Friday, July 26, 2013

Three Large Leaps Around the Sun, Sun, Sun!

Today marked Jonah's third trip around the sun since he was born July 25, 2010! Happy Birthday to my darling Jonah baby! We had such an adventurous day celebrating his special day, starting with a 7am trip to Richardson's beach and ending with a visit to the bouncy store in the mall! 
Jonah is such a beautiful, intelligent, and affectionate little soul. I can't say enough about how much joy he brings into our lives through his wonderful personality and sweet little spirit. We sure love our Jonah!

A few fun facts about Jonah:
  • His birth was my fastest, only 4-5 hours from start of labour to finish.
  • We called him Baby for 3 days after he was born before we finally decided on naming him Jonah.
  • He has a Hawaiian middle name, Ka'ena.
  • He rarely ever cried when he was a baby and loved being held in his mei-tai.
  • He didn't start talking until he was two years old. (Grunting, pointing, and yelling instead.)
  • He loves zucchini and garlic sauteed in olive oil, although he still loves milkies more than anything else.
  • He started riding a scooter several months ago and is getting SO good at balancing!
  • He'll find anything outside and make a game of it.
  • He likes playing Angry Birds on Micah's phone.
  • He sleeps with his mom and dad and won't have it any other way.
  • He shares with his brothers willingly, always giving what he has.
  • He loves to climb on rocks.
7am adventures at Richardson's rocks.



Trying to keep up with the big brothers.
Rarrrr.


Mama loves this little dude.

Jonah and his Daddy Micah.

We had a family party with Jonah today at our house. He opened his presents excitedly, enjoying every single one! Since we are getting on an airplane next week we made sure to only get him small things that he could carry on, or disposable things that he could enjoy temporarily. We got him a box of his very own band aids which he used immediately. We won't have to worry about packing those along!
30 bandaids a day keeps the doctor away.
A special birthday message from SpongeGrandpa Bill Pants


The famous chocolate birthday cake Micah bakes for everyone's birthdays! yum!
Jonah opening gifts from his brothers. Odin bought him some toys from the transfer station.

Our local mall has a train that drives through the interior hallways, passing all the storefront windows. We don't visit the mall often, yet every time we do, Jonah talks about seeing that train for days and days afterwards. Today was his special day to ride it!
Mama and Jonah in the caboose. Don't let this droopy face fool you, he smiled the entire time!
Cruising the mall.

I was having too much fun clapping and singing on the train when suddenly I hear Jonah demanding, "Mom, stop that! I no like it." Whoops. Sorry. I guess I like mall train rides.

Last of all we visited the keiki bouncy store where jumping dreams come true. For 5 dollars a kid they can bounce their little, hyper-active wiggles out. And that's exactly what these boys did.
Here's Z, going for a run-slide.
O likes to roll down on his face.
J stopping for a quick breather.
Jumpin' Jonah!
Just chillin on an inflatable island on an island.

Lastly, here's some Jonah quotes I jotted down over the past several months. Jonah has this deep, raspy toddler voice that makes me smile. If you can try picturing him saying these things with his big, brown puppy-dog eyes and that deep, raspy voice, they might make you smile, too:

"I spy fly guy guy guy guy guy guy guy!"
"Me bad monster in attack mode!"
"Ho ho happy valentines!"
"Me not have to!" 
"That not how, this how."
"Me can't say it." (Family prayer)
"NO, that stupid!"
"Save me!" (From the wind, from toy-stealing-babies, from nursery)
"You not my Daddy puppy!" 
"What's 9+4?"
"I'm dead! (Screamed Jonah after he slipped off the kitchen chair onto the floor.)
"They always make me laughing!" (Said Jonah about his big brothers.)
"Not you! I need Micah!" 

