Sunday, November 9, 2008

her favorite canvas

Asha has always created stunning art on herself. Her objective today was to "scare the pants off Cyrus and Maya". She was going for "spooky" and "haunting". I think she achieved just that! We are going to have to figure out where to put a large mirror in the new house that she can sit in front of on the floor with her "paints" as she does now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I need to figure out how to use my new phone

I didn't take this picture with my new,fancy phone. I don't know how to use the many cool features yet. If I did I could have already posted about the tons of things we have been doing in between the practices and classes and meets and training and games. We seemed to be the only people at the zoo who took any notice of this event. And believe me, it was difficult to miss! Not because they were out in the open - they were in a corner and I actually had to crane around a fence to get this shot. But I have no idea how you could walk right by without investigating, as we did, the incredibly loud and rhythmic grunting of this male tortoise! My kids aren't ones to just walk on by! And boy did it make for a memorable moment! We laughed til we cried- and new knowledge - who knew they made noises like that?!

I haven't blogged in a while and while I was scrolling back through older posts trying to find some inspiration to write I started to feel like the majority of my posts are about BIG milestone moments and accomplishments in tangible and measurable terms. It was bothering me. Especially in light of a recent thread on Always Learning about unschooled kids and organized classes/activities/sports. My kids do A LOT of those! And it isn't the first time I have felt conflicted about it. My discomfort in the nature of these posts comes from the fact that I don't feel like those moments and achievements that dominate this space are an accurate reflection of the whole of our lives. I see this blog as a chronicle of the unschooling life our family leads. Seeing all of those "moments" I wonder, "do I put too much emphasis on 'accomplishments'"? But really, I don't think that I do.

My thoughts during the AL thread were like this: My kids participate in a lot of activities. They choose all of them. They are free to try new things and move on from old ones at any time. We know lots of schooled kids who only get to choose 1 "extracurricular" activity because their lives are so filled with school and schedules and homework. I have always thought we were lucky to have the space and time to choose to participate in many things -and there are so many things to choose from! The irony, of course, is that those activities all pile up create a packed schedule and suddenly our time is not free and open, but it is also not full of things that we don't want to be doing. The kids freely choose how they want to spend their time.

There is a Subway commercial on TV that makes me cry - and I don't mean in that Hallmark or Folgers at holiday time or cotton commercials when you're pregnant kind of way. This girl - maybe 10 or 11 years old is talking about how she never gets to choose anything in her life. She says she is told what to do, when and where to go, what to wear what to read, etc... and that is why she loves Subway - it is the one place in her life that she gets what SHE wants!!! How yucky and horrible is that?! When she describes her day to day life I always think she could just as easily be talking about someone who is in prison! And obviously the folks at the ad agency thought that this would resonate with kids!

So yesterday we had Asha's birthday party (I swear this as all related!) and we started out with the kids all decorating open faced sandwiches at the dining table. They had everything they needed at hand and all of the seats at the table were full, so my good friend, Sara, and I took our plates into the living room and sat on the couch to eat. Maya came into the living room and said, "Mom, I thought the rule was 'no eating where there is carpet!'" We live in a rental house with plush carpet in the living room. We also live in a tropical climate. In addition to stains and difficult to clean messes, food on the carpet leads to ants, which lead to roaches, which lead to the dreaded centipede (and these things - centipedes- are scary and I will take ants and roaches any day over centipedes, but if you get one the next is on the way)! These statements from the kids baffle me. Yes, we have asked the kids not to eat where there is carpet and discussed why and yes, we adults don't either. Is it a rule? I suppose it is the closest that we have, but we sometimes spread out sheets and eat while watching movies, or have drinks and applesauce and toast when someone is sick on the couch. I have tried so hard to create a life without arbitrary rules. My kids also know that they have the freedom to make choices that are right for them, and yet I still sometimes hear them tell people that "My Mom won't let me..." Huh? What does this mean?

