Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Carnival

Today was a super fun day for Dean. His preschool, the Children's Garden, had it's annual Halloween Carnival for the students. All of the students (even the ones who don't normally attend on Fridays) got to go to school for a few hours this morning wearing their Halloween costumes for lots of fun!! Dean has been very strongly opposed to the idea of wearing a costume himself - he enjoys seeing other kids dressed up, but has had absolutely no interest in dressing up himself (remember, this is the kid who refuses to wear any kind of hat or long sleeves or long pants or any shoes other than rubber slippers - and then only if the ground is too hot to be barefoot!!). When I would ask him what he wanted to be for Halloween he would say "Just Nuffing Mommy" (translation: Just Nothing Mommy). Finally, about a week ago, all on his own, he decided he wanted to be a football player, specifically a football player "with the number 14" (According to Joel, Dean knows that the most important Oklahoma football player wears the number 14, but does NOT seem to know that said important football player is no longer so important since his OU career is essentially over). Anyway, lucky for us Dean happens to own an Oklahoma football jersey WITH the number 14 on the front (I think this fact might have more to do with his preference for the number 14 than anything else, but whatever, we'll let Joel have his fantasy that his 2-yr-old son actually knows something about Oklahoma football). So, football player he is - but a pretty boring one if you ask me - no helmet, no pads, not even football pants!! We were hoping to make him a hybrid of Sam Bradford (number 14) and Landry Jones (by drawing a mustache on his face), but Dean nixed the mustache idea pretty quickly. So he's an Oklahoma football player at the Friday afternoon "walk through" practice before a game (when they wear their jersey and knit shorts).

So, back to the preschool carnival. Each class stayed together and spent a little time in various "sections" of the carnival. Dean's class, the Roly Polys (the 2-3 year old class), started out in the Jumpy Castle, which was set up just for the Halloween Party today. Dean seemed to be more interested in jumping OFF the entrance ramp onto the ground than he was bouncing inside the castle!!

The kids in Dean's class had made little "pumpkin buckets" earlier in the week at school out of recycled milk jugs - for them to put all their goodies in at the carnival. Here's Dean showing off his "pumpkin bucket":
After the jumpy castle, we headed over to the Carnival games, which was my personal favorite!! They had Monster Bowling, fishing, bobbing for apples, a bean bag cauldron toss, etc etc etc. The kids got little prizes (like a spider ring or a whistle or a pack of stickers) for each game they played. Dean played all of the games AND sat for a Halloween tattoo!

Bobbing for apples:

Getting a prize from his buddy Crash's Dad (and yes, Crash is his real name) after knocking over the tin cans with a ball:Taking a break with his friend Jovie while enjoying a delicious powdered sugar donut:
After the Roly Poly class finished with the carnival games, we headed back into their classroom for a potty break (and I'm happy to report that Dean peed in the potty AND made a teeny tiny poop in there too!! YAY!!! - we are making progress!! - it's painfully slow going, but it's progress.) After potty time, the kids took a few minutes to check out all their cool prizes from the games, then we went into the snack room and they each got to decorate a pumpkin cookie!! Dean put icing on his, then black and purple sugar, then sprinkles, then marshmallows and finally a handful of Reese's Pieces.
After cookie decorating, it was finally time for the pinata!! Each class had made their own pinata earlier in the week and the Roly Poly's had make a Jack-o-Lantern pinata!! Dean got to go first taking a swing at it with the stick and he actually did really well - giving it 3 nice hard whacks!!After all of the Roly Poly kids had taken a turn hitting the pinata and it still didn't show even the slightest crack, one of Dean's teachers, Aunty Lauren, decided she'd give it a little help opening up and then it was a free-for-all as all of the kids made a mad dash for the candy and started filling their pumpkin buckets!!! It was so cute!!The hardest part of the whole morning was preventing the kids from digging into their candy and cookies immediately - they're not allowed to have sugary sweets or candy at school, so all of the kids had to wait until they got home to have any of their treats. We're planning on going trick-or-treating in our neighborhood tomorrow evening and I don't know what we're going to do with all this candy!! Aunty Lauren had a good idea - she told me the story of the Halloween Witch - she said that the Halloween Witch eats nothing but candy and on Halloween Night she comes to visit the good boys and girls who want to share their candy with her. If they share their candy with her by leaving it in a big bowl next on the table before they go to bed, she leaves them a toy in exchange for their candy!! I think we might try that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swimming, Sunset and Aerosmith

Mostly pics in this. I'm flying out early in the morning for 4 days on Oahu for continuing education. I'm not too excited about the continuing ed part, but I'm excited about doing some shopping at a real mall and going to Target!!