"Can I please have milk milk side?" 
"Can I please have other milk milk side?"
"I need my Blay-blade!" (beyblade)
"I'm baby dragon, you my daddy dragon." 
"This my mongoose noise. Pttttt pttttt ptttttt."
"Thank you chickens!" (When he collects their eggs)
"Do you think there is a ball in my hand? There is." 
"I promise I won't cut the whole picture!" 
"I no have to go shi-shi!!!" 
"I need food." 
"Why?"
"Why are we driving?"
"Why we going store?"
"Why you wear your slippers on that feet?"
"Is my slipper on the right feet?"
"Me no like that!"
"Me Bumblebee Boy! I sting attack you!"
"I don't know what to do! " (when he's feeling upset or frustrated)
"My mommy....I love you." (Followed by a hug and a kiss on the cheek.)

Looking forward to another wonderfully sweet, active and eventful, fun-filled, and unpredictable year with our 3 year old! Love you Jo-Jo!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Hui Ho Honoli'is

I paddled out at Honoli'is yesterday for one of the very last times before we leave next week. The sky was rainy, dark, and overcast with clouds, yet the surf was perfect and inviting as ever. I love that place!
It is one of the only places to get waves here in Hilo, and I have to admit, It is the only place I have surfed on this entire island since we moved here! The spot expands over a large bay area with 3 separate breaks, from Tombstones on the right to Privates in the middle, to The Point on the left. Every time I paddle out I feel a happy, wholesome vibe of welcoming and relaxation. I haven't once felt that strained, anxious feeling of competitiveness like surfing on the North Shore can bring. Growing up on the North Shore of Oahu I often felt like I had to prove myself as soon as I got in the water, or I wouldn't be able to get any more waves that day. For example,  If I could catch a good wave right off the bat, then  it would signify that I could catch more good waves, and therefore wouldn't committ the crime of letting any go to waste. -Then on crowded days people would be more likely to back down and let me paddle for waves even when it's not technically my turn, or even though they are in a better position. This wasn't always the case, but when you are most often the only girl surfing amongst highly competitive, testosterone-driven men (or Australian women), it helps to prove that you can surf with them. 

At Honoli'is, however, I don't have to prove myself to anyone. There's more than enough waves for our small Hilo population, and more than enough families having fun in the water for that anxious feeling to surface. The giant Honu (sea-turtles) bobbing up and down, take up half the space out there alone! I believe that their calming presence brings peace to this surf break, and peace to my soul.

Yesterday the surf was a super fun, mellow 2-3 feet. I rode my 6'8 shortboard and got more waves than I expected because there were so few people out. Stoked! I got my surf stoke on! 

Yes, I will miss surfing terribly. Afterall,  It is one of my all-time favorite things to do on the planet. However,  one valuable thing I've learned in life is not to let a place define you. Hawaii, and therefore surfing ,does not define who I am nor determine my happiness! When I put my life in God's hands, I feel truly blessed no matter where I live or what I do. 

A Hui Ho Honoli'is for all the good vibes, mellow surf sessions, and many, many Honu and Humpback whale sightings. I will forever be grateful that I spent some of my best mama surfing years chilling with you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hawaiian Hobos

Several years ago my mama taught me how to make Hobo bags  and now they are one of my favorite things to sew! The first one I ever made was for Micah's birthday in November 2009. I had called my mom who was living in Maui at the time because I was feeling so frustrated with the sewing of the bag and I wanted to scream into the phone, "Your bags suck!" However, my wonderful, patient mother calmly instructed me over the phone how to piece it all together until it was finished.  Thanks Mom! Click here to see.

Don't mind my deer-in-headlights-look, but this is me modeling a birthday hobo for a friend who's birthday lands on Christmas. 
Anthuriums on the outside
Hibiscus Camo on the inside lining.

Here below is one of my favorite Hawaiian Hobos, which was a gift for a friend who had her baby girl at home. My son who was six at the time asked me,"Why is that lady sitting on her baby?" 

Here's another Hawaiian Hobo I sewed for a friend's birthday. She called it the Ultimate Mom Bag because of how much crap you can stuff in there.
Wendy modeling her Ultimate Mom Bag.





I'm considering making and selling these in the future at local Farmer's Markets and craft fairs. I would like to use tropical and Polynesian inspired fabrics mixed with upcycled tee shirt designs and recycled muumuus. I think it would be a lot of fun to do and would fulfill my creative side.

So, how much do you think  a Hawaiian Hobo is worth? Would you pay 20 buckos for one?

