Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Shave Ice Truck and it's path of destruction....

On Sunday afternoon, shortly after Dean's nap, we thought it only slightly odd to hear the sound of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" tinnily blasting through our neighborhood. It took a little while, but we soon figured out it was the local Shave Ice Truck (Maui's Equivalent to the Redneck Ice Cream Truck for my Okie family and friends). I grabbed Joel's wallet and Dean and yelled at Joel to get the camera (nothing screams childhood memories to me like the Ice Cream Truck!!! and I was envisioning the perfect Scrapbook Page of Dean's first experience with the creepy man selling frozen treats (and who knows what else) out of a beat-up van with out-of-season music playing out of a bad speaker on it's roof!!!Dean was super excited as soon as he heard the words "ice cream" and ran outside at top speed. He picked out a Lifesaver brand popsicle and thoroughly enjoyed every last melting drop!!! Ever wondered what happens when a 2-year-old eats a gigantic sugar-filled popsicle for the first time just after naptime?? Well, wonder no more:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A morning in the Country

Yesterday morning it was pouring rain here in Kahului when we woke up, but as we looked up the mountain we could see the sun was shining Upcountry - so it sounded like a perfect day to head to the Country!! We drove up through Makawao and headed to Kalakapua Playground at Giggle Hill Park in Haiku for some playground fun. Dean had a BLAST running all over the place, climbing all over the playground, and sliding down the slides. He has become very interested in what "big kids" are doing and will follow big kids all over the park, imitating them and just watching what they're doing. The park at Giggle Hill is huge and it is usually really packed, so it's exhausting for us to try to keep up with Dean and make sure we can always see him. Several times yesterday morning when I was following him around, he would stop, turn around and put his hand out towards me (Dean's sign for "stop Mom, Stay") and say "no Mom" and once he even told me to "go away Mom". Giving me attitude already!! I was obviously embarassing him in front of the "big kids" by trailing him all over the playground! Here are some playground pics....After we left the park, since we were already Upcountry, we decided to make it a true Day in the Country by stopping by my friend Sue's place, Kula Lani Ranch, and checking out her new 1-day-old baby horse. Dean was exhausted by the time we got there, but it was a lot of fun to check out all the animals!!

Watching Auntie Sue feed the horses...Trying to help Dad brush Chester the Pig...Auntie Sue and the new baby horse...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Sunday tradition??

In case you didn't figure it out...I actually convinced Joel that he needed to contribute to the blog. That last post was courtesy of Joel. I'm hoping this is a more regular occurrence, and I'm pretty sure he now appreciates my blogging efforts a bit more now that he realizes it IS an effort!!!

Feeding the ducks...and the Dean.

Due to the raving reviews of a picky 2-year old and an even pickier mother, a new Tapler tradition is born! SUNDAY MORNING FRENCH TOAST!!! It isn't uncommon for Dean to get up and say "Fwench toast, pwease". In true Joel fashion, I decided to make this morning extra special by using half and half and some nice brioche. The only problem with this, aside from Jen not being adventurous , was an excess of bread crust. The logical solution to this was a family trip to the Maui Tropical Plantation duck pond. As usual, Dean didn't want to share with the ducks; also typical, Dean was being hilarious and really cute.

Dean enjoying the flowers on the way to the duck pond.

Upon arrival, Dean scouts out the avian competition.

Dean showed no interest in feeding the ducks. He wanted all the bread for himself.
Dean puts himself in optimal position...
Closing the distance...
Now this is just cheating.
Dean mocks the ducks with his prize.

Friday, March 6, 2009


We've had some exciting things happening around here! First of all, Dean is officially enrolled in Preschool!! He'll be starting at the Children's Garden in Kihei on June 1 and he'll be in the 2-3 year old class. Dean's BFF Charlie attends Children's Garden (and so did Dean's hero, Sam, who happens to be Charlie's 10-yr-old brother). I trust their Mom, Ellyn's judgement completely about these things. In fact, she just might be the only Mom I know who tips the scales a bit more towards psycho than me on the "Crazy Mom Scale"!!! (just kidding Ellyn - you know I say that with love). But really, I know how passionate Ellyn is about her kids' educations and if this place wasn't really REALLY awesome, Charlie wouldn't be there. Oh, and if it wasn't for Ellyn's Super Mom powers, Dean wouldn't be there either. See, apparently on Maui you're supposed to put your child on a preschool waitlist while they're still in the womb. I didn't know that, so I didn't bother worrying about preschool until around the time Dean turned 2, then thought I should start exploring our options. When I started calling around I found out the typical waitlist for EVERYWHERE was usually 1-2 years MINIMUM. Crap. Enter Super Mom Ellyn with her powers of....well, it's either "I have 3 kids and they all went here, so our tuition's probably paid for your last 2 vehicles by now, so you better let my friend's kid in" or "seriously. you know I'm crazy. you don't want to mess with me. Let my friend's kid in". I really don't care. Whatever she did, it worked. Dean is in.

