After Sam’s uke lesson we went to one of our favorite snorkeling spots – Sam and I took off in a slightly different direction today to check it out. We saw a bunch of juvenile parrotfish, some threadfin butterflyfish and wrasse. Then somebody we hadn’t seen before strolled by – an 18″ long bonefish, most likely Elops Hawaiensis because of the brownish markings. Dave says no way did I see a rare Hawaiian ladyfish, but after careful checking I really think I did. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me to prove it, so I went back in and got it.
Every now and then I’m contacted by another mother who has found www.outdoorohana.org useful for finding hikes to do with the kids, or for adventures with young kids while vacationing here on the island. It’s always gratifying to know that my efforts to provide information have facilitated families getting out and about together, enjoying exercise and nature. So when Amy contacted me a couple weeks ago to say thanks for all the hikes, it was really nice to hear from her, but what was even better is her invitation for me to join with her little group of moms – an informal “hui” – for activities they’d cooked up. How nice to be included! So Amy and I hooked up today for a hike with our kids – her 2 yr old Sam and my Ben. It was so great to meet her – her training is in early childhood education (newborn to age 8) and her career has spanned all those ages from nanny through preschool teacher and kindergarten teacher. She has chosen not to enroll her boy in preschool, opting instead to find good adventures for him in conjunction with other like-minded moms. I’m off to go wake Ben up from his nap so we can ride our “motorcycle” (bike) over to pick up Sam from school. I am blessed to have found another mom to tromp around with in the forest now that my original buddies have moved to WA – yes, Kathy, I shed a tear on my way to the trail because I miss having Sam in my truck for trail time (he was sad this morning, too) and I missed knowing I would be seeing you! Aloha, friend! But I know which trails you’re tromping up in WA and we’ll see you soon 🙂 In the meantime, I’ve got a new “A” for my A-team :0
Every camping trip I look forward to with relish until the day of packup, then it suddenly seems very ill-advised to go in the midst of the projects underway at the time (pool fence, work, etc.). But once the tent is up and we’re all having a great time chillaxin in our little “clubhouse” as Ben calls it, I am very thankful that I geared up and went. This time it was a getaway timed with a day off of school for Sam. Dave couldn’t take off work, but we’re pretty comfortable with the drill (have you noticed that Dave often seems to have to work for camping trips? He’s not a big centipede guy, but they haven’t been out the last couple trips.) We had a really great time, despite Ben’s first bee sting (bee was hiding in the sand – never seen that before) and we managed to blow our truck battery listening to Bruce while packing up (I found a retired tank mechanic to jump start our truck – how lucky was that?!). And finally – the bird portion – wait ’til you see that picture (the last picture in the camping album). One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen! Enjoy the stories which accompany the pictures – Sam just went through them with me and it was fun sharing laughs together remembering. As he went back to sit and build some more Lego stuff he said “Mooom? When are we going camping again?” “I don’t know – want to go in Oct for your next break?” “Yeah. But next time I want to go for THREE nights.”
Being the only kindergartener riding a bike to school has its challenges, but plenty of rewards, too. We get to chat for longer on the way over, we get our blood moving, and sometimes we have a few laughs over crazy spaz-outs (like almost running over a huge trash can, or getting a flat tire, or seeing a huge family of ducks out grazing). We have gotten to know our crossing guard, Anne Marie, who is maybe 70 and just as cute as can be – thin, graceful, sweet, immaculate in her bright yellow rain jacket and stop sign. She looks the picture of health, probably has tea and toast in the morning, sends the kids off with a “have a great day!” and then hikes the tallest ridges. That’s my guess. I hope I am like her when I’m grown up. In other news the campus has gone nut-free – yes, they found me out! no more nuts on campus! After expressing my concerns from a public health policy standpoint (see NY and MA guidance on managing allergens on campus) I began collecting suggestions for healthy nut-free lunches and providing them to the PTA president for her newsletter. I bought Sam a bento box and filled it up with healthy food in the classic Japanese 4:3:2:1 ratio (rice:meat:vegetable:dessert). It was a great way to think outside the lunchbox, so in a way I’m grateful for the somewhat misdirected ban, and of course empathetic to the challenges the kids with severe allergies face. Sam is adjusting very well to school and relishes telling me every day who is chasing who on the playground, who got knocked over in the chase, who jumped out from behind the playground equipment, who got their name on the board (Sam did once so far for imitating a drumming noise the class troublemaker was making), and other classroom news. He is now unlocking his bike himself and walking it to the turnout area where all the parents pick up their kids. We are the only yellow Xterra, so we’re easy to find (we look like a school bus!) and the other day Ben and I turned up on our bike to ride home with Sam. That was fun.
