Monday, March 22, 2010

Changes to the Blog

OK, this is going to be painful for some of you. Especially the old folks (and yes, I'm talking to you Grandma). Try to stay calm. Deep breaths. It will be OK. Most of you receive these blog updates in your e-mail inbox, as if my magic, when I post something new to the blog. I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't happen by magic. {gasp!}. I know. shocking. I have been using a service through a website called "Feedblitz" for a few years now, that was free. No longer. They are going to start charging a fee that is proportionate to the number of subscribers I have. So, I've decided to go with the free subscription service offered by Blogger. So, those of you who want to still receive these blog updates in your e-mail inbox when I post them to the blog will need to re-subscribe. You'll need to do this before April 1, which is when the Feedblitz e-mails will end. I'm going to walk you through this step-by-step. You can do this. I promise. Here we go...

1. Click on this link: http://TaplerOhana.blogspot.com
2. In the right-hand column, at the very top you will see the words "Subscribe to the Tapler Ohana by Email" in blue. Click on those words.
3. You will be taken to the Feedburner E-mail Subscription Request page. Enter your e-mail address and the verification message (you'll see a weird series of letters that you'll need to type to verify that you're really human), then click "Complete Subscription Request".
4. You will then get an e-mail, probably addressed from me, asking you to activate your subscription. You'll need to click on the link in the e-mail (it will probably be in blue). - That's it! Once you do that, you'll be all set and you'll continue getting your e-mail updates and won't miss a single moment of Dean cuteness!! :-)

I'm going to leave the Feedblitz updates up until April 1, so you may get double update messages until then, but after that you'll receive your updates through Feedburner. I'm sorry to do this to everyone, but it's necessary.

I've also had a few people e-mail me asking me to add someone to my Feedblitz e-mail list, but I'm not able to subscribe anyone - people have to subscribe themselves (Blogger does this to prevent Spam). If there's someone you think might want to read the blog, give them the link to the blog (www.TaplerOhana.blogspot.com) and they can subscribe by clicking the subscription link in the top right column.

Thanks everyone!

The Swing Set

We bought Dean his first Swing Set this weekend. I didn't even know they still made this style of Swing Set anymore - it's almost exactly like the Swing Set I had when I was Dean's age, way back in 1979, although the colors of mine were WAAAAY cooler than this one! See for yourself:
KMart had these things for super cheap (at least compared to the play structure monstrosities that are available on Maui for exactly 3.5 hours for approximately $1200 each Spring at CostCo before they're sold out until the following year). This one was only about $120. Granted, it did take Joel about 8 hours to assemble on Saturday and I was worried the neighbors might call the police to report a domestic disturbance due to all the loud swearing that was going on in the backyard (not to worry, I decided NOT to supervise this project, so the swearing was aimed at the author of the instruction booklet, the engineer who designed the swing set and various other people involved in the manufacturing of steel, plastic, and small tools rather than me - this time). But I'm willing to say that we've already got our money's worth out of that little $120 investment. Dean wore himself OUT Saturday night and all day Sunday playing on that thing!! The kid does love to swing and he is an EXPERT at pumping his legs (which is good for us - no pushing!). Just look at the height this 3-yr-old can get with the leg-pump:
(and yes, in case you were wondering - he IS playing in his pajama shirt and underwear). (and yes - he DOES have a worse farmer's tan than his father). So anyway, Dean's pretty happy with the swing set. His favorite part is the swing. He likes the slide OK, although I'm pretty sure he thinks it's kind of lame and too small. But it didn't take him long to figure out he could slide other things down, like every single truck or car he owns. And last night he asked me if Nani (one of the cats) could go down the slide. {sigh}. Oh, and it also didn't take long for him to discover that the underwear is probably a good idea - naked sliding isn't so fun. Joel tried to warn him, but there are some things I guess a boy just has to discover on his own.

