Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Naked Rock Stars

The video is self explanatory (if you're getting the e-mail update, go the blog HERE so you can watch the video). Dean and his BFF Charlie started a rock band - Charlie on guitar, Dean on the accordian - they call themselves "the Naked Rock Stars".

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mother's Day pics

I know - Mother's Day was awhile ago....but I've been a little busy. My Stampin' Out Alzheimer's event is in full-swing and as of right now we have raised just under $6,000 for the Alzheimer's Association in honor of my Dad!! There are over 1,000 papercrafters from all over the world (the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, even Isreal) participating in the challenges - it's really amazing. I still can't believe I put something like this together (and in only a few weeks' time). It's been A LOT of work, but so worth it!!!

So I thought I'd take a few minutes before I head to bed tonight and share our pics from our Mother's Day brunch at the Grand Wailea (Thank you Grandma Joan!!). It was so nice - a very yummy breakfast buffet overlooking the beautiful resort grounds AND Dean was even pretty well behaved!!! I've decided a buffet is the way to go with an extremely picky 2-yr-old! If he takes one bite of his pancake and then decides he'd rather have eggs instead, I don't have to go through a fight with him because I refuse to order him something different - I can just go get him eggs! (And with Joel around, I don't have to worry about wasting food - he'll clean up just about anything!). Dean's favorite of the meal were definitely the Lychee - he loves them!!

Anyway, here are some pics:

That last one is Dean playing "Hide and Seek"!!! Sooo cute!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quick Update

Just a quick update on my little (BIG) project. Remember that fundraiser I've been working on - Stampin' Out Alzheimer's? Well, the response in the Papercrafting world has been unbelievable! I initially set a goal to raise $2500 by the end of the event (it ends May 31) and worried that might be setting the bar too high. Well, right now, just 5 days into collecting actual money, we have raised over $3700!!! How cool is that? Over 500 papercrafters have already joined the website and have started participating in the various challenges and contests, vying for the prizes donated by our generous sponsors. Papercrafting companies continue to reach out to us and donate additional prizes and we now have over $1200 worth of prizes from more than 40 sponsors. It's amazing. I am so humbled by the outpouring of support from this online community I've been a part of for the past year.

I think most of you who read this blog are aware of why this cause is so important to me, but I wanted to share with you the "Story of Stampin' Out Alzheimer's" (this is posted on the Stampin' Out Alzheimer's website. If any of you are interested in joining the site and browsing around, e-mail me and I'll get you approved):

Hi! Thank you so much for joining me in my fight to Stamp Out Alzheimer's! This event exists because of an amazing, wonderful man and I have created this site in his honor. His name is Eddie Harper and for 32 years he has been my hero. Here he is in 2005 at age 54 - Mai Tai in hand, a twinkle in his eye, and a nice healthy tan from spending nearly every day of his recent early retirement at the beach near his home on Maui:

That man in the prime of his life, with seemingly many relaxing peaceful years of retirement in paradise ahead of him, is my father.

Today, just 4 short years after that photo was taken, my dad, my hero, the person I've looked up to more than just about anyone else in this world spends the days of his early retirement not relaxing on the beach, but in an Adult Day Care center where he thinks he's a "volunteer". The extremely intelligent, generous, dedicated man who raised me and who once was a successful private practice Optometrist is no longer here. He has been replaced by a virtual stranger. Every now and then I'll get a glimpse of that same twinkle in his eye or he'll do something goofy and laugh at himself or he'll look at me with recognition, pride and love in his eyes for a fleeting second and I'll be reminded of the man he once was.

