thoughts on weaning

Keola and I have made many of our parenting decisions ahead of time, and for the most part, have been successful in following through, but when it comes to weaning, well, Keola doesn’t really have much of an opinion since the nursing relationship is strictly between us girls, and I tended to think that one day a switch will go off in Noweo’s brain and she’ll no longer be interested in nursing. I never really had a strong goal to nurse for a year. I pretty much decided that I would nurse for as long as Noweo wanted to nurse, but some counsel I got from her pediatrician has got me thinking otherwise. He said that when a baby makes a year, the mothers body begins to thin out the milk, assuming that the child should be getting the bulk of the nourishment from other sources, and if she relies too much on nursing, she may not be getting all the nutrients she needs and will begin to lose weight.

Well, no good mother wants an undernourished baby, so I’m trying to prioritize her feedings to be solid food first, breast milk second (dessert if you will…). I’m not worried about her losing weight because she eats very well, but I want to help her to understand that “big people food” comes first. She also nurses herself to sleep, and I have no idea how I’ll get her to stop since she doesn’t use a bottle, so it’s not like I can give her whole milk or formula. I love nursing, but at this point I don’t think it’ll break my heart to stop. But I could be wrong.
How did weaning go for you, particularly if you never used bottles with your baby. Did you take deliberate steps to wean, or did you just go with the flow and let things happen naturally?

on my mind + project 1st

Lately I’ve been asking God to teach me more about myself. I talked about this with a friend of mine who came to visit me today. I think He is opening my mind to uncover gifts I never knew I had. Noweo’s learned how to shake her head. Apparently “no” is easier to say than “yes.” Hhhmmm…I wonder where she got that from? Hope I haven’t taught her her first bad habit.

Keola and I decided that we’re moving to Maui. Yes. M.O.V.I.N.G. After doing lots of soul searching and praying, we feel this is where God wants us to be. We leave in a few weeks. Yikes! But we could always come back if a job turns up here. Reality is that no jobs located in Hilo have called us back.

I have a new niece! Her name is Ililani (Eee-leee-lah-neee) (kinda close to Ihilani don’t you think?) Her parents asked me to look for a name and this was one of them. I’m glad they chose it because its’ meaning is so fitting. It means “unexpected rain.” Rain is a blessing in Hawaiian culture. She unexpectedly arrived 3.5 months early. Weighing just 1lb, she’ll be in the hospital for 3 months, but she is doing very well and we are excited to meet this little miracle. The fact that she’s here and she’s fighting for her life is a blessing to us all.

Keola’s lined up 3 job interviews – 2 with Kamehameha Schools on Oʻahu and one at Maui College. I’ve never been that excited about living on O’ahu because you end up paying up the wazooo for a dirty apartment in a crummy neighborhood. Not all of Hawaii is paradise. Maui on the other hand…aaah how nice it would be to live there permanently!

I broke the news to my parents that we’re moving again. I think I very near broke my moms heart. Why can’t Hawaii be one big island? No matter whee we choose to live, we’ll always be away from people we love.

Here’s the Project 1st part of this post:

A few days ago, we bought this so that we could both create at the same time and it has worked out BEAUTIFULLY. This is a big purchase, but not as big as buying a whole new computer. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we are serious about a creative life and turning that into our livelihood. It turned out to be an awesome investment as I can basically do everything that I can on the computer on this and Keola can write the novel he’s working on. Did I tell you he’s writing a novel? Well he is and I think it’ll turn out fantastic! I’m so excited for him to finish it and now he doesn’t have to sacrifice writing time for me to use the computer.

Yesterday I created this on our new toy:

That line came from a song I wrote in high school. I plan to use more of my song lyrics to inspire art. It’s the first step to opening up my own etsy shop. Playing around with vector graphics has turned into something astoundingly fun and I am so, so excited to create. I find ideas and inspiration everywhere, but it’s hard for me to transfer my thoughts onto the art board sometimes because I’m just not that skilled yet. I know as I get better it’ll get easier. This one turned out perfectly. The best thing about vector art is I don’t need to know how to draw! I also want to do things with fabric and paint, but I’ll wait until we’re done moving and I have a slightly better space for that.

