Friday, February 25

“How do you find friends for your kids on the road?”

As a parent we want the best for our kids. We want them to be healthy, self confident, happy, and for some of us, we want them to have a lot of friends….. And that’s where things start getting complicated. As a social butterfly myself I just naturally assume my kids are supposed to have a lot of friends, like I always had. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Living a life without school, or even a neighborhood for that matter, my kids have become each other’s best friends, but for a while (ok, and somewhat still to this day) I sought out other kids for them to play with. Only it didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t doing it for them….I was doing it for ME.
If you ask my kids, they are perfectly content with their social life. If you ask them if they’d like to have more friends, they just shrug their shoulders, ehhh. It’s not even something that crosses their minds. My kids have taught me that “friends” come in all shapes and sizes…..and species. They don’t have to be of the two legged variety for them to be considered their friends.
While we were with our friends in Colorado, Jewel woke up in a running sprint every morning to play with our friends goat and llama’s. Even the feral cats couldn’t resist her charms. While Jewel chose the stinky friends, the boys enjoyed every minute they could with our fifty-something-year-young host, Dennis. They played Battlefield Bad Company 2 on the Xbox together and just couldn’t get enough of his funny, quirky spirit. There was a mutual respect between those three, and I seriously think when they were together, there was no age difference. They were just….friends.
Still to this day if you ask Jewel who her best friend is, she’ll say, Lisa. Lisa is my forty something friend that we met in a campground about three or four years ago. We still keep in touch, and see each other whenever we can, which isn’t often, but as much as Lisa is my friend, she is also, truly, Jewel’s friend. 
When the boys were younger their cousins were always great friends for them to play with, but now that they’re getting older and the age gap seems to be somehow increasing, the relationships have completely changed. Luckily though, my brother and his wife had an “oops” baby while I was pregnant with Jewel and I have now come to believe that she was put here just for Jewel. Jewel counts down the days on the calendar when we’re in town until the weekend comes, just so she can have Lillie over.
We’ve been to a couple unschooling conferences which we went to under the guise of “it’s for the kids” but none of them led to lasting friendships for them. They were too busy playing with each other.
I have learned there’s no need to try and find them friends, they do just fine on their own.
FOTR Blog Carnival

Thursday, February 24

Utah to Colorado – Sept. 2010


We ended up leaving Roosevelt after those two nights, but not before Joey determined I needed new tires for my car. (I sure am glad he thinks to check things like that.) While we waited for my tires Jewel spent her time in Dinosaur Country chasing Dinosaur Grasshoppers, and I got reacquainted with multi colored landscapes. Being in Hawaii all that time I forgot there were colors other than green and blue. IMG_20100909_143506

We decided to head to our familiar stomping grounds of Colorado and made our first pit stop before even leaving Utah. Since we were in no hurry we walked around this desolate spot along the small highway for a bit and found all sorts of neat things. One being this huge cave on the other side of a large wash:


Then there was a partially decomposed ElkIMG_20100909_152417

And a not so lucky Raccoon’s tail


When we crossed from the prehistoric land of northeastern Utah into Colorado it was like the landscape changed immediately. Along this two lane mountain highway Joey pulled over because he knew I would just love this view. He was right. I loved it so much I ran across the highway to snap a few pictures, only on my way back I wasn’t paying attention at all until I heard him scream at me….RUN!!….. Instead, I froze, but luckily the truck swerved, coming within inches of almost hitting me. As if I wasn’t shook up enough over that, the rest of the drive down this mountain was littered with falling rocks, and not just rocks, but large boulders.  Thank goodness we didn’t have any oncoming traffic during all the times we had to swerve to avoid the boulders.


Soon enough though we were down in familiar, beautiful, Grand Junction, CO. (I still have yet to climb that mountain!)IMG_20100909_174122

I just keep following my Man In His Truck toward one of our favorite places in Colorado, Parachute.


We have friends that are like family that live there, so we went to visit with them while we continue our hunt for the new RV.

Vegas to Utah – Sept. 2010

Before I discovered my missing camera bag, I had taken this one shot of Jonas, with my Droid, snuggled up on my cousin’s couch with her cat. After our sleepless night on the plane it took him less than five minutes to crash.
Then, after I finally uncurled myself off Amy’s couch (three days later) I got on Craigslist to find myself a new car. I was hoping to find a decent conversion van but ended up finding a cute little economical wagon instead. I bought it on the spot, in the dark, and even though they told me I had to go to the DMV in the morning and get my own plates since they were taking theirs, I said screw it and decided to take my chances driving up to Joey in Utah with no plates and nothing but bubble gum holding the Bill of Sale to the rear window.

