Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All aboard!

Puka Dog

Callum really wanted a hot dog as his last meal so we tried another local joint called Puka Dog. The hot dogs were practically the size of the boys' heads! ;-)

We also got a little bit of touristy shopping in, snagging a shark tshirt for Callum (of course). Logan picked out this cool dragon design for his shirt (which she printed right then and there for him - cool!).

Now we're hitting the road for our long drive back to the airport. What a fun vacation it's been!! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Uncle's Shave Ice

Dessert for dinner?!? Don't mind if we do! (It's our last night, after all!) ;-)

We had A BLAST on our tubing adventure this afternoon, floating through the many canals, flumes and tunnels of an old sugar plantation. I didn't get any pictures though :( since we don't have a waterproof camera (something I guess I need to get before our next trip!).

After, our driver told us about the best shave ice place on the island, called Uncle's, that we should try out.

He also told us about two other specialities that Uncle's has - a delicious honey toast and something called shave snow (which is a Taiwanese take on shave ice where they mix in milk with the syrup to make it more creamy).

Both were absolutely scrumptious!! And such a nice (sweet - ha!) ending to our stay here. :)

The Smith Family Garden Luau

Ready to get our grub on! :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

So dang hot!

Wow we sure aren't used to the hot weather!!

After our (yummy!) breakfast, we drove a short distance to check out Hanalei Bay - which was absolutely gorgeous but by 9am we were already sweating under that searing sun! :)

So Mom and Dad sought out a tiny spot of shade while the boys played in the sand/water building sand castles and gleefully laughing every time the waves would wash ashore and run over their latest creation.

Once Jon and I had enough sun, we dragged them back to the car and headed back into town to do a little (window) shopping. The boys weren't as patient waiting in the hot sun for us as we were for them out on the beach. Funny how that works out isn't it? ;-)

We got Jon some new flip flops and I got the boys some shark teeth necklaces as a fun (albeit touristy, I know) souvenir (they are both really into sharks lately - especially Callum). :)

We got back to our hotel to relax in the room for a bit and unwind before we head out to the pool (Logan wants to practice snorkeling - which I'm pleased as punch about, since he's taken up such a big interest in a favorite activity of mine!).

All of this was done well before Noon. Just the other day, Logan had a fabulous Loganism of the Day, which would apply to today too:

"The days here seem very very very long." (He made this observation after a lovely breakfast, swim at the pool, full day of ATV riding and shave ice after - and observing more out of wonderment than complaint of course.) ;-)

The Village Snack and Bakery Shop

We're back in Hanalei this morning but trying out a different breakfast spot (with local cuisine, loco mocos and plate lunch specials). It's a small hole in the wall in Hanalei's little "Chinatown" village - and seems to be a local hangout spot.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another gorgeous day in paradise

We ditched the idea of mini golf given how BLAZING HOT it was this afternoon. Everyone was pretty grumpy, hot, tired and feeling crummy.

Jon knew I was bummed that we also didn't get to the beach today, so he spontaneously did a quick drive by Anini Beach on our way home, and once the boys saw the beach they asked if we could stop so they could get out and play (they had been the main reason we didn't go earlier since they wanted to hang out at the pool first before the beach). Anyway, YAY!

What made our unplanned visit even better? I took Logan out snorkeling for the first time and not only did he do GREAT and hung with me the entire time, but he LOVED IT. Yay again!! :)

We decided to eat in for dinner tonight, so we picked up a few things from the store on our way home and everyone showered off the Pacific before settling into PJ's and filling our tummies. Just after we finished eating, I noticed the gorgeous sun setting outside. So I grabbed the camera and walked out to our patio, snapping away.

It doesn't get much better than this. :)

Shave Ice Tege Tege

The line is so long, I couldn't even fit Jon and Logan into the pic! :)

Oh well, we need to digest those big ass burritos anyway!


Our beans, rice and cheese burritos were called "Haole" burritos. :)

Julio's Beach Burritos Truck

Little dude fell asleep on the 10 min drive to a local favorite food truck that we're trying out for lunch. So, I'm hanging out in the car with him, enjoying a beautiful ocean breeze, while our lunch is made. :)

Fish feeding frenzy!

This is becoming one of the boys' favorite morning activities. ;-)

Hanalei Coffee Roasters

Had a yummy breakfast with these two handsome devils! :)

Friday, July 24, 2015


Someone was getting really cranky waiting for us to finish dinner so that we could get to dessert. Soon after, he passed out. :)

Pool time!

We got to our hotel about noon - but check in wasn't until 4pm! (And even though I tried to talk them into an earlier check in, they were booked and couldn't find us an available room)

So, we scarfed down a big delicious lunch, ate some delicious local banana chocolate chip bread (which we had picked up from a vendor at the falls), then pulled out our suits and spent the afternoon poolside.

