Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We have to stop eating so much.

We have to stop this eating tour, our plan was to come here, spend as much time at the beach as possible, and attend a Luau (it will be JJ's and SS's first). Those are pretty simple plans right? Then why have we ended up spending as much time eating out as we have at the beach? After our return from Honolua Bay and Nakalele Blowhole, Grandpa treated us to dinner at Da Kitchen. I am so going to need two seats on the flight back, I have already gained 5 pounds, which is shameful because I have not been here that long.

On a positive note, JJ and SS are digging into Hawaiian cuisine with gusto, making Grandpa a very proud man. P and I are simply pleased that they are enjoying themselves and are not gastronomic cowards. They are eating things they have not had before and loving every bite. SS surprised us by loving the broth from P's clams over linguine.

When we are all in the car Grandpa drives, JJ sits next to him, and P and I squeeze next to SS. Man, we love her Britax, it is why it made it to NY, PR, Chicago and now here. As much as P loathes carrying crap around, he is not willing to rent a carseat for SS. Even if we could rent a Britax, he is not fond of his daughter using a carseat other kids have used. That being said, it takes a heck of a lot of space, so the squeezing thing is not an exaggeration. This situation is making SS very upset because we are violating the edict she handed down the day we met; Baba is not to touch Mama at any point.

We usually indulge SS, especially on the few occasions when we are away from home. But this arrangement is non negotiable and we will not tolerate her whining. So we had a talk with her that went along the lines of ... "Listen Missy, the best thing about our decision not to have a bio child other than you is that sex for us is purely for recreational purposes. We love you so much and know you will never understand until when and if you have a child. But as much as we love you we are not going to allow you to take our recreation away. Got it?"

To drive the point home, we moved SS's bed next to JJ's when we got back. We are aware that we posted that we did not want SS in a different room while away from home. What can we say other than that the life of a hypocrite is a lonely one. And what did we do once SS was asleep, safely tucked next to her brother? We old fogies promptly fell asleep. Heh.

We had to take this picture for SS because for some unknown reason she totally loved this thing.

We ordered the Keiki (Hawaiian word for baby or child) noodles for SS and Grandpa warned us that the portions were big. Dude, we have no idea what the average size of a Hawaiian child is but we know we would not want to give birth to one. There was no difference (other than price) between SS's, P's and Grandpa's bowls.

As much as this man can push my buttons I just love his silly side. P is a very shy individual, but when it comes to us he looses all inhibitions. I flove this picture and am glad I captured this moment. Choosing to be under a microscope, undergoing the obvious disdain of our home study social worker, the long wait, and the doubts as to whether we were really adopting or just lying for sympathy, having SS is the best decision we have ever made. That and buying a slow cooker and a Foodsaver.

This was our cue that SS was tired and ready to go.

Then again, she is never too tired to be tickled by her big brother.

On or about the day I was born Papi planted two palm trees on our backyard. At least that is what he and Mami told me. I loved those trees and felt so fortunate that they loved me so much. I grew up listening to people telling me about how Papi would climb palm trees for coconuts. By the time I disrupted his well deserved retirement, Papi was too old (79) to climb palm trees. I hope he and Mami are cracking up in heaven watching SS trying to do a Papi thing. I have missed them every day since they had to go to heaven. I also have lost count of how many tears I have shed when thinking of them. But I am fortunate that my kids also remind me of them every single day.

Nakalele Blowhole

After snorkeling we drove to Nakalele Blowhole. It was quite a steep hike and the first one where P carried SS. I panned on carrying SS in the Ergo on my back but P pulled rank and got all preachy about my swollen, sore, hurt knee. Gee, if I can't hurt for my kids, who the heck should I hurt for? P did not even give me a chance to get SS out of her carseat. He unbuckled her and started the hike. The man obviously has trust issues with me. As if I am the sneaky type.