Thanks for the feedback!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Plateau

The word plateau has been running through my mind these past several months. 

Two definitions of plateau as defined in the Webster's dictionary are: a stable level, period, or condition, and, a level of attainment or achievement. Both of these definitions seem to describe how I've been feeling about my life right now, and why I've been feeling like it's time for our family to move on from Hawaii.

I am reminded of running, and how much I used to love it. I used to wake up in the mornings bursting with energy, ready to race out the door for my daily just-for-fun 10k! I used to try to run every single day for years and years, thriving off the endorphins and energy it provided me. Yet, every once in a while I would get bored with running and require a change of routine. I would reach a plateau in my running routine where I could no longer get excited about waking up to run that same 6 miles.....again, or push myself up that same vertical hill.....again, because I had already achieved it! I had already reached a level of stability, and a period of self attainment that now It was time for me to stop and do something else, (like zumba, or swimming, or yoga!) Maybe I would come back to running later on and it would fulfill me again, or maybe I would move on completely and never turn back. I think that either way works fine because I've felt fulfilled either way.

I think the same thing happens in life all the time; we get really excited about something-- we live it passionately, with purpose, finding clarity, confidence, fulfillment and gratification in every step, then we reach that plateau-that moment where we realize we can't go any further because we've done everything we needed to do!
I thought we wanted to settle in Hawaii forever, but perspectives have changed!  We have reached a plateau, so to speak.

Two years ago when we moved over here, I had no way of knowing this would be the best decision we ever made! This move has offered our family very personal opportunities to stretch and grow spiritually, mentally,  and emotionally. In a nutshell (probably a macadamia one) Hawaii healed a part of my life that needed immense healing and has allowed me to move forward in very specific and much needed ways. I've had very sacred experiences here which have showed me that no matter where I live God will follow me, bless me, and pave the roads of my destiny for me.
 I feel that I have reached this amazing level of personal stability, achievement and  attainment in my life that I never imagined possible. Everything that I've learned and gained while I've been here is definitely something I needed as a wife, mother, and nurturer, gently leading me to my next step. Micah has also had amazing experiences of growth, which have brought us closer together as a couple. However, we both feel we have reached our Hawaii Plateau, and now it's time to move onward.

Don't get me wrong, I am sad to leave Hawaii. I love it here more than all the deserts, snowflakes,  and rocky mountains in the whole wide world! Someday I may live here again as an old lady, spending many happy, sunshiny days surfing and collecting seashells in the sand!--With a big, fat smile on my face all the day long! But I am not alone. I am raising a family, and right now we've got places to go and things to do. I have a list to fulfill and dreams to conquer! Remember my list??

So, to make a long story short we are moving right now! It's all happening so fast and my head is spinning like crazy--but here's how it all went down-- I'll refer to what I'm calling:
  
The Crazy Timeline of Unexpected Events!

June 30th, - Micah and I are sitting at the kitchen table when we start talking about the future of our family's lives and all the things we want to do. We decide to look online for jobs in Cedar City Utah, just to see if there would be a possibility for us to move back to the place we loved living before.
Holy Crap-There's a job opening!  This never happens. Oh.my.gosh. they need a science teacher. And they need one in 5 weeks! The small town of Cedar City is rarely ever hiring and we are shocked.

June 30th-Micah emails in a resume just to see what happens. He already has a teaching job lined up here in Hilo but we decide to take the chance and see what happens. We decide it won't hurt just to see.

Monday July 1st through Sunday July 7th--We hear nothing back from Cedar City. We move on with our lives as usual. 

Monday July 8th- The phone rings at 7am but we are still in bed so we let the answer machine pick up. It's the job in Cedar City and they want to interview Micah for the position. We lay there stunned with the possibility and wondering what we should do next. We pray. We ponder. We pray again. We both feel good about pursuing forward with the interview. Micah sends them an email confirming that Yes, he will interview for the position.

Tuesday July 9th-Micah emails them again because they never responded to the first email. He tells them kindly that if they want to hire him they better make it snappy because school starts here in Hilo in 3 weeks! Micah needs time to notify the school here, plus sell all our stuff and move. 

