A Travellerspoint blog

Big Shoes to Fill


Each day I am amazed at how quickly children grow, and how much they absorb. It is a constant struggle to keep present and aware, so that I don't miss a thing. Last week, Bodhi came out of our room yelling momma! momma! and I rushed over to see him grinning ear to ear. Momma shoes. He was walking around in my shoes. Since then, he has been pulling every pair of our shoes out of the closet, walking around the house in them, so pleased with himself.

Cutest thing ever. And a reminder of how much he watches what we do, who we are. He wants to follow what his parents do, a natural process of a kid, and an incredible responsibility for the parents. Since I was pregnant with Bodhi I felt this concentrated desire to be a better person, not for me, but for him. Now as he grows, I feel this even more. I hope to be the person that I want him to see, to aspire to become, to know in his life. It is absolutely baffling what children will inspire within you.

Posted by globalmomma 04:17 Archived in USA Tagged children up shoes growing inspire Comments (0)

The most unadulterated place in the US

sunny 84 °F

We are back on the amazingly beautiful and peaceful island of Lana'i for our fifth wedding anniversary. In my opinion, after traveling far and wide across the US, it is the most unadulterated and genuine little piece of heaven in this country.

I AM biased, because we were married here, and every year we come back; but every year, it does not disappoint. I talk to many people who are lured by the activities of Maui, the scene of Oahu, or the nature of Kauai. They ask me, "Isn't Lanai boring? I hear there isn't much to do there". Um, exactly. Precisely the point. You don't need to spend your time doing anything, except just living and soaking up the amazing beauty and friendliness of the people and the slow easy island life that can sink deep into your soul.

Kona is a small town, but Lanai City is smaller. Kona's beaches are wonderful, but Lanai's are breathtaking.

The ferry from Lanai to Maui is a really nice way to see the ocean, the whales, and to get back to the airport, so we opted for that way of travel, instead of the small commuter plane from Maui to Lanai that is also available. Going from Kona, you have to pass through either Maui or Honolulu to get to Lanai, so we took a direct flight to Maui, then a cab from the airport to the ferry. On the way back, we opted to stay overnight in Maui. Don't even get me started on Maui. We stayed there for one night just passing through, and it is enough. We arrived to a busy lobby and a line for check-in. There were people everywhere, the pools were full of beach chairs and the complex requires a map. Oh boy. This is not the relaxing Hawaii that I know. And it is ironic, because it is the Hawaii that most people see. They see the same fast paced Hawaii, same full restaurants, and waiting in line for morning coffee and crowded beaches. Most do not get to see the beaches that are mostly empty and remarkably peaceful, the small hotels and towns that do not require maps or agenda or planning ahead. The ones that offer less in terms of attractions, but so much more in terms of a sense of deep calm and restoration and authentic island life. This is Lanai. And why we love it so much. Every time we go, we wonder, where did all the time go? Already it has been a week, and we didn't do anything at all - no snorkel adventures, no hiking, no golfing (although you can do all those things!) Just time spent walking leisurely down to the ocean, listening to the waves, watching the dolphins jump and the whales breach, having a mai tai, lounging in the pool, reading a book, sitting on the lanai...it is the slow times like this where you can be so still you can actually listen to your own thoughts, reconnect with your partner, revisit your life. DSC00084.jpg

Posted by globalmomma 13:49 Archived in USA Tagged islands relaxing hawaii peaceful lanai hawaiian serene Comments (3)

Waves of Life

one nap days

sunny 80 °F

Here I am in the middle of the one nap day, the 2 hours of personal time that I get while my son sleeps. It used to be two little breaks, and now as of Christmastime, we are officially down to one. I was hoping to drag this process out. Mostly for my own sanity and time management purposes, but also so he could get two opportunities for extra sleep. But my son appears to be a cold turkey kind of guy. He stopped one day with his second nap, and never looked back. So here we are, savoring this midday pause.

