Sunday, September 8, 2013

39 Weeks

I've never made it to 39 weeks before.
This is a new experience.
It's like this baby is trying to be a rebel.
And maybe her being so old (in womb) is the reason why I am in so much pain.
But she's coming when she wants to come. And I am going to let her.

Ok, not entirely...

I'm getting induced this Thursday.

Being back on North Shore Oahu, I was nervous about getting to the hospital in time, especially since Chip's labor started at 7:30am (very first strong contraction) and ended 2 hours later. Now, the hospital is an hour away, and I did not want to be giving birth on the side of the highway. So I was granted a medically-induced labor. And the timing was perfect for this induction date, so I didn't want to rush it -- just relax and let the labor progress on its own.

But man, it's painful. And tiring.

Otherwise, I'm excited for this week.
(And scared. Even though this is my fourth time.)

I just had to let you know.

P.S. Reason #327 why I hate Facebook: not only are so many of my friends pregnant, but they blow up my page about their pregnancy statuses. "19 weeks! Look at me!" "30 weeks! Almost there!" "Natural birth rocks" "I'm craving this food" "My hubby's the best dad-to-be ever" blah blah blah. Ultrasounds and preggo bumps. I still think what I thunk before (name that movie!): pregnant women look weird! And I love that women still believe in being mothers, but I don't care how special it is for you! I have my own pregnancy to worry about; I don't want to compare it to yours. Or exchange nursery ideas.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

School: A New Chapter

The morning was cool and quiet, not a soul on the street except the wild birds and chickens. I had my new Nikon 1 J1 in hand; Almonds donned her oversized purple Jansport. We began the cross-town walk to her first day of kindergarten.

"Are you ready?" I asked.
"Yeah," she shrugged.

I believed her. And why shouldn't I? She's been ready to go to school for a long time.

As we walked, I told her of all the things I expect of her as a student in school.
"Listen to your teacher..."
"Be kind to the other kids..."
"Don't worry if kids are mean to you..."

I started to wonder if those were the right things to tell her, and if our first walk was the right time. Should I have told her to study hard and get really good grades? Should we have made a plan on how we would do her homework when she got home everyday? Should she have practiced saying her full name, or memorizing my phone number, or gone over spelling and counting? And what especially do you say when you know, at this big moment in her life, she wishes her daddy were here with her?

Braxton-Hicks were bugging me, and Almonds was getting tired of our walk. But once we arrived at the elementary school, both our weariness became anxiety. A group of kids were playing with a bouncy ball against the wall of a classroom. Others were running around us kicking a soccer ball. Parents and teachers and staff were scrambling to get individuals here and there. The fields and playgrounds were packed, more so than Almonds and I have seen before. Her first exposure to public school. She slowed her pace.

"Are you getting nervous?" I asked her.
"Yeah," she muttered.

I held her hand with as much calmness and confidence I could. "It's okay," I started, "this is what school looks like. A lot of kids go here at the same time. After a while, you'll get used to being around so many people. And I'll always come to pick you up when school is done."

All I could do was hope that those were the right words. If my Jobi were here, he probably would've just said, "eh, never mind," and that'd be the end of it.

Man, I wish my husband were here.

I guided her to the correct classroom. She said hi to the teacher and walked in, as if forgetting I was still there. Good girl, I thought. You'll do just fine. I turned around and waddled home, breathing deeply, trying not to cry.

My dad used to say that kindergarten is not a big deal. It's a part of life and kids should go, so parents shouldn't fuss over it so much. The same with graduation from elementary school, and even graduation from high school. Parents need to reserve their celebratory urges for life events that deserve it: graduation from college, marriage, honorable full-time mission. Those kinds of milestones. Kindergarten is not one of those.

At least that's what I thought. So I didn't plan anything. I made Almonds her favorite breakfast and took maybe five pictures of her, and I think my dad would find that sufficient.

But as I walked her to school that day, just me and her, I realized it wasn't just that she was starting kindergarten. She was leaving her baby and toddler self behind for good. She was about to leave home -- to really leave home -- for the first time and see the world. She was, literally, growing up. And we as her parents have to let her. Have to allow Time to pass as it's supposed to. Have to accept the fact that we are now parents of people other than babies.

