So Sam is back in school – a few minutes late this morning because both boys slept in until 7:30! (My “policy” is not to wake sleeping children until they are in 3rd grade.) We enjoyed bike/running over listening to Beethoven and talking about what life was like 200 years ago. Sam was very intrigued by how long people tended to live, how they had to heat their homes with coal, no bathrooms or phones, etc. Life was a lot harder in some ways, but in other ways they were slowed down enough to appreciate beauty all around them, much as we were during our “grounding” for Thanksgiving. Beethoven started writing music about the age Sam is now, and found his inspiration during long walks in the woods.(This is from memory reading a great biography about him 6 years ago, so hopefully I’ve retained these tidbits correctly ;0 ) Music is a really important part of life for us, and I am so grateful every time Sam picks up his uke to play.
I’ve been meaning to jot some notes down about two books, one of which I recently finished and the other is on my bed stand.
The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast, Too Soon (Elkind) This book struck a chord with me when I stumbled across it – our family was in a phase where the calendar had booked up quickly, we were double-booked often and having to choose between equally good opportunities, and it seemed like I was saying “hurry” from 7:07am straight through for 12 hours. When I noticed this book was in its 25th year of print, I had to pick it up – how could things have been so crazy even 25 years ago? Elkind observes that dual income families have placed a special burden on children – not just the mad dash out the door to daycare, but the multiple transitions we ask of children throughout a day, from home to preschool/daycare, from daycare to after-school care with a neighbor or friend, and back home for an hour before bed. He notes that the meltdowns upon returning home are likely due to the release of tension built up during the day – the child manages his or her feelings and “adjusts” but the fallout happens when the child can finally relax at home. While I think much of it could have been stated more concisely, it is a good read and helps parents reprioritize so that these very brief early years are healthy and nurturing for the whole family. It doesn’t have to be a period of life we “survive” until the kids are old enough to be more self-sufficient. This should be a time to embrace their dependency, create special bonds, and not hurry up all those developmental milestones to suit our own needs.
Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Kids in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World (Esquith) This book was sent to me by a friend (also a client) and I am grateful for it. The author is a teacher and parent with profound dedication to helping kids develop into extraordinary beings. He infuses his teaching with life lessons (about being on time, about valuing time and managing it so that it isn’t lost or squandered), and taking them on adventures such as a ball game for his fifth graders. I find that much of his philosophy is like mine – that important life lessons are all around us and certainly not confined to the mastery of sight words or basic arithmetic. While all that academic stuff is vital, it’s not what makes us extraordinary. Using our minds to think creatively about the world around us, to perceive the nuances of life and people, to have the freedom of time to dream about goals and pursue them…all that is important. It is part of why I am waiting for home school and public school to join forces for those of us who want the best of both: three months of school, one month of holo holo time with the kids. I think elementary school could be completely overhauled for the good of families and kids. So if I don’t head out this week, we’ll stay put for the month (Dave isn’t home to nay-say my ideas!) then go holo holo in March when we’re not competing with so many people.
I hacked into my mom’s Facebook account so I could see pictures of everyone in San Diego 🙂 Looks like a great time was had by all! Congrats Mike on pulling together a great Bird on the Beach!
