Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homeschool Prom

The homeschool prom went very well, if I do say so myself. I was on the planning committee and it turned out to be much better than I hoped.

The food was fabulous. I'm not a fan of buffet food, but this was actually exceptional.

We had a dance team come in and do a performance for the teens. Then they taught all the teens a simple swing dance. Everyone got to dance, no one was left sitting at a table alone.

Ben has rhythm and loves to dance so he was quite in demand for the entire evening.

Ben danced.......

and danced...........

and danced.......

and danced..........

and danced. And then, being the typical non-traditional kids that homeschoolers are...

....they all danced in the rain in their suits and beautiful dresses.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Play

All three of the kids are getting ready to perform in a play. It is taking over our lives and we have done little else except rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals.

This is the cover of the program. Ben is an angel and the girl is a demon.

I'll let you know how it goes.....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Honolulu Zoo

Kerry recently took a day off and we decided to check out the zoo here. We've been to zoos all over the country. Kerry is a zoo maniac. It's always one of the first things he wants to do when we move to a new place. "Let's go check out the zoo!" What he really means is, "Let's go to the reptile house!" We've all learned that when we get to the reptile house, we can just find a bench and wait while Kerry gazes in rapture at all the critters I would freak out over if they weren't behind glass. It actually works out well as we've learned to wait until everyone is hot and tired. The reptile house is cool and quiet and we can rest while Kerry communes with nature. He's very Dr. Doolittle-ish about reptiles.

The Honolulu Zoo is small but well kept and very clean. I say it's small, but really it was a good size for a day's outing. When we went to the Omaha Zoo, we were practically sprinting by the end of the day trying to make it to most of the exhibits. At the Honolulu Zoo, we didn't have to rush and we still got to see almost everything.

Katie suddenly looked older that day which I didn't like at all.

I made a collage of some of the animals we saw rather than putting a dozen different photos on here. We did see all the animals and these photos are all taken by us. Be glad I'm not posting the three videos someone took of a turtle walking. Or the dozen or so photos Emily took of leaves and flowers. I recently bought her an SD card of her own so I wouldn't have to sort through dozens of artistic photos when browsing through my camera.

We really enjoyed this zoo. We were able to get close enough to the animals to get a good view of most of them. The peacock was a hoot. He was in full "show-off" mode and the little female he was trying to impress wouldn't even look at him. The kids always enjoy the monkeys (the orangutan was HUGE!). My favorite is always the elephant. I don't know why, but I love the elephants. The same way we have to wait for Kerry at the reptile house, everyone has to wait for me at the elephants. They are just so cool.

My favorite tee-shirt in the gift shop.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The 2011 World Fireknife Competition

I'm always amazed that we keep discovering new things here. You would think that on an island this size, we would have seen pretty much everything there is to see. We've been out to the Polynesian Cultural Center four times over the last couple of years, but we'd never seen the Ha - Breath of Life show. I'd heard it was very good, but for some reason we hadn't seen it.

Well, last night was the second night of the 2011 World Fireknife Competition, and the top three competitors were going to be competing during the intermission of the Ha - Breath of Life show. Because we have annual passes to PCC we were able to go for free (always a plus).

They do not allow videos or photography during the show, but I found a commercial of sorts on YouTube which I have embedded here for your viewing pleasure:

The show was amazing! It featured all the various dance styles we usually see at a luau but also wove a story through it. It had the romance of a love story, the warm-fuzzies of a family story, the excitement of a tribal war, the humor of watching someone learn to walk through fire without setting their grass skirt on fire, and the drama of life and death. The scenery was gorgeous and dramatic and the music had us shimmying in our seats. I can't believe we didn't go see this before now!

During intermission, they brought out the top three finalists of the World Fireknife Competition. I believe they said that there had been twenty-one competitors originally. The top three were performing last night, and again tonight, and one will be chosen as the winner. Of the three remaining competitors one was from American Samoa, one was from Orlando, Florida, and one was a local fellow from Laie. These fellows were amazing! They would take the fire and stroke it across their chests and legs. They would hold the stick with their feet, with the flames touching their feet. They each twirled two fireknives at a time, and one of them added a third!

