Friday, April 11, 2008

A future Calvin Klein Model???

The first day we went to see the lava flowing into the ocean, Austin was all over the place. At one point, he said, "Mommy, take my picture!" and started smiling and posing for me. These were cute little poses and since you don't normally get him to stand still for pictures very often, I took advantage of this mood he was in!

Here's a picture of what he started posing like...

Then, it took a dramatic change....and I'm not even sure where he learned to pose like this, but it looks like he's posing for an underwear commercial or something!!!

And it didn't stop after that day....almost everywhere we went, we got pictures of him doing this!

Hand on hips and this "look." Even at the beach!!!
I wonder if this new pose has come hand in hand with his new attitude...cause he's definitely taken on an attitude like you wouldn't believe lately!!! Paula warned me....there terrible twos are nothing compared to the threes....and I'm starting to see what she was talking about!!!

From running through Sears leaving a trail of movies behind him, to turning off the warmers at the restaurant buffet, all while smiling and calling out "Haha!", Austin has shown a side of himself that is making us question his ability to be out in public like the rest of civilized society! Our trip to the Big Island showed us the wild side of nature AND Austin!

Brian and I would like our sweet little boy back, so if you see him, would you please show him the way back to Hawaii???

A Product Review...the Ergo Carrier

So, before we found out about our miscarriage, I had ordered a baby carrier that I had heard was really good. We had gotten an Amazon gift card for the baby and I figured that since this carrier was so expensive, I would use the gift card to buy it.
This carrier holds up to 40 pounds, so I decided to see if Austin would fit in it when I got it in the mail. Surprisingly, he did and it didn't feel too bad on my back or anything.
When we were planning our trip to the Big Island, I figured we would take it just in case Austin got too tired to walk back to the car in the middle of a hike.
I LOVE this carrier. Austin is only a few pounds from the top weight of 40 pounds and the only thing I felt was the workout I got in my legs from having almost 40 more pounds added on to me! I carried him, Brian carried him and we both agreed that it was a great carrier. Even Austin LOVED it!
So, for any of you with toddlers, infants, or a baby in your belly (Jill are you reading this???) you have got to check this out!!! It is a little pricey, but considering you can use it until they are 3 years old, it's a great product (plus, Austin is heavier than most of his peers, so most children would be able to use it a little longer than he could).
Here's a picture of Brian carrying him...just like carrying him piggy back, but SO MUCH EASIER!!!

Liz, if you're reading this, this would be perfect for your travels in Germany and the rest of Europe....I know those cobblestones aren't fun with a stroller!!!

Daddy and Son

For a while after Brian got back from Iraq, Austin was still attached to my hip for the most part. He didn't want Brian to do anything for him and really loved to tell on him when Brian told him no for something or another.
That whole time, I told Brian that it was just a matter of time before the roles were reversed. That soon, Brian would be the center of Austin's world and he'd come running for the door when he came home.
That time has come....and here's just a couple of pictures that I took of Austin greeting his Daddy.

So, now, anytime Austin hears the door open or close, he thinks his Daddy has come home. He looks forward to lunch time when Daddy gets to come home to eat with him and he's been cuddling on the couch with him a lot lately. In fact, the other day, he chose to lay on the couch with Daddy instead of me!!! I'm so glad....for both of them!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Black Sand Beach

We woke up on Sunday, our last day, and decided to drive down to Punaluu Beach. It's a black sand beach where turtles are known to sunbathe.
Well, we get there, black sand all over, but no turtles sunbathing. Oh well, we know where they like to hang out on Oahu, so we are just happy with the tide pools and the black sand. :-) Oh, we did see a turtle in the that was pretty cool.

My silly boys....Austin started saying "Scooby Doo!!!" instead of "Cheese!" when you take his picture...I have a TON of pictures with his lips squeezed together instead of smiling! LOL...and of course, Brian is making a silly face in this one too...he's the one who got Austin saying "Scooby Doo" in the first place!
And here's a better one of Brian...and smiling to boot!
Since we had Aloha tickets for this trip and ultimately had to rebook our flights because Aloha Airlines went out of business before our trip, we had a LOT of time on Sunday and not really anything else we wanted to do (or wanted to spend the time takes FOREVER to get anywhere on this island!!!). So, we went to a movie (Horton Hears a Who), then drove through McDonalds and got food to eat at a park where Austin played for a few hours...then we finally got to board our plane at 10:05 and finally got home sometime after midnight! It was a great trip, but we were happy to finally be home and in our own bed.
By the way, KMC (the military place we stayed at on Saturday night) was, if anyone you know is planning a trip to the Big Island and they are military, tell them that KMC is the place to stay!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Night Time Lava