Just getting back on the road really lightened my spirits and by the time we hit Antelope Canyon along the Arizona, Nevada, and Utah border I was pretty much recovered from my huge loss. I was happy to be back on the road again, and seeing this beautiful country. Plus, I still had the Droid to take pictures with so all was not lost. I also discovered on this trip what it was like to no longer have a gas guzzling Hummer, Dually truck, Bluebird Bus, or Excursion. What a treat! I probably paid less for this car plus the gas than I would I have paid in any one of my previous vehicles, just in gas to get across town!
I was so beat after the 523 mile trip to Roosevelt, UT that when the hotel clerk accidentally charged us for two nights instead of the one I asked for, we didn’t even make her change it. I remember the customer behind us saying, “wow, must be nice to be able to just be, ‘oh well…we’ll take two nights instead’.”
Little did he know that that was as far ahead as we had planned at that point. The next day began the search for a new RV since we were officially back on the road.

Thursday, November 18

Leaving Hawaii..…and entering…..

Spring 2003:May vacation 005 May vacation 004

January 2005:Hawaii 042

September 2010:


It’s that time again, time for us to say Good-Bye and fly away. Even though when we came here this time it was with the intention of staying and possibly homesteading, I always knew this time would come.

One thing always rings true: It’s much better to visit than to live 

Joey left the island in August to work in Colorado and the kids and I stayed behind to see how things played out. After a couple weeks it was obvious that we’d be leaving the island for good so the job of packing up the condo and kids fell on me. I was actually looking forward to being the sole discretionary person to decide what goes and what doesn’t, and normally I’m fighting to keep more than he is, yet somehow we left Hawaii with less than we even came with! I decided if we hauled it all the way to Hawaii and never even used it, it got canned. So with less stuff I figured I could handle checking everything on to the plane with us, paying extra baggage fees but saving hundreds in shipping fees. Then three hours before the shuttle was to pick us up I was in a stressful mess…….I couldn’t even get everything into the van let alone haul through an airport!

Joey’s friend, Fish, came by to save the day and offered to take the big stuff that I didn’t need right away to the post office and ship it for me, only leaving us 5 checked bags and 7 carry-on’s. I finally breathed a little easier once we were loaded into the shuttle, just to get to the airport to have to unload everything onto a rental cart, then load it onto the conveyer belt for agriculture inspection, then back on to the cart over to ticketing. There I had to unload the heavy bags, that were on the bottom, for weighing and tagging for check-in, then back on to the cart to take it over to the check-in belt. Then unload the cart once again to finally get them out of my hands, and of course put the carry-on’s back on the cart. And the stuff that didn’t fit on the cart, I had to carry. We haven’t even gotten to security yet.

Security, of course, was a nightmare. We must have used at least a dozen of those grey boxes and held up the line at least fifteen minutes. Aside from opening the laptops, they also had to double check the x-box  and controllers because, you know, they look like weapons.

When I booked the flight I didn’t think about the fact that it was a red eye, I just knew it was the cheapest. I actually figured, great! we’ll get to sleep the whole flight and be refreshed and eager to start the new day when we get to Phoenix for our connecting flight to Vegas. I’ve never been sooo wrong in my life! The kids were split up in seats in front of me and I was in a back row seat that wouldn’t lay back. It was stuck straight up and almost leaning forward! I wanted to cry…..again. But even worse the nice old couple next to me were stuck sitting straight up too and I just couldn’t handle that. So….after much debate I finally convinced the old couple to swap seats with Jake and Jewel in front of us so they could at least lean back and have a comfortable flight………. Then with Jake and Jewel beside me I was able to use them as a pillow :-) It was still a miserable flight and after what felt like twenty five hours we finally landed in Phoenix.

We only had forty five minutes to catch our connecting flight and we had to wait for everyone to un board so the stewardess could go to the cockpit and retrieve my hula hoop that I carried on the plane. THEN after making our way to the next flight I realized I had left my fanny pack (that I wore so I wouldn’t lose my most important things) in the magazine holder in front of my seat! The flight attendant wouldn’t let me back on the plane to get it so I had to wait another few minutes for them to take their sweet time to get it for me, and then she had the nerve to tell me…”well, that’s WHY you’re supposed to keep track of your stuff” REALLY?? I thought I did pretty good for not losing my kids at this point.