First, Dean continues to do really well in Swimming lessons. He had his 2nd lesson this past Sunday and again was really REALLY well-behaved - almost to the point where we were wondering if that was really our child! He was pretty pleased with himself because he put his whole head underwater TWICE to pick up a ring from the bottom of the pool. He has put his face under water before, but never his entire head like that for that long (and never where it was so obvious that he was holding his breath and blowing out of his nose while he did it). The teacher was impressed. She said she didn't expect him to do that for another 2-3 classes at least. I tried to get a picture, but he was already coming back up in this one:

He also jumped off the side a few times, which he's an old pro at:

We all had dinner at my parents' house the other night, including Jayci, and Joel, Dean, Jayci and I walked down to the beach for sunset. Even though we love living in town and really aren't that far from the beach, we do miss the OPTION of being able to walk to the beach for sunset whenever we want!!Dean LOOOOOVES Aunty Jayci!!!
And finally, Joel and I had an AWESOME time last night at the Aerosmith concert with my Mom! As most of you probably know, Aerosmith is my all-time favorite band and I'm not even sure exactly how many times I've seen them in concert. The last time I saw them was right before I moved to Maui and we had FRONT ROW seats to see them and Kiss opened for them (that was pretty cool!!). I honestly thought that would probably be my last time to get to see them live (I mean, they are all getting pretty old). But last night's outdoor concert at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku was so so cool!!! It's a really small venue and our sets were really good - the 11th row, 2nd section over from center - but as the night wore on, we just kept moving closer and closer to the stage and by the end of the night, we were just a few people away from the very edge of the stage!!! They put on a really good show and we all had a good time. I took a few pictures with my phone, but none of them turned out very good. here are the best ones (which are still pretty bad - but at least you can get an idea for how close we actually were).

The whole band - Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer:
Joe Perry rockin' out on the guitar:Steven Tyler:
I was so glad that Jayci volunteered to come over and stay with Dean and my Mom's good friend Jim was nice enough to pick my Dad up from Adult Daycare and stay with him at their house until my Mom got home, so my Mom could go with us. We all had an AWESOME rockin' time!!!

Kula Country Farms Pumpkin Patch

Last Weekend we made the drive Upcountry to Kula to take Dean to the Kula Country Farms Pumpkin Patch. You might remember that my Mom and I took Dean last year. You can refresh your memory of that trip (and compare pics to see how much Dean has grown) HERE. We made the mistake of going on a Saturday this year and it was SUPER crowded, as you can see in the pics. The drive up Haleakala was amusing. It made me realize it's been several months since we took Dean Upcountry (probably too long). When we left the house we told him we were going to the Pumpkin Patch and he was pretty excited. Joel decided he was hungry and needed to get something to eat before we left Kahului, so he pulled into the Maui Marketplace to grab something at Burger King. As we turned in, Dean started asking "Where's the Pumpkin Patch? The Pumpkin Patch is at Borders?" (because Borders is in the Maui Marketplace shopping center too). The conversation from there all the way up Haleakala to Kula went a little something like this:
Me: "No Dean, Daddy's just hungry so we're getting him something to eat first. The pumpkin patch is Upcountry".
Dean: "What's Upcountry?"
Me: "It's the Country and it's up on Haleakala"
Dean: "Up there Mommy?" (as he points up to the top of Haleakala)
Me: "yes, up there"
Dean: "What for?"
Me: "Because it's cooler up there, so it's the best place to grow Pumpkins"
Dean: "Oh. It's cooler? Why Mommy?"
Me: "Because it's higher up on the mountain. The higher up in the sky you go, the cooler the air is"
Dean: "What for?"
Me: "Joel? Help me out here?"
Joel: "Dean, do you want anything from Burger King?"
Dean: "candy"
Joel: "they don't have candy at Burger King. How about a hamburger?"
Dean: "No. Just candy"
Joel: "No candy Dean. They only have hamburgers at Burger King"
Dean: "What for?"
Joel and Me: {big sighs} and silence
about 2 minutes later while we're driving up Haleakala Highway....
Dean: "Where's Upcountry Mommy? Is this the country?"
Me: "No, not yet, but almost. We have to go a little higher before we're Upcountry. But look out the window. What's that out there?"
Dean: "That's just sugarcane."
another 2 minutes of sweet silence....
Dean: "Where's the pumpkin patch? Is that the country?"
Me: "Yes, this is the country. But we have to drive a little ways to get to the pumpkin patch"
Dean: "What for?"
Me: "because the pumpkin patch is still a ways away"
Dean: "oh. Look! The ocean"
Me: (pointing down the mountain to the ocean - we were at about 6,000 ft elevation at this point): "yep, there's the ocean. And across there are the West Maui Mountains. Those are the Mountains behind our house"
Dean: "Dean's house?" ( he ALWAYS talks about himself in the 3rd person)
Me: "yes, our house is down there too"
Dean: "what for?"
Me: "because that's where we live Dean"
Dean: "what for?"
Me: "because our house is there. Look, you can see Kihei too"
Dean: "Kihei? And TuTu's beach is down there?"
Me: "yes, TuTu's beach is there too"
Anyway, you get the idea. It's EXHAUSTING. He is CONSTANTLY asking "What for?" or "Why?". I always used to hate it when my Mom answered with "Because I said so", but I find myself itching to say that to him!!!

