Monthly Archives: December 2009

Our backyard

Mom took this picture on her way home...Sam and I worked hard oiling those teak chairs!

Mom took this picture on her way home...Sam and I worked hard oiling those teak chairs!

Went on a nice hike today to some tide pools and did some whale spotting with a friend and her kids. In retrospect, I found it easier to spot whales from a horizon-level vantage point vs up high as we usually do. We could see the dark flippers breaking the horizon very clearly as they breached. It’s humpback birthing season here, then they’ll head back north when the babies are strong enough to make the trip. Dave finished up a paper today, leaving only two classes left to finish up his degree. We are all headed to Kauai in a couple days for New Years – looking forward to escaping the bombing here that accompanies the holiday. The M80s shake the house and put so much smoke in the air we have to close all the windows. We’re going to a remote spot on Kauai on a military base (Pacific missile range) so I am thinking we’re going to have some peace unless someone decides to launch missiles! Obama continues to cause a stir here – yesterday I kept getting caught behind the motorcade (they block traffic at intersections so his motorcade doesn’t have to stop). We found some secret service agents who had just come off duty yesterday and chatted with them a bit. They wondered how I knew they were secret service and had just been “on duty” – ummm the having a cigarette and drinking a Coke in the middle of the commissary parking lot perhaps? They looked relieved. I asked why not just chopper him around the island and apparently there is only ONE presidential helicopter. They strip it down and completely rebuild it with each use. Getting it here is problemmatic, they said (I didn’t think fast enough to ask why not put it in a C5?). They really appreciated my efforts to show the boys the world through space-a travel, and teach them about a life of service that they wouldn’t otherwise see (such as how they manage to land a C40 in a war zone – details I will not publish here but which continue to impress me). I am fascinated by the behind-the-scenes efforts made to facilitate a president’s trip. I asked if I should encourage the boys to consider being an agent (it does seem soooo cool) but they said no. It gets pretty boring after the second or third year, and you’re away for unpredictable lengths of time. However, they noted, it’s not like long deployments so it could be worse. One poor guy had lost his regulation sunglasses…we wondered if there was a GPS tracking chip in them? Nah… As we waved off, one of them gave us some neat pins with their emblem on it. I carefully stowed them in the stroller, then transferred them to the truck for the ride home after our run, then brought them in the house, and now wouldn’t you know I can’t find them ANYWHERE? Dave wonders if the agents sneaked back into the house and retrieved them!!!

Aloha, Pig and Bear!

Doug and Mary at Hogmanay. They are off to Maui now!

Doug and Mary at Hogmanay. They are off to Maui now!

It’s only been 2 hours and I miss Doug and Mary so much, but I’m finally going through all the pictures and they are keeping me company. I cherish the memories and look forward to our next get-together. I am making a resolution to do regular surf clinics so I can improve my ability to catch waves and keep up with my brother! Mary – thank you so much for sharing in the joy of watching our kiddos play and talk. You are such a loving and encouraging Aunty/Godmother – they are blessed! Click on the photo above to enjoy the past couple days here with us. Aloha and love to all…

Mele Kalikimaka!

Doug getting a little mountain biking riding in!

Doug getting a little mountain biking riding in!

We had a great afternoon at the beach yesterday and got caught in a huge traffic jam trying to leave the beach with all the gear, 12 foot SUP, bikes, etc. We soon found out why: Check the video carefully – you may spot us!

Hogmanay bonfire

Hogmanay bonfire opening ceremonies
Hogmanay bonfire opening ceremonies

“Opening ceremonies” for Christmas and New Year’s began on Wednesday with a bonfire at Bellows. We had such fun celebrating in a casual way the warmth of family and friends (and fiah fiah!). We even had a snowball fight with marshmallows!  The sunset was gorgeous, too, the perfect way to cap off the evening.

Grammie and Grandpa in snowy NJ!

Another Skype "snowball" fight with Grammie and Grandpa enjoying 16" in NJ!

Another Skype "snowball" fight with Grammie and Grandpa enjoying 16" in NJ!

We had a wonderful time chatting with Grandpa (my dad) and Grammie via Skype this morning! Grammie is a real ham with the kids via Skype – look at her great head adornment! The boys were just wide-eyed 🙂 Love you guys!

