Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I watch you sleep.

Dear Sweet Jonathan,
You are holding on to the last grips of life,
Your tiny body fighting against pain, swelling, sickness, and medication.
I watch you sleep -
Your eyes swollen shut, your bruised hands,
tubes weaving in and out,
and still I see that belly rise and fall, each breath a glimmer of hope.
But the truth is, Baby J,
YOU are hope.
YOU are love.
YOU are a pure soul, a quiet angel
swooping down from heaven to make us all catch our own breaths,
gasp at your presence,
your beauty
your life-lessons.

Make us stop in our tracks, gripping the hands of our loved ones,
begging us to behold one another.
You have brought us close,
surrounding you and one another with prayer and supplications to the
Mighty One Above.

You reminded me of what a true fast consists of,
something I had long forgotten.
You reminded me how to pray with every ounce of my heart,
a swift lesson I will not soon forsake again.
You reminded me of the importance of scriptures and the presence of the Holy Ghost.
You reminded me to stay close to my family -
for they truly are forever.
You reminded me that if I love being Aunty Meghan this much,
that I weep for a tiny boy
I have only met through the belly of my sister,
then I can't even fathom how much I will love being mommy.
You've done this and so much more for me and Uncle Adam,
and we are 5,000 miles away from you.
Your spirit is a special one, my dear.

Your mommy is so special, too, J.
And so is your daddy, and brother and sister.
But you already know that.
That's why you've been born into their fold.
I give you strength to carry on, to fulfill your mission:
whether it be in this life, or the next.

I watch you sleep.
And I whisper to you,
"You are loved, child."

*Baby Jonathan has been blessed and given a name, and was able to officially meet his older brother and sister for the first time last night. He is no longer responding to stimulation, and is severely brain damaged at this point. Noe says, "No matter what happens Jonathan has already done a great work in bringing our family and many others closer to each other and God. We are proud of him and all he has been able to accomplish. We have been so blessed with all of your love, support and prayers during this time of need. Please continue to keep Jonathan and our family in your thoughts and prayers."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Light and Love please

Jonathan Kunoa Dauphinee.

I only have one sibling - my older brother. He doesn't have any kids, so I had never been an aunt before I married Adam.
And then I discovered the joys of nieces and nephews.

And when Noelani got pregnant, it was the first pregnancy I was ever able to be a part of in such a meaningful way. She was my sister, and I watched her belly grow. We even lived with their family for 6 weeks while Noe was about 5 months along. I got to feel the baby kick --- my first time ever!
I went with her to the ultrasound where we found out -- it was a BOY! ---- my first time ever!
It was such a special experience seeing his little body on that black and white screen -
 a tiny bean of a boy sleeping soundly in the basketball that was Noe's belly.

I loved him then.
And I love him even more now.
My very first! nephew that I've witnessed from start (while...not know what I mean) to out of the womb.

I started crying when I read JKD was just born! on our cell phone screen.

And then I read the next text:
"Now going to the NICU. Please pass the word."
"Please pray for Jonathan he is in critical care"

And immediately my heart was thrown in reverse. How could this be happening? He was just born. He was my new special nephew.

We soon found out Jonathan had contracted type B strep in the womb a few hours before being born. 
His respiratory system and circulatory system is failing, causing internal bleeding and swelling in both his brain and spinal fluid. This has also led to multiple seizures. The doctors do not know how long he will last, or if the swelling and bleeding will do permanent damage or not.

  We have been able to watch the little guy on a live web cam that the hospital has posted online - what a blessing it is to see him in such a desperate time. And sometimes, when the angle is just right and my internet fast enough, I can see him breathing. His little belly going up and down, and I pray it never stops.

Please. Keep this little button nosed cutie and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
 Just by reading this, you are thinking of him, and therefore sending light and love their way. Thank you.
They need all they can get. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons learned in Southern France

-Please play this song as background music to this post, as we had it stuck in our heads the entire time we were in the South of France.

-The day we were heading down to Montpelier (remember how that was the only destination in the South available to us?), we woke up bright and early, stopping at a bakery for breakfast. We clumsily ordered a giant loaf of bread for both of us, and some macaroons (heaven on earth). And that is all we ate. The. Entire. Day. And because of that, we learned this simple lesson: Man cannot survive on bread alone. Though it's a pretty cheap alternative.
This is a video I took on the train ride from St. Malo to Rennes, on the day we were heading down south. This is the day we only at bread. The video/scenery isn't too exciting, and the only sound is the people around us, but Heather's in it, and she's cute, so you should watch it. And when you see her eating, don't ask what it is because you already know. 