Speaking of Etsy, my friend Lindsay has been gracious enough to share a Mother’s Day print for free! She has a gorgeous Etsy shop called Sugarfresh, but she shares updates to her shop and other news and discoveries on her blog. Such an inspiration! If you’re wondering What to get a special mother in your life, this would make an AWESOME gift! Thanks for sharing Lindsay!

I’m really feeling hopeful. I KNOW Keola will find meaningful work soon that will allow him to write on the side. I KNOW I can develop new talents and skills and express myself in a way that will touch people enough to want my creations in their home. I know that soon we’ll be in our own place and be able to create the space that WE want for ourselves. I just know it.

What do YOU hope for?

the truth of all truths

My grandma sent this to me for Noweo’s birthday. I can’t stop laughing at the truth of these words! She is starting to throw mini tantrums and get really touchy when you take things away from her or prevent her from getting something she wants. Not my favorite thing but at least I know its completely normal! All I can really do is laugh…

birthday partay!

I am SOOO unbelievably glad that Saturday is OVER! Man was that a busy, stressful day as we rushed to prep all the food and put up all the decorations for Noweo’s party. It was so worth it though. The weather was perfect, all our family was there, the food was awesome, the music was happy, the decorations screamed springtime birthday girl. It was like a dream – one of those heavenly moments were all is right with the world.
I wasn’t very good at taking pictures, mostly because I was running around, feeding Noweo, talking to people and blah blah blah. BUT I did manage to take pics of the decorations and some of our festivities. Enjoy!
Noweo’s b-day sign was super easy and fun to make. The lettering was done in Picnik and printed on photo paper. The paper flowers were SUPER easy and added some fun color and pattern. Don’t you think? Check out a tutorial here.
My playdough centerpieces were a big hit! A bunch of people ended up taken them home so I only have one left. The playdough was really easy to make and contrasted nicely with the table cloths for a nice pop of color. Remember how I said I was gonna make 70 of those fabric flowers? Well, I decided to go easy on myself and only make 30. With 6 tables and 5 flowers per ball of playdough, it turned out to be J-U-S-T R-I-G-H-T!
These pendant flag streamers really brought the place to life and added movement and color to the pavillion. I couldn’t stop smiling when they went up.
My original thought was to clothespin these pictures to the streamers, but it was kinda windy, so my Dad thought they would be easier to see if we taped them to the posts. Best last minute idea of the party! Everyone was surrounded by images of our birthday girl during her first year. It made for a nice personal touch.
Here’s a not very good picture of how the whole place came together. You can’t even see the streamers, but you get the idea.
I didn’t take a picture of the food, but we had A LOT and it was delish. We had teri burgers, big juicy hot dogs, lots of fruit and veggies and pasta salad and a bazillion cupcakes with lilikoi (passion fruit) cream cheese frosting – courtesy of my grandma and of course…
….the all important birthday cake! I gotta give Safeway the credit on this one, but I picked it out…that counts for something right? Aren’t the ladybugs cuties?
Sooooo we ate, and we played and we danced and we just sat around and talked and laughed. It was definitely one for the books. Noweo had a fabulous time running around on the grass. Here’s the evidence:
You know you have a KID when their feet get dirty. LOVE IT.
My cute cousin Sachi
All the old folks stayed parked on that table talking the.whole.time
Frosting face
My Dad and little bro playing volleyball (of course, you’ll just have to take my word for it). Noweo wanted to be in the middle of the volleyball circle. I was worried at first, but everyone managed to play around her and I eventually stopped caring.
I’ll finish this post with this cute video of Noweo dancing with my Mom. She’s developed this “Happy Feet” routine recently and it is one of the CUTEST things she does.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make Noweo laugh by pretending to sneeze.

happy birthday to my beautiful girl!

I’ve thought about this post quite a bit over the last several days, and I STILL can’t figure out what to say. One year ago today I saw your face for the first time, felt the weight of your little body in my arms, gazed your hand wrapped around my finger as if you knew exactly who to hold on to, marveled at your thick, abundant jet black hair, reveled in your tiny cry, and swooned with the first glimpse of your sparking black eyes. I was smitten. Totally committed to you. In love. Every day since then I wake up with gratitude for you. You love so unconditionally. Your passion for life and your curiosity teach me to never stop exploring the world and trying new things. You are driven. You were driven to lift your head up, driven to roll over, driven to crawl, driven to walk. You failed at each of these the first time you tried, but you never gave up. Now it’s impossible to tell that you ever struggled with any of those things. You beam with pride at each accomplishment. I hope you never lose your drive to GO FOR IT. Look at what you’ve already accomplished in your short life.

