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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Adventure 28: A Visit from Family, My Newspaper Article, and Meeting the M-I-L for the First Time!

This is going to be a super overdue recap of our lives in the past 4 months, (give or take a little).

Our Family Comes to Visit

I am fortunate enough to have a handful of people in my life that mean the world to me, that I would do anything for and they would do anything for me, and that I am lucky enough to have them as my family and as my friends.  Included on this list are my brother and his wife, (who is not only my sister-in-law, but a best friend), and they have given me the sweetest, funniest, most clever nephew any aunt could ever dream of!  They finally made it to Maui for their very first visit EVER and their first time meeting Jun and Reise.  It's officially official, we're all peas in one giant family pod!  (Now just to figure out how to kidnap them to Maui forever?  Any and all ideas are greatly welcomed!).

Here are some photos my sis took of their visit here, (it's kind of nice seeing everything from someone else's camera and perspective):

The sunrise from our house in Hana's main window.

Family photo-op headed into Red Sand.

Red Sand Beach.

Chris and Warren with Jun photo-bombing
in the background at Red Sand.  :)

How amazing is this guy?!  LOVE HIM!

The Haleakala Crater.

Their Bamboo Forest selfie on the Pipiwai trail
turned out amazingly perfect!

I love these TWO!!!

Black Sand Beach... I love these THREE!

Pipiwai Trail... I love these FIVE!!!

Clay Oven Pizza is a pretty cool experience while
in Hana and so we had to go, (but be warned
 that you might get a contact buzz while there)!

What's even more exciting than their first visit to Maui is that they are OFFICIALLY expecting a baby GIRL!!!  That's right, I'm going to be an aunt again and I couldn't be more EXCITED!

My First Newspaper Article Since High-School

Ever since I could write as a young girl, my poems and essay pieces were getting published by my school in my hometown newspaper.  My scores on state and national exams always ranked high above average when it came to the writing sections of the tests, and I'd even been invited to event dinners for essays I'd written.  I can also count on more than one hand the times teachers and college professors have humiliated me by reading my writings out loud to the class.  All of this "tooting my own horn" is actually me getting ready to tell you what a writing failure I've become.  I had been accepted to have a book I'd began writing years ago published by a wonderful publishing company, but my life at that time seemed in shambles, my self-esteem at an all-time low, and so I just gave up because I didn't believe in myself.  My focus then steered to photography, and through winning the Hana photography contest, I met the mind behind the Hanaside Newspaper, Doris.  I always saw Doris at Hamoa Beach and one day I decided to casually mention to her in our daily talks that I not only love photography, but I also love to write.  I told her if she ever needed any writers for the paper, I'd love to give it a shot!

Time went by and then in April when we moved to Makawao, Doris rings me out of the blue to ask if I would do a short trial article introducing Hana's first radio station.  I felt like a little kid, all giddy with the opportunity.  I wrote it, had one of my beautiful editor girl-friends read it over, and then I sent it on its way with anticipation.  They said I did wonderful and there will be more articles coming my way next issue.  It even made page 3, (which is more like page 2 since the front page contains no articles).  Hopefully this will be baby steps towards a future in writing and possibly even another go around at a book publication someday...

YAY!  :)

Meeting my Mother-In-Law for the First Time EVER!

I thought it would take an act of congress to meet my mother-in-law.  I had done my fair share of begging to Jun, but he was concerned that because of her age and losing her memory, that I would have my hands overloaded with her and baby Reise and the pooch while he had to work a very busy schedule.  Those were two of the EXACT reasons I wanted to meet her though, (so that she could remember meeting us and that she could spend time with Reise and I).  So while his sister took a trip to Taiwan with her family, Jun's mom spent two weeks staying with us.

To be honest, before she arrived I was so nervous about our language barrier that I listened to Japanese language lessons in our truck everyday until she came.  I learned absolutely nothing from them except that my tongue doesn't move in certain directions to make Japanese sounds and I felt like a complete moron trying to repeat the bi-lingual lady coming through the speakers, (I may have even blushed driving all by myself).  Jun's Mom has lived in California for the past 35 years, but her neighborhood is so diverse that she never needs to challenge herself with English, but does know enough to get by.