Our schedule has been really packed lately. Each kid has at least a couple of scheduled activities they are involved in and my afternoons are spent shuttling them all to various venues. This will carry on until just before Thanksgiving. These past couple of weeks everyone has decided at one point or another to not go to practice or class. This is unusual, but a little down time felt right. They really do love the things they are doing. They are dedicated to their sports and endeavors in a way that I, frankly, find a bit puzzling, until I equate it with the way I feel about dancing. I understand passion.

Cyrus has always worked hard at baseball because it makes him really happy - it is his passion!. He has started jiu jitsu and is pushing himself really hard with conditioning and strength training as he works toward his goal of earning his yellow belt in record time - this is a new passion. He is really competitive and really goal oriented. He likes things that way.

Maya is pushing herself really hard in swimming with the goal of winning a ribbon in breaststroke at the championships in November. She is doing this for herself - it is what she wants. She trains in the pool just about every day of the week.

Asha just really enjoys going and being social. She is way less goal oriented than the other 2. She enjoys the physical mastery of her dances and aikido moves, but isn't coming from the same driven place that Cyrus and Maya seem to enjoy. Her passion is in the doing - it is a little easier for me to relate to.

In all of these things Billy and I support and cheer and drive and pay and encourage and celebrate with them, but they go for it because they love it. Billy "gets" this way more than I do. He was a driven athlete who pushed himself so hard that he had to have both of his shoulders reconstructed at 15. His parents said everyone assumed they were pushing him, but they thought it was pretty intense for a kid and even his coaches could not have made him do less.

I struggle to find a balance. I would like a less structured schedule. They love the structure. I would like to be more spontaneous. They love to know the plan. I wonder if all of this goal oriented activity is stifling their ability to find joy in the moment, but then I watch them play and I see that they are balanced. And I watch them train and compete and see that they know joy for joy's sake. Their drive isn't fueled by maniac stage parents or a need to be loved or feel successful in anyone's mind but their own.Their drive is fueled by passion.

Here is what the gist is for me. What draws me to read other folk' blogs is the chronicle of daily life. I like the mundane, the little moments that connect the big milestones. I am so busy with the mundane many days that I seem to only touch on the biggies here. I want to try to capture more of the little moments that we string together to create this BIG life. Geesh - now I feel like I could delete all of the previous long paragraphs, but it took writing them out to get me here. Maybe my new phone with the great camera and video features that I can supposedly upload right to this blog would help with that - if I could just figure out how to use it!ool

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Baby is 6!

I started putting together a slide show of photos of Asha since the day of her birth and even with 0 photos of her between the day she was born and about 18 months due to our camera breaking it is amazing to see how much ground she has covered in her short life so far! And yet it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye!

Happy Birthday dear Asha - you bring joy and laughter and light and love in abundance into our world every day and I'm so glad you decided that you were ready to join our family even though we didn't think we were ready yet. I love you, birthday girl! You are such a blessing in my life!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fill Ins

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday Fill-Ins #89

1. I enjoy being naked.

2. House paint colors is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew what only you could know.

4. Take kids, add a little garden hose and you end up with shreiking laughter that makes the neighbors curious.

5. Life has gifted me with a better family than I ever could have designed.

6. The beach house is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to some personal grooming (epilating my legs), tomorrow my plans include Maya's swim meet in Hilo and a trip to the astronomy center afterwards and Sunday, I want to see my husband!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Family and other animals

Since watching the movie version of "My Family and Other Animals" the kids and I have talked a lot about how much we loved all of the outdoor spots that the family ate and relaxed and hung out. We have decided that we want to create a bunch of places to do just that at our new house. And yesterday at the beach with the cousins I walked down to find this:

A game of Apples To Apples on the beach (and later a huge tray of pupus and drinks arrived thanks to Auntie Katherine - who is seated in this photo).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Look who earned her "lellow" belt today!

A big day here- Asha tested for her yellow belt!

