Saturday, October 30, 2010

Girls Only

Last month, Emily and I had a "Girls Only" weekend in Waikiki. This was basically a "birds and the bees" discussion time. Emily already knew where babies come from but this weekend we focused on details, emotions, and repercussions of baby making.

I had ordered Passport2Purity as our curriculum for the weekend and I can not recommend it highly enough! It was fabulous! There were five lessons to listen to on DVD as well as a workbook for Emily to fill out as we listened. There was discussion time after each subject and little projects we had to do together to enforce the messages being taught. Although I knew a lot of things I wanted to discuss with her on this subject, the DVD lessons had useful information I wouldn't have thought to include. I was very thankful to have had this program as a guide to make certain all aspects were covered. I do wish I had done this with Emily when she was a little younger. At 13, she already knew a lot of the basic information which was presented. This program can be used for boys or girls; most of the information is applicable to everyone, but there are some areas which are specifically for boys and some areas which are specifically for girls. You just listen to the section indicated.

For our weekend, we stayed at the Hale Koa hotel. I had made our reservations on-line because they were offering a 20% discount for kama'aina (people who live on the island). When I checked in, I handed the clerk my driver's license to prove my residency. He handed it back to me and told me he didn't need to see it, just my military ID. I responded that I thought he needed to see it as proof of residency for the kama'aina 20% discount. He told me, "Oh, I thought you were getting the hotel's thirty-fifth anniversary 35% discount."

"Oh, yeah," I smiled, "that's the one we were getting - the 35% off discount." He then proceeded to upgrade our room from garden view to ocean view for no extra charge!

I then purchased tickets to their magic show which also turned out to have a special discount. Our weekend was starting out fabulously!

I took pictures of Emily on the balcony of our ocean view room.

We could also see the mountains from our balcony. I had my coffee out on the balcony one morning while Emily was still sleeping and it was glorious.

We tried to take a picture of ourselves together on the balcony.

Then we tried again.

After our first P2P session, we strolled down the streets and enjoyed the sights. There are always vendors, performers, and entertaining people in the area.

We looked in the windows of the really ritzy stores that we don't dare step into for fear of a sneer. The salespeople are intimidating. I taught Emily how to pronounce "Hermes".

On a side note, I just learned how to pronounce "haute couture" this week.

We ate at "The Yard House" and I told Emily she could order anything she wanted as long as it was dairy free. I ate the tomato and the slab of mushroom on her plate as she refused to.

After dinner we browsed a bookstore, because any place filled with books thrills Emily.

On the second day, we had the fabulous breakfast buffet in the hotel, swam in the pool, and strolled down the beach in between P2P sessions.

For dinner we went to the Magic In Paradise show which was wonderful! They had a great buffet and we got to see a comedy magic show. We shared a table with a couple who were visiting Hawaii for their 50th anniversary and we had a fabulous time talking with them.

The last event on our agenda was to go on the Atlantis Submarine. Kerry and I went on our anniversary, but none of the kids have been and I knew this would be a lot of fun for Emily.

Having been on this before, I made sure we were positioned near the door leading to the submarine, hoping to be seated near the front of the vessel where we would be able to see out the front window as well. Unfortunately, a large Russian man near me had the same idea. He elbowed his way to the front of the line and pretended not to speak English when the staff were instructing him to move out of the way and sit down.

When we were finally boarding, it turned out we were at the very back of the submarine and Mr. Big Russian Elbow Thrower was in the very last seat where he suddenly became fluent in English for the rest of the trip.

This is what Emily looks like deep under the ocean in a submarine.

We saw an amazing amount of fish and turtles!

We really enjoyed this time together! This was a great weekend and I would recommend that everyone take a chance to spend time with each of your children individually. I hadn't realize how different it can be with just one child rather than all three. We were able to get in a lot of private talks and really have some fabulous girl time.

Go do it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who Needs The Gym?

Letting Ben drive everywhere I need to go is a win-win situation:

He gets to practice driving and I get an elevated heart rate for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

R&R Welcome

Remember this?

