Saturday, December 18, 2010

Camping with Uncle Jeremy

Earlier this week (Wednesday, 12/15 to be exact - I had to keep Dean home from school that day because just as we pulled up in the preschool parking lot to drop him off at school, as I was about to unbuckle him from his carseat, he said he didn't feel so good and then puked all over. Interestingly the barf had a distinctly chocolate smell to it and I later discovered that Dean had consumed SEVERAL Hershey's Miniatures chocolate bars right after waking up that morning after having found my stash that I used to fill the pockets of his Advent Calendar. So yeah, he couldn't go to school because he vomited in the parking lot but it turns out he wasn't really sick AND he had a major sugar high and felt completely fine by the time we got back to the house. NICE) So anyway, I was busy trying to get some Christmas Presents wrapped so I could get them in the mail in hopes they'd arrive at their destinations on the mainland in time for Christmas. Dean wasn't exactly being very helpful and was SERIOUSLY slowing down the process. Specifically, he was wanting to use the tape to hang up some drawings of planets he had been working on. And every time I needed the tape it seemed to have disappeared and I'd have to go hunt it down. I was quickly running out of time (and patience) before the Post Office closed and was on my last few gifts - a couple of things for my brother - and Dean was really upset that I had hidden the tape from him. So I started up this conversation with him (in a very excited voice, hoping he'd feed off that false excitement, which somehow magically worked!)
Me: "Dean! Hurry! go draw a picture for Uncle Jeremy and we'll send it to him with his Christmas Presents. He'll be SO excited"
Dean: "Ok! But what should I draw?"
Me: "I don't know. But NOT a solar system or planets. Draw something else. Draw a picture of you and Uncle Jeremy at the beach or something. Anything except space stuff."
Dean: " Oh! Ok" as he runs as fast as he can to his room where he (thankfully) stays put for the next 10 minutes while I finish wrapping Jeremy's gifts

Now, I have to tell you that I'm pretty sure I've never seen Dean draw ANYTHING other than planets and stars and space-related objects like nebulae and light echoes and dark matter and such (which I mean really just looks like a bunch of circles and splattery looking scribbles if we're being honest about it - but he does try really hard to make them look like the actual phenomena that he is drawing). But my point is, I really didn't realize that Dean COULD draw people and definitely didn't think he could draw a picture of him and Uncle Jeremy at the beach!! So I was VERY surprised when he came back in and handed me this:

He then spent the next 5 minutes explaining to me what that was a picture of. See, it's a picture of Dean and Jeremy camping on the beach and they're roasting marshmallows over a campfire. That's the campfire that's pink and it's really smoky. And the green on the other side of the fire is a plant. And he wrote I love you "because the heart means love" (so cute!). A few of my favorite things about this drawing that I'd like to point out:
- His concept of scale is pretty advanced I'd say - notice that Jeremy is not only taller than Dean, but Jeremy's arm is much longer than Dean's.
- Both of the hands have 5 fingers
- I love that the entire picture is drawn with markers EXCEPT for the marshmallows, for those he decided to switch things up and go with a black pen
- He made squiggles above the fire to represent the smoke, and there's even a smoke squiggle all the way at the top of the page!
- I love the shining sun and that they both look so happy!!

I'm pretty sure Jeremy doesn't read my blog so I doubt the surprise is ruined, but that drawing is probably way better than the lame gifts I bought him!!

Candy Cane Fun

Just some pics of Dean enjoying a Cherry Candy Cane from Whole Foods in front of our Christmas Tree...(and yes, he's in his underwear...again...this child has a serious aversion to clothes...)

and a video of him talking about what he asked Santa for this year (some very specific toys from Discovery Toys that I had to hunt down after our trip to the Mainland when he played with a Marble Works game belonging to Aunty Leslie that he hasn't stopped talking about since!!!). My Mom let me open one of my Christmas presents early last night so I could use it at Dean's preschool Christmas Program - it's a new Flip digital Video Camera and the quality is SO much better than the videos we've posted in the past! I'm having fun playing with it and you can probably expect a lot more videos here on the blog in the future! Just remember, if you get these posts in an e-mail update, you have to go to the blog to actually view the video. Just click THIS LINK, then scroll to the post for today, 12/18/10, and click the play button on the video!

