2017-11-01 Maui Day 3 🚧

We had quite an adventure today. Since we decided to visit the volcano tomorrow, due to the forecast, the plan for the day was pretty open. Z wanted to go to a couple places way up north on the northwest part of the island that she saw on a YouTube video earlier in the year so that is what we decided to do. Little did we know how interesting that would turn out to be.

Due to the fact that we drove the west coastline yesterday, we opted to drive the alternate route today, which was a narrow highway with twists and turns up through rainforest along the coast. The road was pretty fun actually and I didn’t have nearly the anxiety about it as I did with one I drove in Utah last year. Then the highway ended and it became a single lane road. The distance to our destination was relatively short, but the drive seemed long. We got to about 4 miles from the Nakalele Blowhole and ran right into a “road closed sign”. It was completely shut down with no way to get through. There was a cliff with drops to the ocean on one side, and solid rock wall on the other. There was nowhere to go but back the way we came.. and so we did.

However, just like everything else in life, I can’t be told “no” about anything without putting my foot down and saying “oh really, just watch me”. So we drove all the way back to the part of the main juncture of the island and proceeded to travel up the entire west coast.

When we arrived at the spot, we parked the car by the side of the highway and got out. We walked a short distance to a precipice that overlooked the entire scene. To the right of me, I could see the giant land formation which was the very same one I saw two hours before. We had been so damn close. We took a few pictures and then started our decent to the water below. It was fun climbing down the rocks, sort of racing to see who could find the best way down. The position of the sun caused our shadows to be cast on the ground below which was worthy of a pause to take a pic but it wasn’t long before we were down at sea level.

We wandered around a bit, being a little leery of getting too close to the hole because there were several warning signs about the danger of getting pulled into the ocean.

As I stood on the black, rocky volcanic ground and looked out at the waves crashing on the coastline to the right and to the left of me, I began to cry. It was such a fantastic view. I couldn’t believe how far I had come, both literally and figuratively. I watched my children from a brief distance and became overwhelmed with joy.

Z was sitting, patiently waiting for the next big eruption of water through the hole, her phone, perfectly positioned and ready to take a picture of the action. C had a small stick and was poking at tiny crabs that were in the of water that had collected in pools on the ground around us. We were all in our happy places.

We’re happy and healthy and getting to experience the most amazing things on this trip. It may be years before they truly appreciate it, or recognize how wonderful all of this is, but right then, in that moment, I did. I felt it like the ocean waves crashing on the rocks next to me. I felt how powerful nature can be and how powerful life is. And it wasn’t just about that moment, it was about the road we travelled to get there.

We drove the entire circle around Northwest Maui, save the estimated 4 or 5 miles of road that were closed just to get to a blowhole where the ocean waves crash up like a geyser. We had traveled across half of the United States and part of the Pacific Ocean to get to where we are today. Like life, the journey is long, but it is totally worth it.

And just like today, one can run into roadblocks in life and have to go the long way around, but if you keep going, you eventually make it to wherever it is you wanted to go. I’ve had quite a detour in my life these past couple of years, but I am still traveling and now quite positive I am on the right track.

***

We never made it to the second stop on the agenda, which was the Olivine pools. There are supposed to be crystal pools, again, formed out of the lave flow but containing crystal clear water you can swim in. The guidebook had really sketchy instructions on how to get there and we were pretty sure we were in the right spot, but because of our two hour delay it was much later in the day than I intended and the sun was going down. There was nobody around and we would have had to hike down through the woods to get there and it was definitely no the place you want to get lost in the dark alone. So we headed back.

Driving back down the west coast I finally got to see the sunset. We stopped the car along the side of the road and waked down to a little rocky area. I’ve concluded that we can’t go anywhere near the ocean without C wanting to get in it. 😃 It’s OK though, I want to take my time through each and every one of these moments that I can. Before too long, they will be grown and gone and I know I’m going to look back and wish I slowed down more often. I let him play a little while I did a thing I’ve always liked to do, which is hunt for pretty rocks.

We had a good day despite the “detour”. Now we are back at Ken’s house and just doing a bit of relaxing before bed. I’ve got lots more driving the next 3 days so I’m going to need all the rest I can get.