This video was shown on the now-cancelled "Bonnie Hunt Show" about a year ago. I uploaded it to you tube, and it's been viewed over 30,000 times. It's gotten popular enough that You Tube asked for permission to put an ad on the site. We get one-tenth of a cent for every billion people who click on the ad (or something like that). So go watch the video on YouTube and then click on the ad! Help me buy a gum ball or two!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Ben took the PSAT this morning. I've hounded him all week about what to do and how to do it. This is crunch time - where all our hard work starts to really count. The scores from the PSAT will be sent to colleges and they can start contacting him if they are interested. The scores are also submitted to the National Merit Scholarship Program (although as a privileged white male, I don't think Ben is going to given a lot of scholarship opportunities). He (I) won't find out his scores until December, so he (I) have quite a while to wait before we know how he (we) did.

The test was given at a local public high school. Fortunately for Ben, five of his homeschool friends and about a dozen of his youth group friends were all there so he wasn't totally on his own.

When we pulled up, I was still trying to drill into him some of the facts we've been covering all week.

"If you don't know the answer, just skip the question. Don't try to guess. It's better to not answer it than to get it wrong. Read carefully. Don't skim. Go back and check you answers if you still have time, don't just sit there when you're done. Recheck everything."

Ben interrupted my monologue long enough to ask me one pertinent question:

"Is my hair too long?"

Clearly, we have different priorities.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

25 Random Facts

Ben and Emily each decided to write 25 random facts about themselves and post it on Facebook. Sometimes I learn more about my kids from Facebook than I do from living in the same house with them........


1. I love getting socks for Christmas and birthdays (hint hint)

2. I have written 3 books

3. I currently have 67 teddy bears

4. I have cynophobia

5. I am allergic to cats, dogs, milk, dust mites, and mold

6. My longest babysitting job ever was for nine hours

7. I have more notebooks than I care to count

8. I want to get at least one of my books published before I learn to drive

9. I have two dogs (and am allergic to both of them)

10. I have worn makeup outside of the house four times in my life

11. I need braces

12. I already had braces

13. I love going to museums and reading about EVERYTHING there

14. I'm having trouble thinking of what else to write for this thing

15. I know how to knit and crochet

16. Ketchup, lamb, and (sometimes) beef make me sick even though I'm not allergic to them

17. I have eczema

18. I once played guitar for so long that my fingers bled. No, wait... I did it twice.

19. I don't get callouses easily (see above)

20. I can't read or play guitar when I have my glasses on

21. I hate camping

22. I want to adopt several children once I'm married

23. I can feel nauseated by just thinking about it (like right now. No, it's not on purpose)

24. My glasses have been broken six times

25. I just wrote 25 random facts about me. :D


1 I was at the computer when I made this note.

2 I have climbed Stairway to Heaven.

3 I love Mexican food!!

4 I have been in every Club Beyond skit since I moved here.

5 My dog weighs 165 pounds!

6 I am a firm believer that all smiley faces should have noses :-)

7 I have eaten Alligator, Buffalo, Ostrich, Sheep, and Frog legs.

8 I haven't grown a millimeter since I moved to Hawaii 2 years ago.

9 If I could have any pet in the world, it would be a Gryphon!

10 I have gone 30 hours without food, and drinking just water.

11 I am distantly related to Sarah Palin.

12 I have 15 knives

13 I have never broken a bone, gotten stitches, had a cavity, or died

14 I am a salsa/swing/square/waltz/hula/sign dancer!

15 I have ridden horses, camels, and elephants.

16 I have been in negative 60 degree weather.

17 I almost never wear shoes, even in the snow.

18 I am a skilled free runner! (or "parkour" for all you snobs)

19 I think that Casting Crowns is the best band ever to exist.

20 I believe that swearing is for the weak-minded.

21 No Zombie would ever stand a chance against me!

22 I have eaten 1 and a half watermelons in one sitting.

23 The Irish accent and southern accent are natural to me!

24 I play the violin, and I'm proud!

25 Jesus will come back and rule the world someday, and I will be by his side.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monk Seal in Repose

This was cool!

