Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dwindling days...

Modeling some birthday party swag
Where has summer gone?! In two weeks we'll be back at school...which means no more sleeping in & back to the school grind. I think more than any other summer, we managed to stay pretty busy (we like it that way). Otherwise it can get pretty hot and slow 'round these parts. I've done my best to make sure that while the cousins are away, that Ryan gets to see old friends (and new) nearly every day. And I think that's been the best part of our summer...just getting to reconnect and play with our friends. Isn't that how it should be?

There have been a few summer birthday parties...
Climbing trees with friends...
Long walks at sunset with the family... ;-)
Monthly projects at Lowes & Home Depot (see the enthusiasm?)
Tennis lessons from Uncle M...
Game time with daddy...
Learning Japanese calligraphy from Aunty M
Fundraising at the Relay for Life....
Okay, this photo is from last month...but Ryan played the part of the minister at a 'wedding'! It was adorable to see him read the vows that they wrote (kudos to his school and teacher for teaching him to read so quickly/efficiently in a non stressful way).

Even though I have a kid with pretty high expectations (he usually wakes up with a smile and asks, "What are we doing to do today?"), I think he had a decent summer. Now that the boys just came back yesterday, I'm sure the last two weeks will fly by.

I'm especially nostalgic about these last two weeks as there is a 50-50 chance that I could be working come the first day of school. More on this later if it actually happens, but I'd love to have a final summer soiree/birthday blowout before we head back to the grind.

Until then...toodles, peeps. It's hot, humid and we're headed for the pool with a few of Ry's buddies. :-)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Ryan's Fourth & Fifth of July

Hot dogging for the crowd
What better way to celebrate being American than stuffing ourselves with grilled meat and watching massive fireworks pollute the Earth? :-)

We kicked off Friday with a short AM race for me...and for whatever the reason- it felt like the first time I've run in my entire life. Granted it was hot, and I haven't been running much lately, but still. Shame. My stomach hurt, I was pouring sweat, I had no felt like a death march. On the upside, I got to do the race with my good friend A who hasn't run in years, and who has never run that far it was rewarding to see A accomplish that.

After my abysmal run, we had a nice, small family BBQ before a second member of our family had a race that day. And thankfully, he redeemed the family name with a solid performance. His kiddie race was AWESOME- all ages (5-17) competed together (so no having to wait for multiple waves of kids), plus the kids got to run the parade route...which meant tons of supportive community cheering the whole route! It was SO fun to see everyone clapping and cheering for all the kids (and their huffing, puffing red-faced parents tailing behind). ;-)

Ry and his buddies pre-race
Our little speedster shocked us by finishing in 4:14. I was proudest of the fact that he was soooo excited to race, and that he never walked (I had expected it since we never actually run with him). 

Shooting out of the gate! 
Once Ry was done, I got to watch the parade and fireworks show with him and the rest of our family red-faced, drenched in sweat. Which meant that even in cramped quarters, I usually had quite a wide berth around me. (Being disgusting has its upsides.)

The next day we were up and at 'em again at Home Depot with friends to build a own bug cage.
We made ours upside down and would have skipped two steps (all caught by my architect friend). However, since it was my first time and I'm spatially impaired, I consider it a victory that it even resembled a bug cage and not say, a lamp, by the time we finished.
Once we finished massacring the bug cage, we jetted north to Mauna Lani for what was touted as a 'free' summer event. And by 'free,' they meant you would only spend about $20-30 per child, since we had to pay for the bouncy house, the slide, the climbing wall, the cotton candy, etc. However, Ryan still called it 'the best day of my life' (he says this about 5-6 times per year) it was still very, very worth it.

I'll pay $ for that laugh any day.

His 8th time down the slide...this kid is a total adrenaline junkie.
What he is not? A climber.  
After spending the first two days of our three day weekend covered in sweat running after Ryan, I plan on hunkering down at home tomorrow and eating my feelings. Hope your Fourth & Fifth were slightly less sticky, but as great as ours were. :-) 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The glamorous life

I'm not great at keeping secrets like this, but after months of waffling, we got a pool. We just figured, you know what? YOLO. Can't take it with you. Soooo...we did it. We officially have a roof top pool.

Without further ado...check out our new, pimpin' rooftop pool... (They're not just in Vegas or Dubai, anymore.)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The latest on the island...

Kona Half #4 
I just ran the Kona Half for the fifth time, so this isn't really a race report so much as it is a quick race summary. Medicore training = mediocre performance. I ran it the same time as last year (2:09). A few other points:
  • Like the other years- I almost won (I think only about 190 other people who managed to squeak by me). ;-)
  • Despite Body Glide and tape, I had serious chafing on my chest. Next year I'm taping up like a mummy so I can avoid the post-run shower screeching and week long itching.
  • The last mile of the race course still kinda blows- brutal hill, gravel road, thick grass, narrow sidewalk maze and a ramp (vs. the stairs). But this is not the reason I sucked, it's the reason I cramped up a quarter mile from the finish and ran in with funny, choppy, mince-like steps so I wouldn't fall over.
  • Was so surprised and happy to see my high school and college teammate at the starting line of the race, and then to bump into her a few days later on Walua Road. She kicked my arse (some things never change) glad to see her doing so well!
I'm definitely in a rut. Losing my longtime running partner and friend have left me uninspired and unmotivated. I have no upcoming races. I'd love to do LA in 2015, but not sure we can all get the time off from work/school and afford a trip over Spring Break.

Last Day of Summer School!
Don Ho would be proud...singing and dancing to Pearly Shells.
We love our awesome school's summer program (amongst other things), and can't wait for the coming years, when Ry finally becomes eligible to enroll in the summer hula class or ukulele ensemble!

Cultural Festival at Pu'u Honua O Honaunau (City of Refuge)
This was my and Ryan's third time to the festival, but Rich's first. I find it to be the best opportunity to soak up Hawaiian art, language, culture, dance and music that you'll find in Kona all year long. Aside from the hoards of visitors and the blazing heat, there is little not to love about the festival. Park entrance is free that day, and depending on your interests, there are over a dozen displays of Hawaiian culture that you are welcome to participate in. We kicked off the day with our favorite- an outrigger canoe ride. No dolphin sighting this year, but the most amazing, clear blue water that made me want to ditch the canoe and jump right in.

Sanding down our bamboo nose flutes
Sanding, cleaning and polishing our 'ipu
Checking out the fishpond...fascinated by the circular holes the fish must create (to lay eggs I'm guessing?) at the bottom of the pond
Weaving a carrier for his 'ipu  
Spear throwing at the banana stalks (the banana stalks won)
I am proud to say that if my banana stalk were a human, that I annihilated his little toe in battle. 
Playing Hawaiian games (ulu maika and club throwing/sliding)

Sampling the kawa...and remembering that we are not fans of it...but drinking it anyway to prove our manhood.
Trying to blow the conch-shell sounding bamboo instruments they just made

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's raining kids

After hanging out with adults all week in CA, Ry was in need of some kid time. Thankfully, we landed on a Friday, and on Saturday he got to see one of his favorite friends at the Keiki Race.
Ry & Omi
Ry did pretty good considering this happened... :-)
Thanks for the great pic, D!
A few days later, he had his first sleepover with friends (vs. cousins), which meant 24 hours of smiles from him.

He also got to spend time with our besties from the westies (the K family) & their two wonderful kids at the Hilton Waikoloa.

 We had to hurry back home though, as Rich has been performing at the theater (Waiting for Godot) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Ry enjoyed watching his dad on stage (for about 10 minutes). ;-) Then he wanted a snack. To go pee. To watch a show on the tablet. To play with my phone. Go home. I think you get the idea.

Once the K family spent a few days out in Waikoloa and the Volcano, they came to crash at our pad for about 4 days. We loved every minute of it. A few pics of our time together...

(They don't post pics of their kids online, so I blacked them out. Looks creepy. 

Ry's first Hula class!
Waipio Valley
Shaved ice time!
Rich & his boyfriend
Daddy & Ry
True love
Bubba's dinner before saying 'Aloha oe'
A few more solo photos of our little one...
At Waipio Valley
When asked to 'tilt his head up' because I couldn't see his face very well, this was his adjustment. :-|
We're super sad that the Ks are gone, but we're hoping to stage a reunion next year so Ry can see his pals again. Thankfully, I have two other (high school and college) friends with kids in town this week, so we're hoping Ry gets even more kid time. Only three weeks until Keni & Riki are back!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

RV Trip Days #5, 6 & 7 Log Rolling & Boating

On our third and last day in Pinecrest, Joey and I wanted the rest of the family to experience the hike we'd gone on the day before. So off we went...even further than the first day's hike since Joey told us about a dam he'd scouted out that morning.

According to the rental company climbing the ladder was an 'absolute no no'. Pfffft!
If Ryan gets married this year and is tasked with cutting the family Christmas tree...we found him the perfect one.
He found this oddly-shaped tree stump, plopped on it and proudly announced, "Look! I'm on the toilet!"

The 'money shot' (according to Ryan).

Little lazy Kona kept trying to sit in whatever inches of shade he could find along the trail!
The dam(n) lake 
Following the hike, we promised Ryan he could try and walk across a dozen logs chained together for that purpose. It looked very difficult (the logs rolled once you stepped on them), and he fell a few times in the cold water, but he took off, determined to do it. He was the only young kid out there.

Off he goes! Fearless, this kid. 
(He'd fallen out of his raft the day before about a hundred yards out, but managed to swim back to shore, which freaked him out. Thank goodness he'd already forgotten about that!)
Grandpa faithfully followed him out there (he got soaked too) to make sure he was safe. And thanks to Grandpa's encouragement and tips, he managed to do it. He made it to the very end!
The victorious log walking crew...freezing their butts off.
The only one who made it to the very end, unaided!
After the log walking, we promised Ryan a boat ride (courtesy of Grandpa and Grandma). He wasn't too excited about it, and kept insisting he only wanted to kayak instead (which we can do in Kona anyday). We promised him he could help 'captain the ship,' so he finally reluctantly agreed to go along. (Rough life, that one.)
Another big 'no no' according to the boat rental company...'absolutely NO letting kids drive the boat.' Pfffft.
We compromised and let him attempt to paddle the boat since that's all he really wanted to do. We moved about a quarter of an inch, possibly backward, during the 2 minutes of furious paddling. I think its safe to say he's not winning a canoe race anytime soon.

Ahh....not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
Rather than have a long drive back the next morning, we opted to spend our final night at a highly rated RV park down in Rio Vista. But before we left...guess who had to pump and dump the black and gray water?!

I fully intended to help Joey, but I didn't want to get in the way. Plus he's so good at it, it would have been rude to intervene. (I'm always thinking of other people.)
The camp lived up to it's reputation. It was right next to the Sacramento River, had hand-laid pavers throughout, widely spaced stalls, were insanely clean, well designed and peaceful (it was in the middle of no where). It even had restroom with gorgeous mosaic tiles inside.  Our RV was definitely mistaken for the Clampett's that night. We were one of the smallest and one of the few without slide outs.
The sunset view of the river from near our trailer
Cuddle buddies
Our last night's dinner (my night)- lobster bisque (from the Soup Nazi) in Boudin sourdough bread bowls and a bacon chopped salad. So yes, I heated sh&# up. ;-) Ry and I had a Thai coconut curry since mama can't do no seafood.
Chef Wayne in the kitchen
The next morning we were back to civilization... Certain individuals quickly adapted to traveling in such luxurious accommodation.
Driving back to San comfort.
Yes, that would be my dad resting his feet on the oven door like its an ottoman. All class, that one. ;-)
The final siesta before returning the RV
After returning the RV, Ry and I had half a day more in the city of San we hit up our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch steps away from Joey's digs, visited Mission Dolores park a final time for a few hours, and then had a delicious dinner at Whole Foods before flying back the next morning.

I went into this thinking that there was no way the reality could live up to the dream. Surely the RV would stall on the freeway...we'd be too cramped and irritable...the toilet wouldn't flush well...the generator would break and we'd be sweaty and hot.  But the opposite happened- the experience surpassed my expectations. It's only intensified my longing for an RV. But at about $40k for a used Class C (or about $250-350 per day in rental fees), plus a less-than-stellar 7-8 miles per $4.30/gallon, daily hook up fees, disposal fees, meals, supplies, extra insurance (about $30 a day), this is definitely NOT affordable or an option for us. In fact, it'd be a lot easier and likely a tad cheaper to bunk at the Four Seasons every night instead. Plus you get to yell at the help...and don't have to worry about sewage capacity. The only reason we could swing it was because it was a group effort.

Nonetheless, a girl can dream right? So if money were no object- I'd love to take the three boys up in a few years while they're young (and not strapping teens) to the southwest in the spring- Carlsbad Caverns, Grand Canyon, White Sands Monument & the Gila Cave Dwellings to be exact. We'd sit around the fire each night singing 'Kumbaya' and braiding each other hair. :-) But I know from a practical and financial standpoint it doesn't make much sense- we'd have to fly five people there, and somehow either haul up, buy or rent things like sheets, towels, dishes, camping gear, clothing, toiletries, etc. So I'm shelving the dream for now, but I'm definitely not abandoning it. :-)