My Dad has Alzheimer's Disease. He is 58 years old. My 2-year-old son will never get to experience my Dad's overzealous packing for a camping trip - learning that "it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it". My son will never get to sit patiently while my Dad spends hours making out a list on a legal pad of all the numbers for that year's baseball cards so my son can cross them off the list as he collects them, making it easier to know which ones he needs and has duplicates of when it's time to make trades. My son will never be quickly shoved into a closet in the middle of the night in Oklahoma when the tornado sirens are going off, being told to put on the oversized motorcycle helmet and bullet-proof vest "just in case", while my Dad promises him that everything is going to be just fine. My son will never see my Dad running to help some old lady he's never met who's about to get bowled over by a wave at the beach, just because he can't stand NOT to help someone who looks like they might need help. My son will never get to experience these and many of the other wonderful childhood experiences my father created for me and I always imagined him creating for his grandchildren. My 2-year-old son will never know the man who raised me. This, more than anything else, breaks my heart.

This is the reality of Alzheimer's Disease. It knows no prejudices. It doesn't save itself for just the very old, sometimes it strikes those who are much too young. My father was in his early 50s when he first started showing the early signs of the disease. Now, at 58, he is moving into the later stages of the disease and we have no way of knowing what the future holds. My Mom, who is only 57, is spending what was supposed to be the prime of her life taking care of a man who is no longer the same person she fell in love with and married nearly 37 years ago. Alzheimer's Disease shows no mercy.

How has Alzheimer's Disease affected your life or the life of a family member or loved one? Please take a minute to share your story and pay tribute to those who have and are suffering from the heartbreaking effects of Alzheimer's.

Thank you,
Jen Tapler
Stampin' Out Alzheimer's Event Coordinator

So that's it. That's all I wanted to share today. I've been working very hard on this project, but it's been worth it! I promise to come back and update the blog with some pictures of Dean soon!! Thanks for letting me ramble!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stampin' Out Alzheimers

Just a quick post to share some really exciting news with all of you! I'm heading up a large fundraising event called Stampin' Out Alzheimer's again this year in an effort to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association. Most of you know that this is a cause that is very important to me and I hope that if you're able, you'll help make this event successful. The actual event is a week-long "Pay to Play" Virtual Papercrafting event with tons of scrapbooking, stamping, and other papercrafting challenges, workshops and tutorials. Kicking off May 25, participants will have a full week to take part in the various challenges as well as share their own Alzheimer's stories on the Stampin' Out Alzheimer's website. Papercrafters who participate in the different challenges and class content will be eligible to win various papercrafting related prizes donated from our many generous sponsors (so far we've received over $500 worth of prizes from our sponsors, which will be given away throughout the event). 100% of the proceeds raised during this event will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association to help in their endeavors of research, education and support.

But you don't have to participate in the event or even be a papercrafter to make a difference and donate to this worthwhile cause. If you'd like to make a donation to help us reach our goal of raising $2500 for the Alzheimer's Association, you can click on the "give" button below and donate securely using a credit or debit card or checking account via paypal. If you're receiving this update via e-mail and you don't see the donate image below, click HERE to go to the blog and the Donation button is in the right-hand column. Thank you in advance for your support both in this and in our lives!

The Cutest Little Artist EVER...

Have you ever seen anything this cute!?!? Dean's FAVORITE thing about "school" is painting. Every single day when we drive past Pomaikai Elementary School, Dean says "Look Mommy! Dean's School! Paint?". Last week at our Families For Real class, Dean decided he wanted to paint and there was no stopping him! He grabbed the artist's smock and brought it over and said "Mommy apron. Paint! PWEASE!". He stood there patiently while I put on the smock and then he painted a pretty sweet picture!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

Well, we've had an interesting week in the Tapler household! So interesting in fact that I'm still a little traumatized from the "Mother's Day Poop Incident" that I really can't talk about it yet. I'm just not ready. But don't worry. As soon as I've come to terms with the prolonged psychological impact of said incident and worked through some of my lingering fears and doubts, I might be in a better place - one in which I feel comfortable discussing it in public. But until then, suffice it to say that it was a Mother's Day that I will NEVER. EVER. Forget. Ever. Oh, and we've been working really hard on potty training. But it's not going so well. I'll get back to that later too.