We went to White Plains Beach on Sunday and a big 'ol monk seal was out sunning on the beach.

Every so often he would roll over to let the other side bake a little.

Then he would schlump a few feet up higher on the beach.

Then he would open his eyes and look at us.

Then he would close his eyes again.

I forgot my camera and I had to take pictures with Kerry's cell phone.

We see turtles on the beach all the time, but this was the first time we've seen a seal - except at the sea life park and it looked nothing like those cute seals that balanced balls on their noses and danced in tutus. This fella was ginormous!

I love my life!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The school where Ben took his Driver's Ed class has a giant banner hanging outside proclaiming their adequacy.

I knew you wouldn't believe me so I took a picture with my phone:

We have achieved "Adequate Yearly Progress" it declares proudly.

When I was growing up, adequate was an insult - especially pertaining to school work. Adequate meant you had just barely made the grade. It wasn't excellent. It wasn't superb. It wasn't even good. No one urged their kids to "go out there and be adequate!"

Then Ben showed me this sign, which was hanging in the "cafetorium".

It mentions "Suprine" Pizza, "Pepreroni" Pizza, and a "Feild" Trip. Don't even get me started about the apostrophe in pizza's.

Sometimes even adequate isn't good enough.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Driver's Ed

Ben had to take Driver's Ed classes this week. When I was growing up, Driver's Ed was an optional course you could take if you wanted. Hawaii state law requires Driver's Ed if you are under the age of 18 and want to get a license.

I could have signed Ben up with the local high school but I understood from others who have gone before us that this could mean a wait of around eight months (homeschoolers obviously don't get first priority over the students who actually attend the high school). The course is thirty hours, and this means every Tuesday and Thursday night for weeks until all information has been covered. I wanted to just get this over with, so I signed Ben up for an intensive four-day course that one of his friends was also taking. We figured it was a good way to get the course out of the way quickly and he would know someone in the class. Hooray.

The first day, we arrived early. It was taking place at a local elementary school and, not being familiar with the area, I wanted to allow time to get lost and try to find our way around. When we pulled into the parking lot of the school, there were several tough looking local high schoolers standing around waiting for the class to start. Ben opted to wait in the car with me until his friend Alex showed up.

Unfortunately, Alex was running late, and I had another appointment I had get to. I finally looked at Ben and told him, "It's going to be really embarrassing when I am trying to shove you out of the car with my feet and you are hanging on to the edge screaming, 'No, Mommy! Don't leave me here!' "

He gave me a teenager look and went in. I paid the teacher an astronomical amount of money and verified the time. "I'm supposed to pick him up at 4:00?"

"No, we'll get out at 3:00," he told me.

Ben texted me later and told me they were getting out at 2:30.

When I picked him up I brightly asked what sort of things they had learned.

"We had to read chapters of the driver's manual and then act out scenes from it."

"The driver's manual that you studied in order to take your driver's exam? That manual? You just read it again and made skits out of it?"

"Yep. And we took an hour and a half for lunch and had several long breaks and it all counted as class time."

"Wow. Well I think you're supposed to watch several films about drinking and driving and stuff, so I bet all that comes tomorrow."

The next day they read the manual out loud to each other and then made road signs out of construction paper. Ben made a "deer crossing" sign because there are no deer in Hawaii. They got out at 2:30 again.

The next day, the instructor was sick so class was cancelled. He told us there would be a makeup day around Christmas time. I told Kerry I bet there would never be a makeup day.

The next day the teacher told us they really didn't need a makeup day and he let them out at 1:00. He bought Ben and Alex lunch because all the other teens left and walked to a fast food place nearby while Ben and Alex had brought sandwiches.

"He bought you lunch?" I was astounded.

