Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of Pirates and Puppets

When we found my Dad at his hotel he was dressed like a pirate.
He had been waiting there for us to pick him up, fully unashamed that no one else around him was dressed like pirates. And that's what I love about my Dad.
He then gave the boys a homemade pirate treasure map, where they had to search for the hidden booty in front of his tiny, hotel lobby.
Booty was found.

And more pirates were made.

We made a puppet theatre out of a large cardboard box. It was so simple, and so fun! We just a cut a square hole in the front, and a door in the back. The boys painted it with some old, house paints we found around here.
They named it "The Spots and Stripes Puppet Theatre."
It really warms my heart to see these kids use their imaginations to create works of art for themselves. There is never a dull moment when you have a box, some paints, and a few awesome puppets! Thanks again Dad for providing the puppets, and for being a pirate that gives treasures instead of stealing them.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Testing the waters (moving to Puna)

From the moment we got here I was thrilled to be back, back to "da kine" as we say here in the islands. Hawaii is the place where I truly feel like myself. In Hawaii I can roll out of bed, throw on a beach wrap and t-shirt, toss my hair into a bun, and I'm dressed for the day. If I need to head to the grocery store, all I need is my rubber slippahs and I'm all touched up.
Most people here don't focus on mass consumerism, or fuss with the material things that can crowd and delusion us from enjoying the simple things of life. One of the first things I heard from the pulpit at church when we got here was,"Life ain't about looking good to your friends, it's about serving them." And that's what I feel is the essence of (my)Hawaii, where the Aloha spirit means smiling and serving others, and not worrying about the excess things.

Of course, I am speaking from the down-to-Earth "country" places that I have grown up in. There are 8 islands in the Hawaiian island chain, and each island is slightly different from the others, culturally, socially, and economically. Having grown up on Oahu, where life on the city side is more fast-paced, and more materially focused, I have seen the good and bad of both worlds there.
But I was fortunate to grow up on the country side, where we learned from a young age to slow down and enjoy the falling coconuts and the changing tides. We found happiness in chasing frogs and crabs! And when we were older, surfing, snorkeling, and other ocean sports became my passion. I fell in love with this lifestyle, and now I feel like I can embrace it once again.
In a (coco)nutshell, I just want to live my slow-paced-ocean-loving-Hawaiian-lifestyle, always having the goal in mind of serving my family, my community, my church, and spreading the "Aloha." This is my happy, and I'm loving it.
When Micah and I were going through the many decision stages of where? and why? to move over here, we looked into the Big Island as an affordable option. The Big Island is the largest island of the eight main ones, yet slower and less inhabited. That means less busy, less commercial, and more open to the possibility of us living out our dream of buying an acre of land, and building a simple, homestead life on it. (You know, the one where we build a house, grow a huge garden, plant fruit trees, raise goats and chickens, spend our leisure time at the beach, and home-school our children. Yah, that dream.)

So here we are on the Big Island! I spent some time here as a little kid, but moving here as an adult, this is brand new territory for me. When Micah and I decided to move over here we didn't really know how it would all play out. However, we did know two things:
1. We were up for the adventure. 2. We needed to find out our dream.

For the first 3 weeks we were so very blessed to house-sit for some friends that were out of town. We woke up the morning after our flight to a lovely house surrounded by the most beautiful, tropical flowers, and classical Hawaiian rain forest!
We spent that first 3 weeks in somewhat of a culture shock as we drove around Hilo and roundabouts. We explored the exotic fruits and veggies at the farmer's markets, welcomed the humidity and rain that moistened up our desert skin, re-learned how to pronounce words like Kalanianaole and maku'upaniapa, and of course, swam our little hearts out at the local beaches.

