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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Elf on the Shelf

*Warning:  If you are not a fan of "Elf on the Shelf", then this post isn't for you. With that said, elf bashing is not welcome here. And yes, I have been told a million times that I am going to scar my children for life by participating in the CREEPY elf tradition. Thank you for your concern, I will take my chances. ;) *


Yay! It's Elf on the Shelf time!

I know, I know. You either love the elves or you hate them. Well, we love them!  How could I not when they bring so much joy, suspense and giggles to our crazy household? With that said, the elves are welcome at our house....at least until my kids are no longer having fun with them.  (When that happens, maybe I will have them hide the elves for me! ) So far we've had a good four year run with them!

See what some of our elves have been up to!

Happy hiding....and finding! 

Sushi Roll
Sleeping Bag 

Captured by a dog!

Toilet papered the tree and replaced the tree toppers!

iPad time!

Hiding in a present.

"Mom. I can't find them." (Yes, that really happened.)

Gingerbread House.

Googly Eyes

Sonic Screwdriver (Dr. Who)

Hiding in Water Bottles in the Fridge

Hanging out in undies.

Toilet papered the bedroom door.

Stuck in a roach trap.

"In" the fish tank!

Toilet paper sign.

Crafty elves! They left paint so the girls could paint the snowflakes.

Decorating Marshmallows

Elves got into the toothpaste!
Floating/fluttering! (Invisible thread!)

In the freezer.

Messing with the clock!


Playing dress up!

Making snow angels!

Hanging out on a post!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thankful For.....the Decapitated Rat.

Hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week! Are you ready? While I am not ready for the festivities I am well aware of the many things I should be grateful for! The biggest one is probably having my family together for the holidays! My husband will actually be home AND my father will be celebrating with us too! Trust me, I know how lucky our family is to be together for the holidays. We have spent so many apart! For those of you that can't be with your family during this time, whether it be be due to deployments, separation, death, money, weather, etc..... my heart goes out to you. 

While November can be a crazy month it also known to be the time to show appreciation and gratitude for things that you have. Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) is notorious for having a "thankful" challenge that consists of posting a status update or a picture of something you are grateful for for 30 consecutive days. Sometimes these posts/pictures are of the obvious (family, home, car) and other times they are of the simpler things. Like when your husband killed the roach on the wall or that you got to sleep in for an extra 15 minutes. Reading all the posts of my friends and family helps to remind me to be thankful for those same things. Sometimes someone will point something out that I unknowingly take for granted. (Thanks for the reminder!)

Ironically, not everybody appreciates seeing all these posts. "Why only show appreciation during November? What about the other months?" Good point! However, I look at it as a welcome relief to see so many people making a conscious effort, to stop for a moment and just be grateful!

Granted, we all have periods of time when it is hard to feel appreciative of anything. Our stresses and anxieties keep us from being positive, or from seeing the good things right in front of us. It's not as easy to find the blessings when they aren't wrapped in pretty packages. Sometimes they are disguised and hidden in the midst of chaos. You might have to dig deep to find it, but often times, those are the BEST blessings of all!

Last week I heard a phrase (bible verse, actually) that pretty much summed up what I just expressed.  "Give thanks in all circumstances....."

Simple, right? Read it again....

"Give thanks in all circumstances......"

Notice anything?

When you really break down those five words, notice it doesn't say, "Give thanks FOR all circumstances" It says, "IN".

"In" versus "all".

There is a big difference!

While you don't have to be thankful FOR your car breaking down on the highway, you can still be thankful IN the circumstance. Thankful that you were able to pull over onto the shoulder. Thankful that it happened during the day. Thankful that it didn't happen when you were in a rush to get home to relieve the babysitter. Yes, it is inconvenient (and probably expensive) but you can still be thankful IN the circumstance.

Maybe you can relate to some of the situations that I have been in, where I had to consciously make an effort to be thankful IN the midst of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed:

Such as the days that I had to be both both mommy and daddy when my husband was gone for work. Sometimes he would be gone for months at a time. A couple of times it was close to a year.  Was I thankful FOR this circumstance? No. But could I be thankful IN the circumstance? Yes. I could be thankful that my husband has a full time job and provides for our family. Thankful that during that time I can stay home and take care of my girls. So while I am not thankful FOR my husband being gone, I can be thankful IN his absence. YES, it's hard, but give thanks IN all circumstances!

At times I will still find it difficult to be appreciative. When that happens I take it a step further and ask myself, "WHO would want to be in my position? Who would view my stress as a blessing? Who would want to tell me to "shut it" and quit my whining and complaining?" In the case of my husband being gone it might be a single mom, who has to work two or more jobs to provide for her kids. That same mom that only gets to see them in the morning when she wakes them up and then at night when she tucks them in. That mom who would do just about anything to spend more time with her children. That person might view my life as "lucky".

Okay. I got it. I will shut my mouth.