A Skype snowball fight!

Found my friend Becca in Germany and she made us a SNOWBALL!

Found my friend Becca in Germany and she made us a SNOWBALL!

How many other Skypers out there can make us a snowball? We called all around in NY and NJ and as far as Germany – we found Becca having a dinner party but she kindly took her laptop outside and made us a snowball! Here she is with it! Thanks, Becca! Merry Christmas!

It’s snowing in Christmastown!

We made snow! Can you guess what it is?

We made snow! Can you guess what it is?

Sam’s plan

Back at the beach again! Warm, sunny weather is nice.

Back at the beach again! Warm, sunny weather is nice.

After playing at the beach this morning, Sam and I had a long chat in the truck when we pulled back into our driveway. Ben was pretty tired from playing, so he sat fairly quietly and listened. The following are some of his statements…mixed with my questions…

“I will go to work all day and you can come visit me, for, like, 60 minutes.” Oh! That is so nice! I would love that! “I will live in this house my WHOLE life.” And will you have a family? “Ummm…I will have two children. One will be Freddie and one will be Gazey. They will come out as twins, at the SAME time.” And will they have a mommy? “Yes. Her name is Ckristy (I later found out this particular spelling). And she will have a middle name, ‘Jump’.” Does she have a last name or do you know it yet? “Her last name will be ‘Jack’.” And what will Ben be doing at that time, when you’re all grown up? “Weeeellll… he will be a dad, too.” Oh, so he’ll have his own family by then? “No. He will be the babysitter dad. He will stay at home all day, doing chores and taking care of the cheeeldren while I am at work. I will be just BAGGIN’ the house. BAGGIN’ means leaving the house all day for work.” Oh! Very good plan! (Ben is looking over at us with a smirk at this point. I think he understands Sam’s plans for him!) Then Sam continues on… “And I will live in a different state, California. But I will come visit for the 30 days before Christmas.” Oh! That’s a great idea! Maybe come for Thanksgiving then stay through Christmas? “Yes. And then stay for 31 days after Christmas.” Oh! Even better! Maybe stay through your birthday? “Yes.”

I am so blessed to be able to spend this time with my boys, and it was great to see Gramma and Richard on the beach this morning after their three weeks of house arrest with mom’s Great Cold of 2009. Welcome back!

Marathon day!

A little post-race fun with my fans! Thanks, Mom and Richard!

A little post-race fun with my fans! Thanks, Mom and Richard!

I just woke up from a nap feverish, nauseous, and wishing I had an epidural on board. My hips are very sore, legs sore, even all muscle tone in stomach seems to be gone. BUT I did get what I came for – a time good enough to be my last, should I choose never to do this again (4:44:09, or 10:50 splits). I really found that I missed my buddies incredibly. Running is just going through the motions without them to read to, talk to, make up the weirdest stories, explore new places, look for puffer fish, admire butterflies…etc. I thought of and looked for my gal pals the whole way but unfortunately never saw them, so I’m looking forward to  making a round of calls to see how they fared. From what I gather, even those who did a typical training plan (including 20 mile long runs) were really sore by the 18 mile point, so I guess my “training plan” wasn’t too bad in retrospect. I did start feeling it by about mile 6, though, which is premature, really. The weight distribution running solo vs pushing a stroller is dramatically different. I paid for that difference, and knew I would, so I went out as fast as I comfortably could to get as many miles in the bag as I could while it was dark (cool) and I was in a good mood. As the miles wore on and the pain set in, I just kept thinking “the only way to get through this is get it over with as quickly as possible, nothing else will really help.” Yep! The major bright spot was knowing Mom and Richard were bringing Sam down to the finish. I COULD NOT WAIT to see his little face. Thanks, Mom and Richard, for doing excellent recon so the car was staged only 1/2 mile from the finish and you knew exactly how to get home! NICE! Love you guys!

