Monday, June 25, 2007

I was at the mall the other day

with my 6 year old.  We were buying some much needed clothing for dad.  I really detest shopping and shopping at the mall is the worst.  But, Daddy  really needed the clothes, so off we went.  

After shopping my sweet 6 year old conived me into taking her to the food court for something to drink.  As we were sitting there sipping on our drinks, I was looking around the busy food court at all the various people passing by our table.  Malls bring the best and worst of humanity to the forefront, don't you think?

As I was looking around, my eyes glanced on a mom, probably in her early 30's.  She had a toddler, 2ish, and a baby in a stroller.  There was nothing particularly unusual about her that made me stop to watch her.  She was pretty, trim, blonde hair, dressed like a "mom". :)  Nothing unusual for around here.  What struck me was the expression on her face.  She looked tired.  She looked harried.  She looked, well, defeated.  She didn't look mad or particularly sad.  She just didn't look happy.  Again, nothing unusual for around here.

It's a look that I'm sure most of us can appreciate.  Things to do, errands to run, kids to shuffle around.  No joy, just get it done and move on.  

As I watched her bundle everyone up*, I began to wonder if mothers of other generations had the same look on their faces.  Were they also harried and joyless?  Was their to-do list outweighing the happiness of just spending those few precious moments we have with our children before they're grown with children of their own?  Or, is it our generation that has become dissatisfied with life in general?  Have we overscheduled all our lives to the point of there not being any time left to simply just be joyful?  I don't remember what my mothers face looked like when we were younger.  I know she was happy and mad at various times.  But, when we ran errands, did she have that "look" on her face?

When we were children we didn't go out nearly as often as people do now.  And the generation before us went out even less.  I just wondered as I watched this lady push her stroller out of the food court if we would be happier if we just stayed home more often.



*I digress here for a moment to giggle at my word choice, bundle.  "Bundle everyone up" conjures up images of getting my kids ready to go out in the dead of winter when we lived in Ohio.  Certainly not the same type of bundling happening in these here parts.  No, with temperatures in teens, as in one hundred and teen something or other, there is no bundling compared with a Midwestern winter.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hawaiian memories

My last entry talked about how my four year old recreated the fire show portion of our evening performance.  Later today my 9 year old brought me this picture she painted of her at the beach in Hawaii.  This was definitely a wonderful memory filled vacation.



The day after visiting Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach we drove to the other side of the island to spend the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  The PCC is owned and operated by the Mormon Church.  All the young people who perform and work there are current or past students at Brigham Young Hawaii.  The center was a clean, wonderful family oriented destination.  The PCC displays the various islands that make up Polynesia.  What makes this a truly incredible experience is the performers are from their home islands, sharing their customs of their island. 

The lay-out is each island is set up as an individual village.  You stroll along beautiful, lush tropical plants from one island to the next.  There are shows at each island and then after the show you can talk w/ the performers and they will show you some of the games, traditions and such of their culture.  This is where it is really fun for the kids.  

There was so much to see and do, we weren't able to see all the islands in one day.  From the islands we did visit, I enjoyed Samoa the best.   Next in my favorite list would be Aetearoa (New Zealand).  In New Zealand we learned about their boat, which is an acoustically crafted canoe.  The chief would sit in the front of the canoe, as the warriors sat behind on benches rowing.  When the chief needed to give commands he could bend down and whisper into the canoe.  The warriors would bend down to hear the commands.  The whisper could be heard as though someone were talking right to you.  They were able to communicate this way w/o their enemies knowing a thing.  Very cool.  We also learned that the Aetearoa village is the only village that was fenced.  The tribes were warring tribes compared to the other islands.  The children learned, at very young ages, various warrior tactics through the games they played.  They had three differnet types of games set up for us to enjoy learning.  The kids really enjoyed these games.

There is a canoe pageant in the middle of the day along the lagoon.  The different islands are represented on individual floats.  They perform traditional dances unique to each island.  It was interesting to see the similarities between the islands yet each one still remaining very distinct.

We stayed for the Luau dinner and the Horizons Show.  It made for a long day and night but the show was worth it.  Again, my favorite was the Samoans performance.  It was the last one of the night.  They were the fire dancers.  It made quite an impression on my 4 year old.  Today he was calling us all in for his version of The Fire Show.  He had taped to one of his drum sticks a paper flame which he twirled around, drums set up which he'd play interspersed between his fire dancing.  He even had some sound effects to mimic the volcanoes they had erupted during the show.

