Feed on

Hawaii Days 4 and 5

Day 4

We went back to Poipu Beach.  Ava was in a stage where instead of being nice to the birds she just yelled at them.  We had been talking about how one of the sparrows was dirty and I think she took it to heart and decided that all the birds on the beach were dirty.  So if a bird came to close, she would yell about how it was a dirty bird.


We spent some time at the house to help Ava get back to her happy self and we spent the afternoon shopping in Hanapepe.  My favorite store is the Aloha Spice Company.  Even better, my favorite bakery is Midnight Bear Breads.  This bakery is amazing and you have to get there early because they close when they run out of stuff, which was sometimes two hours before their closing time.  Not only is their coffee good and strong, but they make the most amazing lunches.  One is homemade bread with avocados and radishes on top.


Day 5

We drove to the other side of the island to experience Ke’e Beach.  It takes about 1.5 hours to reach the beach, but fortunately Ava is a great traveler.  We stopped for some smoothies and shopping along the way.  Unfortunately we missed the 11-3pm window that the Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. was open, both visiting too early and too late before I figured out their hours online.  We’ll have to go back next year because they make the best homemade ginger beer.


The rain poured down when we were about 30 minutes from the beach.  We got to the beach and re-enacted the scene where Ava holds the phone at the western-most payphone in the country.


DSC_6723 (1)





We wandered around the forest until the rain died down.  There was no swimming while it was raining because the waves were really intense.  We actually had an adventure because the forest had a trail that led us to someone else’s land and we had to walk on their land to get back to the car.  Ava loves drama and always wants Bowser to be chasing her so we had Bowser chase her out of the land.

This beach is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.  It’s perfect for swimming because there’s few rocks and the waves are mild.  This was also a perfect time to go because the rain made most people stay away so it was practically empty.


It also has the most aggressive chickens.  They started running towards us when they saw my backpack, hoping for food.


After the beach we drove back and stumbled onto a farmer’s market.  I love homemade food so I bought everything.  I bought pie, lemonade, fudge, cookies, and springrolls.  The space where the farmer’s market is located is gorgeous.


We made it back for sunset and ate poke for dinner from the Koloa Fish Market.



Hawaii Day 3

Day 3

We woke up and watched the birds rise with the sunrise around 6:50.  I try to burn images like this to my brain:


This year Jon bought us specialized snorkel equipment that was amazing.  Poipu Beach is one of the best places for snorkelling so we tried it out there.  Ava was excited at first because she could see all the fish.  You could hear her yell through the mask about this fish or that fish.  Unfortunately she got some water in the mask and didn’t want to use it again.  Hopefully next year she’ll use it because there’s a whole new world under the water.


I loved using my mask.  There were little fish with black stripes in yellow splotches, long flat fish with a silver stripe on top, orange and blue fish, long short fish with pointy mouths, and more and more!

Jon found the beach very relaxing:

DSC_6656 (1)

Kauai is filled with chickens and they are especially common at Poipu Beach.  Ava was frustrated that the chickens moved too fast to catch.  She wanted to catch them and put them in our house.  Ava started digging holes that she called chicken prison.  She was hoping that the chickens would willingly stay in her chicken prison.  We convinced her to rebrand it as a chicken hotel for marketing purposes, but she kept reverting back to calling it chicken prison.


An elusive chicken:


For lunch we ate veggie burgers at the beach.  I can’t remember where we ate for dinner.  Maybe Da Crack?

In the afternoon we did a little shopping and spent awhile hanging out at the house.  Ava is such a homebody that we tried to give her time to relax at the house.  She’s still obsessed with Princess Peach, Mario, and Bowser.  In Mario Odyssey Mario and Bowser are both trying to marry Princess Peach.  At first the game was that Ava was Princess Peach and she would make either me or Jon be Bowser and we had to try to marry her and the other parent would be Mario and rescue her from the marriage.  Then she decided she liked Bowser and wanted him to marry Princess Peach.  So on this day, she made Bowser a marrying bouquet out of the gorgeous flowers and nuts that fell off of the trees and bushes surrounding the house.