The boys were IN HEAVEN. There are several pools on the property, but their favorite, of course, is the kid's pool with the water slide. ;-)

(Now we're finally resting in our room and I'm catching up on posting pics - since my poor phone has juice again!)

Shave Ice!

Next Stop: "Kauai's Best Shave Ice" shop

As we always do when visiting Hawaii, we have to figure out which shave ice place on the island is the best. So naturally, we needed to get a head start on our research! ;-)

The Eagle(s) Have Landed!

We made it!! Our flight was early, so we're all pretty beat (Jon and I woke up at 4:45am, after several wake up calls from a restless Callum last night - Oy!).

We squeezed in a quick site seeing detour to Wailua Falls before hitting the road to our hotel (North Shore, Princeville). The minute we were back on the road, the boys passed out. Before conking out tho, Logan did make sure we'd promise to wake him up for shave ice. ;-)

Boarded and off!

I may have been the crazy mom wiping down our seats with antibacterial wipes...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Callum's Carry-On

The more prepared I am, the less likely something will actually happen right? :)

Packing for our family summer vacation - our first big trip (and flight) since Callum was diagnosed! A little nervous but a whole lot excited.

We're all looking forward to a little R&R. Stay tuned!!

Our new neighbor

Logan and Callum are THRILLED to discover that our new neighbor (at the new house) is a little boy, age 6, right in between them. There, he and Callum are, spinning on the playground wheel yelling to me to spin them faster. ;-)

We've had a fantastic time at summer camp this week, getting to know all of the new neighborhood kids and exploring the community rec center! We're loving it here!

Saturday, July 11, 2015


The boys are very excited to see the Minions movie today. Even more fun, they get to see it with their Grandpa Ito and Grandma Ita and Uncle Curtis! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A camp out kinda night

I haven't gone into much detail lately but let me just say that the boys' new school (where they are attending summer school these few weeks) is absolutely amazing. The boys have made many fast friends already and are learning a lot of fun and interesting things (during the drive home today, Callum, and then Logan, began telling me about "red howler monkeys" which I didn't even know existed). :)

And, I've even noticed a change in the boys themselves. They just seem generally more happy and more content these days. And I couldn't be happier about it!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A deep lesson from Inside Out

A couple of weeks ago, when Inside Out was released, we took the boys to the movies to check it out. We had a fabulous time (Pixar hit it out of the park once more) and really enjoyed it.

The next day was the boys' swimming lessons - Logan was feeling a little down and didn't want to play in the pool after their lesson.  So, he sat out on the side with me as we both watched Callum play.

While we sat there, Logan had a few questions about the movie we saw the day before that he decided to ask me about.

 **** SPOILER ALERT ****

If you haven't seen the movie yet (seriously, why not?!), and you don't like spoiler alerts, then stop reading now! :)

 **** SPOILER ALERT ****

Riley, a young girl, has a wonderful life but finds herself (with her family) suddenly moving across the country (for her father's new job).  Her emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger) find themselves trying to figure out, and manage, this new territory of Riley's experiences.

But, it's clear as the movie progresses, that Riley is sad, as Sadness keeps slipping in to "take over" her emotions.  Joy tries to keep things positive, by telling Sadness to stay away (in her own circle), but it doesn't quite work.  Soon, we find Sadness touching some of Riley's hardcore memories (those milestone memories which create various islands, like family and friends and silly islands, all which define Riley's personality) and turning them blue.

This happened a number of times throughout the movie as Joy and Sadness journeyed together through Riley's mind (trying to find their way back to headquarters). What puzzled Logan was how a good, happy, hardcore memory could also be sad (or, a rainbow of emotions, as we learned later in the movie).  

Mom, shouldn't a happy hardcore memory only be yellow? Why did some of her memories turn blue?

It opened up a deeper discussion between the two of us on how that could actually happen.

I've said it often, that I believe Callum's diagnosis is, in a lot of ways, harder for Logan to cope with, than Callum.  Callum certainly has a tough physical fight on his hands - but he was so young when he was first diagnosed that I really don't think he will remember much of those first days, and months, that were so traumatizing to him, and all of us.

Logan, however, was old enough then, that he may remember it later.  I'm very sensitive to that, and want to make sure that we have a solid relationship where he can feel comfortable talking about it with us at any time.

So, I asked him, when we found out that Callum had cancer, if he thought that was a hardcore memory?  Was it something that changed our personalities, who we all were?

He said yes.

So, we decided to test Pixar's theory out.  

