Saturday, January 28, 2012

Memories

2012 has already started with a life changing event. My Grandpa on my Mom's side passed away. He actually got sick at the end of 2011 but came home for New Years day which happens to be his birthday. He was able to celebrate at home with his family but sadly went back into the hospital and wasn't able to recover. When his time came he was surrounded by his family and my Mom was even able to be there on the phone. Just thinking about it still chokes me up and makes me sad that I hadn't made it out to see him more often in the past few years. I am very grateful that we ended up choosing the cruise around Hawaii for our honeymoon because we were able to visit and Joe was able to meet my grandparents at least once.

My Grandpa was a very talented man. He made these awesome canoes out of Koa wood scraps. (I recall my Mom telling me it's illegal to cut down a Koa tree but there are ways you can get scraps of the wood and that's what he used.)


This is the canoe he gave to Joe and I when we were on our honeymoon. It was so awesome because it's something I know he made so lovingly with his own two hands. He made them in his little wood shop area in the yard. I always remember him being out there working on something every time we went to visit. I knew he also made bigger canoes but I didn't know just how beautiful and exquisite his work was until I saw some pictures that my Uncle Terry took while he was out there for the funeral. He had some special canoes that he wanted all the family members to have so this pictures was taken then.


I like this picture because I can recognize some of my relatives and I see the side of my Mom's face and my brother in the background. My family was actually going to come out to Vegas to visit us and Russell but when my Grandpa passed they flew out to Hawaii instead. I heard that lots of the relatives made it out for the funeral and that they had lots of food and well wishes from all the folks who knew my Grandpa. My Mom said he was always doing good things for others including helping to coordinate the ongoing clean up and maintenance of the Buddhist cemetery where he is now buried. He was the youngest of all his siblings so I know his family who have already passed were there waiting to welcome him to Heaven.


We are all worried about my Grandma and how she'll hold up with him being gone. Luckily she lives in the house with my cousin and his family (husband, wife and 3 kids) and my Aunt and Uncle. I am glad she has family so close because she was actually sick off and on through last year.

Anyway, I didn't want to dwell on being sad for this post. I wanted to remember the good times and the memories I will always treasure. In the past year I have learned just how precious life is. Nothing is guaranteed. I want to try and always remember to be my best because you never know when it will be your time to go. So, happy things... Here are some of my favorite memories...
I remember when I was younger going out to Hawaii every few years to visit the relatives. We'd stay at my Grandparents house which was always a treat. I remember being able to sit on their back porch and watch the sun set over the ocean. You can see the Captian Cook memorial from up there which is really cool. (THIS picture was taken across from the memorial on our honeymoon.)

I always remember getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes the first day we'd arrive. When I was younger they would eat me to pieces but after a couple days it would seem like you'd adjust or the mosquitoes would mostly move on.
I remember one year when we went and there was a meteor shower. It was one of those times when every few seconds you could see shooting stars. It was amazing sitting on my Grandparents driveway in the perfect darkness just enjoying the show. (They live in Kona and where their house is at there aren't a ton of city lights or anything else so it was easy to watch the sky.)
I remember one year we went out and got to watch the total solar eclipse. I remember in all the stores there were special glasses you could wear so you could watch the eclipse without burning your eyeballs basically. I still remember how cool it all looked.

I remember one year I lost a tooth there. It came out and I actually lost it on the stairs. Who knows if anyone ever stumbled upon it but I guess that's a freebie for the Tooth Fairy.

I remember all the fun and yummy foods we got to eat there. Picking up lychee at a roadside stand, eating fresh macadamia nuts off the tree in their yard and all the yummy fresh fruits we could get. I especially loved the mango and pineapple. YUM! Oh and yummy cakes and luau food. Ah I could eat Hawaiian food every day and not get sick of it.

I remember going to the beach. Going fishing with my cousins. I remember snorkeling at the beach my brother and I always called the 'shave ice beach' because there was a stand that sold yummy shaved ice and we'd get some while we were there. (We had to have some shaved ice while we were there. It was SO good!)

I miss my Grandpa and I think about him almost every day. I think about how I wish I had gone out to see them more often or even just called or sent letters. I am really glad we sent them a photobook about Russell and his birth for Christmas. Even though he wasn't able to meet Russell in person at least he got to read his birth story and see the pictures of him.