I look at you and I understand why God tells us to be like little children. Your love is undeniable. You are humble and teachable. You forgive as easily as you breathe. Family is the most important thing to you. Never forget the things you were born knowing.

I never really explained to you the meaning of your name yet. Nōweokeaolaʻi means “Bright is the tranquil Dawn.” It encourages you to have peace and tranquility in your life. When you are at peace with others, with God and with yourself, you will be a bright light in this world, just like the brilliant sunrise of a calm, cloudless morning. You already are a light to your father and I, and so many others you’ve come in contact with.

Your Dad and I spent a lot of time worrying about when to have children, when the time was right, etc., etc. But we look at you and all the uncertainty about parenthood is washed away in your smile. If I had known how much I would learn, how much I would grow, how my ability to love and nurture would increase, I would’ve had you sooner.

We love and celebrate you every day, but on this, your birthday we take a special pause to sit back and marvel at the miracle you are. We love you Honeybee. Always remember.

All My Love,


a letter to my 40 week, 6 day pregnant self

Dear Me,

I thought I’d drop in on you from a year in the future to tell you that in a few hours that smile on your face will soon melt as your body focuses on the GREATEST. THING. YOU. WILL. EVER. DO.

You are impatient, and I don’t blame you. Noweo should’ve been almost a week old by now if she was on time. You’ll learn this year that EVERYTHING happens on her time. Not yours. You sit and watch your Youtube friends holding their little bundles of joy and wonder what Noweo’s face looks like. Does she have hair? What will her cry sound like? What will she feel like in my arms? How will I know I’m in labor? Will I be able to have the natural birth I want? Will I be able to handle the pain?What if my water breaks but I don’t go into labor? They’ll induce me. Will I be screaming in the car on the 1 hour 20 minute drive to Waimea? …and so on.

You are SO TIRED of waiting. You feel helpless, at the mercy of unseen, unknown forces working within you. Your round ligaments are screaming under the burden of the life that has been growing inside of you for the last 9 months. I remember we danced in the living room today. Yeah. We were desperate. But you know what? It worked.

Your water will break tonight. You will be slightly frantic and momentarily forget everything that you had so meticulously planned, but it’s ok. You don’t need anything to give birth – really. Forget about the clothes you packed. Forget about the snacks. The last thing on your mind will be food…and clothes for that matter. Besides, you won’t want to get them messy. And birth is MESSY.

Now pay attention because this part is important:

You were MADE to birth. I know. I know. You’ve heard this phrase over and over and over again, but it is soooooo beyond true. There will be a couple of moments where you will be scared, frantic even. Rely on Keola. He will be your rock tonight. You spend so much time wondering if you’ll be strong enough you forgot that he has been holding your hand through this whole thing. You are ONE lucky girl. Everything will be ok. Trust your body. Trust your husband. It’ll all be over in a few short hours, and looking back, you will love your labor and rave to everyone who will listen about how fabulous it was.

Holding Noweo for the first time will be magic. You won’t even know what to do with yourself. She is the crown jewel of your life, and you will know it in that instant. My eyes water in anticipation of the sacredness of that moment. I can’t wait for you to experience it.

And after all that, life must go on. You will be tired, and trust me, you still haven’t caught up on your sleep. The next year will be full of triumphs and “try-agains,” laughter, tears, quiet confidence and fear. You will question yourself and your decisions over and over again. Remember that babies are resilient. Feed her, change her, love her. That’s all you need to worry about right now.

Last night I spend a good deal of time looking at pictures of Noweo in her first year of life. You wouldn’t even recognize her if you saw her today. She is beautiful and happy and healthy and perfect. She LOVES her mommy and daddy and our bond is UN-breakable. We are three peas in a pod and can’t imagine life any other way. So don’t sweat it. Go with the flow. Motherhood is a beautiful adventure and looks good on you 😉

In a few hours your life will change forever, and you will love it. So savour every moment. Write it on your heart and never forget the night you entered into a partnership with God to raise one of his beloved children, and became a mother.