Aloha Ahiahi
~Miss SugarCookie

Advertisements

2017-08-21 The Very Worst Thing Ever

As predicted after we hit about 2PM yesterday things just went as they went and it was all fine, mostly. Z convinced me to book a hotel in Lincoln at the last minute so we could be closer to our Eclipse destination and NOT have to stay in a tent. They (both kids) threatened mutiny if I made them sleep in a tent again after their long Yellowstone vacation with their dad where they tented most nights. I’m actually OK with it too because sleeping on the ground is not appealing to me anymore. I’m not sure if it ever was. As it turns out, the hotel option turned out to be the very worst thing ever for me, but I will get to that.

Actually booking the hotel alleviated several of my concerns and came with a few added bonuses. First and foremost, actually committing to something helped all by itself for some reason. Like just pulling the trigger on it made a little of my anxiety about the uncertainty of the day melt away. Like I stated, we will be closer to our destination and avoid some traffic traveling there late in the day. In the AM, the kids will get to swim and they have free breakfast so those are both marks in the “win” column.

Our guests arrived shortly after 3, I think, and then we did the complimentary tour of our castle. The kids played a little while we unloaded the bikes from the car and then there was about 45 minutes of fidgeting with tires and seats and brakes and such to get people ready to go. I was worried about the ride because of C. He does not ride his bike and he hates it. Every time he rides, he’s unsteady and crashes. He just has never gotten enough practice to really gain skill and confidence and then is quick to quit when he takes a fall.

My concerns were warranted. About 3/4 the way to the trail he faltered navigating some planters on the downtown Papillion sidewalk and completely kinked his back break line and got a nasty cut down his leg. After that he wanted to quit, but the rest of the crew was already ahead and the trail. We walked the bike that distance and then our new friends helped fix the bike at least enough to continue on. We did just a short distance on the trail, 84th street to 72nd, and then turned back because we needed to be back to the house by 6:15 to greet someone picking up his car for use these next couple of days. It took C and I a bit to get back, and they were all onto something else by the time we arrived home. My conclusion there was that C needs a bigger bike that fits him better and more time riding to really get the hang of it. After today, it will probably take some serious incentives to pull off though.

After that, I cooked dinner and the kids played some more and everything went off pretty much as expected. I never really got rid of all my angst. I was very guarded the entire time and felt very much like I was trying really hard to be engaged in the conversation while appearing to effortlessly put on this fabulous meal AND be a good parent. I’m noticing a pattern of behavior with my interactions with this person and I’m still trying to figure that out, but it’s probably deserving of a blog all of its own.

The time ticked away and past 8PM I started to think we need to be getting them back home (because now they were without a car), which was a good 40 to 45 minute round trip through the heart of the city. When I arrived back home it was just about 10PM and the kids were pretty much ready to jump in the car to drive to Lincoln. The drive from Omaha was quick and there was thankfully not a lot of traffic, which was of course part of the bonus of staying in a hotel there. What I did not count on, however, was arriving at the hotel only to be greeted by the very worst thing ever (for me), as soon as we walked into our room.

As I opened the door to room 116 of this very average Quality Inn my olfactory sense was immediately hit with a burst of sickly floral perfume. It was if someone over-did some terrible air freshener to cover up what was undoubtable another horrible smell. As soon as took a few breaths, my headache was triggered. I get migraines from the smell of certain things like cigarette smoke or the scent of baby powder or perfume. For this reason, I avoid walking through that section of any department store and never go into a bath and body works. Having had this my whole entire adult life, I know what scents are OK and what scents cause an issue and it is typically the more floral ones that trigger my headache.

I was tired and the kids were tired, so I thought I would just try and get right to sleep and sleep typically is the magic trick that makes the migraine disappear. At home, I have meds that make me sleepy and alleviate my nausea but I didn’t even think to bring any of that because we would not even be gone a whole day. Plus, I’ve only had one migraine in the last year, so the chances of that seemed very unlikely. But I wasn’t counting on what was behind door number 116.