So ok, I'll get to the pumpkin patch pictures...The pumpkin patch's popularity has obviously grown quite a bit since last year and they were a lot bigger and more organized as far as the farming of the patch it seemed to me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Dean started swimming lessons on Sunday. He's in the Red class (which is actually a 3-yr-old class, but they said because he's in preschool he should go ahead and start in the "red" group). He did really well. It's a small group - only 2 other kids were in his class - and it's NOT parent/child - it's just the kids and the teacher. Joel and I sat about 25 yards away from the pool out of Dean's line of vision and watched (and took some pics). I was AMAZED to see Dean morph into a little angel child when we're not around. It was really unbelievable!! He sat nicely and listened to the teacher and waited patiently for his turn. If he got distracted and started to wander off towards another group of kids and the teacher said something like "come back over here Dean", he didn't completely ignore her but actually immediately responded and went right back to where he was supposed to be! He did everything he was instructed to do, the FIRST time he was asked to do it - no whining, no temper tantrums, no pretending to be deaf! I kept having to sneak around to look at his face to make sure that was really my child!!

His preschool teachers are always telling me "Oh Dean is so easy. He's such a good kid and so agreeable" and I'm always like "Dean? really?" and just assume this is probably what they say to all the parents the first few months. But after seeing him in action at Swimming Lessons when he obviously didn't realize Joel and I were still around, I'm starting to wonder if maybe he isn't really actually a pretty well-behaved toddler when we're not around!!!

Anyway, here are some pics of Dean at his first session of Swimming Lessons. He'll go every Sunday afternoon until right before Thanksgiving. The Lessons are provided through Valley Isle Aquatics and are at the Kihei Aquatic Center.

Dean is definitely the youngest of the 3 kids. One kid is 4 yrs old and the other blonde boy is 3.5 yrs old:They kicked and blew bubbles to start:
Then moved on to taking turns swimming on their tummies with the assistance of a noodle and a dumbbell thing:
Dean did tend to get distracted by the noodle while waiting his turn:
Or by the dumbbell thing:
The last thing they did on the first day was practice floating on their backs with the help of a noodle. Dean wasn't too sure about this, but he NEVER would have let us do this with him!!
He was obviously tired and cold by the end (the sun had gone behind a cloud and the wind was kicking up), but he held himself together really well and didn't have a single meltdown for the entire 45-minute class. He paid attention and listened well the entire time and I was really proud of him.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hiking / aka male bonding

A few weeks ago Joel took Dean out past Waihee to hike the Waihee Ridge Trail. This is a pretty steep trail for more advanced hikers, but we figured they could at least go a little ways and wear Dean out!! You might remember from previous posts about the Waihee Ridge Trail that we sometimes refer to the initial incline (there is a long concrete embankment / road that you have to climb up to get to the trailhead) as "The Ass Kicker". It is seriously the steepest thing I think you can walk up without needing handholds!! So I guess Dean got to the top of "The Ass Kicker" and decided he'd had enough!! They didn't even hike any of the actual trail! But it did make for some cute pics....