Friday, December 17, 2010


OK, well, yeah - so I've been a REALLY bad blogger. Oh well. Life goes on. I just haven't felt motivated to sit down and deal with it. I'm sure part of it has to do with my Dad's death. But it's also actually A LOT of work to keep up this blog - I have to resize every photo I post here - because I take my photos in the highest quality settings on my cameras, so they are very large files, which means if I upload them like that, it takes FOREVER to load on blogger and often they just won't load at all - so I resize them and save the resized photos in a separate folder on my computer (Because I want to keep the large files for scrapbooking). Then there's the actual storytelling. And I'm kind of weird in case you hadn't noticed - like super anal about things. I don't like things to be out of order and it is going to SERIOUSLY bother me to do this Thanksgiving post when I haven't posted the photos and stories from our October trip to the mainland (but that is going to be a SUPER time consuming undertaking) and other goings-on from the last few months. So, I just put it off rather than give myself a stroke because my posts are out of order! ha!

But, I really like this blog. I don't want to give it up. This is more than just a way to keep our faraway family and friends up to date, it's a sort of in-depth journal on Dean's development and the everyday ups and downs of our lives. I think I'm pretty honest here - I don't think I hold things back and only share the good things or try to paint an overly idyllic picture of our family. Because let's be honest - raising a headstrong 4-yr-old isn't always easy!! But I don't want to forget a single moment of these days. And this blog will help ensure that I don't!

So, here I am - about to share the story of Dean's Thanksgiving Program at school because tonight is his Christmas Program and I just can NOT share the Christmas Program before sharing the Thanksgiving Program. And it's my goal to get completely caught up with sharing pictures and stories from the last few months before the end of the year, even if they are a bit out of order. So be prepared for several posts in the next few weeks!

So Children's Garden Preschool had their annual Thanksgiving Feast the day before Thanksgiving. All parents and families were invited to attend a large potluck feast for lunch and eat with the children after they performed a Thanksgiving Program. Dean's class, the Turtle Class, dressed as Pilgrims (I was so proud of Dean for keeping his Pilgrim hat on the ENTIRE time!! Dean does NOT like to wear ANYTHING on his head, so this was HUGE!!) and sang their Thanksgiving song (video at the end of this post). Here are some pictures...

I love this one with all the bare feet and a few rubber slippers thrown in...

Brother Alika gave a Hawaiian Blessing. Those are Green Ti leaves dipped in salt water from the Pacific Ocean just a few blocks away that he then sort of "flicked" on everyone as he chanted something in Hawaiian. It was interesting and cool at the same time.

Dean did a great job singing the Turtle Class' song. He sang the whole thing, nice and loud! Here are the words to the song (tune goes to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star):
Let's be thankful for this day
For our friends and for our play
Let's be thankful let's be glad
For the food and things we have
Let's give thanks for you and me
And our home and family.

The Roly Poly class and the Dolphin Class each performed a song and then the whole school sang a song in Japanese and then another song in Hawaiian. It was super cute!

And here's a video of Dean and his class singing their Thanksgiving Song. (If you get these posts in an e-mail update, you'll need to go to the actual blog to view the video. Just click on THIS LINK and then go to today's post, 12/17/10, and at the end of the post, click on the play button in the video):

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Well, I've been procrastinating. Not wanting to write up this post. Most of you know that we've had quite a bit going on around here, but to be honest I've just been avoiding writing about this one. It's just hard to put into words everything I'm feeling about the loss of my Dad. I think most people who actually read my blog probably already know that my father passed away on November 2 after a heartbreaking battle with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. I'm not gonna lie - the end was terrible.

