Tuesday, March 29, 2011

looking for my rock ...

... to hide under. i'm starting to feel a bit sleep deprived and underwhelmed. sleep deprived is pretty self explanatory. it's something that i haven't been doing very well lately ... travel, tsunamis, irregular schedules, camping and just restless nights have added up to a sleepy mama. doesn't help that panda is a bit of an insomniac as well. dragging ourselves out of bed after a night of little, restless sleep does not happy campers make.

... as for underwhelmed ... well, i am totally underwhelmed with myself lately. not putting enough time or soul into my writing, dropping little responsibilities, lacking excitement about parts of my career ... so i am in need of a kick in the okole and time to get my a$$ back in gear. well, get my heart back into what i'm doing.

i dropped in on some of my favorite blogs this AM, needing some simple words and images of inspiration, creativity and common sense ... my favorite this AM? SouleMama. hopefully her enthusiasm and excitement of creativity will carry me through the day. and if not, i just may find myself a rock and crawl under it for a while to gather myself together and make things happen ...

Monday, March 28, 2011

get some sleep, mama ...

we did it! we made it home, all of us in one piece, with some little piece of our sanity in tact. woohoo!! we had our first family camping weekend this past weekend. after loading up the car (wow! i didn't realize just how much room a camry has until we filled it to the brim with the "necessities" of camping) and then squeezed in 3 people, made a quick stop at longs for the forgotten items and finally headed out to ho'omaluhia (place of tranquility/peace). we knew that we were in for some rain ~ that was inevitable, ho'omaluhia is at the foot of the ko'olaus on the kaneohe side ~ but we were excited to finally break out our new tents and get away for short staycation. we had no idea if we were going to have friends hanging out with us, or if our new propane grill was going to work (which meant that we had no idea if the the ton of food that mama packed was going to be cooked, much less consumed).

it seems that a lot of my peeps are surprised to discover that i enjoy camping. i guess that surprise should make sense. i get that i'm a bit of a diva. i enjoy my coffee hot and fresh in the AM, i'm a HUGE believer in naps and lots of pillows on the bed (don't you love that, panda?!?) and i like having wardrobe options at my fingertips so that what i'm wearing fits any mood that i may be in. but ... surprise everyone!! this mama LOVES to camp!!! in fact, one of the sad parts about the dissolution of my last relationship was losing my (VERY expensive), well-researched, broken in camping gear to my ex. oh well! i'm over it. especially because that meant that my little family got to indulge in some new camping gear and create camping memories of our own. and let me tell you, that we did!!

we made it out to the campsite mid-morning and were fairly well set up just a bit after lunchtime. after gobbling down some yummy sammies (with the indulgence of white bread!) we started the difficult task of relaxing! seriously ... getting this family to relax can sometimes be difficult ... competing and busy schedules, lots of time spent with our minds on other things, restless sleep, crazy competing priorities ... getting us settled in to relaxation mode can take a bit. but we made it! yep ... within a couple hours, there were trees being explored, ducks being fed, books being read, naps being had. ended up having family time the rest of that day. mama tried to let food choices be whatever anyone wanted, there were marshmallows roasted on a fire that panda started and we both kept going for hours (yes peeps, us women know how to start a fire successfully!). it was bliss. and at the end of the day, after shortstack finally crashed for the night, panda and i got to sit fireside talking about everything and nothing and just enjoy being. for that night alone, the craziness of camping prep and execution was worth it!!

saturday morning came a bit too early for my liking ... especially when we figured out that my coffee plan wasn't going to work. okay, a short sidenote here ~ y'all know that i'm a coffee addict. so we planned specifically for that weakness. we ventured into unknown and scary territory and bought *$ (if you don't know what this means, well, you're not an addict. be proud!) instant coffee packets. i packed a pot to boil water in on our cool new propane grill. yeah ~ well, the best laid plans sometimes just don't work. so, off panda had to go in search of coffee (i love that woman!) of course, when she got back, shortstack and i were taking a nap ... heeheeeheeee ...
so, we finally did really wake up ... and friends started coming. it was a rainy day, but shortstack and his buddies managed to play hide and seek, fish in the lake (seriously - it was catch and release, no fish were harmed, i promise!) get their bodies caked with mud and other unthinkable messy stuff, eat like ravenous hyenas ... by the end of the chaotic, fun day, panda and i were looking at each other in bafflement because we had acquired 4 other kids, another tent, made our way through a dozen hamburgers, 3 lbs of hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, 2 bags of marshmallows ... yep, it was a blast!