Self-Portrait of a 2-yr-old:

And I guess Dean decided it was easier to CRAWL up "The Ass Kicker" than it was to walk!!:

Finally, I just wanted to take a minute to let Great Grandma Joan know that we are all thinking of her as she had to say good-bye to a very dear friend this week. Lucille had been part of my Grandma's life for, well, for just about forever I think. I know they've been very close since at least their teen years (and believe me, that's a LOOOONG time!!! No offense, Grandma!!). Lucille passed away on Tuesday and I am sure this is a very difficult time for my grandmother. I have lots of very fond memories of Lucille and her late husband Ralph!! So many summer days spent on "the farm". In fact, I was so happy to have Ralph marry Lucille that during their wedding ceremony (when I was probably about 4 yrs old), I squirmed out of my Mom's clutches and ran up the aisle and latched myself onto Ralph's leg and didn't let go!! I actually stood up there with them while they got married!! I believe there are photos somewhere that prove this, but I cringe now just thinking about it - how embarassing! I'm pretty sure I have Lucille to thank for the knowledge that potatoes and carrots grow in the ground and are actually covered in dirt before you wash and cook them!! And I can remember sitting on Lucille's back porch while she snapped fresh-picked green beans or rinsed fresh strawberries. Of course, not all of "the farm" memories are pleasant. There was also the time they came and picked up the cow, Cupcake (whose calf I had been given the honor of naming - Babycakes of course!), and I was horrified to learn where hamburgers come from. And I'm pretty sure I can blame Ralph for my love of Mt. Dew in a can. Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to remember both Lucille and Ralph fondly - even though they weren't technically family, they were about as close as you can get without the DNA - and I firmly believe my childhood was richer because they were part of it.

We love you Grandma and we're so sorry for your loss.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wailea Fire Station

Dean had his first Field Trip to the Wailea Fire Station last week Wednesday (the day it turned out he was really quite sick!!). He had been talking about going to the Fire Station for weeks!! I made the mistake of opting NOT to take him to the school before going to the Fire Station (the Fire Station was just a few blocks from the preschool, so rather than taking buses, the parents all just drove and everyone met there). Well, we had to drive PAST the school to get to the Fire Station and Dean seemed to think that meant he didn't get to go to school that day. So then he wanted nothing to do with the stupid Fire Station!! He was pretty well behaved. He sat nicely and listened nicely to the Firefighter while he talked about Fire Safety and he knew to "Stop, Drop and Roll" if his clothes ever catch on fire. But the whole time he mostly said and quietly whined "I want to go to school". He seemed to be VERY concerned that he wasn't getting to go to school that day.

Much to my surprise, he also wasn't interested at all in exploring the fire truck or holding the fire hose to shoot the water. He did walk through the "bucket" on the ladder truck, but that's because I pretty much forced him to. He was just not himself at all. Looking back and now knowing that he was actually really sick, it makes sense, but at the time I was really confused by how clingy and whiney he was being (he is so NOT a clingy kid!!). He wouldn't even sit in the driver's seat of the fire truck!! Normally he would be ALL OVER that!!

I did snap a few pictures of the firemen and the goings-on. And we talked a lot about the fireman in his full firefighter gear (which probably would normally look really scary to a 2-yr-old) - we talked about how if he's ever in a burning building or somewhere where there's smoke and he sees someone who looks like that, he's supposed to run TO them. We talked a lot about how the fireman in all that gear is a Super Hero and will save you. A few of the younger kids practiced running to the fireman in his full gear (complete with face mask, breathing like Darth Vader, and carrying a big ax) and jumping into his arms. Hopefully Dean gets it.

Anyway, here are a few pics:

The firefighter in his full gear (the red thing on the back of the lockers on the left is a surfboard - I bet most of YOUR Fire Stations don't have surfboards strapped to the lockers!!):
Getting the bucket on the ladder ready to go up:
This guy went all the way up like 90 ft in the air and then "zip-lined" all the way down upside down:
One of the girls in Dean's class spraying the fire hose (I can't believe Dean didn't want to do this!!):
Me, Dean, Ellyn and Charlie (now looking at this I can tell that Dean just didn't feel well!! And yes, he's totally trying to squirm out of my lap! Poor kid):