I could not sleep. I laid in the bed breathing in that terrible smell and tried to make my mind calm and not focus on the pain. I was sick to my stomach and the song “Sucker for Pain” from the movie Suicide squad was on repeat in my brain. It was terrible. I knew I couldn’t ask for a different room because we arrived so late and the hotel was completely booked. In fact the lady on the phone earlier in the day said we got the very last room.

At 3AM I got up to ask the front desk if they had pain meds. They didn’t (that does not sound like a Quality hotel to me). The nice lady at the front desk told me there was a gas station just down the block so I grabbed my keys and went to get some Tylenol. Typically I would take Excedrin, but they didn’t have any. I had caffeine in my car so the acetaminophen plus caffeine would have to do.

When I got back to the room, I vomited. Then I took the meds on an empty stomach and went back to bed. I laid there for another few hours and slowly got to the point where my head was feeling a little better, but sleep never came. I was breathing through my mouth the entire time and at one point rolled over and had a deep breath through my nose, and it was like it triggered my headache all over again. Damn.

At 5:30 I looked at the clock and my brain started doing math on how long I would have to wait to take more tylenol. Two hours. Damn.

At 6:00 I gave up trying to sleep and opened my phone. The light on the screen didn’t make me wince (which typically happens with a migraine), so I knew at that point the worst was over and all that was left was to deal with a lingering headache, and the fact that I had no sleep and still need to get the crew to Beatrice by 11AM.

At 6:30 I got my laptop out and started to write. That pretty much takes me to right up to the present moment. It is 7:30 and I just took my second round of Tylenol with a cup of coffee. It’s going to be a long day today. It’s already been a long day and now I’m getting ready to start round 2. Hopefully, the Migraine and sleepless night really are the worst thing that will happen. I’m sure there are much worse things that could happen which is me just trying to look on the bright side of things.

Speaking of bright sides. The sky is sunny and mostly clear now and I am hoping it will stay that way for the eclipse today at 1PM.

Happy Total Eclipse Day,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-16 Dinner Time – Always a Good Time…

Just go make your own meal already. OK, this post is pretty much going to be a rant about my daughter. So sorry in advance for the less than stellar parenting that is about to be revealed.

Today was the first day of school. She was so tired when she came home that she slept for three hours as soon as she hit the bed in her room. Poor girl. Something must have taken a lot today. However, this means she missed dinner. C and I had a lovely meal and I will admit that after really over working myself today with the exercise I did not have any reservations about the pizza and red wine that I made for dinner (C just had pizza BTW). We did have some slices left and that was the first choice offered to her when she “came to”. That was met by a resounding “NO”.

Then pepperoni. No
A ham sandwich. No
A taco. No
Cereal. No.
Spaghetti . No
Oranges. No
Blueberries. No
An apple. No
Corn. No
Broccoli. No
Eggs. No “You know I hate eggs”.
A hamburger patty. No
Chips and salsa. No
Taco meat with chips (aka nachos). No
Bacon. No

Me – “Seriously, no to bacon? There is something really wrong with you”. Really.

So I said I was done and I left the room. She can just starve. I don’t care.

Here are things that we have on hand that I did not offer because I know already she won’t eat them…

Granola bars.
Pistachios
Almonds
Sunflower seeds.
Oatmeal.
Rice.
Steakums (yes they still make those).
Shrimp
Brussel Sprouts
Kale
Tomatos
Zucchini

Here are the things we have on hand that I did not offer because I really do care…

Ice Cream
Doritos
Hershey’s kisses
Cheetos
Pancakes
Toast

Really, I’m amiable to almost anything. Most parents would probably just say “You didn’t eat what was for dinner so you can just be hungry”. I can’t force her to eat and at this point I am way past caring. Me and my two glasses of wine are way past caring and already super focussed on maybe catching up on GOT before it’s time to go to sleep. We get to do this again tomorrow so I’m just going to let go of today and that will be that.

I’m sure season six episode five will be awesome. I’m going to forget what just happened and turn my attention in that direction.

Bon Appétit,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-25 On Parenting

A couple days ago I blogged three times in one day. That does not happen unless I am either heartbroken or super-bored. I’m thanking my lucky stars it was the latter and not the former because having a broken heart sucks all.

The kids are back home now and despite struggling with parenting sometimes, something feels right with the world again. I always felt like work came easy to me. Getting things done at work was like a piece of cake. The formula is so tried and true. There is stuff to be done, somebody decides what’s the most important thing, you do that and do it really well, everybody is happy and people think you are great. Rinse and repeat.

Parenting is so different from that. There is no formula that works. Truly. Anyone who writes a book or gives advice or thinks they have it all figured out is completely full of shit. You can be a good person and a do all the “right” things and your kid can still turn out to be an ass or a menace to society or just an oxygen waster. You can do all the “wrong” things, and your kid can turn out to be a hard worker and a dedicated family man, always trying to to better for the world. Sure, odds are these outcomes are less likely statistically, but my point is that every single child is different and every single scenario is complex and there is not a “one size fits all” formula that is going to get you to that finish line feeling like a success.

What is the finish line? Well in truth there isn’t really one, but for me I feel if my kids get to 18 or 20 and are on a good path in life, then I have done OK. If they understand how to navigate difficult things, have some idea what they would like to do with their life and have started doing that, and know how to generate happiness for themselves ; then that is pretty good. If they understand the economy and when to save and when to spend, bonus points. If they don’t know how to live a clean, healthy life with eating and exercise, then that’s an epic fail. Perhaps there is some formula for this but if so, it probably looks a lot like a calculus equation with so many variables that have to be flipped to the other side somehow and the parenting calculator that might tell you what to do in a particular situation just has not been invented yet.

Take video games for example. My son loves them and my daughter likes them too but is not as obsessed as he is. Should I let him play all summer as much as he wants? Should I create rules around that and crack the whip if he does not follow the rules? Should I let him enjoy the summers of his youth on an iPad or PC or 3DS when I think he should be outside riding a bike? The answer is unclear. On one hand, he’s not getting enough activity sitting on his butt all day but on the other hand, that is also what his community of friends are doing. I like that he has his friends (these are his real buddies and not some other unknown voice on the the other side of the internet wires), and they all play too. They are not out riding their bikes either. I think our relationships with people are so important and having a solid group of friends who are good kids is so beneficial, especially at his age.

So I have chosen to try and strike a balance, you know, subscribing to that philosophy for myself has mostly proven to be a good course. Limit the amount of time he gets to play… we’ll call them “working hours”, and I do crack the whip when it comes to eating breakfast and lunch together and of course when we are doing family things like going to the pool (which he also loves to do by the way).

Maybe even with this, he still plays too much, but who is to say? Who is to say that is right or wrong? Am I trying to defend my position a little bit in the face of people who think I’m too soft on my kids?.. perhaps. But until someone who has the formula figured out and invents that calculator which can spit out the right answer after just a few inputs comes to me and shows me the error of my ways, I’m going to keep doing what I am doing.

Anyway, it’s time for me to start my day now and I am finally feeling better after being hit by some nasty summer sickness that zapped my weekend energy away. I was able to get back to 20K steps yesterday so that was really good. Hopefully I can get back into a good routine now that the “big” vacation is over and just settle in and enjoy my time off of work. Perhaps I will even play a video game or two with my son myself. 😃

Beep-Beep-Boop,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-05-07 About a Boy

There’s a lot going on.. always. You know there’s so much I have to say and so much going on in my head and I could go on about it for hours and hours, but today I think I should just focus on the main event. My son.

When it was my daughters birthday back in March, it’s so Zoey centric. She’s the center of the universe and makes sure people recognize that on her birthday. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, that’s just the way she is right now. But my son, Cooper, is just the opposite. He’s chill and mostly quiet and much of the time does not want to draw attention to himself. On this day though, May 7, he IS in the spotlight because of his birthday.

Being Sunday, we were already in maxing out relaxing mode and he was in his happy place playing a video game most of the day. Around lunch, he and I went on a Target run to exchange a gift he had gotten from one of his friends from his party last night and as an added bonus we stopped by the Starbucks to get him an iced Chai. Most of our festivities are not planned on his actual birthday so today was very low key.