Joel and I visited the school a few weeks ago and were very impressed with the curriculum, the setting, everything. I think Dean will be very happy there. So he's going to go 2 days a week, Monday and Wednesday, starting June 1. To prepare him for the sudden introduction of structure to his life, this week we started the Families For Real program. This is a free parent/toddler program offered through the Hawaii Dept of Education. Dean is in the 2-yr-old program and the new session started today. We will meet with 8 other 2 yr olds and their parents for 2 hours every friday through the end of May. The kids will do preschool stuff while the Moms are in a separate classroom doing Parent Education types of things - learning about discipline, potty training, nutrition, education, etc etc etc. I have to say I was very pleased with the program this morning.

The program meets at Pomaikai Elementary School, which is about 2 blocks from our house and where Dean would go to kindergarten and elementary school. Today was basically introductions and getting to know you. Dean is one of only 2 boys in the group and he's the only haole (white) kid! It's so cute to see his litte towhead (well, actually giant towhead compared to the rest of the class) there among all the rest of the dark haired, brown skinned kids!! His friend Sienna (you might remember her from Dean's birthday party) is in the class. Sienna's Mom & Dad were in our birthing class and they live down the street from us. Dean also made lots of new friends today. Here are a few pics I took:

Dean coloring. He's getting really good at coloring. He's able to draw circles now, but mostly chooses to draw lots of lines. He says they are "maps". He'll draw lots and lots of lines and then show you where Dean's house is and TuTu's house and the park and Grandma's house. And he'll say "Mommy's street. Daddy's street. Speed bump. Stop sign." and just go on and on. I think it's pretty funny that he thinks he's drawing maps and he's creative enough to imagine all the important places in his life being on those maps (as well as his favorite road signs - stop sign and speed bump)!!
Dean eating snack with Sienna:
Auntie Lorly, Sienna, Dean and Jayden:
Dean & Sienna playing with necklaces:
Dean & new friend Leianna and Auntie Lerma playing playdoh:

It was interesting to me to observe a few things in the class. Dean and the one other boy, Jayden (who had a twin sister in the class too) had much shorter attention spans than any of the girls. During the introduction and circle time, when we were singing songs, the 2 boys only lasted about 5 minutes before they had had enough of that and moved on to play with the toys in the room. The girls all mostly sat quietly for the entire 10-minute circle time.

Dean showed off his artistic abilities a few times in class today! He colored with markers, used some rubber stamps, and painted a really nice blue and red picture on an easel (and somehow Auntie Joyce, the teacher, managed to get him to wear an apron - something we haven't been able to do at home). We had to leave his painting there to dry, but I'll show it off after next week's class.

Oh, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned the struggle we've been having lately with clothing. Specifically Dean's aversion to it. He hates it. All of it. It takes about 15 minutes to get him dressed to go anywhere because first we have to literally chase him all over the house and then pin him down and practically sit on him while he kicks and screams and cries in order to force clothes onto him. And he absolutely REFUSES to wear shoes. That's been going on for most of his life. He hates shoes. I guess the kid's lucky he lives on Maui where he's able to go barefoot all year!!! (although I'm pretty sure that's why we're in this mess in the first place!) I got an early start this morning knowing it would be a fight to get clothes AND shoes on him before going to school. The shoes were the bigger issue and after FINALLY getting them on and getting him moving, we get to school and into the classroom and it turns out that the kids don't wear shoes in the classroom!!! Just like when you go inside someone's home here, everyone took off their shoes when we went into the classroom. So I'm not even going to bother next week!!!

Lastly, Dean was REALLY disappointed that he didn't get to ride a yellow school bus today.