Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week in the Life - Day 1

So I've decided to participate in Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project, although everyone else did this last week, which wasn't a good week for me since I worked an extra 10-hour day (meaning I worked four 10-hour days in a row and didn't feel like doing any kind of creative project). A seven-day documentary project, Week In The Life is an annual opportunity to capture the simple everyday details of your life with photos and words. I follow Ali's blog and have been a fan of her creative work for several years, but this is the first time I'm participating in her Week in the Life project. We'll see if I stick with it all week. Basically I'll be documenting all of the little things that make up our daily routine for an entire week, so you'll be seeing lots of photos this week, photos of the things that are our life right now, in 2011. The point is to really capture what your life looks like at this time. I think this will be a neat project to look back on in 20 years. I'm going to try to do a quick post at the end of each day this week with just the photos that I took for the day as well as the notes I write down. I'll be taking notes (both in time-line form and in just observation form) each day. It's basically just an outline of each day. Then, over the next few weeks all of this will be compiled into scrapbook layouts and an eventual completed keepsake project that hopefully I'll add to each year to see how our routines evolve as we grow. So here goes...

6:30 a.m. - Dean comes in to wake us up, then lets us stay in bed a bit longer while entertaining himself at the coffee table with some dominoes. We can't really sleep though because of his loud "singing" of classical music while playing.

7:00 a.m. - Jen gets up and starts her day with her morning cup of tea (blend of Teavana's White Ayurvedic Chai and Samurai Chai Mate) brewed in her much-loved Breville one-touch Tea Maker (one of her favorite possessions).

Jen then feels ambitious and decides to make breakfast - scrambled eggs, toast with strawberry-guava jam and Kula strawberries.

8:00 - still at the table because Dean refuses to eat his eggs. He claims he hates eggs (even though he used to love them) and says he won't eat them because there are chickens in there. We tell him he has to eat at least 1 bite. Turns into a MAJOR battle of wills with tears, bribing, and gagging when he finally eats his bite. The drama.

The rest of the morning was spent with Jen doing some house cleaning, Dean being silly with some old glasses Uncle Jason had mailed, and getting ready for the day.

Joel and Dean went on an "Adventure" around 11:00 - to the park, then sensory overload at Fun Factory, then to see the movie Smurfs while Jen stayed home doing laundry and some computer work. This included setting up a new My Job Chart chore list to start over in August as doing the family blog makeover (which took about 2 hours!!)

But it was worth it when it was finally done and the blog looks great!

When Joel and Dean got home, we attempted to clean out some of his old toys and get rid of some stuff to make room for his new desk that should be arriving from Pottery Barn Kids next week and to get organized before school starts. There are plenty of toys that he no longer plays with that we could get rid of but he wasn't interested in that. The only thing he would agree to get rid of was the train table. While Jen and Dean were arguing over toys, Joel was busy mowing the grass.

By 6:00 pm we gave up the fight about the toys with Dean and left him in his room happily playing. By 6:30 we noticed it was awfully quiet in there and sure enough - he was passed out on his bed, surrounded by a gigantic mess!

Joel cooked dinner and then Joel and Jen watched some TV (an interesting documentary on Methadone Clinics, which is ironic since Jen has been having an intense facebook discussion regarding the efficacy of Needle Exchange Programs for heroin addicts, ha! - for which she is supportive, by the way).

Dean woke up at midnight as Jen has been working on this post and is now reading in his room. He needs to get back to sleep as tomorrow is a big day - kindergarten assessments! (then classes start next week).

That sums up today. It's a late night for me - 12:30 - and I need to head to bed. I hope I can stick with this project through the end of the week and I hope I'll be able to stick with the blog posts. Some days I may not write as much as this, it might just be the photos, or it might just be the photos and my notes scanned in. We'll see how it goes as the week progresses. Tuesday and Thursday will be interesting because I work those days and Dean is at my Mom's. I will have a hard time convincing her to take photos and notes for me, so I'll have to figure something out.

Polipoli Cabin Camping and a Blog Makeover

Edited to Add: I had a comment from a stranger on my blog chastising me for posting a photo of us with a fire at Polipoli and wanted to address this so there isn't any confusion. The commenter implied we were breaking the rules regarding fires at Polipoli campground. I wasn't able to reply directly to this woman as she didn't leave her e-mail address, so I'm replying here. First of all, I write this blog with my family and close friends as my intended audience but I leave it public because it's just easier. If I receive more rude comments from strangers (who I believe own a local business I have actually purchased products from in the past) I will make it private. Second of all, the commenter obviously does not frequent my blog and did not take the time to get to know my family or she would know that Maui's ecological and environmental well-being are extremely important to my family and we would never have put that in jeopardy. Prior to our camping trip, we checked with park rangers regarding our CONTAINED fire to be sure it didn't violate the rules regarding no OPEN fires in the forest reserve. We were given the green light that our grill was within accepted regulations and would be fine. Being frequent camper, we are also very familiar with fire safety protocol and had adequate provisions on hand for extinguishing the fire and ensured the fire was completely extinguished before going inside the cabin for the night (when I said I stayed awake putting wood on the fire all night I was referring to the wood burning stove inside the cabin, NOT the grill).