We hope our far-flung family and friends have had a relaxing and rejuvenating Thanksgiving holiday. We were thinking of everyone from WA to MA. Despite the roller coaster of going/not going, we found a way to enjoy a virtual vacation, doing things we hadn’t done in a while, run out of diapers and milk, get overly tired staying up late, exploring new sights every day… With some work, we were able to get ourselves to a spot where we could really appreciate the beauty immediately around us, take the time for explorations into forests and valleys, botanical gardens and nearby parks. The boys had a great time with their dad with this week off. They are really starting to identify strongly with him, Sam especially, through sports, checkers, mutual interests (such as astronomy, music). Even Ben is not a little guy anymore, and snagging these guys for a snuggle is proving increasingly difficult. So I am thankful that, in the end, I didn’t opt to take the boys to San Diego without their Dad. I certainly missed making new memories with the boys on a trip (we really bond as a unit, create new “inside jokes” and learn lots of new things about each other), but I think I made the right decision on balance. Thankfully, Thanksgiving rolls around yearly! Only one more here for us…
Oh, and I’m down to only checking the flight listings 2-3 times a day. That is down from 4 times a day yesterday. And hourly for 10 days before that. I’m weaning myself off the travel addiction. Today, while the boys and I made a sundial with our neighbors’ kids, the breeze was cool and the sun had a warm, dry feel to it alot like a fall day in any of the five states we’ve lived. So we were transported to each of you in a way. :0
(I’m on the phone with mom now…she is laughing at me about my addiction to checking flights. I even talked to Dave tonight about going to Kansas because it’s only 12 hours from Durango where Steve and Tim are!)
Oh – other big news – I just bought my first smartphone. An HTC Aria! (Android OS). It is pretty cool I must admit. But I was funny in the phone store – feeling like a total dunce – and I wish my iPhone-loving mom was there to watch (she has been there for the milestone events, like first contact lenses, etc. She says I’m funny to watch when evaluating these things.) I currently have a GO phone that was $30 because I managed to kill my previous phone with water or sand or something. The rep was showing me all the 7 screens you can personalize when I asked if you could drop-kick it. Because that happens on the way to the truck with two kids, three water bottles, a bike, sunscreen, etc. My old phone could be kicked to the truck and work just fine. But the screen was so scratched up I couldn’t see who was calling! So I have to say that while my phone is sleek and smart, we’ll have to see just how workable it is. I can hook it up to my portable speakers so I can play music for the boys while we run/bike to school/errands, etc. So the two apps I’ve downloaded – a tide table, and Google maps. I told Dave I just had to travel now to test out my new app! It will talk to me while driving, and I don’t even need to buy a new Garmin Nuvi! woo hoo! Kansas, here we come! It’s in the middle of the country, guys. Come on! All options are open from there ;0
Just one of those funny things we want to remember and obviously forgot to make note of it! This game is when the boys jump from a chair to a bed or something else. Sam said about a year ago “This is ‘footwick’ – it’s a game.” He was very serious about the rules: “It’s when you jump, like this, with one foot here and the next foot hops to something else.” Ben loved footwick, too, of course. Thanks to Dave for remembering the name of the game tonight! He was spinning in his computer chair for Ben’s amusement and realized he felt sick from spinning – he was about to see Thanksgiving dinner again!
We are very thankful for good friends, and we are fortunate that paths keep crossing to bring them here to Hawaii! Now four As are here (Angel, April, Angela and me) within just a few miles of each other. That is trouble!
Here we are “warming” Josh and Angela’s new home in Kailua, just a 15 minute walk from us! Angie’s mom (Peggy) is on the left – she is visiting for two weeks. They are still unpacking (they just moved in less than a week ago!). Ben really enjoys little Rachel (sitting to Angie’s right) – this is the little baby for whom a surprise shower was thrown last year when Sam, Ben and I scooted up to WA in October.
As we wait and hope for a flight anywhere close to Southern California (is Arkansas really that far from Pendleton?) I think about commitment. Commitment to family and being there for gatherings. Commitment to school and whether or not I should have pulled Sam out of school earlier to make it to So Cal (as in 3 weeks early like I would normally allow). Commitment to my own family and enjoying blessings close at hand.
But we have enjoyed some lighter moments, too – some very funny memories, both new and old. Like the hike a few months ago on Koko Crater where at the very end of all those stairs in the hot sun we found a guy hiking up backwards. A quick exchange as we passed revealed he’s a pianist who likes to stay in shape. He calls himself “One Sole” (or is it “Soul”?). How interesting, we thought. Then a few steps later Dave lost one of his soles off his Keen hiking shoes and became One Sole himself! Biiiizzaro! That sort of stuff only happens here. Or…with me. Not sure.
