Thursday, June 21, 2018

sayonara school

first, fourth, fifth (and pre-k) next year.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

caleb's (belated) birthday post

my long-awaited, long-awinded ode to caleb wheeler:

two months ago, when we were here, caleb turned six.

he didn't much too much like that his birthday was during our spring break vacation and cited as problemo numero uno that he thusly didn't get to play video games on his special day--which is really all his little six-year-old-boy heart desired.

well, that and possessing the world's largest collection of star wars lego sets. he's had his eye on the death star for about a year now with a goal to amass the necessary $500 at a rate of $100 per year to finally purchase the prized possession at age ten. we'll see how that goes. all i can say for sure at this point is that he counts his money a lot.

which is another important thing to know about our caleb. he loves money. he hoards it. he counts it. he counts it again. he's definitely channeling uncle scrooge mcduck up in here, and holding cold hard cash in his hot little hands is one of caleb's most favorite things to do ever.

money matters is also a favorite topic of conversation. he wants to know how much money everything costs. he wants to know how much money everyone makes. he wants to know how much money he can make. he wants to know which career paths tend to yield the highest salaries. but mostly, he wants to know why bryan and i don't have $500 to buy him the death star.

a few more things caleb loves:

food. not a big sweets man, but if i told you how many sandwiches or pizza slices or crepes or bowls of fruit i've seen this kid pack away, jaws would drop. boy can EAT.

math. caleb's verbal commuication can be a little klunky and off-beat, so it's easy to erroneously dismiss him as perhaps less academically inclined than his more verbose counter parts. until you see the math. boy can MATH. he sees and interprets the world very numerically: from time to measurements to fractions to, you guessed it, money.

games. i know i mentioned video games previously, but caleb loves all kinds of board and card games. what he doesn't love is losing, which can be said of most children and even the adults we know, amiright?, though rare is the flower who hates it quite as much as caleb does. my unsubstantiated theory is that he plays games with such a huge part of his being that he feels very personally affronted and disparaged when he doesn't win. we're working on playing with just a titch less emotional investment.

caleb is very judicious in how he spends his mental energy. there are many things he has not yet chosen to master (a lot of them involving his shoes), but here's a quick list of some of caleb's current favorite games in which he can strategize and intuit around decently complicated sets of rules: castle panic, love letter, dragonwood, cover your assets, and kingdomino. boy can PLAY.

a few more things caleb is:

caleb is independent. he's not independent with a little "i," he's independent with a big "I." born believing he has everything he needs to win at life and with a special gumption (which has mothers like me clutching their pearls) that he's going to go out and do it already.

caleb is a brother. and i know you know what i mean. he's a poker. a prodder. a riler. wherever there is quiet playing or nice sit-stilling, he will surely swoop in to save the day from what might otherwise deteriorate into boring uneventfulness. he loves nothing more than to incite a little bit of chaos. jk! i mean a big bit of chaos.

caleb is a handsome devil. his nickname at home is not "handsome bob" for nothin'.

we love you, bob! you bring an energy and confidence to our family that i just can't imagine us thriving without. happiest of belated birthdays to you, sir!

wishing you blessings of happiness, health, strength, and maybe one day, the death star.

Monday, May 21, 2018

tis the season

summer dance recital, 2018
ballet and contemporary

Sunday, May 13, 2018

love note

Inside my lunch
to my surprise
a perfect heart-shaped
love note lies.

The outside says,
“Will you be mine?”
and, “Will you be
my valentine?”

I take it out
and wonder who
would want to tell me
“I love you.”

Perhaps a girl
who’s much too shy
to hand it to me
eye to eye.

Or maybe it
was sweetly penned
in private by
a secret friend

Who found my lunchbox
sitting by
and slid the note in
on the sly.

Oh, I’d be thrilled
if it were Jo,
the cute one in
the second row.

Or could it be
from Jennifer?
Has she found out
I’m sweet on her?

My mind’s abuzz,
my shoulders tense.
I need no more
of this suspense.

My stomach lurching
in my throat,
I open up
my little note.

Then wham! as if
it were a bomb,
inside it reads,
“I love you—Mom.”