Was the hardcore memory of Callum's diagnosis blue (Sadness)?  Yes.
Was it red (Anger)?  Yes.
How about purple - were we afraid?  Yes.
And were we green with Disgust?  Yes.

So, that one memory, had many different colors/emotions, within it, right?  Yes!  He was starting to get it.

And Callum even had some yellow (Joy) Mom!

Oh? Why do you think that?

Well, anytime he has to go to the hospital he gets to play on his iPad, and watch as many movies as he wants, and everyone gives him a lot of toys.  All of that makes him happy.

Yes, it probably does.

How about us, do we have any yellow in that hardcore memory?

Logan didn't think so.  Only for Callum, he stated. 

But, Jon later pointed out, after I recounted my conversation with Logan to him, that we probably did have some yellow too, and he's right!  Since, we were happy Callum's leukemia hadn't traveled to his spinal fluid, and that he had been reclassified as Low Risk.  Of course, Logan probably didn't realize that small nuance (then, nor even now), but it certainly furthered the point that a hardcore memory could be a rainbow of emotions, and we are living proof of it.

Inside Out truly was an amazing film - probably one of Pixar's films that lands more in the adult camp than for kids, to be quite honest.  It's very emotional and touching.  It's fun, funny, sad, and breathtaking.  The boys enjoyed it - and after my talk with Logan, I think he even grasped some of its more meaningful messaging.

Pixar for the win, once again.  ;-)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

We had another unplanned visit to the ER yesterday. Callum was acting a little off and clingy yesterday morning - complaining of being cold and wanting to be held - it took me a minute to realize he might be getting a fever, but sure enough, I took his temp and he was burning up. :(

So, I packed up our stuff, and he and I headed to the ER. We were there all day - the ER was ridiculously busy for some weird reason. Most of his tests (urinalysis, X-rays, Dr exam) happened out in the hall, outside of the triage area.

One of the back nurses came up to chat with me, recognizing us from previous visits, and finally got us a room to move to. So, after a couple of hours, we were finally able to relax.

Except, not really. Since they hadn't done Callum's blood draw yet. :(

Another nurse, assigned to us, came in to prep for accessing his port. She was a little batty, or maybe just fried from a busy long day, or probably both. But she made me (and Callum) nervous.

These ER visits sure have made us appreciate our own medical team at LPCH a whole lot more!!

With Callum (literally) kicking and screaming at her while she fumbled to try and clean his chest and find the port, she finally stuck him. Only, she wasn't getting a blood return at all. She asked me if his port was angled at all and I said no. But said sometimes his blood return can be a little slow so try to flush it with the saline a bit and then try the return again.

So she pushed a little saline in and Callum immediately started screaming bloody murder. :( I knew something was wrong and I think she did too. She felt his port/needle placement again, pulled it out and stuck him again into the port, at which point she then got an immediate blood return.

I'm pretty sure that means she missed his port. :( She said she didn't buuuuuut I'm not sure why else that happened the way it did.

I was also not happy with her methods of cleaning (read: little to none!) and after seeing she wasn't cleaning the ends of his lines each time, I got on her case about it and asked her to please clean them. :/

Just being in the ER really freaks me out. But then seeing shit like that - it's just a different type of mentality and approach to care (I get it, they're in emergency) - makes my stomach turn. So, all I do is pace, hunt down the nurses or doctors the entire time I'm there for answers, and jump at the first chance we can to get the hell out.

So anyway, all tests were great. His pneumonia from before was gone (no signs in the X-rays) and his blood counts were solid. They gave him some fluids while we waited... As the Tylenol (I gave him at home) from noon-time began to wear off, he started feeling warm to me again. It took roughly an hour to get someone back to the room to take a friggin' temp - sure enough he had another fever. And then it took roughly another hour (with me constantly bugging them) before we got him some Tylenol. It was a madhouse but my requests also seemed pretty easy to me so I was getting more irritable as the clocked ticked on. ;-)

We got home about 8pm last night - made a little dinner for the kids and then I basically passed in and out of sleep on the couch for a couple of hours while we put the kids to bed and settled the house down.

Unfortunately, Callum spiked another fever in the middle of the night. But was good about taking some Tylenol and slipping back to sleep. He was MUCH better this morning, but by the afternoon was warming up again and hit another (mild) fever.

We've been in touch with our on-call oncologist the entire time and are watching him closely. But if he hits another high fever now, we've gotta go back to the ER to run another round of tests again. :(

All of this is to say our 4th was a quiet and lazy day for all. The boys have mostly been watching movies or playing video games. Later in the afternoon we got a fun family board game going which we all enjoyed together. :)

Hope everyone is having a great 4th too!