I've been avoiding this post because I felt like I needed to write something really profound and heartfelt about my Dad. But I just can't. Right now I'm doing pretty good. Most days at this point I'm doing pretty good with this. I'm relieved that I don't have to see him like that anymore and I'm so glad that I'm finding it easier and easier to remember the good times. For the past year it's been really hard to remember those good times. So that's been nice - to spend a little time with those memories. Because other than the last few years, almost all of my memories of my Dad are really awesome memories. And I'm kind of a Memory Keeping person. So that's been good. I also don't think I realized how stressed out I was about my Dad, so it's nice to not constantly be worried about his care and if my Mom is doing OK, etc. I've also felt like I've been waiting for something bad to happen for a long time now, so that's over. Basically, despite the sadness of losing my Dad much too early, I mostly feel relieved that this terrible chapter is over. I know with all of my being that my Dad would never want me to feel the sadness, anger, hurt and worry I've felt so often in the last few years and I know that he would want that to be over for me. My Dad wanted nothing more than for his family to be happy. And at this point in my life I feel pretty happy with things. Yes, I wish my Dad was here to share the day to day with me. I wish that every single day. But he's not. And I'm going to be OK. I'm my Father's daughter and he taught me that I can do anything and I am strong and intelligent and brave and a good person. I am all of these things because of my Dad. And I will survive this because my parents taught me I could do anything and I believe them.

I love you Dad.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fire Station Fun

We are headed out the door in just a few minutes to go to the airport to catch our flight to the mainland, so I don't have much time for details, but Dean went on his preschool's annual fieldtrip to the Wailea Fire Station this morning. I didn't get to go because I was busy with last minute preparations for our 2+ week trip, but my Mom went. She said he did really well! I was sorry I missed it. Anyway, here are some pics....

I'll see if I can post a few updates while on our trip. We arrive in Wichita tomorrow afternoon (after 14+ hours of travel time - ugh!) and will be there until the end of the week next week when we drive to Norman, OK for a long weekend. We'll go to an OU football game while in Norman, visit friends and family (we're staying with "Uncle Marker"), and enjoy some El Reno Onion Burgers. Then we'll drive back to Wichita just in time to get on a plane to fly to New Jersey to see Joel's grandparents, Aunt and Uncle and cousins. After that we'll have a day and a half back in Wichita before heading home to Maui. We have lots of fun stuff planned, so hopefully I'll find some time to post a few pics and updates!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Park Time

We spent lots of time at the park this summer, most of it was at the big new playground at Keopuolani Park in Kahului. But one Saturday morning (way back on July 10 actually!) there was something going on at War Memorial and the parking lot at Keopuolani was completely and totally FULL. We had promised Dean a morning at the playground so he could play "Ninja Warrior" and he was NOT happy about this development and the lack of parking. We didn't want to drive all the way to Kihei to go to Kalama Park or all the way Upcountry to go to Giggle Hill, so I was worried we were headed for a major meltdown when Joel pulled this little gem out of nowhere!!

It turns out there's this old playground up above Wailuku Elementary that I didn't even know existed. The playground equipment is kind of old, the paint is peeling off in places, but it's fully functional and completely safe. I guess Joel used to set up a lot of his supervised Parent / Child visitations at this park when he was working for Maui Child & Family Services several years ago. It's kind of off the beaten path - we had the entire place all to ourselves and Dean absolutely LOVED it!! It was nice and cool - it's amazing how just moving up a tiny bit in elevation from Kahului to Wailuku and getting that few degrees of temperature change will really make a difference! There are a couple of HUGE Monkey Pod trees around the playground and there's a beautiful view of both the West Maui Mountains in one direction and the North Shore in the opposite direction. I definitely tucked this spot into the recesses of my brain to visit again in the future!!

Here are a few pics of Dean enjoying his morning at the park...