With love,


P.S. Don’t bother pouring yourself that bowl of Captain Crunch. You’ll never get to eat it.

i had plans for the blog this week…

but at the moment i’m busy making 70 of these by Saturday and I have 8 so far.

I think I’m in a little over my head…

What turned into a simple birthday party…

…has kind of exploded in a hurricane of fabric, paper, ribbon, and whispy glue gun strands that have settled on EVERYTHING.

and it’s all because of my big fat ambition.

I think it’ll turn out gloriously though.

fingers crossed.

Catch ya later!

Noweo’s stats

Because of all our moving around, we couldn’t get medical for Noweo until now, so we had her 9 month check up a week before her birthday. Haha. Anyway, here’s what’s up:
Weight: 20lbs 6 oz
Height 29.5 inches
Head Circumference: 17.50 inches
She got a Hep B and flu shot. She didn’t make a peep with the flu shot but screamed a little with the Hep B.
We have to go back in a month for her vaccines since it’s against the law to do her 12 month vaccination before her birthday. Poor thing!
Doctor says she’s perfectly healthy. Those words sure make a mamma feel good!

where we are with sleep

I can’t remember how much I blogged about Noweo’s sleep…maybe once… anywhoo, I figured it was time for an update. The hardest part about all this moving, is not being able to create a solid sleep situation for Noweo, so since the time she was born, we felt that the only place she could rely on was being right next to Mommy and Daddy. So bedshare we did, and even though I talked about moving her to her own bed previously, all our attempts to do so have failed. So here’s where we stand:

The three of us SQUEEZE onto a double bed. It’s times like these I wish I had a masseuse for a husband. I’ve become quite the contortionist, and NOT in a good way.

That GIANT crib in our room? Not being used for jack squat, except for occasional sleeping and playing. I’m thinking of taking it apart but then we wouldn’t know where to put it. Plus it’s hiding the rest of our unpacked moving boxes.

Noweo’s actually gotten worse at sleeping. I could get at least 5 hours of sleep outta her when she was 3-4 months. Now I feel like she’s waking up every 3 hours or so to nurse. Usually I just lift up my shirt and she helps herself and I go back to sleep, so it’s not that bad. I think (hope) her less-than-ideal sleeping pattern has something to do with her teething and that this will not last forever.

I get the feeling she’s moving to a 1 nap a day schedule. Lately she’s been skipping her morning nap and not wanting to sleep till mid-afternoon, which is too late because she ends up sleeping till 5:30 and staying awake till 10. No thank you! So yesterday we thought a late morning nap would get her through the day and off to sleep at 8. We started trying at 11:00 am and she started nodding off, but didn’t relax completely. She kept startling herself awake. We battled with her till 1 stinkin’ 30. At that point she was exasperated and screaming and my mom finally came home from work so we could throw her in the van and let IT do all the work. She was out cold by the time we hit the first stop light.

Turned out to be the perfect nap time because she went to bed without a hitch.

Here’s the brightest and most reliable spot in our sleep routine. I LOVE bedtime. After dinner, which is usually by 7:00 I give her a bath. She is covered in food and really needs one at this point. Then we go straight to the bedroom and read books, play, cuddle, tickle, sing, nurse, whatever she wants to do, no TV, no computer. Lately she’s been loving animal sounds. She thinks they’re hilarious. So we read a farm book complete with “oink oinks” and “quack quacks”. I sing my lullaby to her. She smiles every time. Slowly, but surely, she drifts off to sleep by 8. I started doing this a couple weeks ago, and up until she started skipping her morning nap, it worked beautifully. Yesterday after we made her sleep at 1:30, it worked perfectly again.

This all started because we used to watch TV and let her run around, but the thing is, that if you let yourself think that “oh they’ll just tire themselves out,” they will NEVER go to sleep. So once I revoked TV after bath, she’s calmed down and gone to sleep MUCH, MUCH easier. I swear by it. The TV at night is way to overstimulating.