Later on Saturday night, we decided to head down to the lava viewing point again to see it at night. We arrived after dark this time and put Austin in the carrier and with flashlights in hand, followed all the other people who trekked out to see the lava as well.
This was a totally different experience. During the day, you see a lot of white steam and a few glimpses of red lava. At night, the steam is illuminated by the lava. Being inexperienced with our camera, we didn't get the best pictures, but we did get one pretty cool one:

I have to tell you, the sky was pretty cool in and of itself. I actually had a hard time keeping my eyes off of it. Since the Big Island really doesn't have HUGE cities and it's basically all country, the stars show up like you wouldn't believe! I mean, you can see the Milky Way and probably every constalation known to man (if I knew anymore than just the Big and Little Dippers!) I wish I knew how to take a picture of it, but it just wouldn't show up. So, you'll just have to take my word for it.... :-)

Volcano Landscapes

Here's some of the landscape pictures I took....
The Steaming Bluff....this overlooks Kilauea Caldera that contains the active Halema'uma'u Crater. The steam just pours out on the side of the bluff which looks pretty cool...

This is a picture I took during our hike through Devestation Trail. You can see a little bit of pink flowers that are trying to grow here and there...

This is what you see driving down Chain of Craters Road. It's either this or scraggly vegetation that the last lava flows had missed.

This is a little tree that I thought looked cool growing out of some old dry lava. It's amazing how life just keeps on matter what the elements.

This was at an overlook right before we went down to the coast...looks like that part of the land just floats on the water, doesn't it!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Day Two was spent in the Volcano Park exploring as much as we can. I'm sure some of you are wondering if we felt a little weird being this close to an active volcano. While I can't answer for Brian, I can honestly say that I was a little freaked at times. I had to keep telling myself that there are signs of an impending eruption and that if things were unsafe at all, park rangers would not allow anyone to be there. That being said, part of Crater Rim Drive was closed due to high sulpher dioxide gas being emitted from Halema'uma'u Crater. Here is a site where you can look at a handout that we were given when we got to the shows the roads we could travel on and where some of the sites were that we visited....
On that map, it says that the road was closed after KMC and that the Jagger Museum was closed. However, a couple of days before our visit, they opened part of the road back up and were allowing people to go as far as the Jagger Museum. (NOTE: a couple of days after our trip, the park had to be evacuated due to a lot of the gases being blown towards highly populated areas of the park...good thing we were already home!!!)
Here are some things that we saw....
The Steam Vents....basically, rainwater sinks through the ground where it is heated by the rocks that carry heat from the liquid rock below. Hot water then rises through the fissures to condense in the chilled air. They have a few of them accessible to the public and have put railings around them to prevent stupid people from trying anything dumb. :-)

This is the view of the Halema'uma'u Crater and the SO2 cloud from the Jaggar Museum.

After we left the Jaggar Museum, we went back around Crater Rim Drive and explored Thurston's Lava Tube. Basically, this is a space where lava had once flown through...basically, as lava flows, the outer parts harden as it cools and just the inner part is still liquid. As the eruption slows down, the supply of new lava stops and eventually drains leaving just a hallow tube. They have a trail that leads to part of this hallow tube that is lit so you can see the inside. There is another area that isn't lit that you can explore if you have flashlights, but we decided to move on...

Inside the Lava Tube...

We stopped at a couple of stops and one trail we went on was Devestation Trail. You start out walking through a little forest and then it opens up and this is what you see.

They are studying this area to see how vegetation reintegrates itself back into this land and how long until it becomes a forest again. There are signs along the trail asking you to stay on the walkway so that you don't accidentally introduce seeds since they want it to be done as naturally as possible.

After leaving Devestation Trail, we started driving down Chain of Craters Road. This was pretty neat to see, but Austin was pretty much done hiking and there was just a lot of lava to see and nothing that really interested him. The next post will show a little of what we saw on that drive....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Red Hot Lava

Later the first day, we had lunch, then went and checked into our cottage. Let me tell ya, it's not always warm and sunny in Hawaii...especially on the Big Island! Did you know that it actually snows in this part of the state??? Yep, on top of the mountains, it actually gets cold enough to snow. Anyway, travelling up the mountain to get to our cottage, it kept getting colder and colder. I was glad to see that there was a heater, even though it was of the propane variety.
After getting settled in, we decided that we could head down to an area where you can view the lava from Kilauea going into the ocean, enlarging the island little by little. We drove an hour and finally came to a road block where they give you a little ticket and tell you to keep driving over what had once been a it's covered by lava that flowed over it in 1983. Surprisingly, people have moved back out there and have been building houses. Crazy, I tell ya!
We finally get to a parking area, get our camel backs on and start out on the half-mile hike over old lava to a look out point. Austin loved hiking. The only problem was that we got there too early and night fall was a couple of hours away. With the lookout being on the dried lava, we couldn't allow Austin to run around like he wanted. Hard lava can be very sharp and they have had pretty bad cuts from people falling or just trying to pry rocks up out of cracks and crevices.
So, we took pictures, marveled at the steamy view and then left to get dinner and a good night's rest.
Here are the pictures we got:

Big Island Water Falls

Our trip to the Big Island started off at 5am when we had to get up and ready for our 7:39am flight to Hilo!