Somehow we made it through the huge airport to our connecting flight and finally felt everything was going to be alright. Flying over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead was awesome, so awesome that I finally pulled my camera out and snapped some pictures from the air. I text my cousin when we landed so she could head our way to get us, and we then hurried to find the baggage claim. I always try to be super efficient so tried to time my cousin getting there with the same time we’d be walking out the gate, so of course, that seems to put me in a state of stress and slight panic. The bags were taking forever, but we finally started seeing them, so Jake wisely says, “We should unload the cart so we can put the heavy bags on the bottom when they get here” Great idea! So I set my precious camera bag on one of the seats about five feet away and then unloaded the cart onto the ground right beside it. We then get all our big checked items, load them up, put the carry on’s on top, and walk out the gate just in time to see my cousin heading our way. See…my timing is impeccable. I’m so happy to see her after all these years, we hug, I cry, we get in the car and drive away.

A few hours later, at her place, I want to take pictures of everybody and we CANNOT find my camera bag anywhere. I call the airport and all I get is a recording saying they’ll call IF they find it. Amy offers to haul me all the way back to the airport, only to find it gone. GONE! My big camera, my favorite point and shoot, a panoramic camera, multiple lenses, and a laptop……all gone.

Only twenty four hours out of paradise and it felt like I landed in Hell.

Thursday, October 14

Bumper Stickers – Hawaiian Style

Droid 164

This is a popular bumper sticker we saw often on the North Shore. It’s the local’s way of saying they don’t want any more resorts, hotels, freeways, or apartment buildings built. Keep the country….Local!

Droid 190





This one is probably even more common, Hawaiian Kingdom.

This homemade billboard is on somebody’s fence right along the Farrington Highway, which pretty much sums up what the Hawaiian Kingdom stickers are for.

LIFE 127

In case you can’t read it, the gist of it is: Shame on everyone who bought into the American philosophy. Anyone who accepts America as their statehood is basically working with the enemy. America has taken away their inherent sovereignty. Shame on those that celebrate Statehood and honor the thieves. Thieves that locked up their Queen. Stole their land and beat their ancestors for speaking their native tongue.

Someone asked me recently how the Hawaiians felt about America, or Americans. I hate to admit it, but once you get out of the tourist areas, the above is the general feeling we perceive. I always felt like I stood out, and wasn’t very welcome, but I just put on my rosy glasses and went about my business. I had no proof and some could say it was just my imagination but when I got on an elevator a little while ago and a woman looked at me, then gasped, and said…”wow. a blondie. we don’t see many of them around here.” I knew it wasn’t just in my imagination now. Eventually I broke down the cashiers at the local grocery store and had them laughing with me on occasion, but overall it felt like we were living in a foreign country. I can now say we know a little bit how it feels to be the minority and face discrimination. and it wasn’t very comfortable.

Who knows how many really feel that way, I know it wasn’t the majority, since the majority are mainland transplants anyway, but in the country and heavy Islander populated areas, it’s not uncommon to see Hawaiian Parking Only signs and We were born here, You flew here signs.

Of course, this was more of a silent prejudice for the most part, besides… it was much more fun to find and focus on the good, the beauty, and the funny:

SLR Lanikai 115 *If you don’t get it, just ask.

Wednesday, October 13

White Plains Beach

Annie had been telling us about White Plains Beach for months now, so before we left the island we had to check it out. I didn’t really have any expectations about this beach but she said it’s great for surfing, so we loaded up our two longboards, her SUP, and made our way south for the summer swells. It had been flat all summer on the west coast, so this was Jake’s first chance to surf in months. He was going to use my board but as he was carrying it down to the beach he jumped off a short cement block retaining wall (because I told him to go that way) and as he jumped down the back of the board hit the top of the wall and cracked open! I did the exact same thing my first time carrying that board down to the beach. You’d have thought I’d already learned that lesson. It was a major buzz kill, but Jake attempted Joey’s big ten footer anyway and while it was way too big for him, the boy surfed! and I didn’t get any pictures! but that’s not why he likes it anyway.
White Plains 002
Unlike the reef beaches we’d been surfing on this one has a soft sandy bottom, so I was really looking forward to surfing myself but between my cracked board, and Jonas’ foul mood, I wasn’t up for it. Instead I boogie boarded with Jewel for a while and then set off to get a few photos.
White Plains 013
I walked over closer to this fence thinking I could try to get a shot of Diamondhead through a chainlink.
White Plains 028 And after I get one uninspiring picture that way I look down and see these guys sleeping right in front of me!White Plains 017
Two Hawaiian Monk Seals. Funny how my mood instantly brightened.White Plains 018
There was a man there from a monk preservation society who was making sure no one molested them, and to answer any questions people may have, and to just basically educate. While most people spent a couple minutes taking pictures, and then going back to the beach, Jewel stayed there for probably forty five minutes just soaking up everything he had to say and waiting for this Dad and his Daughter to wake up. They never did, but it was still exciting to be so close to these guys in their natural habitat. The thing Jewel remembers most was the story of how the big one (Dad) got bit by a shark and was able to make himself stop bleeding. Apparently they have a way of cutting off blood flow to wounded areas. Pretty cool.
White Plains 022
White Plains gets a two thumbs up but I would definitely recommend not going on the weekend.
White Plains 029
I like my beaches a little less crowded.