I realized last night, once again, how lucky I am, and what a gift it is to have a partner to parent with. Last night our sniffly, sweaty tot couldn't sleep. His fever was making him uncomfortable so for 4 hours, from 6:30pm until 10:30 pm, we took half hour shifts, holding him to sleep. Picking him up when he woke and rocking him back down. It could be enough to drive you mad if you didn't have someone to share it with. But now it is precisely these times that cause me to be the most thankful for what I have.

The harder a moment is, the more I realize how much ease is in the majority of my life. So I am grateful for the one nap, and the little boy who lets me spend the rest of my day with him.

We are right now considering the options moving forward: toddler bed? twin? full? How do we transition from this crib that he is starting to outgrow? Most likely he will give us the answers to this question, as he has with so many other questions. We will try and try again. It will have its hard points, and then it will go smooth and easy again, as the waves of the ocean flow out and in. I have a steady reminder of the rhythm of life, and the flow of time. When one day is stormy, the next is calm. The waves rise up, crash, and retreat. Life ebbs and flows, the good days follow the bad, and time keeps moving forward.

Posted by globalmomma 03:47 Archived in USA Tagged beach waves work life sleep hawaii toddler Comments (0)

The heat

sunny 84 °F

For those who have not been following my previous blog, globalmomma, I had a 4 month blog about my life in Italy traveling with our one year old son. Full of adventures, sightseeing, traveling, parenting, and the mundanities (mundane realities) of life all rolled up into one.

On one of those adventures, we ended up in the hospital with our son, who was having a febrile seizure in the car, while driving through Southern Italy. It is a moment in time that I cannot forget. I was scared, frantic, and worried. However, everything turned out well, he got over his cold, and we continued on our path. But each time he gets an infection now, I find myself holding my breath. Hoping it passes quickly and hoping he doesn't turn into the fiery red, hot dry infant that I remember so helplessly trying to nurture and protect. Tonight, our son's sniffles of the past few days turned into that all-out riot of feverish redness and hoarse coughing. And twenty minute wake up calls that last through the night. Part of you wants to scream for sleep but the other 99% so desperately is wanting for the fever to subside, the pain to release, the body to cure. Waiting for nature to fight its battle can be a very difficult time...I completely empathize now with parents everywhere. Every night your child is sick is one night you do not sleep. And a night spent praying to Gods you hope exist.

Sometimes Tylenol and the world's other miracles are definitely in order, and tonight is no exception. here's hoping our little guy gets some much needed rest, and wakes in the morning healed and well-rested... without feeling like he is emitting rays of the sun.

Posted by globalmomma 13:59 Archived in USA Tagged son sick hot fever sleepless tossing tylenol Comments (0)


The wonder life

I am sitting here brewing my own home espresso, reminiscing about our summer journeys in Italy. What a perfect morning ritual - the intense little shot that is espresso. Waking in Hawaii to warm salt air is wonderful, and similar to our days in Italy - beginning with a cool morning breeze, and developing into a day of heat, sun and outdoors. Early in the morning our son goes straight to the front door, pulling on one of our hands, asking us to open it so he can go outside. He's definitely an outdoors kid. And that is no doubt in part due to our adventures in his lifetime being in warm climates, where he is free to roam with minimal clothing or effort. It's been a real gift, starting his life this way; spending nearly all of our time together as a family, enjoying and living life.

And living here does something to my psyche that I cannot explain. I love waking in a tank top. I love the feeling when the sun begins to warm the Earth as it rises high in the sky. And how the color of the water changes from a light greyish blue to a deep ocean blue as the day develops.

Barefeet. Skin that smells like salt. Hearing the gathering waves crash the shore. Watching the sky turn orange then pink then the deepest azure blue. Waking to the sounds of birds out the open windows, and little feet running, and giggles.

We live simply here - in four sparse rooms. But it leaves more space and time to being outside, in nature, on the Earth.

So many places to see...so much life and Earth and world to experience. So many adventures and discoveries, so much wonder and motion and sunshine. Why live any other way? Why not appreciate every day?

