The boys and I went on an impromptu bike ride late this afternoon while Dave was at work. We meant to go to the beach since the sun had popped out, but on the way the sky turned grey and we ended up on base to go muddin’! We had such fun – you would have to be there to hear the squeals as we went through huge puddles, Ben going “Wuv uuu mommy!” with each big one and Sam going “Whoa! That was up to my knees!” Ben looked down at mommy’s legs and said “Mommy messy!” Dave was so sweet to meet us with a hose as soon as we arrived home to clean us and our bikes up. The mud was so thick in some places you couldn’t even see Sam’s tire! One puddle was outrageous – it was over a foot deep and man did it splash! Sam ran back into it to see how far up his legs it went. We also contemplated going through a big puddle at a parking lot…who knew how deep it would be? It was literally 20 parking spaces in each direction and cordoned off. But how bad could it be, really? So away we went, hollering and smiling. I saw another dad and two kids out biking – they smiled, watching us. When we got through we heard a commotion behind us and looked back – the other family had come along, too! How cool! Sam told me halfway through the ride that he “will remember this ride for-EVER.” Amazing. Thank you, Sam! And thank you, Dave, for allowing me to make these memories with the boys. I will remember it forEVER, too 🙂 When we got home we realized that we’d come home filthy twice in a day – after a bike/run this morning and now this big ride – 13 miles for Sam on the bike today! (Quote above is a boy who saw us ride by and remarked about the back of Sam’s shirt!)
Plastic and all kinds of other stuff – even huge grapefruits – wash up on the beaches here, and everywhere. In the winter it seems like the north-facing beaches get the most, and in the summer it’s the south-west facing beaches. We pick up trash every time we go to the beach, but today was special – it was a team effort among a couple moms and their kids. In a short stretch of sand – maybe 0.2 miles – and one hour later we hauled away 44 pounds of trash. That’s as much as one seven-year old weighed. (Or Sam when he was 4!) The gang made some paintings with watercolors mixed with ocean water and paintbrushes from hala trees, then glued on trash pieces to make art. Where does all this trash come from? While cruise ships get most of the blame, international convention signed by 139 nations (MARFOR Annex V specifically) prohibits dumping plastic anywhere. You might be surprised to know that other waste can be dumped outside territorial waters (3 miles offshore). I wish we had a zero-waste society but that just isn’t possible. The best we can do is repurpose and recycle, and teach our kids the value of protecting the land, the oceans, and ultimately our own health since we’re at the top of the food chain.
Thanks to mom and Richard for a fun time at Bumper Boats last night! Dave had to work late, and decided we should go ahead and stick with the celebration. Sam’s dino balloon got to ride a bumper boat, too! We had dino cake for dessert – mom and I did our artistry again, this time on a very edible “normal” store-bought cake. (b-o-r-i-n-g! ha ha!) On my way out to the truck, with two sugared-up kids and two balloons, I felt a little harried making sure no one got popped or bopped in the parking lot. My phone rang – looked at the number – from the shipyard, so figured it was Dave saying he was able to make his way home earlier than expected. I answered right away saying “Hey sweetie! I’m herding my ducks to the truck, so make it quick or I’ll have to call you back!” Silence. “Ummmm…I was looking for Mr. Krug.”
Sam and I were talking over breakfast this morning, his first official day of being five, about shapes and colors (for Ben’s benefit) and different countries and places. Sam said “And mom, THIS is the young Atlantic, right here.” So I went to look – it was the Mediterranean Sea. I asked why the “young” Atlantic. “Well, because it’s smaller than the Atlantic.” Of course! I like that thinking.
Mom and our friend Sean (a manager at our favorite restaurant who is always so nice to our kids) came along. Mom even brought me a latte! Small split shot soy…say that three times fast 🙂 It’s raining out now – it’s been a really dry January – but it was nice to hike on fairly dry ground for a Hawaii winter. Usually the roots and red clay dirt are way slick! Mom did a great job keeping up with us on her first real adventure since getting sick. I don’t even think she whooped today!
This is a cell phone shot taken quickly before the next deluge from the sprinklers came around! We had a blast racing through them and comparing who got hit the worst! We also happened upon a submarine slowly pulling out and heading to sea. While bike/running around on base we stumbled upon a Native Hawaiian burial site, so we picked up a Hawaiian word for Sam to use when he wants some alone time – KAPU, meaning “keep out.” Ha ha – Ben liked the word, too. He was on Sam’s bed later, reading his books, saying “kapu, kapu!” The day began and ended with damp paper towel “snowballs” being flung around the house, trying to tag each other on the head, the ear, the nose… Soggy snowballs! They work quite well – you can bunch them up and throw them just like a real snowball! I really surprised the boys this morning when I threw the first one after wiping up Ben’s face 🙂 It just seemed like the thing to do – and howls of laughter filled the house with happy sounds as we leaped upon the fallen snowballs and tried to get each from behind the couch and across the room 🙂 Off to a hike today – Pu’u Pia. One of Sam’s favorites. Tomorrow it’s official – he’s FIVE!
We had such fun celebrating Sam’s fifth birthday (which will be on Wed 1/27) with his friends this weekend. We were blessed with great weather despite predictions of rain, and everyone had a wonderful time. Thank you to Dave for making camp coffee and pancakes (and dinner, too!) and Kathy and Jon for so many things – chief among which I think were the centipede-killer-crow-bar, and the beetle-carapace-cutting knife. Thanks to our friends for coming and enjoying some down-to-earth games (bug races and a tug-0-saur!) and good times. Looking forward to the next campout… Click on the pictures for the album. And please read mom’s blog for her take – she is much funnier (www.skeneclan.com). Dave and Richard, I hope you recover from your post-traumatic-centipede disorder! I am tired…whew! Off to bed…
By the way, mom and I are continuing to email each other way past bedtime about which is worse – bee vs centipede bit. She says centipede is worse. Still, compared to camping on the mainland, I say I’d take centipede over bear any time. Smaller mandibles on the pede…can kill with axe.
Maybe I should just stop taking B vitamins so I don’t have as much energy left over at the end of the day, but I’m having trouble falling asleep at night lately. Part of it is just being very busy right now but the other part is a burden I seem to be carrying for the human toll the disaster in Haiti has wrought. Of course there have been other huge natural disasters which I have followed closely but this is different somehow and I am not sure why. It may be the simple matter of seeing a baby born hours after the quake being carried in the arms of a young US military medic. That poor baby had lost her mother. Our prayers are with all the families affected by this. I wish we could do more than send money to buy water, but some day we will. Sam is collecting money at his party instead of presents so he can help other five-year-olds. We are convinced this will be a better week in Haiti, despite what all the news reports are saying about mounting frustrations. Just get them water, please…
Sam asked this morning why we go to church. While we’ve explained this for years, the reasoning changes as he ages. And while we didn’t quite make it to church this morning (we ended up at the beach – oops!) we did make a concerted effort to explain anew why we do. Tonight I found a way to make it a bit more tangible when I showed him a picture of the rubble in a street in Haiti on my computer, then pointed to the words above: “Catholic” – that is the church we belong to – then “Relief” – that means help – “Services” – things like water and food that volunteers are bringing to people in Haiti. I explained that Mommy and Daddy gave money to CRS to help the many people of Haiti survive the earthquake. His big brown eyes turned to look me right in the eye and he said earnestly “Thank you for helping them.” Wow. My eyes filled as I said “You’re welcome, Sam.” Today I jotted down a couple ideas for Sam’s fifth birthday party next week and realized how fortunate we are to take this milestone for granted when 1 in 8 Haitian kids don’t make it to their fifth birthday. See Sam’s invite above for a preview of the fun 🙂
I ran over to show a guy doing pushups (at a playground!) who’s BOSS? (This was today, after listening to “The Boss” while running 8:30 splits over 5.5 miles with Ben – so I was rather pumped up on endorphins). I didn’t show the guy who’s boss, but I seriously considered it! I mean, really, he was in “my” domain at the playground! I wanted to be sure my pushups passed muster before gettin’ crazy like that – so I showed Dave tonight after a full dinner, wine and coffee (yuck!). He commented, in Dave fashion knowing all too well how a REAL pushup should look, “Those aren’t bad considering most women can’t do even one.” (I had my feet up on a table and got my nose to the ground, man, and all I got was a “Not bad?!”) My super buff girlfriends, one of whom is a former Marine, another couple are triathletes, another one a CrossFit mamma…you know who you are…would totally say “You go girl!” ha ha LOL I’m just a tad embarrassed that I have real wackiness to report vs the stuff circulating Facebook right now 🙂 I can blame it on Beethoven and “The Boss” – Ben and I had been listening to both on the run. I wore Dave’s GPS to see what my usual pace is and was really surprised to see it’s about an 8:30/mile (9:30 for hills and headwinds 🙂 ). Awesome! I was really gratified to see I hadn’t lost too much over the last couple months of travel and pertussis affecting Sam’s speed on the bike a bit (he usually joins us on runs but on Saturday mornings he’s in an ukulele lesson with Daddy, so Ben and I have been tearing up the town together 🙂 ). Dave has been edifying me with music history 101 lately, from The Beatles to The Band. And last night he managed to quickly answer some theological questions from mom over dinner…my hubby is amazing. I love to listen to him. But what intellectual offerings do I share in return? Maybe a few laughs…I think I saw a smile when I was telling him about my playground bravado…
Yes, it is, once you can read all on your own! Since Sam started reading in September, it’s been a mix of fun and frustration. He wants to do things perfectly well on his own, instantly. We’ve had several chats about how it takes time, just like taking training wheels off a bike but now he can do just about anything he wants on that bike without even thinking about it. Reading will be the same. But right now, the honest truth is it’s still hard work sometimes. Especially if you’re reading some crazy poems in Flamingos on the Roof! (Thanks brother Steve – that book still makes us smile! “Never climb a rubber ladder…Never kiss a nettle…”) I reflected on my own learning experiences with Sam for a few minutes this morning. I told him I remember how my brain had to work very very hard in grad school to do very complex math problems (“Like numbers in the thousands??? Or millons???” he asked.)
Sea Life Park is a wonderful experience for families – I’m a huge fan of the massive aquarium where we can keep our fish knowledge up to speed by identifying all our reef “friends,” and the marine mammal shows are very good, arguably better than most Sea World shows. The boys and I went on an adventure run this morning – ran around the inside of an old, small volcano crater-turned-military-housing then tooled over to SLP for lunch and some play time (and some shave ice!). Sam was so very sweet today – he thanked me several times for taking him on adventures, and remarked when we got home what a nice day he’d had. We all did – mom and Richard joined us for the fun, too. Ben seemed to like the variety – on the run we got to see a mongoose ducking in and out of a drainage ditch, bushwhacked up an old trail, bike/ran through a road usually closed to public access (but we found an MP who said we could go :)) and used my GPS to locate the truck again 🙂 Here’s a plug for Sea Life Park – go while it’s the “slow” season, give them some revenue, make sure the place stays open, and buy a family membership. It’s a great value!
This is how my hosting company’s tech support agent signed off from an email response returned within 2 minutes… Now that is amazing! Way to go, ICDSoft and SureSupport!!! (I had signed my inquiry as “Mahalo nui loa” explaining that is “Thank you very much” in Hawaiian.)
We headed out in sunshine, then this creamy blue-grey sky crept over our bay. Pretty much just as we headed to Flat Island, a little storm rolled in, just as Dave predicted. But hey, it’s not terribly cold here, and the water is still upper 70s. So carpe diem… Click on the photo to the left for a few January updates and funny Sam-isms. Hope your 2010 is off to a great start! Aloha 🙂
UPDATE: Album pictures posted through photo above. Narrative updated below.
We were looking for quiet, solitude, and adventure, and found it all on Kaua’i. We spent the holiday with mom and Richard in a cottage at Barking Sands (Pacific Missile Range). Such a beautiful place, and sparsely populated compared to O’ahu. Doug and Mary wrapped up their vacation in Maui and really enjoyed adventuring around the north shore on a winding, cliff-hugging road, horseback riding, and surfing. Can’t wait to see their pictures, too! I hope you all had a wonderful start to 2010 and know that we are thinking of you and love each of you.
We closed out 2009 with Dave working about 6 weeks straight and all of us, except for me, coughing for weeks. We all went to Kaua’i, coughing, and stayed, ironically, on Barking Sands, with everyone barking and braying like the donkeys mysteriously tied up to the side of the road, grazing peacefully. Upon our return I vowed to revisit this illness with renewed vigor as the only well person capable of researching and synthesizing all the symptoms into a coherent narrative (since I’d slept in the same room with the boys for three days, I had some good data!). Despite our good humor and finding ways to laugh about this, something needed to be done. Poor mom was the first one sick, and seemed to be suffering the most. The point here is this: it appears that mom contracted pertussis (whooping cough), and the kids became infected due to close contact. They seem to have a relatively milder illness, but I say that with some equivocation because I don’t consider violent coughing and whooping, sometimes with vomit at the end, to be a mild illness. Thankfully they’re robust kids and the vaccine seemed to provide partial immunity. Dave has been pretty sick, too, and trying to cook holiday meals with sterile technique to protect Doug and Mary (who are thankfully not sick…yet!). If you haven’t had your Tdap booster…ask your doc about it. I had mine over the summer and was immune to this. I am so grateful. I tried to catch it but couldn’t. I will wrap up this post as Ben is coughing and whooping right on schedule – about two hours after going to bed. Hopefully he’ll have a good night like last night since he’s been on antibiotics for about 24 hours. Everyone is on meds now (except for Richard who saw a particularly recalcitrant ER doc who doesn’t feel it’s worthwhile to stave off further transmission by prescribing the appropriate antibiotic) and appears to be on the mend. I’m thankful for a great pediatrician, and hopefully a better start to 2010! All the best to you and yours…aloha!