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!!