Hawaii: The Final Day

On Saturday we had our last day in Hawaii. The time was really winding down. We had had a lot of adventure, a lot of time with family, and a lot of relaxation on the beach. Half of the family had already left, so it was just us and my parents. We decided to go explore the eastern side of Oahu a bit and visit Sea Life Park.

On the way there, we drove by the area where my dad was born. He showed us his old school, and his old church, and pointed toward the area up on a hill where his father had built a house for them. Then, he suddenly pulled off in a neighborhood, and showed us the house where he had lived with his grandmother when he was about three or four. My mom and I got out and took a picture.

P1200659Back when he lived there, the big stone wall was not there. He said his grandmother had all sorts of rose bushes lining the driveway. You can’t tell from this picture, but the house backs right up to the ocean. He and his siblings used to fish in the ocean right from their backyard. You can see from this next picture the walkway back to the ocean:

P1200660The Eastern side of Oahu really is beautiful. We enjoyed the scenery on the drive very much. When we made it to Sea Life Park, the first thing we looked at was the shark tank. The boys enjoyed pointing them out and watching them swim by. Then, we went to see the sea turtles. There were quite a few of them for such a small enclosure, but it was exciting because the boys got to feed the turtles. They each got a cup of lettuce, broccoli, and celery, and threw them out into the water. Then we got to watch the turtles swim up, and take the food.

P1200706After the sea turtles we watched a fun sea lion show. Nathan was grumbling the whole time because as a salmon fisherman, you kind of have to hate on the sea lions. These ones were pretty cute, though, and knew all sorts of fun tricks.

Next on the list was feeding the birds. The last time we took Elias in to see birds was at the lorakeet exhibit at the Oregon zoo. He absolutely freaked out with fear. Granted, that was probably two years ago, but I was anxious about how he would do. It’s good I didn’t let any of my trepidation show because he did absolutely fine. In fact, he loved it! He had a bird land on his hand and his head and he thought it was fun.

P1200734Simon enjoyed feeding the birds too.

P1200742After feeding the birds, we ate lunch, and then headed over to the dolphin show. It featured both Atlantic and Pacific bottle nose dolphins as well as a whalfin. I did not know that such a thing exists, and in fact, the whalfin mother and calf at Sea Life Park are the only ones in existence in the world. The show was packed with all sorts of flips and twists and amazing jumps. The boys were riveted.

P1200746After this we hung around the park for a bit longer to explore a few other exhibits, a playground, and some yummy Dole soft serve. Then it was time to head back to the hotel.

We got in one last swim, and then got ready to meet my Auntie Cathy and Uncle Vince one last time. As a parting gift, they got us some malasadas, which my mom had been talking about the entire trip, but we had never gotten around to trying. They are basically a donut-like pastry, and they are very yummy.

Simon enjoyed trying the malasada, but didn’t finish his.

P1200773Elias, in true form, said he didn’t want to try them and would rather have strawberries. I guess there are some pluses to having an uber picky child. He’s healthy.

P1200776I’m not going to confess how many Nathan and I ate, but we definitely had some at breakfast the next morning, and might have brought some home on the plane with us as well.

Writing this, it seems crazy that we were there just a few days ago. We’ve been home and back in our normal routine, which started with swimming lessons bright and early Monday morning. Despite all the craziness, I think I will mostly just remember the warmth. The warmth of the sun, yes, but also the warmth in my heart. Spending time with family is so important and it was a wonderful time.

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Hawaii: The Portuguese Man of War

Meet the Portuguese Man of War:

Portuguese_Man-O-War_(Physalia_physalis)It may look like a jellyfish, but in fact it is not a jellyfish. There are a few major differences. First of all, the Man of War is actually four different organisms that work together. It’s called a siphonophore or some scientific term like that. Each of the parts works together, but cannot survive independently. Unlike a jellyfish which can propel itself, the man of war just drifts on the ocean and has no other way of movement. The tentacles have venom that paralyze fish and other organisms, and although no human has died from a man of war sting, it is said to be excruciatingly painful in certain cases. Most of the time the man of war drifts in groups, and watch out because even if it is dead, it can still sting you.

Enough with the science lesson. We did not know any of this before Friday last week. It was Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina’s last day with us, and Uncle Scott and Auntie Kristy were heading off to Maui for their 4th anniversary celebration trip for a few days. We decided to spend our last day together relaxing at the beach and pool. We all had a great time swimming together at the pool. Then, Nathan and Uncle Greg took the boys to the beach. My skin had had enough of the sun so I went to an outdoor market in the shade instead with Kristy and my mom.

After twenty minutes or so, Auntie Kristy got a phone call asking for vinegar right away. Elias had been stung by a Portuguese Man of War while playing in the ocean. I hurried back to the beach and found Nathan in the hot tub with Elias and got the full story.

Apparently, Nathan had been playing up on the beach with Simon, while Uncle Greg and Elias were running in the waves and throwing nuts into the water. Uncle Greg noticed a dead fish floating in the water. Elias got out of the ocean, and when at the shore, both he and Greg noticed something wrapped around his leg. Uncle Greg went to remove it, but before he could, Elias did it himself, and immediately started limping up the beach toward Daddy. Nathan said he was very visibly upset and in pain, but he couldn’t tell what was wrong so he took him up to the showers to wash off the leg.

When Nathan was done washing off the leg he saw a large red welt twisting down Elias’ leg from the knee to the foot. Baba who showed up (probably due to hearing Elias’ cry) said it looked like a man of war sting. He had seen one before because his older brother was stung when they were young. Two of the hotel staff happened to walk by and confirmed. They suggested soaking it in warm water and applying vinegar. Hence the hot tub.

Nathan said Elias calmed down pretty quick while soaking in the hot tub so that advice was great. Not too long after, I showed up with Auntie Kristy and the vinegar. Later in the evening, we read that some people think vinegar is not good for it because it speeds the process of the venom, but other articles recommend it. We do know the hot water worked its charms, though.

Poor Nathan was sitting in the hot tub in the full sun in the middle of the day and looked like he was going to wilt. Elias finally said he was ready to get out, and he sat with me in the shade for a long time after that.

P1200625All in all, he came out fine. I’m sure it was super painful, but most sources say the man of war stings only are painful for about an hour, and that seemed to hold true with Elias too. After sitting with me for an hour or so he turned to me and said, “I caught my own jellyfish! And it stung me!”

Elias has been proudly sharing his story with anyone he can. He told it to his swimming instructor, and his preschool teacher. I’m not sure what they thought.

During his recovery period, Elias wanted to take a bunch of pictures with my camera. I have all sorts of pics on there, but this one was especially cute. He wanted to take a picture of Auntie Kristy and Uncle Scott, and I helped him hold it steady.

P1200620By Saturday morning it was all just a memory. The large welt turned into just a red line running down his leg. This picture does not show the whole sting because of the way that it twisted around his leg. The sting had a bunch of spots behind his knee, then the long twisty line down his leg, then a couple of lines on his foot. But this gives you a general idea:

P1200649It was all just another adventure to add to the list for this trip, but we are very thankful that there was no permanent damage.

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Hawaii: Pearl Harbor

Out of all the times my parents took our family to Hawaii as I was growing up, I never actually made it to visit Pearl Harbor. Every time we went to Oahu it was to visit family, and they we whisked away to Maui where everything is slower paced. I’ve never really been a tourist on Oahu. This visit we went to visit family, but since Nathan, Kristy, and Shaina had never been to Pearl Harbor either, we decided to be tourists for a day.

My Auntie Cathy came with us, and we set out for the harbor. We looked at the visitor’s center museum while we waited for our time slot to see the Arizona memorial. When it was time to go line up, we used Uncle Scott’s wheelchair to our advantage:

P1200500The Arizona memorial tour starts with a video about why the attack even happened, with real footage. Here we are lining up for the movie.

P1200505Then we took a boat ride out to the memorial, which sits over the actual ship. Parts of the ship stick up above the water, but most of it is under the surface, and you can just make it out. There has also been oil leaking from the ship for 70 or so years since it sunk. I found it pretty interesting that men who served on the ship and escaped alive can choose to have their ashes placed on the ship. The whole tour was pretty somber. I didn’t feel overly patriotic, but sad for the whole world. Every person who was killed in the war had a family somewhere.

P1200509After the Arizona memorial tour, it was super warm and our energy was sapped. We decided to eat our picnic lunch just outside the gates. Simon dropped a pretty large chunk of graham cracker, and a cockroach scuttled out from a crack in the cement and was trying to carry it around. I was alternately amused and horrified at the same time.

After lunch we were ready for more. We chose to tour the Missouri Battleship. It was really interesting to see the officer’s quarters versus the accommodations for everyone else. They had a huge cafeteria, post office, lounges, and more. We got to stand on the spot where World War II ended.

P1200573Elias enjoyed touring the ship, and climbing up and down all of the ladders.

P1200577About halfway through, Simon fell asleep. He needed a nap so I was glad, but having his body tucked next to mine in the ergo on a hot sunny day was not comfortable! You can tell from his flushed cheeks that he was pretty warm as well.

P1200590There wasn’t much personal space on the ship:

P1200594 After exploring all the Missouri had to offer we went to the gift shop where I purchased (what else) a couple of interesting books. Then we went home to cool off with a swim.

Later in the evening, my Auntie Cathy and Uncle Vince, and my cousin Chuck and his wife Eurlyn came over to our hotel for dinner. Simon makes friends with anyone who will read him a story, and Auntie Eurlyn is super nice. The boys enjoyed themselves while we all visited.


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Hawaii: Emergency Surgery, Smoke Alarms, and Other Fun Stuff

Monday was when our Hawaii vacation really became action packed. We started out normal enough. We went out to a nice breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, though, my brother (who had been experiencing stomach pain all day on Sunday) felt too horrible to even come. He stayed in the hotel room in pain. We all hoped some relaxation and maybe some Maylox would cure him.

Simon enjoyed the buffet. He also enjoyed running around and exploring afterward.

P1200292After breakfast we headed out to the lagoon for more beach time. Look at these cute brothers.

P1200314They got the idea of relaxation pretty quickly. A nice man offered these rafts to us as he was leaving to go home. The boys enjoyed them a lot.

P1200333We swam and played and relaxed into the late afternoon when we decided to head to the Dole Pineapple plantation. We took the train ride.

P1200356On the way back to the hotel, we got a call from the other car asking to stop at an urgent care. My brother was still in extreme stomach pain, and as a nurse, he suspected appendicitis. We called around to all of our local family and found the nearest urgent care. It turned out that they suspected appendicitis as well, and he was sent on to the emergency room.

By this time, it was late and the boys needed to eat dinner and go to bed. Scott, Kristy, and my parents went to the emergency room while the rest of us went back to the hotel to eat the steak dinner we had planned to cook. Nathan ate Scott’s portion for him.

After the boys were in bed, we got a call from my mom saying that Uncle Scott was going to have to have emergency surgery to remove his appendix.


What timing!

We went to bed hoping and praying for the best. It turned out that my brother (who is allergic to morphine) also had a really bad reaction to the paralytic drug in the anesthesia. After the surgery, he was not waking up. When he finally did wake up, he was paralyzed. Completely paralyzed. He could hear, but could not even move his eyelids. After about an hour, he said he was able to open his eyes, but still could not move anything else. It took about three hours for his body to regain movement, and even then he was really weak. Kristy and my parents had come home to sleep because they were not informed any of this was going on. Poor Scott was awake and paralyzed for a long time with his family back at the hotel.

Kristy and my dad rushed to his side in the morning, and stayed with him until he was discharged later that afternoon with orders not to work or go swimming until December! So much for a beach vacation!

We spent Tuesday morning waiting for him by swimming. Both of the boys really loved the pool.

P1200404Simon’s favorite part of the pool was the waterfalls. Auntie Shaina and Uncle Greg took him through the waterfalls many times.

P1200414In the afternoon, Uncle Scott returned to the hotel and we went to visit him. He was tired and weak, and emotionally traumatized from his experience, but was doing ok. After 20 or so minutes, though, the boys just needed to burn off some energy so we took them on a walk back out the ocean to watch the sunset and throw nuts into the ocean.

P1200434Then we headed over to my cousin’s house for dinner and more time spent with family. Here is my Uncle Vince playing the guitar.

P1200443And Elias enjoying play time with a couple of his cousins.

P1200449On Wednesday, Scott was still not feeling well so we decided to take it easy again. We had no problem with that. Swimming and relaxing were what we were most looking forward to. Elias and Simon had a jumping contest at the pool. Elias did some pretty amazing jumps!

P1200455Simon practiced his bubbles.

P1200469In the evening, we decided to cook breakfast for dinner. Auntie Kristy and my dad were cooking, but I volunteered to take over the bacon so my dad could take a shower. After cooking the first batch of bacon, I realized that we did not have a container for the grease. Kristy ran back to her hotel room to get one, but in the mean time, the grease was smoking really bad. I tried to get it to stop, but the room was filling with smoke. Before we could get it under control, the smoke alarm went off. The hotel staff response was really fast, but the haze remained for awhile.

P1200477My poor dad came running out of the shower shouting, ” I leave for two minutes!” No harm was done in the long run, but it was just another adventure to add to our list.

Uncle Scott was still pretty tired, but finally felt up to eating with us for dinner. It must have been the smoke that cleared his system.

P1200476With Uncle Scott on the mend, we had plans to head out to Pearl Harbor on Thursday. But in the mean time, we enjoyed a family dinner together.


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Hawaii: Family Time

During Christmas 2012, my parents excitedly informed my brothers and I that they would be taking the family on a vacation somewhere using money they had saved from my Grandpa’s inheritance. The destination and time were up to us. We had a budget. The offer expired on December 31st 2016.

Between my brother getting married, my sister-in-law being pregnant, and Simon being a baby among other life events, it was actually more difficult to find a time than we had thought to get everyone together. The place, though, wasn’t quite as hard. We chose Oahu because we have so much great family to visit there.

Sunday morning we got to relax at the beach and pool, but in the afternoon, we had a huge barbeque with all the Hawaii people. My Aunt Cathy and Uncle Vince, three of my cousins and all of their families, and the Bartle/Smith’s all gathered together. It was a blast.

The day started out a bit anticlimactic. We went to the pool for the first time, but since it was in the shade, the boys were actually pretty cold. They had some fun, but we had to get out to warm up in a very short time.

P1200195We noticed that the beach was all sunny so we went there to warm up. We smartened up the rest of the week, and went to the sunny beach first, and the pool only after it had warmed up a bit! Here is Elias warming himself with a snack.

P1200201Here is the whole crew relaxing while the boys ate their snacks and warmed up.

P1200203After awhile, some of us went swimming. They boys enjoyed playing on the shore. Elias loved swimming deeper, and throwing pieces of coral and nuts into the surf. The way the lagoons were built made the water calmer than the normal shore which was perfect for having two young children.

P1200210I got used to the view really fast.

P1200213Nathan and I even got in some reading time.

P1200214Then it was time to head inside to get ready for our family barbeque. It was great catching up with all of our Hawaii ohana. Here is my dad with his great grand niece.

P1200236And we had to take a picture of the cousins with their spouses or spouses to be. My cousin Chuck and his wife Eurlyn had left earlier so they are not pictured, and we also missed the Bartles from Idaho, and cousin Vince who now lives in Vancouver.

P1200247We spent the whole afternoon together, and packed up right as the sun was setting. Another beautiful Oahu sunset!

P1200262Simon and Elias enjoyed watching the waves as the sun set with Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina.

P1200273And Uncles are always good for teaching the boys how to entertain themselves. The boys loved throwing nuts and leaves at the ocean.

P1200276It was another great day on Oahu!

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Hawaii: The First Day

We were lucky enough to be able to spend a week in Hawaii last week. Not only was it a great break from Oregon weather, but we all had a blast and we got to spend a lot of time with each other and lots of other family members. The trip was not without its kinks. Our mishaps included my brother needing emergency surgery while we were there, setting off the hotel smoke alarm, and Elias getting stung by a Portuguese Man of War. But more on those in other posts, and no permanent damage was done. For now, I’d like to write a bit about our first day.

Our flight left Portland at 7 am, so we had to leave home about 4:30. I had tried to explain to Elias the night before that we were going to wake him up really early and it would still be dark, but I don’t think he really got it until it happened. We met Uncle Scott and Auntie Kristy at the airport, and boarded the plane.

Both of the boys did really well on the flight. Simon only had one minor melt down and a couple almost minor melt downs which were averted with M&M’s and my mom’s ipad. For 6 and a half hours in a cramped space that is pretty good.

We finally arrived on Oahu, and met up with my parents on the bus to the rental car place. We all made it to the hotel, and had a sigh of relief.

Auntie Kristy and my parents immediately got to work planning our grocery shopping list.

P1200114Nathan wanted to rest, but was actually just pretending here. No rest even on vacation when you have small children. (Actually that is not true. We went with my parents, and brothers and sisters in law and they were gracious enough to help out and give us some rest. )

P1200120Uncle Scott got to work teaching Elias how to mess up the hotel bed by jumping on it.

P1200121Soon it was time for my parents to go pick up Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina from the airport. Uncle Scott and Auntie Kristy went grocery shopping. We were left alone to enjoy ourselves. After only an hour or so I had already forgotten that it is November, and was changed into my flip-flops. Eternal summer is the best! We hung out on the lanai and enjoyed the view.

P1200130 P1200131I tried to get the boys to take a picture with me, but they were very resistant. Simon cried and I don’t know what sort of weird face Elias is making. I think he was shaking his face back and forth.

P1200141So as you can see, we were getting a bit restless. I tried to convince Elias to go swimming, but he kept insisting he wanted to wait until all the family was together. It was a very sweet thought, but not very practical for two little boys who had been cooped up all day. I told him we would just go for a walk and see the sights. We stopped on the beach and the beautiful lagoon was just too much temptation. Both boys were in the water in their clothes.

P1200158We went back upstairs to change and then came back down to play.

P1200160After everyone made it back to the hotel, and we had played a good long time on the beach, we headed upstairs for dinner. It was great to be with family. We got to enjoy our first sunset on Oahu!

P1200173And here are Nathan and I where it all started. Eight and a half years ago we had our honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s good to be back here together.

P1200175Our first day was a great one. There was a lot in store for us! More to come later!

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This Is What It Looks Like: Episode 243

This is what it looks like when you let your 4 and 1 year olds help you fold and put away the laundry:

P1200107The boys really love to help me fold and put away the laundry. It’s fun to give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They love helping out. Plus it lets me get a few things done around the house without worrying what they are up to.

I guess I need to spend a bit more time teaching them how to exactly put the towels away, though. I handed Elias two folded towels and told him to put them in the closet. When I opened the linen closet a few hours later, that is what found. I guess it’s the thought that counts when he is still so young.

Don’t worry. I fixed them promptly. Towels are a little bit big for him to do alone I think.


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I was a bit worried about trick-or-treating this morning, as it was pouring rain! Mid morning it stopped and was dry the rest of the afternoon. Of course, right as dinner time rolled around, it began pouring again. Nathan got home from work, soaked, saying that he had left our umbrella at work. Hmmmm….

Luckily the rain slowed to a drizzle just as we were ready to head out the door. The boys were super excited. Well…Elias was excited and Simon just fed off that energy. Here they are ready to head out. (Elias really was happy….he was just making funny faces instead of smiling)

P1200080We went trick-or-treating on our street, and a couple other streets near us. Elias took charge of ringing the doorbells and shouting “trick-or-treat!” At most houses, he said it before they even opened the door, but there a few times he really nailed the timing. Simon was just along for the ride, but he got the hang of it pretty quickly. Here they are heading up to a house together.

P1200084The rain did stop, but by then Simon was already a bit damp from the drizzle. Elias was fine in his space man costume, but Simon was getting cold, and it was nearing bed time. We headed home.

Elias immediately poured all his loot out on the table to look it over. He was lucky…he even got some crayons! He chose a sucker and just took in the greatness of it all. I even offered that he could choose one more, but he refused. What a guy!

P1200097Simon took out the top candy from his bucket and immediately wanted to eat it. He got his first taste of peanut butter M&M’s and spit them out. He ate a kit kat instead.

P1200095After enjoying a bit of candy, we had some trick-or-treaters of our own that Elias got to hand out candy to. They boys certainly enjoyed their night.

P1200100Then it was time for baths and bed. Poor Simon is still up there whimpering in his crib. The excitement was just too much I guess, and he’s having a hard time falling asleep. Hopefully he’ll have sweet dreams soon!


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All Hallows Read

Anyone who really knows me knows that I can hardly pass up a chance to acquire new children’s books. So…a few years ago when I came across Neil Gaiman’s idea of “All Hallows Read” on the internet, I jumped on the bandwagon. The last three Halloweens or so I’ve given the boys a book for Halloween.

This year I may have let my self control slip a little bit. I got each of the boys three books. I don’t know what happened other than I kept finding good bargains. We had six new fall/Halloween books to read this evening.

Elias was very excited about the presents, and as soon as Daddy was through the door, he declared it present opening time.

P1200064Simon is getting really good at saying ‘cheese’ for me these days.

P1200068They dug in and enjoyed the books themselves for a few minutes. Of course…they each chose a book I had given to the other one.

P1200074 P1200073But this is what it’s really all about, folks! Reading books with the boys! Celebrating stories. Remembering any time is good for reading time.

P1200077 P1200078

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Halloween Fun Continues!

We started our Halloween festivities two weekends ago with the MOMS club Halloween party in which we hosted over forty people in our house. The fun continued this weekend with our church Halloween party, and the carving of our pumpkin.

Elias planted three pumpkin seeds last spring, and we have been watching them grow. We got one really great pumpkin! It was fun to carve it and see the full circle.

P1190912Then we went to our church for the party. We had an astronaut:

P1190931And a pirate:

P1190950The party was a lot of fun, but the boys’ two favorite activities were cookie decorating and the spider ring toss. Elias loved decorating, but refused to try even one bite of the cookie. Simon loved both the decorating and the eating.

P1190942Here are the boys at the spider ring toss.


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