I have a few more days worth of park pics from this summer to share. I'll try to get that done soon!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hiking Poli Poli

So it's been about a month since I posted last. Sorry! August was a super hectic month around here with lots going on. Both Joel and I put in extra hours at work - I was covering for a coworker who was out on vacation for 3 weeks and Joel is just SUPER busy. I mean unbelievably busy. Right now he is actually filling 3 roles in his job with Adult Mental Health through Aloha House - Community Based Case Manager, Crisis Mobile Outreach, and also doing some on-site counseling and behavioral therapy type stuff at the LCRS crisis center Upcountry (Licensed Crisis Residential Shelter). There have been several weeks in the past month that he has put in over 70 hours, sometimes working 36+ hours straight without stopping. (when he does work up at LCRS, it is usually an overnight 12-hour shift and he will go straight up there from work, then straight back to work the next day). I honestly don't know how he does this. And this is on top of his regular 40 hrs a week doing Case Management work. I only work 30 hours a week and felt exhausted and grumpy working an extra 5 hrs a wk for 3 wks covering for my co-worker and was complaining about how I could never go back to working full-time! I guess it's a good thing Joel really does love his job!! And I have to say all that extra money will sure be nice when we go to the mainland next month and he doesn't get a paycheck for 2+ weeks while we're gone - that's what happens when you work on a contract and don't get paid time off!

So anyway, you get my point. Things have been busy. But we did find some time over Labor Day Weekend to head up to Poli Poli State Park and do some hiking with my Mom. I forgot a few things about Poli Poli - 1. how cold it is at 6500 ft elevation inside the shade of a Redwood forest. 2. how seriously LOOOONG the drive up there is. and 3. how there are a ton of hiking trails all over the park, but how all of them are majorly long and how painfully slow and trying on the patience it is to hike a long trail with a precocious 3-yr-old.

But really Dean's a pretty good hiker. We hiked probably about 3 miles total. We could have gone much farther and Dean definitely could have hiked farther, but I think we were all getting hungry and tired of the slow pace (and imagining that long car ride back home). Plus Dean was starting to shed his shoes (honestly we were surprised he made it as long as he did).

Anyway, here are a few photos from our hike:

Dean checking out the "humongous trees":

TuTu and Dean in a Christmas Tree Forest:

"Look Mommy! A Keiki Christmas Tree!":

"Hey Daddy, feel this pokey thing on your nose":

Dean had to stop and touch every single bit of moss along the trail (which was A LOT):

Dean and TuTu on the trail:

Dean's fake smile:
Dean found a stump to sit on (this is also when he decided he didn't need to wear shoes anymore):
And then he got super silly:
My Mom took her walky-talkies with us and Dean had fun playing with those. Joel or my Mom would hike on ahead of us a ways and then Dean would call them on the walky-talky and ask them if they were lost, then tell them they needed to leave clues so we could find them (he came up with this idea all on his own). So they would leave little clues along the trail and Dean had a lot of fun counting the clues. And we were cracking up when he would say over the walky-talky "Clue number 17 is complete" or whatever number clue he had just found. (I have no idea where he came up with that wording, but it was all Dean!!) Of course, true to form, TuTu would eventually be hiding behind a tree or a big rock or something and jump out and scare the crap out of all of us, making Dean really mad - "You are mean TuTu! You need to go to time out". But he wanted to keep playing despite me warning him that she was probably just going to scare him again, so he must have been having fun with it anyway!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dean jumps off the diving board

Dean's been taking swimming lessons again for a few weeks. We signed up at the last minute, so all the group classes were filled up already, so he's in a private class with Ariel, a young college student, and he LOVES it. I actually think this is working out better for him. The class time is shorter (30 minutes instead of 45 minutes) so he doesn't get as cold and of course it's all one-on-one instruction, so it's tailored to his needs. He's doing really well and today he wanted to jump off the diving board. He jumped off into Ariel's waiting arms and he LOVED it!! He ended up jumping off about 5 or 6 times before Ariel finally had to just tell him the diving board was closed. Here's some video of his first jump - sorry for all the loud background noise, it was super windy in Kihei today! And remember if you get the e-mail updates, you'll have to go to the actual blog HERE and scroll down to this post to watch the video.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Solar System Project & 4th of July