Could have, should have, would have... There will always be reasons to feel guilty or second guess life's decisions but I suppose in the end you can't change the past. All you can do is change how you are in the present which then effects your future. Even if you watch the news for one day it becomes apparent that life is not guaranteed and that any of us could go at any time. You always hope you'll make it through a long and happy life but I hope that I can learn to better live each day in the present so that whenever it's my time to go I won't have any regrets and will know that my last interactions with others were kind and full of love and happiness. I know I'll still have bad days but I hope that the good ones outnumber the bad. I'll always remember my Grandpa and I hope that wherever he is he's happy and looking down on us. I love you Grandpa and miss you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Epic Win - Starbucks

So Joe and I went out to run some errands the other day and I decided to splurge and use the Starbucks gift card I won from Tiffany. This is what I got:



Sorry the pictures are pretty poor. They were taken on my cell phone sitting in the back seat of the car next to little Russell. Joe and I shared a cranberry orange scone and I got an awesome green tea frappuccino. YUM. Joe got his favorite coffee and overall it was a yummy way to enjoy the gift card. It was simply fabulous! Thanks Tiffany for the fabulous giveaway.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We have a winner!

So sorry for the delay in drawing the winner of my epic win pay it forward drawing. Sometimes I think I'll have time to do something and then Russell decides he has needs that need to be addressed. HA HA HA. Either way I finally got Russell down for a nap this morning and this was first on my list of things to do.

And our winner of the fabulous de-stress Mary Kay Red Tea & Fig gift set is...


She said her favorite way to de-stress is a bubble bath and that sounds absolutely fabulous! You can check out more of her style and life at her blog ooh! piece of candy!.

I am so excited to read everyone's favorite ways to de-stress. I'll definitely be taking some of those favorites and using them to de-stress myself. Be sure to follow my blog so you can enter future giveaways through the year. If you have a blog leave it in the comments section and I'll follow you back. I'm always looking for new great sites to follow for fun and inspiration.

So congrats to Kim for winning the de-stress giveaway. I'll be sending your package out ASAP and you can enjoy a lovely bubble bath on me. I guess Friday the 13th was her lucky day. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Epic Win and a Giveaway!

Last Saturday I left a comment on my dear friend Tiffany's blog for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks card. I don't usually win at things like this but it was my lucky day and I won! The question Tiffany wanted us to comment on was what is your favorite thing to do when you have time to yourself. This was my answer:
I love to craft. I hope that as Russell gets older and can occupy himself for longer stretches of time I can work on the many projects I want to do. :-)
I am very excited I won and now I can get a yummy Starbucks treat. MMM!!! Thanks Tiffany for sending that over! It's fabulous and I'm glad I won!

The picture was taken of Joe, me and Tiffany by my Uncle at my wedding.

Now it's my turn. I am doing a giveaway to pay it forward! Comment here on my blog (or if you read this through FB you can leave a comment there) and let me know what is your favorite thing to do to de-stress?

Work out...
Do something creative...
Cook... Clean... Blast the music...

Let me know and you could win...


Your very own de-stress Mary Kay Red Tea & Fig gift set. It includes a Deo Body Spritzer, Loofah Body Cleanser and Shower Gel. The perfect yummy scent to pamper yourself and enjoy some relaxation with your next shower or bath.

So leave your comment today. I'll draw a winner on Monday the 16th. Friday the 13th could just be your lucky day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Months of Fun

Just the other day we hit Russell's 5th month after he was born. I have wanted to sit down and write about what I've felt and how he's changed our lives for a while but it's amazing what sleep deprivation will do to your motivation. Sometimes it was eat, sleep, poop and nothing more. Today though I wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts and a video.



The video was from the other night. I was getting Russell ready for bed which is why he's in a little sleep sack. We have found that a pair of pj's and a sleep sack are just enough to keep him warm through the night. We used to put these little mitten things on him at night to keep him from scratching his face but as of late he has been pulling them off one hand so we gave up all together. Luckily for him he doesn't seem to be scratching himself anymore so all is well in sleepyland.

He loves his ball. It's easy for him to play with and soft so he can't bonk himself with it.

I can say through these past 5 months it's been a lot of learning and adapting. Never did I realize just how much my life would change. I no longer work which means I no longer make money. Even though his money is our money it still feels weird at times to know I add no monetary value to our home. I know this won't be forever but still it's been an adjustment. I no longer have the 8-5 schedule, responsibilities and co-worker drama to deal with. Sometimes it's nice and other times I kind of miss having projects to work on and adults to talk to. (Though for now I have been limiting my contact with others since it's cold/flu season and I am trying to keep Russell from getting sick for as long as possible.) It's also no longer all about me. My needs come second no matter what. It doesn't matter how hungry I am, cold/hot, have to pee whatever... If he needs something more my needs must wait. At times I don't mind and other times I feel very selfish just wanting to eat without scarfing down a meal in under 5 minutes. I feel my whole life has dramatically changed. Being a mom is a job that goes 24-7, has no breaks or lunches, has no definite rules or guidelines and is completely based on figuring it out on your own. Sorry there is no training program available for Offspring 2.0.