We really enjoyed our long, hot day at PCC.  It was definitely worth the money, drive and cranky kids to visit there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


After visiting Pearl Harbor we went to lunch at Dukes in Honolulu.  Dukes is located right on Waikiki Beach.  Very cool setting, very good restaurant.  We were staying about an hour away from Honolulu so this was our first drive down to Honolulu and the infamous Waikiki Beach.  When I first walked out onto the beach and saw Honolulu's sky-scrapers lining the edge and Diamond Head perched at the end of white sandy beaches w/ turquoise waters rolling up onto the sand, the theme song to Hawaii Five-O immediately came into my mind. LOL  If you watch the slide show you'll see I still can't get it out of my mind.   We didn't stay long at the beach.  After an early morning arrival at Pearl Harbor, then lunch at Dukes, everyone was ready to go back to the hotel.  We let the kids play a little bit along the waters edge.  I thought I might get a nice Christmas card picture of the kids with Diamond head in the background.  My little guy, who really needed a nap, was not interested in Christmas cards however. 

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thursday's Child

I know, I know, today is only Monday!  But, today is my Thursday child's b-day!  Today he turns 4.


I thank God every day for bringing me this child.  He is sweet, loving and hilariously funny.  Happy birthday!  I love you little guy!


This is a picture of him being a fierce Maori warrior at the Polynesian Cultural Center in HI.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


By Wednesday everyone had arrived.  We all headed into downtown Honolulu to visit Pearl Harbor.  I was excited to finally be going to Pearl Harbor.  It was one of those places I'd always wanted to visit since I was a kid.

It should come as no surprise that this is a popular tourist attraction.  Even though it is free to the public, you need tickets to enter and you need to line up early to get those tickets.   Pearl Harbor is more than just seeing the USS Arizona.  You start with a movie that's ~30 minutes long.  The movie goes into the history of Pearl Harbor.  Beginning with US troops first being stationed there, then through the conflicts in Japan and Europe and finally w/ Japans attack on Pearl Harbor.  The footage they used in the film included US photos as well as Japanese photos of the event.  It was very sobering to watch.

The USS Arizona was built in 1916.  It was refurbished in the '30's to prepare it for modern warfare.  As tensions rose between the Japanese and the US due to the Japanese invasion of China and other countries in Asia, it was decided to move all our big battleships over to the island of Oahu in Hawaii, stationing them at Pearl Harbor.  They felt this was the best strategic location to help protect the Midway Islands.  You can read more about the history here.

After the movie you file through the auditorium doors to the launch where you take a boat out to the USS Arizona.  Along the way you see memorials of where the other battleships along Battleship Row that were hit.  Harbored not too far away from the Arizona Memorial is the USS Missouri which is the ship where the Japanese surrendered to the US.  The Missouri is also open for tours, but unfortunately, we weren't able to go there the day we were at the Arizona.

When you see pictures of the Memorial and the sunken ship they all look the same, no matter who took the picture.  But once you've been there, the pictures take on a whole new meaning.  It really hits you that this is more than a stone statue memorializing some fallen soldiers.  This is more than just a sunken ship that was hit, hard, by the Japanese during their attack.  This memorial and ship is the tomb of ~1,100 men who were faithfully serving our country.  Again the tone aboard the memorial is very sobering.

The way the Memorial is constructed is it lies perpendicular across the mid section of the USS Arizona.  As you get off the boat you walk through a doorway into an open area with various flags.  You then proceed into the main part of the Memorial, where you can view the parts of the ship that are still visible.  You can see quite a bit of the ship, including the gun turrets.  The flag that flies over the Memorial is flying on the broken mast of the Arizona itself.  You can still see blobs of oil bubbling up from parts of the ship, even after all these years.  The third part of the Memorial is a shrine.  It contains all the names of the men who were killed on the Arizona.  It takes up the entire back wall of the shrine.

The boat takes you back to the visitor center where you can walk around the grounds.  They have various plagues explaining different things about what you are seeing as well as a museum to tour. 

The Arizona is slowly sinking.  In two years they are going to close it down to fix it and make it safe for people to visit.  I don't know how long that will take nor do I know if it will be the same feeling once they've fixed it up.

We were really thankful to have had an opportunity to see this part of our history first hand.  I'm also glad, even though my kids are still young and we haven't studied WWII yet, they were able to experience Pearl Harbor and will always remember their visit.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


It should come as no surprise that we spent  a lot of time in the water while we were in Hawaii. 


The hotel had a beautiful saltwater pool that the kids enjoyed playing in when they were tired of playing in the lagoons.  There were four man-made lagoons in the Ko Olina development.  One was just beyond the hotels pool.  The lagoons were perfect for kids to play in the ocean without having to worry about Hawaii's rough surf.  The lagoons had man-made coral reefs that you could snorkel out to and see the fish and other creatures living out there.  There was a net between the lagoon and the ocean which kept out the larger, more aggressive sea creatures.