We actually had a super chill Fourth of July, spending the day at home. I asked Dean what he wanted to do when he woke up that morning and he said "make a Solar System". I asked him how he wanted to make a Solar System and he said "a Solar System Project", in a tone that suggested I was a complete idiot. I asked him what kind of project and he thought about it for a minute and said "maybe a poster", just like that, all on his own. I think he might have had something different in mind than what we ended up doing, but he LOVED his Solar System Project!!

I ran to K-Mart and bought a couple of black poster boards and then let Dean dig through my gigantic stash of cardstock to pick out the colors he wanted to use for each planet. I pulled out my Big Shot die cutting machine and a bunch of different sizes of circle dies and a glue stick and we got to work! Dean actually did pretty much everything himself - only needing help with drawing the "islands" on Earth (Daddy did that) and punching out shapes for the asteroids. - he picked out which size each planet should be and put them in order all by himself.

We started with the Sun - obviously this isn't to scale! I did draw the half circle for him, tracing around a paper plate, but Dean did all of the cutting and gluing himself. Then I showed him how to use the Big Shot and the dies to cut out the circles for the planets -he thought that was REALLY cool! (and if you look closely you can kind of see our new furniture in the background).

Once we got the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars glued on and I was trying to move him along to Jupiter, Dean had a minor meltdown because "NO!! Jupiter isn't next Mommy!" First we needed to do the Asteroid Belt. Great. The Asteroid Belt. Now what the hell am I going to use for Asteroids?? I ended up using a little flower punch (failing to mention it was a flower punch to Dean, instead calling it an Asteroid Punch), which worked PERFECTLY and Dean happily glued on a bunch of asteroids while telling me all about Ceres and how it's the smallest dwarf planet, but it's actually in the Asteroid Belt and not in the Kuiper Belt like the others. (um, OK, sure. I had to look that up later, but it turns out he's right. I hate it when my 3-yr-old makes me look dumb and talks about stuff that I'm pretty sure I've never even heard of).

So anyway, Dean proceeded to glue on the rest of the planets - getting creative with Jupiter and Saturn (I did help him cut the ring for Saturn and the strips for Jupiter, although the concept was all Dean's). The only other time Dean got a little upset was because Jupiter was missing the Great Red Spot, which was easily fixed with a small oval die and some red cardstock. Dean insisted on adding the Kuiper Belt after Neptune and making it the same color as Pluto, because technically "Pluto isn't a real planet, it's just a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt like Eris". Duh.

And finally after about 2 hours, we were done. Dean was SOOOOO proud of himself!!
Dean was about ready for a nap after all that hard work, so we had some lunch and he went into his room to read for a little while and then took his nap.

After naptime, we had a fun 4th of July picnic in the front yard, ending with some yummy summer cupcakes from Whole Foods! Dean LOVES those cupcakes!!
Making 4th of July shakas!!
We finished the night sharing a giant watermelon with the neighbors and watching the neighborhood shoot off fireworks all over our street. Dean did one sparkler and threw a few of those Snap Pop things on the ground that pop when they hit the ground. But other than that, he was content to just sit in the grass and watch all the craziness in the rest of the neighborhood (thank goodness!).

Just another day in paradise...

Monday, July 5 was a holiday for us - no work - so we spent the morning at Keawakapu Beach. That seems to be "our thing" for holidays. Dean had a blast, as usual. He's becoming fearless in the water, which makes me a nervous wreck. I didn't get pics of it, but he will play right in the surf break and just get tumbled by the waves. He loves it!!