2014 Aloha Festivals honor Polynesian Voyaging Society's World Voyage

April 23rd, 2014

This year’s Aloha Festivals pay tribute to the upcoming worldwide voyage of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hōkūleʻa and its mission to promote world peace with its theme, “Maluhia Honua – World Peace With Aloha.”

Photo courtesy: Aloha Festivals

Photo courtesy: Aloha Festivals

“The 2014 theme was inspired by a song composed by Irmgard Farden Aluli entitled ‘For a Peaceful World’ and honors the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s mission to promote world peace,” said Helene “Sam” Shenkus, co-chair of the Aloha Festivals board of directors. “The mission of Aloha Festivals is to foster the Aloha Spirit through the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture and the celebration of the diverse customs and traditions of Hawaiʻi.”

To help spread the message and Aloha Spirit, Aloha Festivals is asking all Keiki (grades K to 8) and ʻŌpio (grades 9 to college) from schools across Hawaiʻi and Makua (adult Hawaiʻi resident) to create a poster that best illustrates the upcoming worldwide voyage to promote world peace and what “Maluhia Honua” means to them. The design must include the words: “Maluhia Honua.”

The design of the winning entry will appear on the official 2014 Aloha Festivals poster and be on display at this year’s Keiki Ho‘olaule‘a at Pearlridge Center. In addition, the grand prize winner will receive a $250 Royal Hawaiian Center gift certificate.

Entries must be postmarked by May 16, 2014 and mailed to: Aloha Festivals Poster Design Contest, c/o Communications Pacific, 700 Bishop Street, Suite 600, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813. For entry forms and templates, visit www.AlohaFestivals.com.

Tower of Terror re-creation

April 21st, 2014

You know how children usually reenact recent events in their lives by play-acting it out (or drawing it)?

Joann gave Olivia a pretty, flowery Easter basket. Olivia put some of her little toy figurines inside and started rocking the basket back and forth.


"Oh, sweet, Honey. Are you rocking your babies to sleep?" Joann has a 20 month old son, so I thought Olivia associated the basket from Joann with Joann's boy.

"No," she said.

"What are you doing?" I inquired, trying to be interested and involved.

"It's a hotel," she answered.

I was puzzled for a few seconds. A hotel? Oh... a hotel... I get it. She's reenacting Tower of Terror's elevator free fall. Just as I put that together, she dropped the basket a few inches and let out a gentle scream on behalf of her toys.

Yeah... the Easter basket of Terror. I guess I'm responsible for that.

Spring break: Big girl

April 18th, 2014

Olivia exercised her independence on this trip by asking to do things herself. It started at Disneyland, where she was very eager to ride the rides by herself. If the lines were short, if the carriage accommodated just one to two riders per row, and if the attendant allowed her to go alone, then I'd say OK.

Olivia in her own row on the Winnie the Pooh ride

Olivia in her own row on the Winnie the Pooh ride. This was a big deal for her.

I let her go by herself on Tarzan's Treehouse at Disneyland. We went together as a group first, then she asked to go by herself. It is a walking attraction, and it involves a fair amount of steep stairs, which is why it did not have a line.

Olivia waving at me from Tarzan's Treehouse.

Olivia waving at me from Tarzan's Treehouse.

It's totally contained so she really can't run off or get snatched, but I was still quite the Nervous Nellie. I stood by the exit staring up at the walking path, trying to follow her movements. I didn't let my guard down until Olivia safely exited. Claus and Joann just laughed at me while they sat on the side and talked.


It continued in Santa Cruz, when we checked into the hotel. I booked a room with two beds because historically, I will sleep with Olivia and Claus will sleep alone. That is not the way he wants it, but it is the way everyone gets the most sleep.

He doesn't like sleeping with her because she kicks him. He would like to sleep with his wife, but his wife often likes to sleep next to their child. Just when we travel. So, two beds.

Two beds at Hotel Paradox

Two beds at Hotel Paradox (Courtesy: Hotel Paradox)

She looked at the set up and declared, "I want to sleep by myself." Then, however, when it got to the actual bedtime, she decided she couldn't fall asleep without me so I was asked to sit with her until she fell asleep, then I could be released to Daddy's bed.

I never did release myself to Daddy's bed. I like sleeping with her, and I was so tired I would fall asleep at the same time as she did, anyway.

I'm afraid that pretty soon she will be able to sleep by herself. And then I will be the clingy one asking if I can be with her. My big girl.

Spring break: Mommy's purse vest

April 16th, 2014

I used a Scottevest on this trip. It's something I bought a few trips ago with my friend Jen, who is in the know about all things new or useful. Jen knows everything about everything.

The Mom Vest (at Natural Bridges State Beach)

The Mom Vest (at Natural Bridges State Beach)

This travel vest is marketed as having some 17 pockets, but really, it's more like nine good ones. The other "pockets" are small and useless. Still, nine is a lot.

