Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Luau '09

(This is Kulani again). This year was the biggest luau so far. We'd planned on around 300 people and between 350-400 people showed up. It wasn't without incident, but by and large it seemed to go pretty well. While we did get behind a few times on the various proteins, we didn't run out of food. By the numbers, we turned out 8 Costco packages of Italian Sausages with the corresponding sauce and argentine bread, a 10 lb bag of rice, 15 lbs of potato salad, 70 lbs of kalbi sirloin, 100 lbs of Kalua Pork, and 120 lbs of chicken.

So, here's how it went down:
(Cindy here now. Kulani has been too busy to finish his post.)

Kuhia - sous chef and Haupia Master

Ben helped man the grill station (with help from his son Jaron).

Alika and Brittney helped with initial prep on Friday, and allowed us the use of their dad's kitchen with Wolf appliances. (Maybe we can get Wolf to consider sponsoring our luau next year.) Kehaulani brought it up a notch this year with decorations.

Lani (and Patrick) made the Chicken Long Rice and brought the poi, as well as bringing Cindy and the girls fresh leis back from their recent trip to Hawaii.

Kamika was the official luau photographer. But I also saw my neighbor Ellen with her camera, and I can't wait to see what photos she took.

Brian helped cart stuff up to the park with his truck. Jon and Delena helped with whatever needed helping. And many more of you chipped in when a command was barked or things needed cleaned up. Many thanks!

And the last great component was our fine friends, colleagues, neighbors, and associates. We can't take you all to Hawaii, but we can bring a little piece of Hawaii to you.

Elyssa, Stephanie, and Ellen. Friends from the neighborhood.

Racer and Maren and their dog. Racer is one of Kulani's first friends from the biking world, and now Racer owns a great little bicycle shop in Provo appropriately named "Racer's." In fact, it was Kulani who dubbed Racer, "Racer." Racer's real name is Jared, but at Gourmet Bicycles back in the day, three Jareds worked at the shop, so Kulani gave Jared the name of Racer to tell them all apart. Racer has since legally changed his name to Racer.

This is Mackenzie my niece holding my sister Kathy's new baby. Mackenzie is only 9 or 10, but she's going to make a great babysitter soon (as she is already). Grandma and Grandpa Christenson came down from Idaho and scooped up all the grandkids along the way to give the adults a night off. Mackenzie lives in Bothwell, Utah.

This is the Lorimers. Pat is attending UofU Medical School. They are founding members of the FCC--Fans of Cycling and Cuisine. The club is known for enjoying fine food and fine bicycle rides, mostly between Kulani and Pat.

Kulani taking a well-deserved break. I know you all think it looks like a lot of trouble to do this every year, but let me tell you that it is the highlight of Kulani's year. He loves it.

Next year, I'll make sure every family gets a photo. Wait ... Kulani, will there be a next year? Tune in to find out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Enthusiastic Listener

A post about the Luau will be on its way, but I've felt inspiration this morning.

I know I won't be winning any awards such as "Best Mom of the Year." I'm okay with that, really. Besides, the attention one would get from such an award would probably cause me to become a hermit. In my older years, I'm starting to seriously get why J.D. Salinger has been hiding for nigh unto 50 years (perhaps he's dead).

"Won't you come to speak to our women's group?" The phone calls wouldn't stop if you were to be mother of the year. Then there's the speaking engagements, the book deals, the paparazzi trying to take a picture of you at your least "mom-of-the-year" moment (think: Kate Gosselin). You know, when your 2-year-old runs out the front door sans clothes and diaper. Not that I'd know anything about that...

When I was younger, when asked the question: "Which would you choose: fame or fortune?" I'd always choose fame. I think it's a commonality amongst those of us stuck in the middle of a large family. We seek outward attention wherever we can get it.

But on Saturday after the luau, I decided fame is not for me. The luau was fantastic and it was great seeing everyone. The only problem was, it wasn't long enough, and I was on working duty, so I didn't get to say "hi" and chat with more people that I wanted. Some of the people who show up to the luau I only see once a year. I like to see how people's children are progressing and growing. I like to hear people's "stories." But fame (not that the luau makes me famous, there's just a lot of people there) doesn't allow one the time (nor the energy) to really connect with people in the ways one likes to be connected. I understand Dave Chappelle stepping away from the spotlight. Maybe there is such as thing as too many friends? (NO! NEVER! LET THE FRIEND REVOLUTION BEGIN!)

But what I'm getting at in a very odd and roundabout way is that I felt inspired today to help me become a better mother.