after listening in on a hilarious game of truth or dare (with 5 kids in age range of 5 thru 12 ... you'd be cracking up too!) and realizing that we were now the old peeps chaperoning camping trips, everyone was finally tucked into their tents playing flashlight chicken and trying to keep their giggles to a minimum ... unfortunately, when the sun woke up, so did the kids .... i wasn't a fan, but i was apparently overruled ... so, up and starting the day (without coffee, mind you). breakfast for 5 hungry, growing kids is a crazy prospect ... don't know how parents of multiple kids do it! within a couple hours, the campsite was well on the way to being broken down and i was patiently (NOT) waiting for the coffee delivery that was coming with the first kid(s) pickup of the AM. coffee arrived ~ oops! i mean our friends arrived with coffee ~ to pick up their kids. somehow, these kids still had enough energy to run around like crazy. campsite was pretty well cleared by the time the first group left. by the time our other friends showed up to retrieve their daughter, only the pop-up tent still stood with munchies and random chaos. we chilled out a little more, let shortstack run like crazy and finally made the call to pack it up and call it a successful adventure!

getting everything back in the car and headed home was not as pretty or organized as when we headed out, but we made at. the little man was immediately thrown into the bathtub with the intention of scrubbing and soaking away the dirt and grime (seriously, a shower and a bath and there's STILL residual mud on him), we unloaded the car and made temporary homes for a lot of little things, and finally found our way to cleanliness ... each of us luxuriating under long, hot showers and lots of suds (did i mention that this little family of mine went showerless from friday through sunday?? yep! the beanie never left my head!).

all in all, it was an awesome weekend! we all had a blast and all were pleasantly exhausted at the end of the weekend. but now, it's back to daily reality. my alarm went off at 5:10 this AM. it took A LOT of self motivation to get my a$$ out of bed and start our day ... but we did it. we're at school, at work and ready to get moving through the week. and at the end of each day, as long as my shortstack will give me a kiss and say "get some sleep, mama" then i know it was a good day! here's to hoping that all of us have a blessed week ... hopefully we'll be able to all enjoy our daily adventures and remember to say thank you for the little moments of bliss when we crawl into our beds at night ...

Friday, March 25, 2011

getting back to nature!!

woohoo!! we're going camping! semi-roughing it ... well, not really at all roughing it ... but getting away, having some fun at ho'omaluhia. good food, hanging out together, cool weather (hoping not to get rained out), some bbq burgers and dogs, hopefully some friends will come and visit ... it's all good!

it's been awhile since i've made the time to sit and share ... heck! it's been awhile since i've made the time to sit and count my blessings. definitely going to take some time to do that this weekend.

i hope that you will be able to do the same ... we have so many blessings to recognize and count ... and one of the biggest being that our little man is with us, growing, developing into an amazing young man ... another being that we've found someone who loves us, chooses to walk with us through this life and is our best friend ...

so, off we go ... panda's packing up the car, shortstack is - well - messing around, and here i am shooting off a little message to y'all saying i hope that you'll take some time to enjoy our world and count your blessings!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

what to do with ourselves on a kid-less staycation?

shortstack is going on a short staycation with his daddy for the rest of this week. this poses several mini crises for his mama ... first of all, we've been spoiled since the school year started, except for a brief christmas visit to AZ, shortstack has been with us constantly. this means that we have SO gotten used to his craziness and his kisses whenever and wherever. also, panda and i now have ... oh, 4 kid-less nights and THAT has an implicit expectation that we won't be boring, stay-at-home, parenthood-coma-induced adults. nope! we are supposed to "take advantage" of our kid-less state and actually go out and do stuff OR try to stay awake past 8:27 pm (which, if you've read some of my past blogs about date night, you will probably already have figured out that we rarely make it to 8:30. yes! we admit it! we're BORING!!).

and then there is the BIGGIE ... the ex is on the island ... and the island ain't all that big ... and we live very near to where the ex and our shortstack will be staying ... SO ... how do we not let it get to us? panda's been quite amazing about reminding me that since we can't control it, let it be and remember that we want shortstack to have fun with his father. my internal conversation goes something like this: ok, you wanted j.a. to be a part of shortstack's life in the first place so this isn't a bad thing. but j.a. put us through a shitty custody battle is a complete j.a.! yeah, but we don't have control over this now. yeah, but i should do something. stop it! just make sure that shortstack is excited about the visit. FINE! but karma's going to bite j.a. in the ass!! {first person to figure out what "j.a." stands for gets a prize!}

as i type, the little man is being picked up by j.a. and there's nothing i can do but hope that shortstack has a blast and comes home safe and sound. so, our angels out there, wrap yourselves around our little man and let him know that his mama and panda love him to the moon and back!