"Lunchbox Love Note" by Kenn Nesbitt

Friday, May 11, 2018

the north shore

i'm sure many of you thought this day might never come, but we have finally made it to the end of our hawaiian vacation summation, en revue.


we'll end this party how we started it: at the beach.

welcome to waimea bay on the north shore. sadly, no cliff jumping for us this go round. 

waimea river drains into the ocean at the bay, and there is a quiet stream of water separated from the feisty ocean waves and surf breaks by a sand bank. this is where caleb and dallin mostly played. it's not the clear, beautiful blue ocean water, but the boys had a blast.

as much as they enjoyed getting knocked down by the big waves and dragged out to sea (legit. they LOVED that part), i loved it not-so-much, and the gentle stream was a much better situation for my little mama heart to handle.

a hui hou kākou, hawai'i!

Monday, May 07, 2018

hawaiian eats (pt. 2 of 2)

leonard's bakery, honolulu
we stopped here for their famous malasadas in the wee dark hours of the morning on our way to hanama bay. these were good. i mean, fried buttery dough served warm and sprinkled in sugar? how could they not be.

steak shack, waikiki
food stands and food trucks are the preferred dining options for the wheeler family, and this little stand was YUMMY. given the chance (and/or more enthusiasm from the children), we would have stopped in again. they serve three things: a steak, rice, and greens plate; a chicken, rice, and greens plate; or a combo of both. eat it all, people. EAT IT ALL.

uncle clay's house of pure aloha, honolulu
another deceptively humble strip mall location packing a punch of deliciousness. homemade, natural, fruit-derived syrups and homemade tahitian vanilla ice cream give this place flavors unlike any other shave ice flavors on the island.

caleb's birthday dessert.

haleiwa bowls, haleiwa
the brazilian açaí bowl has a huge presence in hawaii. it was the first thing i ate when we got here (courtesy of island vintage coffee), and the last thing i ate before we left. all up, i ate five açaí bowls during our trip--even one from costco! 

haleiwa bowls was the crème de la crème. my love at first bite. my raison d'être. see that giant bowl i'm holding in my hand? i ate it all myself. twice. 

so, read up on that couple who made it a goal to visit every cracker barrel in the nation, cause i have a sneaking suspicion that's gearing up to be me and açaí bowls on oahu in the not-too-distant future. 

bonus track: one more time around for matsumoto's. 

le gecko. la fin.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

hawaiian eats (pt. 1 of 2)

so in my real-life life, i'm definitely not a foodie. 

i eat the exact same thing for breakfast every day. and the exact same thing for lunch every day. and modest, mostly from scratch dinners (that tend to lean towards the "less-than-mature" palate) every night.

i almost never go out to restaurants. my idea of a culinary adventure involves the greatest bagel place of all time, and that's pretty much as wild and crazy as i get around here. well, i suppose that's not entirely true: i *have* been known to stop at a jamba juice or two. but only when i'm feeling real cray. 

HOWEVER, send me away on vacation, and i start obsessing over great places to eat. like my taste buds suddenly wake up and spend all their free time deep-diving on yelp. no meal left behind! 

what we've pictured here in our two part food series is by no means an exhaustive list of all the deliciousness we experienced in hawaii (e.g., one stop not pictured is our trip to ted's bakery for bryan's birthday where we ordered and devoured nearly a dozen different slices of pie; the runaway winner was the macadamia nut cream), but it's a decent sample.

surf and salsa, haleiwa
a delightful mexican food truck on the north shore. mexican sodas served out of coolers at the back made all the kids' beverage dreams come true.

matsumoto shave ice, haleiwa
iconic. delicious. the ultimate fave of the little wheelers.

seven brother's burgers, laie
this little strip mall joint doesn't look like much from the outside, but a hole-in-the-wall burger, fries, and shake is my death row meal, and seven brother's did not disappoint. worth the drive. one of the best burgers bryan and i have had. 

bonus track: can you really say you've been to hawaii if you haven't sipped fresh coconut water by the side of the road? to the utter disappointment of the children, who thought mother nature's coconut tasted nothing like other coconut-flavored goods they've enjoyed.