Ta Da!! (and look how well it goes with the carpet!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New season begin

I really liked the sight of the 3 of them today all geared differently and off to their respective sports. (And no, Cyrus is not upset about having his picture taken or pissed off about anything for that matter. On the contrary, he is thrilled to be geared up and starting a new season again so soon! I mean are you KIDDING ME? This is BASEBALL for crying out loud!! And he takes his baseball very seriously!!... and seriously, that is fun for him - trust me:). I am often overwhelmed keeping up with all of the scheduled activities. I would not choose to have so many, but the kids all choose to do these things and really enjoy them. I had a fellow homeschooler ask me not too long ago how I dealt with it when the kids didn't want to go to their "lessons". Once I figured out that she was not talking about school lessons I told her that we almost never have that scenario because the kids choose and enjoy all the things they do. Occasionally someone doesn't feel like going because they are tired or involved in something else, but that is rare and when it happens we just skip it. There have been things that they have tried and then stopped doing too. This Mom then told me she wanted her daughter to continue the activity (in this case aikido) because she was sure she would be happy that she'd stuck with it and was so good at it once she was a teenager!! Her daughter is 7!!! I couldn't help it, I said, "I doubt I'd enjoy anything after years of being told I had to go when I didn't want to" The Mom's response was, "Yeah, maybe you're right. I sometimes wonder if I should just let her take a break." At which point I had to excuse myself before I got all worked up in front of her.

So we are really busy and my ongoing challenge is finding my joy in that. I just remind myself that this lifestyle is what brings the kids joy right now and I also allow myself to realize that it may not always be so easy to meet their needs for this kind of involvement and level of organized activity. We are pretty blessed to have so many quality options available living in such a remote and lightly populated area!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A new favorite quote

I was reading (through my tears - the good kind - the happy, laughing, OMG I really need to pee!, kind) at which I found by following a link from Mary Gold at zenmommasgarden because she said it would make me laugh and I trust her judgment on that. I read this and appreciated it enough to quote her here:

"It was awesome and terrible. Like a tornado filled with glitter and pretty shoes."

And really, that is just what I need, another blog to read....

But who doesn't need to laugh more?

Ohana Fishing Tournament

This weekend is the Ohana Shoreline Fishing Tournament. We went Friday afternoon to Coast Guard. Auntie Julie wanted to try for menpachi because it was going to be a full moon. Cyrus had some buggers with his line and lost several hooks. It was pretty to watch him cast out in the dark though with the green glow stick on his line and then to watch him reel it in through the water. Alas no menpachi were on the menu.

Asha was fishing for a while next to a small blow hole that would shoot up a small geyser any time a good set of swells rolled in.

It was refreshing in the heat of the late afternoon and really funny when we didn't realize that Billy was straddling it when he came later toward sunset. Maya said it sounded like one of those bumble bee fireworks that jump into the air.
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There were lots of small tide pools on the rocks and the most shallow ones were left with only sea salt:

Auntie Julie is so good to our family. Her and her husband, Uncle Paul, take Cyrus fishing almost every weekend. Those two embody the Aloha Spirit! Not to mention all of the yummy Filipino food that Auntie Julie shares with us!!

Asha was the only one to catch fish. And it was her very first time fishing! First she caught a small rock fish:

Which we held in one of the tide pools.

She whispered to me after a while when no one else was catching anything, "If they don't start catching something soon I'm afraid dinner tonight will leave us hungry!"
She cught it on a bamboo pole:

Then she caught a kopipi. Here she is with it today after her soccer game when we met Julie and Cyrus and Maya at Keokea. Maya caught a little rass while we were in Waimea for the game:

It was a beautiful sunset and the evening was really warm -even I thought so and didn't put a sweatshirt on 'til after 10pm!

There was a beautiful full moon which always takes my breath away when I spot it for the first time:

Can you see it directly behind the palm?

It would have been smart to pick up and gather our things together before the sun went down! As it was the moonlight was nice and bright which meant we only needed our flashlights for tying line and baiting hooks, but we lost the scissors and never did find them... good thing we had Cyrus' teeth with us!