"Yeah, we tried to say no but we really wanted to say yes so we weren't very emphatic with our no," Ben told me. "We're the only ones who don't swear in class and we speak up and answer the questions correctly so I think he likes us."

I asked him what they had done on the last day.

"We had our final exam. The teacher told us all to write down three questions we thought should be on the test. Then he asked us all those questions. He would read one question, we would write down the answer, then he would tell us what the answer should be and read us the next question."

"So if someone got it wrong, they could just change their answer?"

"Yep," Ben told me. "And some of them still got answers wrong. The teacher asked us what was the most important thing about driving then he told us, "It starts with "A" and ends with "-titude". One kid wrote down, "Check your mirrors".

One of the questions was, "What do you do when you come to a stop sign?"

Ben passed the class.

It was a total waste of time and money, but a requirement for him to get his license. Now he just has to go driving with his teacher for six hours and driving with his parents for fifty hours, ten of which must be after dark.

Pray for me.

Another Katie Story

Well, after my last post about Katie's penchant for doing the wrong thing, I didn't expect to have another Katie story so soon.

We went to our homeschool co-op yesterday. The co-op consists of around 40 people and we all get together to do PE, and study science, art and writing. In the hustle and bustle of everyone arriving and getting their things in order, Katie realized she had left her science experiment in the car and asked for the keys to go back out and get it.

Then we all settled down into our classes; I wasn't teaching during the science class today so I was talking with another mom for a while.

About 40 minutes into class time, Katie came running through the house and tearfully flung herself into my lap. She was red and sweaty, and I was trying to determine if she was hurt or just upset about something that had happened in her class.

Turns out when she had gone out to the van to get her experiment, she had opened the sliding door on the van just wide enough to enter, and once she was in, it slid shut. She realized her experiment was in the very back of the van in the hatchback area and climbed over the seats to get there. Once in the very rear, she couldn't get herself back up over the seat because it came all the way up to her armpits, and the sloping glass at the back didn't allow her enough room for leverage. Because she had the keys with her, she wisely set off the car alarm a couple of times hoping someone would hear it and come rescue her. I didn't hear it although several others did, but of course no one did anything because no one pays attention to car alarms going off these days.

Finally, after 40 minutes in a sweltering hot car, a neighbor who was driving down the street looked in her rear view mirror and saw Katie beating on the back window and crying. She got out of her car and ran to open the hatch and let Katie out.

Poor Katie was drenched in sweat and beet red. It took quite a while for us to get her cooled off. I rubbed her with a cold wet towel and gave her ice water to drink until her color returned to normal. By lunch time she was telling a dramatic rendition to all who would listen of how she just barely cheated death.

I had thought she was in class, and her teacher had thought she was with me.

Mommy guilt galore.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Learning Things The Hard Way

We were going through a drive through last week and the kids were all trying to tell me at the same time what they wanted to eat.

As I pulled up to the speaker, I hit the button to roll down my window, but I accidentally rolled down the window behind me, where Katie was sitting. Realizing my mistake, I pushed the button to roll my window down and rolled Katie's window up at the same time.

Immediately there were bloodcurdling screams from the back seat. "Roll the window down! Roll the window down!"

In the five seconds that the window was rolled down three inches, Katie had stuck her hand outside. When I rolled it up, her hand was pinned by the window.

I quickly jabbed the button to roll the window back down and she snatched her hand back inside and cradled it, trying not to cry.

I was trying to ascertain how injured she was and trying to order our food all at the same time. Ben and Emily were still trying to tell me what they wanted to eat while simultaneously chiding Katie for sticking her hand out the window.

Katie was, of course, furious at their lack of sympathy.

"Well, you did the same thing one day when Daddy was driving," Emily retorted.

A few days later Katie came walking through the house with a paper towel pressed up to her face.

"What are you doing?" I questioned.

"My tongue is bleeding," she replied.

"Your tongue is bleeding? What on earth did you do to it?"

"I licked the metal shelf in the freezer to see if my tongue would stick to it."

"It did."