But anyway, here are the rest of the pics. We put the swing set on the side of the yard where we can see it from 2 of the large living room windows and from the kitchen window, so hopefully we don't have to constantly be out there with him when he's playing on it. And since we have our windows open most of the time, we can usually hear him the whole time as well. Just look how much fun he's having:

Friday Evening at Kalama

March 7, 2010

We spent Friday evening, March 7 at Kalama Park in Kihei. We used to do this almost every Friday evening when we lived in Kihei. In fact, when I was pregnant with Dean, Joel and I would go get a gas station hot dog at 7-11 across the street (ok, I'll admit it - I would have 2 of them - the big juicy Jumbo hot dogs with TONS of mustard!!) and go sit and watch the kids roller skating in the outdoor skating rink that is about 25 feet from the ocean at Kalama Park as we enjoyed sunset and the cool ocean breezes (this is when we lived in our HOT Kihei condo without air conditioning...and again, I was pregnant). We'd walk all around the park and just enjoy being outside. It's kind of a friday night tradition. Then even after Dean was born, when he was a baby, we continued this a few times a month until we moved to town. Now we don't go as much. But everytime we do, we always say we should do it more often.

Anyway, the intent of this particular outing was to let Dean watch the kids skating on the roller rink - thinking we could trick him into believing it was like Apolo Ohno, since he's been very disappointed in the lack of Apolo Ohno on TV since the Olympics (or "Malympics" as Dean calls them) ended. And no, his fascination with Apolo Ohno and Short Track speed skating has not fizzled out. In fact, THIS is what he sat down and created this morning before school to take for show and tell on his first day back after Spring Break:

He wrote that himself - only asking for a little help with the spelling, wanting to know if there were 1 or 2 "L's" in Apolo. He knew the numbers. (He did ask me to fix the "5", getting upset that it looked too much like an "S" after he wrote it. So I made the top of it a little more straight for him, but other than that, he wrote it all on his own). Then he wanted to put the stars on there for the medals. He already knew he needed 8 stars, but he wanted me to look up on "Noodle" (that is Dean-speak for "Google" - I think it's adorable that he thinks it's called Noodle. He'll say "Mommy, I need to Noodle something" and get on the computer and start typing. It's not that he can't say Google, he just thinks it's Noodle.) how many stars needed to be gold, silver and bronze. Then he wanted to know what color bronze was. I told him blue would work, so his picture has 2 gold stars, 2 silver stars and 4 blue stars to represent Apolo Ohno's 2 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 4 bronze medals. I do not know where my child gets these ideas, but he woke up this morning talking about Apolo Ohno. Of course, he was also talking about "Space Storms", so who knows?

So anyway, back to our friday night at the park...Joel had a client in Kihei late friday afternoon, so Dean and I met him at the park after that. Joel picked up some Da Kitchen for dinner and we had a little picnic on the rocks while watching the Humpback whales play at sunset. Dean and I shared our favorite Da Kitchen meal - Kalua pig (Dean is NOT a meat eater and Kalua pig is just about the only meat he ever consumes, but it is pretty good!! - as in tasty, NOT healthy!). After we ate, Dean played at the park for about an hour and was not the least bit interested in watching roller skating. I tried telling him it was "like Apolo Ohno" and he just looked at me like I was crazy. He didn't even bother responding. So much for thinking we could maybe trick him into thinking roller blading was the same as ice skating!! Poor kid. No ice skating on Maui. Maybe some day we can take a trip to Oahu and let him try out ice skating. It would almost be worth the trip just to let him see some Short Track skating in person!

So here are some Kalama Park pics...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friday Morning at the Tropical Plantation

Dean and I spent about an hour Friday morning hanging out at the Maui Tropical Plantation. It had been awhile since we went to feed the ducks and run around. Dean had a blast. He was less interested in the ducks this time, but still doesn't want to share his bread - stuffing piece after piece into his own mouth as fast as he can to keep from having to feed it to the ducks. After the bread was gone, we went up to this big grassy area above the duckpond and I just sat and let Dean wear himself out running around. He was pretty cute...