We also watched the sunset and the settling in of the birds during sunset.  Can you see why we were addicted to these moments?




Hawaii Days 1 and 2

We went to Hawaii again this year.  I love it so much and I thought it might be helpful to write out all our activities.  After three years I feel like I know Kauai and I want to capture all of Ava’s activities.


We take a morning flight from SLC to Honolulu and then from Honolulu to Kauai.  This puts us in Kauai around 6:30pm.  I like this flight a lot and it’s much better than the first year when we took SLC to LAX and LAX to Kauai because it’s too easy to miss LAX flights.  I hate LAX.

Ava loves flying, but this is the first year that she was concerned about leaving SLC for vacation.  She already missed Teddy.  We wound up talking about him almost every day of the vacation.  Next, Ava was sad to leave her nanny for a week.  And then she asked for kombucha or “bucha” as she calls it and she was really disappointed that it wasn’t an option.

Also, Ava is not a fan of having her picture taken lately so they often look like this:


Day 1

The planes that go to Kauai are a bit rickety so they usually have problems.  I don’t think they have ever arrived on schedule.  One time the tire was flat and they had to fly one in from Honolulu.  This time there was a mysterious problem with the engine and we had to find a brand new plane.

So we arrived around 7:30, which was 10:30 Utah time and Jon and I were ready for dinner.  Ava fell asleep in the car and we found dinner at Savage Shrimp because it’s the only place open after 8:00 anywhere near our rental house.

Day 2

I woke up at 4:45 and I think Ava made it until 5:30.  We hung out until the birds outside started waking up with the sunrise and the family sat on the porch and watched the birds.  I didn’t get pictures this morning because we were taking it all in.  I find it pretty magical to listen to the birds wake up and see them leaving all the trees.  But we watched them every morning so I have pictures below.

Ava was still sad about leaving her home until she saw the ocean outside the window.  Then she started asking to go to the beach and we were at Baby Beach by 7:30 am and we were completely alone until around 9.



Baby Beach is aptly named because it has a series of rocks that prevent the waves from getting too intense.  The rocks also prevent people from waking more than two feet deep.  Ava loves it.


This year was also great because she was interested in playing in the sand.  The first year Ava spent hours digging sand, but the second year she barely played.  This year she wanted us to make sand cities.


For lunch we went to one of my favorite restaurants: Da Crack.  Da Crack is a reference to a butt crack.  You can see their sign here.  I had some hilarious discussions with Ava about the meaning of the sign.

After lunch we went to MacArthur Beach, which we call Crazy Beach because the waves are so intense.  Both Jon and I hold Ava the whole time because the waves will knock you down when you’re only knee deep in the water.



After the beach we ate dinner at the Shrimp Shack, which has this papaya ginger tartar sauce that I am going to spend the next year trying to replicate.



Ava is 3.5 Years Old

I miss the old format of describing Ava.  In honor of her turning 3.5, I thought I’d write one.

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava has great motor skills.  She’s very close to being able to brush her teeth on her own, she just needs help with the back parts of her teeth.
  • Speaking of teeth, Ava likes to have intricate routines.  When I brush her teeth, it’s three turns for brushing, and four mouthwash rinses using two different mouthwashes.
  • She’s taken an interest in other kids.  When we go places she asks if her friends will be there.  The other weekend we went to a place with a bouncy house.  She really liked this girl there about her age and started holding her hand.  I’m working on finding more friends for her.
  • Ava is getting really good at drawing. She makes pictures of people with identifiable features. She’s working on their expressions, so she’ll use eyebrows to show anger and mouths to show happy smiles. And she concentrates so hard when she draws! We try to feed her interests and respect her needs. I remember getting so mad when I was little and people didn’t take me seriously, so I understand.
  • The picture below is Peach Cat, which is Ava’s name for Princess Peach from Mario Odyssey.