I did take some videos, but because of the low light, my videos are not terribly clear. So once again, thanks to YouTube, I found a video of last year's winner for you to see how phenomenal these men are. He even touches the flames to his tongue, and then uses the flames on his tongue to light the other end of his fireknife.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Kerry, the kids and I went out to lunch on our anniversary. We were in separate cars, so when we left, Kerry and Ben went to his car, and the girls went in the van with me. I was still sitting in my parking space looking for the address of Emily's orthodontist in the GPS when someone backed into me.

Fortunately, the man who hit me admitted it was his fault. I was parked after all, it could hardly have been my fault. But he could have said I was backing out and hit him. But he was honest, and his insurance will be taking care of everything.

Katie was really excited to have been in an accident. She was hoping to go down to the police station and identify suspects in a line-up, but apparently that wasn't necessary.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twenty Years Go By In A Blink

It can't possibly have been twenty years. It seems like ten, tops.

Look how skinny we were....
Kerry's groom's cake had little Army men fighting a mock battle. Our ring bearer asked us if he could take the army men home with him after the wedding. He's twenty-four now.

I haven't seen my dress in twenty-years. It was the main guest of honor at the wedding. Everything revolved around the dress. It was more important than anything else. I think it is in my mother's attic.

This is a picture of me and my sister at the reception. Her hair is naturally curly. She spent years straightening it. My hair is naturally straight. I've spent a small fortune on perms.

I loved my earrings. They were beautiful. I loaned them to a friend for her wedding ten years ago and she lost one of them at the reception.

We aren't friends any more.

This was in the day before brides and grooms shoved their cake all over each other. We would have been signing divorce papers the following Monday if that had happened back in my day.

It's difficult to see my wedding ring but I loved it too. It was a pear-shaped sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Kerry had it in his hand when he was down on one knee proposing to me and he put it on my finger in the church at our wedding.

Katie flushed it down the toilet when she was a year and half old.

Everything from that day that was so important at the time - the dress, the ring, the earrings - it's all gone now.

But the marriage is what lasted and really, that was the most important part.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Gift For The Chocoholic In Your Life

Okay, this was cool.

Emily saw an ad to "design your own candy bar" and thought that would make an excellent gift for me. I am a true chocoholic. As long as I stay away from chocolate, I'm okay. But let me get one bite, one bite mind you, and I'm done for. I want more. And more. And more. And more. I am not a person who can take one or two bites of something chocolate and stop. Unless it's cheap waxy chocolate and then I have no problem stopping.

I try. I do. I'll have one of those little mini-chocolate candy bars and think that I'll just have the one. But then it tastes so good, I think, "Well, I'll just have one more." Then I think, "Oooh. I haven't tried the ones with peanuts yet. I have to have at least one of each type." And before I know it, there is a pile of little candy wrappers and no chocolate.

Thank goodness I don't feel this way about beer.

But it truly gives me an idea of how an alcoholic feels. You think you can go back to having just a little. But every little bit lowers your resistance for the next little bit. Next thing you know, you've gone overboard again. If I were addicted to alcohol, I would would have to never, ever, ever have even a drop if I wanted to have a normal life. Luckily, a chocolate addiction does not make me wake up in a gutter or abuse my kids. Actually, quite the opposite. I'm probably much more pleasant to be around when I've had chocolate which is why the kids banded together and ordered me my own personalized chocolate for Mother's Day.

They ordered this from Chocri. Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it the most precious thing you've ever seen in your life? I wish I had gone to a professional photographer with this and had a portrait made of it wrapped in a baby blanket. I could have hung it up right next to the baby pictures of my kids.

Maybe even a little higher than them.

They chose for me a layer of milk chocolate, and a layer of white chocolate with bourbon vanilla mixed in. It was then topped with macadamia nuts and caramel chocolate drops.

My kids really love me.

Maybe I will hang their photos higher after all.....

