Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rigby and his party

My little baby is a year old.  He's full of personality and has a mind of his own.
The cake was a pretty festive treat.  Rigby got the small top layer of his volcano (see pics in next post) to himself.  When eating, he usually wipes his hands in his hair.  Great.  As a special birthday moment, he picked up his whole cake and wiped it in his hair.  All over.  On top, behind his head... everywhere.  Much more of his cake ended up in his hair than in his belly.
I couldn't resist posting this classic pose.  What a heartbreaker.
Me and my babes.
The kiddie table.  I love these guys.  We missed you, Joee!
My brothers.  We missed you, too, Blair.

How to Host a Luau / 1st Birthday party

Recently, another blogging friend posted her baby's one year luau party.  Knowing Rigby's Hawaii trip would be so fresh under his belt at the time of his birthday, we had to go luau style.  I was wishing that she had posted her ideas and what worked, so I'm going to post it for others.  Here's how the party came to be.

First, the table settings.  I picked up a couple of twin, grass skirt bedskirts on clearance.  I ran a seam down one to make it fit this table and gathered another in the center with a rubber band to size it to the kiddie table.  In the center of each table I have a bowl or two of dried mango slices.
Each attendee was greeted with a candy lei.  I made these by laying out a strip of colored celophane, roughly 4 feet by 7 inches.  I spaced candy about 1.5 inches apart down the center.  I then folded the top down over the candy, then the bottom up over it.  I cut curling ribbons about 8 inches long, tied them around the celophane between each candy, and curled the ends of each ribbon.  The ends then come together and get one more piece of ribbon.  Viola!
The main dish was kalua pork, tradition at luaus and on the "plate lunches" common all over Hawaii.  Traditionally, I believe you dig a large pit, line it with banana leaves and ti leaves, light some kind of fire, and somehow steam a pig in it.  As I was short on banana leaves, I opted for a crock pot.  I bought a pork shoulder at Costco, and it really was Costco size.  My crock pot is large, but the roast barely fit.  I covered it with liquid smoke and sprinkled a healthy layer of sea salt on top.  I want to throw on a few unpeeled bananas, but there was no room in the inn.  I started the heat the night before, and let it cook on low for about 18 hours.  When I finally tried to take it out, it just fell apart.  Good thing I intended to serve it shredded; it practically shredded itself.  I served it with some Luau BBQ sauce on the table, in case people wanted more flavor, but I thought it had a surprising amount of flavor all on its own.

I mixed up a little strawberry/mango/guava/raspberry juice to drink...
And check out Rigby's fun volcano cake.
This was fun to make.  Invert an angel food cake on the cake platter.  Mix a mashed banana with a half cup of white frosting.  Spread this on top of the inverted cake.  Cut a 2-3 inch wedge from another angel food cake.  Spread some plain frosting on the two cuts and press them together, making a smaller cake.  Invert this and place it on top of the first cake.  I then put another small layer of the banana frosting and placed a mini (single serving size) angel food cake on the top.  Whip up some cream and add in the rest of the frosting with a little yellow food coloring.  Spread this all over the cake and press on shredded coconut.  Whip up more cream, coloring a little of it red and the rest blue.  Drop the red in sloppy spoonfuls on top for lava and spread the blue around the bottom, shaping it into waves.  I bought the palm trees, boat and sun in a craft store in their wood crafts section.  Tape the sun onto a kabob skewer.  Add them to the cake and be sure to take lots of pictures!

I saw this idea on the plane on the way to O'ahu.  Make homemade pineapple ice cream.  I am no expert at this, so find your own recipe... sorry.
I scooped it into hollowed out pineapple halves and froze it.
I then covered them and froze them.  On the video on the airplane, they just cut up the pineapple into cute chunks to hold and eat your ice cream out of.  My question is: How do you just run your knife through a frozen pineapple shell?  I couldn't do it.  I just scooped it out as usual.  Let me know if you have a better idea.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mice Playing

While I was licking Dole Whip off my spoon in Hawaii, Nick and Bethelle managed to keep themselves pretty busy.  To keep Bethelle's mind off of being Mommy-sick, we made a special calendar together before I left.  It had pictures indicating where she would be every day while Daddy worked.  She spent two days with each grandma, two days with her cousins Haley and Ellana, and a day with her cousin Asher.  Weekends were Daddy time, of course, and they had a lot of good bonding time.  Nick even took her on a date to Puerto Vallarta.  She was so excited, she had to call me right away to say that she was at her favorite restaurant.  She had never been there before.  Nick told me later that she fell asleep at the table soon after the call.  He laid her out on two chairs and had a meal alone.

Bethelle really had a wonderful time while I was gone.  Thank you SO MUCH to all those who helped take care of her.  I could not have enjoyed my trip if I knew she was sad or lonely.

Nick feigned on the phone that work was keeping him sooo busy and that he just wasn't able to get to all the things that he had wanted to do while I was gone.  I totally bought it.

Driving home from the airport in the dark, Nick drove very slowly in our driveway, looking at me out of the corner of his eye.  There was a faint smell of sawdust in the air, even with the car windows shut.  I looked up at the house and said, "shut up, what the heeeeeeeeck!"

If you know me, you know that I do not talk like that.  Ever.  Not that that is so bad, but I certainly don't want my toddlers repeating it.  This is  what I saw:
Ok, it was dark and there weren't any men or ladders, but the material point is that THERE WERE COLUMNS!  And they're so beautiful.  

And this is not all.  Nick also finished the brick in the walkway leading to the front porch and coordinated the installation of my master bathroom shower door, tiling around the master bathtub, drawers in the vanity of the master bathroom, some finish work in the kitchen, and a whole lotta cleaning.

Way to top off my vay-cay, Nick!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Hawaiian Adventures

I'm just going to give you a little travel log. I hope it's not too boring to read.

Thursday we flew to Hawaii and watched the veep debates. Exciting, I know. Politics is my hobby. I'm staying with my college roommate, Sara, and her cute family. That evening, another roommie, Janae, flew in with her baby, Sam.

Friday we all went to Honolulu and Waikiki beach. At the international market, I had a Dole Whip. If you've been here before, you know this is a blog-worthy indulgence.

Saturday, Janae and I went to the north shore of O'ahu. We saw Haleiwa, a cute little town up there. Rigby was such a trooper. He let me have some fun without fussing. We went to nearby Shark's Cove (scary, huh?!) to swim and snorkle while the babies slept (swimming one at a time, of course. Give me some credit!). Rigby was soooo tired, but he was way too excited about the beach to sleep, despite my best efforts. He and I got in the water together. He loved it when the little waves would sweep up on him. He laughed and laughed everytime, like he was being tickled. By the time we left, he was so out of it. He fell asleep in my arms as we walked to the car.

Sunday we watched General Conference at Sara's house. After a day of being cooped up (it's four hours of talks... great talks), we headed out for a little sun and fresh air.

Monday I asked Sara for a recommendation on a hike and/or an arboreteum. Janae and I went to Waimea Falls. Ooooh.... so nice. At the end of the hike (OK, they called it a hike, but can it really be a "hike" when the "trail" is paved and eight feet wide?) is a falls into a pool. You can swim through the pool to the falls, climb up on a ledge, and just let the warm water fall all over you. Mmmm. Apparently the "hike" is enough of a deterent to keep the crowds down. We were frequently the only people in the water. I want to take this home with me.

Tuesday was babysitter day. Saturday I had learned that I needed Rigby to stay home for at least one beach day (sorry, Rigs). Janae, Sara, and I went out for some girly fun in the sun. We first drove to Sandy Beach (what a pointless, obvious name) on the east side of O'ahu. Sara and I grabbed the boogie boards and approached the water. I had thought she would dive right in with the rest of the swimmers, but it turns out she was as apprehensive as I was. The waves were huge and strong. I guess our hesitation was a red flag to the life gaurd. He very politely told us that this beach had the highest rate of head and neck injuries and that we should put the boards down and just get our feet wet. Right. Thanks. Am I really that transparent? We tried this for a while, then packed up again. A little further up the island was a beach protected by a peninsula, Makapu'u. This was exactly what I was looking for. The breakers were present, but manageable. We swam the boards out past that, bobbed around in the swells, then rode them back to the beach. Ah, yes. This is Hawaii. Thanks Melissa and Ryan for watching Rigby.

Wednesday Janae and I were off to the Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona memorial. What can I say? It was interesting to be there and see the film about that day with 9/11 in my memory. I felt that I understood better. We then went to the local flea market where I finished up my souvenir shopping. That night Sara and her hubbie Ryan took us all out to a yummy Thai restaurant.

Thursday we all went to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. What a fun place. I have to say, this was Rigby's most challenging day. It was long and hot, and he is not one to sleep anywhere but his bed. When a cloud cover set in he seemed to get a second wind and powered through the rest of the day, to tucker out right in time for the big evening show. I appreciated that. If you've never been there, you should go. It's divided up into several different polynesian countries/cultures (Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, Figi, New Zealand... ). At each location you can watch presentations, make cultural crafts, learn to hula, etc. We also saw an imax about coral reefs. Rigby seemed to enjoy that.

Friday we went to the Dole Plantation. It is not the factory that I remember touring as a kid here. I guess they closed that down when Mr. Dole bought an entire Hawaiian island to move most of his production to. What remains here is a large gift shop/restaurant, the biggest maze in the world (recently pronouced so by the Guiness people), and a little train ride around the plantation of mostly pineapples, but also cocao (chocolate), bananas, mangos, bread fruit, and more. Again, I had a fanastic Dole Whip. Mmmm. It's like a soft serve, pineapple sorbet. It's incredible.

Today is Saturday. We will be meeting up with my friend Mandy who is coincidentally here at the same time with her family and her parents. The last time I came to Hawaii was when we traveled here together after gradulating from high school. Today for our "reunion tour" we will go to the Dole Plantation and Turtle Beach, where large sea turtles return to nest) or whatever they do). I hope to get some great pictures of these guys.

Sunday will be traveling day. Wish me luck. Lots of it. And wish me an empty seat next to me and neighbors who are sweet, understanding grandparents.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Perpetual 87

Yeah, I'm in Hawaii. I'm so excited. I hope I can post pictures while I'm here, but we'll see.

I arrived yesterday after a six hour flight with Rigby. I am soooo pleased to say that the flight went very well. As a roamer, I didn't know if Rigby could handle being confined to my lap for that long. He did great. He slept only 1:20, but, for a guy who never sleeps outside of his crib, that was pretty good.

Nick and Bethelle are home having Daddy/daughter adventures. Have fun, you two! I will!.