For now, I'm just going to share some pics from the day BEFORE the "Mother's Day Poop Incident" - reflect on happier, more peaceful times. On Saturday before Mother's Day, Joel and I took Dean upcountry to Seabury Hall to the Annual Craft Fair. Dean had a great time!! It was a beautiful Upcountry day - with the Jacaranda trees in bloom and lots of fun stuff to see and do! Dean had a few faves of the day that I thought I'd share....

He really enjoyed the Taiko drummers, especially the little girl. They were really good! Of course, Dean always likes drumming, but I think this was the first time he's experienced Japanese Taiko drumming. (if you look closely, you can see a large Jacaranda tree blooming in the distance...the tree with the purple blooms....although this one was an early bloomer, so has already lost a lot of it's blooms - most of the trees are big bright puffs of purple!)

Eating a snow cone (which is VERY different from Hawaiian shave ice and not nearly as good)...

Doing some crafts. Sorry to ruin the surprise Grandma Jo, but Dean got to pick out what he made for each Grandma and he wanted to make a flowerpot for Grandma Jo and a Pet Rock for TuTu, so that's what he did!
But the highlight of the day...the GIGANTIC slip-n-slide!!!
It was soooo funny to watch Dean slide down this thing - and it moved FAST! Dean wasn't too sure the first time, he looked like he didn't know if he wanted to laugh or cry, but when he got down to the bottom he must have decided it was fun because he ran right back up the GIANT hill and did it all over again - 3 times!!! It cost $1 per slide, or it was $15 for a day-pass, so after 3 successfull slides, Joel decided to go buy the day pass with the intention of hanging out for awhile so Dean could slide to his heart's content while I did some craft fair shopping. Wouldn't ya know that as SOON as we dropped $15 on the day pass, Dean refused to go down the slide another time! UUUGGGHHH!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Easter '09, 2nd edition

Finally, here are the last of the Easter pics!! Dean was really into hunting eggs this year. He doesn't really like to carry the basket with him, but places the basket in an optimal central location, then runs around grabbing eggs and once he has too many to carry, runs back to the basket and drops them all in! After he was done finding eggs, he helped me "hide" them for Grandpa Eddie to take a turn finding them, but then he wanted to help Grandpa Eddie and kept showing him where the eggs were, then telling him how to put them in the basket. It was so cute!!Dean has somehow discovered how to make silly faces and this is his favorite. I'm pretty sure my Mom probably taught him this.
Mean old TuTu (my Mom) played a dirty trick on Dean, in true TuTu fashion. She had given him a big egg filled with candy and while he was playing with his bubbles, she took all the candy out. When he came back for more candy and discovered it was all gone and the egg was empty, he was NOT happy! I did get an entertaining series of pics of that...And finally...candy. Lots and lots of candy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Egg Dying VIDEO

Ok, I actually have 2 videos to post, but one of them will have to wait until tomorrow because it takes FOREVER for these things to upload. Remember, if you get the updates in your e-mail, you need to go to the actual blog website HERE to view the video. Just click on the "play" button on the video image and make sure your volume is turned on! Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dying Easter Eggs

Sorry - this has been a long time coming I know. We took a TON of pics Easter weekend and these are some of the cute ones of Dean dying eggs. He had SOOOO much fun with it! He was so cute! He loved watching the dye tablets dissolve in the vinegar, then held his nose saying "oooh, stinky" because he didn't like the vinegar smell! He was so proud of his eggs. He had dyed eggs at TuTu's house earlier in the week, but was pretty rough with them, so they ended up all breaking. After we finished dying these eggs, he was so afraid of breaking them that he wouldn't even touch them - he'd just look at them in the basket! (it didn't take too long for him to get over that!!). Anyway, here are the pics of our dying experience with a 2-yr-old - there are lots of photos (I just couldn't narrow it down any more than this!). I'll be back soon with pics of our actual Easter festivities (and hopefully even a video or 2).