Another situation that we can all relate to with holiday shopping coming up: the never ending line at the check out register. Am I thankful FOR the line? Heck no. You know what you are thinking when you are standing there. "Why isn't the line moving? Why is this cashier so slow? Why aren't there more cashiers?" Seriously. What's to be grateful for in this situation? Who would want to be in this line? Well, maybe someone who barely has enough money to pay for groceries for their family. Someone who wishes they had the luxury of "extra money" to buy presents for Christmas. That's who. So while I am not thankful FOR the line, I can be thankful IN the line. Give thanks IN all circumstances!

One last situation - this year my husband forgot our 16th wedding anniversary. True story. You would think he would remember by now! While it wasn't a stressful situation, it was definitely a disappointment. Was I thankful FOR his forgetfulness? Of course not. Who would be thankful IN this situation? Oh, I don't know. Maybe someone who has lost their significant other? Someone who would give just one more day, one more moment to be with their spouse? Someone whose husband was deployed and wouldn't be home until who knows when? Yeah. Hello? Reminder to self! That was me not so long ago. How quickly I forgot and took my husband and our time together for granted. Just be happy he is home and we are together. Humble yourself. Give thanks IN all circumstances! (Note: My daughter said that I still had the right to be mad. Thanks, kiddo! HA!)

Don't get me wrong. I still do my fair share of whining and complaining! However, finding daily blessings has made me appreciate the simple things in life that I often overlook or take for granted. I didn't learn to do this overnight. It took a lot of time for me to train my brain (and my heart) to learn to think this way. Give it a try! At least once! Look for the daily blessings. Find blessing in the chaos. Dig deep if you have to! Think of who would want to trade places with you. Just remember, you don't have to be thankful FOR the circumstance, but be thankful IN it.

A Hui Hou.....

PS. I just got off the phone with my BFF. I told her there was a beautiful I'o (Hawaiian Hawk) that has been coming into our yard. She asked if it brought us any more decapitated rats. Ewwww. But it got me thinking. How can I be thankful in this situation? Well, for one, I have the awesome experience of seeing this beautiful bird. Secondly, while I am not a fan of finding a decapitated rat near my porch steps, at least it means there is one less live rat running around! (And a husband that would dispose of the carcass!)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Whoa Buddy.....

Just as I finally found the ambition to knock a few things off of my ever-growing-to-do list, things came to a complete halt. Whhhhhhy does that always seem to happen? Thanks a lot, Universe.

In this case I threw out my back. If you've ever hurt your back you know that back pain is no joke. Every little move you make = PAIN!

At first I thought I was just going to be sore. But as I took a few steps things felt like they were getting worse rather than better. When I could barely walk up and down the steps, sit down or get up, I knew I was in trouble.

My first thought was, "This is bad. I need to see a doctor." But I was hopeful that the pain would be short lasting. You know, just wait it out. Do a few stretches. Take some Ibuprofen. Use a heating pad. Plus, a simple trip to see a doctor would not be simple at all. Not only would I have to get down our front steps and climb into our truck, I would have to brace myself for this ride:

Yeahhhhhhh. No thank you. And that is the only way out to the main road. Two miles in, two miles out! It's a bumpy ride even without a backache!

With the help of a walking cane I found that I could get around a bit. But after waiting a few days (only to have for my miraculous recovery be a no-show) I forced myself to see a doctor. The final push? My kiddos. My youngest had her first roller derby exhibition coming up and Halloween was the day after that. There was no way I was going to miss either event. Not if I could help it! While I was willing to push through the pain, I had to admit that painkillers would make it a bit more bearable.

The good news? The ride wasn't too bad. My father drove as I braced myself over the bumps by hugging a pillow with one hand and pushing the walking cane into the floor with the other. The bad news? More like embarrassing news? Having to explain to the intake nurse and the doctor just HOW I hurt my back.

"And how did you hurt your back?"

"Ummmmm. I sneezed."

"You what?"

"I sneezed."

"That must have been some violent sneeze."

(Yeah, yeah, yeah. As a matter of fact, it was!)

Thankfully the doctor gave me a prescription to take the edge off, but not leave me groggy and useless. It was just enough relief to allow me to go to the roller derby bout as well as trick-or-treating! But I paid dearly for it. Had a bit of a setback with my mobility and had increased pain over the next few days.

Ten days post-sneeze-related-back-injury I am finally starting to feel better. Not 100% yet, but getting there. When I try to stand up and steady myself I think I must look a lot like a newborn calf trying to find her legs (but not nearly as wobbly and definitely not as cute.) With my husband being out of town I have really had to depend on the rest of my family for assistance. My dad helped with a lot of the household duties, running errands, dealing with the puppy, the kids, schoolwork, dinner, etc. Thanks, dad!

As for my girls, they each helped out in their own way. Momo, eight years old, really stepped up. She helped me get up and sit down, pick stuff up for me that I couldn't reach, help with chores, brought me whatever I needed, and even slept on the couch so she could be closer to me in case I needed help during the night! Shoot. She even helped me pull up my pants when I couldn't! (Yeah, she was mortified.)Thanks, Momo!

Kailani, (my recently-turned-teenager) on the other hand, showed me she cared in a different way. She brought me a frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup while I was laid up in bed.


She tried. She could have at least brought me more than one. More like ten. Or a whole bag.

Regardless, thanks Kailani!