After that gorgeous, calm night last night Julie tried to take Cyrus and Maya back to the same spot today, but there was surf and it was a little sketchy so they packed up and went to Keokea, but Maya was too freaked by the size of the waves to fish bamboo and Cyrus had more trouble with his line in the rocks, so we may try one more outing in the morning to see if we can catch anything else we could take to the weight in in Waimea at noon.

A cozy spot

Thursday night while we watched the Olympics Asha disappeared and this is where we found her... fast asleep:

One of the things I like about this photo is the variety of the things on top of the coffee table.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins: Friday Fill-Ins #85

Friday Fill-Ins: Friday Fill-Ins #85

Thursday, August 14, 2008
Friday Fill-Ins #85

Here we go:

1. The last meal I had at a restaurant was pretty uninspired.

2. Feeling rushed is something I intensely dislike.

3. The full moon reminds me of the magical time when I met my husband.

4. "live aloha" is one of my favorite local expressions.

5. Sometimes it's best to just go to the beach.

6. "My Family and Other Animals" is the best movie I've seen so far this year!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to fishing under the full moon, tomorrow my plans include Asha's very first soccer game, fishing with the kids and watching the pig come out of the imu and Sunday, I want to have a lazy morning and see the community theater production of "The King and I" in Waimea!
Posted by Janet at 8:52 PM

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quirky Meme

Quirky Meme
Mention six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. Go to each person's blog and leave a comment that lets them know they've been tagged. If you participate, let the person who tagged you know you've posted your quirks!

I saw this meme on Sandra Dodd's blog and brought it here. So I wasn't tagged, and doubt I will tag anyone else, but I liked the idea of thinking about what might be quirky and boring (although I think I would prefer to call it "mundane") about myself.

1. I am very particular about the seat I choose at the table when I eat - either at home or out. I have this need to be with my back to a wall. If it is a restaurant and the table is not near a wall I will choose the seat with the least going on behind it. I don't like to feel that there are things going on that I am missing. Growing up our table had only one solid wall surrounding it and I sat against it. From there I could see the kitchen and anyone entering it from the rest of the house, the driveway, the front door, the living room, the deck and the street below where anyone arriving would have to pass by.

2. When I read a book I read every word in the darn thing! And I mean EVERY word! From the copyright info through the acknowledgments to the commentaries - even if they are praise for another book the author has written. And I do it not because of some weird superstition but because I actually enjoy it!

3. I have a bizarre unease and loathing about listening to the messages on my answering machine. My outgoing message actually states that I don't listen to them very often so if the caller needs to reach us in a timely manner they should call our cell phones ( numbers I don't provide on said message - I figure if I want to talk to them they already have that #). I don't know why I dislike listening to the messages as much as I do. I often put off listening to them until the machine is full - sometimes this takes upwards of 2 weeks! Which just makes it an even less enjoyable task because then it takes soooo long to do!!! I sometimes think I should just get rid of the thing, but I keep it because even though we do have caller ID we screen our calls if we don't recognize the #. A habit I developed when I had very small children and it was often inconvenient to answer the phone while I was nursing or reading books, or both or the noise level was just not conducive to conversation.

4. I have a series of abdominal and glute exercises that I do whenever I drive in the car and have the cruise control on.

5. I am a butt watcher. Yup - I love butts. I have very particular ideas about what makes for an attractive okole. I saw a lady on a show like Oprah (may have actually been Oprah but I no longer remember) who had a similar obsession and was a photographer who had published a coffee table type book of great butt shots. She stopped regular folks with butts she admired and asked to photograph them from behind for her book. It was the first time I'd heard of anyone else who was an admirer like me. I saw that show when I was about 12? and have since looked for the book without success - I guess others didn't "get it" like me.

5. I am completely overcome with emotion watching great dancers - and by great I don't necessarily mean from a technical standpoint, but the ones who dance with their hearts engaged. I experience a welling up of joy and gratitude and tears stream down my face and I can't stop smiling all at the same time. My body becomes electrified and I can "feel" what they are dancing!

