Saturday, August 9, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday, Evelyn June!


I don't think there could possibly be a better photograph, ever, to accurately describe our Little Red and all that she is. Messy sand stained curls wild around her face, goggles covering her baby blues, hands on her hips, pink pink pink and ruffles ruffles ruffles ruffles... and that sassy know it all do it my way smile spread widely across her face. This picture, is perfect.

Today Evelyn turns four years old. When I try to recall the past few years of our lives, I don't know how we got here. Do we ever know how we get here? One minute shes sitting in a pile of shoes behind the front door at our Indiana St home in Texas, getting ready to stomp herself out the door only to sit on the ground and eat chalk, and the next... we're here.

This little girl has more personality in one single strand of that red hair than anybody I've ever known. The loudest most contagious laugh that ever was. An imagination that her actions just can't keep up with.

My Little Pony and CareBears and dressup and all things girly. If theres not a girl or something soft and fluffy in the movie, she won't watch it. If its not the color pink, or a frilly dress, she won't wear it. I can't even count the amount of times that I've gone into her room to check on her in the night and found her laying on the ground surrounded by stuffed kitties, with a big princess dress pulled on over her pajamas.

She won't eat the crust. Its not even worth the battle half the time.

Shes invented her own language, talking with that dang binky in her mouth. And forget about trying to give her the blue binky if you can't find the pink one. Only the pink one will do.

She'll beg you for a cupcake (which I just so happen to have cooling atop the oven right now), but lick off all the frosting, and leave the actual cake in a blooming pile of crumbs across half the kitchen.

She gets into all the things. All of them. If you tell her she can't have something, she will find a way to get it. No sharpie? ... just you wait until she climbs the cabinets, finds it, and then draws Pinkie Pie all over the walls when you're not looking. Can't wear a dress today? about she sneaks into her closet during the one minute that you turn the corner to go to the bathroom, and puts on ten dresses.

Bottled water and juice boxes are not for drinking, they are clearly for dumping out inside of baskets, play kitchen sinks, car cup holders, and on baby sisters.

Speaking of baby sisters... they are not good for anything other than dressing up in clothes that are way too big for them, knocking them down, and stealing their food. Especially their cupcake frosting. But not the cupcake.

If someone is building something with blocks, dominos, duplos... BAM, down it goes. Because that's what Evelyn's do. Shes basically like a small, red headed, Godzilla. ...yes.


...Okay but really though. This little girl has taught me more about accepting others for who they are, and about patience, than... no theres not even anything to compare it to. Evelyn June: you have filled in a gap in my heart that I didn't know needed filling. You've caused a heap of headaches, hoarse voices, and sleepless nights, but- I will never forget riding beside you in the ambulance when your fever was above 105, rubbing your head and singing you lullibies- running to pick you up and rescue you from the waves when you nearly drowned in Waikiki, because you just had to have that seashell- or the look on your face every single time we've gone on hour long doll hunts for tiny baby, and then returned them to your tearful side. You make me absolutely crazy, child, but without all of the crazy... without all of the you... we would spend way too much yawning. You fill our lives with sunny sing song rainbows and adventure, among other things.

Life with Little Red.
Cave baby paintings. Poop Soup. And everything tra la la.

Lets see how many freckles pop up between four and five. Freckles for her. Worry wrinkles for me.

And next up: chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting.

Have I mentioned how much I love this picture?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Raising My Tribe of Five

Yesterday I was sitting on a bird poop splattered bench at park number four, feet swollen and stiff, lungs slightly out of breath, with sweat dripping down onto the back of my neck, tricking me into thinking it was a nagging fly. Or maybe it was a fly. Okay it probably was both. My phone was sitting face down beside me on silent, I don't even know why I felt the need to have it there with me at all. So I'm sitting there in all of my sweaty fly covered bird poop sitting on glory, just watching my kids prance around the play structure, bouncing back and forth between the giant plastic hippo and the ladder that Ruthie, my youngest, refused to stay off of, even though every single time she climbed up on it somebody would remove her- usually Eleanore, whos gotten really helpful over the last year. So while I'm watching them, I'm thinking "Wow. I'm their Mom. Those are my kids. This is my life"... in a good way. At first it was an annoyed way, because my legs were chaffed from all of the walking, and I was sick and tired of hearing complaints about who was hogging what slide or bouncy animal ride on toy thing, and... ya know, the small stuff that gets under our skin and makes us want to bury our face in a pillow and scream? But after I had five minutes of everyone leaving me alone (minus Ruthie and that dang ladder- it gives me a heart attack every single time, as I see her falling and banging her head on one of the bars, total slow motion style), I took a few sips of cold water from my purple hydro flask with the child chew marks all over the mouth piece, swatted at the sweaty neck fly a few hundred times, and then I had a change of perspective. I just suddenly saw everything differently.

When I became a Mom eight years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. And at first, it was easy. I probably didn't think so at the time, but, when I look back on it- it was just me, my husband, and our one baby living in an apartment, going through what another Mom once described to me as "family boot camp". A diaper change here, a bottle of pumped milk there... no big deal. What I had, I could handle. But if somebody would have asked me to babysit... I probably would have gone into a rare form of I actually have no idea what I'm doing shock. If someone would have thrown 4 kids at me right then and there... check mate. Absolutely, no, way.

All day yesterday, before the park, I had been picking up my phone off and on and checking my mobile facebook account, its something that I do when I'm feeling isolated, getting annoyed at just about every other post I read. Especially the posts in some of my Mama groups, where most of the gals posting are young ladies fresh to family boot camp, just like I once was. But what was I even annoyed about? ...The more I thought about it, it finally dawned at me, that I'm at a different place in my life. Dare I say it, but- I think I've finally graduated family boot camp. Not only have I graduated boot camp, but I think I might even be able to teach it!

I've spent the past eight years of my life, totally transforming. Personally and spiritually, I am a completely different woman. I went from being that scared Mama of one, practically locking herself up inside of her apartment with her baby, day in and day out, no friends, terrified of her new surroundings and the judgement that would come with leaving her plastic bubble, to.... a well evolved leader of five little ones, traveling across oceans and practically moving mountains, to make a difference in their lives.

...did you catch that last part? I said "five" little ones.


So here I am, thirty years old young, married to some guy I met at a taco bell drive through ten years ago (seriously, who would have thought all of this would have come from a crunchwrap?!), living on a tropical island in the middle of the pacific, raising my beautiful tribe of thick haired babies, mastering the messy art of motherhood, collecting plenty of freckles and battle scars along the way.

Less time in Mama groups on facebook. More time at the park catching Ruthie when she falls off of that dang ladder that she refuses to quit.

I made pancakes for breakfast this morning, by the way. Christopher is at work, he works long hours, and a lot of weekends. I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. Normally I would probably use my lack of sleep as an excuse to give the kids something simple like toast, but not this morning. This morning I made a great effort to keep a smile on my face, hug everyone, and flip some flapjacks of the Bobs Red Mill variety on the griddle (which is totally on the fritz), three by three, while the littlest one clung to my still swollen tree trunk legs, and the rest of the tribe watched old episodes of Tale Spin one room over. Simple times, simple joys.






There will never be a boring moment in my day. My heart and plate are full.

(...little five, another surprise gender, will be joining us this September.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

nonsensicle is totally a word- I won't bother spellchecking

There are times, when I can't believe that this is my life. Sometimes in the wondrous way- where I stand back and watch my kids play in the foreground of an artistic sunset, take deep breaths and submit to the scent of the salty ocean air around me, hearing fits of giggles and shouts of surreal song. And then sometimes its more like, in the way of total womanly breakdown- where I feel guilt for the things that I can't keep up with, or miss out on, or have done wrong with, in every which vague way that is physically and mentally possible. In the end it always evens out. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of photography and nonsensicle words at 11:00 on a Sunday night. Or is it Monday morning yet?

I absorb emotions like a childs brain absorbs knowledge. If you're sad, I'm sad. If you're happy, I'm happy. If you're angry, then so am I. And I haven't quite figured out how to turn it off yet. An Empath... that's what they call people like me. Its totally a legit thing- we take on the emotions and feelings of others. And I'm not alone, theres a whole clan of us (like we're some kind of sub species, haha). ...but would I be too much of a downer if I said I sure feel alone most of the time?

Sometimes I become so disconnected from my reality, that I can't see anything beyond my 4 immediate walls. I have all of these wishes, and wants, and maybe's, but- I need a nudge. A direction. And sometimes its as simple as a trip to the beach, just 3 miles down the road, to clear my mind and reboot. But sometimes its much more complicated. I get so overwhelmed by everything that has been unknowingly drawn to me like a magnetic force, that I break the stare first, and climb back into my turtle shell. I go through my own sort of lunar phases. I separate myself from the force. I have to break empathetic contact.

And that's not always necessarily a bad thing. Because sometimes I discover some of the most amazing things about myself, and my loved ones, and what I truly believe in and care about when I take these personal (though not always intended) vacations. But... having to go it alone is exactly how the pony sang it in the 80s cartoon with the purple smooze- ...ok its actually nothing like that, those lyrics are ridiculous now that I look them up and put actual words to the tune (what is that movie even about, really?), but- when I hum the melody I feel slighty comforted haha.
I think this is mostly hormones, writing this for me tonight. Lonely hormones, released by my lavender linen spray, and kept floating in the air by the lack of circulation in my vintage Hawaiian Puuloa.

I have got to go to the beach tomorrow, life. I have got to find something with a very elastic waistband, use some very potent and hopefully nausea relieving essential oils, blow some larger than life size bubbles, and go in search of a much needed way out of my hermitville. Maybe its all of the recent change, or the absence of hearts that were once close, but this Mama needs some sweet tasting shave ice on my palette and the forbidden smell of Kona coffee filling my nostrils. I need a soul restoring adventure. I need a new.

PS. did anybody read my bubble post? I totally wrote one.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to make really really big bubbles, and find your whoosah

One of my most favorite things to do ever, is blow really big bubbles. This isn't something that I do just for my kids, though that's what everybody (everybody being the neighbors) assumes- I really just do it for myself. Blowing bubbles, makes me happy. Plain and simples. I am bubble obsessed.

Yes, my babes get an enchanted fairy tale slaying the dragon sort of joy each time they steal a stick from a tree and lunge at the big ferocious floating orb, but... honestly the kids are kind of over it. At least until other kids spot the action from down the street, and then, and usually only then, do my kids suddenly regain interest in an otherwise forgotten sport. And bubble popping is totally a sport.

Well, but no, not the baby- shes still wayyy into all things bubble related. Putting her hands into the soap, dipping the sticks into the bucket, tasting the foam that floats on top as a result of the continuous splashing and stirring- oh the foam is the best part! The bigger shes gotten, the harder its been for me to go out and actually enjoy making bubbles, because of the hands going into the soap, and dipping the sticks into the bucket, and rubbing bubbly knuckles into now burning eyes. I can't even form a single bubble before my curious 1 year old is picking up and putting the wrong end of the wands into the mixture and then pulling them out quickly and flinging solution all over me... and the cat, and the street, and herself, while simultaneously poking her sister in the eye and tangling her strings with mine. Lately its sort of a disaster.

But when its not a disaster, its a whole lotta awesome! Like- fairy godmother dancing on the sunset kind of awesome. Forget all of your worries and just breathe, awesome. Not a care in the world, favorite song playing in the background, when the air smells like your best childhood memory, awesome.

I can't even tell you how many times my husband has come home from work, and we've gotten immediately into the car and gone straight down to the beach, so I could roll up the waist on my skirt, sink my toes into the sand, and let the waves crash over my toes while I release bubble by bubble into the air, and kiss the sun goodnight. This is just something that I have to do.

At the beach. In the street. In the park. Bubbles are good for the soul.

I still remember the first time we experienced really really big bubbles. We were with our peaceful parenting group at the Moanalua Gardens here in Honolulu, a place that we meet regularly, and off in the distance between the trees, was a man moving so gracefully through the spaces, like the greens were his ballroom, and his marvelous handmade wands were his partner.

All of the kids were amazed.

I, was amazed.

He explained how it was therapeutic for him. How he worked long hard nights, and if he got off at the right time of morning, and the winds were right, how he would come to the gardens to blow bubbles to clear his mind. And just like that, it all made so much sense. And I thanked him for sharing his bubbles with all of us, and I walked away with a desire to do the same.

A few months before that, a good friend of mine, Heather, had made me a bubble wand that I had yet to use. I remembered where I had hung it on our lanai, so when I got home from the gardens that afternoon I went straight to it, and began my peaceful journey to a better me. ...does that sound lame? I'm okay with sounding lame.

Seriously, I had no idea how happy blowing big bubbles would make me. If you're not blowing giant life sized bubbles, you're missing out.

Once I got the hang of my wand, which didn't take long, I decided I needed to make a few of my own. This way I would have more than one, and I could experiment with different styles, but also- I really wanted to share with my friends, the way that Heather, and the man at the gardens had shared with me. And then I customized them with colorful tapes for the kids. Bubble wands galore!

I didn't use a tutorial to make mine, I asked my husband to figure it out and then show me (I have a hard time following written instructions- I'm a demonstration learner), but I went in search of a tutorial similar to the method we use, and this one was the closest thing I could find. We bought a whole lot of wooden dowels from Home Depot, as well as our eyelet hooks and washers (make sure your eyelets are big enough and your washer is heavy enough), and our rope we ended up purchasing at walmart, because we couldn't find an absorbent enough cotton kind anywhere else. The rope really does make a difference.

Okay but more important than having your bubble wand, and finding your whoosah, is- the bubble solution. I've tried several solutions you guys. Recipes calling for cornstarch (which end up turning to glue when left overnight). Recipes calling for baking powder (this is just wrong, don't do it). Recipes calling for glycerin (no). My tried and true recipe that I always always go to, shared with me by the talented bubble man in the park who started it all...

Really really big bubbles recipe
-1 quart miracle bubble mix
-2 cups blue dawn dish soap
-10 cups cold water
And you guys it is as easy as that. Depending on the winds and humidity, you might need to adjust how much of each you put in- for example: on extra windy days I add a little bit more blue dawn, and lessen the water. Things like that. with it, become familiar with it.

So while blowing big bubbles is an awesome thing for kids... its not just for them. Make a wand, buy a wand, get a wand... mix up some good bubble solution, get outside into the fresh air, and blow all of your worries away. Find your flow and free your mind.

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