Now, I don't know why the Universe felt it was necessary for me to slow down (more like STOP).....but I did, okay? Can I just be better already? I have things to do! I am ready to be up and moving again!

A Hui Hou.....

By the way, if you are ever around me and sneeze, I might tense up. Also, instead of saying, "Bless you" I might respond with, "Are you okay?" After all, sneezing can be dangerous to your health! ;)

Monday, November 2, 2015

I am NOT that mom.....

I am NOT that mom that gets excited about Halloween.You know, the one that starts thinking about next year's Halloween while still exhausted from the current one? The one that is willing to sew costumes no matter how crazy or difficult? Or the one that makes the traditional Halloween dinner of black worm spaghetti with blood sauce, mummy sausage, black cake, and has one of her best friends bring over a spooky salad year after year? The mom that uses her house as "home base", a meeting place for friends to start and end the Halloween night? The same place where kids will go through their loot, sort and engage in candy negotiation before heading home?

Yeah. That's not me, those are not my friends and that is not my house.

But, it used to to be.


Last year at about this time I told my girls, "When and if we move to the Big Island, Halloween is going to be very different." After all, we lived in a neighborhood that was well-known for trick-or-treating. People from all over the island drove in just to spend a few hours walking around a single loop! We knew we had it good. Not just good but REALLY good.

Since that talk a year ago we did make that move. We live in the country now....and while we love living out in the"boonies" it is not a place to go trick-or-treating. What to do? Where to go? We had to figure things out before Halloween arrived.

For months prior I researched where was the best place to go. Even on Halloween morning I wasn't 100% positive how the night was going to play out. At the suggestion of many, we opted to go to the mall. At least we knew we weren't going to get rained on!

While the vibe was totally different from what we were used to, it went well. We timed it just right and was in and out of there in less than 20 minutes with their bags full of candy. The girls were happy but I definitely missed the lack of intimacy door-to-door trick or treating offered.

There was still light out and the kids wanted to do more. We headed to a haunted house ("Haunted Woods", to be exact). Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the hours of operation and we arrived too early. To kill some time we stopped in at a local school that was offering free activities and food for Halloween night. Momo had a good time playing a lot of the games and redeeming the tickets for a prize. Afterwards, we headed back to the Haunted Woods.

Parking was a hassle but we finally found a spot. Unfortunately, the kiddo that I thought would be scared wasn't, and the kiddo that I thought would be brave.....wasn't! Boy did they flip it on me! Daddy was nice and stayed behind with a scared, sobbing, and freaked out Momo. Kailani actually lead myself and Papa (my father) through the woods.

Was it scary? Yes. But not for reasons you may think. It was scary because it was dark, slippery and muddy. Definitely not the best situation to be in when you are recovering from a recent back injury! And of course I was wearing slippahs (flip flops).  I was so afraid I was going to fall and injure my back even worse that I was grabbing for anything that would help keep me steady. Trees, Kailani......whichever was closer! I'm pretty sure Kailani thought I was grabbing her because I was scared. HA! Let her believe that. But I won't lie, I may have let out a little scream a couple of times when a ghost/goblin/zombie caught me by surprise.

In the end the girls had fun. It was a different kind of fun but fun nonetheless. The one major thing that was lacking from our night was time spent with friends. I know our friends felt it too as we exchanged text messages, status updates, and pictures throughout the night of our separate, solo adventures.

How I missed the traditions that we had created over the years! How I missed our friends!

And I will admit, I even missed being "that" mom.

Hope you had a fun Halloween!

A Hui Hou.....

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Not a City Slicker but....

I'm not a country girl either. I am somewhere in between. And some days I am more one than the other.

While I an enjoy the luxuries that a city can provide, I have to get used to being without a lot of them. For after almost 30 years on Oahu I can happily say I am now a resident of the Big Island. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Oahu, but our family had outgrown our quaint, less than 900 square foot, 2-bedroom cottage.We didn't want to leave Hawaii, but it was time for a much needed change.  So we bought a house, packed our stuff and moved to an outer island. Funny how I make it sound so easy. While my friends thought I had it under control my closest friends knew the truth. I was a hot mess!

We went from living next to a highway to living out in the country. We exchanged the noises of ambulances and traffic for the sounds of nature - coqui frogs, birds, and dogs to name a few. We have even gotten (somewhat) accustomed to hearing gun shots now and then. Some say we moved out to the boonies and others even say we are living off the grid. Nah, not yet. Yes, we live WAAAAAAY out "there" and have a catchment tank for our water, but we still pay for electricity as well as satellite internet and TV (can't live without it!)

Catchment tank overflowing with rainwater!

After all, without the internet I wouldn't be able to find answers to the many questions I have about living in the country such as:

  • When is it the best time to pick bananas/lychee/oranges from a tree?
  • How to take care of goats, chickens, etc.
  • There are huge feral pigs running around on my property. Can I legally hunt on my own land?
And for the city slicker in me: 
  • What left a decapitated rat and its head on my back porch?
  • OMG my puppy ate pig poop. Her breath is foul. What should I do?   
The cool thing is, I can now identify pig poop. Just one step closer to being less of a city slicker! ;)

I see.......bacon!

A Hui Hou!