Sometime in the middle of all that running around, Dean took a break to drink an entire juice box, then went back to running around. Then he got a tummy ache. I asked him if he had a stitch in his side and he was horrified. He pulled up his shirt to look and kept feeling to see if there was anything there. I think he thought I meant Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch!!
Then we walked around the gardens a little bit and Dean found these little round seeds that fall off some palm tree and got super excited. He called them "cloons". I have no idea what that means, I'm pretty sure he just made up the word (he makes up A LOT of words). He gathered up a bunch of cloons, then made up a very elaborate game that consisted of rolling cloons down a groove in a bench to the ground. He won "11 medals" and I won "12 medals" playing the cloon game!! So cute.
Anyway, I took a really long - 5 minutes - (and noisy - sorry, it was a super windy day) video of him as he made up the cloon game. You'll have to just deal with the noise of me talking really loud and the wind and turn up your volume so you can hear Dean. I know it's annoying. Sorry. But hopefully it's worth it so you can see the way Dean's little genius 3-yr-old mind works!!! It was too long to post directly to the blog, so I uploaded it to YouTube and am going to try embedding it here. In case it doesn't work and you can't see the video, HERE is the link to the video at YouTube.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

2nd Painting Video

Ok, well apparently Blogger only lets one video per post work. So I deleted the 2nd video and am reposting it here in this post. Once again though, if you get the updates int he Feedblitz e-mail you'll have to go directly to the blog HERE and scroll down the to actual posts to watch the videos. This is the 2nd video I've posted today. There's another video in the post titled "The Underwear Artist" that's really cute too!!


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The Underwear Artist

Dean loves to paint in his underwear...Just like Daddy!! (ok, I have to clarify that it's a little joke around here that when we say Dean does something in his underwear, we add the line "Just like Daddy" at the end. I don't know why. It just sounds funny funny to me. Joel doesn't actually paint in his underwear. It's been a long time since he painted anything. He does watch a lot of TV in his underwear though).

Anyway, I got some cute pictures and video of Dean painting - this was back in early February - that I thought I'd share. The videos won't show up in the e-mail from Feedblitz, so you'll have to click HERE to go directly to the blog and go to the post for today's date (March 6, 2010) and then scroll down to the video and hit the "play" icon in the middle of the video to watch it.


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Friday, March 5, 2010

Random February Happenings

I still have a couple of blog posts to catch up on from February, but I also have a few just random photos I thought I'd share with you...