But unfortunately, it didn't last long enough to make it into the car, much less to a photography studio.

Ah well. If I get any more, I won't eat it so fast.

And this time, I mean it!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

"That holiday this week was called 'pico de gallo', right?" Katie asked me.

"No, pico de gallo is what Aunty Lia makes for us to eat on chips," I responded. "Cinco de Mayo is the name of the holiday. 'Cinco' means 'five' in Spanish and 'Mayo' means 'May' in Spanish."

"And 'mayo' means 'mayonnaise' in English," Ben added.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Declaration of Independence Hits the Road

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence that you normally see - with the giant JOHN HANCOCK at the bottom - is not the original? I never knew this!

When the original handwritten Declaration was completed on July 4th, 1776, it was immediately sent to the printing shop of John Dunlap. He printed off about 200 copies of this document which were then distributed throughout the thirteen colonies to spread the word of what the Continental Congress was trying to do - break free of England. It was only later - in August - that a ceremonial draft of the Declaration was created and actually signed by many of the men who wrote it. It actually took several years to get all fifty-six signatures. This is the copy which we normally see and which is now kept in the National Archives. The handwritten original was lost.

The copies made by John Dunlap are now known as Dunlap Broadsides. Until 1984 only 24 copies of Dunlap Broadsides were known to exist. Around that time, someone bought a painting at a flea market for four dollars. Later on while inspecting a tear in the backing of the painting, the purchaser discovered an original Dunlap Broadside tucked in behind the paper.

I would have said, "Oh look, someone tucked one of those fake Declarations you can buy in DC gift shops back here." And I probably would have tossed it out. That may be what happened to the other 175 copies of it.

Fortunately, the person who discovered it had more sense than I do and thought to have it appraised.

In 2000, Norman Lear bought it for just over eight million dollars. That's eight million dollars. Not a bad little profit for a $4 flea market purchase.

This particular Dunlap Broadside is now traveling the country. It came to Pearl Harbor for a couple of days and we decided to go see it.

Pretty cool to see a copy of the Declaration of Independence that is actually older than the one with all the signatures.

While there we watched a video starring Reese Witherspoon which explained all the pertinent info about the history of the Dunlap Broadside.

I like her. She's smart. And pretty. And she doesn't pose naked.

There was also a video of many famous actors reading the Declaration of Independence. I don't know when this was filmed, but it must have been a long time ago. Mel Gibson and Michael Douglas both have brown hair. And I don't even recognize some of the people in it, although clearly they must have been famous considering the company they are in.

My kids found the entire experience profoundly boring but they enjoyed getting to talk to their friends who were also dragged there.

But one day they will be dragging their children to see fascinating bits of history.

And I will be vindicated!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

David Crowder Band

We were able to attend a concert by the David Crowder Band recently when they played at the HIM conference. Ben and Emily headed right down into the "mosh pit" area with the camera. The picture above is the only one with even remotely discernible images. Why? Because all the people down in front of the stage were jumping up and down and screaming, and the camera doesn't take great pictures when it is being vigorously waved around.

This is a video Emily took in between screaming and singing. It starts off dark, but after a few seconds you can see everyone bouncing. The entire building was shaking. Back where Katie and I were sitting, we could feel the floor vibrating beneath our feet. Katie became concerned that it might be about to collapse. The music was a little loud for her and she plugged her ears with her fingers so as not to be completely overwhelmed with sound. She really enjoyed the softer songs and would stand on her chair and sing along to ones she knew.

Ben and Emily clearly weren't bothered by the volume. They both came home hoarse from screaming and singing.

If you haven't heard the David Crowder Band, you should. They are a Christian Modern Rock band and have some really good songs! Check these out:

How He Loves Us

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Henry Wingrunner

Katie was outside playing when she came running in with a frantic look on her face. "There's an injured bird in our yard! We have to help him!"

I went outside with her to see. There was a young bird flopping around in the yard with one leg sticking out at a decidedly bizarre angle.

Oh no.

