Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rocky beaches of Big Island

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is being outside with my children. We go on a lot of walks, and discover fun things to do in nature. We love the beaches. I could spend all day at the beach. Even the black, lava rock beaches on our side of the island are starting to grow on me. They seemed harsh at first, and so uninviting. It was funny to me when we first got here to see families sprawled out on the rocks for a day at the "beach". Towels, umbrellas, sunscreen, lunch boxes, and.....rocks.

One day when we first got here we were visiting a popular beach to swim, one that is surrounded by lava rocks, when one of my boys stubbed their toes again, on the rocks. I got so angry! "Get me off this stupid lava rock island!!," was all I could think. I wanted to yell and cry at someone! I felt homesick for the miles and miles of soft, white sand beaches I grew up with on Oahu.
But, we are learning to enjoy them. Our desire to be at the ocean is still strong, and our feet are toughening up nicely.
My Dad cheered me up on the phone when he reminded me,"There will be white, sandy beaches in Hilo, someday. All you have to do is wait 5 million years for the ocean to wear away at the rocks." Thanks eh, Dad.

This is the beach closest to our house. You can't actually swim here but we have fun exploring the rocks and tide pools.
Jonah fits right in amongst the black rocks, like a little Opihi shell. He sticks to the rocks naturally. In fact, one of our friends said to me, "Eh, he looks like one Rock boy!" I like that name. Just call him Rock Boy.

This was Kalapana beach, which used to be one of the most friendly and swim-able beaches on the island. It was home to a bustling, little fishing village, until it was covered by Kilauea lava flow in 1990. Now it is a lava field, with barely a beach to walk on.

It's a 2 hour drive to the other side of the island if you want to take refuge at sandy beaches. This past weekend we camped a night at Ho'okena, where we basked in the sand and sun all day long.

We are learning the names of the reef fish and ocean creatures. Odin snorkeled for his first time and was quite thrilled to spot a Yellow Tang! He talked about it all the way home. Zadok met some bigger boys on the beach who taught him the art of boogie-board body-sliding. He can't wait for us to go back 'to the other side' so he can do it some more.

I am really starting to feel at home here on this rock. Even though my welcoming, comfortable, and sandy beaches are far away, I am learning to love this land for what it is.
Hawaii has a rich and beautiful cultural heritage, one of which I am excited to learn more about.
Long before us hauoles came to live here, the Hawaiians built Kingdoms and societies amongst these rocks. Their whole livelihoods were based upon the natural developments around them, even the harsh rocky landscape had meaning and use to them. I am determined to appreciate it, too.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday Treasure Box

For my Mother's 60th birthday I wanted to do something special, because after all, she is a very special mother! I had entertained myself with thoughts of flying to Seattle to surprise her, along with my 4 siblings, spouses, and 8 grandkids, but that would've been impossible! With my eldest brother in Tahiti, my big sister in Oregon, my little brother in Washington, and now my family in Hawaii, a birthday treasure box was the best I could do. Hopefully someday we'll all get to be in one place again!

To make a Birthday Treasure box, I took a regular wooden treasure box from a craft store ($3.99), and covered it in pieces cut out from scrapbook paper. I then gathered messages from my Mom's most treasured friend's and family, and pasted them onto paper scrolls, also cut out from scrapbook paper.

I tied each scroll with a little ribbon to keep them in place, and to make them look even prettier, too.
When my mom's 60th birthday arrived, she got to open her present! She absolutely loved it! (I know because I got one of those long, teary messages of happiness on my cell phone that only a mother can send.:)

The messages inside were so very thoughtful and heartwarming, full of many happy memories and treasured friendships my mother has made over the years. Some people wrote poems, some people wrote stories, and some people sent tiny messages of love. I am so glad I got to do this for my Mom! Thank you again to all those who contributed to this project, and for making her 60th birthday wonderful!

Happy Birthday Mom! You are a treasure to me!