The girls enjoyed snorkeling out and finding various different sea life.  There was a kiosk where you could rent different equipment for playing in the lagoon.  They also provided these little fish identifiers that you could wear while you were out snorkeling to see what the fish were that you were looking at.  Very cool.   As much fun as the girls had snorkeling they enjoyed playing along the rocks even more.  They really liked looking for the crabs that lived amongst the rocks.  Two of my girls also liked to pretend they were turtles and would pull themselves out of the lagoon and rest in the sand.  They had fun doing that until the sand in their bathing suits began to bother them! *youch!*

The first day we were there, the girls made friends with a family from Georgia.  They had a lot of fun running into them throughout the week down at the lagoon and in the pool.  They would look for crabs together, play on their raft, run around in the sand, generally having a blast with their new friends.

Once their cousins got there, there never was a dull moment out at the lagoons.  The kids had fun playing, swimming and burying each other in the sand.  You can check out the slide show in the sidebar for pictures of their fun in the sun.

Tomorrow I'll share about our time at Pearl Harbor.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday's Child

I wrote this beautiful blog entry (trust me, it was quite touching ;) )  about my Wee Mango weaning himself while we were in Hawaii.  It spoke with great eloquence of my bittersweet feelings of having my 5th child spontaneously stop nursing, literally overnight.  But alas, those beautiful words are gone.  *Poof* in quirk of cyberspace my tribute to my, most likely last child, milestone will be forever lost. *sniff* *sniff*


You'll just have to trust me when I say, it was poignant. LOL

Instead, I'll just tell y'all (how do you spell that? I'm not a Southerner and have not learned the proper spelling of ya'all)  My Wee Mango stopped nursing overnight, in Hawaii.


Do you think he's found his new preference for milk products?  In the form of an artificially flavored, colored, and most likely artificial milk product, Scooby Doo push-up?  Look at the pure rapture on his face.  He almost appears to be "toasting" us w/ his treat.  (for the record, I haven't substituted nursing for this vile creation LOL).


My parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage this month.  The way they wanted to celebrate was to take the entire family to Hawaii.   28 of my clan descended on Oahu last week.  We were there for varying days, my family being there for a full week.  We had a wonderful time spending time with our family and seeing the beautiful sites of Oahu.  The next few days I'll share pictures and describe what we did.

I have to say, never being in Hawaii before, I experienced a varying range of emotions.  I don't really know how to explain it.  I was trying to describe it to my dh as a spiritual experience that wasn't religious.  Sounds new-agey doesn't it?   I felt things so much more vividly and had such strong feelings and emotions while I was there.  It was an odd experience.  I kept thinking, "if I only had a journal I'd be writing all this down to remember."  Of course, I didn't and now my memory is fading of what I felt.  I'll try to share some of the feelings I had while I go through the various days events as a way to try to remember our week.

We left for Oahu on a non-stop flight.  We were scheduled to arrive 8:30pm HI time, 11:30 to us.  The plane was delayed an hour, which got us into Oahu around 12:30 our time.  After we got our bags and found our way out to the rental car shuttle it was well after 1:00 in the morning in our brains.   After getting the carseats loaded into the rental car and figuring out how to get to the hotel, we were off.  The kids were so tired and really wanting to go to sleep!  We pulled into the hotel, got situated in our rooms and finally, fell asleep, around 3:30 our time!  Can you say exhaustion!  

The kids still woke up bright and early and we went out to explore the hotel grounds.  The hotel we were staying at, JW Marriott Ilihani at Ko Olina, was beautiful.  They have saltwater pools around the hotel with stingrays, hammerhead sharks, a variety of coral and coral sea life including an abundant amount of tropical fish.  The kids loved looking at the ponds and discovering all the sea life that was in abundance in these pools.  Having studied Jeanie Fulbrights Zoology 2 book earlier in the year, they were having fun now experiencing it first hand. 

Our first day was spent exploring the hotel, checking out the lagoons and pool (more on those tomorrow) and resting.  Only one of my sisters had arrived the same day we did.  The rest of my family was coming in the next two days.  I ran into my sister and her family in the afternoon of that first day.  We got the kids together for a little bit, then did our own thing for dinner.  We were so tired from the long flight the night before and playing in the sun most of the day, we all fell asleep pretty quickly.

Tomorrow I'll share about our time down at the lagoons. 


See sidebar for photo montage of day one.