This was the time of parenting I was most looking forward to. Being mom to kids that went to school. I've always loved the idea of sending kids off into the world, spending my mornings doing whatever I wanted all those things I needed to in peace, helping kids with homework in the afternoon and eating dinners without high chairs. I pictured my husband coming home from work before dinner, teaching the kids how to throw a frisbee, or kick a soccer ball, or shoot a basket. Or even wrestle, if he wanted to. (Because I know he'd want to.) I imagined family evenings would be easier because all our children would be eloquent and expressive and we could clearly understand them; we can have great discussions and, as a family, come up with ideas that would satisfy and enrich everyone. I especially loved the idea of our kids sleeping in their own rooms. Of them being too big to stay on our bed, so they would rather be in their own space, on their own beds, ultimately giving us a little privacy back. Being parents of little school-aged children will be the best, I thought. I'm over this stage of having a house full of babies, I thought.

So why am I trying not to cry? Why am I secretly wishing my Almonds didn't have to go to school this year? Why did I walk home from that elementary school reminiscing about her potty training days, and her crawling days, and the day she was born? Why am I looking at Blondie and Chip as kids that will soon grow up and leave me, and feeling sad about it?

Is this what parenting truly is? Having so much love for (an)other human being(s) that, even when the responsibility may seem too much, you wouldn't have it any other way?

My Almonds started kindergarten. And my family, as a whole, just grew up before my eyes.
I wasn't ready for that.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I Told Myself I'd Take the #31WriteNow Challenge

... and already I've failed.

Hahahahahahaha!!! Why do I even think this is funny!?

Today, the day I'm writing this post, is Saturday, August 3, 2013. The challenge began on August 1st, in which I had published 3 posts within the first hour of the day (read: midnight). So yesterday I thought I could skip a day given my progress yesterday.

But today I reread the terms of the challenge...

Here are the rules: (click for link)
* Put up a new post on your blog at least once a day for the next 31 days
* The posts can be written in advance (it doesn’t count as cheating if you schedule some)
* Use the hashtag #31WriteNow when you tweet the link to your posts

... and I thought, "Crap, I didn't hashtag or tweet the posts."

*sigh* good one, Esther.

Maybe next month...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tinkering with Pixelmator (Attempt #1)

Like I said before, I am not aspiring to be a photographer. But I do like the idea that you can take a photo and make it look different. Better. Even artistic. I used Picnik for forever until it got sold to Google. Then I started using PicMonkey and absolutely love it. But I got curious. I wanted to try a better editor. Something that could enhance a photo and make a new image from scratch. Something that artsy photo editors and graphic designers use for their masterpieces.

Just not Photoshop. It's waaaaay too expensive, and I know I'm not exceptional enough with graphics to need it.

(And no, not GIMP, either. I've used it before, and it gives me a headache. Don't ask me why. It just does.)

Enter Pixelmator.

It cost me $15 from the Mac App Store, which is totally reasonable for a graphic novice like me. I spent all evening looking at YouTube tutorials and tutorials from their site before starting a project, and my brain is on overload. But I had to try out some of the things I learned before I slept for the night and forgot everything, so I pulled out a picture I took at my brother-in-law's wedding. Some of the tutorials were difficult to follow, and I realized that I'm better at reading instructions than watching instructions. Which is surprising because that's totally opposite in dancing. But when I followed the written instructions on Pixelmator's site, I found the process was much easier and I could remember it better.

I could've waited a few months to keep practicing until I got a really good product created, but this job took me so long to work on that I don't want to just leave it like it was nothing. Besides, this may be a good reference post for me to see my progress with utilizing this program. Like how you see on all those weight loss commercials testimonials with "Before" and "After" photos. Maybe this could be my "Before," you know?

Anyway, here is the original photo:

... and here is my first Pixelmator edit of this photo:

It's not much, but I'm proud. I have more photos of their wedding I want to edit and give to them, so I better hurry up on the others. Aren't my husband and his family so handsome? :-)

Pixelmator: so far, so good. I like all the features that I've learned it has so far, and I can't wait to see what else I can create with it.