- The next lesson we learned: sometimes events are too coincidental to be coincidences -- Remember God is watching over us and is in control. Hop on these events like white on rice. (Even if it means doing so illegally? Um...potentially. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut instinct, even if it's not what the "authorities" would tell you) When we arrived in Rennes, I was preparing to wait for our next train that would take us to Paris, and then to Montpelier, where we would be arriving in a creepy city at 1am to head towards a creepy hotel. I was feeling not so fantastic about this, when Heather said, "Meg, there's a train heading to Montpelier right now. We would get there around 3pm - a much safer time. Let's take it." I don't know how she saw that, but we went to the ticket box to ask for a reservation, fully expecting --- and eventually receiving --- a big fat NO. But, Heather and I weren't giving up that easy. We were now left to decide: do we get on that train without a reservation, after we've been told we can't, or do we take the train we do have a reservation for, and put ourselves in danger by arriving at 1 o'clock in the morning? After praying and thinking that the worst that could happen to us was that we'd be kicked off the train at some random stop and charged lotsa Euros, we decided to take the chance. It was the most uncomfortable 7 hours of my life. I was so paranoid, neither of us could relax, and we were scared of every single train man that came by to check our tickets. Since we didn't have reservations, we weren't assigned a seat, so every stop that new people came on, we had to move around so we weren't in someone else's seat. It was so nerve-wracking. I had to pee so bad, but I knew the ticket man hadn't come around to check our tickets yet so I thought I would wait. Heather finally told me to just go, and of course, that's when ticket man showed up. Heather said she  just showed him her Eurail pass, he looked at it like he didn't know what to do with it, and moved to the next person. It was so intense. Oh, and we were starving and so sick of bread! But we both believe we made the right decision, because Montpelier was a sketch-a-thon when we arrived at 3pm, and it would not have been good to be out on the streets at 1am. 

-When you're staying in a sketchy town, in an even sketchier hotel, you become very resourceful. The hotel in Montpelier we stayed in had a shared bathroom for showering. Heather and I gagged everytime we stepped into it, and felt dirtier coming out of it then we did going into it. One night, Heather and I were loudly discussing ALL of our plans - where we were going, where we were staying, what trains we were taking, etc. Then Heather left to go to the bathroom, and I realized we had left our bedroom window wide open. Not only that, but directly underneath our window was a rooftop that led to the next building's wide open window. And in that wide open window was a man, talking on his phone in French. This man could easily hop out of his wide open window, crawl over the rooftop, and hop through our wide open window and murder me in about 2.5 seconds. I got so freaked out, I started listening to his conversation, and I swear I heard him say something about AMERICANS. I quickly ran to the door, shut off the light, and waited for Heather to return. When I told her the story, she looked over at the window and saw that there were no curtains, and a dinky lock on the window (what would a lock do when the window was GLASS???!!) So, she very simply and decidedly began to drag the GIANT ARMOIRE that stood as high as the ceiling over to in front of the window. We slept soundly that night, as the old wooden armoire creaked nonstop, settling into its new position in front of the window. Ain't no murderer gettin' through that security system!

- Nothing beats the ocean. After being so stressed out the last couple of days, Heather and I both needed something to lift our spirits. The ocean is what did it for us. The ocean seemed sacred to me this day in a way it hadn't ever before. It brought me closer to Adam, to God, to who and where I wanted to be right then and there. The open air of the ocean was refreshing, and I could feel my lungs and brain rejoice at the chance to clear out the gunky and smoky city/train air.

- Sometimes I like to not listen to the travel books, but usually they are pretty right. Case in point: The South of France wasn't as great as I thought it would be. From Montpelier, we took a train to Marseille, where we hopped on a boat and took a tour of the Chateau D'If (think Counte of Monte Cristo). The ocean and the boat ride were gorgeous and oh-so-refreshing. However, the castle was only worth it because we were already there. I'm glad we only spent one day in Marseille. In the future, I would not plan a separate trip to Marseille (we later found out that Marseille was a major drug port! Joy!). However, if you are already in Marseille, then the castle and walking along the boardwalk is a fun day trip

- Bring sunscreen. It's really expensive in Europe (just like everything else).

- Don't think of travel/train days as "wasted time." It's easy to fall into this trap of thinking, if you're not doing something cool, then it's a wasted day in Europe. But Heather and I had a lot of time on trains, and we came to really love that time. We could just sit in peace and quiet, nobody bothering us, not being paranoid that something out of our bags is going to get stolen, we could rest our legs, we could just chat and reminisce about high school days, and play phase 10. Plus, you are still seeing and enjoying the beauty of Europe while you are on the train - just look out the window at the scenery, fields of flowers and tall grass, wide open spaces, old cozy homes, and, like our trip to Nice, the ocean.