I have to tell you - I did not want to help this bird. I don't like birds. They are dirty critters who poop everywhere and have mites on them. I enjoy seeing other people's pet birds and I love seeing parrots in the zoo. But I don't have to feed or touch those birds so I don't mind them. But I did not want to take care of this one and definitely did not want it in my house.

But there stood Katie with a shoebox and an absolute determination to help the dirty little thing.


I don't know many parents that can convince their kids, "He's better off if you just let him die. A neighborhood cat will eat him and it will be really quick. It's that whole circle of life thing. The cat has to eat too!"

So, I got some gardening gloves and picked up the bird and put him in the shoe box and brought him inside my house. I'd better have an extra star in my crown when I get to heaven for that.

We already have a bird nest that we found in the yard a while back, so we put it in the box with him where he promptly ignored it. After some quick research on line, we fed him some sugar water through a straw and contacted a local wild bird rehabilitation center. They advised me that they did not have enough staff to help the bird, but that if we wanted to bring the bird in and let them examine it, they could show us how to feed it and give us all the supplies to take care of it and also set its leg so it could heal properly.

So Katie and I set off to meet up with a bird lady who supplied us with a bird cage, bird food, feeding syringes and instructions on how to feed him properly. We learned that he was a baby Brazillian Cardinal and that there was no way to tell if he was a male or female but we just assumed he was male from the beginning. The bird lady warned Katie that there was no way to tell yet if he had internal injuries and that there was a strong possibility he might not survive. Katie said she understood but that we had to do everything we could to help him.

Then we had to drive off to meet the lady who was going to set his leg. Once she saw him though, she realized his bones had already fused back together. She said he looked like he was about three weeks old and his leg had probably been injured at birth. She said he would eventually need surgery and that she knew a vet who would give us a discount if he knew we were working with the rehabilitation group.

Ugh. Now I not only had a bird I didn't want in the first place, but he needed surgery. Double Ugh.

We brought him home and Katie tried to think of awesome names for him like "Feathered Wonder Bird" or "Rhapsody Sonata". I just started calling him Henry. Eventually Katie settled on "Wingrunner" but I had already gotten used to calling him Henry, so Wingrunner wound up being his surname.

With all the supplies we were given, we came home and fed him. I thought he might refuse to eat but turns out he was quite happy to accept the syringe as a substitute mother.

I half expected to find him keeled over in the bottom of the cage the next morning, but he was rested and hungry when I got up to check on him. We took great care of him and was eating well and flapping his wings like he might eventually really try to fly.

We set him outside on our back table during the day so he could be in the sun and fresh air. Then the coolest thing happened: his parents came to see him. We were watching from the window as a male and female Brazilian Cardinal first sat on our roof and chattered down at him. He excitedly chirped back. Then the father came and sat right on top of the cage and they had quite a conversation. The father kept cocking his head to the side as if trying to figure out how on earth his son had gotten into this contraption. I was considering moving him to an open top box so that his parents might possibly continue feeding him. But you never know, sometimes a parent will kill an injured child and we'd gotten attached to Henry in just a few short days. I didn't want to let him get pecked to death.

I was still mulling over the possibility of allowing a parental visit when a little dog we were babysitting jumped up on the table, knocked the cage over, and killed Henry before anyone even knew what had happened. It was over in a blink.

We were crushed. It's hard to get mad at a dog for being a dog. I felt guilty for not realizing the dog had the ability to jump up on the table. I felt guilty for setting the cage outside. I felt guilty because I was the one who let the little dog out there in the first place. I felt guilty because I hadn't wanted Henry at first.

I didn't feel guilty that I wasn't going to have to pay for surgery.

We had a nice little funeral for Henry and marked his grave with a flat rock which had been in our yard for some time. Katie handled it fairly well after her first initial desire to murder the dog. She had been well prepped that Henry might not survive and wasn't as upset as she usually would have been. She hates to see anything suffer or die.

Now she's convinced that Henry is flying around in heaven and that he knows we were trying to help him. And when we get to heaven he will come and sit on our shoulders and sing to us.