Anyway, today we’re in Sports Authority buying Dave new hiking shoes several months later…with a closed toe in case we happen to get a space-a flight (you need closed-toe shoes). We look up in the sky as we cross the parking lot and I spot a C17 . You darn military plane! I see you going to the mainland! I see you up there! Then a C40. That one’s going somewhere unhelpful but I can’t remember now because the hourly flight listings I’ve listened to are a blur. We get into Sports Authority and the boys loosely follow me, bopping balloons all over, hiding in stuff, darting around stuff. I can see them because of the green balloons. Then Ben loses the balloon he’s been holding onto since breakfast. It floats up 25′ to the ceiling lights. So we let it go – after all, boys need to learn consequences.
Then, on our way out, I spot a tall guy who doesn’t seem horribly busy. I stopped and politely pointed with raised eyebrows. “Could you possibly help us???” Ben looked eager. So nice tall guy goes to get a ladder – I said please don’t kill yourself trying to get it, but if you happen to find a way… We met him under the balloon, he with ladder in hand. Ben looking very eager now. Then the nice guy goes to get a golf club to reach the balloon. With club in hand at the top of the ladder, the nice guy goes “What’s your name?” to me. “Do I have to give you my real name?” I ask. Yesterday I accidentally pulled someone over on our way to base to drop Dave’s car off so he’d have a way to get home from the airport in the event we actually fly somewhere this week, so I am still a little sensitive about revealing my identity. He goes “Because I think I know you. You’re one of Heidi’s friends, right?” (This is my good friend Heidi, mom of Holly, the boys’ sitter.) So now it gets really interesting. “Indeed!” I say, turning fairly red for the first time in a long time. Turns out it was Alfonso helping us – Heidi’s son-in-law. And it was his first day at work! He had wanted some new golf clubs so he got a second job to earn some extra money. Nutso, huh? So although this week is not quite as eventful as we thought, just waiting for a flight and wondering when and where we’ll go is pretty adventurous.
I’ve been carefully considering and almost seriously following through on all kinds of contingencies – like flying into Whidbey and driving 7 hours to see another cousin who couldn’t make it at the last minute to the gathering. There’s snow up there, and ice on the mountain passes but I know how to handle that and the boys would love it. I am game. But…I can’t reach anyone at Enterprise! Without a car, that would not be such a good trip. And Dave is shaking his head at all that. And it’s 15 hours to Travis to get a ride back home. The west coast is pretty spread out I’m learning. Whew. Leslie – thoughts are with you all. Wishing I could be there, too. Lots of love to the family, and thanks to mom especially for her forbearance with the multiple ups and downs of this holiday.
Soooo…we had a commercial flight lined up then a space-a flight opened up for the next day. That would save us (and mom) $1200 each to get us to San Diego. Wow. But too late to call Hawaiian and cancel, plus Dave wanted to stick with a sure bet. So we went to sleep, woke up, flight had been bumped to the following day allowing time to get refund on commercial tix (wow! that was a gift from Hawaiian, totally miraculous really). Figured that was a very good sign. Called again on the flight – had firmed up to 45 seats for Mon at 9am. Then went to check on flight later AT the terminal to be sure we were all set and it had come and gone (a “ghost” flight which wasn’t even on the boards which had landed then decided to leave a day early just an hour after I got off the phone with the pax rep). Came home totally and completely bummed. We wrestled with decisions for hours. Bags are packed, by the door. Little boys are dragging them around saying “I’m going on my trip! Goodbye!”
