day of play

How was your weekend? Ours was mild and relaxed…much like the rest of our week these days. We are eagerly awaiting the next thing and it’s easy to get impatient (especially me) so we’re trying to soak up the peace and leisure of having so much family time while we can.
Saturday took us up to Pukalani. There’s a playground across the field from the swimming pool that is usually pretty empty (probably because there’s no parking nearby) so we like to go there once in a while. Noweo usually has the whole place to herself. We struck up a conversation with another mom and her 3 year old who mentioned the St. Johns Church Festival in Kula, and since we had already gone up the mountain, what’s a few more miles across it? Besides, you can’t beat the breathtaking views of the Central Valley and West Maui Mountains. Hands down my favorite thing about Maui is that you can see so much of it at one time, from just about anywhere.
We didn’t spend much time at the festival since it was getting close to naptime (for all of us)… A quick lunch and walk around the vendors tables was all we could manage. It was nice to be around other people for a change. Our social life is pretty slow, so community events are always fun. We even met a nice little family with an 18 month old who really REALLY liked Keola. So fun to talk stories with someone new.
Sundays are for church and family and quiet. I try to get a lot of reading and journal writing in, trying extra hard to be more self-aware as part of my birthday goals. I grew up observing Sunday as the Sabbath, and while I didn’t always appreciate it, I do now. I think it would do a lot of people a lot of good to take an entire day to recharge, rest, think and evaluate and (hopefully) be ready for the dreaded Monday.
How do you recharge on the weekend?

just another photo challenge: pau hana

Though work is never really pau for a stay at home mom, we do tend to head outdoors in the late afternoon, when the sun is still shining bright but it’s not as hot. Grandma steps out to water the lawn, and she’s usually closely followed by a little helper, hoping to get just as wet as the grass. Yesterday I went a little crazy with the camera. It was a perfect impromptu photo shoot. I got as close as I dared with my iPhone, with one eye on the shot and one on the water hose. As the sale of the house progresses, afternoons like these are numbered, each one a treasure. So glad I could capture the sweet details of the moment.
Link up your pau hana photos with MauiShopGirl.

wow Leoda’s…WOW

Why did I wait this long to try Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop? Seriously. This. place. is. awesome. We headed there on Friday (for a b-day lunch). If there’s one place I absolutely HAD to check out, it was Leoda’s and I’m SO GLAD WE DID. Nestled in Oluwalu, it’s a bit of a drive from Kahului, but who can complain when the drive looks like this:
and this:
and this:
Sadly, I only got one picture of the inside, taken as discreetly as possible because I’m not a shameless blogger. I think people would stare if I took a picture of the cool recycled plywood wall treatment painted in all the calming shades of the ocean, and I just can’t take that. Leoda’s is quite definitely country chic, a perfect blend of modern and rustic touches. Fresh and homey, and totally my style! The service was awesome, full of locals running the joint (which is nice, especially when you’re so close to touristy Lahaina where all the shops seem to be run by recent transplants). Anyway, here’s  a peek:
I had the blue cheese burger. Keola had the Leoda’s burger. We split the fries. These burgers look like normal burgers, but they’re NOT. The meat is fresh and perfectly cooked, the veggies crispy, the bun, soft, but won’t fall apart as you eat. Homemade. Our burgers came before the fries, but I just had to dig in. I could barely fit it in my mouth, but what did make it in there was such an explosion of flavor there was nothing I could do but keep shoving it in my mouth. Keola patiently waited for the fries. To my “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???,” he replied “The fries. I like to eat my burger with the fries.” What a psycho. I couldn’t wait for the fries, but once they came, MAN OH MAN were they good. What do you normally eat with your fries? Ketchup? Ketchup and mayo? Ketchup and mustard? Not when you’re at Leoda’s. I asked the waiter what the sauce was, and he let me in on the secret: roasted garlic and mayo. Divine!
Unfortunately, my stomach was full to capacity by the time my burger was in it, and so was Keola’s, so my vision of a tabletop covered with pies for dessert wasn’t going to happen. We opted to share a tiny chocolate macadamia praline pie. I was nearly in tears as I shoveled my half into my pie hole. Sweet crumbly crust, caramel, creamy chocolate pudding and thick, rich whipped cream accented with crunchy macadamia nuts and a thick, curled chocolate shaving.
The total for all this goodness? I don’t remember. Keola paid for it, but it was around $10/burger and $4 for the pie. Probably not something I could afford every day, but priced right for a nice lunch out. And I can’t say ENOUGH about the quality of ingredients. You get what you pay for.
Why did I wait to try Leoda’s? I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA! People, if you haven’t gone, and are waiting for an excuse, DON’T. Get in your car and drive over there RIGHT THIS INSTANT. You won’t regret it. I didn’t.

my birthday gift to myself

“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
I’m 27 years old today. T-W-E-N-T-Y-S-E-V-E-N. The age my dad was, I recently discovered, when we moved to Hilo so he could begin his career. I was 4. He’s now 50. HOLY COW. Never has it been more clear to me that we are all walking different versions of the same path. One day I’ll be where my parents are now. Again, HOLY COW.
I don’t say this to be depressing, but rather, to marvel at the life cycle and how our age and experience changes us. For example, birthdays used to be all about parties and gifts and now they’re more about reflecting (celebrating yes, but there’s definitely a lot of reflecting going on too). What things went right? What do I want to change? What have I accomplished? Where do I want to go from here? Last years’ birthday goals were superfluous and stupid. I shouldn’t have set them because my heart wasn’t really in them. Really, I was just searching for some blogging material and projects that would keep me busy. Not having your heart in a project is the perfect way to derail it before it even starts.
No. This year I won’t be tackling any of those “busy” type goals. This year I plan to focus on 2 things:
Let me preface Thing #1 by saying that I’m a bonafide people-pleaser. I often put my own needs and wants on the side for others, and while that’s not a bad thing, it is when deep down I know it’s not the right thing for me. I simply have a tendency to think my needs aren’t as important as the needs of others.
That being said, the first thing I really want is to better understand and honor myself. This isn’t about vanity or selfishness. This is about recognizing myself as valuable, indispensable, and worth something. This is about caring for myself inside and out so I feel good about myself and have enough in the tank to care for others. This is about finding and listening to my inner voice, adopting the things that work for me and letting go of the things that don’t. It’s about letting go of the past, it’s about learning to communicate my needs with others, and letting other people help me.
The second thing that I really feel passionate about incorporating into my life right now, issimplicity. Just saying the word in my head makes me feel more calm and centered. Simplicity bleeds into every aspect of life – simple food, simple finances, simple record keeping, simple healthcare, simple cleaning, simple organizing, simple time management, simple parenting, simple furnishings, simple fitness. Ironically, that sounds like a really daunting list and lots and lots of busy-ness. It will require me to look at every aspect of life separately and really edit things down to the essentials and come up with a routine that works. Once that work is done, I feel like I’ll have more room to breathe, and more time to give to my family. I’m unbelievably giddy about it.
I’m not really sure how I’ll accomplish these things, or if I’ll ever be able to say they’re “accomplished,” but I’m going to go against the control-freak within and just do what feels right, when it feels right. So this year, I’m giving myself the gift of me, complete with permission to define who I am, protect myself against interests or ideas that don’t jive with my deepest beliefs, say no (and YES!) and be completely unapologetic about it all.
Happy Birthday to ME 🙂