6.I love christmas carols and sing them all year long.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Perfect beach days

August has brought perfect beach days as usual! I used to love September the most, but now that the school kids go back in late July here on the island August is pretty great too - (for us, not them).

The cousins and Grandpa Bill are here from L.A. so we have spent many days down therewith them this week.

Maya's first fish

Maya went fishing with Auntie Julie and Uncle Paul last Sunday for the first time and caught 3 rock fish (which were very yummy). One of the fish swallowed the hook and when Julie went to remove it the fish bit her finger! She was the only one who caught anything with a pole (Paul went diving and caught some surgeon fish). Cyrus cleaned them for us (and sliced his thumb on the blade of the aptly named surgeon fish) and we had Grandpa Bill up for dinner. Most Sundays we eat fish caught by Cyrus. Maya was very proud to join him in providing dinner for the family! Next weekend is the Ohana fishing tournament and both Maya and Cyrus are signed up. We'll fish Friday and Saturday and the weight in is Sunday in Waimea.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No Couch Potatoes Here!

Go ahead - try and convince me that watching TV is a passive activity!

Micro focus

While the rest of us climbed the rocks, playing hopping and balancing games, watching surfers and body boarders and marveling at the massive, sweeping cliffs that wrap the bay, Asha's focus was on a smaller scale. She notices the little things. She gets wrapped up in intricate small wonders. She creates and manipulates on a tiny scale. It is no wonder to me that she also tunes into people and animals with this same attention to details and nuance. She catches the "little" things that have a big impact. She detects small changes in mood and body language. She gauges emotional landscapes and instinctively knows where to find her footing and how to reach out and offer a steadying hand. She navigates the micro scale of situations with ease both in the physical and the emotional realm.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More from Tutu's Garden



My sweet parents

I was home for a weekend visit to my childhood home recently to attend my 40th high school reunion :O

These are my very sweet parents - and super star grandparents- otherwise known as "Tutu & Popu":

And this is the house I grew up in:

When I was growing up there we had a front lawn on a slope - the best front lawn for slip-n-slide ever (and for rolling down in several huge innertubes duct taped together, but not so great for sleeping on in nylon sleeping bags to watch the persiad meteor showers every August because you'd start out at the top and wake in the morning down at the bottom!:) But once the kids were gone Mom finally got her wish of a garden full of flowers and Dad finally got his wish of no grass to mow! So now the old lawn looks like this:

Being there feeds my soul. If I c an get into the woods near the water or in the mountains I have been to church! I made it to 2 beaches in 3 days and one involved hiking through my beloved Pacific NW woods:


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our new house

Our house is starting to look like, well... a house! It has some walls up now and you can see all of the rooms laid out. By the end of next weekend we hope to have all of the walls up.

I have a separate blog documenting our building project if you want to check that outhere.
I don't know why, but I set it up with a password which is: opensesame

Progress may seem slow because, is! Billy builds it on the weekends with the help of friends after working about a 65 hour work week at his paying job. He has taken 1 day off in the past 5 months. When the house is finally finished ( we are aiming for the end of "08) we are planning a nice long vacation - and NOT the kind where you stay home and take care of all of the projects around the house! We are talking Mexico or New Zealand here (I vote for Southeast Asia, but I will be out voted).

Zebra okole (butt)

We visited our hawaiian zebra friend again last weekend on our trek to the south end of the island to help Auntie Malia move. Asha commented on how truly bizarre it is to see a zebra in Hawaii since they are native to Mexico! :) Of course, Maya very quickly corrected her and gave us all a short course on the origins and habits of the zebra. We then wondered if a zebra and a donkey could mate and what would you call the offspring? A zonkey? A Zebkey? A donkbra? A Debra? Of course, if it was a mule in there with it there would be no possibility of a mubra or a zule.

For some reason we were all amused by the sight of the zebra's butt.

The other photo card shots

Ti leaf

This is one of the photos I used for a set of greeting cards I made for my sister, Malia, for her birthday. I used photos I had taken of plants in her yard at her new house. The black bamboo a few posts ago was another.