Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On The Water

When we were younger, my dad had my sister, brother, and I try every sport and extra curricular activity available to us so we would be well rounded. As a result, I tried everything from ballet and piano to swim team, tennis, and soccer. In between I dabbled in softball and karate and some other stuff that I've either forgotten or blocked out due to traumatic experience. While I definitely enjoyed some more than others, I never really found my passion. Nothing really grabbed me and inhabited my every waking hour and crept into my dreams...until now.

After becoming a mom, I found myself losing my identity. Everything I did was for my three precious little peanuts...just as it should be. But because I wasn't working, I had very little "me" time. Even potty breaks were often in the company of at least one little peanut. So I did something very un-Toni-ish. I ventured WAY outside my comfort zone and joined an outrigger canoe club, a totally unfamiliar sport in a completely unfamiliar place which was...gasp...outside of my driving range!

And so, a little late in life, I have found my passion. I think it has something to do about being on the water, being challenged by one of Mother Nature's most diverse elements, seeing all of the wonderful creatures, and the comraderie you feel with your crew amidst the isolation of the ocean. I have also found a new ohana and the rest of the family has too, as we are now known affectionately as "Team Pink" (although Dave is not so enthused with that nickname).

Paddling season starts again this week, and I can't wait!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Every Day is a Gift

This post is a tribute to our cousin Anna So, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this week while giving birth to her second child.
I guess I have to admit it...I am a Facebook addict. While most people are content to check their homepage twice, maybe three times a day, I am constantly refreshing my homepage to see what new news is being posted. Maybe it's because I'm a SAHM, and it's my link to the "outside" world. Either way, I'm addicted...and it's out.
It's through Facebook that I knew that my cousins Anna and Josh had finally been admitted to the hospital for an induction late Monday night. Both Anna and Josh posted pictures to their pages, Josh posted pictures of the room and a cute picture of Ryan on a fold out bed and Anna a funny picture of her two boys whiling away the time on their electronic devices. Later on Tuesday, it was through Facebook that I found out that the induction was slooow going. Josh posted, "It's like watching grass grow," and later checked in at Peet's twice. Anna's last post was around 4pm and it was encouraging, "Ahhhh, epidural..."
Dave was scheduled for his second ink session that evening, and with my sister in law Carol babysitting the girls, I was able to go with him to the shop. I brought along my handy dandy iTouch (yes, sad...I am iPhone-less) so I could keep abreast of what was going on. As Dave was getting tatted, I excitedly informed him that it looked like Anna was finally ready to push...Josh had just posted, "It's go time!" Just a few hours later, though, another post from Josh, confused, concerned...Anna in emergency surgery, not conscious, baby not breathing. Whaaa? We left the shop concerned, but not overly so. This was 2011, afterall. Modern medicine was miraculous, Anna and the baby would be ok.
We got home, and proudly showed off Dave's new ink to his sister and briefly discussed Josh and Anna's situation with her before Dave walked her to her car. Of course, while he did that, I refreshed the homepage again.
"I am at a complete lost for words right now. Anna passed away tonight after complications. I don't understand why this is happening. Please pray for us and the family"-Josh
Numbness. Refresh. Reread. Shock. Refresh. Reread. Disbelief. Refresh. Reread.
Since then, Facebook has been a boon and a bane. Friends have posted prayers and well wishes, which have helped me hold it together (albeit tenuosly, as I break down at weird and random times). I still go back to those earlier posts, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they'll be gone and everything that has happened will be erased like the posts.
Anna and I weren't related by blood, but by marriage. We were the same age, and by coincidence, she happened to marry Josh, who I knew from college. She, Daphne, Michelle, and I were the "next generation" in the family. We went on MNO's, I went shopping with her (she took me to Burberry, and I took her to H&M), she gave me running advice, and we always made it a priority to get Kara's cupcakes. Now she's gone, and I don't know why.
As I try to find the faith to understand the meaning in all of this, I have been telling people to take every day as a gift. When my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, this became evident to me, but it is even more so now. Take the time to really cherish the people around you. Every day is a gift.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crash Course in Vacation

For those of you who are familiar with our family, you know that we have not flown with the kiblets EVER. Until now. Recently, our generous, and brave, and very cool cousins, invited us on a trip to Maui with them. Offers like this do not come by (especially to families with three young children) too often, so naturally, we took them up on it.
Having not flown since prior to 9-11, and never with young children before, I was anticipating the flight from hell. Of course, friends have crossed the Atlantic on 14-hr journeys with mulitple children by themselves and here I was, laden with backpacks filled with distractions for a mere 6 hours for a little hop across the Pacific. We all survived, backpacks for the most part untouched, completely overpacked for our stay in paradise.
Our too short stay there was heavenly. We swam, snorkeled, paddled, sunned, and ate shave ice to our hearts content. And while we were unable to purchase the lovely T-shirts that boast, "I Survived the Road to Hana" as we only made it to mile marker 31 before christening the sand bucket, the Road to Hana will forever be a threat daddy can use when the girls get too unruly in the car!
Now that we're home, the time change and the late night flight are taking a toll on my novice travelers. I wisely kept the girls home from school today, despite Alison getting dressed in her uniform at 7:50 this morning. It turned out to be a good decision because by midday, she had shut the car door on her own head and tripped on Jake and done a face-plant. By this evening, she was in hysterics because she had a booger (her own, mind you) on her hand.
Aloha, dear friends. I certainly hope it won't be another 11 years before we return. But for now, I think it's time for everyone to go to bed!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Let's Make a Deal

Being part Asian, I was born with a special "deal-detecting" gene. This gene enables me to hone in on a good deal much like a heat seeking missile. For example, on a recent trip to Costco, I completely bypassed the meat department since we subscribe to a local meat CSA. My special "senses" however picked up on the fact that there was a small, but concentrated hoarde of Asian people all grouped around one particular meat section. I hurried over to investigate, knowing that it had to be a good deal. Sure enough! Top sirlion steak for only $2.00/lb! Of course, even though our freezer was already well stocked with meat from our CSA, the "deal-detecting" gene also makes it impossible to pass up a good deal. So what did I do? I bought several pounds of steaks to stuff in our already stuffed freezer.
Sadly, I am here to report that I'm not sure that my children have inherited this special "deal-detecting" gene. Yesterday was the last day of keiki paddling practice for Amanda and the coaches threw a party at the end. As the pizza was being devoured, a big bin was hauled out and opened. Most of the kids gathered around and soon a few could be seen walking away with their arms filled with Kilohana gear. "Amanda!" I said, "You should check that out!" She nochalantly took a bite of her pizza and nodded her head. "AMANDA!" I said, more urgently, as more kids wandered away with more stuff. Amanda walked over to the bin, came back, and said, "It's just clothes..." My whole being at this point was going bezerk, knowing that it was the deal of all deals, it was FREE!! Looking over at Dave in disbelief, we finally convinced our child (could this really be our child?) to get a shirt for herself and something for her sisters.
Later, while talking to Dave, we laughed about it. Both of our mothers and myself are suckers for any kind of deal and if it's free...well, forget about it. We get all sorts of crap, not necessarily because we need it, but because it a DEAL! Maybe it's a good thing Amanda hasn't inherited the "deal-detecting" gene...we're running out of storage space!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lost Lazy Days of Summer

So summer has arrived, and rather than slowing down, our household has revved up into high gear. Summer is high hula season and on average we have a show every few weeks or so. This usually entails a lot of sewing. For the girls May Day performance on Mother's Day the three girls needed a total of eleven new costumes. Dave and I were up until 3am on Mother's Day sewing buttons onto their costumes. Tradition states that you need to have good mana when creating costumes and that will translate into more beautiful dancing. By 2am, the mana had ceased to flow and at that point our goal was just that the costumes did not fall of our children on stage! Luckily they didn't and enough good mana must have flowed, because they all danced beautifully:
In addition to hula this year, the Chu ohana has taken up a new sport; outrigger canoeing. Between hula and paddling, we are literally on the go seven days a week. Paddling has become a new obsession in our household. Our children literally go around the house yelling "hut, hut, ho!" the commands to change sides while paddling. And for those of you who know how anal retentive I am, the fact that I leave my children relatively unattended on shore while Dave and I race is testament to how much we love it. (And before anyone calls CPS, outrigger is very much steeped in the polynesian culture of ohana, so they really are watched by many people, I'm just anal).
Although I started paddling as "mommy time", Dave has picked it up and really excelled. He's won two medals, lost 20lbs, and has already steered in his first race.
I, on the other hand, am more of a late bloomer. I haven't won any medals yet, have only lost 10lbs. and let's just say learning to steer is going much like learning to drive. (Let's not tell anyone from Kilohana I wrapped my parent's new Benz around a pole!) And before you judge...just try controlling a 1000lb moving canoe with no brakes, no lanes, with tide, current, wind and lots of "traffic" in the form of boats, swimmers, buoys, and the occasional seal!
So, if you don't hear from the Crazy Peanut much this summer, it's because we're mucho busy...and in some cases (my steering) no news, is good news.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

When I was teaching, I will candidly admit that amongst ourselves, teachers would mutter this phrase after meeting certain parents. Cute little Holly seems a little clueless after explaining the directions to her five times? Ah yes, then this must be her mom, who after 2 notes home, an email, and parent conference, still just doesn't get it. Miss Polly Perfection? Yup, her mom's the room mom and school board president. And yes, I know that it just isn't fair to apply such wide sweeping generalizations...so here's a little payback...today I got a big ol' dose of my own medicine!

Like a lot of things in parenting, Dave and I have found ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Today I had to take Amanda in for the first phase of an assessment for ADD (and before you get your panties all up in a bunch, this is without the hyperactivity! Trying to talk to my parents about this, they kept getting it confused with ADHD and would try and convice us we were delusional).
As I sat in the room with the other parents listening to the doctor describe the symptoms of ADD and ADHD I found myself nodding my head. Yup, sounds like Amanda. Huh, kind of sounds like me too...Hmmm. When the doctor said that these were medical issues and were often genetic and asked if there was a family history, I wondered...

So, I left the assessment and I sat in the waiting room waiting for Amanda's portion of the appointment to be over. As I hunted around in my purse for my car keys, pushing aside wrappers and receipts, unopened and half eaten snacks, pens, multiple chapsticks, mini flashlights, gloves, and a slew of random debris an ADD symptom flashed in front of me: "their backpacks often look as though a bomb went off in them"

Yes, people...THE APPLE DOESN'T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE...and this tree don't lie.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Comic Relief

The last couple of days have been a little stressful and sad. So this evening, when Dave threatened, as usual, to clean up the girls' room for them, I didn't think much of it. He went through the theatrics of going out to the garage to get The Black Trash Bag, as incentive for them to pick up their toys. Alison must have decided to do something about it. A few minutes later I heard banging on the garage door and saw Alison hightailing it out of the kitchen. She had locked Dave out of the house. I'm guessing it would be inappropriate for me to laugh?