The Trees Get A Haircut

Household maintenance, always fun. Last weekend it was Tree Trimming Day! Though it might have come a week early as now there is much less shade on our house and it is HOT HOT HOT in LA this week. Oh well. I'm hoping in two weeks it will all be a distant memory and Fall will truly be upon us. Though "Fall" in LA will simply mean it's 80, not 90.

TreeBefore1 TreeAfter1

TreeBefore2 TreeAfter2

After it was all over, I saw a squirrel on one of those power lines behind the pine tree. I swear it was giving me major stink eye. Sorry dude.

Part Time SAHM Adventures

We are fortunate that we have a nanny part time to care for Harper while we work on other projects that we hope will become well-paying projects. I'm still looking for full time VFX work and Kurt is currently employed on a few writing projects. So on the days there is no nanny, I am on full Harper Patrol. I am a part-time stay-at-home-mom. And in doing so I find myself being quite the throw back old-school mom. Maybe cuz I'm old? Whatever, it amuses me. And trust me when I say, as a mother to a two year old, you need all the self-amusement you can find. (Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a family blog!)

Sammich1Case in point -- sandwiches. On days when it's just me and Harper, I plan a field trip with other friends and their kids or just us. Either way, I pack our snack/lunch bag. Sammich2Lately I've been making sandwiches for us. But funny enough, I find I like to cut the crusts off. I've NEVER done that before unless I was making tea sandwiches for a special occasion. But I find myself doing it now. Then there is wax paper. I always have some around (why?) but now use it all the time to wrap the sandwich! Very handy, and folding that wax paper is somehow satisfying. Maybe I'm just losing my marbles. No matter, the sammiches are delicious. Ask Harper!

Someone gave us a Richard Scarry book called What Do People Do All Day? Harper likes to read it ("read" it) and so we've spent time going through it, though not really reading it word for word. In fact it took a few times before I found this gem:





"She earned it by taking such good care of the house."


Mommy earned the dress, but she doesn't get to leave the house or get to actually, you know, choose the dress she might like. Or choose something better, like a high paying job outside the home. But nevermind.

Can I interrupt my own blog post to say this about being a parent? Thanks, here goes: The one thing I don't remember reading in any parenting book -- and I've read a few -- is how boring it can be. B O R I N G!! You hear about the hard stuff (tantrums, hitting, etc), the joyful stuff (too many to mention) but you never hear about how just downright DULL it can be to hang with a two year old day after day. I will say the dullness can be interrupted by some super awesome cute moments, that is for sure. But hours spent at a park watching Harper push her own stroller can be mind melting snooze fest. You can't read a book or talk on the phone or even text with friends, or if you do it's just to answer with LOL or OMG or nothing at all because you are standing under a climbing structure saying "How about the slide? Come down the slide!" You can't really chat with other parents who are there because you can't quite make eye contact and/or you are running after your own child in the opposite direction. You get three words out and then have to run, then come back for two more then have to run again. Sometimes it is super challenging. A lot of times it is great, most times, totally boring. My least favorite times are when we are playing in Harper's room, building her wooden train set. She'll get distracted with something else so I'll start building away and will actually be enjoying it, then she'll usually come over and Godzilla the crap out of it. Sigh. It's so hard at that point not to say out loud "DUDE! I WAS TOTALLY BUILDING THAT!"

But back to the fun parts. Like Breakfast In Box. Harper was acting like a cat for a few weeks, totally loving this big box we had around. Many a breakfast was had in-box.


Meal times are good for inadvertent face-painting. Sometimes jelly, sometimes cream cheese, sometimes ketchup. OMG Harper loves ketchup! "Spicy!" She'll dip anything in it. Last night she ate a big pile of green beans by dipping them in ketchup. Cool with me!


One of her favorite things is to have a surprise after dinner. Sometimes a cookie, sometimes a mini ice cream cone (one of our fave things from Trader Joe's), sometimes homemade berry smoothie. But she can't quite say "surprise." For some reason it came out "soapy prize" which I think is awesome. So now when we need more mini ice cream cones, I write soapy prize on the list. Kurt knows exactly what that means. Once she started understanding that it was a special treat, she started asking at breakfast with big eyes after one bite of yogurt "Soapy prize?"


I truly can't complain. Yes yes, our personal projects move more slowly because we can't be full time on them, but they are moving forward. And Harper is pretty danged great. We are so lucky. And there are evenings when I'm making dinner and look outside and see this:


Life is good.


How "Toy Story" Messes Me Up As A Parent

Way before we had Harper, Toy Story had given me pause any time I came across toys in real life. The movie is so charming and funny and brilliant that how could you not consider that your toys come to life when you are out of the room?