Foods and Liquids

  • Ava loves potatoes in every form.  Last weekend she had mashed potatoes for dinner, then french fries for lunch, then potato pancakes for dinner.  Then she demanded more french fries.
  • I think spaghetti is a close second.  Every time I put a soup in front of Ava she says, I don’t like [color] soup.  I like the red one, i.e. spaghetti.
  • Ava will eat any food that is created with egg beaters because she thinks it’s dessert.  She ate a ton of sweet potato souffle, even though she doesn’t like sweet potatoes, because I made the dish with an egg beater.  It will be interesting to see how I can make quesadillas using egg beaters.



  • I love daylight savings in the fall because it means Ava starts going to bed at a reasonable hour.  I was able to push her bedtime back to about 9 p.m., which is glorious and she naturally wakes up between 7:30 and 8:00.  Before daylight savings her regular bedtime was 10:30 and I had to wake her up at 8:30.  Do not wake Ava up, it might ruin the whole day.


Language Skills

  • Ava’s language is amazing.  She says some very charming phrases like when she ran down the halls of the library saying “I’m running amuck!”
  • Ava is obsessed with the characters from Mario Odyssey: Mario, Bowser, and Princess Peach. She can talk about these characters for 30 minutes and she often wants us to act out different characters and tell you what the characters would say.

No Papparazzi


2017 Garden

Gardening was so much fun this year.  We had our usual cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes and we added melons, tomatillos, and herbs.

Pro-tip for planting melons: that one little seedling will result in many melons, so you don’t need to plant four seedlings for each type of melon in the garden.  I think I’ve eaten enough melons for the next two years.  I did enjoy watermelon gazpacho and watermelon feta salad, though.  Watermelon gazpacho used watermelon, cucumbers, basil, and jalapeños from the garden, so it was the ultimate dish.


Peppers and tomatoes, on the other hand, can be combined in infinite ways and I’ll never get tired of them.



Tomatillos are amazing and I’ll use them so much more now.  I made salsa; a recipe that is described as a mole, but was more like a soup; and a dish with shrimp and tomatillos.  So good!  The dish below is tomatillo salsa, poached egg, smoked trout, and homemade potato pancake.  It’s a very simple amazing recipe.


I also filled planter two boxes up with herbs.  When we were receiving a CSA I discovered that fresh herbs make all the difference.  Dried tarragon doesn’t taste like anything, but fresh tarragon has a wonderful slightly licorice flavor.  I filled the planter boxes with rosemary, basil, tarragon, thyme, lavender (which never produced, but maybe next year), and oregano.  The results were amazing.  You don’t need butter and cheese when you can get flavor through herbs.

The herbs are also nice because I make homemade kombucha and it tastes amazing with herbs.  You haven’t lived until you’ve had basil blueberry kombucha or cherry rosemary kombucha.


I’m sad that the season is over, but now I can make all these hearty meals with mushrooms.  In the summer we are so overwhelmed with garden vegetables that I don’t like buying produce from the store.  All winter I can buy guilt free.




Halloween was interesting this year because Ava doesn’t like costumes.  She thinks if you wear a costume it means you will become the thing represented by the costume.  She didn’t even want to be a kitty, until we explained that candy was involved.  Then she was not only okay with it, she wanted me to take a picture of her tail.



Jon went as David S. Pumpkins and the neighborhood went crazy.


Jon took Ava to trick-or-treating of the businesses from 4-6 and then we all went trick-or-treating after dinner.  We made a full circle up the street, down the opposite side, and up back to our house.  Ava walked up to our house and Ava said, “Open the door please.”  Jon responded, “We can take you to another street!  Do you want to keep going?”  Ava replied, “No, I’m all done.  Open the door.”  And with that she was done.

Pipe cleaner spiders


That night Ava had three pieces of candy and spun in circles for 30 minutes until she crashed.


Inside Out

Watching animated movies with Ava has always been more of a duty than a joy.  But I love the movie “Inside Out” and I thought Ava was old enough to enjoy it so we watched it last weekend.  For people not familiar with the movie, it’s about an 11-year old girl who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  The movie is shown from the perspective of her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.  The moral of the movie is that we need to feel negative emotions and we can’t pretend that things aren’t difficult by only pretending to experience joy.


Ava was hooked as soon as she saw Anger blow fire out of his top.  She thought he was so funny.

