Saturday, August 15, 2009


Dean's been saying some pretty funny & adorable things lately. I really need to start writing them down immediately because I always forget them. It seems like several times a day he'll say something really funny or cute and I'll think "I need to remember that" and usually I forget about it eventually. I'm also constantly amazed at how observant he is and his ability to remember things that I wouldn't have thought it normal for a 2-yr-old to remember. Anyway, I thought I'd share a few funny things he's said and done lately:

Driving to school Wednesday morning, I was listening to the radio and Dean was being nice and quiet in the backseat. Out of nowhere, he starts this conversation:
Dean: "Grandpa CR's in Kansas"
Me: "yes, Grandpa CR lives in Kansas".
Dean: "Oh. And Grandma Jo too?"
Me: "yes, and Grandma Jo too".

Yesterday one of the cats had thrown up on the carpet in the living room and Dean decided that the throw up was Monster Poop. He came up with a very elaborate story about where exactly Monster Poop comes from (complete with words like "Monster Butt" and "squatting" and then some kind of growl or roar of some sort before he cracked himself up).

Dean's reading skills continue to improve. It's really amazing. You might remember that he was sight reading several words at 18 months old. Now, at 2 and a half, he is starting to actually use phonics and sound words out. I have no idea how he knows to do this. I'm pretty sure they're not teaching him that at preschool and we're certainly not trying to teach him that at home - although he has always had an intense curiousity about letters and numbers, which we do encourage - and we do read to him daily. But has known for some time all the sounds that each letter makes and he has somehow figured out how to put the sounds together when he sees the letters in a word and he can sound out lots of words that he sees - if he's feeling patient enough to do that - a lot of the time he just doesn't have the patience and is constantly pointing out words in books and on signs or food boxes or anywhere else and asking "what's that say?". If we tell him a word once, he seems to know it from then on. I often wonder if he has one of those freaky photographic memories. Several times a day I'll notice that things have gotten too quiet in his room - Fortunately he's pretty good at entertaining himself for long periods of time and will happily play alone in his room - but when it gets quiet it either means he's doing something naughty or I'll go in to check on him and find him laying in bed "reading" a book. I love that!!

Another obvious sign that he's a genius - he will make letters out of ordinary objects that are unrelated to letters. For example, if he's coloring, he'll take his crayons and line them up in a way that the crayons themselves form different letters. He's very good at this and to my knowledge nobody has taught him how to do this. He'll take a handful of crayons and put 2 of them perpendicular to each other and get very excited and say "Look Mommy! a T!". He has also been known to make the letters A, H, I, U, E, F, L, V, X on a regular basis out of crayons, legos, and even lining up cheetos (how do you scold him for playing with his food when he's working so hard on something so intelligent?)

Anyway, I was looking through the Costco mailer the other day and on the front of the mailer were just a bunch of different products clustered together. He pointed at some Jif Peanut Butter and said "Mommy, you need Jif?". I think he sounded out that word Jif all on his own. I don't know where he would have ever heard or seen it before (unless it was a random TV commercial) because we buy organic peanut butter and usually it's the Kirkland's brand from Costco. I asked my Mom and she buys Peter Pan. Then he pointed at a tiny little cell phone on the front of the mailer that happened to be an AT&T phone and said "Great Grandma's phone". Now, the phone looked NOTHING like Great Grandma's phone, but Great Grandma's phone is an AT&T phone. I think he recognized the logo. Nobody else in our family has AT&T phones. But the crazy thing? He hasn't seen Great Grandma's phone in almost 3 months!! (and he probably only saw it a handful of times anyway).

The Preschool sent home a little questionnaire for us to fill out with Dean that was all about him. one of the questions was "Who is your Family?" Dean's answer: "Daddy, Mommy, Auntie Jayci and Nani". I thought that was pretty cute. Of course, he also said that his favorite food was vegetables (which is so NOT true).

After he comes home from school, I usually ask him about his day and what they did at school. He has obviously already developed an aversion to this pestering. I'll say "Did you have fun at school today?" and with a big sigh he'll say "yes Mommy" all melodramatic like. When I ask him what he did he almost always says "paint". I also usually ask him about the story they read and he ALWAYS tells me it was about kittens. So on Wednesday I decided to question him a little more (thinking surely they read about something besides kittens EVERY day):
Me: "What story did you guys read at school today"
Dean: "kittens"
Me: "Well, what was the story about?"
Dean: "kittens"
Me: "What were the kittens doing?"
Dean: "Playing"
Me: "What were the kittens playing?"
Dean (obviously thinking for a minute before answering this): "jump rope. Now go away Mommy".

Now, I have to add a little disclaimer here. Dean is very smart, but I think sometime's he's TOO smart for his own good! He can be a little demon child when he wants to be or when he's not getting his way. He says the cutest and funniest stuff and is learning like a sponge - if only he would learn to mind us and use the potty as quickly as he's learned all those other things!! So even though he's a little smarty pants, he's definitely a 2-yr-old complete with daily meltdowns and a huge stubborn streak (I think that's the Hutson in him, but my Mom refuses to admit that....hmmm...wonder where she gets that stubbornness?).

