Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prince Lot Hula Festival

I never really appreciated the beauty and history of the hula until we went to this:

It was incredible... the music, the dancers, the chanting, the history. I loved it. It made me love Hawai'i and it's people and I've been craving more of both the dancing and the history-- the culture of Hawai'i in general. I need to find out how and where I can enroll myself and my girls in some hula classes!

Aren't these girls cute?

While we were watching, the un-fun part of being a mom came up. I left Avril to watch our stuff while I took a bored, keyed up Roman and a dancing Xandri to the bathroom, missing some of the dancing. While on our way, we passed a both of senior citizens making leis and other flower crafts as a fundraiser, so I bought a little wristlet for Xandri and they oo-ed and aaah-ed over Roman and Xandri and gave Roman a little something as well. Sadly, I didn't get any pics of Xandri (battery died at the crucial moment). Avril was jealous when we returend, of course, but I consoled her with the knowledge that, yes, she too would get a wristlet:

During intermission the girls decided they'd had enough and so even though I could have stayed for the whole thing, we took another potty break and took off. But not before Avril posed her little heart out and climbed all over some tree roots.

Meanwhile, Roman did the one thing he wanted to the entire time: pushed that stroller like the big boy he is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Livin La Vida Loca--- Poolside

If you had daily access to a pool steps away from your front door, what would you do in it?

Pool Time According to Roman

Step 1) Sidle out onto the wall between hot tub and pool. Bring plastic cup provided for your dipping and pouring convenience over by the bar.

Step 2) Fill cup and find the nearest drain to pour it in.

Step 3) Repeat as needed for the duration of pool time.

According to Xandri

Step 1) Make friends with some people with floaty toys.

Step 2) Wait till their son outgrows his.

Step 3) Somehow manage to get them to give you said floaty toy for your floating enjoyment for the rest of your hotel stay.

Step 4) Ignore your sister's insistent assertions that it is her turn to use the floaty toy.

NOTE: Floaty toys are desirable for all skill levels, even if you've already learned how to swim and have been swimming independently for 3 weeks.

According to Avril

Step 1) Always make sure you're as beautiful and graceful as a mermaid. It may help if you shout, "Mermaid! Mermaid! Mermaid!" every time your head is out of the water.

Step 2) Practice all sorts of tricks in the water- such as twirling, pretending to drown, flipping and swimming across the pool with your head under water. Maybe even try a handstand if you get up the courage. Be sure to ask your mom to show you all of her tricks cause she might have some good ideas, too.

Step 3) If your mom is anywhere near, make sure you're doing the drowning trick and hang onto her for dear life. With all your weight and all the drama you can muster.

Step 4) Always, ALWAYS take a bow for any appreciative audience you may have gained during your time under water.

A Final Tip From All Three

If your mom is ever in the water, everyone ambush all at once. It's also really fun to hang on your mom while she runs the length of the pool. You can urge her on by yelling "Faster!" right in her ear. And she won't even complain because it's such a good workout.

Livin La Vida Loca--- Hotel Style

What would YOU do if you lived in a hotel for two months?

Cartoons in the morning while mom goes down to get breakfast for everyone?

Mimic your big sisters?

Play Wii? (And mimic your big sisters?)

Make yourself a nest across the bed while your sister clings to the edge?

Play dress up? C'mon, he's a Roman. In a toga. Right, Daddy?

He's so fierce! There's a man who's comfortable with his masculinity!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yep, We Finally Have A House!

Well, "have" may be a bit of a strong word, but we do sign on Monday so I'm gonna go ahead and count it.

You know how we were looking on the Windward side, over by Kailua and Kaneohe? Well, we didn't find a house there.

Nope, instead you can look out on the grounds of Tripler Army Medical Center from our backyard. And not over anyone else's house or yard either. Theoretically, Derek could just step out the back door and head to work. Not sure how the whole ID check works with that, though, so he might wind up driving anyway. Or biking. But in any case, chew on this:

$200 a month in gas: SAVED
35-45 minute commute to/from work: ERADICATED
Derek did some quick math and found out how much time that will truly save him:

40min commute x2 (there and back) x 5.5 days a week x 52 weeks x 3 years /60 min /16 conscious daytime hours = 72 DAYS of extra time for Derek that he doesn't have to spend in a car.!

That feels good.

Furthermore, it's $100 under our max we were willing to pay, 2000+ sq ft, and has guest room possibilities. It's a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home with Oriental touches throughout, hardwood floors and a stunning view from the terraced back yard. It has an Asian rock garden in the front yard and the rest of the property is paved: READ: No upkeep. Plenty of room for the kids to scooter around, or practice their biking/tricycling skills. Tons of outdoor storage, gated property, garden potential, wilderness at the top of the terraced hill with great exploration/fort/treehouse potential.

It's an older home, too, so the fixtures are all 1960's hardware in the kitchen, original stove which looks quaint and hopefully I won't be using much. Beautiful stainless steel fridge. Another perk of older homes is all the built-in storage- shelves, cabinets, etc. In fact, the whole floor plan and house in general is just really interesting. You know I'm a sucker for interesting. I'll pick old house with character over new cookie-cutter box any day. I mean, as long as I'm not dealing with a lot of weirdness (e.g. mold, termites, overall nastiness that sometimes comes along with old-- in other words, NOT character.).

It's also located in a 9/ school district, which is a BIG deal in Hawaii. The school system is pretty sketchy over here. Did you know high school graduation rates are 60%? Appalling. As a result, many people put their kiddos in $900+/month private schools. I don't think we would do that anyway for K-2nd grade, I feel like I can supplement at home to make sure she's up to speed when we move. But I'm glad I don't have to make that choice.

So where did I find this great home? Can I see pics? Is there an online link?

Nope. Sorry. I found it in the paper- and that's the only place I've been able to find it, even knowing all the details on it. I don't think they listed it anywhere else. Supposedly it's going around Tripler, but Derek never heard about it. And we haven't taken any pictures ourselves.

But I will give you this much--- my slightly PSed version of Google's streetview. Thank you Google!

This house was literally an answer to prayer. I was starting to lose hope that we'd find something big enough, in the right place, at the right price. I was starting to think maybe we'd just have to settle. But letting go of MY timeline and MY expectations allowed the Lord to provide us with something that is perfect for us. I finally left it in His hands and we've been amply blessed for it. And here's the thing- I know that Derek's heart was in the right place. He kept telling me to hold out, we didn't need to settle, the Lord would provide what we needed- and even what we wanted. I was the Doubting Thomas, wondering if the answer to our prayer was that we needed to live smaller, more simply. As I thought about it, I felt instinctively that I was the one holding us back spiritually from this blessing. It was literally the day after I "let go" that we found this house and fell in love. It's true- God answers prayers- in His own time and His own way, He gives us what we need and more.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Roman's First Hawai'i Haircut

So my little guy usually gets his hair cut by his daddy, but we've been without clippers for nearly two months now. It was time.

So while we were out and about getting duplicates of our keys for the car, we stopped at a small local joint for breakfast, followed up by a small local salon for a haircut. Spur of the moment, $8-- so yeah.

He was pretty quiet and still, just sat there taking it all in:

Isn't my boy handsome?

I honestly couldn't believe how still he sat. He was so good and so cute and everyone at the salon loved him.

Happy 5th of July!

Since the 4th was a Sunday, Derek got Monday off for Independence Day, much like many of you I'm sure. We went to the Windward side (Kailua and Kaneohe) to look at a few houses and then headed to the opposite side of the island for Ewa Beach. There's this great little playground there next to the beach and the beach is a lot of fun with some great waves.

Roman's still generally very nervous about the ocean in general. He likes it when Derek or I carry him out into it and he likes the feel of the waves crashing into us. But he's not very happy when the waves hit him on his own. And by waves, I mean water lapping at his toes.

So he hangs out on the beach getting all sandy. No one can say sand's not fun, though, so I'm not too worried about him.

Meanwhile, the girls love the water and run right out into it, especially Avril. Xandri's still hesitant to go out very far,

she doesn't quite know how to read the ocean yet and the waves often catch her unawares...

like this:

While the girls run around and play in the waves, Mister is still....

A good beach run was in order. We tried to outrun the waves... parallel to the ocean! They loved it.

After a while, everyone was sandy, cold and beached out. Plus I had water in my ear and it was hurting. So we headed on over to the playground: Roman's territory!

This is Xandri's patented Silly Face. You'll probably be seeing a lot of it. They all say they like the playground more than the beach, and I believe it from Roman and Xandri... but Avril... well, she laughs and screams and plays an awful lot on the beach. I'm not convinced.

Meanwhile, I decided to catch some rays. Cause, you know. Playing on the beach in a bikini doesn't catch very many rays. Also, this is a nice way to relax, warm up and dry off while letting the hubby take care of the kids. Or take pictures of you.

And then I realize I need to start worrying a little bit more about what I do... how many 6 year olds lay out?

Luckily, the age thing is on my side. Laying out is boring.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shop Till You Drop!

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July was pretty much all about the fireworks for us. The Waikiki fireworks show was rumored to be the best on the island (but I've heard different opinions on other shows as well). In any case, it was easy enough for us to get to and why not do it while we're here? Locals book hotels on Waikiki just for this show, (the breakfast buffet was packed the morning after!) just to avoid dealing with the traffic and parking fiasco.

So we walked out to the beach and down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village's lagoon, found ourselves a spot on the beach an hour or so ahead of time and plunked ourselves down.

Immediately after plunking, Xandri decided she REALLY had to pee and absolutely couldn't hold it. Or maybe it was Avril. In any case, I took them both and decided to pick up a diaper for Roman at the nearest ABC Store since Derek was pretty sure he also needed changed and OF COURSE I'd forgotten to just bring one.

So the girls left the boys and this is what happened while we were gone:
(Please note that that is not our little bucket. A family sitting next to us lent it. Roman scores fans wherever he goes!)

And this is what happened when we got back.

Meanwhile, this is what we got to look at while waiting for the show. I love Hawai'i.

The show was amazing and so was the finale. Fireworks are really difficult to capture well since the exposure is so touchy. I was pretty happy with these pics, so I thought I'd share them.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunday Dinner

We had dinner with some friends here at our hotel (also doing their residency at Tripler) a couple of Sundays ago and our kids were so cute playing together.

Behold: The Train.

By the time they were finished it extended into the bedroom.

And then there's this guy. Of all the little people we've met, he's one of very few boys. And at this particular Sunday dinner, one boy among SEVEN little girls. He hung out on the balcony with the daddies when he wasn't screaming at the girls for taking his toys away.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nope, We Still Don't Have a House

But not for lack of trying! Meanwhile, we've been continuing our beach/pool/Wii entertainment lifestyle. It's probably the only way I stay sane. Otherwise I'd lock myself in our hotel room until I found the perfect house and probably wind up bald.

Anyway, here's a few fun photos of the kiddos in some of our fun excursions and whatnot. They pretty much think of this as a great vacation- which it would be if we weren't spending every other day driving around looking at houses or locked in our hotel room playing Mario Party 8 while Mommy does "business" on the computer and on the phone. "Business" ... whatever that is.

Hanging out with our new hotel/intern friends at the beach! (Roman was here, too, but he was wandering around being all whiny cause he thought he was hungry or hot or thirsty. Weird kid.) Funny thing is, I actually went to high school with their mom... who knew we'd be going through residency with our husbands together ten years later!

This is what happens in the car when we're driving around looking at houses. On a good day, that is.

I love my kids. They make me so happy-- at least when they're not making me crazy! They all have such fun personalities and it's been great the days I've had the chance to just unwind and let my hair down with them and just play. And of course they love it as well...