That morning, when we told Grandpa about our plans, he was not happy about us visiting the blowhole. He lost a friend in a blowhole accident a few weeks ago and thought it was a bad idea on our part. That really hurt our feelings and it takes a lot for that to happen. Why would he think we would risk our safety by standing close to the blowhole? Safety is practically our middle names. Anyone who knows us would know that we would never do anything stupid and risk leaving JJ and SS parentless. Our plan was to have JJ and SS stand as close as possible to the blowhole and take their picture. DUH!

JJ took this picture, we were above him and not interested in more walking. How cool is this heart? It's interesting that the Bible in Maui travel, Maui Revealed, did not mention this. They sure wrote a lot about some insignificant sights.

We wish SS was at least looking at the camera, but after all the swimming and hiking she did on her own power, we can't blame her for being cranky.

Honolua Bay

Our first trip to Honolua Bay eight years ago was a complete disaster. We arrived at around 2:00 p.m., the water was choppy, cold and murky. P insisted that if we went further out, it would get better. I was naturally scared out of my mind, and even though P held my hand the entire time I was freaking out. It was such a relief when we turned around. Looking back, the fact that we were the only ones there should have been a big hint. We returned a few days later, much earlier, but I was still apprehensive. The visibility was amazing and we saw so many beautiful fish, it was a great way to get over that first try. We were really looking forward to taking JJ to that same spot for his first snorkeling experience.

But nothing is ever easy with my kids or myself for that matter. JJ had some problems with his mask, and P swapped masks with him. Ours are pretty good (as in expensive even back then) and that made it better for JJ, but it took him a while to find the right fit. Understandable since our masks were fitted to us, so we might have to fork over good money for a better mask.

We have often extolled JJ's and SS's ability to really keep their cool during extraordinary situations, that P and I know would devastate us. We stand by our shameless gushing about their strength. When it comes to the scary, the traumatizing, the unknown, JJ and SS are pros. Then there is the small stuff, the stuff ordinary people would never think about twice, and that is the stuff that makes them flip their lids. In this case, it took JJ quite a while to live with the fact that if you stick your face in salty water, guess what, you are going to get salt in your mouth, eyes, and it won't feel good. I was afraid that he would give up altogether.

Initially P wanted me to go out with JJ and of course I balked at his suggestion. The neurotic in me wondered what I would do if JJ drowned. This is laughable because JJ was a very good swimmer by age 3. Since I was conditioned to fear water, I swore my kids would never be treated that way, and for once I kept my promise. Here is an embarrassing fact about me, except for JJ's bio father, all the men I dated were lifeguards. I swear, I had no clue about this until after I dated them, but it is a rather funny coincidence. P came in the water with us and had no choice but to bring SS in as well. There is no beach at Honolua, just rocks. Much to our surprise, our usually whinny, temperamental daughter decided that swimming was just fine. She is still not a fan of placing her head underwater when the ocean is involved. It is not fear, she keeps her head underwater at the pool so long it scares us, it is the salt that bothers her. Did I mention that we have freakishly weird kids?

Anyhoo, P held my hand until I came to my senses and realized no one was going to drown, loosened up and enjoyed the ride. SS picked up on the attitude change and although not fond of snorkeling yet, she was more than OK with riding on Baba's back. She then moved on to JJ and eventually became my personal barnacle. I usually cannot handle SS on my back in a pool, not even when she is wearing her PFD, but it worked really well today. I now understand why P likes it. For one, we knew exactly where she was, and second, it is about trust. What better way to work on building trust. Thanks to SS all four of us were together in the water. More important, we got to share an amazing experience with both JJ and SS.