Getting Back on Facebook

So, like I said in a previous post... I'm back on Facebook.
I know, I know, you're thinking, "of course you are. No one can stay away from Facebook. No one!

Ok, maybe you're not saying that.

But I digress.

Being back on Facebook is ... well, it's just as I expected. I see friends posting their opinions on gay marriage, or gun control, or Republicans. I see friends putting up photos of their latest weekend getaway to an exotic destination, or extreme aerial shots from their last skydive, or their latest supercuteandtotallytodiefor beauty and fashion haul, or their totally fit bodies and zen lifestyle. I see friends post the most scrumptious dish that they daintily whipped up for friends and family to ooh and aahh over. I see friends having fantastic careers and talking about their exciting business ventures and remodeling their home that they own.

And of course, I see lots of ads. If I sign up for the Color Run 5k, will they stop putting that up on my page?

Facebook is addicting, time-wasting, and depressing. And that's why I had no problem closing my account to begin with.

But there was something I didn't expect Facebook would be, and that is ... nostalgic.

I've been looking through the photos on my own page, and I couldn't believe how much of my life I forgot. I've only had FB for a decade, but man -- a lot had happened to me in that single decade.
(There I go, talking like I'm old. A decade is only 1/3 of my life.)

BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir tour to China and Mongolia, 2007.
My FB page is crammed with photos of this tour, thanks to all the choir members who took their cameras.
This was when the phrase "Facebook it!" was popular.
(Yes, that is the Great Wall. It's spectacular.)

Not only is the gospel true, but finding good company in others who share your beliefs is priceless.
FB helps with that, I've noticed.

People come into your life randomly it seems. But even after years of not seeing them again,
you still feel the effects they made on you when you were together as friends.

Who these people I call family are and what they've done make my own life seem insignificant.
But in actuality, I have done great work too; and it's because of what my family has blessed me with
that I've been able to. (Sapi, Tama, Grandpa -- I miss you.)

It's funny how pictures pop up on Facebook that are Pre-FB dated.
What are they called? Throwback? Either way, I'm glad to have reminders
of "the good ol' days."

I was just telling my mister that my childhood dream was to be on stage. Doing anything I could.
I realized that I fulfilled that dream already -- a lot.
Singing, dancing, acting, sharing my culture... I did them all. It was beautiful.

And I can't forget how this decade, with Facebook as our witness, was the decade said mister changed my life.
It took forever to choose all these photos, and even longer to organize them for this post. And even now I'm looking back and wishing I had picked this one or changed that one that was on my FB page. But in the end, it doesn't matter -- because, in the end, what matters is that I have these pictures because of Facebook. Thank goodness for technology that keeps ties bound, that keeps memories alive, and that keeps us smiling about the great lives that we really do have.

So if you are ever in a rut (as technology also makes us feel sometimes), please please PLEASE don't forget who you are. Don't forget how you came to be, and don't forget where you always knew you were meant to go. And if you do forget... remember. Find those things that will remind you. Pull those triggers that will get you back to who you are. And find the small miracles in the everyday. I look at these photos and remember exactly what happened to me during each time, and each experience, good or bad, is an influence to me even today. And even though other people's lives may seem better than mine (heck, they probably are better than mine right now!), it doesn't mean I have to lose hope.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jewelry Holders

My sister's room; my sister's jewelry; my sister's idea. 

Isn't she a genius?

Push pins. That's the secret! Push pins hang the necklaces, and push pins hang those square rack sides that hold the earrings. She even uses push pins to hold a lot of her purses!

Just had to share. The end.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Father's Day Sign Nightmare

So I saw this great Father's Day sign on a lovely little site called Pinterest:
link here
But alas, there was no link to a free printable, like it said.
So I thought: I'm crafty, right? I can make my own!

And make my own I did! And I was so proud!

See? Cool, huh!

But something happened...
(as it always does with me and crafts)
... my printer's color printing capability was broken!

What the holy?!? Jeez!!

I spent a good part of an entire evening/night trying to fix it, but with no luck.
So the next morning, after huffing and puffing, I thought: ok, Square One.
Make from scratch!

I hate it when I overcomplicate things.

Like, for example, cutting corrugated cardboard with a flimsy Xacto knife instead of a box cutter...
or instead of using thinner cardboard... or paper.

Almonds took this photo, btw
(Lesson 1: unless the triangles are HUGE, corrugated cardboard is a waste of time.)

Or trying to combine two Pinterest projects into one:
trying out this art idea ... but not actually following instructions
I thought the kids would enjoy painting these.
Turns out, none of us did.
I looked at the painted triangles and sighed. Jobi's not gonna like these. I just know it. Effort and creativity don't compute in that man.

So I left the painted side as is and wrote the letters on the back.

What a waste
Do you notice only the "W" has holes punched in it?
Yeah, the single hole punch I had was not strong enough for me to use for the rest of the triangles.
And guess what???
The 3-hole punch didn't have an opening big enough for the cardboard to fit!

(Lesson 2: don't plan on hole-punching corrugated cardboard.)

At that point, I screamed... and threw them straight into the trash.
That's right. I gave up.

To put icing on the cake, this was what I saw Almonds doing while I was working on my triangles:

permanent marker
(Lesson 3: nail polish remover gets permanent marker off wood.)

Ok... I didn't REALLY give up...

Two days later, I had a simple but ingenius idea:
If the colors don't print, just make the sign in black and white.
Like I said, Jobi's not creative. He's not gonna care.

This one took me all of 10 minutes to do. He has it hanging in his room as we speak.

Ultimate Lesson: if the craft gives you gray hairs or bald spots, DON'T DO IT!

(P.S. When I figure out how to make these into free printables, I'll put them up here! I really was proud of my sign work -- but alas, even turning them into printables is giving me a migraine.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Carrot Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A visiting teachee of mine just gave birth, so last-minute I made her dessert.

I'm soooooo grateful we had cake mixes, cupcake liners, cream cheese and powdered sugar.
We actually had tons of cake mixes (it's kinda dumb, because we never make cake), so I asked Almonds to choose one.

She chose carrot cake. Yum!

So naturally I made cream cheese frosting to go with it.

These were literally the only thing I've created all week that didn't make me wanna scream!

I found this recipe online, which just so happened to be the one all my sisters and family has used my whole life. The only thing I added was one teaspoon of lemon juice, to soften the cream cheese taste. Sometimes the cream cheese frostings taste too cream-cheesy for me, ya know?

It was so yummy! You guys should make some sometime.

That is all.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Almonds took this picture

I can't believe this week has actually come... and gone. It was filled with too many trips back and forth, more ups and downs than I can count, tears, laughs, hugs, kisses, prayers and well wishes. And of course, goodbyes.

The last time I said goodbye to Jobi, he called me at 1:00 am telling me he forgot his keys in the van. And of course those keys were so important, that I had to find them, drive all the way across the island at 4 in the morning, and give them to him before he left. I spent that whole drive there yelling at the top of my lungs at him for making me do this. "Why couldn't you just remember to grab them?" "I do everything for you!" "You suck!" 

Not at him, him, of course. Just pretending that he was in the car with me. So I can give him a piece of my mind. You know what I mean?

So after an hour's drive and asking half a dozen people for directions, I found him and gave him his precious keys... and prayed with him one last time. And suddenly I felt pretty lucky. Lucky that I got one more chance to pray side-by-side with my husband. Lucky that I got to see a different part of the island for the first time. Lucky that I could say goodbye once more, and that each goodbye felt a little bit easier.

After 6 years, I still can't believe I married "Weird Boy." And now our weird adventures continue, and because of them, this weird boy has become the love of my life.

Jobi's parents and my sister... support
Daddy-daughter (mini) date ... watching a Netflix movie on his phone
Waiting for dinner ... while Chip runs off

A hui hou, sweetie. Can't wait to see you again soon.

"Weird Boy" -- 7 years later

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pre-Deployment Family Photos

Sorry about that last post.
Depressed much?

I try to keep this blog as honest and true to myself as possible, but I still have yet to find that perfect balance between what is too much and what is not enough
... as far as content, that is.

But the fact of the matter is that this is my life now -- pregnancy and deployment. And as much as I can  post another movie review or another fabulous DIY tutorial, my blog wouldn't be my blog if I didn't share myself with it. My struggles in finding my place in this world. My true feelings about "going for broke" in life. So yeah, you'll keep seeing those kinds of posts now and again.

But this post is not one of them.

This post has pictures!

One thing I wanted to make sure we did as a family before Jobi left was to take family photos. No way was I going to let him go off on his grand adventure without leaving photos of himself behind for the kids. Sure, we have Skype and what not, but we don't really have photos of him with the kids, and in case anything happens, I want them to see that their father loves them, that they love their father, and that we truly are a family.

I'm beyond grateful for Marianna Ah Quin who took our photos. Because the kids are still small, there aren't any pics where all of them are looking at the camera at once. But these pretty much portray my little family accurately: from my Jobi's military haircut, to the clothes that Blondie picked out herself. Here are only a few:

I love this one!

And Chip's crying never ends.....

Daddy's little girl -- Almonds' best friend

My studs

My favorite

And our happy family... never mind that we all look a little funny.
 I know my kids are gonna love these. And I hope that Jobi will too -- especially while he'll be so far away, and since we'll be adding one more before he returns.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

As He Prepares to Leave

Everyone has their battles. Everyone has things that are difficult to do, even if they are easy for other people. Before it all began, I didn't think I would have a problem. I had even looked forward to the idea, thinking of all the possibilities that would be open to me once these situations arise.

I'm talking about deployment.

In the 6 years that my Jobi has been in the military, he has not seen deployment once. Yes, he's been to BCT/AIT, LDAC, and BOLC, but not an actual deployment. Where it's a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of I-can't-tell-you. Where he won't be able to call me until whenever-the-heck-he-can. Where his mission is to something-I-don't-know, and he's going to who-knows-where. This is his first time, and so this is my first time.

And I'm not ready.

I'm not ready to send our bossy little Almonds off to kindergarten this year without him by my side. I'm not ready to make the day-long grocery and household shopping trips across island with Chip screaming in the back, by myself. I'm not ready to give birth to #4 while he watches via Skype. I'm not ready to pay the bills, register the car, fix the fridge, and kill the giant cockroaches. I'm not ready to spend more sleepless nights with anywhere from one to four kids needing to be held, rocked, bathed, fed, sang to, read to, or anything-else-to-get-them-to-sleep. And I'm certainly not ready to spend the hundredth night in a row sleeping alone.

Almonds and Blondie cried the other night. And when I say cried, I mean wailed. I sang them songs; I read them stories; I spoke kind and loving words for what seemed like days. Then I just sat next to them and cried too. Because I knew why they were inconsolable. And it hurt. Their dad isn't deployed yet, but he hasn't come home since post-mobilization began, and they know something's up. This time, "Army work" is different. And they don't like it. Not any more than I do. Not at all. 

So yeah, of all the things I anticipated about being a military wife, I did not expect to hate deployment so much. I did not expect I would cry every night for a month, even while he's home. I especially didn't expect I would dread doing the mundane, laborious things that my husband usually takes care of. Before marriage, I never had a problem with paperwork, money issues, car stuff, household repairs, or shopping with the kids. (I always hated killing giant bugs though -- let's not get ahead of ourselves.) But now, I am a massive stress case. These things have been swirling around me and I can barely keep my balance. But it's too late -- he's already "gone," and so I'm the man of my house now. If I had a choice, I'd fall asleep and wake up when he comes home. But I have no choice. I take it back -- I made my choice. I chose to marry this man. And now I must make another choice: to be strong, or not to be strong. (Wow, that wasn't cliche at all.)

I know I have help. My siblings are the best, and my children adore their family. My friends are just a phone call away (which I suck at, just to let y'all know). This town has lots of great things me and the kids can be involved in, and I'm kinda excited about that. And I know that if we just keep moving, the time will indeed pass. It's my mantra for the rest of this year: Just Keep Moving. And when me and the girls wanna cry for our "Daddy," we will stop and cry. And then we will get up and keep moving. I can't stop too long or I will stay there, and that's no good for anybody. Especially not my children, who need their mother so badly.

So as he prepares to leave, I prepare to stay. To be present. To be lonely, but never alone. To move, and to keep moving. This is my battle, and I'm scared to death.

But I'm gonna win.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

9 Things I Hate About Pregnancy

1.   My body changes. A lot.
For those of you who've never experienced pregnancy before, let me elaborate... your belly gets big (obviously). Your butt gets big. Your feet get big. Your boobs get big. Your face gets big (even your nose sometimes). Your skin looks flawless, but then three months later it looks hideous. Your contact lenses don't fit anymore. Your hair looks thicker. EVERYWHERE. Your teeth hurt. You have to pee a lot. (You may not even make it to the toilet... *crickets*) And your taste buds -- you either absolutely love food or loathe and detest it. And don't get me started on your sense of smell...
2.   My emotions change. A LOT. 
Once I made dinner and went to my room before putting away the leftovers. When I came back out, my sister already put them away. I cried. Yep. 
There are other indicators of emotional changes in pregnancy, like when someone puts down the cafeteria food at your old stomping grounds and your usually passive self tells them to shut it. Even if you didn't really eat at said cafeteria; you just suddenly presume they are spoiled, rich brats and you now hate them. 
Or when you cry tears of joy for Russell Crowe's performance at the Oscars with the Les Mis cast... (I will write a review on that. I'm just trying to not make it into an analytic essay.)
3.   My 'okole hurts. 
And my lower back, and my legs. One word: S-C-I-A-T-I-C-A. Look it up. And if you have it but don't get it in check, it'll get worse every pregnancy (trust me -- I KNOW)!
4.   My wardrobe sucks.
Don't ever tell me "but they have super cute maternity clothes all over the place," because then I will pop your face. I hate hate HATE clothes shopping, and I hate even.more. when I can only wear clothes for a limited time. Maternity clothes fit that category. So does a wedding dress.
So yes, instead of trying to keep myself sexy and cute while my belly gets too big for me to walk straight, I dress more like .... well, like I can't walk straight. And save my money for food that helps me do that.
5.   My diet sucks. 
Speaking of food... remember how I said that pregnant women either love food or hate food? It's true. These instances are called food cravings and food aversions. For the first 20 weeks, I am always the latter: nothing tastes good to me. Not my favorite brownies or guava cakes or rocky road ice cream. Not Chinese or cheese or soups. Nothing too sweet, too salty, too sour, or too spicy. Which leaves -- that's right -- fruits and vegetables. What kinda pregnant woman eats only fruits and vegetables?!?
I also have had a diet problem in pregnancy called Gestational Diabetes. I've mentioned it before. That occurs in the latter half of pregnancy, and that is when my taste buds level out and I'm ready to eat my Snickers and M&Ms and milkshakes again. But now I can't. Yep... suck, suck, suck. 
"But it's for a good cause... it's for your baby!" Yeah, don't say that to me, either.
6.   My sleep sucks.
First trimester you just want to sleep it off. Second trimester you can't sleep at all. Third trimester you're thrown in a stupid mix of the first two. I'm too tired to say anymore on this.
7.   I get anxious about being a mother.
Not the yipeeIcan'twaitforthisbabytocome anxious -- the holycrapwhatamIgonnadowiththisbaby anxious. For example: 
Will the baby be healthy? Will she like me? Will she get along with her siblings? Will she be a good, righteous, faithful, upstanding person in the world? Will she be smart, and go to college, and get a good career, and own her own home? Will she wanna get tattoos and pierce her nose and dye her hair the same color as her feelings? Will I be able to teach her how to read, and write, and work, and obey, and share, and take turns, and respect, and love? Should I homeschool her, or put her in every sport and instrument under the sun? Should I make her custom chalk, or shoes, or wall decal? Will I give her everything, or will that be too much? How am I going to handle raising this child? What will people think? 
Like I said, emotions. These questions have come to my mind (not always this dramatic, of course) each pregnancy, so by deductive reasoning (which will also be in short supply now), I blame them on the pregnancy.
8.   I miss being not pregnant.
I miss being on stage. I miss having a sound mind. I miss wearing the cute clothes I have (and can wear over again). I miss working towards getting skinnyier. And I really could go without items 1-7 on this list.
9.   The end is the worst.
If you have ever had a normal pregnancy, the last trimester was probably spent waiting and waiting and waaaaaaaaiting for your little "bundle of joy" to arrive. This is how mine have gone:
It's pathetic. But I can't help it. 

I was trying to come up with 10 things, but my brain stopped working.
Of course, there are some things I do like about being pregnant, 
so in all fairness, here is another list for you.

9 Things I Love About Being Pregnant
  1. People treat me extra special. ("Oh, take a break." "Let me get that." "You just sit here." "Relax, we got it." I could get used to it.)
  2. I have an excuse. ("I can't carry her." "I can't remember." "I can't eat that." "Don't blame me." You could pretty much get away with murder. I'm thinking, though, that the more kids you have, the less effective this could be...)
  3. I can eat whatever I want. (Never mind.)
  4. Uhhhhhhhhhhh.........

Forget it. That's it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hiding Out

"'Alu 'Auha" has been silent since New Year.

This is why:
...not even kidding...
Yep, Number 4!
("I Am Number 4" lol)

Not that I couldn't say anything until it was official,
but I've felt like keeerraaaaaaaaaap since the end of January.

Am I feeling better? A little.
Am I excited to have another child? I think so.
Am I excited to be pregnant again? Hecks to the NO!!

But I'll save that for the next post...
... which I'm gonna write real soon.

P.S. Due date is September 17. :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Workin' On My Fitness: Hot Hula Instructor's Training

First off, I apologize for my last post. I re-read it and cringed at how poorly written it was. While I know my posts are never 100% perfection, a post about resolutions should have been more fluid and coherent than that high school level diary entry. I doubt I will blog more often than I have been lately, but I will at least make a more concerted effort to give quality posts each time, making your reading my blog more worth your time and mine.

my manual
As I mentioned in my last post, I registered for a Hot Hula fitness instructor's training workshop, and it was this past Saturday! The workshop really opened my eyes to a new understanding of fitness and culture, and I met other trainers from around the island who are absolutely inspiring. I wanted to share some thoughts on this format, in case anyone was interested in learning more about Hot Hula.


I grew up dancing Polynesian dances. I also grew up trying to dance anything I could get my hands on. This led me to dip my toes in all kinds of dance genres, from ballet to hip hop, to ballroom, to folk, and everything in between. I have also choreographed dances and musical numbers throughout my life. Not anything spectacular -- but if you're looking for not spectacular, I'm your girl! :-) I love to dance, and to perform in general, but I'm too old to even start to pursue it professionally. ("Don't ever say you're too old!" Pro dancing is an exception to this statement.) When I first heard about this back in 2010, not only did I think it was brilliant (and about time, I was tired of Zumba already!), but it was something that I could do. Something that kept me doing what I love, sharing (in a small way) the cultures that I love, and staying fit for the rest of my life.


As a dancer, training to be an HHF instructor was illuminating. The first thing our master trainers told us was that the primary reason HHF was created is fitness. That means you're not supposed to come to a HHF class to learn how to hula, or to learn how to fa'arapu, or to learn our cultures. You come to get a workout. This should be obvious, but when you live in the land of hula, your paradigm for this format needs to shift. Thankfully I do live in Hawaii, and I can tell people "if you wanna learn real hula, join the halau down the street," or "if you wanna see real Tahitian, go to Tahiti Fete." But if you are looking for a fun dancing workout that takes a break from Zumba and Hip Hop Abs, come check us out!

So as  dancer-turned-instructor, I have 3 things I need to keep in mind as I prepare for this job:

"The moves are modified to give you a workout."
Almost every move that we know in the dancing world is modified for the Hot Hula format, and the statement above explains why. It makes sense when you consider that the creator, Anna-Rita Sloss, created this program from a fitness background, NOT a dancing one. In our manuals, the moves are written out for us and described in columns. The last column shows the different body parts that are being worked with this move. I need to study this section so I can have a better understanding of the exact workout class members will be getting, and let go of my pre-conditioned "proper form."

"You teach the siva exactly as it is and nothing else."
The siva is the bread and butter of the workout, and Anna-Rita has already created 9 of them for us. This was the most disillusioning part of my training. I love to choreograph. I love to fuse different kinds of dance styles together. I love to create a dance from a song of my own choice, and I thought fitness instructors could do that. So of course, I was bummed. But here is how the reason was explained to me: it keeps the fitness format consistent no matter where you go and who teaches, and it keeps from liabilities that come with instructors doing their own thing. For example, one master instructor went to someone else's HHF class, and that lady did fa'arapu all the way down and duck walks. In Tahitian, that's awesome; in HHF, that's bad for your knees. And if someone's knees get messed up because they did duck walk, they could sue Anna-Rita for this one instructor's deviation.

"Start on a high; end on a high."
This one isn't a dealbreaker or anything, but it's something I personally have a big problem with. What I mean is that when I am in front of people, I don't smile. Like ever. (Except for when I dance and do Broadway-type shows -- because I have to.) Even when I was a dance instructor, I never smiled or exuded enthusiasm and energy. I'm guessing it's a mental thing -- my purpose teaching dancing was just to teach them the dance. In Hot Hula, my purpose as their instructor is to give them the Hot Hula workout experience. The master trainers told us, "You give them 50%; they'll give you 15%. So if you want them to give you 100%, you have to give them 130% and more!" This concept is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I know I'm going to have to work on it if I want people to have a good experience at my class and come back again.

So yeah, this is definitely a new adventure for me. But 2013 is all about being better than 2012, and I know that Hot Hula fitness will give me that edge. I am excited and nervous and I hope that people who come to my class will benefit from it just as much as I will. So if you're ever in the North Shore area, come February I will start my classes. I don't know where or when yet, but I'll keep you posted.

P.S. Our master trainers told us that Facebook is the most solid method out there to keep in touch with other HHF sisters and events. So....... to my chagrin....... I'm back on FB. (yay.....) 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolutions: 2013 Edition

I apologize for my delay in writing a New Year post. I wanted to include some pix and/or vids from our holiday trip... but alas, I'm having photo problems yet again. (Story of this blog's life.) So Happy Pictureless Post New Year to you and yours!

One thing that was good about going home for Christmas is getting a new perspective on life. At least on my current life. I watched my siblings interact with their spouses, with each other, with their children, with other's children, etc. I observed my parents working, teaching, sharing wisdom, growing older. And this was the first Christmas where my heart really ached for my brother-in-law and my sister. It was a holiday of learning, and I am completely humbled by the entire trip.

So this year's resolutions are going to be a bit different for me. I have only one resolution for the year, but I have TONS of smaller goals that will take up less time, like say only a month or two. Here are my first few goals for the year:

  • Get baby Chip to sleep without breastfeeding, and have him soothe himself back to sleep 
  • Cook at least once a week
  • Fix the bunk bed
  • Teach the girls something new (a craft, a song, a game, etc.)
Oh, and I don't know if I mentioned anything about Hot Hula Fitness yet, but I registered to get certified to be an instructor! The live workshop is next week Saturday, so I'll keep you posted. I can't believe I just did that...

I almost forgot to talk about my one resolution. My dad gave me a priesthood blessing before we came home, and I was completely blown away. It is amazing how much our Heavenly Father truly knows us. I received counsel and guidance on so many things (that my dad didn't even know about, mind you), and I know that by following this blessing, my life will change. A lot. So this year I have a lot of work to do, and my resolution is: to do what He says. At least to always be striving towards accomplishing what Heavenly Father counseled me to do.

This year is going to be different. Can anyone else feel it too?
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