When I got home and looked up my chip results, I pulled up my last name and up popped two entries: Dave and me. I was suddenly so sad knowing how hard Dave had trained, through all his travel to Tahoe and D.C., weddings and crazy work schedules. In the end he had to abandon his marathon day because duty called. He is such a good sport, but I know how hard it is to know an event is going on without you. I don’t know any other family that trains for a marathon with two kids in a stroller, and two parents jogging alongside together, talking, singing, laughing and fussing as the miles wore on. What a team we all were. My medal is as much for Sam (and Ben, of course, but Sam knows what we were doing) and Dave, for being a good sport about me getting to run for both of us. I called him from mile 21, just because I needed to hear his voice. He had been following my progress and was proud. That was enough fuel to keep me going to the end. Thanks, babe.

And one more tribute, to Uncle Tom. He is my dad’s twin brother and a legend in our family. He is a rock climber, marathoner, competes in the Senior Olympics and is as  unique as they come. I plan to write a book about him for Sam and Ben because I talk about him often when we’re out bouldering or running. And I carry his marathon strategies with me as if they’re my own because I did my first marathon with him and finished so easily, with barely a mark to prove I did it. I have since done three more, at varying speeds and levels of training (including one walk/run at 4 months postpartum) and it’s never failed me. I have never had a blister, even from spending up to 6 1/2 hrs on the course in real heat (an unusually hot LA marathon that I did with Tom). So, Uncle Tom, if you’re reading…you were with me every step of the way. Thanks for showing me the way! I just read that this year is the LA Marathon 25th…oy…feeling the pull to do it with you despite my incredibly sore legs!  Now that’s LOVE!

Uncle Tom’s marathon prep recipe:

  1. Tuff Skin (ideally tincture of merthiolate but couldn’t find that any more) on feet to glue socks to feet to prevent rubbing around and blisters.
  2. Dump a ton of baby powder or Gold Bond powder into shoes to absorb moisture throughout course (to prevent blisters)
  3. Drink two cans of Ensure Plus on the way to the course.
  4. Glide onto areas that may chafe (men, tape nipples up as they may bleed by rubbing on shirt).
  5. Bring Tylenol and Advil with you on course – first aid stations do not hand out drugs.
  6. Don’t use the little zip ties they give you for your chip (lace it into your shoe instead). They break easily and then your chip is gone, preventing you from securing an “official” time and from family/friends being able to follow your progress online.

During the race:

  1. Drink water and Gatorade at every station, whether you want to or not. Electrolytes can slip away so fast once the sun comes up. You don’t want to get loopy on the course and trip or faint after all that work training!
  2. He says don’t run through sprinklers even if they’re offered because it messes up your body’s natural cooling system. Not sure why he feels that way – will need to follow up on this – but hey, he’s done 25 LA Marathons and countless others, so I subscribe either way!
  3. Remember, marathons hurt no matter what. Your level of training and readiness will help determine when the pain sets in, where, and how bad, but everyone hurts doing it.
  4. You can always walk, but it’ll just mean more time to think about how bad you hurt. Might as well jog!
  5. If all else fails, go ahead and walk, release a desire for a certain goal time and focus on finishing. Use the time to meditate, pray, plan (for Christmas, whatever!), name your new business (that’s what I did at mile 16 back in 2005). It’s time to yourself, use it wisely.

After the race:

  1. Tiger Balm on sore areas.
  2. Keep moving.
  3. Drink tons of water to flush lactic acid from system.
  4. Alternate Tylenol and Advil for pain and inflammation.
  5. Vitamin C to promote muscle repair and immune readiness.
  6. Get lots of rest. But keep moving!

Update: excerpt from email exchange with mom this afternoon. This is for me to reflect on in case I think running another one next year seems like a good idea:

Just found more drugs. Had already taken the max Tylenol in 24 hrs by 1pm, only 4hrs after first dose. Can take advil now and alternate. My kidneys may take a hit processing all this lactic acid and drugs…maybe I’ll get a new stone souvenir out of it!

Santa’s Village

Ben recovered shortly...more pics by clicking above photo.
Ben recovered shortly…more pics by clicking above photo.

Here we are visiting Santa’s Village on base. They had a lot of activities for the kids – antique fire truck ride, crafts, ornaments, malasadas, shave ice… They really work hard to provide good times for kids of service members, and that means a lot especially when one spouse is deployed.

