Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hawaii 2009 - Day One/Day Two

Day One we flew. And flew. And flew. From Salt Lake to Portland, Portland to Honolulu, and finally Honolulu to Hilo. And then we rented a car and drove to Jeanne's house. And then we went to bed.
View from Jeanne's Lanai.

Day Two we woke up to a yummy breakfast by Jeanne. Pancakes and eggs and bacon - the whole works! She was excited to play hostess.

Main street in Honoka'a - doesn't look like much, but I love it!

Then we got in the car and headed up to Honoka'a, which has to be about my favorite place on earth. Well, one of them anyway. It is just so peaceful. We met my old roommate, Kristine, at The Taro Patch, a cute little shop on main street. We then went to lunch at an organic place across the street. I had a taro burger (weird) and Kristine and Ellen had spicy tuna melts (good). After lunch we went wandering and shopping along main street. We finally got to Hula Moon, my favorite shop in earth. Kathy, the owner, had a bunch of linen stuff by the same designer that I bought last year. I was very excited. I bought some white linen pants and a turquoise linen shirt and a black cashmere (partially) cardigan that is gorgeous. I love Kathy! She even remembered us from last year AND remembered what I had gotten. Now that is service! If you are ever in Honoka'a - find her!
Ellen and Heidi - Waipi'o Valley

After shopping we hopped in Kristine's car and drove up to Waipi'o Valley. Last year it was covered with fog so I didn't get to see it. This year it wasn't! We didn't go down into the valley, but Kristine is camp counselor in her ward and actually had Girls' Camp down there last year. Imagine having Girls' Camp in paradise.

Heidi and Kristine - Waipi'o Valley

We headed to Kristine's house to put our stuff away before heading back to Main Street for some pizza. Her view took my breath away! Her house is up on the mountain with a pasture, cows, and horses behind it. Beyond THAT is a beautiful view of the ocean.

View from Kristine's backyard.

I have never experienced peace and quiet like I did at Kristine's house. I need about a week there just reading books and petting horses. Honoka'a has a very strong Spirit to it that I have not felt in many places.

We went to Cafe Il Mundo for pizza and calzones. Everything is made fresh on the premises and the pizza crust is whole wheat - yay! Then we went back to Kristine's and watched a movie and fell asleep.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

I woke up at, well, earlier than I have seen in quite a while.

That's not true. My kids wake me up that early every day. I just don't get up. But today I got up, because in 27 minutes we are leaving to take Ellen and me to the airport so that we can go Aloha-ing. We are very very very excited.

That being said, I am going to miss my Shmoopie and my babies. Josh gave me a "pull-em" to take with me so that whenever I see it I will think of him. It goes like this:

Pumpkin, pumpkin
big and round,
I'm glad you grow
upon the ground.
I'm glad you don't
grow on a tree,
for then you might fall
down on me!

It's glued to an orange paper pumpkin. As if I could ever forget my baby for one tiny second.

And sweet Clara decided to snuggle with me all night and take up my half of the bed while half laying on me just to show me that she was going to miss me. Oh wait, she does that every night.

Story: When Clara was over at her little preschool on Tuesday, Caitlin and she were playing upstairs. Caitlin apparently went poop. She took a piece and brought it downstairs for her mom. A little later Barbara said, "Caitlin, is their poop anywhere else?" Caitlin said, "Just the poop that Clara put in the Easter egg."

Sure enough. Ew.

Double ew. Triple ew.

But what do you do?

Hey! Another pull'em! Kind of a modified hai'ku even! Every time I think of it, it will remind me of my Clara.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Write your Representative!

I'm copying this from Lauren's blog because I think it is very important to fight this!

On February 10th the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect. The basics are that it requires VERY expensive testing for lead and other chemicals on clothing and toys for children 12 and under.