Tuesday, October 12

Pearl Harbor

Seeing the U.S.S. Arizona is another one of those must do things when visiting Oahu. I had already been there back in ‘02 with Joey and Jewel (then a baby) so I hadn’t really given much thought to going again, then I remembered the boys had never been. And it’s FREE. Now the boys weren’t too excited but after I told them all about the fabulous on site museum, they agreed to go. My friend Annie was supposed to join us, but she couldn’t make it last minute so we just went on ahead anyway. To tell you the truth, I actually prefer things like this without any guests anyway….more focus on the kids.

For once we made it there without getting lost, except that once for directions, only to end up in parking lot hell. Most visitors go by bus so the parking lot is small, and right off the bat I had a tourist steal my parking space I had been waiting for. I wanted to go all Kathy Bates on him but he wouldn’t have understood me anyway so I just continued circling and waiting. Then it happened again! Now it’s just comical so we’re waiting for a third time, but luckily no more thievery and we were finally able to park. We got in, got our ticket for the ferry with thirty minutes to spare to tour the museum…only the museum is closed for construction. Major bummer. We walk over to the U.S.S. Missouri Battleship and decide after the Arizona tour we’ll get tickets and climb aboard it. 

Pearl Harbor 007 First, we have to walk over to the ferry that’s going to shuttle us out to the sunken ship. It’s just a short walk, but nice views of Pearl Harbor, Ford Island Bridge, and that huge golf ball on stilts that I still haven’t figured out what the heck it is, or when it floated in.

Pearl Harbor 009 It was a pretty hot wait for the ferry, and to amuse myself I secretly took pictures of the tourists and Jonas.Pearl Harbor 019

Jewel is very nervous to get on a moving boat. We visited with a cruising family, S/V Capaz,  while they were in island briefly making their way from the South Pacific to Canada, and Jewel was happy to feel the relative calmness of the yacht in harbor, but she’s anxious to see what it feels like in motion.

 Pearl Harbor 025 I couldn’t tell her this ferry ride is nothing like a sailboat

Pearl Harbor 026 I was happy to see these wheelchair clamps on the ferry, knowing that my friend Harli and all her other Angel friends get to see this piece of history up close, and unhindered, just like the rest of us.

 Pearl Harbor 045 Getting off the ferry onto the platform the Captain instructed everyone to go straight into the memorial building and not to STOP to take ANY pictures from this dock. I can’t stand to be told NOT to do something. Pearl Harbor 052 This one is from inside the memorial building, looking toward Pearl. That’s the looong Ford Island Bridge in the background. We tried to drive on it only to be turned around at the gate with a stern “This is a military base Ma’am!” I didn’t even get to tell him we just wanted to go to the museum!

Proof I had all three kids with me. And No, I didn’t notice they were all in blue until just now.Pearl Harbor 061 We were getting a little, umm…bored at this point. So I took a cue from Tiffani, one of my favorite photographers, and decided to punch things up a bit.

Pearl Harbor 071  

Pearl Harbor 077

Pearl Harbor 073 Pearl Harbor 086I have a picture of Jewel in front of this anchor( it was in a different location then) when she was a baby, but darnit, can’t find it right now.

 Pearl Harbor 090 It was a hot day, and by the time we got done with the Arizona tour we were no longer as interested in checking out the Missouri so decided to find some lunch instead. I ended up finding a parking garage so assumed there was a mall attached to it, with a food court, but even better was an extra long moving ramp. With no security in sight. The kids had a blast on the moving ramp and declared that the highlight of the day.