Posted by globalmomma 22:01 Archived in USA Tagged vacation sun life weather earth wonder hawaii warm sunshine wandering Comments (0)

The World of a Toddler

Our son is now 20 months old, and he can sign more words than I can. His current list is: milk, juice, pear, apple, good, bird, dog, chicken, sheep, cloud, rain, snow, sleep, eat, help, music, outside, clean, wash hands, all done, more, yes, no, thank you, please, cold, hot, car, boat, bus... and those are just off the top of my head, I am sure the list goes on. He recognizes at least 3x that many signs. This baby sign language thing was definitely one thing I did right - it is amazing! And I believe it really helps our son to feel more independent and to feel understood. He looks so pleased when he can get his point across with signs and words. And it leads to a lot less frustration. He is starting to get frustrated when he cannot figure out a toy or get something to work, or if he cannot communicate what he wants. It's tough - you can't help but feel for toddlers trying to express themselves. They understand so much, yet no one understands them. They can't express what they feel. The sign language helps. The whining and protests of frustration are difficult. But every little piece they get, it is exciting to watch them put it all together and develop an awareness of the world and the things they see and feel. I am glad to have the time to really be here and watch this whole world in him develop.

www.signingtime.com (and no, I am not paid for this promotional)

And excuse my holiday hiatus please. I am now officially back in my island home, and back in the writing groove. Expect more of the regular almost daily blog posts. ;0

Posted by globalmomma 14:26 Archived in USA Tagged sign language communication signing todler Comments (1)

Worst... Plane Ride... Ever!

Today I experienced the third worst airplane trip I have ever been through.

  • *Disclaimer: If you have fears of flying, please skip this post**

The WORST airplane trip I ever had was on my honeymoon five years ago. My husband and I were flying from the main island of Nadi, Fiji to the smaller dot of an island where our prepaid resort was located. I say prepaid, because there was absolutely no chance, if it was not prepaid, that we would have made it to that resort. We duck our heads, and climb into the small prop plane that is to carry us, the pilot, copilot and 8 passengers, to the neighboring islands. There is no cockpit. No door separating passenger from pilot. No overhead bins, no jetway. We begin our trip under sunny skies, but the sky soon turns stormy and grey. It is supposed to be a quick 45 minutes trip to our island. My husband is already not the most comfortable flier. He has heart valve problems, so he gets palpitations at altitude that cause him to be uneasy on flights. He tends to prefer those large planes where you forget you are actually up several thousand feet in the air. This small plane did not allow you to forget exactly where within the clouds you were. The plane is buzzing loudly as we cut though the clouds, and then we start to be tossed around by the wind as the plane drops, rolls to the side, dips, and wobbles from side to side. I am reminded of a leaf in Autumn, being tossed about as currents of wind send it up and down at whim. Our plane is about that same magnitude of power and strength in comparison to the natural world's force around us.

The pilot of this small cessna is probably 22 years old. I can see him sweating. I hear the co-pilot on his radio, talking frantically, but I can't make out what he is saying due to the plane noise. I am trying to focus on something other than the plane but it is impossible. After over an hour, we finally land in a small runway, and white-knuckled, my husband and I prepare to get off. Thank God, we're here. "I'm sorry" the pilot informs us, but this is not your stop. We had to fly to another island first, because we couldn't land there, so now we need to double back to get you to your stop. I tell him, "that's ok, I don't care where we are, we'll get off here." But he doesn't hear me. I ask my husband, "can't we just get off here? Maybe we can catch a boat from here to our island? Find a new place to stay here?" The prepayment causes us to grit it out, but I suspect a few of the others who got off the plane weren't intending to land here. 5 of the 8 passengers on with us get off, two new people get on. The rain is so thick it is difficult to see the ground. All I see is thick grey and pounding rain. We have to switch our seats to rebalance the weight on the plane, so my husband and I are no longer sitting together. It is so terrifying, it is almost funny. Up we go again. The sky is nearly black with clouds. I see lightning strikes to both sides of our little plane. I am praying continuously, as a way to keep my calm. I take a valium. We are being thrown around like a paper airplane. I see the pilot trying to hold onto the controls with both hands, like a child playing a game with a joystick, and I feel nauseous. The pilot and co-pilot are talking in hushed tones as the co-pilot flips through a book with instructions that appears to be some type of manual. I am seriously wondering if we will make it to this next island. Another hour longer than expected, and we land safely on an even tinier runway. It is so dark outside, it is night in the middle of the afternoon. I step out, and a man is holding an umbrella flush with the plane, but in the inch of space between the plane and the stairs, I get completely drenched. The rain is coming down in sheets. I have never experienced a monsoon, and never want to again. The rain is thick, the earth has pools of flooded water, the air is dense. We are soaked to the bone, clothes sticking to us, and winds are 50 miles an hour. Palm branches are crashing down, branches and tree limbs and debris is scattered all over the resort property. Deep brown rain puddles are everywhere. Our beautiful authentic wooden palm thatched house is hard to appreciate the first night, because it seems as if the big bad wolf is huffing and puffing to blow the whole thing down. Coconuts come smashing down, and it is not safe to be outside in case one lands on your head, so we dry up, curl up, and listen to the fury of nature.