**My sister-n-law Genevieve took these pictures. Thank you Gen, they turned out beautiful.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Magic Potion

Today is Saturday and we are heading to the ocean. It's been a busy week at our house! We started our first week of home"school", Micah is officially working at his new job and away everyday, I am getting used to the bustling routine of keeping up with this house, and on top of that I got a nasty head cold! I am ready to plunge into the ocean and let it engulf me! This is one thing I love about being here in Hawaii! The ocean has a way of restoring and healing me, like a magic potion, renewing my life-force!
It's really exciting to me how drastically our lives have changed since we got here!
There is a lot to do, and more opportunities for us to work harder than ever before.
We have an acre with fruit trees, and a large garden. This involves a lot of harvesting of fruits and veggies, prepping them and preparing them to eat. I have a large kitchen now, which has made a huge difference in my attitude towards preparing food. ( I love it!) Yesterday I steamed a large pumpkin from the garden, made coconut Popsicles from the inside of the coconut juice, made a huge batch of fresh guacamole, and ate papayas from our tree. Everything was harvested, prepared, and eaten from our land. It felt so good, and I enjoyed all the time I spent in the kitchen! The boys helped a lot, too! It was fun to see them get excited about making yummy, nutritious food!

Each day we go outside to check the trees to see what's ripe. This is Odin's favorite thing to do. This past week the avocados and bananas all started at once, so we've had our (mouths) full of guacamole and delicious bananas!

Laundry is a subject of it's own! I can't let the laundry sit in the hampers for more than 2 days or they'll mildew. If I hang the laundry on Monday, it will be fully dry by Wednesday, ready for the next load to wash an be hung. But sometimes it takes 4days to dry because it's been so wet out. It's a very delicate balance of timing the washing, sunny days, and fighting mildew.

And then there's the chickens. Oh the chickens! Micah has become an expert at catching wild jungle fowls from our area. We now have 3 hens and once cockerel, who are getting fat and happy in their new domesticated life. There are wild chickens everywhere here, so we decided to reap them from the land, as well. So far we are getting 6 eggs a week, and hoping to add more.
Here they are: Zadok named one Fraid-ster. Odin named one Rocks. I named the Rooster, Rainbow, and the last one (not pictured), Micah named Mango.
Micah is loving growing a large, year-round garden. He's planting all sorts of veggies, and tending to it like a young baby. He's definitely got a green thumb for this kind of thing. The boys have their own plots and have planted their favorite: green peas to eat right out of the pod.

The boys are so happy and alive each day! I can tell that being outside this much is so good for their little souls. They get super enthusiastic about simple things like the camouflage lizards, or how many eggs we got today, or what kind of seeds should they plant in their gardens.

There's something about living here that has re-ignited that spark within me to live a more conscious and healthier lifestyle than ever before. I want to take better care of myself and my families well-being, and be more fully aware of my impact on the land around me. Weather I am spending my energy sorting recyclables, or helping Zadok and Odin find ripe guavas to eat, I feel very fulfilled here. I feel complete. And when those days are upon me that get overly busy and exhausting-there's always the ocean to renew me. My magic potion!

I spend a lot of time chasing this baby, too, I might ad! It's exhausting work, but watching him learn how to walk this past month has been so exciting! He comes waddling up to me with his little arms raised high, and I am in love. Here he is climbing out to his favorite cement stone.

I decided I will start selling my magic potion. All it costs is a plane ticket and it's yours! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First day of school

This past week public school started, here in Hawaii.
We were driving past the elementary school on the first day of school. The streets were backed-up with cars of parents, anxiously picking up their kids from their first day away. Backpacks, school uniforms, and bicycles everywhere, jamming the streets with first-school-day mayhem.
I turned to Zadok, our 5 year old, and said, "Well, there's the school where all the 5 year olds go now."
He responded eagerly, saying, "Oh, but not me!! I'm homeschooling!"

I looked over at his happy, innocent, little face and felt so much love for him.
He really has no idea what this all means!
I mean, we've explained to him about schools, and teachers, and being away from parents, and different ways to gain and education, but the magnitude of it all won't effect him at this point in time. He'll never know what it's like to have a first day of school, or what it's like to be in a classroom all day, or what it's like to be away from Mom.

I wasn't home-schooled myself so I this is a whole new adventure for me, too. I don't know what it's like to not send my kid to Kindergarten. It's kind of weird, and sometimes scary, but I know it's going to be awesome. I know our path will be right, mostly because we want it to be, but certainly because I know it's God's plan for our family.

So here's to a happy year of homeschooling, and no first day of school!