Sam is such a grown-up guy, and I am very proud of him. All the concerns people have about preschooling their kids so they are able to adjust to school I think are overrated. A bit of care and attention is all it took to prepare Sam, and he had no tears until today when his bike lock would not cooperate when I arrived to pick him up. Poor guy. Daddy had a bad day, too, leaving his ID at home by accident then found his check engine light on after already spending $1200 on a new clutch. Oy. Hoping the car was just having a bad day. I called to him from way across the field as he was running toward me, and when he arrived I suggested he try to calm down, give it one more go, just being sure the numbers were all lined up with the knobbies and right-side up. I watched from 100 yards away as he went back at it, and ultimately prevailed. I was SO proud of him! (I couldn’t easily leave to rescue him as Ben was in the truck and car upon car was trying to get around us to collect their kid(s).) There is a whole band of guys (junior police officers) who stand with little helmets on to help the kids get in their cars. They have whistles, they open car doors, they hold out stop signs to let people cross, they signal the line of cars to advance to get the next batch of kids. It’s quite impressive.
Anyway…here’s our Bento box.
Be jealous. Be very very jealous! It’s so fun to put things in little containers, and the food proportions are exactly right…they follow the food pyramid. Thanks for your patience in waiting for a new post. I feel like I can’t quite catch my breath yet although my book project is over. I am currently managing the install on a pool fence for our assoc and wrapping up a total redesign of a podiatry practice’s website, logo, online registration form and collateral material as well as doing some statistics on a paper for which I’m coauthor. I am overstimulated for sure. But we’re going off the grid tomorrow to camp because Friday is a holiday (Hawaii was made a state 58 years ago I think.) So more in a few days! Enjoy your weekend 🙂
We decided to head out on a hike today after school – Tues is for Trails. So we went ahead with an adventure even though I was totally spent. It was a busy day getting Sam to school, cleaning up the house, doing some paperwork, entertaining Ben who misses Sam, then back to Sam’s school to visit for lunch (fried fish – couldn’t resist!) and then home to nap Ben, cram in some work, then back to school to pick Sam up, and off to the hike. I am really glad we went, though, despite being tired. It’s always good to be in the woods. Sam did some pretty incredible math again today and stumped mommy. He found a long bamboo pole which he said would be “Good for a measuring stick.” (Literally, right?) It was like having three kids along on the hike, though, with Tall Tom the pole bobbing around nearly stabbing Ben or me. I got bonked on the head once, and so did Sam. So anyway, the pole is two Sams tall plus two inches, so that led to lots of good math about ways we could say that. At one point we figured out it was 8 ft 6″ tall, so I asked Sam how else he could say that. I thought he’d say eight-and-a-half feet, but he said “two and a half yards plus a half foot”. It wasn’t until much later at dinner that Dave helped me out with my math and we realized we were six inches off. Oh well! It’s the mental gymnastics that counted, and to my credit I’d been bonked before I started the hike (tired, hungry), then bonked with Tall Tom the pole. We also came up with a little jingle for the kids at school “Stand in line, tall like pines!”
So this is the first full week of school and my policy is not to wake sleeping boys. So it got interesting…at 7:16 Sam rolled out of bed. I’d already been in to change Ben who had gotten up an hour earlier. Sam was still sleeping at 7am. They are usually both up at 0630 but Sam apparently needed some sleep. We managed to get him fed (yogurt and granola), dressed, on his bike and rolling in 15 minutes! Wow.
We went on a beach hike today at one of our favorite places. I love the lava shelves here, the tide pools and the olivine sand – it’s green because it contains this mineral from the crater in the picture to the left (Ulupa’u). I did a little finger painting – mixed media madness really. Dave helped get the shape of Ulupa’u just right because I had been working from memory at the second beach we went to today. I saved some sand and sprinkled it on using spary adhesive. The shells are stuck on a mound of old glue stick glue.
Dave is not a big fan of my mixed media stuff but I told him what one of my friends (Liisa) said once – being an artist means one feels compelled to create. So…it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be good LOL J. For me to keep a creation of my own, it has to instantly and sufficiently recall a time and place – experiences that I value. I like the textures (sand, shells, seaweed for the cactus on the slopes) because they all enhance my memory of the place. For me, it’s like making a 3D movie instead of a regular film. When I look at this one (wherever we stash it in the house – probably the bedroom!) I will remember all the times the boys and I jogged or biked around the fish ponds on a morning adventure, muddin’ through knee-deep puddles left by a heavy rain, rescuing injured stilts, even going to the commissary every week. If you click on the picture and blow it up you can see the sparkles in the sand!
We enjoyed a trip to the pool this afternoon before hitting Target for a backpack for Sam. My Salvation Army pick was a good one for the first week of school until we had a better fix on what he really needs. Dave and I swam a few laps, trading off hanging out with the kids. I really enjoy swimming for exercise since my feet are still not totally back to normal. Plus my concrete stair skiing incident last week is still hurting the tailbone! (In a side note – Ben loves scratchies before bed – THANKS MOM! – so he asks for it on his neck most nights. The other night he requested “On my tai-ow-bone, Mom.”) This morning was Sam’s weekly uke lesson with his sweet teacher Meylinn.
The Poi Boys: Here’s a movie of the boys playing in the back of the truck on the way over – Sam is playing on the uke Eddie Kamae gave him, while we are listening to one of Eddie’s CDs. They love a book about growing taro and request taro frozen yogurt, so the name “poi boys” just came to me tonight 🙂
We’ve been having a good time with Dave off work this week – fitting in short adventures while awaiting updates on the book galleys for me to go through. Dave has made dinners, put Ben down for nap, worked with Sam on the “big build” (Lego projects) and generally enjoyed catching up on man time with the boys. Today we went up to Shark’s Cove to celebrate the last day of leave and Sam starting school tomorrow. (!) As I snorkeled around, I was surprised at how oily the water seemed – like a lot of sunscreen or something was floating around. At times it cleared up, but then I’d hit another patch. I knew it was slack tide, so I thought perhaps it had something to do with the water hanging out in the tide pools and not getting refreshed. Dave went out to check the fish scene and came back with a funny look on his face after swimming around in the big cove part. He said to me “You’re a funny girl.” I said “Yeah?” thinking that’s not news. “You thought that was oily water?” “Yeah? Didn’t it look weird to you?” Dave goes “Did you notice changes in the water from warm to cool?” “Um. Yeah, I think so.” Turns out that oiliness was where warm water met cool water from the tide coming in (is this called a thermocline?). Very cool – glad to know it wasn’t anything IN the water!
The big boys have been enjoying jam time in the “studio” – the office. Sam calls out chords to Dave while he plays his guitar. Last night they played one of Sam’s new songs (Yucatan Waterwells) and then treated us to “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” by Bruce Springsteen. What fun it is to see Dave and Sam playing, with Ben doing his loud scream-singing into a screwdriver microphone (or whatever else he can get his hands on).