We topped off the day at this gorgeous little roadside park.

Pearl Harbor 092 Pearl Harbor 098 The T at the end is hollow, and inside is where Jonas can be found, while Jake supervises.

Sun. Sand. Surf……. So this is what pure bliss feels like.

Saturday, August 28

Makapu’u Tidepools

When it came to looking for hikes on Oahu I was first focused primarily on the most popular hikes, then I switched to hikes that ended with a waterfall. After doing a few waterfall hikes here I learned that Oahu is indeed not a great island for spectacular waterfalls. While I’ve enjoyed the hike itself much more than the waterfalls, the kids want that special treat at the end. So, I was pretty excited when I found this secret route to the Makapu’u tidepools and then when I mentioned to the kids that we would be getting up early the next morning to do it, they were all equally eager for it.

The kids and I had done the hike out to the Makapu’u lighthouse back when we were here in 2004, but I never knew about the deep tidepools down below it. The hike up to the lighthouse was easy since it was paved the whole way, but this secret hike takes you around the mountain, along it’s rocky shoreline.

Makap'u hike me & kids Makapu'u Lighthouse

Isn’t Jonas adorable in his little bonnet?

Anyway, I was so energized to start our day and had planned on leaving at seven, but expected more like eight. We didn’t leave until about nine thirty but since we were hiking to water, I wasn’t too concerned with the late start. Then I miss my very first exit to the other side of the island, but quickly get back on the right road. To then make yet another wrong turn on the other side of the island which forced me back through the mountain, via long tunnel, right back to the other side of the island. I said screw that way, let’s take the loooong way around and enjoy the southeast coast. Finally around NOON we hit the trailhead.

Makapu'u Hike 027Instinctively the kids took off ahead and headed straight up the road. I had to call them back and tell them we’re going down, not up, this time.

While everyone else went up the road, we veered off this rocky trail and headed straight for Pele’s Chair, that rocky peak straight ahead towards the coast. Some locals stopped us and told us there was no way to get to the pools we were wanting to from this direction, that we’d have to go up to the lighthouse and then straight down the mountainside, but I knew it could be done and was determined to make it happen. Plus I knew walking along the rocky coast would be more fun and scenic anyway then going on a blacktop path.

As usual Jake took off ahead of us and by the time we got to Pele’s Chair I wasn’t even sure where he went. Then he popped around some rocks and also declared the hike along the coast IMPOSSIBLE. Not to be deterred I had to see for myself…of course.


Makapu'u Hike 034

While not, impossible….it was WAY too dangerous. After climbing over some questionable rocks that could easily break away with no warning, and then hitting this wall, along with the very large waves battering the coast, I had to agree….. and called off the rest of this hike.

Makapu'u Hike 035

Even if we safely made it past this turn there was just more waiting for us. On a calmer day we could have walked in the water but as it was we would have just been pounded into the rocks. Luckily there was a great little cove to the right of Pele’s Chair where we could at least get in the water and cool off!

Makapu'u cove pan

We didn’t go the normal beach route though….we had to do it local style! By jumping from the rocks, of course. And as usual….Jonas was the first one to hit the water.

Makapu'u Hike 036

Jake was grumpy because he said he was finally excited about a hike and now we can’t do it, so at first he refused to even join us in the water. The temptation must have become too strong though because he did eventually join us, but he still acted like he was miserable and this place was just NO FUN!

Which the local teenagers would have to disagree wholeheartedly with.

Makapu'u Hike 045 Makapu'u Hike 046 Makapu'u Hike 047

Jumping from a telephone pole stuck into rocks ten feet above the water into a child’s innertube. Now that’s what the locals call FUN! They were also throwing soda bottles on the water and jumping on them to see how high they would rocket back up out of the water.

Makapu'u Hike 042

But there was no pleasing my boy, so we stayed only about thirty minutes. With the promise of Pizza Hut, my new teen did eventually come around to his usual cool self.

First, a quick sightseeing walk along Waimanalo Beach:

Makapu'u Hike 078Makapu'u Hike 090

Then some fish taco’s with pineapple salsa:

Makapu'u Hike 093

It was a rough day. I enjoyed everything we did, but it’s getting stressful that the boys never seem to want to do ANYTHING anymore except play videogames. All they wanted to do was come to Hawaii, yet I have to beg and plead with them to go to the beach. THE BEACH! What kid doesn’t want to do that? Even when they do go to the beach one of the boys are usually asking to go home within an hour.

I’m being patient, though.

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