I love these kids! I promise they won't turn out to be beach bums....funny they are wearing these shirts in this post. ha ha....

Odin is so excited that the bananas are ripening.

Why the matching outfits? Because our awesome Trike Fairy sent cute clothes for the boys! And the boys thought it was hilarious that they could all match.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

East Hawaii Rainforest Liiving

It rains everyday here.
When we go to the beach, it rains.
When we go to the zoo, it rains.
When we go outside to have lunch on the grass, it rains.
But it's not a cold, harsh and threatening rain, like other rains I've known.
Which is why I don't really mind it too much. The first week or so we were here I really felt wet all the time and was worried I would start to mildew! Even our clothes take days to dry on the covered line, but they do dry....eventually. And the sun always stays close by, ready to burst through the clouds at any moment to redeem itself.

So I guess this makes us water people, since we live in the rainiest city in the U.S.

Well, I welcome thee, water! I love water!
Afterall, we drink mostly water!
When you come to our house we will most likely offer you a glass of cold water, because that's all we have. We carry our metal water bottles with us everywhere, one for each family member. Can you guess which one is mine? he he
I love the refreshing qualities of pure, clean, rain water! Which is why I am so fascinated by water catchment systems out here.
The rain falls down, it gets 'caught' in this container, it runs through pipes into our house, and we use it for everything, well, except for drinking. I really wanted to drink it, but they say you don't want to catch whatever bacterias might be living in the pipes. So it's clean, just not clean enough for my gut. But, we wash dishes with it, shower with it, bathe with it, cook with it, clean with it, etc. I am fascinated with this rainwater harvesting stuff.

I like knowing exactly where our water comes from! It seems so simple to me, and I like simple. I like looking out the window at dark thunder clouds and falling rain, and knowing that's what I am washing my hair with later on, and knowing that all this water will nourish our garden and help it grow food for us, too.
Here are the guys' working in the garden area.

Thanks for your abundance, water, in providing us all we need.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Going strong!

Our baby turned one this past week!
It crept up on me, it really did! It seems that this past year I have been seeing him continually as the wee, little infant I just gave birth to, now all of sudden he's having a birthday! What? My how fast a year can go!
Jonah at one hour old:
Jonah at one year old:

I've truly loved having this baby, my number 3! I love everything about him, and his gentle, baby ways. He has been our most calm, most mellow, most super low-key baby of them all. I can't think of one thing he has done to intentionally drive me nuts. Okay, maybe one...like every morning now he tries to escape out the door and throw shoes down the stairs! After all, he is one of our kids, so that means he keeps busy, busy, busy! I am constantly chasing this baby!

And, he is a blessing to our whole family. The boys love and adore him. They stop in- between their big-brother brawls, and big-kid games, to dote on him and smother him with little kisses. He follows them around, but he can't keep up...yet.
Here's a few things about Jonah at one year:
He is starting to walk! He has taken six whole steps on his own!
He says "Mama" for me, and "nana" for food.
He gives hugs, and snuggles, and rolls around on your face in the morning.
He points at everything, especially birds.
He just got his two, top teeth this past month, and has the sweetest smile.
He loves to eat papaya and avocados, and these sour, seedy guavas off the tree.
He crawls lightening fast on just his hands and feet, no knees!
He lets Zadok carry him around. (I have yet to get a picture of that)
He waves hello to everyone he sees.
He has the goofiest laugh, that I love.

Baby Jonah had a really yucky viral rash on his birth-day, and felt pretty miserable throughout the day and at his birthday party in the evening.

But, in sweet Jonah fashion, he managed to still find moments to smile and be content. Especially when being held by one of his favorite friends, Papa.
The most memorable moment of his birthday party, for me, was this sweet snuggle, and nursing on the couch, with my big one year old boy! He had been feeling yucky, and fussy, but the minute we sat down to nurse, he was happy. And I got to relax for a moment, too!I love how he sticks his leg up in my face when he eats.
Turning one in this family doesn't mean the end of our nursing relationship. It simply means that we totally know what we're doing now, and can keep going strong for another year!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Jonah baby. I get to wake up to your smiling face every morning, and feel so lucky each day that I get to be your Mom. You are my heart and my joy, my little Pootie, baby boy.