Monday, March 14, 2011

hey all! HEY ALL!!! we're getting MARRIED!!!!

yep!! we're really going to get married! i know ... i know ... i sound surprised. in a way, i am! not because i'm marrying panda ... there's no question in my mind that i want to spend the rest of my life with this amazing woman by my side. i think the surprise comes from the fact that we CAN, in fact, get married and have it legally recognized (well, at least in the state of HI) AND that we are moving on with our lives ... which means that we get to plan a wedding and a kick-ass party to celebrate that we've found each other and that we are choosing to commit to one another and to the family that we have created together. WOOHOO!!!

p.s. we've added a wedding page for your convenience and interest (well, really, i know it'll be for your entertainment). look to your left! click on "wedding in paradise"! yep! you found it!! details and comments coming soon, i'm sure!

Friday, March 11, 2011

night duty

last night we had a tsunami. i'm sure by now you've heard that a massive earthquake struck about 250 miles off the coast of japan. one of the drawbacks about living smack-dab in the middle of the pacific ocean is being subject to the variabilities of nature. last year, on my birthday in fact, we had another tsunami due to an earthquake off of chile. so, yes, the apls ohana definitely lives in paradise, but paradise does come with a cost. thankfully, we were not subject to overly large waves or water damage. but, when it comes to mama nature, we never can truly and accurately predict what is going to happen and when.

so, as the mama of the house, i spent all night prepping in case something did actually happen. you see, panda's off island for a work trip so it's just me an shortstack holding down the fort. the little man crashed out before the chatter about a possible tsunami started. i first heard about the earthquake in japan when i was doing dishes and closing up the house; then i started seeing insane footage of unbelievable waves forcing their way through coastal areas in japan. truth be told - at first i thought the footage was from past seismic events ... i couldn't wrap my head around the thought that japan was experiencing a tsunami as i was watching. when it started sinking in, i started to get a bit worried about our situation. now, we don't live anywhere near coastal evacuation areas so it wasn't worry about the immediate danger of tsunami waves that i was worried about ... it's the chaos that follows. if the electricity infrastructure goes down, cell service gets interrupted, commercial transactions become impossible without cash on hand ... the basic social means of life go bonkers. as it was, stores were being inundated, gas stations had lines around the corner, ATMs were out of cash (and unfortunately for us, we have limited water reserves in the house, no cash and my gas tank is close to empty - thankfully, it is all a moot point!). as the researchers were talking about the possible impacts of tsunami's on our islands, it isn't the initial impact that causes such major concern - after all, there should be limited loss of life and limb with the advanced warning systems that we have in place - its the after-effect chaos that should cause the worry. all of our local power plants/infrastructure and gas refineries are in coastal areas, as are the airports. all of the mechanical infrastructure for hotels (remember, HI relies on a vibrant tourist economy) are in the basements of hotels. these insights should definitely give us pause to consider what we will do when we are finally struck by a massive tsunami. wow - that was a rant, wasn't it ...

a little closer to home ... as shortstack slept like a rock through 5 of the 6 alert sirens, i bottled water, filled the bathtub with water just in case, got out the flashlights and candles, recharged batteries and searched for the can opener. spent the night messaging with panda trying to keep her up-t0-date (she was scheduled to be on an AM flight back home but the airports were closing because of the tsunami warnings), facebooking (yep, it's become a verb) to keep everyone up-to-date and assured that we were doing fine, texting with friends (some had family in the most affected areas in japan, and prayers were being sent up for safety).

when the ETA of the first waves approached, i curled up next to shortstack in our over-pillowed bed (had them all stacked up around us so that we [i] felt cozy) and watched as the water levels and patterns changed. as i watched mama nature express her moods through water, the realization that we have - again - escaped the wrath of nature. thank our angels! and so, the tv went off and i passed out. only to be woken up by shortstack with his daily request for cartoons. so, all is well with our world. panda's on a plane headed home, HI has sustained limited water damage due to unusual wave activity, our home is stocked with water, the flashlights (and foot pump for soccer balls) have been located and put in visible areas, and the batteries are charging. mama's had little sleep so we're vegging out in bed watching "how to train a dragon" (so much for the no cartoon rule).

thank you to everyone who sent up prayers and thoughts on our behalf. thank you to the scientists and civil servants who made sure to err on the side of public safety and cautioned us to prepare for the worst-case-scenario. thank you to our angels who watched over us and kept mama calm on very little sleep.

and so we begin another day in our little piece of paradise ...