Wednesday July 10th- Micah interviews for the teaching position in Cedar City via Skype. I wait anxiously outside the door awaiting to hear the results. Micah opens the door and says, "They'll call back tomorrow with a final answer." 


Wednesday July 10th- Later that day-I have the opportunity to attend the Kona Temple with some other Mamas from my church. I am grateful to be able to go to such a sacred place, especially  with such a heavy heart. I pray that I can feel peace if we decide to make this move, and that I can have the strength to leave Hawaii again. I know that leaving  will be difficult for me, but I also know that God will bless my life regardless of where I am. I also know that I am constantly surprised about what brings me true happiness in life. As I stood on the temple grounds overlooking my beautiful ocean, I decided I would be willing to allow God to surprise me again. 
I am ready to move if we decide to.

Thursday July 11th- We wait all morning for the phone call. I nervously bite all my fingernails off and eat a pound of sweet potato pudding. They finally call and the verdict is in--They think he would be an excellent fit for their school! We both smile and know it's right.
We purchase our airline tickets for July 31st. We have 21 days to sell everything, clean up house, and get on an airplane to LA. 

Friday July 12th- We give a notice to our landlords, cancel our homeschool program, notify our ward auxiliaries, start the process towards shipping our car and belongings, start taking pictures of stuff to sell on craigslist, and even cry a little.

Saturday July 13th-I write a blog post to tell the world we are moving. (Please pray for me that I can stay sane through this process!)

Monday July 15th-I finally find time to post my blog post and here it is.

 All in all, I am excited and happy to see what the future holds!  Our lives are pure chaos right now, but it feels really good. I feel like I am stepping off this plateau and running full speed ahead into a beautiful future with my family. I can't wait! 

See ya soon Cedar City!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Goodnight Milk-Milk

Here's the book I wrote for my toddler, Jonah, as we've been night-weaning this week. 

Goodnight Milk-Milk
by Sally Jackson











The end.


***I noticed recently that when telling people you're still nursing an (almost) three year old, it  can either spin off a great conversation or put a very quick end to an awkward one. I've been experimenting with it lately, just to see which way it goes. The spin off way is always fun because you get to chat about fun things like how nursing is more than nutrition, and how some toddlers just aren't ready to wean, and how meaningful it is to your relationship with your child and all that good stuff.... But then I'll bring it up with someone or even a group of people who I'm not so sure about and then it usually either goes to silence or I'll get a sympathetic response like,"Oh gosh, you poor thing--that sounds tiring!" Nope, I think in my head, I'm not a martyr, I'm a mother. Or the one I loathe more than anything, "Well, I bet your excited to get your body back soon." 
Honestly, I have never felt like my body was taken from me. In fact, I was the one who decided to bring my babies into this world and share my body with them. The milk I've produced comes from hormones produced out of the result of being pregnant. I am happy to share the miracle of my body with the miracle of my baby. They go hand in hand beautifully!
So, I never imagined from the moment I put my very first baby up to my breast that I would be breastfeeding for the next seven years! Well, It would be seven years straight except for the short month and a half between when Odin weaned and Jonah was born, but who's counting? :) After seven years of breastfeeding I've decided that you just can't care what anyone else thinks! People can respond any old way they want to because in the end they were never there when it mattered most.
They weren't there when your first baby latched on right after after birth. They weren't there as you smiled deeply and inhaled their yummy, newborn-baby smells. They weren't there when your now-walking-baby came to you signing "milkies" with those adorable, outstretched hands. They weren't there when you walked up and down the hallway at 3am nursing your baby in a sling because his painful gas was keeping him up all night. They weren't there when your toddler had tubes placed in his ears and the only thing that calmed him down after the surgery were those precious milkies. And they certainly weren't there when your two year old woke up in the middle of the night asking,"Can I please have that milk-milk side?", making you laugh so hard that you couldn't imagine life without a nursing 2 year old in your bed! Lastly, they won't be there as you continue to cherish and nurture the relationship with your nursing three year old, slowly watching as he gently lets go of your hand and moves towards independence. It won't be long before he stops nursing completely, at his own time and at his own pace, with a foundation of love and trust beneath him. I am happy to share my abundance of milk with my toddler, and feel grateful that I've been able to nurse these past seven years.
Zadok's nursing in the first hour after he was born.
Odin nursing in his favorite pouch, 11 months old.
Jonah nursing at 6 mos old.
We just night weaned Jonah this past week. He turns three on July 25th. It went smoother than I expected. I was feeling nervous about it for weeks beforehand, because if you know Jonah, he LOVES his nightime milkies! --Sometimes waking up 2-4 times in a night asking cheerfully,"Mommy, can I please have milk-milk?"  There were some nights when I was exhausted and tried to refuse, but he made sure I knew how upset he was, screaming, "No! I need milk-milk! I really, really need milk-milk" while crying and kicking in the bed until I rolled over and gave in!
So, I really prepped myself for the worst as it came time to night wean him. Micah and I both talked with him beforehand about how milkies needs a break at night, and that he can have it as soon as the sun comes up! I wrote and illustrated a book for him called Goodnight Milk-milk that we would read before bedtime come the night we'd attempt weaning. I also made sure to have yummy snacks, favorite books, and lots of mommy snuggles available,  as gentle substitutes for his favorite milk-milk.
Well, the first night that he woke up asking for milk-milk, I reminded him about how milkies needed to sleep, too. He cried a lot, and yelled into the night, then snuggled up to his daddy and went back to sleep. The next night same thing. Then the next night he woke up for a brief second, asked for milk-milk then went back to sleep. The fourth night he didn't wake up at all. It's been about 2 weeks now and I can say I haven't slept this good in seven years! Yay for night weaning! 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Six New Loves