Micah browsing the local farmer's market for goods:
Beach days on the big island means lots of black sand, lava, and sea-turtles galore:

However, (as crazy adventures tend to go,) our easy, house-sitting time began to come to a close, and we didn't really know where to go next! We felt so blessed that the Seivert family let us stay at their house, but with 3 small children, we needed to come up with a next plan, quick! (Gone are the single days of camping anywhere, anytime, and eating whatever!) So, we were starting to get a little worried. Since Micah still wasn't employed, what we needed was a temporary place to live until we found a permanent home.

Enter the Hanza family.

We met the Hanza couple at church on Sunday. Ivo and Heidi Hanza were friends with our house-sitting friends and welcomed us to the ward. After several minutes of talking with Heidi (the Mama), we both knew what was going to happen next: We were going to move into their family home, as they were getting ready to move out. This couple had been preparing to leave their house for the mainland and were quietly searching for the perfect family to rent their home. They told us we could even live there temporarily until we figured things out. They didn't mind a bit.
Turns out God made it possible for us to meet at that exact moment, so we could move into their house. Now they could rest from their search, and we could rest from our worries. God is so timely!

It's a family home, built 25 years ago, on one acre surrounded by trees.
They raised 6 kids here, and homeschooled them. They planted fruit trees, and gardens, had their share of chickens and goats, and spent much of their leisure time at the beach.

Does this sounds familiar?

We felt right at home the minute we stepped into this house! The Mama left us all the furniture, beds, linens, bath towels, kitchen pans, utensils,trash cans, book shelves...well, pretty much everything we didn't have, that we had to get rid of when we moved here!(and much, much more than I've ever had)

I feel blessed beyond what I ever imagined! I feel like the Lord is certainly showing me his love through these simple things. I was able to walk right into a house that already felt like mine, and feel so secure and loved that we are meant to be here.

I honestly feel like the Lord is handing us our dream, and lovingly helping us find out what we are looking for, for our little family.

One of our favorite things to do is peruse the yard for ripened fruit each day.

We have our choice of coconuts, tangerines, papayas, bananas, strawberry guavas, grapefruits, lemons, Ulu (bread-fruit), avocado, mountain apple, Hawaiian plum, and yellow Vivey. We come in and spread everything out and feast on fresh fruit.

The boys have all the running room they need on this land! Finding lizards and frogs is their specialty. Here they are running past the wild pig trap. If wild pigs come around to eat the garden, then the pigs get eaten for dinner.

The chicken coop will provide yummy, nutritious eggs for us! We just need some chickens. Micah is in the process of trying to set up a trap to catch the wild ones that loiter around here.

I know the Lord is blessing us on this journey and I'm fully looking foward to our lives here in Puna! Wild chickens and everything!
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you."
D &C 68:6

Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting to paradise

It might have been ten times easier if we had just jumped on an airplane in Salt Lake City and ended up in Hilo, Hawaii on the same day, but that wasn't an option.
Nope, our travelling journey to get to Hawaii started June 10th, and ended June 21st, when we finally landed our relocating feet on Hawaiian soil! I thought for sure I would dance off the airplane, embrace the nearest coconut tree, and cry my little eyes out in happiness at being here, but I was way too tired! We had woken up at 5am that day, returning 1 rental car to the airport, carrying 4 boxes, 6 bags, 1 surfboard, in 2 airports, on 2 airplanes, eating 4 airplane meals, for 10 hours, with 3 anxious, and overly hyper little boys and 2 overwhelmed parents.
I didn't care where I was when we arrived, all I wanted was a soft bed to curl up in!
So, for those who are curious how a family of five Utahns actually moves to Hawaii, here's one way to do it--the exhausting/fun way!:

We did the final clean-out of our Midvale, UT apartment on June 10th, and loaded up our trailer and car and headed towards California. Here we are about to get in the car after an exhausting morning of cleaning: Our goal was to get to the seaport in Long Beach by June 14th to ship our car. If you want to bring your car to Hawaii, you have to send it on a big boat, which departs from the seaport every other Tuesday. You can also ship your belongings on that same boat, but that costs big bucks. (Even bigger bucks than sending your car!) So, we opted instead to get rid of most of our stuff. Then, whatever was remaining got packed into boxes, loaded onto our trailer, and is now sitting at Micah's parent's house in CA, waiting to be mailed to our new Hawaii address. (Thanks so very, very much Jacksons!!)