Our flight was pretty uneventful and we got our rental car with no problems. We headed out from the airport towards our first destination....Akaka Falls State Park. There are supposed to be two waterfalls here, but the trail was under construction, so we could only see Akaka Falls. They really were do not do it justice. The water falls 420 feet and there was even a little rainbow about halfway down.

After Akaka Falls, we headed back towards Hilo, took a scenic route, and then went to Rainbow Falls. This was a little different...not as far of a drop, but still very pretty and neat the way there is this huge cavern behind the falls.

Austin loved seeing the waterfalls and going for "hikes" to see them. Although neither were much of a hike since they both took less than 2 minutes! :-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April is Cesarean Awareness Month

I don't normally do this. I'm a blogger who basically just lets everyone know about what our family is up to with pictures and stories of Austin...and of course Brian and I. However, with this month being Cesarean Awareness Month, I wanted to do something different here.....just keep in mind that I'm a horrible rambler....and will jump from one point to another and it might not make any sense where I'm going! :-)

Did you know that our Nation's c-section rate is hovering around 30%? That means ONE out of every THREE moms will have MAJOR abdominal surgery. The World Health Organization recommends a c-section rate of 10-15% for best outcomes. Did you know that the US has the second WORST newborn death rate in the modern world?? We also rank 41st in maternal mortality rates out of 171 countries. There are other factors that play into those horrible stats...but along with obesity, our c-section rate is contributing to those stats the most.

Most, if not all, of you know that when Austin was born, I was that one in three who had surgery to give birth. Luckily, I had a text book recovery...very easy and didn't have a whole lot of physical pain. But, that's not the way it's supposed to be. I didn't get to hold Austin for HOURS after he was born...we missed out on that early bonding time that we needed. I count myself lucky that I only had to deal with minimal pain (with a LOT of swelling) and the usual bonding/breastfeeding issues of c-sections. There are others that aren't so lucky and have a miriade of complications from incision infections and intense pain to a baby who is having problems breathing (which is common with c-section babies) and needs to go to the NICU even after being considered "full term." I thank God that he blessed me with the easier recovery.

Now that I've had one c-section, there are a lot of hospitals and doctors who think that I will always need a c-section. They think the risk of uterine rupture is too great (it's less than 1%) or at least more risky than surgery (do you believe them?). Many hospitals ban vbacs (vaginal birth after cesarean section). The bans are the effect of a "recommendation" that ACOG (basically, a doctors' union) put out saying, "Because uterine rupture may be catastrophic, VBAC [vaginal birth after cesarean] should be attempted in institutions equipped to respond to emergencies with physicians immediately available to provide emergency care." They recommend this despite their own admission to there being no scientific evidence to support this statement! So, many hospitals have stopped accepting moms who wish to vbac....which makes you wonder if they aren't equipped to handle an emergency in a vbac, how can they be sure they can provide emergency care for ANY laboring mother???

In fact, for those in Arkansas...did you know that a lot of hospitals in Arkansas are not allowing vbacs? Yes, I have already checked into it....seeing as how we DO want to expand our family and give Austin a sibling. Missouri is also having their own problems with maternity care in hosptials vs with midwives....I'm sure there are the same vbac bans that plague AR throughout Missouri as well.

I recently watched a film about the state of our maternity care system. It is The Business of Being Born. I HIGHLY encourage everyone to watch it. You can get it on Netflix right now and it becomes available for sale on May 6 at . It's a documentary that was produced by Ricki Lake, who after a horrible hospital birth had a homebirth that she loved. She started researching and what she found out is documented in her film. The major point they make is....Hospitals are run like businesses.

Check it's eye-opening!

I close with this....With our c-section rate at 30% and rising, what will the maternity care system look like when Austin and his wife are pregnant and giving me a grandchild? Surgery is great when it's can be life-saving and I'm so glad there are surgeons to do so much good. However, I highly doubt that 30% of the births that end in c-section were ALL emergencies.

If you or someone you know has had a c-section OR you know someone who's pregnant and want to avoid a c-section, please go to

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had visited this website while pregnant with Austin.

Thanks for humoring this's something that I am being increasingly passionate about.