There's some exciting new things happening in my life that I love and wanted to share! There are six of them, to be exact! Here they are, in no particular order of importance: (although they are all pretty important, well except for number 4- that one ranks lower on importance than the others, yet it still gets to be listed because I think it's important. Although it's definitely not as important as number 5, or number 2. Number 6 is important but wouldn't be possible without number 1. And maybe number 3 should be more important since it enables more of 2, 3, 4, and 5 to happen. Anyways, read for yourself, In no particular order:)

1. I love my Nook! I never thought in a billion years I would own an e-reader and never really wanted one, either! However, my husband knows me better than myself sometimes and got me one for Mother's Day......and I love it! The Nook has been life-changing in so many positive ways. I can download books for free and also very cheaply from many sources and read, read, read! I can even read in the middle of the night (when I have insomnia) and not disturb my husband, with my very own built-in Nook light! I also love the apps. One of the most useful free apps I've found is called EEBA Envelope Budgeting. My husband and I have been able to use this app to keep better track of our monthly expenses. It's simple and easy to use, as you just insert money into the "envelopes", then minus the expenses from the envelopes each month when you spend! We like that we can sync it to both of our devices thus keeping track of our family's expenditures together. Another bonus is that neither one of us has been tempted to make any stupid shopping purchases since we started using this app! -Like this one time we were at the mall and I got tricked into buying a Magic-hair-bun-Maker, which I've still never used! If I had been using my EBBA Envelope Budgeting app at the time, I totally would've been more conscious of my money and would've made a better purchasing choice. So yes, this is just one reason I love my Nook!

2. I love my new calling as Primary Music Leader in our church! Every Sunday I get to stand in front of a small crowd of beautiful, smiling children and teach them to sing primary songs. I get to teach songs that are silly, and songs that are fun, and songs that are meaningful, spiritual, and inspirational, too! These songs stay in my head all week long and lift me up  and bring more joy into my life. I love being able to teach the kids how to sing a new song and then listen to their sweet voices singing it back to me. Music has a special way of bringing the spirit into our hearts, and helping us grow closer to God. I love this new calling in my life! Our Children's Primary meets every Sunday from 12:20pm to 2pm and there's nowhere else I'd rather be each week than right there with those kids (and mine!). 

3. I have taken a leap back from La Leche League Leadership for the time being. I feel really good about letting go of this part of my life right now. I obviously feel some sadness and  in parting from such a wonderful organization, but I need to make room for some other chapters that are opening up in my book of life. Maybe someday I will come back to being an LLL Leader again, but for now I will say adieu. Thank you LLL for giving me all these wonderful, valuable tools of motherhood, and for the opportunity to support breastfeeding women! I am so grateful for all the amazing people I've met, and all that I've learned as a Leader these past 5 years. I've loved being an LLL Leader, and I've loved that it's impact has left a deep foundation and knowledge in my mothering that I will continue to cherish forever.
Some of my favrite people at one of my favorite LLL meetups! 2009

4. I love my new longboard skateboard, and so do the boys! I've been wanting one for years but haven't  bothered looking because I never had the extra cash sitting around to buy one. However, the golden opportunity came along one day, without even planning it! I went over to a friends house to purchase a bookshelf, so I thought. She was moving to the mainland and getting rid of nearly everything. I ended up leaving her house with the bookshelf, a paper cutter, 2 baseball mitts, a bag of baseballs, and my dream skateboard! Score! Thanks Kayla! Skateboarding is an all time favorite pastime for this mama and it's coming back full force, thanks to you! :)

5. I love the new family adventure we're attempting in homeschooling this year! I've chosen to sign the 2 older boys up for an online Hawaii Public Charter School, and one of the big perks of doing this is that every school year they will give each of them an allotment of $1500 dollars to spend on community classes, (such as Kung-fu and Gymnastics) plus pay for curriculum, art supplies, and any other consumable, educational materials we might need. Along with the allotment we also get family passes to Imiloa Astronomy Center, The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, The Pacific Tsunami Museum, the Lyman Museum, and a National Parks Pass.
Signing up was (is) a little terrifying for me, as I don't love planning a schedule, ordering curriculum, or even that we have to check in with a teacher each week, but I am willing to try this out for the awesome benefits. 

I'm a big advocate for eclectic unschooling, or natural-led learning, and never wanted  to compromise my beliefs by following a standardized curriculum. I believe that children can and will learn at their own pace, that education is more than attending school, and that taking tests and doing homework can hinder the process of actual learning.
However, I don't feel that this program will compromise these beliefs!  It feels right to invest this time and energy into my children, in giving them opportunities that we wouldn't otherwise have. It feels right to try something new and still be able to hang onto my homeschooling values within the context of a standardized-state-run program. There is flexibility in the program, which is good! This means that I can choose the curriculum we want for the kids. We can also choose when and how to complete the curriculum enabling me to focus on their individual learning styles and needs. And even though they may have to take the standardized tests from time to time, they will already know full well that the outcome of tests don't measure the intelligence of their minds or the quality of their lives!  All in all, I'm treating this new adventure like a fun, family project-- We're all in this together! And if it totally sucks, we're all in this together! I think it's going to be really good for us!

6. I love Susan Law Corpany. She is my new favorite LDS author. She's written quite a few fiction novels, which I have yet to read, but my favorite so far is her non-fiction book called "Musings on Motherhood."   She spoke at the LDS Women's Conference I attended several weeks ago here in Hilo, and made us all laugh til we cried! She's hilariously funny, genuinely down-to-earth, and spiritually insightful!  Her life as a mother was often difficult and messy, yet she's somehow found the humor and joy in all of it. I went home from the conference that day and downloaded her book on my Nook, reading it cover to cover! This is the review I put on Amazon, after I was done:

"I love the stories in this book and couldn't put it down! I didn't know what to expect from this book, as I've read so many "how to" parenting books over the years on everything from potty training to getting sleep at night--but this book wasn't a "how to" at all! I love that it's about family and all the wonderful joys and pains and ups and downs she experiences in all the many different roles she's played in her own family. Her stories about being an auntie, a new mother, and then a stepmother, and finally a grandmother--Every single one of them was thoughtful, touching, and meaningful. And funny! She truly finds the humor in seemingly ordinary things, and finds creative stories to tell with them.
I feel inspired by her life and recommend this book as an inspiration for any type of mother!"

Thank you Susan for your motherly inspiration! I look forward to reading your other books next!

Well, that's it for now! These are some new things that I love and am looking forward to as of lately! Life is constantly changing, evolving, and moving forward, and I'm trying my hardest to enjoy the ride!