The next morning, it looks like a tornado hit. Debris is everywhere, mud and deep potholes scatter the paths and roads, and everything has been shaken to its core. We had a fitful night listening to the howling wind race through the house, and strong rains pounding against the ceiling sounded like rain on a tin metal roof.

This brings me to our last flight today, #3 worst. Another cessna. Flashbacks. We were flying inter island from Maui back to Kona. We just got off our flight from Sacramento on the mainland. We didn't realize we had to leave the airport and go to another terminal for our flight. I ask my husband, does it say anywhere on our itinerary that this is not a real airplane? Not a real flight? Any suggestion it is actually a cessna? Could this have been avoided? Nope, just sprung on us like a bad surprise party. No security. No co-pilot, no cockpit. Utoh. This time, I have a toddler. We are weighed and told where to sit. The flight is uneventful in comparison, except that I have a squirming 25 pound child in my arms who doesn't understand that my death grip means he cannot get up. He can't touch anything. We are next to the door, and I am petrified that he will reach for the lever, or touch some knobs. I succeed in reading him the same two books over and over to keep him on my lap for a full 40 minute flight that feels like twice as long as that. The baby is screaming when he looks out the window and sees us climbing from earth. He cries from the noise and the air pressure, and the scary dips the plane makes as it drifts up and up over the mountains of Haleakala. Children screaming and sweaty mothers brings me to terrible flight #2.