Now with Harper and her toys, it's double trouble there. A pile of stuffed animals, baskets of balls and toy cars, the Gabba Gang, a stable full of horses. It's a lot. Most are on the floor or on shelves. But there are a few in the crib and they tend to stay in the crib. I started feeling bad about them, that they can't just jump out and play with the others. Prison. They are in toddler prison.

CribRabbitI feel especially bad for one very soft, furry rabbit. (She's the grey one on the left.) Except for Harper's little bear, which goes with her everywhere, Rabbit was the only other toy in there for months. I've slowly put in a few others and now I feel that she's not so lonely in there. Is that weird??

Or how about this? Mom gave Harper this awesome "Impossibly tall" rabbit doll for Easter last year. A lovely girl rabbit with a cute dress, a flower on her ear and fancy espadrilles. Harper loves it. For Christmas, Harper got the brother doll, also cute with sweater, jeans and Chuck Taylor type sneakers. Well, Harper is in the phase where all doll clothes come off. So one day I come in and both dolls are naked, their clothes strewn around and I realize they are both the same doll model underneath. There is nothing to distinguish them from each other without their clothes.

RabbitsToyStoryaMy worry? When I put the clothes back on, how do I know that I put the clothes back on the right doll? What if brother rabbit is not happy wearing his sister's dress and fancy shoes? Or maybe he loves it and can finally be his true self? What if the other boys are laughing at him? It's a tough call, man. I hate to think of any of Harper's toys being unhappy. I like to think they live in a warm and open group but can you really trust that crazy pelican puppet?

Early Christmas Present - Yay!

We got a new stove for Christmas. Hooray! Here is the old stove. It was here when I moved in (almost) 16 years ago. It's pretty and charming, but man, we were ready for modern, efficient and predictable!


It is smaller, but the broiler works (haven't had a working broiler in 15 years) and the kitchen doesn't heat up to 350 when you bake something at 350. Did I mention efficient?

Also? There is a light in the oven. What a modern concept!


If you know anyone who wants to buy the old O'Keefe and Merrit, we are selling it...


Catching Up On The Summer Fun

August has been busy and mostly good fun. Swimming continues and I'm amazed at how after five weeks of lessons (one lesson and one practice each week) Harper is more and more comfortable in the water and doesn't grab for me hardly at all. She still wears floaties and fins, and is getting better and better with the kicking and paddling. Plus just seeing her in that cap kills me every time!


Every time I put her sunsuit on I call it her Elvis suit.


I love this picture that Kurt took as the girl next to us was so funny and chatty. I'm making a Jen face for sure.


Harper also helps us fold laundry, yet she was stalled in her folding one day to put my undies on her head.(Yes, they were clean!)


But with that face, it is hard to complain. That FACE!


And just a thought -- these toys should probably not be sold or given to households with those that suffer from combat related PTSD...just sayin.


We got an old chair recovered. I've never done that before and the guy we were referred to was awesome. Cheap, cheerful and FAST! With pick up and delivery.

Here is Before:
ChairBefore1 Chairbefore2

And now After:

ChairAfter1 ChairAfter2

We were going to get a brighter, bolder pattern, but then Kurt brilliantly remembered that we have an almost we opted for darker for now.

We've tried some kite flying, though it's been challenging due to lack of wind. Most times this is how we look:


But last weekend we got lucky with a few stronger gusts:

(Harper also loves her sunscreen bottle.)

I was trying to figure out why in the world I remember kite flying being so easy as a kid. Then it dawned on me that, um duh, I grew up where the weather report said "Tradewinds 10-15 mph" EVERY DAY. Much more helpful for kite flying than LA where you barely get 6mph.

Speaking of Hawai'i:


And the sunflowers are starting to bloom and that always makes me happy.


And finally, the fork. A new tool in Harper's eating arsinal. (Note the right hand in ballast position.)


She hasn't fully decided if she's a lefty or a righty, but it is leaning righty...

Spring Planting

Last year I literally had my hands full with a new baby so putting in a garden was not so high on my priority list. But this year, couldn't wait to be done with the job and get planting! Harper and I planted yesterday and our bounty is soon to come: tomatoes (3 types), romaine lettuce and basil. I also planted sunflower seeds along the wall there (the 2 foot tall variety). Can't wait to eat lots of ceasar and caprese salads!


Aloha 'Oe Spreckelsville

On December 21, 1975, Mom, Jen and I moved to Maui from Oahu. I was 8, just about to turn 9 and Jen had just turned 13. That was 37 years ago. It was a whole new start for us three, a start to a wonderful life on Maui.