Ok, sorry. That post pretty much turned into my "yeah, I have the smartest kid EVER" rant....but really, I do!! :-)

Catching Up

Thought I would try to catch up on several older pics I haven't had a chance to post yet and show you a couple of really cute pics of Dean swimming this morning. My friend Ellyn and Dean's BFF Charlie are FINALLY back from spending the summer on the mainland, so we met them & TuTu at the Kihei pool this morning. You might remember that Charlie is about a year older than Dean and he seemed so grown up today! He was also swimming like a fish, which had Dean really interested in figuring out this whole swimming thing!! We were all sitting around talking while Charlie was diving underwater to get a toy from the bottom and look over and Dean is watching Charlie - and everytime Charlie put his head underwater, Dean would put his head underwater. Well, TuTu wasn't going to let that one slide by, so she took Dean out and they went swimming TuTu style. I'm convinced Jeremy and I probably both learned to swim because my Mom just threw us in the water one day and let us figure it out! (just kidding Mom). Anyway, Dean went underwater several times today and did very well!! He seems to have figured out how to hold his breath and was very proud of himself!! TuTu had bought him some swim goggles, but wasn't sure if he would wear them, but he definitely liked them!!! Check him out:

Here are a couple of pics of Dean and some of his lady friends last weekend. Joel had some of his buddies over to watch the MMA fights so the wives and kids came too. There were 5 kids total running around (well 4 kids running around and 1 baby) and they had a blast!! You probably remember the mad crush Dean has on Sienna from way back in the Toddler Program we attended in the spring and he was pretty happy to finally have Sienna (and her baby sister Samaira) come to his house to play!! And Taylor and Nicole (remember Nicole's first birthday party last year?) came over again too. They all played really well together with no major meltdowns or crying the whole evening! Dean's room was completely destroyed, but that's OK - it was worth it to see them all interacting and sharing and taking turns and generally just having a blast!

And here's Sienna in the middle of the disaster area that was Dean's room:

And finally, the Amazing Sarah (the babysitter) had to start back to school last week. Dean had become accustomed to having her around on Friday mornings (and I had enjoyed having a few hours to run my errands in peace and quiet by myself!!) and has really missed her the past 2 Fridays. We all love Sarah!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Color of Change

Ok, so I know this isn't necessarily going to be a popular post with ALL of my friends and family. But this is MY blog, so I can put whatever the heck I want on here and if you disagree, well tough. First Amendment rights and all that blah blah blah.... :-)

As you may know, right-wing talk show hosts have been bringing race-based fear mongering into the mainstream, but FOX's Glenn Beck just took it to another level. On Tuesday, Beck said:
"This president has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people... this guy is, I believe, a racist."

It's part of a larger argument Beck has been making: that President Obama wants to serve the needs of Black communities at White people's expense. This kind of talk stirs up fear, hate, and it can lead to violence.

I've joined's effort to stop this kind of rhetoric from talk-show hosts like Glenn Beck. ColorOfChange is already putting calls into Beck's advertisers, asking them if they want to be associated with this kind of racist hate and fear-mongering. When the advertisers see that tens of thousands of us are behind that question, I believe they'll move their advertising dollars elsewhere, and his show and platform will have to make changes or be history.

Will you take a stand and be counted with me? It takes just a moment:

Glenn Beck is appealing to the worst in America. Of course, some Americans refuse to accept the fact that our president is Black or the idea that he could truly serve all Americans. But the only way these views fade away is if they're not reinforced by mainstream society. Instead, folks like Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Rush Limbaugh are exploiting racism and race-based fear to bump their ratings, stirring up racial discord in the process.

The dangers of these tactics are real. We saw the same dynamic during the presidential race: By the end, the McCain/Palin campaign was unable to control the violent energy whipped up by their race-baiting. It resulted in an unprecedented number of threats on Obama's life, a rise in the number of hate groups, and an increase in the number of threats and crimes against immigrants and Black people.

FOX has a horrible track record on pushing racist propaganda, but Glenn Beck appears to be taking the network to an even lower standard. He's trying to divide and distract America when we should be coming together and talking about issues that really matter--like health care and the economy.