The only thing is that she won’t go to sleep without me. I can’t just leave her in the room and she’ll put herself to sleep. Believe me. I’ve tried…but maybe not hard enough. She also can’t put herself back to sleep. Sometimes I feel like something’s wrong with her, because I hear of other babies who are sleeping through the night and who self-sooth, but when she cries for me at night, it’s a frantic, desperate cry and I just can’t leave her like that. I did one night. She cried in her crib for 45 minutes until I caved and brought her in to bed all shaking and shivering and sweaty. I hate that.

Overall, I feel like we’ve gotten into an acceptable groove. I still try to put her in her crib after she’s fallen asleep, just to get a few hours of comfortable sleep before Noweo joins us. More often than not, she falls asleep in our bed and just stays there while Keola and I fit ourselves around her. I love bedsharing, but on a double? Not so much. I want to move her out, but Keola wants to wait until she can communicate why she wants to be in bed with us so badly. Her cries are horrific, like she’s REALLY scared and she does not back down.

Keola did make a good point that I thought was worth sharing: In the animal kingdom, you don’t see the young sleeping away from their parents. Of course, there are safety reasons for that, but I also believe that it’s the most natural thing in the word for young to want the comfort and warmth and security of the parent. It helps me continue bedsharing to know that Noweo feels safe and secure.

It’s hard for me not to think that if we hadn’t done so much moving around, if we were more stable, that maybe we would’ve been able to get Noweo to sleep on her own earlier and in a less traumatic fashion. I don’t know, but there’s no point in beating myself up over it. I guess we’ll just wait until Noweo can express herself and her feelings a little more. In case you didn’t know, I’m married to a psychologist. Expressing feelings is how we roll.

Truth be told, Noweo is a happy, spunky, loving, affectionate, active, curious, healthy, totally normal baby who loves us and knows we love her, and THAT’S what matters most.

Now your turn: What kinds of sleeping challenges have you encountered with your baby? How did you overcome them (or not)?

noweo’s favorite cardboard snack…i mean book

One of the things I that most excited me about becoming a mother was sharing with my children the same books that I had read and loved as a child.

Well, since my cardboard book chewing days, there have been (to my surprise) many, many wonderful little reads that were written. Baby, I Love You is our favorite. Please note, I was not asked or compensated to review this book. We simple LOVE IT and I wanted to share.

By the way, Noweo actually likes the book itself too – as in the words and pictures.

I found Baby, I love You at Walden Books when we moved to Oregon and actually teared upin the store. I HAD to have it.

What do we love about Baby, I Love You?
Noweo gets the BIGGEST smile on her face whenever I open it.
The illustrations are simple, sweet and full of personality, the colors soft and relaxing. There is also a lot of affection between the babies and their puppies which models the kind of love and affection we are trying to foster in our family. Noweo LOVES to kiss the faces in the book. So. cute.
The rhythm and movement of the words is a joy to read
The book talks about different body parts, hands, fingers, feet, toes, tummy and cheeks, so as I read, I tickle those parts. It makes for great cuddle time and Noweo likes anticipating my tickles. Plus she learns the names of body parts.
There are LOTS of “I love you’s.” If you have trouble saying “I love you” to your baby (which I hope you don’t), this book will help make up for it.
It’s not too long, not too short and easy to memorize. Lots of times I find myself sitting in the dark waiting for Noweo to fall asleep, so I’ll simply say the words. It’s become an integral part of our bedtime routine and the PERFECT message for Noweo to hear before falling asleep – that she’s loved.
We read it OVER and OVER and OVER again, and it doesn’t get old. Surprising no?

Baby, I Love You is something I envision reciting to my kids long after they’re babies. This book reflects my own thoughts of absolute love of everything about them – just cuter and more elegant with pretty pictures. Unfortunately our copy has been loved nearly to pieces. I’m gonna have to tape it up or something because it won’t last very long as is. The spine is nearly completely torn off, and the paper has been separated from one of the cardboard pages, not to mention several corners completely devoured.

Still, I LOVE that Noweo loves books, especially this one. Reading has provided me some of my fondest childhood memories. I know that Baby, I Love You and other books we enjoy are a splendid beginning to a life of reading for Noweo.

What do you and your baby enjoy reading?