I’m looking forward to getting to the starting line of the marathon tomorrow. The first couple weeks of Dec have been so busy with thinking about, creating and buying presents for those near and far, packaging and mailing 13 boxes yesterday, picking up race packet stuff, and then hunting down goo to eat at mile 21, stuff to make my feet sticky (so that my socks don’t slide around and cause blisters)…oy the list goes on. Even though I’m not uptight about how I do, nor do I have my heart set on a goal time, like any runner I hope for the best. I even sometimes let myself imagine that I run like a rocket (because I’m not pushing 100+ pounds of stroller and boys!). But however relaxed one thinks he or she is, the race still dominates the mind for months. I will be glad when it’s over and I can relax, maybe get feeling back in the balls of my feet…I will miss my buddy, Dave, who will be at work. He trained for this, then travel and work got in the way of being able to do it. I feel for him. That is really hard – to know a race is going on without you. I am healthy still despite my boys and my mom all battling colds. Poor mom has been sick since she got here three weeks ago! But she’s hoping to be at the finish tomorrow, and I’ll look forward to seeing her smiling face. Hopefully she’ll keep all her teeth…remember the San Diego half marathon, Jenni? 🙂 LOL! Well, funny now…not that day! Aloha…a hui hou.

North Shore traffic during the Eddie

Photo snapped from video posted at link attached to photo (click to view).
Photo snapped from video posted at link attached to photo (click to view).

This experience is still on my mind – I am so glad we went, and Sam was talking about the waves for days. Something that just can’t be experienced elsewhere. The big waves, and the surfers who managed to “tame” them, were incredible. What an experience. Hope you enjoy seeing it through our eyes.


Eddie would go . . . and so did we!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, big fat swells...
Jingle bells, jingle bells, big fat swells…

…running all the way! Oh what fun, it was to run, to Waimea Bay today, hey! The Eddie Aikou invitational was on today – the 25th anniversary – and the first run since 2004. The waves have to be 20′ (or 40′ face height) to run the surf competition. It was absolutely BONKERS up there. I knew it would be, but “Eddie would go” is the slogan we all know here (he was the first lifeguard at Waimea and a huge, legendary surfer) and we couldn’t say no to Eddie nor to the waves. We parked at Laniakea beach and ran 2.5 miles to Waimea Bay with the stroller. Only the single would be able to snake through the traffic, bikes, skateboarders and walkers so I stacked Ben on top of Sam and away we went. A few pictures are available by clicking above, and for more info on the event and its history click here.

horseradish pancakes

Peeking into KampKrug at Christmas.

Peeking into KampKrug at Christmas.

First things first: Happy Birthday, hubby!!!!

It didn’t phase Sam and Ben at all but Dave and I were really shaking our heads and licking our lips – not in satisfaction but in a real culinary confusion – what IS this taste???? Turns out the butter in the to-go cups we got from our favorite pancake spot somehow got mixed up with horseradish sauce from an event the previous evening. So we got horseradish-infused butter slathered all on top of our pancakes this morning while we were eating at the beach (Dave didn’t have to go in this morning! woo hoo!). When we finally figured it out we called (thinking what if the butter is rancid or something?) and they graciously comped us cakes the next time we come in. The boys were totally unphased. Sam says “Pree cool! What about mayonnaise pancakes? Or turkey and cheese? or PB and J?” We took delivery of a new bed for Sam from a Craigslist seller today – pictures of kiddos and antics available by clicking photo. Enjoy, and love to all! Especially to Nana and PopPop who endured some long phone time with the chatty boys this weekend! Well done!

Question: as I was vacuuming the fan blades in the boys’ room (for the first time in a long while) it occurred to me that perhaps I really shouldn’t remove all the nappiness? Maybe they act like scrubbers and trap new dust particles, effectively cleaning the air for me?

Christmas is coming!

Decorating the house for Christmas!

Decorating the house for Christmas!

I am working on hanging the lights outside this year – very exciting! Wiring is a bit of an issue – to avoid tripping hazards and kids getting into things they shouldn’t – but I shall prevail 🙂 Mom has been sick the last 10 days or so, but Richard has just arrived and she’s now on antibiotics, so I’m hoping life will return to normal here soon. It’s strange having a sick Gramma around who can’t play! Sam, Ben and I found a toy for her cottage on our running/biking route – a big, yellow, plastic snail rocking-type toy out at the road for free, so we put it on our jogging stroller and ran it down to Gramma’s cottage.