How does this effect us? Not only will it be impossible for small businesses to afford the testing and provide quality products for our kids, it will make it illegal for places such as Goodwill, DI and Salvation Army to sell anything for children. We will no longer be able to buy clothes for our kids at thrift stores, garage sales, ebay... anything "slightly" used will be out of the question. I know that this will hurt us and I can't even imagine how this will effect families who rely on used clothing and toys for their children. On top of it all, why in the world would you make it more difficult for families to provide when our economy is in recession. I read a blog this morning that had done an economic impact study of the CPSIA. I can't tell you how accurate these numbers are or their sources. (Feel free to check it out!) But this is what they had to say:
"The cut to the chase summary shows over 70 million dollars worth of inventory must be destroyed on February 10, 2009 (National Bankruptcy Day) and of those enterprises that expect to survive the fall-out (61% will not), over 40 million dollars in lost product sales are anticipated."
I have already contacted both my Congressman and my Senator. Please take a minute to do the same. I've included links below to information on contacting your legislature. And please pass this on to other families who would be effected by the CPSIA.

Contact your Congressmen!

Contact your Senator(s)!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Josh and Clara

I usually try not to spend a great deal of time talking about my kids because I figure they are doing what most kids do at their ages. They are funny and cute and say cute things that make me laugh. They drive me crazy and make me want to rip my hair out. They don't listen to anything until it is something that was NOT meant for their ears and then they repeat it over and over. They alternately fight and love each other. See - pretty typical.

This past week, however, I have seen a wonderful side of both of my children. When I stubbed my toe last week Josh immediately ran to me to comfort me. He asked me over and over again if I was ok and was rubbing my back and my face and saying, "Poor, Mommy!" Clara got in on it and they were fussing over me like a mother hen. Then when I started getting the chills, Josh sat right by my side and continued to pet me like a cat.

Since then, they ask me every morning how my owie is doing and if I feel better. Clara says in her sweet little voice, "Let me see yo' owie, Mom!" When I show it to her she pats me gently and says, "You feel bettew, Mommy?"

I have tried over the years to show compassion and tenderness (not in my nature I must say) to my kids when they get hurt. Compassion is one attribute that I have yet to really learn. I'm pretty good at looking for service opportunities, but when it comes to compassion, I've always been more of a suck it up and move on type of person. But, I want my kids to develop compassion and empathy for others when they are hurt and in need. I love to see them tender hearted like this.

I also love the question, "Mom, will you come snug with me?" From either one of them. They are about the snuggliest children I have ever encountered. I'm going to miss that. Maybe when they are old they will still snug with their old mama.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So Not Complaining

Last night I rammed my baby toe into Dave's shoe. A LOT of really vulgar words went through my head and would have been released had Josh and Clara not been in the room. There isn't much that is more painful than that. Except maybe childbirth recovery. It's a toss-up.

Shortly after that I started getting chills and aches like I had a fever. Except when I took my temp there was no fever. I know what that means. It means I have cellulitis. Of course, the clue should have been my big toe hurting yesterday. I'm pretty good at recognizing the symptoms after several bouts of it over the years.

I spent the night alternately freezing and sweating and decided this morning after my foot was red that a trip to the ER was in order. I called my mommy and she drove me while Dave stayed home with the kids. After being hooked up to an antibiotic drip and given a scrip of high dosage oral antibiotics I was released. However, I still have the plastic thingy in my arm because I have to go to the hospital again tomorrow to get a second drip. You don't mess with cellulitis.

The fortunate thing is that I caught it very early so I shouldn't experience the pain that usually comes when it spreads. The other bright note is that they did bloodwork and it all came back normal. They were testing for sugar and white blood cell count. They wanted to make sure that I am not diabetic. Looks like I'm not, and that's a good thing.

And now, I am off to a time-share demonstration so that Dave and I can have a free 3 day/2 night stay in a hotel in Anaheim.

Will suffer for free stuff.

Speaking of free stuff, Josh has it in his head that his friends don't have enough pajamas and is willing to give his away. My little altruistic boy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Being Happy

I know a lot of depressed people. I also know a lot of happy people. My boss recently sent this to me and I wanted to share it. For the past few years I have tried to just be happier in spite of life's challenges. I simply don't want to look back on my life and see it as one full of complaining. It doesn't always work, and it doesn't mean that I don't vent. I just try not to make every day and every conversation be about whining. The thing is - a day happens. In fact, a day happens every day. Isn't that amazing? You can choose to make every day a whiny day, or you can choose to make it a happy day. Either way, consider the effect you have on people when you are happy, and consider the effect when you are whining. Who would you rather be around? I'm just sayin'. I would way rather be around people who inspire me and encourage me.

Is Our Happiness Preordained?

That's the conclusion of researchers from Harvard and the University of California at San Diego, who report in the British Medical Journal online that happiness spreads among people like a salubrious disease. Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler studied nearly 5,000 people and their more than 50,000 social ties to family, friends and co-workers, and found that an individual's happiness is chiefly a collective affair, depending in large part on his or her friends' happiness — and the happiness of their friends' friends, and even the friends of their friends' friends. The merriment of one person, the researchers found, can ripple out and cause happiness in people up to three degrees away. So if you're happy, you increase the chance of joy in your close friend by 25%; a friend of that friend enjoys a 10% increased chance. And that friend's friend has a 5.6% higher chance. (See the Year in Health, from A to Z.)

"This is a very serious piece of research. It's pioneering," says Dr. Richard Suzman, director of the division of behavioral and social research at the National Institute on Aging. "We are barely beginning to understand its translational and applied aspects."

The authors analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, a historic study of heart disease among nearly 5,000 people begun in 1948. Because it was designed to follow participants and their offspring over several generations, the study's creators recorded detailed information about each person's closest relatives and friends, to better keep tabs on the original participants. That database served as an ideal social laboratory for Christakis and Fowler, who questioned each participant and his or her friends and family about their emotional state three times over 20 years.

The idea of mood transfer is not exactly revolutionary. It makes sense, after all, that your happiness will affect your closest friends, and that their emotional state will influence your own. (Interestingly, the same association was not found with unhappiness, despite the old adage about misery and company, and the contagion effect was weaker among family members than friends, possibly because while people take a cue from friends, they take for granted their families and spouses.) What was less expected was that the effect was sustained up to three degrees of separation away, among people who may not necessarily know one another. You may owe your good cheer to your friend's brother's girlfriend, even if you don't know her name.

That's the power of the social network, which, the authors argue, may impact our emotional state even more than our individual choices and environments. And it is not merely a result of like seeking like. The authors compared their observed network with a control network in which they randomly assigned feelings of happiness to individuals, and were able to rule out the possibility that happy people were simply clustering together by choice. Indeed, in another study in the same issue of the BMJ, researchers from Yale University and the Federal Reserve of Boston showed a similar tendency to cluster among people who, for example, are the same height, or suffer from acne, or headaches. But once the researchers adjusted for confounding factors, the network dissolved; in Christakis and Fowler's paper, the happiness link remained unbroken.

But the effect was limited by space and time. Researchers found that the risk of catching happiness increased with proximity: so a next-door neighbor enjoys a 34% increased chance of happiness by living near a happy person, but a friend who lives across town is less affected. And the best-connected social networkers — those who were at the center of their social nodes — were more likely to become happy than people on the fringes. Viral happiness was relatively short lived, however, lasting about a year.

This is the authors' third such networking study suggesting that the social group is a powerful super-organism that wields much influence over individuals' well-being. Previous analyses by Christakis and Fowler, based on the same pool of data, have shown that obesity is similarly contagious, as is the act of quitting smoking.

The researchers' hope is that a better understanding of how people pick up and pass on behaviors will help health officials create more targeted public-health messages. Antismoking campaigns aimed at teens, for example, might be more powerful if they were geared toward the most socially connected students in a high school — rather than individual smokers. "We are always looking for areas to invest in, promising new areas of research that will give us new levels of ability to help people, and without a doubt I see this as a very promising area," says Suzman.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Old School

I was flipping through my Senior yearbook today, because someone from my highschool that is LDS and two years younger than me, added me as a friend. She doesn't have her maiden name, but she looked slightly familiar and I figure if she was LDS and went to my high school I would have had to have known her at some point.

I turned to my yearbook to find a picture of her, and was someone astonished when I saw the name Carla Silva assigned to a boy and Jose Rodriguez assigned to a white kid. After my amusement subsided, I thought about how cool it would be to work on a yearbook in the electronic era. There is probably some kind of software online where all they have to do is point and click. I am sure it has spell-check, which would have seriously helped the yearbook staff at my school.

But as I sat there thinking in wonder at how much has changed over the past (ahem) 19 years, I also was a bit nostalgic for how things used to be done. True, it took a lot more time to do major projects like this, however, time-saving is sort of mythical in this day and age. I would like to go back in time and ask a 36 year old mom (when I was 18) if she was really busy. My guess is that she would have said yes, and then we would discuss what busy meant to her.

She wouldn't have needed any time on the computer, because personal computers were pretty rare in 1990. No one I knew had one unless it was a Commodore 64. There was no email, no texting, no instant messenger. We wrote notes to our friends. In fact, Dawn Onusko and I just had a notebook that we passed back and forth to each other. Because there weren't computers, people didn't waste time playing computer games. There wasn't playstation, wii (though that would have been cool), x-box, hand-held game cubes, etc. A lucky few had Atari at some point in their life.

So what did we do? Well, I spent a lot of time on the phone with friends. I wrote my sister a lot of letters that were sent off to Utah. I read more books. I watched a lot of movies. Back then we didn't have dvd, of course, so you had to spend some time rewinding the movie. In fact, growing up we didn't have cable except over the summer at my dad's house where we watched Martha Quinn on Mtv. That was back when they showed videos. We didn't have cd's, we just had tapes. I spent a lot of time taping songs off the radio. An awesome invention was the two tape deck ghetto blaster. Did you know that was what those big portable tape players were called? Like the one used in "Say Anything". They might still be called that, but I haven't heard that term since about 1992.

For all of our time-saving devices, people are too busy now. Sometimes I miss the 80's.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Thing I Will Miss

As my baby gets further along in toddlerhood/bigkidhood, I find myself thinking of the things I will miss about her personality at this time. I definitely won't ever miss changing diapers, although we are charging ahead with potty training this week. Or next week. Or while I am in Hawaii so Dave can do it. Anyway.

So I won't miss that.

I won't miss the whining and the crying over nothing. I suspect that will continue until she is 18+ so I won't have to miss it.

Nope, won't miss that.

There is one thing I will miss, though. I will miss her soft blond hair snuggling up to me in the morning. I will miss her smell. I already miss Josh's toddler smell. I will miss her singing songs like "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "Once Upon a Dream" as I am just waking up in the morning. I will miss her little voice saying, "I wuv you, Mom." I will miss walking out of my bedroom in the morning to hear her little voice squealing, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" in excitement. Josh used to do that. Now he says, "Good Morning, Mom."

I guess I will miss everything but diaper changing and whining.

That sure is a lot to miss.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I have had a loss of words this week. I don't know if it is because Utah won their bowl game against Alabama. I don't know if it is the four inches of global warming that we got this week, on top of the foot last week. Or maybe it is the gasp heard round the neighborhood when I got on the scale for the first time after the Holiday gluttony.

All of the above.

Today officially ends the Holiday season for me. I am starting one of two new callings. I have four interviews scheduled for tomorrow. I'm officially eating nothing but rabbit food.

Yep, definitely the end of the Holidays.

Oh wait, what's that you say? You say I get to go to Hawaii in 19 days?

OK! Let's keep this party going! Happy New Year!