I neglected to mention that my initial attitude (AKA dumb a$ fear) was perhaps influenced by an earlier blunder. We stopped at a place where P thought was the snorkeling area, although I was highly doubtful. We left SS and JJ in the car and walked over to look, and stupidly climbed over the railing at the vista point. Don't bother telling us how stupid that is, Grandpa already covered that. We saw a steep hike to our left and I did not recall such a thing, but what do I know. P decided to hike down to explore and I was going to return to the car. I was not looking when I lifted my right leg over the railing, and the next thing I felt was unbelievable pain and simultaneously heard a loud thump. I know it was loud because a woman standing a few feet away looked at me cringing. Classy lady that I am, a F*** flew out of my mouth, followed by me bending over holding my knee. My caring husband made the mistake of asking a very inopportune question, "Are you OK?" Never, ever ask someone bending over in pain that question. Once again my classy lady side came out in full force and I growled "NO, of course I'm NOT OK, thus the F*** part!" I later apologized profusely to P, and he sheepishly admitted that the sound was loud and scared him, so he had no idea what made him ask. I do know, we were both scared that I had really messed up my knee. I have had two surgeries on my left knee, my right one is all I got now. I mess that one up and it won't be pretty. By the time we made it to the water my knee was rather swollen and it did hurt. But although I am a world class coward, the one thing I do well is pain (but must be left alone), so off to use that stupid knee I went. It is still swollen and it still hurts like a sucker, but it will be OK. No vacation is ever complete without me hurting.

A now very experienced Baba rider.

This is one of my fondest memories of our second snorkeling attempt here back then, what we dubbed the fish wall. All we had then was a disposable underwater camera and the pictures we took did not do it justice. This picture does not convey its beauty either, but it is a hell of an improvement.

Here's a real treat, the four of us in the water at the same time. We love SS's look, it's like she is thinking "they mean well, somebody's got to love them."

This is why it is great to have only three readers. Pictures like this could really give the wrong impression about our parenting skills and judgment.

Wish I got piggyback rides too.

Cool puffer fish.

None other than the famous Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

Although I began our adventure whining like a toddler, by the end I was comfortable enough that I did not need P or JJ to be right next to us.

The reason why P is now hurting more than JJ and I. Although we spent only 90 minutes snorkeling, that is an eternity for a 3-year old. When she started whining we made a hasty retreat, and SS decided she wanted to swim back on Baba's front, because riding on a person's back was boring.

This is why for our family this beach is from now on known as Chicken Beach. SS was intrigued by the chickens and decided Honolua Bay just did not sound as good, so she changed the name.

She did not miss him at all.

I neglected to mention a cute SSism. When she was rattling on about going to the beach Sunday, she said "I want to go to outside beach." We were mindful to make sure to fulfill her specific request, because let's face it, inside beaches are just not the same.

Last night SS sat on the lounger outside with one of her Toy Story books, then announced "Mama, I relax." I was so happy that our obviously stressed out child could let go and find a few minutes to relax. Being three is one tough gig.

JJ and P were discussing shows, a favorite thing for them to do, while I was surfing the Internet. They kept talking about a tortuga character, and I made the mistake to ask who was that. JJ seriously replied, "Ah Mom, it's a tortoise in Spanish. Gee, I thought you spoke the language." Both he and P thought he was hilarious. Guess what, my lovely but uninformed child, it's a turtle. Seriously, my kids are the biggest smart a$$es ever, obviously thanks to P. This is why JJ and P will now be changing all of SS's shitty diapers and wiping her behind. That should teach them to make fun of me.

These pictures were in the D60 and I was too lazy to download them yesterday. Cracks us up how much SS loves her big brother.

Here she is giving me the evil eye, even though I was not the one responsible for her almost losing the tip of her thumb. P accidentally closed the shower door when SS's delicate finger was in the way. Poor little girl cried so loud and did the whole not breathing thing for a while. But since I was the one in the shower with her, it made me guilty by association.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thirty-six inches and twenty-nine pounds of pure treachery.

We woke up at the crack of dawn today and took SS to Makena Beach, where we allowed her to roam around naked. Why the nakedness when she brought 10 bathing suits? Because the island experience is not complete unless there is nakedness at least once. We were also hoping to even out her tan. SS was in sand heaven again and did not even notice the equally naked little boy her age. Told you it was the thing to do. We had barely enough time to make a Jamba Juice run and arrive at the airport late to pick up JJ. But we at least managed to remember to bring a smoothie for JJ as well.

JJ made it OK, although he did not sleep last night. I wish my kids did not inherit my lousy sleep habits. Now all is right with the world and SS is enjoying giving us the cold shoulder. We are sure Fergie is going to be happier than a swine in excrement, because SS will now concentrate all her efforts into terrorizing her brother. I seriously have no idea why P would even consider a little brother for SS after the way she has treated that poor cat. At least JJ has a chance of coming out of this week alive, not so sure a younger brother would survive a day being loved by SS.

Grandpa treated us to a yummy lunch at Cafe O'Lei Dunes Maui Lani Golf Course Restaurant in Kahului. JJ had a crab sandwich with Caesar salad, I had tempura Mahi Mahi, P had Parmesan crusted Mahi Mahi with basil cream sauce, served over rice with a side of farfalle, Grandpa had blackened Mahi Mahi over rice with a Caesar salad, and SS had a a crunchy fish fillet with rice. Since SS did so well during lunch, we decided to treat her to a shaved ice, but ended up with something even better.

We made a pit stop at the Mall to pick up a snorkeling set for JJ. When we arrived there SS screamed her head off when P tried to remove her from the carseat, "NOOOOOOOO, JJ does it." This led P to loudly snap back, "Well thanks, it's not like HE wipes your ass. I do that." We always manage to turn heads, and not in a positive way wherever we go. In the interest of fairness, I already had my loud mouth moment at the beach yesterday. Grandpa was shocked when I announced that I do not care for animals. He incredulously asked me, "You do not like animals? Who does not like animals?" I informed Grandpa, and sadly everyone around us that the only animals I like are my children. Oh do not judge me, they are mammals for Pete's sake. Since JJ is tired, we returned to Grandpa's to recharge our batteries.

Grandpa received a call from his friend R, an avid surfer that P and I met eight years ago. He graciously and perhaps foolishly has volunteered to teach us how to surf. Dude, the odds of me standing on a surf board are nonexistent. But it looks like since I cheated death last year, I am now eager to push my luck. Must stop having those fruity drinks, they do cloud judgment.

P and Grandpa are on their way to Costco. We are such great guests that we managed to break Grandpa's small fridge beyond repair. At least his main fridge is still operable. Then again, there are now four of us working in perfect klutzy unison. P needs to purchase a replacement. Wonder if Grandpa will be so eager to invite us again. This is why we prefer hotels, we are walking disasters. P was so right to insist on JJ being here. This would not had been as much fun without him. Now we only have one week left to create as much mayhem as possible.

Please feel free to help yourself to my meal sweetie.

SS blew a fuse when she found out that her meal came with fries. Our waitress was more than happy to substitute for rice. Probably because she did not want our shrieking daughter to drive business away. So what did our little whiner proceed to do? You got it, she went straight for my fries, and dipped them in tartar sauce. How's that for strange taste buds. Still, SS ate all of her crunchy fish fillet, heavily dipped in tartar sauce.

It wasn't shaved iced, but SS loved her sorbet nonetheless. This place is a must if you find yourself in these parts.

This tiny sumo wrestler caught my eye (sorry about the flash) because it looks so much like SS. It also reminded me of another little girl, one of SS's Chinese sisters who resides in Florida. We wonder if Brenda would agree on the latter.

With hutzpah that would make Kim Jung Il green with envy, SS sternly directs me to "go this way Mama."

Since the littlest traitor has no use for us, we are going to move her sleeping arrangements next to JJ's bed. Let's see how she likes being snubbed. Looks like she isn't the only one in this family to hold a grudge, we are more than willing to stoop to the level of a three-year old.

I often forget that JJ owns a cat, he even kept custody of the thing when his ex departed.