Since he is so easy going, it’s a pretty common thing for him just to do his own thing and not be too concerned about everything else, so I kind of feel like I neglected that today by not making things more special. Tomorrow we are both staying home from work and school to spend the day together and I’ll have the opportunity to make up for that.

Besides being a really cool cat, he’s also smart, very funny, and caring. He loves to read books and is really into board games and nerf guns. He does OK in school and pretty well on tests but hates homework and probably would sooner stab himself in the hand with a pencil than do a writing assignment. That’s not an understatement. He hates writing. I think that’s OK though. We like what we like and we don’t like what we don’t like and the sooner we can figure that out in life, the better off we will be.

A few years ago, him and his sister were best buds. She was the leader and he the follower and all was right with the universe. In the last few years though, he has started to stand up for himself where she is concerned and not just be the follower. They actually fight a lot right now, and at times it can get unbearable, but I’m glad he’s holding his ground and though there is now conflict, it will teach him how to deal with strong, stubborn women. I’m sure that is a skill that will come in handy sometime later in life.

Anyway, the boy is amazing, and I’m fortunate to have him in my life. He’s my best boy, my english accent buddy, my booty-bump dance partner, and above all, the one and only Super Cooper. I love you bunches and bunches!!

XOXO
~Mom

2017-03-26 Early Morning Mommy Feels

I woke up at 6AM today after about 6.5 hours of sleep. I did not hit my goal of 7 hours but that’s OK and I kind of did not expect to given the state of affairs right before we all went to bed (see yesterday’s post). I was angry, Cooper was upset by my behavior, and Zoey was sad because she could not make me feel better and I could, in turn, not make her feel better about the whole thing.

The first thing I did when I woke up was go to check on Cooper. He left a note in his door, which is in his very rudimentary hand writing. It reads…

“I stayed up to clean my room please do not be mad at me. PS. I will always love you. – From your love Cooper.” Complete with hearts drawn around his complimentary close.

I teared up reading that and knowing that he had to have spend a very good amount of time cleaning the room. He actually did put some thinking into the situation and listened to what I said, even though my delivery was deplorable.
Sometimes the kids surprise me, and in this case, he just melted my heart.

Now I am sure that part of it has to do with him not wanting to be grounded from his video games so he wants to be in my good graces, but I chose to think the larger part of his motivation is not wanting me to be upset. No matter the reason, I will take it as a win.

Grateful for being a Mom
~Miss SugarCookie

P.S. Cooper – You are my number one Super Cooper. I will always love you too. XOXOXO

2017-03-25 All Wound Up

I watched Dr. Strange with the kids and finished before 10PM. At that time, I just wanted some alone time to clear my head and not listen to the constant bicker of sibling irritation. I went to the gym to get the rest of my steps for the day, which took about a half hour at a 2.5 mph pace. When I arrived back home, I was relaxed and ready to go to sleep.

Then the arguing started again. Then I was accused of hiding my son’s bag of DS3 game cartridges. Then he accused Matt of taking Tri-Force Heroes and not bringing it back. Then, while pulling through piles of blankets and unearthing things under boxes that were previously shoved into corners looking for the stupid bag, I find another soda can. The second one today. Totally against the rules.

In a matter of minutes, I went from sleepy and calm to mean, lecture mom who yells at her kids and does not think before she speaks. I’m exasperated at the situation and I hate it when things go missing and it drives me crazy to know that he breaks the “no food or drinks in the bedroom” rule time and again, which means he does not respect me or the rules. I know I’m a pushover on most days, but when I get pushed to far, I snap.

Now the privilege of electronics has been removed from the equation and my demands have been spelled out. It’s bed time for all of us now, but I’m leaving him to think about what his actions and words do. I know my actions and words are not the best, so I need to think about that too. I always regret yelling, but can’t seem to keep my voice low when things heat up. I need to try harder to stay calm. It would benefit everyone, and especially in this case, because now that I am all wound up, it’s going to take even longer to fall asleep.

Parenting is Hard,
Miss SugarCookie