The good news is that we have the power to stop this. All major media is funded by advertising. And advertisers care more than anything what consumers think. If we want to change what's happening and put an end to folks like Glenn Beck having a platform, we can do it.
It's up to us, and it can start now. Please join me:

Here are some links to more info:
"Beck: Obama has 'exposed himself as a guy' with 'a deep seated hatred for white people'"
"Glenn Beck: Obama agenda driven by 'reparations' and desire to 'settle old racial scores'"
"MSNBC's Deutsch encourages viewers to demand advertisers on Beck's show spend money elsewhere"
"On Television and Radio, Talk of Obama's Citizenship"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blog Makeover

I know, three posts in one day!?!? crazy! I think most of the people who read this blog subscribe to it, so you read the updates in your e-mail. I wanted to let you know that I gave the blog a little makeover this evening, so go check it out. If you're reading this in an e-mail updates, click HERE to be redirected to the actual blog so you can see the new look!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hiking Twin Falls

We woke up this morning and headed out for the North Shore to do an easy hike. It was the 3 of us and Auntie Jayci and we had so much fun! We decided to hike Twin Falls, despite the fact that this hike is over-commercialized with the fruit & jewelry stand at the trailhead right next to the porta potties and the FOUR groups of Eco-Adventure Tours we passed. I always wonder if the people on those tours feel like suckers when they see a ton of other people hiking the same trails for FREE (and I promise you, the ham sandwich they get for lunch is NOT worth the $60-80/person they pay to go on these hikes!!). Note to blog readers: if you ever come on a Maui Vacation - please don't pay to go on a hike. 99% of these hikes are on public-access land and you can do them yourself for free. You are paying an arm and a leg for a crappy sandwich and a person to tell you a bunch of fluffed up historical stuff they probably memorized out of the same guide book you can buy at Borders in Kahului right after you land. Of course, Joel was kind enough to remind me that passing 4 tours of about 15 people each, means those are 60 tourists pumping money into Maui's ailing economy....but still - it's the principle of the whole thing. I don't know how those tour guides sleep at night!!

Anyway, the hike was fun (even though it was crowded). It sprinkled on us most of the time, which was a nice change from the dry weather we've been having in the Central Valley the past several months. Dean did really well - walking all the way in to the falls by himself and part of the way out before getting tired and whiny - at which point Joel just opted to pick him up and carry him, despite Dean's protests. Dean has never been a "carry me" kind of kid - he always wants to walk on his own, but when he gets tired, he gets slooooow. But he normally does pretty well hiking.Dean had lots of fun pointing out all the banana trees along the trail and we also got to see several varieties of ginger and heliconia, ti, eucalyptus, banyan trees, etc etc etc. It's been a few months since we did any rainforest hiking and it was nice to be back in the jungle!!Dean found a stick and had to use it to poke and prod in every mud puddle he came across, then he'd have to try jumping over the puddles. It was pretty cute. Oh, and he made it about halfway in actually wearing his shoes before sitting down and refusing to go any farther with them on. We gave in and let him take them off. He is a Maui boy after all - "born and raised"! LOL. Local kine feet.
When we got to the waterfall, Dean wanted to jump off some rocks SO BAD. So we found a couple of boulders and let him jump into the water. Then we sat and watched Joel swing into the waterfall on the rope swing (probably courtesy of one of those damn eco-adventure tour guides). The water was COLD - even though it is Maui, most of this stream water is making it's way down from the slopes of our 10,000 ft volcano, Haleakala.
Joel did take Dean out into the water so he could swim under the waterfall, which Dean was pretty excited about doing. But as soon as they finished, Dean asked for his towel and said "Mommy, Dean's frozen".
It was a fun morning!!

A morning at the Beach

Last Saturday morning we headed to Kihei for a few hours on one of our fave South Shore beaches, Keawakapu. It was a beautiful Maui morning and we were reminded once again why we love it here so much. It was one of those amazing beach days when the weather is just perfect - sunny but not too hot, just a light breeze but not windy, the water was calm but with a few small sets every now and then so Joel could do a little body surfing. And as always, Dean had a blast!! He's a regular little beach bum. He goes to the beach WAY more often than Joel or I do. TuTu (my Mom) takes him just about every Tuesday & Thursday morning.

Dean's made a new friend on their weekday beach outings... Dylan is a few months older than Dean but TuTu says they play pretty well together. Dylan doesn't have verbal language, but instead communicates with sign language. He was born with a condition called Moebius Syndrome, which you can read more about HERE. Basically, Moebius Syndrome is a very rare neurological condition that affects specific cranial nerves to varying degrees. Fortunately Dylan has a mild presentation of the syndrome and it seems that only the nerves of his mouth and tongue have been affected. But this means it will be difficult for Dylan to learn verbal speech (he does not have motor control of the distal portion of his tongue or his lips), but it will be possible with therapy. Dylan will never be able to smile or frown or grimace or kiss. But none of this seems to phase Dean - the two of them have a great time. Dean does realize Dylan communicates differently than he does - if you ask Dean "Does Dylan talk?" he'll say "No. Dylan talks like this..." and move his hands as if he were doing sign language. It's very heart warming. I hope that we can help Dean to nurture these early traits of acceptance and tolerance.

Anyway, I really didn't mean to ramble that much. I'll get to the super cute pics from our morning at Keawakapu!!

Dean had so much fun playing in the sand:
And he was pretty content to chill in the sand hold with Daddy:

But his favorite thing of the whole morning was jumping off the sand ledge left from the South Swell we had the day before. He would stand on top and wait for a wave to come in, then jump off into the foam: