On April’s Fool’s Day

Just when you were getting used to hearing about all our adventures on the Big Island, I’m interrupting this blog to tell you about April Fool’s Day. You know every year I mention 2008 when I started pranking my children. It was epic! The best one ever! I will never be able to top it because now, they know it’s coming. How can you beat this? Hanan has never forgiven me for giving her a meatloaf cupcake. She also didn’t forgive me for putting a Cheetos bag full of carrots in her lunch. The cruelty! The next year, I just gave them the Cheetos. Then there was last year when I told them I was taking them to Auulani, The Disney resort. April is the month of the military child after all. They were going to get to go to an R5 concert and maybe even meet them. Okay, that was admittedly a little cruel but so funny. 

This year the kids were on to me. No one but Jack wanted to pack a lunch. I was a little worried about tricking him at lunch anyway. I planned a nice little picnic at Dog Beach instead. I tried to act like I was being all sneaky. Of course, they peaked in the picnic basket and were delighted to see 4 bottles of sprite. I NEVER buy soda. They beg for it. It’s probably something I will regret. They are going to be addicted as adults. Anyway, as I filled their plates I started to explain that I had planned on telling them how I wanted to trick them into thinking I forgot to pack drinks and I was going to surprise them with Sprite. (This was Ray’s idea.) The little stinkers peeked so there went my April Fool’s. They were pretty happy with the situation until they gulped at the Sprite and discovered water instead. 

The sun was behind them. You know the beautiful, glorious sunset that I am going to miss so much… oh sorry. Anyway, the picture wasn’t so great. As a surprise I whipped out tiny cans of Sierra Mist as a peace offering. 

Moments later the kids and Tucker were in the water running off the soda. About five minutes later, the beach was closed as a precaution for the possible tsunami. Leave it to a bunch of Stiffs to get kicked off the beach… 

I hope it was one more April Fool’s day that they’ll remember. 

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A Place Of Refuge

Our Big Island adventure started with changing our plane ticket. Instead of leaving in the afternoon and giving ourselves only enough time to check in and shop for supplies, we decided to head out around 7:30. This was no small feat with four kids and a full day of soccer to start our spring break off right. Plus, it was Mr. Jack’s birthday. (I’m a bad blogger. I’m just realizing I never wrote about his big day.) We had a small family party and promised a ride on an airplane bright and early. He was super excited for a plane ride for his birthday. He asked if we were going to Kentucky…not yet. We’ll have to save the ride for later. 

If you ever make a trip to any Hawaiian island, I suggest you pick up a Revealed book. I think there is one for every island.

I bought this one a few months back but of course waited until the last possible second to go through it. It provides a list of drivable routes, where to stop, what to do and eat. It makes planning your vacation much easier. Between that and having friends with family on the Big Island, I felt pretty set. 

After loading up at Costco and checking into our timeshare we threw on our swim gear just in case and headed out. I really wanted to see Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook monument. We headed that way first. Captain Cook was the man who brought Christianity to Hawaii. It is an interesting story. I would have loved to paddle the bay over to his monument but we were there in the very late afternoon with four kids and no kayak… 

DSCF0013The monument is across the bay, about a mile behind the cute kids. I don’t know what’s up with Jack’s smile. This is apparently what he thinks we do when we get the camera out right now. 

DSCF0015This is the heiau that was built when Captain Cook performed a funeral service. This was also marks the moments when the Hawaiian’s figured out Cook was not a god, only a mortal. It eventually leads to his demise. The story is quite fascinating. 

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One more thing about the heiaus and the walls…there are places where the walls are just stacked lava rock, no mortar and they are impressively solid and very scary at the same time, especially when there are four kids who think walls were made for climbing over. Luckily there were kapu signs everywhere. (keep out)

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Speaking of kapu… before Cook arrived the Hawaiians were governed by a Kapu system. It essentially meant there were tons of rules. If you broke one, you were marked for death. The only way out of it was to get to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. This was the Place of Refuge. If you got inside the gates, there were priests who could cleanse you and remove the mark of death. Rules were things like, women couldn’t eat with me… if a chief’s shadow fell on you… stuff like that. This totally freaked the kids out. Why on earth would they kill you for that? The theory was that their gods would cause a tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruptions…you get the drift if you broke a law. Ray’s theory is one morning the chief’s shadow touched a commoner and an earthquake happened. They decided that they only way to prevent it was this way… I think the kings also became power hungry and just started making stuff up, but that was a very long time ago. 

Our next stop was Pu’uhonua o Honaunau or Place of Refuge. I’m so glad we stopped and a little sorry we didn’t decide to snorkel at the nearby spot. The sun was going down and the water was so clear we could see a school of bright yellow fish. 

 

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The sun was starting to set and we moved on to a small little Catholic church known as Painted Church. It was so serene and peaceful. A priest painted almost every surface on the inside of the church to depict different stories. Although, I did question his interpretation of Cain being marked. Now that I’m thinking about it, I need to reread that story. 

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DSCF0083Looking out from inside the church was breathtaking. The picture doesn’t nearly do it justice.

DSCF0086We traveled back up the road toward Kona and I yelled. We had to stop. Tye loved the package of Donkey Balls I sent him. There on the side of the road was the giant donkey. 

DSCF0093We stopped, talked about Tye Tye. The kids had some hot chocolate and we each ate a donkey ball. 

You would think that was enough adventure for one afternoon, but we got back to our room to fix dinner and Mr. Jack lost his first tooth. 

IMG_2499That explained a lot about his weird behavior over the course of the day. It was really hard to get him to understand that another tooth would grow there. I think he’s got it down now.

 

 

 

 

 

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Live Like You PCS Tomorrow

In case you missed it, I live in Hawaii, on Oahu to be exact. I get to live in a place that people spend thousands of dollars to visit for a few short days sometimes once in their lifetime. This fact rarely escapes me. I’m also very aware that my time in this beautiful place will soon be over. I tease Ray and say I’m already pouting. I’ve told him that for years people will find my claw marks in the tarmac after he makes me leave. Can you tell I’m sad just thinking about it? In spite of my nightly pleading to my husband, it seems that there are no other jobs for him here. 

I’ve learned something in my 40 years. There is a saying between navy spouses. “Live like he deploys tomorrow.” It’s a good thing to remember and provides multiple lessons about love and preparedness. I’ve just discovered something that most military families try to do but we never mention. Everyone should remember to live like you PCS tomorrow. For all you nonmilitary people, that means pack a bag and move away from everything you are just getting comfortable with all while being aware that it may be years or even the last time you set foot in a place you’ve called home for at least a couple of years. 

For reasons that I couldn’t control…weird kidney disease, Tye’s death and unexpected trips home, Jack’s eye surgery and complications keeping him out of water…I feel like I wasted a year. It went by in a blur or a foggy haze. I found my footing, caught my breath and jumped in with the sharks quite literally. (You know I can’t not mention that.) Ray started taking a day here and there off work and we’ve been checking things off our Hawaii bucket list. We’ve hiked all over the islands, hung out in lagoons, snorkeled with sea turtles, and there are still a few hundred things we need to pack in. 

One of our bucket list items was recently checked off when we went to the top of Mauna Kea. In spite of signs everywhere saying not to go, especially with kids, we went. The kids will never forget their daddy running back to the van with a pile of snow, throwing it in a cooler so they could play with it on the beach. 

DSCF0248Jack’s teacher recently said she’s jealous. She’s a local who grew up here. They never take advantage of what’s at their back door. Life gets in the way. I want my kids to grow up without fear of what other people will think, without fear of what might go wrong and to experience life around them. I don’t always do a good job but I try. 

I have lots to share about our Big Island Adventures but right now, I have a few more things to check off my list. 

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She Thought She’d Help

I’m preparing for our trip. I’ll be allowed to take two bags for 6 people in both hot and cold climates for one week. One bag will also hold snorkel gear for five. One of us (Jack) isn’t a fan. It will also hold 6 beach towels.

This alone could stress me out. A certain someone who shall remain nameless thought she’d help by getting her things out.

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This does not include the items that are currently located in the middle of Mount Washmore. I may be well on my way to nervous breakdown before we get on that plane. Heaven help is all!

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Things Can Change In A Few Short Hours

So yesterday my eyes felt itchy. Lately I’ve been thinking I didn’t like to have my contacts out. My eyes were feeling crappy when I went to bed. I woke up with one blood red eye. No discharge just blood red, watery and EXTREMELY light sensitive.

On a recent spouse outing a new friend told a horror story on nearly losing her eye sight because she wound up with a weird infection on vacation. Knowing we are going away during spring break I made an appointment. My PCM walked in and said I’m sending you to optometry with barely a look. I shuffle down the hall with watery eyes and a handful of tissues and proceed to wait.

“Have you had the test before where the puff of air blows in your eye?” …once a year for forever. “Think you can handle it?” Was that a dare? I told her I would try. Two pugs of air and a brief exam under my belt I was told to wait for the doctor intern.

She looked. She commented about how great I was considering the pain the light was likely causing. She pulled on my upper lids with a qtip and then the lower lids. Then she decided to use yellow dye. Good times.

After you left the intern look at your eyes with the painful blue light it’s the doctor’s turn. Did I mention good times?

The verdict… It was a miracle I walked in when I did. My cornea was damaged. It can heal. I have drops for every two hours and antibiotic four times a day. Ironically my contacts that could have caused the damage were keeping me from feeling it. I am miserable.

I am not reading this for errors. I’m off to pout and say a prayer of thanks that the damage is reversible.

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I’m Still Here

I am here. I’m still playing catch up/recovery from last week’s Fun Run. (Pics to come.) I’m trying to train for another half. Heaven help me the key word there is TRYING. A certain teenager needs new shorts before our spring break vacation. Since most of what I find on the island either looks like this…

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Or has a price tag like this…

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Maybe prayers that I don’t lose my salvation over shorts are in order. Seriously I will not pay $90 for shorts and I want them to look like shorts not panties. We’ve lowered our standards enough to make sure the cheeks are covered as well as the hoo ha! I am barely finding anything.

It’s frankly more than I can stand. Did I mention our spring break starts Friday? I’m off to bathe the children. More later.

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