Dean absolutely LOVED watching the Olympics!! It was so cute! Some of the events he enjoyed were the Luge and the Bobsled, Freestyle Skiing (he would just laugh and laugh at those crazy jumps for some reason), and finally Speed Skating. The first night of competition (the night of the failed camping trip) we watched Apolo Ohno win a medal in men's Speed Skating and Dean has been completely OBSESSED with Apolo Ohno and Speed Skating ever since!! It's kind of weird. He talks about Apolo Ohno several times a day. He knows that Apolo Ohno (and he always says both his first and last names, never just Apolo) has won 8 Olympic medals and he knows that the Korean skaters were the "naughty ones" in the races (I'm not being racist here, I think Dean equats "naughty" with the guys we didn't want to win). He knows that the number on Apolo Ohno's helmet this year was 256 and he will write that number on papers all over the house. He has sat TWICE and watched a 35-minute biography from start to finish online about Apolo Ohno. He will stand in the living room with his feet staggered and one arm raised up in the air in front of him and the other arm behind him and say "Skaters, ready", then all of a sudden run top speed around and around the living room, usually he ends by "sliding" across the pretend finish line with his skate as he falls. He saw and remembered that in one race, Apolo Ohno had to jump over another skater who had fallen in front of him, so sometimes when Dean is running around the living room he'll put a pillow on the floor and jump over it before he "wins" the race. Sometimes he falls in the middle of the race (very dramatically by the way), in a kind of sliding type of fall, usually ending up on his stomach, looks up and then bangs his fists onto the ground before lowering his forehead to the carpet in defeat (not sure where he got this as as nothing like this happened to Apolo in any of his Olympic races this year. Maybe in the biography??). It's all very melodramatic. For the past 2 Mondays at school (Show and Tell day), he asked me to find pictures of Apolo Ohno online and print them off for him to take for Show & Tell. When the Vicks commercial comes on TV, Dean will drop whatever he's doing and yell "Mommy look! Apolo Ohno!" and then he'll make us rewind it and play it again and again. It is seriously so weird. It makes me feel bad that Maui doesn't have an ice rink - like maybe I should put the kid in some ice skates and let him try it out. Doesn't this sound like the perfect story for me to be telling in 15 years in our Bob Costas interview when Dean is living the dream he's had since he was 3-yrs-old to follow in Apolo Ohno's skates and be an Olympic Speed Skater!?!? ha!
Dean and I often go on "long, long, long walks" around our neighborhood - that's how Dean describes them, but they are pretty darn long for a 3-yr-old. Sometimes we'll walk nearly 2 miles. I think I've mentioned before that Dean has always been a really good walker. He's never been one of those kids who whines and asks to be carried (like I'm pretty sure I was as a toddler) - he would much rather just walk himself. I'm not sure if this is just his strong independent nature or his desire to explore. But I like it. It makes him a good hiker and it saves my back!! Here we are walking along Kamehameha Avenue, just outside our subdivision, one Friday morning with Dean checking out the clouds over the West Maui Mountains and the construction going on across the street:
Sometimes when we just want to go on a shorter walk, Dean will ride his Tricycle. He wants a 2-wheeler bike, but he's not allowed to have one until he agrees to wear a helmet. And so far, Dean absolutely REFUSES to put ANYTHING on his head. I'd be willing to bet my last dollar that he wouldn't wear a bike helmet and the kid is pretty stubborn. I know him. If the deal was that he had to wear the helmet in order to ride the bike, he'd just be like "well screw it then. I just won't ride the damn thing". (ok, maybe not in those exact words, but that'd be what he really meant). So for now, we're sticking with the trike.
Playing a little Super Mario Brothers on the Wii in his underwear....just like Daddy!! (for the record, Dean isn't actually allowed to play video games, but he does watch Joel play Super Mario brothers sometimes and on this particular day Joel went to the bathroom and Dean jumped up and grabbed the Wii remote and started playing. He got waaay farther than I would have!!):
I think I've mentioned before that Dean isn't the greatest eater on the planet. Mealtime is a DAILY struggle around here. The kid just doesn't want to eat. First of all, he'd just rather be playing than sitting at the table. Second, he is definitely my child. I'm really bummed that he seems to have inherited my majorly picky eating habits. I know some people will disagree, but (and Joel is actually with me on this one) I really don't think this is something I've taught him. I think it's just the way he is. And MY own pickiness certainly isn't anything my own parents taught me! (right, Mom?). We are working on this, but at the same time I struggle internally with this issue as I understand what he feels like. We do make him TRY new foods, but as long as he puts it in his mouth - after that, the choice is his - If he doesn't like it, he doesn't have to eat it. I know that my pickiness is probably 90% related to texture rather than taste. And I can see that is the case with Dean a lot of the time too. So I don't push it. I'm hoping that with Joel's influence, he'll outgrow some of this, but I'm not holding my breath. I certainly haven't outgrown my aversion to a lot of foods. He still doesn't eat many vegetables, but he'll down pureed veggies (baby food veggies) like it's Kool-Ade! So we just go with that - at least he's getting his veggies, right? Anyway, I saw an idea on a parenting blog that I wanted to try with Dean - mostly just to make mealtime fun and interesting for kids. It's called "Muffin Tin Meals" and Dean LOVES it!! We've been doing this several times a week in the evening (and most lunches that he's home) and it's working really well - he's eating a lot more than usual and getting a much larger variety of food at each meal. Basically you use a small muffin tin and put a different type of food in each "muffin hole". I have no idea what the appeal is to kids, but it works!! And it really does help him get a nice balanced meal. The example in the photo isn't the best example of the most nutritious meal, but normally we'll try to do 2 veggie holes, 1 protein hole, 1 grain hole, 1-2 fruit holes, and then 1 either dairy or sweet hole (usually yogurt). Dean LOVES to empty out each hole and makes a game out of emptying the holes in a particular pattern.


Fun Times with Rylee

Dean LOVES playing with the little girl, Rylee, across the street. Rylee's about 8 months younger than Dean, but they both beg to play with each other all the time. I'm not sure why - Dean's SUPER bossy and neither of them likes to share their toys. Dean is getting better at taking turns, but he has to CONSTANTLY be reminded to let his friends have a turn when he's done playing with something. And when a friend picks up one of his toys, he suddenly decides that's exactly the toy he wanted to play with! They usually do pretty well for about an hour and then tempers start to flare. But they're pretty darn adorable!!!