Sunrise on Christmas Day, 2012

That era is over now as Mom is moving on. She sold the house and is moving this week to a smaller place Upcountry. (Still Maui, just a different neighborhood.) It's a good move, filled with new beginnings and possibilities and opporunities. But it's also a big huge sad good-bye to an amazing home and so many memories. It's a hard good-bye too because there is so much Jen in that house and Jack and GrandmaJane too. I cried every day I was home over Christmas. Every day. I missed Jen so much because of course she would have come to have a last Christmas there too.

I have to keep reminding msyelf that mom is not leaving Maui, just Spreckelsville. But it will be different from now on, especially with new owners because who knows how different the house will become. 

I wrote down a bunch of memories of the house. One specific sound got me going on making a list. The sound of the squeak of the latch on the cabinet under the sink in mom's bathroom. It's made that same distinctive squeak for 37 years.

The ocean is a big part of mom's house. The house is not on the beach, but right near it (last house before the beach). You can be lulled by the sound of the waves, though it's not too loud. When the surf is big, then you can hear it really well.

Spreckelsville is under the departure path of the Kahului Airport (OGG) and I grew up listening to planes departing. There is the first plane out every morning around 5:45am, then clusters of departures throughout the day. The planes used to be so loud you could not talk on the phone when they went over. You would have to wait, then continue. Modern jets are much quieter, believe me!

We got to Maui when I was halfway through 3rd grade. I started the new school year at Lihikai Elementary in January of 1976. Starting a new school is always intimidating, especially halfway through a year. On top of that, I was the only haole in my class, in my whole grade! I took the bus every morning with about eight other kids from Spreckelsville. We would stop at the old housing near the airport (long gone now) where other kids would get on the bus. They were the "Kahului Kids" to us because they went to Kahului Elementary and would get dropped off before us. I rode the school bus for three and a half years, then switched schools in seventh grade to Seabury Hall and carpooled from then on.

The drive from Spreckelsville to Seabury takes you along Hana Highway to Baldwin Ave. in Paia, straight up to Makawao, then it becomes Olinda Road to Seabury. I was a passenger for three years, then driver for three years on that road, every school day, and then some. I know that road so well I feel like I could drive it with my eyes closed. Not much of the actual road has changed. But I knew things were different when they put a stoplight in at Paia, lo those 20 years or so ago!

Spreckelsville was a big sugar town, once upon a time, and all that is left is our neighborhood along the beach. (And that has actually grown grown since we moved in '75.) It used to be just the small sleepy roads from the Club (the Maui Country Club) to the end of Stable Road. (And there were horses and stables on Stable road when we moved there!)

My Small Kid Time Memories are many, but here are the highlights:

-Roller skating in the garage. It was the smoothest surface in the neighborhood.

-Slip and slide in the front yard down the hill.

-Eating ripe mangoes right off the (neighbor's) tree.

-Going from the beach to the pool at the Club and back, and back again.

-My good childhood friend Patty who lived down the block.

-Flossie and her dog Uku across the street! ('Uku means "flea" in Hawaiian and Uku was black lab.)

-Our cat Peach, who was a feral kitten when we found and adopted her, and Daisy, the beagle mix Jen found at the pound.

-Cane spiders in the house after the sugar cane was burned off before harvest. Maybe it's not a highlight, but more like a hard to forget memory that is so specific to that place!

When we moved there in '75 our address was PO Box F, Paia. Then it became 204 Kealakai Place, which it remains. It will be really hard to now have to look up my mom's new address! But THANK GOD she is keeping her phone number. Man, that would have really knocked me for a loop. To this day whenever I pick up a new phone to test, I always dial that Maui number.

One of my last best memories is that Harper took her very first steps in the house! How wonderful to have a big first for her there to treasure along with all the other memories.


It was so tough to say good-bye. I walked through the house about 3 times, crying every time, before actually leaving for the airport. I touched the walls and said "thank you" to all it has given me, to my family. I am very sentimental so this goes deep for me, almost like a death in the family. (Of which there have been too many already.) But in the end, it's just a house and my mom moves forward to new things and I can't wait to see where she goes!

As Lili'uokalani said so well:

Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe Farewell to thee, farewell to thee
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace, One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au 'Ere I depart
Until we meet again Until we meet again
ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai Sweet memories come back to me
Ke hone aʻe nei i Bringing fresh remembrances
Kuʻu manawa Of the past
ʻO ʻoe nō kaʻu ipo aloha Dearest one, yes, you are mine own
A loko e hana nei From you, true love shall never depart