So, with it being June 10th, and our car not due til June 14th, we decided to make a few stops along the way.
First stop was Cedar City to say goodbye to our land!

We got there about 7pm and put up a tent. We roasted hot-dogs, made some s'mores, and reminisced about the dreams we'd had of building a house here someday. I looked out over the scraggly sagebrush, and spiney cactus, and breathed in the rustic smell of desert landscape! It's a smell I have grown to love over the years. I will truly miss it here, and have included in my dreams a hope to build a small vacation home here someday. Perhaps a summer getaway where we can always come back to play.

We aren't going to sell our land. I like knowing that we still have a piece of ourselves here. Here's a picture of Jonah siting under the tree where we planted his placenta last year.

On our way out of town we had to fix a leaky tire. We didn't have a lot of time left to spend in Cedar City, but while our tire got fixed we managed to squeeze in a visit with one of my favorite families on the planet. Isn't their baby the cutest? He's the same age, but bigger than my baby, if you can imagine that! We will miss them terribly, but happy to keep following their story on Arianne's blog., as they head to Samoa on a 4 month work-travel-adventure!

Next we stopped at a nearby canyon to release our pet snake back into the wild. We actually let him go at the exact spot we'd found him. The boys have loved little
Pee-wee, but taking a non-native, invasive species to Hawaii was not an option......so goodbye snakey.
watching as he slithers away for the last time.
Next we started the longest leg of our road trip, to California to crash at Micah's parent's house! My primary job: keep baby happy in the car for 6 hours. Ha!
Yes, baby you can have my phone.

Here's some silly glasses to keep you smiling, baby.
And here's the phone again, baby.

We ended up unexpectedly stopping in Las Vegas to get our front windshield sealed up around the sides. It was making this awful buzzing noise that was driving us all insane. And of course, we needed donuts. Real donuts, to be exact.Micah discovered this place years ago and claims they have the best donuts, but also thinks it's a drug-cover up store. You know the kind that sells donuts and crack. We just got the donuts.

And you know how road-trips are with young children, right? They take forever, require lots of snack food, cheap toys, patience, and then you seem to always end up at your destination in the middle of the night.
With that said, there's nowhere I'd rather end up in the middle of the night than a warm house, with good food, and people who want to play with your kids the next day. Here we are at the Jackson house! (I will shoot myself now for not taking more pictures of Micah's family)
Here's Grandma reading books to the kids:

And here's our boys having fun in the dirt outside!Zadok was probably in the house playing video games with Uncle Aaron.

We ended up staying here for the next 10 days until our flight left out of LAX.The boys had so much fun, and Micah and I got a lot of packing accomplished!

Well, we finally got on our airplane at 10:30am the morning of June 21st. It was a 6 hour flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, then another 30 minute flight on a smaller airplane from Honolulu to Hilo. We brought bags packed with new toys, crayons, and notepads to keep the kids happily busy. Those lasted about 15 minutes.
But did you know that each seat on Hawaiian airlines has it's own, individual TV screen for watching movies and playing video games? Seriously! At first we were so reluctant to purchase the $5.99 all-you-can-watch-movie packages. I kept arguing, "My kids don't need to watch movies and play computer games on the plane! They can have fun...doodling." But after about 30 minutes we gave in and it was the best thing in the world. Thank you technology, for keeping our kids busy on the airplane, so I could take care of the baby and Micah could help in all other areas, like take Odin to the bathroom 50 times.
Here we are on the plane:
Zadok was very serious about reviewing the safety pamphlets and had us go over them several times.
Jonah did awesome on both flights. He slept, nursed, and waved hello to everyone he saw.
And now we live in Hawaii, where I did indeed get to curl up in a soft bed and sleep, and where I got to wake up to...... my paradise.