  1. 2 worst is not equal in magnitude to the terror of our first worst flight, but it was equally painfully long. There were 26 children in our immediate five rows. We have one child, but he is an easy flyer. It is a Southwest flight, with free seating, and there is not a free seat in the house. We are packed to the hilt. We sit next to an older lady, who is one of the last on the plane. She seems perfectly nice, until she begins ordering two, then three straight scotch. She tells us she is claustrophobic and would we mind changing seats so she can have the aisle? I am usually unusually nice, to a fault. But I do not know what to say to this request, so I hedge. She presses and asks again. At first, I say, I'm sorry but we just can't. We were here first, we specifically chose the aisle, which we need because we have a baby on our laps who needs to be up every fifteen minutes to change, and who we need to stand to rock to sleep. So no, we really cannot change seats with you. 'That's fine', she says, 'I will let you out'. I ignore her. Five minutes later, she asks again. So I say, well, this is really inconvenient for us with the baby. She seems unconcerned. I am ready to bend to the pressure and be inconvenienced when my husband suggests that she find someone else willing to switch seats with her. We find a lady nearby willing to take her window seat, much to all of our relief, and we get reorganized. Then she forgets all of her things under the seat and we have to pass it up several aisles. We get our son to sleep and just as he finally nods off, this little girl in front of us, who is traveling with her mom and two siblings and has been whining all flight, begins to scream at the top of her lungs. Great. Up after ten minutes of a nap. This is going to be a long five hour flight. The mother of this three year old is screaming back at her: Cory, sit down! Shut up! She is nearly hysterical herself. She is sitting in another row, by herself, and all three kids are in the row next to us. She is yelling back to them. The mother comes back and is trying to get the child to calm down, but she is grabbing her arm violently, then holding her down. The girl is screaming louder, you're hurting me! stop! And the mother is again yelling back. Girl, wailing. Everyone within earshot of this interaction is getting noticeably uncomfortable. Several consider intervening. Finally a man nearby tells the mom to take a break, and starts talking to her and calming her down. It is ugly. I hate passing judgments on parents, because I know how hard it can be, and we all have our moments where we lose it, we aren't proud, we are imperfect. But this was Nanny 911 material. Horrendous. And we were all an unwillingly captive audience. I felt like I was on a Jerry Springer set. On that 5 hour flight from Boston to Phoenix, at least every one of those 26 children was crying, often several at once in symphony. No one could sleep, no one could think. I was focused on trying my hardest to keep my son (and myself!) calm and entertained, despite the chaos around us. I look up and see the same mother with her noise-cancelling headphones on watching a movie, while two of her children climb over armrests to the seats in front of them. I wonder why someone has children if they are unwilling to put in the time and energy to entertain and be with them. She occasionally glared back and yelled at them, but never once brought a child to her seat, came back and read to them, gave affection or attention...it was infuriating. I have empathy for other parents when their child is crying and they are trying to console them, get them to sleep, rock them, appease them. My baby cries too, I have been there. But when a child is crying and the parent does nothing, that is what makes a bad rap for all of us. Show up and do the work.

Posted by globalmomma 06:56 Archived in USA Tagged flight ride from island small plane trip airplane hell angry screams Comments (0)

The Community Pool Incident

semi-overcast 80 °F

We are lucky in Kona to have amazing community parks and a large community center pool, complete with a baby pool, fountain, and an area for swimming laps. We go there once a week at least, so my husband can swim his laps, and Bodhi & I can play in the pool while I attempt to teach him how to swim.

I am, however, most likely never going to set foot at the community pool again.

Today on our trip, we splashed in the baby pool as usual. Then I took my son into the big pool for swimming and to practice kicking in the deeper water. All of the sudden, I saw sediment in the water and freaked out a little. Oh no. I immediately got us both out of the pool and rushed into the women's changing room with only a towel and his diaper. Sure enough, he had pooped in the pool. And somehow it had managed to escape and leak out through both the swim diaper (what are the use of those things anyway!?!) and the swimsuit I had OVER the diaper. And it had gotten into the pool. Well, at this point, I knew what the cause of the sediment was, and who was to blame. And at that moment, I was trying to figure out exactly how to leave the pool without being seen. Only, my stuff and my husband were still AT the pool, and I was hovering inside the women's bathroom.

I was imagining the lifeguard blowing his whistle and getting out his megaphone, announcing that there needed to be an expedient evacuation of the pool due to contamination. Then I was imagining all of the irritated and disgusted faces that would be glaring at us as me and my son (the only baby there today, as luck would have it) made our way back across the pool to the parking lot. Luckily, I saw my husband wander over to our towels, and quickly ran out of the locker room. "Quick", I shouted, "Let's go, now!" I had on only my bathing suit and Bodhi only a new diaper, and I was speedwalking across the cement toward the parking lot. My oblivious husband came jogging after us, saying, 'what's going on?' I explained what had happened, and why I needed to keep moving with my head down before I was noticed.

He told me to act nonchalantly, but I was so mortified I couldn't slow down. "Boy, I really liked that place", I said, "Too bad I can't go there again". Turns out, there was no megaphone and no fingers pointing in my direction, but I wasn't going to take any chances. I don't want to be THAT person, who gets banned from using the pool. And the excuse: "I DID use a swim diaper, I promise!" wasn't going to work, so I figured better to play it safe and deny everything.