From the moment I met her, I liked her.  She was much shorter than I had imagined, but her eyes instantly told me everything I'd ever wanted to know about her.  We were instant friends and would stay up after Reise had gone to bed and work past our language differences and have real conversations about life: past, present, and future.  Jun told me she repeatedly said to him that "she'd never met any woman like me before", and "she didn't know how he pulled it off", and "that Danielle is such an excellent driver".  You have to love it when your mother-in-law tells your husband that you're a fantastic driver. :)

When we dropped her off at the airport, I had to choke back some tears.  The thought that this could be the only time we get to spend with her broke my heart.  Besides repeating stories often and leaving the faucet running accidentally, (oh, and sneakily feeding Reise almost an ENTIRE ice cream cone), she was wonderful company and an excellent grandmother and mother. Watching her down on the floor playing with Reise everyday was my ultimate highlight.  Also, for a strong minded Japanese woman, "I love you" is not a word that comes from her mouth... EVER... except when it comes to Lono.  Talk about best friends, she would say to Lono, "come lay down right here", and he would go lay at her feet.  Then she would tell him, (which Jun's never heard her say to ANYONE), "I love you!", as she petted his fur.  She even spoke to Lono in Japanese, to which he fully understood, (leaving me in shock when he ran out of my room to go to her when she said to him to come get a snack, all in Japanese).  She often forgot that I don't understand Japanese and would go on with a conversation speaking it until I would embarrassedly interrupt her.  Then she would laugh and say, (in English), "I look at your face and how you accept me and you are such a smart girl that I just think you know what I'm saying."

One of my favorite memories that I'll never forget is when she called to tell us she made it back to California safely.  I asked Jun to ask her what her highlight was, which was obviously meeting sweet baby Reise and playing with her.  Then he said, "What else"?  You couldn't imagine her #2 if you tried...  It wasn't meeting me or spending time with Jun, but rather my cooking!  She always looked forward to eating my cooking she said.  I cracked up laughing... but seriously, isn't that a true compliment coming from your mother-in-law?  I made her everything from curry, to grilled vegetable sandwiches, to stir-fry, to meatloaf, to spring rolls, to baked yams and a whole lot more... and between her and I, we demolished some kim-chee while she was here.  I truly hope that she will come stay with us again, and no matter her state-of-mind or her health, it would be my honor and pleasure to spend time with her and have Reise play again with her Grandma and spend time with her son.

Here are a ton of pictures from her time with us here, (visiting the Ali'i Lavender farm, the Tedeschi Winery, some at home, and a couple at "Giggle Hill" park near our home).

You can see the ocean on both sides of the center
of the "eight" of Maui from way up here.

CAUGHT red-handed spoiling both Reise
and Lono with the majority of her ice cream cone.  :)

Just an iPhone quick pic to capture these
precious memories with Grandma.

Yes, Lono is cheezin'... Why, you might ask?  Because
he's at the beach with his familia!

She's always stopping to get a
nose full of flowers.

Three generations and one of my favorite pictures!

She's got the moves like Jagger!

How amazing is the wine weathervane?

Getting Mom "Kombucha'd Out", (as we like to call it!).

We had to meet Jun for lunch on her last day
so she could see him in uniform.  :)

The "Gold" at the end of my rainbow... :)

Cheeky monkey with his ball!

And here's a few photos I've taken of Reise over the past couple of months to try to capture her at every age.  How is my baby now practically a toddler?! 

These were the top 3 favorites selected by Facebook
friends and fans of my mini-shoot of Reise at Giggle Hill.

 Coming Soon: The gardens I've planted at our new place are looking
 beautiful and I can't wait to show you!

Aloha Until Next Time,

P.S. Your comments make me HAPPY!  :)

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