It's not the most fashion forward, but there is an occasion for everything, and I felt this one required the use of a vest that could hold a lot of things. I was motivated primarily by Disneyland, and not wanting to carry a purse there.

Claus made fun of me for carrying everything and the kitchen sink, or so it seemed like it to look at me. Every pocket was so bulging that I looked like I was wearing a flak jacket.

People (and by people, I mean Husband) made fun of me but, for example, here is what I was able to stuff into the vest in one wearing:

Assorted over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen, Tums, and bandages, just in case;
cell phone;
Disney mouse ears headband;
5 granola bars;
bag of M&Ms;
tube of sunblock;
small bag of dates;
tissue for sick kid;
hardcover journal and pen for character autographs;
Disney pins for souveneirs

The mouse ears headband. It is not a small thing!

The puffy mouse ears headband. It is not a small thing!

It's actually not super comfortable to sit back with the stuff in the back pocket, FYI, but I needed every available space because I was the Walking Mom Bag who carries everything for everyone.

Back at Joann's house, on the day we flew from Orange County to San Jose, she wanted to stock us with a snack bag for the plane. (I love Joann.) As we are traveling with a young child, I do appreciate having food constantly on hand.

I put some pizza slices into a baggie and laughed to Claus that I'd stuff this into my vest. He knew I was joking but Joann didn't, and she reacted like I was crazy. There, a joke was born.

For the rest of the trip, we would laugh about me carrying pizza or real food (not just packaged food) in my vest. Thereafter, Claus would do stuff like gesture to the leftover food on the plate and suggest that I wear the to-go bag of spaghetti.

These people laugh at me, but when they need something and I have it, then who's silly? Plus, I can get on the plane without even needing a carry on bag. Ha!

Seriously, it did serve its purpose well. If you have mom-like considerations as I did, I could recommend the vest.

Spring break: UCSC Arboretum and hummingbirds

April 14th, 2014

A trip to Santa Cruz, for me, wouldn't be complete without a visit to the University of California at Santa Cruz where I spent my first year after high school. It is a gorgeous campus set on more than 2,000 acres overlooking Monterey Bay.

Merrill College, one of the ten colleges that comprise UCSC

Merrill College, one of the ten colleges that comprise UCSC

We spun around the campus briefly, looked at my former college (Merrill), and spent most of the time at the arboretum, a research and teaching facility committed to plant conservation that serves both the campus and the public.


UCSC Arboretum

UCSC Arboretum

"Its rich and diverse collection, containing representatives of more than 300 plant families, provides beginning students with a broad survey of the plant kingdom. Facilities for growing plants offer students and research faculty opportunities to experiment with living plants," says the website.

"The Arboretum maintains collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Particular specialties are world conifers, primitive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant families. Large assemblages of plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California natives are displayed on the grounds. Many of the species in these collections are not otherwise available for study in American botanical gardens and arboreta."

Tour guide Mike. Thanks, Mike! You were awesome!

Tour guide Mike. Thanks, Mike! You were awesome!

We were lucky enough to get a tour with a knowledgeable and friendly volunteer named Mike, who gave us a quick look at the estimated 55 acre arboretum that included a little history lesson on the founding of the town and the school itself.

Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

Eucalyptus caesia

Eucalyptus caesia


Eucalyptus caesia


While he generously pointed out interesting plants like the cut leaf dryandra, banksia serrate, and eucalyptus casia, I must admit the most interesting section to our family was the Hummingbird Trail. This specially bred garden has a huge bush of hummingbird food.

Ruby cluster grevillea

Ruby cluster grevillea

Hummingbirds like the flowers of the ruby cluster grevillea, and this shrub is so big, it's enough to stave off the naturally-territorial birds' tendency to chase off other birds who might compete for food. In the quarter hour we stood there watching, listening, and getting educated by Mike on hummingbird behavior, we saw about 50 of the tiny birds.

Ruby cluster grevillea

Ruby cluster grevillea

Three types of hummingbirds frequent this area: Anna's, Allen's, and Rufous. They're so small and quick that it was impossible for me to get a photo for you, but maybe that just means you should come up here yourself to see it. It is a very special experience!

Hummingbirds like red, and by chance, Olivia was wearing bright pink. Perhaps it was the reason why she was able to get up close to one; Mike explained that the bird might have been flying up to see if this brightly colored shirt was a flower to eat. It was one of her trip highlights!


This eucalyptus tipped over in the 1989 earthquake, then kept growing horizontally. It's a living work of art!

This eucalyptus tipped over in the 1989 earthquake, then kept growing horizontally. It's a living work of art!

Other little woodland critters we saw included rabbits and quail, making this a very fun and memorable experience for our family.

If you go:

Wear walking shoes. For more information go to http://arboretum.ucsc.edu.