise!

We spent Wednesday (May 16) of our trip just relaxing - we didn't go to the parks that day, but did some shopping at Downtown Disney in the morning then just hung out at the resort pool in the afternoon.

Dean was very specific with his shopping requests - he had already scoped out Downtown Disney when we walked through to go to and from Disneyland the previous day and he wanted to go to the big 2-story Lego store, to the Build-a-Bear store, and to the candy store! We don't have any toy stores on Maui, so honestly it was kind of exciting to be able to take him into some stores that were just for kids! We hit up the Build-a-Bear store first and Dean took things VERY seriously in there. He has been in one Build-a-Bear before on the mainland when he was 3 years old and picked out a very loud peace-sign covered bear, but did not want any clothing or accessories for his bear (because, as Dean said back then, "Bears don't wear clothes"). He also received a rainbow bear from Build-a-Bear online for his preschool graduation, that he had been eying in the catalog. Again, no clothes. This time, I expected him to once again head for the ugliest bear in the store and I must admit he was torn, but finally with a little bit of shameless arm-twisting by yours truly, he decided on a cat that looks just like our kitty Nani. However, he named his Build-a-Cat "Meowy". He filled Meowy with stuffing and a cat-sound-maker and then took the job of giving it an "air bath" VERY VERY seriously. For real. He spent like 10 minutes giving that thing an air bath and scrubbing it down. He couldn't be talked into buying it any clothes, not any kind of Disney Princess costume or Yoda Costume or even a Hula Cat costume complete with coconut bra. He was having no part of that. Because "Cats don't wear clothes". Duh. However, he DID insist on buying it a water dish and food dish and collar and brush and a mat to put it's food dish on and he really REALLY wanted to buy some shampoo for it (we were able to talk him out of the shampoo by telling him the airlines didn't allow it on the plane). After what seemed like 12 hours in the Build-a-Bear store, we finally headed to the Lego store!

Dean was in Dean Heaven at the Lego store. Dean is a kid who prefers to play with Legos in his own way and just "build whatever I want to build". He has to be coerced into following the instructions and actually building the thing that is shown on the box. He would much rather just come up with his own thing and build "freestyle". I think he just stood and stared at the Lego Brick Wall for about 10 minutes. He couldn't believe you could just fill a big cup full of individual bricks and buy them that way! We let him fill up 2 large cups of bricks to buy, but he took FOREVER agonizing over every little brick and thinking about what he might use it for before adding it to his cup. All in all, he bought 2 cups of mixed individual bricks from the brick wall, 2 new large building plates, a set of wheels, axles and accessories for building cars, and a few of the new Minifigure sets. Then we let him play for awhile outside in the Lego play area.

One of my favorite things of the day was letting my Mom talk us into doing one of those silly Movie poster photo things. We decided on a Star Wars: Return of the Jedi poster and I have to say, we TOTALLY NAILED IT!! (and the funniest comment I got about this when I posted it on Facebook was Jeremy saying "I don't get it, is Mom supposed to be the Ewok?").

After a little more shopping, we headed back to our hotel and relaxed poolside for a few hours. We had a few drinks while Dean wore himself out swimming and going down the slide. He had to try out each of the 4 pools and all of the hot tubs. He had so much fun! He also perfected his cannonball technique on this trip - that kid really can do a perfect cannonball!


After some pool time and then resting in the room for a bit, we headed back to Downtown Disney - we walked down to the Disneyland Hotel and had a drink at a Tiki Bar that seemed to only employ women over the age of 70 (for real) and had terrible service. That was the ONLY experience with bad service on the entire trip, so I guess that's pretty good. It was disappointing because it was a cute little bar. After drinks, we had dinner at Rainforest Cafe, which Dean LOVED. I'm sure most people have experienced a Rainforest Cafe at some point before, but it was such a cool experience to that little Maui boy! And the food was excellent. A perfect end to another super fun day!

(Disclaimer: That is a non-alcoholic drink Dean is consuming above. Just FYI).