Before I get started, I thought I'd tell you all that I spent the better part of this afternoon giving the blog a big makeover. The photo on our header needed updating and some of the links in the sidebar were old. So I went ahead and changed the whole template. I figured since Dean starts kindergarten tomorrow (August 1), we might as well start the blog off fresh too! So if you read these posts via e-mail update, be sure to stop by the blog and check out the new look! (and don't worry - there'll be plenty more about Dean's kindergarten experience soon enough). I have a few blog posts planned for this week...

But for now, it's catch-up time. A few weekends ago we headed up to Polipoli State Park to do some camping (and I use that word lightly folks). We rented the cabin for a night and had big plans to do a ton of hiking over 2 days and just use the cabin as a place to crash comfortably. AHAHAHA. The cabin was comfortable enough, but there was VERY little hiking going on. Dean was having none of that business. He loved the cabin and was sticking close to it. The cabin was actually super nice - a 2-bedroom, 1 bath unit with hot running water and a wood-burning stove in the living area. The bedrooms each had 2 bunkbeds (you provide your own bedding). My Mom went with us and she shared a room with Dean. I decided to move a mattress into the living area and slept in front of the wood-burning stove all night so I could keep the fire going because it was COLD up there at 6200 ft elevation!!

The road up to Polipoli State Park is LOOOONG and winding and it takes FOREVER to get there. Now, I don't know if you all remember our last attempt at camping at Polipoli, but it was a disaster. We were fighting off flashbacks as we drove that long road to the campground. We arrived at the cabin around 10:00 am and it was beautiful - the sun was shining and it wasn't TOO cold (but I did immediately change out of my shorts and into my sweatpants and fleece pullover because it was NOT hot!). But the sun didn't last long. Polpoli is right at cloud level on Maui and it didn't take long for the clouds to roll in. Here are 2 photos of the cabin, taken exactly 8 minutes apart -isn't that crazy?

Once we got settled into the cabin, we tried to convince Dean to go on a hike. We didn't get very far - maybe 1/4 mile away from the cabin before he just took off running back. I was perfectly happy hunkering down inside the cabin with my Kindle in front of the fire for the afternoon! My Mom had planned ahead and came up with an elaborate story about how Pirates had once used the cabin as a hideout and had buried treasure somewhere around there. She said she found a treasure map and maybe it would lead to buried treasure (coincidentally, a few days before that my Mom had let Dean watch the Goonies over at her house - I'm sure this had nothing to do with her story). She then pulled out a list of instructions that had supposedly been left by a Pirate and would lead to buried treasure. The instructions required the use of a compass, so she taught Dean how to use his compass and helped him follow each of the steps (they were things like "from the front door of the cabin, walk 15 steps east to the ash pit. Spit into the ash pit 3 times, then walk 20 steps south to the concrete pillar". It continued on and on like that until he finally found some treasure buried under a log! It was a little black velvet bag full of coins and "jewels". He was SOOOO excited!

We pretty much didn't do much the rest of the day except gather wood for the fire. Finding dry firewood up there is NOT easy. If there was going to be a next time (there won't be. We're too big of weather weenies for that) we would take some firewood up there with us, or at least buy some of those ever log things. Joel sat on the back lanai of the cabin and played his ukulele, then cooked some bison burgers. Dinner was yummy, despite the fact that we forgot to take a spatula and Joel had to make one from some wood he found in the woods.

After the sun went down it REALLY got cold. But we still roasted marshmallows and made some S'mores. This was absolutely necessary because the week before (when the lesson plan at preschool was all about cooking and food) I had asked Dean what kinds of things he thought he was going to learn at kindergarten, he thought really hard about it for a few minutes and then said "Well, I already know how to make s'mores" and shrugged. Like he was saying "so what else is there?". It was hilarious.

We pretty much all went to bed after that. I didn't sleep much at all, but kept putting more wood on the fire every 45 minutes so we didn't freeze to death. Miraculously Joel managed to fall asleep the instant he was horizontal. I must have fallen asleep sometime after 2:30 (the last time I remember looking at my phone) because next thing I knew it was 4:57 and the fire had gone out and I was shivering inside my mummy bag. I decided right then that as soon as everyone woke up we were packing all that crap up and heading for home - at sea level, where the weather's nice and warm, as it should be when you live in paradise!! And that's exactly what we did! We loaded up, cleaned up the cabin and were home by about 11:00 Saturday morning. I looked up the weather reports online and it looked like the low temperature for that elevation that night was about 46 degrees!! I know that probably doesn't seem all THAT cold to some of you - but we're not used to that! We're pretty much cold if it's less than 75!! I think we're done with the extreme weather camping for awhile.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July Boat Trip with Pacific Whale Foundation

