Monday, August 27, 2012

Oahu Spot: Makapu'u Lighthouse

Yesterday we set out to go to the beach at Pele's Chair. When we got there we decided we would first hike up to Makapu'u Lighthouse. We tried to hike up to it once when I was pregnant with Delilah but I couldn't do it. I got so tired. I was so out of shape then! It has since been a personal goal of mine to make it to that lighthouse and prove to myself I could do it. It was much easier this time - even with a baby on my chest! The road is paved all the way up but I would chose the baby carriers again next time as well. It gets a little rough and pretty steep in parts for a stroller. However, I saw a few other people with strollers going up so I guess its just a personal preference. Overall it was a really great hike and SO beautiful. We are both a little sore today but really happy we did it. I would definitely recommend it.
The Lighthouse
To the right.
To the left.

Enjoying the view.
Feeling accomplished.

Wow, look at that rainstorm on the horizon. We rushed back down and still got sprinkled on a little. The girls thought it was marvelous. We didn't mind the rain, but we had to cut our adventure a little short. Oh well, Pele's Chair will have to be another day! Doesn't look like Josie was too upset about it :) At least we got something checked off our Oahu bucket list!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Amazing Grace

I have always been such a perfectionist. Must have good grades, must be great at whatever I set my mind to, must be a good child and earn the respect of my parents. I never smoked, never drank as a teenager, never have done drugs. I was a virgin until my wedding day. When I looked down that invisible "how to be a good teenager" checklist I could check them off one by one. I wasn't perfect, but when I messed up I did my best to fix it. I was secure in who I was and what I had to offer my family and those around me.

As an adult, I am still a perfectionist. The only difference is that now the world seems so much bigger. My checklist is longer: Happy, well entertained kids that watch little tv and have many adventures. Happy husband who has to do little work around the house and feels like a respected king of his home. A clean and beautifully decorated home that is both impressive and comfortable to guests. Being perfectly in shape, well groomed, and polished. Well fed and groomed animals. Good friendships that are thriving. The list goes on and my head is spinning. How impossible are all these goals?? Sometimes my house looks great but I look awful from cleaning all day and my kids just spend 6 hours watching television. Sometimes I look great and the kids are happily entertained but the house is a wreck. Its just not possible to be perfect. And then the lies come..

"But Jesus was perfect and we are supposed to be like Jesus, right?", "But SHE can look amazing, have an amazing house and an amazing family"
(comparison ALWAYS steals joy!), "You must just be too lazy/weak/unorganized to be able to handle it all." Woah, Satan is so good at feeding us lies that hit home. Lies that we repeat over and over in our heads until we believe them. Until we believe God expects us to be perfect (He doesn't), that "she" really does do it all (she doesn't), or that we really are lazy/weak/unorganized.

The truth is we are imperfect beings destined to be imperfect. Merriam-webster defines grace this way: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. In other words: undeserved help from God to set us apart, make us new, and free us from sin. Wow. When my husband comes home and the dishes aren't done and the floors aren't vacuumed he has the grace (also defined:mercy, pardon) to tell me he doesn't care, it's no big deal, and he's glad me and the girls had a great day today. How much bigger, greater, and more powerful is Gods love, mercy, and grace for me?

And if my goal is to be like Jesus, shouldn't I strive to give grace? Shouldn't that include having grace for myself?

Thank you, God, for your undeserved, amazing grace. Help me to trust in it, learn from it, and give it freely to both others and myself. Amen, Amen, Amen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

100 Book Challenge

I love goals. I am a goal oriented individual. I make them all the time. Big goals, little goals, lifetime goals, daily goals.. you get the picture. I am usually excellent at keeping my goals. Just a few months ago (March-Mid June) I read through the entire bible in around 100 days. It was a really fulfilling, worthwhile, extremely difficult with two crazy children goal. Reaching your goals feels really great!! But there is a goal that I keep setting for myself year after year.. and failing. I am not good at failing. I really don't like it one bit. But what's worse than failing? Failing publicly. So I thought to myself, Hey Ashley, (I often talk to myself. please forgive me.) why don't you blog about it. Of course! Now you can keep me accountable! I'll share my joy of books with you. You can share yours with me. We can all live happily ever after.

The Goal: Read 100 books between September 1st 2012 & August 31st 2013.
The Rules: Childrens books don't count, magazines don't count, cookbooks don't count. (I could read 100 cook books in a day.)

Considering I read less than 50 books in 2011, and only 15 from January til now, I can tell you think will definitely be a challenge. Wish me luck! Join me even!

A few books I plan to read: (if you buy them through my blog I get some money back. I'm not being paid to recommend them. I just plan to read them. Just so ya know.)

1. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
Why: I'm mildly obsessed with Julia Child. Her life in insanely interesting. Did you know she worked for the OSS and loved cats?? You do now!


 2. The One for the Money Series by Janet Evanovich
Why: I already read 1-3 and they were great! Really suspenseful and witty. There are 18 in the series so far.

 3.The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
Why: Chick flicks, chick lit, I am an unashamed romantic fanatic. I'm sure a lot of my 100 books be "chick books". (dont judge me.)