-We love hostels. I always felt so much safer in a 8 person mixed male/female dorm room than I did in a run-down hotel with just Heather and I in the room. Even when me and the older Asian man would wake up at the same time in the morning and somehow manage to lift our heads at the exact same time and find each other accidentally and awkwardly staring at one another at 7 in the morning. And even when we had to skillfully dodge the annoying blonde canadian and her two men that she found and latched onto, and her texting and phone calls to her boyfriend late in the middle of the night, and her extremely unbecoming potty-mouth. And invitations to go drinking. 

-Save your money on food by shopping at grocery stores. (So you can splurge once later!) We learned our lessons with the bread day, and started shopping at grocery stores when we knew we were going to have a long day on the train. This was healthy, cheap, and delicious. And it allowed us to save money, so when we had a relaxing night in a beautiful city like Nice, we could splurge a little at a nice sit-down restaurant and not feel guilty (or completely broke). 

- The tops of mountains and hills aren't just the tops of mountains and hills in Europe, as we learned both in France and in Switzerland. In Nice, we walked down the Promenade des Anglais, and skimmed around the shops and streets in Vieux Nice (like Old Town). We found and took some steps leading up to a panorama view. But what we found wasn't just a great view, but a playground, a giant field for running/playing, a restaurant, a cemetery, and an archaeological site. Incredible. One thing I really learned to love and appreciate about Europe (minus Italy) is that they love their open space. They leave so much s p a c e to just relax and enjoy, 

- Overall, France was so different than what I was expecting. I would go back, but only to see more of Paris. Nice was more exciting/ more worth it than Marseille or Montpelier, but I still would rather spend my time in Europe in places like Switzerland or Austria, our two next stops. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sometimes I'm illogical. (aka stupid)

This last weekend we went to Adam's 2nd cousin's son's five year old Mario-themed birthday party. (whew!)

And on the way home, I thought I was seeing ghosts.

We were driving along, me in the passenger seat. I was telling Adam some kind of story, I'm sure it was really funny and really engaging and just super cool and Adam was totally into it (as was I), when all of a sudden I looked into the lane next to us and saw the car driving alongside us.

But there was no one in the driver's seat. 


Maybe it's a British car, or a mailman's car, and the driver's seat is actually on the other side?

I sat up straight, real quick, pressed both my hands on the window, and urgently scanned the entire row of front seats. I leaned as far over as I could, searching for someone, anyone, to be in the front seat driving that stupid car. 

I saw no one. And I panicked.

I said to Adam.
In my head, all I could think was "GHOSTS!"


And that's when Adam sped up and I saw the motor home attached to the front of the car being driven by ghosts. Or not being driven by someone who had fallen asleep or murdered from the backseat.
The possibilities had been endless.
But illogical, nonetheless.
We laughed for a long time after that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Kidding

(But only kind of)

Dear Kaleo,
On Saturday you turned 6 months old.
-You weigh 17 pounds. (He's in the 90th percentile! ....Kidding, I have no idea)
-You are still on stoner drugs from your surgery, so you are acting psychotic lately. But we still love you.
-You love to sit, lay down, and wait, but only for a treat.
-You cannot seem to wrap "Shake!" around your head, but we'll keep trying.
-You are doing better greeting strangers and children, but are still afraid of the maintenance men at our apartment complex.
-You still throw up within 10 minutes of being in the car, and probably even less now that you took a trip to the vet. You have no idea that we are going on a camping trip this weekend, and we are scared to tell you you're about to get back in the car.
-You are starting to live up to your name ("The Voice") and barking at every squeak in the house. Sometimes the only thing that will shut you up is a spray of water to the nose.
-Our favorite thing to say to you is, "Try it again, see what happens." And you're favorite thing to do is, try it again, and then run away real fast.
-You love Mommy's bras and socks. Especially when company's over. 
-You're very regular; what goes in always comes out. Good boy!
-You are starting obedience training next week! Yay!
-You always stop fetching right when we throw the ball the hardest and farthest. 
-You love when my nanny boys come over because they give you hotdogs and drop their food on the floor.
-You are teaching us lots of patience and how to take turns! This will come in handy in later years!

Mommy and Daddy love you, sweetie. Keep making us smile, and we'll keep feeding you. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lessons learned in Northern France (St. Malo)

I'm slowly getting through my whole trip...each post on every country takes so much out of me! I'm glad I wrote in my journal everyday during my trip; there is no way I'd be able to remember everything we did without it.

Paris was a totally different story from the rest of France.
France and Paris needed to be kept separate ---- here's France's lessons:

-Book your train reservations as early as possible. Days, weeks, etc, in advance. We headed to the Paris train station after hitting up our last site: Le Sacre Coeur. I assumed that since it had been so easy to get reservations while I was with my dad in Italy and Germany, that that would also be the case in France. Wrong. wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. Everything was already booked up for Eurail Pass Holders getting down to the south of France, where we had reservations in a couple of days. Apparently, they only reserved a certain amount of seats for Pass holders? Hadn't heard of that before? (Why was every country SO different? Couldn't they make something like a TRAIN work the same? Since it went through all the countries?)
 plans completely changed in a matter of 2 minutes. Months and months of hard planning, searching, reserving....all down the drain. I told the lady, Fine, if it's booked to Marseille, just get me somewhere, anywhere, in the South. "Montpelier is nice?" she said. We'll take it!
 But there was two catches: 1) We didn't have any place to stay in Montpelier. 2) We didn't get in until 1am in a creepy city where we didn't have a place to stay. I was out of my mind with worry. For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, I am a planner. And I do not like it when things do not go according to plan. My mantra for the next 5 days as we shifted in and out of planned and unplanned events: I can do hard things.

- So, I learned that things do not always go according to plan. And so that must mean I was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be there.

- I must not have learned the above lesson yet. Don't let spoiled plans spoil anything else. Shrug your shoulders, say "Oh well," and move on. Fast. One plan that was supposedly still in tact was to get up to St. Malo, on the north corner of France. From there we were going to visit Mont St. Michel, a chapel out on an island --- the ONLY reason we wanted to go up north in the first place. We hopped on the train from Paris to Rennes, and then to St. Malo. We stayed the night in a ghetto hotel (not a hostel), with a beautiful ocean view off our balcony. We awoke early, and started looking for the bus to take us to Mont St. Michel. After struggling through several conversations with several different people (and learning that there was somehow no internet access in the entire city? Wha...?), we learned that there was only one bus to Mont St. Michel. And we had already missed it for the day. We would have to try again tomorrow, or pay 80 euros for a taxi - I almost did it. Can you believe that? I was almost that spoiled, determined, stubborn...or stupid. But we could do neither. I was sooooooooo bummed. I wanted to cry; I had specifically made room for this one side trip just to see this chapel and now I wasn't able to -- I felt I had wasted an entire 2 days for nothing. I know, lame. I was in Europe. In France. And I was whining. I made myself sick! So I quickly dropped that poor attitude, remembering how blessed I was to already have seen so much, and how much I had to sacrifice (and Adam too) for me to be out here. Heather and I figured out something cool to do in the city we were in. We learned to take what we were given and enjoy it to its fullest, wasting no time, no bad energy, and no hard feelings. And we learned that St. Malo had some endearing qualities of its own - we just had to seek out the good, and we found it quick. Another lesson? Nutella crepes fix everything.

-Listen to your gut and get out of bad situations fast. This one is important pretty much anytime of life, but especially when you are 2 young girls traveling alone. We got to St. Malo around 8pm, and it was still pretty light out. We were waiting for the bus to take us to our hotel. There was one other kid standing by us and we tried to be friendly without being, you know, conversational (since we don't speak very good French, and all). A chemically, internally altered girl (ie drunk, high, or both) came up to us and started asking for money. I said I didn't speak French, so she gave me a real nice tourist welcome, which ended in some rude gestures and an "eff you" stare. Heather and I were both pretty weirded out, but when we saw her coming back with 2 other boys and a nasty looking dog, we knew we had to get out of there fast. Heather started heading back to the train station, but luckily we spotted some taxis first. They started pestering the boy, and we bee-lined it for the taxis, praying for a nice and safe taxi-driver. He was both, and delivered us at our hotel in one piece. It was worth the extra cost to not get beaten up or into a situation we wouldn't have known how to get out of. As we pulled away in the taxi, the boy's mom had come to pick him up, but the groupies were still bothering them. We hope they all were safe.
Another example: We were at a train station. looking at our maps, and a creepy guy next to us was muttering, "Oh baby...Americans...." we promptly got up and found a seat surrounded by normal-er looking people.

-Churches are sources of comfort, no matter the religion. We always liked to find the churches in whatever Old Town we were in, and just sit for a minute or two, enjoying the peace and quiet and rest. We never felt rushed or in danger or on the defense when we were in a church. It was building dedicated to God, and as such, a sweet spirit was there.