We love our family very much and this was a unique gathering of uncles and cousins, brothers and sisters. We were so hoping to see everyone and catch a flight space-a so it wouldn’t end up costing $2000+ just for airfare plus the added pressure of Dave having to go to Guam immediately after Thanksgiving. We are stiiiiillll hoping. Things happen quickly. Bags remain tightly packed by the door. Boys are ready. Dave is ready to kill me for the emotional rollercoaster (not really – we are laughing now!). But if we try to buy commercial at the last minute again we are TOTALLY flagged for super-security screenings. They’ll think we were pulling a fast one on them mixing it up like this. And Mom and Richard probably think we have a space-a hedge fund set up by now…Awww in all seriousness we are super bummed but still hoping. And thankful that Thanksgiving happens every year. We are also thankful that our Bird on the Beach tradition continues on the mainland – we’ll look very much forward to hosting as soon as we get back. Love to all ;0
So after weeks of planning and waiting, bags packed for 7 days, we reluctantly bought commercial tickets for a trip to San Diego to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family. Reluctantly not because of the gathering but that space-a didn’t work out for us this time. The only flight going anywhere near our destination had 22 people plus their families competing for 10 seats. Thankfully mom and Richard are helping us out with the airfare so we can join everybody and the boys are super excited about their trip 🙂 I was doing some reading tonight on the space-a message board to assuage my disappointment – reading about other people’s travails helps a bit – and ran across one guy who posts about his accounts biking from Romania to Italy (about 70 miles) on his fold-up bike that he transports with him. Way to get around without the hassle of renting a car or figuring out bus schedules! That is SO awesome! Just wait until we retire…
We have such a great group of intrepid moms of preschoolers! Today five of us went to Senator Fong’s gardens to take a tour of native plants and fruits. We could easily go again and hopefully absorb even more information next time. We are often very busy watching our little ones’ feet so we don’t get to look up as much as we’d like. But we did get to see a chocolate tree and watch our guide Patsy crack open the weird oblong yellow fruit to reveal this sticky, slimy white substance surrounding the cacao seed. We tried a taste of it – very sour and a weird texture. Kinda changes your thoughts about chocolate…a lot of work goes into harvesting the seeds and fermenting them before it remotely resembles a Hershey’s bar. After the hike we came home for me to work a bit while Ben napped, then off to after-school fun (yesterday it was dentist, today flu shots), playground, homework, dinner (the boys just wolfed and wolfed some salmon)…and then Dave found an odd bulge in his VW GTI’s tire. Oh no…hoping against hope it’s not another round of several hundred dollars of repairs. He’ll be taking the truck tomorrow because he has to go in early (like 4 am early) and we can’t have a blow-out happen on his way in. I’ll deal with the car because I can run anywhere we need to go. Cross fingers and toes…
We had fun this morning out hiking with a bunch of buddies. We reset a geocache and had a great time running through the woods with five boys all under 4 years of age. I think we had a 1 yr old, three 2 year olds, and a 3 1/2 year old. The moms are a great hiker hui as you can see by the big smiles! We were looking for root letters for our kids’ names – B for Ben, S for Sam, etc. Lehua (smiling above, in back) took a look at one that i thought might look like an “M” and she said “Oh, that’s pie!” and it took a minute for the rest of us to catch on that it wasn’t the edible pie she was referring to 🙂
Speaking of edible – dinner tonight was decidedly NOT. Dave was getting home late, but I didn’t know that until he wasn’t home by 6pm, so I started playing catch-up. Salmon is his specialty. Unfortunately the salmon was a bit too gone, so we ditched that after serving it up (boys hungry, almost in tears as salmon leaves their plate – I just couldn’t stomach more puking, after the 7-day puke-fest we had last month), then Dave cooked up some turkey meatballs and served them with a nice glaze of vintage 2008 canned tomato soup. He said it was totally fine because people used to keep that in their fallout shelters for years. Dating on cans is relatively new. (Mom, is that true?) So the boys chomped down on beans, corn from Sam’s field trip to Waimanalo (where he wore a Camelback pack as we usually do hiking because I knew it would be hot and sunny down there and he’d be thirsty – sure enough, the kids were thirsty but the teacher was thrown a bit for a loop when I dropped him off at school with a Camelback instead of a disposable water bottle). Anyway – I served up an incredible dessert to make up for all this (half-pound Reese’s cups – have you ever seen one of those?) with ice cream. Wow. Good dessert makes up for all kinds of transgressions. Dave and I were left hankering for something remotely resembling a reasonable dinner, though – Hungry Man, anyone?