We had a pretty chill 4th of July weekend. Actually, the only major excitement was in the form of a seriously stressful day Sunday when we discovered Sunday morning that Dean's kitty Hoku was missing and must have escaped the night before when Dean was going in and out of the backyard to look at the stars. Dean didn't seem too terribly upset, only crying a few times throughout the day, but repeatedly saying "I really miss Hoku. When will he be home?". We searched EVERYWHERE for him - in every single nook and cranny inside and outside our house and asked every neighbor within a 2-block radius of our house if they had seen him (including the neighbors behind us). But nobody had seen him. I was extremely worried and upset because our cats do not EVER go outside and I was imagining the cat being really scared and freaked out and not really knowing how to fend for himself. I made up some flyers in Photoshop with a couple of recent photos and we put about 20 of them up on every lightpost on every corner in our subdivision while waiting for the Humane Society to open at noon. You may remember that we got Hoku as a kitten from the Humane Society so he has a tattoo in his ear that they would use to identify him if he were found. I put a couple of ads on Craigslist and had my ad ready for the Maui News. I went outside and {loudly} called for him in both the front and back yards every half hour all. day. long. with no luck. The cat was nowhere to be found. I felt slightly sick to my stomach all day and was very worried. I couldn't imagine him not coming home when I called him if he was OK. Then once it was getting dark I decided to put some food and water out on both the front and back lanai as well as a folded towel in case he did come up in the night. I also decided to put out a can of tuna, hoping the smell would lure him home. Literally 5 seconds after putting the tuna out, there was Hoku at the back door!!! Damn cat. He just came waltzing inside and acted like absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary, then ran straight for the kitty litter and took a huge crap. Really? You're outside for over 24 hours and you couldn't do that out there!? {sigh}. But we were so relieved. Dean nearly cried he was so happy to see him. But the ordeal ended up costing us a day of our long weekend, which kind of sucked. Oh well. I do think Dean will be very careful about closing the back door behind him from now on!!

On Monday, the 4th of July, the 3 of us went with my Mom on a sunset boat ride from Maalaea Harbor around the west side of Maui to Lahaina aboard one of the Pacific Whale Foundation's boats to watch the fireworks in Lahaina. But we started off the day by making some Patriotic Toast for breakfast, which Dean LOVED.
Do you see the resemblance to the US Flag? After our breakfast of flag toast, we had planned to make homemade sidewalk chalk out of Tempera Paint and Plaster of Paris using toilet paper tubes for molds (I had found a recipe for this online). I sent Joel to Ben Franklin with explicit instructions to buy KID-FRIENDLY Plaster of Paris and of course he came back with the carcinogenic DAP brand that I refused to use. Cynical Joel claims that the "Kid-Friendly" Plaster of Paris is the exact same stuff that some 6-yr-old child in a factory in China just pours from a DAP container into a new container labeled "Kid-Friendly" and then puts a price tag on it making it cost 4 times as much. I'm not nearly as cynical as Joel and I refused to let my 4-yr-old handle a product with a gigantic warning label on the container that says it is known to cause eye, lung and throat irritation, can cause respiratory illness, should avoid contact with the skin, and that the dust can cause cancer if inhaled. Ummm, no thanks because you have to mix the dust with paint in the chalk recipe. And then what do you think becomes of chalk when a kid uses it?? First it's ALL OVER their skin and it just turns back into dust that you know they are inhaling!! So, unfortunately no homemade chalk production at the Tapler house until we've done a little more research into this Kid-Friendly plaster. (and now I'm a little curious about how Crayola makes their chalk and if they use Plaster of Paris?? Anyone know?) It was quite the disappointment and Dean was very dramatic and said more than once that "this is the baddest day ever" as he dropped his head into his hands on the table like he just couldn't go on anymore in these conditions. ha!

So anyway, back to the boat trip - The fireworks were shot off of a barge in the ocean and were an awesome show! It was fun to see them from a boat. I was really nervous about the boat trip as I get EXTREMELY seasick - I haven't been on a boat in I don't know how many years for this reason. I sometimes even feel seasick kayaking or paddleboarding and when I used to surf I would even feel seasick sometimes sitting on my board waiting for waves. So yeah, it's pretty bad. But one of the doctors I work closely with at Kaiser was kind enough to write me a prescription for some Scopolamine patches, which I've found in the past have worked better than anything else for me. None of the homeopathic stuff does anything (the wrist bands, ginger candy, etc) and dramamine even doesn't seem to work very well. But those scopolamine patches do pretty good I think. So I put one of those on behind my ear a few hours before we got on the boat. But when we got to Maalaea it was SUPER windy and that water did not look good - it was majorly choppy and I didn't have a good feeling about the trip. But I came prepared with a purse full of barf bags just in case. And ya know what? I did great!! There were only a couple of times for a few minutes - mostly when they turned the engines off and we were just sitting "still", but being rocked by the waves - that I felt a little bit not great, but for the most part I was just fine. Not good enough that I want to go out on boat rides all the time, but I am glad I went. It was a good time and Dean had a blast! He was so cute. Anyway, here are a few pictures from our boat trip:
I hope you all had a Happy 4th of July!!