- Genesis 2:18: It is not good for man to be alone. Haha, this scripture kept popping into my head the entire trip, thinking about Adam all alone at home. I missed him so much during my trip. I struggled with the pay phones and making contact with him. At this point in my trip, I had gone 7 days without talking to Adam, and about 4 days without even being able to email him. I thought about him going to work, and I was just so torn up that I wasn't there to support him during the start of his first real job. I thought about what he did with his free time (watched movies, made a desk and bed frame, re-did our kitchen table) and tears would sting my eyes at the thought that it wasn't spent with me. I sent him about 2 postcards a week, and all of them were hanging on the wall when I got home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Such an odd little book.

I think I would learn to like it more if I had a class, professor, or a friend to discuss it with.

But it was just soooo strange.

What a neat idea for a book! And yet she did something so totally different than what I would have done, or what I was expecting. It was slow in places, and less about her ability to know people's emotions in their food, and more about her family life.

Its strangeness gave me the heeby-jeebies at times, making me feel all weird in my stomach. I can't explain it.

And that's why I can only give it 3 stars.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today I....

- Gagged on a dirty diaper. Twice.

-Told Kaleo to say good-bye to his manhood cuz it's coming off tomorrow and we just couldn't be more thrilled for him! 

-Slept in due to a terribly violent and sickening nightmare. Where does my brain get this crap? And I knew my fear of my alarm clock not going off wasn't irrational...

-Finally figured out my husband singing "Kissss me, ki-ki-ki-kiss me" wasn't a song he had just made up off the top of his head. Nope, that'd be Katy (Yes, I'm kind of an old lady - I'm a little behind on the times).

-Started collecting pine cones? They're just so cute when they're small! (That's what she said)

-Realized Global warming is real. (I'm kidding) (as much as I can when it comes to global warming) We've got highs of 99 degrees tomorrow, with a "RealFeel" degree of 103 (I understand that just as well as you do). 

- Saw Jack Nicholson driving a school bus. (not really. I just like to pretend like I run into famous people all the time. Like when Heather and I saw Mexican Anne Hathaway on a train in Europe. Or the one time my dad and I saw Bon Jovi in a grocery store in Minnesota and started singing "Livin' on a Prayer" kinda loud just to see if, oh I don't know, he'd join in with his drums and guitar or something?)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Camping with the ticks.

So this is a week late.

But we did celebrate Memorial Day Weekend.

We went camping.

Our cozy tent with the 3 of us.

We played Phase 10.
And made up our own phases :)

Tin foil dinners.

This was Kaleo's FIRST time swimming. We had to teach him the doggie paddle by waddling along with him, holding onto his belly. So funny...

Since Adam lived in Hawaii all his life, he never had to deal with snakes or snow...or TICKS
Well, Maryland's ticks sure gave him a waaaarm welcome on our trip.
When we went to the bathroom before bed, I warned him to look himself over for ticks.
He came back to the tent and said he had plucked off two biggies from his jungle stomach hair.
I said, "That's it? Only two? Well, you better let me check you over again...."

He lifted up his right arm and lo and behold! Another tick hiding in the jungle of armpit hair! But this one was know, in him. So I'm freaking out cuz the tick ain't moving and Adam's freaking out cuz he didn't know ticks sucked blood.
"Of course they suck your blood! How else do you think they give you lyme disease??"
"LYME DISEASE?! Get it out! Get it out! Let me do it! Hurry! That stuff can KILL you!"
And now I'm laughing so hard I can't do a thing -- all the while the tick is still sucking and still passing over a disease to my husband and all I can do is laugh and all Adam can do is get 
ticked off (HA! Punny!) 
Finally I mustered up my courage, knowing my husband's life was in danger, and I squeezed my eyes shut realll tight, and yanked that sucker outta there, quickly flicking him out of the tent.

After all that drama, I was not happy to see another tick in Adam's OTHER armpit.
Dude. The ticks love the jungle.

Anywho, overall we picked off AT LEAST 20 ticks between the two of us and the dog.
But still, we're stoked for some more camping.
And it's crazy because when we lived in Hawaii ---
probably the easiest state in the world to go camping in because it's always warm and you can just hike 5 minutes up the mountain and bam! you gotta prime camping spot ----
well, we nevvvver went camping.
(Ok maybe once. Or twice. But we lived there for years!)
And now here we are in Maryland, with 6 different camping weekends already planned out and payed for.

Maryland, Virginia, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, State Park, National Park
We're roughing it up - ticks and all.