Lilia has been struggling with reading. It hasn't come naturally for her at all. I think a big part of it is because of her speech delay and hearing problems when she was a baby. The ripple affect has moved out to her reading comprehension. I can see on her face when she sounds out certain words, in her head all these years she's been hearing the word wrong. For example, the word "asked." She thinks it should be spelled A-K-S-D, so when she tries reading the real word, she gets confused and then frustrated. And my coaxing with little ryhmes she's heard a million times, such as "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking" does not help.

So I've been thinking what I could do to help her better. Usually when we read together, it's late at night, and I'm tired. I'm listening to her read with my eyes half closed. What kind of a message am I sending her? "You bore me to sleep, little girl."

So the next time we read together, it will be (a) earlier and (b) I'll act like I'm interested in what she's reading.

"Oooh, this story is good. Keep reading! What's going to happen next?"

Wouldn't that make you want to read more rather than seeing your mom nod off to sleep? Like I said, maybe not Mom-of-the-Year, but More Improved isn't a bad award either. Please, no phone calls.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Murray Youth and Family Tri

(Fair warning, this is Kulani posting). Lilia did her first triathlon today at the Murray Youth and Family Triathlon at the Murray City Park, which included a 100 yd swim, a 2.6 mile bike, and 0.6 mile run.
The night before the race, Lilia was already starting to get nervous. It didn't get much better in the morning. This is Lilia's nervous look. As we sat waiting for the pre-race meeting, I asked her what she was most nervous about. "I'm a little scared I might not be able to finish it all," she confided. I then explained to her that her rides and runs with the family were each several times longer than the race, which calmed her down almost immediately. Then she told me her strategy - "When it gets hard, I'll just do like in the book. I'll say, 'I think I can, I think I can.'"

The thing I was most nervous about was the swim - Lilia only learned the freestyle stroke about two-three weeks ago. And that was in shallow water. I was amazed by her tenacity. She swam the entire time, passing several kids along the way.

As she came out of the water, she had her game face on.

I hadn't planned on riding with her along the bike route, but brought a bike just in case. After I saw several parents riding out with their kids, I pulled out my bike and rode after her. I was surprised that it took me nearly a mile to catch her. She explained to me that her strategy on the bike had been to pick out a kid further ahead and then try to catch them. Doing so, she'd been moving along pretty quickly. After walking part of the second of three hills, she powered up the last hill. As she was coasting down toward the bike finish, she shouted, "I can't believe I'm doing it. I'm almost done. This is so awesome."

Lilia started out quick, but steady on the run. After passing a couple of kids, she came upon a girl who was walking. The girl took off sprinting, and Lilia rose for the bait. Both tired quickly, and Lilia had to walk for about 50 yards to recover. Once she did, she kept it steady and picked off several more kids. She stayed steady until she saw the finish line, then sprinted for the finish. In the end, Lilia showed a lot of toughness, seemed to have fun, and picked up a blue ribbon as the fastest in the six and under category.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just me and my hillbilly

Nono and I are getting some quality one-on-one time now that the older two are in school. Lissy for just half a day, but it is still great.

Nono is at that stage where she wants to do everything herself. Forget about trying to dress her. "I do it myself," is her over-used phrase these days. That's an outfit she picked out herself: overalls and no shirt. Who am I to judge? I'm just her mother. I tried coaxing her into a shirt, but she'd have none of it. And because she can take her clothes off and put them on by herself, I don't bother with the battle. I was raised in southern Idaho, afterall. Overalls with no T-shirt is a cultural statement.

Her independence borders on driving me crazy. She must brush her teeth herself, including applying the toothpaste to the toothbrush. Consequently, I find toothpaste in various places on the carpet all over the house.
I read a headline recently (didn't bother reading the story, just the headline, so I may be totally off base) that read children can understand the needs of their dogs. I could have told you that. (Yeah, I'm that know-it-all you despise who ruins every magic trick, every trivia game, and every Lifetime Movie plot twist with "I knew that.") Melissa was especially adept at being able to let Jesse, our family dog, outside when he needed to do his business in our yard, which I later get to pick up myself. Now it's Nohea's job to open the front door to let Jesse outside, whilst I lazily lay on the couch watching my "stories." If only she had the ability to also pick up his "business" and throw it in the garbage. And mow the lawn while she's out there too.

Hillbillies. What can I say? They never were the brightest tool in the shed, or some mixed metaphor like that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Luau '09

It's almost here. This is the reminder of the scheduled Fisher Family Luau on September 12 starting around 5 p.m. and going until everyone rolls out. It's at the Timpanogos Cove Park about a block and a half up the mountain from our house.

If you didn't get an official invitation, consider this your invitation. More details on Kulani's blog:


Here's a reminder of how to behave at a luau:


Can't wait to see you there!