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Why: I've never read it & its only referenced in about five thousand movies and tv shows so I just have to see what all the hullaballoo is about.

 5. A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
Why: Gail Carson Levine has been one of my favorites since I read my all time favorite book Ella Enchanted. Her books always make me feel nostalgic and romantic. Plus who doesn't love a good princess book?? (I'm still like 5 years old, ok?)

 6. Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene
Why: More nostalgia! I read a ton of these growing up. I really can't wait to dive back into Nancy's world.

7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Why: Quite a few people told me these books are amazing and I have to read them. And with a "mesmerizing world brimming with history, romance, and adventure" how can I resist??

 8. Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
Why: I am a serious fan of self help God help books. I love to better myself through the word of God and it soaks into my soul better when I read it than when I just hear someone preach. I'm a visual learner. This is one of the many I've been wanting to get my hands on.

9. Helen Steiner Rice & other poetry books.
Why: I dont read a ton of poetry (besides reading my daughter Shel Silverstien books at bedtime.) However, I do love the way Helen's words uplift my spirit. I'd love to find more poets like her as well.

10. The Hobbit (& the entire LOTR series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
Why: I read the Hobbit in high school but have never read the rest of the series and it just makes me feel like something is missing from my life. A big, gaping, LOTR shaped hole.

That's just a few of the books I'd like to read this next year. I really hope I can do it!
What books should I add to my reading list? Would anyone like to make a reading goal with me? (It doesn't have to be 100)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The tricks to living without an air conditioner.

When we got back from our vacation on the mainland on July 22nd we sadly discovered sometime during our vacation our air conditioner stopped working. I know a lot of houses in Hawaii don't have A/C but most of those are designed with good airflow, our does not have good air flow. It was HOT! To make a long (and boring) story short.. our A/C didn't get fixed for thirteen days, worked for two days, then was broken for another two days, and finally was fixed again today (before I could finish this post it went out again! He should be back in a few hours to fix it again..). The last few weeks was stressful, long, and hot. However, I did learn a few tips to living without A/C..

1. Keep a good attitude. It sounds so simple but it really does make all the difference. Sometimes little things give us an excuse to justify unkindness. You snap at your kids, you're harsh with your husband, you're short-tempered to that woman on the phone.. but it's hot, the kids are hanging on me, anyone would be grouchy in this situation. Just because you have a reason to be grouchy doesn't mean you have the right to be grouchy. Make the best of this experience and be a good example to your children on handling life's curve balls with grace.

                                                               {Such a happy girl}

2. Cut yourself some slack. We ate out a lot, We watched too much TV, and I'm ok with that. It was too hot to do much inside.. we stayed planted in front of the fans, we did puzzles, played with blocks, we colored pictures, we played with toys.. but we also watched a lot of TV. I don't feel guilty about that and you shouldn't either. It was too hot to turn on the oven and I'm not a fan of most microwavable foods so we ate out a lot. I don't feel guilty about that and you shouldn't either. As moms we tend to have a lot of mommy guilt when we don't do what we are "supposed to do" but everyone is in different seasons of their life and have different priorities so just do what's right for you and let go of the guilt. (Plus, the people who decided you shouldn't watch tv so much or eat out so much probably had air conditioning :) )

       {We had two root beer floats that day in honor of National Root Beer Float day}

3. Get out and have some fun! Go for walks, play in the pool, visit some friends, walk around the mall, get a cold treat (ice cream/smoothie/slushie), visit a zoo, visit a museum, go see a movie, go to the beach. As long as you're out of the house, you're much less likely to be miserable. Plus you'll make some great memories!

{Delilahs first time in the pool - She loved it!}

How do you make due when it is so hot?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Potty Train your Toddler using an iPad

   I was blessed with a very stubborn toddler. Josie is a really good girl, she just marches to the beat of her own drum. She is not easily influenced into something she doesn't want to do. I like that about her most of the time. This has been especially true in the area of potty training. She understands what a potty is for, when to use it, etc. She just chooses not to. I know she's just 26 months old but honestly, I'm really tired of having two kids in diapers.

We tried rewards, celebrations, candy, calling mimi or daddy to celebrate with.. everything we could think of. Little miss just wasn't feeling it.. nothing was worth slowing down for. She's a busy girl with things to do and the "peepee potty", as she calls it, was not on her agenda.

Until now! (Can you tell I'm smiling?)

Recently, on vacation, we decided to indulge and buy an iPad. Josie fell in LOVE with it and all the awesome apps they have for toddlers. (Expect a post on our favorite apps soon!) We didn't want her on it all the time, so we decided she could use it to be entertained on outings and also as a reward for using the potty.

We decided that every time she tinkles in the potty she gets 10 minutes of iPad time. When she goes #2 she will receive 30 minutes but she's only done that in the potty once a few months ago. I set the timer on the oven so when the time is up she hears the beep and knows it's time to give the iPad back to mommy or daddy until next time.

So far its been working great. She's been telling me she needs to go and keeping her diaper dry throughout most of the day. I'll keep you updated on whether or not it continues to work.

What worked for potty training your little one?

{Enjoying her reward}