Looking over his glow worm toy.

On the dark side I have found that motherhood can be a lot of judgement and pressure. Sometimes I feel that everyone has advice to give or ways they feel you should do things. Other times I feel that it's all about making sure you look like homemaker of the year and if you haven't successfully baked 4 loaves of bread, cleaned house, done laundry, taken the kids to the park, baked cupcakes for school and made sure a healthy balanced meal was on the table before husband comes home or else somehow you're not good enough. I feel that the debate between stay at home moms and working moms will never end and each will always hate the other. Why can't we all just accept each other and move on. Also I don't want to hear that your 5 month old is already walking, talking and eating cheeseburgers this week. Nothing is wrong with my baby and I know he will grow and develop at his own pace. Seriously sometimes I feel like it's a contest on who can breastfeed the longest, make completely organic homemade baby food for every meal and has the child who has hit all their milestones and slept through the night way before your kid ever thought about it. *Sigh... Perhaps it's just me judging myself from the view of the grass being greener on the other side. I mean really how often do your friends post on FB that they're tired, their baby cried all night, they got no sleep and they haven't worn anything but yoga pants in months? Of course not. You get the highlight reel of milestones being hit, birthday parties and celebrations... In the end you can end up feeling like you are the only one experiencing the down times, the hard moments and the feelings of doubt in your abilities...

Even while in the swing he loves his hands.

On the bright side I have realized just how much another little tiny human can mean to you. I have realized just how much my Mom and Dad must love me and how much I mean to their lives. I understand when my Mom says she would love me no matter what I did because I'm her child. I understand why parents would give their lives for their children and why sleepless nights can all be erased by one smile, a giggle and a hug. I have realized how lucky I am to have a husband who provides for our family and isn't afraid to change diapers and get up for late night feedings. I am lucky to have a roof over my head, food for my baby and clothes to keep him warm. I am blessed with relatives and friends who love little Russell and send prayers and positive thoughts when he needed them the most.

He has his toy, Minx has her mouse.
It is amazing to feel like your heart could burst when your baby rolls over for the first time and looks up and smiles at you with a look that says I'm so proud of myself mama. It's amazing to see how his little personality is starting to show with smiles at the toys he loves most and different noises for his different moods. I love to watch him roll over and over now that he has figured out how to flip both ways. I love that he still flashes a big smile after he rolls over like he's still so happy he has figured this out. I love the way Russell paws at the side of his pack-n-play in the morning when he's ready to get up for the day. I love the way he still lets me snuggle him while I rock him to sleep every night. I love that he is learning new things and making progress every day. At times I do worry about him hitting his milestones because of his rough start but so far I think he's doing great and I will never push him to grow up any faster than he is ready for. I love his sweet gummy smile and almost wish he wouldn't sprout teeth any time soon. I love the way he laughs when he's tickled. I love that he enjoys his baths and am amused that he has figured out how to kick his legs in the water splashing his mom and dad. I love watching him sleep on the baby monitor because he sometimes sleeps in the funniest positions.

He loves his hands!

Oh motherhood... This journey of never ending lessons to be learned, trials to overcome and joys to share. Some days I feel so unprepared and other days I feel like I could take on a dozen more. (Not that I ever plan to have that many more kids. HA HA HA.) So, cheers to all the mothers and fathers out there who are loving their kids, raising them to be good people, caring for them and showing them all the love and support they can. To all the single parents who are making it work and doing all they can. For the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who share in every joyous moment sent on video or through pictures. Being a parent is not easy and there are no right answers that fit every situation and child.

He's such a happy soul.

If you feel like reading another story of motherhood and the birth of a blessed little angel check out this story HERE. Children are such a blessing and I hope that everyone will kiss their babies tonight and love them all you can. Also if you can check out THIS blog post from a woman who lost a child. She is putting together a simple memory book with pictures of her daughters name taken in different places. If you can, take a picture and send it to rememberingbella@gmail.com. I know if it were my baby and my project I would hope people from all over would help.