Posted by globalmomma 10:20 Archived in USA Tagged swim baby pool community exercise poop embarrassment laps Comments (0)

Ahh, Hawai'i

Wherever you go, there you are...

sunny 82 °F

Some days, I get a real reminder how lucky we are to be living here in Hawai'i. This doesn't erase the fact that each day I wake up, look outside, and see sunshine. Throw on flip-flops (or slippahs, as they call them here) and take a stroll to the beach or the pool or the shops in Kailua-Kona, and every day is a day to go outside. I do not take that for granted, but sometimes you get a big slapping reminder too. Last night, there was a swell, and we could hear the surf pounding the shore from our little lanai. It was still exciting to be able to hear the waves, still brought a sense of wonder and enjoyment to be living that close to the ocean.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, the surf swell had arrived in Kahalu'u beach, our local beginner surfing spot. We have been wanting to take another surf lesson for the past 2 weeks, while our families were in town and we had some time for a surf date. But the waves didn't cooperate and despite several attempts to go out, we never got our lesson. Of courrse, the day after everyone left, the waves came back to town. So we decided to go out and tag team surf. I would stay in the beach with Bodhi and Chris would go out, then we would switch. We learned this from some friends in Oahu who were actively surfing while she was pregnant, and back out again when their little guy was just several weeks old.

Being out on the water, floating and riding, is really a feeling that is difficult to describe. It is freedom and meditation and a rush of adenaline all at once. It reminds me of a cup of tea... It can be anything you want it to be. A little comfort, a shot of energy, a warming feeling, an old friend. Surfing is this way too, because there is no pressure to perform. I was hesitant to go out because the waves were larger, and I have not been out on our new board at all. Then, I decided in the end to just go through the exercise and see what arose. Surfing is my new kind of yoga.

When I came back to the beach, surfboard in hand, threw it on top of our little Cooper, and began running around with my little guy - I ran into some tourists. They were here from Switzerland, here for a week, standing on the same beach where we can come everyday. It filled me with a gratitude for being here. Possibly the nicest thing for me about living in Hawai'i is the natural gratitude that is in my morning every day just by virtue of waking in a place that I love.

My husband and I have both been strong believers that WHERE you are is important to your psyche, your attitude, your life. Sometimes a certain place will speak to you and some times a certain place will be all wrong. We have noticed, being avid travelers, that the experience of a place can drastically affect your emotions, your outlook, your motivations. When in the right place, you can feel more creative, spontaneously happy, more alive. Places that don't fit who you are can cause tension, conflict, unhappiness. As a couple or a family, this can be interesting, because diifferent places can fit one person more than another. But if you are sensitive to the effects of the land on your spirit, you will notice that certain places will call to you, make you feel more at ease, more connected, more at home. Others are just a no. Just like people. Ever notice how you can meet someone and right away know you can be good friends?

This is how I feel on the island of Hawai'i. Like I have met a good friend.

Posted by globalmomma 10:59 Archived in USA Tagged beach waves locals surfing tourists friendship hawaii Comments (1)

The Sleep Wars

i am so irritated right now i can barely contain it.  i am, once again, despite all of my zenlike efforts and intentions, totally consumed with the sleep habits of a child.  

He sleeps, then I am content and thinking he is the greatest being ever to grace the Earth.  He does not sleep, and I am clenching my teeth, trying not to scream at a toddler.  His will is like an iron grip around my heart, and when he tests it, it hurts.  Tonight, and last night, we have made repeated attempts to get our son to bed... From 7pm to 9pm the clock ticks, the food gets cold, the tempers get short.   Bodhi, however, is still red-eyed and wide awake.  My husband is on the field, in the room, and I am more like a soccer mom, calling phrases of encouragement at him: "You can do it!  Go sweetie!"  Feeling inadequate and frustrated.  Part of me is aching for my 19 month old determined little boy, not wanting him to struggle.  The other part of me is ready to put him on a ship out to sea.  Turns out more important than patience in parenting is a giant box of wine and someone to laugh with, because I am going to need both of those things this evening, and the patience has left the vicinity.

Posted by globalmomma 14:45 Comments (0)

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