DSC_6507 (1)

Jon bought a toy Anger and she was initially scared of him because she thought he was real.  After Ava and Jon talked about it, she started treating Anger like a baby and made a bed for him.  She also makes care packages for the other emotions.


Jon also bought these wonderful books that each cover one of the emotions.  Each day Ava wants us to narrate for at least one of the emotions.  She’ll ask, “What’s Anger saying?”  The first day was Anger, the second day was Sadness, and the subsequent days have been mostly Fear, but with a little Joy and Disgust mixed in.


It was so fun to watch the movie with Ava because she follows the plot line very well and asks a lot of questions.


Ava is such a charming little girl.  But don’t call her a girl.  She’s really a kitty and she gets mad if you call her anything but a kitty.  She can’t even handle this TV show Super Why where they refer to the audience as Super Readers.  She tells the television, “No, I’m a kitty.”  When people ask her name she says “Kittycat [Last name].”  Sometimes she says “Kittycat Ava Michelle [Last name].”  But never only Ava.


Ava is obsessed with space.  She’s always asking what earth, moon, sun, and Venus are saying.  She also talks about Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.  She’s quickly learning the positions of all the planets relative to the sun.  She also loves the joke that moon eats cheese.  She always asks “What kind of cheese?”


Ava does not want anything to change.  The other night she said right before she fell asleep, “I want to stay little.”  Ava can’t stand any story that involves a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.  She can’t even stand the ending to The Pout Pout Fish where the pout pout fish becomes a kiss kiss fish.


Ava Happenings

Hello!  After Ava turned three and I stopped doing the monthly posts, it became a lot harder to come up with topics even though I have so many Ava stories!


Ava has been taking swimming lessons.  She loves the water and she often cries in the morning if it isn’t a swimming lesson day or she has to wait until after lunch to go swimming.  When she swims, the teachers’ biggest problem is that Ava tries to swim away from them and swim on her own.


Next week Ava is starting ballet lessons.  Every time she sees ballet on television she starts doing the moves, so we thought she needed some ballet lessons.  We bought Ava the ballet shoes, put on The Nutcracker, and Ava danced around the room until bedtime.


Here are some Ava quirks:

  • Ava has strong opinions about what clothing she wears.  She feels that all shirts should be long-sleeved shirts (“Does it goes all the way down?”).  When the temperature is above 95, though, she begrudgingly wears t-shirts.  She also prefers pullups to underwear even though she’s fully potty trained.
  • Ava has been having a lot of tantrums.  It used to be that she got upset because she couldn’t express herself.  Now, I think she does it to relieve strong emotions.  She’s much more likely to tantrum before bed.
  • Ava is really into baking.  Someone in the house has a birthday every day and she makes them a cake with flour, sugar, water, and spices.  She’ll taste the spices so it’s improving her palette.  Teddy Roosevelt usually has several birthdays a day.


The Beatles

I’ve never known many nursery rhymes or good songs to sing to Ava at night.  I can sing the entire album “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails, but you wouldn’t understand half the songs if you had to omit all the “fucks” from the lyrics.  So it’s very lucky that I also know a lot of Beatles Songs.  Even more lucky, Ava loves hearing Beatles songs.  The first song she ever memorized was “In My Life.”


As Ava learns about language, she has started to ask about the song lyrics I sing during bedtime.  In the Beatles song “I’m So Tired,” John Lennon sings “I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little piece of mind.”  Ava wanted to know why the singer would give a “piece of mind.”  We had a long talk about what an expression is and how the song is about a man who needs comfort.


We also talk about the meaning of songs.  Ava was really worried when I told her that “Yesterday” is about a women who doesn’t love a man anymore.  I explained that they were just dating and not family because she was worried that it could happen to her.  We spent a long time talking about how family never leaves.  In terms of meaning, Ava much prefers “In My Life” because I explained that it’s about how a mom realizes that all her relationships mean nothing once she has her daughter.


I think I need to stop singing “Norwegian Wood” because there’s no delicate way to explain to a three-year old that the song is about how a man is scorned because a woman won’t sleep with her so he burns her house down.


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »